276: A burning Rose – Chapter Five or Eight, Part OnePosted: June 22, 2012
We are fast approaching the end of A burning Rose, dear Patrons; even though the author claims on her bio page that she’s written up to “chapter 13 or 14″, there are only six (or nine) chapters listed on ff.net because she prefers to write longhand. (Thank the gods for small blessings.) She hasn’t updated any of her fics since the end of April, so it might be a while before we are subjected to this fic’s full glory. Sadly this particular chapter is so frickin’ long I’ve had to divide it up into more manageable bites.
There is a brief Author’s Note at the beginning of this chapter that touches on the lag in transcription:
Hello there, peoplezz, Keisha’s back! I’m soorrrrrry I didn’t update this so long, but I seriously didn’t get around to it. I don’t like sitting in front of my computer and typing my story on word. It’s hard work to stay focused on typing it all exactly the way I wrote it first….. Anyways on with the story!
According to the author’s own bio, she already has these chapters written down – she needs only to transcribe them. It’s pure donkey-work and can be quite boring, but it’s all part of being a writer. It’s kinda like owning that pony every little girl asks Santa for; in order to enjoy the fun stuff, you have to deal with some unpleasant shit.
With the Author’s Note out of the way, let’s dig into the first chunk of the chapter, titled “Chapter 5 A impossible Theft.” Not much happened in the last chapter; AbR is acting all thirty-one flavors of suspicious, yet Special Agent Dumbass has invited her along to his temple stakeout.
When the landing of the plane was announced I turned to Agent Cullen. ”How about you give me you’re mobile number, so we can stay in touch and I can ask you when to come by?” He asked.”Sure.” I smiled, writing the number of a throw-away phone I’d bought recently on a slip of paper and handing it to him. In return Agent Cullen gave me his number which I saved in my Blackberry’s memory.
Oooh, she programmed his number into her phone! How sweet; that’s like the new first base, right? Too bad she didn’t program it into that disposable phone she plucked from the SDQF, Munchkin’s probably going to wonder why she gave him one number but calls him from a different one.
Once we’d checked off the plane and said our goodbye’s I made my way after him silently and most important invisibly.
Hey, watch it! There’s only room for one ghost in this Library.
They are in a country dominated by dark-eyed, dark-haired phenotypes and, based on what little description the author has given us, AbR currently has red hair, blue eyes, and is probably as pale as cottage cheese if the author is sticking to the standard Bella template. Even with the ninja act, she isn’t exactly going to be able to blend into the crowd.
I was going to stay at the same hotel he was going to stay at, so that maybe I could get some more valuable information about the security from him. I had an image to looser and only three days to get the robbery done.
Why didn’t AbR just ask him where he was staying during the incredibly long plane ride? That’s the sort of idle chit-chat you expect from a fellow traveler; where are you staying, have you been there before, are there any good restaurants in the area, blah blah blah.
This is the first mention of any sort of deadline for the robbery; if it had been mentioned earlier then all this rushing around would have made a tiny bit more sense.
I entered the hotel he had checked in about ten minutes after him and got the room right next to “Mr. Cullen, a friend of mine” as I lied to the concierge.
Oh, hell. This is a setup for sexy-times, isn’t it?
She scrutinized me, but then beamed at me upon deciding I was way to boring to be of interest to a man like Agent Cullen…. ‘Poor sweetheart’ I smirked. I’d booked the room on the same name I had come here on, Mary Hopkins.
:shoves ellipsis into Spare Punctuation Box:
Since you have all the personality of an old pillowcase filled with soggy cornflakes, I’d say the clerk was right on the money.
Once inside the room and with a closed door I congratulated myself for my own acting abilities.
What acting abilities? You told a half-truth to a hotel clerk! It’s not like you were playing Ophelia at the Globe, sweetheart.
I knew for certain that this new FBI-Agent I was fooling ordinary was not a fool.
You could have fooled me.
Crap, I set off the DRD alarm!
:frantically fans the sensor:
Somebody open a window and get me the air freshener! Ugh, Woodland Pine? Do we have anything that doesn’t smell like an elvish bordello? :knock at door: Pine it is then.
Everything’s fine in here! :coughs: No need to check up on us; just go about your literary business, agents!
Great, now I’m gonna smell like the madam of Lothlórien for the rest of the day.
He just thought of me as an overly impressible and curious college girl. Now all I needed was a plan of how to go meet him to give my robbery the final touches.
Let’s see; he possesses your phone number and thinks you are a young and not-too-bright college student of at least moderate attractiveness who is extremely eager to see his … temple. I might not be all that familiar with the intricate inner workings of the male mind, but something tells me he’ll be calling you very soon.
And of course how to get in touch with the thieves down here, they played an important role in my plan.
AbR’s entire plan hinges on finding a trustworthy criminal in a foreign city where she has absolutely no connections. There’s no way that could possibly go wrong!
:large strobe light flashes:
Ah, someone fixed the sarcasm detector.
:pries cover off strobe light, unscrews bulb, replaces cover:
I’d need a disguise for that meeting… these were the last thought I was able to think before drifting off into a nice sleep.
You are already wearing a disguise! Why on Earth would you need another one?
When I awoke much later the same day, it wasn’t long before nightfall alas the perfect time for pick-pockets and other thieves.
Pretty much any time is a good time for pickpockets as long as there are crowds of people around to victimize. Crime isn’t restricted to dusk; they’re thieves, not frickin’ mosquitos.
It was going to be an easy feat getting in touch with thieves in a country this famous for them.
Since there isn’t exactly a Criminals’ Union, I suggest trying CraigsList.
I was thankful that Hindi was one of the 96 languages I spoke.
:brain screeches to a halt:
She does what now?
Three or four, or even five, languages would be an impressive feat at her age, but ninety-six? That is just overkill right there. When would she have the time to learn even half that many? She’s only twenty-two years old! Unless she’s an unusually focused meth addict, there just isn’t enough time in the day.
As I strolled down a deserted street, dangling my bag loosely on my arm it didn’t even take me five minutes before a hand grabbed for my bag and pulled. I grabbed the thief’s arm and shout out a leg making the thief fall on the floor.
Step one of AbR’s master plan is “Get mugged”? What the hell kind of plan is that?!?
And the street is deserted, meaning there are no people on it. Did the pickpocket just fall out of the sky? Why is India’s Clumsiest Cutpurse just standing around waiting for someone to walk past him instead of, I don’t know, finding a street where lots of people are bumping into each other, making his crime harder to detect?
And now, after much anticipation, we come to the bad Hindi portion of the fic!
Dumbfounded the man looked up at me. “Eeey, mehhmsaib! Mujhe jane do! Maaf kardo! (Eey, lady let me go! I’m sorry!)” I smirked this was going easier than planned.
Ta-da! Yes, it is all like that – written out phonetically with an English translation in parentheses beside it. Since she went to the trouble of providing a translation of each sentence, I don’t know why the author bothered with the phonetic Hindi at all. She could have just as easily indicated through the narration and formatting of the dialogue that the speaker was using a different language.
“Chal tujhe maaf kiya. Mujhe jahaan ke koi bade chor se milwa. Mere paas uske liye kaam hai. (Okay, I forgive you. Take me to one of the big thieves around here. I have work for him.)” I said.
According to the translator I used, AbR said “Having forgiven you. Where I introduce you to a big thief. I work for him.”
There is no indication in her bio that the author speaks Hindi so I’m assuming the author used a similar translation service; this could explain the weird wording, especially if she translated from German to English and then into Hindi. I just don’t know why she bothered; this isn’t a film, the audience can be made to understand that someone is speaking a different language without having to actually use that language and then provide subtitles.
The thief looked at me in awe
He must be dazzled by her epic stunning Sueness; that or he has frozen like a deer in headlights, it’s too soon to tell.
”Are wah, aap to achi khasi Hindi bol lehta hai, kaisa kam (Wow, you talk Hindi nicely. What kind of work?)” The pickpocket asked.
No, no she does not “talk nicely.” The pickpocket said “Damn it, you little Hindi speaking Lhta achi, how low” so I’m guessing there are some spelling or word choice errors in the author’s phonetic Hindi.
How does she know this thief works for a gang? He could be an independant contractor. Even if he is part of a gang, I fail to see how a bunch of pickpockets could help her break into a heavily-guarded temple.
”Wada wala. Bade chor ko hi bataungi. Chal mujhe apne boss se milwa. (A big job. I’ll only tell you’re boss, c’mon take me to him)” I answered.
There are more errors here, she said “Vada’s. Btungi the big thief. I’m going to introduce you to my boss.” The author should master writing in one language before branching out into others.
The boy got up and motioned me to follow him. I told him to wait for a second and disappeared behind the first vehicle I found.
If she had to pee she should have gone before she left the hotel.
For those playing along at home who had trouble following the translations, AbR just nabbed a purse-snatcher and demanded that he take her to his boss because she has a job for him. Rather than doing anything that could be considered reasonable, such as running away from the crazy American lady, the thief agrees to do so with absolutely no discussion or argument.
In a whole new disguise I followed him.
She waited until after she caught herself a pickpocket to change into her second disguise. Fuck a duck, does she even understand how disguises work?
Now, I looked like a professional thief had to look like and the mask was a nice touch. The outfit was made by Alice, of course.
She is walking down the street wearing a mask. Nope, that’s not suspicious behavior at all. At least she didn’t describe her outfit, although I am very curious to know what professional thieves are supposed to look like. I didn’t know there was a uniform for that sort of thing.
The boy led me to a big bungalow with quiet a few guards surrounding it. ‘Jackpot!’ I thought.
The mystic Sue force has once more cradled you to its overly fragrant bosom and gifted you with exactly what you wanted with almost no effort on your part. All hail the Sue force!
He led me past the guards into a room where a fat man sat on a lounge bed smoking a shisha. “Kaun hai be tu, ladki?” (Who are you, girl?)” he asked.
This one is actually spot-on, although Google Translate thought it was Basque to begin with. I had some trouble with shisha, since the only shisha I’m familiar with is a style of embroidery featuring small mirrors, but it turns out that shisha is also the name of a tobacco-and-molasses concoction smoked in a hookah. The author probably meant that the character was smoking shisha in a hookah, but I find it odd that there are only indications that one person is smoking; hookahs are usually smoked in a social setting with several people sharing.
“I? I am “the burning Rose-”thief. I’m sure you’ve heard of me before? Should I repeat myself in Hindi?” I asked.
And now we’ve switched back to full English. Thank the gods for small favors, but why is she asking if he can understand her in English? It would have made more sense to ask him in Hindi if he could understand English before switching to that language.
And why would she automatically assume that some thug somewhere in India would know who the burning rose-thief is? Shocking as this may seem, the exploits of a jewel thief in America are probably of little interest to a small-time Indian gangster.
He looked helpless for a second but a man standing next to him quickly translated everything I said for him.
Ummm, she speaks Hindi (sort of). Why didn’t she just continue talking in a language he would understand instead of relying on a translator?
”Rose-thief?” He asked with a raised eyebrow.
Yes, she is a rose thief; can you direct her to a black market horticulturalist?
I nodded and a light bulb seemed to go off in his head. “Oh! That thief! Of course Godbole-bhai helps Rose thief!” The fat man, whom I now knew as Godbole-bhai said.
So he speaks English but can’t understand it when she speaks it. Yeah, that makes sense.
AbR offers no proof beyond her word that she is this “rose-thief” and he just sort of accepts it without questioning her further. It seems to me that Godbole isn’t sure who she is, but thinks he is supposed to know so he just goes along with it so he doesn’t look like an idiot in front of his goons. Like when you’re at a party and someone is talking to you but you have no idea who they are, so you just nod and smile and pray that they let some hint slip out so you can finally place who they are.
“Bhai” translates literally as “brother” but it seems to be widely used as a slang term much the way “bro” is used in America; it can also refer to someone who is a member of a gang. I can’t seem find any instance of it being added as a suffix to someone’s name, though; when used as an honorific it goes in front of the man’s name.
I smiled. “I will need many of your men and a couple of corrupt police officers.” I explained.
:consults shopping list:
So she will need four chicken thighs, three cloves of garlic, a half-teaspoon of garam masala, corrupt police officers, a piece of ginger the size of my thumb, a diced onion, a couple of burglars, two diced tomatoes, a map provided by a clueless federal agent, a half-teaspoon of tumeric, a teaspoon of chili powder, and two tablespoons of butter. Oh, and a pinch of sugar.*
Seems like a reasonable request for a (possibly crazy) person who just walked in off the street to give to someone they’ve never met before.
”You will get, no problem.” Godbole-bhai answered after getting what I said translated for him.
AbR is a complete stranger to this man yet she just marches into his place of business and/or home like she owns it and starts making demands – and he complies instantly without demanding any explanations! What a real badass gangster would do is direct his men to do various unsavory things to her and then dump her in a gutter.
”I will come back tomorrow to explain how thing’s are going to go down to your people.
Spoiler alert – she never explains anything.
I need men I can trust completely, Godbole-bhai. If you give me a spy I’ll hand you in to the police.” Godbole-bhai nodded and I left there.
You know he has corrupt police officers on his payroll, right? You just asked him for that very thing. So how would threatening to turn him over to the same police be an effective means of controlling him?
This is such a bad idea; it’s right up there with anything beginning with the phrase ”Hey, y’all; watch this!” There is no way this gangster is going to be frightened of a young woman who has absolutely no connections to anyone in this country and who would probably never be missed if she vanished into thin air. It’s like the author has no idea what a criminal actually is; i.e. that they are not nice people who inspire trust and other warm-and-fuzzy feelings in others.
Let me see if I can explain this in a way you might understand, AbR.
:gets out chalkboard and makes a small smiley face in the center:
This is you. Look how happy you are!
:adds large stick-figure kitty:
And here’s Mr. Fluffypants, whom I miss terribly.
:draws small circle around smiley face and kitty:
This is your social circle, containing all the people you know and can trust. There aren’t very many because you’re not very likeable.
:attaches chalkboard to rocket and fires it at the moon:
:gets out second chalkboard and draws Jabba the Hutt in the center:
This is Godbole.
:draws large circle of interlocking hearts around Jabba:
This is Godbole’s social circle, containing all the people he knows and trusts. He’s much more popular than you are, but he doesn’t have a kitty so that’s one thing in your favor.
:throws second chalkboard into the Library’s bottomless pit:
Please note how very far apart these two social circles are and how there is absolutely nothing in common between the two. Do you understand now why this is a bad idea, cupcake?
Then I made my way back to the hotel to get part 2 of my Today’s plan done.
Is part two “impersonate Matt Lauer”?
I checked my watch. 7 o clock, hopefully…. But before I could think it to the end the phone ringed.
Methinks AbR’s train of thought is missing a few cars.
Not my phone per-se, the throw-away phone I had given Agent Cullen the number to ringed.
If you own it then it’s still your phone, jackass.
“Hello?” I asked. “Hi, Mary, it’s me. Edward Cullen. I ühm just wanted to discuss you’re presence at the crime-scene with you, maybe over dinner?” He asked.
Since no crime has been committed yet, it’s not technically a crime scene; at best it’s a stake-out location.
”Sure. I’ll bring a map of the temple I said.”
First, let’s move those quotation marks to where they belong so I don’t have to shove them into the Spare Punctuation Box (which has started making rather alarming groaning noises.)
Since AbR hasn’t discovered the location of the temple from Munchkin yet, it would be incredibly stupid of her to offer to bring her map to dinner; what she should do is ask Munchkin to bring his map so she can make a copy of it. Let’s see if Munchkin the Super-Agent picks up on this.
”Cool, let’s say we meet in an hour in the lobby of The Resort India hotel.” He said.
Nope, it flew right by him like a poorly-aimed paper airplane. Gods, he’s an idiot.
”Okay, bye.” I said before making my way over to my bag smiling. ‘Maybe one of the stupid dresses Alice gave me might come in handy now…’ I thought.
Time for some costume porn – now with hairstyling foreplay!
I went to take a shower. About thirty minutes later I was ready and looking at myself in the mirror. Alice would’ve been so proud of me. I had put four roses in different colors in my red hair, which I had clipped up to one side; I had left a few curled strays of my hair hanging loosely on the other side. I was wearing a beautiful light summer dress with roses imprinted on it and ballerina shoes in yellow with roses. Now if this dress didn’t give him a clue…
It’s still missing something … Oh, I know!
:writes “I AM THE BURNING ROSE THIEF” on AbR’s forehead with a Sharpie:
Subtlety, thy name is AbR.
That poor FBI-Agent wouldn’t know what hit him.
Mr. Crowbar can fix that; he makes quite an impression.
Oh, I couldn’t forget my lances and glasses of course. ‘Perfect’ I thought upon giving my mirror-image a once over.
I’m sure you’re an angelic vision of grace and beauty, but I wouldn’t know since your face is in the frickin’ Formless Void.
I checked my watch again and took my bag, putting the map, a notebook, a forged essay and of course a pen in it.
She can’t come up with a competent robbery plan that doesn’t include implicitly trusting total strangers but she can write a complete thesis between naps? Bloody hell!
Then I made my way downstairs into the lobby. I had to be fast as I didn’t want the conversation near the topic ‘Hotel’.
:holds up deck of cards:
That’s why I always carry a deck of Uncle Loquacious’ Conversation Starters! with me wherever I go.
“Please describe your nefarious scheme in exacting detail, using small words and simple diagrams whenever possible.”
Thank you, Uncle L! I think I’ll just tuck this one into Munchkin’s pocket for later.
If AbR didn’t want the subject to come up, then why did she go to such trouble to secure the room beside his? If it’s not a set-up for a gratuitous lemon scene, then it’s a perfect opportunity to keep him distracted - but only if he knows she is next door to him. A few muffled noises and rhythmic thumps later and he’s the new king of Cold Showertown.
I’m going to cut this portion of the chapter off before the big date; it’s a shark-jump moment and things get much more confusing afterwards. The dinner itself is very long, mostly nonsensical, and about what you would expect from a Team Edward fangirl.
*This is actually my recipe for chicken curry. (Mostly.)