2019-05-16 - I Don't Know Ics of Ants


A distraction in the street causes many raised eyebrows

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu May 16 09:28:44 2019
Location: Lower East Side

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It's getting late in the afternoon and the shadows are lengthening. People are starting to head home from their 9 to 5 jobs. Err 9 to something, anyway. This street, in the Lower East Side, is relatively empty and any venturing down it might soon know why.

It feels … wrong. There's a 'presence' looming. A predator or at least someone or something that causes the hair on the back of the neck to stand on end.

It's here, in the shadows that a tall, lean blonde seems to just appear in the shadows of the building that houses Katz's Delicatessan. A blonde with ice and frost in her hair and on her brow.

Astryd takes a moment to adjust the shoulder bag she's wearing, straighten her shirt and smooth down her trousers. Anyone might have seen her appear but she's confident that most will turn their eyes away and pretend their minds were playing tricks on them.

It's possible that no one notices Astryd because of the strange redhead blocking traffic by standing in the middle of the street, staring up at the city skyline. She's not quite gawking like a tourist, but it's something in that ballpark. It's annoying a lot of drivers and getting a lot of attention from onlookers.

She wears a short-sleeved dress, a mustard yellow that looks pale next to her creamsicle-tan flesh. It is either a long shirt or indecently short dress, but white calf-length leggings provide some modesty. Her wedge heels provide an absolutely redundant amount of extra height, too.

Kori turns in place, taking photos with her cell phone, and when she's completed her task she turns and walks back to the sidewalk not far from Astryd's arrival point to text someone. Once again, she interrupts the flow of traffic by simply being a giant redheaded pole in the middle of the sidewalk. New Yorkers part around her reflexively, though it does earn her a lot of sour grumbles.

Scandal's current self-appointed task is to explore enough of New York City that she gets a 'feel' for it. Given her interest in (and experience of) the darker sides of life, that is taking her through rather more places than might be found on any of the sort conventional or alternative tourist lists. With money not a concern and precious little in the way of a conventional sense of self-preservation, she is not only poking around the Lower East Side to see what might lie down randomly-chosen side-streets and back alleys, but is actively inclined to walk *towards* a sense of looming threat.

Thus, she's to be found a short distance away: one shoulder propped against a wall, arms folded, one foot crossed in front of the other as she studies the frosty blonde with undisguised curiosity - that out-of-the-shadows arrival having successfully diverted much of her attention from Starfire's alien behaviour and appearance. For her own part, she's in her customary near-total black: leather jacket, tight leggings, flexibly stompy jungle boots, with a warmly blue bandanna around her neck.

With her clothes straightened - rather sensible clothes and rather sensible shoes - Astryd takes a moment to wipe the icicles from her brows and hair. Icicles that exist, despite the temperature.

She smirks at Kori's antics as she watches "I know someone who causes a similar reaction in people" she finally says once the woman seems to finish her text. "Just most don't dare grumble about it. They're afraid he might eat them." She turns a cold, grey, gaze on those who are grumbling.

They quiet soon enough and scurry off.

Seeing Scandals interest the blonde gazes back. She's not rude or hostile, just … aloof. "Enjoying the people watching? It's my favourite hobby after cooking."

Kori glances up from her phone, then beams a wholly energetic and thrilled smile at Astryd— as if it's made the redhead's day to be greeted. "Antics? I am the confused," Kori says with a tone of embarassed apology. "I am doing nothing so exciting as the ics of ants!" she assures Astryd. "I am merely recording images with my cellular phone." She wiggles the device at Astryd— an older smartphone, the sort often donated to electronics recyclers or sold to people who need minimal devices. "You see, it has a *camera* on it!" she explains, and points at the lens on the back. Her tone suggests it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. "Is that not the neatness? I can record many hundreds of images using this marvelous device. Observe!" She starts turning in a circle, tapping the screen at the passers by and environment. "A picture of him, of her, of her, of that sign, of that horse, of the clouds…" The orange-skinned woman catches Scandal staring at her onscreen; she beams a smile and waves enthusiastically in the direction not of the girl, but the camera itself. "A picture of that woman who is looking at me! Hello, friend!" she calls over to Scandal, entirely too loudly.

She looks back at Astryd, then leans backwards and speaks out the side of her mouth, eyes staying on Scandal. "What a strange hobby. Do you know what I like to do for fun?" she asks Astryd, and looks to her with lambent green eyes.

"I will give you hints! It is often most delightful to do it at night, but ideally you should do it at least three times a day, and it is something that we think about almost constantly." She claps her hands, bouncing up and down excitedly. "Ooh, I am excited to hear your guess!" she informs Astryd.

Whatever reply Scandal had been about to provide to Astryd is pre-empted by Kori's monologue. That leaves the only Earth-born member of the trio blinking a little dazedly. Cautiously, she raises a hand in greeting. But with the orange woman's focus already moved on to Astryd, she doesn't offer a verbal reply just yet. Instead, she opts to wait and find out what the icy stranger might say to the sunny one. Keeping her own sarcastic inclinations in check seems at least temporarily advisable.

Astryd smirks. It does little to soften her visage, she's still stern but she is clearly amused. "New to the area, are you?" she asks. She's been on Midgard long enough to know that not just humans walk it. What Kori is, she can only guess but she doesn't really look like an Elf or a Dwarf - so she's assuming not Asgardian.

Then again, she could be wrong.

"The fact that you can use a camera puts you streets ahead of the one I was thinking of. Imagine, he thinks that phones are for making phonecalls with." It's dry but the exuberance with which Kori greets Scandal gets a snort.

"Your lurking is done, I think. Why don't come join us? I'm Astryd, by the way …" Not a name that any will know. One of the least known of the Valkyior is she.

"I'm going to say it's eating." She answers the redhead. "There's a reason I like to cook …"

"Yes! It IS eating!" Kori applauds Astryd, beaming happily. "Oh, joy! You guessed the rightness of it! I gave away too many hints," she says, with a tone of wry resignation. "I shall be trickier the next time, though."

"I am somewhat new to the area, yes," Kori adds in response to Astryd's direct question. "I am from the island of Malta, and I am here on a student visa! I go to Midtown High School, at least for the next two days. I am graduating from the high schools on Friday. Is that not exciting news? My friends say there is a grand celebration planned, and then an even *better* celebration that is un-planned but happening after the planned celebration. If all things go according to plan, that is," she says.

Kori doesn't have any noticeable or specified accent. The individual words are pronounced properly, if a little carefully, but the stresses of some words are on the wrong syllable and it just sounds … off to most people.

"Oh! And I am Kori Anderson," she says. "But I am told to tell people that my friends call me Kori, so: 'My friends call me Kori'," she says, slowly enunciating the words.

It evidently requires a little consideration… but a few moments after Astryd calls her forward, Scandal obliges - pushing off the wall and sauntering closer. "You can call me Scandal," she offers. Her own accent is non-descriptly international: probably not native to anywhere. "Malta, huh? What part? I'm rather fond of Valletta, myself, though it's a while since I was last there."

Astryds accent is possibly more british than anything but there's something about it that says I've been a lot of places. "Malta. Ah, I spent time there in World War 2 and visited several years later. I'm never not amazed at humans ability to recover so quickly. Valetta was not such a nice place when I was there, Scandal. I hear it is much improved though."

World War 2. Kori might not know what Astryd is talking about but Scandal will. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942 and yet Astryd doesn't look more than early 30's.

She looks to Kori to see how she'll answer.

"It is good to meet you, Kori. If you don't mind me saying, you seemed to be looking for something."

Scandal gets more scrutiny from the blonde as she approaches. "Scandal. I trust it's Scandal by name, Scandal by nature."

Record lurch. Kori blinks when not one, but *both* women immediately start talking about the island featured in her fictional biography. "Yes, Valetta is very lovely," Kori agrees with Scandal. "But I am from the city of Silema, which is on the north-east coast of Malta and opposite the bay where Valetta is. It has a population of twenty thousand people and occupies one-point-three square kilometers." Kori recites the facts like she's got them carefuly committed to memory.

Astryd's implied math/history lesson sails right over Kori's head, despite how tall she is, and she beams at Astryd's question. "Yes! I am looking for a building I can rent, or buy," she explains. "I do not know much about estate realness in this city and wanted to begin by capturing images of buildings I like. Then, I will use the Googles or Amazon-dot-com to see if I can purchase one."

She goes thoughtful, then her expression brightens and she bounces on her toes once. "Oh! Do you think there is one for sale on Craig's List of Things? Or eBay?"

"I was a little young to visit it, during that phase of its story," Scandal dryly notes to Astryd. Then she blinks at Kori, cocking her head to one side as if trying to decide whether this might be a prank of some sort. "New York tends to be rather infamously expensive, for such things. Though the fact that substantial sections of it still have not been rebuilt after the last set of disasters does suggest that the property market is not exactly booming. But there are professional estate agents - or 'realtors' here, I think - who can assist you with such things. They would expect to be paid, however."

"Silema is pretty as well." Astryd notes "It didn't escape the bombs in 1941 though. No part of the island did really. Have you been in America long, Kori?" The blonde blinks at the thought of buying real estate from E-Bay and then thinks on it.

Maybe that's not so far fetched anymore.

"Scandal is correct, Kori. If you are looking to purchase real estate, you should consider getting a real estate agent and a lawyer. There's a lot of paperwork and contracts to go through. But this building may well be for sale."

The toffee coloured skinned woman gets a considering look. "What are you looking to do with it?"

Scandals note on being a little too young has Astryd considering her again. "When were you there? You have the look and air of one who has travelled much."

"Seven months," Kori informs Astryd. I am learning much, though! I have been in the high schools and they say I will be able to get a 'real job' after I graduate. I have had…" She counts on her fingers and nose, two passes. "Seven and ten jobs from when I first arrived. I am not good at much here," she says, with a regretful tone, and flops her hands against her sides listlessly.

She gestures at the building. "The government gives me a stipend for rent while they are approving my visa. And then I give the stipend to my lord-lander, and it is most of my money. Then, I had a thought!" she declares, finger waving in hte air. "I thought I *do not want to give away* so much money, because then I can buy food, and new clothes, and school supplies. So if I were to perhaps *buy* a building, then I could stop with the renting of my apartment and then not pay for it ever again."

"Ooh! And I *know* a lawyer! Who breaks things, quite often! Have you met Jennifer Walters? She would make an excellent broker, I saw her destroy a fire truck on the Youtubes last week."

"I invited myself there to join the celebrations around the declaration of independence," Scandal explains in a quiet aside, smiling as she inclines her head to Astryd - seemingly taking the valkyr's observation as a compliment, though she avoids saying out loud quite how far back those celebrations were. Then she refocuses on Kori, blinking at her once more. "I find myself fighting the urge to say something about her finding places at knock-down prices," she confesses. "Ahh. You have had *seventeen* jobs in seven months? Perhaps something that requires limited skill or… acclimatisation to the local culture would be wise."

"Seven months. That's not a long time." The look Astryd bends on the woman says she suspects that "Malta" is not where she hails from. Well, at least Malta in the realm of Midgard. "And an awful lot of jobs."

"You … want to use the stipend you get from the Government to buy a building? I … didn't realise they were so generous." She doubts they are but Kori will discover that for herself as she goes through this.

"Jennifer Waters? I think I've seen her advertising. And as long as she breaks heads with her training, then you can't go wrong." No, Astryd has no idea who Jennifer is past that advertising.

"I was planning of getting to that." Astryd nods in Scandals direction about the celebration. "But I found myself battling some demons of my own." Quite … literally actually.

"Yes, I tried all of those jobs," Kori assures Scandal. "I was fired from one job because they did not tell me I could not throw the sandwiches, and then another job fired me because of the incident with the milkshake machine," she says, remorsefully. "I still do not understand how the fire started…"

She looks at the two women. "I thought I should look at what kind of building I want first, and then see what the prices are," she explains, brightly. "This way, I will be making a list of the things I want, from most to least, and then I simply need to assign prices to each one and then my selection is made. I am hoping for one with a helicopter pad on the roof," she says, confiding in both. "It seems like such a platform would make for a good place to sit in the sunshine."

Scandal's arched brow might suggest that she thinks that Astryd's demons were not metaphorical… then she's turning a somewhat startled look on Kori. Again. "…as a sunbathing spot. Well, yes. I have used one for that in the past," she concedes. "But I think that you might need to find some very highly-paid work to afford a building with a helicopter pad. Has anyone approached you about modelling, or the like?" Perhaps somewhat unfairly, the old mercenary regards 'being a clothes-horse' as a job potentially low enough in skill requirements that Kori might manage it.

"It's never a good idea throw sandwiches." Astryd murmurs. "Always better to eat them. And fires start all the time. If it happens next time just ask them if their wiring was up to code." In her experience those sorts of questions tend to get many to be quiet enough.

"Modelling isn't a bad idea. If you can take direction and work long hours." She stops and looks at the woman again. "Just be careful not to apply to modelling for 'real life' art classes if you don't want to take your clothes off." The Valkyr might have seen a thing or two in her time.

"Making a list is a good idea however, a helipad for sunbathing in New York probably isn't quite the ticket."

The demons might not be metaphorical and she arches her brow back at Scandal acknowledging the doubt but not confirming it, as something in her bag buzzes loudly. "Ah, reception was poor where I was…"

Retrieving her phone, she checks her messages and replies. Fingers moving over the buttons with ease. "If you'll excuse me, ladies, it's been a pleasure but I have dinner to prepare. I do hope you find what you're looking for within your budget, Kori."

With a wave, the now defrosted Valkyr, turns to walk down the street - the crowd flowing about her, giving her room - and no one seems to notice their doing it.

"I have considered the modelling, but I do not know enough about planes and cars to do them well," Kori says regretfully. "My friend Peter is a model-er, he has many of the airplanes and vehicles your government uses and an army of 'miniatures' who are warriors and he paints them by hand," Kori clarifies.

She waves farewell at Astryd, and pops on her toes to call: "Thank you for the time, friend Astryd! I hope to see you again!" She lands on her wedges and looks to Scandal. Perplexitude crosses her face. "But I am the confused: she mentioned clothing and art classes? I would build these models in my apartment, and I already do not wear clothing while I am there. Is it a ritual to be dressed while making these models?"

Scandal slowly shakes her head. "Look up 'modelling agency' online," she suggests gently. "People who make clothing will often pay attractive people to wear it, to have pictures taken, and to show off their creations to the world. The people who do so are said to be 'modeling' the clothing in question. Models *can* be quite well-paid. And looking exotic is often an advantage. It might be something to consider as an option for employment."

Kori blinks. "Oh. Oh! That makes sense to me!" she informs Scandal. "I mean, it does not— what a peculiar custom," she says, and her nose wrinkles. "The clothing is far less interesting than the person wearing it, is it not? But I am not accustomed to your fixation on dress," she apologizes. "I am still learning and trying to make accomodation for your preferences."

"I will Googles the agencies of the model," she declares. "I am very sure I can wear the clothing that they wish— I wear clothing every day, and people often want a picture of me."

She frowns. "Perhaps I should get on the Facebook and tell people I am looking for work, for people to take pictures of me with and without clothes? Now that I am thinking of it, I believe several agencies might have tried to contact me! The Manager at Taco Hut said he would pay me for pictures of me— I should have accepted his offer!" She punches her fist into her palm, irritated.

"But for now, I must return home. I have to do the shopping for my friends and then, I have been told to 'dress up' for graduation. My friend is experiencing much frustration because she does not know what to wear. I hope she can help *me* find something, as I know it is important to her that I share in her frustrations."

She beams at Scandal. "Before I go! May I 'get of you your digits'?" she asks. "This way, I can use my cellular phone to contact you. It is much more efficient than fl— walking around the city yelling for you," she assures Scandal.

"Modelling *without* clothes is indeed also an option," Scandal concedes, offering Kori a look of mild disbelief. "But you might find that doing so *with* clothes is a preferable first choice. The most successful models in that style can make a great deal of money." Dipping into an inner pocket of her jacket, she comes up with a minimalist business card - silver digits on a charcoal-grey background, with even a name. "There you go. But it sounds as if you need to head off at speed. To fly to your friend's aid, some might say."

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