Alexandra - Important Things

From Masq
Date: Setting:

IC:  09/20/2008
RL: 03/31/2011

Old Friends Antique Dealership


 A glass-frontaged store that looks like it forgot to notice the past few decades. A painted-gold logo on the main front window declares it the "Old Friends Antique Dealership" and a vase filled with flowers has been painted on the front door in bright, cheery colors. A simple awning keeps the weather off the area right in front of the store, and a small windchime has been hung from the frame to tinkle in the breeze.


 Walking into this shop is like stepping into another time. An old-fashioned, spring-mounted bell jingles over the door to warn of customers, and the warm lighting is reminiscent of candles, the air thick with the smell of dusty cloth and old books. Shelves and racks are somewhat haphazardly stocked with all manner of items, with the only commonality among them being that none are of modern make: toys from the days of the Great Depression, clothing from the Prohibition Era, a timeline of soda bottles along the back wall, and books that may not have seen the light of day in decades. An old record player frequently supplies quiet background music, and there are signs that at least one cat haunts the place. In addition, tucked away off to one side, is a small display with a sign proclaiming "Homemade Herbal Remedies" and inviting interested customers to inquire at the register.
 The counter across most of the back of the store supports a fittingly antique cash register, and must have come straight out of some old bar, being deeply varnished mahogany polished until it practically glows, with a sturdy brass foot-bar in place underneath, though no stools are in evidence. One end is clearly designed to flip up to allow access to the back area, and a door behind the counter is marked with a weather-beaten "Employees Only" sign, the former sporting a small pet door near the bottom, the latter a hand-drawn smiley-face in paint.
Gareth stalks into the place, pulling out earbuds which are blasting music, and glancing around the place suspiciously, like the place might have some secret bitey-thing that might come out and nip his toes or fingers. One never knows about places like these, after all. The young college student stops right at the door and scans the area, as if needing to take in the entire store area before stepping further in.

Trying to see the entire store from the doorway is a touch problematic, as there are racks of clothes and shelves of Stuff(tm) taking up a good deal of the floorspace. And mind the Book Section over there. However, one has an easy line of sight to the main counter, and the person behind said, who looks up from going over a checklist of some sort at the dingle of the bell, offering a smile and a wave as Gareth comes in, "Evening. Feel free to look around, and let me know if anything catches your eye."

Jackson comes into the store a short time after Gareth. He looks around with an appraising eye, wondering what exactly the store has for sale, for view, and for him. The old time image of the inner workings of the store is certainly different to a man who lives among data and computers all day long and it shows as he studies it like some foreign land.

Gareth, still, seems intent on scanning everything he can from the doorway before stepping in. We are all interesting individuals with our own quirks, one supposes. He steps easily aside for Jackson, and when called out, scratches behind his head with an uneasy grin. "Ahh, yeah... I'm lookin' for some old timey thing, kind of a going-away present. You got anything interesting a weird girl might like?" He seems to finally be satisfied with his scan of the area, then, and steps in, but as he steps in, he looks around a bit more.

Alexandra quirks an eyebrow at Gareth's description, a wry smile tugging to the side as well, and she waves the pen she was using vaguely, "That depends entirely on what kinds of things she likes." Jackson's entrance is given a greeting wave as well before she sets her pen down on the counter and makes her way out from behind it towards the pair, leaving the dropleaf flipped up behind her, "I've got a lot of odd things in here, after all."

Jackson can't help himself either, a smile curling at his lips, "Try something wierd, kid. Just a thought." He continues to look over something, clocks maybe? Something mechanical please, even if it is old. "Oh, and something that says see you soon."

Gareth raises an eyebrow at Jackson. His tone is pure sarcasm. "Something weird. Wow, thanks, man. Your advice will be enshrined in the ages." The 'see you soon' part has him getting a troubled look. He glances off for a moment, then turns back, back to a kind of dumb look on his face. "You do seem to got a lot of stuff! She's an herbalist, I guess. Oh! You got any old tarot cards, anything like that?"

Jackson will easily find a few shelves covered in clocks of various sorts, from the plain and simply old to the somewhat bizarre including little porcelain figurines dancing about. And a few pocketwatches, some with chains, some without. All seem to be in working order, perhaps surprisingly. The interplay between the pair makes Alexandra roll her eyes a little, expression all to clearly stating 'boys.' But Gareth's question brings that quirk back to her eyebrow, and a considering look. "I've got some old books about medicinal herbs, or about divination and suchlike. I /might/ have an old tarot deck or two, but I'd have to dig a bit I think. You're welcome to rummage the shelves, certainly."

Jackson raises an eyebrow at Gareth's retort and turns his head, "Herbalist? She mixes leaves and berries for work?" He shakes his head a little, "I suppose it takes all kinds." He picks up a pocketwatch and looks it over, opening it, closing it, examining the face and all. Not yet addressing Alexandra.

If there was prickly sarcasm on Gareth's face a moment before from what Jackson said, he now turns, brightening, like finally someone gets it, finally, another sane person in the universe. "I know!! It drives me nuts. People pay for that stuff!" He shakes his head, baffled, then hmms at Alexandra. "Wow, thanks! I dunno about the books and stuff, I bet she's got that stuff covered. would be perfect..." He wanders along, looking up at shelves. But it's clear not a lot of the stuff means anything to him.

The woman laughs a bit at the opinions on herbalists, "Hey, medicine's medicine. Most of the pills folks take these days started out as mashed up treebark, remember." She watches the pair for a moment, considering, then shrugs and ducks back behind the counter to start rummaging beneath it, probably looking for those cards she mentioned she might have. However, the pair are not left alone for long, as a rather bushy, rather large cat squints down at Gareth from atop one of the bookshelves. How something with hair all over its face manages to look disdainful is anyone's guess, but the cat manages.

Smirking, Jackson gives Gareth and knowing smile and nod. "Seriously." He glances now at Alexandra, "Just because it started that way, doesn't mean we need to keep it that way. A watch started as a sundial, but I have no desire to wear that thing on my wrist any more than I want to trust chewing a piece of bark is going to make me feel better. Take two sticks and call me in the morning!" He mocks.

Gareth nods to that. "Seriously, trial-and-error as opposed to the scientific process? I mean, don't get me wrong, it's nice. It's like...Colonial Williamsburg or something. You go and look at how all those dudes acted during the Revolutionary war, but it doesn't mean you want to die of the rickets or nothing." He sighs. Spying the grumpy cat, he squints up from the stacks, then all casual like, reaches his right hand so the cat can sniff. Right about that same time, his phone goes off ("99 problems" by Jay-Z, but just a snippet) and he frowns and looks down at it, fiddling with his phone with his left hand to read the text. The kid looks...anxious.

"Entirely your call," is the absently cheerful response to Jackson, the shopkeep not even looking up as she shifts something about behind the counter. "And the scientific process /is/ applied to such things, at least these days. Sure, we can't guage doses by microgram," and she pauses to lift a box onto the counter with a grunt, "but a lot of the remedy-teas you get at the supermarket these days are just mass-produced herbalism." The cat, for his part, spends a moment deciding if he'll deign to acknowledge Gareth, but does stretch to sniff at the boy after a moment. Feel honored.

At the sound of the incoming text, Jackson turns his head and regards the phone for a bit, almost a little too long, like he's curious about the ringtone or something. After a few moments, he looks over to Gareth and Alexandra and smiles, "Well, personally, I say away from those teas too. Give me something I know what is in it. Like whiskey. Or beer."

Gareth snaps his crappy phone shut. He frowns, an anxious, then determined look. He also withdraws his hand from the cat, though seems honored by the sniff. "I gotta get going," he says, casually. To Alexandra, he says, "I guess I don't have time to find a gift after all," he frowns to himself. "It was probably a dumb idea, anyways. Luck with this store! It's..." he glances around. "Interesting. You should totally stop by the Herbal Apothecary down on Lomas a few blocks, meet Katie or Zack. Katie's the tarot card reader. She might dig your store, you might dig hers." He turns to wander out.

"I wondered if you were talking about someone from there," grins Alexandra as Gareth starts to leave. "Dropped by the other night. Nice place. C'mon back if you don't find something in the meantime." However, this leaves her free to lean her elbow on the box she found and just smile at Jackson, "Do you know what's in those? Alcohol's practically the oldest herbalism in history. The Egyptians had documented recipes for beer. And in the end it's all just fermented vegetation, you know?"

Jackson doesn't move to stop Gareth, nodding though as he moves to take his leave, "Good luck with that gift, kid." Then looking over at Alexandra he smirks, "And like most things, we've refined them over time. For instance, you would be wearing far less clothes and likely be property as a laborer, if we were back in those times. Maybe you'd get lucky enough to be a merchant of some sort."

Gareth glances back, "Thanks," he says. And then he's out the door. Feets don't fail him now!

Alexandra nods, "Or probably dead, at my age. But do you think we haven't refined the 'bark and berries' approach, too?" She waves vaguely over her shoulder towards the back of the shop, "Just because our supplies haven't been distilled down to atomic purity doesn't mean we just throw a handful in a cup and chug it down. Like I said before, medicine's medicine." She glances down at the box she pulled up, shrugs to herself and apparently decides to leave it on the counter. "Why are you looking at analog watches, anyway? Things have been improved, after all. Atomic precision, digital readouts, never have to wind the spring."

Turning the watch over in his hand, weighing it a little, "I like the way it is made. Things produced like this, are made with skill, care, precision, and intelligence. The product of trial and error, perhaps. But ultimately the product of human brilliance and mastery over its elements." He turns his head, to look right at her, "I like skill. Of all sorts."

The woman smiles, apparently without rancor for all their difference of opinions, "Not all skill is mechanical. Certainly, you've got hack herbalists that will hand you a strip of bark and tell you to chew it. Just like you've got fumbly mechanics that think you can fix anything by hitting it hard enough." She turns a hand palm-up and flicks her fingers towards that watch, "I'm not saying our ways are better, as such. But they still take skill, and care, and a bit of brilliance to make work properly. Just like most people."

Jackson laughs lightly, "Oh I never said I limit the definition of skill to simply making things. But you asked why I admired /this/ piece in particular." He turns it over again, looking down at it, "What a piece of work man is. But even more remarkable is how he has taken his environment, and formed it to suit his needs. Anyone can trial and error their way through bark, and seeds. The end result is there largely for the taking. Real skill results in creating something. Making something. Building something new and better."

"True enough, as far as it goes," agrees Alexandra as that cat from earlier jumps down from a shelf onto the countertop with a resounding thud, thence ambling up to the woman and demanding attention. Which he recieves, though she doesn't drop the conversation while scratching his ears, "I don't limit that to physical items, though they're the easiest. Take this place, for instance." Her free hand lifts and gestures around the store, "Old, cast off things that often have no practical use in the modern day. But they were all important to someone at one point, all touched a life and were touched by it. If someone can come along and find something that makes /their/ life better, then we have all created something new. The person that made that thing, the previous owners, even me." She then blinks and looks a little embarassed, "Sorry, got on a bit of a soapbox there."

Jackson laughs and shakes his head, "No, no. No need to apologize. You are passionate about it. Obviously." He flashes a little smiles, "It's kind of cute." He looks down at the watch for a moment then hands it over to her, "How much for it?" He asks the question like someone who really doesn't care what the response is.

Alexandra grins and wrinkles her nose a bit with the expression, "Just a bit. I blame my grandfather." Her expression falls a little as she says it, but she quickly shakes off whatever mood was starting by reaching out to take that watch. Your distraction earns you an affronted look from the cat, however. The woman takes a moment to look the watch over, checking the clasp, that kind of thing, then nods, "I'll let it go for thirty, tax included."

Glancing at the cat, Jackson gives it a little grin suggesting 'bring it on kitty' and then reaches for a billfold, producing some rather large bills, one of which is handed to Alexandra in exchange for the watch. "Thirty seems fair, but keep the change." The bill is a 50, "I liked it well enough, and you too."

The overpayment brings a blink of surprise and a grin, "Well, thanks." A moment is taken to work the cash register, but the motions are familiar and don't take long, "Do you want a bag or recipet for that?" The cat apparently decides he can best contribute to this conversation by starting to wash himself, a front-paw working at one of his ears industriously.

Reaching down, Jackson decides to pet the cat for a moment, stroking his back as it licks and cleans those front paws. "Nah, I'll just take it like this. Thanks. " He puts the watch into his pocket and asks aloud, "So what else you are passionate about, Ms?" Yeah, direct isn't he?

The cat takes a moment to peer up at Jackson, but apparently decides to allow this indignity and goes back to his washing. Alexandra, for her part, grins at her pet before shrugging, "If I had to generalize, I'd say learning. I know enough to realize there's a lot more that I don't." Her grin turns a little wry, "It's why I started in on you, really. Anyone that says something isn't worthwhile, to my mind, just hasn't bothered to learn about it."

Laughing lightly, Jackson continues to stroke the back of Machiavelli, while keeping his attention on the cat's owner. Or property, depending on which you ask. "So you think I haven't bothered to learn then? You think you are going to teach me?" His voice has a playful tone, teasing, and challenging.

Alexandra shrugs, "In that particular area, it certainly seemed so. And if nothing else, you were denigrating other peoples' hobbies, activities that they put effort towards and derive enjoyment from. Which give them an opportunity for growth." Her smile turns a bit wry, "If nothing else, I wanted to point out what you were doing. Even this business is just something of a hobby of mine, after all."

Nodding his head, Jackson still wears a slight smile, "Well then I think I probably gave a poor impression. Miss?" He doesn't wait for her name though, and continues, "Maybe you will let me make it up to you? And I'd love to learn a little more. I'm sure you have a lot to teach." Yes, there is that playful tone again, teasing and light, and more than a little coy.

An eyebrow quirks, and Alexandra's expression is certainly amused by this point. "Rosencrans," she replies at first, giving her name before folding her arms and resting a hip against the edge of the counter. "What did you have in mind?" Machiavelli has apparently tired of your human conversation and wanders off at this point, stretching out as only cats can before hopping to the floor and wandering off into the shelves again.

Jackson makes his way over to the counter and leans against it, "I thought dinner might be nice. Ms. Rosencrans. I've heard people have to eat these days. We haven't been quite able to work around that flaw just yet. And if you care, I'm Jackson." Yup, his first name. Keep it casual, right?

"Well, I appreciate the offer. And I'll think about it." Her smile isn't condescending or snarky or anything, but she stays behind the counter all the same, "I've got too much to work on at the moment to be accepting random invitations to dinner, I'm afraid. New to the store, new to the city." She lowers a hand to touch that checklist she was working on earlier, picking the pen back up, "No rest for the wicked."

Shrugging, Jackson pulls out a card from another pocket and slides it on the counter, "If you change your mind, or find yourself un-busy, feel free to give me a call." He pats at the pocket with his watch and smiles, "And thanks." He doesn't seem bothered in the slightest by the rejection, just pushing himself away from the counter and beginning to walk towards the door.

Alexandra nods and picks up that card, "Like I said, I'll think about it. Thanks for dropping by." Then she laughs a little, waving as you head for the door, "Have a nice day."