What's This Tontería


joaquin_icon.gif sahara_icon.gif

Scene Title What's This Tontería
Synopsis As the temperatures climb, neighbors have a strange way of asking one another for help. Joaquin tries to be a voice of reason and de-escalate a brewing confrontation.
Date July 19, 2019

Ferrymen's Bay, near Spring Creek Settler's Park

Man, it's a scorcher.

Not like anyone needed that said, or anything, given everyone from the weatherman, to SESA, to every neighbor on any given block had been repeating it for days now. And today was the worst of it, the projected peak of the heat. The heat index was toying around in the triple digits, the numbers volleying closer and closer to 110.

Sahara Jackson sighs at it all, a handheld fan failing at providing any real relief as she makes her way down the street. She had a customer she offered to drop off some oils for when they came in, but … maybe she really should have reconsidered it, what with this weather! It's a thought that she should have listened to the moment she left her apartment, but now she felt committed, and she was going to follow through. Besides, it'd been a while since she'd been in this neighborhood. It was good to see things changing over time!

Though, not always for the better.

Her fanning motion slows as she looks ahead on the sidewalk, seeing a bundle of men and women gathered before the stoop of a building that doesn't looked to have received the renovations some of the other tenements in the area have. Her brow furrows, watching one man beat on the door with the side of his fist. Now what was all this?

Nobody should be out in the heat, but New York has never been one to simply take a summer heatwave lying down. Mainly, because lying down on anything other than a bathtub is probably too hot. Yet there are still people out and one of them is Joaquin. He's taken a bit of an advantage of the situation to make the best of it, using a break in his school schedule to work. On his bicycle, the young man rides from the direction of Spring Creek Settlers Park with the pair of baskets lashed fore and back on the two-wheeler now empty of goods. Water and snacks mostly, but a few stray wares from the botanica now gone into the hands of those not yet lucky enough to have drawn a lottery.

He, like others, is dressed for the heat. He might also be sweating from the exercise of his legs, but he has the wind from his pedaling in his face. Not so much when he slows his route upon seeing the gathered people waiting outside a tenement. Joaquin brakes for bundles of people. "What's happening?" he asks one of the women standing on the edge of the grouping.

"He's holed up in there with all that ice to himself," the middle-aged woman replies, her voice older than she is thanks to the smoker's cough just a wrongly-spoken syllable away. "In this heat. It's unthinkable."

"Yeah," flatly states a man to the left of her. "Didn't he hear what SESA said? He ought to be doing his civic duty."

Sahara snaps her fan shut, giving up on it entirely as she approaches the edge of the crowd, listening to the banging on the door grow more violent. The man on the stoop shouts, "Come on, Carl! Come on out and answer us already!"

Ice? Joaquin inwardly admits the very concept of having ice in this heat is very alluring. "Who's holed up in there?" he starts to ask, unfamiliar as he is with the people. But the man on the left talking about SESA and civic duty draws a worried look from the young man. And the banging on the door makes him tense up with concerns. He knows and recognizes the disgruntled growlings of people.

Dismounting from his bike, Joaquin leans it against the nearby streetlight and starts wading in to the gathered from the opposing end from where Sahara is. He raises his voice too, but not to yell at Carl. It's to scold the man on the stoop. "Hey! Stop banging on the door like that. You're making a scene."

Joaquin isn't the only one to think so. The door finally jerks open, and whoever it is, it doesn't seem to be Carl. The man on the stoop takes a step back in alarm as someone taller than him, stronger than him emerges, posture tense. "Get the fuck out of here, Wayne," he says first to the man. "All of you. My neighbor doesn't owe you people shit!"

Sahara purses her lips, shaking her head at the state of the situation. What a world they lived in, when people wouldn't help each other out in their time of need!

Wayne might be startled a step back, but those behind him aren't. "Quit hiding him and bring him out here. We just want to fuckin' talk." someone yells.

But the man barring the door looks like he's heard that before, his expression dark. Maybe not standing right where he was, and maybe years ago, but he's heard something before that locks him into place. The commotion's gathered more attention from other neighbors now, too — windows opening across the street and more foot traffic being gained. "What's goin' on here?" A woman calls out as she approaches, the nasal intonation in it of someone who's been local here their whole life. "'Ey, Max, they givin' you a problem?" She inclines her head to the defender on the stoop.

"They think they got a right to Carl's power in this heat," he answers, maybe a little louder, a little more forcefully than he means to. These people would have tested his patience even if the heat wasn't what it was.

The new woman on the edge of the crowd darkens, her pale skin flushing red. She stands a head shorter than most but she makes up for it in personality as she tries to elbow her way in, fussing loudly at anyone who argues with her.

The broad, tall form of Max blocking the doorway surprises Joaquin too, but he's caught in the thick now. When more voices join in on either side, he swallows the discomfited feeling rising in his throat. Shoulders roll. With a more determined press, he slips around and through the group with hopes of getting closer. "Sir. You're going to get the police called on you for trespassing at this rate," he feels compelled to warn the man on the stoop, Wayne. Joaquin runs a hand through his hair, sucks in a breath, looks around at the others. "Come on people, it's not worth getting worked up."

And worked up they're getting.

Joaquin's protests draw attention from those closest to him, but he can't hold the whole group. There were maybe ten at first, but they've grown to fifteen, and not all of them are on Wayne's side anymore. Someone gets in the way of the shorter woman, and she spazzes instantly about it, voice raising. Max lurches a step forward out of his protective position. "Hey!" he yells, breaking through the noise of the two who are scuffling and declaring the other person was out of line.

Sahara senses what everyone else probably has at this point — that this isn't going to be pretty.

The way the short woman carries on, you'd have thought someone bit their thumb at her.

Feeling like any attempts at defusing aren't going to be worth it, Sahara starts edging around the crowd, too enraptured by what's happening to stray far but neither does she want to be in the middle of the fray that's sure to erupt.

In all of this, whoever Carl is, he still doesn't show his face.

Not being able to see over or through much of the crowd, Joaquin angles for a better position somewhere closer to the stoop and the big Max guy, though not getting on it. Somewhere in that bunch is the noisemaker of a woman, and that spurs on his worried action. "Just break it up!" he calls out in a plea to the people, even if he's heard by only the ones near him. "What good's it doing standin' out here in the sun, huh? Go home and drink some water or something." He turns a hopeful look towards Max, and something of an apologetic expression too.

Max notes his vocal supporter and looks down to Joaquin, trying to take a step in his direction to close ranks. Wayne, though, has regained some courage he lacked before and tries to roughly push his way past Max. "The hell do you think you're doing?" The larger man shoves back, holding his ground.

Then someone yanks Joaquin by the shoulder. "Hey, stay out of it," he's warned very seriously. "This ain't any of your business."

Progress halts as Joaquin gets spun by the yank. He counter-shudders, raising a hand to throw the one clamped on him off. "Hey, don't touch me," he warns at the offender, pointing at him. "And you're wrong. This is some bullshit lynch mob. You all out here trying to force a guy out of his home? To do what, huh? Make it snow like Christmas in July or something? Why should he do that for you when you're out here yelling at his doorstep and banging on his door?"

Joaquin pins a stare at all the faces he can. Somewhere inside him he realizes that might be a good idea, but maybe there's no going back.

"Maybe he oughta come out here and speak for his damn self. He doesn't need any kids, or any thug," The man raises his voice to shout at Max in particular, "speaking on his behalf. But no, he won't so much as lift a hand to help out his fellow neighbor, doesn't have the decency to turn them down to their faces…!"

A gasp and startled shout sounds, a murmur erupting through the crowd at the sound of a crackle that comes from the spark of a woman who'd been trying to fight her way to the stoop. "Now I'm not askin' not one more time, do you hear me?" The question's rhetorical, but spoken anyway, all while she rubs her hands together rapidly to build up more static charge on her. Sparks dance around the clasp of her hand. "Now step off!" she orders, to little avail.

There's indignation at the use of her ability, different levels of riled up resulting from it. "Someone call SESA on her ass! She's attacking people with a mutant power!"

Max on the stoop scoffs, his ground regained. "Seriously?" he calls out. "You're over here begging for a man's help and you've got the nerve t—"

Someone throws a punch just to the left of Joaquin, and he's checked backward into the man that had tried to yank him back from the situation earlier. "I warned you, kid, I warned ya!" he shouts, shaking Joaquin by the collar of his shirt.

Joaquin grits his teeth as he feels his own insides twist with the heated argument. He shakes his head, a frustrated tightness entering his next verbal joust with the guy. "The only people here acting like children are y—" His statement cuts off with the audible crackle of static electricity that sounds a little too much like a pop, a little too close to gunfire maybe. Joaquin jumps and looks about for the source when people start calling out about use of powers. Oh no.

Not that he has much chance to find it, because the errant fist connecting with his face sends him sprawling. Stars dance in his vision briefly, and he's only vaguely aware of the man shaking him. Hands flail up as Joaquin tries to regain his composure after being nearly coldclocked. "Get the hell off me," he snaps and pushes at the man holding his shirt collar.

Suddenly, another hand's pulling on Joaquin's shoulder, this time to pull him out of the fray.

"Ain't none of them going to listen to reason now," Sahara says with a tinge of regret for how overall sad the situation is, her arm around Joaquin as she tries to usher him out of the devolving mess. Especially before the police arrive! Surely someone's called them by now. She assumes.

And behind them the yelling continues to escalate, another tazerlike jolt zapping forward from the static-charger as someone tries to lay hands on her. She's got her own back, it seems like, Max is undefeated in his defense of the door, and —

"I know you're trying to do the right thing and all, sug, but you best watch out for you in that kind of situation." The blonde woman tuts at the whole situation, still trying to lead the young man away from the altercation. "I swear," she murmurs, then looks back at Joaquin with a sympathetic wince. "Didn't break anything, did you?"

An array of whirling colors continues to pulse through Joaquin's vision, not helped by the fray of people. Upon the next hand grabbing him by the shoulder, he reaches up to clamp onto it and thereby gets lead away off a ways to a clearer section of sidewalk. Don't cry, is the impulse he latches on to within, but the natural tears of his eye brought on by swelling can't be helped.

Joaquin turns the struck side of his face away from the good samaritan. "No," he answers her immediate question, followed by a grumbled, "I'm fine." At least that's the first assessment. He gives Sahara the side-eye, still smarting physically and maybe a bit emotionally. "Thanks for the save, I guess."

At that, Sahara smiles, but a sad sort of tension pulls it down from being as bright as it ought to be. "Hell, we all better watch out for each other," she says, reaching for his chin with the lightest of touches before she lets go, seeming to think he'll be fine save for the bruise to his pride. "You did your best out there, but when the cards fall down, it's going to be them that gets the preferential treatment. Really, it's admirable what you tried doing, though. What it all boils down to is they're the protected class now, though. That war they —"

She cuts herself off from going down that path, breath bit off midstream. She smiles instead, more warm than before. "Well, the war saw to that." Sahara muses mildly, quickly moving onto, "It's a shame nothing'll end up being done to help alleviate this heat, but love thy neighbor was not a vibe being put off back there."

Joaquin knuckles away one of the stray drops, huffing out another breath. His recovery is gradual, but sure. Her words, though, distract him from the throbbing feeling on his face and focus on the heavy weight of her emphasis. "They?" he echoes faintly, casting a look to the escalating situation.

But then he levels that look back at Sahara, a faint frown pulling at his mouth corners. "It's not their fault it's hot, and what's making it worse is people making trouble like this. The war made everyone crazy," he says, gaze sliding down to the ground.

"It did," is a point Sahara's all too willing to concede. "You'd figure maybe everybody'd have settled down by now, figured out a dynamic that works, but… still got a long ways to go." The blonde straightens to her full height, all the good that it does her standing next to someone of Joaquin's stature. From the bag slung at her side, she pulls out a business card, her name and phone number on it underneath a logo for 'Body and Soul Chiropractic.'

"I do mean what I said, though. It's up to us to look out for one another, especially when we don't have anything Special to bring to situations like those." She does her best to try and close his hand around the card. "You reach out if you ever need anything. You seem like a good kid."

She doesn't have to try, as Joaquin's fingers close naturally around the business card when offered. He doesn't look at it right away, but up to Sahara's face with an expression like he's still trying to figure out something about her. Her remark to reach out if he needs something earns a brief pause of silence, an acknowledged nod.

"I'm nineteen," is all he says, faintly but firmly. But the hand withdraws with the card in it, and he steps back a pace, looking at it for a moment and noting the info. "Anyway, thanks… See you." And he turns, ducking away back to his bicycle leaned on the streetlight so he can ride home.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License