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Found 39 results

  1. Silberman's Books, at the corner of Pratt and Frederick. Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018. 10:00 am. Today it was the 'Tuesday Morning Power Trio' on the floor at Silberman's; Gretchen dutifully working the register, Lance at the bar pulling shots and making the magic happen, and Maddy on the sales floor with her warmth and English Lit degree. The morning crowd of old Jewish men playing checkers and moms chatting chatting over coffee while their babies dozed in their strollers was very much in evidence. The store's owner Lynn Epstein was in her office, sipping coffee and reading resumes while waiting for another applicant to show up for her interview.
  2. apartment for rent.jpg

    From the album Heritage's album

    Apartment currently rented out to Sam Steiner, aka Presto the Preposterous.
  3. silbermans floor plan.jpg

    From the album Heritage's album

    The floorplan of Silberman's Books
  4. Some 'Splaining To Do

    Lynn and Gretchen's Apartment. Tuesday, March 14th, 2017. 1:05 am It had been a long night for the Shrike; Grimalkin's website got an anonymous tip about a human trafficking operation in Greenbank, but it didn't sound like it would be too dangerous. Lynn and Gretchen had been working on inventory with a little informal help from their new roomie Moira when the tip came in; thinking the situation would be quickly resolved, Gretch offered to take the op solo, though Lynn insisted she call her the minute things got too dicey. Gretch found the operation all right; it just happened to be run by a den of Greek witches who loved throwing vipers at their enemies, and hired ex-Spetsnaz 'eyegougers' for security. The young barista repeatedly tried to call Lynn, but the witches somehow blocked magical communication, which left the ringwielder fighting for her life for the better part of an hour in a freightyard. But all those hours playing first person shooters and training with Lynn really payed off; by the time the cops finally showed up, Gretch had personally subdued seven witches and nine Russian bad guys. The FCPD was suitably impressed, and the officers thanked her once they got her statement. Not ready to head home just yet, Shrike grabbed a coffee and slowly savored it on a rooftop, her feet dangling over the edge. Part of her was glad she wasn't able to reach Lynn; it was nice to know that if the chips were down and her back against the wall, she, Gretchen McDaniels, could kick serious ass. Now flying back towards home and the comforting arms of her lover, Gretch gently probed to see if Lynn was still awake; if she didn't get an immediate response, it usually meant the changeling was passed out somewhere already. If she wasn't in bed, Gretch used the Ring of Power to carefully pick her up and float her into the bedroom and tuck her in. The invisble crimefighter landed in the small lightwell patio between the two apartments and opened the door, stepping into the dining room. There was a soft flickering glow coming from the living room, which probably meant Lynn had fallen asleep watching home movies on her beloved PictureBox from Otherworld. Not wanting to wake her girlfriend, Gretch floated silently into the room to an unexpected sight: Lynn and Moira, sleeping on the sofa together under a blanket. All she could do was float and stare at the two of them for several minutes. At length, she finally crossed her arms and spoke. "Well, then."
  5. The Luck of the Fae (IC)

    Silberman's Books, at the corner of Pratt and Frederick. Friday, March 17th, 2017. 11:00 am. Lynn Epstein didn't really get St. Patrick's Day; her mom was Jewish, and her father, who despite his last name was primarily raised Catholic, was essentially Jewish-Italian. She'd gone to Jewish schools throughout her childhood, so it was never part of her family life. Atlantic City had a parade down the Boardwalk, but her family always avoided it due to the presence of 'drunken hooligans' as her mom put it. But sadly when you work in retail, there are certain expectations from the public around major or even minor holidays, so while Silberman's Books didn't go all out, a few changes were made to the store for the week. A table of books on Irish history and Celtic mythology was set up near the entrance; it wasn't too crass, and the books selection was actually pretty varied. The changeling had conjured some tasteful decorations around the store, typically modeled on early 20th century designs as Lynn felt they were less intrusive. And lastly she'd made some special green Silberman's aprons, dark green with the store's name in a white Celtic font; even Gretchen who was usually annoyed by such things admitted they looked pretty good. Otherwise the store looked much the same as usual: bookshelves full of used books, posters of famous stage magicians on the walls, the magazine rack and newspapers up front, tables and chairs for reading and the consumption of food and drink, and the combined front counter/coffee bar. The store was fairly empty, as much of Freedom was engaged in various St. Pat's activities, so it was only the die hard coffee drinkers out and about. Gretchen was working the bar and counter this morning, although right now she was sitting perched on her high stool near the register, reading Dostoevsky's The Idiot in the original Russian thanks to her magic glasses. She was also playing The Pogues over the store's sound system, her one contribution to the day's celebrations. However, the store's owner did have someone coming in for an interview this morning; hopefully they'd be a good fit. Currently she was in her office checking email.
  6. Old Friends (IC)

    Silberman's Books, at the corner of Frederick and Pratt. Saturday, February 4th, 2017. 12:05 pm. It was a rather cold and gray afternoon in February, the kind of day when really all you wanted to do was stay in bed, read a book, maybe watch something on Netflix; Gretchen in particular had argued in favor of this last point earlier that morning. But her girlfriend Lynn made the point that if they wanted a long and happy life, they wouldn't be working in retail; this led to a narrowing of the eyes and an icy telepathic rebuke. -Curse your alien faerie logic.- But now it was far too late; they'd been open for two hours, and it would be far too difficult to kill all the customers and hide the bodies. The surly barista was well and truly screwed, so she would just have to glare balefully at the Happy Morning People as they drank their coffee and ate their baked treats. You will all pay for this. For her part, Lynn was in the office, cheerfully going over her emails, seemingly oblivious to her love's virulent misanthropy this fine morning.
  7. There's Always Room For One More

    Silberman's Books, at the corner of Pratt and Frederick. Saturday, January 7th, 2017 10:30 am. With the panic and mayhem of another holiday season behind them, the crew at the West End's most popular used bookstore could finally breathe a collective sigh of relief. January was typically a month of austerity in the US, especially in the retail sector, which made it a good month to take stock and look back on the year that was, and begin serious planning for the year ahead. The decision to open earlier on weekdays and Saturdays, as well as offering breakfast sandwiches, meant major staffing adjustments and a lot more work for the openers. Despite the passing of the holiday rush, the store still need to hire a few more people. So far, the first Saturday morning was a success as the neighborhood discovered the new adjusted hours and menu items, but the store was just a little strained under the increased customer load. A number of Merges were on-site, though of course only one was currently behind the register; the others were either doing dishes or checking stock in back. Gretch was doing her best to 'play well with others' on bar while Lynn worked the floor, using her amazing social skills to good effect. As usual, the two lovers were going back and forth via mental communication, and as often was the case, it was playful and fairly snarky. I want you to list five things you like about Merge. Really? We're having this conversation? Five things. Fine. ...I'm waiting... She...always smells nice. Wow. Really, that's your opener? She does...cool stuff with her powers sometimes. Cute outfits and stuff...
  8. The Old Curiosity Shop

    Silberman's Books. Sunday, December 11th, 2016. Sundays were sleepy at Silberman's, since the store didn't open until noon on the weekends; this largely eliminated the early coffee rush, but meant the folks who came in now were looking to take their time and stay awhile. The sales floor looked very Christmas-y, and the fragrance of the decorated Scotch pine filled the store. Lynn was in her office checking emails while Gretchen sat perched on her stool behind the counter, reading a magazine; her half trendy/half 'screw you' ensemble pegged her as a former art student, but nonetheless a playful pair of reindeer antlers were perched on her head.
  9. Positions Available, Part 2

    Silberman's Books. Wednesday, Novermber 30th, 2016. 11:00 am Even though it was probably her riskiest hire ever, Lynn was optimistic about hiring Merge; coverage would not be much of a problem anymore, and she felt that once she adjusted her groove a bit to match the tone of the store, the colorful duplicator would bring a lot to the team. But as tempting as a full staff of Merges was (Oh, the looks on the faces of the old Jews of the neighborhood; it would almost be worth it!), the changeling knew she still needed a few more warm bodies. The store was starting to slow down a bit from the morning coffee-and-danish rush, but a handful of regulars were still sipping their coffee. Maddy had the morning off, so it was Lance and Gretchen behind the bar/counter while Lynn walked the floor; today, she wore green curly toed shoes, a bright green sweater and comfy jeans under her brown Silberman's apron, all topped with a red Santa hat and a pair of cute 'elf ears' (nudge nudge, wink wink). The store was decorated in old-fashioned Christmas decorations, including a big Scotch pine covered in lights, and a train set chased itself around the table in the children's section.
  10. Positions Available, Part 1

    Silberman's Books. Monday, November 28th, 2016. 10:00 am. If you worked in retail, the holiday season was always stressful; it had a way of simultaneously bringing out the best and worst in people, and it seemed to go on forever. Since she'd reopened the store in 2014, owner Lynn Epstein had seen business steadily increase each year; their numbers were never going to be amazing, especially given her insistence on paying her employees a decent wage, but the fact that they weren't always operating at a loss made her happy. Of course, considering the large nest egg she'd brought back from Otherworld, she could afford to operate at a modest loss for years if necessary, and she wouldn't even mind; reopening Silberman's was never about making money. But if she didn't want her employees to rebel and hoist her from the yardarm, she desperately needed to hire some holiday help, and hopefully keep a few of them on permanently. Which wasn't always easy when you ran a store that had a whispered reputation for weird goings on... Since she'd put the ad up over the weekend, Lynn had already gotten several resumes via email, which she was currently reading over in her office; she had her 'power team' this morning, Lance on bar and Gretchen at the register. It was early yet, so it was mostly the coffee and newspaper crowd of old Jewish men from the neighnorhood, as well as one or two 'hipster beards' sipping their espresso as they checked their email on their Powerbooks. Need any help out there? No. We're good for now.
  11. Holiday Help Wanted

    With the holiday season upon us, business is startling to pick up at Silbernan's Books, and owner Lynn Epstein (aka Grimalkin) could use a hand or two. New arrivals in Freedom looking for a way in or old familiar faces looking for a change are all welcome. Retail experience in your backstory is nice, but not a prerequisite. This could be either a temporary thing or part of your ongoing secret identity, your choice. The store's Reputation is now listed on Grim's rep sheet.
  12. 1:43 PM 18/11/2016 Silberman's Books, West End Freedom City An old 1974 Dodge Monaco sedan pulled up in the alley beside the bookstore - the door requiring a few kicks before it popped open. A young man in a pageboy cap and worn out old pea coat clambered out, stretching; Morgan eyeballing the door and sighing. Stupid prudence. If he'd blown half the jack from the Baron job on getting his car's body tuned up along with the engine... Meh. Svartalves never liked extras. He reached into the back and took out a duffel bag, along with a notepad; checking the listed work order. Package number three, basic alarm array. He referred to it as the Blinky Light Package - mostly since unless the buyer picked up additions, it was basically a bright blinky light if anyone used magic in their vicinity. On the positive side, it was nice and cheap, and usually helped get people past the whole 'magic in business' hump. That being said, honestly? He'd have done this one for free. Scuttlebutt said Silberman's was a good place, and run by a lady who was firmly on the side of the angels, if you could trust the local kids. Still, guy's gotta eat, right? ...though that didn't necessarily stop him from adding a few, er, 'weekly special discounts' onto the bill. Even if the weekly special had only been declared about, oh, say, five minutes into their phone call. Of course he'd planned those specials all along, it was just a coincidence they came up then. And nobody had any proof otherwise. The young man jogged up the front stoop and knocked on the door. Giving a bit of that old-school no-entry-unless-invited thing.
  13. Not sure if we'll really need this, but a better place for stuff than just doing PMs. For the record, I am a very bad chess player, so I don't think we should get very detailed about Gretchen and Lawrence's game
  14. Hot Time, Summer in the City (IC)

    Silberman's Books. August 31st, 2016 10:05am. It was just after 10, and the forecast was brutal; the store had only been open for a few minutes, and it was already a furnace, because the AC was down and it would be a few hours before the HVAC repairman could make it over. This and the large standing sign in front of the door warning about the lack of AC kept a lot of the regulars from coming in for their morning cup, which was sad, but seeing that many of them were elderly, Lynn that it as best that they knew from the get-go. Of course, due to their respective powers, neither Lynn nor her partner Gretchen was uncomfortable, so they pretty much had the store to themselves so far this morning; Lynn was using it as a chance to catch up on paperwork in her office, while Gretch sat on a stool behind the counter reading Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, a collection of reviews by legendary rock critic Lester Bangs. Normally she'd be on her laptop, but without working AC she was concerned about the poor thing overheating. Several industrial standing fans were set up around the store to offer some relief for any would-be shoppers, and an oscillating desk fan perched on the counter next to Gretchen, occasionally stirring her hair with its breeze.
  15. Such A Cozy Room

    Above Silberman's Books. Monday, August 1st, 2016. 11:36 am Lynn unlocked the door and pushed it wide open as she stepped into the living room/dining nook of the one bedroom apartment Tona recently vacated; the room was bright and airy, with hardwood floors, white painted walls and a working gas fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves. Salvaged stained glass windows on the east wall added color and a charming rustic quality. "Okay, so this is the front room; that pillar sort of designates the dining area, but obviously you can use it however you want. There's no central heating or air, but the radiator heat is free and works great, and you've got ceiling fans and an AC unit in the bedroom." Gretchen followed in, pointing out the small flat-screen monitor on the wall near the door. "I've upgraded the security system. Multiple cameras, motion and heat sensors, extra sturdy locks."
  16. AEGIS NPCs?

    Hi all! So I'm looking to run a thread involving Handyman and Grim, and I was wondering if there are any well established AEGIS NPCs, especially in commad positions, that I might use as his superior?
  17. Lynn Epstein's Apartment. Saturday, June 18th, 2016. 2pm. It was a very mild and pleasant late spring day; there was no need to run the AC, so instead Lynn and Gretchen had just opened all the windows and turned on all the ceiling fans, so that cool breezes and succulent cooking smells wafted through every room. The weekend before, Gretch had offically moved in, and at her insistence the apartment now possessed real live, actual furniture; some of them were ancient hand-me-down pieces that once bellonged to her late grandmother back in Maine, all dark, massive and brooding. Others were recent additions from the Ikea out in Ashton, which they had bought together, because that's what couples do. It took a while to get used to, but Lynn was starting to enjoy the smell of history on the old stuff pleasantly mixing with the new stuff that smelled of dorm rooms and promise. What was a bit harder to get used to were Gretchen's ferrets, Otto and Bosco; they tore around the apatment like they were rats on crack, their long, loping bodies wriggling into every corner imaginable, terrifying Lynn's three cats DB, Mafia and Plaque Attack, who currently spent most of their time hiding out in the bedroom. The ferret cage stood in one corner of the living room, a symbol of the end of the Era of Feline Domination. Out on the rear deck was the Weber grill that Gretchen had also insisted on, which was having its trial run this weekend; it hadn't been fired up just yet, because Lynn wanted everyone to have a little time to have a drink and kibbitz. As for the couple themselves, each was representing their unique stylistic tastes. Lynn wore sandals, a short denim skirt and a creamy, sleeveless cotton blouse; her hair was up and out of the way, indicating that she was both hard at work and comfortable enough with the guests to reveal her pointed ears. Meanwhile, Gretchen wore boots, loose cut jeans and a black vintage Lou Reed t-shirt; surprisingly, her hair was also up, showing a rare glimpse of her graceful neck. The two women worked together smoothly like a well-oiled machine, a machine that frequently stopped to smile or affectionatly touch a shoulder. Their guests would be here soon.
  18. I've Got A Golden Ticket

    Silberman's Books. Monday, April 25th, 2016. 9:56 am. Back in January, Lynn Epstein offered Samuel Steiner, a stage magician, ex-convict and would-be crimefighter, what amounted to his 'dream job': the opportunity to catalogue and itemize the collection of his hero Ira Silberman, formerly known as the Amazing Al-Kazar. To say that he couldn't wait to start his first day would be the understatement of the century. Yet wait he did; in February, the departure of her long-suffering assistant manager Kiki Knox came as a shock, and Lynn sent him an apologetic letter explaining that she wanted to bring her new AM up to speed and get everyone settled into a new routine before adding any additional staff. That the letter contained a check for eight hundred dollars did something to soften the blow. Then March came, and another apologetic letter arrived, with the same-sized check and a promise of work in April. Now April was almost over, and Sam feared his amazing opportunity had gone up in smoke, but then a third letter arrived on Friday, as apologetic as before, but now letting him know that he would finally be able to start that Monday, bright and early at 10 am. And yay, another check! - - - "Does he get an apron?" Lynn briefly looked up from her desk, where she was typing up a last minute email; her assistant manager and now partner in all things Gretchen McDaniels was limply holding up a brown standard-issue Silberman's apron, a bored expression on her face. "No, he does not get an apron; he will be an apron-less freak." "If I have wear one, he should, too. We should all be equal partners in discomfort and embarrassment." "Technically, he's not an employee of the store; he's an independent contractor. Plus he'd look really stupid with that thing over his coat and tails, doncha think?" Gretch looked over her shoulder back towards the sales floor and shook her head. "You really think he wears that all the time?" "Yep! Sleeps in it, showers in it, makes sweet, sweet love in it..." "Eww. Thanks for that disturbing visual." Lynn beamed cheerfully. "You're welcome! Now go ahead and open up while I finish typing this." "Yes, O master." Hunching forward and dragging her foot, Gretch lurched towards the front door like a hunchbacked assistant; behind the bar, Lance Bettendorfer, barista extraordinaire, cocked an eyebrow at her performance. "Everything alright there, Gretch?" "Breaking in some new boots," she deadpaned. Once she got to the door, she flung it open dramatically, still in Igor mode. "Enter, at your own risk!" She almost managed an expression there.
  19. Changes in Personnel

    Silberman's Books. Friday, February 5th, 2016. 1:30 PM. There was a gentle tapping on the door to Lynn's office; the changeling looked up from her computer and called out, "Come in!" Her assistant manager Kiki stepped timidly inside; today she wore a straw boater for some reason. "Do you have a minute? it's...it's kind of important." "Sure, sure, have a seat! What's up?" Kiki took the offered seat, then just stared down at her boots for several seconds until Lynn grew concerned. "Is...everything alright, Keek?" The dancer slowly shook her head. "No. No it is not." She looked up and Lynn, the woman she used to think of as one of her best friends, and sighed. "And it hasn't been for some time." By now, Lynn was very worried and she began to get up from her seat. "Omigod, what's wrong? Is your mom-" Kiki motioned for her boss to keep her seat. "It's nothing like that. it's just...this isn't working for me anymore." She indicated the books on the wall with a wave of her hand. "The store, working for you..." And suddenly things became much more clear. "This is about the Mrs. Nussbaum thing, isn't it?" "No. Well, yes, kind of; it's when things first started going off the rails." "You're quitting, aren't you?" "Yes, I am. After the Nussbaum thing, I said I would give it a year; if things went back to normal within a year, i would stick around, but they haven't, so..." Then took a deep breath and forged ahead. "if anything, they've gotten worse; you made Gretchen your 'personal crime-fighting assistant', and now we're always butting heads about everything. And then you hire this bizarre wizard character-" "Magician, actually." "Without even consulting me, which just proves my opinion means nothing to you anymore." Tears were now welling up in her eyes. "And I've been shot, and everyone but me has super-powers, and I don't feel safe. And I don't even know you anymore." Lynn didn't say anything for a long time, stung with guilt over how badly she'd treated her friend over the past year. Finally, she spoke, her voice choked with emotion. "I am...so sorry, Keek. Do you...do you have anything set up? Another offer?" Kiki slowly nodded. "Yes. James Dupont of the Riverside Dance Company asked me to be assistant director; I already said yes" All other thoughts flew away as the bookseller could only be happy for her friend. "Keek, that's, that's huge! Congratulations!" Despite herself, Kiki smiled warmly at Lynn. "I know. And thanks." But then the feelings of loss and helplessness returned. "But what am I gonna do? Without you-" "Without me, Gretchen will make an amazing assistant manager; you know it, i know it, and sadly she really knows it. You'll do fine." "I guess...so is this goodbye goodbye, or...?" "I'll still come around; because you know-" And they said it at the same time, through big, goofy tear-stained grins. "Former employees always save fifteen percent!"
  20. One Night at Rusty's

    Outside Silberman's Books. January 15th, 2016. 10:05 pm Two young women waited on the stoop In front of the West End's most unusual bookstore, one effortlessly balanced on one foot and juggling five tennis balls, the other pacing up and down to keep warm. The juggler was Lynn Epstein, also known as Grimalkin, currently wearing jeans, a suede jacket and a black Stenson. The colder of the two was Gretchen McDaniels, who sometimes went by Shrike, and clearly her jeans, FreeSA hoodie and black leather jacket were not cutting it. Finally Gretchen stopped in front of her boss and scowled. "I demand coffee." The changeling smiled and shook her head, her eyes never leaving the task at hand. "Sorry, I'm all out; besides, it's not even that cold out." "You always have coffee." Gretch began poking around in Lynn's jacket pockets like a puppy looking for a treat. "It's just a matter of finding...where you hid it on your person." "Hey, knock it off, I can't-" She didn't actually fall over; Lynn was too freakishly graceful for that. But she did lose control of her tennis balls, which went bouncing down the steps and rolling down the sidewalk. "Great; thanks a lot, Gretch." "Cof-feee." The fae threw up her hands in exasperation. "Fine!" After making sure no other pedestrians were nearby, she reached into her jacket, traced a small circle with her finger, and drew forth a large Thermos that was clearly too big to have fit inside. Gretchen eagerly took the Thermos, poured herself a cup of rich black coffee, and smiled like the little brat she was currently being. "Thanks, boss. Lynn merely shook her head and grunted, keeping her eyes peeled for the newest member of the Silberman's family.
  21. Nothing Up My Sleeve

    Silberman's Books. Friday, January 15th, 2016, 11:15 am. Lynn Epstein was not a fan of the sort of 'roller coaster' winter they were having this year; true, her fae physiology meant extreme temperature variations didn't bother her as much, but they were still irritating, and more importantly very hard on her mortal staff. Her assistant manager Kiki was home fighting a nasty bug, and Maddy's apartment had become a modern-day plague house, with her, her partner and child all sick and bedbound. So this Friday morning saw the store manned by all of three people in their brown Silberman's aprons: Lynn, her ever-reliable assistant and battle buddy Gretchen, and the indomitable Lance, barista extraordinaire. Many of the patrons were shuffling about and coughing, holding wads of tissue and/or wearing disposable face masks, giving the place a somewhat dismal air. But the store itself looked much the same: a combined front counter and espresso bar, several small tables and chairs for patrons, tidy bookshelves crammed with books, and walls covered with old movie stills and posters from the Golden Age of Magic, depicting such luminaries as Houdini, Blackstone, Thurston, Carter and of course the store's founder, the Amazing Al-Kazar. The morning rush was finally drawing to a close, giving Gretchen a chance to catch her breath and fix herself a quick espresso shot as she surveyed the store; today, she wore a green flannel shirt with rolled-up sleeves, black jeans and her favorite Doc Martin's. She had several of her favorite piercings in her ears, and her arm tats were clearly visible. Beside her, Lance wore classic reprint Star Wars t-shirt, jeans and a black bandana covered with tiny skulls on his head. The overall feeling of crappy winter and illness put Gretchen in a darkly humorous mood, and she sent a whimsical sending to Lynn out on the floor via the magic ring on her left hand. -"Bring out your dead!"- -Tell me about it! I keep expecting one of those skeletons from a Hieronymus Bosch painting to show up.- For her part, the attractive store owner wore a sand-colored Irish fisherman's sweater, comfy jeans and light hiking boots; being immune to illness herself, she took the lead on the sales floor, greeting patrons and offering suggestions.
  22. Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

    Silberman's Books. Sunday, December 13, 2015. Noonish. Collapsed in her chair in her office and feeling trapped behind her grandfather's desk, Lynn Epstein wondered exactly why she was so eager to own a small business during the holiday rush. Precarious stacks of cardboard boxes full of books, dvds and games that couldn't fit in the backroom filled every available inch of floor space, further increasing her sense of confinement. Between running the store, finals (thankfully over), and hitting the streets with Gretchen, the changeling felt liked he hadn't slept in months. "I need a break," she sighed. Then a thought hit her; rummaging through the garbage on top of her desk, she finally found her Android phone and placed a call to an old friend. "Hey Taylor, it's Lynn; is this a good time? "
  23. Something To Be Thankful For

    Thursday November 26, 2015 (Thanksgiving) Silberman's Books Sam cursed fluently under her breath as she tried to shuffle the Tupperware container full of stuffing from one arm to the other in order to free up a hand, without losing her grip on the bakery-bought pumpkin pie. After a moment of precarious positioning she gave up, and with a surreptitious glance around her, summoned a small tendril of shadow which obligingly held the pie for her, allowing her to unlock the door and enter the store. For the first time in her life, she had found herself in surprisingly high demand as a dinner guest. Both her employer Lynn and her roommate Asli had made plans involving her and Thanksgiving dinner, and since this didn't exactly happen to her too often, she hadn't wanted to disappoint either party, resulting in the plans being merged. Asli's apartment was far too small to host several people plus a large dinner, so they were congregating at Lynn's place instead. Asli was with her, of course, and had mentioned inviting someone else that Sam hadn't herself met. The whole thing was creating a decidedly surreal atmosphere for Sam, who had spent all of her previous thanksgivings either nibbling halfheartedly on a turkey dog or high as a kite. Celebrating the occasion by sitting down to an actual feast with her peers was a new experience for her, but she was determined not to show it. She pushed through the door, transferring the pie from the tendril of darkness - which vanished instantly - to her hand. "Hello? We're here!"