A Personal Interest


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Scene Title A Personal Interest
Synopsis Abigail receives a visitor with the Linderman Group, looking to check up on her after the media attention has finally subsided. That's the cover story, anyway.
Date May 22, 2009

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the shady crimson walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar. Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the owner's office and just inside a stairwell that leads a apartment on the floor above the bar.

It's a quarter past eight when a tall, wiry man with sandy blond hair shoulders through the front door of Old Lucy's, dressed in a charcoal gray business suit and a black button-up shirt that looks like it just came back from the drycleaner's. At first glance, there isn't anything unusual that sets him apart from any of the other patrons in the bar tonight — clean-shaven and smelling faintly of cigarette smoke, he looks like he could be anyone. Tax auditor. Business owner. Concert pianist. Pencil pusher.

Whatever he is, he pauses near the entrance, takes a younger gentleman by the elbow and, leaning in to be heard over the room's ambiance, parts his lips into a softly-spoken question. In response, the youth gestures toward the bar with a laugh and a casual roll of his shoulder, shrugging the wiry man's hand from his arm at the same time. "Over there," he says, "but you're wasting your time if you're looking for a date. She's not interested."

She's always not interested. It's a game played on new people to the bar by the regulars to try and get the 'Nun's' ten digits. So far no one has ever succeeded. "One pitcher of bud!" Called out for someone to come pick up, a stack of plastic cups beside it and a smile for the person buy. Money changes hands and they're allowed to walk off with their booze as more people step up to take their turn. Her hair's loose tonight, still red, and she's dressed far more covering than the others who are behind the bar. Far less flare too when it comes to pouring, mixing and otherwise dispensing drinks.

Vodka and red bull someone orders and Abigail looks over to the door when there's movement there. "Welcome to Old Lucy's! Drinks at the bar, no ones gonna go serve you" She's working the end closest to the door tonight. "Drafts are half off tonight" Even though it's written on the mirror. Back to work the healer goes with a crack and hiss of the tab of the Red Bull can.

As he approaches the bar, the man in the suit reaches into his jacket, produces a sleek leather wallet, opens it and counts out three one dollar bills and a rumpled five. Although he doesn't immediately take a seat, he pulls up a stool in Abigail's vicinity and lays his money down on the countertop. "I don't suppose you've got any India Pale Ale on tap?" he inquires, tone mild, a slight smile pulling tentatively at the corners of his mouth. "Alexander Keith's? Hop Devil?"

"Uhhh…" The redbull poured into the high ball, the chugging sound hard to hear in the ambience of the bar. "I got india on tap, same for sam adams. Everything else is in bottles" She checks a list taped to the counter and nods" Yup, everything else is in bottles" A cherry is plucked from the bowl to her left and it's skewered with a little sword and with very little flourish it makes it's way to it's new owner, money exchanged once more. Tip's stuffed into a jar and the rest into the till after she punches it in. Every drink from Abby of late gets a cherry skewered on it. Sort of a joke. More like it was suggested by someone who didn't get a phone number or even a date. She did it to piss the guy off and it'd stuck.

"I'm the Nun, That's flirt down there and then that's the joker at the end. Last call is in 45 minutes and you have to be out by quarter past nine. Don't like it, complain to the city. So what poison can I get you?" There's another smile again even as there's a demand for another pitcher of beer from someone else.

"Samuel Adams sounds lovely, dovey," the man says, sliding the money across the counter, "but what I'd really like is a few minutes of your time, if you don't mind?" Pet name aside, there's nothing condescending about his tone — he has a kind voice, low and soft, a whisper of a European accent clinging to his foul tobacco breath. "Don't worry," he adds as he sits down and folds one large hand on top of the other. "I'm not with the press. Linderman Group, actually. We held a conference last month after that cock-up with Channel Four? I'm not sure whether you saw it."

Abigail opens her mouth to tell him that if he's a reporter, she's not taking. But he heads that off and she closes her mouth. Blue eyes focused on the pitcher in front of her and the fountain she's depressing the button of, she listens to the man. She'll give him that at least.

But lo, he's Linderman Group? The flow of alcohol is cut off, fountain slid back into place and two cups gathered, same transaction. "I did. They got my name from a nurse, best I know. I thank the Linderman group for defending my honor. Or Virtue, or privacy, whatever you want to call it. I can give you.. about.. Ten minutes, more if needed" His Samual Adams is poured, An appropriate amount of head on the drink. "Here or in private?" She owes it, at least, to listen.

"Here'll do." The man reaches up and scratches an itch just above his upper lip with his fingernail. His hands are clean — immaculately so. "Really, I just wanted to check in and be sure about how you were doing. I'd have stopped by sooner, but you seem like the type of woman who values her privacy more than she deserves it." A beat. "I apologize. That came out— wrong. Let's start over, shall we? I'm Mister Caliban, public relations, but you can call me Robert if you'd prefer. It's a pleasure to finally meet you face-to-face, Miss Beauchamp. I trust no one's bothered you lately?"

"Boy did that ever. Some people think I don't deserve it given what I can do" Brenda AKA flirt takes over the customers in Abby's section though she slowly keeps filling in orders. "A pleasure to meet you Mr. Caliban. May I presume I won't find you crouched in a garbage can and shooting yourself in the arm just to see if I really can fix a wound and whether I work here. It makes me wonder just who exactly Mr. Linderman hires that he didn't send you around the first time and sent some half touched man begging me not to bring the wrath of god down on him"

But she didn't answer her question. "For the most part. No reporters. I get the odd letter in the mail of someone asking me to fly down and work gods gift upon them. Why may I ask, does this interest Mr. Linderman. Last I knew, he and I had much the same gift"

Crouched in a garbage can? Caliban raises both his blond eyebrows at Abigail, biting down on the tip of the tip of his tongue. As tempting as it is to ask, there are politer methods of divining that information, and they all involve speaking with other people. "Mister Linderman makes a point to employ men and women from all walks of life," he says instead, neutral. "Some of us adapt better to our roles than others. I am sorry."

Cool blue eyes track Brenda's progress, though Caliban's stare is born of idle curiosity and nothing more. After a few moments, his gaze flicks back to Abigail and he offers her another smile, broader, more sincere than the last. "We take the Act very seriously. In his heart of hearts, he truly believes that the government is putting these new laws in place to protect those of us who have been gifted with supernatural talents. You can imagine, I'm sure, how he felt when he discovered it was being used to make a spectacle of someone who reminds him so much of himself."

"Mr. Caliban" Abby's hands are planted on the metal counter on her side, regarding the man. "You can tell Mr. Linderman that his act did far worse than that spectacle you saw on TV. That, was nothing and I can and was able to hand that. What he didn't see and didn't know was that it brought about a month and change of being imprisoned on Staten Island at the whim of some … jerks who got my name and where I work from someone who had access to it and snatched from in front of my own home so that I could be used like a healing battery." Abigail reaches over for a rag so that she can wipe down her corner of the bar. "I admire why the act is in place and the access it gives to those who might have need of the highly specialized skills that the listee's possess, but if I had a choice, I would not have registered. Not everyone who accesses it has the person best interest in heart. I can bet he didn't think of that, nor did the President when they decided to put it into play" There's a slightly grim line to the red heads lips. "If he takes it very seriously, then perhaps he needs to find out who gave away my information and have them locked up with a shot leg and a chunk of tongue missing."

Caliban is quiet for a very long time. What Abigail has just said is a lot for his brain to process all at once, and so he curls his fingers around his glass of beer and raises it to his lips. By the time he sets it back down on the countertop with a gentle clink, the guarded expression on his face has transformed into one of utter fury. Deep creases cut across his brow, his lips pressed into the thinnest, most taciturn of shapes. Redness floods his cheeks and he rubs the heel of his left hand along his jaw with the heel of his hand. When he speaks, it sounds as though the words are being processed through his teeth. "Miss Beauchamp," he grits out, "Abigail."

He clears his throat, sucks in a deep breath through his nostrils, and slowly, gradually, the colour in his face begins to fade. "You'll have to forgive me for not being completely honest with you. I have read the police report. It is, in fact, the precise reason I'm here."

"Everyones read the police report. I'm very sure. Something like that, when no one will do anything about it because of an island that's lost to country and the bridge, I'm sure it makes it's rounds. Mr. Caliban, I'm not mad at Mr. Linderman. I've never been angered at him for what happened. As you said, he never imagined that such a thing would happen when he created and propose it" Abigail's managed so far to keep calm. "So then, may I inquire again what it is that you are here for since you've read about my… journey" Blue eyes settled on him and not budging, little gold cross laying at the hollow of her throat.

Caliban's speech is slow and halting, but his tone continues to be steady. "I confess," he begins, "to having taken a— personal interest in your case. Mister Linderman advised us that we continue to keep our distance, but I needed to see you. My employer doesn't know about this visit, and it would be to both our benefits if it remained that way. I worry that, with all the media attention that has surrounded your situation as of late, someone might attempt to take advantage of your good name. Has anyone approached you recently or asked you for your endorsement in public matters?"

Body language is everything. The square of her shoulders and the stiffness that enter into her person is evident. "I have. A woman by the name of Ms. Strauss has approached me from the something or other of the Presidents office to give my words to Frontline. After talking with a variety of people I said yes"

This is, evidently, exactly what Caliban was afraid of. His facial features harden further, blue eyes taking on icy sheen, cold and almost shark-like in their absence of feeling. A blink and it's gone again. "You'd become another Daniel Linderman?"

"What's your thoughts on it Mr. Caliban? Since I've asked others. Since it seems that your not a fan of FRONTLINE" This piques her curiosity. "I feel if there had been a frontline, and not just a SCOUT, that what happened to me would not have happened. That Staten Island wouldn't be in the situation it is and who knows how many others with my god given gift, kidnapped and probably sitting at the bottom of the river when they were unable to heal anymore"

"To be perfectly frank, I'm not a fan of the American government in general. I look at what they've done in the past two years and I'm sickened by what I see. The Linderman Act is nothing but a movement to wrest control from the people by turning friend against friend to, neighbor against neighbor. Them versus us. It instills fear." Caliban doesn't look at Abby as he speaks. Instead, he focuses on the froth gathering along the rim of his glass and the smudge left by his chapped lips. "Good men and women will consent to almost anything when they're afraid, wouldn't you agree?"

They'll always be afraid Mr. Caliban. Because people don't understand. They don't understand how I can wick away a man's hurts or someone else can fly, or a great many things. They also fear our of jealousy, because they want to do that, they want to be that special. Not knowing that they themselves are just as special whether they have a gift of the super natural kind or whether it's.. something just as extraordinary like an actor or an artist. The linderman act just…" Abby looks up at the ceiling. "The linderman act, I hope, some day will be voluntary instead of mandatory. Till then, I can only hope that there's stricter controls on who can access it and better checks and balances. It was.. a very good idea, but like all good idea's, needs a little more polishing. But I can respect your thoughts and opinions on it Mr. Caliban. But if you can't look me in the face while your saying it…"

"To be fair," Caliban says, darting his eyes in Abby's direction while her gaze is directed skyward, "you weren't looking at me, either." He rises from his stool at the bar, his beer half-finished, and flips open his wallet once more. This time he pulls out a business card, which he places on the counter, propped up against the side of his glass. Like most business cards, it prominently displays his name at the top in brazen black lettering — beneath that, an official title and two phone numbers where he can be reached. Both business and cellular. "I don't doubt that you have quite the head on your shoulders. If you didn't, you wouldn't have been able to endure all that you have. Choose wisely."

Abigail smiles. "To be fair, you're right Mr. Caliban. I didn't. Whatever I choose in the end, I'll do it with both eyes open and accept the consequences that come with it." His money is pushed over to him with neatly kept fingernails. "It's on the house. I'm sorry I incensed you like I did. You seem a good man Mr. Caliban. If you need anything, you know where I work and my numbers in the phone book. God bless and stay safe on your way home you hear?" His business card taken up on her hands return path. "And Mr. Caliban? It may not be the best government. But it's the only one we got, and it's not always bad"

Caliban's hands find the pockets of his jacket. "Not always," he concedes, a little grudgingly, "but it could be better. Have a good evening, Miss Beauchamp." The soles of his leather loafers scuff against the floor as he turns, pivoting on a heel, and winds back through the bar, navigating tables and stand alone chairs on his way toward the door.

He leaves the money on the counter.

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