2007-07-19: Newspaper Hat


Meryl_icon.gif Namir_icon.gif

Summary: Meryl runs into Namir at Starbucks. She manages to extortion (????) a coffee out of him.

Date It Happened: 19 JULY 2008

Newspaper Hat

Starbucks, Manhattan, NYC

"And that's how far from Mount Sinai?"

The one-sided conversation isn't very loud, made all the less so by the chatter of the early coffee-shop bustle. It's a nice damper on things. Namir doesn't even have to give a little help with his own special abilities. He sits at a table in the corner near the window, cell phone to his ear and a newspaper open to the classifieds spread out in front of him. Here and there are circles in pen, some of them crossed out, others with notes in Arabic scribbled in the margins. He keeps the finger of one free hand pointed at a particular ad, staring at it absently. Near his elbow is a cup of plain coffee.

"Mm-hmm. Thank you." He waits patiently on his end, glancing ceilingward.


The easiest thing for someone to spot is someone else sulking in a corner. Made double evident when said sulker is reading a newspaper! Actually, that's not true at all, but when Meryl pushes open the door to Starbucks - after trying to pull it, notably, and failing, - Namir von Horrid is the first person she notices. Obviously, he's a villain bent on global destruction, because who reads a newspaper?


Okay, Meryl's been known to glance at them now and again, mostly on the internet where she can skip the parts she doesn't want to read about high school band members making it to state finals. Actually tabloids are good reading. It's like they say in Men in Black - the best tips are always in those garbage newspapers, especially when you're a Company agent on the lookout for the weird and wonderful.

So she heads over, sitting across from Namir.

"S'cuse me, are you planning global domination?"


Being so absorbed in his seeking and waiting game, Namir doesn't notice Meryl until she's … well, right there. He's somewhat startled when she sits down and starts talking to him like that and can only stare at her in bewilderment. "I'm sorry?" And then the person on the other end of his call returns and he lowers his head slightly when he speaks into it: "Yes… . Mm-hmm. All right. Thank you." He ends the call, then picks up his pen and scribbles down yet another Arabic note next to the circled ad he had previously been pointing to. It's advertising apartments for rent in Manhattan, as are all the other ads circled on the page.


"Oh, well, I can't help noticing you're writing in alien cuneiform." She has no idea what that really means, but she taps her finger against the Arabic anyway. Following that, she notes exactly what's on the page he's reading. "You're planning to take over the city's apartments, followed by ruling the world, right? Can I help?"

She knows what he's doing. Duh. But it's not quite as fun to walk up to someone and say, 'Hey, I see you're looking for apartments. That's… cool.' Because where does the conversation go from there? Nowhere. You get an odd look, and both parties just kind of awkwardly shuffle away from each other. At least after the odd look, Meryl will doubtlessly be able to expand on this conversation in some way. "I like the comics. And the want ads are always a laugh."


If ever anyone could embody the ellipsis, it would be Namir at this precise moment. Who is this person? She talks like an insane homeless woman, and yet she's dressed well and showered. An escapee from a mental hospital would at least be dressed in white clothes that says 'LOL I ESCAPED FROM A MENTAL HOSPITAL.' Maybe she's a drama student working on her craft. It's not unheard of. "That's Arabic," he corrects, still eyeing Meryl in a distinctly 'wtf' fashion (though of course Namir would never use that word), "and no, I'm looking for apartments in Manhattan to move into with my girlfriend." His phone remains in his hand and his thumb is even on the number pad as though about to dial yet another building, yet it remains frozen this way.


"Oh, Arabic. Like from Arabland. Yeah, I've been there." She pokes at the paper again. Words, words, words. "There's no pictures. I mean, here's one, but it's just an apartment, right? There should be frogs. Something to take your mind off the fact that you're reading a whole bunch of words that, /by design/ are enticing you to buy property that you might not even want. Like… Here. Fresh paint? How do you know that doesn't mean the apartment just caught fire and they had to repaint the whole thing. And how about this. 'Newly remodled building?' Isn't this in that sector that was hit by a tornado? And over here you have an ad for Hooters. Honestly, that's probably the most honest ad on the page." She reaches over for his cell phone in an attempt to take it from him. She can't talk at him while he's calling and writing in ALIEN CUNEIFORM, after all.


"That's why you visit the apartment after you call, to se— " And then his phone is nabbed, and now Namir is just the slightest bit annoyed. "Excuse me," he grunts as he reaches across the table to take it back again.


"Aah, but that's the thing, you don't /realise/ that you're being duped 'til, like, a year after you move in. That's when the fresh paint starts peeling off the walls, and you find out that you still have roof damage when your living room becomes an Olympic swimming pool." Pulling the phone out of Namir's reach, she looks at the screen, curiously. You have any games on this thing? Like Tetris, or— what's that one where you have to break the bricks? I can't— Oh, hey, see? I knew you were an alien. This 'EARTH DEATH RAY' application can't just be a coincidence, can it? So what are you planning to do, Doctor Horrible? Hm? Boil the oceans? Draw the planet closer to the sun? /Buy me a coffee?/"


At least she's not calling anyone. That doesn't make the thieving of his phone any less annoying, but there's always a silver linging. Namir stops reaching for his phone and lets his arms come to rest on the table (newspaper) with a tight-lipped frown. "If you'll give me my phone back, maybe," he states rather tensely. She's done no real harm, so he can't bring himself to get angry with her. Just a little irritated.


She was going to give it back! In fact, after a couple more seconds of keep-away, it becomes less fun when Namir stops reaching for it, and she sets it down on the table in front of him. "All right, 'cuz you asked," is her grudging reply, which isn't quite so down as it could be, because she could get a free coffee out of him yet.

There's always a reason for this. Always.

"I like raspberries," she says - hint, hint. Surely there's something with raspberry in it. "And mocha. With whipped cream, /maybe/ some banana or coconut. Just a hint, though. Five sugars."


Namir's frown remains, and after making sure his phone is safely tucked away in his pocket, he folds his hands on the table. He is decidedly not moving anywhere. Maybe he didn't get the hint? "Do you do this often?" he asks with a lift of one eyebrow. It's no longer as annoyed as the previous statement. He's got his phone back. No harm, no foul.


"Do what? Talk to people? Don't you? Be kinda boring if you never talked to anyone. You ever notice how perfect strangers won't even say hello to each other? What's with that? I mean, if I pass you on the street and you look interesting, I'm gonna say hello. Especially if you're an alien. Doesn't that seem more— i'unno, what's the word? Entertaining? I mean, you could be having this awful day, and you could say hi to someone, and it could all get better. Sunshines and rainbows." Beat. "'course, there's always the chance you end up saying hi to the wrong person and end up with a broken nose or a black eye, or in traction in the hospital. You don't seem like the type, though. So, coffee?"


Just … unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Namir can say nothing to that, really, so with a shake of his head, he rises from the table, taking his phone and his cup of coffee with him. The newspaper is left behind — he doesn't figure there's anything particularly personal in it, as his notes are not only in Arabic, but also harmless, typical ranges of price and information on how far away the circled apartments are from Mount Sinai. He heads to the counter and comes back with as much of a raspberry-mocha-whipped-cream-banana-five-sugars coffee he could find (that wasn't too expensive) as well as a refill for himself. The former is set down in front of Meryl, and he takes his seat again. "There. This is extortion, I'll have you know."


By the time Namir returns, she's managed to turn his newspaper into a newspaper hat. Which she's wearing.

"Thanks," says Meryl, taking the coffe from him and sturring the whipped cream in. This is the best ever. She's never had it before in her life, but she already knows she'll love it. And after taking a sip, it turns out that it's— "Hot. Hot. Oh god, that's hot."

Fanning her mouth, she sets the cup down and gives it time to cool off. Namir is given a Look when he accuses her of extortion, and she scowls. "There are kids in here," she whispers. In other words, don't use such naughty language. "Besides, if I wanted to extortion you, I would have done it before you told me you had a girlfriend."


… what? Namir stares at the hat that was his apartment hunting. "I was using that," he states. And that last declaration just gets a blank stare. What. What is she talking about?


"Oh, you can have it back. Here." Newspaper comes off her head, and is set back on the table in front of him. Still folded, but… otherwise usable? Picking up her coffee, Meryl stands. "Nice talking with you, Namir," she says as she heads for the door. "And thanks for the coffee." A wink, and she's back out on the street. Question is, where'd she get his name from? Maybe she took a lucky guess while she was playing with his phone.

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