Lovecraft and Harleys


mortimer_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Lovecraft and Harleys
Synopsis … are the key to catching Jack's interest, as Veronica planned. Mortimer, on the other hand, finds her naive, while both men fall for her bait.
Date February 5, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore

Nestled in the heart of the main street marketplace, the Ichihara Bookstore is an old and crooked structure pressed between two newer high-rise tenement buildings. The old glass windows and creaking wooden door on the shop's front give it a rustic and old-world feel. Catering to both antique books and newer prints, the narrow aisles and tall shelves are packed full of literature. A single shelf for periodicals lies near the front counter, while signage both out front by the register and in the back of the store indicates that tarot card reading is done on-site at request for ten dollars per reading.

Behind the old and weathered wooden counter that contains the register and a small stack of reserved books, a narrow wooden staircase leads upwards to a black wooden door with peeling paint, revealing red paint in narrow strips beneath, a rope crossing in front of that door hangs with a small sign that reads, "Private".

It's not only Mortimer who often frequents Ichihara Bookstore. Despite his dislike of Kaylee and her ability, Jack loves the collection of books, and how he often just finds gems laying on random shelves. He's sitting in a nook, not immediately visible when one enters the shop, legs crossed with a buttoned up light-blue denim shirt on. His trenchcoat is folded next to him, with a stack of books sitting on it. For once he's not reading Lovecraft, he's reading In the Mouth of Madness. "Stephen King, we have much to discuss…" he mutters to himself, shaking his head.

Having been watching the bookstore and Mortimer Jack's arrival, Veronica and Ryans decided it was time for Vee to meet the subject of their investigation. Vee's Harley roars up to the curb outside of the bookstore, and off steps the agent looking most un-Agent-like indeed in tight jeans, thigh high black boots, and a black leather trench. She pulls the helmet off and heads into the bookstore, nodding to the employee of the hour before disappearing into the rows of books, a murmur of "just browsing!" when she's asked for help. She slowly moves around the aisles, picking up a book here or there, before entering the row in which Jack's nook sits. She doesn't look at the man, but instead picks up a book in the horror section, one by Peter Straub.

Jack peeks up from his book, leaning forward, staring with half his head still buried. He heard the harley, and even without his ability, he can definitely identify one. "And then Christmas came." he mutters to himself, though certainly makes it just audible enough for her to hear if she's paying any amount of attention. He doesn't make a move to her, he observes… her book choices, oddly enough.

Next she picks up a copy of Ramsey Campbell's Alone with the Horrors, turning it in her hands, then opening the cover to note the price, adding it to her stack. Her fingers trace along the spines of books as she edges ever closer to Jack. Finally, she makes a contented little gasp as she pulls out a thick book: The Complete Lovecraft, and immediately opens it to begin to read.

"You ride what clearly sounds like a Harley, and you read Lovecraft." Jack directly addresses her now, tone completely impressed. He's got a wide grin and his demeanor is, well, he's clearly not the mellow personality. "If I weren't abstinent for my Southern Belle, I'd take you right here."

The faux Biker Chick looks up, arching a brow at his words. "Dyna Super Glide," she responds, then holds up the book. "I haven't read him in forever but man, he totally blew my mind when I was a kid! Totally sucked going to Catholic school and listening to the nuns drone on about one God and all when there was this whole pantheon of Gods that were sooo much more interesting, you know? It made me realize that if this guy could make this entire religion up, that all religion is probably just made up by some guy somewhere… you choose to believe in the one you want. So far a while I said I was Cthulhuian, just to see what sort of weird looks I could generate."

"You know those people with abilities? I used to have one, I could see what was real, true sight." Jack stands, sitting his book aside to walk up behind her, then raises his hands to place them on her shoulders. "There's a thing of madness in the sky, looking down on us. I can't see it anymore, but I know it's there. There are things everywhere, you can't possibly imagine."

"You can? There is?" Veronica says, turning to look at him over her shoulder. "I read that and I tried really really hard to see what he was talking about. I thought I was gonna go cross-eyed, you know? Like those pictures that look like nothing but squiggly colors until you almost cross your eyes and the picture pops out? I tried looking that way, and I tried looking at things in mirrors and upside down and on drugs and everything but I couldn't figure it out, and I guess I'm just not smart enough. You must be… or you were. How'd you lose it? What did you see in the sky?"

"It's hard to explain, but when I used my ability, I could see what was real. It made me a little crazy, but I think I'm better now, well, except a few things…" Jack laughs a little, then walks to the nook and moves the stack of books to the floor, motioning for her to sit on his folded coat. "This man stole it, an old man, scary. I can honestly say that not many things scare me, but this man, with so many powers… I was freaking out, going absolutely insane, more insane than normal, and I wanted my ability gone, I wished for it, and the old man appeared, read my mind, and ripped my ability out of me. He turned into me before walking away. Threatened my girlfriend at the time, but he never followed through." He shakes his head, taking a seat next to his jacket. "I'm told he's dead now."

Well, that's news. Veronica wasn't aware he'd lost his power — if he truly did. It's possible he hallucinated the whole thing, in her mind. "I can't follow that, but it sounds pretty damn freaking trippy," she manages, sitting down. "So what did you see in the sky? What's up there? Are we all in trouble?" She glances out the window, looking afraid, like she actually believes in his words, then back to him. "I've never known anyone who could really see like he said — not even these people with powers. I mean, I've met some people who can see the future or the past or whatever, but not like — the truth of reality, you know?" She pauses, then frowns. "Who's this Southern Belle?"

"Tentacles, an eye, a large white eye, it only appeared at night. In the day it was a bright orange eye made of fire, with tentacles in the sky." Jack is clearly describing the sun and the moon, but that seems to be lost on him. "Without my ability, I can't repair my arm. One day it'll stop working, and then I'll only have one." He's wearing gloves, so both are completely covered. It's hard to say what he's talking about. "And my Southern Belle, Lola… she's dead, of course," He says this a bit too casual, considering he supposedly cares about her. "But I figure I owe it to her to stay abstinent. She's probably as crazy as women get, and sometimes a man just has to settle. Nice Cajun accent though…"

"Your arm? What's wrong with your arm, darlin'?" Veronica asks, glancing at his hands and then back up to his face, questioning. "You look all right to me. So you can't fix things any more? What do you do instead, without your power? Just read and stuff? That doesn't sound like a lot of fun. What would you be doing with your power — besides watching giant eyes and tentacles and fixing your arm?"

"Before I got my old girlfriend, I heard a man, some sort of cop, had a bit of a thing for her, so I challenged him to the death. At the end of the fight, I held a grenade too long and lost half my arm, so I built a new one." Jack peels his glove off, then raises his sleeve, showing an incredibly complex clockwork arm. There are no circuits or anything, just thousands upon thousands of gears and switches moving under the thin bronze outer-shell with little openings to see the movement. He wiggles the fingers a bit, which have a bit of lag from the lack of upkeep. "If I still had my ability… I'd build a superior arm, one that'd let me play guitar and ride motorcycles again. Then I suppose I'd make that Surfin' Bird sonic bomb and blow up Daniel Linderman's mansion. He killed my Southern Belle, after all."

After mostly green checks, this last statement gets him a red "X" in the mental checklist of whether or not he's stable. "Wow, that's … amazing…" she says, perhaps exaggerating the awe a touch but Veronica is genuinely fascinated by the clockwork mechanism. "I'm sorry to hear about Lola, but I donno anyone named Linderman," she adds. "What's your name, anyway?" she asks, as if it's a second thought.

"Linderman's a rich criminal, he runs all the crime in the city. They say if he dies, the entire city turns into anarchy. But what do I care? Anyone who tries to hurt my Southern Belle will die in the most horrible way imaginable. Linderman… can't believe I worked for him. I hate criminals, they're all greedy." Jack moves an arm to drape around her shoulders, crossing his legs comfortably into the nook. "My name's Jack. Sometimes I'm Mortimer, but ignore me when I am."

"I'm Sam," Veronica says, offering her hand the way a lady might, palm down rather than in a shake. "Sometimes I'm Samantha, but only when I'm in trouble with my family. But who is Mortimer? Is he less interesting than you, darlin'? He couldn't be more interesting." She's sure somewhere Ryans, listening in his van, is rolling his eyes at her eye lash batting, but it seems to be working.

"Never more interesting." Jack snickers, taking her hand and leaning down to gently kiss the back of it. "I do love a woman of some class." If anything, he seems to be playing right into her hand, but someone as crazy as him, well, it's not too difficult. "I don't know, just this once, I'm sure she won't mind me being just a little sexually acti—" He suddenly winces, looking down, then raises his head with a somewhat groggy look. "He'll be angry when he comes back, but he did tell me to make sure Lola didn't get hurt. I twisted the rule just a bit so I could come out." His demeanor and tone are completely different, and he's not smiling so much, a lot more casual.

Having studied psychology alongside criminal justice for her double majors, Veronica has watched videos of patients with Dissociative Identity Disorder change personalities — a rather surreal thing to witness — and so she is fairly certain she just witnessed the changing of the guard. "You must be Mortimer," she says, a little dryly, then tilts her head. "How would Lola get hurt if Lola is already dead? No offense to her or anything, I'm sure she's a nice person." She edges away a tiny bit.

"I have no idea, I just kind of know. I don't have Jack's memories, but, well, it's really hard to explain. We're the same person except for some limitations. And we have rules for switching out, which I'm sure are gonna change tonight after this, but." Mortimer shrugs and scoots away from her a bit, as least as much as one can while sitting in a nook. "As much as I need to get my ex being pregnant off my mind, I didn't feel like letting him try anything with you. You don't know what you're getting yourself into. You seem a bit naive, no offense, but you shouldn't listen to that crap. It's all delusions, he's insane."

He looks down at his hand, then quickly pulls his sleeve down and slides the glove on, having some sort of shame for it. "And now he's showing people that again. I hope we find a way to get a real arm soon."

'Sam' frowns, as if disturbed by what he's said, though really she's trying to concentrate on not laughing at the naive part. She's one of the most cynical people she knows. "I'm not naive," she says, a little petulantly. "And I don't move that fast, and we're in a book store. Gimme a break, I have some standards." She wraps her arms around her knees. "What do you have to keep him from doing? You ever feel like you don't have a good hold on him?" Her eyes get wide. "Is he dangerous?"

"He's not dangerous, we have rules and clauses, they're like instinct almost. We can't break the other's morals, essentially. He can't kill anyone, and I can't, well, steal. I also can't do anything that hurts Lola, even though she's dead." Mortimer looks down at the stack of books, then over at her, tilting his head slightly. He seems to be in thought, but shakes his head. "I don't know, a book store wouldn't stop me, let alone Jack, but," A shrug. "I mean you're naive in the sense that you could end up controlled by him. You need to be careful. While it's against my morals, being controlled by him can't entirely get you killed or anything, so I couldn't stop him."

"No? Why's murdering okay with him, but not stealing? That seems strange," Veronica says. "And what if he found a loophole in one of your clauses — what would you do then? You're both smart but you share a brain, so I'm sure you're each good at different things, right? He might find something you hadn't thought of. I'm sure you probably have found some that he hasn't thought of." She tilts her head. "Is he telling the truth? You lost your ability to … fix things?"

"He believes that committing crime for profit is evil, but killing someone for the pleasure of killing is pure. He always killed people he thought were going no where in life, if he didn't feel he could recruit them. He never kills anyone he feels doesn't deserve it. He looks down on sociopaths, because, well, he does feel. He can't kill animals, or children, and he's only killed a few women as opposed to the hundreds of men." Mortimer shakes his head, that look of shame still washed over his face. "Yeah, we lost our ability. We lost it months before our mind fractured. I still don't understand how this happened. I was in Burlesque, a strip club. A stripper was sitting on my table, and then the next thing I knew, I blacked out. I started waking up with missing time, we couldn't control this at all, until Miss Ichihara helped us. Ichihara, now she's great…"

"So how does that work?" Veronica asks, leaning forward and peering up at him with fascination that is not altogether feigned, though her own fascination is more clinical than her persona's. "I mean — you say you don't have his memories, but something brought you to the forefront. And how does he get to be in charge? What brings him out, as opposed to you? It's so interesting to me!" She knows she's over the top and pushing too much but both personalities are so forthcoming, it's hard not to encourage them. Maybe he'll chalk it up to 'naive' and slightly insane attraction.

"Our memories are complicated. We share a lot of memories before the split, but most of my memories after I was seventeen are hazy," Suggesting that, somehow, this Mortimer is more like him before he went insane. He hunches forward, watching her, even checking her out a few times, still being a guy and all. "And it's complicated, if you're not in our head. We just know when it's alright to come out. We have our clauses and rules, but otherwise, well, it just happens."

She listens and nods. "Well, you two are certainly the most interesting person I've ever met." She offers a dimpled smile at that. "If I see him again, anything that I should be careful of? I mean… you say he's insane and all, should I be worried? Even if he can't kill me… because you'll come to my rescue, right? What's the worst he could do?" She almost asks it like a defensive teen, the type who will do exactly what she is told not to do.

"Well… there's no real danger, I would come out if he were going to do something I didn't like. Just don't bad mouth Lola, don't put his life in danger or he will be able to kill you, and, well, I don't think you have to worry much." Mortimer offers a warm smile, then moves a hand to rest on top of her head, as if she were a little girl. "Just be careful, alright? You're not quite my type, well, physically you're my type ten times over, but anyway, I can't do anything about who he does what with. If you like him then go ahead."

Veronica laughs a little at the hand on her head, giving it a shake as if irritated. "Right. Thanks for the warning," she says, standing finally and picking up the books, then handing him the Ramsey Campbell one. "He'd like that one, I think, you should buy it." She begins to walk toward the end of the aisle, to make her way to the front, before turning back. "Need a lift anywhere?"
"And I get to ride on the back of that Harley?" Mortimer takes the book, standing and following after her. He apparently seems to have many of the same interests as his other half, with the exception of the insane stuff. "I'd ask for a lift back to my place on Staten, but the Rookery is dangerous, and it's a secret hideout for a reason. You could be working for Linderman."

"Well, I know saying I'm not won't help, but I'm not." She heads to the register, paying for the books with cash, and then heading out to her bike parked on the curb. She tucks the books away, then climbs on, nodding behind her. "Tell me where to, then," she says, figuring this is one way to find at least another of his hang outs, if not maybe where he's living when not at Staten.

"Take me to the Washingto Square Hotel. I think I'm in the mood to curl up alone with a few books. Can't stand dealing with henchmen tonight." Mortimer shrugs, paying for his books as well, then heads out with her and hops on the back of the bike. He wraps his arms around her waist, then clears his throat. "You might not quite be my type on a personal level, but, well, I'm not abstinent." He changed his mind pretty quickly when he got on the bike, understandably so.

'Sam' unclips the spare helmet and hands it to him. She laughs as she puts her own on. "Hold on, Mortimer," she says, revving the engine once before kicking the bike into gear and speeding him to his hotel. While she might not have much — if anything — in common with Mortimer or Jack, she does enjoy the ride — the chilly wind biting through to the bone to make one feel almost painfully and invigoratingly alive. Weaving through the traffic and not abiding by the speed limit, it doesn't take long before the two are curbside to the hotel. "Better than a taxi at any rate," Veronica tells him as he gets off the bike. "Nice meeting … both of you."

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