Emergency Contact


calvin_icon.gif russo2_icon.gif

Scene Title Emergency Contact
Synopsis Russo contacts the WRONG emergency contact.
Date February 7, 2011

Manhattan — Cyberland

Bradley Russo's office at Studio K is unusually quiet this time of day. In fact the whole studio is. Most producers, film crew, and writers have taken off for the day save for those that only work at night— it is Monday, after all.

Sitting behind his wooden desk, Brad uses his tiny rake for his miniature desk-sized sandbox to remove whatever doodle a colleague's child saw fitting. His lips press together irritably as he lifts the tiny box from its spot on the desk to find the note Kincaid had left with him at his apartment. The emergency contacts.

Brad frowns.

It wasn't that he'd forgotten, it's that he was hoping to have some word before using either of the numbers; any consolation provided had to be better than the actual nothing that he knows.

He purses his lips and reaches for the corded phone on his desk. Old school according to most. Both of the names are studied. The first, JOLENE MARLEY, causes him to frown. A woman. He can't handle hysterics today. With a frown his hand rubs the back of his neck as he chooses to call the second first— CALVIN ROSEN, despite the specific note in Kincaid's scrawl only if I'm dying in a ditch somewhere and you can't get ahold of anyone else. At least Calvin is a decidedly male name— no hysterical waterworks. Hopefully. Not that the note inspired confidence…

He allows the phone to ring.

The phone rings once, twice, and ~thrice~ before the staticky purr of electronic tones clicks over into a coarse rush of wind and a pronging twang of braided steel cable. For all that Calvin doesn't recognize the number, he has courtesy enough to slither down a warped old ladder to take cover behind a raised section of wall, glittery snow and ice blitzed in across the floor through broken windows here and there. Post-apocalyptic chic.

The wind is less of an issue then, for all that a low-grade groan threatens to obscure easy comprehension.

"Rosen Corporation," he answers after a beat, still a bit breathless once he's sunk into a crouch and then a sit, gingery hair vibrant against the cold and grey all around. Accent hard to place — a muttly mix of European influences with an Aussey pull at vowels for good measure. "How may I direct your call?"

Nose wrinkling exaggeratedly at the answer, Brad squints at the phone number again, bringing it close to his eyes to reexamine the digits— maybe he misread them? Or misdialed? It didn't seem like a business, but then this Calvin's last name is Rosen, and so with a clearing of his throat and a raspy, nearly buzzing, hesitation in his voice he collects his thoughts. "Riiiight. Um." Russo has never liked the phone, making him call someone is a surefire way to make him feel like an idiot.

"H-hi. I'm not sure.. I might not.." Clearing his throat, he manages to feign some confidence, even in light of this phone call. "I wish to speak with Calvin Rosen, please. It's an urgent matter— I request I not be redirected to his assistant. Assuming— assuming I don't have the wrong number."

"Oh yeah?" A bit too casual to pass for secretarial despite his lazy effort to sound halfway professional, Calvin adjusts the sit of one fingerless glove to check the time on his watch. The accent helps. Kind've. "May I ask who's calling?"

A flashlight follows the watch out, ghastly bright beam roamed white around rotting office decor and brilliant snow heaped in eerie drifts against the far wall. Bits of slagged glass glitter like eyes; old bones still sit in haggard assembly in a chair that turns slowly in risidual wind.

There's something slightly off about the call, something that Brad can't quite put his finger on, examining the number again. "Is there a Calvin Rosen even there?" he asks more directly. His eyes squint at the paper again while he tucks the handset of the phone between his ear and shoulder to play with his mini-sandbox again.

He doesn't want to be uncooperative here, particularly as the bearer of bad news. "Look. I— my name is Bradley Russo— Brad. Brad Russo. And I got this number from a colleague. And— I really need to speak to Mister Rosen." Mister now. The Calvin has been dropped specifically to make this assistant move faster.

The flashlight click-clicks off, the pale mist of Calvin's breath faded into a loss of focus around his fore. His teeth show white in a grin.

It's not a very nice grin.

"Oh, right! Mister Russo! I apologize — I didn't realize. Congratulations on your recent engagement, by the bye."

Phone shifted from right hand to left, Cal slides the flashlight back down into his coat. "And manifestation."


"This is Mister Rosen speaking now, actually. What seems to be the problem?"

The conversational nature of the voice on the other end has Russo rethinking the emergency contact note. Perhaps this is why Kincaid labelled Rosen has a last resort. Brad twists in his seat, turning the entire chair to face the window behind him. A hand rubs at his beard while he, rather unknowningly, begins to wrap himself in the cord of the phone. Yeah, that'll be inconvenient later.

"Th-thank you," is the haphazard reply about the engagement. "Although— I…" the manifestation. "Manifesting isn't exactly congratulatory.." he begins to reprimand, only to remember why he's calling, "you know what, never mind."

"I.. I'm sorry to call. I find myself in a bit of a bind, and I'm not exactly— perhaps I should ask first." He clears his throat, "Do you know Kincaid August? He works with me. Kind of. Well. He works here. At the Studio."

"Oh, sure it is. You're like a fuckin' superhero now, you know? Like Captain America, protecting the values people — should have. According to the government." A little awkwardly, maybe apologetically halting there, Calvin runs his tongue past his teeth and knits his brows at long shadows and creaky steel girders. "But don't worry about it, mate. I don't think anyone'll think any less of you."

Warm reassurance sounds genuine, so far as this dubious cell tower connection is able to convey. This is maybe a little too personal, he seems to have realized. Intentionally or no.

"Anyway, yeh, I know Kincaid. About so high, good with the ladies. Bit of a downer. He need a ride or something?"

If anything could alter the course of this conversation, it's that. There's an obvious edge of sarcasm in his voice as he quips, "I'm sorry— I didn't realize my manifestation was something for public debate. And I'm pretty certain I've cemented my position as someone who is generally against social control, advocating people actually use their brains— to actually think and wake up— " although all of that is inevitably changing, Brad is more than aware.

He sighs. It's hollow. There's a gentle remembrance of why he called. "Sorry. I.. just sorry."

"I wouldn't call Kincaid a downer— " is the quiet objection. "Although I have to admit I've never seen anyone drink that much coffee… no, he doesn't need a ride. There's— he took an assignment." No. That's not actually accurate. "He took it upon himself to go the extra mile for a story. I judge it by your initial congratulations and overall impression of this call you're familiar with The Advocate?"

"Well, he's had it kind've rough, you know? His mum was an absolute looney toon and that's only the half of it." Sarcasm and ensuing apology alike overstepped as easily as any giraffe might evade a snippy badger, Calvin continues on as guys sitting together at bars tend to when they've already had one or two. Except they aren't at a bar and don't know each other besides. It's just that one of them is Rosen and one of them is Russo and maybe they both have a small problem with running their mouths.

"That's a very noble thing to say, though. About social control. The sort've thing you could sell on t-shirts, if you know what I mean? Make a real bundle."

Calvin closes his eyes and curls his toes, malicious humor smothered into a rankle at his nose before it can become anything like a laugh at Bradley's expense. Christ. Kincaid. Kincaid. They're supposed to be talking about Kincaid. "Sorry, s'just. An afterthought. Ahm. So yeah, I know the show. And Caid, who's gone the extra mile. So then what? S'he alright?"

"Everyone has family problems," Russo counters idly while his eyes scan the New York skyline out his office window. "Even the most model families have their issues." Beat. "And their secrets." His lips purse slightly as he shakes his head; he's saying more than he intends to a complete stranger on the phone.

"And it's not about nobility." He actually laughs. "Although everything starts that way. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, 'Everything truly wicked starts from innocence.' I don't imagine anyone begins their career believing they'll someday sell out." But enough about him.

Kincaid. The name and the questions draw silence again. Anticipatory silence. "Can you tell me something about yourself?" his jaw tightens. "Someone," his mother, the nurse, "once told me never to give bad news over the phone." His lips hitch into a frown, "So I need to know, are you in any way mentally unstable? Caid— he left your number as an emergency contact and I— " he stops only to repeat his question, "Are you in any way mentally unstable?"

"'Sometimes it's better to do something wrong than right,'" Calvin quotes back so ambiguously and without real feeling that it may be difficult to tell he's quoting at all. Shoulders rolled and neck stretched slowly from one side to the other, he flexes long fingers and long toes and resettles gradually against the battered wall. Comfortable enough despite the bitter cold.

"I more than most am equipped to understand, Mister Russo, regardless of whether or not I approve. You needn't explain yourself to me." Even if there is a freshly sharpened edge to the nasal drawl of his accent.

"So far as I know, I'm more stable than the majority of my friends, and certainly better grounded than you. I recommend you tell me what this is about."

"Excuse me?" Brad's voice inflects upwards at the last bit. "You have no idea who I am. I've had crazy-crazy" his hands flail in a 'jazz-hands' motion even though Calvin can't see them, "fans think the same thing just because they saw me on television or read an article. There's an image. We sell it for better ideas. Better concepts. Better debate. So I doubt.. " and now there's an assumption on Brad's part taken from Kincaid's age, "kid that you're better grounded."

Shoot. On topic. "And good. Glad you're stabler than your friends," he's starting to wish he'd called Jolene. "Fine. Kincaid." His tongue rolls over his lips and there's a dryness that overtakes his throat. "He wanted to do a piece on Humanis First. We'd aimed for a panel show but he felt he could do better— "

"I know more than you'd like, y'fuckin' alcoholic pushover piece of shit." Again there's that edge, stainless steel tang bit stiff into sharp consonants through a near audible clip of his teeth. "Seniority's no excuse for being a pompous, delusional fuck." All those contemporary manners dissolved into frothy vitriol just like that. Oh well.

"Stop procrastinating and tell me what you've done with my dipshit friend before I come over there and put a beer bottle through your brains."

A sardonic smile creeps across Brad's lips. He hadn't noticed that his hands had balled into tight fists or that the line of his jaw had become further defined by tension— an angry tension worn by models to sell clothes. And worn by Bradley to punch things. Yeah, he wishes he'd called Jolene, female hormones or not, tears or not, it couldn't be worse than this. "You have no fucking idea. None. What you think you know is conjecture and hearsay so don't pretend you know."

With the empathy drained entirely from his voice he mutters. "I did nothing to your friend. Humanis First, on the other hand? Yeah. He's in the Dome. A man I barely know is trying to help him and.. texted me with this information. And while this— " he groans. "— this man who communicated with me is doing his best to retrieve my colleague, I don't know him well enough to assess whether he can follow through on that promise." There's a pause as he quips, "He hasn't the best track record at keeping promises," at least not in Brad's mind when it came to September; he'll always be biased to his mom.

Silence. Tension spiders quick quick through the lines furrowed in between Calvin's brows, rapid calculation clamped into the stiff set of his scruffy jaw. Buffering…

It takes effort to push away from the running stream of acidic hate he'd gotten up and running, but he manages it. Trouble being there isn't much else left to say.

"What 'man?'"

Ordinarily, Brad wouldn't hesitate to divulge Ryans' name, he's not either of his sisters and is not concerned with a stranger knowing the name. But being pissed off doesn't inspire him to divulge much else. And so he asks, "Does it matter?" He clears his throat, "Unless you're on the other side of the looking glass, not much you can do anyways."

"So why bother to call at all then? Tryin' to give me a head start on funeral arrangements?"

A grunt muffles across the line as Calvin hefts himself up onto his feet, boots set wide apart against the nauseating sway of baseboard and mouldering carpet beneath him. The wind's shrill whistle and howl buffs the phone at his ear near instantly, but he's already headed to the stairwell. Where things are a touch quieter.

"Look, I'm sorry for busting your balls. Anything you can give me matters. Maybe I can get in contact with him."

"I'm calling because he left two names for emergencies. You and another," the back of Brad's hand rubs against his forehead while he emits a quiet sigh. "Theoretically you care." There's an evenness to his tone as he leans back in his seat.

Russo clamps his eyes shut while his free hand quietly drums against the wood of his desk. "Ryans. His name is Benjamin Ryans. The text he sent me.. he's confident he can do this." He swallows hard. "I've been told he's very successful with this kind of thing."

"D'aww," says Calvin, velvety voice dropped an octave once he's shouldered in through a creaking ice-encrusted door marked FIRE EXIT ONLY. Alarm will sound.

There's a scuff of boot to concrete stair and an echo when he speaks again, distracted, maybe, by the focus required to avoid slipping in heaps of kipple and other debris. "You should have more faith, y'know? Maybe daddy does know best. Anyway."

Anyway. He takes two stairs down at a jump, skipping the feathery corpus of a long-dead pigeon.

"Thanks for the heads up. I'll see what I can do, Brad."

And then he hangs up.

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