2009-10-11: Whodunnit



Date: October 11th, 2009


While visiting the Museum of Anthropology, Alex and Cammy become stuck in the lobby after the place is locked down by the police. Apparently someone has stolen a precious mask from one of the exhibits, though it's anyone's guess as to who the culprit is.


NYC, Upper West Side - Museum of Anthropology

Early afternoon found the Anthropology Museum in a bit of a turmoil. All of the visitors had been rounded up as an alarm had been sounded, the museum security shepherding everyone into the large, open room, explaining to them all that they were sorry, but they had to be detained until the authorities had arrived. It had taken but a few more minutes for the first patrol cars to arrive on the scene, and then begin setting up a crime scene in the Little Egypt room.

Once this had been done, a general announcement was made that an extremely valuable Pharaoh's mask had been taken, and that anyone who had any information about the theft should come forward. Until such time as the location of it could be ascertained, everyone would be questioned. Those who permitted it would have their person and their possessions searched, while those would not would get to look forward being held even longer, awaiting a search warrant. After a while, tidbits overheard from the talking officers would trickle through the crowd about the theft: they think one of the guests did it, it was stolen from a sealed container, the glass barrier had still been locked after the disappearance, etc. Most people were placing their suspicions on the museum staff.

Thus it was that a certain blonde-haired woman, Camille Roux by name, had come to be stuck within the lobby of the expansive museum for over an hour now. She had seated herself on one of the steps leading upstairs, one of her three-inch-heels off of her foot and in her hand, rubbing at the sole of her foot while she looked decidedly non-plussed about the whole situation. "Mon dieu, dis ees zo ztupeed! Why do de rezt of uz have to be here? Dey zhould let uz go already." Her small clutch purse was in her hands in the next instant, digging through it to pull out a slim, black cellular phone, thumbing open the top half. She's stopped by a police officer's approach.

"No calls, ma'am."

"Urrrrgh!" With a growl of feral frustration, the French woman slings the phone back into the small purse, snapping it shut.

The brunette woman sits on the stairs as well, maybe two or three of the low, broad steps of the grand staircase in the lobby. Very much like the French woman she sits, detained, both of her heels off, set neatly on the step beside her. Her peach overcoat is folded up and placed on top of them, her purse directly next to them. She has also declined a search, her small purse being vastly too small to hold the stolen item, but refusing to be searched without a warrant.

"Don't worry…they're all jerks" she says, reaching out to touch the woman on the shoulder. "I've run into the NYPD three times now in the last week, and they've been SO STELLAR each and every time" she says, rolling her eyes a bit. "Heck, one of those time was to give a report over a mugging and a shooting, and they treated me like I had three heads, you know?" Her black and white dress is pulled down over her knees, and she casually flips her loose hair back over a shoulder in frustration at this situation. Why do these things keep happening to her!

At the feel of a hand on her shoulder, Camille half-turns in her makeshift seat to the dark-haired woman. One of her eyebrows twitches at the mere mention of the NYPD, as if the source of all of her troubles could be traced back to those four little letters. After a moment, she lets out a harsh breath through her nose, letting her shoulders slump just a bit.

"Oui! De Amereecan poleece are zo ineefectual at dere jobz eet ees a travezty! En alwayz, alwayz are we made to zuffer for eet. Az eef dey need to take out dere agrezziawn on uz becauze dey cannawt even ztop de crime in dere counzree."

Placing the small clutch back in her lap, the French woman leans to the side, slipping her foot back into her shoe, then tamping it down on the floor a few times to make sure it fit on properly. "Trois? Zurely zhou muzt have de worzt luck I have ever heard of. What deed zhou do, to zo peez dem off?" There's a small, malicious smile that Camille allows to shine through her irritated demeanor, right before she pushes herself to her feet, only to have Mr. No-Phone walk towards her again.

"Ma'am, we're asking all the visitors to please not wander around the lobby at this time."

Pointing angrily towards the exit, the blonde practically snaps in his face. "Doze peopeel are getteeng to go!"

"Ma'am, if you would just remain calm, we're doing everything we can to get you out of here as quickly as possible."

Turning away from the officer with a petulant stomp of her heel, the French woman folds her arms across her middle, tapping her purse impatiently against the side of her ribs. Leaning against the side rail of the stairway, she sighs wearily as her eyes find the brunette again. "My brozer ees going to be wondereeng where I am. He ees at de airport even now!"

Alex watches all this patiently, listening to Camille speak. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the woman is French! Unlike Camille, she doesn't raise a stink about any of these happenings. She's a patient woman, with no family here in the city, nothing happening today to worry about being late to, so she's content to just sit while the search warrant is prepared and brought over. It's just a crying shame that her trip to the world-famous museum, the first time she's ever been, had to be ruined by such an off-the-wall happening.

When Camille starts to get frustrated, Alex reaches out and takes her wrist. To the woman, she speaks in French, albeit a New Oreans version, with more than a bit of the Cajun accent. ("Here, have a seat, and I'll tell you about what happened to me. If you get impatient, they tend to act like real jerks.") She's smiling up at the tall woman, looming over her there on the steps. ("Maybe if you relax a little, you can give them a phone number for your brother and have them call for you, no?") she tells the woman calmly, logically.

As the younger woman takes her wrist, Camille frowns down at the hand for a moment, as if trying to decide if she wanted to end her tantrum just yet, or go on to rant for a while longer. Both seemed attractive options, but one was likely to leave her hoarse, further detained, and maybe even in jail, so the blonde elects to calm down somewhat. A look of surprise registers across her features at the foreign language the brunette speaks, as she sits down next to the other woman.

"(I can't believe you speak French! Most Americans can barely speak their own language.)" Reaching up, she runs her fingers through her yellow locks, pushing her bangs up and away from her face, where they seemed insistent on tickling her nose. "(I would never have the police call my brother for me! He would likely think I had gotten arrested again. He would never have come to see me if he thought I was the same hell-crazed kitten I was when I left our home. But I'm sure you have little to no desire to hear about my little family drama.)"

She tilts her chin up a bit, gesturing at Alex. "(So what happened to you, hmm? Something deliciously scandalous, I hope.)"

("Yes…I'm full of surprises") she tells Camille. What an understatement that is! ("I grew up in New Orleans, and both my parents speak French. Though, it's Cajun French, refined by a few years of real French class in school, not pretty French like yours. And my story? It's…actually far less exciting than you would imagine. I was mugged in Central Park less than a week ago, along with another woman. While we were there, man…men, really, dressed as a children's superhero from here in the United States literally swooped in to rescue us with gadgets. He wasn't quite quick enough, though, and I actually got shot!") To make her point, she rolls up the little right sleeve of her dress, showing off the absorbent pad taped there, the bullet wound underneath soaked in first aid lotion to keep it from getting infected.

("Of course, leave it to these police to not believe a word of my story, even though the other girl that was mugged and shot at gave the same story.") She rolls her eyes, giving a patient, dismissive smile, almost inexplicably. ("And to show how small this world is, I ran into her last night in a pub, where another police officer…well, I think he was a police officer, was harassing her about the incident, like HE didn't believe her either!")


At the mention that the story wouldn't be of great value as an object of potential gossip, the blonde-haired woman quirks her lips slightly, looking vaguely disappointed. "(Shot! That is terrible. The crime in this country is so absolutely appalling. Things like that so rarely happen in France. You never know who the criminals are around here! Like today with all of…)" She waves her hand vaguely to encompass the room. "(This. If it wasn't for the opportunities, I would have moved back home years ago.)"

As the wound is shown, Camille actually begins to reach out and touch it, out of some sort of morbidly curious reflex. She catches herself short of the mark, however, pausing, then pulling her hand back with a small sound of dismayed dissatisfaction, and a tiny shake of her head. "(So there you are, bleeding and scared to death, and the police are blaming you and your friend. Typical! If they can not find someone to blame, they will just pin it on whoever is convenient at the time. Truly despicable! This friend of yours, you should tell her to get that insolent pig's badge number and file a complaint.)"

Shaking her head, as if the events were almost too tragic to be believed, Camille brushes a long strand of her bangs behind her ear before holding out her hand. "(I'm Camille. But please, everyone calls me Cammy.)"

Alex nods patiently, smiling. She takes Camille's hand in her own, giving a small shake. ("Lovely to meet you Camille…Cammy. I'm Alexandra, but most people call me Alex, since that's quite the mouthful!") She seems pleased enough to make small talk, even if it isn't really gossip-worthy. But Camille raises a good point; the officer in the pub last night never did identify himself as a true police officer…at least not to her, or not that she can remember. ("Honestly, he might not've been a police officer. Maybe he was some Federal agent…I can't recall. I was mostly just listening in on their conversation while having a salad and reading engineering reports for the week.")

She stops talking, thankfully at the end of her sentence, as a police officer walks over, looming over the two women. He's giving them the stink eye, as if speaking a foreign language is illegal in the United States. "Yes Officer, is there a problem."

"No" he replies gruffly. "But since I know you two were making a big deal of it…" he says, tossing two sealed envelopes down at them. "Two signed, sealed search warrants. We'll have a look in those bags now, ladies" he says, grinning with a certain amount of satisfaction over making them wait so long. He probably had them soon after locking the museum down!

"(Alex, right. So you are an interested in engineering, then? Like, making buildings and ships, things like that?)" She cut off as Officer Nasty chooses that moment to appear in an attempt to wreck her just-burgeoning good humor, prompting the blonde-haired woman to glare up at the man. She fumbles the sealed envelope a few times before it finally comes to settle in her palm. With an exaggeratedly put-upon sigh, she tears it open, nearly tearing the document within as well. Yanking it out, she only skims over the material, as the legalese written within it is utter gibberish to her.

Uncrossing her legs, the French woman stands upright, holding up the small clutch she carried by one end. "Zhou are about de mozt rudezt human I have ever met! Doz eet /look/ as if I can feet a mummy'z mazk in my purz, cochon?" That said, she imperiously thrusts the carrying case at the officer's face, nearly up his nose, her own head tilted back at a proud, angry angle.

Her purse wouldn't be found to contain much: a phone, a PDA, a compact, two shades of lipstick, certain feminine products no woman should be without, and a spare pair of pantyhose. Once she has her possessions back and replaced in her purse, she snaps the carryall closed while giving the officer her best indignant stare.

Alex is up next, of course. Unlike Camille, she doesn't stand up and thrust her purse in his face, but rather, hands it over. It's bigger than Camille's, by far, since she likes to keep her bag over her shoulder, or carry it at her sides by the straps. The contents aren't much different either…there's just more. A few more lipstick and chapstick tubes, an extra compact, the same types of feminine things, a cellular phone, a wallet with checkbook, a small netbook, and a plastic bound set of engineering reports.

While standing, she's shown to be rather little…maybe 5'3" (since she's standing in barefeet on the stone step), slender and tiny. She seems confident enough though, knowing right well she doesn't have the dang mask in her purse! Just things she came with, the 'essentials' as she'd call them…and yes, that netbook and those reports are essential to a nerd like her!

As nosy as can be, the taller woman seems to pay undue attention to the contents of the other girl's purse, watching each item as it came out, and then was scooped back in. Once it's confirmed they have nothing to hide, and both have valid ID, they're then forced to submit to the personal search. Camille, predictably, throws a fit, outright refusing until a female officer is offered to give her the pat down. Finally submitting, the French woman indignantly holds her arms out to the side as all of her pockets are patted down and a hand-held metal detector is passed over her.

Once this is done to both women, the accosting officers move on to the next visitors with word that 'others will be with them soon to take their statements'. The blonde turns her head down and to the side to give the shorter, barefoot woman a quick up-and-down. After a moment, she grins impishly and reaches up, placing her palm on top of the dark-haired Alex's head. "(Alex, Alex, Alex.)" Each repetition of her name is accompanied by a small headpat. "(You're really short.)"

Once she's done with her fun, her smile turns itself upside down, becoming a frown as hazel eyes scan the room, searching for something. "(All this waiting is not good for my bladder. Come with me, let's find the bathroom. If these oafs even let us go! I swear, I will pee on these steps if they do not.)"

("Yes…I agree. I certainly wasn't expecting this as I wandered the museum!") she says, holding up an empty water bottle with one of those little flavor packets crumpled up inside. She takes the headpatting in stride though, smiling through it. Yes, she's short, and she knows it. She's really tiny. But when she slips her heels back on, she gets a few more inches, 2 or 3, and actually comes up to a respectable size of maybe 5'6"ish or around there.

"Excuse me…Officer?" she calls out, making sure to take advantage of the female officer that patted them down. "Now that we've been searched, we'd like to use to girls' room, if you don't mind?" It was a calculated appeal, knowing that the female officer would likely agree. And she does. She points to the lobby restroom, the only ones that're still open. "Thank you!" Alex replies, with a smile and a nod. ("There you go!") she calls to Camille, already clopping down the steps toward the bathroom herself.

"(Terrible. Terrible, the sort of things that can happen to you whilst doing a bit of sight seeing. All of this over some stupid mask. I'll never understand what drives people to do the things they do.)"

As Camille goes on about the oddities of the crimes people commit, she pushes her way through the door of the women's rest room, which was doubtlessly much cleaner than the men's. Heels clicking against the tile floor, she makes her way to the sink, setting her small purse on the counter. Leaning forward, she puts her face near the mirror, combing her bangs to the side with her fingers as she checks her makeup. Pressing her lips together, she turns her face to first one side, then the other, before finally puckering up at her reflection and deciding that everything was in order.

Turning away from the enormous wall mirror above the sinks, she saunters to one of the stalls, pushing the door open. "(At least we can always count on the women in uniform, mm? So tell me, Alex, what brought you to the museum today? Despite your excellent grasp of civilized language, you seem like a native, not the sight-seeing type.)" The door is shut and latched behind her until finished, at which point the sound of water whirling down the drain accompanies her exit from the bathroom stall.

Unlike Camille, Alex is a little more no-nonsense. She goes right into a stall and gets to it. By the time Camille does her business, Alex is standing at the mirror, taking that chance to do the feminine things. ("Oh, I'm no native to NYC. I'm here for work, really, with an engineering firm here in the city. I've just never been to the museum here before. How about you? You seem as if you're from France proper.") As she stands in front of the mirror, she pulls out her lipstick, taking the time to press her lips together and refresh the colored gloss. Then comes the compact, and she touches up her cheeks and forehead.

"(Yes, Orleans.)" Returning to the sink, she takes the time to wash her hands, turning on the cold water and using the soap dispenser to lather up her hands. "(My family has lived on our ancestral estate since the Middle Ages. We have a long history, dating all the way back to the Crusades.)" Rinsing off the soapy bubbles covering her hands to the wrist, she shuts off the water, reaching out to take a handfull of papertowels from the dispenser and wipe them dry, tossing the remains in the trashcan.

"(I got bored and wanted to go to school abroad.)" The blonde begins to arrange her brightly-colored hair into a more suitable appearance than her frustrated finger-combing had left it, adjusting her bangs so they framed her face just so, and ensuring the majority of it fell over the back of her shoulders. "(By the time I was finished with my higher learning, I guess I just came to like how wild and free America is. So I never left. I think my parents are secretly grateful I never came back.)"

Finally satisfied with her hair, she straightens away from the mirror, casting a glance to the woman at her side. "(Have you ever been skydiving? I was planning on taking my little brother the day after tomorrow. Would you like to come?)"

She blushes at first, then looks a little mortified. "Skydiving as in…flying in a plane, and then…jumping out of the plane?" She says it in English, looking a little scared at just the idea. ("No, I'm afraid that's not much for me. Even if I didn't have to go into work, which I do, I still don't think I could go. I don't like to fly.")

"(Oh, tut tut, Alex. Where is that wild American spirit I was just talking about!)" The corners of Camille's lips turn upwards into a wry smirk, placing a hand on her hip as the other reaches out to snatch up her purse from the edge of the sink. "(A shame, then. Perhaps bungee-jumping is more your style. But if you are so opposed to airplanes, how on earth will you ever travel and see the world? To live your life without ever seeing Italy or Greece would truly be something sorrowful.)"

Moving away from the sink, the clack-clack-clack of Camille's heels across the floor lead her to the door of the restroom, which she pulls open, holding it for the other girl to pass through. "(Maybe you don't like heights at all? You should take a cross-Atlantic Cruise, then. Or a Caribbean one. I have yet to go to the Bahamas, though I have only just recently gotten back from Guam. You can not have too much of the tropics, you know.)"

("Ships are slightly more palatable") she says, putting her possessions back into her purse as well. ("I would love to see the rest of the world, but yes, I'm afraid I'd have to travel mostly by ship or by car or bus. I just don't like to fly very much!") She's practically on your tail as you lead the way to the door. Beyond you, she clops back out into the lobby, looking around to see if any extra people have been allowed to leave.

"(Ships, they take too long! It would take months and months to see all the great spots in the world by boat and public transportation! I have no patience for that sort of travel.)"

Once back out in the lobby, Camille can see that there are a few less people than there were a few minutes ago, but most were still in attendence. Many had taken to forming up into four lines to give their statements in the hopes of being able to be allowed to leave even sooner. Those who had actually been in the room when the mask had been stolen seemed to be getting taken off to the side, where they were questioned in even more thorough detail.

"(Honestly now, the mask is obviously still in the building. They should be conducting a thorough search of /it/, not of all of us! Incompetents. So, our options seem to be limited to waiting in line or wandering about the lobby. I think I see some paintings over there.)" Camille rises up on her toes a bit, pointing off over the shorter woman's head before glancing down at her. "(What do you build, anyway?)"

Alex just grins and shakes her head, another joke at the expense of her height. "(I don't actually build anything myself)" she says, wandering over toward the paintings next to Camille. "(I work for an engineering firm that's exploring the potential of some Atlantic Ocean oil reserves. The problem is that it's hard to transport from such a deep ocean rig without a lot of environmental risk. It's also complicated by the fact that the whole project involves about five countries that can't seem to get along and agree on what they really want.)" As she gives some more in-depth explanations, her ability to speak the language starts to wane a little. She has to pause now and then to think of the word or the grammatical struture, but it's all still perfectly intelligible.

"(Oh, you must be one of the ten-pound brains at the company, mm? You have that know-everything look about you.)"

Standing before an enormous floor-to-cieling painting depicting some ancient battle or another between opposiing armies of men in loincloths, Camille folds one arm across her trunk, cupping her chin with the other as she looks at it speculatively. "(I could never sit still long enough for that. Board meetings, country representatives, engineers, scientists, just thinking about it all is giving me a headache. And all over oil. It seems so stupid!)"

She half-turns her upper body to waggle her purse at the dark-haired woman. "(Is that not why solar power was invented? This firm of yours, they should put more money into making solar power work better, then there would be no need for environmental disasters and such, would there? Of course, it's not just that easy, is it? That is why I am not making bags of money working for a large company.)"

Camille's words make Alex smile and blush a little. "(Well, I'm not exactly a big-brain at the company, though I was brought in for my expertise in oil fields, particularly geo-seismic events and oil fields as well as enhanced recovery from fields that have been thought to be dry.)" The words about solar energy make her think, as she looks at the painting, but not really thinking about it. "(The problem with solar is that it just doesn't have enough return or…)" she tries to find the word in French. "It doesn't have enough 'oomph.' Not enough bang for the buck!" she says in English. No doubt the change in language gets a few heads to turn, thinking that she's talking about the painting!

The blonde-haired woman laughs softly, putting a hand up to cover the titter. "(Geo-what now? Ah ha ha, you /are/ a brainiac! I went to your famed Harvard and I don't even know what that means. You are saying you are an oil expert, mm?)" Noticing someone looking at them from the corner of her eye, Camille turns to frown at the thirty-something male, waving one hand vaguely in the direction of the large painting. "What are zhou looking at, eh? We jez happeen to theenk dis painteeng ees atroziouz."

She turns, moving on towards the next one in line, some mosaic or another, she didn't really know where from, nor particularly care. It was merely something to do while being detained in a dreadfully boring room. "(I am all out of ideas then if the solar will not work. In fact, I am not so sure I even knew what I was talking about in the first place! Your job sounds very complicated. What do you do to destress?)"

She's a simple woman, when all is said and done. Well, besides the fact that she can move the freakin' earth like a pro (almost). That does a lot to explain her though. "(Well, I like the park…at least I did, before I got mugged there.)" That probably won't stop her though. A single mugger can't do a lot to her to keep her from being in Central Park, which is like a friggin' vacation from the buildings and chaos here. "(I also like to garden quite a lot. I've got a rooftop garden on my building that I take good care off. It's a shame that it will soon be winter. I did so love being able to garden year round at my home, and at both my schools. How about you? What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun…besides enjoy paintings like this?)" She bumps your hip a little with hers, pointing to the picture in front of them, a painting of a man wrestling a lion or some such nonsense that's supposed to be a study into the musculature of man and animal.

At the hip bump, Camille makes a small, surprised sound from within her throat, turning a look of feigned outrage that soon breaks into an amused smile on the dark-haired woman. When she looks back at the painting, however, she merely rolls her eyes at it. "(My god, no. I have no love of art. My father hangs it all over the estate, on every wall he can find, works from all over Europe. I just think it looks horribly garish and unsightly.)"

"(As for my hobbies,)" She places a hand to her chest, her eyes turning up and a little to the left in recollection. "(They're horribly expensive. I love to travel, to see new things. My brothers tell me I have a restless soul, always in need of change. I'm an adventure junkie, too. Rock climbing, skydiving, scuba-diving, swimming with the sharks.)" She waves a hand in front of her, as if warding off an unpalatable notion. "(I just can't stand the thought of ending my life while there are still things on this planet I have not experienced yet. I don't see how the average person can do it, sitting at home, raising a family, going to work every day. Sounds like a nightmare.)"

Oh. Well. Those are the sorts of things Alex IS into. She's a pretty solid earth-elemental sort. Hard to change and all that. "(I see! To each her own, right?)" She smiles at Camille, not unpleasantly, but definitely saying that they'll have to agree to disagree. While they've been wandering the lobby, the lines to give their statements have grown much shorter. "(Oh! I think we could probably give our statements and be gone very soon!)" Alex says, pointing to the officers at the tables near the doors.

"(I suppose. Maybe one of these days you will have an adventure that does not inolve being robbed at gunpoint and your mind will change.)"

Following the shorter woman's finger, Camille brings her eyes back towards the exit, noting the shorter lines, and the thinning crowds. Seems the NYPD was being badgered by irate families to let the visitors out and were speeding up the process. With a smirk planted firmly upon her lips, the French woman begins walking towards what appeared to be the shortest one, giving a small tug at Alex's elbow. "(Stay close, now. If you wander away, the officers might start pestering you about why you're walking around without your parents.)" Taking up position at the rear of the line, the blonde looks decidedly impatient to get the whole thing over with, and after only a few moments, her foot starts tapping. She absolutely hated waiting!

Snapping her fingers, the French woman begins digging in her purse, pulling out her cellular phone. Flipping open the top, she navigates her way through the menus until coming to her virtual phone book. "(Give me your number. I might be bored and wish to talk about gardening some day.)"

The shorter woman nods, and standing behind Camille in line, reads off her cell phone number. It's to an area code that's clearly not NYC, but rather, some place out in California, where she started college. "(When you call, I'll have your number too. Remember that I work from about 8 to 5 or later…so, only if it's an emergency, ya?)" She smiles a little UP at Camille…maybe she's part giant!

"(Work, work, when I call you, it shall be for something so fabulous you will beg for a sick day.)"

Camille snaps her phone shut and puts it back where it belongs in the small clutch. It's nearly fifteen minutes before they're brought close to the front of the line, hearing the same old questions over and over and over again. 'Where were you? Was anyone with you? Did you see anything? Were you at any time in the Egyptian room?' Almost as soon as it's her turn, Camille and the questioning officer begin to go at it, arguing, questioning, yelling, and causing a general disturbance of the surrounding area.

After quite a bit of back and forth, the officers ascertain that the blonde French woman was one of those in the Egyptian section of the museum, and is thus carted off to the side for a more in-depth grilling. Given her general attitude of uncooperativeness, she could be there for quite some time.

Unlike Camille, Alex was not in the Egyptian section of the museum at the time. Her question and answer session goes al ittle more quickly. Instead of being shuffled off to the side, she's shown the door. With a wave to Camille, she slides her overcoat on, and heads into the street, hours and hours after coming to the museum for a little afternoon visit.

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