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The Trouble with Lizard Brains

The convention day ground to a close. Megan had talked to -- and been eyed, interrogated, or psychologically analyzed by -- a vast array of people. Supposedly, all of them were members of Draco familiaris. Not all of them were Reptilian-Americans; some were Reptilian-Europeans or Reptilian-Africans or Reptilian-Taiwanese. Most of them were simply taking in the view of the humans here, she concluded after a while, but most of them also picked up brochures from the Ultimate Construction table. Ladybird, who knew more about the capabilities of the company, put herself in the way of the serious questions about what Ultimate could do, but let Megan fend for herself under personal scrutiny.

Megan concluded, after about five hours, that this was some kind of test of her personality, and Ladybird would no doubt be reporting in to Ms. Revelle and Dr. Thomas in the morning. "Oh, yes, she didn't even punch out that guy who asked her bra size," Ladybird would say.

That one had been a close thing, though.

Megan had just loaded the few boxes of brochures still left to them, along with the accoutrements of the booth, into the van, when she heard, "So, come here often?" somewhere near her elbow.

She turned, opening her mouth for a retort, and found G grinning up at her. "What are you doing here?" she demanded.

"Same thing you are," G said, plucking some invisible lint off her neat grey blazer and brushed down the front of the matching, somehow uncreased, trousers.

"I never figured you for a booth babe," Megan said.

G grinned, which deepened the laugh lines on either side of her mouth. "I'm not. I'm one of the professionals doing consulting and estimates in the 'back room' of our booth."

"I see," Megan said, viscerally regretting her lack of marketable skills and the ability to be in the 'back room.'

"You look like you could use dinner or a drink or both," G said.

"I have to go back to the office," Megan said, gesturing at the van.

Ladybird, overhearing as she appeared around the front of the van, waved her off. "You can unload tomorrow. It's after 5. Go on."

Megan frowned. "Are you sure?"

Ladybird nodded, climbing into the driver's seat. "I'm never one to stand in the way of a date."

Megan avoided G's gaze. "I guess I can, then."

G motioned for her to follow, and the two of them headed for the street.

"So, how much business did you get today?" Megan said, striving for non-datey conversation.

"I always do about half a dozen consults at these things," G said, taking the lead in the pursuit of a restaurant somewhere in the Wonder City downtown. "I'm the historical specialist, so I get a brisk trade since these folks have persistent tastes over time. Still, I'm going to have to do some research for a couple of them. Very specialized flavors, rather than my usual, 'Oh, you want a Victorian Egyptomania theme, with some Chinoiserie thrown in? Got it!'"

"Ever designed architecture for a supervillain?" Megan said.

"Not that I know of," G said, "but I wouldn't be surprised if I had at some point. There are always some sketchy folks coming in, paying cash, that sort of thing."

"I wonder how Ultimate handles that sort of thing," Megan mused.

"I expect they keep all their plans on file, just in case," G said, smiling. "The color of a supervillain's money isn't noticeably different from Joe or Jane Extremely Wealthy's money."

Megan was cranky enough to be in a mood to argue, but couldn't find any traction on this point. So she just sighed.

"Tired?" G said, glancing aside at her. "Would you rather head home?"

Megan shook her head, looking at her worn-down self in the mirrored window of a skyscraper. "No. I'm hungry and tired, and the whole convention left a bad taste in my mouth, so I'd rather spend time with some congenial company." She smiled down at G. "If you don't mind me being moody."

G shrugged and grinned again. "I guess I've gotten used to these people. Though I expect you were much more interesting to them than I've ever been."

Megan rolled her eyes. "Those people are nosy fuckers. One asked me if I was biracial, and when I said yes, asked what races the mix involved. She looked like she'd bit into a lemon when I told her I didn't know."

G raised her eyebrows. "So the rumors are true?"

Megan's mouth twitched and she shrugged violently. "It depends on which rumors you mean. If you mean the one about not knowing who my father is, then yes. It made college a pain."

"Always filling in 'Other' on forms?" G said, steering them down Silver Guardian Street toward the edge of the financial district.

"Well, I'd probably have filled that in anyway," Megan said. "But in college, a lot of people lack the ability to read mind-your-own-business social cues. Purposely or not."

"Ah," G said. "Yes. I remember the ones that wanted to know if I was a lesbian, and then spent a lot of time deciding whether I should be a lesbian. And the lesbians who had to discuss whether I really should be propagating the butch/femme dynamic with my gender presentation. Usually in situations where one can't just walk out."

"One white man actually walked up to me with a piece of paper bag in his hand and stood there, just looking at me and then at it, then walked off," Megan said, returning to the subject of the convention as fresh rage rolled over her. "Ladybird told me to go to take a break right then or I think I would've tried my best to dismember him."

G looked at her with some confusion.

Megan was merciful. "Is my skin darker than a paper bag?"

G's mouth formed an "o" of understanding and horror. "That's over and above the usual offensiveness."

"Really? I figured it was par for the sexist, racist, whatever-else-ist dragon course, given the several that asked about my various sizes. I'm just boggled by how much of a free pass these people get to be assholes because they're a different species that happens to be huge, powerful, and able to eat humans in a single gulp," Megan said.

G gave Megan a fond, sad smile. "It isn't that. It's that they're clients, or potential clients."

Megan sneered. "I thought I gave that shit up when I stopped working retail."

G shrugged. "Clients are clients. None of them, human or dragon or space alien, treat you like you're a human being. At least, working construction, you don't have to kiss anyone's ass directly. The higher-ups do most of that for you."

"Except when they decide I'm a-number-one material for booth-babe," Megan said sourly. "What the shit is Ruth-I'm-a-fucking-goddess-Thomas doing trying to get business from these people, anyway?" She glanced up at the sign over the door they were approaching and paused. It read Tir Na Nog in fancy, gilt-edged Celtic script.

G followed her gaze to the sign of the "Irish" pub, then looked at the entirely white yuppie population of the restaurant visible through the windows. She cleared her throat uncomfortably and ran her fingers through her short hair. "Want to go somewhere else?"

"Nah, I'm starving, and I feel like shedding some mysterious brown on people," Megan said, mentally giving G points for having a clue. "It'll do them all good."

Date: 2012-05-09 08:55 pm (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Oh god that 'paper bag' thing. That is something I had never heard of. I wonder if dragons are as asshole-ish outside the convention as in...


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