2009-11-22: Malevolent Machinations Amidst Hairdressing

Starring:

Randall_V4icon.pngLena_V4icon.pngJade_V4icon.png

Date: November 22nd, 2009

Summary:

Lena learns the life of a professional slacker, then hatches a scheme with the pawn shop employees to pay back their Baptist tormenters, while Randall reveals his secret mad skillz…


"Malevolent Machinations Amidst Hairdressing"

Pawn Shop

Early morning at the pawn shop wasn't exactly the height of business, especially just after opening, which was technically five minutes ago. The front doors however, remained firmly locked against the elements, and any potential customers. After all, if anyone had bothered to drag themselves out of bed, bundled up, and made their way down to the electronics store at this hour, they must be a diehard geek who wouldn't mind waiting a while longer to be let in, in Jade's own esteemed opinion. Bleary-eyed and full of morning-time complaints that were almost always interrupted with a yawn, the dark-haired teen's morning mannerisms could certainly use their fair share of work.

Kicked back behind the counter in a small chair, her bare feet propped up on the counter-top, toes recently painted purple with little yellow flowers on them, Jade was in the process of a rousing game of 'shoot the little target thingee'. A tiny plastic bow-and-arrow in hand, a child's toy that she had unearthed in a box labeled '3 for 1 dollar', she was shooting at a dartboard she had tacked up to a shelf across the store. Thus far, she had yet to come very close to her mark, but had knocked over a few other things on the shelf, that she hadn't been aiming at. Had even broken one of the glass items. It seemed the safest thing to be when the girl had a bow in hand was the actual target.

After knocking over a picture frame beneath the board, she fits her last suction-tipped arrow to string, fighting off a prodigious yawn with a fist. "We need to get a futon for this place…"

When in Rome…

Having never actually held a real job, Lena has decided to follow Jade's lead. If the younger teen is going to play slacker, then she will as well. So the bottle-blonde is actually laying on her back on the counter, one leg dangling over the side and the other tucked at an odd angle to avoid knocking over the cash register. She's got the plastic straw from her morning Slurpee in her mouth and is using it to fire spitwads (from a large supply of purloined paper napkins) at the ceiling.

It's a hard life, this being on the run business.

"You have any sleeping bags? I bet you could pile those up in a corner and crash," she suggests after the latest ball of soggy paper is shot at the ceiling. It sticks, and she reaches for the stack of napkins on her stomach to create more ammunition.

Indeed, the next person to show up at the shop is not a customer, but Jade's co-worker (orking cows is frowned upon in the Empire State) and perennial verbal punching bag. There's a familiar rattle of metal against metal as Randall unlocks the front door and turns the… wait, the We're Open sign is missing. Jade hasn't pushed things that far, has she? (No, his last customer the day before was a woman with a six-year-old girl, and the girl swiped it on her way out.)

With a shrug, he picks up a replacement (this one with a picture of Abe Vigoda on the front) and hangs it up, before making his way over toward the register. "Hey, you're welcome to work here too," he deadpans, glancing over toward Lena, "but we've only got enough money to actually pay me and Jade. That's not going to be a problem, is it?"

"I used to have one, but I always get rid of them in the summer. It gets too hot to use them, and it was always just extra weight to tote around." She cuts a look to the side, then up, grimacing at the saliva and paper on the ceiling. "One of those is going to fall and hit you in the face with your own loogie."

The sound of the door unlocking prompts her to lift her head just enough to look over Lena's prone body towards the front door, having to sit up a bit to achieve this feat. For a moment, she suspects they were about to be robbed by an expert pick-locking, something she figured was long overdue in this city, but is mildly relived, or disappointed, when she finds it's just the shop owner himself. She glances from Lena, to the the suction darts, two stuck to the shelf, one fallen on the floor, then back to the male, lifting an eyebrow.

"Who's working?" She pulls back the little string, testing the piece of plastic resembling an arrow before standing up, setting the toy aside, and brushing the crumbs from her breakfast biscuit off of her shirt. "I was just taking this thing away from Lena. She broke some crystal thing that was on the shelves. Don't worry, I'll clean up." She affects a small smile, ripe with forced cheer, the perfect picture of the model employee.

"Nuh uh, I have mad reflexes, I'll…" But she too is interrupted by the sound of the lock being undone, so the rest of that lie goes unspoken. The straw is tossed behind the counter and the napkins tumble from her belly as Lena sits up and swings her legs around to the front of the counter, affecting a look of nonchalance that utterly fails. "I'm just here for uh…moral support." Because if there's anything that Jade needs, it's morals. Blue eyes narrow and cut towards the brunette as she gives her version of this morning's events. Why, if Jade weren't letting them stay at her place, free of charge, she'd…

"Slouching comfortably, her hands tucked over the counter's edge, Lena glances back at Randall. Wariness lurks around the edges of that look. Don't hit anything! Especially her! "You seriously need better taste in chicks, dude."

"I'll put it on her tab," Randall mutters under his breath. The store can't afford to lose a lot of merchandise to theft or breakage, but when it comes to someone who's In On The Secret, certain allowances can be made.

"And what are you going on about, anyway?" he continues, picking up the napkins and tossing them back onto the counter, where half of them just fall back down onto the floor anyway. "I don't see me macking on anyone here, do you? And we've already got a moral support team booked, they'll be here by ten." With Old Testaments and their own uppity attitudes in tow.

"If he had any better taste, he'd be sleeping with supermodel millionaires." Apparently Jade's sense of selfworth put her at the top of the bottom pile, if that even made any sort of sense. As it was the perfectly angelic smile she levels at Lena was overbearingly friendly, if a bit motherly, and was sweet enough to induce cavities. "Someone has to be the grownup around here."

As she's reminded of the awesome power and display of the bible-thumpers soon to be arriving on their doorstep, Jade groans, dropping both her smile and her forehead down into her hands, elbows braces against the register. "Ugh. Can't you just burn the stupid game so they'll go the hell away? You know they take a lot of pictures of people that come in and out of here. We don't need that kind of attention right now." She tips her head none-too-subtley in the other girl's direction as she eyes Randall meaningfully.

Before too much longer, a thoughtful frown creases her expression, turning into a malevolent, tight-lipped smile, complete with slitted eyes. "But maybe Lena could, you know, take care of them…" As she trails off, she waggles her fingers meainingfully.

"I have a tab?" Lena's surprised to hear it but there's no denying the speculative gleam that appears when she casts a look at the store proper. The shop is a haven of junk sure to attract her sort, and her fingers begin tapping against the counter as if already itching to begin pawing through potential loot. The matter of who is macking on whom is left along, in favor of considering just what could be smuggled out. There was this rumor she head about old TVs exploding if you shoot them, for one, and there's some likely empty lots nearby that'd serve as a testing ground…wait, what?

The teen crinkles her nose at Jade, brief retaliation for that saccharine smile. "You're the baby, chica, no use denying it…what game's this? You guys got fans or something? The folks I've seen outside, right?" A little hop finally brings her down off of the counter so she can wander over to the window to have a peek. Nothing yet. "How many usually show up? We could totally spike their Gatorade…"

Better stick to the ancient models in the free bin; Randall's patience is not infinite. "Even if I gave in on that point - which I'm not going to, because they don't deserve it - it's too late now, they're latched on like barnacles. Take away the Ouija board, they'll complain about the back row of videotapes." Which is padlocked for the same reason they cover up the back row of magazine stands. "And I cannot believe you two are talking about messing with their Kool-Aid, that would be a completely petty and non-productive thing to do." His words say one thing, but the look on his face says another: save me a ringside seat?

"Yeah, well, even a kid knows bad news when she runs into it." Bending down, she roots around under the counter for the small brush and dustpan, coming back up with them in either hand. "And yet I still hang around you. Huh, I must be a masochist."

As Lena heads to the front window, Jade heads off to the side and crouches down to begin sweeping up the shattered pieces of the tiny unicorn figurine. As the last pieces of glittery, sharp, glass-dust is pushed by the bristles into the pan, she stands up and tilts her head with a smirk. "Who's being petty here? They're the ones getting pissy about enforcing their moral standards on every biological entity they come across." As she tips the dustpan over the edge of the small trash can, she shakes her head, a small roll of her eyes accompanying the waste disposal.

"It's things like that that make me glad to be an atheist. Hey, Lena, can you, like, touch something and then someone else touches it, and they get, y'know, 'high'? Because if so, we should get ahold of one of their bibles."

The look that Lena gives Randall is a class: narrow and suspicious teenager faced with the voice of authority. He is technically the grownup, after all. But she's had plenty of experience in reading nuances too; that expression is seen, and just like that, she's onto him. A slow grin spreads across the young woman's face. "Also completely hilarious. Tell me you don't wanna see a pack of fundies tripping out of their minds." Because she certainly does. She's already rubbing her hands together, a line of concentration etching itself in the center of her forehead.

"I dunno, never tried a bible before. We use blotting paper though, it works 'cause people…y'know. Put it on their tongues. Works with clothes too, I guess, but only if it's something I've worn a lot. Be easier to just buy them some coffees and have me…um. Dose them before they got delivered." Try not to think about the implications of that.

It's the nuclear bomb of practical jokes: Let's do it to someone else. "Have to be careful about that," Randall muses, dropping the facade. "If the drinks come from one of us, they might figure it out afterwards— or am I giving them too much credit?" If they're fool enough to follow that uppity preacher around wherever he goes…

Wandering behind the counter, he reaches out as if to brush a hand against Jade's hair, enough for static electricity to move the tips around a bit. "You know, you should do something with this too," he offers, "you're always focusing in on your toes but it's the package deal that really sells it." Because the nigh-supermodel wants to aim higher herself, right?

At that, Jade stares at Lena for a moment, before finally bending down and putting the cleaning utensils away. "Ew. I just want them to get the munchies and go away, not get syphilis from your unwashed-hand germs." She sticks her tongue out as her mouth opens, in a mild gagging motion.

Her theatrics are cut short by the near-arrival of Randall's hand, prompting her to suck her tongue back in and snap her jaw shut, tossing him an appraising look. After a moment, she lifts a shoulder and gives a slight shake of her head in the negative. "Toenails are easy, and easily covered up or corrected if you make a mistake. Make a mistake with this," She reaches up, grabbing a few of her own dark tresses, running them between two fingers. "And you could be paying for it for months. Besides, I hear a lot of the chemicals used to dye hair can cause damage if used too much. I don't want to end up with a bad comb-over when I'm thirty."

"Or I could sneak out the back, come around the front and just start shaking hands. I can totally fake being religious, I grew up down south," Lena offers with a shrug. "I'm gonna be going back to black hair soon anyway, and real clothes, not this preppy crap. They wouldn't recognize me I bet." Pause. "Yeah…my hands. Uh, washing them kinda ruins the effect for a little while, you know?" She'll just allow Jade to continue under that delusion. It's easier.

The matter of hair draws a brief, uninterested glance, although there's a lopsided quality to her smile that seems focused on Randall.

"Anyway! 'Cause you guys are cool, if you do want me to mess with your stalkers, I totally would. For free. This time." The offer made, she proceeds past the counter and down the aisle in search of those videotapes mentioned earlier.

Randall shakes his head. "Oh, I'm not talking about a dye job" - he glances over toward Lena again for a moment before continuing - "the color's fine, but you could do something different with the texture, just for variety. If you get tired of it, it's easy to go back." Reaching out again, he takes some of the strands and moves them apart into two groups, waiting to see what she thinks of the idea.

"I don't suppose you can do an airborne effect? That'd certainly keep th— Oh, the key's over here," he adds, noticing where Lena's headed. "Yaoi and yuri have their own blocks along the sides, I don't think there are any mix-ups." No guarantees, though, he wasn't about to watch the stuff himself and double-check.

"I don't know, Lena, they have cameras and aren't afraid to use them. What if they publish your picture in some voodoo Baptist witch-paper and then The Man comes here looking for you? I know I'm dangerous with plastic arrows and you're a wiz with the spitballs, but… Eh."

Jade gets distracted from discussing the effectiveness of their arsenal by Randall fussing with her hair. She pulls out the counter drawer, half-taken over with feminine products such as a nail polish and eye-liner, withdrawing a small compact. She flicks it open, positioning the tiny mirror so she can see her own hair without having to turn her head at funny angles to see what her boss was doing.

"I didn't know you were such a pornographic savant. Or that you styled hair. You saying there could be an improvement on the original look? Hmm, maybe I should try pigtails. Or a french braid. Do you know how to do those? Because I'm pretty sure that'd actually make you less of a man."

"I guess that's true. I'd feel like a turd if folks came here looking for me and found you guys. Oh well. Maybe we can dump a box of super bouncy balls on them from upstairs?" There's a moment of silence before Lena breaks it with a puzzled inquiry. "What the fuck is yo-ee?" But the promise of a key leads her back to the counter, where she folds her arms on the surface and leans while regarding them both curiously. Hair-fussing is not what she'd expected of Randall and it provokes a series of brow-quirks while their exchange is listened to.

"You…do hair, dude?"

A couple of steps into a braid of some sort or other, Randall glances up at Lena. "Look at me. You don't think I know a few things about hair?" Jade gets a smirk for her trouble, but he doesn't bother trying to defend himself, instead choosing to answer the question about the tapes. Sorta. "Try some, you might like it— just make sure your boyfriend's with you. Wouldn't want him to miss out on the experience."

"Oh, you've never seen Randy's effiminate side, have you? Can't you just look at him and tell? He screams 'metrosexual'." She pauses in her hair-examination to pull the small mirror closer to her face, using her fingers to run along the skin of her cheeks and forehead, apparently searching for wayward zits that might have escaped her bath-time scrutiny. "Though just why he's been hiding this particular skill from me, I'll never know. It might have made him tolerable."

She maneuvers the mirror up slightly overhead to check on Randall's progress, lifting up a hand to stifle yet another yawn. "What the hell! You giving us porn tips, now? You are such a guy. I bet you've watched every single tape back there. Twice." As if looking for moral support, she glances to the side at the other woman. "What is it with men and watching naked strangers going at it? I'll never understand the appeal. It's just… gross. Beyond gross."

Lena, without removing the prop of her arms against the counter, rolls her shoulders in a shrug. "I would but until we're back in our own place, it'd be kinda awkward, you know? Chi's found us a place with some shrink, for when he's done fucking with Jade's head by walking around naked all the time," she confides with a grin. She goes on, addressing the other female as if Randall weren't standing right there. "I kinda figured he was gay until you guys got it on. I mean, the perm and all…huh, I think you should go with the pigtails."

There's a pained look on Randall's face. "You never asked. And yeah, I was thinking the same thing," glancing over toward Lena again, "it's harder to work with the whole clump at once."

At the mention of the tapes, he rolls his eyes. "I'll take you up on that bet. They sell pretty well, but man, I feel dirty just looking at some of the titles." And he frowns as the night at the club is brought up once again: has she explained it to Jade yet? Just in case she hasn't, he keeps his mouth shut about it, waiting for a further cue.

"And who's fault was that?" Jade's narrowed eyes home in on the girl across the counter, one eyebrow stretching towards her hairline. "Oh, and I'm going to neuter Cheech if I have to see his skinny little ass running around in his retarded underoos anymore. I'm seriously going to burn my couch after you guys leave. I don't think I can ever sit on it again without picturing…" She leaves off, allowing a shudder to fill in her lack of words.

Her eyes turn back to the mini-mirror in her palm, frowning slightly as she takes in the burdgeoning handiwork. "Wow, you're like the mom I never had. Except for the porno fet- Wait, just looking at the titles? When did you get so prudy? Maybe we should stick you with a bible and chuck you outside with the other thumpers." With the California-born girl, it seemed Randall was damned either way, as she had no qualms about reversing her entire perspective simply to have more reasons to verbally bludgeon him. "You don't think I'd look younger with pigtails, do you? I don't know if I can stand trying to be picked up by middle-schoolers. …And the first one of you to mention 'handlebars' gets hit."

"You saying it sucked?" Lena, having made her apologies, fully intends to enjoy the teasing that she can now partake in, guilt-free. She props her chin in one cupped palm and lifts her brows at Jade, trying to tamp down the grin and doing a poor job of it. "I mean, Randy said it was awesome, I was kinda hoping you'd enjoyed yourself too…" Randy? Oh yes, he's standing right there. Her eyes cut towards the man, narrowing in amusement. Time to translate. "In girl talk, that switch totally means she wants to watch some with you."

Her good deed done for the day, she pushes back from the counter and spreads her hands in a 'don't kill me!' gesture. "Just trying to help. Where's that key? Maybe I will grab a couple of tapes, some of us like broadening our horizons, you know?"

"I said some of the titles. And it doesn't help that I remember who brought some of those in here in the first place." You want to make pretty much any porn tape creepy, just hand it to a guy who's obviously going gray.

Randall studiously ignores the suggestion that he and Jade get together again in any way they're not already doing. Now Jade's worry about looking like jailbait, on the other hand… "Oh, I don't know. Stick you in a plaid miniskirt and a Hello Kitty backpack? You really want to fuck with the protesters, you gotta go all-out."

"Like a hoover." Though her own denial of getting any enjoyment out of the The Act is quick enough, Jade lets out a soft, scoffing laugh at the thought of Randall gushing girlishly about That Night. She gives him the 'o rly' look through the mirror, eyebrows raised, malicious smirk entrenched. But she has to fight the distinctive urge to hurl the compact at the older woman when she infers that she desired to watch any of the questionable material, much less the way in which she went about it.

"Remind me again why we don't kick her out on the street?"

She's already shaking her head before the Hello Kitty comment is finished, though doing so slightly so as not to disturb her hair artist's work. "Don't get any bright ideas there, Randy. I'd boil myself alive before I start borrowing from Lena's wardrobe. Besides, what am I supposed to do? Get them all hooked and then threaten a statutory lawsuit on them? Not one of your best ideas there."

Lena has developed something of a sixth sense about the possibility of getting hit in the head, due to recent events beyond her control, so no sooner has Jade flicked her a look than she is ducking back down the aisle. Screw keys! Maybe titles can be studied through the mesh of the Porn Cage. "Because you love us!" It's a blatant taunt that drifts back towards the counter.

Halfway there and Lena pauses to poke at a bobble-head dog on one of the shelves. "It's not a bad idea really. You hear about that happening all the time, church folks and Republicans like the young ones," she remarks idly. "Randy's idea isn't that bad. I still wanna do the super bouncy ball thing though."

"I'm not the one who let her in here." Randall makes a face, shaking his head. "No, you're right, Jade, it's a terrible idea— we want to annoy them, not get them to bust out a fetish. Not with you, anyway." If they're induced to do inappropriate things with each other, on the other hand— well, serves 'em right.

"Forget it! I'm not jailbait and I'm not pretending to be!"

Jade's indignantly outraged look is tossed briefly in Lena's direction, as much as it can be without jerking her head, and by extension her hair, in her direction. Confident that Randall wasn't completely debasing her hair with a do right out of a fifties horror flick, she sets the compact down in favor of drumming her fingers along the counter.

"Isn't that sweet? He almost sounds protective. There's gotta be something we can do, though. Those guys are becoming a real hassle, and if they catch wind of Lena, we're seriously up a creek. I mean, couldn't we file a suit against them for driving away customers or defamation of character? Lena, you know some unsavory sorts, right? Can't you or Cheech make some calls and get some of your boys over here to give 'em a beat-down with some aluminum bats or something?"

"What, Jade's off-limits but it's okay for me to put myself out there?" It's a deliberate misunderstanding of Randall's reasoning. There's an edge to that question though, a tightness that comes through in voice and smile. Lena reappears at the mouth of the aisle, tossing the little dog figurine from one hand to the other. "We're dealers, not goons. A bunch've thugs with bats are gonna pull more attention, anyway. You can take a picture of that happening, no one can see what I do."

But she is not entirely unaware of the risk that are putting themselves through, sheltering herself and Tiago. Lena cilts her head to the side and considers. "Tell you guys what. I do know some guys who owe us one…someone who could show up, deliver some coffees, glad-hand them a little. You want the fundies seeing things or…putting on a show out there?"

Randall considers. "I dunno, maybe. But have 'em dress up for the occasion— as long as they wouldn't be recognized later on, it should be okay." Things could still go south, but what's life without a little risk in service of a good cause.

Satisfied with his work, he lets go of Jade's hair, picking up the mirror and tilting it further to one side. "There, what do you think? I'll even throw in a T-shirt with your next paycheck." He points over toward a babydoll that says 'I'm 18, really!' in itty bitty pink sequins.

"Of course I'm off limits! Weren't you the one saying I was just a kid?" The dark-haired teenager eyes the faux-blonde with a smug smile, the same one worn by children everywhere who got a slightly bigger bowl of icecream than their sibling. It turns into a fakely reflexive gag reaction though as she places a hand against the base of her throat. "I thought we weren't gonna go with you sticking grody fingers in drinks? Because of the 'ew'."

Once her hair is deemed done, she wastes no time turning her head this way and that as she studies herself in the mirror. It takes a few minutes, but eventually the prima donna is done preening and she leans away from the looking glass with a small nod of appreciation. "Not bad, not bad. Remind me to invite you to my next slumber party." Then her attention is called off towards the shirt. There's a small squeal, as well as a little laugh as she claps her hands together.

"I don't care, that's adorable, and I'm taking it with me when I leave today."

"Yeah, maybe between the ears," Lena responds first to Jade's gloating, blue eyes rolling ceilingwards. What in the world does Tiago see in the brunette? Only God and the Brazilian know. Of course, looking put upon is somewhat ruined by the reappearance of a grin. The bobble-head is set aside randomly on a shelf. "I say screw it. Randy wants to fuck with them, and he owns this place, right? I'll make sure the guys look all clean and holy, I promise. No one'll know, they'll melt before shit gets crazy. Just don't do anything dumb like videotape it, okay?"

Her coat is snared from the crumpled heap it had been left in upon arrival earlier, shrugged over her shoulders. "Okay, gonna go see if I can get ahold of them, and check the price of coffee. What time do they usually show up?"

Riiiiiiiight about now, as it happens. Just as Lena starts getting ready to head out, half a dozen people show up near the entrance almost all at once: a couple of would-be customers, and four protesters getting in their way. Whether they're doing the store or their own cause more harm is up for debate.

"Here we go again." Randall heads over to retrieve the shirt and toss it to Jade— they may as well get phase one of Operation Screw with the Fundies off to an early start. "So, the usual? Good cop, bad cop?" He indicates himself and Jade in turn as the first customer muscles their way past the others and into the shop proper.

"You're both hiding out from the government for a secret too big for humanity to readily accept. …And you're both getting your kicks out of making a bunch of religious fruitcakes think they've wet their pants. Shouldn't you be out, I don't know, fighting crime? Bad enough none of you wears spandex."

She frowns out of the window, an elbow on the counter, her cheek propped on her fist, a despondent sigh on her lips. "You'd better hurry out before the ones with cameras show up. I'll see you later, okay? Don't do nothing dumb, and if you're not gonna come back to my place tonight, could you guys at least call me? I waited up." And then come the customers, which only manages to twist her frown even more. As Randall pitches his game plan, she straightens away from the counter, reaching out to catch the shirt. Her lack of coordination causes both hands to actually miss, only managing to snag it by virtue of it catching up over her forearm.

"Nah, let's try something new this time, just to change it up." She points at Randall. "Good cop." Then at herself. "Vacant cop." Turning on her heel, she pirouttes through the doorway to the back, with her prize in tow.

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