270: A burning Rose – Chapter Seven or FourPosted: June 15, 2012
Welcome back, beloved Patrons! I’m here today with Chapter 7 or 4 of A burning Rose. (Clearly the author has a problem with numbering things.) What happened last time? Well, not much.
Our fearless thief AbR is flying to India to steal valuables from a temple in a misguided attempt to “give back” something to the poor of the area as well as “testing” the abilities of the agent in charge of her case. About an hour into the flight a man asks to sit beside AbR since a woman having a heart attack took his seat. This poor woman is never referenced again, so I assume she died and was fed to the First Class passengers as an amuse-bouche. This man, to absolutely no one’s surprise, turns out to be Edward Cullen (A.K.A. Munchkin) the detective (who is really a FBI agent) in charge of the investigations. AbR retreats to the bathroom only a few feet away, makes a phone call, and panics a bit before heading back to her seat.
Like previous chapters, this one picks up exactly where the previous chapter left off; the entire fic reads like one exceptionally long chapter that was broken into smaller pieces. The title, “Chapter4A interesting flight” is nothing but a great, big lie – there is nothing interesting about this flight.
When I reached my seat again, I wasn’t all that surprised to find Agent Cullen leaning over my bag and looking inside.
It’s not like a law enforcement official who undergoes years and years of training would know that rummaging through someone else’s things without probable cause or a warrant is illegal.
I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry; I guess it’s a habit.” He said, scratching his neck awkwardly.
If it were me, this is the point where I would slap the man and then demand that he be moved to another seat, preferably one back in the Economy Trailer. However, based on this :holds up the copy of Twilight the Library uses as a doorstop: AbR will find Munchkin’s stalkeriffic behavior charming and utterly romantic.
[mini-rant] Of all the problems I have with the Twilight series, the fact that Bella considers Edward’s “I break into your house to watch you sleep” stalker behavior ‘romantic’ bothers me the most. That is not romance; that is cause for a restraining order. [/mini-rant]
“So many Roses, Mary, who’s the poor guy that you left behind?” He asked, trying to overplay the awkwardness.
If you’re trying to make her feel more awkward, asking if she has a boyfriend immediately after she catches you fumbling through her spare knickers would definitely work.
His dialogue seems to imply that AbR is carrying a lot of roses around in her bag, either in actual flower form or perhaps as clothing decorated with roses. I’m really hoping the character isn’t that much of a moron, but the signs aren’t good.
“No one, my studies and extra-circular activities don’t leave me the time to date.
What a square. Doesn’t she know that dating is an extra-curricular activity?
In the rest of the time I practice to use the laws of physics in real life.” I answered, honestly.
The self-confessed thief is answering a question about her fake studies honestly.
:sets AbR’s pants on fire:
You might want to narrow things down a bit, since pretty much everyone uses “the laws of physics” in their daily life; for example, the law of gravity is currently preventing me dying a gruesome and agonizing death in the cold vacuum of space.
’Those eyes of his are something; they don’t let you lie that easily….’ I thought.
Yet more ellipses for the Spare Punctuation Box.
:passes out HurfCo bags:
I have a feeling things could get gooshy.
“You use the laws in real life, as in you experiment with them?” He asks with a friendly smile, seeming honestly interested.
Oh, this should be good. :fluffs headdesking pillow:
“Yes.” I answered, while all I could think about was his face scrunched up, while he screamed for me to come back.
Did she just start hallucinating? AbR had never seen Munchkin before he asked to sit down beside her, and she has never even hinted that he looked at all familiar. When did all this screaming take place?
Please don’t be the introduction to a dream sequence.
When he clears his throath I’m bought back to the here and now.
Thank you, Jeebus. So during her brief trip into loony-land, AbR just sat and stared into space? She’s really good at this “not acting suspicious” stuff.
“What kinds of experiments are they?” He asks.
Given the level of scientific knowledge AbR seems to possess, I’m going to say “The Pepsi Challenge.”
“I’ll tell you that when I publish my thesis Agent Cullen. You never know, maybe one day my thesis will help you catch a thief.” I answered.
That’s right; act coy. Maybe he’ll never find out that you have no idea in hell what you are talking about.
“What did you say your name was, again?” He asked. “Mary, Mary Hopkins. For a FBI-Agent, you sure have a bad memory.” I said. “As a FBI-Agent you meet loads of new people every week, so it’s a little hard to keep the names in mind sometimes.” He answered.
It’s been five fucking minutes! Aren’t you trained to notice little details like names?
‘So he’s suspecting me now, smart Agent Cullen, very smart move.’ I thought.
Ooh, I see! He was trying to trick her into giving him a different name! That was kind of clever, in a half-assed way.
”Is that so? What kinds of things?” I asked, playing my role of the easily impressible student well. ”Things, you don’t need to worry about, Mary.” He answered. “Touché.” I said, turning up some music and settling back in my seat.
:collects stray comma for Spare Punctuation Box:
Ye gods, “witty” banter. Someone shoot me now.
Since AbR still hasn’t discovered the miracle of headphones, I hope those unfortunate enough to be seated near her have similar musical tastes. Twenty-plus hours locked in a metal can with music you despise blaring in your ears would be enough to drive some people to stuff that Blackberry where even the TSA couldn’t find it.
I got out a packet of low fat crisps and started eating.
And this is important … Why, exactly?
Agent Cullen watched me for a second, but then he turned his attention back on the magazine he was pretending to be reading.
Hey, don’t judge him! Some of the puzzles in Highlights are tough.
I had seen what he was reading in real, it was a file, not just any file, it was my file…
What is with the sudden subterfuge? He told her that he’s a FBI agent and that he is working on the “A burning Rose” case, so it would make perfect sense for him to be reading files regarding the case. He’s not a twelve-year-old with his dad’s copy of Penthouse.
When the plane landed on the place it was going to have an hour-long stay at, I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding in when the security let me pass and Agent Cullen didn’t come running…
:gets out map:
Okay, assuming they are flying from Washington state towards India… Wow, that’s a lot of ocean. Without knowing how long they’ve been flying, I can’t really pin down where they are; it could be Hawaii, or it could be somewhere in the Phillipines, or it could even be somewhere in tentacle-happy Japan. I just can’t tell and the author offers nothing that would be helpful in the narration. The whole planet has been swallowed up into the Formless Void.
I set myself down on an empty bench and looked at a map of the place I was going to rob. A temple.
You are in a public place with the federal agent in charge of your investigation lurking about and getting suspicious; is now really the best time to be doing this?
My eyes darted over the place, memorizing each corner and each turn, mostly the exits.
And I bet there’s a great big X in red crayon somewhere on the map with the words “stuff I’m stealing” written beside it.
I put the away, breaking into this thing wasn’t going to be child’s play.
Just keep an eye out for the poison darts and that giant stone ball that tries to crush you when you remove the
It was going to be hard, I would have to put serious thought in this…
:falls off chair:
Agent Cullen certainly didn’t look like a fool to me,
Are we talking about the same Munchkin?
neither was he Inspector Chárdéi who was tired of trying to catch me in the same old way…. I had to find some way.
Here’s a thought; you’re at an airport (presumably) and can fly anywhere in the world. Why don’t you just ditch his ass? You could even go the Fifty Shades of Grey route; just lure him into a janitor’s closet for a game of tie-me-up and then leave him there.
I am the burning Rose-thief god damnit! I only leave ashes behind on every theft I do!
Ashes and a ton of forensic evidence. If this world’s law enforcement officials weren’t so monumentally terrible at their jobs, your ass would have been in jail years ago.
Damnit, I have a freaking Image to protect!’
You should worry less about your image and more about staying out of jail, you showboating fool.
“What are you thinking about so hard? Can I get you a coffee, to help you with those thoughts?” A velvety smooth voice
startled me from my thoughts. ”Yes, please, that would be nice. A Latte Macchiato.” I said with a smile.
You could offer to give him some money, assuming you have any of the local currency. That’s just basic manners.
A few minutes later he returned with a Latte in one hand and what I assumed to be a black coffee in the other.
Why does she assume it’s black coffee? The last time I checked, hot coffee was served in opaque paper cups. Munchkin might be enjoying a raspberry-white chocolate Mochaccino with extra whipped cream and those little curls of shaved chocolate on top.
”Thanks, ähm, how much was it?” I asked him. “That one’s on me.” He said. “I’m sorry but I don’t take favors.”
Yes you do, you asked Michelle/Alice for a favor two chapters ago!
I answered.” “Then think of it as a..gift, for listening to my crazy musings about a thief.” Agent Cullen said, handing me the coffee and sitting down in front of me cross-legged.
:checks previous chapter:
What “musings”? He complained once about how they didn’t even know if the thief was male or female, told her he was confident he would catch the thief soon, and that was the extent of it. AbR spent most of the flight listening to music, eating, and napping.
I opened my bag and got out a caramel candy.
Is this another pointless food reference?
I lit up my lighter and heated the candy properly before throwing it into my coffee and turning the cup, until the candy (hopefully) dissolved. Then I took a sip and sighed “Fabulous.”
Yep, it’s another pointless food reference.
I actually attempted to recreate this series of events and I can tell you two things, dear Patrons; this doesn’t work, and caramels are extremely flammable. They are like sweet cubes of napalm.
Agent Cullen gave me a look. “Oh, relax, that was a caramel candy, it’s the way I like my coffee.” I said.
What did he think it was, a chunk of black tar heroin?
”Did I say something?” Agent Cullen asked. “You did not, your face did.” I answered.
It’s bad when the characters’ non-existent faces are more expressive and eloquent than they are.
We sat in silence for a while before Agent Cullen spoke up. “What are you going to do in India Mary?” He asked. “Study.” I smiled at him.
She’s going to visit the world-famous Physics/Metaphysics/Medical College of India. You know, the one located on India Street in beautiful downtown Indiaville.
”I’m going to try out a few thesis and meet some people to get more views on my thesis and see what comes out of it. Of course I’m going to try my own thesis out, too and then I’ll see which way proves to be the most sufficient one.” I said.
It looks to me like AbR is planning on treating her thesis like it’s the scholarly equivalent of a Pokemon, but I’m not very well-versed in the ways of thesis-writing so I got a second opinion. Our fearless editor Addicted Reader assures me that even though this is very oddly worded, it does sound plausible.
“What’s your thesis about?” Agent Cullen asked. “In the past I have tried to…ähm visualize the way a thief, no. Let’s just say I have tried to figure out how a thief gets into a place which proves to be physically illogical.” I answer with a smile.
The idea of a cover story is to NOT draw attention to yourself! Telling the damned federal agent who is already suspicious of you that you are studying the different ways thieves use to enter buildings is the exact opposite of what you want to do.
Sweet Jeebus, why don’t you just buy a giant silver platter and serve yourself to him while you’re at it?
”Physical thesis on a thief?” Agent Cullen mused. “I know it’s totally illogical and even my professors have been telling me to choose a serious topic to do my thesis on, but it fascinates me.” I say.
“Because I’m a thief! I steal stuff real good. You wanna see my scrapbook?”
The author seems to have some confusion regarding the meaning of the words “physical” and “physics”; it’s understandable given how close the spellings are and the author’s unfamiliarity with English, but it’s not really helping to make this thing any easier to understand.
“Maybe you’d like to come with me, then someday? Well, since I’m in charge of the temple’s security the burning Rose-thief is planning on robbing.” He says.
I’ve previously covered the fact that AbR never even hints to anyone in law enforcement where the location of her next robbery is going to be, all the characters just seem to magically know, so I’m not going to dwell too much on this monstrous plothole. (But it is a doozy of a hole.)
Listen up, chief; taking a complete stranger you just met to your place of work is not a good date idea, especially if you are in charge of the location’s security. In this situation, it is quite possibly illegal for you to do so.
Hell’s handbasket, what is wrong with this man?
My eyes widen at all the new possibilities that have opened themselves.
Do you think Munchkin noticed the cash-register noises and the fact that her pupils briefly turned to dollar signs? Me neither.
”That would be sooo cool! You’d be doing me a huge favor. That would be soo cool to watch this place the Rose thief is robbing, by the way what is the burning Rose thief robbing?” I asked.
“Also, do you mind if I write down your credit card information? I’ve got a friend who’s doing their thesis on math and they ran out of numbers.”
“A temple. He chuckled. ’Laugh for as long as you can, darling, you’re going to cry soon.’ I thought.
I know the feeling.
”A temple? That’s even better!
Why would a (presumably old) temple make a better thesis subject that an ultra-modern building with systems specifically designed to prevent thefts?
Now I can present my thesis at school.
So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong! I’ve been presenting my thesis at the subway station, people keep pelting me with loose change and wads of used gum.
Ha! The damn professors gonna have to take me seriously now!” I beamed.
I hate to be the one to break this to you, but nobody takes you seriously.
’My theft just keeps getting easier.’ I thought.
Yes, it’s almost as if some magical force is guiding you down a path that requires little to no thought or effort on your part. It’s weird how often that happens to Mary Sues.
“Dou you have the construction plans of that temple?” I asked with a new gleam in my eyes.
Don’t you already have a map? It’s that big flat piece of paper you were looking right before he bought you coffee. The one Munchkin has is probably classified, he could face some serious penalties if he so much as gives you a peek.
“Somewhere.” Agent Cullen answered. “Can I see them? Which temple is that, that’s maybe getting robbed? I could draw it and use it my thesis.
Who do you think you’re fooling with that weak-ass “maybe” business? Even though the author never reveals how the FBI know that AbR is going to rob this particular temple, if they have gone to the trouble to send agents to stake out the location then they must be pretty confident that it’s going to be robbed.
Of course I’d need an interview with the Agent handling the case, too that would be you, gent Cullen. Oh; damn, my thesis’s gonna rock!” I said, my mind whirling with all the possibilities and ideas. Agent Cullen only smirked superiorly.
It’ll be the most bitchin’ fake scholarly paper in the history of fictional academia, dude.
‘Oh, he thinks himself to be oh-so-smart….’ I thought, keeping the chuckle in.
Next to you he’s a frickin’ MENSA candidate.
The rest of the flight I planned my robbery silently.
I bet she took out a notebook with the words “CRIME SCHEMES” written in big letters on the front and then spent most of her time doodling “Mr. and Mrs. Munchkin” in different fonts in the page margins.
I would need helpers in this unique theft.
By “helpers” I’m assuming AbR means things like a plastic egg of Silly Putty and a pair of oversized novelty sunglasses.
A theft that happened from the inside of police.
That sounds uncomfortable and invasive.
I already had an idea of how to rob a place filled with police officers, all I needed were a few corrupt ones and helpful thieves who’d of course all get their fair share of the money, and of course I needed myself.
A brazillion dollars says she just walks into the first police station she finds and asks to speak to the most corrupt cop on duty.
If her entire plan hinges on finding a criminal she can trust in a location where she has no local contacts, then she’s even stupider than I thought.
’I am going to rob this place right from under your nose Agent Cullen and you won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.
Cue evil laughter in three … two … one …
This theft will be the right way to say welcome….Welcome to the playgrounds, but this is my game and I’m a master at what I do’….
Honey, you can’t even master a cup of coffee.
And that, dear Patrons, was the sound of the Spare Punctuation Box reaching critical mass. (Must have been all those ellipses.) Good thing we have a spare Spare Punctuation Box.
The rest of the flight passed in a blur of sleep…
If I have to stay awake for this shit, so do you!
On the plus side, the plane finally reaches India next time and we’ll be treated to that terrible Hindi I promised Herr W.! Doesn’t that sound like fun?