Putting a Cherry on Top Doesn't Make it a Sundae

Working nights, going to school, trying to give a shit about his grades, practicing, and, in general, living ate up a lot of time. Tony didn't know the actual math of what work he did, he just knew every Saturday he grew shocked and irritated that his laundry piled up in the corner begging for a wash. Old habits kept him from forming a consistent wash schedule, but lately, he'd managed to pack up his basket and go every other Saturday. Of course, he put off laundry until the very last minute every time, resulting in him, nearly every other weekend, sulking outside the only open-late laundromat near his apartment.

Cordova's nightlife always provided some entertainment at least. The laundromat sat across from some sketchy looking restaurants and a club, promising an endless slew of drunk people arguing and other poor folk commenting about the great portions at one particular chain. Tony sat outside, smoking his preferred vanilla clove cigarette and watching with mild interest as a boisterous drunk man argued with another, younger dude. What they said wasn't totally decipherable, but the display was at least entertaining. Tony's phone was down to 30%, so people watching would have to suffice while he waited for his last load to finish drying.

Just as the fight started to fizzle, Tony stood to go check on how much longer his laundry had until it was dry. But standing up too quickly resulted in him knocking right into someone, the other person protesting while Tony stumbled back, hands shooting up to indicate he meant no harm. "Fuck- sorry dude, I wasn't watchin' where I was going," he immediately apologized, looking up to see who he'd smacked. With luck, he hoped he wouldn't become the drunkards entertainment. Wouldn't that be the cherry on top of shit?

Marlow has been partying it up in Cordova. Lavender Heights night scene was aight, but she wanted some change.

But that change included her pumping into some drunk bitch in the club, her spilling her beer all over the front of her shirt. Marlow was ducking ready to slap the bitch but she kept her cool.

Which leads us to why Marlow was in the laundry mat. You can’t walk around in a beer covered stained shirt. No way, Jose.

She was leaned up against the folding table, wearing her tank top and waiting for her sweater to finish drying. Marlow has been staring into space when someone ran into her, making her drop her wallet and phone that she was clutching tightly in her hands. Was she a ducking magnet tonight? Holy hell.

"Fukken hell, bruh, " she shouted at him, looking for where her wallet and phone fell and slid off to. "Watch what yer fukken doin’," her South African accent was especially think when she was yelling.

Tony apologized again, bending down to snag her wallet and phone quickly. "Sorry, sorry, I was distracted- oh," he said, staring at her phone with a prominent frown on his face. He turned the phone over in his hands, flipping it open and closed a few times, before locking eyes with her once more.

"And I thought I was a hipster, sheesh," he remarked, finally handing over her items. Tony stuffed his hands into his sweater's pockets and eyed her with a baffled expression. He didn't recognize the accent as South African, just distinctly not-quite-British. But his attention definitely zeroed in on the old ass phone. "How is that thing even working? Does it have any games or anything on it?" His brow cocked, he waited for an answer, amused and judgemental.

Not that he could really judge with his barely-functional "smart" phone. It at least could load apps which he counted as a win.

Narrowed eyes glared at him. She leaned onto one hip and crossed her arms over her chest.

And I thought I was a hipster. The fuck was a hipster?

The dude handed back her things after figdeting with her phone. Fucking rude, by the way. Who just touches peoples shit like that?

Her hands quickly swooped her wallet and phone from his grasp, her eyes still harshly staring at him.

"Fuk yew," she said bitterly, "It took me forever to save up for this damn thing! Or maybe you’re just used to mummy and dad buying you everything?" she waved the phone in his face.

She finally got a phone and someone was insulting her on her determination to save every penny she could to buy the thing? Hell no! Her phones clutched her precious piece of technology like a wolf protecting its pups. How dare he insult her.

Marlow frowned, her facial expression changing from harsh to soft and embarrassed. Sure, it was a flip phone, but she needed it! To call.. people. The one whole person in her contacts.

Tony flinched at the accusation, expression softening for a moment. It shifted again from soft and teasing to surprisingly apologetic as she took on her own embarrassed face. "Ah...look, sorry, I guess, just haven't seen one of those things in...awhile," he explained, digging his own phone out. A very basic smartphone, not even a recognizable brand, appeared in his hand. The edges were chipped and banged up a bit and the screen had one solid crack in it. But it was his. And he could play games on it. That's all that mattered.

"This is my piece of shit phone- can't hold a charge for too long, but at least I can look at Tumblr and shit on it," he explained, blushing a bit. "Anyway...Sorry. I should sorta know better...You doin' laundry here too?" His eyes lifted to look past her, scanning the running machinery. "I don't have much of a charge left, but I'd be willin' to like...help you pass the time. I was watching some drunkards but...ah...they're gone now. That's really all I can think of to make it up to you."

Did he owe this stranger an apology? Probably. He supposed he could get her a soda instead, but as his hand slipped into his pocket, he frowned. He only had maybe 65 cents left. Nevermind on that thought.

He apologized and pulled out his own crappy phone to show her. Curious but still suspicious eyes scanned the piece of technology, nodding in approval. He was allowed to join the crappy phone club.

"Yeah you better be sorry," she said while she hopped up on the metal folding tables to take a seat. She wriggled tonget comorrtable as she good on the sheet of metal as she patted the seat next to her, "Hop up and show me what games you got then." she didn’t feel the need to confirm that she was also doing laundry here. Why else would she be here? Just for funsies?

Anyways, he didn’t really need to make up for his snarky comments but Marlow was bored and he had a phone with games. It would help pass the time quicker.

"I got candy, you like candy?" she asked not really waiting for his answer. She pulled out a bag of Swedish Fish and set it between them. Candy was best eaten shared.

Tony hopped up beside her and opened up his full list of apps. He had a few games, mostly free ones, knock-offs of games like Bejeweled and Tetris. Somehow his shoddy phone managed to have Pokemon Go, but if one were to open the app, one would find Tony never setup the account. Solitaire, a few side-scrolling type games, and something that had the word "puzzle" in it all appeared on his phone too. "The one game with the dots is kinda fun, makes you have to think your moves through," he suggested while handing his phone over. "I'm Tony, by the way."

Marlow took the phone in her hands and looked over all of his apps.

The one game with the dots is kinda fun, makes you have to think your moves through.

Er, Marlow didn't think she would be smart enough for that game, but maybe with some help from him, it might be doable.

"Which one is that? I don't really know how to work a smart phone," she confessed, struggling to really get a good read on the busy colors and so many titles. She held onto the phone, but moved it closer to him so he could help her navigate better through it.

"I'm Marlow," she said while memorizing his name to heart. She was always sure to make it a priority to remember people's names. It was important.

"It's that one," he said, pointing to the app. "Nice to meet ya, Marlow." Though he'd long since lost his accent, every so often the hint of somewhere Eastern slipped out in his vowels. He showed her how to open it and start up the game, restarting from the beginning since that'd be easier than explaining the leveling system.

"Okay so you have to connect dots together to make them fall and as you go on it gets more challenging," he explained, showing her how to slide against the phone screen to make the game work. "And if you lose, you just restart where you left off. And eventually it'll like...change colors and stuff- I got to an arctic setting. I think. It looked cold at least..."

Tony rubbed his neck and watched her play in silence for a few moments. He sat back easily, watching his machines spin his clothes. "How many loads you have left- oh, and just a heads up-" He leaned forward and pointed at the battery at the top. "If that gets below 8% it'll just shut off. Sometimes it gets to 1%, which I call good days, but usually at 8% it's dead." He shrugged with a slanted frown across his face. Tony's next goal might be a better phone.

...After he found a better paying job, of course, so he could find a better apartment in which to live.

Marlow listened as closely as her brain allowed her as Tony explained the rules and the rundown of the game. She pretended to understand the game, nodding her head several times.

"Uh huh..." she mumbled, pressing random dots on the screen. Here, there, that, this, she pressed random dots before handing the phone back over. Maybe it was a good thing she didn't have a smart phone. There was no way she would've been able to even navigate it.

Thank god for being poor? Eh.

He then asked her about her laundry. "I'm just washin' my jumper. Some drunk dude spilled beer on it and I didn't want to walk around smelling like a brewery," she explained, shrugged her shoulders. Her eyes glanced towards the tumbling sweater in dryer. Oh shit.

How long did she leave it in there for? Marlow frantically jumped off the folding table and ripped open the dryer door to pull out her sweater. "Fukken hell," she practically hissed, pulling the shrunken pink sweater out of the dyer.

Tony tried not to laugh as Marlow hopped off the counter and raced towards her laundry, but alas, he failed. Chuckling, he covered his mouth as he mustered up some sympathy, offering after a pause of laughter, "I have a sweater you can have. Albeit, it's not quite as pink as that..." Tony hopped off the counter and headed for his own dryer, stopping it to dig through until he found an old chunky sweater in what might have once been orange but had washed out to something akin to sad creamsicle colored.

He handed it off to Marlow. "So...you're not from around here, obviously. What's the accent?" he asked after she took the sweater. He pulled the rest of his stuff out to start folding it up to take home. Mostly he wore shades of blue and black, but occasionally, odd stressed shirts and patterns stood out. Someday, he'd like to own more colorful pieces, but for now, he kept it relatively toned down. Relatively. Definitely a shirt promising something lewd popped out in the mix, the slogan reading "to get ahead you gotta give head ;)." Tony still thought it was funny.

And, after glancing her way, he lifted the shirt up with a suggestive smirk. "This might work too?" he teased.

Marlow glared at her shrunken sweater and tossed it onto the folding tables. Fine, good riddance then, piece of shit.

I have a sweater you can have. Albeit, it's not quite as pink as that... She arched a brow. Was this dude seriously offering his clothes to her? It was nice, but it seemed unecessary to her.

"Oh my god, I can't take your clothes," she threw her hands up to deny the sweater, but he insisted, handing it over to her. She smiled awkwardly. If they were both at the laundry mat, that meant that they were both lacking in the money. Marlow felt bad, but the dude insisted so she would get over it.

"Er, thanks. And I'm from South Africa," she mumbled, while she slipped the sweater over her head and yanked it down her torso. She felt weird looking at his laundry as he poured it out on the table to fold it. Her eyes caught glimpse of a graphic tee. They narrowed to get a better look at it, reading what it said... But then he held it up to her for her to read.

This might work too? Marlow gaped at his comment and the shirt.

"OH MY GOD, yes," she burst out laughing.

"Oh my god, I can't take your clothes," she protested but Tony insisted. He didn't need that sweater. He had enough for the summer and, he pointed out, "Good reason to buy a new one." But by the time she acknowledged that statement, he'd shared the shirt and laughter ensued.

Tony's smile spread even wider once she bust out laughing at the shirt. He laughed along with her, folding the item up, a twinkle in his eyes. Alright, Marlow, she seemed pretty cool. "South Africa," he pressed once the laughter subsided, the graphic shirt still atop the pile promising a means of success. "You're...way away from there. What brought you to Cordova of all places?"

Marlow was seriously considering getting one of those shirts for herself. She would totally wear it proudly too.

Her laughter subsided and she wiped away some fake tears, clearing her throat as well. "South Africa sucks, man. It's a dog eat dog world over there, ya know? " She shifted in her stance, deciding once again to plop herself up on the folding table again. "Everyone is just against each other. You think America is bad about race, South Africa is just insane." It was one of the reasons she made her way to America. She decided to leave out the others reasons, no need to dive that deep in her fucked up life.

Her hand searched for her bag of candy, pulling a few pieces out and stuff them all into her mouth. Mmm, sugar rush. "You from around here, Tony?" she asked with a muffle.

"Oh," he said simply. Tony didn't know much about South Africa, other than it existed. "That really sucks, considering...I mean...everything here." He didn't go into detail with what he meant there. Tony figured Marlow had heard about all the incidences of police brutality and general history of the United States by now. He wouldn't add anything in this conversation.

"Ah, no, I came here about 8 years ago," Tony answered her other question. His eyes went to her candy and back to her face before he focused his attention to his laundry again. "I'm from the East Coast- Jersey. Came here for-" Lie. No, Marlow seemed okay, so he told a very brushed over version of the truth. "-opportunity. Seemed like a nice place, you know?" Tony collected his shirts and stuffed them neatly into a nearby duffel. "I still got pants to wait on, another 45 minutes..."

He watched her eating the candy, envy on his face. "Have you had dinner? ...Slash can you afford to get anything to eat for dinner? Otherwise, I'll wait til I get home," he asked and rambled all at once. He knew there was a Taco Bell or something up the street that was open.

Marlow stuffed more candy in her mouth, like she was competing in a good eating contest, or watching a suspenseful movie. Either way, Marlow loved her candy.

"Jersey, eh? Like Jersey Shore?" she asked, honestly mentioning the only thing she knew about Jersey. She wasn’t ashamed, the US was fucking huge. And she had the get out of jail free card because she wasn’t a citizen.

Have you had dinner? She paused, mid candy stuffing. She should probably have an actual meal.

Looking through her wallet, she counter her money. She probably had enough for a taco or a burger. "Looks like it’s my lucky day," she laughed, fanning her self with her whole $7 dollars. Hella rich.

Tony nodded. "Yeah, like Jersey Shore," he agreed with a grin. "But I didn't leave near the ocean, I lived in a uh...kind of a piece of shit area, to be honest." Tony glanced as she thumbed through her wallet for cash before nodding to the door. "Wanna go grab some dinner down the street? I think I have like...8 bucks too, so, we can have like a huge gourmet meal." He rolled his eyes, obviously kidding. He slung his duffel bag over the shoulder.

Walking in step with her, he continued to talk, "So what're you doin' out here tonight anyway? I was doing my laundry and then gonna go home." He looked at her, expression interested.

Wow. They were so rich. A total of $15!

Marlow smiled wide and hopped down the folding table, packing her precious Swedish Fish away, but grabbing one for the road of course, before throwing them into her bag. She left her shrunken sweater there on the table. Maybe a young child would benefit from it instead. A waste of money but whatever. She wasn't salty or anything...

Marlow waited for him to gather his own shit and throw his duffel bag over his shoulder.

"I'm always down for some chow," she said, slipping her dollars into her back jean pocket, walking along with him.

"So what're you doin' out here tonight anyway?" She looked up towards him and shrugged her shoulders. "I was just out drinking, gettin' my party on cause why the hell not, right?" Seriously, why the hell not! She finally had a job and had some money, spending it on booze was only practical, right?

Tony was doing laundry and was just gonna go home... Marlow shook her head. "What a snooze fest for you. You should come out and party with me sometime," she suggested. Tony seemed cool beans and she thought it might be a good idea to stop going to clubs by herself...

Marlow opened the door for the both of them as they shuffled out. Her eyes glanced around to see where the closest, cheapest food establishment was hiding.

Tony shrugged in response to her suggestion. "I'm open for that, sure, just don't really...I guess I don't really know a lot of people," he admitted. When he ran through his head the list of friends he kept in contact with, none of them were in his phone. Mostly they were other homeless or troubled youth, either still on the streets or long gone in one way or another. Tony supposed he was old enough now to not feel awkward at the parties his colleagues threw, but he never went. Tony wasn't close with them either.

It was a wonder he'd been hired, really.

"I haven't been to a party in years," he admitted after counting the time. Last time he'd gone, it had been to pilfer clothes and a few other items while drunken hosts didn't protect their goods. "Most of the kids I go to school with are commuters so we don't...really have exposure to the party scene." That sufficiently explained away a level of it too. But really, it had been ages since he'd gone to a party just for fun.

Tony could use some fun.

Tony lead the way to the Taco Bell around the corner, still prying into Marlow's life. "Okay, so, you got booze on your shirt. Are you headed back to that party?"

Marlow shrugged again. "Well now you know me," she stated proudly, following him along to their much needed food. He seemed a bit younger than her but whatever, most places in Cordova didn't even check ID's. And she didn't know anyone to go partying with either... Marlow barely knew anyone in her area. But whatever, she shoved that aside.

The poor thing had no party experience. Well, Marlow was here to show him the way. She smiled mischievously and wriggled her brows at him. "I will show you the ways, young grasshopper." She was his elder and she would do her best to show him some wisdom, wisdom of the party life.

"Okay, so, you got booze on your shirt. Are you headed back to that party?" Marlow shook her head, pursing her lips together, "Nah man, Night Vision kinda sucks," Literally. "I got work tomorrow anyway so I'll probably call it a night after food. What about you? You live here in Cordova?"

Tony snorted and teased, "Oh, thank you sensei." Good god, this conversation had become dorkier than he anticipated. But he liked it. "I do, actually, few blocks from here. Shitty apartment complex...you? Any luck finding somewhere better?" Rent in Cordova wasn't exactly cheap. It used to be reasonable, he'd heard many a local complain, but apparently, out-of-towners had driven rent up or something. Not that he could really protest the accusation; he had come from out of town after all.

Tony opened the door for her to the Taco Bell and followed her in, scanning the menu for something cheap and cheerful and relatively clean to eat. He settled on a few smaller items off the dollar menu and ordered his food. Once they were done eating, he knew he'd have to go back to the laundry mat to get the remaining clothes in the dryer. But for now, he sat, prodding his soda with a half-tired expression. "You ever think about how you get to where you are? Like...school's starting, and every semester, I just can't believe I've gotten as far as I have, you know?" He kept expecting it to be yanked away from him.

or worse.

Shitty apartment complex. Marlow knew those all too well.

She nodded with wide eyes, "I'm in Lavender Heights. It's a nicer city, but I got a shitty apartment too. First floor, hasn't been updated since the 60s. Still has that godawful shag carpet too."

Stepping through the door, the enticing smell of Taco Bell hit her. The most mysterious of the fast food chains, but seriously the better tasting ones. "Mexican" food was hard to find in South Africa for obvious reasons and Taco Bell was the closest thing she's had of it. Pulling out her money, she looked back and forth at it and the menu to decide if she would have enough for both food and the dumbass tax. Marlow eventually ordered and followed suit to a table and sat back in her chair lazily, slouched back.

"I'll be honest. I'm surprised I haven't kicked the butt yet considering all the fukken shit I get myself into," she shrugged, looking up at the ceiling. Bad idea. Dust and dead bugs clung to it. Averting her eyes, she hunched over and leaned onto the table with her elbows.

"School, huh? What are you going to school for?" Marlow was slightly jealous that this youngin' was able to do such a thing. No way, Marlow would have the money anytime soon to do that.

Tony shuddered. "Shag carpet?" he repeated in horror. The ugly stained linoleum in his apartment felt offensive enough, but shag carpet was an outright atrocity. "And I thought my apartment was ancient. Sheesh." Tony unwrapped his first burrito, prodding the concealed shredded chicken and rice skeptically before lifting the food and taking a bite.

His brow arched at the phrase about kicking the butt, but he didn't interrupt or question it. Different quotes from different folks, right? Instead, he asked, "What shit do you get into?" If Marlow was a troublemaker- and she sorta looked the part, but in the same way a fluffy purse dog could be trouble- he wanted to know. Tony kinda liked hanging out with troublemakers. He also kinda liked avoiding them. But Marlow seemed cool.

Tony finished his first burrito and unwrapped the second one he'd ordered, answering without pause, "I'm studying the culinary arts. I want to be a chef- am currently a decent cook." Tony's thoughts turned whimsical, his dreams of a sweet future owning a bistro with soft lighting and ferns for some fucking reason swelling to the forefront of his mind. It showed on his face as a brief glimpse of longing crossed over his features. Tony wanted somewhere that wasn't just his own, but somewhere he belonged, and others could belong. That's the restaurant he wanted one day.

It was a nice dream, he supposed. It was a long ways away.

"What shit do you get into?"

Marlow smirked and leaned in closer. She was the Shit Queen. Er, wait. That didn't sound right. Getting Into Shit Queen?

She shook her head, getting back on track.

"Well, I'm banned from the Planetarium in Lavender Heights," she wriggled her eyebrows proudly. "I went in for an interview and ended up, um, breaking one of their chairs." She left a majority of the details out, but the story was still good regardless. Was that really getting into shit though? Maybe it was just bad luck.

Marlow took a bite of her crunchy taco, still smirking at him, but when he said he could cook, her jaw dropped. A hand reached up quickly to catch her food.

"You can cook?!" she mumbled with taco in her mouth, "Holy fukken shit, dude!" Marlow was living off of canned soups and mac and cheese. Fuck.

"Fuck," she cursed, taking another bite of her taco. "You must be great then if you're going to school for it! Oh my god, make me some food."

"How does one, pray tell, get banned from the planetarium?" he asked, baffled. Of course, the answer didn't really illuminate things at all. What interview ended with a wrestling match? Or was the interviewer a pervert or something? What the hell? "You're gonna have to give me more details."

Tony couldn't stop the smirk from spreading over his face, nodding, "I mean, yeah, I'm pretty amazing at it actually...and I'd be happy to make you some sometime. Kinda on a tight budget right now, so I don't have a lot at my apartment right now..." He shrugged, but he meant what he said. If Marlow wanted to come over for food, he wouldn't turn down the company. Hell, it'd make eating some of his leftovers easier and a little less sad.

"It would be against contract to explain any further details," she said, taking a sip of her drink. It wouldn't be but, like, some details needed to be left out like, her powers going ZAP on her would be boss. Sigh.

"The dude came to my house and left a note saying if I was ever on the grounds again, the fuzz would be called," her voice was dramatic as if she were telling a ghost story around the camp fire.

Marlow quickly finished her taco and scrunched up the wrapper, tossing it to the side. "Dude I live off of canned soup. I know the feeling of a bare kitchen," she snorted, finishing off her drink with a loud slurp while she pulled out her phone. "Put your number in." She slid it across the table.

Tony's eyes widened in amusement. "Damn, and here I thought scientists liked crazy shit happening. Could be an experiment or something, right?" he joked, finishing his second burrito a moment later. He felt genuinely curious though- what the fuck did she do in her interview to merit such a harsh reaction?

He accepted her phone and plugged his number into it, shooting himself a text so he had hers too. "Yeah, so, there you go. You just have to text me when you're wanting food and, if I'm not in class or at work, I usually reply...uh...somewhat quickly." He actually wasn't super great with his phone either. Not having people to be in touch with made him not particularly keen on using the device for texting purposes.

Marlow rolled her eyes along with her head to be dramatic. "One would think!"

She set aside her drink and rested her chin on her knuckles, watching him put in his phone number in her janky phone.

"Oh my god. I'm not that kind of terrible person," she laughed, "I'm not going to mooch off your cooking skill, bruh. You seem pretty cool and there are some parties we need to go to together. Duh."

Anyway, she could relate to not checking her phone very often. At first it was checking every ten minutes, but then she realized... no one had her number. So she gave up checking and swallowed her bad feelings, followed by a swig of vodka.

"I would hope you're not a mooch, but I've been in hard spots before so...you know, I like to help where I can," he explained, blushing brightly. Tony's smile turned shy as he crumpled his wrapper up. "I should be getting back to my laundry and...I guess go home. You heading to a different party then?"

Mooch. Mooch. Mooch.

Tony seemed liked a genuine sweetheart. How the heck did he get so unlucky to meet Marlow?

"I'll be goin' home. I got work in the morning," she pouted. "Hey, you could come by Paradise creamery sometime. That's where I work. I'll give you a free scoop." Yeah, that would be cool. Cool beans.

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)