Recollectibles Humans FTW
Arnie wasn't exactly a thrift store type these days. He appreciated thrift stores and donated a lot of stuff to them in his many years, but he often found that venturing inside would more than likely end with him buying things he didn't need. A pack rat, Opal had called him. Arnie more considered himself like a dragon, hoarding very specific bits and bobs.

But it was raining, Edna was chittering unhappily, and Arnie figured he could get away with having Edna in a thrift store if he stuck to the areas were others wouldn't tend to congregate. So, picking the raccoon up and holding her like a baby, he walked inside and immediately ventured to the vinyl records. Edna, like most animals, did not appreciate being baby and instead clawed her way up to a sitting position in his arms before climbing to his shoulders to perch there.

It was for the best as Arnie made his way over to some vinyls and began thumbing through them. He paused as he landed on Engelbert Humperdinck's The Last Waltz. It had never been an album Arnie much cared for, but Opal had played it often, singing off-key in a way that only Arnie could appreciate. He couldn't remember if he still had Opal's old album or not, but decided that, for $10, he could buy this and listen to it on those lonely days.

He picked it up and Edna, curious, climbed slightly down his arm to sniff at it. But thin, old man arms couldn't always hold fat raccoons and suddenly, Arnie's arm faltered, sending Edna to the ground as the old man dropped the record and tried to catch her. "Dagnabbit!" he cursed while Edna made scared screeches. As soon as the raccoon hit the floor, she was off, sprinting across the store, pink leash trailing behind her.
There was a movie night that needed planning and Newt had had bad VCR luck. But a lightning fast internet search told him this place could be promising. Plus their hours were flexible. While he would have liked a cheap VCR, he could, maybe, finagle something more vintage. One of those sharp silver ones.

It was pleasantly overwhelming how much shit was in here. As soon as he walked in Newt wanted to look at basically everything. There were signs to a vinyl section (good gift section) and then electronics. Oh, he wondered if they had blankets too. Nothing about a pet section, though. It distinctly smelled like raccoons? Which was many weird for a store. But maybe they were living in the--


A man yelled from in the direction of the vinyls and when his voice cut off, he could clearly hear the sound of skittering. It was the instinct of helpful human and very interested wolf to move in the direction of the sound. Not particularly quick since it wasn't an easy place to navigate, but he'd find it.

"I got it!" Newt rose his voice to the man to let him know there was another set of eyes, among other senses, on the case.
Arnie, too, had set off after Edna, leaving Engelbert Humperdinck on the ground. But his old farmer legs, once strong and sturdy, were replaced by arthritic knees and an unsteady gait. Needless to say, Arnie was not as fast as a scared raccoon. He heard another voice that had decided to join in the fray and there was quite a bit of hesitation. "She might bite!" he called out. He'd not known the raccoon to be much of a biter- only nips here and there, but Edna had spent her life with him and not the strange man who was apparently chasing after her now too.
He wondered why this guy had a raccoon with him. People kept weird ass pets, but in a store? Weird, dude. Thought the dude chasing the wild animal through the narrow, crowded aisles of the store like he was a hunting dog.

He hadn't caught sight of "she", nor was he actually doing much sniffing now, but he could hear the scuttling.

Newt crouched down to peer between two towering bookcases of baubles. A flash of raccoon-y colors caught his eye, whizzing past. His muscles tensed up. Get it, get it, get it.

Newt doubled back since that seemed like where the raccoon was going and spotted her...owner? Handler? "She went around there!" He pointed and then made his way too eagerly in that direction.

just a cameo because I thought they should have a witness

It was getting colder.

He came back to Ridgefield because he could do that, and he was on the lookout for something specific: a new space heater to help out his current ones. Preferably very cheap.

As the two men bumbled about for a pet, apparently, he spared them a passing glance, hummed to himself, and minded his business.
Arnie pulled the packet of peanuts he always kept on his person; snacks that both he and Edna enjoyed. There were other patrons in the store, looking at him, and as he passed another older gentleman, Arnie turned a little red in embarrassment.

He heard the other man yell that she went around something, and it was unfortunate that he'd been too busy paying attention to others in the store than paying attention to where his dang raccoon was heading. He at least headed towards where he thought the yelling was coming from.

"Edna! I have nuts!" he yelled, as if the raccoon properly understood such a statement.
Edna? The raccoon's name was Edna? Newt slowed his hasty walk to look around. She wouldn't run forever, right? Maybe she crawled under or up something to hide. She did have a leash on though, right? He'd seen something pink he thought.

No glimpse of pink. But maybe Newt could hear the sound of tiny feet.

The hunt was really on now. Newt walked slowly down an aisle of old candlestick holders and seasonal(ish) tchotchkes. Come on, Edna. Come out come out.
Unbeknown to both men, Edna had stopped her running as she came upon a very shiny pot on the bottom shelf of the aisle next to the tchotchkes. Arnie should've known to go down that aisle, with how many times he caught Edna running off with spoons in his house, but he ended up looking at an aisle of random potpourri and candles, assuming she'd be attracted to something sweet.

It was too bad they'd already ate the dehydrated strawberries earlier. Edna liked them better than the nuts. "Eddddnnnnnnaaaaa," Arnie called, and then tried his best to mimic some of her little raccoon chittering she usually did at home.

Edna meanwhile had grabbed the shiny pot and was trying to pull it off the shelf.
OK, well now determination was picking up as each second ticked by. Had to be strategic and aware. Except for where it mattered the most which was the tell-tale tingling in his fingers. It was ignored in favor of the sneaky mammal. The raccoon’s owner called out for her, Edna, again, and started making what Newt assumed were supposed to be raccoon noises. Did that work like people tried to “psst” at cats?

Peeking at one last lower shelf, Newt sat up abruptly, discomfort crawling up his forearms when he heard something heavy sliding on a shelf just on the other side of his own. He was tempted to yell for the animal’s owner, but he didn’t want to scare her. Time to be sneaky.

His eyes lightened into a dusky gold as he stood up and crept down the aisle. Turning the corner he saw her trying to pull a bowl off of a shelf.

OK, actually, what did he do now? He froze and held out a numbing hand, still a good number of feet away. ”Chkchkchk.” That was sort of what that guy sounded like although discomfort began to lean into pain, settling into his bones, threatening, warning. This was taking too long; the wolf would finish this weird hunt if the people couldn’t.
Poor old Arnie neither heard Edna nor saw the other man move into the aisle where the missing raccoon happened to be. He continued down the potpouri and candle aisle, shaking the little ziploc bag of nuts, and turned and went down the next aisle, putting more distance between him and Edna.

Edna though, hearing everything from her owner and ignoring it, continued to put at the pan until there was another noise close by. She turned to look at the stranger.
He froze again. He looked at the raccoon. The raccoon looked at him. Newt couldn't feel his arms from fingers to elbows. His legs felt like TV static. Wait. This was a terrible idea!

Nope. Nope. Not here.

Newt stepped back: his choice. He stared: not his choice.

He stumbled a little because it felt like his foot fell through the floor before he caught himself.

"She's over here." His voice was raised, hopefully, enough that the man could find him and get his dumb raccoon. He took another step back, jostling a dusty "life-size" Santa.
Arnie had fully slowed to a stop in the aisle he was in, which was lucky since it meant he heard the other man announcing that he'd found Edna. He began to hustle as fast as he could over to where the voice came from. Once more, he slowed as he passed by a few aisles before coming to a stop at the right aisle.

Edna though hadn't been entirely too thrilled with the sudden movement of the Santa and had already started a slow backing up movement. But Arnie was there, too, holding arms out for Edna. She was never going to be a raccoon who ran to him when he wanted her to. But this movement did stop her backing away.

"C'mon girl," Arnie said, clearly struggling to hold his position.
With the whole experience in the library under his belt (and being decidedly in a different headspace), Newt had a better hold on himself.

Thank fuck the guy showed up. This old guy that actually seemed like he definitely would own a raccoon. Newt happily gave him room and backed into the embrace of Dusty Santa while he managed the overall mental image of his bones trying to stretch. That was very much what his upper arms were dealing with.

"You good?" He asked quietly, airily, like he was trying to overcome some nausea.
Arnie had crouched down, but he could feel the strain in his back. All that heavy lifting down improperly years ago didn't help. With a groan, he straightened up and stretched his back, and brought out the peanuts again.

"Yeah," he grumbled out, to answer the other man's question. Edna watched in interest when the bag of peanuts were brought into the mix. "C'mere ya lil Hoover," he said quietly, taking out a handful of peanuts and, once more, uncomfortably crouched down to be able to attract Edna closer. And sure enough, the raccoon started to get closer.
Yeah, they got it. It was fine.

Newt cleared his throat. It felt like he'd swallowed sand. He backed away with two charlie horses trying to cripple him.

Come on, man.

"Got it all handled, great," he skirted out of the uncomfortable grasp of the Santa and started moving towards the door. Sucked when he was trying not to scare the raccoon and also urging his bones not to break.
Arnie wasn't aware of anything the man was experiencing. He actually thought he was still helkping. But because he wasn't Edna now easily approached Arnie's hand filled with peanuts and reached to grab a few. In the same moment, Arnie closed his hand and reached out to snatch Edna up. There was some protests by the raccoon, but once she was safely in his arms, Arnie held the nuts back out to her and she was soothed.

He turned to thank the man, but found he wasn't there. It was odd, but okay. "Thank you!" he yelled out across the store, in case he was still inside. But he figured now was a good time to leave, especially since it seemed there were workers who caught wind of what was happening and was coming to ask him to leave. "I'm gettin, I'm gettin, sorry!" he said, as he snuggled Edna close and headed for the door himself.
Yeah, he was scooting towards the door, but acutely aware of raccoon sounds. Newt barely breathed as he retreated out the door and to his car. Like the wolf was an allergic reaction.

He sat in his car for awhile, seat leaned back, listening to one of Holly's cassettes on a low volume. Guess that VCR would have to wait.
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