Clean Up On Aisle Three


brennan_icon.gif delia_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif mika_icon.gif child-mika_icon.gif

Scene Title Clean Up On Aisle Three
Synopsis The mettle of shoppers is tested when a short handed grocery store gets a visit from tweakers.
Date August 17, 2010

Whole Foods Select

Whole Foods Select is one of those stores that most people pass by and browse through without thinking of doing more than perfunctory shopping, but when you're looking for something specific, that's where you go. Specializing in organic and all-natural produce, free-range meats and eggs, hormone-free milk and the like, Whole Foods Select has become a bit of a destination for the health-concious crowd of Northern Brooklyn. Opening daily at 7:00am, it sells ready-to-eat breakfasts, fresh fruit imported from around the world, and bagels brought in from one of the oldest bakeries in New York and does a quite brisk business.

Today is more busy than the usual, however. Shipments of fruit were delayed by a strike in Peru, and one of the local farmers that supplies the store with eggs had been caught up in some personal business that caused him a bit of a delay in shipping out his product, but now, on a perfect storm of a day, a dozen deliver trucks arrive and the poor store staff finds themselves running ragged trying to get it all put away AND serve customers.

The confusion makes it a perfect day for some mischief….or some opportunistic thievery.

Whole Foods Select also happens the place that one Mika Iwasaki happens to shop at for the tea shop's lunch menu. The contents of her cart are slowly growing in mass, with cheeses, breads, fruits, and vegetables. She's currently perusing the contents of the snack aisle, grabbing a large box of 'artisian crackers' and tossing it into the cart.

"Okay…just need to grab some more stuff for my teas, and I'll be finished." The young woman, perhaps in her mid to late twenties, mumbles to herself as she goes over her shopping list, being certain to check her cart to make sure she's gotten something or other.

Marlena taps her fathers arm to get his attention, hands and arms working concert to talk to Brennan, her father once he's looking at her. «Can I have some chocolate»

Brennan rolls his eye's, lifting hands from the cart to reply though he speaks normally in concert with the ESL. "If you get some chocolate, you're going to have to share with your sisters. So choose wisely young grasshopper. Whether you want to share it when you get home." Just before noon, and he's out doing some of the groceries since the housekeeper is sick today, the Nanny is home with the twins and Michelle is down with morning sickness. Secretly, he enjoys it. This time with Marlena when it's just the two of them doing something together. With an impending arrival come the beginning of January, making sure everyone knows they're loved will be an important part.

"Go get the bread, your mother is out of tea and when your mother is out of tea…" Marlena's fingers move in swift reply. «Mom throws up in the morning, noon and night! Get mom her tea!» "Sounds good!" Turning their cart down the same aisle that Mika's heading for as the nine year old dashes off.

Dressed in a lightweight gray hoodie and a pair of worn jeans, Delia slouches into the store. Her frizzy red hair has been pulled back and is hidden beneath her hood. As an extra precaution, she's managed to find a pair of her father's old aviator sunglasses to hide most of her face. She's trying to be inconspicuous, she trying to be unnoticeable.

The sunglasses are removed and hooked into the neckline as she makes her way toward the bulk herb section. She's looking for something specific, something that maybe no one has heard of or hasn't tried yet. "There has to be something…" she murmurs to herself as she scans the different powdered supplements and natural remedies.

Jaiden is sitting quietly at one of the tables in the deli, munching on a sandwich and watching people, not really doing anything but enjoying the noise of the city.

As the crowds swell, the two checkers at the front try their best to keep up, but the growing crowds really don't let up, and people keep coming in to grab a few things for lunch - sandwiches, bottled water, and the like, dressed in all sorts of outfits. The two men who enter the automatic doors dressed all in black really doesn't catch anyone's eye as one heads for the first checker, waiting patiently in line with his hands in his pockets, the other standing near the door. Just standing there, nervously as his companion gets closer and closer to the checker. When he is right in front, a quick motion has him leaning in and whispering something to the woman, who goes white when he leans back, fumbling for the intercom. "M…manager to register one, please…" Her voice is quiet, subdued. Scared for those who recognize the sound.

As Mika is making the trek toward the registers from picking up her dairy products, she passes through the Deli. It's there that she notices Jaiden, her brows raising. The tiny Japanese woman pushes her cart over to Jaiden's table, a bright smile on her face. "Jaiden! Hello!" She giggles. "You aren't following me around, are you?" A flirty smile is tossed toward the man, the woman leaning toward him, perched on her cart.

As the woman's scared voice sounds over the intercom, Mika's eyes raise, before casting down the front of the store toward the register in question, brows raised. What on earth is going on up there…?

Lost kid likely. Wait, his kid? No Marlena's old enough, she can walk the aisles of this place and find him. Two tins of the loose tea plucked up from the shelves and placed in his cart. The physician smiling to someone who's coming down the aisle that he occupies, dipping his head in greeting. "Afternoon" His cart headed towards the end of the aisle which is near to the cash registers. Hopefully someone finds their lost child in all this chaos. His is still fetching bread to the best of his knowledge.

The annoyance of the hood has prompted Delia to shove it back, exposing the thick swath of red underneath it. A few flyaways stand on end from the static buildup underneath, making her look like one of those novelty balls you stick your hands on to attract orange and blue streams of electricity to your fingers. The announcement overhead causes her to look up at the ceiling in a little bit of a panic and she takes a quick breath in.

The young woman's hands are jammed into her pockets and she begins walking swiftly toward another aisle, for tea. Her blue eyes dart nervously as she passes by other shoppers, surely they haven't fingered her for shoplifting. She brushes by another shopper, accidentally jostling the cart he's pushing in her hurry to get to the desired area of the store.

Jaiden is sitting close enough to the edge of the Deli for Mika to push her cart right against the side of his table, separated by one of those divider-things normally used to control crowds in Movie Theater lines - the seatbelt-type material that spools back into the stand for an instant temporary barricade. "Why Miss Mika, what a pleasure it is to see you here. No…I'm not following you around…" He glances up at the speaker mounted in the drop ceiling, then over towards the registers which are, unfortunately, out of sight. "I'm just getting my lunch."

The manager, a frazzled-looking woman dressed in sensible slacks, a Whole Foods polo and well-worn flats comes when summoned from her office behind the Service Desk. "Marlena…what is it? You know I've got to get these invoices done before…" She stops when Marlena points to the man in black, waiting patiently with his hands in his jacket pockets. "He….um….he's…."

"I've got a gun, and I want what's in the registers and the safe. Now." The man's voice is calm but beneath the surface, anyone who can hear it can sense the bubbling of tension beneath the surface. A little under six feet tall, he's whip thin and pale, with striking blue eyes and a shock of red hair that's barely hidden by his New York Yankees baseball cap. The gun he pulls from his jacket is a small chrome revolver, but the shot he fires into the ceiling? Remarkably loud.

The screaming starts almost instantly, and his companion, a swarthy gentleman with a shotgun, moves to lock the doors. "Don't move!"

The petite Japanese woman is just smiling to Jaiden, nodding slowly. She gestures to her cart. "I'm just getting a few supplies for the tea shop. This place is great for that, everything we need to make teas.

As the shot rapports through the large building, Mika's cart is shoved away from her, suddenly, the little woman ducking down and putting her hands over her head with a terrified squeak. For a moment, she stays there, turning a terrified look toward Jaiden…then, suddenly, the little woman is moving as fast as she can, ducked down low. She makes her way to a position where she can see what's going on, without drawing attention to herself, eyes wide as she reaches into her purse…

Who doesn't know the sound of a gunshot. Brennan is absurdly familiar with them, more than he cares to be at all and the moment the shot is fired off, the doctor is down, on the ground, hand going for his phone and eye's wide as he cranes his head this way and that in the hopes of finding his daughter. Marlena - the 9 year old - is nowhere to be found amidst the screams that pop into being in the store. Obey the orders and you get out of this alive.

The shot rings out while Delia's hands are reaching through some tins of Bigalow tea. There's a loud clatter and the sound of more than a dozen tins as they hit the tile floor, all resulting from the moment the redhead jumped with fright. From her vantage point at the end of the aisle coupled with the fact that she's just cleared an entire shelf of its merchandise, Delia can see through to the man with the shotgun. Slowly, she lowers herself to the floor and begins sliding underneath the shelf. It's a good thing she's wearing her old clothing today, she's not going to be very pretty when she comes back out.

There are about ten customers that hit the floor at the sound of the gunshot, including the cashier, the manager, and one poor haggard bag-boy that sends an armload of fruit scattering over the front of the store as he dives comically for the space behind the newspaper racks. "I'm not going to ask again." the skinny thief growls, pushing his revolver toward the cashier. "open the register. And you…" The gun moves toward the manager. "Let's go open the safe." He reaches over, grabs the phone by the handset and yanks, ripping it from the wall to ensure no calls go out from the cashier's stands before marching the woman toward the back counter.

The man by the door, fidgeting, his gunbarrel swiveling around, tries to sound tough. "Y…y…you h…h..heard th..t…th…th…Open th…registers and g..g…get out your w…w…w..wallets!" Stuttering thief? He'll be easy to pick out of a lineup.

At the gunshot, Jaiden hits the floor, his chair clattering back as he watches Mika scamper off to wherever she's going.

Little Mika pulls a small three-inch knife from her purse, still hidden from her vantage point. She peeks around the corner of her hiding spot once more, getting a gauge of the situation. One is presently sweeping his gun across the crowd, and the other is focused on the manager. Good, that means they aren't looking her way.

And then, suddenly, the tiny Japanese woman becomes much tinier. Her clothes sag, until it is only her shirt that covers her body like an oversized dress…and in her place, a child of perhaps no more than five or six stands, tiny fingers clenched around the knife that suddenly looks so much bigger. An almond-eyed gaze is turned briefly toward Jaiden, the little girl placing a finger to her lips, before turning to watch and be sure she'll remain unseen. Then, moving far more gracefully and silently than such a young child should, she darts out, moving her hiding spot to behind the register furthest from the men.

Then, she's crawling beneath the space under each register on her belly, slowly closing the distance between her and the two men, while doing her best to remain unseen and unheard.

Mika's not the only 'kid' who's moving about. Coming down an aisle not in direct view of the cash registers, Marlena with the loaf of bread clutched to her chest comes around the corner, eyes cast up towards the ceiling and lost in her own little world. The perils of not being able to hear, or being aware of your surroundings. Brennan's getting out his wallet, his phone already pressed with 9-1-1 and shoved onto a shelf where it can be hidden and yet emergency services can still hear. It's when he spots his daughter dawdling, unaware, that his heart really stops in his chest.

The young redhead slides underneath the shelving quietly and comes up dusty on the other side. Tea is a wonderful thing, but it's rather lightweight. Crawling along the edge of the shelves, she keeps an eye out for anyone with a gun as she tries to make it to a stack of tin cans. Tomato paste. Giving a worried glance toward the front of the store, she pulls a few of the little cans out and loads her pockets with two of them while keeping another two in her hands.

Jaiden stares as the woman does something that can only be explained as 'becoming' a little girl. Still, in his years he's seen many odd, interesting things and the fact that there's an evolved that can change shapes like that - or ages, he's not sure and will be certain to ask when things are finished - shouldn't come as too much of a shock. He nods and remains low, watching, ready to spring when something happens, mainly watching the Stuttering Shotgunner by the door. The last thing he wants to have happen is to have a spread of buckshot fired into the crowd.

The little girl with the bread is thankfully left unnoticed for the moment by the two men robbing the joint, the shot gunner standing just out of the way of the door to allow people to come in but not to leave. "C…c…come on! Gr…r…rab a b..b..bag and p….p…put your wallets, watches, and phones into it!" He gestures wildly with the gun, moving closer to the counters when, unfortunately, he catches sight of the girl. "Hey you!" That comes out remarkably un-stuttering, the shotgun swiveling toward the nine-year old. "G…g…get over here!"

The tiny Asian child stops once she nears the stuttering man. Her eyes land upon the little girl, before flicking toward the stuttering man. Tiny fingers clench around the knife tighter as his attention is turned toward the nine year old, her eyes widening. Silently, she army-crawls a little closer to the man's feet while his back is still turned, lifting that knife and holding it ready for a slash.

Her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth, she edges closer…then, without a sound, the little six year old swings the blade, aiming to cut one or both of the man's Achilles tendons, her little face wrinkled into a sneer.

She can't hear. THe problem with telling her to come over is that unless she's looking at him, Marlena doesn't hear a drop. Brennan stands slowly, hands where they can be seen with his wallet in one. "She's deaf sir" One palm held out as if to stop the stutterer from possibly shooting her. "She's my daughter and she's deaf, she can't hear you, let me just.. get her and she'll be out of your hair" Brennan informs while inching towards his daughter. Who drops her gaze as the loaf of bread drops with wide eyes at the men bearing weapons and people on the ground and her own father moving towards her.

Just as the shotgun is swiveled and pointed toward the child, Delia is turning the corner and coming into view. With one can in each hand, she gives a sweeping glance toward the front of the store to assess exactly what's happening. The view of the little girl is blocked by a bunch of shelves, all the young woman can see is the gun is being pointed. Ungood.

When Brennan pops out and begins talking and moving, the girl slinks against the end of another aisle. Slowly, she inches her way toward the freezer second and what looks to be a pair of very large gray double doors.

Jaiden is inching his way slowly towards the man that's disappeared into the back office, staying low, crawling along the floor toward the back counter, ready to ambush the man when he emerges from the back room. The girl being yelled at….the guy with the shotgun….that wrenches at his heart but he's got to stay calm.

"Oh…w..w..well you t…t…tell that little b…b…b…." Luckily for him, or for Brennan's self-esteem, it's at that very moment that the unexpected attack from Mika catches his attention by neatly severing his left achilles tendon with the sweep of her blade. With that integral part of his anatomy removed, he shrieks and fumbles, the gun aiming to the ceiling and firing with a muffled thud, sending the foam ceiling tiles and a few bits of the fluorescent light he blew up scattering. The shot also sends the crowd scattering, lunging for the door, screaming. This does, of course, get the man in the office to yell out. "Shut them up, Vince!"

It's not a little girl who lunges out from beneath the register this time, but the tiny Asian woman, Mika, all five feet of her. She's clad in only her t-shirt and undies, her legs and feet completely bare.

She's on him in an instant, even as he's going down. Her right hand clasps at his gun, doing her best to keep it from pointing at her as she attempts to wrestle it free of his hands; her left hand brandishing the knife, slashing at his in an attempt to make it easier to liberate him of his weapon. All of this is done without a single sound uttered from the woman.

The commotion starts and Brennan lunges for his daughter, not giving a fuck that he's trampling over bread and other groceries as he grabs Marlena's hand and yanks her down into an aisle, putting shelving between them and the robbers. His hands clasp her to his chest, one hand covering her ears as if she could hear the sounds of the screams and gunshots and wanting to protect her from them. All they'd come to do was get tea for Michelle and supplies for the house and as much as he wishes that the housekeeper had been the one here today, he's grateful. "Shhhh baby" Marlena looking up at him with frightened eyes, a glance to Delia who's aisle he's conveniently settled into. "Shhh baby, it's okay. It'll be over soon-" There's the other man.

Catching the eye of the man as he's consoling his child, Delia sets her lips into a grim line and jogs out from behind the aisle. The little Asian woman seems to be doing a fair job of keeping the gunman busy for the moment, but as the old saying goes, never bring a knife to a gunfight. Taking a quick glance around, the redhead smiles and picks a bottle off the shelf, testing it by tossing it in her hand a couple of times. Then, she sprints up to the front of the store as fast as she can.

"Hey Porky Pig!!" She braves yelling at him like that. She's got to be her father's daughter in the sense that she can be stupidly brave sometimes. "Eat my crappy batting average." And she swings a large bottle of balsamic vinegar, right at his head.

Stuttering Vince, as he's known to his companions on the street, tumbles to the ground with an asian woman on top of him. This is something he'd normally pay ten to twenty dollars for an hour or, but this time? No thanks! The gun is a pump-action, so that one shot is about all he can do until he pumps the action and clears the fired shell. Mika, being on top of him with her knife slashing at his hands prevents that from happening easily, and the shakes meth withdrawal is giving him makes it even more difficult. But he gamely fights back until the blade hits his right hand, opening a cut from the base of his thumb across the back of his hand, getting one of the tendons, the shotgun clattering to the floor.

Vince has just enough time to realize that he's hurt and bleeding badly when someone yells at him. He turns to look in the direction of the yell, still trying to fight off Mika, when the whole world goes black as the heavy glass bottle collides with his head, a resounding CRACK echoing through the aisles as consciousness goes the way of the dodo. Vince is out cold and smelling quite a bit better thanks to the Balsamic Vinegar.

Jaiden gets to his feet and sprints to the door, opening it, waving people out while watching for the other thief who is still busying himself with ransacking the office safe. The sound of splintering plastic can be heard as the contents of a desk are flung into the store proper, and the rustling of a brown paper bag as fistfuls of cash are stuffed inside.

As the gun clatters to the floor, Mika is off of the injured Vince, pouncing on that gun like a cat on a piece of string. A grateful smile is cast toward Delia along with a thumb's up; then, she silently makes her way closer to the office, putting a nice solid counter between herself and the office door as she examines her new acquisition. It's quite strange, seeing such a tiny little girl, wearing only a tank top and panties, pumping a shotgun like she has been doing this all of her life.

She edges to the little door behind the counter, that shotgun held up and ready. Then, she sneaks in behind the counter, doing her best to avoid making her sound, something that's simple when your feet are bare, her newly acquired gun pointed at the door.

Her eyes narrow as she sees inside of the office. A finger is briefly lifted to her lips toward the manager as she sneaks closer, closer to the door while the thief rummages in the safe. "Hey, dumbass. Look at me." The shotgun is held up and at the ready, and the look on her face states that she's not afraid to shoot.

Gone, out, Brennan's taking the out with his daughter, his wife can get tea from some place out, she's not likely to be complaining after this. Daughter in his arms, Brennan's one of the first folks out of the whole foods, making tracks.

When the stuttering thief is down and out, Delia breathes a long sigh of relief. She's covered in dark balsamic vinegar and feeling very not inconspicuous at the moment. The herbal remedy for curing evolvedness will have to wait for another day. Before anyone has the chance to make her pay for the bottle she broke, Delia places her sunglasses on her head and makes her way to the door with the rest of the people. A quick smile is given to the man holding it. "Thanks," she says quietly, then she's gone, running down the street like her life depends on it.

The voice at his back causes the skinny man to straighten, his gun moving up jerkily until he hears the sound of the action racking. He gulps and lets the gun drop to the floor with a thud, lifting his hands in surrender, the manager retrieving it and pointing it at him, holding it in both hands.

Jaiden nods to Delia as she runs out, looking toward the back room. "You okay in there, girl? Need me to call the police?"

The scantily clad woman slowly raises to her feet, nodding to the manager respectfully. She commandingly directs the man out onto the floor with his unconscious, wounded comrade, promptly handing the gun to the first woman that the skinny man spoke to. Once she's absolutely certain the situation is under control, she darts over to her clothes and purse, quickly pulling them on even as she is running out the door. To hell with being a hero, she doesn't want to see any police.

Aside from a poke to Jaiden's arm, the minute she's outside, Mika is gone, getting as far away from here as she can.

Dammit, now she's going to have to go to the one on the other side of town.

And Jaiden? Jaiden just shakes his head and leaves before any questions are asked. There were enough eyewitnesses.

The end

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