Luck, Stalk, and Two Smoking Barrels

The witch sighed softly from atop her barstool, observing the crowd from behind a curtain of blonde hair. Her face was blank was she absentmindedly stirred her drink, as if it were a tiny cauldron and the right stir would magically make it taste better.

It didn't.

It just sweated onto the paper napkin, unchanged.   


The witch sighed again, the ghost of a frown crossing her bill. Briar had really hoped-in a rare fit of longing- that the Coatl Club would be the one to break the pattern, with its exciting, thumping club music and exotic dancers and black market deals... 


But just like every other club in this run-down, dilapidated city, it was...

Boring.

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      The drink wasn't good? Please lodge a complaint and the one responsible will be thrown into a wood-chipper and turned into stirring sticks. Oz liked to run a tight ship with equally tight control, and came down on lack of quality harshly. But there was no Oz visible today, at least not right now. The only thing to intrude on Briar's peaceful bubble of misery and gloom and boredom was a girl with a long black hair and a tight red dress who practically threw herself over the bar when she arrived, eyes gleaming. The bartender must have seen her  coming in from the door, because she hadn't even opened her mouth before a glass was pushed into her hand.

      Grinning, she made herself comfortable and took a sip. And then sputtered.

      "What th- this is awful." Shock. Horror. A dodging barman as the glass was lobbed at his head. "You're serving people this?!"

      Oz is going to be SO ANGRY DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Or no. Maybe it was just a one-off. Her eyes sought out the nearest person at the bar, and she almost leaned over Briar's shoulder.

      "Your drink fine?" You weirdo?

      • Mother Goose
        Mother Goose

        This duck was outrageously close to Briar's person. Most people would have noticed that the gothic beauty was fairly radiating an air of Do Not Touch, yet here the stranger was, practically breathing her air, without the slightest hint of hesitation.

        Odd.

        But... interesting.

        "It's dreadful," the witch replied solemnly. Of course, she probably would have said it was dreadful even if the drink order had been perfect, just to watch this firecracker go off at the barman. Would she fight him? Would there be blood? Death? Above all, would it be entertaining?

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          Dreadful. Lilly turned again, quirking an eyebrow at the barman. Dreadful do you hear that?

          "Charlie," she said sweetly, a dangerous sort of sweetness that was liable to explode at any moment. "Did you hear what she said?"

          "Uh," said Charlie, which lengthened into an "uuuuuuuhhhhhhh" as she leaned over the bar again, running his fingers through his hair, and he tried to lean back. "It's just the- uh, maybe the batch was bad-"

          Without warning, the fingers gripped his hair and pulled down, rapping his nose smartly into the bar-top as he let out a yelp of pain. "And you didn't check? If Oz finds out he's going to drown you," she said, throwing his head back so hard he stumbled back from the bar. "in your own bad batch."

          Charlie nodded, wincing and ducked down to avoid the dreadful drink being lobbed at his head too as he rummaged around for something better. This was still much much better treatment than what would happen if Oz knew. In her own way, Lilly was keeping him out of trouble by giving him this scare. ... though there was still no need for the violence.

          With the sounds of frantic rummaging in the background, Lilly folded her arms and leaned sideways against the bar, looking Briar up and down flatly.

          "Anything else to complain about? Eh, you look like the kind of girl who's never happy."

          • Mother Goose
            Mother Goose

            Oh, that was it?

            Points for entertainingly violent problem solving, but it was all over with such disappointing speed. Charlie was barely even bleeding.

            "I was just expecting... more." Briar looked at Lilly like the duck was some toy that hadn't been wound up all the way. "...Hmm," she said noncommittally, frustratingly vague to what the exact source of her ennui was. 

            A new drink, on a new napkin, was placed in front of Briar for approval by the very nervous bartender. She reached for the glass and- Charile gulped- only took the alcohol-drenched fruit garnish to nibble on, keeping her heavily lidded eyes on the darkhaired duck.

            The drink itself and Charile were left to sweat.

            "Are you going to try and make me... 'happy'?" Her lip curled slightly upwards around that last word, as if the very thought was an amusing joke.

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              Lilly stared blankly at her, for a moment of silence that stretched to just the edge of uncomfortable, before she started to laugh.

              "Oh honey. Oh no. I don't care if you're happy. I've got much, much better things to do with my life," she said, tossing some of her hair over a shoulder as she turned her head to gesture for another glass as well, immensely uninterested in keeping polite eye contact with the other woman. "But I do handle the complaints to keep things rolling, so I've you've got anything more concrete than 'I was expecting something more', it's unfortunately my job to hear about it."

              Taking a large swig of her drink, much better this time, she set the glass back onto the counter and gave Charlie a grin that was all teeth, before she turned it on the blonde. "But whether you're happy or go to hell isn't my problem."

              Charlie seemed to sag with relief at not being hit into the bartop anymore, although he was by no means at ease. The dark-haired woman, though pretty, was being given a strangely respectful distance from the rest of the patrons.

              Well, most of the patrons. One, who was clearly very new, very drunk, very stupid, and very confident in his own ability to be intimidating, leaned over from his stool and leered at the both of them, most particularly at the goose.

              "I don't mind tryin' ta make ya happy little lady."

              "Back off," Lilly said shortly. Can't you see we're trying to not have a conversation?

              "Aw come on." He invaded their personal space even closer, planting one heavy hand on the bar behind Lilly. He was angled in such a way that if he chose to, he could do the same with Briar and his other arm, but instead he decided to use that arm to reach for the goose directly. "Why don't we just- YAAAAGH!" The arm was suddenly sprouting a sharp cocktail stirrer, and his cry of pain had barely died down, he didn't even had time to be angry, when a bottle of the bad batch was smashed directly into his face, knocking him onto his back.

              "Oh no," Lilly said with false sweet innocence, her eyes wide as she clasped her hands. "How clumsy of me." His head was kicked as he tried to lift it. "Whoops."

              He lay there, either insensible  or deciding it would be much better to stay lying down, his arm bleeding a lot more than he felt was necessary (what the hell kind of medical precision had she jabbed him with?), and she turned back to her drink.

              "So like I said. Any real complaints?"

              • Mother Goose
                Mother Goose

                So much for Lilly's professed apathy.

                 "Yes, I do have a complaint," the witch said, taking a slow sip of her drink. Briar made an airy gesture at the unfortunate drunk at their feet. "I could have handled that, you know."

                It was simply terrible customer service. Zero stars.

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  "Aww, isn't that sweet," Lilly said sardonically. "Charlie, make a note, she can handle herself."

                  Just because she had to LISTEN to the complaints, didn't mean she had to do anything about them. But she was intrigued all the same.

                  "Anyway, he was hassling me too. Next time someone comes breathing booze all over you, I'll leave you to it."

                  Paying attention to the customer's needs. Haaaaaalf star? Quarter? One tip of the star?

                  "What would you have done, anyway?" she said, eyes alight with mischief as she sighted another man looking at the one on the floor with 'I ain't scared' bobbing visibly at the forefront of his alcohol soaked mind. "Because I think I see someone else who likes the look of you."

                  • Mother Goose
                    Mother Goose

                    Was that the true price of ladies night, fending off lowlife barflies? Yes. And also, challenge accepted.

                    "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey-"

                    Was that- it? Really? Wow, the bar is low at this club. Or the alcohol posioning was really kicking in if he thought that and a big wink were enough to pick up chicks. The drunk seemed to realize he'd forgotten a critical step in charm, repeating himself in an even deeper voice and leaning out for the shoulder touch technique.

                    He didn't make it.

                    This is because Briar had snapped her fingers, rooting the would-be lover-boy to the ground. Literally rooting, a briar thorn bush had sprung up through the titles and wrapped itself tightly around his entire body, turning him into a gruesome centerpiece. 

                     It was entirely possible that the drunk could make it out without serious harm to his major arteries, provided of course he didn't breathe too hard. Not likely, but certainly possible.

                    Just to add insult to disfiguring injury, a bright bouquet of pink flowers had sprung out his outstretched hand.

                    "How sweet," Briar said dryly, plucking the bloom off the branch. This sent the whole thorny prison toppling backward, which landed- painfully squelchily- on top of the first drunk.

                    Birds of a feather barb together, apparently.

                    Rather than admire her bloody work, the witch instead twirled her flower, watching Lily. On a whim, she teleported out of her seat and- tucked the eglantine into Lily's hair? Oh, she just moved one chair down, in the most extra magical way possible, to be on Lily's other side, because bodies were piling up.

                    "It suits you." The fact that sweet, delicate pinkness in fact clashed violently with Lily's dress, Lily's hair, and Lily's general temperament didn't seem to bother the goose in the slightest. There was a faint smirk on Briar's face. Wait, was that a... joke? Was this being playful??