2007-08-29: Paperclips

Starring:

Miranda_icon.gif Mark_icon.gif Annabelle_icon.gif

Summary: Back-to-school shopping with Mark and Miranda Lancaster and their not-daughter, Annabelle. It's basically torture with office supplies. Offensive language: check. Insults: check. Bribery: check. Because these are the Bad Lancasters.

Date It Happened:

Paperclips


Paperclips

Manhattan

"One USB flashdrive? Seriously? This is a school supply now?" Miranda Lancaster brandishes a few sheets of paper as she halts in the middle of a main aisle. Of where, you ask? Why, "Paperclips", of course, your one-stop shop for office, school, and computer supplies! Its obnoxiously purple logo, signage and uniforms swarm the giant store. The shopping cart is not exempt. So far, it's mostly empty, save for a few packages of pencils, pens, and Miranda's purse.

Miranda brandishes a few sheets of paper. The first one has a header from Brubaker Secondary School. School Supplies for the 2008-2009 school year. She flips the page. It's another one… for another grade. She flips that one, too. Guess what? It's another freaking school supplies list. "I swear to God— Mark, you should've just rewrote Maria's contract and showed it to her before she was all, 'oh, but Mrs. Lancaster, I would love to help you but that's not part of my job!'" Hello, horrible, pitiful Mexican accent. Never do that again, Miranda. "Jesus Christ. They get longer every year."

"You tell that nineteen year old son of a whore that I said he better get his ass to the office. I know where he likes to move it, move it and if he doesn't move it into the office by the time I get there, I will put in a call to the ASPCA, buy seventeen hungry mongrels, tie him to a chair, naked and let them feast on his kibbles and bits!"

Mark Lancaster is on the phone. In the middle of Paperclips. Completely ignoring his wife. Apparently, someone on the other end must either be talking to him or apologizing or screaming for their life because Mark's mouth isn't moving. Instead, he's holding his finger to his lips, listening intently to the words that are coming into his ear. "That's what I wanted to hear. THANK you. Goodbye!" And the hanging up of the phone happens right now. But he doesn't even put it back in the case, because he's pretty sure that it will be ringing again momentarily. Always does. He should, however, at least look at his wife.

"What? Are you talking to me?" He takes the steps needed to catch up with his cart pushing wife and peers over her shoulder. "Oh, this is bullshit." And he's reaching to flip the pages that she just flipped. "Bullshit. And more bullshit. That's what you have in your hand right now. A big steaming pile of bullshit." He frowns and looks around the store, as if trying to figure out which way to go first. "I say we do this diplomatically. Since you're the woman, you go get everything on the lists. I'll step out, call Maria and see if I can charm her soon to be deported ass and get her down here."

At least he has a plan.

Tagging along behind the Lancasters is not one of their daughters. Or, well, maybe she is. Annabelle tags along to their family functions enough that she might as well just adopt the last name. With her own list in her hand, Annabelle is quite used to the swearing and the yelling and the cellphone ignoring. She's kind of in her own little world of notebooks and pens and staples when she stops and looks at Mark and then at Miranda. "You know, we're being taught in school that men and women should be equal in all things. I think they meant buying school supplies, too."

Miranda lets the lists flop when she drops her hand to the shopping cart, her wrist just sort of hitting the handle. Meanwhile, she rubs her other hand over one brow. The constant tirade from Mark is normal, by this point; if he didn't constantly have a phone in his hand, she'd be suspicious. "Apparently, our children need five binders and graphing calculators to become educated members of society." She tugs the lists back and drops them in the little section of the cart where her purse is hitching a ride. The brunette wife of the pair looks at Annabelle. Stares. Blinks. She looks back to Mark. "What Annabelle means is, no charming of Maria's ass. I have her looking after Alison and Michelle! Go find the Scotch tape."

To add to this lovely shopping trip, the store's sound system is filtering out what must be a Back-To-School mix of pop songs popular with the teenaged crowd.

"Child. You are not mine. Which means that I am not responsible for what pitfalls my happen to you in a dangerous store such as Paperclips. Watch your step. I hear wet floors may cause me to break your neck." Mark says all of this with a kind smile on his face, because he just does not care for the freeloading brat. That is, well, until someone else messes with her. Then there are issues. But that's the inner Mark! His eyes cut over to Miranda's stopping of his threat-making and he pouts at her. "But it's such a nice ass. I charmed yours once." What that means could be really gross or just really… yeah, really gross. "Scotch tape? I suppose they also want it on the rocks. I swear, what the hell does tuition pay for? Lunch?" But, nonetheless, he's stalking into an aisle to snatch down an entire row of Scotch tape.

"Ooh! I love this song." Annabelle looks up at the ceiling where the speakers are, as if her praise could reach through the speakers to wheover is playing that song that she likes. "The graphing calculator is really neat, actually," she tells Miranda. "You punch in some numbers and it draws it all out for you. In waves and stuff!" Yes, very technical. Glancing down at her list, her brow furrows. "We need Scotch tape?" It doesn't look like it, but that's okay. Then, she looks over her sheet of paper at Mark and beams. "I know!" she tells him. "It's okay. I'm very careful. You don't have to worry about me, Mr. Lancaster." Because that's really what she takes that speech as being - him worried for his safety. "The lunch at school is really good. I can imagine it being expensive." How does this child survive hanging around this family?

Despite the girl's remarkable naivety, Miranda flashes what can only be construed as an apologetic expression to Annabelle. Sorry, honey. My husband is an asshole. He won't really break your neck. Really. "It pays for a feeling of superiority over the mediocrity of public school," she calls out down the aisle in an entirely drab tone. She wanders from the cart to pick up several varieties of glue. "You and Mae are past the Scotch tape and glue stage," she tells Annabelle, pat-patting the little redhead absently on her way back to the cart. "Thankfully. That girl liked her glitter as a child. Freakin' stuff is like herpes." Wheelwheelwheel. She pushes the cart in Mark's direction. "That's… great, they'll have enough tape to last their entire school career," she says, monotone, but tacks on a smile. "Next stop: paper!" EXCITING! RIGHT?

Mark shoves all of the tape into the cart. "Hey. If my girls need scotch tape, then they're going to get the best scotch tape that my money can buy. Maybe they can use it to tape Mae's mouth shut so there's actually some food left in the house. Her and her FREELOADING…" He looks directly at Annabelle at this moment. ".. friends." Before he can continue to rant, the word that hits him in the head is paper. "Paper? Are you serious? We're paying good money for them to go to this expensive school of snobs and they still have to use paper? There should be a fuckin' laptop attached to everyone's face for all this money!" He waves his hand around in an jerk-ish rage.

"AND WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE GET MILEY CYRUS OFF THE PA SYSTEM BEFORE I SUE THIS GODFORSAKEN CORPORATION FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER VIS-A-VIS BAD FUCKIN' MUSIC!"

"I love glitter." Annabelle has a dreamy expression on her face, as if she's remembering all the projects she ever used with glitter. Most likely, that's exactly what she's doing. Paper is exciting though. Luckily for Mark, the girl is intently looking at her sheet of paper so she totally misses the look that he throws her when she's called a freeloader. It's possible she doesn't know this is all in a bad conext to begin with. It's her own little world. "Oh, that reminds me. I think I drank the last of your orange juice this morning. There didn't seem to be another container, but I really need the vitamin C for soccer this year. I'm hopefully going to be on first string." Then, something catches her eye in one of the aisles. "OH! Look! Calligraphy pens!" Like a moth to the flame, the young girl goes careening for them.

Miranda winces — albeit only slightly, pulling her face into a contortion that eventually settles into general annoyance. In other words, one of her few default expressions. "Mark. Mark. You're gonna make a scene. More importantly, she's not going to crawl through the speakers and kill you." She can only watch Annabelle run off with a bewildered expression on her face. She opens her mouth to make some comment and… just stops. Annabelle defies logic. "I'll handle the two thousand plus sheets of looseleaf," she offers oh-so-generously, turning around to pin one of the lists to his chest. This may or may not serve double duty to prevent him from chasing Annabelle the freeloader. "You get the stuff from Computers and Electronics. The faster we get this done, the earlier we can go home." Miranda smiles up at her husband with a little smile. Come on. Come oooon. Behave for five minutes to be a school supplies mule. (But she's taking the cart.)

Mark is doing his best to make a scene and throw a fit. He's like a spoiled brat in this place. "Oh, come on, honey. You know I hate manual labor. Especially, if there's no reward for all my hard, masculine work." Definitely unable to not fall for the fact that his wife is the female version of him, he ends up reaching up to grab the list and he sighs. "Fine. But I'm not going to enjoy this. Any of it. At all!" This is said as he watches Randi head off with the cart. He looks at the list and frowns. "… Oh god. My eyes are burning from the stupid." Looking back up, he spots a Paperclips employee that could be about Mae's age.

"Hey! Piss Ant! Wanna' make a hundred bucks?" Mark smiles and holds up the list.

Pushing the Paperclips cart like the dutiful mothers around the store, Miranda hasn't quite turned the corner toward the paper section when she hears Mark's devious, lazy-ass plan in action. She stops, she looks, she considers… then shrugs to herself indifferently and keeps shoving the cart. As long as the supplies get in the cart, at this point. Now… paper. Paper leads to erasers. Erasers leads, through some strange decision of store-planning, to dictionaries. In three languages. Poor Mark, unsupervised…

"… and then you bring all these things back to me and you'll get a crisp, brand spankin' new, hundred dollar bill. Sound good? Great. Now go! Go! Shop like the wind, my little Paperclips Heathen!" That would be Mark sending the little guy off to do all of his dirty work. And now, with Mark being unsupervised, he can do the only thing he ever really wants to do. Use the phone. Unlocking it, he dials a quick number and gets to the chatting. Something about Lindsay Lohan and her bookie can be heard, even as he steps back to kind of hide in the aisles. In case Miranda's watching.

Does it really matter if Miranda's watching? The fact of the matter is, she's not, she's still drowning in dictionaries, but what she expects Mark to be doing and what Mark is actually doing happen to match up perfectly. "English pocket-sized?… French-English, French… Spanish…" Mumblemumblemumble. When it's time to get out of the land of definitions and onto things like binders and duotangs, Randi just so happens to run into the Paperclips employee who is running around frantically trying to get everything on the school list for his chance at a hundred dollar bill.

"Hey you!" Miranda shouts out and draws the teenager closer with a 'come hither (or die)' wriggle of her finger and a smile. "You go to my daughter's school. Jeff, right? Listen." The woman reaches into her purse, takes her wallet out, and starts flipping through the bills inside it, casually searching. "My husband— he's a generous guy." She smiles that slightly manic but somehow charming smile of hers. "Jeff. Jeff Jeff Jeff. How about you drop everything you have into my cart, and I give you fifty bucks and don't tell Mae that I saw you following Little Miss Bianco around the store like a puppy in heat earlier?" She keeps smilin'. "My daughter is very protective of her bee-eff-eff. She'd fuck you up." Mrs. Lancaster then hands him a fifty dollar bill, just as crisp as Mark's one hundred. Just not as shiny.

Skipping back with an armful of supplies, Annabelle doesn't spot Miranda in the immediate vicinity. In fact, all she can see is Mark. Having no idea that Jeff has been following her around or that Miranda is making him an offer she can't refuse, she stops in front of mark with her patented confused expression. "Where'd Mrs. Lancaster go?" she asks the man on the cellphone. Because, really, he should answer her. They're here together. "She's got the cart. I mean, obviously my folks are paying for all this, but I forgot to get a basket of my own and carrying this all around is kind of tough. I may drop something! And if I drop something, then I'll bend down and pick it up. And if I bend down and pick it up, everything will come sliding out the sides and I'll just have to gather everything back up again. Which will make something drop!" It's a long and complicated process she's doing, rattling off to Mark on the phone. "You know what I mean?"

Mark is on the phone. Still. Even after there is an approach from the back by the evil mooching ass Annabelle. In fact, he's still trying to figure out if he can't get Lindsay Lohan as a client. "Look. Ever since she had a growth spurt, everyone's been trying to get their hands on her. I just want her under me." Pause. "No, you tibetan fuckwad. I mean under my protection. She's hot right now. Do you know who much money I can make off her drug issues alone? And then there's this whole lesbian angle…"

Finally, the words of Annabelle end up hitting him in his head so much that he has to pull the phone away from his ear. Spinning down to peer at Annabelle in the face, "Alright. Listen up Lil' Whorphan Annie." Yes, he just said that. "I don't even know who you got here. I locked the back doors. But you're here. And ANNOYING THE FUCK OUT OF ME. So do yourself a favor, go find my wife, put all your little school supply crap in her cart, spread her legs and crawl up into her womb and LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!" His tone shifts from that angry one to one that explains, "… I'm on the phone."

Miranda to the rescue! She rolls up with the cart, much more full than it was when she left. She just misses the bulk of the newest horrifying rant of her husband's, approaching just in time to hear 'LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!', but that's nothing new. He's on the phone. "Hey Mark, can I borrow fifty bucks? I forgot, I have to stop off and buy Alison gym shoes after this." Pause. She looks from Mark to Annabelle. Did something just happen? She's sensing a distinct Something. "…Annabelle? Honey?"

While Mark is talking on the phone, Annabelle is still prattling away on her own. This is way that she is, she can't help it. Maybe she picked up all this gabbiness from the Lancasters. Or she may have turned out this way no matter what, however, there's no way she can continue when she's suddenly faced with Mark and his scornful spewing of mean mean things. For a moment, Annabelle looks shocked and then her eyes narrow at him. "Mae gave me a key," she tells him quietly. And then she just smiles sweetly at him. "So you'll be seeing me after school every day for the rest of the year. Buy a lot of orange juice." Flouncing, she turns around and moves to the cart. "Hi Mrs. Lancaster! Wow, is that all for Mae? Do you mind if I put some of my stuff in here? It's kinda hard to hold onto it all!"

"Hold on." Mark pulls the phone down, again, and ends up peering back towards the girl that is living in his house without living in his house. "She gave you what?!?!" He looks up and spots his wife, whom is much older and capable of handling his wrath. "YOUR DAUGHTER GAVE THIS FREELOADER A KEY TO OUR HOUSE AND YOU DIDN'T TELL ME?!?!" He holds the phone like it's a weapon of marriage destruction and he glares at Miranda! "You know, you can take your daughter, her friends, all your little Gilmore Girls memorabilia… and you can…"

Pause. Stare. Around Miranda.

"HEY! HEY WAIT! THAT'S MY CAR!" He bum rushes towards the door, where he has to actually dodge around both Annabelle and Miranda, as he makes his way! "STOP THEM! I WASN'T EVEN IN A RED ZONE!" Pause. "THAT LONG! OH COME ON!"

And the Mark is gone, diving through the automatic doors to get himself into a chase sequence with his towed BMW.

The distinct look of 'christ, not again' rolls across Miranda's face when Mark goes off the handle. She waits… and waits… and waits… and eventually, as if she knew it would all along, the universe intervenes in the form of a tow truck. She blandly watches him run out of Paperclips. "…nah, it's for all the girls," she tells Annabelle as if none of that just occurred, actually sounding like a somewhat friendly person when she addresses the perky teenager. "Just drop yours in there and we'll get Mae from the dentist's and get you home. Even if we have to take a taxi while Mark runs through the streets of New York murdering the NYPD." She gives a vague nod to the school supplies and mumbles, "… Don't let them intermingle, they might… breed…"

Thus concludes Back-to-School shopping.

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