What's In A Mess


cooper_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title What's in a Mess.
Synopsis Cooper can't catch a break!
Date March 21, 2019

Fort Jay

SESA office.

Rumor has it, someone got to Agent Cooper’s desk and made it clean. And, of course, most employees have already been by to validate the rumor, some have even offered condolences and one person was even bold enough to leave a Deepest Sympathies card. Jokes, as they often do, run rampant around the office.

Two desks away from Cooper’s cubical, a pair of blue eyes framed beneath a mop of red hair watch the agent. It’s easy to do now, since his desk isn’t a complete state of chaos. It was easy before, too, since Squeaks has a knack for watching and listening without drawing attention to herself, and an insatiable curiosity about almost everything. But now there’s not so much paper stuff to be in the way.

She doesn’t say anything. She hasn’t offered any well wishes, not fully understanding the humor everyone is finding in the event. But she isn’t hiding the fact that she’s watching either. A look her way would easily reveal her wondering look.

So it shouldn’t be a great surprise that the youngest of the interns has been a witness to the futility in cleanliness versus the anarchy of a lack in filing habits.

Whatever cleanliness there was…


Well, it is on the way out as Cooper drops a hefty pile of files on his desk again. It immediately tries to topple, but the agent manages to catch it and keep it from falling over. Only a single files slides off and onto the floor sending paper and grizzly crime photos sliding across the floor. The loud sound receives a loud WHEK! from a little cage on his desk, followed by a series of sounds that could only come from a guinea pig. A big furry orange and white one at that.

Cooper glares after the fallen file like it betrayed him, while others nearby laugh and snicker at his plight. “Yeah.. you just keep laughing! Especially, you Gordon.” He points a warning finger at an older gentleman with salt and pepper hair. Lucky it wasn’t you. You’re already on my shit list.” Gordon just chuckles more and puts up his hands for before turning back to his own work.

“That’s right… turn around.” Thomas looks out at the rest. “All you get back to work.” Not that he has any say in what they do or do not do. Moving to pick up the folder, he spots those orange framed blue eyes. Cooper’s glare quickly turns into a grin, his demeanor brighting significantly. “Hey Squeaks. How’s your mom doing?”

“She’s good. Do you like her?” It’s got to be a fair question, the siblings seem to ask one another about those things often enough. Squeaks sidles backward so she can sit in the empty chair just behind her. It might be someone else’s desk, probably, that she’s visiting. It was empty when she found it though, and in the right spot to watch more the the every-day stuff. “You scared your giant hamster.”

With her feet, she scoots the chair away from the desk she’s at and around into Cooper’s space. Her head tilts a little to allow her to peek at Al. Cats and dogs are a normal sight, and even Hailey’s menagerie doesn’t seem so strange. But the guinea pig is something else and equally as interesting as all the teasing. “Does he bite? Can I hold him?”

The file in Cooper’s hand slips out at the question, spreads a bit further this time. Dammit. “W-w-what?!” The word stutters out as he stares at her. Realizing he better answer her he says the first thing that comes to mind, “ No…” Wait… that’s not right. “I mean. Yes, of course. She’s my friend. I don’t know why you’d think that.” Think what Cooper??! Best shut-up. Lips press tight together and he starts to kinda sweep the sheets together in a messy pile.

On his desk, Al is currently watching Squeaks, that orange furry mustache wiggling back and forth as it chews on a bit of carrot. There is a soft whekwhekwhek coming from it.

Straightening with an arm full of half wrinkled and creased crime scene photos, Cooper looks over at his desk. “Oh! That’s Al…” the wee beatie give a sneeze. “He’s a bit under the weather. So brought him so I could watch him. His full name is Alimony the Third.” The paperwork is dumped haphazardly on the desk, pushed together slightly neater and then added to the top of the pile with a smug smile. “He doesn’t bite. Unless you are mean or.. You know… rude to him.” Dropping into his chair, the agent draws the cage closer.

The guinea pig is pulled out of the cage after a cautious glance around. There is a bit of a purr where Cooper rubs gently behind Al’s ears, before it’s offered over. “You saw how I am holding him? Make sure to hold him close. He loves to be rubbed behind the ears… almost as much as food.”

Scooting even closer, Squeaks holds her hands out to take the guinea pig very carefully. Sitting back, she hugs her arm close to her middle and lets Al settle into the crook of it. “He’s very soft,” she observes quietly, more interested in watching the creature than exploring everywhere else for right now. “And his noises are funny sounding.”

With two fingers, the girl lightly rubs behind Al’s ears. “So you do like my mom. I think that’s okay.” Everyone needs friends, after all. After another minute or two, she sits forward to offer the guinea pig back to Cooper. “How come his name is Alimony?”

There is a weird chirring noise coming from the animal in Squeaks’ arms. It almost sounds like a purr. Clearly, she must be doing something right. Al doesn’t sit still long, moving to where he can look up at this new face, nose going just as much as it’s mouth.

“Long story,” Cooper comments about it’s name, though it really isn’t one. “But short version, I bought the first Al once I didn’t have to pay Alimony for my first wife.” He motions to the critter in her arms. “Now all that money goes to his care, which I don’t mind, because he is a far better companion then any of my ex’s.”

Reaching over, Cooper gives the guinea pigs head a scratch while it checks out this smaller human. “I personally just calling him Al.” Leaning back in his chair he snags the carrot that the guinea pig was working on and offers it to the girl. “He’ll be your friend forever if you let him chew on that. How about you? You have a pet?” he asks.

The sound the guinea pig makes is surprising, and Squeaks tips an ear toward him to listen. She pulls her head back when he moves around, though, and adjusts her arms so that he can make himself comfortable. “Hi,” she offers in a tiny voice, just before looking up when Cooper starts explaining the origins of Al’s name.

“We have a cat.” Squeaks takes the carrot, and settles back in her chair again. Tipping her head downward to watch the small creature, she holds the carrot for Al. It’s a fascinating thing, watching him chewchewchew. “I think he just lives with us though, not that he’s really a pet. His name is Chandra, and mostly he just lays around and watches everyone.”

Oh yes… the cat.

Cooper was about as much a fan of cats as the guinea pig in Squeaks’ arms, who is currently chewing on the carrot with enthusiastic gusto. “I know Chandra, but I mean before that. Nevermind.” He waves away the question as not important, turning back to the task of messing organizing up his desk again. “I have a more important question.”

Cooper pulls out a folder and studies it, before turning to the pile and tucking it about half way down the pile. There was a reason to his insane system. “So… what do you know about that Emily Epstein character?” A few more files dropped near the now empty cage. He was clearly fishing for stuff to use against her. Glancing over at the kid, with a lopsided smile.

“She's my friend.” Squeaks leans her head in close to the guinea pig so she can listen to his sounds while munching on the carrot. “We do lots of things together. Like homework and exploring. Except she's got different classes then me right now.” There's still the whole GED thing that has to be done.

“She's real smart too. And brave.” Turning her head, the girl looks up at Cooper. “Why?”

If Squeaks is hoping for noise, she gets it. There are a lot of happy sounds coming from the guinea pig, along with the crunch crunch of his chewing. “Was just wondering…”
Cooper answers blandly, watching the interaction between teen and critter. It is obvious his mind is working. Clearly, there was more to that question.

Turning back to his desk, Cooper works on wedging files back into his piles. “Would be nice if she didn’t mess with my system though.”

Pulling open a drawer, Cooper brightens, “Oh! Reminds me.” Pulling out a box of hot chocolate packets, he sets it on the edge of the desk. “As promised.” Glancing back into the desk, looks a touch surprised. “There is my mug!” He pulls it out and examines it. It declares him as the World's Greatest Mom, but the Mom is crossed out and the word Dad written in. The added ‘dad’ is worn and faded, but still legible. “My daughter, Ellen gave me this when she was around your age; little younger.”

“Why,” Squeaks prompts again. Her grip on the guinea pig shifts a little bit so she can tuck her head down close and listen to the sounds. Her eyes lift and, even though she doesn’t grin, she seems pleased at the box of hot chocolates.

Looking at Al, she lightly scritches the base of his ears. “I didn’t know you had a daughter.” She couldn’t have, but that doesn’t seem all that important. “Is she here? Does she go to the college too? She might maybe know Emily. Is that why you wondered about her?”

“Why?” Cooper parrots back at her, with an odd look. “My system is mine and it works for me.” He motions to the stack. “My stuff. No touching.” Another file is picked up and shoved into the pile. The stack wobbles a bit, but is steadied quickly.

As for his daughter?

“She lives here, goes to college, and works for my BFF,” And yes, he pronounces each letter, “Raquelle.” Cooper leans back in his chair and puts his sneakered feet on the desk. He doesn’t try to take the little guy back, content to let it be a distraction. “She’s about Emily’s age.” The man trails off a little, looking towards Emily’s desk, turning thoughtful. Plotting revenge probably.

“She’s just trying to help.” Squeaks sounds sure of that. Al gets carefully lifted up and hugged close to her face, her eyes turned up to watch Cooper. He’s probably not getting the guinea pig back anytime soon. “But also, what if we,” she pauses to move vaguely to where she and the other interns typically work, “have to find something on your desk? And it’s Director Choi needing it, or someone more important. And we can’t find it because your desk is messy and you’re not here?”

Deep thinking for someone busy loving on a guinea pig.

“I know Raquelle.” Time for a subject change. She scritches Al’s head while looking over at the group of desks given to her and the other interns. “I helped in his shop sometimes. He’s real smart about stuff too. Like how people say things that don’t actually mean what they’re saying but it’s done for emphasis.”

Others trying to find stuff on his desk? By the blank look on Cooper’s face, it is clearly a foreign concept. “No one…” he starts looking at his desk and motions to all of it “.. should need to touch anything on my desk. Everyone knows this.” Not the interns of course. “I guess I’ll have to put out a memo on that.”

“Besides,” the word emphasized by a tap of sneaker soles together, “a mess is in the eye of the beholder. This is not a mess, this is beautiful organized chaos.” Cooper gives her a grin. Picking up a folder, he flips it open and considers the contents.

“If she cleans it again, I might have to take some drastic measures.” Cooper kind of sounds like he hopes Emily will. From what happened to Dirk, there is a good idea of what those measures would be.

“But it could happen.” Squeaks looks up to Cooper, to watch the agent while still scritching Al’s ears. “It could and then because no one can find anything on your desk aliens from another dimension invade and… and-and all the donuts are gone forever. Because of the aliens.”

To anyone else, it might be a far-fetched, fictional-fantastical idea. But she's seen holes open up between worlds and people cross through.

“Besides,” the girl goes on like it's inconsequential, “you know Emily will just keep at it.”

Cooper just stares at Squeaks for a long moment, before a brow kicks up and he looks highly amused.at the very concept. “Hell of a scenario there, Squeaks,” he muses rather thoughtfully. “That kind of imagination will serve you well here.”

Feet come off the desk and drop to the ground allowing him to scoot closer to the desk. “Which reminds me…” Fingers trail along the pile, tugging here and there to look at the labels on the files. “I have a file for you to take to get filed… finally.” One is pulled from near the bottom, a hand placed at the back of the stack to ensure it all stays upright.

He flips through the file and hands it to her, with a bit of a smile, “Young girl, your age. Hate crime. Luckily, she didn’t get killed.” It’s the small things.

Reluctantly, Squeaks trades the guinea pig for the file. “How come people can't just leave people alone,” she wonders out loud as she looks down at the folder cover. She makes a face at it, like she'd tasted something gross.

Then, with a huff, the girl pushes herself back to her own desk. The wheels of her chair make little rattly squeaks going over some seams on the floor.

“You should maybe think about the files thing,” she suggests. Squeaks spins her chair around once then stands so she can take the file to its place. “My mom keeps things really super organized. She could show you how.”

For some reason the mention Gillian gets a nervous laugh out of Cooper as he eyes the mess that is his desk. The switch is made and the guinea pig is in his owner's arms again… though one could almost imagine the mournful look towards the girl. Wait now… that’s his normal blank piggy stare. Though he might be a little bummed as he starts to make soft wheking noises again and seems to be seeking food again.

“I have no doubt she could.” Cooper gently placed Al back in his cage as he comments, a touch blandly. “I’m good tho… thanks for the concern tho.”

Another drawer is pulled open and he gasps. “She even got rid of that peanut butter cup I was saving.” He sighs heavily and thumps his head down on the desktop, head rolling just enough to one side to look at the girl out of the corner of his eye. “Just make sure it gets filed, I might have another by time I’m finished organizing here.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License