As Seen On TV


ben_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif marla_icon.gif

Scene Title As Seen On TV
Synopsis Ben returns books, Deckard looks at books about paper, and Marla notices that the skinny guy in a suit looks AWFULLY FAMILIAR. Potentially to everyone's detriment.
Date December 17, 2008

Brooklyn Public Library

The central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was designed to resemble an open book, two wings stretching out along the bordering streets, with the main entrance located at their hinge. Inside is the heart of one of the nation's largest public library systems; the Central Library alone contains over 1.5 million books, magazines, and other materials. It also contains the Brooklyn Collection, an assortment of references and ephemera that chronicle the history of the borough, and a Multilingual Center for non-English speakers and linguistic scholars. A cafe on the first floor sells coffee and snacks, while a restaurant on the third floor (open weekdays only) sells cafeteria-style meals. Internet access is freely available throughout the building.

Cloudy, a little above freezing. Not a bad night to be outdoors, but probably still better to be indoors. The library is (predictably) quiet, most of the kids doing research being on Christmas break and all that. Some people like the library otherwise: hobos, for one, of which there is one slumped in a chair, snoring. And Benjamin Fletchers, of which there is one approaching the book return and digging books out of his bag. Plural. One, two, three…

A tall businessman in a neat warm-grey suit and glasses — probably not long out of the five o'clock traffic — is browsing around at the end of a non-fiction aisle not all that far from the return Ben is prepping for. Clean-shaven and otherwise neatly put together, with a tie knotted a little slackly at his throat, he fades well into the dull bindings that back him. The fact that he's paying more attention to the other people milling around than he is the books is hardly notable.

Pfft. Marla McCarthy has better things to be doing at library than read /books/. Books are for lamers and morons. Instead, she is doing what Deckard is doing: people-watching, though she either does not give a crap who sees her or is quite a bit worse than usual at hiding the fact. The short, spiky brown hair is messy and mussed up as usual. As she diddles around, striding out of a tall aisle of books with a distracted stride, she fiddles with a tattered, long green scarf trailing from her neck.

… And as she passes the return, her hip /bumps/ against Ben's in a collision that is nearly intentional in how rudely jarring it is. "Wh—"

Ben drops a book. Two, even: thump, thump. "Huh? Oh, shit. Sorry," he apologizes, stooping down to pick up the thick paperbacks he's dropped. Apologizing as though he's the one at fault. He's got the kind of don't-make-eye-contact air of a serious nerd.

Having flipped a particularly boring-looking tan book (Making Paper: A Look into the History of an Ancient Craft) Deckard can't help but turn his head after the collision and the ensuing apologies. Not that there's a particular type of person that hangs around in libraries but if there was one, from the looks of Marla, she wouldn't be it.

Marla not only does not apologize - oh, no - but the first words out that drop out of her her mouth are, "Hey, yo. Watch where you're goin'." She watches Ben picking up his stray books over the bridge of her nose, letting her eyes give little haughty downward flicks, and then by chance catches Deckard's glance right as he turns his head to look over. She lifts a pair of dark eyebrows towards him, but otherwise says nothing; just rudely and widely stares. Whatchoo lookin' at.

Ben straightens up, cocking one eyebrow to give Marla a dubious look. "…I think you walked into me," he points out, sliding the books into the return slot. "Just sayin'." He glances over at Deckard and gives a little shrug. It's the 'some people' shrug. Some people!

Deckard stares back. For those that follow the news, there might be a familiar cast to the lines and angles that constitute his long face and pale eyes. Maybe fortunately, he looks like he belongs behind a desk than a .45 at the moment, even if the line of his gaze is a little more sharply astute than the average white collar drone. Jaw gone a little slack, he tips a nod back at Ben's shrug. Some people! Really!

"You've got that completely wrong," Marla promptly answers Ben without looking back at him. "You apologized first. It's all your fault." Her own eyes squint heavily as they meet Deckard's, and the end of the scarf gets twirled around in a small, whirling circle at the end of one hand. "…Hey." This /is/ directed at Deckard, though what she's 'hey'ing at is not yet immediately apparent.

"That's more 'being polite'," Ben returns, reaching up to scruffle a hand through his hair irritably as he eyes Magda's back. He also looks at Deckard. Hey, what? Sadly, Ben arrived in town /after/ Deckard's mug got plastered all over the place, so he's innocently oblivious. To lots of things.

Hey. There's a single word of realization that people wanted for murder don't want to hear. Book on the history of paper still balanced open in his right hand, Deckard glances to Ben, and then back over his shoulder. Hey! Some…books!

Books indeed. Also, Marla may also be oblivious to lots of things, but due to prying and boredom she picks up on certain things quite quickly. "Duuude. Aren't you that one guy?…" Her voice, which is uncomfortably piercing even though she hadn't /intentionally/ talked loud or anything, trails off after this. Around - and around - goes the scarf. Whip.

Ben mumbles, "…Who filed my income tax?" before edging off. Not all that far, really; just over to the next shelf of books, where he can still see the other two if he chooses to pay attention.

Yeah. Books. Even the most dry-minded of accountants would have a hard time finding something worth 'hey'ing over in this particular subject area. Stark eyes skimming quickly over what's there anyway, by the time Deckard looks back at Marla, he manages to look convincingly puzzled, brow furrowed and gaze at an uncertain angle. "Jennifer?" is guessed tentatively, and that same gaze casts after the abrupt absence of Ben. Ruh roh.

"Who the hell is Jennifer?" After a second's pause, Marla abruptly shifts herself to sliiiide into a forward pace of one, two steps. And then she halts, placing her hands backwards on her hips. And squints again, drastically lowering one eyebrow while creasing her lips a little. "Duude. You're one of those guys who're, like, on America's Most Wanted. Didn't you kill some dude or something?" What? This is a Perfectly Acceptable conversation starter.

Ben blinks and goes stock still. What? America's Most Wanted? His mouth feels a little dry.

"Obviously not you." Oh look, there's Ben, standing very still. Deckard eyes him for an unsettling couple of seconds, rending invisible flesh from bone behind wire-frames before he's forced to look back at Marla. "My name is Steve. I'm an accountant." He says so slowly and in a steady voice so that it's easy to understand.

"Hi, Steve," Marla replies brightly, as if she is in a kindergarten class collectively responding to a teacher. "Is that like an alias or something? Because you look /awfully/ like Mr. Brightside on TV. Just saying." She obnoxiously shrugs one shoulder, peering briefly around to find a surface to lean on. When she finds none, she resumes staring critically.

Ben blinks back at Deckard. That was unnerving. Ben pulls a book from the shelf and walks back around to eye them both critically. "I think he looks more like that guy on that medical show."

"…Hi." It's easy to be awkward in naturally awkward situations. Hard-pressed to have a sense of humor under current conditions, Deckard peers down at Marla for a critical moment before turning enough to see if anyone else has tuned into this conversation. He still has his book, and it's still open, almost as if he's forgotten he's even holding it. "I don't watch very much TV. Do you need help finding something, or…?" he trails off hopefully, voice croaking a bit towards the end there. His mouth is a little dry.

"Depends. S'there some kind of reward for turning you in?" It's all still purely conversational; Marla might as well be having a snack while this discussion is going on. All she sounds like is interested, and mildly at that. She patters a little closer, letting the fringe of her scarf drop back behind her shoulder as she does. That way, she doesn't have to lift her voice quite as much. This is a library after all, and she had been attracting one or two stares by herself. "Maybe you should watch /more/ TV, man."

Ben squints at the both of them. "This is an extremely weird conversation," he says after a long moment. "Uh. Miss, are you…?" Pause. "What are you trying to do?"

"Maybe you should watch less." Her approach inspires fresh unease. Deckard bristles in a most unsubtle fashion, tension cording into wiry shoulders and bleaching through the back of his book hand. More stray dog than accountant. Still open, Paper and its History beg to be read by someone. ANYONE. But Flint has more important things to worry about. He's feeling a little cornered at the moment, and Ben's questions don't help. His eyes flicker between them with approximately even desires for them to both spontaneously burst into flame.

Her own posture as slack and informal as it can be, Marla's gaze transfers over to Ben's face momentarily; she had kind of forgotten about him. "Whaddayou mean, what I am trying to do?" she repeats a little incredulously. "I'm not /trying/ to do anything. I'm just a - you know- concerned citizen, asking questions." Very vaguely, she handwaves in Deckard's direction. "Aren't /you/ curious?" He's the one who had brought up a possible role in a medical show, after all.

"…Not really, no," Ben says after a moment's thought, shaking his head. "Regardless, I don't think this guy wants to be both… why am I here? I have nothing to do with this. Good luck, guy." Ben tips a little salute Deckard's way and turns about. Weird people! Weird!

"Thanks." Deckard doesn't return the salute. He doesn't move at all, really. His eyes focus on Ben, then back on Marla. Several beats pass before he speaks again — hopefully giving Ben a little time to move out of easy hearing range first. "If I was who you think I am, approaching me about it seems like it would be a bad idea."

Miss McCarthy seems like she has different ideas than /normal people/ about what it is a bad idea. "If you kill me to shut me up or whatever, it's not really going to help you," she replies helpfully, accent grating over her words. She lets her eyes drift to make her point. "Not /here/, anyway. Maybe outside." Peeps. Public place.

The library is a public place, but it's really uncomfortable right now. At least in this section. Ben takes his book - whatever it is - and hustles away to another section. One much farther away.

Deckard watches Ben's retreat in cool silence, jaw clamped down hard on an instinctive and poorly phrased response in favor of something more responsible and accountant-like. It takes a great deal of effort. Clap, goes the book in his hand. Closed. "Would you like to go outside? I just — have such a passion for the way ice slicks black over the concrete this time of year and I'd really like to share it with someone special."

Whoa whoa now. That would be a most undesirable development, as well as taking it a bit far. "Jesus Christ. Just /kidding/." Marla runs one palm through her tangle of wild hair; she also falls one heavy, uneasy step backwards. "You know, I /could/ scream like a bloody girl right about now and have the desk people come running."

"I bet I have enough bullets for them too." What a cheerful turn this conversation has taken! Humorless again, for all the world on par with a worn out community college professor dealing with someone who's walked in late for the 9000th time, Deckard flips the book in his hand neatly over. "Of course, if I'm not a murdering madman and this is just a big joke, we can all go back about our reading in peace."

"/Normal/ people don't talk like that. Jeepers creepers." Marla continues eyeing the taller man, still stuck in limbo as far as what to think. There is clearly a puncture in her confidence that hadn't been there before; that uneasiness. She whips the scarf off her shoulders without looking at it, wringing it between her fingers.

Does she leave, though? No. Just continues standing there, trying to catch a glimpse of the book like a dumb person. Lolol what do murderers /read/?

"I didn't say I was normal. Just an accountant." Deckard forces a smile, thin and patently false. The step she's taken back and shaken confidence alike give him greater ground to stand on, and after another long look, he does her the favor of filling the space she vacated with a forward step of his own when he notices her interest in the book. It's lifted for her to read more easily. Making Paper: A Look into the History of an Ancient Craft. Maybe he is a murderer who makes craft paper on the weekends.

Marla's eyes fall dubiously towards the cover, though she herself does not move any further back. After they read the title, they seem slightly deflated with disappointment. Maybe she had been expecting Your Guide To Buying Body Bags 101. "You … make paper? Do you fold origami between killing people?"

As if curious about the source of Marla's evident disappointment, Deckard angles the book so that he can reread the title himself. Silently, of course. He has enough brain power that he doesn't have to sound it out or anything. Accountants are smart that way. "That sounds unlikely."

While Deckard is somewhat preoccupied with the book, Marla takes the opportunity to slink into another backstep, trailing her thumb along the thready fabric of her scarf. Eyyeeee. "It totally does. But you're not a /normal/ person. Maybe you're not a /normal/ psychopathic murderer. —Maybe I'll just leave now."

"Probably a good idea," Deckard assures, brows hooded down into a condescending level. No comment on what qualifies as normal for either. He flips the book over in his hand once more, looks her over the way 40 year old men in business suits really shouldn't, and flicks the cover open to check after the author's name.

Despite the somewhat ludicrous amount of curiosity that remains, Marla's desire to stretch her neck out on the chopping block seems to have finished dying. "Bye-bye, Steve-O," is offered impulsively, before she twitches one last time and disappears. If Deckard looks up, he'll notice that she literally /does/ seem to have disappeared amidst the soaring stacks of books and shelves. Deckard can have his mad paper-making skills all to himself.

A hard glance is shot up after her retreat, but he's seeking a look at the backside of her bones for future reference. When and if she literally disappears, he takes no note — just pushes his book back onto the shelf and passes off a terse nod to the librarian he passes on his way out.

December 17th: A.T.M.U.C.F.C.L.S.
December 17th: Stalk
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