How To Fix A Flat


jaiden_icon.gif mika_icon.gif

Scene Title How to Fix a Flat
Synopsis Poor Mika gets a flat tire; Jaiden swoops in and saves the day!
Date August 11, 2010

Battery Park City

Battery Park City is a 92-acre planned community at the southwestern tip of lower Manhattan. The land upon which it stands was created on the Hudson River using millions of pounds of dirt and rocks excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center and certain other construction projects, as well as from sand dredged from New York Harbor off Staten Island. The neighborhood, which is the site of the World Financial Center along with numerous housing, commercial and retail buildings, is named for adjacent Battery Park.

Battery Park City is bounded on the east by West Street, which isolates the area from the Financial District of downtown Manhattan. To the west, north and south, the area is surrounded by the tidal estuary of the Hudson River. The development consists of roughly five major sections. Traveling north to south, the first neighborhood, the "North Residential Neighborhood," consists of high-rise residential buildings, a large hotel, Stuyvesant High School and the World Center Mall. Former parkland in the area was in the process of being converted into high-rise buildings before the bomb in 2006, and now much of the unfinished constructions lie in much the same condition as the ghostly footprints of the World Trade Center, surrounded by derelict cranes and construction equipment.

Much of Battery Park City looks to be in better condition that the majority of upper Manhattan, its streets relatively well tended and buildings in fair condition, though even this far south signs of structural damage to some roads and buildings from the shockwave and debris of the bomb in 2006 are still visible. Due to its location and relative security from the damage of the bomb, Battery Park City is one of the most expensive areas in lower Manhattan to live and features the highest growth rate of new construction. It is not unusual to see banners for Linderman Group sponsored rebuilding efforts and Maxwell Corporation signs on half finished skyscrapers.

It's a beautiful day out. Sunny, gorgeous, and lovely out, though a bit on the warm side. In fact, the sun is just a little bit too much, which is why people have gone to the mall, to enjoy the nice air conditioning it offers.

Mika was one such person today. She's wearing a pair of baggy black shorts and a rather simple tank top for comfort's sake, along with flip flops. The young Japanese woman, perhaps in her early twenties, just finished a trip to the mall herself. She was just heading back toward her home, toting supplies for her new shop, as well as a few new clothes.

Sadly, that's when her large Toyota SUV decided to get a flat tire. She managed to pull over onto the side of the road, where she now stands, staring helplessly at the flat tire. She's mumbling to herself in Japanese right now, since nobody can really hear her over the sound of cars driving past. After an obvious complaint, the tiny girl turns and slumps back against her large SUV, pulling out her phone and peering at it in dismay.

This part of the city - this part of the highway, at least, still has a few problems with cellular reception, so the chances of the Japanese woman getting someone on her phone is slim at best. And New Yorkers are, of course, being New Yorkers, living up to the reputation of not pulling over to help - a few even honking their horns and waving as they speed past. But one car - a Blue 1967 Mustang with racing stripes, pulls past and with the sound of gravel crunching under it's tires, rolls to a stop just behind the large Toyota SUV.

The engine in the Mustang rumbles a few times before the key is turned off, the man behind the wheel grabbing his hat from the passenger seat and stepping out after a moment, closing the door to the car behind him. Emergency Flashers weren't invented by this point, so he's just parked as far over on the shoulder as he can, out of traffic. "Afternoon, Ma'am." The Australian moves between the Toyota FJ and the bumper of his Mustang. "No spare? Any idea what you hit?"

New York is filled with assholes. Luckily, she seems to have found the one man who isn't an asshole. She blinks a few times, approaching the man as he gets out of his car, a relived look on her face. The young lady waves her hands.

When she speaks, it's in perfect English, as if she's been speaking it all of her life. "Oh, thank goodness you stopped! I have a spare…I just don't know how to change it. I've never had to change a flat tire in my entire life." Far longer than he might imagine. She gestures to the full-sized spare on the back of the vehicle, frowning as she nervously brushes a hand through her hair. "And I can't get any reception out here to call a tow truck. Oh, thank you so much for stopping, sir!"

"It's no problem, Ma'am. I work in a garage, after all. Call it cultivating a potential customer, but I call it being a good samaritan, but I try to help out people who need it." Jaiden slips off the hood of his car and peers at the tire mounted on the back, looking and finding a latch that he can undo, the entire plastic cover coming off. Hidden beneath is a spare, a jack, and a few other bits and bobs useful for removing a tire.

"No time to learn like the present then, Ma'am. Simplest way to put it, you need to take the bad one off and put the good one.." He pats the tire. "On in it's place. Could I borrow your key, or could you unlock this lock in the middle? Otherwise we're not going very far with this." HE steps back and, once it's unlocked, lifts the tire down along with the small toolkit mounted in the rim and sets it on it's side to get the jack and the lug wrench out.

Mika smiles gratefully, darting forward and undoing the lock for him, before stepping back to watch him with a thoughtful expression. Her gaze is strange, like there's an old lady staring out from behind the mask of a young woman. "You're so kind…thank you again!" She smiles, quite happy to just watch him. "I think I might have hit a nail or something. I just know that it was suddenly very loud, and very difficult to steer, so I pulled over." She gestures to the tire with a frown.

After a moment of watching him, she offers a practiced, charming smile. "I'm Mika Iwasaki, by the way…what's your name?" She's not in any particular persona today, so she'll happily stay herself.

His hands aren't dirty yet so Jaiden feels no qualms about offering his hand to shake. "Jaiden Mortlock, miss. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance…even if it is on the side of the road." He does take his time, too. Instead of just fixing the problem which would get her on her way and leave her in the same situation if this happened again, he shows her how to assemble the jack and where to place it, how to loosen the lug nuts with the tire on the ground so it doesn't spin, turning on the parking brake, and the like. With all of them loosened, Jaiden positions the jack properly and pumps, the rear of the FJ rising steadily.

"Ah, here we go, Miss." He turns the tire and points to a rather wicked looking screw poking out of the sidewall. "There's good news and bad news. Bad news is you'll need a new tire - no patching that. Good news is the tire didn't blow out and cause you even more heartache." With a grunt, Jaiden pulls it off, giving the smaller woman a glance over his shoulder now and again. She is cute, for certain. A little short, but there's something endearing about a woman you can put your arms around easily. She can almost see the wheels in his head turning as he works, putting the other tire aside and re-positioning the new one, finger-tightening the lug nuts and lowering it slowly to where he can get some torque to tighten them.

Her first instinct is to bow her head lightly in a very cultural display. A However, she shakes that off as quickly as it started, reaching out to shake his hand with a bright smile. "Nice to meet you, Jaiden. Thank you again, so much." She offers that charming smile again. She can't help but get a kick out of the fact that she can still woo the young men, even at 91. Then again, her ability is quite helpful in that aspect.

She watches intently as he changes the tire, carefully examining what he does. Oh, that's easy! She frowns at the news, though. "Oh, I can handle a new tire! Maybe I'll come to the shop you work at to buy one." She tilts her head to one side, drawing just a little closer to watch him work.

Being from Australia - near one of the major cities - one would always see Japanese tourists going around, taking pictures of the trees, the koalas, enjoying the interesting food, the cooler weather, and all sorts of stuff like that. According to what he was told in the military, Japan uses Australia as a vacation land, so the bow, if given, would have been returned with military precision.

When she offers her hand he shows his, black with brake dust and tire crud to the wrists. "Give me a bit, love, and we'll get me all cleaned up for a proper shake." And he turns to tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern, always getting the one furthest away from the last one he tightened. He does chuckle as she suggests purchasing a tire from him, glancing over after a moment, blowing his hair out of his face with an upturned lip and a puff of air. "I could do that for you, sure. You've got a full-sized spare, so you're not going to need a new tire any time soon, but that insurance of having a spare is nice and flat. The sooner you come by, then, the better." The bolts tightened, Jaiden lets the jack down slowly, the car's weight settling on the tire. "All done but the clean up."

All the while, the little Japanese woman watches as he changes her tire, smiling. So that's how it's done! She offers a small cheer as he lets the jack down. "Oh, I could just hug you for helping me out. Thank you again!" She smiles brightly, though she certainly doesn't look thrilled about the tire crud and brake dust. Cars are such dirty things, really.

"I have some water in my car, if you'd like to clean your hands up. And if you give me a card or something, I would happily drive there tomorrow to get the new tire." She smiles brightly. Aww, that meeting was too short. Such a pleasant young man. She'd certainly like the opportunity o get to know him a bit more.

If he only knew how old she was, the thought of being referred to as a pleasant young man wouldn't be nearly as odd as he would consider. Jaiden stands and hoists the flat tire into position in the carrier on the back of her car, replacing the jack and lug wrench, clicking them all into place and closing the case around it. "Please, miss Mika, I'd appreciate it. Cars are great things but they are quite filthy, after all." He frowns slightly, looking at his hands, and makes his way back to his Mustang, popping the boot and rooting around beneath the lid until he finds a pump-bottle of some kind of orange stuff. A few pumps and the crud on his hands is starting to get off, but the water will finish the job.

"Once I get my hands clean, Miss, I'll give you one of my cards. I may be out for a few days, though, so it might be best to come by on Monday. I'm generally covered up with work and finishing up on Thursday and Friday…but Monday I'm clear." He grins. "Although having you visit would be a reason to stay open a bit later than usual."

But then, if he knew how old she really is, he would likely be much less likely to flirt with her. Mika smiles, climbing into her car long enough to pull out a full bottled water, which she unscrews as she makes her way toward Jaiden. Once his hands are held out, she pours the water carefully over his hands, making sure to get the gunk off.

His last remarks prompts the girl to blush. She really does love the youth these days. Well, some of them. They're so charming. Granted, she's old enough to be his grandmother…but he doesn't know that. She offers one of those practiced smiles again, this time unable to stop herself from pulling off one of those cultural bows toward him. That will always be a habit that is difficult to break for the former Geisha. "I'll give you a card, too. There's a tea shop I work at, run by my aunt. It's called Through the Looking Glass. You should stop by some time!" She smiles brightly.

True, Age does tend to colour things - once you get to a certain age, respect comes into it, rather than attraction. Jaiden scrubs his hands quickly and efficiently beneath the stream of water, making sure to get everything off. Somehow it seems water keeps flowing out a bit longer than it should from the bottle, the water kind of hovering 'round his hands, but it's probably a trick of the light.

When she bows it only takes a moment for him to return the bow as well - just low enough to be respectful, but not the hyper-deep RESPECT bow. It's the one given to newly met people. At the very end, though, he tilts his head up and grins playfully. "I just might do that. I know I sound australian, but something rubbed off in my travels around the world and I developed a taste for the chinese teas - mainly whites, but oolong too." Reaching around to fish around for his wallet, he opens it and slides out a card, simply titled with his name, the name of his garage, the address and the phone number. He tucks the wallet back and - in a VERY japanese way - holds it out to her with both hands.

The woman watches the water thoughtfully, her brow arching. Another evolved, perhaps? It's a possibility. She'll have to keep an eye on him. Age brings many things, among it being the ability to notice things. She peers at the water bottle for a moment, before smiling to Jaiden.

Oh, and he's not only charming, but also very respectful too! She can't help but smile at his proper presentation of the business card, taking it with both of her hands and offering a little bow, before looking it over with a smile and a nod of approval. Then, she pulls a business card from her pocket, which she apparently grabbed while getting the water. This is offered in the same way, coupled with a bright smile. "She has all kinds of teas, not just the chinese teas. It's great!" She beams up at him.

PErhaps he is. Perhaps he isn't and it's just a trick of the light. After all, these are strange times and New York is a strange city, full of strange people. He takes the card she gives him and looks it over quickly, scanning it, making sure all the appropriate details are there before retrieving his wallet and tucking it inside.

"I'll look forward to it then, Miss Mika. I may not look it, but I'm a bit of a gourmet, so interesting flavors from around the world are most welcome." Whether or not he's referring to her or food? Remains to be seen.

It doesn't really matter his meaning, he's got the girl blushing like a schoolgirl at prom. She offers him a bright, sunshine-smile. "Well, I am sure that you will like my aunt's tea shop, then." She offers a soft giggle, peering the man over for a moment. Then, there's another smile on her face as she reaches out a tiny hand for him to shake.

"Thanks again, so much. If it weren't for you, I bet I would still be sitting here, clueless as ever." There's that beaming smile again.

He reaches out with his now nicely-clean hand and takes hers in his, giving it a surprisingly gentle squeeze for a man who works with his hands on a daily basis, shaking it and giving a little bow at the same time. He does find himself getting lost in that smile for a moment or two, though, his own appearing, his olive eyes twinkling as he straightens. "Problem solved then, Miss Mika. You're not stranded and you're not as clueless as you were before. Lesson learned."

A smile and a nod is offered as she takes his hand, dipping her head in a slight, respectful bow. "Yes indeed! Next time, I will not be so helpless, thanks to you! You are great." She gestures toward the traffic. "Nobody else would have stopped, so I owe you one, definitely." She grins widely. "Perhaps some free tea when you come to the shop."

"If you'd like. Pick me out a couple of ones you enjoy drinking and we'll sit and chat." A passing car honks, causing Jaiden to jump a little bit, looking over at the BMW as it speeds off into the distance. "It's probably a good thing I did stop, too….some people just aren't very nice nowadays." He smiles. "Walk you to your car, miss?"

Mika smiles, nodding to him. "I have a good strawberry tea, if you like strawberries…or a fruity one, if you like that. Then, I can make a mean cup of iced chai, if you want." She grins, more thinking about when he comes to visit. It's so nice to be so old and still have young men fawning all over you. Once again, the ability helps. She doubts anyone would have stopped if she were her true age.

Then again, if she were her true age, she would either be dead or in a nursing home. She's felt the pull of old age on her mind before, and it's not something she enjoys. She glances toward the BMW, grumbling something in her native tongue after it, before turning to beam at Jaiden once more. "If you would, please, I would very much appreciate it."

"I do like strawberries, but I've never had it in a tea. Being a man, most of the ones the shopkeepers pressed on me were ones for health and virility and long life…things of that sort. The sweet, light teas were rarely offered." Jaiden helps the young woman to the car, standing between her and the road like a gentleman, even opening the door for her and standing out of the way for her to mount.

The petite girl laughs softly as she walks to the driver's side door, smiling brightly at the man. "Ah, but the sweet, light teas are the best of all of them. And they can be just as healthy as those teas specifically designed for health."

She can't help but smile warmly as he opens the door for her, using the handle to climb into the large SUV before fastening her seatbelt. After a moment, she offers Jaiden another one of those beaming smiles that's only marred by that old look she carries in her eyes. "Well, thanks again…if I don't see you before, then I'll see you on Monday when I come to get a new tire from your shop."

"I'll be there with bells on…or at least, with my coveralls on." Jaiden chuckles, standing in the partially opened door. "I will clean up before I come by the tea shop, though. I want to give a good impression for your aunt to base her decisions on whether or not I'm a nice guy on."

The woman laughs softly, leaning slightly toward Jaiden for a moment, before sitting back again, offering him another practiced charming smile. She used to use this smile to stop men in their tracks, back when she was but a Maiko. These days are no different than the past in that aspect. "I look forward to it, then. I'm sure my Aunt will like you, too." She giggles, putting the keys into the ignition and starting up the oversized SUV that makes her look even more tiny than ever.

"Here's hoping. Drive safe, Miss Miko." He gives one of those disarming smiles of his and steps back, closing the door of the giant SUV on the tiny, tiny woman. Wow she was cute.

Mika offers another cheerful smile and a perky little wave. Then, once he's stepped back to his car and is inside (she waits for him to get in his car first!), she pulls back out into traffic, quite thankful for the repaired tire and the new acquaintance. He was handsome, indeed…

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