(2018-10-19) Bad Times at the Java Junction
Open mic night is bad enough without heists and violence.

It was 'Open Mic Night' at Java Junction, which meant the tables were shoved away from a corner of the room that was now set up as a makeshift stage, with a single microphone on a stand. Wannabe comedians take their turns telling horrible jokes and stand-up routines, while the rest of the room pretends to laugh. Currently up on the mic? A 67-something year old woman who is doing her best to impersonate a Jerry Seinfeld routine and fucking it up terribly.
"And what's the DEAL with THE air PLANE food?"

Andre was standing in line, heads above most of the other people in the room, his arms crossed, but there was nothing tense about his posture. Instead, he just keeps bursting out laughing at every single joke. "Yeah, yeah! What IS the deal with the airplane food? Right, Maggie?" he smacks the girl standing beside him in the arm. "Like what's the deal with it?" His voice drops a little lower, as his brows furrow. "Seriously."

Vic isn't here for open mic night. She's here because she was at the University, snapping shots of some poor student whose helicopter mom wanted to be certain when he said he was going to the library to study, he was actually doing that. He was. It might have been her most boring surveillance job ever, but it pays enough to get a fancy coffee near the college.

The former cop-turned-PI steps into Java Junction, bundled up in a coat, jeans, and boots, with a camera bag slung over her shoulder. She steps into line at the counter with a frown at the terrible concept known as 'open mic night'. You run one of those, you get all the horrible you deserve. At least there is booze most places that have karaoke. Vic squints up at the menu and waits her turn.

Belle stands in line, yawning as she waits for her turn at bat. She hasn't taken a serious look at the menu, nor will she even attempt it. She palms one of her eyes, trying to banish the sleep as she shifts on her feet. "How long can it take to pour a fucking cup of coffee into a goddamned Styrofoam cup?" She mutters under her breath. Her shoulders twitch and then she goes quiet again as the old woman attempts another wisecrack. "This is my hell." Belle states, shaking her head back and forth.

Maggie was reading every… last… word on the back of a packet of Equal, but she winds up dropping that when Andre claps her on the arm, jolting her out of her reverie, blinking her way back into the here-and-now. "Huh? Why are you - oh, it's a joke, Dre. It's not really even food, it's just called 'food' because 'preservatives served in plastic-wrap' would cause an uprising." She squints up at Andre, reading his brow-furrows but lacking the context for them. "You guys can go ahead of us," she tells Vic and Belle collectively, pointing to the line in front of Andre. "It's gonna take a while for us to get our order straight." She gives Belle a double-take, shaking hair over her face in the aftermath.

"Whoops," Andre utters when Maggie's Equal packet drops to the floor, and he stoops to pinch it with his meaty fingers, holding it back up to Maggie. See? He's helpful. As he stretches back to his full height, he frowns at her. "It's not real food? Shit, I kinda liked the pretzels.." He trails off as Maggie addresses Vic and Belle, bobbing his head in a nod as he holds out his hand in the most gentlemanly way possible. "Yep yep. Ladies first. Maggie doesn't count."
On stage, the woman is continuing: "And I don't want to hear about your specials in the restaurants! If they're so SPECIAL, why NOT put THEM on the MENU?!"

Andre starts laughing again, shaking his head back and forth. "This lady," he says, wiping a tear from his eyes. "She's just so right."

Natalya slips into the cafe and seems immediately bemused by what she sees…but not very amused by what she hears. She is way overdressed for this place. It looks like she has just arrived from a formal dinner at an embassy; shimmering black dress, fur stole, hair up and perfect. Close behind her are two large men in suits who wouldn't know a smile if it bit them. Their beady eyes scanning the crowd, an extra look for Andre, before following Natalya. She sits at a table, they sit at another table close by. Lines? The staff should come to her!

Vic grunts something that might be thanks at the pair who tell her she can go ahead of them and slides in behind Belle. She fishes in her front jeans pocket for some dollar bills, then grimaces and shoves them back in, digging in her inside jacket pocket for her debit card instead. She makes a face at the bad joke and hitches her bag up a bit higher. The equipment is heavy, and she's been lugging it around for hours now.

Belle waits patiently, looking like she is considering throwing something at someone. She nods at Maggie when she offers to step aside, and her hair shaking doesn't go unnoticed. "What, IT people don't drink coffee?" The words are sarcastic, but there isn't any reason for her to continue the conversation so she steps up to order. "Coffee. Black. Easy right?" When asked for a name for her cup, she shakes her head and sighs. "Rosabella." She spits out, running fingers through her hair. She slaps down five dollars, gets her change and moves to wait for her super simple cup of coffee to be babied by a barista.

Maggie doesn't even say thanks for the Equal retrieval; it's more like she expected this result, and takes the packet back as a matter of course. She stuffs it into the tiny useless pocket in the front of her pants. "Don't eat pretzels, they're really bad for you." A little 'ah!' noise comes out of her when she watches Vic pull out the plastic, her teeth literally on edge while she watches this poor human prepare to pay with a card! Since Vic's next, and they're after Vic, she scoots up to the edge of the register area, coincidentally right in the line-of-sight from the cashier to the tip jar.

Also, for Belle, Maggie just smiles (it looks really weird on her face, that simple smile) and forgets to reply, too busy wandering her eyes toward Natalya and the thugs. She taps Andre on the elbow and nods thataway.

"Is there anything safe to eat?" Andre manages to stop laughing long enough to ask Maggie this question, one brow pushed up while the other subtly furrows. Thankfully for everyone else in the room aside from Andre, the woman on stage takes her bow and makes her exit, allowing for the next comedian to take the stage. He's got a guitar. This isn't going to be good. Andre shuffle-walks further up the line as Belle makes her order, his beady eyes briefly settling on the woman, before focusing on Vic after. He doesn't seem alarmed of the credit card use, and he just shrugs his shoulders as he follows Maggie's nod over to the thugs. There's where his attention finally settles, as he unconsciously shifts towards Maggie to somewhat block her from view. "Whatcha think that guy's gonna do with the guitar, Mags?" he asks.

Natalya has been waiting at least a minute and there has been no table service. This is unacceptable. Some muttered Spanish to one of the thugs and he rises to take a direct route to the counter and announce an order - 'Triple Espresso' - over the line. Natalya's eyes watching him before switching to the woman staring at her, at least until the giant gets in the way. And is that the barkeep from the strip club? It is indeed. A smile and wave for Belle if she looks in her direction.

Vic finally steps up and mutters a request for an extra large black coffee. When the barista tells her the total for it, she hands her the card. There was no way a place that calls their coffee 'Java' was going to have $2 cups of joe. When asked for her name to put on it and be called, she snorts back, "Voldemort."

It takes about four minutes for her coffee to get to her. Four minutes for black coffee with nothing in it. Despite this, Belle stuffs two dollars into the tip jar and turns to find a seat. She'll listen to some bad comedy for a little bit. That's when she spots Natalya. "Lovely. The Princess." She stalks toward a table, avoiding the overdressed woman in favor of a mostly empty table with strangers. As she passes the thug she points to the line. "Stand there and wait your turn, puto cabron." She nods to the people at her table, kicks out a chair and plops down. The people there immediately get up and leave, giving Belle a worried look. This makes her smile, ahh a table all to herself.

"Vegetables." Maggie shrugs to turn that sad list of safe foods into an apology for her beefy buddy, one hand patting him on the bicep, the other… Well, she tries to slip it into the tip jar discretely, but between Natalya's thug calling out an order over the whole line and Vic asking to be called He Who Shall Not Be Named while the guitar-guy is still tuning, a fair few people just happen to be looking at the line while she's doing that. The words, "HEY! Get your hand outta there, thief!" cut into that silence, and Maggie just snatches the whole jar off the counter, bolting toward the door.

Good thing the coffee shop is full of criminals instead of cops, huh?!

"Vegetables?" Andre deflates with a disappointed expression, though it rapidly transforms into a focused sort of interest at Belle's comment regarding Natalya. He swings a glance in Natalya's direction, squinting. "She doesn't look like she's from England," he says with a frown to Belle, because /obviously/ only the royal family can have princesses. ".. Is she Megan Markle?" It is in that moment that Maggie utterly fails to be discreet with the tip-stealing and suddenly bolts with the cash in hand, Andre left blinking a few times before he casually side steps out of line. "I uh… I don't know her," he claims, lamely, before he turns and starts to follow Maggie out the door, having quite a bit of speed for being such a large dude.

At Belle's totally unjustified provocation to Natalya's bodyguard, the man turns to look at his employee as she gestures for him to calm down and let the barkeep have her little victory. It is soon obvious that she has no friends when the table clears. And it seems there is also a floor show as Maggie sprints off with the tip jar. Natalya seems more amused by this than the singing comedian. A gesture to her other guard which brings him closer to whisper in his ear. And then that man is leaving after the departing master-thieves.

Vic blinks a few times at the shouts, and her former cop instincts kick in for a moment. She reaches for a gun and badge that aren't there as she wheels to watch someone high tailing it out of the shop. She almost gives chase, almost. But she's not a cop anymore and hasn't been for a while. Tackling some kid stealing a tip jar isn't going to do much more than likely get her badly winded and make her reorder her coffee. Besides, how much money could there be in that jar? Not enough for more than a misdemeanor at best. The PD isn't going to assign resources to a case for that. She smirks back at the barista instead and grabs her coffee before the kid can even yell out the name without actually saying it. "Yeah, yeah whatever." She stalks for the door, unwilling to be here when the cops do arrive, since she might not be able to stop herself from smarting off to them.

Belle props her cheek in her palm, watching Maggie as she sprints toward the door. "IT work isn't paying shit in this town, obviously." She pulls her phone from her back pocket, fires off a text and props her feet up on a chair. She realizes that two of her dollars just sprinted out the door and she sighs, taking a big drink of coffee.

Some good Samaritan tries to stop Maggie on the way out, after seeing that Vic's not going to do so, moving to tackle her at the door. This results in all the money spilling out of the tip jar, coins scattering, bills fluttering, Maggie sprawling into the door, then through it, onto the sidewalk outside. The guy lunges after her, which is why she's hollering, "Dre! Do the thing with the muscles and the punching!" while she kicks his hand. All this for like $19 in tip money.

"Dammit," Andre grunts when he sees the good Samaritan go lunging for Maggie, though whether the dammit is for this girl that he totally doesn't know or for the money that spills all over the ground is suspect. Either way, he launches for the guy that lunges at Maggie, grabbing him by the shoulder and tossing him like a ragdoll up against the doorframe before sucker punching him right in the mouth. Some poor barista is going to have to clean up blood now.

The thug that is following the pair has to stop when people start flying through the air and blood flies. He nonchalantly slips a hand inside his jacket but seems happy to just watch for now. Finally, Natalya's order arrives, delivered by the other thug, and the Princess rises from her seat to go sit at Belle's table. Lucky Belle! "Quite the floorshow" she smiles to the other woman. "Their level of incompetence is quite amusing. Particularly the girl. I am surprised she did not get the jar stuck around her hand."

Belle was okay with the theft, a small amount of money isn't worth an asskicking, right? When people start getting beat up, she considers her options, still not convinced that she needs to get involved. She does shrug out of her jacket, pushing back her chair a few inches. Her phone vibrates, and she picks it up, aiming it toward Andre and Maggie, snapping a picture and not trying to hide it. She gives Natalya a look, a frown forming on her face. "The floorshow is supposed to be on the stage." She considers her words for a moment and then leans in to add. "Maybe you need to give them a job. Your hounds look well trained at least."

Maggie snatches a couple of bills that flutter out the open door after her, wadding them up in her hands and then staggering to her feet, 100% confident in Andre's ability to deal with the guy that came after her. That guy? Crumples straight to the floor, crying for someone to call the cops, looking tragically at Belle and Natalya (and the thugs) while they just sit there and casually let this happen. "We gotta run," she tells Andre, hooking her elbow around his forearm like she's going to bodily drag him out after her (lol at the mere thought of it). "You were totally trying to save me 'cause that guy was about to assault me…"

If the cops can't find the single biggest black dude in all of this town to ask about this little incident? They really suck.

"Sorry!" Andre utters to the man as he goes crumpling down, crying, and he sounds like he actually feels a little bad about the whole ordeal. But then Maggie's grabbing his arm, and he shuffles towards the door to make her feel better about her inability to move him. "Right, right. He was trying to hurt you! Saw it with my own two eyes," he declares, throwing a glance over his shoulder as Belle aims her phone at the both of them. And as he lets Maggie pull him away, he's heard muttering, "I think that one girl is takin' pictures, should I go back and break her phone?"

"I hope they are well-trained, they certainly cost enough" Natalya smiles sweetly to Belle's frown. A glance over to the Dudnamic Duo as they make their escape. "I suppose I could hire them. They could certainly do with some training, though now you have their images on your phone." A nod to the object in question. "I prefer my employees to be less…known. Maybe I should give you a job? You look well trained as well."

Maggie's not totally sure where we are in pose order, so just throws out, "Yes! Grab it and bring it!" She's going to try to find their car that they obviously brought and wait for Andre to dive into it so they can speed off like fucking gangstas.

Belle turns her head slightly to look at the thugs for a moment, shrugging before she gazes back at Natalya. She sets the phone back on the table, next to her coffee. "Princess, you couldn't afford me. Before you say that you can, and you'd like to, I don't work for…your type." She gives the overdressed woman a slow once over, brushing her hair behind her ears.

At Maggie's command, Andre ducks right back into the scene of the crime - the coffee shop. The guy he punched is still on the floor, crying. "Sorry again," he mumbles, before he stomps right over to Belle, and makes a grab for the phone right off the table. "I'm gonna need this, ladies!" he declares, but he looks utterly apologetic about the whole thing, "SORRY!" And then he's totally making a run for the door again.

"My type?" Natalya feigns horror at such an insult. "You don't work for Mexicans? I think that is a bit racist" she teases, but then there is a large black man with a history of violence getting a little too close to her. Both of her bodyguards watching Andre warily, hands inside jackets. Natalya quirks a brow at Belle, interested in what the woman will do.

Belle lets out a snorted laugh as Natalya speaks, giving her the finger before she picks up her coffee. Her back is to Andre, so she doesn't see him approach, even if she sees the thugs getting tense about something. A hand lands on her phone, and she slaps her hand on top of it. Before she can react again, the hand yanks the phone while another shoves her head forward, bouncing it off the table. Belle is dazed for a moment, but she gets to her feet just as Andre clears the door. Incensed, Belle throws her coffee on the ground and starts to swear — in three different languages.

"I'M REALLY VERY SORRY!!!" Andre can be heard saying as he sprints for the door, and dives into an unmarked car that peels off into the distance.

"Oooh…what else can you do with that finger" Natalya coos to Belle…just before the violence makes everything a bit messy. Amateurs. One of her goons is out the door after Andre, making a note at least of the make and model of the unmarked car. Natalya frowns at the surprise attack on Belle, though the swearing has her blushing a little. "Would you like some help?" she asks the swearing Belle.

Belle has her hands planted on her hips, eyes narrowed at the exit. She turns her head sharply to look at Natalya, her lips curling back into a slight sneer. "What kind of help? You help me, and then I owe you? Shit gets deep real quick that way." She pulls her hair back in a ponytail and shakes her head. "I'll handle this myself." She says, picking up her jacket from the back of the chair. "Thanks anyway, Princess."

Natalya smiles warmly at Belle's grumpy demeanor, offering her a little wave as she storms off. Once she is gone, so is the smile. Since the others have driven off into the night, her goon is reassigned to watch over Belle…from a distance. Natalya rises from her table and over to the owner of the cafe. "I'll pay for the damages" she smiles, before instructing her remaining goon to, "Take that guy to a hospital." He seems hesitant to leave her on the own but the look on her face insists.

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