Face In The Crowd


alvin_icon.gif emily2_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif sophie_icon.gif

Scene Title Face In The Crowd
Synopsis All kinds of people go to Red Hook Market. You never know just who you'll see.
Date May 31, 2019

Red Hook Market

The Red Hook Market resides within the gutted shell of Textile Factory 17, a turn-of-the-century mill building that once served as the headquarters of New York's FRONTLINE civil defense organization. Miraculously, the building survived the civil war largely unscathed except for the total collateral loss of its electronics to the EMP that ravaged Manhattan. When the building was reclaimed by Gilbert Tucker in late 2015, it was remodeled with the intention of turning it into a central community hub for the entirety of the Safe Zone. Today, the multiple above-ground buildings serve as meeting halls, council chambers, offices, and storage rooms for the Safe Zone Cooperative. The basement levels, a labyrinthine maze of brick corridors, vaulted storage spaces, and small nooks, have become the sprawling home of the Red Hook Market, an open-air bazaar with free admittance to every Safe Zone resident. The market features pop-up vendor stalls, a single bar called the Red Hook Tavern, and food vendor stalls.

Some nights you just need time to yourself, away from the grind of daily life. Feeling herself start to slip back into a cycle of going straight home and avoiding everything not a screen, Emily Epstein finds herself roaming Red Hook Market with an expression of absent interest, head tilting at the offerings of one stall in particular. Coffee from Eleanor's sits warm in her hand, largely undrank.

One did not come here without paying patronage to Eleanor, though. It was bad luck, if not bad manners.

One has to wonder just how Eleanor gets the beans for all the coffee she makes. Alvin doesn't question it though, just pays for the cup with an easy smile and thanks the woman before he steps away and starts to wander through the stalls, looking over the wares. There's a few softly asked questions of some of the folks, asking about old records and a few other odds and ends, and moving in the direction he's pointed as he meanders through the market, sipping slowly from the cup in his hands.

Go to the Redhook Market, they said. Get some simple supplies, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

Despite the warmth of the day and the crowd, Sophie walks with her hands in pockets of a rough-worn, leather bomber jacket with faded patches. The short, curly haired woman seems to be at odds with herself - on the one hand an excited glimmer shines in her dark eyes, but it's just a soft breeze away from anxious, hypervigilance. A canvas messenger bag hangs from one shoulder and a trio of riveted belts with mismatched pouches and holsters hang at various angles around the curves of her hips. Wholly unaware of the religious requirement of Eleanor's blissful brew, Sophie continues a meander on by and keeps her eyes peeled for anything, or one, of interest. A little narrowing of her gaze is directed at Alvin and she begins to cut what appears to be a lazy pace in that general direction.

While not bearing coffee, Silvia is carrying a canvas bag over her shoulder. It's decorated with kind of an elaborate inked design, but it only seems half-finished. Moving through the market, she keeps a steady pace as she has a particular destination in mind, looking about for the object of her quest: paper of the highest quality. Or, at least, paper that isn't completely trashed and wrinkled. Art supplies!

Alvin pauses at one of the tables, one that actually has a few records in battered sleeves and he thumbs through them slowly, picking one up to slide it free and look over the record before slipping it back in it's case and putting it back, smiling and nodding to the guy at the table. He moves on, but keeps his pace slow, just browsing the wares, and watching people as he sips from his coffee. His voice when he does speak to the vendors has a faint New York accent to it. His eyes take in the inked design on the bag Silvia carries with interest, then move to Sophie, having turned so that she's in his field of view, and he simple lifts a brow at her. Yeah, he noticed he had a tail.

Sophie only briefly follows Alvin's gaze toward Silvia whereupon the young girl gets a quick once over. The short, mocha-skinned traveler slips up to Alvin's latest vendor perusal - it looks like someone raided the basement of an office building. Really, what is someone going to do with a cracked fax machine?

Keeping an arm's distance from Alvin, she reaches a small hand out to run along an old desk plaque that reads Mr. Dumass. "So, this is retirement - plea deal or slip through the cracks?" There's a careful indifference to her tone as she manages to keep her sites on Alvin, a little tilt of her head granting her a periphery view of the Market around.

Emily is leaned over a table bearing sketchpads, in such number that she doubts they didn't 'fall off a truck' somewhere. Keeping her opinion to herself, the teenager merely drapes a hand over the cover of one, trying to get a feel for if the bundle had been touched by water at any point. When questioned as to her intent for them, she politely smiles and steps back from the table to disengage without causing scrutiny. She's just browsing, after all.

Moving towards the sketchpads, Silvia happens to note Emily's presence and offers a small smile. "I always come here for sketchbooks. They're the best, to be honest. Ink doesn't bleed through." She looks through the stack of sketchpads, shifting her bag a bit. "Could do with some more pens though…"

"I saw a vendor just over there who had art style pens, markers and pencils." Alvin remarks, gesturing to a nearby booth where someone does indeed have an assortment of such items, probably looted from some art store somewhere in the city, or they fell off a truck too. There are legit supply sources too of course. Alvin's head turns to regard Sophie a moment, his head canting to the side. "I'm sorry miss? Have we met?" He asks in an easy tone. "I look like other people or so I'm told, quite regularly. Happens a lot." Alvin scoots down the table a little bit, stepping over near the sketchbooks himself, speaking up to ask the vendor whether they have any lines on books perhaps, or know anyone who does. Not new books, used books, classics, the kind that you'd go into a used book store to find.

Sophie watches as Alvin slips further down the table. As he casually enough asks about the books, though, her calloused little hand hand jerks away from the nameplate as if it's burned her. Flexing her fingers, she carefully adjusts her bag and replaces the hand in her jacket.

With a tension in her jaw, Sophie finally plucks her gaze off Alvin's back and turns it over the Market. It's clearly the motion of one reminding themselves of the world outside her own thoughts, her own past, her own nightmares. "My mistake," she says just loud enough over the market's din, her voice casual and amicable. "For the best, perhaps. No one likes it when the past comes knockin'. Not on either side of the door." She steps way and across the aisle, finding a vendor on the opposite side haggling some produce.

Brow ticking up in surprise at seeing Silvia appear, Emily's posture warms. "Hey," she greets with a shift of her weight. The comment from the passerby causes her to turn again, one eyebrow arching higher than the other. She minds him and the young, almost-oddly dressed girl that follows in his wake. Her gaze lingers for some time before she looks back to Silvia, forcing a quick smile. "How've you been? How are your classes? Things got so busy after the SESA shit I stopped peeking my head in on the art rooms."

There's a small glance towards Alvin, and Silvia smiles brightly. "Hey, thanks for the tip. I'll have to check them out next. I appreciate it." Her gaze turns back to Emily. "Things are going well, just keeping busy and not doing much other than that. I haven't been too social lately, nose to the grindstone I think the phrase is. It doesn't translate well."

"The past is like that. A nosey neighbor always looking to borrow a cup of sugar because they want to know what is going on inside your house." Alvin offers in an amused and relaxed tone of voice. "But it is okay. No harm done. A lot of people are looking for faces from the past after everything that has happened here. Looking for old friends and acquaintances." He notices the odd look from Emily and raises a hand in mock surrender. "Just being helpful. You can mill around in this market for hours and not see everything that is up for offer." Alvin is not an intimidating figure. Quite the opposite actually. "Would any of you happen to have seen any stands with a good collection of records?" He asks, looking around at the group. "Oh you are most welcome. They looked mostly new so he probably has a line into the city from somewhere." A quick smile for Silvia before Alvin looks back to the table he's standing at, rifling through a few movies on DVD.

The little woman turns her face towards her shoulder, listening across the way to Alvin through the pompom of her green, springy locks that disguise much of her silhouette. “Maybe. Maybe some faces are better left forgotten.” There’s a little glimmer of light reflected in the way her corner-cast gaze adjusts to flick over Alvin from toe to head. Her tone remains casual, light even. Just two strangers speaking in ambiguities about different pasts alike only in their shared, mutual destruction - the War. She shrugs a shoulder and turns back to the vendor to finish a simple exchange.

Emily only lifts her chin in acknowledgement of the phrases turned her way by the quiet stranger still being regarded with some measure of something by the colorful young woman who had been shadowing him. She tries not to let it stick on her too much, devoting attention to Silvia. "Yeah, that's the phrase all right," she says with a short sigh. "And I feel that. There's been so much going on, but I think I hit my limit or something. I just feel like curling up at home and doing nothing, but…"

She lifts her shoulders in a hapless shrug. "Hiding won't help anything. There's ways to decompress without …" With a gesture to one side, Emily gestures to whatever it is she's trying to avoid sinking back into. "So I came out instead," she explains while sipping at her coffee.

The question from the man causes her to turn back, a thread of interest visible in how her gaze actually sticks on him this time. "Here, not so much. But there's an antiques shop in the Safe Zone…" Emily shares, trying to recall its name. What did the tag on the record player Lene had gifted her read? She struggles to remember.

“I’ve seen some records in here occasionally, but they get bought up real fast. You’d have to check with the shopkeepers to see who gets them but they probably sell directly to some collector,” Silvia says, briefly looking away to purchase one of the sketchbooks.

Once she’s done, the book is slid into the decorated bag. “It’s good to get out, though, even if my mom worries. Tough world we live in, but it’s not as bad as it could be.”

"Some faces are best forgotten if they are ones that trouble you. That is one bit of silver lining. For so many people coming back to New York is a way to start anew. To leave the past behind and forge themselves a new life." An easy smile for Sophie before Alvin turns his head again as Emily addresses him. "Is there? It can be so hard to find businesses these days. Spotty cell service everywhere, half the time they have not listed themselves online. Knowing there is one I am sure I will be able to find it if you are not able to remember the name of it." A still easy smile from the man. He tips his head to Silvia’s statement. “I figured as much. I could get a hold of the items through other means but I would rather patron the people of New York. Contribute, even just in a little way, to the well being of the people here.”

“A new life,” Sophie echoes agreeably, a tone of reminiscence to her quiet utterance. She puts a few items in the messenger bag hanging low by her thigh and secures the flap with a few buckles straps. She watches Alvin a moment longer before considering the funneling passerby and, ultimately, Silvia and Emily. Something about these two twitches her lips into a softened smile. “That ought to be the new slogan: America: Not as bad as it could be.

Emily is in the process of nodding sympathetically to Silvia when Sophie's more robust take on the situation draws her attention instead. Her brow arches and she lets out a small laugh despite herself. "Not as bad as it fucking could be, you're right. I don't think enough people appreciate that, even with as royally fucked as things still are." She shifts her weight, one shoulder lifting up in a small shrug. "At least it's not the government trying to fuck us over any more, it's just back to being assholes to each other, and road work never being done."

“I’d shop elsewhere if it were cheaper but this is the most convenient location for me, to be honest,” Silvia says, glancing around. “It’d take too long to find somewhere else to get supplies and I go through a lot of paper.” She glances at those clustered nearby. “I am glad that people are getting businesses up and running. I’ve always preferred small stores and places to shop.”

She laughs slightly. “I mean, the world in general is pretty bad. We’ve got our good sides and bad sides to each country and I guess ours isn’t the worst right now.”

Alvin inclines his head to Sophie's statement. "Just a thought. And not a bad slogan considering everything that has happened in the last decade." The mild mannered man lifts a hand up in a small wave towards Sophie, and the other two in general. "Thank you for the knowledge on the record store. Hope you all find what you're looking for." He turns and slips away, vanishing into the crowd after a few steps into the stream of people moving around the market.

Sophie watches Emily first. Her lips curl inward and she even raises a hand to press the pad of her index finger atop them - silent, sealed, thoughtful. Finally, her hand falls away, but all that’s managed to escape is a playfully, drawn-out, sarcastic, “Not the government. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.” But, Sophie lightens her dark humor with a supremely obvious wink and an unabashed smile. Just more strangers sharing more idle jest and banter.

The short, curly-haired woman considers Alvin’s departure until she can’t, giving a subtle shake of her head. Her brows slooowwly drift off before a shake of her head sets her curls bobbing and her smile anew. She digs a hand out of her pocket to pull up a scratch, crumpled list. “Looks like I better get to it, then. You girls stay safe.” She gives an angled nod of her head and slips off in a direction decidedly opposite the way Alvin had gone her pass languid and her attention drifting from one side of the market to the other as she attempts to hunt down supplies in this very foreign, strange jungle.

And then the two strangers are off, leaving it to be just Silvia and Emily. "Well, that was weird." the blonde teen has no trouble in muttering in an aside to her peer. "Really fucking weird."

Emily thinks on it for a moment, trying to stop herself from tracking the two as they head their separate ways in the crowd. For one, it'd make her go cross-eyed. And for two, there was the odd bird everywhere. Even if her hair is standing up at the back of her neck, something feeling off though she doesn't know what, there was nothing that should keep her from the current conversation.

"We can make the best of it, despite any general badness," Emily suggests. "Let's all get together soon, pool funds and do a pizza night or something. What do you think?"

Perhaps sensing Emily’s nervousness, Silvia offers her a bright smile and attempts to bring her back to a sense of normalcy. “I’m pretty good at making the best of things,” she says, honestly. “Especially the bad ones.” She checks to make sure her sketchpad is safely in her bag before she looks back to Emily.

“Pizza would be good. It’s been a while since I’ve done something like that. Let’s do it.”

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