2007-03-25: Mighty Odd Ducks


Cass_icon.gif Jane_icon.gif Ethan_icon.gif Eliana_icon.gif

Summary: Ethan buys a book as a gift, the others converse about life and… stuff.

Date It Happened: March 25, 2007

Mighty Odd Ducks

The afternoon is growing later and Enlightenment has it's fair share of customers. Cass is keeping busy making sure that everyone is helped and is finding books for people. Flitting about from customer to customer, she doesn't stay too long with one person unless they need extra assistance or have something interesting to say.

In that advancing afternoon, someone enters the bookstore who's been in it before. Jane lets the door close behind her and walks just a few steps to stand on a certain spot, one of importance to her. She lets the images and recollections fill her mind, how she'd felt that first day when the whistle blew. Much the same as she did that day, she's got a guitar case and backpack slung over opposite shoulders.

When the door opens, Cass' head turns to greet the new customer. Seeing that it's someone she knows, she grins at Jane and holds up a finger to let her know that she'll be right with the guitarist. Finishing up her conversation with a teenager, she moves toward her with a smile already on her face. "Hey Jane. What can I do you for?"

Ethan comes in not too long behind Jane. "Excuse me," he says, sounding pretty cheery, even as Jane's just standing there. Just inside the shop. He's got a bag tucked under his arm from next door. Clearly, he's gotten a booty of comics. Sure to annoy the wife later. Speaking of which! He's here to look for a goofy gift for. Not that this shop is goofy, but it's clearly not in his wife's tastes.

"Cass," she replies, drawn by the voice and passing man out of her reverie. Jane catches the displayed gesture and nods, her face showing compassion, and walks forward to approach the approacher. Only the briefest of glances falls on the man as she moves. "I'm mostly browsing, and… okay I'm just visiting you. It's been too long since we talked here."

As Ethan comes in, Cass interrupts Jane to greet him. "Hi! Welcome! Just let me know if you need anything. I'm the slacker that works here." Then, she lets turns back to Jane to listen to her. "Thanks for visiting, then. How've you been? Sorry about the last time I saw you. It was….a bad night."

Ethan laughs at Cass and nods. "Will do!" He immediately starts browsing around. For something appropriately not in his wife's tastes. Maybe even something to be /another/ get well present for Damaris.

"It happens," she quietly replies. "I thought about trying to talk with you then, but the timing seemed less than right." Jane takes a few steps to stand at a spot less likely to block customers while she converses. "I've been good. Made a few discoveries about myself, related to that… thing that happened the first time I visited here."

"No, I'm glad you didn't." Cass shrugs and then is glad to move the subject to a different topic. Moving along with Jane, she sweeps the store with her eyes for a moment before devoting her attention to back to her friend. "Discoveries? Well, that's a good thing. I think? The whole not being a brain tumor?"

"Oh man, jackpot," Ethan says to himself as he looks over a particular section of books on the 'art of tantrics'. Not to be a perv, or to make light of those who actually believe this stuff.. but it just might be what he's looking for. Not for /those/ reasons though. Don't mind him. He's browsing!

The door opens. The door closes. In between, Eliana enters the shop. She's changed since her vigil and subsequent breakfasting with Jack from her newly purchased dress into a pair of jeans and a tanktop, topped with an Israeli Defense Force bomber jacket. "Cass?" she calls out as she starts to wander through the shelves. Oh Cass~.

"Yes," the guitarist answers without elaborating, there being other customers present. Jane lets her eyes wander over some shelves while trying to think of some innocuous way to put it. "But other than that I've been fine tuning stage skills and frontwomanship. I feel edgier now, if that makes any sense." She glances back over a shoulder as another voice is heard, and speaks a happy greeting. "Eliana. Hey."

Cass gives Jane a curious and confused look when she doesn't elaborate, but she's not going to push her to divulge any information she doesn't want to. Letting that subject drop as well, she laughs. "Actually, yes it does. Isn't that how lead singers are supposed to act?" The door opens and Eliana enters. Someone else she was looking for has come to her! "Eliana!" she calls out and waves the woman over to their little corner of discussion. As she looks over, she notices the shelf and book that Ethan is flipping through. She gives him sly grin and tells him confidentially, "Page 62 is particularly good."

Ethan looks over at Cass with a beaming smile. "Thanks and sold." With the book in hand, he goes straight to the register to pay up for it. He'll get a good laugh when leaving the book for Vi to find.. and we'll just leave it at that, mmkay?

Eliana glances at Ethan on her way over to Cass, and she smiles at both the bookshop owner and Jane. "Hey, Jane," she says easily. "Small world amongst us Odd Ducks, huh?" Which could mean their tastes in literature. Really. "I was just wondering if you had a moment, Cass." In addition to something else.

She is, it would seem, not elaborating because there are other customers present and isn't particularly willing to discuss the thing so publicly. Jane hopes Cass gets this without her having to say so directly, and stands aside when Ethan heads for the register. Her eyes sweep across the man and back to Eliana. She chuckles. "The bookstore's important to me, I once came to a realization here." Her eyes light up with the mention of odd ducks, there's unspoken recognition and amusement in them.

The smile Ethan gives Cass makes her laugh and she writes up the receipt and tells him his total. Grabbing a bag, she takes the book and drops that and his receipt right into it. "Good choice!" Normally she would tell people to tell them how they liked the book after they were done, but that would be a little pervy in this situation. The Odd Ducks thing flies right over her had, but she nods Eliana's way. "Of course. Just give me a moment, okay?" Though her conversations are fractured, she's managing to follow all of them. "I'm glad to hear that, Jane. I'm really sorry, could you give me a sec? I'll be right back, promise."

Ethan pays for the book, still grinning behind his beard. "Thanks, and have a good evening ladies." He knows he will! Bag in hand, he walks on out of the shop, whistling a jaunty little tune.

"Sure, Cass," she replies with a grin and a glance at Eliana. "She's fun to shop with." Jane turns her attention to perusing the shelves. She moves slowly, just letting her attention drift over the titles facing her, and soon she picks a stretch where no other customers are. Her eyes close and the lips purse, emitting a slight musical tone no one else can hear, to take a little practice with the time on her hands.

Eliana leans against the counter and just smiles. "Jane's okay, Cass. Trust me." She winks then, her hazel eyes sparkling a bit. "I was just wondering…well, if you needed any help around the shop? I don't think the book is going to get done, and…well, nobody like to be a mooch." Eliana glances back over at Jane, as if in an effort to include the other young woman in the conversation.

"Thanks!" Cass calls out to Ethan as he heads out the door. "Come back soon!" And then, her business is finished so she can talk with Eliana some. "Mmm," she nods. Because she knows that Jane is fine, mostly. Despite what she heard from Elena, the musician seems like she's doing better now. "I'm sorry to hear about the book. What happened?" She frowns a bit and looks tow here she forgot to take down the Help Wanted sign. "I did just hire someone part time the other week." But she doesn't like to turn away a friend. "If you worked here I don't know if I could afford to give you that many hours. They're yours if you want them, though."

Her head turns to the left, then the right, and finally back to center after going up and down in both of those directions. She's able to discern the distance between her and nearby obstacles. Ten to fifteen seconds Jane's eyes open and a smile spreads. Attention goes toward the counter, she having heard Eliana speak her name, and the guitarist walks that way. Book? Eliana's a writer? Hmmm. Once she gets there, she brings her voice into the mix at a volume that only the three of them would hear and keeps watch for the approach of other customers who might still be in store. "Eliana, tell her about the lowball." A grin forms and spreads.

Eliana leans away from the counter, her smile all but gone. "No, no. I mean, you just hired someone. They need it more than I do." Waitressing, here I come…so long as it isn't for Jack. That'd be odd. She looks back at Jane as she approaches and smiles. "You should get some marbles or something so you can do demos, Jane. Seriously." To Cass, she elaborates. "Jane has a high voice. Really high. Like, beat Opera Singers Who Wear Spikey Helmets high."

"Lowball?" Cass now just looks confused. "What?" When Eliana pushes away from the corner, the store owner frowns. "No, it's okay Eliana. Really. If you need those hours they're yours." As for Jane's voice, she grins. "I've heard her sing. She was really good. Fun to dance to. Spikey Helmet Opera high voice? That's pretty high."

It's given consideration, if the look to her face is any indication. Marbles, pinpointing target practice, taking out something on the fly. Hmm. Jane turns to Cass, and chuckles mysteriously. "And then some." Facing Eliana, Jane states "Cass knows part of the story already, it was here that I first heard a dog whistle." And back to Cass. "Since then I learned I can make as well as hear ultrasound. Eliana and I were talking about… things yesterday."

"Mm," Eliana says with a small smile, shaking her head once more to Cass. "Really. It's alright," she says about the job. Totally cool. "I'll just have to bust my butt working on something else. The last one…lost momentum. And someone got a hold of the unfinished manuscript. Kinda ruined things."

"You can /make/ ultrasound?" Cass raises an eyebrow at Jane. Well, that's a new one, too. "Huh. What were you talking about?" The frown she gives Eliana lasts only a little while. She can't force a job on the woman and she's not about to try. "Alright. Just, remember it's open for you if you need it. As well as the contacts for publishers. Sorry to hear about your manuscript. What happened to it?"

"Yes," the guitarist answers with a chuckle. "I make ultrasound. And I figured out some things to do with it." Jane lapses into silence as Eliana speaks of her stalled book and lost manuscript, musing to herself, and a few moments later quietly asks "Can you write rock songs, Eliana?"

Telling Jack is one thing…telling Cass? That's a horse, or a duck, of a different color. "I still have it, it just-" but then Jane is asking her questions. She squints and arches an eyebrow. "It's just lyrical poetry. I don't think I have a shot a poet laureate anytime soon, but I can hammer out lyrics for you to strum your strings to." Is that where Jane is going with this?

"What?" Cass asks about what she's decided to use it for. It's like these two are having a conversation over her head. Not that she really minds it, she's just curious. "Just what?" As for poetry and lyrics, well, she's never actually read any of Eliana's work so she can't vouch for the writer.

First she addresses Eliana. "I could use some lyrical help. No recording contract yet, but, hey, there's hope. I might even buy the rights to them from you, or pay royalties to you from my gig fees for what I use." Then she answers Cass. "I'm a real screamer, for one," Jane remarks, "and for another I worked out how to echo-locate, like bats do. I keep studying and practicing. It hit me a few days after the dog whistle, in Times Square. There was something ultrasonic there, it was loud and painful. It made me scream, and a street lamp shattered. Later that night, I duplicated the effect on a glass bottle and learned it was from me. Since then I've learned to control myself, to hold it in when I feel like screaming until I get somewhere safe. I'm amazed…" She trails off for a bit, when her words resume the voice is subdued, pained. "I managed not to shatter all the glass in my apartment when I spent three days doing cold turkey."

"Hey," Eliana says with furrowed brows, her attention suddenly entirely on Jane. "It's not the same thing when someone else put the shit in you. Alright?" Understanding that above all else seems to be Eliana's philosophy. You didn't do it. They did it /to/ you.

Cass smiles. "Ah. Okay. Screamer. Gotcha." As if that explains everything. It sort of does and Cass is a quick study, so she'll just go with it. "Um, good. Breaking windows is bad. They're expensive." She looks over to her big plate windows and winces at the idea of having to replace them all. Which works because she's confused as to what Eliana is talking about. "Wait. What. Putting shit in who?" Normally Cass is on top of the conversation and can follow it with no troubles. This one, though, has her stumped.

"That doesn't make it any less painful, feel any less like hell to go through, Eliana," Jane answers with a quiet chuckle. "I wasn't talking so much about the drugs that were in me as about being amazed I got through withdrawal without screaming and shattering all my glasswares. It was close, at times, I think that was part of the key. Focusing on not screaming instead of the cravings and the pain." Her eyes move to Cass, and she explains. "Someone wants me to think I'm a recovering addict, they even went so far as to string me out somehow and reinforce the cover. Woke up on the 11th somewhere south of AC, made it home, and spent three days in hell. Alone."

Eliana reaches out to give Jane's shoulder a soft squeeze. "A few weeks ago - not long after the big…well, that whole /thing,/ I woke up in a police station being faces with drug dealing charges. /Me./ But I got off because I didn't /do/ anything, and they apparently didn't have much evidence, so they let me go. Can't remember shit between running into Suresh and that."

Cass frowns and her eyes automatically survey the store to make sure that no one else is listening in on them. This is somewhat sensitive information that she doesn't want others to hear, after all. "I heard," she tells Jane, though she doesn't elaborate on who told her. "But I had no idea what happened to you, Eliana. Lachlan said something about you and drug charges but I didn't really get a chance for elaboration. I met your cousin the other night, by the way. Nice guy."

She's herself already facing outward as she speaks such private things, keeping track of anyone coming close enough to hear so she can shift topics on a dime if needed. Jane glances sideways as Cass for a moment, her shoulder not moving away from Eliana's squeeze, and speaks in that same lowered voice. "I've been told things since about how I got that way. Part of me buys it, part thinks it's just fellow addicts having a relapse and mass hallucination. So surreal. No matter what anyone tells me, there'll always be that element of doubt. Cold turkey was real, the rest? Just words. I am, though, happier to think I took a metaphorical bullet than to think I fell like that." Jane herself seems ready to spin on that dime, she joins in with the shifted subject. "Cousin?"

Eliana can't help but laugh a little at the chosen subject change. "Did you meet Bonnie too?" All joking aside. "Oli's a nice guy. A little…well, he'd have been better off in Paris in the days of the salon."

Cass gives a wry smile. "Yeah. I met Bonnie. She's a sweetheart." Unlike her owner, but that's a story for a different time. "I can see that." There's a frown at Jane for her explanation. "I never knew you as a drug addict, Jane. So I don't think you have fellow drug addicts. I don't think you /are/ one."

"Never knew myself as one, either," she replies. "Seven years college, three in law school, the only drug I took was caffeine by coffee. It gives credence to things I've been told. I'm… just saying the memory of what I went through feels more real than what people tell me. I've no desire to tangle with whoever did it again. Probably part of why they chose that cover." She pauses, adding "At least the thing wasn't a total failure, I didn't eat this metaphor bullet for nothing." A somber grin spreads, she shifts topics again. "Oli's the cousin?"

"Oliver," Eliana corrects. Only she gets to call him Oli. "Cute, too. Works at Noodle Heaven and fancies himself an artist like us." A sly sort of grin spreads over Eliana's face. "I'll have to invite him to the Den some night."

"He is," Cass gives a bark of a laugh to Eliana's observation. "In the 'you're too young for me' sort of way. You might think differently," she tells Jane. "Hmm. Well, yeah. I wouldn't recommend going through it again." A wry and sympathetic grin is given to Jane. "Of course the memory feels more real…it's a memory." She sighs. "I'm sorry that you had to go through it. That's horrible."

"Noodle Heaven, the place without noodles. Yeah, bring Oliver out some night when I play. Maybe I'll have a song or two you wrote to play then, we can show him some real art." Jane grins quietly, it fades a bit as she turns sideways toward Cass again. "It's over, I survived, and I'm a better musician for it. It's like Ringo sang. You gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, and it don't come easy." And back to Eliana. "What a group of mighty odd ducks are we, yeah?"

Odd ducks. Mighty odd ducks. And Ringo. Eliana's eyes twinkle a bit, and her smile tugs a bit larger. "Jane, I think you just hit my muse. I might just have something scrawled on a cocktail napkin for you tonight." She claps a hand on Jane's shoulder before she nods to Cass. "Go listen to her play sometime. I'll see you both." With another nod, Eliana turns to leave.

"You've got good things to sing about." Cass grins at Jane, trying to find a way to joke about it. "And you'll be able to sing Cash's Cocaine Blues all that more effectively." Okay, so maybe this isn't a joking matter, but she tries to find the light side of every conversation. "Alright, Eliana. Thanks for stopping in! We'll have to talk longer later."

"Take care, Eliana," Jane offers to the departing writer. She flashes a quiet smile and turns back toward Cass, then moves into a position where she can watch for need to shift topics and still face the storekeeper. "We talked yesterday, the chance just fell into my lap. A drink got spilled on her, I seized the opportunity and offered to go shopping for a replacement dress with her. We hit her apartment first, I laid my cards on the table, and… I think she's turning a corner. We've been through the same wringer." A rueful laugh follows Cass's statement, with a nod. "Very true. It's all about making the pain and the memory of it serve me, instead of me serving it."

"Turning a corner how?" Cass is kind of sure that she knows what's going on here, but she doesn't know quite yet if it's the same page that Jane is on. "That's good. I was worried about her. It sounded like she and Jack were on the outs. I meant to ask her about that." She pauses and laughs. "Oh, right, you were there when I heard that. So, they're okay?"

"I haven't talked to Jack since, but I think they will be," Jane replies. "It's like I was saying, he cares and wants to help, she told me she knows this, but he just can't. The experience isn't there. For me, it is." She runs a hand through her hair and falls silent for some moments. "Jack's a character. I saw him punch someone last night, not sure why, thought maybe he believed the guy was disrespectful to a young woman we both know. Jack calls her Scrappy, for some reason."

"Jack…/punched/ someone?" Cass blinks. "He's, well, yeah. He means well but he's kind of rough. He puts his foot in it more often than he realizes." She just shakes her head. "This was at that club opening? I was there, but went home so I could get to sleep ealry." And found a drunk Scot passed out on her couch. So much for that plan.

"That's about what she said when I asked if she wanted me to bust his chops for it," Jane replies. "That she appreciates being looked out for. I get that, do it myself sometimes, though not so forcefully. I watch to see what's needed first, and step back when it seems to fit." Like how she stood up to Lachlan. "It's like… helping someone leave, and leaving it to her if she wants me around from there." No names used here, the whole thing generalized, so Cass can blow it off if she chooses.

Cass snickers. "Nah, she'll be okay. I mean, I understand the protective vibe, but Eliana's a strong girl and can take care of herself." The parallel is not missed by Cass and the woman frowns at the remembrance of what happened that night. "Thanks for helping me get out of there. Honestly. I just couldn't deal with him at that moment. But I can deal with Lachlan."

"It was just what I would hope would be done for me, in that situation," Jane softly replies. "Distract and remove the obstacle. I went back to playing after you were gone, I don't think anyone in the place talked about all that for long. It was my thing to give them something else to be focused on." A grin spreads. "It isn't much, the Den, but it's so rock and roll to play there. The best acts start out that way."

Cass sighs. "Thanks. That's good to know. I didn't plan on being the entertainment for the night. That's your job." A weak smile appears on her face. "So, yeah. Thanks. I like the Den. It's kind of rough and tumble and a lot less pretentious than the other bars around the city. It's a good place to just disappear."

"You're welcome, Cass," Jane replies, displaying a smile. "Your store's a good place too. For me, a place of discovery, literally. Say, did that sarcastic guitarist ever come back around? I'm always hoping to keep contact with other musicians. Don't think I got her name."

Cass grins. "Her name's Rose. She works here sometimes. Stop by and you may see her." As for the store, she gives it a fond once around. Yes, she likes it. "Thanks. It's a second home to me. Mostly because I just spend all my time here."

"Rose. Thanks." The guitarist lets her eyes wander for some moments, then turns them back to the bookseller. "I should probably go, unless you want the company. Not scheduled to play tonight, can stay if you like, or go and let you close up." Jane watches Cass's face, making eye contact as she speaks. "Hopefully sometime I can figure a way to not be pained by dog whistles and things like them."

"Not a problem." Cass smiles at Jane. "Alright. No, I should probably get back to that thing called work. Thanks, though. We'll have to get together again soon. I can come see you play. You're at the Den at a regular night?" She smiles at Jane. "Well, maybe we'll be able to find something. I'll keep my eyes and ears open."

"See you, Cass," Jane replies, and makes her way out. As she steps into the streets of the East Village, the door closes behind her, and she's gone.

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