Everything Is Coming Up Finch!



Scene Title Everything is Coming Up Finch!
Synopsis Nothing! Can! Possibly! Go! Wrong!
Date June 10, 2021

Drizzling rain falls across much of the Safe Zone, a byproduct of nearby stormfronts called into being to stave off the steady march of the Ohio River Fire from getting any further eastward.

On the coast of the Safe Zone, these storms mean higher surf and the occasional rain shower. In Spring Creek Settler’s Park, it also means pots and pans scattered around the trailer residences to keep up with new leaks in the roofs. For as much as the city has done to spruce up the settler’s park, there’s still an overwhelming aura of poverty that exists in the park’s bones. Kids are outside, playing in the rain and the mercifully warmer weather. A cold spring is finally giving way to the promise of a warmer summer. It’s an example of taking the good with the bad.

For Eloise Finch, that’s just the way things always are.

Spring Creek Settlers’ Park
Ferryman’s Bay

June 10th
10:04 am

It’s been a few weeks since the weird dreams subsided. Further visitations from Angel had yet to manifest, and with the rain being what it is, it’s kept Finch mostly housebound since the start of June. All things considered, though, a little peace and quiet might not be so bad.

"Veggies for Bev," Finch's voice rings like a little melody, inside her trailer. "Check." She stands in a yellow raincoat, looking out of a window through a rainbow of plastic beads hanging across it, raking her fingers through her still slightly damp hair before counting off a memorised list of items on her fingers. "Check in with Ol' Dave on the corner to see if he's still alive, check!"

Raindrops collect and fall from the sheet of tarp just above the window, and she scans what she can see outside before she turns and walks with dramatically exaggerated steps out into the tiny room that is her brightly coloured (but poorly lit) living space. A rug, a chair, a pillow-covered bench that doubles as a bed, a table and a counter.

"Checking if we don't need to be evacuating yet because of the big destructive scary flames," she names this item a little more quietly, as if it might hear otherwise. "Check."

Somewhere, something very quietly goes ploink.

"Oh!" Finch stands suddenly at attention. "Buckets!" Not one of her creative swears, as it turns out, because she immediately rushes to grab a dented bucket from her tiny kitchen cupboard, turning to replace the one she'd placed just by the door that leads outside. It's heavy with leaked rainwater from a stained ceiling that no amount of faerie lights can cheer back up (despite her best efforts), and she wastes no time in elbowing the front door open and tipping the water directly down the cinder block stairs. "Check!"

At the same time, Finch catches sight of someone walking up the driveway from where they parked on the street. Their car isn’t remarkable, but few in the Safe Zone are. The fact that he has one says something about wealth and station, even if it’s a champagne-colored 2003 Ford Taurus.

The gentleman making the approach doesn’t look all that much older than Finch, with mid-length brown hair in a side-swept undercut, a five o’clock shadow and an easy smile. He’s dressed nice enough in a suit and slacks, little cloth mask over his mouth to help with the smoke smell in the air.

“Eloise Finch?” He asks on coming up the driveway while withdrawing an envelope from inside his blazer.

"Sure is!" Finch calls out before she's even finished shaking a few last drops from the bucket she's holding. When she rights herself to meet the new arrival with a bright smile of her own, the face she sees brings her pause.

For how rough life can be here, she's made it work, and she looks fully in her element. The gentleman, however, does not. "Wow, look at you," she says without thought, hugging the bucket to her midriff. "How can I help you? Am I in trouble?"

Her smile only blossoms wider, as if such a thing is barely imaginable.

“No trouble at all,” he says with a confident smile, approaching Finch and holding out the envelope. “I’m with the Safe Zone Department of Housing Placement.” The same is printed across the front of the envelope, along with Finch’s address. “I came here to inform you that your turn in the housing lottery has come up, and you’ve been determined eligible for placement in a full-time residence.”

The man in the suit nods to the envelope. “All the details are in there, including location and move-in date. I’m here to answer any questions you might have and help walk you through the process of moving out of Settler’s Park into your new home.”

The drips and drops of rainwater around them momentarily take over the conversation, courtesy of the surprise suddenly taking over Finch's face, prominent eyebrows ticking up.

Could he be mistaken? Her shoulders tighten. But no, he said her name. The bucket hits the stairs with a loud and hollow clank! before she's even realised it's dropped out of her arms, and she squeaks out a noise of surprise.

The first thing she says isn't even to her visitor, but to a trailer somewhere across the way. "Oh my gosh it's here! Patty! It's here! John!" She waves one arm all the way up into the air, even if it's at an as of yet darkened window.

When she turns her face back to the man in front of her, she claps her hands together loudly. "They're gonna be so excited. Oh! Thank you!" Remembering the envelope, she takes it and holds it carefully, like it might break if she touches it with more than just fingertips. "Oh! They can visit! Oh!" She beams and bounces on her toes as if it's all she can do to keep from giving voice to the dozens of ideas popping into her head already. "Oh! Can I have pets?!"

The housing representative smiles and shakes his head, watching Finch with amusement. “You own it outright, Ms. Finch. You’ll be able to do whatever you want to it, make whatever changes make it home for you, and there isn’t nobody in this country that can take that from you. That’s your right.” He says with a hint of passion behind those words, as if he ardently believes them.

“The address and some photographs are inside,” the rep says with a nod to the envelope she so delicately holds. “There’s also a number in there to call to schedule a walk-through, but…” He makes a face, a little frown. “They’ll just put you on hold.” He produces a folded piece of paper from his pocket with a phone number on it and the name Smith handwritten above. “You just call that, and I’ll make a trip out here and we can take a look together. Sound good?”

With every word that reaches her ears, Finch seems to prop herself up a little higher, her eyes growing bigger and shinier, the threat of tears but a blink away.

"No!" She replies, her enthusiasm briefly getting the better of her before gasping and biting her lip, and frantically waving her hands in front of her to announce a quick correction. "I mean yes! But!" She hop-steps forward a few paces, past Mr. Smith, and turns around to face him again, smiling wide and hopeful with the sight of the convenient car behind her already. "I can go now! I've got my coat on already!"

She spreads her arms, as if the yellow raincoat needs pointing out. What more perfect moment could there be?

Smith hesitates, one brow cocked up and head tilted to the side like Finch just started speaking French. He twists to follow her, lips pursed in thought, and then spreads his hands to the side with a throaty laugh and a shake of his head.

“Well, that’s—some enthusiasm y’got there.” Smith runs a hand through his hair and looks past Finch to where a champagne-colored mid-thousands sedan is parked on the road out front of Finch’s trailer. “I think we can make that happen,” he says, pausing to glance back at her front door.

“You wanna lock up before we go?” Smith asks with a nod to the trailer, fishing a flip phone out of his jacket pocket. “I just gotta call ahead, make sure the place is ready and the keys are in the lockbox.” He flashes her a smile. “Hate t’get there and have it all locked up.”

Finch stands frozen for a moment, before her shoulder shoot up with an, "Oh!" She gasps. "Oh my gosh yes!" She starts moving immediately back the way she came, patting down the big pockets of her coat before plunging a hand in each one and coming up with a well-populated ring of keys by the time she's hopped back up the steps to her door.

"I've always had a lotta enthusiasm," she admits, with just a tinge of self-awareness that quickly fades when she continues, hitting the lock with a key that doesn't want to go in, then trying another. And another. "Y'know! When I was little, I begged my parents to help me build a bed that was almost all the way up to the ceiling so I could literally jump out of bed first thing!"

Finally, she finds the right key, and locks the door behind herself before spinning around and stuffing both hands back in her pockets as she starts wandering right back over toward that car like she owns it. "I almost built it myself, but I couldn't get the legs right. Of course that would'a just meant I'd want the next big thing which probably would'a meant a slide out the side of the house and…"

“…yeah, right now.” Finch overhears Smith saying into a cell phone as she returns to the car. It isn’t clear that he’d heard a thing she’s said. “Awesome, thanks.” Ending the call, Smith flashes Finch with a bright smile that he wants to imply that he’s heard everything she’s said. He opens the passenger side door for her with a bright smile.

“After you,” Smith says, gesturing inside.

Thirty-Eight Minutes Later

Bay Ridge

It takes crossing through three neighborhoods of the Safe Zone to get even close to where Finch’s soon-to-be-permanent residence is located. The east side of Bay Ridge is one of the few places in the region that still looks rough around the edges. Bay Ridge is otherwise an affluent part of the Safe Zone, but where it borders the untamed greenery of Park Slope, things tend to slouch more toward subtle urban decay.

"I've been in a car twenty seven times now," Finch explains in a happy voice only just touched by antsy nerves, settling down into the passenger seat for what might also seem like the twenty-seventh time. "But you just kind of don't get used to it? I mean I guess, like, there's worse things. Like the bus! I haven't taken any here though. Oh my gosh look at that building." She presses herself up against the window to get a better look at a home quickly passed, only to immediately gasp at another. "And that one!"

There’s a row of brick-faced brownstones where Caton Ave meets East 4th Street, just a few blocks from the fenced-in border of Park Slope. The buildings are still in gorgeous condition, mostly undamaged stone facades with a little pockmarking from gunfire here and there. The white trim around the windows and doors make them look bright and cheerful when viewed from the street. It’s a surprise when Smith pulls over to the curbside parking and—with a firm attempt to control the conversation for a moment—proclaims, “We’re here!”

"And also - wait, where?" Finch replies in an instant, turning with wide eyes to aim her curiosity directly at Smith. But before he even gets a chance to answer, she slams her hand onto the door handle next to her and adds in deeply dramatic disbelief, "No!"

Her endless energy next sees her tearing the door open with wild abandon, stepping out onto the sidewalk and looking around with her hands slowly lifting toward her face. She spins on a heel, looking from one building to the next as if attempting to take all of it in at once, before whirling around again to look at Smith with her eyebrows set low. She insists, again, from behind cupped hands and very seriously, "Not really though."

“Really-really,” Smith says with a wide smile, stepping out of the car to join Finch. “There’s thousands of buildings like this brownstone, reclaimed by the government for repopulation by people just like yourself. Good, honest, Americans.” That saccharine statement is delivered with the utmost sincerity as he heads up the walkway to the nearest door.

But Smith doesn’t open it. Instead, he reaches inside of his sport coat and takes out a pair of keys, holding them out to Finch. “If you’d like to do the honors?” He asks with a fond smile.

"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh goodness oh my gosh," Finch rattles off in quick succession, this time accepting what she's been offered with much more enthusiasm, taking the key with a beaming smile and a high-pitched noise of anticipatory joy before she manages to say, "Thank you!"

She heads immediately for the door, nearly dropping the keys in her hands but catching them in a fumble. "This could be a home! A home! My trailer's real nice but— " Once the key is in the lock, she pauses, hand on the door. "It's really hard to miss a home, sir."

With that, though, too much excitement within her to linger, she lifts her head and takes a deep breath, pressing forward.

“It is,” Mr. Smith says with his smile slowly fading as he watches Finch step into the house. “It’s even harder when that home is taken from you.” His quiet comment barely registers as she steps into the brownstone, with its rich hardwood floors, interior brick wall, fireplace, and—


Finch reflexively pauses on walking at a moving box. But it’s not cardboard; hard, molded plastic and sturdy handles. Rough and rugged, familiar in a way her past is. There’s a smell in the air, a mix of sea brine and something more acrid. Tobacco smoke.

Mr. Smith closes the door behind himself and turns to look at Finch, smiling contentedly. “Welcome home, Eloise.”


“Mr. Smith” gestures to direct Finch’s attention ahead, where framed by a beautifully arched doorway, a broad-shouldered man sits on a stack of weapon crates in what would be Finch’s dining room. A cigarette burns in his hand, trailing a tendril of smoke over his shoulder. He is backlit by the morning sun filtering in through the sliding doors behind him that go out to a fenced in yard.

“Been a long time, kiddo.” The older man rasps with a southern comfort sweetness, spreading his arms wide.


“Come give uncle ‘Gene a hug!”

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