Petra - Barbie Girl

From Masq
Date: Setting:

IC:  01/06/2008
RL: 10/10/2010

Pizza Palace -- Albuquerque

  Pizza Palace is a bustling restaurant filled with all types of people -- an interesting and thorough cross-section of humanity. The low prices and frequent specials attract everyone from hungry college kids to curmudgeonly old people; from pasty late-night nerds taking a break from MMOs to families with screaming, marinara-smeared toddlers. Pizza Palace is open 24/7 except for holidays, with a happy hour from four to seven, and offers just about every topping commonly or uncommonly found upon pizzas. The menu also includes a variety of non-pizza food options such as pasta, sandwiches, and salads, for freakish pizza-haters dragged here by their friends. Eat in, get it to go, or call from home for delivery!
  The restaurant has a reputation for hiring stoners and slackers, but it's a mostly clean place with booths and tables on the inside, plus an outdoor patio area for smokers and people with dogs. The floor is a checkerboard pattern of black and white linoleum squares, and all the chairs and booths are red. Each table is covered with a fresh sheet of butcher paper and is equipped with a little cup of crayons along with the napkins, parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Neon signs in the restaurant windows announce PIZZA! and BUDWEISER!, and CORONA!, along with the always-lit OPEN! sign. Video games both archaic and current tempt children to scream at their parents for quarters, and a karaoke area reminds tipsy customers that beer makes you an excellent singer.

~*~places are available here~*~

Obvious exits:
Out <O>  

  • And later:

Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins Express - Albuquerque

 Orange and Pink. One half of the room, separated from the other by a low faux-wood barrier, is a donut shop; the other is an ice cream parlour. The perfect fusion of American junk foods. On the donut side, a bright display board with sandwich offerings, beverage options, and donut flavors lights the two-station counter below. The other side of the barrier is dedicated to the equally sweet art of ice cream confection. Three large coolers, with sloped glass fronts for easy viewing, have been filled with 31 bins of brightly colored ice cream. Flavor boards, price lists, and pictures of fabulous ice cream cakes are mounted above the cash register. A gentle pattern of orange and pink splotches dances across the white background of the wallpaper, giving the whole store a cheerful and gaudy feel, and tables and chairs have been neatly arranged on both sides of the shop to provide donut eaters and ice creamers a comfortable place to sit.

~*~places are available here~*~

Obvious exits:
Central Avenue <O>

There's a birthday party in the process of being cleaned up and thrown away after a really late run, a few parents are carrying sleeping kids filled (and covered) in pizza and ice cream out of the store with happy goodbyes to other parents. Another couple of parents are shuffling gifts into a big garbage bag for transport, a different bag for paper and such, while the apparent birthday kid is no help at all and is instead paying attention to Damian. The kid, a tiny thing in a bright pink dress, fairy wings, and a sparkly little crown, is standing on a table while Damian stands on the floor beside it, the hippie by the way with some silly face paint on, and a poofy feathery indian get up, the pair dancing together like a couple of lunatics and each shaking a pair maracas like there's no tomorrow. Just groovin to the music, you know how it goes.

Well, as much of an indian get up as one tends to bring to a birthday party, so like the hat and the chest thing, and the rest's all like, normal.

Liane walks in to the pizzeria, looking a bit unhappy about the whole thing, making her way towards the counter. In one of her usual 'check the exits' glances, she spots Damian- and stops. Looking a bit puzzled, and a lot curious, but there is no reason for her to interrupt a good time, and so she quietly attempts to sneak by and go order her salad.

Damian is getting *down* with his bad self, tongue sticking between his lips a little, a serious look of funkitude on his face, but he's no less serious about the whole thing than the little kid is, who twirls and shakes bean filled musical instruments, and adds some traditional terrible kid singing and severely misheard lyrics to the whole thing. "Mmkay Punkin, time to go!" parents inform, both kid and Damian doing an "Awwwww! But mom!" He is somehow treated very well and patted, "Thanks for your help, hon." a dad says, handshakes happening, "Can I keep the feathers?" Damian asks, and there's some nods, so he begins bopping away from the section and towards where he apparently had actual bought food and everything at a booth.

Jai's fabulous timing and decent manners mean he shows up right when there's a stream of parents with wee ones about to hit the door, so he ends up playing doorman for a good couple minutes, holding it open so bags, adults, and sticky sleepy children can all file through. He can see the dancing Damian through the filing crowd, though, and when he finally makes it inside, he gives him a wave on the way to the counter, ending up a person or two behind Liane in line.

Yes, that's right. A half-naked Damian was shakin' his groove thang with a little fairy princess of a birthday girl, who was dancing on a table with him. Liane is a bit towards the counter, throwing long glances at them with a bemused expression, but otherwise seems to have escaped notice. At the Parental Exchange And Goodbyes, her eyes widen just a bit more, and she hides a smile behind a hand, turning to pay the dudes at the counter for a salad. Then she takes her tray and steps away from the counter, looking uncertain of where to sit.

Damian is not half naked! Is just half *injuned*! Cheap costume shit, gotta love it. Still, there are waves, and waves are noticable, even when they aren't for him. But they ARE for him! YAY! He waves back at Jai all sorts of happily, and then his wave is renewed all over again at Liane.

Maven glides in like a hot knife through butter - albeit, a loud, screaming butter. The rest of the merry gang unseen for the moment, she stomps up to the counter, demands pizza with bacon ("The trayfier the tastier!", quoth she), and then finally turns around, iced tea in hand, to get her bearings; she squeaks with pleasure and heads for Liane.

"Hey, Liane, nice seein' you again," Jai greets the young woman cheerfully as she leaves the counter, and he orders himself pizza, taking the number they give him. He heads over toward Damian with it, stopping by his booth. "Mind if I join you a minute? Nice feathers, by the way. Suit you."

Liane was too busy smiling and waving at Damian to notice Jai until he speaks, and then she gives a little jump and looks startled, before reddening QUITE a bit and staring down at her tray, giving a nervous little smile in Jai's direction. Maven goes unnoticed until she likely scares poor socially unprepared Liane. All she wanted was a salad!

"Yeah, course you can." Damian says, and then looks upwards at his paper and feather injun head dress, "Oh, thanks! You have no idea the crazy right of passage I had to go through in order to make chief of the Pygmy People. Here.." he takes it off where it sits on his dreads and attempts to put it on Jai's head instead, all dangly little bright colored poofy feathers and what not. His pizza, should anyone care, is cheese, with extra cheese.

"Hi!!!" says Maven, complete with multiple exclamation points, albeit not to anybody in particular. "So nice to see you again!" She moves so that, coincidentally, Damian is prevented from easily escaping the booth. "I finally escaped from work! And now I'm hyper and about to pass out because I haven't eaten for about six hours! But soon I shall have piiiiizza! And bacon! Little piggybits for meeeeee!"

Jai reaches up and touches the headdress with faintly bemused amusement, and then straightens it slightly on his head, grinning at Damian. "I feel like I'm usurping your rightful position, now. Tell me about this rite..." He can't help being distracted by Maven's enthusiasm (and tights), and looks over at her, grin still in place.

Damian smiles broadly at Jai, but then there's Maven, scourge of the library and devouerer of souls! He pales visibly and his mouth, open and ready to tell Jai all about it, closes around some pizza instead, the timid hippie oozing tight up against the window beside him and doing his best not to be noticed.

Liane just looks frazzled now, at all these people who seem to KNOW her. It's very unnerving. She defensively throws up an unconvincing baring of teeth likely supposed to resemble a smile, looking lost, flustered, and nervous. And then she notices poor Damian huddling up in fear, and her tight smile becomes a slight frown, and she wanders over, looking over Damian curiously. "D-d-damian, are you ok-k-kay?" She asks.

"Oh, hello!" says Maven to Jai, with the energy of someone with the caffeine of a thousand suns. "Have I met you before? I'm Maven! I'm a librarian, like Liane! Except I'm over in the public library. It's much quieter." She looks over to Liane, and abruptly stops short as the assorted terrors express themselves, her tone becoming more quiet and thoughtful "Oh, I didn't even realize he was there. After I patched him up at the restaurant, he just started... freaking out when I got near. It's really strange. I have no idea why."

"Hey," Jai replies to Maven, not as energetically as she, but perfectly cheerfully, "No, we haven't met before, I'm Jai. Cabbie, unlike you or Liane. Nice to meet you." He looks back to Damian, noting the paling and booth-corner-hugging. " okay, man? Did you accidentally store your happy in the hat? 'cause I can give it back..."

"I don't want you to eat my *brains*!" Damian wails in a tiny voice, and in an effort to defend him from supposed cannibalistic practices, reaches out a hand to snag Jai by the pants and jerk his cabbie self into the booth next to him where he can, presumably, act as a meat shield between himself and Maven's terrible appetite for people bits.

Liane full-on winces at Maven's energy, and takes a little shuffle away, herself, though still near enough to be...well, near. She readjusts her tray to hold it in one arm as Damian tries to depants yet ANOTHER man, and gives Damian a little glare. "D-d-damian! It's r-rude to g-grab people, you sh-should know that!" She chides, like Damian's some sort of unruly three year old. Then she glances at Maven, a bit of alarm in her voice, "P-p-patched up? D-did he k-kiss s-someone else?" She asks, clearly worried.

Maven flops her head onto her shoulder and lolls her tongue out. "Braiiiiins!" she says, before wincing and straightening up. "Ow," she murmurs, feeling at her neck muscles. "Too much desk work. Uh, no, I haven't patched him up since, just the one time. I think I started talking about voodoo, maybe that's where he got the idea." She clears her throat, and uses a well-practiced 'speaking to elementary students' voice. "No brains today, Damian. Just bacon pizza for me. Nothing to worry about."

Jai yelps as he suddenly goes from standing to seated; admittedly, he'd intended to end up sitting in the booth, but his original plan had been on the other side of the thing. At least his pants haven't moved down more than an inch or so, even if he has. "Ow. I promise I won't let anyone eat your brains if I can avoid it, particularly when there's pizza around. She's not a zombie, though. You can tell by the sentences that include words that aren't "brains", and the lack of shuffling and drooling. If movies have taught me anything." He gives Damian a reassuring sort of pat.

The scolding from Liane has no visible affect at all, and while Jai's reassurances might have helped on their own, Maven's complete lack of reassurance and insinuation that she does eat brains (just not today) completely destroys all that hard work. Saying nothing but looking with quick glances, he's currently planning his daring escape route through the parlor.

Doesn't he regret pushing Jai down NOW? His clearest escape route has been blocked! "D-d-damian?" Liane asks, and sounds a bit unsure now. She also has subconsciously taken a few steps away from the group - there are THREE of them, and she doesn't know them all that well! "H-how on earth d-did the c-conversation t-turn to voodoo p-practices?" She asks the general area

"Uum," Maven says, looking increasingly concerned, and taking a small step away from the table. "Maybe I should go eat my pizza somewhere else? Uh, don't want to cause any, er, incidents." She fidgets uncomfortably. "You know, you just start talking about yarn, and, uh, things go from there."

"C'mon, even if she =were= a brain eater, my brain is much closer," Jai continues to try to reassure Damian, and takes off the headdress, putting it back onto Damian's head, "Plus, protection. And ANYWAY, you don't eat human brains ever right, Maven?" HINT HINT. "You just don't strike me as the type, and I'm usually pretty good at that kinda thing."

Petra has arrived.

The little group is in a quasi-Mexican standoff: Damian, looking incredibly nervous, is clinging to Jai in a booth; Maven is standing nearby but inching backwards, looking nervous; and Liane looks like she might also be fleeing.

Damian does not regret it! For where one door is closed by a squishy cabbie, another window may be broken through with an awesome dramatic clatter crash! There's no breaking windows yet though, so don't worry. It's too bad, it's not as though Damian makes a habit of or enjoys throwing monkey wrenches into people's good times, but since the only person trying to actually convince him Maven isn't going to kill him is some dude he barely knows, it's hopefully understandable that he is not reassured in the slightest bit. Attempting to ignore the rest of the world, he picks up a piece of pizza and begins to inhale it. LIKE BRAINS! Or cheese pizza.

"O-oh. I sh-should h-have realized. You n-n-knew P-petra." Liane says, pieces clinking in place in her brain. Then she scurries off to one side and sits down at a table away from the others, but close enough that she doesn't have to yell to speak with them. Then she hunches down and begins to VICIOUSLY ATTACK her salad, stabbing it WITH A FORK.

The glass doors swing open and Petra steps in, looking around. She's clearly looking for someone, and she arches a brow when she sees the strange gathering of cowering people. Maybe they're who she's looking for, because she heads in that direction, arriving just in time to hear her name. "Who knows me now?"

"Er, right," says Maven. "I don't like brains. I'm not a zombie. Not a wizard, not a boogieman, not anything but a perfectly normal librarian. One who gets sunburned way too easily so has to wear a lot of sunblock foundation. Uh, and who's about to pass out if she doesn't get her pizza. I'll be right back, OK?" She (almost) flees towards the counter, not appearing to have heard or seen Petra.

"See?" Jai says to Damian, "And that's pretty normal for librarians, in my experience, you never get a lot of sunlight in there 'cause it's hard on the books." He glances after the fleeting Liane, and the fleeing Maven, and gives Damian another look to see if he's at least succeeded in getting =someone= happier again. The voice from the door succeeds in that immediately, as he looks over and sees the source. The grin returns, at least long enough to greet, "Oh, hey again, Petra! Your ears burning?"

Damian slowly.. nods his head.. Not real certain as to whether he buys all this non cannibal talk after all that very extremely convincing pro cannibal talk, but he's so damned trusting that it's hard not to take Jai's word for it. And Petra, diving in like a fuckin' angel, definitely helps and Damian demands her second opinion on the matter. "Petra?" he asks, his voice cowering much like the rest of him, cause Maven might hear him and swoop or something, "That girl doesn't really eat people, does she?" he asks, pointing at said librarian's back.

He asked PETRA? Oh gawd. That should be interesting. Liane herself, however, just gives Petra an alarmed look, then a weak smile, then sits around and stabs her salad, letting Jai handle the Petra talking.

"Yes, they are," Petra replies to Jai with a smile. "They are, in fact, on fire. Then again, that's a pretty standard state for me. Hey Damian. Hey Liane." And she glances at Maven, adding a, "Hey Maven." Then she turns to Damian and replies casually, "Not so far as I know. And even if she did, you're probably not her type. So buck up, laddo." Petra is maybe not the best at pep talks.

Maven returns cautiously, bearing a shrimp and bacon pizza. "Oh, uh, hiya, Petra." She's looking somewhat nonplussed by the situation. "How's things? I've been hitting... er, reading more books again, trying to find out about the ranches around here in the 1930s, but haven't found much yet." She sits at a table next to the booth, casting sidelong glances at Damian.

Jai looks a tad worried yet hopeful when Damian goes to Petra for the second opinion, and gives a tiny relieved sigh when she doesn't go for the admittedly temptingly funnier choice of response. "There, all okay now?" he asks the dreadlocked guy, "...and do you mind if I go snag my pizza? I think that was my number they just called."

Surely Petra speaks only truth, for she is some sort of saint or something like that. Saint says things Damian takes way too literally. Which is a very long title, so Saint Questionable will have to do. Still, her li'l pep talk, combined with Jai's reassurances, actually does seem to work out, and he unhuddles himself enough to sit properly while eating. Conversation will have to wait, however, but he does nod to Jai, and then again. Yes, you may feed yourself now. Baby steps back into reality! Whoever sells him his acid should stop.

Or recommend where Liane can get some herself. Otherwise, Liane is doing TEAM BUILDING EXERCISES, and will be slow.

Crisis averted, Petra slides in to sit at Jai and Damian's table, looking up at Maven. "Yeah, I'm interested to hear what you find out. Wait, ranches? I thought you were looking up a serial killer? Now I'm all kinds of confused."

You sit down at Medium Booth.
A booth for four, its table surface covered with fresh white butcher paper. A napkin dispenser is perched next to red pepper and parmesan shakers, and a little cup of crayons encourages customers to doodle on the butcher paper while they wait. On the wall near one of the bench-seats someone has scrawled, 'For a SPECIAL DELIVERY, call 333-1601!'

Maven nods cautiously, and talks in between bites of 'za. "Um, yeah. The story I heard was that it was all done on the guy's ranch. 'Sall I know yet, still trying to figure out who has the records of that part of Albuquerque history. Unless there's some kind of conspiracy going on." She snorts, and then mumbles, "Ow. I think I just got cheese up my nose."

Jai nods in acknowledgment of Damian's nod and heads to the counter, snagging his sausage and apparently canned peach pizza and heading back toward the booth. Maven's nasal mishap makes him laugh, which is not terribly gentlemanly, but oh well. "D'you need a tissue or something?" he offers, sliding back into the booth and setting down his food. "So... you're researching a serial killer on a ranch around here in the '30s? Just for fun, or are you doing a class or something?"

Damian has nothing to offer just yet, listening instead, but with a marked reduction in his urge to flee, as well as an increase in the apparently normal speed with which he eats things. Getting back into sorts! "Why would anyone want to kill cereal?" he asks, completely serious, of no one in particular.

"Not cereal, SERIAL." Which doesn't help, because they're pronounced the same. Petra then says, "Not like the breakfast cereal. Like, one at a time? Killing lots of people, one after the other? Like Ma--" The astute will note that she was probably about to joke, "Like Maven, here," but apparently thought better of it. Instead she says, "Like maybe killing 10, 15 people, on a lark. Sometimes more. Name John Wayne Gacy ring a bell?"

"I'm gonna be /so/ ladylike. Sorry." Hooooooonk! Maven puts down her napkin and giggles at Jai. "No, not for a class; I'm done with school for now, I hope. Patron at the library asked me to look into it, and it seemed macabre and interesting, so why not? This town sure goes for the spooky and daunting and stuff. And eh, it beats doing cataloging work."

"But over time, not all in one go, 'cause all in one go would be a spree killer. And people say cable TV doesn't teach you anything," Jai adds to Petra's explanation, starting in on his first slice. "And cool, definitely why not. Interesting info's its own reward."

Damian shakes his head while biting pizza, but then seems to have a vague bit of recognition and asks, "Oh! That guy made cowboy movies, right? I watched him rescue a girl out of a hole in the ground that had snakes and stuff in it, and then she tried to steal his gun, so he had to pig tie her and put her on a donkey. But I guess he did shoot lots of guys in that movie or something... I saw it forever ago at CostCo, so I don't really remember."

Liane doesn't say a word. Because the salad is delicious, really, for pizza-place salad. Crisp, cold lettuce, plump tomatoes, delicious seasoned chicken with just enough of a sprinkling of cheese and croutons, all with a light dressing to compliment and not hide the taste...mmm, SO GOOD. Crunch crunch, yummy salad, focus on the food instead of all the awful things around you. At least they say interesting things.

"Uh..." Petra turns to stare at Damian for a long moment, and finally corrects, "No, that's John Wayne. I'm talking about John Wayne Gacy. And on second thought, I should probably not explain the reference if you were hoping to sleep anytime soon." She grins over at Jai at his words, nodding her head. "You learn so much from TV. Maybe not the things you were *hoping* to learn, but still."

Maven frowns. "Sounds like something out of a Jodorowsky movie," she mumbles as her response to Damian. "Ever see El Topo? Has donkeys and all sorts of weird stuff. Don't understand it at all, but I was kinda tripping hard at the time, too." Munch, much. "So, Jai, how'd you get into the cabbie business? What kinda Albuquerquian tales of the unexpected you got?"

"It's one of those really thrilling stories where I graduated high school and figured I probably shouldn't sponge off my folks for the indefinite future, and the first interesting ad I saw was for taxi drivers," Jai admits, grinning, "...but it turned out I really liked it, go all over the city and meet interesting people, very few of whom tried to rob me or anything. Then my folks moved again so I decided to move back here. I've got some offers on making my life story into a movie; they're thinking summer blockbuster." He has a swig of his soda, considering a moment before adding, "Not too many Albuquerquian tales of the unexpected yet, only been back in town about a week, but I'm working on it. Ask me again next month."

Damian shrugs and seems okay with both his total miss as well as Petra's words, and shrugs a second time towards Maven, still somewhat timid but apparently no longer of the mind that she's going to leap across the table and suck his brain out through his ear hole or something. "I don't think so," he tells her, "I haven't seen a lot of movies." He says while steadily mowing his way through an entire pizza.

Liane cowers, finishing off the last of her salad slowly. Sure, she's blatantly eavesdropping and no one can mistake that, and she does feel highly uncomfortable and that's obvious too, but she seems determined to complete her Required Social Contact of the day - only dreads the actual /contact/ part. So yum, salad.

"Yay cabbies," Petra says, shaking a fist like she really means it. "I had to take a lot of cabs recently when my car got stolen. It's too bad you didn't drive me at some point, Jai, or I could call you my chauffeur and boss you around." She grins a little, leaning back in her seat. She has yet to order a pizza. Maybe she's a CANNIBAL.

Maven grins. "Yay, a fellow newbie! I only got here last month myself. Moved here from Toronto, where I thought I'd leave the cold behind, but noooooo! Stupid desert! Stupid cold!" She shakes an impotent tiny fist. "Why can't it be shiny and bright with the coyotes chasing the roadrunners and the bunnies popping up because they can't make left turns?"

Jai laughs. "Canadian, eh? I was in Boston before this, so... also not escaping the cold. But don't worry, just wait 'til summer, you'll get your shiny and bright. And possibly your loony toons, you never know." Talking a lot slows down one's eating speed, so he's far behind Damian in the pizza-eating stakes. "...want a slice?" he asks Petra, since she's the only one not eating. "And hey, it's never too late. You could still get me to drive you places." This may or may not imply acquiescence to the rest of that plan.

Damian's brows furrow a little but and he seems to be pondering ever so hard while eting, perhaps trying to puzzle out all this spree killing of cheerio's and why exactly cocoa pebbles deserve to die in the first place, not to mention cartoons coming up and wondering whether rabbits *can* make left turns or not. All this is turning his poor simple brain to mush, and it's easy to see just how close to full cranial collapse he is when he says, "I thought Canadia was in Europe." Yes, he pronounced it 'Canadia', and also probably has no idea where the hell Europe is anyhow, if he thinks Canada's there.

Liane can't help it. Damian gets a look. One of those, 'oh you poor baby you are such a rare and wonderful butterfly and I don't know whether to love you or stuff you into an institution and get you help' looks. Liane's very good at this expression - she's probably had it pointed at her a few times. Or more. Then she blushes, becoming aware of her look, and quickly looks down and stabs one of the few leafy scraps left on her plate.

"Boston? So you're from CLOSE to New York. My theory almost has merit!" Petra says abruptly with a flourish. She waves off the offer of pizza, saying, "No thanks, I'm good. I actually came in here looking for the illustrious Joel, but it appears he's not working tonight. His loss. He could've gotten to see the even more illustrious me, but NOOOOO, he had to take a night off." She shakes her head, clucking her tongue. And then she turns to STARE at Damian. "What the hell, guy? Did you never attend a Social Studies class?"

Maven chuckles. "Nope, only half Canuckistanian. Dad's from Toronto, Mom's from San Francisco. That means that I'm required to like hockey, but I don't have to say aboot or pahstuh or other Bob MacKenzie things. Grew up in Texas, mostly, where it usually doesn't get this cold at night. Boston, huh? Did you get to park the car in Harvard yard?"

"Depends how you define 'from'. I lived outside Boston last, but I was born here. Well, not HERE, that'd be unsanitary and the health inspectors'd frown on it, but in Albuquerque. And before you ask, neither of my parents are from New York or Texas either. Though I guess I should admit I did live in Texas for a year when I was 8 or so." Petra gets a grin, and then Jai assures Maven in quite a good -- well, =convincing=, anyway -- Boston accent, "Oh, yeah, don't get me stahted, I pahked my cah there all the time..." He looks sidelong at Damian, but the WTF seems handled, so he takes the opportunity to demolish another slice of pizza and listen.

Damian shakes his head at Petra while worrying about eating, all innocent eyed and totally, apparently, not bullshitting her. "So... It's not? ..Huh." he asks, mentally working on his geographical puzzle pieces. This would work a lot better if he knew how they were shaped, or where the corner pieces were.

Meanwhile, back at The Lonely Table, Liane finishes off her salad and rises to bring the bowl to the counter - instead of leaving it at the table, isn't she nice - and puts a few bills in the charity boxes these places ALWAYS have. Then she gathers all her things, gives a wan smile and hurriedly slips away.

Petra points at Maven when she says she grew up in Texas, saying to Jai, "See? Do you SEE?" At Jai's confession that he also once lived in Texas, she holds out a hand, saying, "I do believe you owe me a dollar, sir! Or rather, two dollars!" She turns to Liane as the woman moves to leave, saying, "See ya later, Liane!"

"Two dollars!" whines Maven. "I want my two dollars! And a frappe. Or as normal people call them, a milkshake." She looks down at her severely damaged pizza. "But I think my stomach would explode if I did, and that wouldn't be so good. So - why Albuquerque? Why not stay in Bawwwstun?"

"Nuh-uh," Jai retorts to Petra, gesturing firmly at her with a half-eaten slice of pizza, "You said =from= New York or Texas. I am neither. I was merely =in= Texas. And that was the shortest I ever lived anywhere! I'm also not from Ohio, California, or Florida, incidentally. This is definitely where I'm from-est. So there." A chunk of peach falls of his slice, and he gives it a sad look before relocating it from table to plate and taking another bite of what didn't fall. "I dunno, homesick? I guess I just felt like going somewhere else, and I already knew the street layout here pretty decently. No one trusts a cabbie with a GPS, for some reason."

"Yeah well, I say it's close enough," Petra grumbles, but she lowers her hand back to the table. "And anyway, you don't get a dollar, Maven. You owe *me* a dollar. Anyone from Texas or New York owes me a dollar. That's the way it works." Must be a good gig, if you can get it.

Maven plays with the few remaining bacon and shrimp bits on her pizza. "I was born in Illinois, but I suppose I've spent a plurality of my life in Texas. Don't really remember a whole lot from before then, just bits and pieces. Hm. Whatcha gonna do with the dollar? Do I get part of your soul? That'd be kinda cool!"

Wren enters the pizza parlor from the street.
Wren has arrived.

Petra is sitting at a booth with Damian and Jai, who's eating a sausage and canned peach pizza, while Maven is sitting nearby eating a bacon and shrimp pizza. Petra is pizzaless. Dunno what kind of pizza Damian's eating.

"And aside from the birth thing, I =also= spent a plurality of my life here," Jai says, to cut off any potential incoming argument, "So nyah. By the way, do you owe yourself a dollar, or did you already pay yourself off?" Damian's pizza, incidentally, is cheese with extra cheese on top. "If you do get part of her soul, whatcha gonna do with it, Maven?"

"I was planning on spending it on a hooker," Petra says thoughtfully, tapping her chin. "But if I get enough dollars, I'll spend it on a hooker and more X. For taking *with* the hooker. That should answer whether you get my soul-- I already sold it long ago." She nods her head firmly, all of that decided. Then she turns to Jai and says, "I paid myself off, of course. Can't skirt the rules!"

Damian has cheese with extra cheese, and is just finishing packing away a whole god damned pizza. He isn't offering anything constructive to the conversation about where people are from, just listening and eating.

Liane has arrived.

Wren backs her way into the pizza parlor with a wiggle of her hips and the lyrics of Smash Mouth's 'Rock Star' on her lips. The red head makes tracks toward the ordering counter and beams at the guy beyond, "Two slices of cheese and a coke, please!"

Maven considers. "I don't know! I've never had anybody else's soul. Maybe I could use it to make her act like a puppet! That'd be kinda neat." She stifles a huge yawn and looks down at the remaining bits of food. "Oh, so full. And so sleepy. I think it's going to be naptime."

Liane wanders in after Wren, looking suitably resigned to...something. Who knows what. But she slips into a table a little bit away from the others, juuust within eavesdropping distance, and settles her coat about her.

Damian slouches down in his seat comfortably, holding his soda with both hands for comfortable, slow and steady drinkingness that will end with Damian having a horrible caffeine rush that causes him to destroy the city, or possibly hug someone to death. He has the sleepies too, apparently, but he's not in passing out range yet.

Wren continues to move with the beat her ipod's pumping out as she waits for her order to come up. The guy behind the counter watches her with an amused expression. That earns him a wink and then she is looking around at who else is here. Petra gets a pinkie wiggle and Liane a curious look.

"That'd be awesome, actually. You could make her dance," Jai says to Maven, and tilts his head at Petra, "...I can't say I'd recommend hiring a two-dollar hooker. I mean, okay, I don't have any direct experience in the business, but there's a certain level of bargain where you gotta start wondering what the catch is, if you ask me." He glances over toward the sound of More People, and waves when he sees Wren. The hair is highly recognizable!

"Yo!" Petra calls out to Wren, not a master of the subtle pinkie wiggle. She gives the woman a little wave, then leans back in her seat comfortably. "Yeah, maybe I should really splurge and go for a three-dollar hooker. But I dunno... it seems like such a waste of money for what I could essentially get for free. Allegedly." She smirks slightly, then slides out of the booth to finally head up to the counter and order herself a drink. Diet Sprite. No pizza, though.

Of course Petra isn't eating. It would ruin her figure, and it's bad for the monstrous spider-babies growing in her womb, controlling her mind. Liane huddles in her seat, pulling out a journal and leaning far down in the seat to be less noticeable, penciling in words and things.

"Dances with two dollar hookers," mumbles Maven. "A fascinating new movie. Ooooh, I hate coming down after being punchy and sleep-deprived; I think it's time to go home and snooze." She stands up and offers a sleepy grin. "Nice to see you again; I'll try not to spaz out as much next time."

It's a good thing that Petra uses a little force behind her 'Yo.'. Wren might not have heard her. The Texan pops an ear bud and lets it dangle, beaming brightly at the other woman when she heads for the counter. Her Pizza is slid out of the oven and set on a plate as she says, "How's tricks?"
Wren does nod toward Jai though. She's not rude, her player is just forgetful.

Damian finishes off his soda with a sluuuuurp of drops trapped in ice, and sets the cup down on the table, covering a burp with his hand and mumbling an excuse me. "I think I need to go too, you people are starting to make sense, and that scares me." He nudges Jai gently in the ribs so he can scoot out past him, and says, "But I'll come back, probably."

"We were *just* talking about tricks, and the turning thereof," Petra says to Wren with a little smirk. She collects her soda and heads back to the booth, sliding in across from Damian and Jai. She nods to Maven and Damian, saying simply, "Night, you two. Try not to eat any people on your way home."

Liane's probably deciding everyone's imminent murder with her Super!Telepathy, or maybe filling out a crossword puzzle, or maybe she's just doing some innocent doodling.

"Nice to meet you," Jai tells Maven, "...which library, by the way? Public?" He blinks at the nudge and slides out of the booth, but realizes aloud, "I didn't even get to why I came over to bug you in the first place..."

Damian smiles at Jai, "It's okay, just pizza yourself until you're filled up, and I'll be... Like... Over there." he says, vaguely pointing out the window. Honestly, it's one guy in a huge ass city, how difficult could it be to find him? With so many people he knows, there's not time nor energy to kiss and hug everyone, so he just makes one kiss at the lot, and hugs himself, mentally beaming it into people's brains for them to enjoy before slinking out into the big world.

Maven looks as if she's starting to nod off. "Muzzuh... huh? Oh yeah, public library. Reference librarian. Cataloging all the time. Feel free to come on by and make obnoxious research requests, I live to serve. When I'm not falling asleep. Which I am. So, uh, byebye for now!" She fumbles with her coat and stumbles out towards the street.

Wren follows Petra toward her booth and watches the minor exodus with an interested look then ever so casually settles herself into the booth. A glance is shifted Liane's way and the woman muses, "Is there a reason Liane is way over there all alone? Or should we drag her in?"

"Liane is... probably wary of all the people," Petra explains gently, glancing over at the woman and then back at Wren. A little louder, she says, "But she's welcome to join us if she should decide to do so." She smiles a little and takes a drink of her soda, asking Wren, "How ya been?" And that rhymes!

"Hi again," Jai tells Wren, sitting back in the booth and getting back to his pizza. "Thanks for the info about the apartment the other day, by the way. I'm in 202 now." In case she might care. He glances over to Liane, but doesn't suggest any reason for her distance.

Wren gives Jai a thumbs up and nods at him, "Excellent. You finally roused the dragon from her den then? She's really ok, just likes her nap. Uh.. don't go running your cab into her car. She had a shit fit a little while back when she found a streak of paint on her car." testing her pizza and finding it too hot she shifts her attention to Petra, "Me? Better than the usual norm. I think this season agrees with me." her eyes glint merrily, "And I'm quite happy with thing two so I have for once had .. people around me."

"Yay people," Petra says with a smile, agreeing, "Yeah, sounds a bit like the time I've been having." She sips at her soda in silence for a moment, then notes, "Vic stopped by the Apothecary last night." From her tone, she's not sure how she feels about that, and she takes a nice large gulp of her soda before leaning back in her seat. "So who's the dragon?"

"Our landlady," Jai explains, "And yeah, she was quite nice once she wasn't asleep. I think I'm safe in the car department, too; I don't generally run Clara into things. Who or what's thing two? And Vic, for that matter." He's a good halfway through his pizza, so far, and even farther through his Coke.

"The lady who collects Rent." Wren explains in sync with Jai. He gets a grin and she listens to the rest of what he has to say. "Ahh, Thing Two is my boyfriend.." she actually pinks a little. "And he's Vic's brother.. who was a guy Petra had a fling with."

Petra shrugs, saying simply, "Something like that, anyway." She sips at her soda, glancing over at the two of them, and then looks over at Liane, asking her, "You a-okay, library lady?"

"Ah, got it," Jai says, nodding; Wren gets a grin in return. He takes a sip of soda, and watches Petra for second before asking, "I guess it didn't go so great?"

Wren offers up an apologetic look to Petra before adding in, "I don't know the details and I don't really want to. I like Petra. I like Vic. I really like Lucian - Vic's brother. The less I know about the stuff that has them growling at each other the less likely I'll feel a need to take a side." she smiles brightly again then tests her pizza with a finger. Finally! she takes a bite.

"Yeah, I guess you could say that," is all Petra says to Jai with another shrug. "Things happen. No biggie," she adds, to the both of them. "Anyway, Lucian now hates my guts, and the feeling is pretty mutual. He can fall off a cliff for all I care." A pause, then she says to Wren, "Uh, no offense."

"...Got it," Jai says again, adding a slightly sheepish, "Sorry." He picks up a new slice of pizza, and glances toward Liane, then back to the table. "You know, when I was away, I forgot how small a town this place is, for a big city."

There are people here? Liane's gone into full Research Mode. She seems tense, but not nervous, fully absorbed in her little notebook. If one can hear over the crowds, they'll realize she's murmuring to herself absently, fingers touching first her crystal, then her pocketwatch, then her journal, then pushing back her hair - but they're never still, always moving as she reads, and one hand at the ready to scribble down any notes.

Wren nods, mouth full of pizza. When she swallows and chases it with a sip of soda she offers toward Petra, "None taken. He approached me about it and told me that he didn't want me to feel pressured to take sides." she pauses then notes, "I'm hoping you two can keep it to words and nothing beyond." She peers curiously toward Jai then wonders, "Is it?"

"I'm not usually prone to settling things with my fists," Petra says with a smirk, then pauses and adds, "Though he really makes me reconsider that policy." She winks at Wren, then turns to look at Jai, shrugging a little. "I have another theory. This theory states that All Know Joel in this town. Those that don't know Joel are lying about not knowing him, or part of a vast conspiracy to bring down the Joel Establishment. And they must be stopped."

"If I tell you I don't know him yet, am I gonna get taken down?" Jai asks Petra, with exaggerated worry. "I mean, I've heard of him repeatedly, and I think I might've met him really briefly; is that enough to save me?" He shrugs to Wren, and nods. "I guess more accurately it's several small towns, but everyone seems to know everyone else. More than some other places I've lived, anyway."

Wren points at Jai, "Remember Joel? That Joel. You're his neighbor now. Be prepared to be drawn into the vortex that surrounds him." her eyes glint with humor. She's of the same mind: Joel is a demi god. Or something. Yep. "I.. have got to make use of the facilities." she notes, all innocent like. "I should be out in a little bit. Stab anyone who dares to eat my pizza?"

Liane looks really into that leatherbound journal. One can only imagine it's either some sacred text telling the meaning of life, or a very graphic copy of the kama sutra, or SOMETHING to deserve all that attention. Finally, though, her eyes widen and she snaps the journal shut with both hands, eyes wide and staring at nothing. Then she lets out a long sigh, that sounds like one of those, 'aint he dreaaaaaamy?' sighs, and smiles with delight. Then she notices where she is again, reddening and ducking her head as her gaze flicks to see if anyone noticed her little Moment of Bookworm Joy.

"Yes. I *will* have to take you down, and you *will* face my arm wrestly wrath. But since you've met him briefly, I will give you a one-week reprieve to get to know him. Get on it, peasant." Petra smiles at Wren, saying, "See you on the other side, then." She glances over to Liane at her sigh, smiling faintly. "Welcome back to the world of the living, Liane."

Wren scoots, to you know.. use the bathroom. Or in some alternate reality, wash her kids and put them in bed.

Jai plucks a crayon from the little jar and holds it threateningly in answer to Wren, assuring her, "I will cornflower-shank any thieves. And thanks for your kindness, your majesty. I'll get right on it, swear. Though aside from the inevitable broken bones, arm-wrestly wrath sounds kinda fun." The snap of the book shutting gets his attention, so he does see that moment of joy, and it makes him grin again. "Good book?" he asks.

Red is NOT a good color for someone who blushes as much as Liane does, why does no one warn her about it? And she does blush, oh yes, looking quite embarrassed. "N-n-notes. I w-w-was...r-re-reading them. Th-they're l-little sn-snippets I c-collected from v-various p-places and h-haven't had t-time to r-r-read over. It's f-f-fascinating w-work, on the p-p-power of n-names and n-n-n-naming in v-various c-cultures."

Speaking of thieves, as soon as Wren's back is turned, Petra reaches over to tear off a piece of the woman's pizza, vaguely in the shape of a bite. She pops the piece in her mouth and says to Jai, "Well, it looks like we're at an impasse. You're supposed to shank me, and I'm supposed to arm wrestle you into submission. Clearly a cage match is in our future." She picks up a crayon of her own, saying, "En garde!" Liane distracts her however, and she turns to Liane to say, "Oh, like the naming of demons and stuff? True names and all that?"

"Shank!" Jai exclaims, poking Petra in the hand with the crayon while she's distracted, and then pulling it back into a passable 'en garde' type position for the inevitable retribution. "'The naming of cats is a difficult matter, it isn't just one of your everyday games'... That's pretty cool. I mean, that topic. Which cultures are you reading about mainly?"

Liane looks at Jai, obviously puzzled, and then glances over at Petra before looking back down at her lap. "N-not only d-demons. C-c-currently I'm s-s-sticking to E-europ-p-pean, with a f-f-focus on the G-good N-neighbors." Liane says carefully. "The s-stories v-vary, but true n-names either r-repel them or m-make them do you s-s-some s-service."

"Oh noes!" Petra actually says, yanking her hand back like it's been burned at the stab. She clutches it, exclaiming to Liane, "Do you see what you have wrought??" With her non-shanked hand, she meets Jai's crayon with her own, making a little 'clang' sound effect. This time she doesn't turn away from Jai as she replies to Liane, "Good Neighbors? Like, State Farm?"

Jai laughs and retaliates with a 'ching!' sort of sound effect on the next crayon hit, also watching his tablemate while he talks to Liane, "How does someone get a true name, anyway? I always kind of wondered; is it just what their hypothetical parents called them? And if not, how did they find out what it was in the first place?"

"T-true names of p-people are t-tricky things," Liane admits, "A-and t-treatment of it v-v-varies from c-culture to c-culture." A glance over at Petra, and Liane's hand touches the iron watch around her neck again, "F-f-fair F-folk. G-good Neighbors. The P-people of the H-hills. The F-fae, f-fairies, and s-sidhe. D-drawing their at-t-tention is never a g-good idea." Liane remarks, "A-and so there are m-many euph-phemisms for talking about th-them. All c-creatures of m-magic, according to m-most lore, have a t-true name, and this is a n-name given to them b-by their C-creator, be it a g-god, G-god -" The capital letters can be clearly heard in her tone, "Th-this is because m-magical creatures are f-for the most part unch-changing in th-their essence, unl-like humans, or s-so I th-theorize."

"Ka-ching!" Petra's crayon rebounds off of Jai's, and she adds a, "Spark spark spark!" as she dives in again and slides her crayon along his. It's truly epic. She doesn't let her attention waver from her 'opponent' as she replies to Liane, "I know, like, next to nothing about that stuff. But why would drawing their attention be a bad thing? What are they gonna do, cover you in fairie dust?" She's clearly not heard the legends about them. "You should figure out my True Name. Then you'd totally be able to boss me around. Or banish me back to New York."

"That'd be a shame. The banishing part, anyway," Jai says, "The other part could be handy, though. Protect people's pizzas, stuff like that." Clang! Crash! Other similarly silly onomatopoeia for a crayon battle! "Gah, my hand, the agony!" he exclaims as a slide of Petra's crayon makes it along his and the tip glances across his skin. "Woe, woe is me... so magic creatures are made, not born? Ohhhh the pain..."

"It d-d-depends on the m-myth. D-d-divine c-creatures are a t-tossup - g-gods are either born or m-made. M-magical c-creatures s-such as the f-faeries - are u-usually c-created by s-some event. M-magical b-beasts tend to be b-born or c-created. Unicorns h-have unicorns, gryphons, g-gryphons...but th-then you have s-something like a c-c-cockatrice which is b-born of a ch-chicken egg s-sat on by a frog for such-and-s-such number of years. Wh-where would you q-qualify th-that? Or m-magical c-creatures that were once h-human, such as b-banshees in s-some myths, or v-vampires or z-zombies or all that - m-made. Th-then you need to d-discover their n-name. B-but humans are alive and ch-change, so my th-theory is that c-constant change and s-self editing makes it d-difficult for them to have a T-true N-name. C-certainly it's the n-name your parents g-gave you, but n-normally this is because th-that name has b-become central to w-who you are, and YOU b-believe that name is wh-who you are, on s-s-some level." Liane coughs, and quickly covers her mouth as she continues to do so, rising to go to the counter and order something to drink.

Petra gives Jai a broad smile at his words, but that doesn't mean she gives him any mercy! No, she presses her advance, saying, "Ha HA!" all haughtily. "Have at you!" and thrusting with her crayon to meet his. She starts to say something to Liane, but then the woman gets up and goes to the counter, so she holds her thought for now. With her free (and earlier wounded) hand, she grabs her soda and takes a drink.

"I know something you don't know. I... am not left-handed," Jai says dramatically, and switches crayon hands, redoubling his battling, and sneaking a glance after Liane, just to be sure she's all right. She seems to be handling the cough situation, though, so he focuses on trying to regain ground in the crayon-fight, and come up with some more interesting impact sounds.

Wren returns from the bathroom in search of her remaining slice of pizza and what is left of her drink. She's fresh faced and faintly smelling of the hand soap the place has. Oh yeah, an noticeably relaxed. Must have had a really -good- reason to be going to the bathroom.

"Then there is something you should know as well," Petra says with a flourish, switching which hand holds the crayon. "Neither am I." She and Jai are doing epic crayon-sword battle while Liane is up at the counter getting herself something to drink. "Your villainy cannot be allowed to continue."
Oh, and Wren's pizza is missing a small bite-sized piece.

Liane returns from her jaunt, sipping at her drink - who knows what it is, in that plastic container. Could be soda, could be iced tea, could be one of their 'special' mixes FOR ADULTS. She settles back into her seat, glancing once in a while to see how the EPIC BATTLE OF CRAYON VALLEY is going.

"MY villainy?" Jai protests, going in for a crayon-lunge, "You're the thief, I'm just doing my protective duty! Have at thee! Ha!" As was inevitably going to happen eventually, on the next 'clang' of crayons, his breaks, and he looks at it dangling sadly in two parts for a second. "Damn."

Wren stops to stare at her Pizza. Then she starts to look around like she's expecting to find something. Like.. "Where's the body?" Petra gets a look. "You're awfully good at hidin' them."

"I'm not a thief. I'm a pizza reclamation artist," Petra sniffs, clearly hurt by the mere *notion* that she might be a thief. "I believe your sword breaking is a sign from the heavens that you were not meant to survive." And then, now that he's defenseless, she leans forward to stab him in the chest. Then she glances up at Wren. "Yo. The body's hidden under your pizza."

Liane glances over at Petra and shakes her head, "P-petra c-claimed s-some as the p-price of her s-s-service." Liane says, then sips sips sips at her drink. And adds, "J-jai d-defended v-v-valiantly, but his s-skills as a w-warrior were l-lacking."

Jai squeaks and attempts to defend himself with the stub of his crayon, but woe, it was not to be. He dies dramatically and with many sound effects instead, managing handily to collapse on the part of the table where no pizza is. "There, I'm dead, are you happy now? Thief. Thief and =murderer=." A pause. "I feel vaguely guilty about that crayon, now."

Wren gives a gasp of outrage. "Stabbed me in the back!!" her hands find her hips and she glowers at Petra, looming over her now. "And here I thought we were united in our goals! We were with one purpose!"

"I was *protecting* your pizza, Wren. It's not my fault that the price of my protection is pizza. I mean, we all gotta eat, right?" Petra grins widely, then throws her crayon down triumphantly, like a football player throwing down the football. Thankfully for you all, she does not do a little dance. To Jai, she says, "You talk a lot for a dead guy."

Siiiiiiiiiiip. Liane doesn't interfere. This isn't her battle!

Wren eyes Petra then frowns. It's a big frown. Like, super huge wrinkle your face up into something unattractive and yet funny looking and not funny haha if you get the drift. "You could have asked for payment once the service was done. Now you have not protected the pizza. You have claimed it for yourself."

"Tell it to Shakespeare," Jai retorts, and watches the 'drama' brewing. He'd may or may not be thankful that Petra doesn't dance, but he'd probably at least have made a token protest. Dead or not.

"Oh, asking for payment is just a road to mayhem and sadness," Petra says, shaking her head woefully. "That leads to people not paying, and then I'd have to repossess the pizza *and* break your knees. And no one wants that. Except me. Because I like breaking knees." She takes a sip of her soda, smirking up at Wren.

Liane just...slowly shakes her head, and sips her tea.

Wren snorts then shakes her head. "You need to learn better business practices." a nod is given. "For now? I will simply.." she pulls her straw from her soda and takes on an en garde stance, "Demand satisfaction! And avenge poor Jai here, who has died in the line of duty!"

"Yayyyyyy!" Jai says in his best 'not dead yet' sort of tone, low and sepulchral. "An avenging!" He stays 'dead' on the table, but sneaks a hand over to get a slice of his pizza, and attempts to eat it sideways.

Pulling her own straw out of her drink, Petra says, "I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Now let's see how well you handle it!" Her first action, though, is to stab the already-dead Jai, because why not? "Quiet, you!"

Liane simply...shakes her head, and quietly begins to gather her things, tucking a notebook away and all that.

Wren hahas! and takes Petra's moment of distraction to flick the tip of her straw at the woman, sprinkling her with coke droplets. "First blood drawn!" she cries. "What have you to say to that, fiend?" She's a bit distracted, doesn't realize Liane is packing up to go.

Just as planned!

Jai makes some more gurgling dying agony sounds, hamming it up enough to keep this place supplied on the topping for months. "Have some respect for the dead! Geez!" From his angle, he can't actually see Liane, or much of anything except his own booth and a direct shot toward the other side of the room.

With a cry of pain and dismay, Petra clutches her arm, gnashing her teeth. "I say you shall pay for this transgression! I shall rend you limb from limb! I shall eat your liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti!" Unfortunately, Wren is probably going to get another hit in, as Petra gets distracted by Liane, calling out, "See ya, Liane!"

The iPhone rings.

Liane winces, a bit at the goodbye - obviously she expected to go unnoticed into the night, and Petra, once again, RUINS IT ALL. She gives a weak smile, and moves towards the door, ESCAPING.

Another strike is made! This time Wren lunges forward, straw pointed out to poke Petra on her hand, right over where she is grabbing her shoulder. "Take that, and that!" another poke, of course. "You shall learn your lesson yet!" and then the phone rings..?

"Oh! Bye, Liane!" Jai calls when Petra's goodbye alerts him to the departure, and then he gives Wren a few quiet cheers and a brief applause as she fights his killer. The phone seems like it's probably going to end the fun, though, and plus, dead is not the most comfortable position, so he starts to sit up a little, rubbing the back of his neck with the hand that isn't holding half a slice of pizza.

The phone indeed rings, and Petra reaches into her pocket to pull it out, demanding to whoever is on the other end, "Speak now or forever hold your peace!" Then she laughs at something said, and says, "How do you know I'm not busy getting hitched to someone else THIS VERY SECOND?" And then Wren stabs her, twice even, and she lets out a mock cry of pain, laughing and saying, as though hurt, "You would dare attack me while distracted? Who is the real monster here?" And then she says, back toward the phone, "I hope you know you're making me lose an epic sword fight. I could die here."

Wren calls, "She could! She could! I could disembowel her! Then where will she be?" but she holds off on stabbing Petra again. "I think I might let you live." She confides, finally slipping back into her seat. "This time." And a bite of her pizza is taken.

Jai sits up the rest of the way and goes back to eating his (now rather cold) pizza, blatantly eavesdropping on the call. He does take a moment to tell Wren, "Good fighting. Very merciful of you."

Wren inclines her head then gestures toward Jai, "It was the least I could do for your sacrafice. Honor and all that." Her teeth bare in a pearly white smile and then she takes another bite of her equally cold pizza. But Pizza tastes good in all its forms. Petra says into the phone, "Well, you're not here, so I have to defend my own honor. Maybe next time you'll learn to follow me around like a stalker, always waiting for your chance to shine." She then replies to Wren, "You are a soldier and a gentleman," before saying into the phone, "It turns out I'm going to live! I have been mercifully spared. Of course, this just means I'm going to come back in the third act in time to stab her in the back. And yes, I would enjoy that very much. Er, not the stabbing, the dinner." She grins over at Wren, winking in her direction, and puts her straw back in her soda before taking a sip.

"I don't think defending honor is an accurate description for the situation," Jai remarks, polishing off his slice and eyeing the last two consideringly. "And I'd definitely watch your back, Wren, 'cause I bet she'd enjoy the stabbing, too."

"What honor?" Wren asks, one brow lofting, "You are a thief!" but her eyes are twinkling. And gee, that pizza sure tastes nummy. Nomnomnom. Jai gets a sage nod, "I surely will. I shall have to put my back to people I trust." she pauses, "Wait! she was one of those people but moments ago!" She makes a horrified look, all wide eyed and o shaped mouth. It's obviously fake. Then she starts to giggle.

Petra tilts her head thoughtfully at something said to her on the phone and then replies, "Surprise me! I'm not too picky, really. Food is good. I like food." And then she smirks over at Jai and Wren, saying, "Quiet in the peanut gallery." She grins over at Wren, and then her grin fades a bit and she says into the phone after a bit of a pause, "Yeah, I... probably owe you an apology too. Now's not the time, though. Anyway, no hard feelings on my part."

Jai nods solemn agreement with Wren's assessment, and then grins, pushing his plate slightly away and working on finishing his glass of soda. Surely it can't take long.

Wren continues to make little giggles, unable to keep eating while racked with them. Taking a cue from Jai, she sheaths her sword/straw then takes a sip of her soda.

Petra says into the phone with a little smile, "Yeah, I'm fine, really. It's... complicated. Or, I dunno. Anyway, I'm fine. Things were just-- things." Cogent. She pauses, then says, "Maybe. I'm not... much for talking. About things." She then gets up from her seat and says, "Uh, be right back. Just gonna go take this call." Cuz she totally wasn't doing that before. With that, she heads just outside the building, chatting away a bit more.

You exit the restaurant.

Phone call removed.

You step into the pizza parlor.

Somewhat secret-revealing conversation removed.

Wren nods at what Petra says, all of it. She ditches her half eaten slice of pizza though and says to the woman. "OooOooo, Baskin and Robbins. I crave strawberries. Let's go." she sits up then starts to scoot, eager like.

"Got it; I kinda figured, but I hate assuming. Thanks." Jai takes another drink from his soda and glances at the pair of them, "...I guess I should prolly let you go, huh? 's nice seeing you both again." He puts the glass aside a bit and stands up, picking up his pizza-packet.

Petra slides out of the booth and grins over at Wren, picking up her soda. "No reason you can't come with, if you want?" she says, with a quick glance to Wren to confirm that this is alright. She walks over to throw away her soda, which was nearly empty anyway, and takes out a pair of gloves from her jacket pocket, sliding them on.

Wren nods in agreement with Petra. "Yeah, why not? It's closer to where we live than here anyway. And company is always good." she pauses then gives Jai a mock horrified look, "Unless .. you don't like ice cream..?"

"Are you kidding? I =love= ice cream. I tried to elope with it once, but it refused to climb down the ladder," Jai replies, grinning again, "Broke my heart." This appears also to be a 'yes please', as he seems to be following along with them. The pizza disappears into his coat pocket, and the soda gets dealt with as well on his way off.

"Okay, I was going to have to ask if you were some kind of freaky robot. I mean, first you aren't friends with Joel, but then not liking ice cream? It'd be a fuckin' tragedy." And with that, Petra heads out the door of the pizza shop, shaking her head.

Wren grins at Jai's response. "Ahh, good, good. Then we must ensure that you and Joel get better acquainted and ensure that you are on the right side. Right?" she narrows her eyes at the man. Then, "What's your favorite flavor?" to both, likely.

"Right. So... are we all heading separately, or shall I drive?" Jai offers, gesturing broadly to his cab, "My favourite flavour... depends when you ask and what's available. But I guess right now I'd say... oh, man, there's this one Baskin Robbins has sometimes, what's it called... Winter White Chocolate. I hope they have it this year. Do I pass?"

"Having a favorite flavor would be a painful process. I'd have to eliminate so many very worthy contenders. It's just not right to do that to some poor innocent flavor of ice cream, so I keep my options open," Petra answers Wren with mock seriousness. She glances over at Jai at his question and says, "I don't really care. I have my car though, so I should probably drive it. We can fight over who gets to drive Wren."

Wren perks up, "Who has better heat?" her brows loft upward, "And Jai? Can you gimme a ride home after? I mean.. since we're in the same place and all."

"Should we arm-wrestle for it?" Jai asks Petra, grinning, "...and yeah, 'course I'll give you a ride home, Wren. You're giving me furniture! ...just for the record, Clara's climate control is superb."

"I dunno, I'd hate to have to hand you your ass," Petra says to Jai, shaking her head sadly. "How about I let you take her, just this once? Though you totally owe me a life debt." That said, she walks over to the Camaro parked just outside, unlocking it.

"Fft, I barely HAVE an ass," Jai retorts, "I keep it in a wizard box hidden deep in a cave high on a mountain, so no one can get their dirty hands on it. Which might be the problem with my love life, come to think of it..." He opens the front passenger side door of his cab and makes an exaggeratedly deep bow of welcome for Wren, apparently accepting Petra's offer.

Wren grins after Petra then bumps a hip against Jai's before she heads for his car. The whole door holding routine gets a laugh outta her. "Whoa, the royal treatment!"

"See you on the flip side," Petra says with a little wave, and slips into her car.

Car spam removed.

Petra totally sped the whole damn way. She's an okay driver beyond that, though.

Jai drove the limit, so it takes a couple minutes longer for the cab to arrives -- but not long enough to leave Petra freezing. True to his word, the cab is nice and toasty inside, and when they park, he opens Wren's door for her if he gets round that side before she handles it herself.

Wren soaks up the royal treatment. And she looks amused by it too. Stepping out of the cab she gives the man a wink then asks, "And you said you're having problems dating? Someone must have their eyes glued shut. With superglue." she waves toward Petra then starts to head for the shop. "Strawberrieesss!" she calls, like a zombie might think 'braaains!!'

Petra is indeed waiting out in the cold cold outside, but she's got her jacket buttoned up and her gloves on, so it's not so bad. You wouldn't know that from looking at the way she shivers and stamps her foot impatiently. "COLD." She goes in as soon as the two start to head for the shop without a backwards glance.

You enter the Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins building.

Katie has arrived.

Jai is holding the door to Dunkin' Donuts for Wren, and about to follow her in when he notes another person nearby. "Heading here?" he calls, letting all the cold air into the shop. Hard to be polite in this weather!

Katie walks through the door as Jai holds it for her like a gentleman!

Petra is heading for the counter, and when she gets there, she flops her hands onto it and says, "Coffee please!" She appears to be in a fairly good mood. She leans against the counter and glances back to Jai and Wren, and that's when she notices Katie. "Hey Katie!"

"No problem," Jai says, giving Katie a grin and following her inside, letting the door fall closed, a blessed barrier to the bitter breeze. He heads over toward the pink part of the place, the better to eagerly check out the array of ice creams available today in the case.

Wren heads on into the D and D with an almost eager look on her cold chapped face. She actually heads right for the glass covered tubs of ice cream and starts to drool. Not visibly, but you know she could start at any moment! "They .. have it!" she exclaims then does a little celebratory wiggle dance.

Katie isn't here for ice cream tonight, she does smile at Petra and give the other girl a nod. "Howdy." Katie looks like she walked here from somewhere, snow dusting in her hair and along her coat. Her cheeks are rosey.

Petra is totally on the Dunkin Donuts side of the shop, so despite all her talk of how wonderful ice cream is, it doesn't appear she's getting any. She pays for her coffee and makes her way over to a booth, though she pauses to ask Katie, "You wanna get your stuff and have a seat? How are ya?"

Jai makes an excited little noise of his own, seeing the flavour he'd been hoping for, and then looks to Wren, asking, "Which one?" He gets two scoops, winter white chocolate and chocolate chip cookie dough, with whipped cream and a cherry, and a very large cup of coffee, and looks absolutely thrilled about it, all in all.

Katie orders herself a chocolate covered cake donut and a hot chocolate, someone is clearly after a chocolate fix here. A nod given to Petra, so when her order comes up, she walks over to join her. "I reckon I'm fine. How ya'll doin?"

Wren beams as Jai joins her and continues to jam as she makes her order. "Yeah, the strawberry one there. With the chunks. Uhhuh. Scoop, in a cup. NO. I do not want to blemish it with chocolate." she stares at the server like they might have a third head and stops moving. The rest of her order is put together under her eagle eye. "Hi Katie!" an actual greeting!

"Glad to hear it. I'm peachy keen." Petra slides into the booth and scoots over in case everybody else is coming to join them after they get their ice cream. "Did you walk here? It's too COLD. I hate driving everywhere cuz I like to get my exercise, but I hate the cold. Hate hate hatey hate hate."

"Good choice," Jai tells Wren, and collects his bounty, waiting for Wren's order to be finished as well before heading in Petra and Katie's general direction.

"Howdy, Wren," Katie says with not as much enthusiasm, but not any animosity either. "I did walk," Katie says to Petra. "I kinda like the cold sometimes. Though it was a mite colder than I really counted on." She's also sporting a nice peach scarf that isn't in her desc.

Wren follows after Jai, eyes centered on her mountain of pink colored ice cream. She glances up though and flashes Katie with a bright and cheerful smile. Settling down at Petra's table and scooting so Jai can get in too she states, "Time for a taste of heaven." then takes a bite. Does she look happy? oh yes. Her brains are leaking out. Well, not /really/.

Glancing over to Wren and then back to Katie, Petra smiles at Katie's reply. "Yeah, I guess cold is okay sometimes. It's just... damn, this is TOO cold. I can't wait for freakin' Spring." She takes a sip of her coffee and just then notices the peach scarf, saying, "Hey, is that-- is that Joel's yarn there? It looks awesome, if so."

"Joel has yarn? Man, there really isn't anything that he's not involved in around here, is there?" Jai asks, "I'm beginning to think this might be a Joel-based economy. Ooh, or an episode of the Twilight Zone where at the end we find out we're all just figments of Joel's imagination..." He digs into his ice cream and looks nearly as happy as Wren. "So... from the greetings I'm going to guess you're Katie; I'm Jai, nice to meet you."

"It is the yarn Joel gave me," Katie says and holds the damp scarf out for Petra to admire. "Does that mean it'd be crap if it weren't the same yarn?" Katie asks the other girl with a grin, then looks across at Jai. "That's right, I'm Katie. Nice ta meet ya. And yes, pretty much the whole town's social structure revolves around Joel."

Wren would make an introduction but she's zoning on happy sweet stuff. A sigh escapes her and she takes another bite. "Mm, Joel has fingers in everything." Wren agrees in a content tone. She eyes the scarf wrapped around Katie's neck with interest but doesn't comment on it. Instead more icy creamy strawberry decadence is consumed and the woman goes trippy again. Or at least looks it.

"That *is* what one would assume, isn't it?" Petra says wryly as she looks at the scarf, but she doesn't correct the assumption so MAYBE IT'S TRUE. She nods her head, turning the scarf over, and says, "Verreh nice. I likey." She lets the scarf go, and grins over at Wren, watching her for a moment before saying to Jai, "Joel-based economy, definitely. Next time you order a pizza from Pizza Palace, ask for Joel to deliver it. I guarantee you won't regret it. He won't *let* you."

"Apparently he's my neighbour now," Jai says, glancing to Wren for confirmation, "So surely I can't avoid meeting him properly eventually, even if I forget to order pizza. I'm pretty sure I did run into him once, when I met Damian, but he was on the phone getting depressed, and you don't wanna impose on that kind of thing... So, Katie, did you owe Petra a dollar or did she owe you one?"

"Um.." Katie casts a glance at Petra. "I reckon I don't remember owin' her a dollar, or her owin' me one. Course, losin' my memory wouldn't really be all that surprisin'." Katie says with a wry grin. "Joel? Depressed, how odd." she says with a flat tone, which could go either way to being sarcastic or just being truth.

Wren nodnods at Jai then gestures toward him with a scoop of her ice cream, "Yep, down the hall. I'm not too far away either. I'm telling you, you picked a good spot." She consumes her melty bite then gives an easy smile all around, "He has his moments." she seems to be talking about Joel. "Everyone does though. Some of us are walking angst magnets."

"Oh, yeah," Petra says, like she's just remembered, and holds out a hand at Katie. "You owe me a dollar. It's part of my greater Texas/New York theory, which states that everyone in Albuquerque is from Texas or New York. And furthermore, anyone from those places owes me a dollar. So pay up." She frowns a little at Jai's words and says, "Depressed, huh? When was this?"

"I guess... little under a week ago? Something about a mishap involving his wallet, I think," Jai says, "Seemed like the call was basically about it being recovered, but it had... seen better days." Which is quite obviously serving as a euphemism here, for whatever reason. "...sorry about the dollar, Katie."

"Ah, that," Katie says with a frown, as if she's well aware. A look is given to Petra's outstretched hand. "As a Texan, I reckon I don't take too kindly to unexpected taxes. I don't recall no vote on this issue."

Wren points her spoon at Petra, "You stole a bite of my food. You get no dollar." she nods at Katie, "Careful there. She's a shyster." her brows waggle a little then she grins and glances back at Petra all innocent like. While she fills her mouth with ice cream again. She half chokes as Katie makes her statement then starts to snicker.

"I hadn't heard about him having troubles with his wallet," Petra says, glancing over at Katie questioningly. At Wren's terrible betrayal, she says, "Quiet you, or I will stab you in the back after all! I'm a saint! A SAINT!" Little known fact: Saints totally threaten to stab people in the back all the time.

"I reckon he had a bad day.." Katie says of Joel's wallet's mishaps, but doesn't elaborate more on that particular topic. She also doesn't hand Petra over a dollar, her Texan pride won't allow it! Or maybe she just doesn't have one on her right now. She breaks a piece of her donut off and eats it, washing it down with the hot chocolate. Wren gives Petra a mystified look as well. Joel wallet mishaps, oh my. "Maybe jus bad luck." she rolls a shoulder. Then, a sneak attack is made. On Jai's ice cream! The red head swoops her spoon in and snags a bite, ninja style. After pointing at the door and saying, "Hey, it's superman!"

Joel arrives from the street.
Joel has arrived.

 Desc of Joel

 On the tall side of average, this man's build is strong and lean, with muscles that tend towards wiry rather than bulky. His dark hair is longish, but not long enough to pull back into a tail, and its nature seems to be wavy and seditious. The man's clear, smooth skin is a pale olive hue, the sort that darkens bronze in the sun, and his eyes are an ambiguous brown-gray-blue-green color that looks like a new kind of boring in every type of light. He has a long, straight nose and high cheekbones, and seems to be wandering though his early twenties. A glint of silver at one eyebrow draws attention to a piercing there, and he wears a ring on the index finger of his right hand. His usual collection of necklaces must be hiding under his shirt.
 He is rather brightly dressed. A brown suit jacket being assaulted by violently colored paisley is worn over a green collared shirt. Clutching his throat like an upside-down noose is an appalling tie with a bright butterfly-and-floral appearance. (BEHOLD On his legs are white pants with too much flare to be okay in any time period other than the 1970s, and on his feet are a somewhat incongruent pair of beat up black converse low tops.

Jai looks around for "superman" and thus is looking when the door opens and Joel enters. "Holy shit, it is!" he exclaims, startled enough that he doesn't even reprimand Wren for stealing his delicious, delicious ice cream. And after he gave his life defending her pizza! ""

"Wait a minute, apparently I'm not the only thie-- I mean, reclamation artist around!" Petra says of Wren's ice cream stealing, pointing an accusing finger at the woman. She doesn't comment on Joel's mishaps, instead taken by surprise at Wren's actions. But man, if she thought she was surprised before, wait 'til she sees Joel. Her only words are, "What. The. Fuck." So, thumbs down on the outfit, then?

Petra is sitting at the booth with a cup of coffee. Katie has a donut and a hot chocolate, and Wren and Jai each have ice cream. Wren is stealing a bite of Jai's ice cream at the moment.

"I discovered thrift stores," Joel preens, as he invites himself on over to their booth. Since it looks like there's a little more room, whoever's on the ends is getting sat next to. Don't touch the paisley, it might bite. "My clothes keep getting ruined with one goddamn thing and another, so I was looking for new stuff... normal stuff... and then I saw this." Big grin! He's delighted! "I can't believe no one else wanted this stuff. This is /awesome/." The only one he seems to not know well is Jai, who he peers at for a moment before coming up with a name. "Jay... Jai, right? Dude with the sweet cab?"

Wren didn't actually think there would be superman at the door. It was supposed to be a distraction, see? She has her spoon buried in her mouth and is on the verge of her second ice cream-gasm of the night when Jai's startled response actually sinks in. She peers toward the door then starts to laugh. Petra's surprise only fuels her humor and she starts to laugh merrily.

Maybe Katie will actually have a seizure, because Katie stares at Joel's attire.. like she's never seen such a thing. She's a kid, maybe she hasn't. "I shop all the time at thrift stores," she says blandly, and her clothing looks NOTHING like that. "I reckon you got a great deal," she decides, like that's the most important part.

"Yup!" Jai exclaims, faintly surprised but pleased to be remembered. "And you're the almighty Joel, center of this universe, from everything I hear," he continues cheerfully, "Glad to see you're feeling cheerier. And discovered thrift stores. Which are awesome. Hey, which one was it? Did you see any decent furniture there?"

"You uh. That uh." Petra is pretty speechless at Joel's attired wonder. She takes a sip of her coffee, then scoots over all the way against the wall. Maybe she's helping make room, or maybe she's just fucking terrified by the paisley. "Hi Joel," she finally says. "That is an interesting outfit you have on there. It is very special."

Wren informs Joel, cause everyone knows she really isn't all that nice, "You look like something dragged out of the 70's, Joel. And the worst parts of it. Whatever you paid? it was too much." she toasts him with a scoop of ice cream then takes a bite.

"If the center of the universe is a pizza guy in paisley then that might explain why shit's so fucked up in the world," Joel grins at Jai's comment. "I'm not almighty. I'm just a guy. And yeah that wallet thing was literally shitty, but that's life huh? I'm not a good one to advise you about furniture. Everyone seems to hate my couch." For reasons clearly baffling to him. He grins at Katie, "I know, right? It was so cheap!" Imagine that. "Jesus, I haven't worn a tie in years... but how could I pass this up?" He waggles the tie at Petra, and the butterflies seem to shift grotesquely in existential torment. "Who could pass this up?" To Wren, "You're just jealous. They did have some things for ladies."

Wren looks interested, "Did they?" she asks Joel, "I could shop ahead for next Halloween."

Katie looks between Wren and Joel, and then across at the terrified Petra. "I reckon there's a horror movie in here somewhere for yah to become rich and famous from," she decides, and then takes a sip of her hot chocolate.

"Now Wren," Petra chides, "Play nice. His outfit is hardly Halloween appropriate. For instance, it might scare all the little children trick or treating." She grins over at Joel, and reaches around Katie to punch him in the arm playfully. "Sorry to hear about your wallet. But it's okay-- we've figured out that Albuquerque has a Joel-based economy, so you can pay for anything and everything you can imagine just by flashing a little sumpin sumpin."

"I dunno, it might improve things," Jai says, and looks the outfit over again. "I gotta admit, if I saw that hanging in the store, I might find it hard to pass up as well. When would you ever run into something like that again?" Not that there's a reason for that or anything. "Anyway, currently my furniture's an air mattress, so I'm checking all the thrift shops I can find."

A 'what?' look is given to Petra but Wren asks Joel, "Can I get my picture taken with you? I mean, I need to preserve this memory forever and ever on facebook." She glances toward Jai then wonders, "Were you gonna take that bed too?" what bed?

"Halloween? Horror movies? The stumbling blocks of the /small-minded/, my friends," Joel defends his mind-bendingly awful attire. "This jacket is fuckin /sweet/." He grins as Petra punches him in the arm, and raises a brow. "Yeah, again, if my broke ass is the basis of Albuquerque economy? Explains a lot about why New Mexico is less the Land of Enchantment, more the Land of Entrapment. Not sure how I feel about being responsible for all this..." To Jai, he ponders. "This place was down on Lomas. After it's nice but before it's too scary." A tsk at Wren, "I can't allow my photo on the internet. Swarms of fans would show up at my house, I'd never get any peace."

"It's true, I've seen it happen. I reckon Joel's fame has made it out of our small town of Albuquerque." Katie nods sagely. "I reckon if all his fan knew where he lived, your apartment buildin' would never be quiet. Not even for a second. No one wants that."

"Oh man." At Wren's mention of pictures, Petra is quick to reach around for her little square tote bag, which it turns out is just the right size to hold a fancy camera. She pulls it out and announces, "Pictures for everyone!" A pause, then, "Though, you guys gotta let me out to *take* said pictures." At Joel's protests, she shakes her head. "They'd have to find your house first. And I would totally never leak your picture along with your address and the words, 'NEEDS HOT LOVING.' Never ever," she solemnly swears-slash-lies. "But seriously, you guys gotta let me out so the picture-taking can commence."

Wren gives Katie a stricken look, "Nooo! My peace, my quiet! All gone?" she makes wide eyes then brandishes her spoon at Petra, "You shall not be taking pictures today, woman! put that away! this is my late morning sleep ins we are talking about!"

"If you don't want it? Yes, definitely!" Jai tells Wren, "I will be ecstatic to remove it from your evil storage block. Between that and the chairs, I'll actually have places for people to sit. And lie down. And speak. And roll over. The whole basic list." He does his part to let Petra out for the photographing, and continues devouring his ice cream, trying to finish it before it melts. "Don't all his fans already know where he lives, though? I'm pretty sure I haven't met anyone who doesn't since I moved back here."

"We'll let you out to take pictures," Joel grins at Petra. "For a price. Nothing's free, you know? Not donuts, or favors, or paisley... or asking a favor to take a picture of donuts and paisley." He snerks at the comment from Jai that everyone knows where he lives, and shakes his head. "Maybe I should move."

Katie gives a little bit of a laugh, having to agree with Jai. "That's true, I reckon most folks who care to know where you live can find out easy enough. Plus, there's the fan club.. they are terrible at keepin' secrets."

"Yeah, they really are. For instance, as Treasurer of the Joel Fan Club, I can tell you that he lives at--" but Petra doesn't finish, and instead uncaps her camera's lens, slipping the strap around her neck. She grins back at Joel and says, "Alright, but I should tell you that I'm broke. Katie owes me a dollar though, so get your payment from her."

"You don't have to pay money," Joel assures Petra. "All you have to do is stand up and sing a song to the shop here."

Wren goes back to licking her ice cream from her spoon, smile playing on her lips. The payment required gives it a bit more strength, teeth peeking out. "What song?" she asks, curious.

Joel says, "Barbie Girl."

"I'm not payin' the Petra Tax! I'm writin' to my representative and callin' in the sheriff! This is extortion." Katie says, thereby making sure Joel knows he's not getting a dollar from her! "You're lucky Joel takes just 'bout any form of barter for payment.."

Jai sips his coffee, watching this quietly for a moment, and makes a little nod of approval at the toll Joel wishes to extract.

"You are a rat bastard, Joel," Petra asserts. "A wastrel of the worst sort. A proto-man not fit to walk amongst decent folk." She sighs, shaking her head. "But you have a deal. A devil's bargain, if you will. Now let me out, you villainous fiend."

"Let you out? Ahead of time, so you can steal our souls with your picture machine and then scamper off to freedom with your debts still owing? Unthinkable," Joel grins at Petra, seeming ever more delighted at her rat-bastard accusation. "No, no. You gotta stand on the booth, then we'll let you out."
"Stand on the booth and sing," Joel clarifies.

Wren sits back and pushes the remains of her dessert away. It's all liquid yumminess now. She peers toward Petra and watches her expectantly. "Just gimme a momment." and then she is fishing around in her jacket for her phone.

"I reckon I'm gonna need a dollar to move," Katie says idly, keeping Petra trapped despite the deal she struck with Joel. "Though if you do a little dance while you're up there, I reckon you might earn it back." Katie says with a straight face, though her eyes glint with unusual mischief.

Jai digs in his coat pocket and comes out with his own phone, getting it set as well. "I'm glad I moved," he remarks brightly, and snaps a quick picture of Joel's outfit in the booth -- apparently he doesn't require the full posed effect, himself.

Jai's phone cries and hates itself a little, storing this paisley in its memory.

Petra begins to laugh, loudly, at both Joel's insistence that she stand on the booth and Katie's additional demand. "You're incorrigible demons, the lot of you. I can scarcely believe the depravity to which I am a witness to tonight. You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself," she says, pointing to Joel, "And you, madame, are a disgrace to your household," she adds, pointing to Katie. And then she slides up out of her seat, clambering up onto her seat and standing up. "I shall have you know you both hold a candle to the devil himself."

"Nathan says my total lack of shame is one of my more endearing qualities," Joel grins at Petra, unrepentant after laughing aloud at Katie's suggestion of a dance. He lifts an arm, in a sweeping gesture of encouragement and commencement! "Come on, Barbie! Let's go party!"

Katie has to lean back against Joel so she can get a good look, and sure enough, she pulls out her own phone to record -Petra-. "Make it good!" she calls. "Someone's gotta ruin the good King name, may as well be me. Zack can disown me."

Wren is busy tapping her screen, moving things around and then holding up her phone triumphantly, "You're a go." she informs Petra, as if the woman was waiting on that.

Without further ado (and amazingly, without even blushing) Petra starts singing Barbie Girl. "I'm a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world, wrapped in plastic-- it's fantastic!" It's hard for her to dance on the squishy booth seat, which she discovers as she tries to do a little twirl, so she starts doing the Macarena with a little laugh that cuts into her singing. She really *should* be blushing, because she's actually not a very good singer at all. But at least she does the Macarena right.

Jai's done the same, so Petra's got at least three phones all ready to commemorate her no-doubt amazing and award-winning performance. He tries really hard not to crack up, watching, but doesn't do so hot. It'll be terrible for the soundtracks! The wolf-whistle at one point probably doesn't help there either.

Joel, in the parlance of our modern vernacular, lols. He lols and lols, cracking up at the twirl, the Macarena, and Petra's Barbie Giiiiirl, in her Barbie Woooooorld. There is some helpless leaning against Katie, which probably ruins the quality of her video and will cause her to get angry comments when she posts it on youtube, and he joins in the parts he knows, which seems to consist solely of 'come on barbie let's go party'.

Wren Woots! for Petra and cheers, one hand lifting to pump the air in time with the woman's butchered version of the song. Her phone is zeroed in on her and the red head is actually watching the performance through the image that is appearing on her phone. Every now and then she turns her phone to catch Joel and his suit performing his little parts as well.

Katie laughs and laughs, and when Joel fails to be steady with his own laughter, indeed the video does get a little wobbly. She's not the one with the future in camera work though! She'll probably weather those angry youtube posters just fine, if she ever goes back to read those comments anyhow!

Petra is grinning up a storm as she does her little song and dance, and the only time she misses a bit of the Macarena is when she rubs her hands over her hips suggestively at the line, 'Undress me everywhere'. Then again, it's not like the Macarena is really rocket science here, people. But god is she not a good singer. THAT is definitely going to get some angry Youtube comments. Stuff like, 'ur mom is gay lurn 2 sing'.

Jai cannot stop giggling, but does manage to keep a reasonable focus of the camera on Petra, considering that he's not watching through it -- the real thing is much better, of course. He pulls a dollar out of his pocket and waves it in Petra's general direction, though not quite close enough for her to reach. That would just be dumb.

When Petra reaches the end of her song and dance, having earned some serious money from Jai and possibly Katie, Joel slips obediently out of the booth and back to his feet. She receives applause, and a full on formal bow! "You are a gem among women," he praises her. "You are fearless, you are bold, you would make a terrible singer, and henceforth and toafter and... hither and yon... ENDLESSLY have you earned our admiration and affection and a little bit of mocking. Endlessly! Also you can take a picture."

Katie does also slide out of the booth, telling Petra with a grin. "I reckon you can keep my dollar. You earned it." She's so generous!

Wren catches the dollar waving and Jai too. Zooms in on his hand then races up Petra's legs before zooming back to take her in again. She's got an impish look on her face when Joel gives his permission then starts to fiddle with her phone again. A glance up at Katie is joined by a smile but then she is looking down again and .. pressing her screen with an air of finality.

Petra proclaims, "Oh I love you, Ken!" at the end of her song, and blows gigantic theatrical kisses to everyone present. Mwah mwah mwah! She tries to reach out for the dollar Jai holds out, grinning her little head off. She laughs at Joel's words in particular, saying, "I am the bestest singer EVER. And I am fiercer than a lion!" And she is totally modest, too! She walks along the booth seat and jumps down with a flourish, standing with her hands on her hips like she's surveying her domain before lifting her camera to her eye, saying, "Say ZOMBIIEEEESSSS!" She seems to be ready to take a picture of both Katie *and* Joel.

Joel adopts a SRS BIDNESS expression and a Saturday Night Fever pose. Katie will be proud to be in this photo, yes.

Katie attempts to stay out of the picture, not even aware Petra's trying to capture her in it!

Jai taunts with the dollar, playing a brief round of keep-away, but does actually hand it over, grinning. It may or may not be the one he won from her before. "Vonderful, dahlink, vonderful, mahvelous, you're goink to be a STAH, dahlink!" he exclaims, and settles back into his seat again, satisfied with this whole situation.

Wren murmurs, "She's already a star, Jai. A super star." she slips the phone away then leans back in the booth with a lazy smile in place.

Snap! The moment is captured forever. Snap snap snap! A few more, just to be sure. Petra doesn't try to force Katie back into the picture, though she may be doing a wideangled shot to get her in anyway. Then Petra slips the camera off of her neck and hands it to Katie, saying, "Now do me!" She wraps an arm around Joel and makes the total anime pose of a peace sign along with a massively goofy grin.

Katie takes the camera, points it at the two, and click! Immortalized!

Wren claps. The moment feels like it should have applause.

Jai takes that picture too, because really, like that outfit itself hanging on a thrift-store rack, who could resist? "A'ight, then she'll be a super-DUPER-star," he replies to Wren, "With whipped cream and a cherry on top."

Joel maintains his disco-dancin' pose and smoldering expression for the photo with Petra, then laughs and relaxes back into his normal demeanor. "Whipped cream and cherries... oh, don't say such things about Petra, she'll get ideas."

"Kinky." Wren grins and glances aside at Jai, "Petra, covered in whipped cream, with a cherry on top." Or give Wren ideas.

Taking her camera back from Katie with a murmured thanks, Petra then laughs and elbows Joel at his words. "Unlike you and Katie here, I am a kind, chaste individual. In fact, I am angelic in comparison." Now that she has her camera back, it's time to turn it on Katie at last! Hopefully, she can get a shot or two off before the woman can duck!

Katie blinks in surprise as Petra turns the camera on her, but it doesn't seem she's camera shy.. so much as she doesn't seem to think anyone would want to take a picture of her. She even smiles for the camera.

"She'll be an Eldritch Delight," Jai says solemnly, with perhaps just a bit of a blush at Wren's conjured image there. It's hard to be certain, but the tips of his ears do seem slightly pinker. "Fft. I just got here and even =I= don't believe that," he tells Petra, pausing a fraction before continuing, "...surely they're angelically kind and chaste as well."

Zack arrives from the street.
Zack has arrived.

Zack is drawn to the Dunkin Donuts most likely by technicolor paisley.

Who wouldn't be?


There's a bit of chaos in the Dunkin Donuts tonight. Joel, Katie, and Petra are standing by the booth that Jai and Wren are sitting at. Katie is currently smiling at Petra's camera as she gets her picture taken. Joel is standing nearby, stealing the show with his smokin' hot attire. Swoon now.

Wren grins at Jai's discomfort and aims at looking innocent. She's relaxed and even happy looking. Melted ice cream rests on the table before her though not much. Most of it went somewhere else.

Now that she's captured Katie's soul FOREVER, Petra turns her camera on Wren, trying to get off some shots of the woman. As she does so, she tells Jai, "Your words wound me in the very core of my being. I cannot fathom how someone could be so heartless and cruel."

Zack wanders through the front door, hands stuffed deep in his pockets and his head tucked downwards, as if a turtle hiding from the horrors of the real world. However, upon stopping the cluster of people he immediately brightens up (And straightens up) and heads their way. "Well howdy! Joel, that's amazing!"

Katie has no soul, she probably doesn't even show up on film! Zack's already got it stashed away somewhere, as Katie spots him and her smile gets brighter. She goes to give him a hug, and a kiss. "Cold out there, ain't it? You missed Petra dancin' and singin', but I took a video for you."

"Same way you get to Carnegie Hall," Jai replies, leaning to stay out of the pictures. There are clear reasons one would want to photograph Wren, and fewer that come to his mind why one'd want him in the shot. "Anyway, I thought you =wanted= to become an Eldritch Delight. Change in ambitions?" He looks over to the new arrival, and gives him a bright grin of greeting and a small wave.

Wren blows a kiss to the camera for her awsomesauce pic then glances away from it when she hears Zack's approach. She reaches out a hand to drag Jai back into the photos though, making him suffer along side everyone else.

"Hmmm... you have a point," Petra says thoughtfully to Jai. For her first act as an Eldritch Delight, she unexpectedly punches Joel in the arm. It's not hard, but still. And then she sees Zack coming and she smiles over at him, giving him a little wave. Whether Wren is successful in getting Jai in the picture or not, she then tries to get a shot just of him, or perhaps more than one.

Zack looks downright delighted as he wraps Katie up in a hug and even goes so far as to spin her around. Just like that. Right in the store! She gets a kiss on the cheek in return and a simple, "Katie." All smiles. He finally releases her from his love-grip to greet the rest of The Gang.

Katie laughs as Zack spins her around, and gives him a kiss to the cheek. Then when he lets her go, she makes her way back to the booth. She reaches across to pick up her hot chocolate, and take another drink. Leaning up against the side, rather than sitting again for now.

"Of course I do," Jai tells Petra airily, "It's what I do. It's what I =live for=." Pictures are possible, though he makes silly faces in most -- the first one 'cause he's surprised to be pulled in, the others just for fun. He watches the spinning with interest, and then offers the new arrival a hand, suitable for shaking, and an introduction. "Hi. I'm Jai, nice to meet you."

Wren watches the spinning with interest too. But she's quiet, leaning back in the booth. And watching Zack now. Like he does tricks or something.

Yay pictures! Zack is not forgotten in the quest to get everyone's picture, and Petra turns her camera on him, smiling. She tries to get a shot of the siblings together, but if Katie moves out of the way she'll settle for a picture of Zack by himself.

Zack gives Joel's arm a friendly pat/squeeze as a way of greeting. "Joel, that suit is -amazing.- Where in tarnation did y'all get it?" Presuming it will take him a while to come up with a proper answer -- because such a fabulous suit deserves a fabulous story -- Zack finds himself with time to return to the offered hand shake. "Zack. Nice to meetcha, Jay," he butchers the name. Next, he moves towards Petra and slips an arm about her for a hug and, yes, even a kiss as a way of greeting. After her picture taking spree. "Howdy," he smiles brightly at her.

"Thrift store," Joel beams at the elder King, just radiating pride as Zack praises his godawful attire. "I should just open one someday, then I'd have a legit excuse for hoarding books and furniture and random other shit that no one else wants."

Wren pokes Jai's shoulder to snag his attention then gestures for him to move out of the booth and set her free. She glances back toward the others briefly then mentions to the man, "I think I'm gonna head home. I can hoof it, done it before."

"He got a good deal," Katie says of Joel's attire, like that is clearly the reason he'd be wearing it and none other! A look is given to Wren as she starts to escape.

"Rhymes with 'eye'," Jai says, "but I do also answer to Jay. And a few other things." He grins, and settles back into his seat again, sipping his coffee and watching the greetings continue. Then he's poked, and blinks at Wren, taking a moment to catch on and slide out. "I did already promise I'd give you a ride," he points out, "You wouldn't wanna make me a liar, would you?"

Joel asks of Wren, "How could you not want a ride? Did you /see/ the cab?"
Joel clearly has great respect for The Cab.

"Well howdy," Petra says amiably to Zack, and she recaps her camera's lens before lowering it back around her neck and returning the hug. It's expensive equipment, after all, but now he knows what comes first! "Have a good night, Wren," she says warmly, giving the woman a little wave. Then she says to Jai, "Man, you totally should've made her do a little song and dance first. Oh wait, that'd be CRUEL AND UNUSUAL."

"And funny," Katie adds on to the end of Petra's list, innocently.

Joel grins at Katie like only an accomplice in awfulness can. "Funny as hell," he agrees.

"Damn, you're right. Blame it on distraction," Jai says, hanging his head in shame, but it's too late, too late! "Can you ever forgive me?"

Katie can't help but grin right back at Joel. "I can't wait to show Zack." Then Katie takes out her phone again, and snaps a picture of Joel for her own collection. Everyone else was doing it, she caved to the peer pressure eventually!

"Naw." Wren murmurs at Jai, "Just don't want to take you away from everyone." she nods at Joel and grins, "I did indeed. He drove me here from the pizza place." she glances around at the others then confides, "I'm tired. Gonna head out." a nod toward Zack, "See you 'round."

Zack spares Wren a brief glance and a polite smile, though he doesn't really move to dissuade her from leaving. "Y'all take 'er easy," he suggests while he keeps an arm about Petra.

"I... suppose," Petra replies to Jai reluctantly, steadfastly ignoring Katie and Joel. "I mean, you DID pay me that dollar you totally owed me. And now you've proven that you've met the Almighty Joel. So just this once, I will let you live. But I am Very Disappointed In You." She nods to Wren and says, "Sleep well, you."

"You too can have a ride," Jai tells Joel magnanimously, ", if you feel like heading home, since apparently we'd all be going to the same place. Otherwise, another time. For you are wise in your appreciation of her." He gives the guy a grin, and then fairly beams at Petra. "Oh, thank you, kind mistress. I will try not to let you down again." Wren is offered an arm; apparently he's serious about this having said he'd do it thing. "It was great meeting some of you, and seeing the rest of you again."

Katie watches Wren leave, and then slides back into the booth. She's got a donut to finish yet, and cold hot chocolate to drink. "It was nice meetin' ya'll," Katie says to Jai and gives a polite wave to him and Wren as they leave.

"I'm just a guy," Joel tsks, at the Almighty which Petra attached to his name. "Just a guy who wears /awesome/ clothes and works at a dubious pizza joint. There's no Almighty to it... if I was Almighty then I'd probably have my shit together and the landlady would respect me a little more. Might take you up on that ride though, you leavin now?"

Zack seems to belatedly be putting two and two together. "Oh wait. That sweet taxi is -yours-?" Zack wonders with a thumb jerked over his shoulder. "In the parking lot?" He's a regular Sherlock Holmes!

"See that you do," Petra says imperiously to Jai, then grins and waves at him. "Aww, are you leaving too, Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Almighty Joel? Well, sleep well, all of you." In a loud aside to Zack, she says, "They're fleeing from you, you know. You scared them off, with your big hunky muscles."

Wren gives Jai an uncertain look but then shrugs, "It's up to you, my friend. I can walk but the ride? would be so much nicer." She then nods at Joel, "Going home now. See you later.." or is he coming with? she gives him a curious look.

"Yup, that's her," Jai confirms to Zack, pleased with the continuing appreciation of Clara. "And yeah, looks like we're leaving now. You in?" That, of course, to Joel.

"Yeah, I think so," Joel agrees to the Leaving. "I still got a lotta shit to do tonight. Like... probably I should buy some normal clothes, because I didn't actually do that." He leans over to whisper something to Katie, then grins at Zack as he prepares to depart in the Sweet Taxi with Jai. "Petra's an excellent singer."

Katie returns a whisper to Joel, giving him an easy smile. No doubt they are plotting against Petra! She gathers up her empty cup and her only 1/4th eaten donut and starts to slide out of the booth to throw them away.

"Excellent," Jai agrees, "...she should do weddings. Bar mitzvahs. Possibly brisses." He sends a grin over Petra's way, and a wave in return, before starting toward the door, and beyond that, Clara the Sweet-ass Taxi.

After the others have left, Katie throws away the garbage. She returns to Zack to give him a hug, unless he's still glommed onto Petra. "I'm going to start back too. I have.. stuff to do."

"Yes, I *am* an excellent singer, thankyouverymuch," Petra says, grinning at Jai and Joel. "I will do your birthday parties one of these days. Whether you like it or not." She then turns to Katie, offering the woman a smile. "G'night, Katie. I'll be sure and pick up that dollar you owe me later."