And Jesus Brought A Soapbox


alexander_icon.gif brian_icon.gif diego_icon.gif helena_icon.gif isabelle_icon.gif mallory_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title And Jesus Brought A Soapbox
Synopsis Brian preaches in Central Park and many come to listen.
Date September 15, 2008

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

A chilly evening in the park. Activity has gone down since midday, most people going home or some other establishment, but wherever they're going it is not here. But there are still plenty of people. Especially in a little section in the completely intact space of the park. On a paved path there is a large crowd of people huddled around one distinct attraction. Many different things are coming from the crowd, many boo's, some very harsh insults, but also shouts of encouragement and applause.

A duffle bag, a box, and a couple people stand at the center of attention. One man is seated on the ground, texting away on the cell phone he holds in his hand. He's dressed in a long green sweater, and a pair of blue jeans. The odd thing about his dress is the half balaclava covering the lower section of his face. He also wears a pair of black sunglasses and a black baseball cap. Odd, for this time of night. Though the man on the other side of the box is also dressed oddly. He wears a coat, with the collar popped and his beanie tugged low. He is also wearing a pair of sunglasses. Not much of these two men's faces can be seen. The third man stands atop the box, wearing jeans and a workers coat, this man demands most of the attention. "Responsibility and love." The man is saying. "We all have different giftings. Some have the gifting of generosity. They may not have much, but they still manage to give it to the less fortunate. Some have analytical minds who can figure out most anything. -Some- have the ability to create fire with their hands. Are any of these better or worse than the others? I tell you they are only different! We have all been gifted by God in some way. We have the responsibility to use those gifts for the betterment of our fellow man! The bible clearly talks about abilities that people have nowadays. Jesus speaks about it Himself! 'Your old men will dream dreams, your yong men will speak prophecies, some will do things beyond your imagination!'" Brian declares, holding up a Holy Bible over the crowd, holding his other hand up in gesticulation. "These are happening! Do not be blind! This is not Evolution! This is God! Yes, a terrible thing happened in this very city. I am not saying in any way God endorses murder, or destruction. Just like God did not endorse Adolf Hitler, or Moussolini, or Stalin, or any of them! Yet God made them the way they were, and they used their gifts in very terrible ways! But.. there are those who are good. Heroes. Heroes who used their gifts for good, and now there are people with powers we never thought possible. Can't you see how much good can be done?! It all comes through love!" The man cries out over the crowd. He continues to preach over the words from the masses with much vehemence.

Helena's taken on a familiar silhouette these days: baseball cap jammed onto her head into which the mass of her blonde hair is tucked except for a few strands, and a man's jacket some sizes too big for her. It gives her a waifish look, and it might be easy to mistake her if not for a child, then for a fairly young adult. She stands in silence, watching the preacher with a scrutinizing expression, if one could actually see it over the brim of her cap. It's fair to say that it's hard to tell if she's approving of the man's diatribe, or is critical of it.

Diego is just out walking his dog. Really. With a fairly luxurious looking pea coat thrown on over his normal fare he strikes a slow wander through the park. By his side, about knee high, is a happy looking pit bull with a black leash.. that.. strings from its neck, around a big loop, and into his mouth. The signs never did state who had to be -holding- the leash. In any case, the pair come upon the preacher man and his flock. He slows to a stop away from the crowd, making a quiet clicking sound with his cheek and tongue. The dog promptly sits and becomes distracted with a butterfly floating by his maw and Diego pulls a cigarette from an inner pocket of his pea coat and lights it while listening.

"You have to listen to me. Things can get out of hand. We must learn to accept and embrace each other. We must realize we are all the same, but different. If we don't hate will escalate, and through hate only evil will come." Brian points to a random person in the crowd. "You sir! How would you feel if your son or daughter were born with something they could not control and was persecuted the rest of his or her life for it! This is not a blight on our society, it is a blessing, but we have to learn to deal with it!"

"Brother against brother, father against son. Is that what we want? A war of humanity or lack of it against ourselves? Because I tell you now! That is what will come unless we learn to love each other. Unless we learn to accept each other. People must rise up, take the challenge and spread the word. Heroes must arise to stop the oncoming plague. A plague of ignorance, intolerance, and injustice. Will you rise to the challenge?!" He asks in a almost-accusing tone. He points to another man. "How will you leave your mark on the generations to come?! We have a choice, and it is time to make it!" He points again this time it just happens to be a waifish looking woman with a baseball cap and a man's jacket. "You ma'am! Will you be a hero of our age?" His voice softens as the end as his hand slowly lowers.

Helena takes a step back a little, and gives what seems like an indifferent shrug. There's a quick look around, trying to spot other members of PARIAH in the crowd. They're always looking for new recruits, but anyone so willing to fall back to religion might be too much of the whack. Still, he seems to have something going for him. PARIAH's a don't call us, we'll call you sort of recruitment agency. She returns her attention to the preacher. Then, "Does it matter?" she calls out. "If I was, I'm already assumed to be dangerous. Road to hell and all that."

Diego cocks his one side and exhales a long stream of blue-grey smoke. His eyes wander back and forth between the preacher and those he points out. Of course, none of the accosted, or spotlighted, individuals strikes any sudden emotion in him so he stays silent. He takes a few steps closer, risking the crowd's ire with his half-gone cigarette. When his dog moves to follow, he snaps his fingers. "Capone, stay." With a quiet, muffled whine the dog obeys.

A bunch of people cry out in agreement with the young woman. And for a moment there is a bunch of cheering and jeering all directed at the man on the box. Soon enough though the crowd quiets down, all waiting to hear his response. Moving one foot forward, Brian takes a step off the box simultaneously calling out his answer. "Jesus was once considered dangerous." With that last controversial statement, the man who was previously seated and texting stands and picks up the box Brian was standing on. The three men then start to make their way through the crowd, even though many protest and yell, either insults or further questions for the preacher man.

Mallory has arrived.

Mallory arrives just at the end of the preacher's odd, odd sermon; she's got her hands in the pockets of her plain hoodie, though she removes one to reach up and tug the large headphones she's wearing off her ears so she can get a better squint at those assembled. Her left shoelace is very close to being untied.

"Yeah, but more people have been killed in Jesus and in his pop's name than for any other reason in human history. Like.. by millions." Diego's voice raises just enough to carry as he flicks the cherry out of his cigarette. He walks back over to where his dog is sitting and rubs his head. "Good boy.." He says quietly before turning back to the crowd.

"So are those three men going to try and kidnap you now?" Helena's voice carries. It's really a bad idea to try a covert action in a group of people. "Maybe they don't like what you've got to say, buddy. You might want to watch out." Her tone is casual, but the message is clear, and of course it will prompt people to look around.

It can be a bad idea, but sometimes it can work. As the three men make their way through the crowd they take a series of hasty actions. The one carrying the duffle bag unzips it and the three working in complete harmony as they nudge through people manage to succesfully change the clothes of the Brian who had been preaching. Once out of the masses the man who was on the box is now wearing a Yankees hat tugged low with a scarf wrapped around his mouth, and he now has a black track jacket on rather than his work coat. It won't fool everyone, most certainly, but with the help of his two mysterious helpers, the confusion of the crowd, and the distraction of Helena's words, it will help Brian avoid a little attention.

As the three step out of the masses the lead man slides on a pair of sunglasses to match his compatriots. The three 'masked' men then.. split up. Two of them approaching Helena. "What was that for?" Asks the man in the scarf. As for the third- the man with the half balacalva, he approaches Diego.

"You get that from DaVinci code? I read it too. Good book. Crappy movie." The man says.. if Diego is observant he could notice this man's voice is VERY similar to the man who was preaching moments ago.

Mallory glances to the left, then the right, and finally back at Helena, Diego, and Brian and the others. Her eyebrows go up and she surreptitiously sidesteps behind a bent and broken tree no one's gotten around to clearing out yet. And watch. In her hoodie's pocket, one finger brushes against her mp3 player and silences it.

Helena lifts a brow. "Oh, is he your buddy? Sorry. I hate to see some poor sap get carted off by god knows who just because he's all 'Jesus Goes Apeshit At The Valley Mall', you know? Still, it's good evening entertainment. He certainly had better hygeine then most street preachers I've seen."

And there's Al, in hoodie and jeans and boots, looking like any other young man out and about in the park….wandering to salve his restlessness, or perhaps looking for someone. He comes up on Helena and elbows her gently, greeting her with a wordless grin.

Diego laughs at the question from the Yankee-hat'd man. "The Da Vinci Code? Naw, I don't waste much time on popular fiction. Guess I was just able to read between the lines in history class." He makes no indication as to whether or not he recognizes the man as the preacher or no. His dog, Capone, whines softly, clearly wanting to trot over to the newcomer and get his due attention. Diego tsks once more. Looking at the dog, he says, "Hey, what'd I tell you? No begging from strangers, silly pup." Then, he looks back to Brian. "Don't worry about him, he just wants to lick you. Anyways, as I was saying.. you know, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the conquistadors, the French colonization of the Far East, Manifest Destiny.. take your pick."

"Yeah. Buddy's a good word. Jesus only went apeshit once, as far as I know." ScarfMan says. "We kinda work together. We know how to keep our heads down. Not everyone wants things to be equal. And some of those people are kind of.. mean." Scarfman adds, his eyes behind the glasses scan the new arrival.

"Ah, your above what everyone else reads." BalacalvaMan notes to Diego. He then looks down to the dog and squats, offering his hand ot the dog. He looks back up to Diego as if for approval. "It's alright. I'll pet him." As he offers his hand, he listens to what Diego has to say. "Right, that is a lot of death. Someone would have to be an idiot to believe in a God like that, right?" He asks before looking up. "Or someone would have to be an idiot to believe that man is good on his own. All those deaths, sir, only prove to me that man is capable of many horrible things. And man is capable of perverting the most Holy thing it has been given. I don't blame God for that. Man will serve his own purposes and find any excuse he can to justify it. What is your name, by the way?"

Mallory remains by the tree, at least until a trio of teenage boys around her age spot her and amble over, each of them carrying a large bottle of soft drink that is not entirely composed of soft drink; the rum and Coke together at last in a convenient plastic container that won't give them away. Unless someone smells the booze on their breath, like Mallory does. "Oh, fuck off," she mutters, giving them a sour look and edging away from the tree, forced now toward the open and the others. Eavesdropping just got more awkward. And obvious. Her nose wrinkles.

"No kidding." Helena says, though her wryness doesn't seem directed at the man. Alex's nudge is greeted with a smile from under her cap. "Glad to see that no one's going so far as to swipe people off the streets. Yet, anyway."
"What's happening?" Al wonders of Helena, as the man's blue gaze wanders over the others near them. HE seems quite relaxed, and for once not at all tired.

Diego nods his contsent to BalaclavaMan to pet his dog. "Don't bitch to me when your hand gets all slobbery." There's a smile on his face, though. "And your right, I got no fight with God, or even those that choose to believe in him. Its those that start making religions around it that bother me. They get a taste of power and next thing you know.. -boom-." Diego's eyes wander around the crowd idly. "Oh, shit, sorry. Call me D." He then contradicts his verbal argument with the man by offering his hand.

"It's only a matter of time unless people step up and make a change. We're going to have a 1984 situation on our hands soon enough if things don't take a drastic change." ScarfMan intones to Hillary as his eyes flick over to the three drunkish teenagers and the girl. Without a motion, without a point, without anything the other man standing behind him walks toward the girl and three boys.

This one wears a beanie, with his coat collar pulled high and sunglasses on, so like the other two, his face is hard to distinguish. "Boy trouble?" Beanieman asks, his voice just like the other two should any of them notice.

"I agree D. I agree completely." BalaclavaMan says as he takes the man's hand with his free hand. "Then you can call me B." He offers, a smile is obscured by the balaclava. With his other hand he lets the dog slobber and lick alike as he attempts to pet it.

Mallory takes a step away from the guy with the beanie, brow furrowing. "No. It's fine," she tells him; the boys snicker and say some vaguely insulting things about her to each other, heading down the path. Mal looks after them, then up at Beanie. "You're not going to be trouble, are you? I am immediately suspicious of people who wander over to talk to teenage girls."

"You mean like that terrorist group?" Helena wrinkles her nose in distaste. "Even if they've stopped bombing things. They're all over the 'net now."

Capone is more than ecstatic at his new friend. There really is only marginal licking involved, but there is a massive amount of tail wagging. "Kinda like politicians." Diego remarks. Innocent enough; everybody hates politicians. Lawyers too. Or is it?

"Me too. That's why I came over." BeanieMan says with a grin over his coat collar. "Just wanted to make sure they didn't do anything stupid. No problem. Sorry if I startled you." He says, taking a step back away from the girl.

Scarfman lets out a little laugh towards Helena. "I don't know if I would call them terrorists. That has a negative connotation. They're just trying to make a change, just like I am. People are scared of change."

Balaclava man pets Capone's head as he stands up straight. "I guess so, I don't have any personal beef with politicians. But everyone says they're bad.. So sure. I guess so."

"For the moment, anyhow," Alex opines, looking down at the dog.

Mallory smiles thinly. "Startled isn't really the word," she tells Beanie. The mention of terrorists gets another glance from her; bluntly, she demands, "Have they done something else?"

Helena notes mildly, "If they had, don't you think you'd hear about it? Last I checked, everyone and their brother between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one was burning their reg-cards because of them."

Diego shrugs. "Yeah. Well, hey.. no accounting for taste." His eyes roam the park slowly even as he continues his conversation with balaclava. "So, just curious.." His voice then drops off, his next words clearly intended for him and B alone.

'B' takes a step closer to 'D'. And leans in a bit to hear him. His features are masked but it could be assumed he's smiling behind the balaclava. He speaks back to Diego in hushed tones.

ScarfMan and BeanieMan reunite, both eyeing Mallory, Helena, and Alex from behind their glasses. "How much do you know about these 'terrorists'?" ScarfMan asks of Helena.

"Just what Ah seen onna innernet," Alex replies, brightly. It's almost a chirp, save that he's using his best 'redneck without two brain cells to rub together' drawl.

Helena shrugs again, a petite creature in a jacket far too big for her. "About what everyone else knows, I suppose. Why, you looking for a phone number?" she smirks.

Mallory shrugs, shaking her head. "You never know what breaking news there is. And not everyone and their brother has a registration card at that."

"Only if you got one." ScarfMan responds quickly. His lips curving up over the sides of the scarf. He then looks to Alex. "Where you from, brother man?" ScarfMan asks of Alex, then BeanieMan looks back to Mallory. "They shouldn't have to."

Helena looks over at Mallory. "Parents can register their minor children, did you know that? It's the law and all." Another mild shrug.

Diego shrugs once again. "Spirit of open communication? Show of good will?" Diego pulls a wallet from another interior pocket of his pea coat, and from it comes a black business card with crisp silver lettering. This, he offers to 'B'. "Just in case you ever decide you'd like to have a theological debate, B."

Mallory shoves some of her hair out of her face; she could stand to run a comb through it. "Thanks for the fun fact? I guess you're not fans, huh?"

"Savannah, Georgia," Al replies, eyeing the man with the scarf with faint amusement, as if daring him to make something of it.

"Can't be too open these days D. I would love to show you good will, when you show me you don't have a gun or a taser or something. Can you pick up what I'm puttin down?" B asks as he flips over the card, examining it.

"Right. Nice place." ScarfMan murmurs to Al. He then looks to Helena, "So.. what's your name again?"

BeanieMan looks to Mallory. "Not really. I wasn't a fan of apartheid either. Were you?"

Alexander nods, hands in his pockets, rocking his weight from heels to balls of feet. "Yeah, I thought so when I lived there. And who're you?" he wonders, in a tone of cheerful inquiry.

Diego continues to speak in quiet tones, though he's not by any means whispering. "I know what you mean, B. But, there's one little problem.." He flips his coat open just enough to allow B to see his right side. "Occupational hazards, I'm afraid. But, speaking of good faith.. you wanna talk, we'll meet another time. You choose the place; something public. I'll leave the dog at home."

"Those are fine as long as they're pointed in the right direction." 'B' says to Diego. "I'll give you a call.." He reads from the card. "..Diego. Nice to meet you. See you again later." With that 'B', bends gives Capone another pat on the head, then makes his way off a little bit, behind the group of Al, Mallory, Helena, and the two 'mystery men'.

Mallory shakes her head. "No, I wasn't. Though I was only three when it ended," she notes, stuffing both hands into her pockets again. "I'm sure if I had a card, I'd burn it."

Al, who does have a card, does not comment. He looks rather wry about the whole subject, however, still hovering behind Helena.

Helena looks back on Mallory, and gives the girl a quirked smile. "Good on you." she says.

"Brian." ScarfMan says, offering his hand to Al. "Your name is?" ScarfMan then looks back to Helena. And tilts his head a bit. Before leaning in a bit to speak in hushed tones to the small girl. Though since Alex is so nearby it is quite possible he hears what the scarved man says.

Brian whispers "Hold up any number of fingers behind your back."

Mallory fixes her hands into the good ol' horns and deadpans, "Fight the power."

"Alexander," Alex says, amiably, offering a cheerful if somewhat vacatn smile, as he takes the Scarf's hand and shakes it firmly.

Diego watches as BalaclavaMan departs, then turns to look down at Capone. "What? I let him pet you, ya god damn turncoat." He pulls an abused red tennis ball from a side pocket and gives it a healthy throw. It travels -almost- over the other crowd, allowing Capone to blaze past them in a whirl of vaguely brown looking dog fur. The dog makes the trip without coming too close to anyone, though.. Well, by the dog's estimation, anyway.

Helena lets out a laugh in Mallory's direction, ambling a little closer to her and tilting back her ballcap so her face can be seen more clearly. She's clearly late teens, early twenties, perhaps a bit closer to the latter. "Mind a nosy question?" she asks Mallory.

At this time a loud noise should be heard by the group of people, "Damn birds!" Isabelle yells and stumbles out into the path. She had been taking a nice walk in the park and then BANG! Assaulted by the damn pigeons. Isabelle grumbles and then shakes her head as she runs a hand through her hair. Her grey eyes survey the area around her and she notices people are there. DAMN. With a sigh, Izzy waves and nods to everyone. "Sorry bout that. The birds all flew at me and I got freaked" she says and puts a hand in her dark jean pocket. Nice job Izzy.

As she talks to Mallory, Helena casually reaches behind her and holds up four fingers. Whatever that's supposed to mean.
Scarfman grins under his scarf. BalaclavaMan is behind Helena, casually watching her from behind his aviators. Until Isabelle arrives with a bang of birds. "You alright?" Says the man who's face is mostly covered.

Scarfman gives a nod to Al. "Nice to meet you Alexander, are you a friend of.." He gestures to Helena. Scarfman then leans in to Helena to speak quietly again.

Brian whispers "Four. Neat trick, hmm?"

Birds. "I told you not to wear that sunflower seed headband, but you wouldn't listen," Alex teases the unfortunate Isabelle, as she approaches. "I'd say so," he notes, to the Scarf.

Diego watches his dog run off to retrieve the little red ball. Once its done, he doesn't bring it immediately back.. No, he's got to wrestle with it first. Which, as a dutiful dog owner, Diego continues watching his little friend.. who just happens to be on the opposite side of the three musketeers and their 90210 compatriots. When the dog finally brings the ball back, it rushes just in front of Isabelle on his merry way. Quick little bugger.

Mallory lowers her own hand, disbanding the rock band of horns and all that. She jams it back into her pocket. "Way to encourage criminal activity," she tells Helena. Isabelle's given a dubious look. Highly dubious. "Seen too many Hitchcock films?"

Isabelle chuckles softly and nods to Alexander and Balaclava man, "Maybe next time I'll listen" she grins back at Alexander and then smiles widely as the dog rushes past her. Now /dogs/ she loves. "Nice dog" she says to Diego with a smile and then looks around to the rest of the group, "I'm Isabelle" she offers to the group of strangers. Feeling in a cheery mood is she? Mallory totally kills the mood. Isabelle tilts her head at the young teen and raises an eyebrow. If only her looks could burn as well.

Helena doesn't pay attention to whacky birdwoman. She doesn't know Isabelle, and New Yorkers know better than to actually acknowledge odd behavior unless it's directly threatening or terribly entertaining. She looks back to Mallory. "Did you mind the nosy question?" She turns and regards Baclava Brian musingly for a moment, gives him a little nod, and turns.

"Well." ScarfMan says, "I guess its time to go." BeanieMan steps up behind Scarfman and unzips the duffle bag slung over his shoulder. ScarfMan takes off his hat, scarf, and glasses and tosses them into the dufflebag offered by his compatriot. With his face now revealed it is obvious that this is the preacher man from before. Brian then takes the dufflebag from Beanie man, who takes off his beanie, and un-pops his collar, also taking off his sunglasses. He also drops them in the duffle. Once his face is revealed, it is obvious that this man is.. also the preacher man???

"Nice to meet you both." The first Brian says as the two.. twins? Start to walk away, the man behind the crew with the Balaclava also takes his headgear off dumping it into the duffle.. and once again it is the preacher man. The triplets turn to all the people quickly, allowing everyone to get one glance of the three. A special glance(s) are given to both Diego and Helena, who are given respective winks, each from a different Brian before the triumviarte turns and starts on their hasty departure.

"Hitchcock. He had a movie about birds that attacked people," Mallory tells Isabelle slowly, eyebrows raising. "Nevermind." Helena's given a curious look. "Which nosy question?"

"Would your parents register you if they knew?" Helena asks, letting her hands relax where Mallory can see them. It's kind of a trick question, but Mallory's got numerous ways to answer without revealing anything if she doesn't want.

Teo has arrived.

"Triplets," says Alex, obscurely delighted. And to Isabelle, he notes, "Alexander,"

"Ain't that something" Isabelle says with a slow smile towards the three men and she nods at them. She then looks at Mallory and looks apologetic. "Oh! I didn't get what you were saying a moment ago. My mind has been on overload for a while. Sorry about that" she offers a sheepish smile to the younger girl and then looks back towards Alexander, "Nice to meet you. If you ever want a free drink, come on down to Rapture. I bartend there" she grins.

Diego looks down at Capone. "You.. I'm so disappointed. You.. go say thank you." He rolls the red tennis ball over by Isabelle's feet. Capone the friendly pit bull runs maniacally over by her side, snatches up the ball, then turns his puppy eye's on the nearest victim.. which, is clearly, Isabelle. He just sits there, ball in mouth, wagging his tail despite the fact that his butt is on the ground. Whilst that is happening, D offers a half salute to the departing triplets.

Mallory smiles thinly at Isabelle; kind of humourlessly. Well, not kind of. It's a humourless smile. Helena's question makes her expression darken; her already narrow eyes narrow further. "There'd be a couple of problems with that," she tells the girl, voice flat.

"Mmhmm." says Helena. She doesn't push the issue, but says quietly, "I didn't give my dad the chance." And then she starts to drift away, back toward Alex. She's in her usual baseball cap and jacket.

Alexander eyes Isabelle for a moment, after that comment. "I….you look familiar. I bounce there, now and then," he notes, pulling the hood of his hoodie back to expose short copper hair.

"Oh! I've seen you there before. That's right. Sorry I didn't know who you were because of the hood" Izzy smiles and looks down at Capone. Isabelle's smile grows wider as she takes the ball from Capone and throws it off to the distance, she walks over to Diego as Capone is getting the ball, "How old is he?" she asks with a hand on her hip as she watches the dog.

"Well, that was creepy," Mallory tells Helena, shoving her hair out of her face again, eyes still narrowed. She glances around again, reaching for her overly large headphones.

"Just over a year," Diego replies without looking over at the woman. "He just had his birthday." Diego reaches into his pocket to pull out a cigarette while Capone plays with himself, tossing his ball into the air.. watching it come to the ground.. then grabbing it and throwing it back in the air. "He's trained pretty well, but he's still got a lotta puppy in him. I love it." D goes to light the smoke, but his lighter doesn't immediately cooperate. Under his breath he says, "Fuckin' piece.."

The collar of a button-down shirt peeks out of a beaten denim jacket and knife-creases fading out of his pants indicate that Teodoro just got out of day-job. He has a backpack slung over one shoulder, his hands in his pockets, walks briskly as if in an effort to outpace the onset of winter. Sharp baby blues cut through the warren of pedestrians heading this way and that, looking for somebody specific, and he picks the familiar glint of sanguine hair out of the crowd. "Alexander!" the shout comes from between two hands cupped around his mouth, a moment before he remembers himself. Picks up his feet, jogging over to offer him a punch on the shoulder. Casually, he ducks his head between Helena and the man he'd greeted, murmuring something cheerful into each their ears, before he straightens.

Helena gives Mallory a wry smile. "Which part?" she asks. "Whatcha looking around for?" She casts her eyes about, since it appears Alexander's occupied. She doesn't dislike dogs, but doesn't want to interfere.

"Awesome, I have a German Shepherd and Black Lab at my apartment. Roxy and Maxine. Roxy is two years and Maxine is still a puppy barely a year" she says to Diego and then notices his lighter problems. Looking around to make sure nobody else could see, Izzy changes her position so that her back is to everyone and she is standing in front of Diego. With a snap of her fingers, a flame ignites on her fingers and she holds it up to Diego's cigarette. Once it lights, the flame disappears from her fingers and the only way you could tell that something was there, is by the smoke that drifts up from her fingertips. "Ya know, those things kill people" she says softly to Diego with a wink.

"People who aren't creepy," Mallory tells Helena. "And the creepy part would be you implying you didn't give your dad the chance to register you for a card. Which also says a lot of things I'm not sure you should be saying if you don't have a card and you need one."

Helena lets out a laugh. "Point away from me for being obtuse." she admits, and shrugs. "I took off." she says frankly.
Alexander drapes an arm companionably over Teo's shoulder for a moment, and mutters something in return. "Hey, man," he says, as he steps off. He seems mostly oblivious to the interchange between Mallory and Helena, at the moment.

Diego takes a contented puff on his slow form of suicide. "Freak," He says quietly. But the smile and return wink that accompany it serve to ease some of the offensiveness from the word. "And thats what people keep telling me but it ain't working very fast. Speaking of dogs, though, Maxine and Roxy should meet Capone. Ever since his buddy Tanner passed on he hasn't had anybody to wrestle with.. which just leaves me as a sparring partner."

Mallory frowns, edging closer to Helena and raising an eyebrow. "You don't… you're not, you know, are you?" Her voice is pitched a little lower. She doesn't particularly want this to carry.

With a crook of a wiery wrist, Teo summons up a square-shaped Post-It, folded up around ballpoint scrawls. Sticks it in Alex's hand. "Finding a second-hand machine that works on diesel these days? Not easy. Check that out, see if you like it," he suggests in a conversational tone of voice. "Owner's just outside Manhattan." It sounds automative, but it isn't quite. Keeping business brief, he ducks his head slightly, looking at the company Helena's keeping from under Al's chin. Woman wielding fire, man with a pretty high-quality dog, and a high school student, if he's not mistaken. And he's been mauled by enough badly-treated terriers to make much of a mistake. "Gonna introduce me to your friends?"

Isabelle grins and chuckles at Diego and nods, "Freak I am, you?" she says and then looks back to Capone. "Yeah, that will have to happen. Mind if I ask for your number? And /I/ wouldn't mind having a sparring partner myself" Isabelle says and digs her cellphone out of her jeans as she waits for Diego's reply. The woman tilts her head and a smile crosses her lips. She just found a cute guy that likes dogs as much as she does! Awesome.

Helena smiles at Mallory. Very softly, almost under her breath she murmurs, "Fortis et Liber." She watches Mallory carefully. It's innocuous, right? That grafitti is everywhere. "Know what it means? In the Latin?"

Mallory frowns a little more, head dipping forward, hair shielding part of her face. "I took Spanish," she tells Helena. "But I can guess."

Alexander's smile is positively beatific, as he glances at the post-it, and then tucks it away. "I know, right?" he says. He jerks a thumb at Isabelle. "Isabelle. She works at Rapture. Though she's a bartender, rather than a bouncer. Smarter than me," he says, with a jerk of his chin. "Considering."

Helena gives a wordless shrug. "If the idea of it bothers you, don't worry about it." she advises Mallory. "From what I can tell it's a don't call us, we'll call you sort of group."

Mallory backs a couple of steps away from Helena, shaking her head. "Mmn. I don't think I'd like to be called on by anyone these days. Which makes dating such a pain in the ass." That last part's clearly sarcastic.

"It must." replies Helena easily. She watches Mallory retreat without comment and with an easy nod, starts heading back to her friends in earnest.

Diego reaches wordlessly into his pocket, producing his -second- business card of the night. And he just came out to walk his dog! What a social little butterfly.. The card, he offers to Isabelle. "Me? I'm pretty boring, but a couple of people have suggested that I was a little different." At that point, he whistles, and Capone bounds over and plants his butt in the ground nearby.. though, a little too close, and the dog crashes into D's leg. "Silly little dumbass," he says and reaches down scratch his neck.

Teo grunts, bemused. "You have an unusually large capacity for self-deprecating humor, for an American," he tells Alexander, the wryness of his voice belied by the sharp-cornered grin tugging at his mouth. He shifts his attention to Isabella, offers her a sturdy handshake. "Teodoro. I'm tempted to just start bullshitting you in Italian in hopes you'll take that for an intriguing compliment, but Alex's line's made me feel too intimidated to try. Is the dog yours?" He flicks a glance sideways at where Helena is drifting out of Mallory's personal space, looks back when Diego whistles and Capone answers. "That's a dozen brute hellhound misnomers shattered," he remarks by way of praise.

Alexander puts on a very pious face at that. "Thank you," he says, simply. "And you should try. Everything sounds prettier in Italian," he suggests, glancing between Teo and Isabelle.

Mallory's nose wrinkles again; she settles her headphones more firmly over her ears, nods once to Helena, and turns about to make her way back the way she came in the first place.

Mallory has left.

Isabelle takes the card and winks at Diego, "Security huh? Ok, I'll be calling you!" she says and then chuckles at Teo, "Hah, I love Italian, and the dog is Diego's here" she says and jerks a thumb in Diego's direction. Izzy crouches to ruffle Capone and then she stands, "I gotta be going, duty calls. See you guys around. And I'll see you at the club Alex" she says and waves and backs away until she turns around and walks away with a slight swish in her hips. Her boots making a light tap on the pavement.

Diego waves at the departing Isabelle, finishing his cigarette and flicking the cherry into the grass so the rest can be properly dealt with. Call it his environmentalist side. "Yeah. If people watched this goofy bastard run around for a few hours, they'd no longer be scared of bullies."

Like a weathervane, Teo's head swivels to follow the pyrokinetic's path off the concrete, an eyebrow shifting upward a fraction. "Maybe next time," he replies to Alexander sidelong, grin going crooked. As Helena rejoins them, he reaches up to give salutation with a tweak of her hat brim, something shrewd about his eyes as he studies the accessory, a moment too long, a glint that's part pensive and all mischief. It's gone the next moment. Maybe next time. He nods at Alexander when the cab-driver says a thing about a shift and starts loping off, casting him a salute. "It's true. You're doing the city a service," he answers Diego, lightly.

Whether he means about letting the goofy bastard run around or the conscientious disposal of his cigarette, it's difficult to tell and more or less inconsequential. Casual gatherings are that way. The throng breaks up gradually like the last of summer's smog chased apart by the wind. Teo falls into step with Helena, companionable and inobtrusive. "Where are you heading?"

October 15th: As Safe a Place as Any
October 15th: Are You...?
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