Christmas 2007: Ash Gently
Ash Gently; December 31, 2007
Ash Gently Goes Christmas Shopping.
Ash gets two kittens. One of them receives a spiked collar with the name Pimp. The other receives a pretty a collar with the name Princess. Both kittens are instructed in the way in which kittens ought act. Their training is done by means of polite requests by means of Animalism punctuated with either judicious applications of saucers of cream to the kittens, or judicious applications of kittens to a bucket of water. He informs them that he'll be checking up on them later, and they had better be damn adorable and comforting.
Brian Wu receives Pimp. Helen Rogerson receives Princess.
Roske gets sent a brown cardboard box covered in duct tape. A faint ticking sound can be heard from it. Inside is an alarm clock, along with packing peanuts and a bottle of vodka shaped like an AK-47.
Brody receives a large colorfully wrapped gift. Inside is a plush doll of Diego from children's telivision show "Go Diego Go!" A target has been taped to his head. There's also another, smaller present inside the box, containing a handgun.
Pisces receives a cookbook. It's bookmarked to the recipe for Bruschetta.
Ash sees if he can't use his trivial boon to find out where Hadrian Evans is. If he can't, he asks ShrekNET, offering the trivial boon in exchange. If he can find anything useful out, he writes it on Slimey Pete's face while he's unconscious or something.
Slimey Pete gets a red and white santa hat.
Haldor gets an easel, a canvas, a paint set, and a can of turpentine. And a goddamn lighter.
Marco gets a nice bible. The page of Luke 9:14 is dog-eared.
The above presents all have tags addressing them to their intended recipients, along with a "Merry Christmas -AG"
If Ash can get home or work addresses for the recipients, he'll send them there. Otherwise, they're left with Brian Vale.
Brian Vale gets a "Life is Good" T-shirt.
Isabella gets a cake shaped like a butterfly. It is made of meat.
Isabel-- err...Stephen gets a fruitcake. And what's left of that bottle of rum. And he best shut the hell up about the meat cake he had to make and enjoy his Christmas, goddammit.
The Kind Man sends Mistress Lisa a fruit basket. If he is unable to find an address to send it to, he leaves Mistress Lisa a message wishing her a Merry Christmas and informing her there is a fruit basket waiting for her with her name on it. He also sends a fruit basket to the family he called before.
He buys each of his hos dinner seperately, and tells them they're special.
To make this Christmas narrative all the more adorable and vaguely Dickonsonian, I've decided that you happen to encounter a sad-looking dead feral cat as you walk down the sullen and uncaring New York streets. She is frozen solid in the cruel December snow, as she nobly used her body to shield her poor still-mostly-not-dead baby kittens from the bitter bitter cold. Woe and misery! Misery and woe!
In light of this lucky coincidence direly maudlin scene, you quickly nab the still unfrozen kittens and after taking the less-than-optimally adorable ones to a shelter, you begin to train your two champions.
You find that talking to kittens via Animalism is a lot like talking to very quickly growing babies. As such, all you get out of the pipsqueaks for the first several days is something that translates roughly to "Want food" in Kittenese. Sometimes even "Want food NOW!"
Under your gentle care, however, little Pimp and Princess rapidly grow into charming companions, whose soul desire in life (after food and naps) is to please their future masters, whom they very much look forward to visiting as soon as possible. You've told them that if they're good little kittens, Helen and Brian will never ever make them go in the "bad kitten bucket", being much much nicer people than you are.
Princess is grey, very small and excessively friendly, if a bit clumsy, while Pimp is black and white with a cute little Hitler-esque mustache and a bit of a rambunctious streak. Both are utterly predisposed to never scratch, bite or act in aesthetically unpleasing ways once you are done with them.
In the meantime you use the powers of the Internet to purchase yourself some Vodkakalashnikov, an alarm clock, a Go Diego Go! (tm) Plush toy (I'll assume you're giving Brody the spare gun you picked up from the crime scene), a copy of the Joy of Cooking, an aluminum easel, a set of basic oil paints, some nice flammable substance, this lighter a a nice leather bound Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, a Life is Good T-Shit, a Santa hat, whatever horrific materials are needed to facilitate the manufacture of the meatcake, a fruitcake and two baskets of overpriced fruit.
You find, oddly enough, that Brian Vale isn't at Elysium. A skittish young man named Elijah Grey is. He seems very unsure of himself when you approach, and explains, stammering, that Mr. Vale has left with Ms. Rogerson on a trip and that they shant be expected back until sometime after the 5th of January. You're not quite certain what to make of Elijah, and you get the impression he isn't a ghoul, although his aura checks out as such that you don't readily suspect him of being anything sinister. You decide he seems legit enough to resign yourself to tending Princess for another few weeks, and leave the rest of the unaddressable gifts with him for the time being.
In the meantime, Isabella delights in her cake (It apparently tastes *just like* lembas), Stephan delights in his liquor and Slimy Pete gives you a dirty look.
The Kind Man's Christmas also seems to get off to a good start. You can feel free to send a message to the ST list describing the Kind Man's kind offer of fruit to Mistress Lisa, as no forwarding address can be found. You have no trouble getting the basket of similar fruits to young Jack's father (or very gruff voiced mother)...
The hos all are glad for the attention, and you find out a lot of useful things wining and dining them - namely that Lili isn't a cheap date, that Liz is very fond of salads, and that Serenity unmistakably wishes to bang you. You are, of course, at all times a gentleman, and tend to the virtue of your wards continually, not letting them stray from the straight and narrow path and into perdition - or into your lap, as Sernity repeatedly tries to do. You're glad to see that Fiona's new teeth stand up surprisingly well to the $50 steak she orders.
Lastly, there's the issue with Bojan, which is undoubtedly the most time-consuming present and takes up the majority of downtime in phone calls, SchrekNETing and boon-mongering.
It turns out that your boon from Leskovar is, in fact, a Minor boon, and hence will serve as a lot more capital than a Trivial. You contact the young Whip by means of Freddy Hatch again, and ask if he can get you a ping on Evans.
Freddy tells you that Leskovar was... curious as to precisely what you wanted to do with the info, and was rather sad that he couldn't help. Leskovar, you see... he doesn't have the pull to get a location on Evans from where he is, unless the bastard happened to waltz into Chicago cubically, in which case, he figures he'd be spending a lot of his time suppressing a riot, and not spending as much time worrying about where Evans is. While Primogen Critias might be able to find Evans if he put his mind to it, a Minor boon from Leskovar is at best, worth an hour or two of Critias' time... and you're pretty certain that you couldn't convince a millenia old elder Brujah to start a manhunt for you in that short a span. Your natural charm has it's limits.
Still determined, though, you head to Schrek NET, clear out your Schreck-Mail of the Schreck-SPAM (Ash apparently has gotten contacted by the childe of the late Prince of Nigeria...) and get to work. A Minor Boon from the Brujah Whip of Chicago ought be worth something.
It takes two weeks of people indicating that "u r a faget", directing you to the recent Lemon Party which Mr. Evans attended, and giving you bogus offers (all asking for the boon in advance) for you to get something that sounds good. You get PMed by one wamaulana2004 sometime around the 28th. She claims to be a "scholar of antiquities" who would kill for a chance to interview an elder from Critias' time period (seemingly this guy was born in Hellenic Greece), and says that she has a friend who allegedly got a photo of Hadrian Evans within the last month. She offers to fax you the photo so you can confirm for yourself if it's Evans, and then (if you trade her the boon) she will divulge the location where the photo was taken and at what time. She can't make any guarantees however, that the photo/info isn't being sold to other interested parties.
Getting the picture, you see a crowded, seemingly Middle Eastern-looking street at night with people's faces lit from an unknown light source, and all looking toward the sky. Circled to one corner is a well dressed man in shades alongside an enigmatic woman in black, wearing a light veil. You're can't be 100% entirely certain that the man in question is the same guy that Bojan tackled at the conclave, but he certainly looks the part, and the woman in the veil also looks very very much to you like the Lasombra woman that kept his company.
Looking at your other options, you decide you might as well bite.
You tell Freddy to tell whomever the hell is Harpy of Chicago to transfer the boon, and you get an e-mail hours later from wamaulana2004. It reads most succinctly: "December 24, 2007, 11:35 PM, Tangeir, Morocco."
You carefully inscribe these words in permanent marker on the face of beautifully dreaming Santa Pete, along with the message "See envelope at Elysium for details." You then put a copy of the photo into said envelope and leave it with Elijah.
Done spreading your Christmas cheer, you retire to your shithole and pour yourself a glass of Monster whiskey.