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IC: Swara: Like, Origins N' Stuff


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Like, Origins N' Stuff

So, like, I suppose you're wondering how I ended up in this mess, Didi.  First, sit down and I'll you all about it.  Do you remember that night when I ended up having to work instead of going to the party where the gross old men were going to throw a few hundred dollars our way to hang on their arms all night?  Free food, drinks, a couple lines in the bathroom, groovy time right?  Well except that one time when I did my first line and was so amped up we almost got arrested.  That weird cop friend of your will not stop calling me by the way.  I appreciate that he totally let us go since you gave him my number, but he keeps calling me 'waifu', which is dumb because if he wants 'waifu' why doesn't he just go to the MacDonalds on 86th street?  They have free waifu all day and all you have to do is order a coffee.  Anyway, moving past Andy... this is how it all went down, and don't freak out.  And stop looking at me like that, I know I screwed up...

“Hey bitch!” Deidre poked her head into the apartment of her best friend and long time partner in crime. She was a tall brunette woman with with perfectly manicured fingernails and glossed lips. Tonight she was in heels and black party dress that tight, short, revealed enough of her hiked up cleavage that Swara knew she was up to no good tonight. “Where you at, ho?”

She stepped into Swara's small living room. The lighting was terrible, threatening to siphon all the color and joy from anyone who basked in to for too long. Even the solid black of Deidre's dress seemed bland and depressing as she stepped from the hallway, which was no better. Her drab green wall were a combination of broken plaster and water stains.

The living room was bare, just a large empty room with several pairs of shoes, some with no mates, strewn about in no discernible order. It connected to her bedroom and her dining room through separate doorways to her left and right respectively. The light from the kitchen, off from the dining room, was on and faintly lighting up the dining area's meek table that had a pile of envelopes that Deidre assumed was bills and local advertisements. Swara kept a pretty neat home, aside from the clothes she left everywhere like a teenage girl might.

“In here!” Her friend called out from the bedroom. Deidre walked in to see her her friend pulling up black leather shorts that barely preserved her modesty over black lace panties that she was pretty sure were hers.

Deidre had known Swara for about two years now, since her bestie first arrived in New York. It had taken Swara all of a week to end up broke, robbed, and trending late on all her bills. The blond bombshell wasn't much in the brains department, but Didi (as Swara called her) had to admit she was gorgeous. She wanted to pursue a career in music and singing, and with her looks, body, and voice, Didi knew she had the talent for it. “What the fuck, girl? I thought we were going out?”

“I'm sorry,” Swara replied with a shameful whine to her voice. She yanked a white tee shirt off her dresser and pulled it over her head. It covered the matching bra and tightly hugged her frame. Her breasts now pleasantly advertised 'Knockers', as if anyone looking at her wasn't able to do the math on their own. “Casey called out, only two girls are there tonight, it's a Friday... they're going to be slammed. I'm sorry, Deeds... forgive me?”

“Casey? The ginger? That bitch ever show up?” Deidre sighed, trying not to be mad, but Swara knew she was. They'd been planning this Friday party for a few weeks now. “Look, fuck them. That cesspool doesn't always have to be your problem, hun. Every time someone calls out, you're first on Lenny's list. Tell him to get someone else for once!”

“I can't. Deeds, I'm a month behind on rent and it's due again in a few weeks, I need the cash. Lenny says I really bring the 'party crowd', and they tip really well. Don't know why any of the other girls don't but he says I do, sooo...” She shrugged, moving past Deidre to collect her scunci from where it was hanging from the lamp near her bed. She pulled her back into a tight golden ponytail.

“Seriously, have you seen your booty in those shorts?” Didi asked with a raised eye brow.

“No, why? Is it bad?” Swara turned and looked to her with a worried expression. “Because I have seven pounds I've been trying to loose since Thanksgiving. I totllly pigged out for like, three days over at that Buffet Buffet place on Flatbush. Oh, my, gawd it was sooooo good. Although I don't know why they named it twice.” She clulessly shrugged and went to rummaging around for the mate to the white Chuck Taylor she was holding.

“Baby Girl, what's this?” Didi picked up a news paper lying on the nightstand where Swara kept her scrunci's. It had a circled ad for 'Medical Testing' with age old scam line of 'We Pay Well'.

Poking her head up from the end of her bed Swara took a moment and guessed what she was holding. “Nothing, really. Something I was considering doing. They pay like fifteen-hundred bucks. It'd put me back in the blue. I could seriously use the money right now.”

“It's back in the black, sweetie, and no it won't. Baby Girl, we've been friends for what? A couple years now? I have trained you to survive this city, girl... and honestly a bit surprised you've lasted this long because of how-” Swara looked at her with her clueless, doe eyes that Didi knew didn't have a whole lot going on behind them. The poor girl was a classic ditz, not because she was stupid, but because she was just... to darn sweet and adorable to let pure banality that was New York crush her spirit. She liked kittens, and the color pink, and she even named the rats in her apartment so they felt like they were more welcome. Swara was just in a class her own, so when came to being honest with her, Didi sometimes had a hard time with the truth. “Uh, pretty. How pretty you are. Because most girls as hot as you are turning tricks in strip clubs for that easy cash... but you keep powering through.” Her laugh would have been unconvincing to anyone else, but Swara smiled brightly, happy with the compliment. “Swara, this is a bad idea. What have taught you about New York, huh? What's Rule #1?”

Swara's eyes rolled back and forth in thought for a moment and with a beaming smile she pointed proudly and proclaimed, “No ass play unless they make over six figures a year!”

Didi flushed a bit red trying to hold in her laugh. “Uh, noooo, but it warms my heart you were listening that day. Swara, Rule #1 is don't trust anyone in this city.” She looked at her best friend, the worried look in eyes warned Swara of her genuine concern. “This could be a scam. I don't want you raped and dead in a dumpster while some douche bag sicko is selling your spare parts on Craig's List.” She approached her friend and cupped her cheeks in her hand, smooshing her face. “Promise me you won't do this,” the pause was a bit too long for her and her concern grew. “Swara, I'm serious. Please, promise me?”

“Fine.” Like a child be scolded, Swara wasn't too keen on the idea of loosing out on that kind of money, but she was working tonight, so that would cushion her losses. “I won't go, but you gotta do my make up before I go to work, I'm tired and lazy and you're here.”

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So, I got to work, right?  And Lenny was a complete jerk!  By the way, thanks.  Everyone at Knockers is calling me 'Baby Girl' now.  So I get there, right?  And...

“I'm sorry!” Lenny spun around and away from Swara, dodging Kayla as she shot past him on a mission for her order that was already late. “My hands are tied, Baby Girl. Casey got a ride from her mom, she's here and I don't have the payroll to keep you on tonight.”

“Oh, come on, Lenny! You called me! I came all the way down here and now you're telling me I'm just outta luck?” Her cheeks were flushed with anger. “It's Friday, we're going to make more than enough to cover an extra hand tonight.”

“But not my spread for the Nicks game,” the portly man replied with a laugh. He hoisted up a crate of liquor bottles. “You try owing money to a Harlem loan shark darlin', we all got problems, kid, I'm sorry.” He walked away from her and headed out into the tap room where the party was already raging. He set the heavy crate down behind the bar and began restocking while his bartenders continued to fill drink orders. Swara followed him out and the roar of the crowd at the bar when they saw her was on par with a stadium of fans cheering for their favorite team.

She smiled and doled out high fives and hellos and a series of other greetings from hugs to pointing to those in the background. Swara didn't have much going for her, but in the last couple of years in New York, she'd become something of a local celebrity at Knockers. She was friendly, bubbly, polite, and when she danced and sang to entertain the crowd she always managed to keep everyone's attention. People just generally loved being around her, and it showed in her increased tips. When she informed everyone that she wasn't staying to work the boos and 'awws' were depressing.

“Don't blame me, I came to work! This is his doing! He said I have to go home!” She pointed to Lenny and shot him a smirk and she turned and walked back into the back while Lenny received the brunt of the slings and arrows of Swara's disgruntled fans.  She was awarded some grim satisfaction as Lenny yelled and explained to everyone why he was sending her home... so that Casey could stay in her place.  Everyone hated Casey.

“Enjoy the bus trip home,” Casey said as Swara was pulling up the hood of her pink hoodie over her head. Casey was a brat of a woman if ever there was one. She was heading back to the tap room with a loaded tray of burgers for one of the hungrier tables. Self-centered and entitled to a fault she perceived herself as above everyone one of her other co-workers. In short, Swara hated her.

“No worries,” she smiled back at the redhead. “Frat boy table?” She asked, noticing the burgers piled high on her serving tray.

“Yeah, and?” Her tone implied that her time was being wasted.

“Might wanna smear some whiskey between those B-cups, hun. Your flat... everything, isn't going to hold their attention as long as you think,” she smiled warmly and pushed open the back door, walking out into the alleyway. “G'night!”

She walked to the end of the ally before her anger and frustration caught up with her. Cursing, she slammed her foot into a dumpster a few times.  The dumpster protested it's abuse by not moving an inch.  She paced back and forth in an attempt to calm down and figure out what she was going to do to make up her losses. Work paid the most, if she made good tips, but going out with Deidre would have easily netted her several hundred dollars. Old corporate guys loved to throw money at young, hot women to hang onto their arm for the evening. Sure, it made her feet a little dirty, but it wasn't like she slept with any of them. New York was a totally different culture that anything she'd ever known in her life. Here, it wasn't trashy... it was just... the way things were.  Okay... it was a little trashy.  Trashy that kept the lights on.

Deidre was probably all the way in Midtown by now, so going out tonight was no longer on the menu. By the time she got home, changed, redid her make up, she'd be so late it was pointless.  She cursed some more and kicked the dumpster again. She didn't loose her composure often, but when she did it was always a complete meltdown and always while she was by herself. She wasn't good at letting other seeing her at her weakest, and most vulnerable. She prided herself on her strength and perseverance. She wasn't clueless that she was clueless and certainly knew that in a city like New York that was a terrible weakness that could lead one down a dark path of being exploited and hurt and eventually chewed up and spat out by the city.  She was determined to make it, however. One way or another she was going to succeed. She was going to show her parents and everyone back home that she could make in the Big City despite what all the naysayers said... which she was pretty sure was 'nay'.

The streets of Bowery at night were cold in the late months of spring. It had been getting warmer during the days but at night the chill of forty to forty five degrees in the dampness of the light rains and drizzles that were common were encouragement enough to stay off the streets. Sure, the crime and gangs and deviants roaming the streets were a great reason too, but she was in skimpy leather shorts and her legs were cold... freezing took priority over crazies.  She ducked into a family owned convenient store and in the bathroom she slid on a pair of sweat pants she kept in her bag, rounding out her pink ensemble.

She bought a water and a snickers bar, well, the water really. Abha, the hindi woman running the counter gave her the snickers. The two girls had talked at length many times and got on really well. Swara was always there for other people with an extra quarter or dollar when they needed it and tonight Abha smiled and told her that her karma was catching up with her. Say what you want about New Yorkers, but if you're a good person, they're a good person to you. Most of the time, anyway.

Not bad, the blonde thought as she stepped back out into the chill. She looked at the folded newspaper in her bag and pulled it out to have a look at the circled ad as she chewed her karmic reward. Maybe my night is getting better. Maybe my caramel is catching up to me.

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  • 2 months later...

The place wasn't too hard to find, some old warehouse down on the waterfront in Brooklyn.  Okay, yeah, I get it, Red Flag... I know.  When you're rent's due you get a pass on doing something stupid to pay, okay?  Now, can I tell my story?

The sweats were helping fight off the cold of the chill New York air as the lovely blonde stepped out from her cab and looked up from the paper in her hand to the number above the warehouse door.  "This is such a dumb idea," she said aloud as her cabby swiped her debit card and printed her a receipt.

"You need me to wait, darlin'?"  He asked as he handed her card back.  "I don't mind.  It's late, doll, and this isn't the best place to be..."

"Thanks, but I think I'll be okay.  I'm meeting some friends."  Swara lied and smiled sweetly as she signed for the tip.  "Very cool of you to offer though, not a lot of gentlemen left in this city."

She felt good as he drove away.  He was a nice guy and her compliment put some color in his cheeks, the only color that had been there in some time she assumed.  She wasted little time approaching the door and banging on the reinforced metal portal.  For the longest while there was nothing.  She dug her hands deep into her pink hoodie pockets, straightening her arms to flex off the cold.  Her teeth began to chatter as she waited when her patience wore thin she banged on the door again, this time a lot harder.

"Hello!?"  Her fist slammed into the steel a few more times until she grunted and rolled her eyes.  She figured the whole thing had to be too good to be true and now was left with the stinging irritation with herself that she let the cab guy go.  It wasn't too far of a walk, but in the cold it was far enough to make her not very thrilled about the whole idea.  With kick of pure frustration she slammed her foot into the door and spat a curse at it as she walked away.

When the latch squealed and the door jerked open once she was several paces away, Swara was a little more than surprised.  Pink hood pulled up and hands buried in her hoodie pockets she spun slowly around to face the door that had slowly cracked open.  Again she called out in the darkness of the waterfront for someone to answer, and her shock was doubled when a nerdy head poked out into the threshold.  "Are you her?"  The man asked.  "The one on the phone?"

"No," she replied snidely.  "I'm some other girl dressed all in pink who just happens to be wandering the waterfront in Brooklyn at night and decided to come bang on this door in particular."

"Oh." Was all the head said and the door closed.

Swara knew she was a bit, 'special' at times, but what she just witnessed made her a firm believer that she was genius material by comparison.  There was someone else on the other side of the door with him.  She could hear them arguing but couldn't quite make any of it out.  By the time she'd managed to walk slowly back to the door it swung open suddenly and a second gentleman stood.  He was tall and lanky with a wide toothy smile and wild carrot red hair.  He looked like that Muppet guy whose name she couldn't remember.

"Hi!"  He said swiftly.  "Sorry, sorry about that. He's uh, not a very sociable guy. Doesn't get sarcasm.”

“Like the ass burgers?” Swara asked innocently.

The man's expression lost some if it's seriousness while his sort of glanced around the parking lot looking for cameras to see if he was getting punked. “Uh,” he paused, unsure how to reply to her. “Sure! Like that. We'll, uh, go with that. Uh, I'm Brian. Brian Eaker. Please! Please come on inside, I'll explain everything we've got going on.”

Cautiously she followed the scrawny red head. The inside of the warehouse was just as one would imagine given all the crime shows on television these days. Despite it's massive size they were only using one small area not far in from the entrance. There were three long desks set up with all manner of computers and equipment she didn't understand, something that looked like one of those portable hospital heart monitor thingies and the crown jewel was something that seemed like a large tanning bed, but it had all sorts of wiring and modifications done to it so that it looked like one of those sci-fi pods people got frozen in. The floor and the three 'walls' that made up their small work space were all a thick plastic.

Yeah, this was all starting to look like a horrible idea.

“So, uh, this is Hun Ni Do, he's working on his doctorates in genetics and applied microbiology with a minor in experimental medicine.” Brian motioned for Swara to approach Mr. Do. “He's also my partner.”

“Oh,” Swara smiled at them both. “That's awesome. It's twenty eighteen guys, go nuts. I'm totally happy for you, you're even breaking that interracial barrier too, very cool. You guys met at the office too? That's cute, the whole office romance angle-”

Brian laughed as Hun gave her a strange, almost disgusted look. “No, no... partners for this project, we work together, we not together, together.”

Hun shook her hand. He was just as she pictured him on the other side of the door: short, a bit round for a guy married to his work with not a lot of trips to the gym, but it was the glasses that looked like he stole from Edna Mode that really made her wanna bust into laughter. “You are here for the ad? I will prepare things. Brian will tell you what we do, although you'll probably not understand.”

Wow,” Swara snarked at him. “Alone in a dark warehouse on a Friday night... with charm like that, can't imagine why.”

Hun went back to his work, ignoring the unintelligent little American girl as Brian took her by the arm and led her away. “Heh, sorry about that, he's a little difficult when he's close to a breakthrough on a project. He didn't mean anything by it...”

“He needs a punch in the junk,” she sneered. She wasn't really a mean person, but one thing she hated was being called stupid. She knew she was a little slow on the uptake sometimes, but she couldn't help it, it was just... how she was.

He laughed again, nervously. “Well, let me fill you in on how this'll go. All we need you to do is apply our tanning oil to the entirity of your body, and tan for ten minutes. If everything goes well, we'll ask you to go another ten minutes. Anytime redness occurs, we will stop the experiment, and you'll have done your part.”

“Why would I turn red?” She asked.

“Well, tanning beds are generally high powered ultra violet light, so they can irritate the skin quickly. Ten minutes is about all they recommend. However, our oil is designed to repel that irritation and help burn fat while rapidly stimulating your muscle tissue. If after ten minutes you start to tan... well, it's not working and we need to find out why.”

Confused, she looked at him. She set her bag down on a small table on the opposite side of the plastic, away from the project where she could change in with privacy. There were a few cheap bathing suits spread over the table, all of them two piece. She couldn't blame the guys, if the nerds were stuck working on a Friday, they might as well get a show out of it. “So, I just lay there and it burns fat and stimulates me?”

“Uh,” he blushed. He was nervous around her and she could tell. This was probably the closest he'd been to any female aside form his mother. “Stimulates you muscle tissue, um, under you skin and fat layers.”

“Are you saying I'm fat?” She had to mess with him. It was cute watching him stumble over his words.

“N-no! No... you see, we all have these layers, skin, fat, muscle. Some more or less than others,” he swallowed hard as Swara took off her hoodie, unzipping it and sliding it off her arms to reveal her Knockers uniform and the easily noticeable black bra underneath it, the lace practically pushed through the stretched white fabric. “Wh-which I see you are in the uh... the uh... less cat-category.”

“The uh, stimulation excites the tissue and, along with the heat, we're experimenting on being able to work out and strengthen muscle without actually having to work out at all. A full hour's workout in a ten minute tanning session. Pretty, neat, huh?”

Actually, that was pretty cool. “Uh, yeah,” she laughed softly. “And you guys did this on your own? How come the ware house?”

“Well,” Brian scratched his bright red hair. “Our boss thought it was a terrible idea, despite all our data to the contrary. Sooo, we're not exactly doing this legally. We're using company money, but they think it's going to a small project at a different branch. However, if our idea pans out, well, we'll be rich and no one will care where one point four million dollars disappeared to...” he sighed, nervously. “I hope.”

“Speaking of money...” Swara looked at him, expectantly.

“We generally pay after the tests are concluded.”

“Brian,” Swara shifted her tone to something a bit more seductive and less casual. Men were, by and large stupid when it came to beautiful women. Usually the bigger the brain, the easier the mark.“Seriosuly, what am I going to do? Run out into the cold Brooklyn night in nothing but a pink thong bikini. C'mon, dude. Work with me.”

“Ha, see... we don't have a pink thong bikini.” He stated, proud that he caught her in an attempted scam.

“No, but I do.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a pink string of skimpy cloth and let dangle on her finger with an mischievous smirk on her face. “Buut, I guess I could just use this big ol' one piece I brought instead. I'm not one for sharing swim suits, guys, that's pretty unsanitary.”

He swallowed hard and flushed slightly. “Lemme get it for you.”

She'd tucked the money in the deepest bottom of her bag and went ahead and got changed. She wore tight shorts and skimpy outfits all the time for work or clubbing, so giving the two science geeks a show was really not the big of a deal for her. Honestly, she was clothed (more or less) so giving them some eye candy didn't really bother her, in fact a small part of her sort of liked the attention and Brian's constant nervousness and awkwardness around her was kind of cute.

She walked past them, unabashed by their silent gawking and made her way to the tanning bed. She was glistening in their fancy tanning oil and felt like she should be flexing at a Mrs. Universe competition, but oh well, it was fifteen hundred bucks. She even had the stuff in her hair too, because apparently it helped against heat damage and protected against split ends. These two really had thought of everything... in a weird way. It was kinda strange, and heavy, but what the hell, they were paying.

Before she entered the bed she wrapped her hair into a tight spiral and wrung it out one last time to make sure it wasn't too gooey. Sticky, slimy, glops of tanning oil dribbled from her hair onto the plastic. “Oops! Sorry little guy!” she smiled as she watched a few drops dribble all over a small spider making a trek across the scientific human wastelands of science. Brian swiftly approached and attempted to stomp on it but she stopped him. “Hey, come on, leave him alone. He's just trying to get home.”

“It's a spider,” he said flatly.

“So?” She scooped it up and it scuttled across her finger and leapt from her finger to the top of the tanning bed. “He's got my back.” She smiled and winked at the spider. “Keep an eye on me, okay guy?”

“It's a spider.” Brian said again flatly.

“Oh, hush. All I have to do is just lay here, right?”

“Yep.” Brian helped her onto the bed. She'd gone tanning before, but seriously, never on a bed like this. She ignored the terribly hidden 'accidental' rub against her butt, and settled in.

The first ten minutes weren't so bad, they went by pretty quick while she sung Letters to Cleo songs off her iPod. She got out and sat through a quick series of tests that she thought were going to be awkward but Hun and Brian were suddenly very professional and incredibly smart, using a ton of words she didn't begin to understand. She didn't like being called stupid, and neither of them did that, but the more they talked, the dumber she felt. The good news was that her first ten minutes yielded amazing results. She didn't hear what kind, as she was talking with Fernado, that's what she named the spider who seemed to not really have anything going for his Friday night either and decided to hang out on the tanning bed, pod, thingie.

When her second time came around they said it would be for ten more minutes, and keep going after that, ready to shut it down of anything started to look off. They weren't to specific on what 'off' really meant, but she was pretty sure it wasn't good. She lay back down for another go at it and closed her eyes, listening to her music. She wasn't sure what went wrong or how much time had passed but a sudden slamming on the outside of the 'pod' roused her from her relaxation and caused her to pull her earbuds from her ears. Brian pounded on the glass and Hun was behind him flipping switches and pressing buttons. At one point he yanked a series of heavy cables out from something that looked like a poorly constructed generator.

“Penny!” Brian shouted the fake name she'd filled out the waiver form. He pounded on the heavy plexiglass again. “Penny the bed is locked and the heat is in there is increasing! We have to get you out!”

She could feel it now, in just the few moments he'd pounded on the glass the temperature had increased by several degrees. Panic started to grip her as claustrophobia kicked in and her natural instinct for survival motivated her to do anything, try anything. She kicked the pod, slamming feet and hands all over the place. The heat was getting unbearable and her back started to get burned as the surface became far to hot for he to bear. She screamed in agony and Brian pounded on the glass with a fire extinguisher. Consoles and computers all began exploding into a shower of spark behind him as the lab erupted into fiery chaos.

Panicked and afraid Swara screamed and cried out as her flesh began sear and burn into blisters that bubbled off from her skin. Blister filled with plasma and boiled over so hot that the skin burst spraying boiling serum all over the inside of the pod. There were no words to describe her agony. Brian, stricken with panick and fear of his own could only back way in horror as he watched the once beautiful woman that had entered the pod blistered and burned to death and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Something alarming caught his eye and he watched her write in absolute agony. Her skin shimmered and glistened in a multi-hued rainbow-like sparkle as it congealed and bubbled spraying plasma along the inside of the pod that also seemed to shimmer and glisten like the inside of a smooth shell, the multi-hued colors of abalone.

Although it was all over in only few minutes, it seemed like an eternity. Brian and Hun had managed to shut everything down and once it was all under control they pried the pod open and fled the scene for a moment to vomit. It was grizzly and the smell... ugh, the smell. Now, the two men had the unsightly decision of how they were going to dispose of a freshly burned body. She barely alive, she gurgled and twitched spasmatically as nerves lapsed in and out of functionality. Her brain reeled from the shock and pain.

Twenty minutes later she was dumped in an alley way in nothing but her pink bikini and her bag tossed at her side... she gasped for a breath as her nerves exploded into pain and searing agony as the cold night air licked her charred body.

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I'm telling you, I remember the fear and pain of being boiled alive. I watched my skin bubble and felt the heat. I'm not crazy, Didi. I know! I know... I'm fine, all my skin is here and I'm fit and healthy, aside from the dreams. But I'm telling you, I know what I went through. I don't know how long I was out, but when I woke up...

Her eyes snapped open and she breathed in a heavy, desperate breath. Her lungs filled swiftly with nurturing oxygen while her muscles suffered a severe spasm. She coughed and choked, hacking up a large glob of something that looked like liquefied lungs after she'd smoked 100 packs a day for 100 years. Groggily and still in a haze she slapped her palm on the pavement, reaching for her handbag that she vaguely remembered being close-ish to where she'd been dumped.

There was pain, awkward, hazy dizziness and a gut wrenching pain that felt like her body was being squeezed and then loosened up, then squeezed again, like she was some pretty pink stress relief ball for a really big angry god she almost positive hated her. She could make out a blurry image of herself in the water of one of the alley's many puddles. There were no burns. Her face and body were covered in the remnants of the dried blood and burst plasma that covered her as she accrued her injuries, but all they covered was her unblemished and unmarred skin and features.

Confusion, fear and pain were all her brain would allow her to accomplish but somehow she managed to tap 911 on her cell phone. It would be until way later that she'd realize how lucky she was o be dumped in such a deserted area of Brooklyn, else she may not have had any of her belongings and be in far worse condition than she was in now.

Tears refused to flow down her cheeks, she was simply to dehydrated to cry properly but her sobs of fear and desperation were more than enough to get law enforcement to her quickly... well, relatively. It was Brooklyn after all.

Didi's heels clacked on the floor of the 5th Precinct as she waded past prostitutes, junkies, and degenerates of all stripes. Still in her tight black, low neckline, tight skirt she garnered more than a few looks from the officers she passed, wondering if she'd wriggled out of her cuffs. The Desk Sergeant had directed her as to where to go and within moments Mitch's head popped into view over the sea people.

Officer Mitch Collins was an old friend of Diedre's, meaning that they dated back in high school and despite it not working out, he remained an excellent friend, if a bit weird. They were both nerdy in school, but after high school Diedre exploded into a bombshell and her life went in a decidedly different direction. Mitch remained incredibly rooted in nerd culture, and when it came to policing, aside from his lack of a physique, he was a damn good cop who got passed over a lot for simply not being 'Alpha' enough for certain promotions. Still, his professional life was police work and he loved it, while if personal life was anime, World of Warcraft, cons and cosplay.

She approached him and grasped his arms, holding him. Her voice was saturated in worry and concern. “Where is she? Is she okay?”

She's fine,” he assured her in his best police diplomacy mode for calming the family of victims of violent crimes. “Shes been cooperative, answered all our questions as best she could, she's lucid, attentive, she's not hurt. We've done the yuge, mug shots, rape kit, sketch artist, but her memory is really fuzzy.”

Rape kit? Jesus god, Mitch.” Didi wiped a stray tear away. “I wanna see her.”

She wasn't sexually assaulted, Dee. She's fine. Just had one hell of a weird night,” Mitch moved to her side and put an arm around her, leading her to the chairs in the hallway outside a few of the offices. “She said she was burned alive by Muppets, but her tox screen came back clean.  The detectives are finishing up, I'll let her know you're here. Kay?” Her old friend offered her a warm, caring smile.

Diedre wiped another straw tear away as frantic worry for her friend consumed her thoughts. She nodded. After he turned she called out to him and spun about to see what she needed. “Thanks, Mitch.” He smiled and went back to relay the message.

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One Week Later...

And that's how it happened,” Swara said with a light huff as she lowered herself back to the floor and raised back up into the leaning rest position. “You picked me up, the police said I was crazy, and two of the detectives gave me their number so we could go out sometime... one was married. Woo hoo New York police work,” she raised her hand and twirled her finger in a few circles, while lowering herself again and raising back up into the leaning rest position... one handed.

Didi took another drag from her cigarillo, and shook her head in disbelief. She'd already smoked three since the story started and was on her forth beer of the six-pack she'd brought by to her bestie's apartment. She just watched with wide eye's belief, smoking and drinking to cope with the weirdness. “And all this started after the Muppets tried to kill you.”

Yep,” the blond replied, doing a few more push-ups. “What is that now? I lost count...”

Seven hundred.” Didi said, chugging her beer. “Baby Girl... people don't do seven hundred push-ups...”

Sure they do.” She said with a smile. Military guys are always doing them, they must do like a thousand or something.”

Not without being tired! Not in a row, for an hour, while telling a story!” Didi stood up and walked around Swara's place, pacing between her table loaded with bills and her kitchen. “Swara, honey, this isn't right. There's something wrong with you, we need to get you to a hospital, or something. Let them to tests.”

I thought of that,” Swara did several more, lifted one leg, then the other, then one arm, then the other... each time, no matter what, she could lift herself easily, and effortlessly. “I thought maybe I'd get my blood tested for... I dunno, blood stuff.”

And?” A plume of smoke blew nervously past her lips as she paced.

Swara nodded to the counter top, next to the fridge. Diedre went to look and there was a syringe laid out on a white cloth, the type they used for collecting blood. “Girl, I'm not even gonna ask where you got this...”

From th-”

Girl! I said I wasn't gonna ask.” She looked closer and saw that all the needles were broken. This slivers of metal were snapped at various lengths and set upon the cloth. “The hell's all this?”

They all broke,” Swara finally stood up from her push ups. “Seven seventy-five, by the way. And. Not. Even. Tired. Heh.” She bumped booties with her bestie as she past her and went for the kitchen drawer. She pulled steak knife out. “Check this out.” She prepped to rake the blade across her wrist.

SWARA!” Didi moved with purpose but arrived too late to stop her. Gripping her wrist she frantically prepared to stymie the blood that was... not flowing. There was no blood. There wasn't even a wound. Just a simple red mark on her skin where the blade drug across which faded with all alacrity. “Jeasus god... what the fuck did the Muppets do to you?”

I don't know,” she said calmly. Didi just kept turning her wrist over and about to see where any blemish or mark may be. “But when I find them, I'm gonna cock punch them both. Not because they burned me alive, that I've obviously gotten over. But because the dumped me in Brooklyn in nothing but a bikini. Do you have any idea how cold I was waiting for the police? Oh my god... you don't even know.”

Satisfied with her observation, Didi looked up at her best, dim witted, friend and smiled wide as tears rolled down her cheeks.  Despite it all she was more angry about being cold than being burned alive.  Like she said, she'd gotten over the dead part and her no-harm, no-foul outlook on life was so naive in the streets of New York that it was almost adorable.  "Baby Girl, please don't ever change..." Swara held her only friend and smiled too.  "...or answer any ads in the paper ever again.  I swear to god I will fucking kill you."

"Promise."  Said Swara, as casually as she had the night the entire mess started.

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