Flying Sandwich Eater


colette_icon.gif maria_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Flying Sandwich Eater
Synopsis Otherwise known as 'Maria'. Not, contrary to Colette's suspicions, 'flying purple people eater'… or any other color of people eater, for that matter.
Date December 27, 2008

Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is primarily a residential and shopping area, and not much about that has changed since the bomb. Despite bordering the region of Midtown that was torn asunder by the blast, the Upper West Side managed to survive the fires that raged out of control in the days following the destruction. It was one of the first areas hit with the massive relief effort. While the areas that did burn have yet to be recovered, that region of the upper west side has been cordoned off by large concrete barricades and Homeland Security roadblocks, preventing most through-traffic into ground zero and the affected area. Beyond that border zone, much of the charm of this upper-class neighborhood has not been lost.

The Upper West Side has the reputation of being home to New York City's liberal cultural and artistic workers, in contrast to the Upper East Side, which is perceived to be traditionally home to more affluent conservative commercial and business types. The neighborhood is decidedly upscale with the median household above the Manhattan average before the bomb, and much of that status-quo maintained by the money pumped into the neighborhood from the reconstruction effort. As one of the first neighborhoods to have electricity and water restored, this area saw a massive temporary influx of transients and refugees from the destroyed areas of the city, most of which moved on as more and more of New York was brought back to life.

Famous sites of the upper west side still remain active today, with Broadway Avenue cutting through the center of the borough. But the reminder of what happened to this city is decidedly visible on the south end of Broadway, where the high concrete barricades rise up one story from the ground, and the jagged, broken skyline of Midtown refuses to remain hidden.

It's mid-afternoon on this unseaonably warm December day, two days after Christmas. The cloudy sky is grey overhead, but the sun's light still illuminates the streets nicely. Traffic runs along one of them where some trees have been planted and grown to a decent height. There are a few people walking here and there, the small number perhaps odd, but odder things have happened. All in all, a quiet enough New York experience for those out and about.

Despite the clouds, the upturn in temperature from the last few weeks has brought these few people out onto the streets. While snowbanks still tower over four feet in some places from the blizzard's remnants, New York has weathered it remarkably well. Down the slushy street, a public-transportation bus rolls to a halt with a hiss of hydraulic brakes. The shuddering rumble of its idling engine is accompanies by the scuttling scrape of its passenger doors sliding open. A handful of people step down out of the two street-side exits from the bus, and an elderly couple rises up from the bench at the bus stop, moving to one side to allow people off before attempting to get on.

"Oh!— S-sorry." Nearly running into the old couple, a bewildered-looking young woman is the last off of the bus. Rubbing one eye with a closed hand, she looks around blankly at the building rising high on either side of the street. "S-son of a— This isn't my st—" By the time she wheels around, realizing the error of her departure, the bus doors have slid shut with a loud clank, and that elderly couple she nearly ran over has ambled up into the vehicle.

"W-wait!" Her shout goes unheard, swallowed by the wet sounds of other cars driving through slushy puddles on the street, and the hiss of those brakes as the bus begins to roll forward, engine revving as it weaves back into traffic. The girl tilts her head to the side, finally moving her hand away from her milky-white eye as her shoulders slouch forward. "I slept past my stop…" The girl murmurs, brows furrowing together with a piteous expression as she turns to regard the bus-stop behind her, then to the unfamiliar buildings all around, "Damnit."

The last place Colette looks is where Tamara is standing, regarding the younger teen with a patient smile. "You did," she affirms, bobbing her head once. Her clothing is, as is often the case, a splash of color against the dreary gray day — today a mauve sweater and a multicolored scarf, its dominant hues a middling blue not too dissimilar from the shade of her eyes. One foot scuffs against the scraped-clean sidewalk, before the girl hops over and grabs Colette's hand. Though she seems content to stand beside her friend afterwards, rather than segue into a whirlwind of activity. "That's okay. There's lots of stops. Lots of goes, too," Tamara assures Colette.

The two of them might have that feeling of being watched, though no one on the street seems to be paying either of them much attention right now. There are, however, those trees. One of them isn't too far away. And quite unexpectedly a gust of wind kicks up, which causes a piece of bread to go flying at Colette's noggin. As it does so, a female voice may be heard. "Damn," it mutters from somewhere not at street level. "I hate it when lunch gets away. Sorry about that!"

The bewilderment doesn't truly end for Colette; first the whirlwind of being at the wrong stop, then the muddled and confused emotions at finding Tamara exactly where she arrived, and then finally being beaned off of the head by a windblown piece of bread. The gust itself, strong enough to send a piece of rye alight in the air blows Colette's dark bangs across her face as her head ducks in reflex only after being accosted by a portion of someone's lunch.

Her eyes dart around the bus stop, over to a couple walking hand in hand down the street, then around to an older man reading a newspaper on a bench under a leafless tree, then back to Tamara. The blinded periphery of Colette's vision, however, obscures the true culprit of the windblown sandwich. "You… um…" Her green eye narrows slightly as the opposite brow raises upon assessing Tamara again, glancing down to the hand in hers with a measure of a smile that replaces her confusion. "I— " She tries to think of a way to demur out of the notion that she fell asleep on the bus, but all of those abortive sentences don't ever come out when she considers the logistics of bluffing Tamara.

"Is… is there anything in my hair?" Colette finally asks, trying to deviate from her rather half-waking demeanor, her free hand plucking at locks of black hair, lifting them up and rolling them between her fingers to feel for anything unfortunate like condiments where they don't belong.

Inevitably, Tamara giggles, grinning broadly at her luckless companion. Her free hand scoops up the lost and wandering slice of bread, the grin becoming if anything even wider when Colette's attempts at saving face all fall woefully short. Though it's more like they're completely irrelevant anyway. "Not much!" Now there's a reassuring reply. She leans around to look past the younger girl, towards the tree wherein Maria is perched. The slide of bread is waved so she can see it. "Do you want it back?" Tamara calls, her tone curious.

She is indeed up a tree. Maybe fifteen feet up, sitting on one of the sturdier branches, dressed in jeans and athletic shoes with a thin jacket. "That'd be great, Miss," the olive-skinned woman answers. She stands up right there on the branch and lifts one foot, then the other. Is she going to just jump right from the perch to the ground?

Both feet leave the safety of that support. Oh, God, she's going to fall and get hurt!

Except she doesn't. Her body doesn't even sink an inch. Instead she moves forward from the tree to the two others, moving diagonally until she touches ground right next to the precog. "Thanks so much," she offers.

Colette's expression sinks at Tamara's reply, fingers threading through her dark hair as she struggles to get whatever she fears is in her hair, out. In her fumbling tugs and raking motions at her bangs, the girl hears Tamara's reply only partilly, but when she sees the bread being offered to a tree she halts the motions of her hand, giving Tamara's a bit of a squeeze as if to indicate — for just a moment — trees don't eat sandwiches.

Her own chagrin, however, is delivered promptly in the form of a woman gliding out of the tree to land beside Tamara. Colette's mis-matched eyes grow wide for a moment, and she reflexively gives Tamara's hand another squeeze, about to tug and draw her back a step or two. But she doesn't, she hesitates and simply stands her own ground, the hand gripping Tamara's giving a noticeable tremble as her focus now shifts away from the woman to look up and down the street. Mis-matched eyes settle on the old man reading the paper, the now distant forms of the young couple holding hands, and now to a woman in a long jacket walking a Welsh corgie on a neon green leash. She tenses, visibly, and shoots a silent stare back at the woman who flew glided down from the tree. Once more her hand squeezes Tamara's, this time for her own reassurance.

"That's— " Colette's words hitch in her throat when she tries to speak, standing a half step behind and to the side of Tamara, just enough to make her vocalization awkward due to distance. "T-that must… be handy? Um, high shelves, or… stairs?" Her words come out as a mess more tangled than the laces of her right boot. The lack of articulation on her part earns a gentle clamping of teeth onto lower lip, and a shifting of half-blinded eyes away from the stranger and down to the street.

"You're welcome," Tamara replies, as she holds out the slice of bread for the flying woman to take. She didn't so much as bat an eyelash, for all that she watched every second of Maria's flight, which — even on this not-quite-empty street — marks the teen as unusual in her own way. Perhaps it's just a consequence of that ingenuous demeanor, her apparent simplicity. She twists around to look at the hiding Colette, offering the other teen a soft smile. "She eats sandwiches. Not kitties," Tamara informs her, tone intended to be reassuring. There's a pause. "Except maybe black cats." She turns back around to face Maria. "Do you eat black cats?"

The bread is taken, and she briefly looks at Colette with a bemused expression which unspokenly asks 'What, you never saw a woman defy gravity before?'. Then Maria turns toward the precog and takes her bread back, sticks it on the ham sandwich in her other hand, and speaks. Her eyes roll a bit. "No, I don't eat cats. Nor do I wear a pointed hat." And for good measure, with a laugh, the Persian/Latina adds "Look, no broomstick."

"I— That's not— " Tamara's comment earns those and a few more stuttering responses from Colette, "I just— She— " The girl's nose wrinkles as she takes a stubbornly defiant step forward to stand by Tamara's side, mis-matched eyes narrowed as she peers up at the older woman, only to have them shift to regard Tamara side-long. Taking just a moment to piece together her relative safety due to the companionship of the girl beside her, there's a visible relaxation of her slight shoulders, a softening of her thin frame that affords a slouch to her posture.

Considering her words, something causes her to stop, looking over to Tamara with a befuddled expression as she tries to puzzle out double meaning of eating black cats. The young woman's lips purse and her brows furrow together in thought, but when no truly convincing answer is imagined up, her gaze flicks back to Maria, head tilting to the side as she takes another step over and begins to realize the subtle height disparity between the two, inversely proportional to what she'd imagine given their apparent age difference. "Um, s-so… we were…" She eyes Tamara, uncertainly. Did she let her get hit by the bread to meet this person? Was she waiting here so this would happen? It's frustrating both knowing and not knowing, and Colette's beginning to overthink the entire thing. But at least for the time being her mind is off of the mayonnaise in her hair.

"But there is a stick!" Tamara proclaims, as she snatches the offending twig out of Maria's hair. She then proceeds to tuck it behind her own ear, as some might do with a feather. The girl peers sidelong at Colette, waiting for her to relax, meeting her confusion with a cheerful grin. Then Tamara steps around in front of Colette, facing her, free hand sweeping up the scarf and rubbing it briefly over the younger girl's hair. More specifically, the blot of mayonnaise that shouldn't be there. "There. Now it's just hair," the seer proclaims. We were what, you ask? …Who knows? Who cares?

The shortest woman present glances at Tamara's hand as she plucks a twig from her hair and puts it in her own, then winces a little as mayo is gotten out of Colette's. "Sorry about that, again," Maria offers. Her eyes rove from one to the other, mostly settling on Tamara as if wondering about her oddities, then seems to shake it off. Her stance remains open, though there's something about it which carries an air of training and authority held at some point in the past. Her back is straight, head up, shoulders not slumping.

Nose wrinkling to the touch of the scarf to her hair, Colette arches one brow once it's cleaned away, even if it's left that side of her hair a little unkempt — it matches the rest now. She flicks her eyes up to the unfamiliar woman, then to Tamara with a look silently proclaiming what now? It's as though she expects every chance encounter around the precog to be a smaller part of something greater, and given the odds so far it likely is.

"I— No it's — It's alright." Halting and uneven words, spoken without certainty for why they're even being said, other than an unspoken assumption about her close friend's ability. "Um, s'sorry about — I just kind've woke up?" It's not a question, but the way she says it suggests as much. "I— I kind've fell asleep, um, o-on the bus, and…" Her gaze darts back to Tamara, uncertainly, and then back to the stranger again with a mild smile, "I missed my stop?" Another statement spoken as a question, and again not really one deserving of or requiring an answer.

Rubbing her bare fingers together, the dark-haired girl offers up one slender hand to the stranger, her expression uneven and cautious, "Uh, I — Colette., Colette Ni— " There's a hitch to her words, one sound being abruptly exchanged for another, "Demsky."

'What now' isn't something Tamara seems to be in any hurry to answer, any more than she is the unspoken 'We were…?' She wrinkles her nose right back at Colette, though the expression doesn't last long, overtaken by an apparently irrepressible grin. She keeps hold of the younger teen's hand and steps back to stand beside her, leaning on Colette's shoulder. "Maybe you'll just think you did." Unlike her companion, Tamara doesn't seem inclined to introduce herself. Her free hand picks at the fringe of her scarf, its loose end now hanging limply down her torso.

"Maria Delgado," the short one answers, extending her hand toward the teenager who got hit by flyaway bread. "Good to meet you, Miss Demsky." There's an apologetic smile being shown as she speaks and makes the gesture, at the same time not seeming to take issue with Tamara's lack of introduction.

"Good, uh, yeah. I — That's one way, of — yeah." Colette's awkward response is coupled with the hesitant motion of her hand back away from the shorter woman, letting the hand be tucked away into one of the pockets of her carnation red hoodie. Her eyes sweep over the older woman for a short time, then look to Tamara with a puzzled stare before flicking back to the woman again. Perhaps she expected there to be a large neon sign pointing her towards the conversational direction she should be going in, perhaps the drop of a name is all that was needed, or perhaps Colette's over-analyzing everything again.

Odds are usually safe on the latter. "Um, w-which…" She looks over to Tamara, relaxing a bit more and managing a smile from the way the girl leans against her. Eyes track back to Maria again, quietly, "I mean, you… probably don't drive much? Or… you know," Her hand slips out of her pocket for the distinct purpose of wiggling two fingers back and forth to pantomime someone walking. "But ah, maybe you can give me a straight answer as to ah, w-which part of town I got off in?" She could take a look at the schedule on the bus stop about fifteen feet away, she could ask Tamara — though getting a straight answer might not work out — but instead she scrapes conversational bottom to try and struggle for a purpose, for a meaning to a chance encounter that will leave one spot of her hair shinier than the rest. "Or — you know, I'm… " Her stomach gives a little audible reminder of why she was on the bus to begin with, and the lingering smell of mayo enhances that reminder. "Or maybe where someplace close to eat is?" Her awkward grimace turns to a smirk.

Leaning her chin against Colette's shoulder, Tamara chuckles and just observes the conversation, content to let it direct itself. Or for Colette to flounder, whatever works out. For all that she's leaning on Colette, Tamara seems to have just assigned herself the role of moral support.

Large neon signs are not in evidence today.

"You're on the Upper West Side, Miss Demsky," Maria informs her, "there are places to eat out in SoHo and Little Italy, but they're a bit of distance to travel. I have food at my place in Dorchester Towers, though. You're welcome to have some." Her sandwich is held up and looked at again, then she laughs. "I do like flying to work, yes. So much freedom. Wind in the hair, looking out over everything."

Upper West Side? "Oh, son of a— " It's a bit further than Colette had intended on riding on the bus, but in the long-view not entirely without its merits, though these are only considered when she thinks about the subtle weight of that chin resting on her shoulder. All of the frustration drains away on that thought, but is gradually replaced by a notion of awkward uncertainty at the offer, "Uh— N-no that's— unusual of you, but, ah, no we'll be— I was thinking more like a restaurant. We— " Colette leas a bit towards Tamara, giving her a ginger nudge as an indication that she's going to move, not really thinking on the fact that forewarnings and indications don't mean much to her. "T-thanks for— uh— You know, yeah." Getting your sandwich in my hair? This awkward conversation? Being a spooky flying lady? It could be a variety of those thoughts bouncing around in Colette's head as she backpedals a little.

"Little Italy's— what, south?" She motions over her shoulder with a hastily directed thumb, her other hand squeezing Tamara's gently, "T-thanks for, you know— yeah. Have a good day!" The socially awkward manner in which she conducts herself and the halting tone of her voice continues as she takes another step back, managing a crooked if not somewhat disingenuous smile. Another squeeze is given to Tamara's hand, silently implying let's go.

But again, unneeded.

Tamara snorts softly at Colette's repeated urgings, the expulsion of air blowing a bit of Colette's hair away from her nose. She steps away from the younger girl, releasing her hand for the moment. A step forward brings her closer to Maria. "You were here often." It's not a question. Tamara's smile broadens. "Watch out for sticks! They're sticky." And on that so-very-enlightening note, the seeress turns and skips back over to Colette, linking arms as she lets the younger girl lead them down the street. For now.

As Colette asks where Little Italy is, Maria starts to rise into the air. "Don't go anywhere," she suggests, "I'll look and tell you in just a few moments." And up she goes, slowly, intending to do just that, except they're leaving before she has a chance. "Or not," she comments a bit darkly to the retreating backs. More words are spoken, muttered under her breath. "Minorities like me, double minorities in my case, always get this crap from the majority. But I am who I am, and won't hide it any more than I would or could my skin tone."

She scowls at the two as they depart, shakes her head, and goes back to her tree perch. To eat that sandwich.

Once she's in the tree and eating, she looks at the wood around her, and nods once. "Sticks are sticky."

December 27th: How Many People You Got In There?
December 27th: The Human Can Opener
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