Ben From Boston


ben_icon.gif simon_icon.gif

Scene Title Ben From Boston
Synopsis Ben needs a pen to fill out a job application. And a coffee. He doesn't need the pen to fill out coffee, he needs coffee to drink. Simon provides.
Date November 17, 2008

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

Somehow Simon got the job he was applying for, even though he and Deckard were being very sarcastic at each other when he was filling out his application. Apparently that doesn't matter. Of course, dropping Abby's name probably helped his case. Either way, he's now a server in training and he's already got a bunch of nasty stains all over himself. Ketchup on his jeans. Mustard on his belt. Coffee everywhere. Right now the girl training him has him filling little bowls with packets of butter, because some of the tables need it. He looks like he hates life.

Ben looks like life hates him, at least a little. A tallish guy in a plain gray knit cap and otherwise utilitarian clothing, he comes bearing some papers stapled together and heads for the counter. There's healing bruises around his left eye and his left wrist is enclosed in a blue brace. He heads for the counter, sits down, and starts patting his jacket's pockets. Pat pat pat. He mumbles something under his breath - probably something not said in polite company - and looks at the two people working. Simon looks less busy. "Excuse me. Could I borrow a pen? And, uh, some coffee would be great."

With ten dishes of butter ready to go, Simon is happy that some random guy is trying to get a pen from him. He wipes something gross on his apron and heads for the counter. "Sure, yeah. Here you go," He says as nicely as he can. A pen is taken from his apron and handed over. "I'm training, by the way. Just a warning." After making more than a few mistakes today, he feels the need to preface anything he does with that warning.

Ben takes the pen with a grateful little smile, nodding once. "Everyone goes through it," he tells Simon. He's sitting at the counter with some paperwork in front of him, looking kind of banged up. "You have some mustard on your belt." That said, he positions the pen awkwardly in his right hand, uses his braced wrist to hold down the paper, and starts scrawling with great intent on the papers, which are, upon closer inspection, a job application.

"You don't want to know everywhere I've had mustard today," Simon says as he walks a few feet away to grab a mug. He pours in some coffee from the pot on the counter and then brings the drink to Ben. "Here you go. Need some cream or sugar or something? If you do it's right there." He points at the cream packets and sugar right in front of Ben.

Ben pauses in his scrawling to take the mug with a faint smile. "Thanks." The job application is abandoned for now so he can grab himself some sugar and milk. A lot of sugar. "I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess this place isn't hiring anyone else new, huh?"

"I have no idea. I was referred here so I'm not sure if they even needed *me*." Simon glances past Ben to the other tables he's supposed to be walking. The drinks are full and everyone looks happy. Perfect. "You should shower before you go job hunting." Simon wrinkles his nose at the man and grins, then grabs a napkin from under the counter and starts to clean off some condiments from his clothes.

Ben blinks, glancing down at himself. He surreptitiously tilts his head to get his nose closer to his armpit to sniff twice before looking back up at Simon and rubbing his chin. "…Is it the beard? I /did/ shower."

"Maybe," Simon says, giving Ben a closer look, "Or maybe this place just makes everything look dirty. Don't tell her I said that, though." He nods his head to Natasha, an older woman serving some grilled cheese sandwiches to some of Simon's classmates.

Ben dumps more sugar in his drink, seeming kind of puzzled. That just knocked him off kilter. "Uh. Is there something I should know about the health standards in this place…?"

"What? No, I just mean that I get dirty here. Mustard. Ketchup. Forget I said anything, ok?" Simon grumbles and has come to terms with the fact that he may very well be the worst server ever. Still, maybe it's just his lack of experience in the field. "So what's that one for," Simon asks in order to change the subject, noting the application Ben brought in with him.

Ben's forehead remains wrinkled, though he relaxes a bit. He is not smelly. That's good to know. Taking a sip of the highly-doctored coffee, he picks up the pen again and gestures at the papers. "Alley Cat Courier. I'm new to town, looking for a job."

"Oh, cool. Courier will probably help you get to know the city. Good luck with that." Simon grabs another pen out of his apron as well as a pad of paper, which he starts to write on. It's just the bill. One coffee=no tip. "Where are you from?"

Ben winces faintly. "Or make it really hard in the beginning. I've wandered around a little, at least." He makes another notation on the application. Name: Benjamin Fletcher. "I'm from Boston."

Simon shrugs and offers, "Well it's the long run that matters, right?" He finishes writing out the bill and then stuffs both the pad of paper and the writing utensil into his apron. "That's cool. I've always liked Boston. I was actually there when, well, you know what happened here." The bomb, of course.

Ben keeps writing. The address gives him a moment's pause, and he skips on to fill in an e-mail address, though Simon's words make him wince a little as well. "That's… fortunate, that you weren't here in the city." He looks up at Simon. "I imagine you were still affected by the incident. It's almost impossible not to be."

"Yeah, almost impossible," is Simon's answer, and that's as detailed as it's going to get. "So do you want something else? Something to eat maybe?"

Ben turns his unbraced wrist to consult his watch; he shakes his head. "No, thanks. How much is the coffee?" Now he's patting about for a wallet. He doesn't press the issue of the Kirby Plaza explosion; he knows better.

"A buck fifty," Simon says, reaching into his apron again to tear off the bill and set it in front of Ben. "I'm not trying to run you out, you know. Take your time."

Ben removes a pair of bills from his pocket, setting them down on the counter. "No change," he says absently, which means a tip for Simon. Maybe he's just that nice! "You're not running me off. I have an appointment to keep pretty soon. "Any tips for the newly arrived? Sites I should see, things I should avoid?"

"Well, I guess you could check out the ruins. And don't tell me you don't have morbid curiosity about it, because we all do," Simon tells Ben before grabbing his money. "You come back now. Y'hear?" He always wanted to say that.

Ben cracks a grin at that. "I will. Especially if I get the courier job." What with it being in the same area. "I'll probably check out the ruins, yeah." That sobers him up; there's a moment where his eyes are downcast where it seems like he might say something else, but he doesn't.

Simon stands the for a moment, smiling. "Yeah, man. Have fun. Take pictures and send them to your friends. I've seen other people doing it." He lifts his hand with the money and adds, "Thanks for the tip."

Ben finishes off his coffee in three long gulps, setting the mug down and blinking again at Simon. "…That hardly seems appropriate," he murmurs, wincing faintly again as he stands. "Take care. You look like you've had a rough day." Says the guy who looks like he got mugged recently.

Simon shrugs. "It can only get better I guess. And you're right, it's totally unacceptable. Don't be like those douchebags." Seriously, the bomb site is not for tourism!

Ben smiles faintly, nods, and turns to head back out, application in hand.

November 17th: Doomed to It, Chained to It

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 17th: Glitter and Rainbows
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