Consuming An Elephant


matt_icon.gif nadia_icon.gif

Scene Title Consuming an Elephant
Synopsis Two public figures of different walks of life, one a veteran and one a rookie, meet by chance at a bar.
Date September 6, 2010


The original property in being turned into d'Sarthe's has not changed much from its Tavern days. New interior and new decor, for the most part, has taken over, while the outside has been spruced up heavily so. Around the far back perimeter is a new fence, a tall and sturdy arbor that does well with the trees in hiding the skeletal view of midtown in the distance. This fence surrounds new, colorful gardens, which include a well-stocked koi pond that seems to be perpetually layered in lovely green lily pads.

On the inside of the building, the restaurant is home to several different large dining rooms and a few respective bar areas. The dining rooms have variant menus, and so there is always something for someone; from fine French dining to a more homegrown menu in one of the smaller parts of the building. The finer areas are finely colored and detailed in a practical way; intricacy is counted more than worth, and so it gives a visible show of being more complex than it had cost. Some are more opulent, such as the private dining rooms decked in their Sunday Best. Even the less dressed dining rooms are very easy on the eyes, however, most of the rooms also being offset by large windows to views of the outside, to the park and to the span of gardens and large pond, and the tall, vine covered arbor.

D'Sarthe's has a peaceful flow to it, and a very natural feel, especially to how it is laid out and to how the facility has been remodeled since its yonder years. There are no inner public rooms where it feels as if you are not going to be welcome, or otherwise unwanted. It feels exactly how a restaurant should feel; comfortable, not stuffy- as if you simply belong there.

Labor Day is an invention for the civilian workforce.

Matt Parkman hasn't been subject to the rest afforded by the holiday since he was in college, or on the very rare occasion throughout his law enforcement career that he actually pulled the date as a day off. It's been a long time, but today, this year, he isn't so lucky.

While the nation winds up from a day spent having picnics and barbecues with friends and family, enjoying what is effectively the last day of summer, Matt Parkman sits at one of d'Sarthe's for bars, a lowball glass on the polished wood in front of him. Inside, amongst a few cubes of ice, is a light brown liquid that could be any number of distilled liquors. But from the sour look on his face, the likelihood that the government official is here for pleasure is pretty low.

Nadia never really had much use for Labor Day. Sure, when she was younger, it meant a three day weekend, and usually a trip out to Disney World. But nowadays, when she's not only a student and her own employer as a sculptor but a budding political starlet who unwittingly signed into a controversial topic and put herself at the front of it, Labor Day really doesn't have too much meaning, save for a bit of extra time to spend at home with her dog, Holmes, and some extra time to work on the charity project she's been brewing.

She liked d'Sarthe's, when she came here for the soft opening, and so she has chosen it as the venue of choice for her new charity effort. The political starlet, dressed in a snug satin dress number complete with black shoes, looks almost like she comes out of 50's pinups this evening. She's come to enjoy the fact that she can afford to dress up more often, what with the extra income from her new role as the face of Registration. A leather-bound folder accompanies her along with the little handpurse she carries, filled with paperwork for her charity.

She's certainly got a fair bit more cheer on her face as she steps up to the bar, leaning against it and ordering an amaretto sour. She's still smiling as she sets her things on the bar, turning to peer over at Matt. Then, she almost does a double take, blinking a few times. "Oh…oh wow…you're Matt Parkman!"

Washington D.C. is a town of politicians and administrators, where it isn't a surprise to see delegates, senators, congressmen, or any number of appointed officials doing every day things. In contrast, New York City is a celebrity playground, where the civilian world's equivalent is true. So it stands to reason that when one world overlaps with the other, reactions such as Nadia's are to be expected.

Parkman pauses, his drink halfway to his lips when he looks down the bar at Nadia - Nadia who looks far too young to tread such a fine line between work and recreation, with the juxtaposition of the outfit with the leather portfolio. He narrows his eyes slightly at her, trying to remember where he's seen her face before. "Can I help you?" he asks, his tone on the polite side of annoyed. Still watching her, Parkman tips his drink against his lips for a quick swig of the honey-colored contents.

The small Moroccan woman smiles warmly over at Matt, scooting a seat closer to him with a cheerful smile on her face, apparently oblivious to the politely annoyed tone he carries. One hand reaches up, brushing a strand of raven-black hair away from her face. She's still getting used to this whole glamorous lifestyle, and meeting other 'celebrities' of sorts is still a new thing. One hand raises to the woman's mouth, giggling softly as she tries not to be too giddy.

Considering this schoolgirlish behavior, it's apparent that she looks up to the man, judging by the slightly awed expression on her face. "I'm so sorry! I don't mean to be impolite, I just never thought I'd meet someone like you!" She calms the giggling, and raises a hand, offering it out to him. "I'm Nadia Ba'albaki. You may have seen me in the new Department of Evolved Affairs Commercials…?'

That's it. Parkman leans his head back slightly with the realization. "I knew I'd seen you somewhere," he says with the faintest of smiles that doesn't reach his dark eyes. Setting his drink down, he turns slightly in his seat to shake Nadia's hand not like a gentlemen would a ladies, but as if she were a business associate like any other.

"Are they still doing those?" he asks with eyes narrowed not in suspicion or annoyance, but the mask of interest that comes with small talk. "I mean, now that it's September. Or is it all wrapped up?" After all, now that the mandatory registration deadline has passed, failure to register will result in fines and/or criminal proceedings.

As her drink arrives, Nadia offers a grateful smile to the bartender, raising the glass and taking a sip once she's shaken Matt's hand. Then, her full attention is back in Matt, that cheerful smile on her face. "Well, I think they're making me into a figurehead of sorts? Or something like that. I just know that I have a contract, and apparently, I'll be getting more than fifteen minutes of fame. I just recently did an interview with PAUSE magazine."

She lifts that glass, sipping at the sweet drink. "Either way, I'm just glad to have the opportunity. I had ulterior motives in signing up for the commercials." She raises her hands, gesturing around the restaurant. "I'm hoping to start up a charity, and I'm actually here to get this place rented out for my first charity function."

"What's the cause?" he asks casually, all the while his own mind wheeling from what she'd said just before that.

Mention of ulterior motives in the presence of a man like Parkman is rarely a good idea. He blinks, then squints at the woman, shifting his weight ever so slightly to as to lean toward her by a fraction of an inch. Just what those ulterior motives were, or perhaps still are, is what he hopes to find by sifting through the woman's thoughts, masking the change in posture with a fronted interest in her work.

As he sifts through her thoughts, Matt Parkman is likely to realize just how innocent this woman is, as well as how naive she is. Those ulterior motives are not quite ulterior, with her thoughts focused on the poor and desolate of New York. Apparently, the driving force behind those thoughts come from when the bomb hit. It seems she partially blames herself for her apartment building being destroyed, and the deaths that came from it.

If I had known the bomb would hit, or just paid attention, I could have stopped that building from being demolished…I wouldn't have been the only survivor. Oh Allah, I hope I can pull off this charity, it's so much work, but maybe I can make up for it a little bit in your eyes…

When she speaks, her words are nearly identical to her thoughts. "Well, I hope to start a charity that focuses on rebuilding neighborhoods and homes for people displaced by the bomb. I'm an architect student, too, so I hope to one day use the skills I've spent eight years learning to make New York as beautiful as it was before the bomb. I love this city and all of the people of different walks of life, and I want to try to do my part to restore it to its former glory."

It's not an uncommon thing to find, unfortunately. Those who have abilities that could have been, would have been useful in preventing the exploding man from detonating in Midtown that November noon. That, combined with the idealism that Nadia spouts, is enough reason for Parkman to take another sip of his drink. He leans back, letting his eyes close as the cool liquid burns a trail down his throat.

"You've got your work cut out for you," is all he says as he chokes the booze down, lifting his eyebrows for a moment. "Care for a bit of advice?"

The young woman offers a small smile to Matt, running a hand through her hair as she sips at her own drink. She really does admire the man, seeing him as a kindred spirit of sorts. Someone who has come out as an Evolved to the world, as well. It doesn't matter that their walks of life are completely different, and while Matt is in politics, Nadia is a 'celebrity' of sorts. She still sees Matt as someone who is like her, in a way.

"I'm all ears, Mr. Parkman. I'd also like to say, I realy admire you for what you've done. For coming out as an Evolved to the world, I mean." She smiles.

If Matt Parkman were like any other politician on the Hill, such flattery and ego-stroking by an attractive woman half his age would be met with an entirely different response. As it is, Parkman isn't a politician at heart. He didn't gain his position by currying favor and networking. He didn't achieve his rank by nepotism or even being the best in his field. There's no single good reason that Parkman is where he is, but neither he is going to question it. The fact remains that he is a cop in a world of politicos - a man who wants to give girls like Nadia a sweater and warn them about the evils strong drink than do rather than poor them another glass of Madeira.

"Don't try to eat an elephant all by yourself."

The same sentiment could be expressed in a number of ways, but Parkman chooses one of the less poetic ones. "It'll kill you," he adds with a concerned sort of look, but it's shallow. He doesn't know Nadia, and therefore has no reason to be bothered with her welfare beyond common courtesy. He polishes off his drink and pushes himself off the bar stool, giving his jacket lapels a quick tug. "And I haven't done anything admirable," he adds, his face rigid. "I've just done what's needed.

"You have a good night, Ms. Ba'albaki. Good luck with your work."

The girl blinks a few times, looking rather confused by his sentiment. That'll require some thinking…but she's sure she's got the gist of it. Nadia nods slowly toward Parkman, a small smile on her face. "Thank you…I'll definitely keep that in mind." She tilts her head to one side, smiling up at the man as he tugs at the lapels of his jacket.

"Sometimes, doing what's needed is the most admirable thing in the world, Mr. Parkman. Sometimes, it takes a brave man to to what's necessary." Nadia fixes Matt with a smile, raising a hand to him. "You have a wonderful night, Mr. Parkman. If you see anything in the papers about an event from MYNB, or Make New York Beautiful, then I would really love to see you there."

He takes her hand again, but purely out of politeness. He doesn't hold onto it for very long. The smile he gives her is his best political one, and it isn't very good. Not that it isn't genuine, but comes across as strained, as if he went to a great deal of trouble to paint it onto his face, and he didn't quite stay within the lines.

"Schedules permitting," he says with a tilt of his head before he steps away from the bar and toward the maitre d' stand to check on the status of the person he was supposed to meet.

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