graeme_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif

Scene Title Delinquentizing
Synopsis Koshka doesn't get to talk her way out of being caught, this time.
Date February 18, 2011

Canal Street Market

Graeme's been out and about today, with posters and flyers for Liberty. They've been left with willing stores in the Canal Street Market, and now the bag with flyers has been slung over his shoulder, and the man slowly threads his way through the crowd around a food vendor. Skateboard in one hand, he watches from a bit of a distance, considering. Even if he's not tired after having traversed a fair distance of New York City in between taxis, he is hungry.

From a storefront several shops up the block from where Graeme peruses the food vendors comes a yell. It's half hearted, lacking in pursuit, though the 'Stop, thief' is unmistakeable. The milling crowds, every day patrons and exotic looking tourists alike react in the same manner with half looking herd-like toward the commotion and others simply moving out of the way.

Through the break in the crowd a teenager comes running, sliding between and dodging passed the passersby not fast enough to move first. Koshka, looking ever so much as though she were out for a run, sprints through the parting with ease though there's no sign of anyone following.

Could just be a kid out running, not too uncommon even in these days.

Generally, Graeme's not so sure he sees people running through the crowded areas of a market, most times. His grip on his skateboard tightens, considering whether he feels like dropping it to the ground, but instead he just takes a few steps, placing himself overall in Koshka's path. At least, somewhat.

Risking a look back, Koshka fails to notice Graeme moving into her path. It comes as a surprise, she'd expected the way to remain clear, then turned back to see a man in the way. The proverbial brakes are stepped on, to try and veer one way would knock her into someone else and the other way would spill her into something greasy and unidentifiable yet somehow edible. With feet sliding and skidding against the pavement, the teenager, too late, tries to turn over and head the other direction, but momentum continues to carry her on a collision course.

Graeme wasn't really intentionally placing himself in the teenager's path, and so it takes him a moment too long to realise that it'd be a collision, as well, and he stumbles a bit backwards after it happens.

"Watch where you're going, would you?" The tone from the man isn't unkind, not terribly so, just frustrated.

It's bad luck, running into someone without intending to. Koshka grabs at Graeme to keep from meeting the pavement full on. It slows her tumble a little, hands brushing rather than succeeding in stopping the fall. But that fall brings to light an opportunity. Maybe luck will win out this time.

Standing again, not bothering to brush herself off, the girl looks up at Graeme entirely apologetically. "Woah! Oh, man. I'm sorry." Her words come out rushed, as though afraid the man might set in a rant, hands reaching to brush over his jacket, to set him to rights and clean off her cooties. And eventually slip fingers into his outer coat pockets. "So stupid, I should've watched where I was going. Are you okay?"

Graeme grasps Koshka pretty firmly by the shoulder, to help her remain upright rather than fall. "I'm fine. I can take a lot worse than a little bit of a bump and still be fine. And I'm pretty sure you're not stupid, you shouldn't say that." He pauses, but doesn't let go yet. "Wait a second, now just what do you think you're doing?"

He's been a teacher long enough to recognise a few of the signs of delinquency that he sees in the girl. "You really don't want to do that." He doesn't let go of her shoulder, either, though his grip isn't hard enough to be painful or anything.

"I should've been more careful," Koshka continues saying. She gives a shrug of her shoulders, casual enough to be unnoticed as unusual, really she's testing the confines of that grip. "I'm really sorry. You sure you're okay? I could get you a bandaid or… Aspirin?" Not likely she'd be back if sent off on that errand.

Lifting her head again to look up at Graeme, Koshka's eyes widen at the man's question and statement alike. What is she doing? Well, her fingers are trying to work his wallet into her sleeve though her efforts at brushing him off are slowing. "…Gotta go!" Regardless of the hold on her shoulder, the teenager turns to disappear amongst the crowded stores.

"Not so fast you don't," Graeme says. She's not the easiest to follow, but not the hardest, either, and his strides are longer. Plus, he doesn't quite care about pushing past people as he does so. And then he realises that she has his wallet, and he attempts to herd her actually into a store. Hopefully.

"What, are you some kind of creeper," Koshka mutters to herself, a glance sent over her shoulder revealing that Graeme is following. She really should just give up the gig. It's fun, but more often than not, she fails. And it's not like she needs to steal anyway. Into a store is not the way she's going, she slinks along the outdoor displays, weaving between tables covered with cheap Made In China toys and tacky 'authentic' Chinese clothing.

Graeme's keeping pace overall, and not even pushing that many people aside. He catches up a bit later, and steps in front of her, bending his knees so that he's at eye level with her, and this time, his grip on her shoulder is such that she's not so easily able to get away. But the man's relaxed, overall, too, such that anyone watching would think he knew her, and that was the reason he tried so hard to catch up.

"So why'd you take it?" he asks. He's not yelling, not calling her a thief loudly enough to cause panic. Really, he doesn't want her to try and run off again. "And could I get it back, hm?" There's a soft drawl to his words, overall, and they're level and even.

"You are a creeper," Koshka grumps. She's not entirely surprised the man caught up. The lift was too good to be true, too perfect an opportunity. We won't mention that she's still needing practice at the art of picking pockets. Shrugging off his hands, or that's the attempt, the teenager levels a stare at Graeme. The wallet is produced, same sleeve it had fallen into, and held outward. It's surreptitious enough to not draw unwanted attention.

The wallet being produced has a positive effect. Graeme's skateboard is dropped to the ground, then stepped on with one foot to keep it in place, and he takes his wallet back, shoving it into his pocket, before bothering to correct Koshka. "No. Technically, I'm a teacher, and technically, you're a delinquent." For all that he's not terribly pleased with the situation, he's not unkind about it.

"Technically you're a creep face," Koshka counters, not quite in a sulk. She's not happy about being caught, but at least this one didn't land her in cold and muddy slush. "And what do you know about me? Not some delinquent." Her hands thrust into her pockets, jaw tightening in a silent dare. "You're just sore 'cause you got picked by some kid."

"I know that there's usually some reason for kids to pickpocket," Graeme says, quietly. "And no, you're just sore 'cause you got caught at it." He still hasn't let go of her, and instead, he meets her eyes as he takes a minute to kick the skateboard back up and into his hand.

Another shrug is given to her shoulder, Koshka letting out a sigh and a roll of her eyes. "Look, doesn't matter, alright? You got your stuff back and I'm sorry I did it. I'll never do it again." Another pull is given to her shoulder, the teenager glancing toward the hand holding her in place. "Can you let go now?"

Sadly for her, Graeme doesn't let go, though he does straighten all the way, and glances around. "No. It does matter." His voice is tired, and he pauses, glancing at the sky before he hazards the next guess. "I know you don't see it that way, though. And I'm pretty sure not to believe you when you say you'll never do it again. Heard that one. Actually, told it, fair few times." The last bit of the statement is not the most intentional of admissions, but maybe it'll make Koshka a little more comfortable. Or maybe it'll just make him sound like some adult.

"Man, it's just a thing," Koshka explains without actually explaining things. She gives another seemingly futile tug of her shoulder. "Really it's just… sometimes you got to. But… I swear I won't do it again." At least, she won't target Graeme again, no promises for anyone else. "Honest. You got your stuff back and… c'mon, please?"

"And that's just a cop out." He curses a little under his breath. "Does your guardian know you do this?" Graeme spots a bench, over by the wall, nods to it, and adjusts his grip without loosening it or giving her any opportunity to slip away, then begins to carefully steer her towards it. "The more you ask me to let you go, the less likely I am to do so."

Koshka opens her mouth to protest, but the risk of drawing attention is too great. She's steered toward the bench, her steps reluctant and sullen, eyes flicking toward various people they pass en route. Not that she'll find any help there. The girl pales, as well, at mention of her guardian figure, fear rising. She'd told Brian that she wouldn't try stealing anymore. "…I need better friends," is her answer instead, tone turning pleading. "Please don't tell. I'll… make it up to you. I'll walk your dog for a month. —Do you have a dog?"

Once sitting, Graeme sets his skateboard down, rolling it back and forth with one foot as he listens to Koshka, and then gives her a minute to consider what she's said. He shakes his head, turns to actually face her. "You're digging yourself in a much deeper hole." He pauses. "I'm Graeme. I'm not so stupid as to ask for your name, but I'm not going to keep calling you kid."

What ever happened to the people who just let you go when they got back their stuff? Koshka looks lost, reaching for some idea, some sort of thing she can say or do to appease the adult. She pulls her hands from her pockets, turning to sit on the bench as well. Hands clasp on her lap, fingers worrying together. "…I'm Koshka."

Graeme offers her a bit of a smile. He's really, really trying not to do anything to intimidate her or scare her further, though he does place a hand on her shoulder, briefly. A warning, not to try and run just because he's let up a bit.

"Hey. So…" Graeme pauses, searching for words, searching for how to phrase it. The drawl colours his words, and his tone is gentle, even if there's a bit of an edge behind it. "I mentioned, I'm a teacher. I coach soccer, mainly."

The smile isn't returned, though Koshka glances up at the touch. She's apologetic still, a little scared and wary. Her eyes settle downward again, going back to her hands. A shrug responds to Graeme's statement of profession, unsure how to respond. However, after a pause she speaks up again. "I really am sorry. It's… it's a game. Well, no it's not. It's… I was… Please don't turn me in. Please. I'll do anything."

Graeme nods, slowly. This is progress, at least, as far as he's concerned. "I was…?" The prompting is gentle. He doesn't say anything about whether or not he'll turn her in. After all, he doesn't even know who her guardian is, just that she has someone she considers to fill the position.

"It's… It was just to get money. To make money." Koshka sighs and lifts her hands to rub her face. No, there's no tears, but the girl looks miserable anyway. "I was wrong. I was… trying to make my own way.."

Once again, Graeme nods. "Why's that?" He's sympathetic, at least, and that it's genuine should be clear, overall. The skateboard goes back and forth a few times. "Why don't you tell me why you're so anxious 'bout me turning you in," he suggests, patting Koshka's shoulder once. "And a little more about why you were trying to make your own way."

Koshka shrugs slightly, eyes flicking toward the skateboard. "I'll be in trouble," she explains quietly. "A lot of trouble… I… it wouldn't be good." Hands returning to her lap, the teenager gives a small swing of her legs. "And… money's necessary… you need it for things and… I don't know. My friend and I were talking about it and…" She shrugs again. Thievery is where they ended up.

"There're a couple of things that come to mind," Graeme says, quietly. He's speaking so that only Koshka can hear him, now. "But I can possibly talk to your guardian and try to help minimize whatever trouble you'd be in." He sighs. "I can't just let you go and let you walk away from this," Graeme continues, biting his lower lip. He doesn't entirely sound happy with having to state it this bluntly. "That's not in the choices here. And neither is 'I'll do anything, don't turn me in'. But I'm offering you a chance to think of something else. And I'm not going to call child and family services, or anything like that."

Koshka looks neither pleased nor distraught with the outcome. Her guardian will be told, a fate the teenager might see as worse than death. She realizes a sudden pang of fear in that alone might cause Brian to turn her out and she'd lose the pseudo-family all over again. But the state will remain out of it which is definitely a good thing. "I'll find a real job," she offers, though by her tone she's not expecting that to be what the man is looking for either. "Don't know how but… I will. It'll happen, and I'll check in daily, with you, so… you can see I'm not delinquentizing?"

Graeme purses his lips. "We'll talk about that with your guardian, okay?" She's too young to be worrying about a real job, the fact that he thinks so is clear on his face. "And I promise, I'm going to try my damnedest to make sure you get in as little trouble with your guardian as I can. You already got in enough with me, I figure."

He offers her a bit of a smile. "In the mean time, I was in the process of getting food, so I might as well buy you food too. And I'll tell you 'bout me. Because I'm pretty sure you're wondering why the fuck a total stranger cares." He pauses. "And don't even think about running." The skateboard is gestured to.

"Not really hungry," Koshka answers quietly. That, in itself, is proof of how rotten she's feeling, the kid looks half starved and is known for always being hungry. Again, she doesn't share in smile, glancing up with a somber air. "Won't run either. I'll call my guardian, though, and we can meet him somewhere."

"Alright." This seems to be a good enough answer for Graeme, and he stands, skateboard kicked so that he can carry it, before offering Koshka a hand up. "C'mon, let's at least find somewhere indoors to wait."

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