The Many Tales of Blackjack: Triumvirate

   
"So that's a yes, gotcha." Whim said, attempting -- in vain -- to not laugh at the sight of Erin puffed up. She managed to not outright laugh, though Erin could make out quite a few breathless giggles. She's stop laughing, catch a glimpse of Erin, and then break out in giggles again.

"So... how's the Cat's Cradle coming along?" Whim said with a cat-like smile.

"You assume too much. You thought we were together even before we got together. Just because we did later doesn't mean you weren't wrong," Erin said, even more puffed up. "Seriously, are you five years old? It's none of your business! And you say Seventeen's a kid."

Said the girl who was puffed up and sulking like a child. It was obvious she was mad, she'd slipped up and forgotten the honorific on Seventeen's name. Erin curled up an stared out the window, immaturely entertaining fantasies of opening a Hedge Gate in Whim's car door and walking out.

"Okay, I'm sorry. I was out of line." Whim said. If she was still smiling inside, beneath her straight-faced expression, she hid it well enough. "I'm just happy for you. You deserve it."

"Anyway, you didn't answer the other question." Whim prompted. "How's the Cat's Cradle coming along?"

"S'fine," Erin muttered, obviously not assuaged. "S'not like the store itself makes any money anyway. Just money from the Guardians and the job I did for Mr. Meyers," she grumbled, obviously grumpy.

The changeling fished her pocketwatch out of her coat, flipping it open to check the time.

"Where does most of the stuff go, anyway? You give away all the toys, just about, I got that, but to whom?" Whim said, attempting to cajole her friend into good humor once again. "Church groups or homeless shelters or what?"

"Just to whomever," Erin mumbled. She had a hard time holding on to anger, but she was still sulking. Something had been stolen from her without permission, and the fact it was intangible simply meant she couldn't get it back.

"We make a ton of them at Christmastime. I made less this year, but I had more help. We give them to whomever will take them. Some people won't take handcrafts or unpackaged stuff. Give em to churches and shelters and other aid organizations, sometimes even just have a booth in the mall or on the street, or have people pass them out as the walk down the block."

"That sounds kind of fun. And doing a good deed and stuff." Whim said, driving along in silence for a few moments, thinking. "So is it mostly electronic stuff like RV planes you make, or do you make dolls and action figures too? Also, anything I can do to help?"

"Whatever comes to mind, really," Erin said, staring aimlessly out at the countryside as they drove by. "I'm not so good with electronics, so Seryozha and Mr. Seventeen help with those. We could do fancier technology for the toys, but Mr. Seventeen doesn't get most the software and I don't get most the hardware, so Seryozha's the only one who can do it. I do more simple things, like dolls and boats and kites and puzzles. I don't do a lot of action figures, because anyone with a copyright on them would get mad. I bought and donated a lot of blank vinyl toys, though. There are kits for customizing them. It would be nice for people to be able to make something their own." She sighed a little.

"Um. Are you any good with toys?" Erin asked, still staring out the window. "Maybe you can find me what kids actually want."

"Uh... nooooo... not unless you count little fetish dolls." Whim said, considering her own past experience with dolls, and deciding that this wasn't something she cared to get into. "But I can do market research, sure. Just more sneaking into files and reading newspapers."

"Have you thought about getting into something like build-a-bear? Make toys and dolls to custom order?" Whim said, glancing towards Erin. "Like, get a toy version of a child or of their parents? You handcraft them all anyway, so you'd just need some way of advertising that."

"I do commissions at the store. For, well, pretty much anything. Within reason." Erin shifted on her arms. The countryside out here was beautiful. "I don't really advertise very well. Heather was mentioning it but she got distracted by other things. I doubt anything will come of it."

"I don't think I want to advertise. Those sorts of rumors bring the Masters calling... not to mention others like us. Better to just exist in word of mouth and to those who can find it."




 

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