2009-11-14: What If It's You?



Date: November 14th, 2009


Randall decides to reveal his suspicions that it might be his employee who is making everyone act so peculiarly.

"What If It's You?"

Pawn Shop

Business at the pawn shop has continued to wax and wane lately, between the obnoxious protestors and the obnoxious (but still totally worthwhile) relief clerk and the general state of the economy. Finally, deciding that the evening's lull is unlikely to be broken till morning anyway, Randall heads over and puts out the Closed sign. "Hey, Jade, mind if I ask you something that'll probably make me sound crazy?" There's no hesitation surrounding this question, after all he's had a number of people think he was crazy before.

If Jade was lazy during normal business hours, then she worked with the speed of a three-toed sloth when things were actually slow. At that very moment, she was sitting on top of the counter, one leg curled against her, the other held out before her, slightly bent at the knee. Her socks and shoes had been removed and set on the floor just behind her makeshift seat and cotton balls had been stuffed between her toes to keep them separated, a bottle of dark blue nailpolish was cupped in one hand as she began on to apply a healthy coat to her pinky toe, the last in line on that particular foot.

She glances off to the side as the 'closed' sign is put up and her employer speaks, it was a look that said she already questioned his sanity. "Do I really have a choice? I'm pretty sure you're already at least half-crazy to begin with, so lay it on me. Don't think I can think much less of you." The last statement raises a malicious smirk, right before she leans forward to blow on her bared feet.

This is where a native New Yorker would say something like 'Hey, fuck you too, lady!' - but while Randall has acclimatized over the past couple of years, he still limits his emotional reaction to a grimace. "First off, how much do you remember about the club last night?" he asks, walking over and pulling up a seat behind the counter, leaning back against a bare patch of wall near the door to the storeroom.

Stretching her other foot out in front of her, taking a moment to admire the ten pieces of blued perfection, Jade sticks the lid-brush back into the small bottle and screws the cap back on tight. Her shoulders rise and fall, though she turns enough so that her hair covers her own grimace at the question.

"Entirely too much. Ugh, I can't believe I got up on stage and sung like that. It was one of those stupid things where you can see yourself acting like a seriously deranged retard, but can't do a damned thing about it. Oh god…" Setting the bottle down, she buries her face into her hands momentarily, letting out an emphatic groan of misery. "I can't believe I took my shirt off."

Turning to face the shop owner, she dangles her bare feet off the side of the counter, pulling off the lid once more, deciding to paint her fingernails while she waited for her toes to dry. "Why? You were there, you know how stupid I was. You know, I think I got dosed again. That's twice in like two weeks. This city seriously isn't safe."

Randall shakes his head, leaning forward and gesturing vaguely with his hands. "I think it hit me, too, I started feeling the same way as— well, you probably lucked out, passing out when you did." Winding up in bed together once was awkward enough. If it'd happened twice in as many weeks…

"But that's not what I'm getting at," he continues. "The thing is, that first time? They couldn't have dosed me, because I didn't actually drink anything I ordered that night. So what I'm thinking is…" Here comes the part that'll sound crazy. Well, crazier. "You know all those comic books where people can do weird things— make plants grow, turn invisible, stuff like that? Some of that is really happening. And I think, that glow I saw when you first came in here? I think you might be developing one yourself."

"You mean before I had time to sleep with someone?" As she starts painting her thumbnail, she casts an askance gaze at her employer, one eyebrow arched sardonicly. "I was hopped up on super-ex or something, I couldn't help what I was doing. So, you know, don't get any fun ideas."

As Randall begins to mention not having had anything to drink the first night, she frowns, lowering her hands into her lap to frown fully at him, affording the male her undivided attention for once. But her expression only grows farther and farther deranged as he continues, leaning back and staring at him as if he'd just grown a third head. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Are you trying to say I should have my own comic book, or that I'm a mutant? Because I have to admit, while it'd be pretty neat, an X-Man, I ain't. You sure you're not still high? Because if you've got something in the back and you haven't been sharing, I'm going to be a little upset." With that, she begins to coat her index finger in blue polish.

"I'm serious! I've been dealing with it for a few years now." Randall gets up, starting to pace. Having broached the subject, what should he bring up next? There are so many things…

"I'm not saying that people dress up in goofy costumes and fight crime and stuff. Well, there might be someone somewhere, but… most of us just live our lives, same as everyone else. Except a little more complicated. I think it's magic, some people think it's some sort of genetic— but all of that is really long-term stuff, the most important thing right now is that it happens. Even if you don't know how to control it yet."

Oh, and as if that weren't crazy enough already? This is where it gets worse. "I got a warning from my old girlfriend that the government's found out about it, that they're taking some of us into custody. I haven't seen it for myself, but you need to keep an eye out just in case, okay? We both do."

The brush stops, hovering just over Jade's middle finger as she looks up at the earnest note in Randall's voice. Her eyes follow him for a few moments as he starts pacing about the floor like a teenager with far too much energy and no outlet for it. Finally, she looks around the store, as if searching for eavesdroppers, then leans a bit closer and quirks her eyebrows.

"Can I… buy some pot from you?"

"Seriously." With her fingernail-job half-finished, she shoves the brush back into the bottle and sets it aside for a moment, before slithering off of the counter to land on the heels of her feet, careful to keep her toes off the ground, lest they smudge. "This is all pretty damned out there. And what's with this 'us'? Please, please, don't tell me you think you have super-powers. And me? If I had a super-power, it would be to hook up with the absolute weirdest, most disturbed men in the universe." She holds up a hand, folding the other across her trunk to cup her elbow. "You're starting to sound like you're pitching a bad B-rated movie idea. "So what do we have? Heat vision? Super strength? The ability to instantly humiliate ourselves publicly? Because I'd believe that last one."

Gee, thanks, Jade, way to show gratitude to someone who at least thinks there's a legitimate danger to worry about. "I can see some of these things when they happen," Randall explains, settling back down in the chair now that the worst of his nervousness has burned off. "It's not much of a superpower, but… better than having no warning at all till someone drops a piano on you, right? I think you might actually be getting people hopped up, I'm not sure yet but it's worth considering, you know?"

That causes the dark-haired teenager to rock back on her heels, her expression registering surprise first, then closing down into a defensive scowl. "What! Me?" She points energetically at herself. "You think I'm some kind of drug dealer? I haven't messed with that stuff since I was fourteen!" She cross her arms under her chest as she glowers at the male. If looks could kill, it's a safe bet Randall would have been incinerated on the spot.

"And those other two nights don't count. If I was some roofie-bandit, don't you think I'd avoid drugging myself? I'm… I'm not… Urrh!" Tossing her hands up, she waddles awkwardly around the counter, walking with her toes up off the ground, curling upwards. "Just how would I be doing it, anyway? I can't afford drugs, and I sure as hell don't have a meth lab set up in my living room. So where am I getting them?"

Randall puts his hands up in a classic don't-hit-me-man position, and would probably have tipped over backward in surprise if the chair wasn't backed up against the wall already. As it is, he just manages to scratch up the paint job. "No, of course not!" Wait, 'since I was—' well, never mind that now, he'll take her word that she's put it in her past. He tried some stuff himself when he was that age, and it just didn't do anything interesting for him, so he knows first-hand that it's possible.

"What I'm saying is, instead of getting drugs from someplace, maybe you're doing something that makes people feel the same way. Not on purpose, otherwise of course you'd leave yourself out of it."

Shaking her head, the dark-haired teenager scoffs, a small bit of laughter escaping her as she leans her elbows on the counter with a small roll of her eyes. "This might just be the most roundabout way I've ever heard of to tell me I drive you wild." She stares down at her two colored nails, constrasting sharply with their multitudes of unpainted bretheren, quirking her lips from side to side as she tries to make sense of the nonsense she was hearing.

"Let's say, for just a moment," She looks back up. "That you're not completely, totally, unbelievably out of your mind. Just what the hell are you getting at? I have super pheromones that are driving people so crazy they're acting out and bumping uglies? What, every time I get a little 'excited', people are going to-" She stops for a moment, drumming the fingers of one hand against her bottom lip. "It did all start when I was making eyes at that senator. …No! No, it's too crazy. You're so deranged, you're making me insane, too."

All Randall can offer in return is a shrug. "I did warn you it was going to sound crazy."

There was a senator in the club? Which night? Either way, Randall must have missed running into him, but both places were big enough and had enough people coming in and out for that to be plenty reasonable.

"I could be wrong about this," he continues, "I don't have the greatest focus in the world, I'll admit— this is just what it looks like, right now. It couldn't hurt to at least think about it, see if things keep fitting or not."

"Yeah, but I thought you were going to same something that was just kind of dumb. What you're suggesting is pretty damned… Freaky. I mean, how the hell am I supposed to believe any of this! You think you," She points at her employer. "And me," she points at herself. "Are superhuman. Or at least suspect it. And what's all this nonsense about an ex-girlfriend in a government conspiracy?"

Plucking the tiny brush back out of the small mini-bottle, she dips it a few times before wiping it off on the rim, then braces her hand against the wooden surface of the counter, painting half of her middle finger with a single, broad stroke. "Okay, but how come it only happens when I go out? Why hasn't it happened here? Why is it always me and- Uh…" She glances up oh-so-briefly, then back down at her nails. "Me, you, Chi, and that senator? How come it doesn't happen to anyone else? Why not, like, one of the customers?"

Randall should find some side activity to help pass the slow times. Maybe cryptic crosswords, if they put them out in magazines instead of having to truck in a foreign newspaper all the time. "That, I don't know yet… maybe it's a clubbing mood that makes it fire off. Or maybe it's Chi doing it instead, I think you met him for longer than I did."

"As for the conspiracy… I didn't get any more detail than what I already told you, but if I had to guess? Somebody stumbled across somebody else with an ability, and they freaked too, only they had some strings they could pull." No mention of whether the ex has an ability herself, though from context she obviously knows about them at least.

"Clubbing mood? Maybe. It did happen at clubs, but Chi?" Jade shakes her head, waving off the notion out of hand. "There's no way, he's too whipped by Lena to go around trying to date-rape people. Besides, most of the ones affected have been men. So if your little half-baked theory is anywhere near correct, and I'm not saying it is, it'd make more sense that a woman was responsible."

As she finishes up her left hand, she swaps the brush to that one, dipping it a few times as she begins to pain her right. "I mean, think about it. The feeling is pretty epic, makes everying feel unbelievably good, and is pretty much like Ex on steroids, which is pretty much a love drug, right? So if it's sparked by some kind of mood, it's either a woman, or a guy who swings that way. You know, I hear pheromones are triggered by sexual interest, so maybe this Poison Ivy wannabe is spraying them out like spores."

"Hmm… you might be on to something there. Was Lena there both times, too?" Randall gets up and wanders over to the counter, leaning against it as he thinks things over. "If you're right about Chi hanging all over her, then he's probably not butter side down. Unless he's her gay best friend instead. Anyway— that's about it, I guess, ought to be able to figure it out one way or another."

"You taking off soon?" he adds, opening up the cash register and straightening out the more crumpled of the bills. "I can close up tonight if you want."

"Yeah, but she never gets affected. And Chi wasn't affected last night, either, but he was the first time. So… I dunno. I still think you're nuts." Halfway done with the first half of her right hand, she looks over at the register as it's opened, lifting a shoulder. "It's probably a coincidence. Or a stalker. Hell, I'd think it was you doing it if I hadn't been all shot up before you showed up."

With her hand done, she fastens the top back onto the bottle of polish, then pulls open a counter drawer awkwardly, without the use of her fingernails, depositing it inside. She then bends down and inspects her toes, deciding they were dry enough. Putting on her socks was made difficult, and a bit of blue stains makes it's way onto the white cotton as she does so. "Yeah, if you're closing up, I'll take off. I think I'll call a cab. If I do have a stalker, I don't want him catching me walking around the city alone." Slipping into her shoes, she digs under the counter shelves, coming up with her purse, then bouncing around the counter towards the door, tossing a wave over her shoulder.


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