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December 06, 2018:

Clint Barton, Bruce Banner and Shulkie go Christmas shopping

New York City

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Black Widow

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There's no snow yet, so it's not really Winter. At least that's how it works in Clint Barton's mind. It's why he has decided to not /wear/ a jacket today despite the weather being a good thirty some degrees and some of the lakes freezing out across the way in Central Park. No snow. Not Winter. No Winter. No Winter Clothes. And so that's why he's wearing jeans, and brown work boots, and a large grey sweat shirt as his lone allowance to the cold weather. Since sweat shirts don't count as Winter clothes.
However, just because it's not technically Winter that doesn't mean it's too early to go Christmas shopping. And so, emerging from the large parent Sports Authority store just on the side street so close to Midtown's marvelous shopping district, Clint Barton saunters back out onto the sidewalk with a bag now over his shoulder. "You see, Natasha is always the easiest to shop for." He continues on, the heavy paper bag jostling a bit.
He steps around the crowd, walking along steadily, "Every year. Same thing." His lip twists, "XL Red Adidas Track Suit."


It might actually be Winter. At least, Shulkie seems to think so. Not that she feels the cold really. One of those bonuses due to her condition. A condition she isn't hiding. He asked Shulkie to go shopping with him, not Jennifer Walters. Thus she is in all her glorious Glamazon gorgeousness going …okay, enough of that. She's dressed in jeans, knee-high boots and a lovely Christmas sweater. Until one looks closely and realizes it has Star Wars stuff in the mix of holly and presents.
"For Natasha? She's like this tall!" She holds her hand out parallel to the ground at about her waist height, which is way shorter than the Black Widow actually is. "Why do you get her an XL?" Strangely, she doesn't seem to question a Red Adidas Track Suit at all though.


"Maybe here?" Bruce offers, lifting a hand to a more accurate height of Black Widow. Bruce and his attention to accuracy. He couldn't tell you what fashion was appropriate for her, though. If the others are dressed lightly, Bruce is prepared to wade into a snowbank. But that's just because 'winter' has one setting, regardless. All of his clothes are new, as well: that's an ongoing trend for the man that goes through clothing as quickly as he does. He has, so far, bought absolutely nothing for anyone. He's gotten some ideas, and had some uncertain lack of decisiveness. That's about as far as it has gone. That, and to observe things that She-Hulk might like. This is the 'investigation' phase, for him, in his mind: not JUST indecision.


Looking between them for a moment, as if puzzled, Clint's answer is an amused, "Because it's funnier that way." Though he continues on his stroll, the bag jostling with each step and his free hand jammed into the pocket of his jeans, not because it's cold! He steps up to the sidewalk corner, the street lights flickering around to the 'DON'T WALK' portion of the sign as he turns to face them, his blue eyes alive with the Christmas Spirit. "So ok, we need a plan of attack now that it's gonna get complicated."
He touches a fingertip to the center of his chest, "I need to grab some office presents. Colleague stuff. So a whole bunch of ok sorta cool things, not too expensive. Then I need a thing for my ex-wife, yah we're still friends, sue me." He scritches his chin thoughtfully just as the light turns and he sets off into the intersection once the, 'WALK' signal flashes.
"Also need some things for an 8 year old and a 10 year old." His list revealed he looks sidelong at the Two gamma-irradiated heroes. "What's yours look like?"


"Well obviously something for him," Shulkie says, hooking her thumb in her cousins direction before giving Bruce a bright smile. "Clothes are always a good choice. He gets at least twenty pairs of socks from me every year." Some of which are not themed and comedic in nature. "A little bit for family although I don't get back to L.A. much so they aren't as much of a priority. I can buy theirs in May then get it to them when I visit during the summer." Why summer? Cause beach weather of course! She tilts her head a moment. "Didn't know you had kids, Robin Hood."


"Um," Bruce says, pulling up his own mental list, with a few blinks into nowhere. "Family," Bruce says, with a look towards Jennifer that suggests his family list might just be very very short. "Coworkers," he says, ticking off the second box. There's then a very long, probably very awkward sort of silence, since that's really just the entire list. Those two things. It might seem at first that Bruce was going to add some more entries to the list, but instead he clears his through and shifts his weight, and smiles awkwardly. He looks up at the 'WALK' sign as if it might save him. It does, and he can walk, bringing up the rear of the group, hands tucked warmly into jacket pockets.

"I never know what to get, every year. Recurring difficulty," Bruce smiles into his scarf.


Turning to the side to walk along, Clint answers Jen off-handedly, waving the question away. "Friends of the family, two sprogs that aren't entirely horrible." He waggles that same hand a bit as he then adds, "Sometimes though they deserve coal, might be this year. We'll see." What a jerk.
"So alright, office gifts all around. Need weird things that are kind of cool. Answer to that?" He turns the corner and then gestures widely, "Hammacher Schlemmer." And there before them is the lovely awning with that same written on it as well as three stories worth of windowed displays all showing a festive holiday spirit as well as a myriad of many many different gadgets and gewgaws.
"Stay on the first floor, though." Clint steps up to the door and pulls it open. "Second and third their prices start to get a lil…" He whistles a short two-note tune to symbollize the craziness of their prices.


Shulkie ducks through the doorway, taking a glance around at the interior of the shop while wondering if he should say Gesundheit to Clint after him saying the actual name. "So you want things that are thoughtful but generic? Or something more person specific?" she asks of their instructions for this trip.
Her attention is drawn to a nearby rack of pants and she rushes over, letting out a little oooo of excitement as the pulls them out. She holds them up toward Bruce. "I think these are your size too." They happen to be purple. Although the tag lists the color as Eggplant.


"So the upper floor is where I'd come up with something to then /modify/ for Tony," Bruce guesses in amusement to Clint. "Although I have learned to not try too hard. Usually he does not open gifts without coaxing." And Bruce doesn't coax. This is not said in annoyance, but more of a matter-of-fact way. There are other people to prioritize other than that. Such as his cousin right there. Even if there's quite a difference between the type of gift that Jennifer would have versus her own alter-ego.

At least no presents are required for his alter ego? And then She-hulk sort of finds one. He gives her a sort of sigh. "I do like…." He looks at the tag. "Eggplant," he answers. But then, Bruce likes everything, on the surface: he's very agreeable, more often than anything else. Best to just roll with things, than the alternative.


Through the door he goes and he is almost instantly distracted by a hovering New York Giants football helmet that seems to float over an arena. He pokes it a few times and makes a small, 'hnh' noise. Sidelong, towards Bruce he says. "Oh also, avoid any Chinese electronics. You won't believe the amount of spyware on those things." He checks to the side to see if Jen caught his warning, but she's too into the whole clothes thing. Though he does chuckle at the purple pants.
Sidelong towards Bruce, Clint offers an observation. "They have a robot bartender upstairs, but I figure at this point Tony'd probably find it quaint. It's also like, thousands of dollars." Though, to be fair, if Clint ever bothered to check his savings he might find that his pay has piled up fairly well… just he tends to live for the job. Finances are for later.
He's almost ready to move on when on the middle electronics display area a toy catches his eye. He scoops up what looks like a miniature bow, only it has a cellphone across the shaft presenting a fantastic display of targets for it to shoot. "Okay, this is awesome."


The pants are hung back up and Shulkie smirks at Bruce. "You like anything I get you. I think you just humor me." Likely true. Sure it might be for other reasons as well but for her? It's all about Shulkie! "Maybe Santa will bring them to you if you are a good boy."
Which is when she sees that Clint found a bow. "In a store full of all sorts of high tech goodies, you manage to find a bow and arrow. You are not giving that to that child, Robin Hood. Find a nice video game with gun and blood and violence." Y'know, that sounds like he has the better choice in his hands.
Shulkie glances at the ceiling. "Bartender huh? Now I'm really curious what's up there…"


"Santa, mmmm. With that logic, I should have enough coal to last through multiple winters," Bruce jokes, but it's a little flat. Hulk has NOT been a good boy. Just ask Nebraska earlier this year. Hulk broke Nebraska. A lot.

"Well, we should still get a look. It might give ideas about something to make, even if they are out of price range. I don't mind helping," Bruce offers, with a smile to Clint. "Unless even the parts are too expensive," he says, after looking at a few of the other gizmos. So far he doesn't think so, though. "And you might miss out on that spyware."


She-Hulk's arrival is greeted with whispers and hidden glances, grinning people wave and some even call out to her, but the surge is not so bad that it affects their shopping for now.
"Pfft," Is Clint's response as She-Hulk poo-poos his idea of a good Christmas Gift. "You see a cheap toy, and I see the solution to all my Christmas shopping in one fell swoop." And as he says this he grabs a box and tucks it under his arm. "Gonna get… seven… no eight of them. Covers the kids and the work people. Perfect." But as he says this he is scooting around the end of the display to find one of the self-serve hand baskets and proceeds to fill it with nothing but the AR Archery Kits. Almost enough to fill the whole thing.
But then he looks between the two other heroes and smiles a bit, "Alright, let's head on up. Just seriously, last time I went up there I bought a robot dog on impulse buy." He starts to walk down the way, towards the escalators in the middle of the store.


"We should go with the robo bartender but then you have to tweak it," Shulkie says as she heads for the escalators. She does offer a smile and a wave to a few folks when she notices them. Almost to the escalator, she stops for a selfie with a young woman who squees with delight and begins texting like a mad woman.
"You have to program it to only serve non alcholic beverages. No matter what is asked for, they get a Shirley Temple or a glass of milk."


Bruce evades being near the selfie situation, stepping neatly out of the way, and fidgeting with his scarf ends, unwilling to be part of the photography opportunity: not that he even was part of it. He does smile to the young lady when she moves away, though she probably didn't see his human interaction over her texting.

"Sadly, it would be only a tweak away from serving only hard liquor again," Bruce chuckles, "And he HAS those. I'm less concerned with that, though, than what is for other coworkers and heroes." He observes all the AR archery kits with an almost jealous amusement. If only it were so EASY. He lacks a positive theme such as that. "It will work out." Somehow. He doesn't believe that, and looks frowny and frustrated.


Leading the way up the escalators, Clint leans against the rail and turns to face them as they roll on up. "Last time I was here they had it making virgin margaritas. So that was kinda cool, but yeah. No liquor. But still, nifty thing." He turns his head to look up towards their destination and as he passes under a glittering christmas star decoration he lifts a hand to touch it, causing it to turn slowly while they pass.
Back towards Bruce, "Seriously, there is just about anything in here. The place can be kind of crazy," And as he says that the Christmas music they'd been hearing over the store sound-system gets even louder, now that it's being played from a large crazed cabinet that seems to be a melange of clockwork musical instruments all stored in a wooden case that plays actual live-ish music.


As they approach the sound making cabinet, Shulkie seems to be entranced. "Oh. My. Gosh. I need this!" She looks from one of them to the other, to see if they understand how imperative this is but the lack of excitement lets her know they do not. "It's a Hootenannay. I don't care /what/ it actually is but it is called a Hootenanny! I have always wondered what one was. And now I could say I owned one!"
Until she glances at the price tag then that moment of being entranced is over with. "$54,000? Have they lost their minds? For a player piano that happens to be more than a piano? Pfft." And just as quickly, it is dismissed due to Sticker Shock!


Bruce observes her with the 'player piano', amused. His smile is real: relaxed, for the moment, watching her interact with it. It was a nice break from his mounting anxiety about not having found something appropriate yet. What if he can't find anything? He tries not to worry about it. That's why they're starting 'early' and not last minute.

This way he can have WEEKS of anxiety over not having presents yet. Well.

"Actually, music as a theme isn't bad. I had been working on some reception and communication tech upgrades, that might also work well with creating something with higher quality playback, and if it was a smaller unit…" Bruce says, talking to himself a little, off in his own cloud, wandering up an aisle. They've lost Bruce.


Holding up a hand as if trying to stay She-Hulk, Clint adopts a stern tone. "Hey. Hey! You can/not/ put a price on the quality of having your nanny hooted. Do you want just any old level of nanny hooting to go off anywhere? You get what you pay for." The admonishing tone is accompanied with a look so severe as he points at her again, but then his eyes widen a little, giving enough freedom for the chuckle to slip free as he turns away.
"Alright guys, I'm going over thattaway to the camping equipment. Hollar for me when you're done." Of course as he walks past another display table a large robotic dragon /roars/ and shoots a burst of flame into the air. Just enough to cause him to jump a little and adopt a boxer's stance before he says to himself, "Bah." And walks on his way.


As the boys wander off in opposite directions, Shulkie is about to follow her cousin when the spout of flame goes off from the dragon. She stops to stare at it, add it to her personal 'need' list. Then she spots a Giant LiteBrite and is wandering off to look at it. "Wonder if they will let me live here…"

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