(2018-01-30) Hats and Crowns
Hats and Crowns
Summary: Bea, Eddie and Audgrim talk about the mystery of the crowns over some coffee.
Date: IC Date (2018-01-30)
Related: Impromptu Barbecue
Player Characters: Audgrim, Bea, Eddie

FreeCycle Coffee - Baker Street

A lovely morning at Freecyle. The coffee is….luke warm, but the deals are hot! There seems to be a fair bit of activity, with the recent arrival of a large stash of things. And guess who's watching over the buzz of volunteers, chatting incessantly as she places the final boxes into the piles and starts to unload them…Bea seems to be the donator of all the stuff, and it's a pretty good haul, full of almost-vintage clothing and appliances. "So he was like, 'Well I don't know just why you want to help, but sure you can take all this stuff', and of course I thought of you guys first, since it's all just free anyway, and we have so much at my place. I mean, who just /dumps/ a whole garage just because someone dies? It's stupid, I think. That's why I am so glad you all are here, and didn't forget to show up or something, with everyone being so forgetful lately."

Audgrim's knees are near buckling under the load of three heavy boxes, stacked so high he can barely see where he's walking. He peeks around them and precariously balances them towards any flat surface. In fact, he's found himself a nice coat amongst the clothes - an old grey trench coat that's seen better days but fits him well, and with the slit in the back it leaves his tail to move around freely. "Free stuff," he sums it up raspily, grinning that broad toothy grin that is beastial and charming all at once.

Bea nods to Audgrim with a grin, "Yup, free stuff," she agrees. "This place is really great if you're broke, for getting some stuff you need. I used to come here all the time, until I started getting money from the farm. And I sure am glad you came by when you did! It was perfect timing to help with all this stuff, and you got your coat too, so it was just exactly right! Today is just such a good day. That Jack guy's gone, Tyla's got the time to have a breakdown, I got a /whole/ patch of trenchmint out of the garden, you showed up, we got free stuff. I just can't think of anything that would make this day much better, unless it was like, a party or something, but that doesn't seem likely, does it?" She looks around, a little hopeful it seems, that someone might decide it's the perfect time for an impromptu party.

"Trenchmint?" Eddie's here. How long has Eddie been here? It's hard to say. Possibly he just arrived, conveniently, once all the heavy lifting was done. Possibly he's been lurking here, absorbing the ambience of bad coffee and other people's garbage. It would be easy for him to blend in. Either way, he's here now, suddenly behind Bea and balancing a couple of styrofoam cups in one hand and a sugar shaker he stole from a diner this morning in the other. "Jack's gone? Jesus, I thought I was going to be filling you in. Should've known, if I gave you a day. Let's, uh, let's sit?" He glances around for an empty table, and gives a little wave to Audgrim, spilling sugar across the floor.

Audgrim has heard Bea talking enough to learn to focus on some key words and pick out the gist from it. "No money," he agrees gruffly, setting the boxes down and streching his neck a bit. "Free stuff good, coat nice." He demonstrates by pulling out a piece of candy from a pocket (half eaten since earlier, now all lint-y), and pops it in his mouth. "Party? Not party. I want go out in forest. You come, tomorrow? Other day?" he says and in turn looks faintly hopeful. He does seem the outdoorsy type, after all. "Eddie, hi," he greets and he saunters over to take a seat, offering another piece of linted candy to Eddie. "Who Jack?"

"Eddie!" Eddie iis not a party, but in Bea's eyes, his arrival is the next best thing. With no regard for the coffee or sugar in hand, Eddie is tackled in an attempt to embrace him as she laughs, "Oh, I don't have any news at all, just I was visiting Tyla earlier and she said." She does as Eddie suggests and moves toward a seat, dragging a stack of boxes with her so she can continue to help unpack while the gang chats. Aundgrim is waved over, i n case he doesn't know he's invited to join. "We can definitely go into the woods. You should come up and stay over at the farm one night, it's close to the forest and easy to go hiking and stuff. You'd like it up there, I think, and Mercedes says she misses having 'colorful visitors', which I think she means people like us, but I can never tell with her sometimes."

Eddie spills about half the coffee and a little more sugar goes flying, but he doesn't seem to mind. He sets the cups and the shaker down on the table, then takes Audgrim's candy and pops it into his mouth without brushing it off. "Thanks. Nice coat. You drink coffee in Norway?" He points back at the pots, wet sleeve flapping, not sitting down yet. "Yeah, she sent me a thing on my phone last night. Been trying to call her back, but she's a late sleeper. Smokes too much tea."

Audgrim seem content to leave Bea to do the work; she's probably noticed by now he's not the most reliable worker, and usually has to be told what to do and superviced. "In Norway, coffee is life," Audgrim pronounces; oh hear that, a proper sentence! He Steps over to pour himself a cup quickly, and then slouches on a chair opposite Eddie after settign the violin to the side, eyeing the store itself curiously. "I like forest, yes. And water." He flexes a webbed hand, in case it wasn't obvious. "I think, I can play violin - get money?" He's finally mastered the th-sound.

Bea nods and gives Eddie a little smile, "Tyla says she's not getting high 'til after Valentine's day, but I think she should, since she really freaked out about standing up to Jack about that stupid hat. But she got it anyway, and he left, so that's good. But probably she needs to sleep, since she was upset, like she gets sometimes." She shrugs and holds up a strange figurine that looks like an abstract display of bestiality in bright neon shades (no wonder it was all headed for the dump) and then sets it aside. "Anyway, probably you could play the violin for sure, and get some change busking," she responds to Audgrim without bothering to take a breathe or slow down the pace of chatter. "And maybe if you know your way around, then helping people hike in the woods, or swim really good, if you're feeling extra brave. Maybe you could be like a travelling violinist, though. Do like a…Valentine's violin-agram? That'd be cool, and pretty fun, I think."

"Yeah? Well around here," Eddie gestures around as he takes his seat, "the coffee is death." He takes his cup and sees it's mostly empty and starts making up the difference in sugar. He tilts it back when he's done and lets it slide down his throat like syrup, and smiles the smile he reserves for dead things. He lets Bea talk, and occupies himself examining the vulgar figuring, picking it up and weighing it in his hand like to might do testing a paperweight. He seems to finally decide against it, right around the time she finishes talking. "Are you any good at it? The violin, I mean."

Audgrim contemplates what Bea is saying, mostly cause he doesn't understand most of it. But some he got: "Help people in forest? I did in Other place… can do better here." He looks quite grim, and takes a big slurp of that coffee, expression dark. Audgrim gives Eddie a very amused grin at his dark joke about coffee, and raises his mug at him in aknowledgement, showing he understands. "I was good, in Other place… And in norway. But I not play here, yet. In other place, play violin was for bad," he admits, running a hand through his hair and making a grimace. "I will try, soon. I think I am good. How you get money, Eddie?"

Audgrim gets a sympathetic smile from Bea, and a little nod, "Well, you should try, and play something nice just for you. And then go from there, if you want to. And same with the woods, you should wander around just for yourself and say hi to all the trees and plants and birds and things, before you decide to start making it something for other people. That's what I think at least." She takes a deep breath and looks to Eddie, "So, what's happening then? You said you were going to fill me in?" There's only so long Bea can go before her desire for more gossip catches up with her. She even falls to a certain level of silence, only her buzzy wings making noise as she continues to sort through the weird collection of knick knacks in the box. Shag-covered clock anyone?

"I'll let you know when I figure it out," Eddie snorts. He swallows what's left of his coffee and puts down the cup to fish for something in his coat pocket. Out comes a badly printed business card reading 'Brundle Investigations', with all the usual information, and a strong odor of hotsauce. He slides it across the table to Audgrim and turns his attention to Bea without stopping to see if the other Beast can even read it. "I don't know as much as I'd like. Our best guess is we made a deal with something, to hide. I don't know what from, or what with. But there's a lot of us still out there, asleep." He takes the clock and shakes it and holds it up to his ear. Disappointment. He hands it back.

"Yes, thank you Bea," Adgrim says thoughtfully, taking her advice to heart. He streches his legs out under the table and manages, if possible, to look even lazier than before. Accepting that card, he looks at it, does indeed not understand "investigations" - but aha! He has a secret weapon; he digs out that dictionary and looks what it means. "Investigate, investigations, investigator…" he says, rolling those Rs. He's still mostly in the dark about what other Lost of the city are experiencing; he looks between Bea and Eddie, knowing he's missing something here. "What wrong?" he asks quietly.

Bea nods at Eddie's revelation, brow furrowing as she concentrates, "That's what Tyla was saying, and that it made Lucas all 'woe is us!' and stuff, but I was thinking, like…What if it was a plan? Like, what if, say, Lucas or whoever, saw something real bad coming, but the only way we could stop it was to do, like, a fake-out, you know? Make them think we were all too asleep to do anything. And now we're not /in/ a trap, but /set/ the trap, and none of us can leave yet because we made that deal and that's just the way it is, and the poor bird lady you were talking about is just, like, one of us who volunteered for the worst job or something. I mean, it's not impossible, really, to think about. I've got fruit that could make us forget almost as good as we have forgotten, I am pretty sure. And a fruit that makes birds really hate you." Is Bea suggesting she's orchestrated this whole thing? It doesn't actually sound like she is, but is just trying to illustrate how easy such plans would be to implement. "I'm going to try to find out some more. I've got some feelers out." She considers, then adds, almost as an afterthought, "But why /5/ crowns? I mean, maybe for courtless, but in a freehold they don't really count, at least not officially, or never did really, here. So why would they get a crown? I think maybe it's like the king of fools, maybe, like they do at Mardi Gras." She shrugs and then turns to Audgrim, explaning, "We all were here forever, but we forgot, like…so many years. And maybe we were taken again, and just scooped up by some awful one of Them, but maybe not, and instead probably we made a deal to forget, or /someone/ has, and we can't leave either, like a trap, or we get sick as a dog, even though most dogs don't get sick that often, that's just a saying you know. And then there's these hats that just show up by bird, like Harry Potter or something, and that's kinda a weird way to deliver things, but I've seen weirder, I'm pretty sure."

"Sounds like Tyla got rid of our king of fools," Eddie sneers, his only interjection. Otherwise he occupies himself doctoring the second cup of coffee, and listening. He's just about finished pouring sugar when Bea is finishing up. "A trap makes sense. We know she's coming after the hats, we 'know'—" he makes a so-so gesture, "they've got something to do with cooking her goose. Sort of a bait-and-trap, all-in-one." He turns it around in his head, and shrugs. "Whatever it is, it's no accident. We made a deal. I kind of remember being there." He looks back at Audgrim, seems a little surprised, like he'd forgotten there was someone else there. He searches for an explanation and fails and panics: "There's a big bird trying to eat us."

Giving Bea a somewhat pained look - that was a lot of words - Audgrim tries to make sense of it all. "You forget many years… And bird comes with hats?" Eddie comes to his rescue agani with his helpful abbreviation of the events. He makes a little growling noise and his tail flicks fast enough to knock over that clock; it makes some odd whirring noise and is now beyond repair, forever. Audgrim startles at that, looks at the clock and says sheepishly; "I broke time." Sitting up straighter, he finishes off his coffee and suggests matter of factly; "I like eat birds, bird eat me? Must be big bird."

Bea nods, and agrees with Eddie, "A very big bird. Even I couldn't eat it all, I don't think." She sighs and tells Audgrim, "What I remember is even the whole town couldn't get rid of that bird really good." She makes a face, then laughs as the clock is broken, shrugging and sweeping up the pieces carefully. "Don't worry, I've seen time broken worse than that. And it's called a clock. You /tell/ time /on/ a clock."

"It's a bird the way the Duke's a friendly sea captain," Eddie says, leaning down to retrieve a hunk of dead clock that landed by his feet. He holds it up and turns it over, peering in. Still nothing exciting. He plunks it down with a sigh and goes back to his coffee, or pudding, or whatever it is now. "There's a lot of them. That's why the thing with the seasons we were telling you about. You join whatever club you're going to join and then pass the fancy hat around and it keeps their eyes off you. Or at least, that's how it's supposed to work." He blows a raspberry, to show how it works now.

"Clock, yes. Clock." Audgrim will remember that, he seems to pick up new words fast - if nothing else because he only ever hears English now and is forced to pay attention. "And crrrrowns," he rasps out, things starting to make sense now, with the combined effort of Bea and Eddie both. "Four crowns. Not five. Who has crown five?" He shakes his head, flicks his tail and makes a sweeping gesture. "You will find, if look hard. Not all can forget. Maybe find in hedge, or big bird know." He considers something; "How hedge look, before? I come from sea three days ago. Grayson, also new. Maybe we can help."

"Oh, well, it's really not safe to go into the other side alone these days, even for me, and I'm pretty good at staying safe most of the time." This, it seems troubles the nearly unflappable Bea. With a heavy sigh, she allows herself a momentary pout, then pulls out a VHS tape- Land Before Time by the cover, though when Bea pulls it out, it shows a decidedly more X-Rated title. This is offered to eddie without a word as Bea says, "Before, it was nice. Now it's scary, but I think if we got a group together we could start cleaning things up and have it in tip-top shape in no time. And I'm asking around to see who /hasn't/ forgotten. I'm sure at least maybe the bees haven't. They're pretty good about that sort of thing, but 7 years /is/ a long time." She sighs and then gives Audgrim a curious look, "Have you tried to leave town? Like, go on a day trip to Seattle or anything? Portland maybe?" To Eddie she notes, "Tyla says she thinks she can find where the 5th is, but she's worried we won't have the right people. Except I think probably the right people will be there, if they're supposed to be, don't you agree?"

Eddie is clearly surprised to hear Bea admit there's anything wrong with the Hedge, and he squirms in his seat trying to decide if he's more relieved or discomfitted. "It's nasty," he gives Audgrim his competing perspective on the Hedge, "but it's nastier these days. Grayson already helped, believe it or not. Had one of the hats on him, when he came through the gate." He takes the tape and reads the title with a smirk, turning it over and opening the flap at the top so he can start unspooling the tape. He holds it up to the light to examine it frame by frame, showing no reaction but vague curiosity. "Took the ferry to Seattle, first night I woke up. It's still there, but I couldn't stay long. Got the shakes like a dope fiend his third night in the can." He sort of crams the tape back into the casette, not bothering to wind it back up. "Who the hell even knows who the right people are, anyway? We can worry who to put it on once we've got the thing."

"I go to Seattle, I go back, say what is like," Audgrim agrees - worth a test. Maybe the new ones aren't affected? "Maybe it says on the interrrrnet," Audgrim suggests, dead-pan. "What happen seven years before? All on interrrnet. Internet has all, and many cats." The VHS tape fascinates him, distracting him enough to reach out for it. He's never seen one before - he's skipped past that whole era and went straight to the "future". "What is hat? Hat is crown?"

Bea gives Eddie a curious look, "Grayson came out with a hat? But…who did he say gave it to him? How'd he get it?" She considers Eddie's experience of travel, frowning a bit, "I tried to go visit my friend in California, since I thought maybe I could get through the thorns there and get some good snacks at least, or find a way from the outside in back here, you know, but same like you, it was like when the drunks stop drinking, I think." She makes a face and then nods to Audgrim, "Yes a hat is like a crown." She takes a few scraps of paper, quickly creating a makeshift paper crown with ragged edged spikes, and presents it toward Audgrim with a smile, "Both you wear on your head, and they're very stylish, but only one is like for royalty or beauty queens." She shrugs and says, "And anyway, the internet doesn't have much about the past years, at least not that I have heard yet, but then when I ask the kids at the farm to look, they act like I'm a little nuts or something, so I try not to ask too much, in case it gets them into some kind of trouble they don't want."

Eddie passes Audgrim the ruined tape without any attempt at explaining what it is or how it works. He won't need it anyway, if he already found the internet. "A lady gave it to him," he explains to Bea, "and then she died. That's kind of the pattern, except for the Doc. His lady was dead already." He frowns and rubs the bridge of his nose, letting his eyes close, for a second. He doesn't do that, much. "We never found the body, with mine. I've got kind of a lead on who she was, though. I don't guess you ever heard of Nora Everbright?" Eyes open, looking at Bea, not really expecting much. "Homespun clothes are sort of in your line."

Audgrim rolls out the film too and holds it up, that much is obvious from how Eddie did it. There are naked women and men doing things, on there - his mouth drops open, and then he pushes the tape away like he burnt his eyes. Maybe he hasn't gotten to that part of the internet yet. "You all too much things on heads," Audgrim sums it all up, eyeing the makeshift crown. "What is Grayson hat /for/?" He scratches a temple with a clawed finger, so confused. "Why birds bring hats. I think hat is crown, but hat is not crown?" He means, he thought the hats and the crowns were the same thing, they just used different words - but now he's not so sure. He picks up the papercrown and places it between his horns. "Five crown," he says. "I am king of rrrrriver," he half-sings, spacing out a bit. This is why he's such a lousy "employee".

Bea shakes her head at the mention of the name, "No, but I will ask around and see if anyone knows anything." She pauses a moment, then says, almost hesitantly, biting her lip, "That does remind me though, Eddie, I want to hire you." This said with as much seriousness as the little Bea can muster without the immediate threat of someone dying, or the loss of a unique and exotic meal on the line. She doesn't pause after this statement, instead making a breakneck conversational turn, asking "But some of the bodies were found, right? Maybe someone could ask /them/ where they got it. Or at least bring the bodies around to my place, because I could really use some you know. Velvet is giving me the dead birds, but they are like…;robably not talkers, first of all, but good in the garden at least, and it's really nice of her, and we're going to make a 'shut your pie hole' cake or something for Valentines, and I'm going to do the toppings. I think maybe with some babelgum toffee shards, maybe?" She looks between the two for some input on her creative process before making another u-turn in the conversation. "The hats and the crowns are the same. But I think mostly we are trying to answer just that question, about what are they for, Audgrim." The singing gets Bea wiggling in her seat, clapping along and starting to hum sort of along with the half-sung tune. This is why she ends up with such bad employees.

"Tell me about it," Eddie says with a definitive nod, agreeing with Audgrim's assessment of the situation. Too much things on heads. He cracks a crooked grin at the river king routine, but then there's mention of a job and all his attention packs up and heads that way. "I could use the work. Now that I'm not sponging off Tyla, especially. What have you got for me?" He leans forward across the table. "Found, but not recovered. Had to move in a hurry. Babelgum's fine. What's this about a job?"

Audgrim takes the crown off and begins working on it, making it a bit stiffer with a paperclip he finds. He seems quite fond of it. He hums in a low rumbling tune, something folk-songy - probably something Norwegian he remembers. His voice is pretty good, but then, he's a musician so probably practiced. "Investigate job," he says in between humming, tail swishing lazily. He seems mostly content listening for now.

Bea makes a face, working her mouth as if, for once, the words are hard to get out. She shrugs and wrinkles her nose, squirms a bit in her seat, the finally comes out with it, "Well…You know the Mills kids, Riley and Lizzy, who I looked after, like…after they had some trouble, up in Forks?" Of course! Who wouldn't remember two of the many rando kids that seem to take over the farm on school holidays and weekends. She frowns and hesitates, leaning in as if confessing a deep, dark, shameful secret, "I don't remember it, but our promises went away, and now I can't find them. And I know it's been a while, but still you'd think they'd send a post card or something, right?"

"Kids these days, you never know," Eddie says, leaning back and trying not to seem too pleased at finally catching what sounds like a piece of straightforward detective work. "I'll do what I can. It might take a while, with everything we've got on our plate right now. Especially if I need to leave town to find them. Make up a list of what you know, names, addresses, relatives, whatever, I'll get it when I swing by." There's something else, but he seems reluctant to say it, rapping his fingers on the table for a little while and looking away. "Given the givens I'd usually waive my retainer, but I haven't had much time for paying work lately."

"I hunt food, give to you. No money, not good," Audgrim offers generously. He then yawns widely - another reason he's a bad worker, he takes frequent naps whenever he feels like it. "I sleep in car," he tells Bea, gets his violin and stands up. "We talk more, soon." And off he goes.

Bea waves a hand as if to brush away Eddie's awkwardness at asking for money. "Oh sure, Eddie. Don't worry about that. I can pay you if you need, or we can do a little promise about it and then you'll be fine I think, and maybe that would be better if you're really worried about it. But I am fine either way, except probably one is going to be a little less money than the other, but I can make up for that with some fruit, if you don't mind that." She pauses, starting to protest Audgrim's car-sleeping ways, but he's gone too fast and she just has to sigh and shake her head, "If you see him again before I do, be sure to let him know I have some extra beds at the farm, if he wants one."

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