Author Topic: Total Request Live (Ask Questions or Suggest Things and I Will Write Stories)  (Read 1774 times)

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Django Durango

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How did Sable and Cairo meet?

"So Dixie? That's a pretty..." Cleo twirled her hand around, pretending to think of the right word, "Confederate codename.". She was curious to know if Dixie was aware of or oblivious to the implications behind it. She knew it might be unwise to start this conversation in the van on the way to a robbery, but if Dixie's codename implied what she thought it might, then she'd probably never work with Dixie again. It'd be better to know if she should be watching her back now than be betrayed later.

Their crewmates on this job, a man called Savoy and a woman named Chartreuse, looked upon this disaster in the making silently. Savoy had a look of deep "oh no" on his face, but Chartreuse looked like she had a ringside seat to a sold-out fight and popcorn in hand.

Dixie raised an eyebrow at the question. "Are we really gonna have this discussion now?" she asked.

"All right, well, my controller wanted to call me Plantation Slavery but it got cut off in the computer," she said. Chartreuse snorted at this snide remark, but then stifled herself quickly when she saw no one else laughed. Savoy's eyes darted between Dixie and Cleo, waiting to see where this was going to go. No one said anything.

Dixie was aware of what her codename suggested, but thought it was rude to be asked about it by someone she'd only just met. Especially someone who knew Syndicate agents didn't pick their own codenames. Obviously, the appropriate response to such a lapse in manners was to be equally rude back.

"So I saw on your profile that you're kinda new to the game, Cleo. The phone psychic thing not workin' out?"

To Dixie's surprise, Cleo actually snickered. Dixie grinned.

"You know controllers ain't got no imagination," she said. Savoy and Chartreuse visibly relaxed at the situation's defusing.

Cleo nodded. "Mine called me Cleo because I said I studied Egypt in school."

"Yep. And even the most urban Texan accent sounds like 'dumb hick' anywhere else. Thus 'Dixie'."

---

"There must be, like, fifty pigs out there," Savoy said.

"I hate when they just sit there like that," Chartreuse said. "Like they plannin' somethin'."

"Surely they wouldn't move in on us when we have ten hostages," Cleo reasoned. "It's too dangerous."

"I think staying here any longer is getting dangerous," Savoy said. "There's more cops showing up by the second. Maybe we should leave right now?"

"Without the score? I don't think so," Cleo said.

"Dixie is takin' her sweet-ass time," Chartreuse noted, checking her watch. "But it ain't even hot yet. Calm down, Savoy."

"No, we need to leave," Savoy said. "A fucking SWAT van just pulled up."

"We're not leaving yet. Dixie isn't finished," Cleo said.

"Fuck it, leave her then. We're all gonna get caught if we stay here any longer!" Savoy said. He started to walk to the side door, but Cleo grabbed his arm.

"No one is going anywhere yet," Cleo barked. "If you go out there by yourself, they will catch or kill you. We stay together and we leave as a group like planned. Both of you wait here and guard the hostages while I see what's keeping Dixie."

Savoy didn't appear completely convinced, but he was cowed enough to stay put. Chartreuse nodded and swept her gun across the array of zip-tied civilians on the floor to remind them to remain still.

Cleo made for the back office. When she turned the corner and looked in, she found a security guard had Dixie pinned to the floor, knee in her back and hand over her mouth to keep her from calling for help while he called his catch in over his walkie-talkie. The guard's back was to the door, but Dixie saw Cleo and her eyes went wide in friendly recognition, as if to say "Ah, there you are! Been waitin' for you."

"Yeah, I've subdued one of them. There's three more in the front," the guard said into his radio. He didn't hear Cleo creep up behind him and raise her shotgun. She slammed the stock into the side of his head and he went limp and fell over.

"My hero!" Dixie said from the floor. "Did you get a psychic vision that I was in trouble?"

"No, we all thought you were taking too long." Cleo smirked down at her. "The others wanted to leave without you." Cleo helped Dixie to sit upright. She saw then that the guard had tied Dixie's hands behind her back with his tie.

"How resourceful," she commented.

"Dude, you don't understand though-"

"What? Is it not what it looks like?" Cleo guessed.

"No, it's exactly what it looks like," Dixie admitted. "But this fuckin' guy, man! He hid behind that door and fuckin' watched me crack this safe for like ten whole minutes. Had the drop on me that whole time and I never even knew he was there. He waited until I had the safe open and was pulling the gold out and then he grabbed me. Like he was lettin' me build up charges or something." Cleo moved to untie her, but Dixie pulled away.

"Whoa! Aren't you gonna take a picture first?" she asked.

"Of you? Tied up like this?" Cleo asked to confirm. "Isn't that really embarrassing for you?"

"Totally, but that's part of the fun. Everybody does it. When you save someone from a shameful situation like this, you get to take a picture."

"I've never done that," Cleo argued.

"Well, today's your lucky day too then! Come then, we ain't got time to fuck around."

Cleo was going to argue that taking photos during a robbery was fucking around, but then realized that it would be quicker to just take the damn picture. She pulled out her phone, opened the camera app, and said, "Say cheese."

Dixie put on her most winning smile. Cleo couldn't help but laugh.

"All right," she said as her laughter trailed off. "Let me untie you now." She put her phone back in her pocket and knelt down to untie Dixie's wrists.

"What is the point of taking a picture like that?" Cleo asked. The knot was really tight so she reached up to the bank manager's desk to grab a pen to work under the loop.

"Well, for one, they're just funny," Dixie explained. "Also, if you roll with someone on the regular, you can bring it up all the time and embarrass each other by showing them to people. But mostly, it's nice to have a collection so that when it happens to youuuu," Dixie frowned sheepishly over her shoulder for emphasis, "you can go back through them and be like, 'Aww, well, it happens to everybody at least once.'" Truth told, it happened to Dixie quite a few times, but Cleo didn't need to know that.

Cleo finally got the knot loose and the tie fell away. Dixie shook her arms out and rolled her shoulders.

"Where's my gun?" she asked. The two of them glanced around.

"Here," Cleo said, reaching under the desk to grab the pearl handle she saw peeking out. She handed the hefty revolver over.

"Thanks. And thanks for coming to get me." Dixie raised her voice so her crewmates in the front could hear her. "Instead of leaving me to rot like some other chickenshit motherfuckers I know!"

"We still here, ain't we?" Chartreuse called back. "You get that fuckin' safe open yet?"

---

Thanks to some quick thinking and grand theft auto on the part of their driver, they were now making a chill, unnoticed escape in the police SWAT van instead of the white van they arrived in.

"Ha! You got arrested? By an unarmed rent-a-cop?" Chartreuse cackled. "Did you get a picture?" she asked Cleo.

Dixie gave Cleo a didn't-I-tell-ya look and Cleo snorted.

"Go on then," Dixie said. "Show 'em."

Cleo got out her phone and showed Chartreuse and Savoy the photo Dixie made her take. They laughed at Dixie's silly face.

"Oh, I got toooons of those of Savoy," Chartreuse said, getting her own phone out. Savoy blushed hard, but he laughed along with the rest of the group as Chartreuse showed everyone her collection.


---





True story, kinda. Also, I did not spell Chartreuse correctly a single time while writing this.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 10:06:19 AM by Django Durango »
 
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That was a fun story.

How often does getting cuffed during a job happen?
 
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Django Durango

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It depends.

Up until they leave the Syndicate, it probably happened to Sable about once a year or so. Since she's usually the most mechanically inclined on any crew, she'd be in the back by herself cracking the safe while the rest are managing the scene. You get focused on listening for the pins to drop and you stop paying attention to anything else and suddenly you find yourself at a disadvantage. As long as your crew is paying some kind of attention, though, one would almost always be rescued from this kind of situation in a timely manner, which is why she wasn't terribly concerned about it and can have fun with it.

Cairo probably has about ten or eleven pictures of her by this point. Her favorite is of Sable wearing handcuffs and giving two thumbs up like the Fonz.

Sable only has one or two of Cairo because it's far less likely for crowd control to be caught unawares. The entire point of lobby work is to be aware of your surroundings and there's usually nothing splitting your focus. Plus, Cairo's bigger and stronger so that makes her harder to subdue.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 01:07:10 PM by Django Durango »
 

Paupers Run

So, what's the significance of Savoy and Chartreuse's codenames?
 
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Django Durango

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Savoy is a lindy-hopper in his spare time and Chartreuse had on nail polish in that color when she signed up.
 

Paupers Run

Well, I guess I have something to post in the "TIL" thread now.
 
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Django Durango

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Are we gonna learn about lindy-hop? Oh hell yeah!
 

Django Durango

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So I'm having a ton of fun with this and it is improving my ability to bang out stories with the increased swiftness. I'm even planning out the next demo update's stories, just FYI. However, I wanna add a couple things to this and I'll put this in the OP too so

1. I've answered some of your questions directly instead of writing stories and if I do that, it's 'cause I'm intuiting that it is a direct question and not a prompt. If that's not the case, feel free to say so, but also bear in mind that some things really don't (and in fact shouldn't) have a deep lore backstory. For example, every Syndicate agent's codename is given for a reason and I'm always happy to tell you what that reason is, but controllers don't think too deeply about that. Most of the time, they're literally just trying to think of anything to put in that textbox that won't come up as taken already.

2. Consider all stories posted in this thread to be first drafts and living documents. I go back through these and edit them, and so the text will change over time. I've done that even with the Exit Strategy stories after they were posted. With rare exception, I don't make changes to the story itself. You don't need to worry that actual plot elements will change. I just improve upon it, make it more clear, fix mistakes, or describe things in more depth. Writing is one of those things where if you don't do it as often as you should, you start to suck at it, so I'm still working to get back up to my clowntown level of quality. And as I see things that I could have done better... well, I do them better.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 02:12:51 PM by Django Durango »
 

Paupers Run

Well, it's been a while, so let me pitch another tale.


Cleo and Dixie are at a safehouse with another Syndicate member just after a job. Their fourth guy isn't there because he got shot down by a police sniper.


Or rather, that's what C and D were told by the other guy. But the 4th guy bursts through the door, and he looks LIVID at the third guy.


Also, I'd like to pitch the Syndicate guy's names this time. How about:

Serpent for the guy our gals get to the safehouse with, and Nero for the guy who came back?
« Last Edit: October 31, 2019, 05:30:33 AM by Paupers Run »
 
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Django Durango

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Cleo and Dixie are at a safehouse with another Syndicate member just after a job. Their fourth guy isn't there because he got shot down by a police sniper.

Or rather, that's what C and D were told by the other guy. But the 4th guy bursts through the door, and he looks LIVID at the third guy.

Also, I'd like to pitch the Syndicate guy's names this time. How about:

Serpent for the guy our gals get to the safehouse with, and Nero for the guy who came back?

Serpent's too on the nose for a guy like this, but Nero I can work with.



The mood was always somber when they came back from a job without a crewmate.

Everything had been going fine, tripped alarm notwithstanding. Cleo and Dixie had a decent assembly line going. Cleo was bagging up sculptures and then tossing the bags to Dixie, who in turn tossed them into their driver's van.

"Loving this efficiency, Dixie," Cleo said. "It's truly some Henry Ford shit."

"I know! I don't think I've ever seen this many bags at once," Dixie agreed. She swung another bag into the van. It landed on the pile of bagged sculptures and made both a crunching and a shattering glass sound. Dixie winced.

Cleo looked up at the sound and gave Dixie an admonishing glance.

Just then, Southern burst into the gallery. He and Nero, their crewmates on this job, were supposed to be in the lobby holding off the cops.

"Nero's just been killed! We need to leave!" he said.

"Are you sure?" Cleo asked, looking back into the lobby. If he were only injured, they had a responsibility to make an attempt to get him out of the scene.

"Positive," Southern said, climbing into the back of the van. "This antsy pig on his first day of class got spooked and shot him right through the eye. I killed him back, but we gotta go or this is gonna turn into a bloodbath."

Cleo and Dixie didn't need to be told twice. Cleo zipped up the last bag, threw it to Dixie, and jogged the rest of the way. They both climbed in, careful not to step on the bags, and pulled the doors shut behind them. Southern banged his fist on the back wall to signal the driver to leave.

The ride to the warehouse the Syndicate had provided was silent. Southern got out his phone. The light from its screen illuminated his face as he reported Nero dead in the Hole-in-the-Wall app. The pointed absence of a fourth was a reminder to the rest of them that they need to be vigilant about their surroundings. It killed the jubilation that should have come with a score so big as to be swimming in duffel bags.

Of course, the post-robbery workload of such a large score contributed to the dampened mood too. They had stolen 27 expensive sculptures from the art gallery and only broke two. Now all those sculptures had to be inventoried, individually packed, and loaded into a truck. From there, Southern - who was lead on this job - would be responsible for delivering them to the Syndicate's nearest depot.

Again, the assembly line was put into place. Cleo itemized each sculpture, making note of descriptions. Dixie would then wrap them in bubble wrap. Southern was in charge of building boxes and packing the boxes.

"You know," he said, breaking the silence, "it's not all bad. The take will be split into thirds instead of fourths. We'll all make more."

Cleo raised an eyebrow at that, but said nothing. Dixie didn't even look up from her bubble-wrapping.

"No, it won't," she told him. "His cut goes to whoever he left in his will. It's in the manual."

Southern faltered in taping the box he was packing. Cleo spied on him over her clipboard, watching his expression. He looked a little like he was struggling to swallow, but he kept working.

They went on like that for another half hour, completely quiet except for the sound of packing tape being rolled out. As such, they all heard when a car pulled up outside. All of them froze and listened. It could be the police, especially if Southern had killed one of them. There was a tacit agreement between the Syndicate and law enforcement, but killing each other made the terms hazy. The locals often took it personally.

The sound of footsteps approaching thudded through the walls. Dixie was the only one of them still carrying her weapon. She slowly hovered her hand over her revolver. They all watched the door.

The knob jiggled, but didn't open. When they arrived, they found it sat unevenly in its frame, making it hard to open and close. They hadn't been able to get the deadbolt to turn either. A moment later, the door flew open and banged against the wall, kicked in by the person on the other side. Dixie yanked out her gun out of its holster and pointed it at the intruder.

It was Nero.

He stood in the doorway for a moment, furious face scanning the room, then his head snapped to focus on Southern. Nero pulled something out of his pocket and threw it at Southern. It glinted in the fluorescent lighting as it flew through the air, seeming to unfurl a little. Then it hit Southern in the face and fell to the floor with a metallic clatter.

"Motherfucker!" Southern said, reaching for his mouth. Nero rushed at Southern and pushed him down. Southern reached out behind himself to catch himself. His mouth was bloody, cut open from the thing Nero had thrown at him which they could now see was a pair of handcuffs. Nero kicked Southern in the side. Southern tried to roll away. Nero kicked him again. And then again. And again.

All this time, Dixie still had her revolver trained on Nero. She looked to Cleo to see what she made of this.

"Nero, what are you doing?" Cleo shouted.

Nero didn't look away from the ass-kicking he was dishing out, but he explained in between kicks.

"This son of a bitch," kick, "watched me get tased", kick "and he just stood there," kick, "and let it happen."

Nero gave Southern one hard final kick in the stomach to ensure he wasn't going to be pulling any surprises. Southern curled into a protective ball.

"And then he watched them cuff me and drag me off to the police van. Didn't lift a finger. I was lucky I had my clip key on me."

"Is that true?" Dixie asked, turning her gun on Southern.

He didn't answer. He only gurgled out a moan through his mangled mouth.

"It is," Cleo said. She moved to loom over him, to look more imposing. "You thought if you let him get arrested, you'd make more money."

Southern squeezed his eyes shut and whined.

"We were lucky he couldn't carry that many bags by himself," Cleo said to Dixie.

"Well, what are we gonna do with him?" Dixie said, coming to stand over Southern too. She still had her gun pointed at him.

"We're going to ruin him," Nero said. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and opened the app, but he groaned in frustration.

"Ugh! He marked me dead so I can't review him," Nero said. Then he kicked Southern again for putting him out of his way.

"We still can though," Dixie said, whipping her phone out her back pocket. Cleo pulled hers out of the breast pocket of her jacket and they set to work.

"Watched... one of our... crewmates... get arrested..." Dixie dictated as she typed out her review with her thumbs.

"Lied to us about a crewmate dying under the false assumption that fewer surviving crewmates would net a higher cut," Cleo read aloud as she typed out a much longer treatise on the circumstances of this job.

"0.1" Dixie finalized.

"0.1" Cleo concurred. "I assume you'll be giving him a 0.1 when you get reinstated?" she asked Nero.

Nero just kicked Southern again in reply.

"Well, his career is over, but I'd feel better if he were taken out of play entirely," Cleo said, crossing her over arms and staring down at the pitiful pile of kicked ass at her feet. "He's clearly a danger to the whole profession."

"Well, you can have it quick," Dixie said, straightening her aim, "or Nero can kick you to death." Southern's eyes widened in terror. "Your choice, sugar," she said to Nero.

"I have a better idea," Nero said. He reached down for the handcuffs he'd thrown at Southern. He picked a tiny object off his belt and used it to unlock the cuffs.

"What is that?" Cleo asked.

"A clip key," Nero said. He held it out in the palm of his hand so they could see. It was a tiny - less than an inch - but functional black plastic handcuff key. It had a little clasp, so it could be clipped to clothing. "I never leave home without it." He clipped it to his belt loop and turned his attention back to Southern.

Grabbing him by the hands, Nero dragged Southern's slack body over to a support column. Propping Southern up against the column, he handcuffed the man to the post.

Nero stood up and surveyed his handiwork.

"Do you ladies have any 'incriminating evidence' that you'd be willing to part with?" he asked. "I know it's less money, but I think it's worth the sacrifice."

"Sacrifice, my ass," Dixie said. She went over the to the bags of sculptures that had yet to be unpacked and collected the two bags they had set aside. They contained the broken sculptures.

"We ain't losin' a dime over this," she said, plopping the bags down next to Southern. He looked up at Dixie miserably.

"Don' look at me like that," she said, sneering. "You play dumb games, you win dumb prizes."

"We'll call the cops on him once we get this stuff in the truck and on the way," Nero said. "I'm sure they'll be real happy to see him since someone strangled a cop on his way out of the police van."

"Wow, how'd ya do that?" Dixie asked.

"Well, if they're foolish enough to cuff you in the front, what they've really done is given you a garrote," Nero said, demonstrating how one might loop their bound hands over someone's head and strangle them from behind.

Dixie watched this pantomime and nodded her approval.

"I feel like I've learned a lot today," she mused aloud.




So the clip key is based on the Tiny Inconspicuous Handcuff Key or TIHK. And while I was checkin' to see if this company still existed, I found that not only do they still exist, but they have more products now. Including this one.

Which inspired this story.



"Hey Cleo! Look at this."

Dixie googled the tiny handcuff key that Nero had mentioned and found the website that made them. And they had other products as well.

Dixie showed Cleo a product that looked like a bullet vibrator. However, instead of a tiny battery-operated motor, it contained four lock picks, a "bend to fit" tension wrench, the handcuff key, two different kinds of lock shims, a Kevlar saw, a diamond rod saw, a ferrocerium fire rod, three waxed jute fire starters, and a ceramic razor blade.

"'If your occupation or recreation takes you into dangerous situations," Dixie read aloud, "you'll want to have an EscapeModule on hand... or wherever you can keep it hidden. Just 3.2" long, this tiny o-ring sealed module houses lifesaving escape and survival tools.'"

"Apparently, you can use the casing as a flint too," Cleo noted.

"Sounds like it depends," Dixie said. She read on. "'Included in this order (but not fitting inside the module) is a small petrolatum packet for just about any survival use you can imagine.'

"Hmmmmmmm, it sure is weird how the lube doesn't fit inside the thing. Where do they expect you to keep it?" Dixie said, playing dumb.

"Yes, I love how deftly the copy dances around what it's for," Cleo chuckled. "Are you going to buy it then?" she teased.

"I gotta be honest," Dixie said. "I'm-a two minds about it. On the one hand, am I gonna walk around with a dead bullet vibe in just in case? No. It probably sets off metal detectors. But ya know if ya ever get in a situation where this'd be handy..."

"You'll be thinking to yourself, 'If only' the whole time," Cleo said, trailing off into a peal of chortles.

"Yeeesss!" Dixie said, dragging her hands down her face in hysterical acknowledgement of their newly amended reality. She recovered and added, "Plus, being able to say you're going to pull an escape plan out of your ass and then actually follow through? That's comedy gold, right there."
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:36:36 AM by Django Durango »
 

Paupers Run

Ooh, now I'm wondering how Nero's review is gonna go.
 
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Django Durango

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Cleo would dock him .5 for getting zibbity-zapped in the first place (crowd control needs to be aware of their surroundings after all) but would give him high praise in the review for his resourcefulness and preparedness. Dixie would give him the full 5 for not only escaping police custody on his own but also for coming back to see to it that this guy wouldn't be out fucking other agents over in the future.
 

Paupers Run

Me again, this time seeing how one of the ladies handles without the other.

Specifically, Dixie is hitting a diamond exchange with a crew of Syndicate randoms. But as they're about to start, a non-Syndicate crew, starts their own robbery, and they're definitely more vicious than Syndicate.


You don't have to make this before Dixie met Cleo, but definitely have her as MVP. Maybe getting shit on for credit in pulling the job through, but still.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 11:41:42 AM by Paupers Run »
 
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Django Durango

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It'd have to be pretty early in the timeline because as the Syndicate gets larger, there are fewer and fewer indie crews out there.

Have this in the meantime. Babby Sable.



"Okay, you're good. Go!"

Summer pulled the plastic cap off the heel of her boot and let her pocket knife fell out of the hollow into her hand. Peeling out the Phillips screwdriver bit, she set to work unscrewing the battery panel of a Laser Lock on some hapless kid's locker.

In this post Columbine world, being caught with a weapon on school property - even one as dull and useless as the blade in her pocket knife - had ridiculous consequences. So Desi, her best friend, was keeping guard at the door to the outdoor halls. They weren't supposed to be in the hall this early either, but getting caught in the building before the first bell was an infraction they - especially Desi, as a straight A student - could talk their way out of.

Summer had a good thing going with these Laser Locks. The infomercial for them started airing earlier that year. In it, kids pointed their little color-coordinated remote controls at the Laser Locks on their lockers and the locks popped open instantly, no combinations or keys needed. It shaved valuable seconds off a mid-day locker trip that might otherwise make it impossible to get across campus in the five minutes given before the bell rang, earning one an inordinately high punishment for tardiness. Or it would, if Summer didn't prey on these locks.

"You know, I'm gonna miss this when you go off to college," Summer said as she twisted the screwdriver. Desi had been accepted to Turnbroke University. Summer didn't know much about colleges, since she'd never planned to attend herself, but she knew it was one of those fancy-ass schools that impressed people when you said you went there. "I'm gonna have to find a new lookout."

Desi huffed and checked the window again.

"I'm not going anywhere. I can't afford it and it was a waste of money for my mom to apply. I'm just gonna do community college here."

"That's bullshit," Summer said. "You can get scholarships."

"Not enough to go to Turnbroke."

Summer rolled her eyes. Desi always was a pessimist.

Panel off, the batteries inside fell out into Summer's waiting hand. She pulled a couple of dead batteries out of her skirt pocket and replaced the ones she was stealing. Then she screwed the panel back on. She'd put the stolen batteries in her CD player on the bus ride home that afternoon.

"Why d'you put dead batteries in there?" Desi asked. "To add insult to injury?"

"Nah. Without the dead batteries, they'd know as soon as they tried to open it that someone was stealing them because the lock would be too light," Summer explained. She put her knife back in her boot heel and stomped her foot to secure the plastic cap back into place. "But if I put dead ones back in, then they just think the batteries died. And they'll put new ones in that I can steal later when my CD player dies again."
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 12:08:07 PM by Django Durango »
 

Kit-Cat Clock

Either Cleo or Dixie suddenly discover that it is the other's birthday. Maybe they make a ahem subtle mention of it because they're expecting a gift, or maybe the info is gleaned accidentally. Regardless, a scramble ensues to throw something suitable together.
 
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