Curses Into Blessings


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Scene Title Curses Into Blessings
Synopsis Joseph and Abby discover the Guiding Light defaced by _humanis-first graffiti, and they work to rally some help to change a curse into a blessing, reminding the pastor he's certainly not alone when it comes to his church. They also discuss his vision, and Flint Deckard.
Date May 23, 2009

Greenwich Village, outside the Guiding Light Baptist Church


Is what Joseph might say to avoid offending people nearby, but he never gets that far, mouth in a line as he observes the damage. It's a cloudy day in New York City, enough so that it's hard to actually tell the hour, some limbo that could either be the morning or the later afternoon, sun blending through the haze of smog. The pastor stands on the sidewalk out from his church, a cellphone clasped in his hands as he texts someone in a fashion that could be described as angry.

The buttons certainly don't have to be pressed that hard, but the subject of his aggravation is quite clear. The outside of the church has been decorated, it seems, with streaks of bright red and a harder to read blue, very American, the kind of paint that comes from a spraycan so one can form flowery letters of abuse on whatever surface seems appropriate.

Like the black doors, currently closed, and the grey brick of the exterior of the Guiding Light. It's hard to make out, but words do form. One is a simple acronym with added punctuation: HF!

Putt, putt, putt. It's the sounds that always precedes Abigail Beauchamp on Lazarus, making for the church. It's been a good day. Lots to think on. Conversations with many. She was going to stop by, see if there were requests for post sunday service vittles. REd hair flipping around beneath the bottom of the helmet, she put her turn signal on as she was coming up to the church. At spotting Joseph, the blonde smiles from behind the plexi face shield, applying the breaks and cutting her engine. The smile is quickly wiped off at the sigh of the blue and red text on the church. "Oh sweet merciful Heavens. Did they break in?!"

Joseph turns to look when he hears the sound of a scooter coming to stop nearby, managing to banish some of his stormy expression back for Abigail's benefit. Mostly. "No," he answers her, eyes back down to his phone as he laboriously finishes off his text and sends it off. "No break ins, just…" A hand goes out to gesture vaguely at the writing, other hand depositing the phone back into the pocket of his coat, which he hasn't even taken off yet, hiding the conservative dress of slacks and a button down.

Upon closer inspection, there is meaning to be found in the elaborate scribble. Catchphrases like inhuman and threat. The most clearly made out sentence can be read: don't believe their lies. No signs of gang tags, generic abuse or even anything artful. "'s gonna be a pain to clean up by Sunday," the pastor sighs out.

Keys in hand, Abigail comes to stand beside Joseph, glancing at the various phrases, pursing her lips. HF!. "Humanis First" Abigail offers. Makes sense with all the other phrases. "You have to expect it. This is an openly evolved church but, clean by sunday" Abigail grins. "I have friends. Co-workers and we have parish members. Have faith pastor Sumter. Have you called the cops yet?" The helmets being pried off now, the rest of her hair falling down to her shoulders now that it's out of captivity.

"No," Joseph admits, attempting to drag his gaze off the grafitti to look at the redhead. "No, not yet. As soon as I'm inside, I will. Humanis First?" It doesn't sound as if he's asking what they are, not really - most people would be smart to know already, and he does— but his tone is one as if asking the universe exactly why such a people would exist. His disgust is near palpable, with his shoulders tense beneath his coat and eyes somewhat steely.

Relaxing bit by bit, however. "You're right," he adds, with a quick, strained smile. "It's just paint, anyway, what's a little soap an' water, and elbow grease?" He glances to the door, then back to her scooter, then back to her, gaze analytical for a moment before hesitantly, Joseph says: "Look, do you— you wouldn' have a moment, would you? To talk?"

"Many hands make light work. I got a bunch of people that owe me favors, I'll call them in and before you know it, there won't be a trace of it at all. I even have a few cops that owe me. I'll call one of them up to come down if you like" Elisabeth would be good to look into this. "Sure. I was coming to see what to bring on Sunday." Odd, slightly, that Joseph wanted to talk. The scooter was fine where it was, unless some humanis ass came along and spray painted her bike. "Out here or inside?"

Odd that Joseph wants to talk in general, even, but he does it seems. A glance back to the doors before his quick answer is: "Here's fine." There's a certain kind of anonymity, on the sidewalk, that makes it possible. Those that do pass by don't seem inclined to listen. Significantly less claustrophobic, too, than the confines of his office or even the spacious worship hall. He hands settle in his pockets.

"You can use what you can do on yourself, is that right?" Out of all the questions in the world, that might come from left field.

"Long as i'm not badly hurting. OR as long as someones shot me full of the good stuff and i'm not loopy enough that I can't give the lord his due" She points out. "Best that I know, that's a rarity. The other healers that I know, they can't. Doesn't work on them." There's a long pause before she offers off up, glancing over at him worriedly. "I'm not setting myself up to get hurt for something am I?"

"…no! No. Gosh, no, sorry." Joseph's hand goes up to rub the bridge of his nose in a frustrated gesture. Wake up, Sumter. "No, I was askin' because— " Vague hand gesture, before his hand returns to his coat pocket once more. "The way mine works, I can't use it on myself. I think it's just part of its nature, but I met this woman the other day. She's got a— well. I won't go into detail."

Joseph did tell her he wouldn't tell, and while Abby isn't the cops by any stretch of the imagination, moral obligation simply says so. "Long story short, she gave me a vision. One of my own, somehow. You— you're one of the few people I've met that consider what it is we can do to be heavensent." He glances over his shoulder at the graffiti scrawl. The contrast being, of the Devil. "I guess'm not sure what to think about my ability bein' twisted that way."

Ooooohhh. Keys are tucked away, arms wrapped around her helmet which in turn is held to her waist, glancing up and studying the words on the walls. Assholes. "You don't like that maybe the good lord had a vision for you? Are you afraid of what you saw? I mean, i'm sure that it musta been strange, i'm sure, to suddenly have a taste of what it is that others have been given" She glances over at the other man, taking in his mein, the odds he's been put at. "Was it good, or bad?"

"It's never happened before," Joseph tries to emphasise, as if maybe that justifies not liking it, God given or not. "I was happy, at the time, but now— " He glances up searchingly, as if the heavy cloud cover and pollution would yield him answers. "It was neither. Well, bad, probably. An attack, and— candles goin' out. The ocean, or jus' water, the sound've it. Heck if I know what it means. It was— quick." An uncertain smile her way.

"Something concrete in the world. That you were sure of, a true north is suddenly… not true north? So used to being the one giving the visions. Being Gods conduit for such things, that suddenly, someone else gave it to you" Her fingers drum on her helmet. "It's okay Pastor Sumter, to not like it. He'll not strike you down with lightening for it. There's a man, that I can't heal. Something he does, he negates abilities. I can't heal a wink around him, can't even heal him. And heavens, every time I turn around he's getting shot by someone, vest or no. Disconcerts me like nothing ever, when i'm beside him and I know that I can't fix him. Sound more like.. your in shock. That.." She searches her mind while searching his face. "So used to comforting others that you've given them to, that you don't know how to comfort yourself after seeing it?"

And then Abby's getting touchy feely. In as much as she can get touchy feely normally. The helmet is set on the ground and she takes his hand in hers. Squeezes it gently.

She's right, of course, and that shows in his expression when she takes his hand to offer her kind of comfort, and some tension unwinds. As if it being put to words by someone else makes it a little easier to grapple with. Joseph squeezes her hand in turn in a show of gratitude, a few seconds of quiet as he thinks over what she has to say. "Somethin' like that," he agrees quietly. "I'd prefer to be grateful an' leave it at that but it's not always so simple. Things'll— be clear in time, I'm sure." He's certainly not about to argue what she has to say to him, as he lets their grip break once more - instead, taking it seriously and to heart, unlike some.

She takes her hand back, fleeting moment that it was. "I have to think, that you're justified in this instance, to be ungrateful. I really do. I mean.. we're all allowed to have our moments of not so christian behavior. I'm sure that in it's due time, what you saw will come to fruit. I only hope that there's someone with you at the time. Because that doesn't sound at all delightful. Mind you, I don't know how often that god shows good things. I mean, what I saw, was not good" One foot slips up to rest on top of the helmet, digging out her phone so she can start texting folks, go through her lists. "If you need a hug, just say. Cause, I've been in that kind of mood. To give them. Limited time offer, no refunds" fingers plunk on the keypad, trying hard not to screw up too bad. Texting. yuck.

That gains a laugh from the pastor, and it might be fortunate that he waves the offer away with a slight headshake, because who knows what might happen if they hug. Dividing by zero with the power of Jesus could destroy the city. "Thank you," Joseph settles on. "Most I can hope is that I'm prepared for whatever happens, which— well I wouldn't've been before, right?"

Not that lions and candles are explicit, but it is something. "How'd your vision turn out, anyway? Everythin'— come to pass okay?"

"Yup. Castle went boom, and my friend is suddenly not talking to birds anymore and it completely explains why she won't let me heal her" Abigail looks up. "Would kill her, and probably hurt me. Strange. very strange" Abigail answers. One text sent, a bazillion more to go. Thank you Alistair for at least teaching her how to do it. She glances over at him. "It came to pass" She smiles at the pastor. "No one died, the world is still turning and the good lord still lets me heal" Another one sent. "My parents enjoyed your service while they were down. Sorry we didn't stick around after, there was only just so much time that we had and it was Mothers Day"

"Not at all, I'm glad they came." The more he talks, the more he relaxes from the flustered mix of tension and anger and a strange sense of betrayal when he'd first seen the graffiti. Joseph even takes a breath, eases it out with a sigh. The senior pastor is going have words with him again about being so open about his power, but there it is. His hand goes up to run through his hair, scratch the back of his neck, before sharply drawing his mind from that inevitable conversation.

Doesn't matter. It's just paint. "There was somethin' else. I think— we have a mutual…" Something. Uh. "Person. That we know. Flint?"



Please don't be her flint.

Now it's her turn to give a strange look. "Uhh… tall. Scruffy. Always smells like whiskey, suit and tie…" Abigail looks over to Joseph. Please don't be him.

Joseph's eyebrows go up at the hesitation in her voice, but ultimately he nods once. "Yeah. Look— he had a vision from me once, and— probably don't tell him I'm talkin' to you about this," a little bit of alarm comes into his voice when that only occurs to him as he says it, a hand going out in a splayed fingered gesture, "but I just wanted you to know that— I think he believes you can help him. 'course he doesn't have a clue how to go about anythin' like that, and I don' think you so much as have to do anythin' but… be there. But I thought you should know."

He had a vision of her helping him. "We're sorta…" Always at odds with each other? "He was out on Staten Island. When I was. He helped some folks find me. he's got special eyesight I think. He lost an eye thanks to .. looking for me. He's.. He's a man who's in need of knowing that God hasn't forgot about him and that he's worthy of attention of the positive kind. Pretty thick skull though" There's something else murmured that sounds a lot like "He tried to kiss me" but even that is quickly overridden by "He showed up drunk at my place when my Dah was cleaning the shotgun. He caused a bit of an argument. Dad accused me of forgetting who my real friends were in this modern babylon when I told him that I was gonna take care of Flint. He'd hurt his hand"

There's a deeeeeep sigh from the redhead. "I'll.. remember that" good to know, really good to know. "I hope he hasn't been… pulling guns on yo… Wait, he's been coming here?"

Pulling guns. Funny she should say that. But whatever reaction he might have to that accurate assessment is hidden behind a quick smile from the pastor, and he shakes his head. "No, not— well. A coupla times. He doesn't exactly attend service, I'm sure you've noticed. It's fine, though, he just comes round… occasionally." Somewhere deep down, Joseph has the sense not to describe the very first meeting, leaving it at occasionally. "I'm not sure what he's looking for when he does, but." Shrug.

"I think.. he gets lonely. He tends to haunt Staten Island. Or other places. I met him when I worked at the diner. Said he sold bullet proof insurance. he was banged up. He's… done some not nice things. He sold me out to some not nice folks. He's made some efforts to try and keep me from getting hurt, and i've patch him up when he lets me. Took a flower pot to his head once when he wouldn't let me. Heavens, he looked like frankenstein, all stitched up." There's a scowl as she turns back to the Grafitti. "I should probably call him and ask him to come help clean. See if he'd do it" and you can bet that she will leave a message for him. "Just .. if he gets a bit much, don't call the cops. Just call me, i'll come fetch him or i'll send someone who can get him. He … He's flint"

Joseph blinks, before a smile spreads over his face. At this notion of Flint and cleaning. It's not in his nature to be cynical, but there is certainly doubt in the way he nervously chuckles. "That sounds kinda like a lost cause already, but— if you like. Get the feelin' he's not into owin' people." But he's not saying no. "No, I wouldn'— call the cops. Not unless— " His brow furrows, and in an attempt at light humour, he asks, "You're not his handler or anythin', are you?"

"Me handle flint? Heavens no. WE fight like cats and dogs. I jumped on him when he was trying to rob a grave" She's not painting a very pretty picture of him. "That was loooong time ago. He's a bit more civilized now. I doubt he'll show. But it'll light a bee under his bonnet and he owes me for me choosing him over my father" More text messages being sent out. "But I have to try. oh! I got Delilah coming. Well, there's one more hand to scrub the church. She's my neighbour. She dresses like a fifties housewife. Works for her. I'll have to make a few calls, but we can not call the cops if you like. I can mention it to one that i'm friends with and she can have them keep an eye at night around here if you like instead. She owes me. They all owe me. Pretty boy baxter would not be flying if it weren't for me and the good lord above"

Joseph smile turns warm, a hand going out to briefly touch Abby's arm above the elbow in a faint squeeze. "Thanks for doin' that. If I can get out've callin' the cops, I'd appreciate it. Not to say these— " A gesture towards the graffiti. "These idiots are any better'n the police but I like t'keep things separated." That came out a little strange, brow furrowing some and wondering exactly what he was trying to say with that, but shrugs it off. "Heck, if we can rally people together, old an' new, to clean up this mess it'll make us stronger as a congregation. I should call Frita, get 'er in touch with some've the volunteers."

"You get Frita. I'll get the rest of New York City and then some to come in" She fished into her pocket, pulling out a white business card with black lettering. Linderman Group on it. "I'll work a miracle that isn't healing. we'll work a miracle and get this gone by tonight. You go in pastor. Make yourself some tea. I'll rally us some workers. Even if I bribe them with soda and pizza" Maybe she could get Cat to pay for the pizza? She didn't see cat as the type to come down here and actually get in there with her elbows scrubbing, but helping feed the masses? She could see Cat doing that. Even as she's thinking, smiling warmly at Joseph, she's dialing the number on the business card. "Mr Caliban? It's Abigail beauchamp…"

"Alright." Alright. Tea, relax, regroup. Turn a curse into a blessing. "Thanks again, Abby. For, uh." Not just the rallying, he wants to explain, but the preacher can be amazingly inarticulate when it comes to himself, so Joseph leaves it with, "…this," and a smile. He heads towards the closed double-doors, the giant H and F!, bright red and blue in turn, on each surface framing him for the time it takes to unlock the doors and disappear inside the Guiding Light.

It could be Humanis first, She could look at it like it's Humanis First. But looking at it, Abby smiles as she finishes leaving the message for Robert Caliban and starts texting again. "Holy Father" HF. Try again jack asses. Don't mess with my church. We have the lord on our side. Who do you have on yours

"Have faith Pastor Sumter" She murmurs into the air around her.

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