A.K.A. Peopleing

June 15, 2017:

Trish Walker and Jessica Jones' routine trip to a car lot to replace Trish's trashed vehicle takes a sudden turn for the unexpected when a dead man arrives to accuse a salesman of murder.

Sal's Used Cars, New York City, NY

We've got the right lemon right here!


NPCs: Sal, Chad and Jimmy, emitted by Elinor Ravensdale

Mentions: Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster, Tony Stark, Sally Stojespal, Elinor Ravensdale


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Used car lots are rather cramped in the City, but they exist. This one isn't terrible, it's clean, not too skeevy and the cars don't look like they've been patched together with duct tape. The cars are cramped together, and most of them are at least from this decade and a spare few are only a few years old. Several men wander the lot, looking for new prey, er customers to sell their trade to.

"You've got more money than Jesus," says one Jessica Jones, casting her eyes around the lot with a scowl. "Why are you buying used? I mean I've gotta buy used if I decide to go through with the whole having a car thing, but you could get something with brakes that you trust, and other systems that you trust, and things that might make you not die in a firey ball of firey death on the fucking road. The fucking deductible is the same either way."

A deductible she insisted on paying.

The private detective frowns about the lot through the shield of her sunglasses. Dressed in jeans, boots, and an olive green t-shirt, devoid of much make-up and somewhat exhausted, she manages to blend into the background. She's been laying low a lot as it is, either sleeping the sleep of the depressed or simply trying to avoid doing anything which might make her a liability to Bucky's case. She's taken jobs, but they've been low key. Finding an adopted child's birth mother. Working security at a trade show full of real estate agents, something a little less likely to burst into excitement even than the Princeton science fair. There are hold-ups in the Stark case that mostly have to do with the fact that SHIELD resources and a bunch of refugees are involved, and she's got some paranoia issues to work through before she can take her personal next step.

She's mostly been at her house. The Laundromat. The grocery store. Bucky and Jane's, to drop off laundry, and groceries. Trish's, to get into Trish's hair. And home. She's been staying alcohol free too. She's had reasons to poke her head out here and there beyond these things, and has a few more planned.

Including helping Trish shop for the car that she wrecked, however understandably, on one of her cases.

At least, she thinks, the amount of trouble that can crop up while shopping for a used car is usually limited to bad coffee and skeevy salespeople.

Jessica Jones. Not yet on the Superhero job long enough to become Genre Savvy (TM).

Trish rolls her eyes at Jess’s comment on her income. It had been something they had been arguing about, off and on, since she had mentioned browsing through the used lots first. Having more money than Jesus didn’t mean that one needed to throw it around frivolously. That was a good way to run out rather quickly, as proven by many of her fellow child star alumni.

“Because, Jessica, I can take it to a mechanic, who will be able to ensure that I don’t die a fiery death on the fucking road. You eloquent creature you.” She snorts, mouth curling up at her little quip. “Regardless of the deductible. You do realize that new vehicles depreciate an immediate thirty percent the moment you drive off the lot. It’s a smarter investment to buy something gently used and fix what little might be wrong. I’ve had the brand new shiny car and now I’m thinking that an SUV would be smarter. And really fun to trick out into a bad ass ride.”

She’s wearing her version of casual as well. Dark jeans, flouncy peasant top, sunglasses, and low heeled boots. Her hair is pulled back into a high, bouncy ponytail, and her makeup is the no makeup, but still using that Jeffree Star Skin Frost so we are glowing for the Gods honey! A lot of thought had gone into her appearance, hoping that being who she was would dazzle the salesmen into offering wicked good deals. Not exactly her proudest moment, but hey, you do what you gotta do when you’re shopping. Right?

“Do me a favor, try not to scare off the sales guy. I know peopleing can be hard for you, but I need a car, and I’d rather not do this alone. You’ll be driving it too, so I want to make sure I get something you’re comfortable with. Cause I’m nice like that.”

She flashes Jess her million dollar, billboard smile. She’s also batting her eyelashes, even though the effect is lost through the glasses. She’ll link her arm with Jess’s and pat her hand to offer moral support to get her sister through the process. Hopefully as painlessly as possible.

There is no shortage of attention from the male salesmen once they see the two women walk on the lot. They're sized up, looking at their clothing, the way the move and talk, and mentally trying to figure out which car would be best to pawn off on them. A younger man starts to walk forward, he doesn't have a full suit on, perhaps he is still learning the ropes. Just as he's about to start into his speil, a older, slightly more portly salesman comes forward and addresses the ladies. He has dark hair that is slicked back and thinning at the hairline. His suit is well tailored, but a little out of date.

"Good evening ladies, you can call me Sal. I would be more than happy to help you get into one of my fine vehicles." He gestures to one the lines of cars near by. "Who is buying? We have some fantastic prices and low interest rates so we could easily get you in and out in no time what so ever."

"I know how to people," Jessica mutters, almost petulently. "How do you think I do my job? I people. I people all day long. I once saved a whole god damn planet by 'peopleing'."

And as if to prove it, she gives the salesman HER best smile when he approaches. Which makes her look like she's about to eat his face, because it's a smile tempered with a lot of grouchy. There she is, proving all that peopleing.

They should have brought Stojespal, but Stojespal already showed her the car that she ought to buy for herself. The thought of including Sally in Trish's car buying experience— for an SUV she apparently wants to put tire spikes, caltrops, and guns on, which is what Jess sees when Trish talks about 'tricking it out'— occurs in an instant, right now, when they meet Slick Sal. Too late now.

"She's buying," she says, holding Trish's arm and inclining her head to indicate her sister. "My sister's pretty fantastic too, so I hope those rates and prices really are super-duper low, Sal, and that everything here has been well maintained. I've heard cars that break down 15 minutes outside the lot depreciate by like 100% the moment that happens."

She turns up the wattage on her Miss Scary smile.

Trish discretely checked Sal out, shielded by the dark lenses. So far, he appeared to be a typical used car salesman, from his dated suit to thinning hairline. He also didn’t appear to recognize her yet, which wasn’t a bad thing, in her mind. It may just allow her to see how good her negotiating skills are, without the celebrity backing. Might be kind of fun, to not be known for a change.

She turns her smile on the salesman, holding out her hand for a shake after his introduction. “Hey Sal, pleasure.”

And then the most fantastic display of peopleing happens. Trish can feel the smile freezing on her face and two spots of burning redness growing on her cheeks. It’s almost unbelievable to think that one perfectly scary Jessica Jones was in public service, if a somewhat specialized area thereof. She’ll pinch the inside of Jess’s arm, her version of kicking under the table.

“Oh, yes, to be sure. You are the very best of the peoplers. How could I ever have doubted you.” Her tone is dripping with sarcastic venom. As much as she loves her sister, this social awkwardness was beyond painful to deal with.

“Please excuse my sister. She’s a little, shall we say, rude sometimes. She does mean well though, she really does try. I’m sure you have nothing but quality, road worthy vehicles for sale here. As she said, I’m the one looking today, though I’m not totally sure I want to buy just yet.” She tilts her head to the side, brow slightly furrowed, feigning ditzy blonde. Big time. “It can be so overwhelming, sometimes, with pushy sales guys trying to make you buy something you don’t really want. But I bet you’re not like that here. This seems like such a nice place.”

Inner Trish is gagging at the show, as she’s fairly sure Jessica is. She resolutely does not look at her, knowing that it would cause her to burst out laughing, spoiling everything before it even had a chance to really get going. She certainly wasn’t a gear head, by any means, but she was confident in her ability to recognize a lemon.

Sal doesn't know that he's being checked out, but he undescretly checks out both women. With a sly smirk on his lips he nods his head to Jessica, and if that smile disarms him, he doesn't show it. It seems to slide right off of his oily greased back hair. "Oh yes I see you people quite nicely." He replies, grinning at Jessica. "But you wound me, to say that any of my stock is less than what you say it is? I don't think my heart can take it. Ol' Sal here will make sure that you are riding out of here in not only style, but safety." Turning to Trish, he also puts on a pleasant smile, esepcially since she appears to be an uninformed buyer. "Oh me? I am as gentle as a kitten. If none of my stock pleases your tastes than it is no skin off my back to watch you walk away. Now if you just…"

Sal doesn't get to finish his sentance, because the young man he spurned the sale from comes bounding forward. "You asshole!" He yelled, reaching his arm pack to punch the larger man. In a size comparison, the younger scrawny sales boy would be no match for the heafty Sal, but when his fists connects with the flab covering the solar plexus, Sal drops to his knees, looking very surprized in winded. All he can do is wheeze at this point.

Jessica doesn't react much to Trish's pinch, though her smile does fade to a scowl when her sister reprimands her.

Then? The sudden drama.

Jess may not people well, but she sure deals with assault pretty damned well. She unlinks her arm with Trish's immediately and takes three strides forward. The kid isn't even toddler weight for her. She picks him up by the collar and calmly pins him against an SUV.

"Kid," she says. "How about you not commit assault in broad daylight, okay? I hate the cops, so consider this your warning, but consider it good. Don't care if he slept with your wife, stiffed you on your paycheck, sold you a shit car, used up all your hair product. Whatever the Hell it is, you're gonna cool your fuckin' jets, and you're going to use your words to deal with whatever the Hell, and we'll just straighten this out. Or I'll carry you out of here and shove you in a dumpster, just like the kid in the Neverending Story."

She turns her head to look over her shoulder at Trish, giving her a slight, tense smile. "See? This is peopleing."

Trish is bracing herself for the stomach churning experience ahead of her. Yup, definitely your typical, greasy salesman. At least he seemed to be buying the dumb blonde gig so far. Now, hopefully her luck holds with not getting recognized. She casts her eyes, somewhat mournfully, in the direction of the younger man. He would have been an easily taken down mark, sandwiched firmly between Jess’s snark and her schmoozing.

She’ll give a start at the sudden attack, drawing in her breath in a sharp gasp. Not a yelp, but definitely a startled gasp. That’s her story and she is going to stick to it. Oh yes, she is. Just watch her.

There’s no resistance to unlinking their arms. This more in Jess’s wheel house than it is hers. For now. Her eyebrows almost climb off her forehead as another example of how Jess interacts with the public is displayed. Aside from the fact that he was being suspended off the ground by a woman who didn’t appear nearly strong enough to do so, it was actually a very fine display of peopleing. She spoke clearly, concise and to the point, giving the dude a chance to find an amicable solution. Or as amicable as possible, given the sucker punch to poor old Sal.

“Okay, I take it back. You people just fine, and this time I mean it. Without any snark. I promise.” She even holds up both hands to signal surrender on that particular issue. She lifts her shades up, to rest on the top of her head, and moves to offer Sal a hand up. “Hey Sal, are you okay? That was quite the blow. Can you stand up, or do you need another minute or two?”

The younger salesman is pinned up against the SUV, he looks confused, but it quickly turns to enraged. "He killed me!" He screams at Jessica in a voice that does not match the face or body at all. "You would let a murder go free! He sits here, like a fat pig on a throne!" He says, trying to turn to look at Sal, flailing against Jessica. He's strong, but not Jessica strong, he turns to look at Sal. "He thinks he got away with it! He thinks beacuse no one saw that the brake lines were cut on the car that no one knows! But I know! I KNOW YOU ASSHOLE!" Seeing that Jessica isn't likely to let him go, he tries pleeding with Trish. "Let me have my revenge! It's only right! A life for a life!"

For a moment, Sal milks his injury to get the extra attention from Trish. "It hurts, but at least it wasn't the face. I think I can stand with your help!" However when he hears the other man speak, and when he hears that voice Sal pales. "Jimmy… what are you talking about? I haven't done anything like that. Stop being dramatic boy and just accept I'm the better salesman." Sal's voice is a touch higher than it was, showing his nervousness.


Jessica gets a certain look on her face.

Anyone else? Would be skeptical. They'd think the kid was crazy. Not Jessica Jones. Not Jessica Jones, who has recently talked to a guy who had his body replaced with liquid darkness as a printer poked out of his chest. Not Jessica Jones, who has literally met an alternate universe version of herself. Not Jess, who consorts with wizards.

No, the look she gets on her face is more like, 'Well, fuck. Really??' than anything else.

She wonders if she'll ever be surprised again. "Its your lucky day, Jimmy. I solve cases on behalf of the dead, " she says, ever so calmly. "Ask anyone else who is dead. Elinor Ravensdale and I work closely together."

She doesn't let him go, yet, but she does start checking his body for signs of the damage that would be there if he'd died in a car accident vis a vis cut break lines.

"I'm very good at catching murderers," she adds. "And seeing them brought to justice."

A sidelong glance at Trish.

She might people alright. But it's in the position of bad superhero and rough diplomat, bouncer and bodyguard.

Trish also peoples very well, and gets paid to do it. From the position of good superhero, perhaps, smooth diplomat, radio host and woman of culture.

Maybe between the two of them, they can get to the truth. Nervousness alone isn't it…most people would be nervous if a crazy guy started hitting them and screaming at them too, and just about everyone is nervous when she starts doing the 'oh yeah, super strength' thing around them.

All of Trish’s hair stands on end and massive goosebumps break out as the pinned guy starts yelling. She’s creeped out enough to pause in helping Sal, leaving her hand outstretched, just out of his easy grasp. Her eyes whip between Sal and their special guest star, the salesman formerly known as Jimmy. So she happens to notice the change in pallor, which instantly raises her suspicions. Greasy might not even be the half of it, if what they were being told was true.

Her own color drains a little at the request for revenge. Of the two sisters, he definitely had a better chance convincing her than Jess, but she wasn’t the one in charge of him. Of all the car lots in all of New York, she had to pick this one. She’s having a serious Why me?!? moment, trying to make sense of it all. Until Jess mentions Elinor. Then it clicks. This was another one of those supernatural events that would need to be marked on Jess’s map.

“I’m sorry, but she’s in charge man. I do what she says.” At least in these kinds of situations. But she leaves that part out, turning her attention back to Sal instead. “Okay, let’s get you up. Easy does it, there you go.”

The strain of helping to get his hefty bulk vertical again is evident in her voice. She’ll even go so far as to rub her arm a little, once he lets go.

“What a thing to say. And after attacking you like that.” She shakes her head and clucks her tongue in dismay, even though she tended to believe the accusation. “We’ll get to the bottom of this, don’t you worry. Here, don’t worry about him, just talk to me. Is there a history of animosity between you two? A reason he might have for wanting to make you look bad? Aside from jealousy, obviously. I mean, your suit is so much nicer than his is.”

Gag, retch, yuck, I’m going to need a shower after this.

"My name isn't Jimmy. It's Chad." When Jess starts looking for injuries that woudl suggest he had been in a car accident she finds nothing. The body is alive, the heart is beating and he is breathing like a normal human would. All and all, 'Chad' appears to be just going for a ride in poor Jimmy. "Death is the only justice he deserves. His jealousy lead him down this path." 'Chad' says as he raises a shaky hand to point at Sal. However something catches his attention. A name, a familiar name. He turns to Jessica with a manic smile. "Yes. Elinor can help. I know this name, I know this woman. Lets kill him, than find Elinor."

When that hand is outstretched to Sall, he'll take it and hold onto as long as he can. Trish would feel that he is trembling. Whatever it is that 'Chad' is saying is hitting home, but he is doing his best to brush it off. When Trish asks him questions directly, he puts on a nervous smile. "Jimmy and me? Naw, he just started here a few weeks ago. I was showing him the ropes, I really don't know why he's talking about cutting brakelines or murder. It's likely to get him fired. Maybe he's just not cut out for this job."

"Let me tell you how this is going to go, Chad," Jessica says, her voice dropping into something colder as she realizes what's going on here.

"You're going to vacate Jimmy there. You're going to trust me to solve the case. You're going to tell Elinor where your car is, and what your address was, and what your last name was, and you're not going to kill anybody."

She racks her brain. What was in that hedge magic book again?

"Or I'm going to simply drag you back to my place. I will fill my bathtub with a metric ass ton of rock salt. I will turn on the shower. I will shove you in it. And I will salt-and-running water your ass until you're forced to vacate. And then? I'll simply hit the Internet. I'll figure out which 'Chad' died in a car accident recently. I will find your grave. Dig it up. Salt and burn your bones and force you into the next life in a way that I understand is very, very painful for the restless dead. And then? It won't much matter to you how things go for old Sal. And I'll banish the shit out of you if I find out you've inhabited anyone else's fucking body. Best go talk to Elinor, who is sympathetic to your bullshit, cause this shit won't fly with me. Got it, Casper?"

Trish feels her trembling and resists the urge to pull her hand back right away to wipe on her shirt. Appearing to be on his side is probably the best way to work a confession out of him. Play the sympathetic ear, which in turn, would hopefully loosen his tongue. This was definitely going to take the top spot on her ‘Weird Shit that Happened to Me’ list. Okay, maybe just second, but a close second to the growing gills.

She is about to take her hand back, without the wipe off, until Chad identifies himself. This causes her own fingers to clutch tighter for a moment, more from a massive case of heebie jeebies, than outright fear. Enough heebie jeebies to make the holding of just about any hand, including Sal’s, appealing. For a moment.

“And what a kind thing to do, giving him a chance, teaching him what you know. Some people just aren’t cut out for sales, you know? It’s not easy, talking to people, and actually listening to them in return. How else would you be able help them, right? Or be confident enough to tell them you wouldn’t hound for a sale.” She frowns and shakes her head again, before tilting it just slightly. She raises her hand to tap a finger thoughtfully to her lips. “What a strange name, Chad. Of all the names, why Chad? The only Chads I can think of are that guy from Nickleback and Rob Lowe’s little brother. Do you know any Chads, Sal? It’s definitely not that common.”

She watches Sal closely, for any tells she can pick up. Tells aren’t just for poker, after all. She pays close attention to the way he responds to Jess’s suggestions. Especially the one about hitting the internet and digging for more information.

'Chad seems to know what Jessica is talking about, and knowing that she seems to be able to get rid of him in the most unplesant way, he snarls. "I've been dead too long. Too long to still have evidence. I will seek out this woman, I will speak with her. Perhaps she will understand why I need my revenge." But he does as he is asked. Jimmy's body convulses sevearl times as his eyes roll back in his head then quickly goes slack. For a breath of a moment, he doesn't move, but finally a long breath is inhaled and Jimmy looks up, very confused and visablly shaken. "What… what happened?"

Sal continues to shake, and when Jimmy has that seizure and speaks in his normal voice agian he finally relaxes. "We used to have a Chad here, but… that was a long time ago. Look, I don't think I'm up to selling a car today, I've got some paper work to do… Jimmy can sell you a car." Sal obviously doesn't want to try and explain anything to his brain, or to these two women.

Jessica lets Jimmy down very gently and even brushes him off a little. "You're okay," she says, her tone perhaps jarringly gentle after all of her piss and vinegar today. "You're okay now, Jimmy. You just had a little heat stroke. Could happen to anybody. But your boss looked ready to murder you, and said you were fired, so…maybe find another place to work." She's not really joking, and the lie is, in this case, Jessica's idea of kindness. Sal might not understand the ins and outs of possession. Might cut Jimmy's brakes, too.

Then she steps back and glances after Sal, narrowing her eyes.

She looks back at Trish and says, "You know what both Chad and Sal— who I think is guilty as fuck— don't realize?"

She gives a grim, dark smile.

"There's always something. Even when the case is colder than a polar bear's tit."

A dozen worries swirl in her brain. A freezing cold murder case was not what she had in mind when she set out to keep a low profile. But…that doesn't mean she'll let it sit, either. It may not even have the urgency of some of her other cases…

But a murder is a murder, and Jess aims to solve this one.

Trish hears Chad’s final thoughts, sees Jimmy convulsing, and does a double take at the voice change. Her whole body shudders, head to toe, and this time she does wipe her hands on her pants. Of all the creepy, disgusting things she expected to encounter on this little excursion, possession on top of greasy sales guy were nowhere on that list. She nods her head in dismissal at Sal and shakes her head as she watches the older man depart. He most definitely knows what the hell is going on, he has zero poker face, and has definitely done nothing to dispel any suspicions on their part.

“You know what, I don’t really think I’m in the mood to buy just now. Maybe another time, when we’re both feeling more up to it.”

She then turns her attention to Jimmy. Sympathy with show on her features and in her voice. “She’s right, you know. You got a little funny from the heat stroke, but old Sal there took it pretty rough. Anything would be better than here, Jimmy. Even McDonalds.”

Oh Christ, and more stellar peopleing. Offering threats is the best way to handle this, for sure!

“Jesus, Jessica, of course he’s guilty. You don’t say that though, especially on his property, where he could probably hear, thereby incurring a vendetta. From someone who obviously doesn’t have a problem with murder. You win, I concede, no more used lots. I’ll stick to the professional dealerships from now on. And given I’ve never touched a polar bear’s tit, I can’t comment on that last thing. And on that note, I think it’s time we go home. ”

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