Trick or Swipe

Bushroot had one job. One lousy job, and he blew it. He was supposed to replace the decorative planters in the lobby of the 36th National Bank with real plants, loaded with explosive mulch that they could chuck at the vault when Negaduck went in.  Bushroot did not even have to be there in person! It was the easiest job Negaduck could have given him, but Bushroot quailed at the last moment when he realized the acid in the mulch was hurting the ferns and bamboo. He’d knocked the planters over while extracting the plants and accidentally dropped the mulch through a sewer grate.  Now that sewer was leaking noxious fumes and the rats were taking cover in nearby buildings.  The bank was closed and a cleanup crew was investigating. 

 There was nothing left to do except skedaddle before Negaduck came around with pruning shears.

And so Bushroot ended up hiding in the Halloween section of a store, hoping he’d covered his tracks well enough to keep Negaduck’s dogs from sniffing him out.

    • Dr. Moira Rousseau
      Dr. Moira Rousseau

      Fortunately for Bushroot, the store was currently devoid of customers and the cashier seemed to be engrossed in a game on his phone, giving the plant-duck plenty of opportunity to hide.

      But it wouldn’t last long.  Moments after he’d disappeared into the seasonal area of the store — now stocked with a large assortment of candy, costumes and spooky decorations — the door opened once again and a raven-haired woman walked inside.

      At least... it may have been a woman.  It was hard to tell, what with the trench coat, floppy wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.  Not to mention the long, heavy scarf that nearly dwarfed the person wearing it despite having already been wrapped around the neck several times.

      Sure, it was a tad nippy outside.  But whoever was buried underneath all those layers looked as though they were heading into a blizzard.

      Once the door closed, the tinted glasses came off and, sure enough, revealed the face of an obviously nervous young woman.  Her anxious expression melted into relief upon seeing she was apparently alone, with only a cashier who hadn’t even acknowledged that she’d walked in.

      What good luck! Moira thought to herself, her mood brightening.  James and Posi had been right... maybe this wouldn’t be so difficult after all.  No one had recognized her on the way, so there had been no polite small talk to fret over.  Now all she had to do was pick up a few things she’d been tasked to get for the SHUSH Halloween party later that week, pay, and scurry back to her apartment whilst bundled up safely in her fortress of winter clothing.

      James had tasked her with purchasing a specific brand of candy corn only found at this particular store, and she was suspicious that it was only an attempt to get her to actually interact with people rather than just buying online as she normally did. But, surely, just getting out at all would be satisfactory enough.

      She would not be making an idiot out of herself this time, no sir!  Just imagine... an entire errand completed without any gunfights, hostage situations or, worse, awkward silences after one of her failed jokes.

      Feeling emboldened, the peculiarly socially-phobic psychiatrist made her way to the Halloween section to begin perusing the candy selection.  As she reached for a bag of candy, she paused, sniffing the air.

      Was it her, or did something smell... floral?  With a hint of something... sort of... chemical?

      Moira glanced around, looking for the faint odor’s source.  How strange, she didn’t see any plants.  Figuring the smell was probably coming from the cheap materials they used to make the Halloween decorations on the shelf next to her, Moira shrugged and turned her attention back to the candy.

      The petite young woman grabbed a bag of miniature chocolate bars before standing on her toes to reach for a bag of candy corn on the highest shelf - the one James had specified as a requirement.  If she could just reach it, she could pay and leave.  And the sooner she left, the sooner she could once again be safe at home... curled up on the couch with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa.

      • A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs
        A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe of OCs

        What was she doing? Bushroot stayed as still as he could, scarely daring to blink until he was sure the young woman had ended her scent quest and resumed her errand. Oh. The poor dear couldn’t reach that bag of candy corn. And the only other person in the store was the cashier. It wouldn’t hurt to offer a helping hand, would it?

        Bushroot put on some of the costume pieces he was hiding amidst and carefully snaked an arm around the decorations and boxes and bags of candy until he could reach the top shelf. He nudged the bag of candy just a tiny bit closer and hid his hand behind a box. Did she get it? Maybe another nudge. Oops. Too hard. The candy almost fell on her. At least it wasn’t hard or super heavy. Sorry! He hid his hand and stealthily started retracting his arm.