Your Lucky Numbers Are...


Ava_icon.gif Dan_icon.gif Nicolae_icon.gif

Summary: Chinese food goes bad. And you're always hungry again an hour later!

Date It Happened: September 27, 2008

Your Lucky Numbers Are…

The Golden Dragon

"……I am not tired," Nicolae asserts for the millionth time, grumpily stalking alongside Ava in a wisely decided retreat from the Silver and Gold. "They were rude. That is all." His accent is thick tonight and he favors laconic responses, practically biting off each word. His shoulders are squared and his hands hover at his sides, fingers flexing as he casts rueful glances over his shoulder. "Besides, music was terrible. Nothing to dance to." They weren't exactly -told- to leave, but this isn't the first time he's been told not to stop by the job on his night off. His ability to deal pleasantly with others is inversely proportional to how tired he is, so basically he's lying through his grinding teeth. "Hungry?" he asks, casting a hopeful look down at Ava. Not that he's hoping she's hungry, but that she isn't upset with him for proving that he can be dressed up but still, after five years, can't really be taken anywhere.

"When you're tired, you get cranky. And when you get cranky, you begin to inflict random if effectual violence." Petite little Ava wags a finger under her partner's much taller nose, looking miffed. Her ridiculously tight halter top, mini skirt, and boots with heels to nirvana? A total waste tonight, because Nicolae couldn't keep his fists to himself. She's oddly less pissed about getting escorted out then she is about the fact that he won't admit that he's tired and cranky. When he mentions hunger, it pings, and she admits, "Yeah. Think the Chinese place is still open?"

It had better be, otherwise the man pedaling his bike up to the Golden Dragon is in for a major shock. A bit odd for him to be carrying parcels in his basket when he's going back to the restaurant, but it's not his fault it was a prank call. At least he gets something free to munch on tonight. Dan isn't paying that much attention to his surroundings as he dismounts from the bike and starts walking it the rest of the way — about a block from the restaurant. Dressed in battered khakis and a tanktop with holes here and there beneath an open button-down shirt that is too small and has the sleeves rolled up, Dan is obviously not attired for clubbing either.

A note of resignation is carried on Nicolae's grumbling, wordless response as he lets his eyes follow the finger wagged beneath his nose. Having put forth his best defense, he concedes defeat with a momentary diversion, sticking a hand into his coat pocket to slide out the corner of a white envelope. "Got paycheck," he offers, interjecting this before following the redirected course of the conversation. "Is early. Should be open." Of course it'd be closed by the time they left if all had gone the way Ava's preparations suggest she'd intended, but there you have it. Spying lights behind the Golden Dragon's storefront he nods toward the place and picks up his pace a bit. Clearly they are still open. His mood seems a palpable thing, increasing the amount of space he takes up and diverting the flow of traffic around the pair.

"I got cash." Ava counters. Nicolae has a thing, one sees, about paying and money and the like. It's all very chivalrous and archaic and charming and blatently ridiculous, but regardless, Ava twines the fingers of one hand into his, and starts walking toward the Golden Dragon. One would suspect that Nicolae is quite browbeaten by such an aggressive girlfriend. One would clearly have never seen him in a fight.

After running his bike up into the stand left outside the restaurant for just such a purpose, Dan unravels the chain from around the cycle's frame and secures it to the metal bars. It's an old chain and probably not exactly meant for a bike, but it's got a padlock. Then, taking the bags from the basket on the handlebars, he heads for the door of the restaurant just steps ahead of the pair. Without giving it much thought, he draws open the door for them and stands aside so they can enter, smiling in the way strangers do when performing a trivial kindness.

The delivery man's thoughtful gesture has an unintended and surely unexpected benefit of letting a cluster of panicked customers pour -out- of the restaurant amid a cacophony of panicked cries and shrieks as they rush to escape. It's not just customers either. The waitstaff and one of the cooks are amid the press of bodies trying to get as far from the restaurant as possible, while above their contribution to the noise level a strange and hollow roaring sound can be heard from further inside the establishment. There may be some jostling of parcels.

This development makes Nicolae's response to Ava a moot point, because he's quick to tug her around behind himself protectively as he looks past the neon sign hanging in the restaurant's window to try and see what's causing all the racket, and the shift of his grasp on her hand telegraphs his intention to thoughtlessly push through the outbound flow of traffic to go inside the building. His effort is stymied by the persistence of the fleeing clientelle until their numbers thin to a trickle after a few seconds, long enough for someone more prone toward conversation to chime in with something he'll actually hear. It's a foregone conclusion that he's going to plow headfirst into whatever the trouble is.

Ava perks. Ooh, trouble! And it didn't even start with them. Truth be told, if Nicolae can handle whatever's inside, she's probably going to help herself to the cash register. Call it a protection fee, yeah? Despite the fact that Nicolae makes for a great people-divide, she follows him with full intention to help. It's not like she's helpless. Not at all.

As soon as the crowd starts to rush out, Dan throws himself back and presses himself against the wall. There could be a gun in there, and he's not exactly keen on getting his head blown off. But once the rush slows and Nicolae and Ava start to muscle their way inside, he swings around the door frame to follow. Normally he'd move with the throng and wait for the police to arrive, but there were a few faces he didn't see escape, and there are good people in the restaurant that he wouldn't want harmed.

The source of the commotion appears to be the kitchen, where the roaring is now accompanied by the clatter of cutlery and dishware, the clash of broken glass and a terrified wail. Nicolae's got a shadow of a grin on his face as he reaches into his coat on his way toward the back of the restaurant, but his determination is not so single-minded that he doesn't take a moment to note Ava's whereabouts and notice the only other person who isn't trying to get -out-. Dan gets an odd look, and then a shrug as the brutish young man returns his attention toward the kitchen. He raps upon a table as he passes, as if to signal to the couple hiding beneath it that they can go now. There are a few other people hiding, mostly employees loath to leave the building despite a threat that becomes obvious a heartbeat later.

Something half-finished, mostly bone and teeth held together by stringy, steaming flesh, bursts from the fish tank toward the back of the dining area to land upon a table and issue its own threatening cry, a lesser version of the bellow from the kitchen that's echoing off the walls.

"Everybody out," the presumptuous Hungarian malcontent bellows without breaking his stride, brandishing a hastily acquired pepper mill as he stalks toward the dripping creature skittering across the table, its multitude of spidery limbs flailing in a menacing display.

"Hunh." says Ava as she regards the pseudo zombie-ish looking creature that just broke the fish tank. Poor koi! A moment of focus, and several shards of glass rise up and streak forward, embedding themselves in the monster's side. It lets out a howl, whirling this and way and that to try and determine the origin of the cause of its pain. As it does so, Ava moves in the other direction, aiming for the kitchen with a thoughtful look on her face.

It … what? What the hell is that?! Dan doesn't get too much time to consider it. There are people still in the restaurant. The couple beneath the table are hastily grabbed by the arms and bodily hauled out. "Go, go, go," Dan mutters to them as he pushes them to the exit. Then he returns for more, grabbing and ushering out anyone he finds. He doesn't see the glass shards that magically appear to fly into the thing's side. Not that it would have been any less believable than The Creature From The Deep there.

The creature on the table is fairly small. Unfortunately it is also one of a half-dozen that are beginning to skitter out from the kitchen now. The shards of glass have distracted it sufficiently that the pepper mill, swung like a club, collides neatly with its middle, evoking a satisfying crunch and casting it through the air, so that it is a limb collection of gristle and shattered bones when it splays like a mutant starfish across the backlit waterfall painting on the wall. Nicolae's purposeful stride remains unbroken as he casts a glance toward Ava, offering up a reflexive grunt of protest that never quite becomes an articulate statement, its futility acknowledged a heartbeat later. He passes the hallway leading to the bathrooms and reaches out to haul a cowering figure from the shadows and send them staggering toward Dan, whom he offers a sharp nod when he looks back momentarily.

One of the creatures skittering along the wall toward Ava is dislodged and crushed by a thrown pepper mill, while another of the beasties is hastily kicked out into the aisle from beneath the table Nicolae has just passed. He falters in his kitchenward approach to attempt to stomp the thing into goop, but it nimbly skitters clear of his descending boot.

"Keep them busy!" Ava calls out as she stands in the middle of the kitchen, considering her options. After a moment, she goes to a sideboard, beginning to look in all the drawers, ducking down to inspect the underneath before checking the ovens. Apparently she's decided she's from the Health Department.

Dan catches the person flung at him and immediately helps them to the exit. Then, after a moment's hesitation to scan the surrounding area and be sure there is no one else, he, too, starts moving toward the kitchen, doing his level best in stomping and kicking and flailing his way through the creepy crawly whats-its. "What the hell are you looking for?" he bellows at Ava. Now's the time to get out, not go sniffing around the kitchen for whatever. Finding it best to arm himself, Dan snags the handle of a nearby wok and slings the piping hot contents towards the nearest creature.

In all fairness, Nicolae wants to ask Ava the exact same question, but this does not stop him from giving Dan an angry glare. Mercifully, it coincides with the man's own efforts to distract one of the gristle-and-bone monstrosities. A cloud of steaming oil and noodles proves sufficient to trip the little monster up. It shakes itself and hurls lo mein in all directions, and is then knocked to one side by half of one of its brethren, whom Nicolae has just finished picking up off the floor and tearing apart. When the kitchen echoes with yet another roar, the brutish youth forgets his brief grievance with Dan and directs the sum of his agitation toward the largish thing presently squatting near the ovens. Its appearance is the archetype from which the smaller beasties are patterned, a large collection of bones strung together with half-cooked sinew and steaming flesh, glistening with a collection of sauces. Some people play with their food, some apparently turn it into monsters. Nicolae tears a fire extinguisher off the wall and stalks forward, letting his foul temper compensate for the lack of a plan…

"Spirit paper." What? Well, at least Ava answered the question. She turns away from the ovens just as the creature pops up, crossing the few feet between them and one of the spice cupboards, hopping up and down on tippy-toe to try and get her hand behind the rows of plastic and glass spice containers. "I bet…it's behind…the MSG!" she insists, fingers curling in an effort to get to whatever she thinks she'll find. The gibbering monster makes ready to leap toward the oblivious witch.

"What?!" CLANG! squirchk

That's the sound of a wok and a Thingy becoming best friends. Dan scrapes off what's left of the thing on the edge of the nearby counter, then turns to shoot a glance at Ava — only to see it. "Look out!" he calls just as he's launching himself right at the thing, brandishing the wok with vicious intent.

Nicolae reconsiders his original intent to bludgeon the bone beast with the fire extinguisher when it turns its attention toward Ava, hurling the big, heavy cannister at what can only be identified as a head because it's where all the teeth are, and then hurling himself toward it afterward. This has the benefit of making it safer for Dan to charge in to dispense some wok-fu and buys him time to arm himself with something more suited to the doling out of harshness. Specifically, a big-ass cleaver, which he uses to parry a flailing appendage as he closes on the beast. He has time to raise his opinion of Dan by several notches, but with the flurry of activity there's no time to outwardly acknowledge as much just yet.
The timing is made of comedy. Dan yells, "Watch out!" just as Ava bends to grab for something to step up on, just as the cannister goes hurtling right over her bended form to smack into the monster and knock it off the stove to the side. As it scrambles to get up, Ava pops up again like the gopher in a whack-a-mole game, and uses an over turned pot to reach behind the spice jars. She lets out a triumphant cry. "Got it!" she yells, and brandishes what appears to be a bit of torn silk, Chinese scrawl all over it in red ink.

Dan's attacks aren't dealt with the expert precision of a man who has spent years fighting off freakish creepy crawlies with a conveniently located wok. Dan's attacks are the panicked flailing and wailing-on of a man who is trying to keep That Thing away from That Person. So it's very fortunate Nicolae is around with a cleaver, because the resounding CLANGCLANG GONG WHUNK CLANG of the wok beating on anything it can reach is not exactly the sound of triumph.

By contrast, Nicolae's maneuvering with the cleaver demonstrates one of the few benefits of having spent entirely too much of his young life doing this kind of thing to these kinds of beasties. Aesthetically, his effort is the more laudable one but if one were to compare the effects of his collaboration with Dan it would be pretty much a tie as to who was inflicting the most damage, by virtue of the fact that they are double-teaming some uppity leftovers. Granted, someone could've been killed tonight, so they're doing a Good Thing. Given the way the contents of various pots and woks still on their burners are starting to bubble over with an ominous chittering sound, and the way the refrigerator doors are being pounded upon from the inside, there'd better be more Good Things on tap, because the food has, suffice it to say, gone bad. Whack, whack, clang, clang. The manly men do manly things. Meanwhile, there's that silk thing Ava has discovered…

Ava is watching Nicolae with rampant admiration. He's so adorable when he flexes his demon killing muscles. After a few seconds, she remembers the limp bit of silk between her fingers. "Oh, right." she says, looking down at it. "Incendere." she declares to it almost negligently, and the little bit of silk goes poof in a sudden small gout of flame emerging from her hand. Within seconds, it is so much ash.

WHONG thunkthunkthunk.

Dan feels something on his back. It's slimy and skittery and unpleasant. So in a panic, he hurls himself backward and slams his shoulder repeatedly into the nearest surface, which happens to be a lit oven. In pleasant news, he's free of the foodie. In unpleasant news, his shirt is smouldering and he's developing a burn. With a yelp of surprise and pain, the man flings himself onto his back on the floor, dousing the fire and flailing the wok at anything that gets too close.

Upon noting his comrade-in-arms's state of panic, Nicolae impatiently buries his cleaver in the big thing's head and turns to address Dan's problem. Ducking under a flailing appendage, he gathers up the fire extinguisher and points the nozzle toward the man on the floor.

As this is happening, Ava's fire neatly unmakes the spell that's been animating tonight's menu and siccing it on the innocent and helpless. The half-formed creatures all collapse back into their component foodstuffs and placidly simmer on their burners and the hammering ceases behind dented refrigerator doors.

Seeing that the flames are doused and the monsters have gone quiet, Nicolae sets down the extinguisher-sparing Dan any further discomfort- and looks up to grin at Ava, offering her an approving nod. While he doesn't have the same reaction to her witchery that she does to his butchery, her power is one of the few aspects of the girl that still gets put on a pedestal. He straightens, clears his throat, and extends a hand to help the stranger up off the floor.
Ava hops down off her makeshift stool, and then with disgust, looks at one of her shoes. "There's teriyaki sauce on my knock offs." she says in dismay. "Dammit! These were on sale when I got 'em at Payless." She takes a look around. "I'm…really not so much with the Chinese anymore." she remarks. "Let's do DQ or something instead." She starts carefully stepping her way out of the kitchen before pausing to peer at Dan. "Who's that?"

Well, now Dan's shirt is covered in food bits, scorched bits, and foam from the extinguisher. And these were his good clothes, too. When he realizes that he's no longer being jumped by tonight's special and that someone is offering to help him up, the shaken man reaches up to take Nicolae's hand and use the leverage to pull himself back onto his feet. He stares with widened eyes at the mess left in the wake of the Great Golden Dragon Battle of '01, absently brushing goop off himself with his free hand. The other still clutches the wok's handle tightly. "Wh-what was that?" he puffs out. "That— why did that— ?" Coherency, he has it. At Ava's question, he manages to scrape up enough presence of mind to offer a foam-and-noodle-covered hand. "Dan." But he quickly retracts the hand when he sees the state of it. Ew. Nobody wants to shake that. "Sorry."

Nicolae seems, as usual, brutally unsympathetic to the plight of Ava's wardrobe. He is simply oblivious-it can't be helped. He owns very few things that weren't already worn by someone else before he got ahold of them and thinks she's as positively radiant in burlap as in silk. He acknowledges her complaint with a grunt and nods in agreement. Clearly DQ is on the agenda now, but first…

"Nicolae," he replies to the shaken delivery man, offering a nod and extending his hand as if heedless of the mess Dan's made of himself. Nicolae's a bit of a mess himself. When the notion of a handshake is reconsidered, he lets his own drop with a shrug and looks around the kitchen. "Is reason for expiration date," he comments in his thickly accented English. "Very brave, what you did." He looks back at Ava, and then moves to follow her.

Man, watching Nicolae play 'stupid new immigrant' never gets old. Ava grins, and offers Dan over her shoulder, "Hope your maintenance people come back." With that, she's prepared to sashay out of the kitchen and the restaurant without even introducing herself. Until she spots an errant bowl of fortune cookies, wrapped in plastic as they generally are. Unabashedly, she grabs a handful and stuffs them in her jacket pocket on the way out. Your lucky numbers are…

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