Above The Bar


abby_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Above The Bar
Synopsis Joseph comes to return a key and fetch some things. It ends up in conversation as always between pastor and parish member and food for thought.
Date August 9, 2009

Old Lucy's - Upstairs

The place doesn't clean itself, the apartment above Old Lucy's and long after church is over, and the bar is open, starting to get into swing and Deckard hasn't been seen for a bit this day, ABigail's in yoga pants, a long sleeve shirt with sleeves pulled up and setting about to cleaning the place. The smell of whsikey and smoke that weren't from the bar below were not to her liking.

That and when she handed the keys to Deckard, they weren't with the caveat that he keep it clean. Bedding chugs away in the washer, Flint's room dealt with, the smell of pinesol prevalent throughout the upper floor and the sound of christian music being sung by the blonde as she sets about to scrubbing the bathroom.

The days are slowly getting more and more normal, and perhaps after this last errand— things will be back to the way they were completely. Since changed out of the formal dress code that makes up one's Sunday best, in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, Joseph heads towards the upstairs flat with some familiarity of the route. He gets as far as sticking the key into the lock around the time he can hear the strains of music coming from inside.

Oops. Dilemma. There's a short few seconds before Joseph is quietly withdrawing the key from the lock with an inaudible scrape of metal, rocking back a step and scratching his jaw in contemplation. Then, finally, he deduces the most polite route to take, which would be—

Three sharp knocks on the door sound out over the Christian tunes being played and the sound of Abby's own work.

Who the heck is knocking? Likely one of the girls down below. But scrub brush put down, and out of Deckard ever increasingly clean room goes the blonde till she's swinging open the door, tilting her head and looking over at Joseph. "Pastor Sumter! Come in. Still need to stay here?" She's still cheerful even though she's been on her hands and knees and boraxing a toilet till it sparkles. The yellow gloves of homemakers everywhere rest in one hand. "Service was beautiful today, as always. I enjoyed it" But then, she enjoys every service. "Going home, to The First Calvary Church was just not the same anymore"

The bright smile doesn't fade at all. "Flints not here. Just me. I'm cleaning his room and taking care of bedsheets. Thanks for cleaning everything else Pastor, I sure appreciate it. I was dreading what it would look like when I came home"

Sunny Southern hospitality. Joseph allows himself to be drawn in, treading over the threshold, and this time there's no shadow of a bear-dog trotting in after him on the end of a red leash, as had been the case of several times in the past week, taking her down this angle of Greenwich Village during the later noon hours. "Don't mention it, it's the least I could've done," Joseph says, with a shake of his head. "'specially with Alicia up here, the place was startin' to smell like dog too."

There's probably still a couple of patches of carpet with long, curling black strands of dog hair where Alicia had camped out, but he'd made an attempt at, as ever, being unobtrusive. "I also figure it's high time I get back to— well, to stop hidin' out here. I was returnin' the keys and checkin' if I left anything behind."

"There's a box of your stuff in the room you were in. It's all done ready for you" The accent stronger for her time spent at home, but it threatens to return to how Joseph and the others know her when the influence is gone. "I was gonna go take the shampoo'er to the carpet after I was done with Flints bathroom. I bought this Bissel little green type thing that you can hand do the carpets and such, so don't worry none Pastor"

The door is closed behind him when he's finally in. "If you need to hide out here again, just come in and tell the girls, they have a key to let you in. Same as flint has his own key. Most folks likely wouldn't think to look for you above a… bar" Yeah, cause, that's a bar beneath them, that she owns. Abigail's thumbs hook into the back pockets of her jeans. "Flint and the others take care of the.. uhhh, issue with our friend Charlie?"

"Mm. Not as such," Joseph says, and as ever when this topic is brought up, there's a rueful glance away, hand up to scratch the back of his neck. "They cleared out the listenin' devices from the church, at least, and he hasn't been hasslin' anyone else I know, as far as I'm aware— but if anyone's figured out who this guy is, they haven't told me about it."

Speaking of keys; Joseph holds the one he'd almost broken into the apartment with, a vague gesture before it's held out for Abby to take. "This is Flint's, pretty sure," he says. "I figured I'd be able to give it back myself but he's still outta town, but." Shrug. Never one to overstay his welcome. "Could you do that for me? An' if you see 'im before I do, you can tell 'im thanks, as well, I appreciated the help."

A beat, then; "Not that it won't fly right over his head or nothin', but it's the thought that counts."

"He's out of town?" What the.. heck? Her slender fingers reach out to curl around the key with a nod then tuck them into her pocket. "He doesn't like being thanked. He's punched Teo in the face for it before. Better way to thank him is to buy a bottle of whiskey and wrap a bow around it and leave it for him. Actually, don't even put a bow around it, just scrawl your name on a piece of paper beside it and that it's for him" She's done that before. "Why's he out of town?" Curious. Blue eyes watch Joseph carefully. Of all the people who she could ask, she knows and hopes, that at least he wouldn't lie to her or she'd be able to catch a lie.

"So it was bugs in the church" Who on gods green earth would bug a church. "That's just… unchristian. But i'm glad your okay. I know, I've said it half a dozen times, but still"

"I'm glad you're okay too, Abby," Joseph says, in a patient voice, although the smile that accompanies it is more than sincere. Everyone is okay. And that is why he can move back into his apartment and carry on doing what he does. His arms settle comfortably over his chest, taking in and letting out a deep breath at question, mouth going into a regretful line, at the topic of Flint. "He— wasn't exactly forthcomin' with the details, but something happened. As far as I can tell he wasn't hurt, just, he came back here all— "

He doesn't want to say covered in blood, as he's not even sure himself, so goes with the safe bet of, "— at the end of his tether. I reckon he just wants some time to himself, away from the city, if you ask me. Whatever it was, though, he didn't want to talk about it. I didn't pry."

End of his tether. Abigail sighs. "Poor man" The healing must be getting to him. She knows that others have been relying heavily on him for it. They say they aren't but in the aftermath of Pinehearst, she's sure. "I'll not chase after him, I would but.. I got finals coming up and I have to play catchup" But she looks over Joseph head to toe before she gestures for him to follow her back to the room he was occupying. "I sent the ferryman here. To the bar, or well, outside it, and I sent 'charlie' there. I saw the news, about the massive blood they found outside and then.. I heard about.." The person killed. "It's, been a bad time for you, for the Ferryman too. They'll find the person who's behind this Pastor Sumter"

A look head to toe makes said toes curl a little within brown leather shoes, Joseph's shoulders squaring uncomfortably before relaxing a few fraction, and following Abby deeper into the apartment with one last look around. Once in the room, he moves for whether his things are gathered, not the least of which is a copy of the Bible, the American standard variety.

"I know," Joseph says, not really looking up at her save for one flick of a glance, as he goes to take the book out of the box, flicking this thumb over the edges of the fine pages. "It's— it's been a mess, but it's nothin' any of us coulda expected. You did what was right at the time." Truth doesn't really factor in, at this assurance delivered - whether or not it's honest is eclipsed with sincerity and sympathy.

"It happened once before to me. I got called up to heal someone. He was pretending to be a janitor, Russian. Didn't speak a lick of English and he was hurt. I healed him and trudged on home, and a few hours later, Teo showed up to make sure I was okay cause I'd been running myself ragged healing a buncha folks. Turns out he was belonging to a bunch of folks and he planted a tracking device in my purse while he'd been thanking me" Abigail offers up her previous experience with ragged midnight phone calls. "truth be told, I was more worried for you than for 'charlie' and was why I called the cops and flint before I called the Ferryman.

"Well. Here's to hope that doesn't happen again. I guess— well I know I could stand to be more careful, he should never have been callin' you in the first place." Joseph gives a soft, dry sounding chuckle. "I wound up— wound up feedin' the cops some story about getting into a fight, and that I wasn't pressin' charges. All I was worried about is if they did get their hands on this guy, and when they shake 'im down for information, he'd tell them everything and I'd have done even more damage than before. Glad you called Flint, though, it didn't even cross my mind to call anybody."

With a soft thud, the Bible is gently dropped back into the box, and he goes to heft it up. "It hasn't been the proudest last week, but, you know. I'm hopin' to make up for it. Provided Grace and the rest don't think to just cut ties or somethin' like that. The Guiding Light's as safe as it can get, now, in any case, I'll just— "

He hesitates, and winds up repeating himself anyway with a nudge of a shrug. "Just be more careful."

"Joseph Sumter, if you think Grace and the rest of the Ferryman will cut ties with you just because some asshole done gone and bugged a church that openly welcomes evolveds, then…" Then what? Abigail just regards him then points to the bed. "Sit" and she turns on her heel, disappearing out the door of the bedroom. She comes back a few minutes later chair picked up in her hands and setting it down so she can take a seat. "They never told me to bugger off Joseph, and they have had more than every right to"

Dog commands and full names portend nothing good. Joseph doesn't quite have time to verbal backpedal before Abby is already out the door to find herself some furniture, leaving him standing awkwardly for a moment before deciding it's best to just set down his box and do as told.

He's perched on the end of the bed by the time she's returning, resting back against his hands casually. "That's as well as may be, but I did offer 'em a place for people to come to, and that place is compromised, endangerin' not only my flock by anyone who wants to get on board the Ferry through the Guiding Light," Joseph points out. "It ain't unreasonable to think that— somethin' like the Ferrymen couldn't afford to take those risks, I guess. And if anyone else gets hurt 'cause of me, the police'll be involved and— "

A frustrated sigh is released from high in his chest. "I carry around the church everywhere I go. I dunno if I can separate the two, and I'm not sure what good I'd be without it."

"You know how many safe houses they have that have been compromised? Far too many. But they re-spring up, here, there, many different places. Homeland raids them, other people discover them and for the safety of people who are scared about what they or someone in their family can do, they pick up, move to a new place. There's like, three of them in Greenwich here alone, possibly more. There's so many, from one person's home, to whole buildings. I've stayed at a few when I needed to. Besides, I'm one big security risk and they still have me help. There's a homeland Agent who's pulled me in before, to ask about stuff. There's an rule with regards to me. Don't tell me more than I need to know, because if the authorities come asking and ask pointed questions, I will not lie. I haven't in the past" Mind you, that was when she was able to heal and it involved one really demolished bridge.

"Your church got compromised, and your phone got compromised Pastor Sumter. Doesn't mean that you got compromised. You can still help. Just means that others will be watching your back. They'll have your back. Because that's what they do"

Yeah, lying. Joseph gives a brief grimace at that point, though it doesn't last - he's had more than enough time to try and reckon with such things, step back onto the straight and narrow. "I'll remember that. It ain't easy, havin' to— compromise things like that," he says, then lifts a shoulder in a shrug. "Don't get me wrong— I'm not backin' out. And I should probably get used to it. I suppose what I need to figure out is where helpin' the Ferry ends and bein' a pastor begins. I think it's worth it, worth the risk— and that's my judgment to make. I just hope no one else gets hurt."

"If they do.." Abby offers her hand out to Joseph, both of them, palms up. "Then your there to help them Pastor Sumter. It's that simple. And that hard. Maybe, go by 'Joseph, plain ol Joseph' when you do Ferryman things, and when pastor Sumter and the church, you're Pastor Sumter. It's still going to be so very hard but, like I've told others, nothing worth doing was or is ever easy" She offers him a sympathetic smile.

Without irony or cynicism, as ever, Joseph places his hands in Abby's and listens, and allows himself to smile back at her, if a halved version of it. His hands squeeze around her's as he says, "You're right, very right about that. In any case— it'd be exactly what they'd want, wouldn't it. To shut another gate against people like us." Hard to say whether 'us' still includes Abby, previously Evolved status and all, though it's spoken generally. Us. People, Evolved or not, on the Ferry's side. His hands loosens from her's, gives a gesture as if to indicate the room, or rather, wider New York. "It ain't like comin' up here in the first place was ever gonna be easy, never mind the Ferry."

"No, no it never was. I only knew them the last 8 or so months. I met them through Phoenix. I was who they called in when they ended up with people who would need more than what the few doctors associated with them could handle. But.. Yes. Whomever Charlie is, is trying to scare, and taking a stronger tactic than most do, but if I can stare down a hundreds year old body jumping spirit of evil and send him to the lord like he should have been sent many years ago, then you can carry on the world god has set before you Pastor Sumter, both public and private"

There's a grin blossoming across her face. "You let Charlie scare you and doubt yourself and what you can do, then Charlie wins, and whomever Charlie works for or works with. Don't let them win" She squeezes his hands once more and tightly before releasing them. She's still working on that whole touching thing. "Even if all you do from here on in is give flint a shoulder to lean on if he needs it or whatever it is you do for that lovely woman who stopped by the church with her imposing protector"

"We'll see how it goes," Joseph deflects, on the topic of what his involvement will be like from here on out, and perhaps it's around then that he's starting to get hot under the spotlight of conversation swing around on him, quite conveniently even, and the mattress squeaks a little as he moves to stand up. Not to leave, however, not yet, stalling in the way he drags the box of his things closer to better place everything inside it, from the cleaned out dog food bowl to the blue leather bound Bible. "In all the drama, I never did ask how Louisiana was."

"It was.." She can take the subtle hint and desire. Swiiiitch topics. "My parents enjoyed meeting the boy I've been seeing. A friend, Richard, got me the tickets, to get me out of town in case something went down that he thought might. My Momma was happy, well, happy until my Dah and I told her about not being able to heal anymore. Had to tell her cause she was about to call all the ladies at church to tell them to come visit and I'd fix their ails" Abigail stands up, moving her own chair back and giving the Pastor space.

'Told my Dah, a little, about what I do. Told him I owned a … bar. That.. went pretty good actually. I thought he'd get all red in the face and yell. Seems inheriting it, is a lot different than, buying it, in his eyes" Her thumbs sink into her back pockets and hook there. "I uhh, I learned something though. I dun know how much of it would make sense to you. But uhh.. I found out when the good Lord gave me his gift"

"Victor, right?" Joseph asks, in a light, inquisitive tone of voice, though it's quickly undercut with an apologetic smile. "Flint may've mentioned his name at a couple o' intervals. I'm glad you two enjoyed yourselves." There's no real question hidden within his words - as gossipy as churchgoers all over seem to be, Joseph's question is light and undemanding. His own hands move to slide casually into his pockets, standing at that conversational distance, and a look of confusion crosses his features. "I thought you already knew when you got your gift."

"Victor" Abby has raised brows that the information came from flint of all places. I did. It was good to be home, to bring a friend to show where I came from. Let my parents see that they're not all like Flint or Teodoro" A speck of dust is swept with her hand and rubbed out of existence.

'Remember, that last vision that you gave me? Of a woman growing a tree in the midst of the ruins? The apple with the snake?"

There's a rueful twitch of a smile, at Abby's comment on Flint and Teodoro, head tilting as if to communicate yeah, no kidding. Abby's prompt for recollection is just that - a prompt, and Joseph nods once in slightly delayed understanding. "Yeah, I do remember that one. You— " A gesture towards her, fingers then curling inwards. "You figured it out?" he asks, voice hopeful, encouraging.

Boy, did she ever. "The woman was real. It all came about. I even have a vine growing in my room that she made grow from deep in the ruins" From a place where nothing should be able to live much less grow from. "Eve ate from the apple and became knowledgeable. She saw that she was naked and was ashamed. The lord saw this shame and knew that they had eaten from it. pastor Sumter I ate from the apple, so to speak, and what I've learned…" Abigail's nose wrinkles.

"There's a time manipulator I know and he came back, with a story. Asked me about a man that he met. Told him that I'd never met the man right. He said that that was where I got the spirit from. Didn't call it an ability, he called it a 'Kami' a spirit of life. Said that at some time, this 'Francois' gave it to me." Abigail's fingers hook into her jean pockets. "He did. I though maybe my Dah would know right, I mean, it wasn't that long ago I was twelve. But apparently.. I was five and I came running home from the woods, yelling about a man name Francois who was hurt. Only, you know, when we went back, he wasn't there. There was only blood"

"Spirit." This particular word, Joseph chooses to repeat with some doubt, but regardless, he's listening, rocking his weight back against a heel in a subtle movement of weight distribution. The sort of fidget he makes even on the pulpit when especially nervous, although this time it's thoughtful, relating her story to what he remembers of her vision. "Well," he finally says, with a quick smile, "you know me. And you know you. We don't completely think of abilities the same way most folks do. And it don't surprise me that they'll come in mysterious ways occasionally."

Abigail nods. Blonde hair moving with her head as she bobs it up and down. "I took the test, the evolved test. Twice, at the police station. It turned blue. Blue means that you're unevolved. Not gifted." But there's a shrug. "It's a long explanation but.. it may be true, I don't know. I know that there's one person out there, that what I had, could kill, did kill. That that ability could jump from person to person, it stands to reason that.. mine, might, I don't know it's confusing and I wish I'd never known. I could have gone on not knowing. So you see, it did come true. Eating from the tree of knowledge" She moves over to pluck up Joseph's box and point with her chin towards the doorway.

A sympathetic twist of a smile follows, before Joseph glances to where his effects are being picked up, the doorway gestured to. He hesitates before moving forward to take the box from her, hands brushing her's as he grips onto the sides with a murmured 'thanks' before he lets himself study her at this slightly closer range, eyes as ever near-black beneath a serious brow. Finally, he states, "You're a sensible woman, Abigail. You'll get by, and there ain't much I can say to help or hinder. Probably hinder, in the end. I do wanna ask, though— do you reckon you'd've found out if you'd never got the vision?"

Would she have? Could she have? She would have some point probably gone to un-register anyways. They would have done the test. Hiro might still have told her. "I don't know Joseph" Using his first name. "Maybe. Maybe not. Sensible though. Well, that's questionable at times" There's a soft smile from her. "But I'll always get by. I'll have to crawl maybe sometimes, or drag myself but.. i'll get by" She relinquishes the box, that's fine. There won't be complaining from this quarter.

"THere's this bookstore out on Roosevelt Island. There's a woman there, and she was looking bored, so I let her read my tarot cards. To amuse her. I thinks he was regretting it by the end. According to her, I'm… well, lets just say, things are not peachy in my future, there's diversions from my faith, and I got the death card. She was pale white by the time she was done"

Cynicism isn't something that comes naturally to Joseph, but here it is. He even raises an eyebrow. "Then— I'm sure that'd be very unsettlin' for her," he says, a little haltingly. "But unless she's got a real gift to back it up, you and I both know that they're just cards. A game, and to call it anythin' else is sinful. And as far as I can tell, no future I can think of is ever peachy." He rattles the things in the cardboard box a little, before moving for the door to lead into the main of the apartment, speaking over his shoulder, "Ninety percent of the time after I use my ability on someone, I wind up holding hands afterwards too."

"It's always just cards" She agree's. She's not paid what the woman said much heed, even while she was laying them out and explaining their meaning. "Oh, I did it all the time with mine" She chirps, following behind him. "she's got a gift, but nothing to do with the cards" What it is, she's not saying. "She looked lonely, she doesn't get many people out there it seems. I was trying to amuse her. But, enough chattering, i'm keeping you Pastor Sumter. And I need to finish cleaning Flints rooms"

"As long as you don't go takin' it seriously, 'cause I think you got enough to worry about," Joseph says, with a flash of a smile back at her as he balances the box beneath an arm long enough to pry open the front door. "Thanks for getting my things together, and the room— I needed it, for a while."

'We all need something for a while Pastor Sumter. If you need it again, just let the girls downstairs know and they'll let you up" There's an awkward moment at the door, a glance down the hall. "It's not bad, that I own this place, yes? I know that it's alcohol and noise and that the women dance on the bar every hour, but.."

Stepping out into the hallway, Joseph shares a look with her, thoughtful for a moment. "Well, let me put it this way— if it means you have a place for people like me and Flint and whoever else where they can be safe for a while, I wouldn't advise you to get rid of the place," he says, with a mildly apologetic note in his voice. "Sometimes we have to compromise for the sake o' these things, and as long as you know it's a compromise— then I leave that in your capable hands to decide to do what you will with the place."

There's a bit of a bigger smile. "I never danced on the bar nor showed my ladies business even when I worked here. Just cause my names on the ownership papers doesn't mean I'll do it now." and that's that. "I'll see you at service Pastor Sumter" She's not gonna close the door in his face, instead just wait till he's gone out of sight.

"I didn't think you did," Joseph assures, somewhat hurriedly, and a little— shyly. He's tromped through the bar downstairs enough times to know exactly what she's talking about, and he briskly shakes his head as if perhaps he could remove both the memory and the mental images from his brain that way. "Take care, Abigail." A brief wave before he has the box in both hands, and making a quick exit down the hallway.

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