2010-08-01: Fro-Yo-Yo





Date: August 1st, 2010


Bert meets two out of three best friends who CHANGE HER LIFE make her day interesting.



New York City

Welcome to Fro-Yo-Yo. Where the swirling orange and white logo on the front window tries desperately to hypnotize people on the street into walking through the doors and buying their averagely-tasting but elaborately-named frozen yogurt selection.

It'll need more mojo than a hypnotic yo-yo to lure customers in today.

In what is a grossly imprudent choice on the part of management, Russ has been left alone. In charge. And unsupervised.

A mop leans precariously against the front of the counter next to a bucket which has sloshed soapy water in a puddle on the otherwise pristine white floor. Meanwhile, a low whir thrums through the place as Russ's thumb holds down a button, making minty green frozen yogurt ooze steadily out of a machine, piling into an oversized neon orange cup. As it's been doing for the last minute and a half. (It should be noted that no one is even waiting for an order.) It continues to add up, growing taller and taller and taller, while its creator, in his collared golf shirt the precise orange shade of a Creamsicle, stares with completely blank eyes at the swirling mountain of frozen the stuff — no matter how much it threatens to completely topple over any second.

Sleep deprivation and exhaustion can make people do hasty things. Like stepping into this establishment of their own free will. Which is what Bert is doing. A valiant battle is lost and a huge yawn escapes as she walks in through the door. (Maybe she should be slamming Red Bulls or sleeping instead.) She's too tired to be as jumpy in public as she's been since the whole working for the NSA fiasco. For the past few months, she's been back at EvoSoft, even representing them all the previous week in San Diego at Comic-Con. She's decked out in chunky boots, jeans and an Iron Man shirt, done up in the style that one Presidential candidate used, only 100 times more cooler, cause it's freaking Iron Man. Her 'Bag of Holding' is slung over her shoulder, weighed down with her laptop, sketchbooks, pencils and other necessary items for sudden inspiration for her highly creative work.

Another yawn escapes the redhead's mouth as she approaches the counter.. and completely misses that the floor is wet. With a screech under one boot, a surprised YELP, her arms flail and down she goes!

No reasonable excuse exists to let the '67 Firebird that rolls into the Fro-Yo-Yo parking lot off the hook for doing just that; there were no engine malfunctions, no failing mechanics of any kind to necessitate this turn. It came here entirely on purpose, by will of its equally impaired driver, Lindsey Morgan. His worst crime… he might not even be here for the average yogurt… but its less than regulation dispenser.

And we're not talking about the machine.

Distraction keeps his steps ambling even as he slowly navigates out of the car. Distraction in the form of the Droid screen his eyes are particularly glued to, and his headphones are straight plugged into. It's this technological glow that keeps him from noting any other person or event in front of him as he strolls into the store somewhat right behind Bert's own path without even once glancing up.

"Hey, Wonderkid," is called out, assured said 'kid' is around, "What'd you do with the hangar bay cut-out for Red Three's parking spo— "

But no sooner than this, a YELP is heard. In some sort of sprinting stunt like they rehearse in movies, Lindsey is quite suddenly phone-less (ah, there it goes across the floor…) and free hands under the falling damsel to catch her before she suffers a tile and moppy-watered fate.

Given that the guy at the frozen yogurt machine doesn't even register the sound of the door opening or the fact that there's anybody in here, it should be no wonder that he has a rather delayed reaction to the YELP! of some poor soul slipping on the mess. The important thing, though, is that he does notice, just— a few lazy moments too late.

The whir of the machine stops abruptly; not so abrupt is the stream of the half-frozen green goo that continues to drip. Russ appears on the employee-side of the counter just as Lindsey swoops heroically into action, absurdly overfilled frozen yogurt cup in hand. He peeks over, his expression freezing somewhere in-between dumbfounded and alarmed — but it relaxes into an easy-going smile.

"I see you've met my overdressed janitor and Fro-Yo-Yo Safety Mascot, Captain Morgan," Russ says — mostly to the redhead. "Never leave a mop unattended — thank you for participating in our safety demonstration. Have a fro-yo… on the house." Russ hands the monster cup out at arm's length. It's starting to melt and ooze over his hand. "It's either Moroccan Mint Madness or Party Pirate Pistachio… I like to call it green."

Before Bert can even begin whimpering about her laptop and the collision with the floor, there is none. Wha.. waitaminnit. Eyes that were scrunched tight a moment before, now one is peeking open to see what the deuce just happened. Hands on her, okay, caught, ooh, hello there. Then there's Russ leaning over the counter, dripping yogurt, lovely.

"I… thanks.. Captain Morgan," Bert says up to Lindsey, just going with the name that's been tossed out. She's not about to believe that malarky about a safety demonstration, hah! But she's a little too stunned to do much but stare up at Lindsey, then belatedly, "Uhm, thanks again.. could you let me up now?"

Her Captain catcher is all concerned eyes and marvelously slightly-tossed blond hair (the possibility of swelling…. music) — which would last into a better image if there wasn't yogurt dripping into the edges, getting its green all over. With an immediate and unnatural order of priorities, Lindsey's attention darts directly from blinking woman to mouth-flapping best friend (why, again?).

"Maybe you should offer one that's a little less… on the house, Dumbass." A suggestion timed to his narrow-eyed observation of the yogurt threatening the somewhat less than pristine floor. Bert is supported to her feet, allowed to stand on her own, but with a sort of absent motion. As for that 'overdressed' accusation, it attests to the man's neat ice-blue button-up covered over by a less office-like and much more distinctive leather jacket that may or may not be recognizable as 'hey, Hugh Jackman wore that in that recent movie with the superpowers'.

"Also," offered with a stabbing finger of challenge in the other's direction, "The day I'm your janitor is the day you beat my Modern Warfare score."

Russ sputters out a lackadaisical "pshhhhhh" and narrows his eyes at the nice-hair Hugh-Jackman-leather-jacket-wearing friend of his. "Yeah, like tomorrow. Get your mop ready 'cause I'm gonna…" He visibly wavers on where he's going with this threat, squinting blankly until— "…mop… you up!" Take that.

"And hey. Whatever. Suit yourself!" he announces nonchalantly when the drippy fro-yo continues to go untouched. "Nothing tastes better than free… " Russ swipes a plastic spoon (orange, what else) from the counter's supply and digs in himself; immediately after a giant spoonful, his face contorts in extreme disgust. And when Russ won't eat something, it's gotta be truly awful. "…except for this… what is this. Jesus. Lemon Lime, you sneaky bastard, you've fooled me again." The whole green mess is set down on the counter and he goes about tearing napkin after napkin from the dispenser, while smiling gamely at Bert. "Sooooo what can I do for you?"

Bert steadies herself with Lindsey's assistance, then promptly unzips her monster bag of holding to check her laptop. So far, it looks good, undamaged, the true test comes when she turns it on later. A sigh of relief is breathed for the moment, and she edges away from the water on the floor. Honestly, what clown left all that there??

The red head doesn't think anything of the overdressed statement, she's seen people in all sorts of manner of dress and undress, and that was just at Comic-Con. (Hey, not every gamer wanders about in their own funk and unwashed clothes.) Anywho! She then decides to plunk herself down at the closest seat to pull her laptop out to make sure it's in proper working order. As it's booting, she takes out her jPhone and opens a notepad style application, "Could I get the manager's name and contact information, just in case?" Russ, you are so fired. "That's to start with," she smiles back at Russ, just as gamely. "I'm on a deadline, and if my laptop got banged up because I slipped, and I can't produce months worth of work.." Of course, she does have it all backed up, but Russ doesn't need to know that, right? "And when I speak with the manager, will he know who I'm referring to if I say Dumbass was on duty?"

Bafflement. And extreme disbelief. These are the only things that can possibly greet such a lackluster threat as Russ delivers, culminating in Lindsey delivering both of these to his friend as he spreads his hands, eyebrows dug down for optimal mocking incase Russ has trouble reading the expression in his obvious dimness. "How appropriate," he mutters, as if this were the ultimate dismissal of Dissing Cred, "You fight like a cow."

At precisely the same moment Bert is steadying herself to check her laptop, he begins to feel the absence of weight in his palm that is the loss of his phone. That hand sort of bobs in the air, lost, right before he glances left and right to see where it could have scattered in his bust-a-move to catch the woman-type over there. "Could you fail a little less a moment and see if you see my Droid?" He layers right over Bert's own request. "I had important spread-sheets open on that thing…" actually: Ninja Ropes. But no one needs to know that. "If I lost any of it, I'm erasing your Xbox hard-drive and— oh, hey."

Spotting the runaway piece, Lindsey steps over and then dips to fetch it, turning the phone over in his hand a few times for dents. Only then, warily pulling his eyes from Droid to Bert, does he seem to notice he's been talking right over the girl's similar — but slightly more Real Life — threats. "Yes." Simply, to Bert's question. Then to Russ, in the same casual tone: "Hey, if you're getting fired again," his chin nods towards the yogurt case — Russ knows the one, "hook me up before the word gets out."

"Yes," Russ, aka Dumbass, chimes in at nearly the same second as Lindsey's equally honest answer. He looks up from the spot the Droid had been before blinking as if highly offended by Bert — hurt, even — though there's an over dramatized air to his protests. "I'm wounded!" Russ waves a crumpled up napkin this way and that on every word. "You were totally saved… with the… heroics and the I-can-do-anything-because-I-have-dramatic-hair damsel-saving… okay— okay." He spreads his other hand and looks across at the woman Very Seriously. "I'll give you the manager's number… but only because I can't so no to Iron Man… or redheads. An unfair combo."

A thumbs-up is given to Lindsey (insults apparently on hold, forgiven, or just forgotten) before Russ turns around to mess about in the back of the store — not without a squeeeaak and screech on the way as his sneakers probably slip over frozen yogurt. When he wanders around the counter, it's with a notepaper in hand and a serving of frozen yogurt. The latter is handed to Lindsey.

"Low-fat vanilla fro-yo…" A baggie is then dug out of his jeans pocket and presented. "…Lucky Charms on the side." Only the charms. "And a phone number for the lady." He sets the paper down on Bert's table. Scrawled: MANAGER — Haggis McMutton plus phone number.

"Ouch, that's stone cold, Captain," Bert chimes about the Xbox hard drive. "Nice, so he answers to Dumbass? I knew a guy in high school like that." Her brows raise slightly, "Fired again? I take it he makes a career out of that?" Yes, because it's fun, she will talk about Russ as if he's not there. Besides, it'll be nice to make someone else squirm for a change. She's gotten rusty in her 'flinchy' phase post-Ivory.

Now that her laptop is up, working perfectly and undamaged, she grins at Russ, "No harm done." She takes the paper Russ sets down and snorts out a laugh at the name. "Nice," she says and crumples up the paper. "Since Iron Man and the red works everytime, everything's working and Captain here saved the day, how about I get a chocolate yogurt with bananas if you have them and we'll call it square? Besides, if you lost your job, I'd feel very guilty and very sorry I got you sacked. I'm also a sucker for hard luck cases." Ouch.

Okay, so yeah, Lindsey's slightly admonished face might admit that the Xbox thing was harsh, but, hey, it gets his point across. "He answers to a lot of things," he mentions, gesturing the phone at the subject of conversation standing just off stage left. "Don't you, spunky mcdoo, or whatever it is." That kinda sounds like Wonderlove, doesn't it? At the counter, he swipes up the yogurt and the bag of Charms — notably without passing any payment in the other direction — though this latter is lifted to be given a proper, suspicious inspection. "Dude," he complains, though he's even walking away while he does it, "Have you been digging into my marshmellows again?" Pause. Think. Is that the euphemism it sounds like it could be?

But anyway. His path meanders back towards Bert while he's juggling holding the phone, the yogurt, and angling a couple of fingers into the baggie for one of those Charms to pop before they became so much vanilla toppings. When Bert's back is still vaguely to him, he glances one last time over his shoulder to mouth exaggeratedly at Russ: SAVED THE DAY. Then it's a sort of casual sidling over towards the woman's table to pinkie point at her shirt. "You plan that, don't you. The Iron Man thing. It's just diabolical enough to make sense."

Russ chooses not to be insulted — because, clearly, Bert has it all wrong. Nonchalantly, he waves a hand and presses it to his chest. "Oh, don't worry about it," he says casually. "You can sack me any time." Now that we've had a moment to process that… "I like to change jobs on a regular basis, it keeps me fresh and lets me gather a high number of job— " He bobs his head to the side and affects a zig-zag with his hand, "skilllllzzzzzzzzzz." With a Z, incase that wasn't clear.

Catching Lindsey's message, he only gives a stupid grin. Then: "I…" He raises a pointer finger to protest with affected seriousness, "have never once answered to Spunky McDoo— that is Wheeler. Or it will be by the end of the week." He turns to deadpanning, "Yes, Lindsey. I have been digging into your marshmallows and they were sweet, sweet bliss. Because like Ms. Iron Man… I am diabolical."

Now, Russ, actually put to work by Bert, ambles off behind the counter again. He calls out in an undeterminable accent as he goes: "If you like-a a banana, I'll getcha a banana!"

"Yup, I got out of bed this morning and planned everything. All the way down to the yogurt on the house." Doesn't matter that Bert's only had the shirt a week. Working for Jaden Cain, you know people and get the hookup on neat things. Even t-shirts you can't find on eBay. "I am an evil mastermind and a genius." There's a pause then, "Granted, it's more the Diet Coke type of evil mastermind."

Despite Russ nearly causing Bert to have a concussion, she laughs at him. Hey, he's funny. Okay, he and Lindsey both are funny, and she's been wanting a good laugh instead of looking over her shoulder constantly. "You guys like this all the time? You should take it on the road, be a double act. Or is this a yogurt cabaret?"

"You totally just answered to it now," is the persistent defense, though Lindsey gives the alternative fair thought, a bit of a head tilt. "Hmmm. No, you're right. He does look like a Spunky… I guess that makes you Sparky…" When his concerns about the marshmellows are either confirmed or just deadpanned at — or both — he gives them a critical eye. While still eating them.

Russ disappearing to quote, unquote work leads the taller, more strapping friend to finally hook a chair near Bert's table. The yogurt placed down, he's able to deftly up-end the bag of Lucky Charms over it, distributing them over the yogurt, heavily tending towards the top-center. "We have a third," he informs Bert light-heartedly, "Though I think we could call it a 'double' without Russ noticing…" There's a glance to where his friend's gone, "Just, you know. Please don't mention it or he'll start on his threesome jokes…" That glance, at first absent, checking, now steadily become a bit more, shall we say, thinking.

But just a touch, so that it's completely innocent when he's passing that look to her. "You have to understand, my friend Russ, he— … he has this condition," Lindsey claps his hands together softly, hmm'ing, embodying the How Shall I Say This. "They think," he squints, evaluating some off-screen professional opinion, "it may stem from wearing his mother's heels at the tender age of sixteen…"

Completely oblivious, a voice calls from just out of sight— because the bananas are in some mysterious, hidden place— "Dude where do we keep the KNIVES?!"

Cue girlish squeal of pain.

Russ eventually emerges victorious — optimistically speaking — for his troubles, rounding the counter with an extra large serving of chocolate-flavoured frozen yogurt topped with cut bananas shaped into a smiley face. Rather, what is meant to look like a smiley face; instead the face looks somewhat asymmetrical and uncertain. He marches to the table and sets it down in front of Bert. "Heeere you are… squared." The guy looks pretty pleased with himself — until he collapses into the third chair and throws a wrist dramatically to his forehead, sighing. All that hard work.

Bert shuts down her laptop and stows it away back in her bag, the jPhone along with it. More laughter escapes and she admits, "Near concussion and bruised backside aside, I'm glad I stepped in here. I needed the laugh." Her tone is sincere as she speaks with Lindsey. Giggling further, "He goes for the simple humor then. That's not exactly a bad thing. Is your third just as funny? And, ooh a condition? I see, and from wearing his mother's heels? Please say he was moonlighting as Frank N'Furter. Unless it's way funnier otherwise." On second thought as Russ returns, he's more of a Magenta than a Frank. "Thanks, just think, after I leave, I'll be the most difficult customer you've had all day," she says to Russ before digging in. The yogurt's not bad and the 'smiley face' is a valiant attempt and kind of cute. (Only she would think that.)

There's a start of concern from Lindsey, unusually serious, but the nature of the squeal seems to relax him later after his instantaneous response time. It takes a second to refocus on Bert's talking, but then he's all gallant smiles. "There's an insult somewhere in being used for laughs… but Ironman assures me to let it go." Namely, the one on her shirt. So: her boobs. But Lindsey manages to make a finger wiggling gesture at the t-shirt print without this related perv factor. "Ahhh… moonlighting would suggest there was a first job that one is attending during the day hours. And at sixteen, emphasis on attend…"

Which is the gossip to which Russ returns, and does his dramatic sigh to — so, really, it's all quite justified. Swirling a spoon through his own yogurt a moment, he leans over to give Russ a playful, yet still alarmingly solid, punch to the shoulder. "You never give me that much effort, jerk." Just as casually, quite like an aside, he bobs the full spoon of yogurt at Bert, "You'll be the cutest, too, so you'll get away with it" And he enjoys some delicious marshmellow-adorned vanilla. Can we get a smoothness rating, judges?

Forget how playful Lindsey's punch is — it almost bowls Russ over completely. He's not a total beanpole, but Lindsey has the fists of a champion and, over the smoothness of Captain Morgan, Russ squeals in pain — again. Rubbing his bicep, sorbet orange over some vague flashes of tattoos, he protests, "Lucky Charms, man! Do the Charms mean nothing!"

When he's recovered enough to sit up straight, he considers, makes a vaguely wincing face and wobbles a hand in the air. Smoothness rating: fair. Cuteness, on the other hand: "Agreeed. You're the only customer I've had all day…" He takes a moment to peer into the distance trying to determine why that is. His gaze goes right past the mop and bucket. "…except for the homeless man who bought an Orange Overdose Fro-Yo and paid all in dimes, like he expected me to count them…" he scoffs, oh, silly. "This stuff is really overpriced." He points at Lindsey. "He stole your hangar cut-out from the parking lot to use as shelter. I couldn't deny him. He had the sad, droopy bloodshot eyes of Basset Hound." Pause. "Maybe he was just drunk…"

Even after the past year, Bert's still on the naive side. Hell, after hanging around guys constantly for years, she still doesn't pick up on these kind of things. A blush creeps across her face and she squirms just a little in her seat, "Naaah.. hardly. Maybe he just feels guilty for nearly causing an accident." Yeah, cause now it seems like Russ would definitely be the sort to haphazardly clean, and leave the floor wet. "Eh, what can I say? I felt like a frozen yogurt when I should have just had coffee, but I'm more awake now than I would have been with the java."

"So I know you're Captain, and you're Dumbass, it's only fair I give you my name. It's Roberta, but everyone calls me Bert." She aims her spork at Russ, "Now he's definitely a fit for a place like this, and is damaged from wearing high heels," her spork is then aimed at Lindsey, "What's your story?"

Once again, all Russ gets is the bewildered wtf, man look for his clear overreaction to that weak punch. Lindsey also makes a wincing, but believing, face to match over his judge's score. It's true; it wasn't his best. All of which, though, is overshadowed by continued dismay, "You let a homeless guy take Liberty? You've weakened the fleet, man. I'm keeping an eye on you." Fingers to eyes, fingers to Russ. Watching you.

Except when he's watching Bert, instead, which is now like when he gets a grip on the chair to shuffle it forward. It puts him close enough to comfortably reach out a hand to her in proper introduction. "Captain Morgan, officially. It's nice to meet you, Bert." Suggestion that Russ belongs at Fro-Yo-Yo earns the snort it deserves, which quickly turns into a second snort, of laughter, that he partially attempts to hide regarding the heels story.

As he gets the receiving end of that spork, though, Lindsey gives a half-shouldered shrug. "Well, it's really not that interesting… you see," his casual disregard is delivered yet quite seriously, "I was cloned and then kidnapped as a small child along with several others. We were then brought to a secret headquarters to receive intense physical and psychological training in order to become the supersoldiers known as Spartans…"

Russ closes his eyes and holds up a hand, wiggling a finger in a long, drawn-out circle. "Waaaait…" Slowly (very slowly), he's realizing that he missed an important thread of conversation when he was risking his well-being for bananas. As it happens, his source of defiance also: "…I resent being thought of as a mere Frozen Yogurt Guy." Skillz, remember.

Oh, and: "What's my clone friend been telling you…" He squints at Lindsey and Bert in turn, as if to determine how much she knows. "And my name — on occasion — is Russ. Roberta, I'm going to call you Roberta," he goes on, all this delivered casually and matter-of-fact, "because Bert makes me think of Ernie, and I have a deep-seated fear of yellow puppets with control issues. It's nice to meet you, I'm sorry you almost slipped and died and hand to be man-handled."

"I see, sounds about like the year I had, as opposed to a whole life. But if I went into detail, I'd have to have you killed. And that would be a shame." Bert says before primly taking a bite of her yogurt. Mouthful swallowed, she eyes Russ, "So there's more than meets the eye? Like a Transformer? Which leads to the all important question, Autobot or Decepticon?"

"Oh he hasn't been telling me too many dirty secrets as revenge for leaving a puddle on the floor. But you've apologized so nicely, I'll just forget it ever happened." Only if it serves for merciless teasing purposes should their paths cross again. Although, she does belatedly start to laugh, nay, choke, on her yogurt. Laughing and swallowing at the same time, it just doesn't work. Don't try this at home kids. Smooth, Bert, real smooth.

"You're right," Lindsey declares merrily around a second spoonful of marsh-nilla, "Killing Russ would be a shame." Purposeful pause. "For a little while. But seriously?" His own spork wielded in his friend's general direction as he gets comfortable both sitting back in his chair and laying out the round of teasing, "He's that little guy, Frenzy. But only from the movie version where he gets beat up by a girl and then accidentally kills himself. He even turns into a stereo because he makes pointless noise all the time." He offers a bright, beaming but pointedly close-mouthed smile to his buddy, his pal.

"But, yeah, Russ, you should probably stop making puddles on the floor." It just keeps coming, folks. "You won't be invited back in the house." Ah, what are best friends for. The constant string discontinues when he has to glance over and raise vaguely concerned eyebrows at Bert's harmful show of good humor. "Uh oh." An exaggerated look over at that same friend he's just been openly mocking, "Are yellow puppets allergic to yogurt? Did we forget that?"

"Tough call, but, in the end, always Autobot," Russ answers unthinkingly, as if this is a conversation that has happened before — because it probably has. He stares blankly with narrowed eyes at Lindsey for awhile. Frenzy this, stereo that— "Dude, what are you even…" Oh, hey! The girl is almost choking. "I don't know, but I think they're just lactose intolerant. It's why Bert such a grump all the time, he couldn't have ice cream. But Roberta here isn't a puppet," he decides, looking at her with the same slightly raised brows of concern. "so she should be fine. I hear chewing helps. Also, that thing where people kiss and someone magically comes back to life. What's that called. Heineken." He quickly glances to Lindsey. "Dibs."

Bert decides to not take another bite of yogurt for a bit, because now she has another round of laughter bubbling forth and spilling out. "You two are just too much. Someone remind me why I haven't come in here sooner?" Oh yeah, being on the run and hiding from the government. That put a damper on the social life. She looks from Lindsey, then back at Russ about the puddles and just starts laughing all over again.

There's a frantic wave of her hands, and despite still being red in the face, Bert speaks up, "No, no, I'm fine. Just, too much of the funny while trying to eat." Then Russ had to go and refer to the Heimlich as Heineken, and she doubles over, forehead on the table, laughing even harder.

"Dude." Dude. "You can't call dibs on saving somebody's life— especially when you can't even get the word right." Not that Lindsey is going to provide the currently correct word, because Bert's continued ailment provides ample distraction. Though he begins to sit forward out of some sort of possible concern for this display… when his hand reaches carefully forward, all he does is slooooooowly and deliberately pull Bert's yogurt out of the danger zone. Followed by her spork — lest she get stabby in her fragile state. Then he settles his back to the chair, wiggling this way and that to be prime comfortable, and gives a flourishing gesture to Russ towards the laboring victim of laughter. "Alright, Sparky. You're up."

Bert's uncontrollable laughter gradually sparks (ha!) a bright smile to appear across Russ's face that's more than just the result of one of his own jokes. "No, I think she's a lost cause," he manages to say somewhat seriously. "I'm also calling dibs on her fro-yo if she stops breathing." He is the only one who doesn't have frozen yogurt to eat in this scenario— oh, right. The Lemon Lime incident. Plus the fact that he's supposed to be the one serving it.

Bert looks up and wipes tears from her eyes. "You guys have no idea how badly I needed this." The tears aren't exactly entirely from laughing either. She hasn't been out and lived much since becoming a free woman all over again. This free spirited hilarity is a cure all for serious ailments. Still hunched over, but she's at least upright now, she rests the back of her hand against her mouth, trying to calm down the giggles. "A.. are you two always like this?"

"Fair enough," Lindsey suggests as per Russ finally getting himself some of that yogurt — not that he probably hasn't already dieted on it during the boring hours today. He's taken to his again, at first absent tastes becoming more committed when it's clear Bert is going to recover beautifully. "You keep saying that," he observes to her question, as though confused as to how else it is they are expected to be. Though, after some due consideration, he does nod his head sideways at Russ and learn her, "Sometimes he's worse."

"Like what?" Russ pipes up, bringing thumb and forefinger to his chin, stroking the vague scruff there as he goes on informatively. "Dashingly handsome? If by worse, my friend means sometimes more handsome, then yes. Some days I just wake up more chiseled; I don't question it. I just accept it as the gift it is."

He pouts thoughtfully at Bert's chocolatey snack for a moment, briefly mourning her return to breathing, but is quick to shift gears, bouncing once in his seat to turn more toward the cute geek-girl. "You are clearly in need of some quality distraction. Maybe we could take you out— " Pause. " — not on a date, because there are two of us and that would be weird and creepy— " Important clarification made, he goes on, " — but seriously, if this lame frozen yogurt place is the highlight of your day, you need help, and I— " He flattens his hand over his chest and looks at Bert with overly soft eyes. " — am a helper."

Bert shakes her head, trying to regain some semblance of composure. "Okay, okay, so you two are more laughs than a barrel of monkeys. You guys are awesome." Fit o'laughter finished, for now, she reaches for her melty yogurt now and takes another bite, well spearing more of the bananas anyway to nom. "I know, it's really sad. Sure I was working most of the weekend, but it's EvoSoft, so it doesn't really count as work, right? We have fun at the office and all, but it's not the same." Hanging with slackers who haven't a care in the world, that's oddly appealing to her about this time. There was an odd sense of 'fun' when hiding with Gene, and she misses the quality time with the guy. Geek to geek and all. "Y'know.. it /has/ been ages since I've gone out and just had fun. I normally don't mind going clubbing, but I think… I could really use a tournament or two of Call of Duty."

Lindsey's mouth frowns briefly as he gives a sagely shake of his head, "Yeah. Those monkeys? Not so fun once they get out." His voice lowers as he goes for another bite of yogurt, oppressed into vague grumblings, "And, of course, who gets to clean up after them…" His not quite nostalgia is soothed by his also not quite frozen snack and then he's resting an elbow on the table, giving an allowing nod as to Russ' idea (a truly LANDMARK moment). "Yeah, we could totally do that. And you just happen to be in luck— we ain't too shabby at this Call of Duty thing, either." A hint of pride, perhaps. A tugging at his ear the sign of him containing it all. "We hang at my place. Which is, conveniently, not weird, creepy— " The spork traces the perimeter of their current location, "Or lame. Plus," shoveling out the last of those precious Charms, "it's Wheeler's turn to bring food because he won Stupidest Death Of The Week last time."

Russ's eyes just kind of… light up and he goes into a daze, a daze through which he looks to Lindsey, brows lifting as if to say 'did she just say what I think she said?' Clearly, she did, as Captain Morgan confirms it by being much quicker reply than Russ is. "Yeah, if he's not too busy with his girlfriend." For shame, Wheeler, who isn't even here to defend the fact that he gained a social life that involves a lady. He glances from Bert and Lindsey to the mop to the unattended cash register to the door. With complete honesty, he muses, "Hmnn… I feel like being fired today…"

"Hell, even Guitar Hero or Rockband will suffice," Bert says as an afterthought on gaming. "Sure they're fun alone, but it's better with more people. Aaah, I miss having LAN parties." Those were the good old days, back in college. Just a few scant years ago. Having the odd LAN party when she should have been studying. Snapping out of that brief reverie, she looks to Lindsey, "Oh I gotta hear this. What was the death? Was it up there with Leeroy Jenkins as far as epic win? Or would that be epic fail?" Cause sometimes you have a fail so epic that it's a win. Then she facepalms, yes, she actually facepalms at Russ. "Don't you worry about paying bills?"

Lindsey helpfully leans over and snaps his fingers several times near Russ' nose when it seems like that party member has stopped registering the world. Not too much time is spared for that. It's too important to grin and lean forward as he spreads out the open palm of storytelling. "So, we've all decided to see how many kills we can get with the shiv alone, right— " But he hovers in place, rocking slightly in the chair and then his head tilts indecisively, "Nah, you know," a finger wagged at Bert, "This story is better when you can get the whole experience of Wheeler demanding I stop and slapping his forehead. Russ could reenact, but it just wouldn't be the same." Since Russ remains the subject of the moment, Lindsey folds his arms over the table, pretty much having cleaned out his yogurt bowl by now. "Awww, not our Russ," he announces pleasantly, "His roommate just wuvs him too darn much."

There's a jostling and a banging thud that rattles everything slightly as Russ kicks at Lindsey under the table (and misses, smacking the leg of the chair instead). His voiced reaction is completely relaxed and unaffected, on the other hand. "You're just jealous."

He leans back in his chair, stretching out and folding his hands over his chest. "What I feel like, Roberta, is not looking like a walking Creamsicle. I can deal with being white and delicious on the inside, but this orange," he plucks at the bottom of his standard Fro-Yo-Yo shirt; he doesn't seem especially troubled by it despite his complaining, "it just washes me out. So. What do you say we blow this popsicle stand." A thumb is jerked off to the side. "Really, there's— actually popsicles here, in five fruity Fro-Yo-Yo flavours. I can smuggle them out."

"You tease, Captain. That's wrong, leading a girl on like that," Bert admonishes in a playful manner. An intrigued expression forms as her interest is piqued now. "Oh?," she asks, looking from Lindsey to Russ. Then she just blinks, then looks under the table. "The Bromance is strong with you," she comments to the boys.

"Fair enough, I took my share of jobs requiring a uniform. They get tacky, and then you have to worry about flair. Unless you already sport a ton of it," Bert gestures to her Bag of Holding that's decorated with geek and gaming badges, and even commemorative pins from conventions she's started getting to go to. "The orange looks fine on you, but isn't that just a bit irresponsible? Walking out like this?" Sure no one's here, but, it's shocking behavior!

"I'm not teasing," Lindsey defends himself valiantly, a hand stretching from his crossed arms to poke at his chest. Meanwhile, he doesn't even flinch as he's the meant — but not actual — recipient of Russ' fail-kick. "I'm just quality checking." Mention of Bromance has him glancing over at Russ, wary, calculating. Perhaps sizing up if he can do better in the platonic-men-being-close department (He can).

Eyes move to scan over Bert's bag when it's presented and he hums halfway between understanding and approval. Grabbing a good amount of leather jacket sleeve, he tugs until the entire image of the embroidered Rebel Legion patch can be seen where it sits proudly on his right shoulder. Meanwhile, Russ is just… orange. And: "Irresponsible. Russ. Finish your friggin' shift. Collect your paycheck— walk out with the popsicles." Man with the plan, right here.

"Don't be silly," Russ says to Bert with a carefree smile, waving a hand dismissively. "I'll leave a note, signed by the aliens who abducted me. Managers looove than kind of thing." On the advice of the man with the plan, though, he sighs like he might just give in. "But that's a whole— " He consults his easy-to-read digital watch. "Twenty minutes." Torture. "It's so cold in here all the time, like a giant freezer… Fiiine, I'll finish my shift — but only so I don't have to hear about how you have a Five Year Plan again." He quickly points at Bert, "Don't get him started."

The orange and irresponsible man hauls himself with great overdrawn effort off the chair and wanders to the abandoned mop and bucket. His methods are simple: take mop. Shove it around a little bit on the floor without moving feet moving from one spot. Plop it back into the bucket. Push bucket along floor with mop. The latter creates an offensive scraping noise all the way on the journey behind the counter.

"I'm with the Captain on this. If you want another job with a cooler uniform, like the green polos at that electronics store, you should finish your shift. Then give your notice," so sayeth Bert. She's got a good head on her shoulders, having had her share of crap jobs, and wanting to quit, but knowing she just can't. "I do have to say, I kinda envy the ability to be irresponsible." That is if she had a job she would want to slack off at. (Although she did work hard to get to this point.. blew it.. and came back.) Lindsey's Rebel Legion patch is met with a thumb's up of approval. "Sweet!" And there goes Russ. "Aw, it's so sad, watching him mope like that." She just met the guy, and it's so easy to fall into the rhythm of hazing. The pair of boys are just too affable, even if Bert should be wondering who she may have to mace first.

It's not Lindsey. At least, no mace is required in this exact moment, with his arms still in his own personal space and most — if not all — of his staring absorbed in a light frown at Russ' work ethic, or lack thereof. "It's so sad watching him mop like that." Get it? But, no. Really just sad. There's a kind of impatient finger-tapping from Lindsey, a tenseness in the way he sits that suggests that, barring Bert's presence, he'd leap from the seat to just do it himself already god. "In five years," he asides to the new lady acquaintance, instead, "He's gonna be sorry he didn't listen." The tapping has brought his fingers to his phone screen again, though, and, with a spared glance at it, he brings the technology to life with a more forceful touch. "So. Call of Duty tournament. This seems to suggest to me that I need your number. Or you mine, if that's how you roll."

Oh god, that's a groan worthy pun that Bert can't help but give a laugh at. "Maybe, maybe not. Some people live a certain lifestyle and never learn. I have a cousin, he's such a shmendrick, but my aunt never had the heart to kick him out or make him get a job. Even after he fathered a few kids. So sad, but anyway.. oh yes!" Bert's then plucking an old Penguins mint tin from her bag. In it, she keeps her business cards. "Here you go," she says, handing one over to Lindsey. (Minty!) EvoSoft prints them, she may as well use them! On it is her email and a cell number. "I do have an office number, but I almost never answer it, cause my boss has me up and around all the time at the slightest whim. I'd leave a card for Russ, but he seems like the sort who'd promptly lose it." Does she have him pegged already or what?

"Wow," is observed in pleasant surprise, "someone who knows what a shmendrick is beyond the name of a wizard from that children's unicorn movie." Lindsey also pauses to glance crookedly at the ceiling, letting some imaginary daydream take him away. "Yes. I can suddenly see Russ' future much more clearly now…" There's a bit of a shake of his head and then it's down to earth, and business. Not only does he immediately plug the number into his phone but also he reaches into his inner jacket pocket and tugs out a wallet in which no cards can be seen: but definitely a money-clip, what looks vaguely like the most tricked out earbuds ever (yeah, we /know/ one of the judges works for EvoSoft, too— the fact remains), and a snazzy metal holder of many a business cards. All different. He adds hers to the collection. "Good call," he informs her throughout, "My cell phone is also my office number." And written down for her on a note card and a pen, both of which he produces from his own pockets.

Russ meanders back minus the mop and bucket, wetter and soapier than when he left — probably not due to cleaning. "All this work is cramping my— " It's at this precise moment that the door opens and admits a grandmother and two bouncing kids, blocking his line of sight to the more interesting Bert and Lindsey (more interesting, despite being the kind of people to have office numbers). Dully, Russ meets the family at the counter to be heard mururing in the background. "Welcome to Fro-Yo-Yo, something swirly something what can I get for you… I recommend the Lemon Lime."

"Of course! We are the few, the proud, the Jewish, even if out of practice. Or as my brother in law would call me, 'shtik goy'. When he thought I wasn't listening anyway," Bert says as she takes the note card from Lindsey. She too plugs that number into her phone, under the name of, what else, but Captain. Another giggle is made at Russ's expense as she looks his way, "Poor guy. You can just see the life leeching right out of him. Anyway, it was a pleasure and a hoot meeting you two meshuggeners. I think I'm gonna go clock a few more hours of work then crash hard. Red Bull will only last so long." Rising up from her seat, she shoulders her bag, then sticks a hand out to shake Lindsey's in parting.

"Ahh, the clock," Lindsey reminisces as he takes her hand for that goodbye ritual, "I almost remember what that was like." A firm shake between them, he releases, now sideways somewhat in his seat and spying the activity near the counter. "Have a good one, Bert," is offered last thing, "I should probably, uh… stop him before he gets into a gross-out contest with that other small child." Like a belabored parent, he swipes up his phone and his yogurt garbage before excusing himself towards the front of the establishment.

Eavesdropping more than he is paying attention to his job and the orders for three kinds of frozen yogurt that are being given, Russ pops up on his toes and cranes his neck at an odd angle in order to see past the bluish grey old lady hair of his customer. "Later! Call of Duty!!" he calls out eagerly to Bert — in other words, please don't leave us forever cute gamer girl!


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