Monkey Speaks Not


abby_icon.gif bright_icon.gif castle_icon.gif

Scene Title Monkey Speaks Not
Synopsis Agents Bright and Castle show up at Abigail Caliban's doorstep for an attempted wellness check, but it does not go as planned.
Date September 15, 2020

Abigail Caliban's Brownstone

“I always feel like a door-door salesman when we visit them at their homes,” laments Bright as they approach the door belonging to a certain Abigal Caliban. He takes a moment to straighten his bow tie and look at his partner in this house call to be sure they’re ready before knocking on the door with a firm rap of strong knuckles.

Once that’s done, he takes a step back. “‘Hello, Madame, would you like a free demonstration of our carpet cleaner? Point us to a stubborn stain and we’ll be happy to get rid of that problem for you!’” he says in a quiet parody of the salesmen of yore. “We’d probably be more welcome, eh?” he asks, turning his gaze back to the closed door in front of him and waiting, hands clasped behind his back for their appointment to open the door. Of course, Abby doesn’t know she’s their appointment just yet.

“If she still worked at the hospital you could have just shot me and taken me there and we could have questioned her that way,” Castle says in an off-hand tone as if they actually expected such a thing to be an option. Like it’s something they might have considered actually doing. Which is probably why Bright was told to keep an eye on this Agent.

“But I guess we can try this, knocking on the door thing,” there’s a sigh in the way it’s said, because that would not be the preferred method.

At least Castle is dressed the part of an agent again, in a suit that’s actually done up well enough, even if there’s a generous amount of eye makeup that’s been applied to eyelids once again.

Bright lifts a brow. “As tempting as that is…”

Tempting might also be the smell at the door that wafts through when it’s opened after enough time has passed for Abby to get to the front door of the brownstone. The person they’re looking for is the one who answers the door, but on the shoulder and eating a disc of carrot is an aged and small capuchin monkey that chitters at the two agents when they’re revealed. The smell of a roast drifting out.

“Hello?” She looks between either individual, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. “Can I help you?”

The silver-haired gentleman takes a decided step backward when he spies the monkey on Abby’s shoulder. He unclasps his hands to pull from his lapel pocket a pair of black square-framed glasses and sliding these onto his face.

“Has that thing had its shots?” he wonders aloud, forgetting a bit of the protocol of introducing himself and his partner du jour, squinting instead at the creature perched on Abby’s shoulder. “Oh, sorry. Yes, ma’am, I’m Agent Davis Bright and we’re here to… I’m sorry, he’s just so distracting,” he murmurs. “Cute, but kind of like an alien or something, isn’t he?” he asks, looking to Castle for their opinion.

As soon as the adorable fucking monkey comes into sight, the younger Agent’s eyes absolutely light up and suddenly they look very not bored. “I take it back, this is the best house call ever.” Hands pressed against their mouth, Castle looks very much like a wide-eyed child who has never seen such an animal that close up before and wants nothing more than to reach out and pet it or something. Even if they are six foot tall and probably in their thirties. Not that it matters with some people.

“He’s wonderful,” the younger Agent exclaims, because, well, that’s his belief. “Don’t you sometimes call me a monkey with cymbals?” is an aside at the silver haired Agent. “Does he have little cymbals?” As it’s said, the Agent even makes hand gestures like banging cymbals together.

Is this really an Agent?

“No cymbals. Never thought to get him any. But he’ll shake your hand. Tabaqui, shake their hands.” There’s a chitter from the monkey as Abby tosses the dishtowel to lay over the opposite shoulder and extends her arm bearing the money who’s still clutching the carrot, goes down to the wrist and holds tight, offering his hand out to either agent.

“It’s safe to shake hands with him. He won’t bite. What agency and can I see some identification please?” Abby looks between the two of them, a hospitable smile on her face. No offer to come in.

“Oh, brother,” murmurs Bright when Castle brightens up like a Girls Girls Girls neon sign on the wrong side of town. “Now there’s two of them,” he adds, a small smile tipping his mouth upward and he looks at Abby as if they are two parents watching over two hyper children playing on a jungle gym.

“Oh, no, thank you, Tabaqui, but a pleasure to meet you, nonetheless,” Bright says, reaching for the ID wallet in his inner jacket pocket. This is opened and held out. There’s a photograph of Bright, his name Davis Bright and the words Department of the Exterior, along with a holographic icon, clearly a security feature.

“We’re here to ask you some questions about how you’ve been coping with things since the incident in July.” The wallet is tucked back into his pocket, and his hands clasp behind himself once more. Bright blue eyes keep a wary eye on the little monkey.

On the other hand, the younger Agent definitely reaches out and takes the tiny monkey hand, shaking it. “And I’m Agent Castle. Also of the Department of Exterior. It is an honor to meet you, Tabaqui, and you as well, Ma’am.” The Agent releases the monkey's hands, presses hands together and bows, as if it really were the greatest of pleasures to meet this monkey and for his mistress to allow it. Cause how often does one get to shake hands with a monkey!

A moment later, this agent also produces a flip wallet with a badge, though notably this one does not include a full name. Just Agent Castle. Which might seem like something of note. It’s flipped away just as quickly.

Tabaqui shakes a hand while Abigail regards each of the ID’s in turn, noting the names, or the lack of full names, the department and anything else on each before looking to the two. She shifts her arm, bending her elbow so that the monkey can climb back onto her shoulder and then give her full attention to the two in front of her.

“I’m not answering any questions at the moment. If you want to leave business cards, I can call and arrange a meeting at your offices, with my lawyer. I’m sure you understand.” Southern smiles and charm slipping away like the sun going behind the horizon.

The older of the two agents lifts both brows and chuckles softly, though not in an unkindly manner.

“I think you misunderstand. There’s no need for a lawyer, Mrs. Caliban,” Bright says, though his eyes stray off Abby’s face to her shoulder, to keep an eye on the monkey he clearly doesn’t trust. “You are in no ways being implicated in any sort of legal matter that would require an attorney’s presence. We’re here simply to check in on your wellbeing. Our department has been tasked with looking into any aftereffects of the incident you were involved with, given the strange circumstances surrounding it. For your own sake, ma’am. And also to better understand what happened, perhaps keep it from happening again if we can.”

He unclasps his hands, to gesture to her. “I’m sure you want that as much as we do, Mrs. Caliban.”

“I got to see a real live monkey up close and shake his hand, I’m satisfied,” Castle says with a childlike grin, looking as if they are ready to call it a day and go back to the car, but— oh, Bright’s still talking. With a hint of a slump of shoulders, they don’t actually move, and instead continue to watch said monkey with a grin and not the mistress that brought it to the door.

With a small wave of the hand and the older Agent, they are in agreement. “Yeah, it’s just basic questions, ma’am. Nothing you need a lawyer for.”

“I think you misunderstand, greatly. I have not been warned about any impending interview, a letter or a phone call, through the proper channels, with regards to any incident that I may or may not have been involved in. I have a deep respect for government agencies and a history of co-operating with them, but not on my doorstep. So the original agency that has me noted as involved in this particular incident, can notify me through the proper channels, about the transition of handling of this incident and you can provide business cards and I will happily make myself available, at your offices, to answer any questions.”

Abby looks between the two. “I’m not trying to be inhospitable. But I have a daughter, and I have scared her enough the last few months. I’m not bringing this into my home further than it already has. And not without confirmation that you both, are who you both are. I don’t even know what the Department of the Exterior is, nor have I heard of it, so I’m sure you’ll understand my skepticism and my healthy wariness of the both of you.” Hands reach up for the towel to slide it off her shoulder and takes a step back into her home.

“Though it has been a pleasure to meet you both, Agents Bright and Castle. You are welcome to visit me at work as well, at the SCOUT offices there.” She looks between the two of them, everything about her body language giving off that she’s about to retreat behind her door.

Bright’s brows lift and he tips his head slightly as she speaks, opening his mouth to interrupt once or twice, before closing it again. When she takes a step back, he simply bows his head slightly.

“With all due respect, ma’am, we didn’t ask to be invited into your house. I do apologize if we made an error in judgment regarding where to approach you. Many people might take issue with being interviewed about private matters at their workplace, especially in a workplace such as yours. As I understand it, one of your coworkers had to take a leave of absence, so us popping in there to talk to you might raise eyebrows,” he says, expression solemn and apologetic.

He tugs out the same wallet that held his ID and slips out a business card from one of its pockets; there’s little on it but the same logo, his name, and a phone number. “If you like, we can schedule a meeting elsewhere. Our offices aren’t local, however, so your workplace or a public place of your choosing, if not your home, perhaps will do, or I may be able to request a meeting room through our collaboration with SESA.”

His blue eyes slide over to Castle. Anything to add? Hopefully he’s not crying about losing time with the monkey.

While there are no tears — that would make Castle’s eye make-up run— there’s still definite disappointment that there will be no additional monkey-time. “I’ll miss you, Sir Tabaqui. Kind and gentle soul.” As if the Agent knew the monkey for longer than a few seconds, but well, it didn’t really matter, in the end.

“These meetings don’t have to happen in your home, it’s just usually considered polite to do so or something. I usually have other plans, but they tell me they’re stupid most the time. See, she might have been okay with me breaking into her car for the talk after she got done holding me at gunpoint.”

Which it sounds like the Agent found to be amusing— did that actually happen at one of the visits? Yes it did. “But yeah— oh wow you actually have business cards, Bright? I need to get some of those,” cause it doesn’t seem like this agent does. Castle is not exactly the best prepared Agent in the world. Or the best agent at all, really.

“Probably wiser to have knocked on my door, yes, than to break into my car. I think perhaps you might be better served going and reading the likely very thick file on me, between now and when we meet again.This isn’t my first rodeo in the position I’m in and I respond far better to pre-arranged meetings with warning in restaurants and in official offices.” Tabaqui chitters away before stuffing his face with the carrot. “Have a good rest of the afternoon Agents Bright. Castle” A dip of her head and she retreats behind the door, closing it and the obvious sound of a lock turning.

Bright shoots Castle a look at the mention of breaking into cars, his eyes widening slightly, before turning back to Abby. “He doesn’t mean that,” he says, but she’s already shutting the door on them.

“Well, that could have gone better,” is probably an understatement, spoken in wry tones as Bright turns away from the closed door and descends the steps in his long-legged gait.

“Dinner? There’s a wonderful Ethiopian restaurant a few blocks from here. They make fabulous doro wat. Absolutely delightful.”

“Oh I totally meant it,” Castle says with a shrug of shoulders, looking with a tilted head at the closed door as if wondering if they should try to knock again or something, but— nawh, it wasn’t supposed to be a mandatory thing. “I guess they had the right to refuse?” there’s a question to that, but it’s not something that they had really been too clear on.

But now that they had all this extra time free—

“Dinner— sounds grand. Much better than the places Emmie keeps taking me to.” And maybe better than the places that Castle goes to on their own, for that matter. “Maybe you can tell me some stories about the old days before you retired. Were things as interesting back then as they seem to be now?”

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