Post by nell cyprus d8f [cameron] on Jan 26, 2019 13:33:41 GMT -5
Without loyalty, she was nothing. The thought crept in the back of her eyelids like a spider, hidden away from the light that would dry it out. Every now and then, that spider had a fucking free-for-all dance party, possibly a nasty arachnid orgy, and pain would shoot out from their tiny dancing steps, a heavy buildup of pressure begging to be birthed. Her headaches had to be worse than any other headache anyone had ever had, and she was as sure of that as she was sure she remembered deodorant that morning.
She sniffed to check. Jelani really couldn’t tell one way or the other, which was not a loss by any means, and took another bite of her spicy chicken sandwich, half in celebration and half absentmindedly. Self-diagnosed and prescribed to her medication of choice, the only real cure for her nagging thoughts of low self worth was held between both her hands right then, grease dripping out from the bun and slopping onto the table. Across from her was a stunning exhibit of young beauty, who she could only refer to as New Recruit for at least another week. New Recruit seemed an impassioned fan of the spicy chicken, which was a positive selling point to Jelani already.
A piece of chicken fell from NR’s buns, and Jelani’s eyes followed it like dropped jewelry, a precious ruby or sapphire. “You gonna eat that?”
Post by d12m Cedar Halt [aya] on Jan 26, 2019 14:10:13 GMT -5
Deliberate thinker, cautious and careful, Mica McGregor tried chess once on her aunt's suggestion and found the battle-by-proxy too boring. She tried tending her uncle's garden and found it unfulfilling. She found Jelani Janga because it was time for a change and a challenge. Not that her day spent exchanging parcels and delivering packages across the breadth of District Two was challenging in the least. But the long hallway of fate that lay beyond the door this woman opened was interesting indeed.
The celebratory sandwich, congratulating Mica on a fuckup-free first day as much as it served to remind her that this is still a job interview, is well worth the effort of keeping the filling mostly-contained between the two buns. A morsel falls in slow motion; both Mica and Miss Janga eye it as it hits the table. "You gonna eat that?"
Mica answers by doing. Swallowing the bite, she explains: "I'm thorough." Correcting the error or finishing what she started, she cleans up her own messes.
Post by nell cyprus d8f [cameron] on Jan 26, 2019 14:51:21 GMT -5
Jelani blinked and the chicken was gone, swept from the table into the vacuum of her newest employee. A brief rage rose in her, an elevator from toe to head, but before it made its slow, fiery way to her lips New Recruit redeemed herself by claiming the deed for thoroughness, a team she didn’t know anyone played for in years.
“Thorough, huh?” A scheme drifted in her head, a haze of malice that sweltered like a summer storm. There were many needs for someone in her posse to be…. Thorough. Hiding of bodies, disintegration of bodies, staging of bodies to look like bodies that weren’t murdered, bringing back the right coffee order. Recently her girls were even more picky than usual, a side effect of the daily doses of power they were tripping on. Precisely why New Recruit was a great hire, and Jelani never felt otherwise, not earlier, not one bit.
“Listen, lil lady. You are gonna be a very valuable asset to this franchise.” Jelani grinned, ear to ear. “So tell me how you’d go about robbing that chicken sandwich stand, right now, during dinner rush.” Her mouth tilted one way, with nothing but devilish thoughts provoked by the spicy chicken in her stomach.
Post by d12m Cedar Halt [aya] on Jan 26, 2019 23:03:10 GMT -5
Mica considers the scenario for a minute. Robbing her favorite place to grab a sandwich on this side of the district... "I wouldn't." She stares Miss Janga down. Nothing about the given scenario suggests successful heist. Dinner rush meant the register wouldn't be fully stuffed with cash until the crowd died down for the night; right now meant no time to plan, to study the front of the house, to learn their mannerisms and patterns and weaknesses. And that chicken sandwich stand had given Mica McGregor enough freebies and extra over five or six years of patronage to outweigh a single paycheck from Jelani Janga. Her loyalty may be bought, but betrayal, like onion rings, costs extra.
"Thorough takes time," she elaborates, folding her napkin into a small triangle and placing it on the barren gingham wax paper that once contained her sandwich. "And a consulting fee. If I'm freelancing."
Post by nell cyprus d8f [cameron] on Jan 27, 2019 7:42:36 GMT -5
Their eyes remain locked for some time, as New Recruit undoubtedly measured her new employer’s reaction to a risky answer. She wouldn’t. She’s thorough. There was a moment of inner whiplash as Jelani’s mind catapulted from stagnant to skydiving, thoughts hitting her like gnats on the descent. Too callous to be bothered even with personal protection, they smack her face, pelt her eyes, lodge themselves in her nasal canal and choke her on their earthy crunch.
Refusal to let out the parachute was another risky choice, but Crazy Eights was founded on risks. Every subsequent decision had its birth in risky waters, and nothing else propelled them forward quite like it. But New Recruit managed something new: to be risky simply by not.
“I like what I’m hearing, girlfriend.” She picked up the folded napkin and pointed it dead between the eyes1. “And by the way, we would never rob this spicy chicken sandwich shack. I’d starve to death. Not about it.” She laughed, one roaring HA, and flicked the napkin at NR’s thorough face.
Post by d12m Cedar Halt [aya] on Jan 27, 2019 14:20:33 GMT -5
The napkin strikes her between her brows. Mica does not flinch, but she does smile. It's too soon for the McGregor girl to ace a test of loyalty with sandwiches on the line. Fortunately, Miss Janga's priorities align well enough with her own. Starving to death is not on the agenda. "Not the neatest way to go," she agrees. Nor the most reliable. There were plants that shut down the digestive system to the same effect; they grew in her uncle's garden. Strictly serving on the supply side, Mica had never bothered to follow up on the flower's consequences. Foremost focus on foresight, she keeps her involvement minimal in such matters.
"I did suspect common burglary was beneath you." Or hoped. She'd prefer to sink her teeth into something juicier.
Post by nell cyprus d8f [cameron] on Jan 27, 2019 22:47:56 GMT -5
Sometimes things fell into place almost too easily. It wasn’t always like that, but Lady Luck blessed Jelani many years ago, long before the days of Crazy Eights. She knew her lovemaking was divine, as the mistress of good fortune had done nothing but pamper and spoil her like a newborn. A sexy infant. Cupid? She lost where she was going, but she enjoyed the ride, so it wasn’t a loss. Life was about victories. Life was about winning. She found her place, sighing: New Recruit was a winner.
“I did suspect common burglary was beneath you,” and she was absolutely right. Most girls snaking their way into her employ were head-over-heels loyal from day one, and no one was head-over-heels over nothing on the first day, not even for a newborn — hell, especially not a newborn. Not even a sexy infant archer; not even for Jelani Janga. Those recruits reduced themselves to lesser, menial tasks away from the heart of the district, away from the people, where they reaped the benefits of false energy and deception. Her crew had to have a sense of zen. Her girls had to be rooted.
The best way to test roots’ strength was through uprooting. “You’re exactly right. Now break into the back door and take everything, I mean everything, from the catering order drop off box. You’ll see it on your right. Be fast, and trust me.”