30 March, 2006

Retail Hell Heck : the Mall Sucks (pt. 2)

Once upon a time, Jedi were the bringers of peace, and, like, love to the galaxy.
These days, venerable dead Jedi, who, like, died for the cause, work as indentured servants peddling snacks that should bring good vibes to the masses, but instead are gobbed by a bunch of heavy bread-heads, man.
We are mid-week and nothing could have prepared me for that. Nothing. Not years of Jedi training, not the gruelling tour schedule that Dooks and I kept. Not even dying.
Me and JJ had this nice little plan, right? Smooth sailing.
See, our 14,400 brownies? Gone in about two hours. That was nothing. So, like, suddenly, I had to deal with griping, impatient jerks, while baking more. I think our last count yesterday was like 73,000 sold. Something like that, or 730,000. There was a 7 and a 3 in there. I think.
Let's start on day two, minute one.
First customer. A female Twi-lek.
"Good morning, ma'am. What can I..." She cut in.
"I need 24 dozen brownies."
Well, friends, that was a humdinger. 24 dozen. Scoob marathon? Early Wookie Life Day shopping? Weight-Gain *beefcake* 4000?
"Then ring me up 24 times."
JJ had been listening to her between his flow of irate narcs.
"You, like, don't understand. Like, I can only sell you one dozen."
She looked indignant and scoffed, ala trophy wife, spoilt, evil, malicious, devil woman. "It says, 'per transaction.' Not 'per customer.' So sell me the brownies." She pointed to the sign.
JJ saved the day. Well, more like his permanent marker did. Suddenly, it said "ONE DOZEN BROWNIES PER TRANSACTION PER CUSTOMER PER VISIT PER DAY PER SITUATION PER MANAGEMENT."
I rang her up for one dozen. She glared and paid, not putting the money near me, but, like, way out on the counter near her, so I, like, had to reach to get it, which was seriously petty.
Clincher was, once she got the dozen, she got right back in line to order more. Sith witch.
* * *
There was, like, the most disturbing Commtech conversation I'd ever heard. This Snivvian, young, ugly-as-sin (as most Snivvians are), was on his Commtech. Not a big shocker, as most of the idiots in the queue were on their bleeping, chiming, chirping, ringing, squawking Commtechs.
It wasn't the sound of his stupid machine, it was choice in conversation topics.
Talking overly loud, I could hear him over the roar of the crowd.
"...so there I was in the middle of the operation, when I woke up. I open my eyes and see that my bowel was there on my chest. Needless to say, I was terrified. But when I went to scream, I inhaled and... Long story short, I ended up with a mouth full of my own colon. And wouldn't you know it, that's just when the laxative kicked in. So I..."
Things had quieted down, as I guess, everyone was just in, like, total shock at what sphincter boy was laying down. Several people left the line, one covered their mouth and looked like they were going to melf, man.
Lucky for me, and the grossed-out customers, there was my knight in shining military garb, Oneida, several places back from this guy. She stepped up and tapped him on the shoulder.
He waved her off.
She tapped harder.
And, like, he seriously said in his Commtech, "Sorry about that, some stupid Hutt is bothering me."
And that was it. Oneida's eyes got all wide while she pulled out her blaster. She clicked a button on the side and aimed.
Everyone was, like, totally quiet. No, they weren't, as the idiots were still ordering, but I was enthralled, so I didn't hear, like, anything.
She fired and it sounded just like a smack. It was set on b!^@#-slap. The stupid Snivvian dropped his Commtech and turned toward her, holding his face. He opened his mouth to talk.
She held up her finger and sheathed her smoking blaster. "Don't you dare. If you don't want me to call in the clones and make this a real messy issue, you will just shut your face. We are here to by brownies, not to get treated to medical mishap stories. You will pick up your Commtech..."
He did so.
"You will close it and we will never again hear about your guts. Do you understand?"
He stood still, shaking.
"I said, 'Do you understand?!" Everyone turned to look at her.
"Eep." He nodded, gathered up his phone and rushed off.
There was a smattering of applause, but soon, it went right back to the grind, sans the stories.
She made me feel a little better, though. Oneida's a doll, man. When she came up, it was all smiles and no threats of violence or calling the supervisor to beat me with rubber hoses.
* * *
"Cut it down the middle." In front of me, there was the most snobby, stuck-up, scowling, made-up, glaring, evil Kaminoian being demanding.
I shook my head. "Wow, we, like, don't cut the brownies, man. They are squares."
She folded her long arms and sneered. "Cut mine down the middle. Didn't you hear me the first time? Should I inquire to your higher-ups why you should make your wages if you refuse to co-operate?"
"I'm, like, not getting paid."
She scoffed. "Well, if you were, it would be too much. Now cut my brownie."
Obviously this woman had never worked in retail or the mall before. Perhaps she'd never worked a day in her life. Her job was to torment the hard working blokes at the local stores, needling up and asserting her dominance, as she was superior because of her status.
Did I ever say I didn't like retail?
I put it on a plate and cut it down the middle, top to bottom.
She scoffed again. "You've ruined it. I wanted it cut horizontally cut and you've botched it by cutting it vertically. Give me another one, and cut it right."
I turned the plate, making the cut horizontal. "There, like, look. Horizontal, just like you asked."
Her big black eyes flared. "How dare you! Where is your supervisor?"
Mr. S'Naus Ages was there, with a placating smile. "What can we help you with, Ma'am?"
"It's Madam," she snapped. "And your bumbling oaf of an employee cut this brownie improperly. I demand proper service and a refund!"
Funny. She hadn't paid yet. When I went to, like, give ol' S'Nausy the FYI, he waved me off, gave her a new brownie, which he cut himself, and the money she didn't spend back.
For that, he denied me my second 15 minute break.
* * *
I was turned around, moving some brownies around, sorting and stuff.
Whew, man, there is nothing like a guy who's nearly two metres tall and sporting a full beard and moustache getting mistaken for a woman, man. Now, I was turned around, but it wasn't the first time people had wrong, man. My hair was up in buns in a hair-net, but seriously... Mildly offensive.
Mom and a kid. Man, the little guy was really pale and frail for being a Duros. He had these giant rimmed glasses and a book tucked under his arm. Looked about 7 or 8.
"Yes, sir, can I help you?" Huh huh, I called her sir.
"My son is allergic to wheat, rye, barley, oats, soy, eggs, milk, lactose, Sodium Caseinate, whey, butter, peanuts, all forms of tree nuts, cocoa and spice. What can he have here?"
She had listed every ingredient that my brownies included (except one, can you guess what it is?). He looked totally bummed though, you know? I mean this poor guy can't feel normal because if he eats that way it might, like, kill him. Seriously sympathising with his plight. So, I went for something else I could whip up.
"Is he allergic to gelatine?"
The mother shook her head. "No, he is not."
"Hey, bud, do you, like, like strawberry?"
His mother looked miffed. "He can't have strawberries."
"Well, can he, like, have amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone, a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undercalactone, and vanillin?"
She was dumbfounded. He son was smiling. "I, I don't like the sound of that butter in what ever it is."
"It's artificial Strawberry flavouring. Has he had it before?"
She nodded. "Yes, he likes that added to his water."
"I've got just the thing." I started my makings, letting S'Nausy take over ringing.
"Change your gloves," she said. "You'll contaminate the mix."
I did so. But you know something, man, I'm dead. I can't contaminate anything. There is no part of me that carries contaminants since I can't, like, sport my poncho at work, and all.
Going through, doing my mixing.
"Change them again. You brushed against that knife."
I twitched while doing so, and glared into the mixing bowl, but, fine, whatever.
In about the span of 3 minutes, it was done, and with a touch of the Force, I set it and moulded it. I cleaned a plate, and my hands, and the plate again. Viola, he looked so stoked. Strawberry Jell-O Lego blocks.
She gave me a almost smile, but as she was mean and demanding, I'd written her off. Her little dude was diggin' the Jellegos.
That didn't suck.
* * *
All right, the past few nights, I'd been up baking, all night, man. 27/4, man. I'm needing some me time, man. The little tastes of brownies and the 7 seconds of good times I get a day are not working.
Suck thing is, man. Like, I have to do it again.
I've got to go make the brownies...
...I made the brownies.

27 March, 2006

Retail Hell Heck : the Mall Sucks (pt. 1)

Okay, I've been informed of the basics of, like, what is going to go down during the next few days. And there is something that keeps being thrown around.
The Coruscanti Mall.
The are few words that feel me with such emotion. And this unpleasant, like, indigestion. Jedi are not allowed to hold on to their more powerful emotions. We, as Jedi, meditate about them and let them fade away into the Force.
Look, I've done my best. I spent the majority of yesterday, deep in a meditative trance. I pushed away all distractions and was, like, able to have a few hours to myself. Nothing but me and the calm of the Force.
Seriously, far out, man.
Made me completely forget the fact that I will be condemned to that bloody pit of consumerism.
Then, like, I remembered. Major bring-down. Buzz-killer like you wouldn't believe.
JJ knocked on my door. I called him in as I was not getting back to that peace without some serious brownie feasting.
It turned out that the ingredients had arrived at our shop and that we needed to start the bakin' if we were to get the twelve hundred dozen (that's 14,400 brownies, I think) that should get us through the week. With that amount, we might even have extras to gob and sell at a later date, but mostly gob.
Now, as a Master of Ethereal Travel, I could have just *poof*ed there, but this was me and JJ. Against the world, man! Stickin' it to the Man, but selling our stellar snacks to brain-washed mall-goers. Open up their tightly-closed little heads and fill them with mind-expanding spice. Show them truth, justice and the hippie way.
Oh, right... Well, instead of just going on my own and letting JJ tag along in his speeder, I decided that we needed to meet our fate together. So, me, JJ and the I-SUC droid all piled into his Mercedes Talz and made our way there.
The closer we got, the more I could feel the dark ripples in the Force. Something was amiss. Awry. Not good.
But the Force didn't clue me in on what it was, man. I just sat there thinking the worse. Like, our arrival would coincide when the Springtime Jolly Wampa comes, for kids to sit on his lap and ask for Eopy eggs. At least they finally learned to bring in someone in a costume. That one time I brought little Ben to see him... Well, let's just say, if it weren't for his Jedi reflexes... And all he got that year was a new pair of underwear he needed.
We neared the mall. My dread increased. I thought I pictured the worst. I was way off.
Your focus determines your reality, right? Well, I was focussing on the mall sign out front.
This was not so bad, other than misspelling my name, but it was advertising that would clue people in on the only place in the galaxy where they could go and get some snackies....
Do you know what that means?
It means that every credit-pinching, haggling, snotty, indignant, grumpy, mean-spirited, witchy, spiteful, malicious, crabby, ill-tempered, cross, fussy parent and their whiny, sticky, screaming, flailing, kicking, stomping, spitting, pouting, pointing, grabbing, infantile children will flock to the mall, in droves.
I turned to JJ. I found that I couldn't blink. "When is Spring-break?"
JJ looked like he was thinking for a second. "This upcoming week."
Now, I couldn't close my mouth.
That means that not only will the sale-seekers and their screaming spawn be there, be also all the snobbish, rebellious, malcontent, spoilt, sweaty, awkward, segregated, rude, careless, thoughtless, disrespectful teenagers who are off from lessons.
To dust off an old cliché, I have a bad feeling about this.
When we pulled into the mall, we were allowed to park in the employee spaces. If you have ever been a mall employee, you know that these spaces are designated about 2 kilometres from the mall. This is to break your spirit as you trudge in to work. There is no other explanation for such torture.
It was light when we started from the speeder and the sky was dark when we got to the mall. I Force-pushed SUCy's wheelchair, and about half-way there, JJ had hopped in for the remaining ride.
We got to go in the Employee entrance and through the catacombs to our store. Don't let the name fool you, though, like, they were more cavernous, and there were a few less dead bodies.
Our store... Yeah. There was a kitchen. That was a plus. That was the only plus. I might be a bit cynical, though, as, like, I hate the mall.
Not hate.... Yoda'd wedgie me for saying that around impressionable Younglings.
I seriously dislike the mall and all that it stands for. Corporate brainwashing and rampant consumerism draining the souls out of the populace one trendy soft-drink or pair of ill-fitting, poorly constructed, ridiculously expensive pair of sneakers at a time.
Maybe I should, like, tell you how I really feel some time, man.
On with the tale, though, you know?
So right, we got in, took inventory. The Force smiled upon us, as we had everything we needed.
No plot hiccup there.
Seriously, everything we needed.
We took to making brownies.
We started in, and, I've got to, like, say that there is nothing like making some spiced snacks, man. Especially with my best buddy at my side and some funkadellic tunes on the radio. We got into it, and, by the end of the night, all 14,400 brownies were done. Some with sprinkles. Some were Green Riddle Chunky Riddle Monkey style. Some with Jimmies, the long mutant sprinks. There was even a batch where I added some Banana Phone Tree bananas. It was, like, seriously rewarding when I heard the things squeal while I was baking them. They don't ring ring no more. Flukey Fudge Ripple. Han's Hazelnut Surprise. Yatta's Wasabi Brownies (the green swirls are that of fire!), Padme Peanut Butter Chip, Oneida's Needa-'Nother Yummer Over-Named Brownie, and so on and so forth.
After a while, JJ was starting to fall-asleep in the mix. Poor little guy. See, I, like, never need to sleep. I'm dead. I need to meditate every once in a while, otherwise things get a little... Well, just go back and read what I'm like without the brownies. It's the same way when I don't get my, like, me time.
I let JJ snore away and covered him with my poncho. Me and SUCy got everything ready for the day.
I took a few minutes for myself, meditating. Just trying to psych myself up for the day. Yeah. Not gonna happen.
Zero hour.
Here we go.

Continued here and on JawaJuice Jump Up all week long!

24 March, 2006

Last Homecoming Post. Seriously.

He wanted to go home. He simply wanted to relax with things that brought him comfort in a place where he knew he was safe. His pleasant brownie buzz was gone, and reality was looming in.
Reality, in the form of a ringing tree. The Banana Phone Shrub was created by Jon as his entry for the Big Brother contest that Qui-Gon had judged. The tree itself had lovely foliage, very green and healthy. The problem came from its fruit. The Banana Phone song may have won the the Galactic title as 'the Most Annoying Song In the History of Music,' it was taken far beyond the level of annoying by Jo Jo. Not only did he sing it, but it was his CommTech ring tone, that he had insisted on demonstrating for Qui-Gon every few minutes. The plump Banana Phone Tree fruit played a version of that song until it was ripe, picked, and unpeeled. When it was new and green, it was high pitched, but when it came time to be harvested, the song was deeper in tone, but no less annoying.
Qui-Gon sped, with his squawking plant to Second Banana Heaven. Passing through the gates, after swiping his visitor pass, and getting admittance from the new guard, Barney Fife, he dashed to Jo Jo's door. He rang the buzzer. Within seconds, he rang again, impatiently. He rapped at the door.
There was the sound of shuffling and Qui-Gon was able to make out humming. A hum that followed the tune of Banana Phone. With a click, the door sprang open, revealing Jo Jo, wearing what looked to be a choir robe.
Qui-Gon looked at the ghost before him, confusion clear on his face.
"Why are you dressed like that?"
The Monkey Boy bowed. "Well, see, I died..."
Clenching his eyes closed, Qui-Gon suddenly wished he hadn't asked.
"And when I died, I did a lot of things, buddy of mine. Now I'm pushin' up the daisies. I kicked the bucket. Shuffled my mortal coil. But mostly, I ran down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!"
The elder had heard this before. The whole monologue, stolen, from another brilliant programme. He knew that it was far funnier then, and now it, simply, was a pathetic imitation of true art. "You've been watching Melvin Cobra's Gliding Carnival again, haven't you?"
Jo Jo beamed. "That's right, my bananaiest buddy ever! That's where I'm learning about everything I need to know!"
"You're not a dead parrot."
The Monkey Boy shrugged and said, "I figured it applied to dead monkeys too. Ni!"
It took every bit of Qui-Gon's will to not leap at the unsuspecting chipper ball of fluff, and tear his stuffing out. He knew that his agitation was so severe because of the lack of brownies, thus making Jo Jo's childlike antics irk him further. He smiled, a near maniacal gleam twinkled in his eyes. "I have a present for you."
Jo Jo smiled wider, shaking with excitement. "A present! For me?"
As Qui-Gon turn round to get it, Jo Jo shouted, "It's a bomb! ... No, I'll wait for my birthday."
The Jedi offered the Banana Phone Tree to the monkey.
Jo Jo looked crestfallen, his animated features drooped.
"But that was for you, my poncho pal..."
The look played on Qui-Gon's Jedi compassion. "No, Jo Jo," he said, putting a warm hand on the monkey's shoulder, "You see, I need you to watch over this for me. As a Jedi, I have much official business to attend to. I'm afraid I won't have the time to give this lovely plant the love and care that it needs. I..." He made a dramatic gesture with his hands, his tone intense. "Jo Jo, every Jedi in the galaxy needs you to tend that plant. It is your secret mission. Do you chose to accept?"
Jo Jo's saddened face brightened again, his smile brilliant and his eyes wide with wonder. "Okey-dokey, Skip! I think I can handle the secret important Jedi mission! I will make you proud and then when you come back, we can eat bananas while singing Banana Phone! That's our special song!"
Qui-Gon nodded, giving the monkey a grin. "That's right." He faked a stretch. "Well, buddy, I need to check on Gabby and go off to do special secret Jedi stuff. You can handle this, right?"
Jo Jo gave a rigid salute. "Yes, sir, Mr. Qui-Gon Buddy Pal, sir!"
Qui-Gon gave a nod, a short wave, and left.

His next stop was to visit his ghostly friend, Gabrielle. He reached the door with the model chakram hanging on it and smiled. He knocked.
Gabrielle tossed the door ajar and stood, leaning against the doorjamb. She tossed her long strawberry locks back, in a sultry fashion.
"How are you doin', stranger?" She held up a wrapped packet of brownies.
Qui-Gon's eyes widened and he reached out, snatching the treat.
"How did you know?"
"Ha," she said, scoffing a bit, "Jedi Mind Trick."
The Ethereal Master had already downed the snack, brownie crumbs dusting his beard. "A Jedi Mind Trick," he began, "is used to manipulate the weak minded. I think you are referring to a Jedi Mental Bond."
Gabrielle ushered the master into her abode. "Sure..." She went straight over to her brownie stash and procured a few packets. "Look... Here," she handed over the packs to the spectral man before her. "You need to go home." She spoke in a serious tone and laid her hand on his shoulder. "I'm almost out of brownies and JJ is home. You two need to start your business back up again. " She took his big hand into hers. "Look, you know that you are my friend. But you can't keep hiding from your problems."
The Jedi's eyes flashed with hurt for a split second, but soon, realisation filtered in. "I know..." He wasn't sure if his instinct would have let him stay in this place. It was safe, but he knew all of things he needed to attend to. He nodded and engulfed his friend in a hug.
She giggled, with his strong warmth around her.
"Go on, ya' big lug..."
He let go, smiling.
Turning to leave, Gabrielle stopped him. She held her hand up.
"Wait a sec," she said. She hurried off, returning with the pink bathrobe. Holding it out in presentation, she smiled widely at him. "I couldn't keep it. It's yours..."

In a short period of time, he was home. He sought out his dearest friend, JJ.
However, JJ was not the first person he found. Sitting in the main room, by a roaring fire in the hearth, was Dooku. Qui-Gon observed the back of his top hat.
The brownie had begun to dull reality, making the spectre's surroundings appear softer. That may have been why the sight of his former Master did not rattle him over much.

"Oh, wow..." Qui-Gon muttered in his usual idiom. "You're..." He laughed slowly.
"Padawan," Dooku said, regarding his former charge. "There was a mishap in a magic competition with that dreaded Starbucker gent. It seems that he metamorphosed me into a Sleestak."
The ghost was unfazed. "Uh, that's cool, man... Uh, I'm gonna go grab some munchies." He waved and started toward the kitchen.

Continued further and with more humour in JawaJuice Jump Up!

03 March, 2006

Laundry Day

There was something amiss. Gabrielle entered her tiny flat, tossing her heavy cloak over the nearest chair. There was a sound that caught her attention. Water was running, but as being part of Second Banana Heaven, the plumbing was second best. She heard something else.
It was a slow, sad tune, filling the hall.
Gabrielle glanced toward it. And did a double take. Someone was in her shower. That someone, left the door to the bath open, but also left the sliding glass of the shower ajar. She caught a glance of a nude spectral body, standing under the steamy deluge. They were lathering their long, dark hair. She took a few tentative steps, hoping that the visitor would not take notice. Her vision was not clear from the rolling steam, though she could see their backside and their long tall legs.

"Xena!" Gabrielle cried, smiling. It had been a while since her dearest partner had visited. It was just the warrior's style to arrive unannounced and use the facilities as if she owned the place.
There was no response, the sad tune continuing.
Gabrielle neared closer and her foot tapped an object in front of her. It was a large boot, leather, much like Xena's, only a lighter tan, with unusual buckles. From there, she spotted a pile of clothing. Earthen hues, creams and browns, were contrasted by a shining silver lightsabre hilt.

"Qui-Gon," she said, quietly to herself. She stooped to gather up the pile of clothing, when the smell hit her, taking her breath away. It was concentrated, stale, mildewed funk. "Whew!" She suddenly clapped her hand over her nose.
The man in the shower jumped, startled.
"Who's there?" He turned round, looking through the spray.
Gabrielle looked to the elder and jerked her hand up to cover her eyes. He was very nude and very visible.
"Wh, what are you doing here?"
The Jedi turned back to his scrubbing. "Showering."
His nudity made her uncomfortable, her cheeks glowing red. The shower was also weeping over the tub, leaving the floor and the bath mat wet. She lowered her hand and, stepping over the pile of stinking clothing, she reached out the shut the sliding glass door.
Like a jolt of lightning, he grabbed her wrist.
"Please, don't."
After the initial shock wore off, Gabrielle breathed out, deeply, shaking her head. "I, I won't."
He let go and lowered his head, going back to his ablutions. There was a short sigh. "Sorry."
The bard decided to tread lightly. "Would you like me to wash your clothes?"
"I'd like you to burn them."
She stepped to the pile and kicked them together. "What will you wear?"
He nodded with a grunt. "Nothing. Clothes are too constricting."
"You sound like Master Windu."
The statement was simple, but powerful. It was enough for the Jedi to rethink his decision. "Wash them."
Gabrielle scooped up a towel off the rack beside her tub then wrapped the offending garments. She took them to the sonic cleaner chute and dumped them in.
The water turned off. Qui-Gon snagged the last remaining towel and began to blot himself dry.
The Amazon glanced over, suddenly clenching her eyes shut.
"Yeah," she said, with an embarrassed smile, "That's nice." She waved out, blindly, in front of her. "You're going to have to put something on. This is just..." She trailed off, shaking her head. "My bathrobe is on the back of the door."
The elder looked at the ethereal robe. Pink. Fluffy. A terry cotton monstrosity. "Gabrielle," he shouted from behind the half-closed door, "How long before my robe is clean?"
"About a quarter hour," the feminine voice replied.
Qui-Gon sighed, wrapping the towel around his damp hair and tying it into a makeshift turban. He resigned himself to his fate, slipping the robe around his shoulders. It was small, clinging to his wet skin, coming to mid-thigh and felt uncomfortably tight. The sensation of the material on his skin made his intangible flesh crawl. He threw open the door, panting.

Gabrielle looked at him in disbelief for a mere moment before she was overtaken with laughter. She held her hand out, as if ready to speak, but could not draw the breath to speak. She knew this Jedi Master personally. She had seen his times, from good to bad. He was her friend. But this was just too much! A grown ghost of a man, one who lived a life of seriousness and serenity, before her in a pink robe and his hair wrapped in a white towel. "I have matching slippers..." she said, between giggles.
He began to untie the pink belt.

"No! Wait... I'm," she sighed, "I'm sorry. This is just too funny. Go look in the mirror. Seriously."
He trudged back into the steamy bathroom, his wet feet slapping the ethereal floor.
The sight that met his spectral eyes made a smile crack across his chiselled features. It reminded him of his days as Quiggy Starlust. All he needed was a feathered boa and some garish make-up.
He looked the nearly same as he had before the incarceration. Lines shone through deeper, the colours darker. Staring back at him, his eyes lacked the same glow that they usually burned with.
He took his hair down from the towel. Taking the comb beside the sink, Qui-Gon ran it through his long silvery hair. The tie he used to pull his long locks back was with the clothing in the wash. When he finished combing, he slid his fingers through the length. He would let it finish drying in the swirling ethereal air.
The door was nearly closed, which he could see from the mirror. He shuddered and threw it open, joining Gabrielle in the main room.
The young woman smiled at the man and patted a seat on the couch beside her. He sat, giving an incredulous smile at his pink robe.
Gabrielle opened her mouth to speak, but closed it with a sigh. She looked deep in thought for a moment.
"So," she began, "How ya' doin, big guy?"
He simply shrugged his shoulders.
"What made you decide to commandeer my shower?"
The Jedi rolled the edge of the belt in his spectral fingers. "Ethereal showers are the best way for ghosts to clean themselves. Real soap and water doesn't work for us."
They sat in silence for a few tics, before Gabrielle said, "Who would have thought Jo Jo would pull it off? I didn't even think he could pick the nits off himself, and there he went defending you and Dooku."
The elder nodded, his mind a million miles away.
"He's a good guy, you know? Makes a mean banana daiquiri." Gabrielle smiled, running a quick hand through her ghostly hair. "You want a brownie?" She could tell by his graceful and consummate manner that he had not had one in some time. She knew him from his years of holovid programmes in that way, but she knew him personally, as Qui-Gon Jinn, the Jedi Hippie Master. She thought that he seemed to have more fun when he was under the influence of at least a few brownies.
Qui-Gon cocked his head to the side and looked at her, a smile on his face.
"I thought that they were all sold out."
Gabrielle got up, taking a quick glance at the robe again, and made her way for the kitchenette. "They are," she began, "in most stores. But, see, I had made this little stash," she pulled out a small clay urn at the back of her cupboard, "a while back. So you and I could have a few when you stopped by."
A sincere smile crossed the elder's face. "Thank you for the generous offer." His smile faded a few watts. "However, I am going to have to pass. As soon as my clothes are clean, I need to be heading home."
Gabrielle gave him a superficial smile, her eyes, instead, showing her disappointment. "I understand. It's okay." She tossed him a packet from the jar. "Take a few home. You and Dooku can share."
He caught the wrapped square. "Are you sure? I hear that they are worth quite a bit on the black market."
Gabrielle nodded, pulling out several more packets. "You mean, cBay? Right now, they are worth almost as much as an unopened case of Clone Strike miniatures."
"Wow," the elder said, in hushed astonishment. "That's too rich for my blood." He held the snack out, handing it back in her direction.
"It's okay. Really," she said, pressing several more packs into the outstretched ethereal hand. "They are here to be eaten, not for financial gain."
"I understand completely."
Three sequential beeps sounded, followed by the sound of the door to a small dumb-waiter, beside Gabrielle's cupboard, opening. Inside it were Qui-Gon's clean and neatly folded clothes.
"All done," she said, brightly, pulling the garments from the compartment. "I have a request." She held the pile behind herself.
Qui-Gon stood, turning his head to the side, saying,
"And what is that?"
"That you please, please change in the bedroom. I'll stay in here, and you go in there." She pointed to the room beside the 'fresher.
Smiling, he lowered his head, mocking defeat. He shot her a good natured grin, pointing out an accusing finger.
"No peeking."
"No problem." She handed him the pile, and watched as he departed. Shaking her head, she took a seat on the couch.
A few minutes later, the man she knew exited the bedroom. He was dressed in his Jedi tunics and leggings, but carried his robe and poncho over his arm, with the pink robe over the other.

"You can keep that robe. The colour suits you."
"Keep it? Master Yoda would never let me live that down." He tossed the garment in question down the laundry chute. "I do hope no-one else saw me in that pink nightmare."
Turning to face her, he held out his arms, calling for a hug. "Thank you."
She grinned, shaking her head, embracing the big man. "Your tunic smells much better," she said, muffled by the cloth.
"I agree."
"Hey, Qui?" she asked, looking up into his translucent eyes. "Go home, have some brownies, and try to relax."
Loaded up with several packets of brownies and an armful of clean clothes, he left, smiling.