Death Don't Have No Mercy


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Scene Title Death Don't Have No Mercy
Synopsis Beautiful music and an act of generosity is a great conversation starter.
Date January 29, 2011

Northern Brooklyn

Brooklyn's success and survival as a borough following the nuclear explosion in 2006 in Midtown Manhattan is driven by three main factors: the performance of the national and city economy, population flows and the borough's position as a convenient back office for New York's businesses. All of these factors only became more prominent after the destruction of Manhattan's heart and the influx of residents from Staten Island and Manhattan caused a surge in economic growth in the region. Brooklyn is one of the few places in New York that, largely, has improved since the bomb.

New construction in Brooklyn's northern side is a booming industry and it's hard to go too far in the borough without seeing a banner that denotes an upcoming construction brought by the Linderman Group or the Maxwell Construction Corporation. With much of Manhattan's infrastructure demolished and Queens in utter financial ruin, it has fallen on this industrious and thriving community to try and pull the weight of the rest of the city.

While much of Brooklyn is economically thriving, the region is beginning to suffer from overpopulation and crowding, and like much of the rest of New York City it has an exceptionally high rate of homeless. Shanty towns and tent cities are a common site in vacant lots and under bridges. For as much as Brooklyn is thriving, it's still a part of a crumbling city that is dragging it down.

Mid-day in Northern Brooklyn, and the shadow of the enduring skyline is cast over the busy street. Pedestrians en masse trod the concrete, pausing only to wait for a break in traffic at the corner before continuing with tunnel-vision forwards to their determined destination.

On one such corner is a dark older man, though his face still possesses a surprising youth. He's leaning against a walking light with his guitar slung over one shoulder, gun-slinger style. The respective case for the instrument is at his feet on the sidewalk before him, open but, alas, empty. The only encouragement the man seems to garner with his song is the bobbing of a few heads, and tapping of some feet. His fingers dance excitedly across the frets and over the strings, and with deft motions likely ingrained in their muscle memory, they orchestrate a rather haunting song. One that raises the hackles even as it cajoles the ears. The man, who is dressed in a quite becoming suit, albeit wrinkled, bellows out a powerful voice, clearly capable of embellishing the tones but opting in this number to project power and clarity.

"Death don't have no mercy, in this land," he sings. "Y'know death don't have no mercy in this land, in this la-hand, come to your house, you know he don't stay long, you look in the bed, find your mama gone, death don't have no mercy in this land."

It's sunny today. The sun shines, glittering off of the snow that covers the ground, making it look a little brighter than it really is outside. There's still a chill that hangs in the air, radiating from the snow, the cold pavement, and the cold stone of the overabundant buildings, but the sun counteracts the cold rather nicely, especially for those wearing darker winter clothing.

The weather is probably the only reason that Soleil Remi Davignon is out and about today. Her head is feeling better, thankfully, since her adventure into mind control. In part, thanks to the prescription-strength migraine medicine she picked up the other day.

As she comes into hearing range of that haunting song, Remi's brows raise slightly, the young woman slowly making her way closer on designer snow boots, tight jeans that mark her slender form, and a black peacoat over it all, the black wool absorbing the heat of the sunlight and transferring it to her. The redhead, sporting a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses, comes to a stop a few feet from the busker, quietly listening.

After a long moment, she reaches into her purse, pulling out a $100. This is put into his case in a deliberately slow action, the bill held so that he can see it if he's paying attention.

If the cold bothered the street performer, he didn't show it. Maybe that animation with the guitar kept him warm, but more likely it was simply a tolerance to modest cold. If one really scrutinized his attire, as someone who dons designer snow boots through the slushy streets of the city might, they could assume by the wrinkles and intermitten smudges that this man has not seen a change of clothes in some time. As his song wraps up with a resounding chorus, his fingers flutter a conclusion upon the neck.

"Come to your house, you know he don't take long, you wake up one morning and your whole family be gone," he sings. "Oh, death don't, have no mercy, in this land." The song comes to an abrupt end, and from behind those very reflective lenses of his glasses the man observes Remi reaching into her pocket. A smile spreads across his lips, one contradictory to those morose lyrics, and that radiates pure joy. Indeed, he is a light-hearted and bright-souled man, this much is clear. Alacrity wanes, however, as he sees the denomination on the bill; lips flutter momentarily, then broaden all the more as his face lifts up to meet her's. Pushing the guitar into a comfortable idle position under arm and behind his back, he lifts his picking hand to pull his sunglasses down his nose, thereby revealing aged and somewhat bloodshot eyes. "Well, I'll just swaney," he says in a thick Southern drawl, one that was nowhere to be heard in his singing. "Y'didn't even hear the entire song, miss!"

Really, it was more of a random act of kindness coupled with an appreciation for the performing arts that prompted Remi to donate such a handsome amount of funding to Slim. That, and $100 is a bit of a pittance to the young woman who usually nets about three grand a week from combined sources. $100 can't even buy her a pair of shoes, really. Granted, her father probably would kill her for just giving that money away, but then…he's not really playing an active role in her life these days, so she could care less.

The redhead smiles faintly, a shrug rolling over her shoulders. When she speaks, her voice carries a thick French accent. "I didn't need to 'ear the entire song, monsieur, to know zat you are talented, and zat your case was empty." Once the bill is deposited into his case, Remi takes a step back, examining the fellow. "Besides, you look like you could use it more zan moi, oui?"

Sliding his sunglasses back up the bridge of his nose, Slim nods. He certainly wouldn't refute the generosity. He bends down to pluck the bill out of the plush interior of the guitar case, folding it between his fingers and slipping it into his inner breast pocket. Safer there than borne for the whole world to see, that's for sure. "Thank y'kindly," he says with a dip of his head. "To tell the truth, I been pretty hard up lately sin' I came into town. Hungry as hell, too, but that'll sure put pepper in the gumbo!" Slim laughs with a wink, the only visible sign of which was the turning of his cheek and its lifting, his glasses as veiling as they are. "My name's Slim, Slim Morrows. If'n y'know any a body lookin' for someone to gig for 'em, do me a favor and pass my name along?" Another conglomeration of commuters passes by, without sparing nary a look to the man, who now goes about securing his guitar in its case.

The woman offers a faint smile to Slim, running a hand through her hair and lifting those heart-shaped glasses up to reveal a pair of large blue eyes. For a moment, she simply watches him, observing his movements for a moment. Then, she offers a warm smile to the man, dipping her head in a small, barely noticable bow. "Well, I am glad to 'elp zen, oui?" She offers a charming smile, running a hand through her hair.

Then, a smile. "I am Soleil Davignon, but everyone calls me by my middle name, Remi." She tilts her head to one side. "I am afraid I do not know many musicians. I know plenty of Dancers," and some of the best Dancers in America no less, "but I am not familiar with any musicians." She pauses a beat, then her face breaks into a warm smile. "But if I meet any, I will certainly let zem know, oui?"

Slim rights himself, simultaneously raising one hand to resituate the brim of his hat, lips pulled taught in a great smile. "It's a pleasure, Remi," says the man opting for the less articulate and French name with his heavy southern voice. "And I would be mighty 'preciative of that. Got my work cut out f'me, tryin' to keep warm and fed and network at the same time." Then, patting his breast where lies that new Ben Franklin, he says, "Of course, you already helped me out a great deal. Guess I oughtta go down the road a piece and get me some chow." Bending carefully so as to not pain his back, Slim picks up his case. "Hope to see you again sometime, miss Remi. Play for a spell or two."

"Do you play 'ere often?" Remi gestures out around, to indicate the corner that they are on. "If so, I will try to make an effort to visit, oui? I enjoyed what I 'eard of your playing, and I certainly wouldn't mind hearing more, oui?" She offers a charming smile toward the older man, her knees bending rather gracefully in a soft courtsey. Something about her movements is incredibly graceful, even in the thick trappings of her winter gear.

Briefly, she opens her mind toward Slim, mildly curious what his current thoughts are, though she gives no indication of doing as much. Instead, she smiles cheerfully, brows raised. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Monsieur Morrows."

The man's mind is aflood with experiences, all of which circulate and coalesce to form his current perspective, emotion, and state of mind. The words, 'Do you play here often?" arroused a great deal of memories, of this City twenty years ago, of places and conditions like it, and of the many, many years spent playing that box of his. The very same one, in fact, that had been given to him by none other than Robert Lockwood, Robert Johnson's adopted son himself, a man Slim regarded as something of an uncle, apparently. He's incredibly well travelled, though not outside of the United States, and despite having been stranded in the city after being led on a goose-chase for some Horace who proved to be absent, he was quite content to squeeze out his survival in this way. In his mind, the deepest throes of his heart, it was what he loved best. Playing the blues, because you had to. Because you had them. The flash of memories also indicates that he's a fast thinker, and quite the intellectual. Darker visions sporadically appear, of him being muddled and besotten with alcohol and catching the wrong kinds of folk on the wrong side in back alley deals that might be drugs, or could be debts from gambling. It was who he was, what he lived, but he had no reproach for it. His soul was in the blues.

"Got me a room out in Prospect Park," says Slim, mustering a strong smile. "So, yeah, guess this corner finds me pretty often." Quite positive, he is, even in the face of the most disheartening conditions. "And I do hope to see you again, miss. Not because of your patronage, either." With a wink and a nod, he set off down the sidewalk to the South. Were Remi still perusing his thoughts, she would find his endeavors genuine: he was searching out a good meal, not a drink. Well, it would be nice if he could find a drink in the same spot, but it wasn't his foremost priority.

Remi remains in her spot, a warm smile on her face as she watches the man. He seems nice. She'll have to come visit him at some point in the near future. Hopefully he'll be playing next time she comes out. "'Ave a good day, zen, Monsieur Morrows!" She raises a hand, offering a small wave, before she turns, moving in the direction she was initially heading.

She's done her good deed for the day. Now she can rest easy if she has to be a bitch to someone. Usually doesn't happen, but you never know when you have to be an awful bitch to someone on a moment's notice. Especially when you're Soleil Davignon.

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