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Where: The Strip

When: June 4th; 7:45 PM

What: A chance meeting turns to actual conversation and naturally, a little gamble.

What's a staid guy like Paul doing in a flashy place like this? He might be mistaken for a tourist, except that he isn't stopping every few seconds to gawk at something new. Maybe he works nearby? That would explain the shirt and tie. Sitting at one of the outdoor tables in front of a Mexican restaurant, he's dividing his attention between a smartphone, a complimentary bowl of chips and salsa, and the odd bit of crowd-watching.

She's not running low on cash. The lies she tells herself has put Shay out not to try her luck at the tables, but to work. In her line of work though, street magic and basically busking, she's hard pressed to grab the attention of any onlookers not distracted by the neon and halogen flashers, the strip club pamphlet passers, and the goddamn Bellagio water dance. Seriously, it's virtually the same every time! Just come back in fifteen minutes. It's in this situation that Shay comes out to brave the waters of starting tourist season in The Strip. She needs the money. But there's another thing she needs, and that is her performance group. And they're late. Looking around in a mixture of annoyance and hope, she finally settles on the suited Paul sitting at the outdoor tables. Leaning on the separating rail, she calls over to him, over the strains of mariachi music pumped over the speakers. "Hey buddy, you got the time?" A finger taps on her wrist in gestured emphasis to her question.

Paul, at least, is ignoring the water spray. It was nice the first time; not so much the tenth. Besides, everyone who's been around long enough knows that the best viewpoint is from the middle of that raised walkway down the block. Caught off guard by the unprompted question, he turns, looks around - who just asked that? is she addressing him, or someone else nearby? - then nods. "About a quarter to eight," he calls back, after a couple more taps on the phone.

"Quarter 'til?," Shay echoes back with a nice smile and a nod, "Thanks." And as if she couldn't leave well enough alone, she continues to explain to the stranger, "Left my phone in the car, you see. And do you notice, nobody these days wears a wristwatch?" Herself included. And with it being 7:45, that makes the performance group really late, what with the meeting time supposedly set at 7:15 for a 7:30 performance. Her fingers curl a little tighter around the railing - at first in distress, second… second, in consideration. With it being thin, black painted iron, it's not much of a candidate for any fancy tricks. Scooting down the railing a few steps closer to the man, Shay decides he's her audience now. "Seems like you've been waiting for a while too, huh? Think the waiter forgot about your order."

"Nobody wants it stolen while they're not paying attention." It's a small thing, but it does indicate a few things about the man: he responds to possibly rhetorical small talk, he thinks of theft ahead of comfort or convenience— and he expects people to be oblivious enough to overlook the theft of something that's, y'know, strapped tightly around their wrists. Paul doesn't appear to be in any great hurry, though: "Actually, he just stopped by for a refill a minute ago. You don't want to rush a carne asada, anyway— that's a good way to end up with a lump of charcoal."

Shay laughs, the sound of genuine amusement in light of his suspicious self. "True that man, true that. Makes the whole 'by the way is this yours' trick fall flat these days." A quick glance about reveals none of her group coming up yet. It may have only been a minute. "You're keen on the carne?" she muses, dropping the 'e' to make it sound more like carnival without the 'ival', "But you know what'll really get you coming back at this place? The ezquites." Her fingers pinch together, and she kisses the tips in a very Italian gesture. "I'll tell ya, Bobby Flay don't got shit here."

The what trick? Paul hasn't been put through that particular one, but he works out quickly enough what it would involve. "It would, at that." The phone is set aside in preference for what's turning out to be an actual conversation. "And edging out Flay isn't saying much, really. I don't know about you, but I prefer my dinner without any footprints involved." An Iron Chef fan, then. "Ezquites… are those the ones that look like they took corn and turned it into oatmeal? I like a good corn cake but I never saw the point of that one."

Shay lights up in expression, all smiles cracking and eyes twinkling. "Oh my god, an Iron Chef soulmate. Yeeesss," she rejoices. "It's true, though. Morimoto was totally robbed. And they may have had to zap Bobby a few more times for that stunt. But hey! Let me show you the glory of ezquites." And just like that, she nimbly plants her hands on the thin railing and hops right over without hesitation, joining Paul on the other side of the fence. Most people would, you know, walk through the gate that's a few feet away. Shay puts a hand on the second empty chair back and starts to pull, but suddenly pauses. "Oh. Haha… man, I am so sorry. Where are my manners, huh?" A hand reaches out, offered in a shake. "Name's Shay. And you?"

The man arches a brow. There's another thing he's never seen up close before, parkour: he's in decent shape, but he's more the 'schlep to the gym on Saturday afternoon' type. "Paul," he introduces himself, returning the handshake. "And don't worry, there's no psycho girlfriend about to show up and start a fight. Saw that happen to someone last week— it wasn't pretty."

The handshake is quick, firm. Practiced. "Paul. Pleasure to m—" she starts, but shuts up as he adds the bit about psycho girlfriend. "Didn't think I had to worry about that, considering you had no ring tan and," her hands gesture to her place setting, devoid of a second set of diningware, "you weren't too busy to chat with a complete stranger who's joined you for a Mexican snack." Her amused grin outlasts everything else.

Paul shakes his head. "Good catch. You too. So do you always begin conversations this way?" With jumping over waist-high fences, the direction of his gaze suggests. "And what happens at eight?"

Following his gaze, it takes her a moment in wondering what he's looking at, and then she realized. "Oh! To be fair, I began with 'You got the time', and you had it," Shay answers with a wink. "And besides the Bellagio Show going on every fifteen or so, my group was supposed to meet up with me and we were going to setup down a ways at the MGM for tonight. We're called the Urban Guerrillaz - yes, with the 'Z', and don't you knock me for it. We're a parkour-slash-street magic-slash-hip hop dance group, hitting up every street up and down the Strip and beyond." Explanation done, she's then waving a waiter over. Shay orders up a beer, a pair of ezquites and "You want anything to drink?" This directed at Paul.

Paul holds up his Arnold Palmer, still mostly full, and shakes his head at the waiter. "I'm fine, thanks." And then back to Shay: "Hmm, a little of everything, huh? All you need is an arsonist working for the fire department and you'll basically have In Living Color all over again. But if they were /supposed/ to… then they probably got held up someplace, and they've been leaving voicemails with your car?"

He gets a blank stare followed by a quizzical upward arch of her brow on the In Living Color reference; he's showing his age (or love of classics), and she's showing the lack thereof. "In Living Color? What's that, a Christian show?" Irony for Vegas' sake. But his reminder of her phone being definitively elsewhere and the lack of communication throws a damp towel on to her fire. "Or, maybe they didn't get my voicemails to meet up in the first place," muses the girl with chin leaning on her knuckles. Her eyes flick down to the man's phone set aside, then back up to his face. "You don't suppose… I could borrow that, could I? Just for a quick VM check?" This time, her smile is a begging one.

And /that/ gets a hearty laugh out of Paul. "Oh, no, no no no no. Sketch comedy show, Wayans Brothers— Jim Carrey got started there. And J-Lo, they had random dancing girls in between the sketches just because." Reaching for the phone again now, he nods and passes it across the table. "Sure, go ahead. The company pays for the minutes anyway— just please don't drop it down a drainage ditch? Again?" This is apparently something that has actually happened to him at least once.

Finally, a laugh! "Well heck. They make oodles of bucks now, so I think I've got a shot then," she jokes. Promising prospects here, as Shay points at him (I gotcha) and slips her hand over his phone. "You are a life-saver. That's what you are," she notes gratefully and picks up the device. "Drainage ditch?" she repeats with askance, curious to that story as she dials. And as she's listening to the earpiece automated machine, the food and drink arrive. Behold, a suped up concoction of what would otherwise merely be regarded as toasted corn, lime, chile, and queso fresco amidst other seasonings and butter. This version seems less mayonnaisey. Instead of tucking in though, Shay listens intently to what voicemail she has. Intently, with focus. Hmmm.

Everyone's gotta start somewhere, and what little Paul has seen of her act shows that she's got some real skills. The rest will have to wait. Along with the story of the ditch; while she listens in, he pokes at the edges of the ezquites, taking a bit between thumb and forefinger.

The voicemail goes from 'hmmm' to 'craaaap' as Shay doesn't finish listening and hangs up abruptly. "I sense a disturbance in the Force," she mutters as she slides the phone back over. "Or in other words, they thought we were going to be in New York tonight." Face. Palm. Still, there is ezquites.

Paul palms the phone and drops it into a pocket for further safekeeping. "Which is - what - fifteen, twenty minutes away? Do you need to run, or is it already a lost cause?" He gestures to the corn dish. "And good call on this— I'm not sure what exactly I think about it, but it's a lot better than oatmeal, at least."

Chewing down on the corn snack, Shay eats rather calmly. She savors the flavors, nodding emphatically in agreement at Paul about the ezquites. After a quick swallow and wash of beer, she remarks, "Don't worry about it. I can make that run in about oh, four." An impossible calculation, if the distance is figured in at about 3/4s of a mile. Yet she seems awfully confident about that timing.

Paul was thinking a little longer than that, which only makes it sound stranger. "Four? Seriously? I'll believe it when I see it." The jump over the gate was impressive and all, but that level of sustained speed - through a busy area, no less - would be another matter. Not quite /impossible/, but…

Shay tips her head coyly, polishing off the small appetizer sized cup. "Oh Paul. You should know better than to believe what your eyes see out here. It's Vegas, baby." And she stands from her seat, tipping back the beer as well and finishing it in a grand collegiate-trained chug of the best. The bottle thunks down against the tablecloth, and she smiles once more. "Tell ya what. It's like. 7:53 now? I'll pay for dinner now. And if you don't get a call from me in four minutes, you can consider your carne asada on me. But if I do make it, you promise that you'll come to one of our Urban Guerrillaz performances, and you pay me back. Plus the ezquites, and the beer. How 'bout it? You feel lucky tonight?" She holds out her hand once more, ready to seal.

Paul considers it, reaching for his phone with one hand to double-check the clock, and her hand with the other. "But— wait. How do I know your buddy isn't right around the corner? Send me a message /from New York/ and it's a deal." Photo tagged with time and place, whatever; she's at least as likely as he is to know her way around the technology.

"You'll just have to take my word for it. Believe me, they're all over at Lady Liberty now. And make it 7:58 then, now that it's 7:54," Shay chuckles as she shakes hands. Reaching into her pocket, she draws out a handful of items including a money clip, lays down more than enough and starts for the fence. Just like before, her hop over is easy. Once on the other side, she winks at him and says in a 'goodbye', "Time me!" And she's off and running. Only, it doesn't quite seem like running, so much as skating through the crowd. And without skates. Maybe she's got those pop out rollers underneath the soles - but aren't those only in kids sizes? Either way, she's gone in sixty seconds…

Four minutes and twenty-three seconds later…

A picture SMS message from an unknown number pops up on Paul's phone.

Oh, so she winds down from the parkour with a little flat-track action, huh? So /that's/ the scam. It's one with actual skill involved, though; there's no frown to be seen on Paul's face as he opens it up, already starting to tap out a response while he glances at it. /Close enough./ He's had voicemails delayed for hours sometimes; twenty-odd seconds is nothing, really.

The photo of the message takes a few seconds more to load. When it finally does, the picture of Shay, the Urban Guerrillaz group members, and a bunch of goofy looking, surprised tourists all pointing to things in the replica of the NY skyline. But mostly, in tiny circular form that he'll have to zoom in to see, is the clock at the top of the replicated Grand Central Terminal. And the hands read, a couple minutes 'til 8:00. A second message, this one a text, beeps in almost a minute later: SEE YOU SOON! <333 CIPHER

Hmm. Well, the check's already covered, and he got his fill of the stuff while she was on the move. And he can pay her back with his own money. /Maybe sooner than you think,/ the reply goes out in turn, as he walks out through the gate himself (no jumping for him, thank you) and starts heading down the sidewalk. If she made it in four, then he can at least shoot for fourteen, right?

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