A Bit Fuzzy


evan_icon.gif gin_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bit Fuzzy
Synopsis Puzzle pieces + alcohol.
Date September 01, 2010

Biddy Flannigan's Irish Pub

Ambient lighting blankets the establishment in a soft luminescence, glowing in tones of appealing orange from the front face of the bar and low hanging light fixtures overhead. Old style brick walls given the pub an appealing depth, reflecting the tone of lights in a more amber hue down upon the lengths of the polished, wooden floors. The bar counter of lacquered dark wood stretches along the northern wall, the forefront for shelves of numerous liquors and the substantially sized LCD televisions spaced liberally behind it. The screens flicker with the latest games and news as the labeled spirit bottles wink from lighted shelves with a beckon of their own. Barstools and high tables welcome tipsy patrons to their support, scattered with throughout the barroom with a few wedge into the darker, quieter, and more secretive recesses. Over the bar are a few banners of sports teams, most notably one of English football club Manchester United.

The thick wooden door to the west is fitted with a single neon sign sponsored by one of the brews on tap, glowing in the door's center window to shed its light onto the sidewalk outside and summoning in new customers when the bar is open for business.

Ironically, in some ways, life amongst the Columbia faculty actually becomes more relaxed once the fall semester starts, as all the planning ahead - which, professors being who they are, tends to bog down into arguments over what color to paint the new bike rack near the student union building - is forced to give way to actual execution. To that end, Evan has just settled in at a table and is going through a pile of mail he picked up at the office earlier. Newsletter, junk, expense report, donation solicitation…

A woman makes her way into the pub, a surly looking thing with wildly curly hair and an unhappy expression on her face that seems to be the default. She slumps into a table right near Evan's, ordering a Kioki Coffee as she settles in. A hand rubs over her face for a moment before she pulls out a single envelop. It's nothing too remarkable, until she pulls out a puzzle piece to rest in her palm.

There's a coffee at Evan's elbow, too. And a telltale scent of whiskey mixed in with the typical aroma of the grounds. A quick sip, then he resumes going through the pile— and soon comes across an envelope of the same sort as his neighbor's. And with a similar puzzle piece inside it. "What—?" he says to himself, turning it over in his hands, and abruptly glaring at the back of it.

A glance over at his interjection gives Gin enough reason to turn her chair a bit that way. "I don' mean t' butt int' your business none, but." She flashes her piece, too, letting out a sigh. "You happen t' know what these are?" Luckily, hers comes with a word simple enough for her to actually recognize, a simple 'are' scrawling across one side.

Setting the piece down on the table, Evan gives Gin a quick once-over, then shakes his head. "Someone's idea of a sick practical joke, I suspect." By way of explanation, he turns his own piece over again, revealing a word not so simple. One that's crossed his mind more than once over the past couple of months. Lethal.

"Lotta trouble for a joke." Gin glances at his piece, then sits back with a flick of her hair over a shoulder and a prideful lift of her chin. "What's it say?" Perhaps she's just being difficult. Her arms fold and she looks away as she asks the question, sniffing just a bit.

Evan shrugs. "Maybe someone's got too much free time," he suggests, "needs something to do with his time. Whatever it is, we're probably not the only two." Because what's so special about either of them? At Gin's question, he looks down at his piece again, turning it so it's right side up from her point of view.

"Unless you and I got some trickster in common," Gin says, but her smirk gives away that she doesn't really believe that. As he turns the piece, she looks down at it, letting out a breath that falls somewhere between a sigh and a huff. But she doesn't ask again. She looks back to her own piece as she twirls it between her fingers. "I'm Gin. I realize I didn' introduce myself."

"Evan," the man introduces himself in turn. "And I've run into a few tricksters lately… but the one, well, this doesn't quite seem her style. The other? It might be, I don't know." He doesn't actively disbelieve it, but it does feel like a reach; more likely, someone just pulled their names out of a hat. Or the phone book, whatever.

"And I'm afraid I don' know of any, off the top of my head. I guess there's not a way to find out where mail came from, neither?" Gin seems to think that's a legitimate question as she turns to look his way. When her drink comes, she nods to the waitress before she asks Evan, "Y'mind if I join you?"

"Without a return address? Maybe the cancellation stamp, but that's not much to go on." If there's a more detailed James Bond sort of answer, then Evan doesn't know what it is. "And no, go ahead," he adds, scooting out the chair across from his.

Picking up her coffee, Gin makes her way over to that chair, sitting down a bit more gracefully this time. "Cancella- right, of course." Confusion is in her tone, but she's trying to sweep that under the rug. "Usually, I'd jus'… throw it out, but it seems so strange, is all…"

Evan nods, drumming his fingers on top of the piece. "I admit to being curious, as morbid as it is. If they're all put together— will the words spell something, or is someone just getting their jollies from throwing out a big red herring?"

"And watchin' people scramble for an answer? I could see that," Gin says, lifting her cup for a drink. "I think it's worth a look int' if only to smack the person what started all this right in his face." Folding her arms on the table, the woman looks downright grumpy about it, too.

"I don't know," Evan murmurs, scratching his chin as he reaches for his coffee again. Mmm, whiskey face, albeit toned down compared to the folks who subsist on the pure stuff. "There could be a serious message behind this, from someone worried that he'd be ignored or suppressed. And with some… interesting ideas about how to get around that." And by interesting he means, well, at least in the ballpark of crazy. The guy's never heard of going viral on the Internet?

"Well, he's only gonna get heard if everybody decides to look int' it. And not toss the piece in the trash. You gotta wonder how many people got it. He might've overshot his goal a little." Gin sets her piece down, frowning at the word there. Not for the word's sake, but just for it being there.

"I don't know… usually you have to put two whole edges together before you can see how big it is, just from the pieces alone." Evan leans back, considering. "Too few pieces, and losing a couple could screw up the whole thing. Too many, and people might be too busy to coordinate that many pieces— you'd probably want something in the middle. At least the pieces themselves aren't tiny."

"Yeah, he was smart enough there, at least. The size." Gin takes a longer drink this time, apparently no stranger to hard liquor as the presence of brandy in her drink doesn't seem to register. "What… do we do now?"

"Well," replies Evan, "assuming that most people are curious enough to want to get it put together… and that there's more than just a dozen or so of these things? Someone will probably put up flyers about it, run an ad in the paper, something." He might do it himself, if need be. "Let's say we plan to meet up here again in a week or so, see where it stands at that point?"

Flyers. -.- "Right, makes sense," Gin says, although there's this look to her, a bothered look. "One week. I can do that. I'm here plenty, so. You're bound t' catch me around the place. Hopefully, there'll be something by then, huh?"

Evan nods, if a bit hesitantly. "There ought to be. If there isn't— well, if the guy scattered the clues too far apart, that's too bad for him, I guess. I'll be around for a while, at least, I shouldn't get too swamped at work for at least another month or two."

"That'd almost be a shame." Gin tilts her head some as he goes on, though, taking another long drink before she asks, "What is it you do?" There is a glance to all his mail. Must be something.

"I'm a teacher," Evan answers. "Very important." There's a sarcastic undertone to it; apart from his puzzle piece and its envelope, which have been kept separate since they turned up, the 'please donate to the alumni foundation' letter is still sitting on top of the pile. "You?"

"Oh, you're a school teacher?" Gin… well, she doesn't smile, but she looks less severe for a moment. "It is important. School, all that." She doesn't look more closely at his mail and the fact that this 'school teacher' works at a university seems to have escaped her. "Oh, I do… this and that. Sort of a gal for odd jobs."

A number of clues about Gin during the conversation have sailed cleanly over Evan's head. That one, he recognizes right off - and doesn't do too good a job of hiding it, either. "Oh. Well— hope that works out for you, I guess." He reaches for the coffee again, a little too quickly.

Gin notices that. And she lifts an eyebrow at his reaction. "I mean… I do a lotta odd things. Sometimes I do some landscapin', sometimes I teach kids how t' ride horses, sometimes I work on buildin'r fixin' houses. This and that." She seems to be trying to put him at ease, at least a little.

Well, it is just a clue, not an outright admission. And maybe it's a red herring— in any case, he does ease up. "Fair enough. I should have a business card somewhere in here," he adds, rummaging through his wallet until he comes across a thick sheaf of them. It'll be ten years before he runs out.

"You got a little green around the gills there, Evan. I probably shouldn' tell you I used t' be a prostitute." Gin lets that hang there for just long enough before she does smile over at him. Crookedly. "I'm kiddin', honestly. I'm jus' one of those folk what never really found a knack." She is, of course, not kidding, but it's hard to tell, really. Her gaze falls to the cards when he pulls them out, and she frowns again, but nods over at him. "A card'd be nice. I'm afraid I don' have somethin' like that t' give in return."

Whether she's joking or not, Evan merely files it under 'leave it alone' and moves on from there. "Well— here, write your number on the back of this one?" He passes another card over, and walks over to the bar long enough to borrow a pen.

"Right, yeah, I can… do that." Gin turns to watch as he heads for the bar, only a little disappointed her teasing didn't get a bigger reaction. Men! Always so difficult. She pockets the card meant for her to keep, but when he comes back with the pen, she takes it and flips the other card over. Her hand holds that pen… clumsily, thickly, the way a child might as she writes out careful and deliberate lines to form sloppy numbers. But she really tried to make it neat.

Who's clumsy? What's clumsy? Thanks to the drinks, everything's just a little fuzzed up around the edges, and so he just absently reaches for the card again once Gin's done with it. "Thanks. Like I said… a week or so, by then we should have some idea where this is all headed."

"A week or so. I'll be around, like I said. Most of what I do can be moved around anyway." Gin moves to stand up then, reaching for her puzzle piece from the table and dropping some cash for her drink. More than enough. "If I hear anything," she says, giving him a little salute with her card before she turns to start heading toward the door.

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