2007-09-06: The Accidental Tourist

Starring:

Felix_icon.gif Mariska_icon.gif Persi_icon.gif

Summary: An invisible girl crosses an invisible line and a pair of Russians snarl traffic in Times Square. (This is the scene in which "Bad Penny" Persi gets her nickname.)

Date It Happened: September 6th, 2007

The Accidental Tourist


Midtown, NYC - Times Square

Times Square. The massive clearinghouse of bodies on the move - on foot, in cars, or on bikes - as made by tourists and locals alike. Cue the arrival of one tourist, Mariska, and one local, Felix, and send them straight on through the masses with their backs to the camera as they converse. «Are you hungry?» she asks when they pass by what must surely be the hundredth street vendor. «I think I'm really starting to want a giant pretzel…» Go not-so-subliminal advertising.

"I worked a couple of New Years here, when I was a beat cop," Felix says, as he strolls beside her. He's wearing his usual white Oxford, though it's open over a white t-shirt, jeans, and his usual scuffed Docs. "It was insane. Do you actually want a pretzel?" he says, unable to help a grin. "I'll get you one."

Persi has been following along near the two for a while now, out of the coincidence of foot-traffic flow, but when she hears conversation take a turn that allows her to make an entrance (albeit an entrance completely lacking in subtlety), Persi loops around the person between her and Mari, only to fall in line as a third member of the pair, at which point she pipes up, "What's this about pretzels?" Aside, to Mari in particular, "This guy's always giving me food, it's great." Nevermind the baseball bat she's toting, leaned against one shoulder. That's totally normal.

Oh, right. This was partially an exercise in practicing English. Mariska bites at the corner of her lower lip, as if the prospect of munching on a warm, delicious pretzel might somehow need debating. "I actua—" What the…?! Where did this chick come from? What the hell is she talking about? Why does she have a baseball bat? The Russian woman looks extremely askance at their newest 'companion' and goes for the obvious question first: "Who the hell are you??"

"She's some crazy girl. She keeps showing up like a bad penny," Felix explains, blinking mildly at Persi. "I was offering her one, but I suppose you could have one, too. What's with the bat?" he wonders, hands in his pockets.

Persi grins a bit at the reaction she gets and sticks her non-bat-carrying hand out as much as she can on the congested sidewalk for a moving handshake, "I'm Persi, and this here is Felix. Nice to meetcha." Then, hamming it up much less, she glances over at Felix, "Oh, this? I was beating up a vending machine that didn't want to cooperate."

Believe it or not, Mariska isn't so much inclined to make with the handshaking. But, she does, anyways… and then adds 'Bad Penny Persi' to the long list of people in New York City who know Felix Ivanov. Seriously. The prospect that the man might have been a gigolo in his off-hours is starting to become a startlingly convenient possibility. Known to women citywide. Gay, indeed! Mariska makes an attempt to play things conversationally and asks with a vague gesture to the bat, "Did you win?" Versus the vending machine.

"You really want me to arrest you, don't you?" Fel says, with a faintly put-upon expression. "You're not one of those people who has, like, a cop fetish or something?" Gigolo? Nothing so glamorous. You work enough foot posts as a beat cop, man, do you know people. He sighs. "Don't say that kinna stuff in front of me." He lets Misha introduce herself or not, as she chooses, letting blue eyes half-lid like an irritated cat.

Persi snorts a little at Felix and raises a finger as speaks, "I do believe that confession holds no weight as legal proof of a crime." As if Persi knows law. Tch. Either way, she makes a mock-nonchalant and obviously futile gesture of hiding the baseball bat behind her back. Then, her attention's back to Mari, "And, actually, that's a hard question. Yes, I did win, but the vending machine did not, ultimately, change its worldview, so it was little more than an empty victory. The kind that's really almost worse than defeat."

Ironically, Mariska can quietly appreciate such an epic struggle and mentally scratches 'baseball bat' off of the list of things to use in her own battle of paradigm. But, about that pretzel… she detours the trio slightly, stepping up to a roach coach and demanding, "Two pretzel, please. And water." Man, that accent is heavy like a lead weight. Of course, she's not paying for this and so it's Felix that now gets the eye… for various reasons, but, mostly, she's in it for his wallet right now.

Persi butts in real quick to get the comment in before Felix goes about paying, "She means three. Three pretzel. She's new to English. Russian, y'see."

"Three pretzels, three waters," Felix says, with an air of faint resignation. Check that out - not even married yet, and already henpecked. Man, this heterosexuality business sucks. He hands over an amount of cash that amounts to highway robbery for the sake of carbohydrates.

Persi grins widely and raises the pretzel she receives, victoriously, "HA! Fuck yeah! Free pretzel." With that, she tucks her baseball bat under one arm and takes the water, too, giving Felix a huge, huge grin that, on the surface, might seem appreciative — but then, the more you know Persi, the less likely it is to seem genuine. When she was || far from walking off from the pretzel-cart, she pauses and looks down at her pretzel, then at the pretzel man, "Wait, I don't even like pretzels…" A moment more and she sticks it out toward the poor guy, "Here, take this back and give me store credit so I can go get a hot dog. Credit here works with all Fat Italians, right?" (And no, the name on the cart isn't Fat Italian, she's just being insulting.)

Mariska's intention was to generously share her twisted, warm, salty goodness with Felix but somehow Persi manages to derail that plan masterfully. The young woman's antics are observed with a sort of silent horror, her thoughts almost audible (though, in Russian) as she pleads with God or whomever may be listening not to let her daughter grow up to be an American.

It's not so much the Americans as it is the New Yorkers. But it is too late, either way. "A pretzel is what you get," Felix says, patiently. "You had your chance, I'm not buying you anything else." Look, Misha, he can totally deal with crazy kids. And this one isn't even his, right? The guy at the cart says something rude in Arabic, and Persi off irritably. The agent merely hands Persi her bottled water, patiently.

Persi finds frustration both in how hard it is to get an appropriate rise out of someone who doesn't fully understand the nuances of the English language, and how similar the result of the transaction is to the earlier run-in with a vending machine, "Damn it all, nobody appreciates the virtues of barter anymore." She trails off there and just half-lids her own eyes in indignity as she turns to head along with the other two with pretzel held in mouth so she can suck the salt off without having to actually, god forbid, bite into a pretzel. At least it shuts her up for a minute, though.

"Not in this part of New York, anyway," Felix says, drily. He, by the way, looks like hell. He's still got the pallor of someone who didn't see proper sunlight for weeks, and there are new scars at temple and eyebrow. "Besides, that's food. It's gross. If you don't like it, you can throw it away, but you don't get to trade it like Pokémon."

Persi raises an eyebrow slightly at the word 'Pokémon' and, well, seems to take it as an insult — and a very poignant insult! "Pokémon? God, how young do you think I am?!" After a moment, she adds, "Then again, I do know a little about Pokémon. But then, if this were Pokemon, I'd be all…PRETZELSAUR, I CHOOSE YOUUUUU!" With that, she spins around a couple of times (apparently confusing Pokemon with Sailor Moon) and, having somewhere in the midst taken the pretzel into her hand from her mouth, flings the thing Frisbee-style right at the side of Felix's head. From, like, five feet away.

"What the fuck?" Felix demands, putting up a hand to snatch the thing out of the air. ""What are you, in kindergarten?" He gives Misha a sidelong look of annoyance. «Amazing how the crazy ones find me, isn't it?»

Persi scratches her head for a second, considering that, but then, a grin slowly draws across her face as she figures out a way to hook back in with a previous jibe at Felix, "Yeaaah. You love girls in kindergarten, don't you? Why didntcha buy me a lollipop?"

Wait, wha— what just happened there? One minute Mariska's playing the part of the slightly gaunt but lovable mute, munching quietly on her pretzel with Persi and Felix fling familiarity back and forth… the next, she's having near-miss moments with discarded dough. Thankfully, her companion seems to have preternaturally fast reflexes and she's spared a salty salutation to the shoulder. Still, it's enough to make her flinch. But then, Persi punches in with her retort and Mariska opts to express how weary she's grown of the other woman's company by splashing her in the face with a quick flick of the wrist; the water bottle in her hand becomes an open-mouthed spritzer. That's an angry look. Apparently, in Russia, it's bad form to infer that someone might be a pedophile. Go figure.

Fel's mouth is open for some sort of retort. Man. That'll teach him to do crazy people a kindness. And then Misha is splashing Persi as if she were a bad kitten caught trying to climb the living room drapes. Fel is, frankly, incredulous - his jaw shuts with an audible snap, and he peers at Misha. "Thanks. I never thought to see you defend me," he says, amused.

Persi draws back with a gasp when she's suddenly got a splash of cold water in her face — the reaction of someone caught completely off-guard. Her immediate reaction after she realizes what's happened is to drop her own water bottle and draw back with the baseball bat out of sheer rage, but then she realizes she's in the middle of Times Square and she'd end up in the jail, on the news, and all over the internet. So, instead, she ducks back and recoups her water bottle, simply falling in line with the others in silence. Angry, angry silence.

Felix is surprised at his crazy magnetism? Really? «Then maybe you should stop feeding them.» In more ways than one. Mariska directs a stern finger at Persi and chides with a chill in her tone, "Watch your mouth, little girl. Where I am from, you do not spit on generosity. He bought you food. You say thank you." Mommy says now. Or else.

No wonder Neo has that perpetually flabbergasted look. Trin's nothing to mess with when she's mad. "Likely, I should," he says to Misha, voice gone dry, as he eyes Persi warningly. Don't even try it.

Persi sets her jaw for a few moments, eyeballing that finger pointed at her with an almost irrepressible urge to do violence upon it or the person attached to it. However, in the end, she just continues to sound ever-so-unamused at the fact that someone's actually challenging her behavior. She doesn't have anything smart enough to fling back at Mariska, so she targets her indirectly through Felix, instead, "Yo, Felix. Call off your mail-order bride before I introduce her to the sidewalk."

"If you try it, your ass will be spending the night in jail for disorderly conduct," Felix says, flatly. "I don't know who you think gave you the license to asshole, but she's right. I haven't done shit to you. Back the fuck down, kid," He doesn't bother to correct her misapprehension about their marital status. It's complicated.

Not to mention astoundingly oracular. Perhaps Persi has a gift that she's yet to tap into? If she does, it's doing little to avail her in the here and now save for the occasional clever comeback (though, that still counts for something, right?). Mariska marches on, water imbibed while her partially picked-apart pretzel goes all but forgotten in her hand. Felix's foray into a profanity-laced retort seems sufficient enough for the Russian woman, in at least that she spares the pair from adding in anything else of her own. It's entirely possible she's still anticipating an eventual 'thank you' to be delivered.

Persi glowers over at Felix and crosses her arms in a pose appropriately resembling a contrary child, "That's not fair, Felix. Just because you're a cop doesn't mean you can use it in an argument. You don't hear me saying, 'Hey, don't be a douchebag or I'll steal your car,' now do you? …then again…you guys might wanna take that into consideration if you keep calling me a damn kid. I don't recall doing anything to deserve the bitchy treatment. C'mon, lighten up!"

"Uh, did you miss the part where you more or less refused the food I gave you gratis, threw it at me, and then implied I'm a pedophile?" Felix wonders, arching his brows at her. "Listen. I don't know what your major malfunction is. I don't much care. I don't know if you're off your meds or got beaten too much as a kid or what. Maybe you think you're funny. Maybe you like fucking with whatever John Law you happen to come across. But you're not my problem." With that, he turns his back on her, and picks up his pace to match Mariska's.

You know, between the trio of people involved in this scene who might suddenly be stricken with anterograde memory loss, Persi was actually the last on the list. Ironic, eh? Mariska comes to a pause at a busy street corner because, well, the light hasn't turned to accommodate pedestrian traffic (even if there are a few brave and/or suicidal souls making the attempt anyways). This gives Felix a chance to catch up and, of course, Persi a chance to give short chase. Where are they headed?

Persi frowns sharply at that tirade from Felix and stops for the moment — yelling after him rather than following him, "C'mon, man! I thought we were friends! I refused the food 'cause it was nasty! I threw it at you because it served better as a PokèBall than as food! And I said you were a pedo HOW many times now, and you've never gotten this pissed off about it! Stop being such a bitch and let it drop!"

"It's rude," Felix says, tone reverting to that former grinding patience. "I've taken about enough shit from the citizens of New York City, honestly. I don't have to do it in my spare time. An apology would suffice, though."

The little green man on the crosswalk sign signals that it's time for pedestrians to claim their right to cross en masse. Mariska initially marches on with the group while fishing around in her messenger bag for something or other undetermined. Oh. Her phone. Who's she gonna call? (Ghostbusters?) No one yet, apparently, as a rough shoulder check delivered by a man in a swanky suit crossing in the opposite direction dislodges her celphone from her hand and sends it clattering against the pavement. Great. She struggles through the sea of bodies in order to get to it before it's claimed by a thief or crunched underfoot and when, FINALLY, she makes it there and bends to retrieve it — she's put herself directly in the path of a taxi cab hurtling along on a collision course in an attempt to jump the turn light. DUN DUN DUN!!

Congratulations, Misha. You're the cause of what's damn near a car wreck. The cab in question apparently slams on the brakes - there's the squeal of rubber on asphalt. And then it's as if it had a wheel lock - abruptly it goes skittering away. Happily the intersection is empty, so it comes to rest at the opposite sidewalk, to a horrified chorus of horns.

Persi flinches a little as this all happens — one of those motions where somebody moves to act quickly, but then the impetus is quashed by the situation being both out of their hands and already-solved. Nonetheless, even as the cab is squealing off to the opposite sidewalk, Persi's breaking into a run — she doesn't run up to Mari to make sure she's okay or anything, she goes right across the street (thanks to the momentarily halted traffic) and over to the taxi itself, which she gives a whack on the door with her baseball bat — hard enough to leave a dent, "HEY, buddy! The fuck's with running that light? You in a hurry to get someplace?" Of course, she's leaning down to the window, whether up or down, as she berates the driver.

Like nearly all damsels in distress, Mariska is blissfully ignorant of the danger until it's too late to be avoided. The piercing peal of squealing rubber being forcibly painted on the pavement is what draws her attention; head up, eyes wide, right hand clutching her dropped phone. For a split second, it looks like disaster but then, miracle of miracles, the car goes careening to the side and she is spared what would have otherwise been a pretty devastating salutation by the radiator grill. OR… would she? In all of the gasping panic and irate excitement of the moment, the attention has turned from the woman nearly made road paste to the wrecked cabbie and his expletive-spewing fare.

Mariska is… wait, where'd she go? «Well…» The camera pans out to reveal the Russian woman suddenly standing shoulder to shoulder with Felix, as if she'd never left his side. «…that was close.»

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