Abacus is Skewed so the Math Just Ain’t Fair

24 Hour McDonalds 

 Four in the afternoon and she was straddling the no man's land between the lunch time rush and the flood of people looking for a quick and easy dinner. It was nice, gave her some peace of mind while she regretted her choice of a booth near the large sheets of glass that made up the front of the restaurant. The sun was positioned in such a way that she had to keep her head down to avoid squinting, making a sort of pyramid out of the wax paper wrappers balled up from her cheese burgers.

 And maybe that in itself wasn't a great sign of discretion, one woman and a tray of three value meal cheeseburgers, a couple sleeves of fries, and two flimsy sized boxes of nuggets. But, you know, what sort of asshole would comment on a stranger's nutrition choices?

 They'd hit a point where the Larkspur footage hardly made the afternoon news, where she had not heard a word about it in a couple weeks. Things were settling, a slow healing wound that might one day end without a scar after all. And while that was great, she wasn't sorry for her paranoia save for the home she had lost in North Glenn as an effect of it.

 Dante, was, at the end of the day, a good enough host - but he was decidedly Dante and in a home, a neighborhood, a territory that was decidedly wolf ... well. So she spent a lot of her time out, tried not to hang around like a sad sack or a vaguely friendly ghost. And sometimes that meant work, but mostly it meant aimlessly nosing about until the sun started to set. The beauty and the horror of her line of work was that there was no set schedule.

 Sometimes you needed to check the filing on a shipment of pistols are three in the afternoon, other times you were out and on the road at two in the morning delivering shotguns like they were fresh baked cookies. But in a world where shit hadn't hit the fan in over a month (a Mountainside record, it felt like), things were calm for the time being.

 Calm was nice - but it also mean occupying a whole family seating arrangement in a fast food chain. Using her thumb nail now to try to make a crisp fold on one of the wrappers she had smoothed out. Maybe she could make some burger paper cranes or whatever.


Whoever was making her do the evening shift at work could pleasantly burn in a special kind of hell. She hated evening shifts. Weird people came in on evenings. Normal people went and bought their drugs at normal hours, like everyone else.

Now here she was, schedule all fucked up because she had to work 5:30 to midnight.

She had to feed her poor cats earlier than usual. She had to go comfort herself with trash food MUCH TOO EARLY because she wasn't going to use the work microwave that had spaghetti stains all over it.

Kaylee was a mistreated middle class white girl right now, and she was proudly mentally whining about it.

On the outside, she was just a rather blank looking girl in grey clothes, carrying a tray of fries and McChicken with one of those artery-clogging apple pie things. She wandered to the drink machine, and got an ice tea. Then she tried to pull out those little ketchup container things, sent one flying, and had to awkwardly bend down to fetch it like a decent citizen.

That's when she noticed the girl.

Alexa! No. Audry! No. Al.. Something. Her. The Ice House girl she vanished on.

It was a drunken haze to recall, but she had enough humanity to wave to her lightly, get her damn ketchup, and then wander over to the table. "Hey, fancy seeing you here. I didn't die, heh."

That wasn't an awkward opening at all, Kaylee.

 Some people were walking social encyclopedia's, the sort who could remember every person and conversation. For her part, she was more like a toddler's board book - simple in what she held onto and what she left in the gutter behind her. This girl only made the cut because the interaction had been relatively recent and, hello, she had disappeared in thin air.

 "You're sober." Which, perhaps wasn't the world's most flattering initial observation but she made it anyway as she scooted over to give her ample room and popped a couple more fries into her mouth. "I'm glad you didn't end up inside of a volcano or some shi- where did you go?" A question that had plagued her for some time when all was said and done that night.

You're sober.

Oh. Well. Yes. But hey she could attempt an awkward joke right? "Am I? McDonald's is America's Drunken Fry Run no?" A joking smirk, as the girl (Andrea??) moved aside to make room. Sure, cool, she could eat her trans fatty meal with her. Why not.

Kaylee plopped down, pulling her drink close and sipping through the double straws. Ah yes, the major question left from the evening. "Sorry I couldn't find you after, didn't mean to freak you out or anything." Was it Amber??

Her teleportation hadn't ended up being so graceful as to transport her to a volcano. Could she even go that far? That'd certainly save on travel expenses if she could.

"I magically, elegantly, vanished to the bathrooms and barfed up seven glasses worth of margaritas." Jazz hands.

 Maybe it wasn't the most empathetic of responses, but all the same she snorted, shoulders shooting up a bit before she shot the other woman a slight grimace as a form of quiet apology. "At least it was beneficial, yeah?" A good place to end up - definitely better than a volcano at least. She sipped her soda, tried to remember what she had been sucking down back then. It was some bizarre color - that much she remembered, tasted dangerously sweet ... probably a lot less appetizing coming back up.

"I wasn't terribly freaked, you warned me that it was a thing for you." Which, warning or not, probably constituted as a bizarre response to a girl vanishing out of thin air.

Very, very beneficial. She snorted again, rolling her eyes. "I mean, better than be the drunk girl who retches all over the floor and people's shoes." Kaylee popped a few fries in her mouth, eyeing Andrea?? with interest.

Beauregard had mentioned he thought she was lying, about losing the powers thing.

Well, she had a second, sober chance to ask about it. So here went nothing! "One thing bugged me from that night though - you were saying you had a power, like me. But in past tense. How'd you lose it?"

It wasn't accusatory - it was just genuine curiosity. If Kaylee could lose this.. Well. She wasn't sure if she would or not, but the option was there.

 Apparently, she had't been that drunk - at least not to the point of blurring out a conversation that Alex had hoped would be little more than a hazy mess on the back of her mind. That was fine - she had this. "I don't know for sure." She focused on picking out the right french fries - the ones that were the slightest bit soggy but still cooked properly. Popping one after the other into her mouth once she swirled them around her little paper cup of ketchup.

 "I just woke up one day and that was that, nothing." She shrugged her shoulders, did what she could to try to make herself look particularly forlorn. "I've tried to figure it out, I've tried to bring it back - but ..." Sadly enough, that one wasn't as rooted in lies as she would have liked. Remembering those early days of frantically trying to remedy her state of being.

It was honestly difficult to decipher if she was in fact being lied to. The girl seemed honest enough? Kaylee hummed softly in reply, still going through her fries habitually because she was one of those people who had to finish everything separately.

"That's so odd, honestly. Did you have any trauma?" That, she realized belatedly, was kind of a probing topic, and backtracked with an apologetic look. "Sorry, I'm a pharmacist so my mind goes medical. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to."

She didn't want her to, honestly. But she also didn't want to piss this woman right off and get beaten up.

Alexis seemed like the kinda girl who could throw her through a window if she really wanted to.

 Did she have any trauma - well ... the corner of her mouth twitched just so - the tiniest hint of a smile before she forced a cough to mask it. Her thoughts wondered down that particularly familiar and weather worn path. Past the impossible half-human monsters, through the part with the sick and distinct snap of a neck, around the things she'd imagined, underneath the smell of charred flesh. Settled on the simplest and most direct influence, the bite to the knee and the raised and silvered crescent shaped scars she still carried from it.

 "No trauma, at least nothing out of the norm - my job's a little stressful but doesn't everyone feel that way?" She moved on to the extra crispy fries, the little shards of fried potato you could poke someone with and make them say ow. "Maybe I just have horrible luck."

Ah yes, nothing like the stressful work life. But enough to rid yourself of powers? That seemed a little extreme to her too, so wasn't that.

Back to the idea of her lying, or literally being the unluckiest psychic in the world.

"What do you do for a living?" Because hey, she was stuck here now working through french fries and eating in silence ranked up in most sucky memories from childhood. If she wanted that, she'd be home staring at four cats right now.

Oh her furbabies, how she missed giving you table scraps this evening.

 Thankfully, this was one she was prepared for - a well versed lie that was one size fits all. "Oh, I'm an entrepreneur." She swirled another fry in a puddle of ketchup and shrugged her shoulders. With her clean hand she tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear. People usually stopped asking there, either thought that was something impressive or a loose blanket to mask a heaping mound of bullshit.

She supposed the truth was, a bit of both - really.

 She hesitated then, glanced over and licked the tip of her finger before she pressed it into a pile of salt - Were health, meant she didn't have to feel horrifically guilty. "I would tell you more but I'm waiting for some patents to go through."

Entrepreneur wasn't something Kaylee had been expecting, even if it was sort of a rude thing to think. Alana seemed more the type of girl who worked at some sort of retail place, perhaps something high-end even.

Patents, that kind of thing? Somewhat surprising, but who was she to judge? "Understandable, no worries. Sounds like an interesting job though, more so than pushing pills." And all the other stocking and retail shit that came with it.

She watched her dunk a fry in salt, vaguely horrified. That was a coronary waiting to happen, okay.

"That's gotta be so salty," she commented jokingly, pointing her own fry at the method with a small grin.

 "Never a dull moment." Except when things were calm, which thankfully (and also unfortunately) was a lot of the time these days. Still, she didn't need to know that either. The salt remark made her look down at her tray, as if the news that she wasn't making a particularly health conscious choice was earth shattering to her.

 "It's a problem." Or was, she supposed, back when those sort of things mattered to her personally. Unsure for a moment, she shrugged, licked the tip of her finger and went in for another swipe. "At least it's not like -" She ran through the index quickly, stopped on a random line in her mind. "Bath salts or whatever."

She snorted lightly at the reply of at least it's not bath salts. Because who the fuck would dip their fries in bath salts? Oh wait. Right. The current generation of 15 year olds or whatever.

"Ahh yes, bath salt fries. They pair deliciously with Tidepod burgers." An eye roll, before shooting Alexa a genuine grin. "Seriously, what world are we living in that's a thing. In my day we did the cinnamon challenge."

Alone, in your room, trying to be cool because you had no friends.

Fun times people.

 "I sniffed Sharpies but it never really went anywhere." Until, you know - the real stuff came along a few years later. But even at the height of that portion of her career, she couldn't say with any conviction that she was really one for dipping into the product. A handful of times perhaps but, too interested in maintaining control at all times to really enjoy.

Sort of put a damper on that whole - half a coyote, business.

 At any rate she pushed her tray aside, sipped at her drink and shifted her straw around blindly in her cup - mostly ice left. "What the fuck is a cinnamon challenge?" Could you get high off of cinnamon? What?

Sharpies smelled gross, but in a good way. Kaylee understood you girl, she used to open nail polish bottles to sniff too.

What she couldn't understand was how she'd never heard of the cinnamon challenge? Like. That shit had been all over YouTube. A faintly bemused look crossed her face, one hand propping up her chin. "Basically, you film yourself eating a tablespoon full of cinnamon."

So simple. So disgusting.

"It's the same shit as the tide pod thing now. It's disgusting, you nearly die, you film it and stick in on social media, get likes, everyone tries it. Then someone dies and the news tells us not to be idiots."

 Explained in such a way, it sounded like the sort of thing that wasn't that bad. But the more she thought about it ... her eyes narrowed and she remembered just how big a tablespoon was and wrinkled her nose as she started to consolidate her trash. "You mean like when people try to chug a gallon of milk?" And maybe there was a banana or too that went into that, it had been a number of years since she'd spent any real energy in seeing what the generally young and mostly stupid were up to as a whole.

 At any rate she moved to stand - located the trashcan just two tables down and cleared off her tray before putting it away and coming back for her half finished paper cup of mostly flat soda. "I think we learned a lot today." Which, maybe wasn't exactly true but ... a whole tablespoon of cinnamon?

Kaylee nodded with a snort at the question, though she hadn't actually seen any of those milk-chugging videos. Guess what she was looking up tonight in bed.

The girl whose name was still alluding her completely got up to toss her trash, meaning Kaylee was gonna be finishing her dinner alone like the sad soul she ought to be. No matter, as she wasn't miffed by the prospect one bit.

She did, however, want this chick's name because it was driving her mildly insane. Upon her return, Kaylee was already pulling out her phone, smiling slightly. "Hey, don't want to just lose you again. Wanna put your number in? Maybe we can go out for drinks again or something." Which honestly, didn't sound awful as she held out her phone with the contacts open.

Maybe she like, actually made a friend here.

 The suggestion made her squirm for a second, quiet as she chewed on the edge of her straw and looked from the phone to the girl. A while ago she would have made some lame ass excuse - said she had limited texting or something. And then she would have ran, far away from anyone who was most definitely not a member of the Were club - it was just safer that way.

 But she'd demonstrate that she could hold her shit lately, right? Right. So maybe it was time to not be so anti-Were, maybe that meant that she didn't have to hole herself up and ... "Sure, that purple hell-drink was pretty decent." Not, of course, that they couldn't go elsewhere. But soon Cedar Creek would be home officially, and so - pay attention. She set her cup back down and took the phone carefully, tapped in her number under ALEX and saved it before she passed it back over.

 "Shoot me a message so I got you saved too - maybe but your name in there too because I'm ... yeah I'm bad at ..." She motioned to herself and then Kaylee, back again before picking her Coke back up. It was vague, most assumptions as to meaning held some degree of truth.

Alex, finally. Hey, at least she'd been close with the A sounds?

Kaylee smiled, shooting the girl a thumbs up. "Totally, I'm bad at names too so thanks for putting yours in. Alex." She smiled a little weakly, both pleased she'd made like, an actual contact friend, and then just.. kinda already dreading the idea of awkwardly hanging out again?

But, she'd been doing well lately. She could handle hanging out with someone who wasn't an old vampire man who boned her on occasion.

"I'll see you around then," Kaylee promised, partly to herself so she wouldn't chicken out of this.

A few minutes later, she'd send the girl a text back.

Kaylee's number


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