It's Not Me It's You


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Scene Title It's Not Me, It's You
Synopsis Word and bodies are exchanged. And, there's a quick summation of what Dirk did with his short stint as a dumpster fi- ahem, woman.
Date March 8, 2019

Apartments both in the Safe Zone and yet world's apart…


Dirk looks at the screen of the phone, long lashes narrowing ever so slightly at the call display. Dumpster Fire. 47 messages. He sighs, the breath that comes out doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to the woman calling, the woman that left 47 messages, the woman in his body. Shaking his head, he turns back to the stack of papers and continues to go through them methodically, the list at his side slowly being checked off.

It’s not until he gets to the end, until the last item is struck through, that he picks up the phone and dials the number to the voicemail.

“Press one to… beep SESA, eh? This might be fun. Behave if you — beep — Message deleted. Next message… Your work buddies are assholes. Who defiles a donut with jalapeno!? This mouth is on fire! Can I have my body back now? Also, what’s TNT? — beep — Message deleted. Next message. I draw the line at do — beep — Message deleted.”

He can’t help but chuckle at the second one, it’s times like this he missed himself. Missed his own laugh. This one wasn’t as satisfying.

Thumbing over the keys, he waits through the rings, the pickup, not saying anything, just waiting for his own voice to stop yelling at him.

“Well, you managed to bring ghosting to a whole new level,” Dirk’s voice is distorted by the small, inexpensive phone speaker and Isis’s embedded bitterness.

One the other end of the phone Isis-in-Dirk stands in the apartment. Dirk’s borrowed clothes are scattered over the bed and floor, all wrought with various degrees of wrinkles. Isis shifts the weight of this borrowed body from one hip to the other and raises a hand to rub at a bit of prickly scruff on an unshaven cheek. She takes a deep breath, clearly biting her tongue - there’s no need to inspire any more duck, dodge, and avoid from the body snatcher on the other end of the line. And so, Isis turns up dial on her best impression of Dirk’s charm and inquires sweetly, “To what do I owe the honor?”

“Well,” Dirk isn’t used to his own drippy sarcasm being used against him and if he’s going to be honest… it’s a little off-putting. “I’ve finished my little bucket list and I miss my bed.” The sound of honking can be heard in the background and hazel eyes flash annoyedly at the open window, but Dirk doesn’t move to close it. It’s a nice day outside and it’s been too long since this room has been aired out properly. Before he gets his body back, things need to be perfect.

“Meet me at the Cherry Blossom Noodle Cafe in Yamagato Park,” he says, the woman’s chirpy voice singing out a lovely “Byeeeee~” before he hangs up. Still, there’s a problem or question to ponder.

When Isis left her body, she didn’t have the credentials to get into the park. Leaving her with the question, exactly what has Dirk done.

“Wai-…” Bee-doo. That droopy little tone that denotes the call has been disconnected is matched by an equal downturn at the corner of Isis-in-Dirk’s mouth. “Oh heeeeeell no.”

Location: Cherry Blossom Noodle Cafe in Yamagato Park

Dirk’s body arrives in the doorway with an antsy, glossy quality in crystalline blue eyes. An iron might well lose the battle against the mere scale of wrinkles in the slate gray button up and black trousers upon the blonde man’s form. However, Isis-in-Dirk has managed a fresh shave, with limited knicks, and even adorned a thin black tie in a simple, but proper knot - small male victories!

One hand stuffed deep into a pocket of the black slacks, the other clings to Dirk’s little cellular devices like a last lifeline as Isis puppeteers the borrowed body into the quiet cafe. She can’t help but turn an eye of interest over the pleasant interior - Yagamato Park seems so unnaturally peaceful in comparison to the destruction that lingers like a scar among much of New York. Isis-in-Dirk fidgets uncomfortably at the unnatural difference, the sphere of ignorance-is-bliss, and turns her attention to the matter at hand - she’s looking for a redhead, because Gods forbid that man did anything as foolish as dying her hair!

He didn’t. In fact, the head of red hair that comes bobbing down the sidewalk to the cafe is blown out into a beautiful style. The fashion choices are casual but could be converted to business or evening wear with a change of accessories. He’s been taking fashion tips from Nicole and Robyn for years, he knows what’s what. He greets his own face and body with a brilliant smile and before Isis can do anything, leans in to place a kiss on the man’s cheek.

Dirk is just as anxious as Isis to get back.

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The feeling leaves him reeling and the petite blond man reels back, trying to kick off the wave of nausea. “Let’s not do that again,” he says weakly, doubled over to keep away the dry heaves or wet… depending on what Isis has done to him.

There is something wholly Twilight Zone about seeing one’s own face puckered up and swooping in. Isis-in-Dirk starts to pull back, but then checks herself and closes her eyes - bracing for impact…

As the tendrils of consciousness start to reach for her body and its innate ability, she tries to regain control of the swap and sooth the effect for both parties. It’s always hard on the way back, disconnected from the bodily source of the ability. The effect is less jarring, but still a jerky bunny hoppy like a new driver trying to get a standard transmission automobile moving. Isis, properly in Isis, reaches out to steady herself on the nearest wall.

“Well,” a pause, acclimating once again to her alto tones. They don’t sing-song the way Dirk had somehow managed to make them, lose a decibel of femininity almost instantly. “It certainly wasn’t my idea of a vacation either. What were you thinking?” Hazel eyes, currently trending towards a vibrant green, clear after a few quick flutters of her dark lashes before fixing hard on Dirk.

There's a long pause before Dirk actually answers that question. Mentally backtracking to figure out exactly what he was thinking two weeks ago is a feat. "At first? I don't know," the admission is honest and he holds the door open to the noodle house, gesturing to Isis to enter. "It's on me." Because he knows what's in her wallet and in her pockets.

The clothing that Isis is currently wearing is much more comfortable than it looks. The fabric is a nice weave and likely a better quality than she's experienced since before the war. The underwear… as fashionable as a 60 year old grandma's. Apparently, Dirk wasn't having any fun in that department, which might make the woman whose body he snatched feel better.

“That’s comforting…” The only thing that statement is missing is the popular 90’s ’not!’ at the end. Isis takes a moment to consider Dirk and then the politely open door. Free meal aside, she has some questions before she gets back to her life, so with a quick nod and gussied up lips sealed against any further biting retort, she slips inside.

The redhead fidgets about in the short time it takes to enter, be seated, and get settled - granny panties are not her idea of comfortable. In fact, Dirk now has two instances of first hand experience with Isis’s idea of comfort. Aaaaand I’m free! Free baaaallin’! Anyway, Isis takes some time to check her wrists and assorted accessories for a hair tie, only to come away with a huff for her efforts and resorting to incessantly brushing or blowing at the strands of fabulous styled, blow dried waves that insist on dancing across her face every few moments.

Honestly, she hasn’t looked this fantastic in ten years - hiding in a cabin in rural Maine doesn’t lend one to a regular concern for fashion trends or primping. Still, she doesn’t admit it. Instead, she racks her brain - once upon a time she had a checklist for dealing with this sort of situation, but currently the whole predicament just gives her a headache.

“I hope you had fun. I did.” She bobbles her head side-to-side, “Mostly,” she admits as an addendum. There’s certainly some freedoms Dirk’s body, position, and finances provided. “But, I think we need to establish just how badly you fucked up…” She laces her fingers and sets her folded hands on the table in front of her.

"I just hope I still have a job," Dirk says wryly as he reaches into his pocket and checks the contents of his wallet. Everything seems to be there, some cash missing but that's to be expected, cards and ID still intact. That's the most important part. Then he picks up the menu and begins perusing it. "I don't know, I think I lived your life better than you've done. Isis, Joanna, whatever your name is… because it's neither of those now."

For now, that's all he says. She hasn't done the cursory check, so he's letting her have the full brunt of surprise that awaits her. The immediate difference is that aside from a burner phone, she has a good phone, one of the newer GhostNet types. Inside the wallet, that is where most of the changes lie. Her old ID is missing and is replaced with varying types all containing the same name, right down to a new library card. The letter is preserved in a plastic sleeve and tucked into the side pocket of her purse… which smells like vintage leather.

Emerald-hazel eyes consider Dirk and remind Isis quickly of good ol’ Step One on the long forgotten checklist - check your pockets! Isis begins to pat herself down but stops at an unnerving absence of any pockets… and then glances to the purse she had absently set aside. Blink blink. She owns a friggin’ purse, now?! Isis snatches up the pocketbook with both hands and cradles it to her middle, casting a shady look over her shoulder. Did anyone see her walking around with this thing?! She groans as if physically pained by what she is about to do - the dig of shame. She starts taking one item after another out of the purse and setting them out on the table. As is always the case with these accursed portals to the abyss, what she seeks is on the very bottom - regardless of whether or not one thinks they put it in that handy side pouch, it’s always on the bottom

Thankfully she recognizes the letter, the one of unknown origins calling her ‘home’, and her shoulders relax a minute degree, before getting to her wallet. Her brows furrow closer to one another bit, by bit, by- Nope! Those pale brows shoot up and here eyes widen. “Tiffany Taylor?” Isis is entirely confused, but then… The wallet falls with a slap to the table and just the registration card is left pinched between forefinger and thumb, touching the foul thing as little as possible. “You’ve got to be shitting me.” Her words are a barely contained hiss pushed through gritting teeth. “What did you do?” Better yet, “You have no idea what you’ve done,” she growl quietly, casting a eye to the waitstaff and patrons about the cafe.

"You're welcome," is the reply to the display of registration. His eyes peek over the menu and he looks over the card again. "It's a good picture, if I do say so myself. Took a whole day to get that done."

Then he puts the menu down gently, speaking softly to the waiter to order for himself and her before going further.

"You can use it or not, but it's going to help you. You're in line for an apartment with the lottery, you have a few job interviews lined up, and I wrote you some reference letters…" In his own name, which may or may not be a mistake. "You can't live like a vagabond forever, not if you want to retire with a good pension. You can't live on your looks, no matter how many bodies you swap in and out of. I'm looking out for your future not the past."

A beat.

“You’ll notice that I didn’t use any of those other names. Again…. You’re welcome.”

A pale hand comes to rub at her face, but she quickly realizes the faux pas and pulls her hand away to consider a bit of shadow and concealer on her fingertips. She closes her eyes and steadies herself with a deep breath. The choice to order food on her behalf has one eyes opening sharply. “Excuse you,” she comments quiet and sharp. “Meddle much?” Isis shakes her head and starts packing everything back forcefully back into the purse, continuing on after a derisive snort.

“Where do you get off judging my life, eh? You had two weeks of freedom. You could have done anything with this,” she gestures a free hand along her side. “No one to answer to, well except me, and what do you do with it? Push papers and your bougie agenda?” She wrinkles her tiny, button nose and looks up to finally meet and hold Dirk’s gaze. “Did you ever consider why I live the way I live? Did you ever consider the chance I was looking out for someone other than myself? Ever think that maybe all your prank-pals down at the office aren’t what they appear? Organizations come and go, and they’ve all promised some paradise or protection for one side or the other - and you know who gets hurt?” She holds up the registration card between her middle and forefinger… “The people with the labels, with the Star of David, with the tags, with the registration.”

Isis tosses the registration card into the pocket book and shoves the purse off to the side with a huff, slowly running out of steam. But, there’s more she needs to know before she can put this mess behind her. Even still, the longer she sits here the more Dirk’s words ring with a bitter sting of some truth that makes her wriggle uneasily in her seat. And so, overall, her tone is a bit more resigned as she inquires, “Other than your gal pal, who knows? What really happened, that is.”

Dirk remains calm and quiet through all of Isis' talking. Smiling when the waiter interrupts them to set down a pot of tea and two small cups and then allowing his expression to return to neutral when the man disappears again. He lifts the pot and carefully pours one for each of them, wiping the drip at the lip before setting it down again. It might be infuriating, but it's nothing he hasn't witnessed or been subject to before.

"You'll get over it," he says, his voice likely taking a snide tone that he doesn't mean. Not right now anyway, he's trying to be understanding. "You'll notice that I took great care to use a different name, one that isn't yours, whatever it is. You can take that ID or toss it and go back to living in the backneck of some hillbilly country. It's not going to follow you anywhere if you don't want it and if you don't want it, I can get it scrubbed from the system."

He takes a small sip from the cup, wincing from the heat as it goes down. "But I'll tell you again, it's going to help you. You can get a place to live, you can get a job, you can do more than live hand to mouth or make cash doing illegal fighting on Staten." He pauses to give the younger woman a hard stare. “Robyn is the only one who knows and she won’t tell.”

That piercing gaze falters with a subtle narrowing of dark, mascaraed lashes - something she finds she needs, yet again, to give the man credit for. Damnit. Her gaze wanders back to the purse, or more appropriately the registration card looming inside. “You’d scrub it..” she parrots back uncertainty. This willingness to erase this fake, ludicrously named, profile carves a little crack in the redhead’s bitchy exterior.

Isis scratches her at the back of her jawbone. Finding herself a bit disappointed at a lack of stubble emits a strangely timed chortle on her behalf and breaks the last of her scowling resolve. With a last eye roll for good measure she reaches out for her cup of tea and lifts it, pursing painted lips to give it a gentle blow. “I’m not saying thank you,” she mutters against the brim of the cup. “But… didn’t you do anything fun?”

"Fun? Are you kidding?" Dirk's voice takes an impossibly high note and for the first time he seems a bit angry at Isis. "Do you even know what men are like?" Not even considering that she's lived her entire life as a woman. Because, of course, Dirk has had the only negative experiences that body could have ever been exposed to.

Taking a deep breath, he shakes his head. "I got your life in order," he says with a bit of a shrug. "Besides, I was pretty sure you'd kick my ass if I did and being beaten up by a girl in the streets isn't something my ego can handle."

He takes a sip from his cup.


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