Payoff

Starring:

Colin_icon.gif Moxie_icon.gif

Summary: Moxie brings back the pilfered items to seek her pay.

Date It Happened: December 18, 2001

Payoff


Caird Estate

Moxie manages, somehow, to make the trek here, despite the utter lack of a car of the license and ability to drive one. Disembarking public transit, such that it is, she schleps the remaining distance, at least well used to walking, so that isn't a problem. The familiar backpack is slung over one shoulder, in the fashion worn by teens the world over, as she treads her way up to the door, both ringing the bell and knocking for good measure. She's not exactly a patient person.

Stretch gets the door, standing there and looking at Moxie. Standing, in fact, in the way. "What do you want?" the robot asks with what seems to be a hint of challenge to it. As if he has some very important standing around or swiping things to take care of.

"Wow. Clearly they didn't program you with /manners/," Moxie retorts to the tin can, trying to peer past him into the house. Straightening, she hitches up the bag a little higher on her shoulder. "I'm here to drop some stuff off, collect my pay. You mind?" Just because he isn't a person doesn't mean she won't bother having attitude with him.

"I suppose." mutters Stretch, stepping back and out of the way to let Moxie in. The robot closes the door with a SLAM once she's inside. It makes the wall shake a little. And then he kastomp kastomp kastomps off somewhere to do something mysterious and out of eyesight.

Lily is busily scrubbing at a section of floor over and over and over again, probably because it has bacteria on it. One would be forgiven if wondering if either of the robots functioned as they should.

Colin's voice comes from upstairs in the library. "Who is it, Stretch?!" Naturally there is no answer from the robot.

Moxie steps inside, jumping a little at the loud slamming of the door. Stretch gets himself a weird look, which is kept right up for Lily's benefit too, once Moxie spots her. "And I thought people were weird," she mutters, glancing over towards the stairs at the sound of Colin's voice. Since the butler doesn't seem interested in butling, she shrugs and takes it upon herself to head on up, taking the stairs two at a time, bringing the backpack along with her.

There Colin is sitting at a table with a series of books open in front of him along with a legal pad that he's been taking notes on. "Oh, hello Moxie. Are those the items?" He sets the pad down and puts his hands on his hips, watching the girl expectantly.

Moxie steps into the room, jerking her chin up in greeting as she takes a moment to have a look around. "Uh, yeah," she replies, returning her attention to the man she's here to see. Stepping over, she lets the bag slide off her shoulder and then holds it out by the strap, somewhat carelessly, considering the items inside. "They're all there, you can check. Well, other than that one you made disappear, but that's your own fault." She's not taking the heat on that one!

Colin grins and says, "This?" He pulls open a drawer at the table he's standing next to and shows Moxie the Pax Ray. Sets it down on the tabletop. "It's the only one I have right now. I wouldn't destroy it. Well. Let's see if everything's there. Go ahead and empty the backpack on the table if you will." He gestures to the table where he's set the Pax Ray and upon which all those books are open.

Moxie seems a little surprised to see the Pax Ray right there, intact and everything, even though she really shouldn't be. But she just looks at it with raised eyebrows before shrugging. On the long list of weird things, it's down there. "Yeah, that one. Now you really can't claim I lost it." She doesn't seem insulted by the lack of trust as she rests the bag on the edge of the table and opens it to begin emptying it out. No, not insulted, she seems to find it … funny? For here come those giggles again, coming on suddenly and with as much gusto as ever. "Dammit," she laughs.

The expression on Colin's face shifts to concern and he takes a step toward Moxie, watching her closely. "It's that…whatever it is again, isn't it? The compulsion." He strokes his chin thoughtfully, watching the girl laugh herself stupid.

"I can't stop!" Moxie exclaims, as if it's the funniest thing on earth. She manages to get another item out before finally giving up on that and just doubling over, trying to get enough air to breathe when all she wants to do is giggle like mad. "It's so … annoying…," she manages to get out between the laughs.

With a sigh Colin tries to gently take the bag from Moxie so she can have her fit and says, "Let me, until it passes. I've been trying to find out what it is that's happened to us. I am convinced it's linked. Only our symptoms are a little different. This could be for any number of reasons. We differ in age, sex, origin, almost every sense except for general racial features. And I can't think of any time we were in the same place for any event except for that night in the park that I saw you." Probably because she hid from him in the floral shop.

Moxie hands over the bag once she realizes what it is he's trying to do, which frees up her hands so she can grip the table and keep from keeling over. Fortunately, the inane giggles seem to be passing, though it still takes her a moment more to catch her breath enough to speak. "I can't tell you how sick I'm getting of that," is her first straight-faced comment as she wipes away a tear from the corner of her eye, taking some of the black makeup with it. "Someone - A friend, I guess? - thinks I might be cursed," she notes sagely, before making a face and using her forearm to rub at the sore muscles in her stomach. Another thought occurs and she adds, "You were at the flower shop. /God/ that was weird."

"Cursed? That's…hmm. What manner of friend was this that said so?" Quite unlike what some other scientist might automatically think or say, Colin literally considers it. He unloads the backpack one item at a time, muttering to himself as he does so, "…power cell, multiphasic field generator, ionic sanitizer. Ah. Multifunction Death Ray. Thank God." He lifts the raygun, holds it like some kind of professional pistoleer might, and checks something on it. "And you haven't fired it. Excellent." Then glances at Moxie. "I was in a flower shop recently. Were you?"

"What do you mean, what manner of friend?" Moxie asks, as if Colin has somehow doubted she has these things, friends. "Just … a friend. And, I mean, he'd know from curses, I think." She's enjoying finally getting her breath back, though she's clearly still ornery from the giggle fit. Holding the edge of the table out of habit now, she watches him pull all the things out, eyebrows lifting slightly as he gives them names. "Of course I didn't fire it. You'd call the cops on me." She nods then, finally releasing the table to she can cross her arms. "Yeah, the same one. With the gunfire and smelly flower and all?" She really hopes that will ring a bell.

Colin puts the death ray down on the table and says, "Listen to me. Your experience with the police was Your Fault." Fingerpointing at her for emphasis. "You chose to hold up a convenience store with the Pax Ray. Not I. If you'd shot that poor man with this," Death Ray, "you'd have killed him and depending on the setting perhaps obliterated the wall behind him and even maybe the neighboring building. Now about your friend, just what is this about a curse? What do you think he knows?" The scientist crosses his arms and leans his butt on the table, half-sitting on it. "And yes I remember the Stinking Corpse Lily. I'd hoped to see if one could be ordered."

Moxie narrows her eyes as he makes it all her fault. "Nuh-uh. I would have totally got away with it." And that, therefore makes it okay for her to do! "And I didn't shoot anyone with that, so stop stressing." Though the idea of it is worth at least a bit of a grimace. Good thing she went with the other one then! Only once she's defended herself sufficiently does she return to the matter of her friend. "I started laughing and when I explained, he said I was probably cursed, after being around so much weird stuff." She brushes her hair back from her eyes, and then adds, in regards to the lily, "Guess you got your wish then. Was that what it was? Why the hell would you /want/ that?"

"Why yes, come to think of it I did get my wish. It's down in the laboratory in a special terrarium right now…" Colin muses. "So…what exactly causes a curse, I wonder? I mean would it be psychically linked, or through orgonne energy…I wonder…" He shoves some of the junk on the table out of the way and turns to start flipping through one of his books. "Tch. It's not in this one." Glance at Moxie. "I suppose you'll want your five hundred dollars so you can go and live in your squat alone and cause random chaos now."

"…/Why/?" Moxie reiterates, still really not getting what use a stinking flower could possibly be, let alone how it could possibly be worth a whole special what-erium. "I don't know what causes a curse exactly. I could talk to my friend maybe. But I'd guess maybe someone cursing you?" She gets threatened with them often enough. To his question, her eyebrows go up a little. "I want my money, yeah. And nothing about my chaos is /random/. I do things for a reason," she informs him loftily. Nothing is said to the matter of her 'squat'.

"Because it is a fascinating example of a floral parasite! It has properties unique to anything in the plant kingdom. But you wouldn't find that interesting, would you? Not if there's no money in it." Colin glowers at Moxie and fishes his wallet out of his back pocket. Which apparently he keeps on him at all times. He tosses five hundred dollar bills on the table and says, "Here. Buy yourself some ramen. I'm glad you brought the items back to me. If you want more money I recommend against taking my things. You'd be better off asking me for a job."

"Money makes the world go 'round," Moxie informs him unrepentantly. "But you got so much of it, you can pretend it doesn't." She snags the money without hesitation, quickly flipping through it, and then folding it twice over and tucking it protectively into her pocket. "Taking your things seems pretty profitable," she points out lightly, in a better mood for the cash and no more giggling plaguing her right now. "Besides, like you'd give me a job. Doing /what/?" she asks skeptically.

"I attend classes and spend time away. It might be good to have a way…" Colin stops, looking deadpan at Moxie. "It's happening again. What a pain. I suppose if I recorded it then people'd special order it, because from another view it's probably quite funny, too." He sighs and puts his face in his hands. Yes. It kind of sucks.

Moxie can't help a grin at that, even if he was kind enough not to laugh at her laughing. "It's kind of funny, yeah," she has to agree, though there's actually some sympathy there too. "Maybe that monkey thing cursed you and I just, I don't know, got caught in the crossfire," she suggests, after musing a moment. "Anyway, you were saying…?" she asks a little too innocently.

"I can't trust Stretch or Lily. Their programming's too silly and they keep the house well enough but with most things they're rather rough. Sometimes I need a human mind to keep them from doing the kind of things that cause untoward events and attract police or governments." Colin's getting more easy with incorporating that into his speech really, but when he's made to rhyme it sounds unnatural still.

"Yeah, your robots are /weird/," Moxie has to agree. "I think one of them is going to scrub a hole right through your floor." She doesn't sound too concerned, but hey, maybe he wants to know. "So you need someone to … baby-sit your robots?" she surmises with that skeptical expression of hers. As if such things might be beneath the girl who held up a corner store with what could well have actually been a hair dryer, for all she knew going in.

"There's that but too, I'd have other things for you." Colin waves a hand impatiently, "I'm really not fit to discuss until the cause of this fuss wears off for now and I can speak as I'd allow." Impatiently he plops down in a chair and massages his temples as if having a headache.

Moxie drums the fingers of one hand against her elbow, no more patient even if it isn't her being plagued this time. But at least it indicates her interest is perhaps genuine? "How long do you think it's going to last? I don't know if I could even think of that many rhymes. Maybe you should write poetry while it's going on and at least take advantage of it. Though it'd be pretty lousy poetry," she allows.

"Yes, I don't think it would have much poetic value at all, I'm afraid." agrees Colin, who notices it passing. "I have no way of knowing how long it'll last. When I'm alone or not speaking, I don't know if it's even happening. But I know you don't cause it because I started rhyming to Stretch yesterday and you were nowhere around." He sits back and looks at Moxie. "Frankly I don't know what to do with you but I suspect you live alone in that apartment. And you're young to have a job. I don't think you're in school. And I suspect you'd reject any acts of charity that didn't make it seem like you were doing some sort of extortion."

"Yeah, don't look at me. I don't know how to curse anyone. And I wouldn't curse myself, and I /really/ wouldn't curse myself with giggling. I don't /giggle/," Moxie grits out with an annoyed expression. "They could at least give me an evil laugh." She heaves a sigh and then turns her attention to the matter of gainful employment. "I'm not a charity case. I can do stuff. And, hey, it didn't /seem/ like I was doing extortion. I totally extorted. I don't need school to be smart. I know lots of stuff, just not boring book stuff. But you wouldn't need someone to do that, anyway, since you seem to have the boring book stuff down."

"Your future is your own business." replies Colin. He looks at Moxie and asks her then, "You've got your money. If you'd like to stay for a bit you're welcome to get a drink in the kitchen or something to eat, watch television for a while. Leave when you like. Aside from that, don't let me detain you. I would quite like to speak to your friend about the curse matter though."

"So, what, was this some sort of interview I failed?" Moxie asks, not inclined to beat around the bush. And here she was bringing out her best people skills, being defensive and borderline insulting! She straightens up, tucking her hands into her pockets and locking her elbows in some sort of drawn out shrug. "Fine, I'll talk to him, see if he'll talk to you. Have my people call your people, whatever."

"No." replies Colin neutrally, still watching Moxie. "You're saying you actually WANT a job of some sort? You failed to specify that part." He looks around and says, "This house has…history to it. And it's empty. And if it keeps you from trying to knock over another convenience store I'm willing to pay you something until your parents reappear and remember their job."

"My parents aren't going to reappear, okay?" Moxie says simply, but with an edge of finality to her tone. "I … I might have figured out a place to stay, I think, maybe. But I'm not stupid. Shit happens and then I'm back on my own again. I /know/ I'm not always a joy to be around," she admits, rolling her eyes as if this is their problem, not hers. "So if you want to pay me to baby-sit your weird robots or something?" Well, at least this time, that actually does sound a little funny, so it's slightly less jarring when she bursts out giggling again.

Colin watches Moxie and decides to try his luck at ignoring the giggling. Which is difficult because it's very distracting. "Less babysitting the robots than babysitting the house itself, but yes. If you like, part of your salary could include room and board. There's plenty of space, but I leave that to you. You would…" that giggling. It makes him stare. "…you would of course have to be clear that you intend to do so because I'll have to do something about Stretch and Lily acknowledging you as a resident. They're less personable to strangers. I'm sure you've noticed."

Moxie just can't stop laughing, even while they're discussing so serious a matter as a potential job. "Oh my God, if I catch who cursed me, I'm going to kill them!" she giggles, making an annoyed face even through the laughter. It's getting hard to catch her breath again, but she tries to keep going in the conversation. "Your - Your robots are really rude, yeah. I- I don't…" But she can't get much further than that before the giggles get too much and she doubles over again.

"Oh blast it all," Colin grabs up the Pax Ray and levels it at Moxie then. Zap! He's had enough of this!

"Hey!" Moxie begins to protest, straightening up abruptly when he grabs the Pax Ray. But that's about as far as she manages to get before the effects hid and she goes all placid. The giggles, whether due to the ray or their own mercurial nature, die away after another moment of freer laughter. When they've faded completely, she still keeps the dopey grin, shaking her head slightly in amazement at the whole thing.

Colin keeps the Pax Ray pointed at Moxie for the moment, eyeing her critically from where he's sitting. When the laughter stops he lowers the device and asks, "How do you feel?"

"Fine," Moxie replies in a distant, dreamy, untroubled voice, she'll hate herself for once the effects wear off. But right now, she's not a care in the world, just blinking at him passively. "I don't need to laugh right now," she adds, in case this isn't obvious from the lack of giggles - but her tone is ambivalent. She could laugh, she could not laugh, it's all good.

"Hmm." muses Colin, looking at the Pax Ray. "I shall have to shoot you again once you start laughing to see if it works every time…" Yes, he WOULD toy with her just like any other test subject too! "Why don't you go lie down on a couch downstairs and relax until you feel more like yourself?" Which is to say hostile and smartassed.

Moxie will probably have something to say about that once she is feeling like herself again! But for now, she just smiles and nods in agreement to his suggestion. "Yeah, okay. I'll see you later then," she concedes easily to the idea of lying down. That might be nice. She tries to tuck those bangs back behind her ear, getting them out of her eyes for once, before she turns to begin drifting towards the door at an easy ambling pace.

Colin cracks open a book and smiles, nodding. Peace. "Fantastic invention." he remarks quietly to himself.

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