RP: The Daily Grind

Sometime after Lilly's spectacularly successful go at Supervillain for a Day...

It had been peaceful. So peaceful. The sort of peace that a bookstore with a cute little cafe was meant to have. 

Then a swamp monster slammed open the door. 

No wait, that was no swamp monster. That was Negaduck. So just a regular monster then. 

A swamp monster would have been an improvement. 

Most of the marshweed trailed off his person as he stepped inside, and much of the muck and grime had dried, but the damage done to his usually pristine costume - and his mood - was obvious. 

The news stations would be abuzz with explanations. An impossible escape from a prison transfer vehicle. A supervillain simply dropping out of custody sometime while crossing one of the westbound bridges. 

All that mattered for Lilly, however, would be the living, breathing reminder taking a seat at one of her little tables that nobody, nowhere, ever, found it easy to be rid of Negaduck. 

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      So we've gone from 'supervillain for a day' to 'take your supervillain to work' day?

      That's not a good tradeoff. Let's swap back.

      She stepped out of the kitchen with a big smile.

      Smile drops. Eyes widen. Steps back into the kitchen.

      She came back out five minutes later with a mop and bucket.

      "Hello," she managed to her credit, beginning to clean. "What's all this?"

      • Negaduck
        Negaduck

        Glare moved, very deliberately, across the cleaning supplies, up the mop handle, to the server in question. Don't be expecting to use those bubbles in anger now. It won't end well.

        Then, in a manner so similar to his first visit except this time with a public bank heist and arrest under their metaphorical belts, Negaduck gave a guttural, near undead response.

        "Coffee."

        On the plus side, it wasn't a death threat; on the negative, there was no please. Whether Lilly cared to push the latter depended how much she cared for the first.

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          Given how the last meeting went, it was for the best to just quietly make the coffee. There was a brief period of silence, broken only by the coffee pot and possibly a low, constant snarling from her sole customer.

          But when she brought it and set it down in front of the grimy, grumpy mess, she wasn't quite able to help herself.

          "Biscotti?"

          • Negaduck
            Negaduck

            Said biscotti crushed in one hand before it had even properly entered his orbit, the sugary crumbs exploding like so many pieces of broken heart. 

            Aww, he appreciated it so much he had made a special effort to destroy it. 

            All the while scooping the other cup with the other hand though, because hey, priorities. 

            "So," Negaduck began once caffeine intake had stabilised him as human, by the loosest definition of the word possible. "How about I strike you a deal."

            Not again.

            "You serve me up coffee," Adding as a second thought even as he poured another brew. "Without being a pain in the tail feathers; I serve you a guarantee this dump won't turn into a smoking crater in the earth..."

            Here comes the actual serious bit.

            "And nobody ever mentions anything about you pulling off bank heists ever again."

            Fair. Surprisingly so. It was if there was a secondary goal there he was failing to mention.

            ... like the glowing cross dimensional one in the closet back there.

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              She wasn't stupid, but naivety can do a very good impression of dangerously tempting fate.

              Looking a gift horse riiiiiight in the tonsils.

              "That's... very nice of you, actually! Thank you."

              You didn't HAVE to threaten me to get coffee but I suppose it's force of habit.

              • Negaduck
                Negaduck

                A quirk of the brow, fingers drumming on the tabletop.

                "'Nice'?"

                Someone was testy today, wasn't he. 

                • DarkwingPsycho
                  DarkwingPsycho

                  Speaking of nice, the bell above the door tinkled as someone entered.

                  "Lilly!" Ariana's sweet voice rang.  The blonde searched the interior of the bookshop, and she didn't have to look long before she laid eyes on her friend.  She made an excited beeline for her.  "You'll never guess what I found lying around in my sisters..."

                  The enthusiasm died on her lips as she noticed Negaduck slurping coffee.  She cast a sideways glance between them.

                  "Oh...you're here..."

                  • Negaduck
                    Negaduck

                    Having heard the arrival of a new customer, Negaduck had indeed gone back to slurping. Partly to blend in amongst civilian life - St Canardians were not the most savvy bunch - and partly to stem any angry outbursts that may have violated the two-minute old pact over misuse of the 'n' word.

                    Which was lucky, because it was then he realised who had joined them.

                    "Ari-" Choke cough splutter. "-ana."

                    Smooth recovery from near inhaling his drink there.

                    "What a lovely surprise."

                    Was that a nervous tic there he couldn't quite hide?

                    "Lilly and I were having a peaceful, civil discussion with absolutely no limb removal or need for magical intervention, weren't we, Lilly?"

                    Smiled with a discreet, peaceful, civil elbowing of the shopkeep in question.

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      "As long as I serve him coffee," she beamed, too pleased that things had worked out to realise how it must sound combining the phrases 'everything is fine' and 'as long as I cooperate'.

                      Come here Ari let me give you a hug. It's been so long!

                      • DarkwingPsycho
                        DarkwingPsycho

                        Ariana accepted Lilly's hug, but she was tense.  Her eyes were still on Negaduck - suspicious and annoyed.  "As long as you serve him coffee, what?" she prompted, catching the hint of some deal that was struck.  Likely wouldn't be in Lilly's favor, the way Ariana saw it and what she knew of Negaduck.

                        • Negaduck
                          Negaduck

                          Quick, blurt out something before she mentions anything about smoking craters!

                          "I'll do an in-person story time reading!"

                          No. No. Why. 

                          Too late to cram the words back into his oversized bill though.

                          "Hearing their favourite adventures read out by one of St Canard's most notorious characters?" One of? Only the worst. "Kids love that garbage."

                          And afterwards I can bash my own head in with the book. Would make a real dramatic ending.

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            "You will?"

                            He will?

                            That sounds like a TERRIBLE idea.

                            "Well I guess if you're offering and don't burn down the place in frustration that sounds nice!"

                            STOP SAYING NICE.

                            • Negaduck
                              Negaduck

                              Hah hah. Hah hah hah hah.

                              "Of course not!"

                              Lower, specifically to Lilly, "Cerebral mutilation isn't out of the question for any real whiney brats though, right?"

                              Realising that may not have been too low, hearing wise, for Ariana. 

                              "Just-" Kill me now. "Joking!"

                              Coffee. There had better be a literal vat of coffee.

                              • DarkwingPsycho
                                DarkwingPsycho

                                "Oh!  That does sound lovely...provided you can actually behave yourself," Ariana remarked.  Part of her did think - at least momentarily - that it was a sweet gesture.  Then she remembered who was making it.

                                "In fact, I'd like to see that for myself."

                                • Negaduck
                                  Negaduck

                                  "Goodie goodie."

                                  Was that low enough to avoid sarcasm detection?

                                  Regardless, one week later, beyond a chalk sign reading Story Time with 'Negaduck', 11am, because let's give the people room to assume it is not the real wanted felon, the children were excitedly gathered around the chair of one less than excited supervillain.

                                  "Alright-" Chattering! "Now listen-" Clambering! "HEY!"

                                  Insta-silence.

                                  Continuing with the sort of calm that usually indicated horrible violence was not too far off, Negaduck addressed the world at large, "So what lovely story book are we reading today, kiddies?"

                                  Someone, presumably, had vetoed his book choice. What a load of rubbish. Since when was American Psycho not Elementary School material?

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    "Somethin with dinosaurs!" said a child from the back.

                                    "EATIN EACHODDER."

                                    "Don't be GROSS."

                                    To forestall any burgeoning argument and ensuing scuffle, Lilly nipped in and dropped off 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. It was a nice kids story. And presumably Negaduck would get a kick out of all the children being nearly sent to their deaths with one-liners and indifference.

                                    Surprisingly her kids weren't at the party. It's almost as if she didn't trust him to be nice.

                                    • DarkwingPsycho
                                      DarkwingPsycho

                                      Ariana watched from the back, the sea of children's heads between herself and the public enemy.  She sipped at some hot chocolate, watching with reservation - waiting for this to go south.

                                      • Negaduck
                                        Negaduck

                                        A sharp look sent Lilly's way.

                                        "Would've preferred dinosaurs."

                                        You're trying to dissuade kids from gross? What is wrong with you?

                                        Besides, his Tyrannosaurus impression was to die for.

                                        Accepting his fate, however, Negaduck duly propped up the book with the standard enthusiasm of a crook commencing community service. Which was pretty much what this was. 

                                        "Right, so, what've we got here? 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'."

                                        A pause, then to the crowd,

                                        "How many of you screech demons like chocolate?"

                                        Presumably a few hands shot up because he acknowledged with a conspiratorial follow up of,

                                        "And did you know I, Negaduck, once ran my very own chocolate factory?"

                                        Did you also know I, Negaduck, was inevitably going to put my own spin on this because I am a billion times more interesting than some crusty book?

                                        • Lilly Teal
                                          Lilly Teal

                                          Interesting is a relative term.

                                          A few children seemed interested, all the same. Cries of 'Really? Really?!' and 'What happened to it?!' mingled with 'Boo, read the book!' and 'stick to the script!'

                                          Bit of a high vocabulary for their age on that last one.

                                          • DarkwingPsycho
                                            DarkwingPsycho

                                            Ariana cleared her throat loudly, shooting Negaduck a pointed look.

                                            • Negaduck
                                              Negaduck

                                              A look right back. 

                                              Nothing came of it, however. Negaduck pressed on at his own lazy pace like he owned the place. 

                                              "Can you imagine?" Rhetorical, they were kids. "An entire warehouse full of sweets, vats overflowing with every kind of coating, huge, spinning, whirling machines, the sweet smell of sugar floating through the air like grandma's rat poison brownies. And the best bit is, it's all yours. You don't have to share with your stinking sister, not your parents, not even the Customs Service."

                                              Enjoy that fantasy for a moment, but if any of you drool on my cape, I'll be ironing it out with your face.

                                              None of them did, thankfully, and he continued.

                                              "What if you wanted someone there though? Maybe you were bored, maybe you didn't want to do all the work. How would you chose?"

                                              The witchy girlfriend of your archenemy is, let it be noted, a fine choice.

                                              "You could do what this Wonka guy did, and hid five golden tickets in thousands of bars. Let me tell you, even the cops would've found it harder than finding a diamond in a chocolate stack."

                                              On this and this alone, you can trust me.

                                              "What do you think that would have looked like, had I given tickets to my super secret Negasweets in our very own St Canard? Who would've got the first ticket? The greedyguts, obviously! Whatever pig was capable of hoovering up the fastest amount of gear. You, who's the fattest slob in this city?" I'm talking to you, random kid in the front, but I do approve of shouting. 

                                              • Lilly Teal
                                                Lilly Teal

                                                "Taurus Bulbous?" said someone from the back, prompting a squeal of laughter. "What? He must be fattish. It's even in his name."

                                                "It's BUBLA."

                                                "Oh. That makes more sense."

                                                "Um. Er. Eh... Tuskernini?" Offered the random kid in front.

                                                "Yeah!"

                                                "Yeah!"

                                                "I bet he steals cinema snacks!"

                                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                                  "I don't think the children want to hear about your dangerous and immoral exploits," Ariana cut in, trying to be stern.  Little did she know she was inadvertently making his story sound sweeter.  "Besides, you're here to read a story, not make one up."

                                                  She eyed Lilly for help.

                                                  • Negaduck
                                                    Negaduck

                                                    Rather than go with the obvious 'why else would they come to see me, duh', Negaduck took the high ground. If only to be annoying.

                                                    "I'm simply describing it in a way the children can relate to," he said to Ariana in a manner that any five year old would gleefully recognise as playing the technicalities.

                                                    Back to the book, or his loose interpretation of it,

                                                    "Yeah, Tuskernoknees sounds about right. And so..."

                                                    He went on to paint the story of the other 'winners' of the 'competition', all of whom bore a striking resemblance to various members of St Canard's rogue gallery.

                                                    Except one random civilian brat and their dad or something, who got it by pure luck. What a rort.

                                                    Anyway, the fateful day and the doors opened to the magical land of chocolatey wonder and maybe a smuggling operation that the boss let them do whatever they wanted with.

                                                    "And do you know what happened?"

                                                    Aside from dangerous and immoral somethings or other.

                                                    • Lilly Teal
                                                      Lilly Teal

                                                      "As long as he stays to the story for the most part," Lilly sighed. "Just... don't go out of control."

                                                      Ha. Ahahahahah.

                                                      "... free chocolates?" Someone hazarded.

                                                      Oh if only. But Lilly did perk up at that, suddenly remembering that she'd bought chocolate biscuits. Opening the packet, she passed it around to everyone, including Ariana. Not Negaduck. He'd make the book all greasy.

                                                      As if he wasn't greasy enough already.

                                                      "Thanks Miss Wonka," a biscuit-filled mumble sounded in the background.

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