2007-02-18: Daphne's Little Zoo

Starring:

Daphne_icon.gif Laurel_icon.gif

Summary: Daphne works at the Bronx Zoo. When she comes home, she's got her own collection to take care of. It's a little weirder now that Laurel knows they all talk. Also, Daphne is a vegetarian.

Date It Happened: February 18th, 2007

Daphne's Little Zoo


Daphne's Home, a suburb of NYC

Daphne's home isn't quite in the built-up part of the city, and, in fact, the neighborhood she's in is fairly nice, all things considered. The houses along the street all look the same, as if built one after the other all by the same person. Despite the fact that there's little uniqueness from house to house, there are little touches… eaves of a different colour, a tree, a garden - or what /would/ be a garden if it was warmer. Daphne's house isn't all that special.

The first thing one would expect upon walking inside would be the smell, but there actually isn't one. With the number of animals she has, Daphne spends a good amount of time cleaning every day. There /is/ some noise, though… The Westie barks, the cats meow, and there's a screech from a covered cage in the corner. As soon as she's in the house, Daphne heads over to it, takes the cover off, and opens the door. Falcor wastes no time in making his way out and to the top of the cage.

"So now you know my secret," she says to Laurel. "How I can keep all these things without going nuts."

"Hello!" Says Falcor.

At least the African Grey can actually talk back, and given the fact that he's really quite connected with Daphne, he can say a lot… Bordering on the ability to have a real conversation. Most of the animals want food, some of them want sleep, some of them are angry that the others are making noise and interrupting their sleep… It's a little easier to shut out now than it used to be, but Daphne still hasn't completely gotten used to it. In fact, she looks a little frazzled as she pulls a bag of cat food out of the space between the table and the couch and fills the nearest ceramic dish until it's overflowing. "If you don't mind sleeing with the ferrets, there's a bed in there, 'else you can have my room. They're quiet at night, though."

—-

Unimpressive or not— it's a /house/. There's very few people in the city that she knows who own an actual house. In fact, she might be the only one she knows more than in passing. Houses just aren't easy to come by in such a large city, and they certainly aren't cheap where they are. The Zoo must pay better than she thinks it does, or her friend might have an impressive windfall.

"Still not sure how you can keep them without going nuts," Laurel says as she enters the house finally. The small amount of noise, whether it's loud or not, still makes more noise. "If I had this many roommates yacking at me all the time— I'm not sure I could stand it. I could barely handle one roommate when I was at the University." And that's pretty much what they happen to be. Before she considered the pets, but now that she knows they can carry on any form of active communication with her friend— they've been upgraded to roommates.

"Hello?" she responds to the parrot, trying not to be /too/ surprised that this one talks in a way she can better understand. The other wavelengths she's clearly not on, but— that one she's got. "This is why you settled down on eating meats, isn't it?" she asks, moving to set her bag somewhere nearby, after checking to make sure there's no animals on the chair that might get squished. Last thing she wants to do is squish someone's roommate.

But as for sleeping arrangements— "I'll sleep wherever you put me up. I mean— I'm not really /used/ to being around animals. We had a cat when I was growing up, but that's it. She was never allowed to actually sleep with me. Mom always thought that cats caused allergies, so the cat was kept in a different room at night." Is she going to have animals squirming against her for warmth?

—-

Nope, the zoo doesn't pay well at all, but Daphne does have very well-off parents who help her along. She makes most of the payments, takes care of all her own needs, but if she hits a wall… It's a little embarrassing, truth be told, but considering the number of animals she has, she simply can't have an apartment. Even if she /can/ tell the animals to be quiet, there's just not enough room. And some ass would complain anyway, for the sake of complaining. So here she is, in a nice suburb of New York.

"Eh," is her reply. "I only had a couple at first, but I got used to it. They're… usually quiet when they're fed." With a smile that isn't /quite/ a smile, she heads for the kitchen so she can let the dog out. This is the part of the day that she's her busiest, and the animals are grumpy because she's late since she went over to Laurel's apartment. It's okay… she wouldn't have them if she considered cleaning up to be /too/ much of a chore. And she seems to be able to separate their conversation from Laurel's.

Falcor says, "Down in Dixie."

"I'm teaching him to sing. He can't quite get it," Daphne explains. The parrot isn't in the mood for chatting at the moment, it seems, and instead examines the little wooden dowels on the top of his cage. Heading through the kitchen and down the hall, she opens the ferret room, andimmediately has to catch three ferrets and prevent them from escaping. There's a fouth, though he's asleep in the cage. She puts the other three in with him, scoops out the litterbox, and nods to the bed. At least the animals in here will be caged. "Yeah, when it started talking back to me, it… stopped tasting good. Kinda like… Well, I mean, I haven't given it up entirely, but mostly. Some of those animals are really smart, like the cow in the petting zoo? She knows all kinds of things, it's amazing. I just… Can't— It's complicated." Sighing, Daphne sits herself down on the bed, eying the corners to make sure none of the ferrets missed the box while she was gone. Everything looks clean, and while the room has a /slightly/ musty smell to it, it'll clear out now that the door's open and the litter box is scooped.

"Don't worry too much about the animals. They won't bother you." As if on cue, an orange tabby jumps up on the bed. Daphne looks at him, they stare for a moment before she nods, and the ornge cat heads off as if he's on a mission. "…They really won't bother you, trust me. Unless you want them to, then they'll be all over you. Like I said, they like you."

—-

Still— living in a suburb! That explains why she drives, actually. Someone living in an apartment in Midtown would be dumb to have a car, when cabs, two perfectly good feet and the subway can take you everywhere you need to go. But living out in a suburb— cabs would need to be called and waited for, and the price would skyrocket, until it'd be far more convienant just to get a permit to one or two parking garages and wrestle with the traffic every day. Not something Laurel would ever opt to do. She might know /how/ to drive, but driving in the city is not a past time she's looking to explore.

"The singing is cute," she admits softly, smiling at the bird as she follows around the house, looking at the ferret room. The clean up process isn't exactly the most attractive, but she's seen worse when she did the photoshoot in the Zoo. Those pictures weren't used, obviously. No one wants to see the messier side of the Zoo on a pamplet meant to draw customers. In fact she digitally removed some of the dirt and poo from pictures, to make the Zoo look cleaner than it really had been. It made for a nice pamplet, all around.

"No, no, it's cool— I mean if my food talked to me, I'd probably not want it either," she says, glancing around at the animals and wondering exactly what they're saying about her. Are they mad that she's invaded their space? Are they going to gnaw her face off? No offense to ferrets, but they have a tendancy to look scary. The little mouths. They're like… long wolverines, or something. She can't help but watch them in the corner of her eye. She might even remind them of a rabbit, or something.

The cat also earns a small jump, before she glances back towards her friend. "Really? They like me? Do they like the way I smell or something?" She smells of photography and developing chemicals. She would figure that might offend them more than the musky scent of the room offends her.

—-

Daphne's too young to be this spoiled. She even admits it. Only child-itis or something like that… But she's hoping to actually stand on her own two feet given enough time. At 25, she's not doing bad for herself, but… That's thanks to her parents.

She did take a cab to Laurel's house, though, because she wanted to get there quickly, and cabbies really know how to drive like madmen when they need to. So, hurtling down the streets of New York, dodging other cars while going almost sixty in places is a fun experience. At least getting back to Daphne's house wasn't quite so urgent. And taking care of the animals takes her mind off the weird symbols they were looking at in Laurel's pictures.

<I want to play with the dangly things on her coat!> is what the ferrets think of Laurel. The cats are fairly indifferent. The dog was torn between OH GOD I HAVE TO POOOOOO and OMG COMPANY YAAAAAY!!! so Laurel will probably have a faceful of terrier eventually. Daphne won't be able to deny that, unfortunately. The dog's will to jump up and lick people is just too great. Currently, the ferrets are safely in their cage, little paws dangling out from between the bars. At lease Laurel won't have to worry about them at the moment.

"I dunno. They probably like you because I like you. And they kind of don't have to worry because I can tell them you're okay, you know? The ferrets just want to play with your coat, honestly. Animals are kind of… I dunno, instinctive. They don't think a lot outside their programming, I guess, so it's weird when I get them to act outside of that. It's just 'cuz they understand. I can't really describe it."

—-

There are dangly things on her coat! And they would be inticing to most creatures, naturally. In fact, she's half fidgetting with one as she looks around, watching them stick their little paws out of the cage like some kind of grabby mini-person. It's still vaguely creepy— But seriously, Laurel can't much complain about being spoiled, after all her parents paid for most of her schooling, and thus saved her from the horrors of school loans and early debt that would come back to bite her in the ass now. She worked, yes, but that doesn't mean she had anywhere near enough money to pay for one of the more expensive privately funded Universities in the country. Columbia isn't cheap, by any means. By that virtue alone, she's able to live off her own money month to month. Without such an assistance, she'd be scrapping by paying bills and college loans. Or would have had to settle for a less prestigious university.

"I suppose that makes sense— so they're like… children? They want something and that's really all that they understand?" It's difficult to think of animals communicating, and but children communicate /sort of/ and they seem like pets half the time. Eating, pooping, playing with shiny things. Speaking of shiny things… that's the cue to take off her coat. Undoing the straps holding it closed, she pulls it off and settles it on a nearby location, hoping that they go for the coat and not her when they get released, assuming they do. She's more willing to buy a new coat than try and get reconstructive surgery on a gnawed off face. Not that they would, but they might also be jealous…

Or she's just paranoid.

"Anything you need help with?" she asks, tugging lightly on her sleeves to get the shirt back into place.

—-

As the ferrets stare upward from behind the bars of their closed cage, Daphne can't help but smile. They think of people as things to climb on - things that also happen to move. They're so small and active, and people are so big, that it's the easiest way to see human beings. Until they start talking back, then the ferrets see people a little differently. They're incredibly intelligent animals. "Okay, cut it out," Daphne says as one of the critters starts pulling on the bars of the cage with her teeth. It seems to not want to do so, but she does it anyway, crawling into the hammock so another ferret can peer out the bars at the same spot.

Rascles. "Yeah, these guys…" Leaning forward, Daphne opens the cage and pulls out the nearest ferret, who instantly tries to slurm its way down onto the floor. "They're about as smart as a five-year-old, far as I can tell. They know what they need, they know what comfort is, they can be taught where to use the litter box." They're very loving animals, too, when they want to be. After a moment, Daphne holds the ferret up to Laurel. It sniffs at her, black eyes bright with curiosity. "He won't bite, trust me. This one's a sweetie. Bet you could take some good pictures of these guys. They've been running around all day, so they'll probably hold still for a few seconds."

Laughing, she shakes her head. "Nah, if you don't mind me taking an hour or two, I'll just clean up the day's mess, then we can watch a movie or something." Something to get their minds off the weirdness of the fact that— Okay, so Daphne can't get her mind off of it. She kind of sobers, the smile fading. "I can't believe I can do this. I mean, it doesn't seem real. It was easier to believe I was crazy, and they just… liked me."

—-

There's definitely an awkward look on Laurel's face before she finally reaches out and accepts the animal. One she still have expects to squirm wildly in her hands, or to bite her fingers. When neither happens, she just pulls it against her chest and holds it there. Good ferret— don't bite the laurel branch. It's a sign of peace.

"All right. I— guess I can hold onto this guy for a while as you clean, and— then put him back in his cage when he starts making a fuss?" Because she's beting her will. "I'll let you pick the movie, since you're the one with all the work to do," she adds second hand, carrying the ferret over to a chair and settling down to hold it there, giving it /some/ wiggle room. Not a lot, but more than being held up to her chest. Now it has access to her lap, if he wants it.

"I guess there's weirder things that could happen… We could be nuts, I guess, but that's a rather big shared hallucination— and— did I tell you I photographed my wall? I scared myself into raising one, and then kept myself scared so it wouldn't disappear, and I spray painted on it. When it went away the spray paint kinda— flaked to the floor. It was very odd. But cool… I imagine you've tried to talk to all kinds of animals to make sure you're not nuts— and considering how good you are with them, I'd say you're not." And it took really SEEING it for her to believe it. Doesn't make much sense that she can raise these things and not see them, though— you'd think they'd be visible to her, at least. Crazy powers.

"I'm just grateful that you talk to animals and don't throw fire around, or something. I might not be so inclined to spend the night with you." The face gnawing is somehow preferable to incineration.

—-

The ferret is actually very well-behaved. He squirms a little, tries to see the floor, tries to get there, an otherwise acts exactly like an animal. "I try not to tell 'em what to do too much," she says with a chuckle. "Wouldn't want someone telling me what to do all the time." It's not like she can mess with their free will… that would bother her in a lot of ways… but since they are like children, only not as bad, they do tend to listen. It's a fine line. In any case, the ferret definitely doesn't bite, and might even stick his nose in Laurel's ear if he gets up on her shoulder. He's very friendly.

"You can put him back if you want. Just be warned, the other ones'll try to jump out." With that, she stands up, wandering toward the door, about to leave so Laurel can get herself settled. It's weird to think that her friend can't hear them, it's like she's missing out, though she never would have said that a couple days ago. And even if Daphne thought she was crazy, the voices became comforting, especially when she was lonely.

But they're not crazy. It'd be too many people involved now, especially with those photographs. Unless Daphne is highly schizophrenic like that guy in the movie /A Beautiful Mind./ Maybe they should watch that tonight. Really freak themselves out, eh? "We have to work on that," she says with a smile. "Getting you able to put up those walls without scaring yourself, I mean." Scaring yourself is no fun. Still, at least Laurel's 'seen' them for certain, which is a good start. "There are a few that don't really respond. I think it's based on intelligence, in a way. Mostly birds and mammals I can talk to. And there's an octopus at the zoo who's really smart, and it's actually good for a conversation. Weirdest thing…

"Don't worry, even if I could throw fire around, I wouldn't want to burn down my own house." Chuckling, she heads around the door, calling over her shoulder, "If you get bored, I'll be in the basement." That's where she keeps the snakes, though.

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