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Airline Food; What's up with that? (Open)
Topic Started: Aug 19 2015, 08:37 PM (921 Views)
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((Irene Djezari continued from Not On Target))

Meh. The lasagna was indescribably bland. She probably should have figured that trying to order sit-down food when she barely had an appetite was an economically wasteful decision. Whatever, plenty more dollars to replace the ones she'd thrown away. She had a fifty and some burning a hole in her favorite chain wallet, and that was after blowing ten. Ten something, at any rate. Irene wasn't really tracking the specifics, as much as she had money it was usually the last thing on her mind.

First thing on her mind was that this guy was kinda funny. Like, 'ha ha oh hey I get that' kind of humor. Cute, not especially deep or intricate, but passable. Irene threw out a nervous little giggle as her response to his latest punchline. She might well have been laughing at his hairstyle in addition to his jokes. She was the sort who just always laughed. Even if someone like, say, Noah Whitley was involved. As much as she liked to decry his style. His, right?

Speaking of that style...

Pina wasn't out and about, so the gears had yet to turn into full-on grinding. It was all kinds of awkward, really. Irene hadn't really understood what Noah was all about. Still didn't, to be totally honest. Her Spanish Inquisition of a brain didn't have the nuanced trappings of diplomacy and interpersonal expectation necessary to handle a situation like Noah's with the respect it deserved. So foot had met mouth and Irene had said some unkind things. Shouted them, more often than not. She still struggled to master the impulse to get prissy with him to this day, even as her unwarranted ire for him had been tempered and cooled. Encounters were never quite as easygoing as she liked them to be, even if the fault lay almost entirely with her. Don't have anything nice to say don't say it, and all. She was a few tables away from the bar, hidden by the dimmed lights. She could easily just never make her presence known...

"Hi Noah!" And the next second she had awkwardly caroused through the crowd of chairs and taken a free seat to his right. Foot was already hovering near mouth in anticipation. Metaphorically, of course.
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There was foodstuffs in his mouth, of the greasy comfort food quality that she probably should have actually invested in instead of going full ham on the lasagna. Ham lasagna, that was. She was content to let him finish that one off and take the burden of blathering on her own tiny but arbitrarily well-defined shoulders. Like Noah she was aware of having to tread caution with the topics she picked. Unlike Noah however there was very little guarantee of her actually properly using her own awareness.

"I watched your makeup video." Excellent topic to be started off on, with all due consideration. "Well, kinda, I was half busy designing a tabletop thingy. Just catching glances and peeks, really. It was really good! I learned a lot." Figured she'd missed the primary point of the video. Half the dirty jokes had probably slipped right through the cracks, suffusing into the drainage of her brain as mere odd prose. "I asked Asimah to try the look on me but she was really hesitant about it for some reason. She did say you were cute though. When she watched the video. I mean." An idle hand began picking at her eyes because of a sudden itch, smears of black stenciled themselves over the milk of her fingers while she gouged at her own lashes. She'd probably tried to apply mascara but failed to actually get the correct shaping and volume necessary to make her eyelashes look any different. At least it hadn't been colored, heaven knew what sort of Chernobyl-level fashion disaster would have resulted from that.

Irene shrugged when Noah began speaking back in earnest. "To be honest I'm not. I don't think there's much of a comedy scene in this town." Despite the potential at the subtle dig that was almost undoubtedly a genuine sentiment. Just an Irene thing, to drop bombs without even realizing it. "I dunno, I've never been good with 'funny' things and 'funny' people. All those video game guys with the huge YouTube channels, I don't really get it, you know?" She glanced around at the gathered crowd, hidden in the thick of the restaurant's smoky darkness and cheesy punchlines. "I just wanted to go out for a bit before I did... uh... something later. Maybe get up to speed on Mrs. Webber's Tolstoy project, if I didn't leave it at school like I'm beginning to suspect I did." Wait, did Noah actually share any teachers with her? She was positive she hadn't seen him in a single class this year- probably a good thing- but maybe he had a teacher she also had in a later period or something.

"Who's on your sched. this year?" She'd cut schedule short so it sounded like 'sked'. Saved microseconds at best, but it was time well saved in her honest and humble opinion.
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"She usually is," Irene waved a hand dismissively. Having lived in the long-reaching shadow of her sister for two years that weren't nearly as much of a trial as she'd hyped them up to be in her head, Irene was notably quick to redirect whenever the elder Djezari was in danger of becoming the main topic of a rant. "Although I dunno what you mean with the bit about spending the night. As long as you've got a friend on dial, right?" The resounding woosh of air was Irene's having missed the laughably easy two-pointer. "But I'll tell her, don't worry." Said with especial nonchalance, with a certain bored sneer to her lower lip, so Irene would likely forget. But the sentiment definitely would have been appreciated if not for the fickleness of the messenger.

"I mean, that doesn't tell me a lot Noah! I also have senior level classes and all." Off the top of her head she was ahead of the curve in both science and math due to how those classes worked in Cochise. "Where did you apply? Most applications are confirmed sometime in the next two months or so, right?" What was the date, even? Irene could lose track of fairly large stretches of time if not routinely reminded via digital aid. Last thing she could remember with any temporal clarity was getting almost literal wads of cash for Christmas, the remnants of which were her current pocket warmer. Oh, that reminded her:

"How much was your potato thingy?"
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"Gesundheit." Irene's trigger-happy brain read Noah's impulsive hand-to-mouth as an impending cough and the rest was history. To say nothing of how horrifically she'd butchered the German. 'Ges on date' may have made more sense in a conversation discussing the romantic history of a hypothetical character named Ges but here it was left wanting for context. "Seriously though. But, maybe if I looked like that I'd get people to let me into their houses even harder than they normally would. Mmm... If Asimah won't help me do it maybe I could figure it out myself. How hard could it possibly be?" Uh-oh. The seeds of something horrible had probably been planted, germinating their corrupting tendrils into the depths of the Djezarian gray matter. Inception, only with a far less attractive lead the way things were shaping up.

Irene had a brief coughing fit, this one legit. Lasagna too dry and spicy. Hey, if the appetizers were that cheap maybe she could get the taste of over-processed mozzarella out of her mouth. As much as that didn't solve the coughing problem.

"I- cough- oh, huh." Irene actually wasn't too up to date on her collage game. Too far in the future for the oblivious little Junior girl. All she knew was the obvious culprit Ivy Leagues and that Texas A and M had apparently made a good showing in the collegiate League circuit last year. Maybe she'd have more of a solid idea when this year's tourney was over and done with. "I guess UCLA is always a good one if you can get into it? You could try to get noticed in the big shot clubs and all." As much of a sore history as she'd had with Noah she couldn't deny he was pretty damn funny. Just in a way that sometimes made her feel guilty for laughing, when she remembered she had cause to.

"Oh okay, so you do have Webber too." She didn't have the other two mentioned, or at least the names rung none of Irene's poorly constructed bells. "Is she making Senior classes do the same thing as Juniors? T-B-H-" and here she actually spit out the letters of the slang for 'to be honest', "she really overdoes the discussion circles sometimes, doesn't she? I swear half of any given class doesn't actually have much to say for a selected passage. Like, reading too much into it or whatever." But she'd had this argument before, often vehemently and not too rarely with the teacher herself, and she knew where it led. That fact had just, for the moment, conveniently slipped her mind.

"Oh, you're next? 'Kay, get ready to break legs." This was going to be interesting. She'd never actually seen Noah live before. She had to imagine it would be different from playing his YouTube videos in the background while making a mess out of her room or whatever.
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"Huh, I see." She didn't, really. She had a typically teen outlook on the family and parentals, quantified as 'eh'. In a happy household the priority of it's coddled baby was to escape, to taste freedom even when she struggled with doing her own laundry. 'Which setting does what?' and all that jazz. An petty case of analysis paralysis, which was perhaps curable with liberal application of a cold wash cycle to the face. "Well Vegas also has the clubs and all so that's cool I guess? I mean it does have the clubs, I know, I've been there. I haven't actually seen UNLV though, isn't it off the strip? I mean it's kinda funny to imagine a school where you can immediately find yourself in the XS VIP after you're done with Psych 101. Not like any typical college student could afford that, but still. You know."

At that point she called the bartender. He looked half ready to card her for her decidedly not-21 appearance, but she clarified with no small amount of gratuitous English that all she wanted was a basket of potato skins.

"Huh, really?" She had to giggle, that was actually a pretty good way of looking at it, in a sense. Maybe she should also give Tolstoy a piece of her rambunctious mind... but ugh, she'd probably get marked down for that. No way she was letting her perfect GPA slip now. "What do you do for the essays then? Do you also write like that for them or do you take it more seriously for the grade? I mean I could see it for 1984 but Mrs. Webber would probably kill anyone who tried that sort of thing on Hamlet. Just skin them alive right in front of the class with her red pen of doom." A monotonous laugh from the crowd punctuated her response. Didn't seem like the person currently on was being well received. Irene couldn't even be assed to glance over and give the anonymous voice a pronoun.

"Huh, so it's not gonna be as kinda awkward and offensive for a change, sounds good." That was the slip everyone's breath had been held for.
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Irene listened, while speedy fingers began to pick at her potatoes when they arrived. Ugh. Pretty good, just the right amount of finger slicking grease for flavor, but the state of Irene's dry throat continued to deteriorate, and she liberally coughed between swallows of starch. The lightness of her wheezing failed to communicate the extent of her tracheal agony, she felt like she'd swallowed a mass of jagged metal shards. Only sunk cost fallacy kept her going at the food.

Hm. Why was he smiling at her like that? Irene felt like she'd missed something, but as usual she brushed aside the errant thought of her own mortality.

"Most of the time you're cool, I'm not going to lie. And, I mean, I wouldn't say you're not funny. Just. You know." Irene made a vague motion above her head, some rogue hybrid between an Italian-esque stereotype and a salute to the Third Reich. As if that in anyway clarified what she hadn't said. She figured Noah knew as well as she did, that she was still on some level on his case for his perceived lack of tact concerning the LGBTQQIABCDwhatever. "And I dunno who Woody Allen is so that ref was lost on me, sorrys." Irene's brain briefly churned for any sort of last second recognition of the name before giving up with requisite pathetic farting nose. While she watched a lot of media she usually didn't memorize the names of the actors and talents behind the things she enjoyed, it didn't have the same sort of impact on her.

Another cough, this one nearly including a free sampling of Irene's prior meals, so violent it was. "J-jeez. I'm somehow killing myself here." She gagged back another hacking with a body-wide tremble, a queasy look of disgust etched into her half-open mouth. "Yo! Water!" She flagged down the bartender again, and kept the words coming while she continued to wrestle with the scourges of inflammation for control of her airways. "You- you're next then? What are you gonna be giving the audience today?"
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Noah's grin prodded, teased. Irene was in pain, and thus highly predisposed to making an ass of herself. More than usual, that was. The struggle to maintain homeostasis was top priority though, and she couldn't really lay into Noah like she wanted to. The mental barrage was unrelenting though, and she managed an evil eye even as her eyes slightly watered. Sort of a half grimace, slightly bloodshot glare that frequently blinked out of existence to shove back runny tears. 'Fuckin' dork, 1 v 1 me mate'. Her thoughts weren't especially coherent, but they went something along those lines.

"Oh, something a little more easily consumable than Woody Allen and those potato skins."

Irene recognized that was kinda funny and laughed despite herself. Hey, could you blame a girl for being naturally giggly? The giggling made it hard to choke her water down, and Irene lost herself for a few moments. In the music the moment she owned it, and she would never let it go. As much as she was struggling to keep a hold on the glass. She was choking how. And everyone was joking now.

But bad mojo did as it was wont when Irene was suffering, and all returned to her usual vibe. She'd managed to hydrate her throat, and already her pain was forgotten and she was shoving down more potatoes as if they hadn't been her personal hell moments prior. Her aggravation with Noah was already forgotten, and she was now eager to see what he had. Almost as eager as she was to get this junk in her belly, man she was blitzing the starches into oblivion. She spared a moment to clap as the rest of the crowd did as Noah made his way on stage, ignoring how sticky her fingers now felt as mini grease traps.
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"Hiii!" Irene also heartily cheered along with the audience, though Noah's age obviously wasn't much of a revelation. Though to be fair, the eternal sunshine of Irene's spotty mind could let some pretty drastic things slip.

But man, Noah had some points. Irene wasn't much of a comedy buff, too much visual stimulus degraded the touch-and-go wiring of her brain. She preferred watching things where it wasn't one person in plain getup pacing around a stool with a bottle of water on it. So she wasn't too aware of the MO of stand-up being 'culturally relevant' humor. She was still firmly entrenched in the neolithic era of children's slapstick, at least to some degree. Noah's pithy observations speaking to her was out of left field, the speaking point of what had hitherto been a fairly routine chance encounter. In other words, aw shit, her mind was about to be blown.

That reminded her though, gotta leave that tip. Under? Over? Irene could have calculated the proper amount off hand with ease, but she didn't remember the actual percentage. Just throw down a ten spot. That would probably do it. She shoved the fresh and laundered bill under her now-eviscerated potato basket, tucking it in like the precious baby it was to the poor underpaid staff.

"... but I've got fresh tire marks on my back telling me I should have lent my classmate a spare mechanical pencil during yesterday's math test."

Oh shit poor Noah- no wait Irene you dork that's just hyperbole. He'd probably only been run over by a rolling backpack, as opposed to a full-blown automotive. What was Mad Max? More references lost to the sand-blasted annals of Irene's culturally-disrespectful mind. It sounded like some kinda apocalyptic work. Like 1984, maybe. Wait, had she even read that? Sheesh, English class had hardly been the high-point of her previous academic years. She'd probably at least read Shakespeare at some point. Maybe even Tolstoy.

Mental disarray aside, Irene giggled lightly, light tones blending into chorale-disarray with the other timbres of the audience voicing their approval for Mr. Whitley.

"... Before, you could just go to the DMV to see people who were miserable 24/7, but now you don't even have to leave your house." Another laugh. Irene got the internet part though, that one earned a snicker of a whoop from her. Internet these days. Maybe someday she'd actually know why everyone thought the DMV was so funny.
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The internet was good for expression, totes. Who even knew where Irene would have been today without her definitely age-appropriate Tumblr? Or one of the many roleplay side blogs with poorly copy-pasted CSS formatting? Man, she was really gelling with what Noah was laying down. This had to be what they called real talk. Surely Golden Girls was a routine reference in twenty-first century discussions, right? Irene and Asimah had watched a few episodes of the old serial together, and Irene considered it as relevant as anything else she'd ever watched. That was to say, it probably wasn't relevant at all.

But ugh, that voice. Disjointed memories of Irene's beef wellington boiled over into the forefront of her brains, as the dull-ache of 'dammit Noah' returned to life. The bitch from Greenbean, Tennessee. Irene's mortal enemy, or at least one among many. The girl caught in the rain, Miss Pina Colada. At least she didn't look like an offensive stereotype yet, because was strikingly similar in appearance to Noah Whitley. But any moment now the makeup would be seeping in rivulets from the pores, she could already see it.

Man, and she was just getting into it to. Way to use a hackneyed crutch. The audience was laughing, but all Noah got from Irene's sector was a grumbles worth of booing and an evil eye. Lost in the crowd, probably, but at least the non-sent message existed. It wasn't about sending a message, it was about being unreasonably offended. Like, in theory, she got that Noah wasn't really doing anything especially off this time. Comedians pulled out the cheesy impressions all the time, not like she knew that, but it was at least fair proprietary even to the uninformed. She just really had a long-standing, deep-seated, old-as-the-Earth-and-Planck-epoch grudge over the nubile Bucket and her infuriatingly hilarious demeanor. Irene was still giggling, even. It was just a breathless, flushed, glare of a giggle.

"Heeey, Noaaaah. I want to start, um, one of those web shows. Be real famous and such."

Yeah, but your webshow suuuuucks. Irene did briefly relish the thought of being the lobber of the glass bottle of justice and eliminating an affront to her sensibilities in a shower of shiny and jagged particulates. But no, she wasn't really that kind of girl. Maybe if it were like in the old school Acme cartoons and all she'd do was inflict humorously non-factor injury upon him. Hey, was that a witty observation? Irene bet she could have taken the stage with the mental comedy running a marathon through her brain at that moment. She definitely would have left the audience breathless.

"Let's just say I'm exploring options in case the comedy thing doesn't work out."

Aaaaaand there goes the innuendo, soaring overhead and leaving contrails for conspiracy theorists for decades to come. Noah definitely had the audience, the room was pretty warm, but Irene felt absolute zero. Only a warped sense of stubborn obligation kept her butt welded to her chair with brackets and rivets. The bartender idly asked if she wanted anything else, she brusquely brushed him off with an irate grunt, leading him to shrug off the suddenly rude blonde.
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The Hills Have Eyes. Was that the one movie where Hannibal Barca got imprisoned and then helped the police catch a serial killer? Cereal killer though. That was the real punchline. At least Irene thought it was funnier than whatever Noah was blathering on about now. But still, maybe there was still a morsel of genius or wisdom somewhere in his monologue. She wasn't especially keen on sticking around now, she was for all intents and purposes ready to flip the proverbial bird and fly one over the cuckoo nest. But she couldn't just walk out the door, even though she was in all aspects legal through physical capable of doing so.

So instead she allowed her thoughts to critically dissect her friend-turned-nuisance's methodologies.

One: Wait, so did Pina die or something? Damn, it was about time.

Two: Irene thought this one was kinda true. Hey, if people talked enough she tended to laugh at some point, so it was valid right? But wait, what was with the random ass pause? Was he trying to be funny or something?

Three: No dang it, Pina was still alive. But in a dumpster now. Where she belonged. Oh man, was she starting to be overly harsh? Perhaps, but wasn't the only acceptable policy brinkmanship? The Cold War had proved that well enough. Maybe. But maybe Irene had to sympathize with a fellow woman against her oppressor. Noah was the one hypothetically throwing Pina out of and into stuff, after all. Wait, wasn't Pina the one Irene hated, not the Noah behind the mask? Sheesh, where did the metaphor even begin?

When Noah Whitley left the stage and proclaimed he was never even there Irene Djezari followed suit. Boom. Like she'd never even entered the building, she was gone. Except for the empty basket with her oversize tip still hidden underneath, that still stayed. And her wallet, she also left that one behind sitting rather conspicuously on the bar counter. Besides all that though it was like Irene had never stepped foot in the Cheryl's establishment, not since last weekend at any rate.

-----

She had her phone out on the way home, walking in the balmy air of a desert at twilight. At first she'd been typing up a storm Noah's way, but as she struggled to find the proper words to rant incoherently with she was distracted by the sudden inkling to figure out what Mad Max really was. Was it really the apocalyptic work that might or might not have been by Tolstoy that she was imagining? The answer was almost definitely no, but she could at least entertain the thought. She shoved the notepad app draft for her angrily worded letter aside, to join many other forgotten drafts like her half-completed screenplay. 'It's like Toradora, but the angry chick is even angrier!'

((Irene Djezari continued in Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses))
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