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The Make-Over

Clothing styles and some technological and cultural research has taken her a bit longer than Myra had anticipated, but now that she’d finished, she was on her way to the Nexus shopping center. She was mindful of her spending, but still, she found the 80s clothing styles very interesting, and also, very flattering even on her small figure. After an hour and a half (goodness, when had she ever shopped like that since she was a young teen?) she was the proud owner of a couple outfits that would suffice for the time being, including a set of comfortable black clothes that would allot her enough stealth, without being so loose that they would snag on edges.

Arriving at a hairstylist she’d found in the Nexus directory that was available in the library, she set her bags down and stood before the woman who was taking names. Her hairstyle was a shocking pink strip of hair on the center of her head that was draped over to one side and slicked back. Myra paused and stared for a moment before recovering and smiling.

“Hi, I need a new hairstyle.” The woman gave Myra a glance that asked if the statement was news before smiling politely.

“Did you have anything in mind?”

“Yeah, I’m looking for something that might be appropriate for 1980s, standard Earth.” The woman’s eyes lit up and the smile turned from polite to downright pleased.

“Sit right down over there, and we’ll get you looking like a movie star in no time!”

Twenty minutes later Myra stared at the reflection in the mirror as her chair turned so that she could see her new haircut. A few short, blond-colored extensions had been added to lighten her hair and some minor cuts had been made, but the style mostly consisted of liberal applications of a straightener and hairspray.

“I’m…wow. Just…” She gapped. She had never considered a hairstyle that in her own time would be somewhat radical, to be so flattering for her face.

“Conservative 80s. If you can call the time conservative.” The hairstylist grinned brightly as Myra bought a hair straightener, paid her, and continued to thank her as she walked out.

Arriving home, Myra looked at the clock and sighed, realizing she’d been out much longer than she’d anticipated. She still had time to sleep, and knew how to keep her hair from becoming a ruined, tangled mess before morning at least. Dropping her bags into her closet for the time being, she prepared for bed, and a busy day, wondering what The Shadow would make of the new Helen Menz.


Myra was up bright and early, putting on her jeans, a slightly modest shirt that flared out from her ribcage just enough to conceal her gun, and some moderate heels. The addition of some bangles and earrings helped to finish off the appearance. Looking in the mirror, she felt foreign to herself, and was suddenly glad that she had decided to assume a different identity for the part she would play in The Shadow’s world. She hardly recognized herself, and she wondered what Harry would think if he saw her. To anyone from the period, she was a very conservative style, but she was still appropriate.

She ate a hearty breakfast to prepare for the long day, reviewed a few notes she’d taken at the library and then grabbed her PINpoint out of a purse that she’d bought as well, and messaged The Shadow.

Menz, reporting in. She smiled as she brought up the coordinates for Rettigue’s apartment and promptly found herself standing in the usual spot at the center of the living room.


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Jul. 10th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
After the scrambling minor embarrassment of last night, the living room has been tidied of papers and is sterile once more, apart from a large folded street map of Manhattan. There have been a few minor changes over decades, which are worse than major ones, since she could run down a familiar street only to find it unexpectedly blocked off. She won't be needing it today, of course, but it's another piece of research to take home later.

The smell of coffee wafts through the place, and The Shadow comes to stand in the kitchen doorway, looking her over with an utterly inscrutable expression. He is not, as nearly as she can tell, dressed for the times. He never is. Old men are not expected to keep up with current fashions. He is wearing a button down shirt and slacks, as usual, but the sleeves are rolled up and there's no jacket which would all be considered terribly informal in Myra's time at least.

Jul. 11th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
"Does it pass muster?" His reaction has her concerned now that she hasn't done enough to update herself. "I mean, I wasn't about to go for the whole nine yards," She's done some of her homework, that phrase didn't exist in her era, "but if you think I need to, I can go back and get the hair done again with the crimped look..."

It's only too obvious she's trying to get this identity correct in every way possible. She considers herself to never have done a real job in the future, because for Ming she simply aged her face. She didn't have to learn a completely new culture and dress code. The tight jeans are also putting her modesty to question, she's worn tight dresses, but not tight jeans.
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
What lies behind 'Hm' will remain forever a mystery for her, but only when she begins to babble does he realize that she may have taken it as a subtle disapproval. The truth is very far from that indeed, but The Shadow, whatever else he may be, is a man. To see her so drastically altered and updated is startling even to him, and to find it attractive in even the most distant fashion is mildly distressing.

The masklike face cracks into one of his faint smiles, and he shakes his head. "No. Please no. I don't think I could bear to see that on you." The ways of women, and fashion, escape him sometimes. He can't fathom how anyone would think the crimped look is natural, any more than green or pink or purple hair. It would have horrified him if she'd shown up with a mohawk.
"No. You're perfect. You know better than to make the rookie mistake of trying too hard. How does it all... feel?" He makes a vague gesture in the air, hoping she can walk in a natural and comfortable way despite her self-consciousness. She may note he is still wearing his ring, and will continue to do so in public, at least in this guise. James Rettigue is for him now what Lamont Cranston once was. There is also the fact that he has difficulty getting the ring on and off ever since arthritis crept in. The progress of it was halted by Metody's work, but his knuckles remain a little enlarged.
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
The babbling stops the instant he speaks, and as he does so, she smiles, straightening her posture and looking her usual confident self...as much as she can anyways in the guise.

"Oh good. This is a new one for me, and with the Bureau thinking I'm such a one-horse show, I get a bit of a rookie complex with new outfits." She plays with the bangles for a moment, but keeps them from clinking together. "It's...all a bit foreign, but it's nothing uncomfortable." She smiles a bit wider as she notes the ring, but says nothing. The newer generations would most likely ignore such an item as a musty trinket from days past, instead of the token that it really was. Smoothly, she crosses the room in the moderate heels, and picks up the map. The jeans and heels almost force an exaggerated swing in her hips as she walks, but she'd discovered the effect while trying them on, and had gotten used to them a little while shopping.

"So, where are we going to start?"
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
Her back is turned, but he is quick to look away. It is one thing to see women on the street every day in tight jeans, and quite another to see someone he is accustomed to in conservative dress wearing them. Turning back to the kitchen he fetches the remainder of his last cup of coffee, easily catching her voice through the doorway.

"You should see Chinatown, it's grown, and the Village. You're young enough to pass, there." Greenwich Village has yet to quite gain the reputation in her era, but since the beatnik generation it has been very much a center for youthful entertainment. The Shadow's guises can only take him so far backwards in time, and he sticks out like a sore thumb unless he's all in black. "And Central Park, which hasn't changed much on the surface, at least..." He makes a grimace at that, which is as mild as all of his expressions, but conveys his annoyance nonetheless.
Jul. 11th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
((Heh, minor moment of torment. I'm done, promise.))

"Well, perhaps we could check out the Village first," She gives a short pause, uncertain of his intended part to play, "Then we can go to Chinatown for lunch and tea, and hit the park before going wherever else might be a good place to check out. That is, unless you had something planned out already."
Jul. 11th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
((It isn't always easy, living like a monk.))

"I didn't. Do you have any kind of backstory yet, and does it involve being Rettigue's... niece, or something?" Because daughter or granddaughter is utterly unthinkable, and the idea causes him discomfort on a level he'd be hard-pressed to explain.

He swallows the dregs of his coffee and sets the mug on the table, wheezing with the simple move. She may notice some improvement from the night before, but he may find longer walks more taxing than he expects. "I've got a car, downstairs." At the door he picks up a cane topped with an ebony head of an eagle. The private joke amuses him. It is the kind that could be either an elegant gentleman's acessory or a necessary acoutrement for a crippled old man, all depending entirely on how he uses it.
Jul. 11th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
"I do. I was raised upstate, northwest of Schenectady, but not quite in Amsterdam. I finished high school and held odd jobs, trying to save up some money for school. Eventually I came to the City to try my luck here. To save money, I spend time between jobs with my Uncle Rettigue, hoping he can get me into a better job that will eventually help with school. In the meantime, I also do some secretarial duties for my Uncle to help offset the cost of living. I intend to go for a degree in Business." Myra follows The Shadow, not noticing the cap of the cane at the moment since his hand obscures it from her view.

"Will that suffice for the time being?" She realizes she'll need a more detailed story eventually, but at the moment, if anyone were to ask why she was in New York and a little awkward, she had the excuse of being out of her element.
Jul. 11th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
"Good enough. Rettigue is a retired investment banker, hence the luxurious apartment..." He gestures to the place before opening the door. It is luxury of a kind, if one likes a lack of decoration and a sleek dark furniture. Because he is not feeling like an infirm old man, this morning, he spins the cane once theatrically in the hall. It feels terribly good to lock the door behind them and breathe the air outside his rooms. The building is a nice one, either newer or refurbished, and very quiet this time of day. It is not the Metrolite, but the enormous picture window in his living room could have told her that. There's something more modern about the architecture here.

"Keep the map, for your own reference. I thought it might come in handy." He strikes out for the elevator with his usual long strides, aware that taking the stairs today might be pushing his luck.

The lobby will likewise be quiet, and somewhat modern to her eyes, although it lacks the ultra-sleek clean lines of his apartment interior. It's not until they step out into the street she's likely to be struck with the full force of the future. They are not far from the park, although his apartment was not so upscale as to have an overlooking view of it. Even at nine in the morning New York is a busy place, and there are the more familiar businessmen, but also youths in bright clothes with boomboxes thumping strange music, and far more cars than she's used to. This is a louder, brighter, noisier place than the city she knows. New York over time has become intensified, more life packed into the same space and all of it moving faster.
Jul. 11th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Myra gives a betraying chuckle at the sight of his cane as he spins it and shrugs as she follows him, noting the number on the front of his door should she need to find the room without her PINpoint. She's already tucked the map into her purse, keeping it out of sight, but ready for reference should she need it. Her cursory glance had told her that there would be a need to read it closely, but for a touristy outing, she should be fine.

She seems to take all the new surroundings in stride until they reach the street, and she pauses just outside of the door. New York has never been quiet, but this is just plain noisy and her ears protest as a young man holding a boombox on his shoulder strolls by her. For a moment, she's actually afraid, afraid she's jumped into something far over her head, and she winces. She gives a glance to The Shadow, and feels her confidence start to return, but it's then that she realizes how horribly she's just telegraphed her uncertainty. She instinctively narrows her eyes in an expression very characteristic of Ming. It doesn't give the cruel look that would normally appear, instead it makes her look almost arrogant.

"Well." Her determination is set now, and she's proverbially back on her feet. "Shall we?"
Jul. 11th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
Despite how gradually he's become accustomed to the times, The Shadow fully expects her moment of shock. It can't be avoided, and like jumping into cold water it seems best to get it over with quickly. As they step out the door he is watching her, his expression a blank but his gaze keen. This is New York, and a busy street, and he knows her moment of surprise is likely to pass unnoticed by anyone but him.

Instead of whatever disapproval she may have expected, he offers a forgiving nod, and then his arm. "The garage is this way." He strolls at an easier pace to the parking garage beside the apartments, giving her a chance to take in the sights. The lone guard recognizes him on sight with a grunt, and it is cooler and quieter within. Bright yellow concrete columns and flourescent lighting render it an alien place for her, and the cars all have a slightly boxy look, compared to what she's used to. He takes her to a black four-door, and unlocks and holds the passenger door for her gallantly.
Jul. 11th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
Myra doesn't gawk, but she lets her eyes watch everything, while keeping her head stationary. It feels as crowded as the Nexus common area, but almost every person that passes them by lives here. She holds onto The Shadow's arm, feeling a sort of confidence flow from him as he strolls towards the garage.

She keeps quiet in the garage, and sits down in the vehicle, staring out the windshield as she watches him walk around the front of the car.

"At least the bikes get better..." She mumbles to herself, not particularly enamored with the angular look of the cars.
Jul. 11th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
"Hmmm?" The Shadow slides in and tucks the cane away, catching her mumble but not the words. The car itself is a manual transmission, and therefore will be familiar to her, although the design of the dash may throw her off briefly. His seat is pushed well back to allow for his height, and the car is slightly older than those around it, but in excellent condition inside and out. That it is black should hardly surprise her, of course.

He pulls out into the street, and along the ride she can absorb the sights of the city without being so directly accosted by them. As it is summer, there's no school and she'll have quite a good look at the younger crowd. The closer he gets to Greenwich Village, the more of them she will see. "The Village is... for the younger crowd, now. You'll be all right, and today I can get away with it by accompanying you, but normally I only visit after dark." He leaves it to her to interpret the full meaning of that. "But the youth culture is usually the target of the drug rings, so the area demands my attention."
Jul. 11th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
"I was just thinking, it's like stepping into the common room." She refrains from using the term Nexus, if only because she's unsure to what level she should mind herself now that they're outside of the apartment.

Myra keeps her head turned to look out the window as they meander along the streets, and she watches the colorful plumes of hair pass by, hears the loud bass of boomboxes and car stereos up into her teeth, and tries to take in the overload of information. Indeed as they get closer to The Village, their numbers only increase, and she realizes she does indeed fit in, even if she's tried to be more conservative about her dress code.

"From what I understand, they seem to almost encourage that sort of activity, if anything because it's against the law." She sounds almost saddened, when she sees yet another boombox and feels the courage to ask a simple question.

"I never saw those in the book I read. What are the, um..." She feels so primitive trying to describe a boombox. "What do they call the radios they're all carrying around?" Fortunately, she's half right about that term at least, as most of them are tuned to similar radio stations, if they're not playing a tape.
Jul. 11th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
It should be safe enough to speak in the car, although they may want the windows down due to the temperatures of early July. The Shadow merely nods, negotiating his way around the cabs just as deftly as they move around the other cars, pedestrians, and maddened bike couriers.

"Boomboxes. Radio and casette player..." He hesitates there, as he searches for a way to explain casette tapes to a woman who knows only primitive records. "Casettes are small, but they work a little like a compact film reel, for just sound." He'll have to show her his stereo later, simply as a teaching tool. Unfortunately he keeps little music around, as it would only be a distraction. "Just don't ask me about the music. There are some things even I can't fathom." He smirks very faintly, and finds a parking space with a meter.
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