It can be cold in Red Hook, damn cold


gavyn_icon.gif lola_icon.gif milton_icon.gif

Scene Title It can be cold in Red Hook, damn cold
Synopsis There are many different ways to get your hands dirty.
Date 23 November 2010

Red Hook

Before annexation into the 12th Ward of Brooklyn, Red Hook was a separate village. It is named for the red clay soil and the point of land projecting into the East River. The village was settled by the Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam in 1636. Red Hook is part of the area known as South Brooklyn, though it is northwest of the geographic center of the modern borough. It is a peninsula between Buttermilk Channel, Gowanus Bay and Gowanus Canal at the southern edge of Downtown Brooklyn.

Red Hook is connected to Manhattan by the vehicles-only Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, whose toll plaza and approaches separate it from Carroll Gardens to the north. Subway service in the area was cut off after the bomb de to flooding and collapse of the connecting Manhattan tunnels, and no present plans to reinstate them are yet under effect. The B61 bus, formerly a trolley line, runs as a 24-hour service from Erie Basin Red Hook through Downtown Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, terminating at Long Island City, Queens.

Through the 1980s and 1990s Red Hook began a steady decline from an industrial complex like Long Island City, to a notorious neighborhood known for being rife with drug trade, specifically cocaine and crack. Following the bomb, the drug problem in Red Hook became progressively worse, with a recent influx of Chinese Mafia institutions in the very low income neighborhood muscling in on territory formerly belonging to the Civella crime family.

With the only full-frontal view of the Statue of Liberty, Red Hook has the dubious honor of being so close to the shadow of lady Liberty, while being a haven of criminals and crime activity. Private ferries operate out of the Red Hook ports going to and from Staten Island while operating under the Coast Guard's radar. Some residents have even gone as far as to dub Red Hook "Little Staten Island."

The bus from New York decants a little clump of people, many of whom immediately seem to vanish as if they're reluctant to be seen on the street any longer than strictly necessary. The lean youth in the leather jacket, though, dallies a little, as if to get his bearings, before setting off along the sidewalk at a brisk pace. He checks his watch as he goes, hoping to be in good time for the gig that's brought him out here.

This here be Lola Mayeux territory. She patrols her streets like a dusty bandit, like a tumbleweed passing through that no one seems to notice, but that is always there. WAtching. Waiting. Plotting. Actually Lola is very much like that. She walks easily enough from her building - any old shitty one in Red Hook, they're all the same, a cigarette perched beween her lips. She wears a black biker jacket, black cargo pants and combat boots. Her normal look for the days following the riots.

Also heading down the street, uncaring of the downtrodden appearance of the neighborhood, is Gavyn Mitchell. She lives here, and works here. In fact, she's headed away from that place of work and living in blue jeans and boots, black fleece jacket, and sunglasses. The others passing by, those in a rush to be out of the cold and not seen on the streets, are barely looked at. She's got the day off, no reason to scrutinize too closely.

Milton continues down the street, checking numbers at each intersection, keeping his eyes out for the block containing the little community hall which is his destination. He pulls his jacket shut against the chill wind, but it doesn't seem to make him much warmer, so he stops to light a cigarette; an action which largely blocks the sidewalk, and may cause an obstruction to anyone else walking that block.

Well-well! The building Lola's been watching since the riot happens to be Favyn's very place. She tosses out her cigarette and pushes away from her walking space. She's good at tailing people, mostly because in this area it's so easy to look like you're wandering. Most people in Red Hook can't even afford to go to the damn movies. Hmmm. Going to have to watch this one, clearly.

It's a casual look over her shoulder that Gavyn throws, the kind that isn't so out of place in times like these. Of course, she's unaware that she's being tailed. She's looking down the street while she follows it, then a half dozen steps later returns her attention to the fore. Just in time to run into Milton's back.

Milton has just lit his cigarette, which remains in his mouth, but his lighter clatters to the floor with the impact of Gavyn from behind. "Jesus, man, can'tcha look where — " he begins to snarl, turning round, then realises it's a woman who's bumped into him. "Uh, pardon me, ma'am," he says instead, going a little pink and stooping to retrieve the lighter.

Lola laughs. Who wouldn't? It's funny to see people almost hurt themselves. Or hurt themselves. But no one was hurt in this case, so there's no need to worry. She laughs, her mouth wide, but she manages to twist away and keep any sound from actually leaving her mouth. It's like watching someone crack up on mute.

Gavyn had stumbled backward, sunglasses skewing. "The hell you doing standing where people are walking," she counters in true New Yorker fashion. She's lived here long enough, some habits are inevitable. Those shades are righted before she even looks to Milton, brows furrowing together. "You alright?"

"Well I'm /trying/ to find Prosser Memorial Hall," Milton says. "Which is someplace round here. You know it?" The lighter goes back into his pocket and he steps to one side of the sidewalk, belatedly, in case anyone else wants to get past.

Gavyn doesn't reply right away, taking a good long moment to brush herself off and look down the street again. A look to tell gawkers to be on their way, those few who'd even bother to see what the commotion was about. "Prosser Memorial," she repeats, turning back to Milton. "I think you're headed the right way."

"Poetry slam there tonight," Milton says with a self deprecatory grin. He takes a long draw on his cigarette. "Hope the damn place has heating. I swear the temperature drops ten degrees between N'yark and New Jersey."

"Aw sugar, it's just bein' up here in Yankee-ville what's so damned cold," Lola's finally gotten her laughing under control, although she is still smirking. Then agian, when is she not? And, standing close enough to hear, for her that means she is also standing close enough to speak. So she does. "Ah lived through last winter an Ah swear ta all that is holy Ah will rain terror down if Ah gotta put up with snow like that again."

Gavyn's reply to Milton ends before it begins as a new voice joins in. She glances toward it, look turning questioning as she spots Lola. "Last winter and its crazy snow could've been worse." Says she who was snug and secure on an air force base. "This cold is something else, though."

Milton turns his head sharply as that Southern accent sounds out, and stirs a memory in his head. He peers over at Lola. "Hey! Didn't — weren't —" he begins, in some surprise, before starting over. "Didn't I meet you in St Luke's the other week?"

Lola blinks a minute. "Oh, yer that guy that hates everybody. Or summat. Ah dunno, sugar, Ah really don' remembe.r What'd Ah tell ya mah name was?" Because that will actually have breaing on if he knows her, and what level she decided he should know her. After all, ones who get names like 'Sarah' are the ones she trusts the least.

After giving her head another shake, Gavyn gives Milton one last look to see that he's alright. Finding him to be in well enough health she takes a step back and gives Lola another look. What name did she give him? Strange question to ask.

Milton looks nonplussed for a moment. "Beg your pardon, ma'am," he says to Lola, "but for the life of me I don't remember your name, if I ever knew it. And I'm sorry if I gave you a rant in the hospital. Being stabbed kind of put me in a cranky mood." He touches the brim of his black stetson. "Milton Kreisler, anyway. Poet, dreamer and layabout."

Lola blinks at Gavyn. "What?" She asks, slightly put-up at being looked-at. But her eyes go back to Milton, and she motions to him with her new cigarette - chain smoker, this one. "Layabout, huh? Well ya might not wantin' ta be layin' 'bout these parts, darlin. Folks that do tend ta be drunk, and drunks tend ta be rolled. Got little urchins 'round here an everything. Good buncha kids, really."

"Nothing," Gavyn states a little too quickly. "Not a thing." She even tries for a grin, not that she's feeling all that amused right now, then looks at Milton. "She's right. Not exactly the nicest part of town to be sleeping in."

"Not that kind of layabout," Milton clarifies. "Figure of speech. Meaning I wish I could stay in bed till midday and then sit around in my pyjamas writing poetry, instead of having to shuffle legal papers in goddamn Brooklyn all day to earn a crust."

Lola wrinkles her nose. "Nah, not me. Ah'm a field girl mahself. Ain' fer sittin' behind a desk. Ah get bored too quick. Nah, Ah like ta get mah hands dirty. Doncha?" She asks this question to Gavyn, slipping her head just so in order to look at her as that part of the sentance comes up. "Ya seem like a 'dirty hands' girl yaself."

"Me? Sure, all the time." Gavyn lifts a shoulder, shrugging in apology. "Just as a janitor, though. I get the glory job of cleaning up other people's messes." And there've been some messes to clean up, too.

Milton gives Gavyn's hands a quick look. "Sooner you than me," he says. "The only thing I like on my mitts is ink." Which is a bit of a lie — he uses a cheap plastic ballpoint to write rather than a fountain pen — but it sounds good, doesn't it?

Lola nods a little, absent mindedly. "uh-huh," she says, checking her phone. "Ya'll have fun layin' in the street now," she drawls, distractedly as she stumbles away to answer her phone. Apparently whomever was on there requires her fullest of attentions. Which is weird, seeing as all she's saying is 'uh-huh' or 'sure'.

"Not all that bad," Gavyn states, defending her 'job'. "It's—" She pauses to look at Lola, quizzical to the once again sudden change. Only in New York, she decides, and shrugs to the other woman. "So what kind of poetry are you," Gav continues with a look back to Milton. "Angsty, swearing at the world or thought provoking haikus?"

"Oh, swearing at the world, definitely," Milton says. "The only thing that surprises me, with the world this way, is that /everyone/ isn't cursing it out." He gives a sly smile. "You could always come along and listen if you're not doing anything…"

Gavyn gives a small shake of her head. "Sounds too classy for me. And I'm on call from now until after the weekend. Never know when I might be needed to help clean up a mess." Hands that certainly don't look like they've ever used a mop for more than casual cleaning, delve into pockets as a look down the street is cast. "But thanks for the invite."
Lola has left.

Milton checks his watch. "I'd better find that damn hall, or else all the sign-up slots will be gone," he says. "Sorry I, uh, got in your way and all."

"Don't worry about it," Gavyn says. It wasn't a big deal, but this neighborhood.. You need to be tough. "Milton, right? Good luck with your poetry thing, Milton."

"Milton Kreisler," says the poet. "With a K-r," he adds, just in case she wants to look up his poetry page online. "Got to dash!" And dash he does, his long thin legs going into motion as he strides off towards the poetry slam.

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