Looking for Dinner


Mariko_icon.gif Colin_icon.gif Dan_icon.gif Daisy_icon.gif Francis_icon.gif

Summary: A hungry vampire goes looking for dinner.

Date It Happened: December 23, 2001

Looking For Dinner


The streets of Chinatown are of course colorful and crazy and all that, especially at night. It's about as chilly as it ever gets in California, which is why Colin's making his way out of an old curio shop with a backpack over one shoulder while wearing a long tan coat. The wind blows hard down the street, busily moving discarded bits of trash and whatnot variably straight away and tumbling into the night or in some cases in tiny simulacra of dust devils.

The Scot has a list in hand and is consulting it as he walks, marching on down the sidewalk and looking up to read signs. Some of the signs are not even in English, which is only somewhat odd. One would think at least since it's America there'd be a bilingual inclusion of English. The really crazy thing is seeing a sign that IS bilingual: Mandarin and Spanish. One just cannot win sometimes, and it causes Colin to pause and stare at the sign, trying to recall enough Spanish to figure out what it says.

Mariko walks out of an alleyway, where she's been standing. Neither the chill pacific breeze nor the colorful Chinatown night bother her much, she's well used to it - and well used to watching those who frequent the area, though its been some years since she's been here. She steps on a bit of purple streamer, and glances between Colin and the sign, taking a moment to glance at him, as if sizing him up.

"The sign says that Peking Poultry is now hiring." she says in a lilting soprano voice, nodding towards a small, (relatively) unadorned store. "Are you looking for something?"

Blink. Colin looks to Mariko and then to the sign, and back. "Thank you." he says, smiling. "Actually I wonder if you might help me." He walks toward the woman, betraying with his voice a distinct Scottish accent. "I need to find Uncle Chan's Antiques and Artifacts. It's not on this street, that I can find. Although I suppose it's possible it has no sign out and I'm simply missing it. Would you happen to know where it is?"

Mariko pauses, nodding. "Uncle Chan doesn't keep a sign out, no. He's always tried to avoid business from the gweilos - he's seems to think that his antiques should…" She shrugs. "Who really cares? I can show you the way to his shop. Is he expecting you?"

"No, I'm afraid he probably is not." admits Colin, but he's quick to add, "But I've heard he's one to seek for curses and the removal of same. And I've a rather fascinating case I was hoping to consult him about." Quickly he puts his list away and says, "Where are my manners? A pleasure to meet you, miss. I am Colin." He offers a hand to shake.

Mariko tilts her head to the side abruptly, like a cat or bird thats just found something interesting. She pauses a long silent moment, then reaches out a hand to shake. "Curses?" she asks. "If you believe in that sort of thing. But many here in Chinatown do. I don't prefer it, despite my appearances. How nice to meet you Colin." She gestures towards the alley she just stepped out of. "Its a bit dark, but if you cross through a few alleys, its quicker then moving to the next intersection each time." she says.

After a moment, with a half-disinterested voice, she adds, "What sort of case?"

"Oh is that a fact?" he asks with a raise of the eyebrows, looking at the alley. Colin explains with some distraction, "I'm not entirely certain, mind you. I'm not one for believing in them myself. But there's been some rather odd evidence and it's not entirely possible that there is not a scientific explanation for it all after all. But people steeped in such esoteric knowledge tend to have knowledge that, no matter how accidentally gained or couched in superstition, ends up being quite insightful." Boy he sure does talk a lot. "I wouldn't impose on you to show me the way, but I thank you very much for pointing me in the right direction." Never mind that she didn't introduce herself back. He waves that off.

Mariko spends a moment trying to work out the semantics of all the double-negatives, and ends up shaking her head in confusion before moving on. "Actually, I was rather bored anyways. For a school project I've been watching the people who live in the area. You'd think…that it would be all randomn people, mostly because when passing through an area, you see different people as you move. But once your used to a place, you see the patterns. Does that make sense?" She walks back into the alleyway.

Colin goes along quite easily, walking with the woman. "Oh yes. Perfect sense. If you don't mind my asking what is your major? Sociology? Psychology?" He takes what seem like two good guesses based on what she just said.

Mariko smiles, resisting the urge to chuckle. "Psychology, I suppose - though technically undecided. Really, I just enjoy learning how things work. The world around me too - but especially people. Understanding someone…theres something powerful in that." She steps around a pile of refuse in the alley (of some randomn, disgusting sort) - and turns a sharp beng leading out to the next colorful, chilly Chinatown street.

"So, you were telling me about this curse."

"Aye. Hold on a moment." Colin bids, pausing in the dark alley to produce a small object from beneath his coat. As he parts the coat a curious sort of strapped-on array of pouches and holsters reveals itself under there. It's from this that he pulls the small object, a tiny cylinder. Like a penlight. He touches a button on it. THE ENTIRE ALLEY LIGHTS UP LIKE WHOA. It's not sunlight or UV light, but visible, very white light that casts shadows everywhere.

"One can never be too careful." Colin explains with a satisfied grin.

Mariko jumps back a step, looking startled and curious. She peers at the cylinder carefully and suspiciously - then glances around the rest of the alley, which looks dirty, but fairly empty. "No, one can never be to careful." she agrees. "Something I firmly adhere to. What is that? A laser? Arn't they usually one-directional?"

"Oh no. It's actually a photonic resonator. This light you see around you presently?" Colin gestures all over the alley, "It's not really generated inside the device itself. It's a limited-focus photonic inducer that brings ambient luminescence out of otherwise dull and dark materials. So quite literally the bricks and metal and everything not organic is glowing." Beat. "My own invention. You were saying about getting to understand people?" As if he invents things like this all the time. Indeed.

Dead organic is still organic! Hurray carbon-chains! Mariko glances around the alleyway once again, looking a bit nervous, then glances down at her skin, before turning her gaze towards Colin again, more seriously this time. "Interesting." she says. "Actually, I was asking about this curse. Hold on - lets get out of the alleyway - and turn that thing off before you draw attention." She walks out of the alleyway and onto another Chinatown street. "Do you invent things all the time? How can I learn to do that?"

Once they get out of the alley Colin does indeed switch the All-Light off. "I do. I have a knack for it. Anyone could learn, they simply need to open their minds properly." He lets out a sigh as they walk, "I suppose that's easy for me to say. Most people are simply not interested in new frontiers of science, or have otherwise been led to believe they're false or so much snake oil. I assure you, there is truth in almost everything. There is such a thing as perpetual motion, unlimited power, cloning, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, particle beam weaponry, you name it. It's my passion to bring these things to the world in the right time." She got him started on his hobby. That made him forget about the curse entirely.

Mariko listens thoughtfully, making "hmm" noises all the while. "Really?" she says, pausing again to listen some more. "Please, do go on. You see - I have a passion for improving myself, for becoming…more. I don't know anything about new frontiers of science but…it does sound interesting. Go on." She walks down the street, heading for the next block.

"Oh it is quite interesting, uh…" Colin pauses. "I'm sorry, I don't think you gave me your name?" See, now he cops to that. But it's all very civil and polite. He is nothing if not that.

"Mary." she says without a pause. "At least, thats what my friends call me. And I would like you to be my friend. Tell me about the sort of things you have invented."

"Well met, Mary, it's nice to know you. I'd tell you what I have but it's a lot to show you. I'm not stretching when I say it's almost every day I make a new discovery or find another way…" he pauses. Colin sighs, puts a hand over his head, and clamps his lips shut. "Here is the problem I mentioned before, and the reason I seek Uncle Chan and his store." It's like a white and nerdy Eminem!

Mariko looks confused. "I don't understand. What problem? Uncle Chan's store is just past the next intersection." She looks at Colin suspiciously. If she hadn't seen the invention for herself, she'd start to wonder if he was one of those crazy, homless humans. Like the ones who saw aliens - not the ones who saw vampires. Those are the sane ones. And uh, usually dead and/or tastey.

A little ways up the street, a shop door opens with a little jingle of its bell, and Daisy steps out onto the street, turning back to bid the proprietor a cheery merry Christmas before letting the door swing shut. She carries a few small packages, hooking the handle of the plastic bag around her wrist as she digs in her purse for her PDA, juggling for a moment until she gets herself sorted out. Then she can check these gifts off her list. Of course, it's not so easy to use that little stylus and walk, so she's not paying the utmost attention to where she's going.

Francis is just coming out of the Golden Dragon, looking rather pleased with the world. A good dinner will do that to you. He's in his usual suit, talking on a cellphone quietly, though he finishes the call and shuts it down as he steps out on to the street.

And just coming back to the Golden Dragon is Dan, who pedals along on his bicycle at a leisurely pace after having made a recent delivery. He's heading in Daisy's direction, but unlike her, he's actually paying attention to where he's going. Barring some sort of very bad luck, there will be no collision. Hopefully.

Colin seems completely annoyed at something. Namely, himself. "It starts and I rhyme what I say like a horrible amateur. In spite of myself it sometimes is iambic pentameter. And I really must tell you I'm very sick of every other phrase I say being a limerick. GAHH!" He gets supremely frustrated and there is a definite sense that he is TRYING not to say this stuff, or say it differently, but just failing. Epic.

Mariko nods slowly. "Oooh, I see." she says. "A curse, as you said." Suddenly, she feels a…tug of distance awareness and her gaze darts towards Daisy. She's not even sure why - but she keeps glancing in Daisy's direction a few seconds before finally turning back to Colin. "Well, Uncle Chan's just down the street. Try uh - to contain your frustration. You know, its not so bad really. There are worse curses, I'm sure."

Daisy remains oblivious as she diligently checks these things off her to do list and then finally sliding the stylus back away. Only now does she look up and while there's no collision, she's surprised to find that she's putting herself right into Dan's path. She gives a little laugh, quickly stepping aside. "Oh gosh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you there!" she remarks with a friendly grin, quickly sticking the device away in her bag.

And hey, it's Daisy. She really is a magnet for the forces of evil. Francis's face is momentarily far less dour, as he waves at her, tentatively. How is it that he keeps running into her in a city this huge?

At least there's no literally running into her. Dan deftly hops off to one side of the bike while it's still moving and walks it to a halt, smiling and nodding his head to Daisy. "It's all right, happens all the time here," he assures. "Right then, off you go. Thank you for the guidance and you know if we meet again I'd by happy to share with you the things I know since you express a care." Colin's attitude turns into one of resignation, which is how it's been going lately. He thinks he's free of the affliction for a moment and then it pops up and he gets used to it again. And becomes Dr. Seuss for a while. Tossing off a wave he walks in the direction of the store he's seeking, observing the near collision. Looks at Daisy.

. o O (I suppose it's true, blondes can be dumb. This one can barely walk and chew gum. DAMMIT!!!)

Mariko follows after Colin a bit longer. "Wait. Before you go - I want your number. I may be willing to pay for science tutoring. How does 20 an hour sound?" She glances towards Daisy again, sniffing the air slightly.

"No, no, really, I should have been paying more attention," Daisy assists with a self-deprecating grin and a shake of her head. "I just got the thing and, well, I think I prefer paper," she goes on, grin turning a little wry, though it brightens again as she spots Francis. Yes, horribly odd how much their paths cross, but that's no reason not to be friendly, so he gets a cheerful wave.

"Daisy," Francis says, lumbering over. Dan gets only a token glance at the moment, though he at least steps out of the way of the deliveryman.

"I've always preferred paper." Dan only spots Francis when he's waved at, and he gives the man a polite smile and nod in greeting. "It's a little less distracting. But I'd better get back to work. Happy holidays!" And he starts to move along on his way, walking the bike instead of riding it this time.

Colin pulls out a cell phone, one of those touch-screen blackberries, and turns to Mariko. "You may have my information, but needn't pay for education. I don't need your money, Mary." he smiles. "I find the offer funny, very." Closes his eyes. Sneers. "Good God that's bad. I'm embarassed. It makes me sad."

Mariko laughs. "You amuse me." she says. Glancing at the information, she takes a moment to memorize it - she has a good memory. "Good. I'll call you in a few evenings." And without further ado, she turns away from Colin and begins looking over Daisy, taking a few steps towards her.

"I don't know if I can blame it all on the PDA, but, well, why not," Daisy agrees with a little laugh, to the idea of paper being less distracting. "Merry Christmas!" she adds, before turning to flash Francis a grin. "Fancy meeting you here." Finally Colin and Mirako catch her attention, though only fleetingly at first. As Mirako steps towards her, she scooches a little more to the side, not wanting to be in anyone else's way tonight!

Colin and his euphonious affliction finally sink in when it comes to Francis. "What's with the rhyming?" he asks, curiously, turning that blue stare on him.

"You look familiar." Mariko says pointedly to daisy, addressing her out of nowhere. "Do we have a class together?" Mariko takes the guess that Daisy must be a college student of some kind - she seems the right age for it. The vampiress takes an idle glance around. Crowded. She sniffs the air again. Something she can't quite put a finger on.

"Don't start with me! I'm not in the mood!" Colin says, his Scottish showing in his voice as he glares at Francis, who did nothing to deserve it. Then he points at Daisy, "And that goes double for you, too!" As he stalks off down the street and past everyone else he mutters, rhyming all the way down the street and into the dark in a continuous grumble.

"What-?" Daisy replies as she gets Colin's finger levelled at her, blinking in surprise at him for a long moment before turning back to the others with a befuddled shake of her head. "Oh, um, no, I don't think so," she replies to Mariko, flashing a little grin, though this one is less certain. "I … don't go to school here." She glances back to Frank and gives

a little shrug. Strange night. They happen.

Francis looks as if he'd like nothing better than to pester COlin more, but leaves it in favor of listening to Daisy and

Mariko. More or less just loitering, since he's clearly way past the age when one is any kind of student.

Drat. Thats usually a good guess. "Oh, I'm sorry." Mariko fake-gushes. "I didn't mean to harass a stranger, you just looked very familiar." And smelled delicious. Almost like people who have eaten nothing but ginger-snaps for two days. You wouldn't think that would affect someone's smell, or how there blood tastes…but you'd be wrong. "You must have one of those faces, I guess."

"Oh, that's all right," Daisy assures the other woman, now offering her a friendlier smile to make it clear that there are no hard feelings! "I get that sometimes. I guess everyone does." She gives a little laugh before glancing back at Francis. "Do you know the poet?" she inquires, glancing in the direction Colin had gone.

"Can't say I do," Francis admits. "Just nosy, I suppose," He, no doubt, smells far less appetizing.

Mariko doesn't send a second-sniff in Francis' condition. "I just met him. He's looking for an out of the way store - he seems to think he's been cursed to speak in limmerik's." She laughs. "Nonsense of course, but he's apparently an inventor. He had the most curious device that made an entire alleyway glow in the dark."

"Cursed to… Well, if that isn't one of the stranger things I've heard," Daisy remarks with a shake of her head. At the description of this invention, her brow furrows slightly. "You mean like … a flashlight?" Thing is, she's not even being sarcastic. It isn't ditzy so much as trying to figure out how the invention could be different from that.

"That sounds utterly bizarre," Francis muses, in his deep voice. "Glow in a radioactive way?"

Mariko upturns her palms. "Not like a flashlight. The object itself didn't glow but…" She shakes her head. "He said it made everything around it that wasn't alive glow. I don't understand it. Perhaps it was radioactive. I didn't think to ask that because, to be honest, I didn't understand most of what he was saying."

Daisy looks slightly skeptical, but is far too nice to point out a lack of surprise that the limerick guy wasn't making a lot of sense. Because curses aren't really real, of course. "Well, that's … certainly something," she opts diplomatically instead, readjusting her packages a little and crossing her arms loosely.

Whatever Francis is about to ask to further satisfy his curiosity is cut off by the sound of his cellphone ringing. He scowls at it, after plucking it off his belt, but answers. "Pardon me, ladies," he says, turning to pace away.

Mariko glances towards Francis' back as he walks away, then smiles brightly. "Anyways, where were you headed? Mind some company? Its a bit safer for two girls to walk together at night, rather then alone."

"I was just going to head home," Daisy replies with a little shrug, after watching Francis walk away. "But sure, company would probably be good. I didn't realize how late it was. But you know how it is when you're stuck doing some last minute shopping." She's even /trying/ to be sensible, poor thing.

Mariko nods her head. "I remember the last time I got my family a present." The presant was, of course - Surprise! Your daughter's a vampire and is now going to murder you! "Boy, were they surprised. I don't think they enjoyed it though. I did work hard on it. Got it around here - just a few streets down, actually, when we used to live here. Hey, where do you live? I know all the shortcuts!" she gushes.

"Oh, I'm sorry they didn't like it," Daisy says sympathetically, missing out on the subtext, of course. "But they say it's the thought that counts. I hope my gifts go over okay. I don't exactly have a lot of spare cash right now, so I had to … get creative." She tucks her hair back behind her ear. "It's a bit of a haul to where I live. Maybe if we can just get somewhere with more cabs, I'll be able to grab one from there…"

Mariko tilts her head. "Just take the metro." she says offhandedly. "You know, it used to be a trolly-car system. Its been running to Chinatown for over a century now." she lectures offhandedly. "Much quicker. There's probably a tunnel leading to the subway a few streets down, I'm sure." A pause. "And hey, creative gifts are always the best. I used to be a bit of an artist myself, but I gave it up."

"Yeah, I could do that. I just feel a little paranoid taking it late at night," Daisy admits, because she clearly doesn't pick up on the right time and place to be afraid of things. "But I guess with all this shopping, I should be thrifty instead of splurging on a cab." She laughs quietly then. "I'm not really much of an artist. Not the type that draws or paints or sculpts, anyway. Why did you give it up?" she asks, curiously, conversationally.

Mariko sighs. "My boyfriend was mugged and killed." she says a bit regretfully. "He was bringing home dinner one night and…" She shakes her head. "It just wasn't the same after that, you know? Hey, I think the subway's this way." She heads for the nearest subway tunnel.

"Oh my goodness, that's awful!" Daisy replies, looking distraught at the very idea. "I'm so sorry. I had no idea." Even if there was no earthly for her to have any idea, she still feels badly as she trails after the other woman, grimacing just slightly to herself for the foot in mouth.

Mariko shrugs. "I got over it." she says - though she certainly doesn't sound over it. "But it just didn't feel the same, and I've been a bit more paranoid ever since. Don't want to end up like him, you know what I mean? You have to watch yourself - learn self-defense. Hey, you know self-defence?"

"Of course it wouldn't be the same. I can't even imagine what I'd do," Daisy replies, voice full of sympathy for Mariko's plight. "It must have been horrible." She hugs herself and then shakes her head to the question. "No, not really. We had someone come in and do a lesson on it once in Girl Scouts, but that was years ago. I probably should…"

Mariko nods her head. "You never know what will happen." she says. "Ah, I think the subway tunnels are just…" She rounds a corner, and sure enough - a few blocks down, the ugly-dirty white and black tile leading down into the metro tunnels. Or whatever the LA-Chinatown Metro tunnels look like; this player only knows of them via wikipedia. "So, where you headed? You said you lived nearby, but wern't from around here. Just move here with your parents or boyfriend?"

"Not that near here. Just … as close to Hollywood as I could afford. Which isn't that close," Daisy states with a wry grin, before shaking her head. "No, just me. My parents aren't really thrilled with the idea, but you have to leave the nest some time, right? Anyway, thanks for showing me the way. I'd probably end up getting lost and wind up in South Central again or something." That gets a little laugh, but, no, seriously.

Mariko laughs. "I understand. I left the nest once, too. Its nice to live alone - and nice to see others living alone, too. I'm just going to walk home myself now. Good luck - it can be dark down there." She waves goodbye, and waits for Daisy to walk down the steps. She'll follow, of course - but she'll wait a few seconds.

"Well … just be careful walking home," Daisy says, pausing at the top of the stairs. For a moment, she thinks of offering to walk Mariko home, but that's just a crazy downward spiral that will get neither of them anywhere. So she just summons up a little grin and tosses off a wave before beginning to jog down the steps.

Mariko is a bit of a paranoid vampire. She has eternity to live, and wants to enjoy it - so she's more careful then most. She doesn't randomly kill and murder people anymore. She tries to take those who won't be missed - sleeping homeless drunks, for example, are her favorite. Usually, people just assume they died of exposure - because noone really cares.

But the hunt is fun - and so she tries to pay attention to people who are living alone, vulnerable - and might not be missed for awhile. Walking into an alleway, she takes off her leather jacket, folds it nearly, and sets it underneath a trashcan lid. It sounds silly but - when your feeding on someone, one of two things will happen. Either you'll kill them, or they'll get away. In the latter condition, even a change as small as removing her jacket - when combined with her 'game face' - might be enough to keep them from identifying her later on. Some vampires would call her a wuss, of course.

But as she slips out of the alleyway, and peers down the steps, waiting for the girl to move out of sight, Mariko is feeling quite confident. Small measures are the important ones. She slips into her vampire-face, and sticks to the shadows. When the girl is in the metro tunnel, she'll head down the steps after her.

It's perhaps a twist of irony that a "homeless" man should come along just now. Dan's just clocked out and, as he usually does, he's speeding along on the bike to catch the next train back to Downtown. He's not quite at the tunnel's entrance just yet, but he's on his way and it won't be long before he's arrived.

Daisy makes her way down the steps into the tunnel, only moderately wary and of more mundane threats than those things that go bump in the night. She stops to figure out the platform she needs and then heads in that direction, pulling out her cellphone in order to check the time, wondering how often the trains run at this hour.

Mariko perks up as her ears hear something. Quickly changing back into her human face - descretion being the better part of valor - she glances backwards to see a human coming her way. Argh. And her prey smelled so delicious, too. She walks back into the alleyway, uncovers her coat, and puts it back on. Perhaps she'll get lucky and find some other solitary soul tonight.

For his part, Dan's wholly unaware that there was any danger at all or that he has inadvertently saved someone from a certain fate. Knight on a shining bicycle, what? He hops off the bike while it's still in motion and uses the momentum to hit the ground running once he reaches the tunnel's entrance. Picking up the bike by its frame, he trots down the stairs and onto the platform — where he spots Daisy and grins. "Fancy running into you again!"

Mariko slinks back into the alleyway, feeling hungry and a bit sorry for herself. Time to go look for dinner!

Daisy is equally if not more oblivious to her averted doom. She turns at the sound of Dan's voice, a little uncertain at first since she can't imagine someone is talking to her down here, but then brightening as she recognizes him. "And not literally this time!" she remarks with a little laugh. Still, it is a relief to see a familiar face, all that talk about muggings putting her a little on edge.

"Indeed. Where are you headed? Home?" It is that time of night when people usually go home. Dan is one of them, after all. Convenient! Except he doesn't live anywhere near Hollywood.

"Home, yeah," Daisy agrees with an easy smile. "Finally done my shopping, I think. I definitely do /not/ want to have to do anymore, so I'd say I'm done." She lifts her bags slightly as if to indicate this fait accompli. "How about you?" she asks, whether about him heading home or finishing his shopping.

"I've done all the shopping I can," responds Dan with a slight shrug. Which is to say: none. His family doesn't celebrate Christmas, and he hasn't got much cash to spare anyway. "I'm heading home as well. Which way are you headed?"

From somewhere down the tunnel, the sound of an approaching train is heard.

Daisy gives a little nod to Dan's initial response, not quite sure the right thing to say to that. So she'll opt with nothing, proving she is capable of it once in awhile. "Um… north. I think. Yes. North." She gives a nod, almost sure of it, at least. At the sound of the approaching train, she does the novice move of stepping back from the edge.

Dan nods a little and glances at the train as it rushes into the platform. "This would be yours, then," he calls over the din. "Mine's the next train. Happy holidays again!"

"Thanks!" Daisy calls back, approaching it warily, not getting too close until the rushing mass has slowed down. "Happy holidays to you too! Maybe I'll run into you again some time. Though hopefully only in the proverbial sense," she adds with a quick grin, before stepping on once the doors open to allow her. A little wave is offered back to the platform.

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