Nothing Better to Do


kayla_icon.gif megan_icon.gif

Scene Title Nothing Better to Do
Synopsis Megan tries to get Kayla to talk. Kayla isn't having any of it.
Date March 18, 2009

Thomas Jefferson Trailer Farm

Before the bomb, this was Thomas Jefferson Park. Some of it still is, stretches of grass and trees that far fewer people visit than once did.

Some of it is not.

Faced with the sheer number of people displaced from their homes after the bomb, but too stubborn - or without the means - to move from Manhattan, this is one of the many places the city and various federal agencies have given over to shelter the refugees. As such, what was once meticulously maintained greensward has been turned into dirt road and trailer lots. The grass has been worn thin by the repetitive passing of hundreds of feet. Trailers sit all but side-by-side, with room only for a car and perhaps a few chairs to be parked in between. Younger children run around underfoot, seemingly undeterred from their games; older ones might slink behind the trailers with hungry eyes, resentful of those who have more, while the adults seem more heart-weary and worn-down than not. These are the people who have nowhere else to go; some have jobs, but many do not, surviving on as little as possible. Alcohol and drugs are common; so is suicide, for those who have passed from desperation into surrender.

There's a few clouds in the sky, but overall the spring sunshine is bright and warm, imparting what might be considered a sense of cheer to the trailer park on this fine morning. Children out running around between the trailers, a rare dog in tow; teens and adults loitering in clear spaces or sitting on cheap lawn furniture, collapsible aluminum-frame chairs with fraying woven-synthetic seats and backs. Spring is here at last, and everything looks brighter in this season, even at the bottom of the heap.

And then there's Kayla, who seems to have some sort of allergy to good cheer. Or an immunity to sunlight. To be fair, this might have something to do with the garbage tossed around outside her trailer; the Thomas Jefferson equivalent of TP'ing a residence without actually using anything as valuable as brand-new toilet paper. Kayla's isn't the only trailer that was so treated last night; three entire blocks were dosed by some pack of juvenile delinquents inspired by the spring air. She's just the only victim bound and determined to clean her entire space of it rather than skating by with the barest minimum of effort spent. Thus, Kayla has a half-full garbage bag cadged from park supervisors planted nearby, gloves on her hands, and a sullen glower for anyone who gets near. She gave up on cursing a while ago.

Megan's been doing follow-ups all morning, and as she walks past the row where Kayla's cleaning, she pauses and looks toward the woman. That's just more wrong than anything. "I take it this isn't the first time the little delinquents have garbaged everything in sight?" she asks the woman in the yard.

Kayla looks up at Megan as the woman addresses her; a steady regard that is less than welcoming, but at least isn't accompanied by an immediate sharp word or three. Instead, after a moment, the younger woman redirects her attention to the task at hand. "This," Kayla replies disguestedly, "is a new trick."

There's a grimace. "Nice," Megan replies. She pauses, and then offers, "Want a hand?"

She's offering to help? Kayla gives Megan a sharp, sidelong glance. Gracious not being any part of her demeanor these days, there's no grace in her reply. "Don't you have something more important to do?" the prickly woman retorts. That could translate to 'no'. Or it could translate to 'yes but I'm not going to admit it'. Fifty-fifty chance.

Megan shrugs easily. "Sure…. if someone goes running by with a bleeding cut or in labor or something, I'd have to stop and take care of that. I'd think we could both agree on what 'more important' would look like. But I've got time right now." She brings her backpack and doctor's bag over to Kayla's front door and sets them on the stoop, pulling out surgical gloves and snapping them into place with the ease of long practice. Then she starts helping pick up the nasty mess in the yard with little fanfare.

Megan's assistance is tolerated with a sort of stiff silence on Kayla's part; she doesn't ask any questions of the older woman, nor in fact try and start any conversational threads at all. She also works anywhere Megan isn't, keeping a watchful eye on the nurse's possessions throughout. Sure, they're both right here, but that isn't always enough of a deterrent. Not for kids who might sneak under a trailer.

Megan's not blind to the ways of the kids in this area. She, too, is keeping a watchful eye. "So tell me something…. " she says as she works dilligently. "Were you watching because you were interested in what I was doing, or making sure I was doing it right?" She glances at Kayla.

In response to the question, Kayla snorts softly. "Maybe I was watching because there's nothing better to do," she replies, the words accentuated by the crackling thwap of a dew-damp paper towel against the inside of the garbage bag.

"Possibly… but I doubt you'd have watched quite so closely if you were just bored." Megan slants a look at Kayla, gathering up the nastiest of the rotting food pile, full handfuls at a time, to dump into the bag. It's far better than some of what she sees as a nurse. "Looked like you had more than a passing interest. And don't bother getting all prickly with me. It's just going to roll off like water on a duck's back."

Similarly, the admonition against prickliness just sorta slides off without much impact. Kayla doesn't so much as turn a hair. "You spend a week — just a week — sitting around here and see what you think's interesting by the end of it," the younger woman counters. "Never mind the better part of a year."

As she cleans, Megan asks mildly, "So…. what are you doing to change your situation?"

Kayla straightens at that question, looking over at Megan with narrowed gray eyes. That's right, turn it around on her. As if being stuck here were all her fault. "If you're going to fucking lecture me, leave and take your sanctimonious high horse with you." Which… probably wasn't what Megan intended to do at all, but Kayla and jumping to conclusions can often go hand-in-hand.

The nurse continues to work and says, "Look…. no matter how you got here — and I assume it was like most people whose lives basically got blasted to shit in this town by the Bomb — it's still your responsibility to get yourself back OUT." Megan brings another load of garbage and looks calmly at the girl. "So… talk to me. Tell me what you want to do, and what you've been doing to get yourself out of here. Maybe I can make some suggestions that will help, maybe I can't. But ain't no one going to take care of it for you. You have to fight for what you want, girl."

Kayla is still standing there, glowering at Megan, the task of garbage re-collection now disregarded. The woman's calm reason doesn't seem to be endearing her to her younger counterpart in the least. "The hell I will! It's no fucking business of yours!" Whoever you are. Abruptly, Kayla whirls and stalks towards the trailer door.

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