Inez was actually kind of excited that she was able to spend some time at the festival, even if she was working it – or “volunteering” since she wasn’t going to get paid for it. It would be nice to see everyone having a good time and she only hoped people would stop by their booth. As she made her way to their booth, she watched people smiling and laughing. It made her feel much better making a huge move over here. Everyone she had met so far had been at least polite to her and if they weren’t, they weren’t intolerable. Honestly, Inez felt had gotten very lucky landing a job here. It was going to be just a little weird being without a uniform and seeing people from work, even if she had hung out with some people off the clock, it was different this time. She wasn’t sure who she had gotten the shared shift with so when she arrived and recognized Reed, she let her smile widen at the sight of him. “Hey!” She greeted with a small wave of her hand as she stepped into the booth. “How’s it going?” No one was at their booth at the moment, it probably was because of who was behind the booth, but Inez hoped they would reach out to people enough where they’d be able to look past that. They did have pretty cool prizes, after all.
“Hey!” Reed waved in return as soon as he recognized who it was that was both approaching and talking to him. Inez, the new rookie officer. He grinned obnoxiously big. She was great company as far as he could tell based on their interactions and what he heard their colleagues say. Picking up an old billy club and a box of twelve dozen doughnuts (that he had to swat fellow officers’ hands away from grabbing), Reed told her, “I don’t think people understand the concept of our booth.” Setting the items down, he continued, “So…it’s been real slow.” Adjusting his stool, Reed gave the stool next to him a pat for Inez to sit down. “What about you?”
Inez came alongside him, taking a seat, not wanting to be mistaken as someone interested in the booth but maybe she should in order to draw people in. She had heard of the set up and thought it was clever but maybe not something people were interested in. Her eyes went back to Reed. “Maybe not that many people are around.” She tried to suggest, but she had just gone through crowds of people, so that definitely wasn’t the case. She felt bad that they hadn’t gotten much interest and started to think about some way to change that. Inez wasn’t really someone that outgoing but if that’s what it took… “Hm? Oh I just came from work. I stopped by my apartment really quickly to change but that’s about it.” She sighed, her mind still trying to come up with an idea. “It’s really just a simple ring toss, what’s not to get?” Her brows furrowed in slight frustration with people.
Reed looked around at the bustles of wandering bodies, crisscrossing paths, stepping over and around one another. He reconsidered the lack of gravitation while his eyes passed along a varieties of body frames. “I don’t think it’s the doughnut toss,” He mused aloud then shot a quick glance at Inez before looking out at the people that paid them no mind. “A good amount of them aren’t fond of the police.” He wondered then what they would have to do during their time together to bring in some excitement and enthusiasm; the energy was out there, with the attendees, and bringing that here into their booth was challenging. Then he turned his head and eyed the old club beside him, replaced by expandable and compact batons in the recent years. “Hey…” Reed started softly and stood up before he whipped his head around to look at Inez with an idea bright in both of his glazed eyes. Quickly he said, “You look great—” Before launching into a tone of optimism, “One of us should try tossing the doughnuts from out there—” He pointed to the wide path festival goers were traveling across. Technically, that was disrupting the flow of foot traffic but it would garner attention and curiosity. “If we get in their way, they’ll be forced to give us attention. And participate.”
The town’s mistrust, disdain for the department wasn’t unknown to Inez. She’d heard it from plenty coworkers and Inez really hoped that kind of thing would change, but sometimes she went out on calls feeling clueless and that scared her, especially with the weird things that went on and even more that people were willing to jump to supernatural explanations. It was getting harder to just ignore it. Not that Inez would humor the thought of supernaturals, but she was tired of just letting people go on thinking that when it probably cause more harm than good. She sighed and a frown crossed her face at Reed’s flippant comment, but it faded as he continued, her mind moving on. “I can do it,” she took the initiative, not wanting to seem indecisive in front of a coworker. Inez’s voice was naturally soft and that made a lot of people take her as someone passive, but that was the furthest thing she was. She got up from her seat and grabbed a couple of “rings” before putting herself between the flow. Of course people were going in front and around her and that was an accident waiting to happen. “Can I get the area cleared?” People turned their attention to her, following as she moved her arms about. Already they were getting some attention but who knows if it was “good’ attention. She looked back to Reed, preparing to throw.
Reed stood behind the booth with the billy club in hand and raised ninety-degrees, looking at Inez. He tried not to smirk at the few people that stopped to watch the spectacle but couldn’t help it; so far, with glimpses, their gazes didn’t look cross nor inconvenienced. Motioning for Inez to throw her first doughnut, Reed held the old baton firmly and spoke to the slowly gathering crowd, “Ever wanted to throw something at an officer?” Not the best question to pose to a community that seemed ambivalent towards the police, but a few eyebrows perked up at the idea. “Here’s your chance! For a limited time only!” Eyeing Inez, he waited. Hopefully, some would take the bait.
The hook was unusual, but Inez smiled in amusement, hoping it at least drew some people in. Maybe not the kind she’d really want to meet, but hey, if throwing things at cops brought the community together. She could hear some chatter near her, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. She hoped it was something that at least made them want to try this out. She threw the first doughnut ring at the club, but it was a miss, curving and just falling to the side of Reed. She heard some disappointed murmurs and sighed as she tried to focus once more, making eye contact with Reed before throwing. This one was an improvement, it hit Reed, but fell to ground right after. Some scattered laughter, maybe they were enjoying it. She took a step closer, hoping the third time would be the charm and flung it toward the club. Another miss, but at least it hit the club before falling. Inez turned her attention to the small crowd being her. “Each game is two tickets, you get five chances. Three or higher to win the grand prize.”
“Can we eat the doughnuts too?” Someone called out after Inez explained the rules of the doughnut toss, their face lost in the crowd. Reed looked toward the source of the voice before he answered, “That would be cheating!” A few mumbles within ear range but not distinct enough to make out what they were saying. Grinning, Reed’s eyes darted back to Inez after he looked at the three doughnuts. He chuckled, glad and amused that the idea was working. After he picked up the doughnuts and set them down on the table, he leaned forward over the edge and told Inez, “Awesome job!” She was really good at this — engaging the people around her and he liked watching the interaction. It worked, because now there were people forming lines and huddling around the booth itself for a chance to throw doughnuts at police officers. Reed, on the other hand, looked at the icing and sprinkles that covered a part of his shirt. “Wanna try it again?” Reed asked Inez playfully before holding out one of the doughnuts. “Can’t have everyone thinking one of Ashkent’s finest has questionable aim.” Then winked.
It was nice to see a shift in the group. They were doing something right, at least even if it made them the new victims of the donut toss. Maybe it’d humanize them a little more, make the town realize they too could have a good time and laugh at each other. They weren’t serious, uncaring robots. Inez kept an easy smile on her lips for the people, one that widened slightly at Reed’s compliment, more appreciative of that one than the other he had given earlier. At his request for another attempt, Inez wasn’t sure at first. “Oh,” she frowned slightly, considering it, especially given what he said, taking it to heart even though she knew no one judged a cop by their ability to throw a doughnut. “Sure.” She decided on, especially if he was willing. She took the one from his hands and took a couple of steps back, less than she had previously because the whole point was to reach out to the crowd but now the crowd was a lot closer. She leaned and prepared to throw, catching eyes with Reed before giving a toss. It was better this time around, touching the tip of the stick and settled around it nicely, if only giving Inez a little heart attack as she thought it would tip over. She let out a breath of a laugh, a smile opening to show some teeth, pleased with herself.
Pumping a victorious fist into the air, Reed cheered Inez on and held the club out for everyone else to get a good look at, exclaiming, “That’s how you do it!” Still grinning, Reed propped the club and doughnut down onto the table and jumped over the top to give Inez an impromptu high-five. To her, he said earnestly, “You rocked it! That was awesome!” He nodded assuredly as if to cement his words and belief that her willingness to followthrough was promising. Then turned in a slow circle to address the crowd, “Who’s up next?”