"Is there a problem here?" asked the officer into whose arms Marty had fallen, looking back and forth between Marty, Phone Woman, and the cabbie as if unsure which person she should be asking this of.
"Yes," said the phone number woman tersely, arms crossed and looking more than a little impatient.
"Not at all," chuckled the cab driver, arms also crossed but looking highly amused instead.
"I'm not sure," muttered Marty woozily, rubbing his head and wondering why staplers had to be so painful.
The officer settled on the most immediate problem; the man in her arms who was still not holding his own weight up. Apparently, however, she wasn't very concerned about his well-being. She stood him on his feet right proper before going on, in a very authoritative tone.
"You're going to have to move along, sir. What you're doing is illegal here."
Marty had a feeling this wasn't exactly true, but he wasn't exactly passionate enough about what he was doing to care either. In fact, the only one who looked disappointed to hear this news was the cabbie, but even he looked ready to give up on the show.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'll just... stop, then. You should..." Marty bent over and picked the stapler up from the ground, "take this back to its owner. I believe he's up on the second floor, there."
The police officer gave him a sour look before taking the stapler and heading for the building. Marty was quite surprised that had worked.
"Come on, I will drive you home," the driver offered Marty.
"I'll wait for another cab, then," said the woman irately, not bothering at all to hide the fact that she didn't want to share a taxi with Marty.
"Don't be silly! Get in, both of you. This is on me. I needed that laugh today."
Marty had the good grace to step out onto the street and enter the other door, but by the time he had made his way around, allowing for traffic to pass by without taking the door off, the woman had still not entered. Only when he was sitting down with his seatbelt done up did she finally enter the vehicle with an impressively exasperated sigh.
The woman refused to give her destination first, a fact that Marty attributed to her not wanting him knowing where she lived, so Marty gave his own address, regretting the decision right as he made it. He only lived a few blocks away; even if the traffic decided to become ridiculously heavy he only had a short time to get another lead on the jogging girl.
It was at that moment that a brilliant thought hit him, and this time, happily for him, not in the literal sense.
He opened his phone and began dialing the number again, pulling out the piece of paper more as a means of giving his free hand something to do than anything. The woman, despite her desire to have nothing to do with Marty, was a very curious person, and found herself looking over at him.
The plan worked even better than Marty had imagined, though; before the call had even gone through she spoke to him.
"...where did you get that number?"
Marty would have smiled, would it not have ruined his plan. "Hm? This? A woman gave it to me," he said offhandedly, though pride did taint his voice.
"I find that hard to believe, because that's my phone number, and I was there when it was written down. In fact, I have the pen that was used in my purse still. How did you get that number?" she asked again, more forcefully this time around.
"You're kidding me!" Marty said, impressed with the amount of shock he'd injected into the words. He was beginning to think he might have a future in acting. "I was given this number by your friend; she wanted to set me up on a date with you!"
The woman looked incredulous. "Katie gave you that?"
The driver chimed in just then, interrupting Marty's mental celebration at getting a name. "You two? Date?" That was all he could manage before bursting into laughter again.
The woman looked incredibly skeptical. "I just gave her my new number today, and she's already giving it out? To you? Usually her taste in men is so good..."
Marty couldn't help but be a little offended, even if this was by no means the girl he was actually after, but he didn't have any time to protest. The cab was already coming to a halt.
"This is your stop, right?" the cabbie called back. Marty nodded, flustered that the trip had taken such a short amount of time and at his relative lack of new information. It was like he was on auto-pilot for the next few moments as he exited the cab; going through the motions automatically as he tried in vain to think of something, anything, that would further his cause.
In the end, he was left standing on the sidewalk with nothing but a sad look on his face and the woman's parting words ringing in his ears; "Don't call me."
Now what? he thought to himself.
And then it hit him.
* * *
He awoke a moment later, his vision still blurred. He could make out a face, but only barely.
"Katie?" he groggily mumbled.
"Are you all right?" said the voice.
Marty groaned. Not because of the pain, though that would have been a good reason as well, but because of the fact that this person was apparently not Katie. That, he was convinced, would be the only thing that could make the pain worthwhile.
"What happened?" he slurred, trying and failing to sit up.
"Well, you're not going to believe it..."
"Try me." he muttered.