2019-11-05 - A Little Sleight of Hand


Zatanna calls up an assistant for a stage performance. She and Posse hit it off.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Nov 5 00:42:03 2019
Location: Therapy

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Theme Song



When Ava returns to her table, she finds a large, white man in a tight, black t-shirt there looking like the apotheosis of all bouncers. He nods at her and greets, "Just watching your purse and your drink, ma'am. Miss Zatanna doesn't like to take chances with lone women like that." He doesn't have to shout too loudly to be heard; the crowds are already dispersing, since the show is over. He takes a respectful step back to let you approach and check your goods for yourself, while chatting politely, "Miss Zatanna appreciated your help on-stage, and hopes you had a good time up there."

Ava gives a nod to the veritable wall of muscle as she steps around the table and glances down at her bag. The woman's 'purse' is a bulky affair - a flat but reinforced backpack with a melon-sized motorcycle helmet strapped to its back in a black case. Not exactly stylish, and the tiny padlocks holding its zippers shut speak to the tawny cop's faith in her fellow citizens. Seeing everything still where she left them, Ava gives it only a brief glance before turning her attention back to the guard.
"How thoughtful of her. Nice ink," she adds, noting the man's biceps.

The bouncer, or roadie, or whatever he is (his name is on his lanyard, but it keeps twisting in and out of view as the stagelights play off the lamination), nods. "Thank you, ma'am. Is everything where you left it?" he prompts. Gonna stay professional and on-task, this one. Maybe you learn around a magician not to get distracted by banter.

"Squared away," Ava affirms, answering business with business.

The bouncer nods, face impassive. Either Ava hasn't noticed the invitation or has noticed and has chosen to ignore it; neither is his business, and the boss has learned to live with disappointment. "Very good, ma'am. Have a safe night." He nods again, this one oddly like a bow, and turns around, bass-rumbling "Excuse me" to the crowd as she starts shouldering his way back to his partner who's guarding the door leading backstage.

Stuffing her hands into her pockets as she bends over to inspect her bag a bit more closely, Ava pauses and looks oddly at the man's back as she fishes out a pair of playing cards. One, blue-backed and gold-kissed by scrawl is familiar, the other…
"Hmm, now that really is a magic trick," the off-duty cop mutters with amusement. Eyeing her empty plate and half-finished drink, she thinks for a moment, then shrugs and downs the rest of the glass standing in a few quick gulps. "That doesn't taste drugged. Let's see where this goes…" Wiping her mouth on her jacket sleeve, Ava slips a tip under her plate while waiting for the crowd to disperse further before slinging her backpack over one shoulder and heading towards the backstage door.

Two walls of beef stand before Ava, forming a single great wall of beef. The one on the left, the one Ava had been speaking to before, nods a greeting. "Yes, ma'am? Is everything okay?"

Ava pulls her hand from her pocket again to produce the second card, showing it like an ID. "Peachy. I think the magician wants to see me?"

The bouncer Ava knows steps forward, takes the card, and examines it before sliding it into his pocket. "Right. I'm gonna keep this because we don't want it getting on e-Bay, but you can come in." He takes off his lanyard, which with his shoulders and biceps looks like geological activity, and hands it to Ava. "Here, this will get you where you're going. Don't worry about getting lost, it's just a hall. You're probably looking for her dressing room. Ask for help if not."

Being a roadie is a weird gig sometimes.

Ava accepts the lanyard and feeds its cord into her breast pocket, leaving the ID poking out. "She does this a lot doesn't she?" the green-eyed officer guesses.

"You can ask her yourself, ma'am," the bouncer says implacably, and steps aside to open the door for you. No lock on it, which seems like it would be a cheaper security method than a pair of bouncers, but probably also a fire hazard or something. The hall in back has life in it, stagehands carrying props and pushing dollies carrying equipment. Most of them glance at Ava quickly to read her, glance at her lanyard, and decide she belongs, offering distracted smiles or nods by way of greeting while going about the hustle and bustle of their post-show work.

The access corridor isn't a straight hall, making several inconvenient turns around the perimeter of the building, but the bouncer was right that it's hard to get lost: the path doesn't branch, and the doors are clearly labeled. It'll be easy to find the green room, which a person with a good sense of spatial perception might deduce is up against the back of the stage.

"Fair enough. You boys have fun standing post," Ava offers back. Stepping through the curtain of meat, her eyes sweep the hall as she enters - taking in the controlled chaos before committing herself to it. The cop advances smoothly, walking with a bit of arm swing and a sense of purpose as she weaves around the stagehands - giving plenty of room for dollies and heavy loads to take the right of way. As much as her gaze passes down the hall to find the dressing room, the cyborg also looks *through* it, scanning in the radio spectrum beyond the doors to find a vaguely feminine shape before studying closely enough to check the name plate.

Zatanna is in her dressing chair, wearing neither korw sehtolc nor teerts sehtolc, just a light, lavender dressing gown as she finishes the ritual removal of her makeup. Under the harsh lights of the mirror that mimic stage light, she looks pale and even a little unwell, but getting all that pancake off is worth it. When she hears a knock at the door, her heart picks up a little; is it a crew member or is it a guest? What anticipation! Either way, no reason not to look good. She arranges her robe a little to let out a peek of thigh, crosses her legs, and swivels the chair to regard the door. With the lights behind her now, she looks much less washed out, much more human. "Yes, come in, I'm decent," she invites.

Ava enters in a single motion as the door opens with her, then swings shut the moment it clears her back. The latch pops closed as five and a half feet or so of faded pants and a leather jacket look back at Zatanna in her robe. Bathed head-on in the stark light, where the magician looks pale, the tawny cop looks dusky and the shadow she casts on the door stretches broad and imposing. Her green eyes shine lustrously before squinting from the intensity as her metal hand comes up to finger the badge at her chest.
"Howdy," she greets with a touch of drawl.

The smile on Zatanna's face says everything when Posse strolls in. "Ava! Hi," she greets, rising from the chair to approach her like they're old friends, embracing her. The contrast of leather jacket and silk robe is odd against her skin, but pleasant. "I'm so glad you came," she says, voice dropped to nearly a murmur to keep from shouting in Ava's ear while embracing, before letting her go and taking a step back. "Thanks so much for coming on stage tonight. You were a great assistant."

The hug is a surprise but Posse returns it loosely. A faint scent the magician might recognize as gunpowder lingers or her jacket when they part, and the cyborg tips her head in time with an easy smile. "Your cues weren't hard to pick up."

"What can I say, I love a woman in uniform," Zatanna returns easily. She gestures to the counter, where fruit baskets and other, less healthy snacks are aligned. A minifridge is off to the side, beside a rack of costumes. "Help yourself to anything you want. I'm sticking with water for now because I don't want to get drunk before the after party, but it's up to you."

Ava's brow lifts in muted surprise, plain-clothed as she is. She glances to the food spread but keeps her feet where they're planted; much like on the stage, her attention is more on Zatanna. "I already had my drink for now. What have you got planned?"

Zatanna resumes her seat in the makeup chair and crosses her legs, smiling. "Oh, eventually, after everyone cleans up, I'll take them all out for drinks and dancing. People don't know… they think that because I design the tricks and do the tricks that this is my show, but it isn't. I need every single person on my crew to make it work, and I don't ever want any of them to forget that *I* don't have a good show, *we* have a good show." Her nose crinkles. "Call it kharma, I guess. But anyway, you also had a good show tonight, so… you deserve a celebration."

Ava swings her bulky bag off her shoulders and rests it beside the door before advancing further into the room, spreading her shadow larger across the wall. It's hard to tell whether the white-haired cop's eyes glance down as she approaches or whether it's just a trick of the harsh light, but the tawny woman's approving smirk is highlighted starkly.
"That's a nice plan. You're a good leader if you think like that all the time," she notes shrewdly before reaching up to tuck 'her' ID fully inside her breast pocket. The officer's eyes glint again, catching the light's intensity with ease. "What kind of celebration did you have in mind?"

Approval washes over Zatanna like sunlight after sitting in shadow. She relaxes and grins at Ava, a thin crescent of white showing out. "Oh, the usual. My manager rents a club's VIP space, we go dance, I cover the costs of drinks, and whatever happens happens. Sound like a good celebration to you?"

Ava's eyes crinkle pleasantly as she steps to the magician's side, escaping the spell of the head-on lights and casting one side of her face in dark shadows. "Sounds like my ideal Friday night."

Zatanna doesn't retreat from Ava's advance, standing firm and natural at the approach. "Then aren't you in luck?" she asks with a little wink before pivoting on her heel and turning away. "I should get dressed now," she calls over her shoulder as she makes her way to what seems to be an even more private room than this large dressing/makeup area. She doesn't fully close the door behind her, just letting it drift until an inch or so of it remains open as she calls through the door, "So talk to me about yourself, Ava. What's your deal?"

In private, she shrugs out of her silk robe, letting it whisper off one arm and down the other to pool in her waiting, cupped hand. She folds it in three practiced, economical movements and considers the contents of her suitcase. This seems like a night for the burgundy pants, the new ones with the high waist, tight thighs, and flared ankles, but what top would look good with it…

Sorry, Ava, until we get to know each other better, several of these options are remaining in the suitcase, Zatanna thinks with a little smile tugging at the right corner of her mouth. The nice, loose, huggable-looking blue sweater with the scoopneck and the sparkles will do for tonight. She slides it on as she listens through the open door.

Ava's eyes turn to follow the magician as she disappears into her inner sanctum, then looks away as the door closes ajar. It's not that the door doesn't hide Zatanna from view, but…

"My deal? How do ya' mean?" the white-haired woman echoes back as she faces the room mirror and takes a moment to straighten her attire. Shirt underneath tucked in tightly, creases pulled to the hips, and jacket zipper set in a neat vertical line with her half-covered belt buckle.

"What, has no one ever asked you to tell them about yourself? Come on, talk to me. Otherwise it's just us in two different rooms with you imagining everything I'm doing in here," Zatanna exhorts as she goes through her jewelry box. How many rings to make the point? Aw heck, why not do all ten fingers? She starts sliding them on one at a time, examining them critically and flicking some back into the box as she finds this one doesn't fit there or that one doesn't go with her colors. Rose gold here, pink stone there…

Ava grins at the reply as she works her examination up. Plain no matter how she styles the simple clothes, she can at least be clean and orderly. Despite the shift in tone, there's no attempt to dress down - her zipper stays right where it is. "Usually it's just if other parts are as fake as my hand. And hey if you need to rub one out before the afterparty I'll wait," she jokes back.

"I'm just a transplant who followed work up here. Best rehab facility you'll find in the country is out on the west side near the disaster area. You've got a good eye Miss Magician; what told you I wear a uniform?"

"Your shoes," Zatanna calls back, ignoring the joke for now. "Cops have a style you adopt almost unconsciously, to signal to the rest of the group you're One Of Them. Those shoes with that coat is a dead giveaway of a lot of things." She lets those last five words become teasing as she tries to decide if she can get away with a bracelet and long sleeves (spoiler: no she can't) before giving up and looking at earrings. Something magical, something… oh, look at those Wonder Woman-style stars! Star in the left ear, crescent moon in the right. Very witchy, Zatanna.

"Not bad - start an ID with the shoes and work up," Ava recites approvingly as she pulls away from the mirror and turns towards the door, facing her own shadows. "I'll take that as a compliment that I blend in. I'm still new to a blue uniform, but don't start thinking I'll arrest yer friends for gettin' rowdy; I'd rather join 'em. I don't do the plain arrest work - and I /definitely/ don't do it off-duty."

"How about you? Any handcuffs in your purse I should worry about?" the officer asks, turning the question back around.

"Puekam," Zatanna mutters. She's already tired of the separation. Blush lines her cheeks, mascara traces her eyes, lipstick gets stuck to lips, all in a moment's time, without wasting a hand's movement. As her face paints itself, she finds a nice jacket, deciding black leather would be a bit over the top but no one can object to a natty camelhair, and slips into it. Aloud, she calls, "Not in my purse… oh, shoot, I think I left my belt out there. Will you get it for me?"

She doesn't let herself sound like she's smiling as she asks. It will be interesting to see Ava's response.

Ava turns back around and scans the chair and stand like a dog set to hunt, spotting one in short order. "Black one?" she asks, just to make sure.

"Yeah, that's the one," Zatanna confirms. Looks like Ava is dragging it out! That could be fun…

Taking the belt in hand, Ava tugs it up and free, letting it dangle in the room's one-sided light for a moment's inspection before turning towards Zatanna's door.

Zatanna continues to wait for her belt inside her room with its partially open door. She won't give any hints.

Posse's boots thump up to the doorway then come to a stop as her hand reaches through the threshold, dangling the belt into Zatanna's partitioned room. "Here you go."

Looks like Ava plans to be a gentleman, or maybe isn't even interested. Oh, well, Zee, you can't win 'em all. She accepts the belt and opens the door in the process; no point playing games. "Thanks," she says and feeds it through her belt loops in one long, quick, continuous motion (hard to pull off, but useful to keep in practice for quickchange tricks), then plops down into the makeup chair to pull on her boots. They look identical to her work boots except for the lack of flared cuffs. Zatanna apparently likes patent leather.

"So, I still feel like I don't know much about you, Ava. What gets you out of bed in the morning?" she asks, bent over her lap to tug the boots on.

The greyed cop takes a full glance of the magician's new outfit and her eyes twinkle as she smiles approvingly. It may have just been manners.
"I could say the same about you," she notes off-hand as she catches the belt feed and her brow subtly lifts. "Depends how much you want to get to know each other, but what's your story? You woke up one day and decided to trade your pants for famous magic tricks?"

Zatanna glances up at Ava quizically. What's up with the refusal to answer questions? Trying to avoid a hard topic? Trying to keep it light? Trying to show disinterest?

Better to assume the first one, for now. At least until there's more evidence.

"I always wanted to be a magician," she decides to venture. "The magical community is overwhelmingly male. They don't like to teach women. They'll give you so many reasonsyour hands are too small to perform the manipulations; you can't perform the misdirections because society doesn't listen to women; women are too emotional for the logical work of creating new tricksthat you have to either choose to believe them or choose you have value as a human being who can do what she sets her mind to. So I made my choice, and now people say my name in the same breath they say Penn and Teller or Shin Lim while most of them are still lucky to get two hundred bucks for a gig at a comedy club doing erotic hypnosis sets. Maybe I'm a bad person for enjoying that, but I do. Very much."

As she listens Ava begins to smile, widely, until a few of her teeth are showing. Then she reaches over and thumps the magician firmly on her shoulder. "That's showin' em! what they think, you proved 'em wrong. And really, a magician? They could have picked a better hill to die on than that."

Zatanna looks at Ava assessingly for a moment, before deciding, "Okay, without giving away any of the secrets, magicians have kind of a dress code for practical reasons. A woman can't wear it and wear as little as male magicians want them to wear, so… guess what, I'll do both, and I'll invent whole new sleights to do it, and okay I'm tired of being spiteful now." She rises up from her makeup chair, fixing a smile on her formerly dark face. "So anyway. That's my answer. Did I earn an answer to my question yet?"

"Right, something up your sleeve?" the tawny woman guesses irreverently before glancing down to Zatanna's thigh-hugging pants. "And nice compromise," she adds approvingly before stepping aside to let the magician through the doorway. "Sure - I get up because I've still got work to do and some days it's fun as . It comes with a nice motorcycle too. Do ya want to ride it to the afterparty?" Ava offers gamely.

Zatanna laughs as kindly as possible. "Mm. Sorry, girl, you gotta put in the work if you want me to spoon you. Besides, do you even have a helmet for me?" she asks, throwing a teasing hip into Ava's as they step out into the hall.

The magician might as well have just hip-checked a boulder and Ava chuckles at the collision of mage and the inhumanly hard /something/ where her thigh should be. The white-haired officer doesn't budge an inch.
"Careful not to hurt yourself on me. I'm sturdier than I look," she winks before joining Zatanna and snatching up her backpack from its place against the wall. "Sure, you can use mine. And if you're feeling really~ gutsy and promise not to flip it I'll let you steer it," Ava adds coyly.

Zatanna wasn't looking to knock anyone around, so the hardness of Ava's hip doesn't concern her. She just nods at the hint that Ava's legs are metal, and smiles. "I'll drive myself, thanks. We'll see how the night goes if you want to drive me somewhere so bad. Think of it as a goal to work toward. Anyway, my coat is in the car. See you at the club?"

"If you insist," Ava grants without sounding put-off. It was all in good fun after all. "Yeah, I'll see you there. Will I need another playing card to get in the door?" she adds, sneaking in a last tease.

Zatanna grins. "I'm pretty sure the bouncer will recognize you without needing ID," she says lightly, to cover that she's honestly not sure that's a smart joke to make. "You can take it slow, since it looks like the crew still has some packing to do. See you there?"

The scar-eyed woman glances back as she slings her bag across her shoulders. "I'm sure," she affirms neutrally before nodding. "I'll take the long route then."

Zatanna reaches out and rests a hand on Ava's arm, just above the elbow. "Hey. I'm sorry if that was uncool. I won't make jokes like that in the future, Ava. I want you to feel welcome."

Under the jacket sleeve, her arm feels just as hard and metallic as her hand. The cyborg pauses and looks back, snorting a little laugh as she cracks another smile at the sparkling young woman. "Relax sweets, you're not walking on eggshells with me. Besides you've got no idea how much of me isn't metal yet. You'll just have to imagine what's under this outfit for now."

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