2010-05-29: Comically Strangers



Date: May 29, 2010


None of these things look like they belong in a comic store. Yet, here they are. Also, pie.

"Comically Strangers"

Comic Book Store

Ah, the sweet, nerdy smell of finely packed comic books. It's a Saturday, so the crowd has picked up some from the weekday fare, but it's also edging towards closing time, which means the ones lingering are those indecisive few hovering near the new release movies and the gaming crowd at the tables who won't be kicked out until they've rolled their last dice on that especially hard-to-keep-down final boss. A few shouts of "Critical hit!" and "That beats my will defense!" carry through the stacks, otherwise, it's mostly quiet where Parker stands, thumbing through the old catalogues of serial comics.

Dressed in jeans that stick like glue to his long legs, more layers than an onion, and with a crooked bowler hat to top off wildly curly hair… he's not exactly the image one might expect to be counting numbers of back issues. But, be that as it may, that's exactly what he's doing. With his head tipped to the side to regard the open drawer around his chest height, he's muttering a count under his breath as he goes. Also, something about a "Widow."

Carrie stands buy the counter, fidgiting, nibbling at the cuticles at the base of her thumbnail. The guy behind the counter is reading a piece of paper and he hits one line and peers over the top edge of the paper at her. "You've been in a mental institution how long?" He hands her the resume back without giving her time to answer. Carrie sighs and reaches out to take the paper. The guy behind counter plays keep-away with it once or twice, then lets her take it as though maybe irritating the nut isn't such a good idea afterall. "Look, it wasn't my idea." she says to him, muttering. She turns to go and almost plows into Parker before she notices him.

Having found what he was looking for — or at least one meriting closer examination — Parker tugs the comic book from the lot and turns halfway just in time to have a person come dangerously close into his periphery. The resulting attempt to side-step out of the way instinctively causes him to back right up into the open drawer, a steady thump that briefly knocks the already askew hat right over his forehead and eyes. "Ah! Ah ah…" He scolds, more to himself than anything else as he uses the edge of the selected comic book to prod his headwear back into place. The better to espy Carrie.

Carrie stops abruptly "Eep! I'm sorry." she says backing up entirely too much, also running into furniture. A rack of comics probably worth a year's salary for her, assuming she finds work any time soon. Foortunately she doesn't knock them down, but she eeks again and grabs the rack, afraid it will fall over. "Damnit!" she says. She looks back. "Sorry. I didn't see you there." Carrie has an accent that distinctly doesn't belong here in NYC. Maybe… out West somewhere. Not california.

In a single bound, or maybe a few steps, Parker comes to the other side of the rack in danger, lifting his own steadying hand as if not quite trusting hers. "Hey, whatever," he answers for her apologies, "It's not like anything happened. And even if it had, I mean, you really only mostly look like you could trip somebody. Maybe by accident. And this carpet isn't terrible, and I'm not particularly attached to this outfit. It's kind of a Saturday thing I threw together…" Right. This twelve piece ensemble he's decked out in. But he seems honest enough, waving the comic book in his hand at her. "So, you know. No need to get all 'eep'!" And he really 'eeps', all high-pitched.

Carrie lets go of the rack of comics slowly, her eyes on Parker. She blinks once or twice, digesting everything he said. New Yorkers talk so /fast/. "It's um. It's a cute outfit." she says at last, even though as the words leave her mouth she knows they were the wrong ones. "I mean. It's nice. It looks good on you. I like … your… jeans." She grinds to a halt there, and just closes her mouth before anything else dumb comes out of it. She does add, "I'm Carrie. I'm kinda new here." That, at least, wasn't so bad.

She doesn't look like someone who'd be found in a comic book store, but here she is just the same. In modest shorts and a tank top which allows just a hint of cleavage to be shown, with a guitar case over one shoulder and a backpack over the other, hair gathered into a loose ponytail. But for the attire, she might seem a snooty blueblood type. Jane is also perhaps recognizable from a video done more than a year before by Number Two Pencil and some other things.

No words are spoken as she enters the store and approaches the shelves, eyes only briefly on the man and woman holding conversation. She knows what she's after and where it's kept. Feet stop moving in front of the Black Canary issues, she reaches out to take the latest one.

They don't seem particularly wrong to Parker, who spends almost as much effort preening as he does pretending he wasn't preening. After two-handedly arranging the bowler hat a bit more jauntily on his head, he only pauses to 'ehh' indecisively about the jeans themselves. "They're totally bargain," he admits with a hefty sigh, "I'm a little ashamed of myself, but it's more of a pie at two in the morning shame than a O M G I'm doing to die shame, so I figure it's worth it for the comfort." New Yorkers may talk fast, but Parker's also a bit special when it comes to the rambling division. Still, he finds it in him to remember to tuck the comic into the opposite hand and offer the right one to her. "I'm Parker. Not new. Sometimes kinda." A glance over his shoulder catches Jane, but only to see if she's going to close the Iron Man drawer he left open.

Carrie shakes Parker's hand. She finally chuckles a little at Parker's near-monologue and asks, "so what's wrong with pie at two in the morning?" Jane's motion catches her eye, and she spocks an eyebrow beautifully. You don't expect women dressed like /that/ in a comic store. Carrie looks back to Parker and murmurs "okay, now I really feel like something the cat dragged in." She looks over at Jane again.

The issue is opened, a few of the pages flipped through briefly, as a minor smile settles onto her features. Moments later, she who apparently causes Carrie to feel line something the Catwoman dragged in reaches for another issue and repeats the process. For whatever reason, Jane doesn't seem to have interest in anything but Black Canary. Parker's Iron Man drawer remains undisturbed entirely.

Huzzah for the drawer! Now back to the pressing matter of— "Besides loading calories into yourself? It's usually just depressing. Completely void, of course, if you're doing it at Baker's Square after any kind of event. Unless you're alone. Then we're back to depressing and the question of what you're doing at Baker's Square by yourself at two in the morning." At Carrie's self-deprecation, the young man's eyebrows pull downwards in a bit of bewildered concentration as he first studies her and then takes a better look at the Canary-aimed Jane. Back again to Carrie. "There's not really grounds for comparison is there?" He pipes up, bringing a manicured hand to his chin to tap it thoughtfully, "You two have rather separate facial structures."

Carrie looks over at Jane, then back at Parker. "I was… talking more about clothes." She sighs, rubbing her temples. "I'm trying not to be a total rube here, but I'm underdressed to go to the comic book store? I mean, I knew New York was all fashion but come on." She looks over at the comic rack Jane is looking at. "Catwoman?"

Spoken to, the five foot eight inch brunette in modest shorts and tank top which allows just a hint of cleavage to be seen, her hair tied back into a ponytail with a guitar case over one shoulder and a backpack across the other turns toward the source. Not so much a fashion plate, this one, though she perhaps could be with her height and bearing. It's more that she exudes confidence and perhaps access to money. And not at all seeming a comic book geek. "Black Canary," Jane informs pleasantly enough.

"That's what I was talking about, too…" Parker informs her distractedly, fanning himself with the comic book stuck on its protective cardboard backing while Carrie turns interest to the other woman. "Anyway, I'm pretty sure comic book stores don't have dress-codes unless you're LARPing and then it's, like, what the good Lord do you even care about what people think." Though it isn't said as though he has anything against this world-view. Besides, dressed more like he's about to go lounge-singing in London, he's hardly one to toss around judgment about belonging in this place. "Black Widow," he pipes up to Jane's selection, twisting the one in his hand for her to see. "Though not my personal choice, I do find myself making occasional choice faux-paus for the sake of a near and dear friend."

Carrie smiles at Jane, scratching her head. No, actually, it's not the outfit, it's the woman wearing it. Carrie nods a little feebly. "I've never… heard of her." She turns back to Parker. "okay, now Black Widow, I've read. There was a really great series done on her by this British cyberpunk writer a few years ago. Basically she's retired, and the Black Widow program has been sold out to American cosmetic makers…" She trails off. "Okay. So I'm a comic geek. At least I'm in good company, right?"

"I see," she answers diplomatically, with eyes glancing back to her chosen titles after briefly regarding the cover Parker displays. Jane chooses not to spin a yarn on the true reason behind her taste for the Black Canary, such things are known to a very few persons. But it's intrinsic to her personality and person, at least since she moved to New York City a few years before. "Dinah Lance's voice is interesting," is all she will reveal on the topic.

Parker rumbles out a thoughtful noise as he considers all of what's being said, his nose slightly scrunched up still in unhidden distaste. "Yeah," he finally admits, "Still not a huge fan of hers. Black Widow. Also. British cyberpunk writer. I'm still discerning what that means for the image I'm creating for this person in my head. I feel like I'm leaning a bit more towards steampunk, which is, let me tell you, something only a small, select, and very goatee'd crowd can pull off." An articulate eyebrow raises in Jane's direction a moment later. "Her voice is interesting? I hope that's like saying 'Superman has a few talents' in a facetious and obvious manner. Although!… I'll add that I dooooon't have much more flattering than that to say about the singing she does in that one episode where all I was paying attention to was NPH."

Carrie looks at Jane. "Why? What does she do?" Carrie stumbles a bit more over the words now than she might have a few years ago, when it was a question you asked about comic book characters. The truth is she hasn't been in a comic store since all of that, and since they tried to convince her she was nuts for what she said she saw and did. And there were times when she believed them, too. It was all so very rational, what they said, and what she said was so very… not. But she knows what she saw. She knows what happened. The internal dialogue may be inaudible to those around her, but it would be obvious that Carrie's getting much more twitchy as the conversation goes on. Her hands twining in strange little patterns with each other. She glances down, noticing this, and closes both fists to stop them, then relaxes.

She blinks as Parker goes on, snapping her back from her reverie. She draws one hand up to the orthopedic plate around her neck, in a gesture that might almost be a normal scratching sort of gesture, had it not been led up to the way it was. As is, perhaps the kind of gesture some people make petting a cross around their neck when danger approaches. "No." she says softly. "No, you'd have to read them. No steampunk. No goatees."

"Ultrasound," Jane states in choosing to address Carrie's question, following up with a chuckle for Parker's benefit. "Dinah Lance, the Black Canary, can reach vocal pitches outside human ability to hear and use them as offensive weapons." The two titles chosen are held in hand, she seems about to go for the register and be rung up, pay for them, but something causes her to pause and look at Carrie again. "You okay, chica?"

"Mm, well, maybe I will…" Parker allows somewhat generously, for his own part, as he cocks a head in Carrie's direction once more. Flickering gaze watches Jane's almost departure, though her comment brings a intent-eyed study to the first girl quickly enough. "Are you hungry?" He ventures carelessly, "Janet twitches sometimes when she's hungry. And annoyed. And tired. And self-conscious. And kicking me out of the bed… anyway, if you show me to this not-steampunk steampunk writer, we could grab some pie. Because it's not two in the morning, see. So I'll allow it."

Carrie nods to Jane. "I'm fine. I'm fine. Just. Kind of overwhelmed. This city, you know? There's so much /there/ here." She flashes Jane a weak excuse for an attempted smile, and starts to back up, then stops, lest she back into the shelf of comics again. She looks at Jane. "I'm Carrie, by the way." She turns back to Parker. "Um." She thinks about it Sure. New York City. Total Stranger. Strangers, maybe. Her first instinct is to flee home. Only… there isn't one, so here she is. "Yeah. Okay." she says. "Do you know any good motels around here? Cheap is good."

There are a few moments of quiet study for Carrie before she apparently decides to accept what's said at face value. The sharing of a name prompts Doctor Forrest to offer a terse reply. "Shell." Is that a name she uses, or a reference to a sea creature's protective covering? Both? Jane isn't saying. "New York's awesome," she tacks on as feet return to motion headed for the counter, "you'll adjust." Or be eaten alive. Or you can manifest an ability, in which case life can really get interesting. The thought pattern causes her to clutch the copies of Black Canary just a bit more tightly.

At the counter she'll pay and from there make her way back out to the streets.

"Eww/," is Parker's immediate first reaction, blocking what he may or may not have been going to say about 'Shell' and if it has anything to do with a gas station or a person. "Eww, eww, Carrie, no!" Said like they're intimate friends already, he reaches up to wave a hand at her, "Cheap is not good. Especially when talking about motels. In New York. Anywhere, but really New York. Okay, so, yes, I've been in a few. Hostels, the like. Not terrible. In fact, if you find the right place… sleeping on the street is kind of… interesting— anyway! My point is… I don't know what my point is. I'll remember it over comic books, pie, and discovering if you'll look as good in that hat back at the place I came from as well as you do in my brain-image of you in it. My amazing skills at outfit picking suggest you will, but there's only one way to find out."

Total stranger that he is, Parker has absolutely no hesitance in offering an encouraging grin to Carrie as he goes to randomly grab a handful more of comic books from where he was plucking at them and then return to her side. "Coming, little Bradshaw in the making?"

Carrie says, "Nice to meet you, Shell." She says and watches Jane go, trying to make sense of her sudden tension. It's not communicable, is it? She looks back at Parker once Jane is gone, then nods, not having any idea what Parker is talking about, but she'll follow him, for the moment. If it seems something one could squint really hard and see it as safe.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License