Crank Yankers


brian_icon.gif ingrid_icon.gif walter_icon.gif joshua_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif kincaid_icon.gif delia_icon.gif

Scene Title Crank Yankers
Synopsis Brian makes some phone calls
Date Over a few days

Brian's face slumps against the glass. He had no idea it was so hard to find payphones now. But he eventually found one, his face pressing into the filthy glass for a short moment. "God." He groans as the last digit is entered. "Okay.. Rumpleteazer. Also known as 'Ingrid Raines'. You're about to get the hookup. I hope you're hungry."

The phone hops up to his ear as he cranes his neck. Ring Ring ring.

She picks up between the third and fourth ring, a rustle of clothes, phone scratching against something that might be a heavy winter scarf, and over the sound of 'Rumpleteaser's' breathing, the sound of wind ripples beneath the traffic rumbling in the background. Wherever she is, she's outside.


"Hello? Miss Marlowe?" It just so happens this is the first name that pops into his head. The name sounds familiar, though he's not really sure where the name came from. It was just the first random name that twirled in there. "This is Adam from Domino's" The voice is nasally, sounding nothing like Brian Winters. "Just wanted to let you know, your last purchase qualified you for a free delivery of two free pizzas. It is our customer appreciation day, and we wanted to know if you would like the delivery at the same residence of the last delivery?"

"M-Marlowe?" On the other end of the line, Ingrid blinks large blue eyes. "I'm sorry, I think— I think you have the wrong number, Mr. Adam from Domino's. Miss Marlowe is my roommate." Which is an easy mistake to make, though as soon as the words are out of Ingrid's mouth she's pausing to reconsider them. "I'm sorry," she says again. "Our last purchase, you said?"

WTF. Miss Marlowe is her roommate? Brian's head slaps against the glass as he jerks back in surprise. Throwing up his other hand to grab at his head, Brian narrows his eyes at the glass pane. What the hell? What are the chances, the fake name he used is actually.. She's got to be fucking with him.

However. "Oh. I'm very sorry." 'Adam' sounds flustered as fuck all of the sudden. Which may have to do with the fact that Brian, thought he was crank calling and is now considering he might be getting crank called. "Yes a half vegetarian half Sicillian sausage?" It sounds like something women might eat. He briefly ponders on whether sicillian sausage is actually a thing. But decides that it is. "I'm still very sorry miss…? That shouldn't have happened. I can try the call again, or you can still have the free delivery sent out? Or we can put it on hold for you?"

"I don't think we've ever ordered Domino's," says Ingrid. "There must be some mistake." A car horn blares in the background, the young woman sucks in a short breath and Brian will hear the swish of a revolving door. A moment later, the traffic noise goes soft and is replaced by the sharper click of shoe heels on something that sounds like it might be marble.

"That's better. I can hear you now. Um, it's Ingrid. What address do you have on file?"

"You haven't?" Brian asks sounding somewhat bewildered. "That is.. really weird. Are you sure? I don't know how…" He remains silent for a moment as if pondering. "Might be someone else with the last name as your room mate? That's crazy but could be a weird mix up. Sorry about this inconvenience. But.. we have the free pizzas here. If you want them. The address is.. 313 Malbury Street.. apartment 10." Brian lets out. "Is that yours?"

"No," and Brian can almost hear the smile in her voice when she says it, wan and apologetic. "Must be some sort of coincidence, but I hope you find your Miss Marlowe. Adam. From Domino's."

She keeps saying that. Adam from Domino's bares his teeth in frustration. "Oh. Well thank you. Sorry it's been a long day. But really. This customer appreciation promotion. I have to pump these things out. If you want them it'd really be no problem. You don't even have to tip." A little chuckle is let out. "But don't tell the driver I said that." Brian murmurs, stretching his lips out practically mouthing 'say yes say yes'

"I could maybe ask somebody to come and pick them up so your driver doesn't have to brave the traffic," offers Ingrid. "We're not anywhere near Malbury Street. Which location did you say you're calling from?"

thud Nice bitch. "The big one. By.." The voice remains the same but Brian's face is groaning. Somewhere else in the city, Brian Winters is looking up a Domino's location on the google and… "«Address here»." Googlegoogle. "By Target." It might not really be big. But.. "It's really no problem. We can send a driver or you can have someone pick it up. But if someone is picking it up, can I get the name? Or if you want a delivery just give me an address and we will be all gravy." Adam's weird.

Click click click go Ingrid's heels. Something beeps, a card being swiped across a scanner. "Well, if it isn't any trouble, do you think you could drop them off at 26 Federal Plaza? That's the DoEA office. You can leave them at the front desk and tell them the delivery's for a Miss Jane Pak — we're working late."

"Oookay. 26 Federal Plaza. Miss Jane Pak. I got it." Brian presses the phone into his shoulder to let out a relieved sigh. All he has to do now is deliver a pizza to the… DoEa office. Fuck. "About what time did you want that delivered?"

"Anytime before curfew," Ingrid answers. "Whenever's best for you and your driver, I mean. I'm only a phonecall or a page away."

It seems a shame to be wasting a cell phone on a single phonecall. But there's not much to be done about it. He can't afford to be tracked. And even though Calvin will eventually know what Brian is up to. But he isn't going to let any of these people track him. Besides, some of them might not even be in Calvin's little adventure club.

Ring ring

Shoes propped up on the back of a couch, Brian's back rests on the center, his head dangling off. The phone held loosely by his ear while the other hand digs at a few bugles. Om.


Well that isn't a number Odessa recognises, lighting up the face of her cell phone. This is going to be more work bullshit, isn't it? She flips the phone open and brings it to her ear, eyes rolling toward the ceiling of her apartment to stare as though that eliminates all other distractions. "Price."

"Doctor Price?" The voice is low, with a distinct southern twang. A bugle is popped into his mouth. "Yeaaah.. Sorry to bother you. My name is Detective Norris. I apologize terribly at this inconvenience of calling you. But with all this H5 one whatever scare.. I've got maggots comin' out of my ass over in Chinatown. And paperwork I still have to file from November the eight. If you can believe that, I'm sure you can. Anyways…"

"Excuse me?" Odessa's brows furrow. Him who? Her mind races a hundred miles a minute, evidenced only in her silence over the line. "Detective Norris, was it? I didn't catch the name of the party in question." Why is her heart pounding? There isn't a single person she's close to. Not someone who would admit to it, right?

"Oh I apologize, were you not previously notified? Are you shi— " The sound distorts on the other side of Odessa's phone. A tell tale sign of someone pulling the phone away. Brian however just places the cell phone on his stomach and yells at his bathroom. A scene of some old cop movie is on repeat on his laptop. The scene looping giving the phone faint background noise of a police station. "Jason, gawdammit. I told you to notify the gawdam— " A pause for someone else to talk. "Well what th'hell are you gettin' paid for? Havin' me on my lunch break havin' to break this gawdam ne— "

"Hello, Doctor Price. Sorry about that, I don't know what th'hell academies are doin' these days. You know what I'm sayin', I'm sure y'do. Anyways. We had an attempted suicide of one Calvin Russian. Calvin Raisin. Calvin… Rosen. Da-gum my eyes are going. Well, since you were mentioned in his note, I need to ask you a few questions. Now I will have to ask you to come in for a formal interview, cause that's how things work. But ma'am I've been working since yesterday morning and I've had an oyster cracker and a…" Oo. Bugle. "few bugles." Chomp. "And I would like to expedite things if you're agreeable. Now as I said, he's fine. So if you're not opposed to a few quick questions?"

The woman on the other end of the line is irritated, at first, listening to the background noise and Detective Norris' supposed yelling. But when he tells her that Calvin's tried to kill himself… "There must be some mistake." Odessa nearly drops her cell phone, catching it before her grip goes completely slack. Her knuckles are suddenly white in her renewed clasp.

"That… There must be some mistake. I just— " There's a pause as Odessa tries to remember if she did actually see Calvin at work today. She did, didn't she? She must have. She would have noticed if he wasn't there, right? Except now that she can't remember a single conversation. "Calvin would never do that." As if she would know. "It had to have been an- An accident. Something." Except, "He- He left a note?"

"I'm afraid there's no mistake, ma'am. Tried to stick his head in a daggum oven." Detective Norris sounds rather disappointed in the man. "I'll give you the address of the psychiatric hospital he's being kept at, the end of the call. But for now.. I do need to ask you a few questions." About the part that he left a note? Yeah. "Yes something about an 'angel imprisoned on earth'.. Apparently the man was quite poetic when it came down to it. He seemed to like you a whole lot." That's what you get when you label someone 'Booty Call'. Another bugle is flicked down into Brian's huge grin. He can practically see Calvin's flaming face. He'll probably get killed for this, literally.

"But I really do need to ask you some questions. First off, the obvious. Have you noticed anything strange about Calvin's behavior lately, when you all 'hang out' with your group of friends, has he been normal or acting.. oddly?"

"A what?" An angel imprisoned on— Odessa actually pulls her phone away from her ear and stares at it as if to make sure she's actually connected to a legit call. This doesn't sound like the man who agreed to fuck her in an exam room because they were bored at work. She brings the phone back up. "I… Calvin's always a little odd. He hasn't seemed out of the ordinary to me at all, though."

Brian scowls over a bugle. Don't avoid questions woman. "And about how long have you known Calvin Rosen? Have you met any of his family, anything like that?" Detective Norris asks, taking another bugle out. Dropping another bugle in his mouth he frowns. Suddenly overwhelmed, he needs water. Pushing back on the couch, Brian sort of falls off. Back thudding against the ground. A light grunt is emitted.

"Gaw dammit, control him!" Brian yells as he rolls over to cough out a half digested bugle.

Bringing the phone back to his mouth, he stands up and makes his way to the kitchen. "Sorry bout that, continue."

"Gosh, I don't remember when Calvin started working with us. I…" God, this is awkward. Odessa stares - closer to glares - down at her own lap. "I haven't met his family or anything, no. We weren't that kind of… I didn't think he was serious about me." And from the shock in her voice, she still doesn't.

"A few years, a few months?" Norris asks, the southern detective sounding a little agitated. "No family. Well have you at least heard of them? I swear to God, I can't find a next of kin.. And so how often do you hang out in his circle of friends then?" Brian asks as he fills a glass with water.

"Uhm, months," Odessa supplies quickly. "He doesn't talk about his family. We don't really talk about that stuff. And we don't usually do like the friend hang-out thing? It's usually just us when we go out after work. We don't have a circle. We have different circles." She can only presume Calvin has a wider circle than she has. All… two or three that she counts among her own.

"Months? No friends?" Detective Norris sounds severely put out. He downs his glass of water. "Well that about answers it.." Another glass of water is filled up. "Thank you for your time. He should be let out by tonight.. be back all safe. If you'll excuse me there's an Irish rapist at a Japanese restauraunt." And with that the mobile phone is tossed into the glass of water. Folding his arms over his chest he peers down at it.

And then smiles.

A sizzling pop sounds off in the background as Brian leans against the wall. In the back of HAPPY GARDEN Chinese Cuisine, Winters is making a phone call. He knows the owner of the establishment, so he was allowed in the kitchens from time to time. And he happens to be making a phonecall from their kitchen phone. Filling the background audio with what one would expect to hear from Happy Garden Chinese Cuisine.

Joshua's phone rings. His strategies for these calls haven't been the best. But he's pretty sure this one will be the most successful. And racist.

It takes a little time to get picked up. But before Brian can be shunted into voicemail—

"Yo?" 'Robin' is a guy, apparently, one who says yo and sounds like he could be anywhere between twenty and forty, or maybe younger if you allow for a teenager with a developed kind of voice. There're sounds in his background too, a city street somewhere nearby, some male voiced conversation even closer, words difficult to pick out.

Brian freezes. What was his plan? He's not sure what his plan was anymore. Did he have a plan? His gaze shoots up from the ground to one of the cooks. And his body soldiers on without his brain's help. "HELLO?!" The Chinese accent is almost overwhelming in the overly loud greeting. Brian's eyes going wide at his own gesture. Searching frantically for something to help him. "YOU ORDER MONGOLIAN BEEF! AND SHRIMP! YOU COME GET NOW!" A few of the cooks glance over his way, and he just turns his back so that he is facing the corner.

Woah okay— on the other end, Joshua Springsteen is pulling his phone away from his ear at a midpoint, forehead wrinkling before pressing his ear to the speaker as he turns his back to the conversation going on in the alleyway with him, where he was trying to enjoy a smoke, one he takes an inhale from before trying to converse. "Okay, man, chill out. What are you, a take out place? You got the wrong number."

"YOU CHILL!" Brian rages at the corner. "Mongorian beef! Sweet sour shrimp, with beef chow mein! You come get now! Seven ninety five! Is good deal!" Brian looks over at the cooks, then back to the phone. Come on Robin. Eat some Chinese food. It's good for you.

There's a shuffle sound, like the phone is being passed over around when Brian is proclaiming he's making a good deal. Words happening in the world over the cellphone are muffled out by a hand over the speaker, before a new voice comes down the line. "Wei? Zhei shi shei!" it barks in rapid fire Mandarin, and there's a few notes of laughing in the immediate vicinity.

"Zhei shi shiji gongyuan, hundan, lai jie nide fan." Haha bitch. Brian smiles triumphantly at his corner. Try to throw asians at him. Robin, puhlease. Winters leans against the wall peering at the phone. Robin knows asians. "Zhei shi shi?"

The person on the other end doesn't seem surprised he's getting Chinese right back, even if the language takes a left turn from what he'd spoken with, a rasping, smokey chuckle crackling down the line. "I dunno," says an only slightly accented American voice, probably not to Brian. "What'd you do to him, Josh?"

More muffled voice, encouraging, laughing.

Then loud enough for Brian to flinch: "XIAO BAICI, NI YINGAI HUI JIA BA! NI HAI PA ME?!" Hysterical laughing ensues on the other side, and the guy who sounds like Robin chiming in distantly with, "Omgod what did you say?"

Brian frowns. Hey that was mean. Leaning away a little, he glares somewhat at the cooks who are now taking turns glowering at him. Ahem. "Ni zheige goupi, wo hui bei ni dasi! Ni zhu zai nali?" Brian puffs up his chest as if starting a fight with the wall he's staring at. And then back in english. "DON'T LAUGH ME!"

The hyenas on the other end don't stop laughing as instructed — in fact, when they can hear it yell tinny from the phone, it only picks up. But they are also getting bored quickly, and there's the soft impact sound of the phone getting caught after it's thrown. "Enjoy your Mongol shrimp, bruh," is Joshua's departing words, before the phone is snapped closed.

"It was mongolian beef, asshole." Brian growls as he slams the phone back on the wall. Turning around enraged, the cooks all kind of stare at him weirdly.

"What?!" A flail of the hands and Winters is on his way out of Happy Garden.

The phone is checked again. Yes that's the right number. Okay. Send. The phone starts to ring on the other end. Brian leans back in his seat. The bathroom of his apartment has the door open. So that there's not that weird echo-y thing on phones that bathrooms sometimes do. But as he sits on the toilet and waits for Kincaid to answer on the other end, Brian tucks his free hand under his other armpit.

Often, Kincaid allows his phone to go to voicemail, especially when it's not a number he recognizes. Occassionally, he even lets certain other numbers go to voicemail, forcing even his close friends to leave messages… But not today.

The phone rings and rings, but before it clicks over, the otherside of the phone comes to life. "Hello?" It sounds as if he was in a hurry to answer it, by the way his breath catches.

"Kincaid August? Hello? Hi. This is Doctor Cox. I'm the on call mental health doctor for Studio K. I heard you were the new guy on the scene. We do these things once a year. Miss Reynolds asks me to call all the employees and upper management and book a short appointment. Is this a good time?" Brian asks, leaning against the counter gently.

Of all the times he opts not to let it go to voicemail. Kincaid pulls the phone away from his mouth so that he can't hear the exageratted sigh that follows, until he brings it back to respond. "I'm afraid this isn't the best time." He hesitates, as if fishing for an excuse, but then gives up. "How soon do you need me to come into this? I got a physical done before I joined the Studio."

"Well I'm sorry to bother you. I know you're a very busy man. But Kristen would like these done as soon as possible. You know how she can be." Which is a universal thing to say about any boss, ever. "And this isn't so much a physical, as a wellness evaluation. She just likes to make sure everyone is on an even keel. So what I do is just take a little evaluation, just talk some things out, maybe give you some advice, or just lend an ear. Most of the staff find it surprisingly helpful."

"But if you're too busy. I could at least throw a couple questions at you now, so our actual session doesn't have to go too long."

There's an impatient sound to his voice, even as Kincaid leans back in his chair. Doctor Cox. He can just imagine this is going to be some kind of payback for something. K seems to have moods, from what he could tell. "Very well, I'll answer a few of your questions."

"Questions, shmestwions." It's hard to turn question into that weird kind of mock word, but Brian manages to do it. Tilting back on the throne he smiles gently as the persona of doctor Cox takes over. "I just try to talk to my clients a little bit. I don't want to force a faux-friendship. But just take this as an opportunity to really let off some steam. Tell me what's really going on in that old ticker~" He lets out a little stupid laugh that stupid doctors make when they make stupid doctor jokes.

"Well let's just start with the old classic workaholic syndrome. How's your social life right now? You gettin' out with the homeboys? Spendin' enough time with your lady love?"

"I don't see how this pretains to my health in any way," Kincaid says in a way that shows his frown. The timing had been pretty bad for this kind of joke. "My social life is my own, and yes I have one, and no I am not planning to talk about it when it's irrelevent to my ability to do my job. Are there any questions that do not relate to my personal life?"

"Woah woah woah woah woah woah woah woah…" Doctor Cox quickly spits out. "Woah woah." Brian actually throws his hands up, looking kind of funny as he sits on the toilet in his bathroom, trying to calm his invisible patient down. "Mental and psychological health, Kincaid. Can I call you Caid? Or Kink? What do you prefer?" Kincaid can practically hear the warm smile on Brian's side of the phone.

"Just trying to make sure you're not overworking yourself, not going to burn out. That's why Kristen has me work with you all. And I'm not trying to cramp your style. Just give a little and you'll get a little. Just relax. And tell me about yourself."

"Cade," Kincaid says firmly, obviously not liking the other nickname at all. "I still don't see how this is relevent to anything that I do at the studio, and your name and trying to call me Kink makes this sound suspiciously like a in studio prank that is going to bite me in the ass later… but I like iceskatting, coffee of all kinds, the color blue, I have a few close friends I hang out with, and I don't really like pranks unless I'm the one causing them."

"Hey hey hey~" Doctor Cox starts again. "I've heard stranger nicknames. I knew a guy who went by Raw.. like the first part of Robert. Can you believe that? Well, anyways. This isn't a prank. I'm really just trying to get to know you a little better before our session." He lets out a light laugh. "You much of a golfer? We should go hit a few balls sometimes. Pranks huh? What kind of pranks do you cause?"

"I don't know, I just don't want to be on the recieving end of one," Kincaid says, sounding annoyed again. "No, I don't golf, I've never been golfing and I don't really think it would be a fair thing for me to get involved in. I've played a little hockey, but not in school or professionally, so I don't think hitting a rock around on the ice with a stick counts as anything close to golf. Is that what these sessions are going to be about?" Cause it sounds like he's going to try to get out of them, if his voice is any indication.

"Well you're definitely not!" Winters lets out, as he groans at his phone. It shouldn't be too hard to stalk Kincaid even without Brian making a fake meet. Working at a public tv studio just does that to you. "So what kind of people do you like to hang out with, Cade?" Brian asks, trying to sound friendly and.. accepting.

"I don't know— people who I'm friends with. Family, friends of the family, people I work with…" Kincaid still sounds annoyed, perhaps a little confused. How does someone really describe the kinds of people they hang out with? "I like people with a sense of humor… people who don't punch me in the face is a good one…" He seems like he's searching. "Not red heads."

A little laugh goes out. Because this is a normal conversation and these are normal jokes. "They've got some attitude usually! Do gingers count as redheads?" He asks, practically on the edge of his seat.

Which is bad because..


"Spend much time with your family anymore? Important to do that really. Have you got children? I have three, and let me tell you they're a handffful."

"That definitely includes gingers— Gingers and me don't get along— most the time. Boy gingers mostly— girl gingers are better," Kincaid corrects himself, perhaps because there are a few girl-gingers he thinks are fine. It's the male folks he has reason to dislike! "I'm closer to my extended family than my immediate family, but I'm working on that. I— no I don't have children." That came with an odd hesitation. "That should be all in my employee file, though."

"It is it is. But I'm trying.. And might I admit, badly! To be your friend. If you stick around I'll be seeing you at least once a year. And I'd rather it be a fun time. I don't want you to have to drag your heels to see me. I can do tricks. I am a registered telekinetic.. Well it's limited. Tactile telekineses. But it has some cool parlor tricks, if you're for that knd of thing. You ever seen telekinesis in action?" Doctor Cox lets out a little laugh.

"Well you oughtta get some, Cade! A headache and a true blessing. I don't like using words like that, 'true blessing'. But it's really true. You ever considered having kids? Starting up a family? And if you don't want to answer those, that's fine. I understand."

"I… no I haven't really seen much telekinesis first hand— how does tactile telekinesis work, anyway…" Kincaid asks, not quite seeming to understand the relevence of the question, or perhaps… "Isn't telekinesis moving things with your mind, and if you have to have tactile contact aren't you already touching it? It— I don't really see how that name makes any sense."

The telekinesis topic may have confused him, but he doesn't speak on the other topic right away, until suddenly saying, "I have considered having a family, but it's not something I'm likely to do anymore, otherwise I'd rather not get into it— does K really make everyone see you once a year?"

"Every year." The Doctor murmurs, smiling gently. "Not anymore, huh?" Brian gives a sad sort of clucking of his tongue beffore pausing. Letting out a sound of exertion, suddenly. "UUhh.. Okay well Kincaid. I actually have a drop-in here, that I need to take care off. So my secretary will call you about our appointment and I'll…" The phone is suddenly hung up as Brian ends with a sort off cut off yelp.

The door shuts rapidly.

A cheeto is popped into his mouth. Leaning back in the driver seat of his car, Winters looks down at the cellphone. Rubbing his orange hand on his jeans pant leg, he reaches up to comb his hair back with one hand. Bringing up the phone he presses SEND. "Okay. Tits McGee. I hope your…" He pauses, pursing his lips. "I love Samara. Tits don't exist."

Ring ring

When Baba O'Riley by The Who starts playing in midi from the coffee table, Delia just stares at it for a moment before reaching for the little phone. Without thinking, she pushes a button, thinking perhaps she's silenced it but the word Connected scrolls across the screen. "Oh no…" the faux pas is possibly heard on the other end of the line.

"Uhm… Hello?" A familiar voices comes through somewhat tinny on the other end of the line but it's Delia, there's no mistake about it at all.

Brian tilts his head for a moment. "Hello this is Proffessor Charles Xa—-" He pauses in his introduction as recognition sets in. "Wait.. Who is this?" He asks, practically glaring at the phone.

Fear grips the redhead on the other end, probably because she answered an important phone call from a professor of something or other. "I uhm.. I — I.. uhm.. I— " She stammers, not completely sure what to say in answer to what should be a very simple question. "I'm uhm… room mate! Yes, room mate. Uhm.. I— I'm sorry, she's on the toi— She's in the library right now." Lene might be reading in there, Delia doesn't know or judge.

It's definitely Delia though, even though the question was answered in something of a roundabout way with no actual names used. "Can I take a message?"

"…Delia?" Brian asks quietly. His eyebrows practically climbing off his forehead. "Delia is that you? Is this your phone?"

The breathing on her end of the line stops for a solid minute, making her silence that much more pronounced. Finally, "…. Uhm, yes? I mean no! I mean… Who is this?" She doesn't recognize Brian's voice right away, still fearing that it's some mystery professor. A stray thought in the back of her mind pins it as one of the ones she might have taken a class from a year or more ago. It's quickly dimissed. No one would remember her there, except as the Junior that got arrested and subsequently disappeared.

"Delia? How are you on this phone?" Brian asks a little more aggressively. "Where are you? This is Brian." He quickly spits out. "I've been worried like fuck about you, Deebag. Where have you been? How are you on this phone? Is this your phone?" Delia is attractive for sure. But he would not label her Tits Mcgee. Calvin is weird.

"I'm.. uhm.. I'm… Brian?" The nickname and machine gun questions can only be one person that she knows. "Brian! I got moved again, after Brad manifested on television." There's guilt there, possibly because she believes it might all be her fault and "… no it's not my phone. It belongs to one of the people I'm staying with. I answered it by accident." At least she's answering at all and thanks to all of his coaching, doing a rather fair job of speaking.

"I sent a really long text to Nick, you haven't seen him? He didn't give you my message?"

"No I haven't seen him."

Brian takes a moment, peering down at his bag of cheetos. "I see." He lets out. "Delia? What's the name of the person who has this phone? How do you know them? I need to come see you Dee. Where are you?" Brian says rather quickly.

"It belongs to one of the people I'm staying with," Delia repeats. Her voice is a little softer now, quieter and full of regret. Glancing out the window, she tries to spot any sort of landmark to no avail. "I don't know where I am exactly, an apartment… but there's nothing outside that I can see that helps." She pauses for a second as the entire conversation actually starts to sink in. "Brian, why are you pretending to be a professor? And why are you calling someone you don't know? Are you a telemarketer now?"

"No Delia. You need to tell me everything. If I'm right, you're with a group of people that are very.." Dangerous? "Suspicious people. Dee.. You need to be extremely careful." Could she be one? No.. She was unconcious for like a million months. "Don't tell them anything about yourself." Winters urges.

"What is the person's name, Deli? You need to be careful. And you need to delete the history of this call. Don't tell them I was talking to you. And you need to remember my number, can you do that?"

To say that Delia is torn is a massive understatement. On the one hand, these suspicious people have been kind enough to open their home to a wanted criminal and hide her there while she recovers. On the other hand, Brian changed her diapers. It's only after much careful consideration and wrestling with her own conscience that she finally starts to speak again. "It's— They're not bad people… they're… Jasmine called them the others. I think they're her friends." You know, the chick that gave you firehands. "I don't know much about them, just that they're letting me stay here. They don't ask any questions, I don't either."

"You don't know what I know, Delia." Brian says quickly. What does he know? He knows Calvin is a prick. That much is the only fact he has. "Delia.. You can trust me. I need you to trust me right now. Please Delia, tell me anything you know. Who's phone is this?"

"You're right," a concession. "But you don't live here with them… They're really nice." What does she know? One of them has an odd taste in ring tones, another snores, and the last one has to work her way through school and worries about making rent. "I don't know anything about them, except their first names. I— I trust you Brian, I do, but what are you going to do?"

"I'm going to come make sure you're okay. I'm not going to do anything. Delia. but I need you to be fully aware that you're not in the presence of honest people. You start asking them questions, they will all lie to you. Just start asking, see if they get evasive, see if they start to make things up. If they seem hesitant." First names. "Is one of them Kincaid? Or Ingrid? Or.. Robin?" Brian crumples up the bag of cheetos and tosses it into the passenger seat.

"Yeah, I'm Robin." The answer is all to quick as Delia recognizes all of the names and then lays claim to the one that's hers. Then the worry sets in. "Have you heard anything about me? Like… they're not planning on selling me on ebay, are they? I— I wouldn't get much. I'm crippled." How the mind wanders, right now the redhead is pondering what an ad for her on ebay would look like. Used, parts only, not in working condition. Those are the words running through her head right now.

"Kincaid works with my brother, he's helping me. He's the one that got me out of Brad's apartment before anyone came looking around."

"You're not Robin." Brian says firmly. "Robin is a man, and he knows Chinese people." Winters tilts his head oddly. "Delia..? Why aren't you telling me anything?"

"No, that's my name now… Robin Bristow… I have a new ID and everything." Not that it would work at a checkpoint, but she's a little more legit now with a card that can be handed over if stopped on the street. The redhead's eyelids slide down to shade her eyes halfway as she pauses for the next question. "I just— I don't want to get them in trouble… They're really putting their necks out for me. Do you promise that you won't get them in trouble? Brian— What happened— If you saw what I saw— " There's a sniffle and Delia takes a deep breath before whispering. "Brian, I don't want them to get hurt more… If you saw the scars… How could anyone do things like that to another human being?" It's obvious by the thick sound of her voice and the tremble that she's trying hard not to cry.

"I'm not going to do anything Delia. The only thing I'm going to do is make sure you're okay. I know some of them, if they're really nice people they won't mind me visiting. I swear I won't do anything against them unless I'm positive they're going to hurt one of our friends." He pauses. "And I swear I'll talk to you first." Winters says sincerely.

"I'm okay, I promise. Can I talk to them first? Make sure it's okay? They're hiding too." From who, Delia would be unable to answer. "I'll call you.. or text.. as soon as I know, okay? I just don't feel really good about breaking my word. It'd be a shitty thing to do after they've been so nice to let me stay here. Especially since they don't have much money."

"I don't like this Delia." Brian says firmly. "You're going to protect these people because they're nice?" Winters takes a moment, genuine frustration bubbling up. "Do you know how fucking nice I've been to you?! I spent like a good chunk of this year taking care of you. And you're not going to trust me when I say you might be in danger?" Brian pulls the phone away from his ear. "Don't bother." And this time, Brian gets to hang up.

"Wait!!" Delia's frantic cry into the phone just as the connection goes dead has her shoulders slumping. Working quickly on the keypad, she types in one word and sends the text. Her entire body tilts toward the hallway as she scrolls as quickly as she can to try to find the message she just sent to delete it as well as the history of the call, as she's been instructed. On the other end there's the flash of a single word across Brian's screen.


The owner of the phone.

It's dark. A single candle illuminates the room. Everyone else is asleep. Brian Winters sits on the couch, staring at the cellphone in his hand. One more number to call. One last person to try and get information on. The candle light barely reaches his face as he sits, one shoe resting on the opposite knee.

Brian stares down at the phone, tilting his head to the side. Pressing down on the send button.

The phone rings for a long time. Long enough that breath catches when there's a click on the other end of the line; either someone has picked up, or Brian has bee shunted over to voicemail, and he's not immediately sure which.

"This is Walter. What'dya want?"

A different strategy has been used every call. Some mildly successful, some not at all. He's tried so many different angles, and finally on this one he takes a new approach.

Breaking the silence in his dark apartment, Brian speaks quietly. "Hey Walter. I want to know who you are."

The response he receives is the shallow sound of the other man's breathing, a lengthy deliberation, then Brian can almost hear the smile splitting open his mouth. "You will," says Walter.

Brian takes a moment looking at the phone. Before pressing it back to his ear. No dial tone, yet. Winters purses his lips. Either Walter knows who is calling him, or he's going to do something big and probably bad. Or star in a ballet. One or the other. He narrows his brows some,

"Are you and your friends going to try and hurt my friends?"

"No." This time Walter's reply is immediate, and although without hesitation it's full of quiet feeling. "I could ask you the same question."

"I don't know." Brian answers, lips shutting for a moment. "I don't want to." Hey as long as they're being candid. "What are you doing here?"

"Same as anybody. I'm a big fan of live and let live myself."

"Why do you all lie so much?" Brian groans a bit, tilting his head back. One hand goes to warm itself over the candle.

"That depends. Who's you all and where'd you get this number?"

"Calvin's phone." Brian comments lightly, tilting his head. "Stole it after I made out with him. You know you're listed as 'Don't Answer'." They're telling the truth right now. So… That's what he's doing.

Walter makes a noise that's half-snort, half-bark of hoarse laughter snapped short. "Calvin," he repeats. "Now look. You got no reason to worry about Calvin, or me, or any o'mine. And anyway it's not lying so much as it is selective truth-telling. We're no threat to anybody, least of all you."

"I want to believe you Walter." Brian lets out. "But something feels like I shouldn't."

"Then don't, but you and everybody you know'll regret it. That's no threat, for the record. Plain truth."

Brian pauses for a moment, staring at the wall. "Why?"

Walter draws in a slow breath. Holds to the count of one, two—

Makes a decision. The line goes dead.

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