|It's Brittany, Bitch | Ερις (eristic) wrote in paxletalelogs,
@ 2011-10-25 19:14:00
Who: Adam & Charlie
What: A case of mistaken identity.
Where: A record store.
When: 1:26 pm; 10/8/11
Warnings: Swearing maybe?
The only times when Charlie would actually do her job was when she received phone ins, naming potential perps that had been seen doing odd things. She’d responded to all kinds of calls - one time there had even been a man who’d had a mental breakdown and turned into a nudist in the bathroom mall. Thankfully those kinds of episodes didn’t happen often; instead, today, it seemed like a small outbreak of larceny.
She moved nonchalantly through the mall, in no hurry at all. The perp was described as dressed in all black, including nail polish, a male wearing eyeliner, and tattoos. That was more than enough to stick out of a crowd like a sore thumb - he’d been wandering in and out of stores, grabbing small items of no real value, but the mall she was currently working in didn’t want to support the idea that taking without paying was all right. The thief had last been spotted going into a record store, F.Y.E., and the apathetic mall cop was slowly making her way over. The more important thought on her mind was what she was going to get for dinner, since she had a later shift but already found her stomach grumbling.
Nodding at the clerk by the register, Charlie let her eyes move over those who were already in the store - and wouldn’t you know it, there he was. Though it was perfectly probable that the vague description she’d been given could have applied to any number of people, she had never been good at being patient. The smart thing to do would have been to wait and observe, to see if he continued his illegal shopping spree within this particular establishment, thus proving his guilt; Charlie had never been described as smart. Instead, she approached him in the manner of someone who was just going through the motions, walking right up to him and nearly invading his space in order to grab his attention.
“Sir, I’m gonna need yah to come with me.”
For a moment Adam refused to acknowledge the fact that she was there for him, though she could not have made it more obvious. There was no-one else within easy reach or even earshot, and it was far from the first time he had been hassled in a shop, no matter how well he fit their target demographic. For all the liberal reputation California had, Orange County had always lagged behind in some areas, among them judging people based on their actions rather than appearance; he was more familiar with such shakedowns than he cared to admit. So he perused the CDs he had stopped alongside for as long as he reasonably could without making it obvious he was ignoring her, thumbing through the Ms until he could overlook her thinly veiled demand no longer.
His black eyes flicked up to hers, darkly lined eyes holding her equally steady gaze. The hair on the back of his neck raised; something deep within him recognized something buried just as deep inside her, and though he could not name it, he knew she carried a kind of authority as unpredictable as it was insistent upon being obeyed. Cautiously, he modulated his tone, choosing to speak calmly and without evident annoyance, rather than with the knee-jerk irritation he truly felt.
“I’m sorry,” he said, stepping back a pace from the CD rack. “There must be some misunderstanding...”
“Yah can make this simple, er hard. I’m fine with either,” she responded, one hand already settling on the butt of her taser. There weren’t many opportunities to actually use it, but the weapon was always good for goading people into doing what was required of them. And right now, she needed this guy to come with her. Whether he was the perpetrator or not was entirely unimportant to the disinclined mall cop; her mind had switched over to “let’s just get the job done” mode. Part of her, a darker, more malicious train of thought, was just waiting for him to make a scene, to give her justification to unleash some sort of physical smack down that would be incredibly satisfying.
Leaning back on one leg, she regarded the man with a blank face, waiting for his move.
Adam knew well the damage that fine ‘non-lethal’ weapon nestled at her belt could do; in his line of work he had seen more than once the marks they left behind, the singed skin and faint burns it branded its victims with. Many times the wounds were well earned, and in truth Adam had no real concern over the weapon’s use - when it was deserved. This time, it was most certainly not. A deep furrow creased his brow, his silver-ringed hands raising to waist level. Disappointingly, she did not seem at all willing to accept his continued insistence of his innocence. He felt again the weighty sense of fear that had been with him now for far too long; it assured him she meant the threat she implied, that this could turn quite ugly with the slightest provocation. The hair at the nape of his neck raised, his tongue suddenly markedly dry as it flicked restlessly at his labret.
“Fine,” he said. “Where exactly are we going?”
“Where all the bad lil’ shoplifters go,” she replied easily, surprised and a little miffed that he had ruined a perfectly good moment where he could have put his foot down, and she could have gotten to apply a little force. Regardless, she motioned for him to step out in front of her, planning on directing him to turn with her voice. The security room of the mall was on the second floor, between a high-end tailor and a Mrs. Field’s Cookie Shop, possibly the most interesting and well designed positioning of stores to ever grace a shopping center. Waving her hand, she motioned for him to pick up the pace.
Grudgingly, Adam did. His jaw clenched, his eyes rolling faintly as he stepped in front of her. While he could not have been said to be dragging his feet, he was not making any particular effort to hurry; he had no plans to do anything that looked vaguely suspicious, as eager to convince the nearby patrons - now staring quite openly - as the overzealous security guard at his back of his innocence. He suspected the former would be the far easier sell. “You’re welcome to search me,” he said, his hands falling back to his sides. Lacking anything better with which to occupy them, he fell to toying with his ring, pushing the serpent’s head round and round his finger. “I guess it wouldn’t help to mention I’ve never shoplifted anything. Ever.”
“That’s nice,” she replied in an near sing-song manner, showing quite plainly that his words had next to no effect on her. As he moved forward she fell into step behind him, uncaring of the dozens of eyes that were now following their every movement, shades of whispers rising up as they exited the shop. Despite his appearance, this guy was being incredibly passive, which felt like it was going to bore her to tears. Still, she’d been getting too many complaints to not try to prove that she was still capable of doing her job; then there were times that she asked herself why she even cared, but there was always the fact that she needed the money to pay for the roof over her head and to feed Jack.
“Hang a left after the pretzel stand,” she ordered, for all purposes making as much show of his mock arrest than anything else - it was almost like a parade of two.
Her efforts to do so did not go unnoticed. Though Adam had been embarrassed many times before - humiliated, even, would not have been too strong a word - this seemed a different thing. His self consciousness seemed to grow exponentially, exacerbated all the more with each step further into this lioness’ den. He felt overcome with the need to run, to bolt from her looming presence and seek the safety of the street. Again his jaw worked, useless, and he could find nothing to say, knowing she would care as little for a third attempt at explanation as she had for the first and second. So he turned left as instructed sinking his teeth into the end of his tongue, wishing above all else that Alex were here to handle this on his behalf. Surely she would know what to say, or at least what to do - but she was not here, and Adam was on his own.
She had told him little enough about where they were to go; perhaps she would be more generous with the process of it all. It seemed unlikely, but Adam could not bear yet more inaction. “What happens now?” he asked, attempting to work a lighter lilt in his voice. “When we eventually get where we’re going, I mean.”
Explanations were not Charlie’s forte - she was a doer, not a thinker, and such things had always served her somewhat well throughout her life.
“Processing, questions, yah know, the drill. I’m sure yah’ve been through it before,” she replied rudely, continuing to steer him verbally through the pointedly rubber-necking crowds of the mall. As there had been in the music store, people were stopping and staring pointedly at the man who was obviously being taken into custody by the resident mall cop; assumptions were most likely being made about the man’s appearance, as well as a few notes regarding the cop’s placement of her hand on her taser. The only thing that would probably make the situation worse would either be the use of the taser or handcuffs, but nothing was warranting such action, putting a severe frown on Charlie’s face.
“Right at Men’s Warehouse.” The security center was hidden behind a labyrinthine set of passageways once one got past the storefronts - it worked to keep those who were eying the cameras safe and unheard of, but in cases like this, made for one hell of a long walk.
The walk of shame seemed to Adam needlessly prolonged; had he been the sort to verbalize such things, he would have long ago mentioned the winding path she seemed inclined to employ. But he had been raised to respect authority while defying it in his own private, individual ways, and to flee or confront her now were equally impossible options. Still, she was trying even his own substantial patience. The farther they walked the thicker the crowd seemed to become. Adam amused himself by imagining them with stones, torches, or pitchforks, brandishing them merrily at this obvious exile from their figurative village. It put a smirk on his face; it gave him some semblance of uncharacteristic spine.
“This is ridiculous,” he said, though he turned as commanded all the same. He cut his black eyes back to her, willing himself not to look down to the weapon in her hand. “Are you always this apathetic about doing your job properly, or was today just a lucky day for me?”
“Yah think this is my idea of a good time? Believe me, I have better things to do than escortin’ lame excuses for late-life juvenile delinquents through the motions,” she shot back, feeling excitement kick up in her gut as he finally started to show a little fire. Maybe this wouldn’t be a wasted afternoon at all. Her voice was kept low enough to solely be between them and leave the crowd around them wondering just what the reason for this little show was. The hand on her taser remained put, the other letting fingers jovially hang from the belt loops around her waist. The walkie talkie hanging from her opposing hip crackled with white noise, then fell dead once more.
Adam sincerely doubted she did have anything more pressing; she enjoyed this far too much, and she seemed to him the sort who would not welcome any unnecessary interruptions when she did have something better on her mind. Her name-calling was doing very little to improve his mood. At last he stopped, his more passive and practical side screaming at him all the while, and wheeled on one booted heel to face her.
“Look,” he said, his voice still carefully steady, unruffled. “I’ve complied. I’ve let you have your little show. I even stopped defending myself when you made it obvious you don’t care to hear the truth. So this power trip is a little uncalled for, don’t you think?”
She slowed her pace, taking up an exaggerated, thinking posture, complete with one hand on her chin, eyes tilted toward the far off ceiling of the mall. After a beat, she looked back to her prisoner, letting a malicious grin slide over her features.
“Naw, not really.” Despite the fact that there were people around them, Charlie even persisted in upping the stakes by taking another step toward her presumed lawbreaker - despite their difference in height, she gave no sign that she found him daunting in the least. “An’ yah didn’t let me nothin’ - I don’t think yah had the balls to step up and say no when I told yah to walk. Maybe yer just a little pansy after all.” Though aware that she’d crossed a line, Charlie let no worry flicker across her face. Confrontations like this in the military were much more vicious affairs, and sometimes she had difficulty in reconciling the two, let alone keeping them separate. The hand hooked to her belt loop fell loose to her side while the other remained on the taser.
Adam snorted, an unintentional and entirely uncharacteristic display of frustration. It was rare someone got so deeply under his skin; once upon a time James had frequently come close, but these days Adam prided himself on having learned how to let go. He could not put his finger on what it was this stranger did to provoke him so, a fact he found only increased his growing annoyance. “Your definition of ‘having balls’ is pretty lacking,” he said, an edge to his tone that had not been there before. “Maybe it’s just that I recognize free-flowing aggression when I see it, and I’ve treated a good many taser burns just like the ones you want any excuse at all to give me. So what was your badge number, ‘officer’, cos when you finally get tired of messing with me I’m looking forward to talking to your supervisor.”
Charlie opened her mouth with another smart reply, but her walkie beat her to it.
“The 494 has been apprehended,” was the succinct response, crackling out loudly enough for both the arrestor and arrestee to hear. A quick hand came up to turn down the walkie, killing the white noise left behind like an unwanted passenger. Charlie’s grin banked itself, and she shrugged.
“Well, that’s that. Guess I bagged the wrong metalhead,” she drolled lightly, as though she hadn’t just dragged the poor man through a scathing public humiliation. The hand on her taser dropped, now unnecessary since this particular tattooed man was not the culprit she was supposed to have been looking for - all the same, she had wasted a good ten, fifteen minutes making his existence hell, even if they’d never made it to booking.
Adam’s lips parted, a soft, incredulous exhalation escaping him. The better part of his psyche told him to leave, immediately, lest she see in his continued arguing a reason to legitimately hold him; he suspected the reception he would get from responding police officers would be no more favorable than her own. He had the right of the situation, but not the authority. His shoulders slumped a bit beneath the weight of the realization. Though she had of course not given her badge, her description would be easy enough to later recall and report to her superiors; though Adam felt the sting of shame in it, he knew well enough that a passive course of action was sometimes the most well advised. Thus resolved, his lips pursed tightly shut, his dark head giving a quick, closed-off nod. “I guess so,” he said, straightening up. He could not hold back the slight clenching of his jaw, the darting of his eyes as he looked to the nearest exit. “Glad someone else was looking after the place while you were messing with me.” He started past her, stopping half a pace away. He looked at her from beneath a quirked brow. “So can I go?”
His barb fished a grin from Charlie, and she gave a non-committal shrug. She could care less if someone was actually doing their job in this crappy mall; she’d gotten entertainment for a short while, which was better than nothing. “I ain’t got yah cuffed, do I? Scat.” She made a shooing motion at the tattoo-laden man, wondering why he hadn’t disappeared already.
In spite of his answering sneer, Adam complied quickly enough. He found himself remarkably ready to be free of this woman and her unnaturally irksome ways; he felt dirtier than he could fully comprehend for having given in so easily to her puerile needling. And so he slipped past her, heading down the hall with his head held high, disappearing out into the crowd.