I Guess


tamara_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title I Guess
Synopsis Two people at the market have a casual chat about hunches, feelings, and investigations.
Date March 18, 2018

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.

Gilbert Tucker has been putting in quite a bit of face time out in the market proper since the food theft. He's got a knack for diffusing tense situations. Back in the day, he used that talent to get himself out of trouble with local gangsters. Now he uses it to stop vendors from getting at each others' throats or to mediate disputes with customers. He's carrying a clipboard and checking in with the vendors one at a time, just to see if all is all right.

"Yip, we're working on it. Someone's going up on the roof today to see about that leak and there's no rain in the forecast. We'll move you down the way if it can't get fixed, because I totally agree, a drip right on you is no good," says Tuck as he talks to a basket vendor. The vendor seems a bit put-out but reassured.

"Maybe rain Tuesday," comes from behind Tuck, a woman's helpful contribution to the discussion. Not that she's saying anything different from the forecast. "Time enough to try."

Tamara walks up to join them, smiling amiably at both vendor and manager. She's dressed in charcoal pants and a plum-colored jacket over ivory shirt, not wearing a scarf for once. The basket she carries in the crook of one arm recognizably came from this very stall once upon a time, though it's seen a good bit of use since. So far, all that's in it are a few pieces of soap and a gray hat with a white flower on one side.

The seer doesn't volunteer a prediction of whether the leak can be fixed.

Tuck has a reputation for being a live-and-let-live sort of guy. Even back in the day, he never showed prejudice against the Evolved or demonstrated anxiety. But seers and psychics are sort of the exception. Because despite all his supposed openness, he's a pretty private guy. And not being in control of what people know about him makes him twitchy.

"Maybe…Tuesday. OK. I'll make a note, thanks," he says. And he actually does make a note, then steps aside to allow the vendor to deal with a customer. For a time when the co-op was first an entity, he wore suits pretty much every day. But that's phased out to council meetings, although he does wear suit jackets - over t-shirts and with jeans. It's a small nod at respectability, but not too much of one.

Tamara smiles at Tuck's note-taking, and also as offer of reassurance she knows to be in vain. She too steps aside to let customers engage the vendor; already possessed of a basket, his wares are not on her errand list today. So to speak.

Falling in beside Tuck, she glances briefly towards the clipboard, too briefly to be accused of reading anything. "Not too many notes today," Tamara remarks conversationally. "Quiet day, or just getting started?"

"Little of both. Anyone who has a non-food related business isn't seeing as much traffic. People're saving their pennies or their trade goods for foodstuffs. Not that I can blame them." Tuck slides his pen behind his ear. "People are mostly in the 'wary' stage right now, but we all know how easily that can change to something else."

Tamara nods slowly, considering Tuck's words, her own potential responses. "Yes," she agrees. "It did once already, didn't it?" Knowledge she doesn't actually have, borrowed from words he no longer has potential need to say — but it fits comfortably into the conversation, and that's the important part just now.

"Still a while before any gardens bear fruit. I guess someone got hungry after winter."

"I guess," says Tuck. "It is a bit of a desperate time of year for some if they didn't ration their supplies. But something tells me this isn't about need. I have absolutely nothing to base this on other than just a…" he hand-waggles. "…feeling. And that don't mean squat because the last I got tested, I am not expressin' the SLC."

Tamara casts a sidelong glance towards Tuck as they walk through the market, but is slow to answer, letting the surrounding hubbub of business filter in to fill the space between them. "Feelings are important," she says at last, scanning the stalls they amble past. "Hunches," she adds, by way of making clear the lack of meander in her conversational subject. "They're just something your thoughts haven't gotten around to yet."

"My thoughts don't get around to much, these days," says Tuck with a wry bit of self-depreciation. "Just market rental forms and mediating small disputes. Oh yes, and now a food crisis. I often look around and wonder how I ended up with any damned responsibility at all." He stops to look up at a bit of crumbling brickwork. He makes a note to himself to put in a work order to have it patched. "The theft feels like a middle finger. But I don't know to who for what."

Tamara echoes Tuck's wry smile. "Small things are important, too," she remarks. "It's the little moments that keep the world going 'round." She pauses as he does, contemplates the brickwork; what she sees in it, Tamara doesn't say. Her expression goes contemplative, thoughtful, and there's another long pause before she finally response to Tuck's last statements. "Maybe," she allows at last. "I couldn't say. But sometimes what looks like meanness could just be unthinking. No consideration."

"Like I said, this is just me guessing. I'm no investigator," says Tuck as he proves himself a liar as he traces back the bit of crumbling brickwork to a spot on the wall. He reaches out and touches it, finding it damp. The leak and the bit of crumbling brickwork seem to be part of the same problem. He makes another note. "I might agree if they'd stolen things. Guns. Clothes. Tools. But food? Food is life and death. Taking someone's food is dealing them an injury."

Tamara gives Tuck another sidelong glance, a faintly lopsided smile. She watches him examine the brickwork for a bit longer, then nods. "Food is life and death," she agrees quietly. Clothes and tools can be; food always is. Silence falls then, as she doesn't venture anything further on that subject, letting his study continue in the quiet.

"You might check the other side, too," Tamara says at last, touching fingertips lightly to Tuck's shoulder. That also seems intended to pass for farewell, as the woman steps away and starts to continue on down the market aisle.

Tuck doesn't move to stop her or to say anything to make her linger. In truth, he's never sure how to talk to someone with her kind of ability. So instead, he just settles on a nod. He'll continue his investigation into the structure of the market, then find someone with architectural experience to make a true assessment. The market is too important to let any part of it crumble.

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