Of Evolved and Space Aliens


keagan_icon.gif ziadie_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Evolved and Space Aliens
Synopsis Sometimes all Ziadie really wants to do is talk to someone for a while.
Date January 7, 2011


Harlem's crowded in the early evening, with people lining the streets and going places. Few people actually are standing still, which makes the older black man on the corner by the street sign stand out. With one hand, the old man grips a wooden cane, and the other grips a cardboard sign like too many others. No one has money to give, these days, but people panhandle anyway.

When the traffic light changes and people who were stopped move again, Ziadie takes out a paper bag from his jacket, holding it shakily. Homeless and drunk, no wonder most people seem to skirt to the other side of the sidewalk from the guy. He doesn't seem to care, either way. It could be something to do with the fact that he stands 6'2", though, and is built like he knew what he was doing at one point.

School out, Keagan has taken to the streets. It's a little warmer today, and so he's out and about. The door to a candy shop opens, and the young teen bounces out, a bag full of candy to tide him over until the afternoon. Looks like he isn't one of the people without money. He bounces on the balls of his feet as he walks along the sidewalk, not being very concerned with who might be around. A sour punch straw hangs from his mouth, and he roots through his collection. On the busy street, though, he suddenly notices that he's the only one walking on this part of the sidewalk. After lookin up, he understands why. He's looking straight into Ziadie's eyes. Great. Eye contact? Any of a hundred places he could've looked, but he looked straight at Ziadie. Can't pass for someone with no money, and there's hundreds of beggars on the streets these days. The dark-haired boy freezes in place, uncertain of how to proceed.

Ziadie returns the eye contact, and a hint of a smile crosses the old man's face as the kid in front of him freezes, which accentuates the weathered lines. Maybe, just maybe, the old homeless guy might be harmless, for all of his height and imposing stature. The paper bag covered bottle has disappeared back into the black leather jacket that he wears, and he leans on the pole of the street sign.

"You know doz are bad for your teeth," he comments after a moment of silence. "Rot dem right out wit' so much sugar." While Ziadie still clutches the sign, he hasn't mentioned money or anything once. The sign reads homeless, need money, and nothing else.

The teen still looks uncertain about how to answer Ziadie. He reaches up with one hand, biting off the part of the straw that's in his mouth, and chews on it as he decides how to answer. "That's bad for you too," he tells the large homeless man, indicating to where the bottle was returned to his jacket. "Rots your brain. Nobody'll give you money or a job like that." He holds up the straw. "At least I can brush after these."

The old man nods. "So I been told, a bit." He speaks with an accent, vaguely Caribbean, though it goes in and out and isn't always noticeable. After a moment, the cardboard sign he holds disappears into his jacket, too, and he bends slightly so he's eye level with the kid, though he still leans on the pole. Surprisingly able for an old man. "Everyone says it. No one thinks to give an old man de dignity to choose how he wants to live an' die." His voice has a hint of the gravel of age in it, and is quiet, but there's certainty in the statement as well.

Keagan still keeps himself out of arms reach, about ten feet away as he speaks. "Why would you want to choose to live like this?" he asks. "I mean…you stand on the street and do nothin' all day." He looks around. "And between you and me, I think you suck as a beggar." Sweet kid, isn't he? "You're as big as an ox, and there's construction all over here, why don't you get a job? You just lazy?" Easy accusation for someone who isn't even old enough to work yet.

Ziadie lets out a laugh, and points to the cane, vaguely, and then to a group of medals that are pinned to his jacket. He had a job, at one point, it would seem. "If only it was dat simple," he says. "Job, job. Yes, but no one hires an old man who can tell when he's being lied to, cheated, gimmicked out of legally required pay. What'd you know about jobs, anyway?" Ziadie remains at eye level with Keagan, without it seeming to be too much of an effort.

Keagan shrugs. "I dunno, It just seems you could do something, right?" he asks. "So you were a war hero?" he asks, not knowing the difference between a police medal and a military one. He holds out his bag. "Want some?" he asks, taking a step forward. He keeps one foot back though, just in case the old guy tries something. Learning to live around the streets means you don't trust too easily.

Ziadie leans his cane carefully against the street lamp after standing up straight. He stands a full foot taller than the kid does, and is apparently aware of it. He takes one step forward, and deftly takes out a small piece of chocolate from the bag, then spends a short period of time struggling with the wrapper before managing to open it. "NYPD," he says, leaning on the pole once again. "Back in de seventies and eighties." Damn, the guy is old. He takes a bite of the chocolate, the small bar of which looks disproportionate in his hands, and his gaze wanders around the street before he finally looks at the kid he's talking to again. He doesn't quite make eye contact though, as if it isn't his place. "But now, even if …" Ziadie trails off. "No one hires an old man like me."

Keagan knits his brow. "That sucks," he says. "Well, if I gave you money, what would you spend it on?" he asks. The age old question for the homeless. Is it just going to alcohol and drugs? Or do you plan to really do something with it? "I don't really like cops," he says. Probably means he has a reason not to like them to go with it.

"You know, not all cops are bad," Ziadie says. Another half of a grin lights the old man's face, and he takes another bite of the chocolate bar. "Most of 'em just are tryin' a' do the right thing for the world, an' the place they live." He stares off into the distance a moment, then shakes his head slightly. He seems to do that staring into the distance as if he isn't quite in the present thing a lot, really.

"I'd …" Ziadie trails off, then realises once again that he's talking to someone. "My truck and trailer are in impound," he says. "If not scrap. Been trying' as to fix that, but there's as all the barriers these days to it. Registration, barriers to getting anything as proper done. Not like it used to be, no."

"Yeah, Registration is stupid," Keagan agrees. "So if you were some big fancy police hero, then how come they didn't give you a retirement or at least hook you up with a desk job or something?" He'd think they'd at least take care of their own. A lot of questions from this one. He takes another bite off of the sour punch straw, chewing with his mouth open.

"I did retire," Ziadie says pointedly. "From de desk job." He pauses, as if he's counting mentally or something like that. "Seven years ago. And now, now with all the about terrorism and such, it's diff'rent. People forget the big thing that was the effort against the Mafia. And again. Registration …" Perhaps he has a pension. Who knows. Ziadie shrugs. "I don't like police states." He chuckles a little at the irony. "Or martial law."

Keagan nods, fishing another sour punch straw out of the package in his bag. "Oh. Well, if you retired, how come you don't have any money? Did they cut you off when they started martial law?" He doesn't even know how any of that stuff works. "I keep worrying that the subway will break or something and I'll get stuck away from home for the night. I'd be fine I'm sure, but my aunt would go nuts on me."

The older man nods, understandingly. "She'd worry about you, I sure," he says, ad the pauses. Thinking about how best to answer the kid's question, probably. "It … is complicated. I came back to the city, after traveling," he pauses, perhaps deciding again what to say. "You can't collect a pension without being up on Registration." That's a good way to put it, he decides, and shrugs.

"Ohhhh," Keagan says, thinking that he understands. "You're evolved, afraid they'd haul you off or something?" He nods. "I can see that." He looks across the street, looking to see if anyone else is watching them. "I won't tell anybody," he says to the man. "I'm Keagan." He puts the bag down for a moment, and then holds his hand out to shake. It seems that this turn of events has lowered the boy's guard a little.

Ziadie reaches out and carefully shakes Keagan's hand. His hand is easily quite a bit larger, and the older man grins slightly. "I would rather avoid the … possibility of that happening. Or the possibility of suddenly being too useful to let go afterwards." There's a hint of bitterness in the older man's voice, but it's quickly pushed away. He's trying to be on his best role model like behaviour here, after all. "I'm Nocturne."

"That is like, the coolest name I've ever heard," Keagan tells the vagabond. "Props to your parents for that. Maybe in a few years they'll get rid of Registration. If we can manage not to blow up what's left of the city." He seems to be uncertain with how to proceed, but the look on his face says he has what the obvious question is for every Evolved.

"They thought I was going to be a girl," Nocturne says. This might well be the first time in his life that anyone has ever liked his name, or at least the first time that they've ever told him so. "Both my sisters were named after types of music, so they did the same for me." He watches the younger boy. The younger boy has hope that the older man clearly no longer possesses. "One can hope they will, but it will be a long way off. People distrust different, after all."

Keagan pulls a bag full of miniature Baby Ruths from his bag. Yeah, it's loaded. "Here, my aunt would hate it if I ate all this anyway. These things have protein, they're good for you." The latter might be a stretch, but hey, it's food.

After extending the bag of treats to Nocturne, Keagan bounces on on his heels for a moment, and then says. "So…um, is it okay if I ask?" he asks. As if somehow that phrasing means that he's not yet asked what the man's abilities are.

Nocturne takes a few of the candy bars, and nods as he unwraps one. "Lie detection." He'd already mentioned it a few times earlier in the conversation, but hey, he can forgive the kid for not being on top of things that weren't mentioned outright. "Always wrote it off to instinct, knowing what how was said, and being a good cop. But." He pauses, then nods his head in Keagan's direction. "You?"

"I never said I was Evolved," Keagan answers. It's not a lie directly, but the implication from the statement is there. Funny how he listened to the geezer tell him he had lie detection, and then tries to pass a lie immediately. "You can have the whole bag. Hold on to it so you have somethin' to eat." He shoves the rest of the straw into his mouth, and picks the bag back up again.

Ziadie leans back again, and nods to Keagan. He raises both hands in the air a bit, and a small but knowing smile crosses his face. He doesn't say anything for a moment, then looks the boy in the eyes. The old man's gaze is … direct, to say the least. "You just said." His gaze softens, though, and it's plain that he's already grateful to the kid, and isn't trying to antagonise him or anything. Instead, he just repeats the question. "You?"

The half-hispanic teen's face turns a darker shade, a little embarrassed. "Shoot," he mutters to himself, realizing that his lie would be completely ineffective. At least he's got a clean mouth. "I guess you can tell that, huh?" he says. "Okay, but you gotta promise not to tell anybody. You already know how it is, people don't really trust us." Keagan takes another cautious glance around. "I can combine myself with solid objects, like turn into them, and come out the other side." He likes his ability just fine, even if it is weird. His voice remains low, so not to be overheard.

Once more, Nocturne nods, understandingly, and the old man does not bother to hide his amusement. Apparently he's used to such things happening, and used to the reactions as people realise as well. "Sounds useful enough," he responds, matching the volume of his voice to the volume of the kid's. "And yeah, I do know 'ow it is."

"Yeah, almost as useful as not being Evolved," Keagan answers with a shrug. "Priest says I should be thankful for how God made us, but he wouldn't get it, either. I mean, look at you? Because people are scared you end up on the street. That ain't cool at all." He mouses for a moment as someone walks by in a closer proximity, and he watches them pass suspiciously, bouncing on his heels again a little higher. Sugar is starting to kick in.

"People are just afraid of different," Nocturne says. "At one time, it was black people they were scared of. Diff'rent schools, diff'rent bathrooms, water fountains, buses, an' all. Then the were scared of communism, and so much else." The old man seems half to be sharing this for a reason, and half just reminiscing or something. As if he doesn't get much chance to really talk to people.

Keagan nods, listening as he finds a pack of nerds in his bag. After a single shake, he pulls it open, and unloads some of them into his mouth. He's loud, crunching them in his teeth. "I guess. So we just need to find some space aliens to be afraid of, take the focus off the Evolved."

Nocturne can't help but laugh at the end of Keagan's statement. "Might work. As good as anything." The old man glances warily at the other side of the street, but there's nothing there but people. Harmless as he might be, he's not necessarily all the way sane. He takes out another of the small candy bars that Keagan had given him earlier, and unwraps it to put in his mouth. "Space aliens." He shakes his head in minor disbelief. "Suppose the concept got more complicated as than little green men from Mars." Nocturne glances at the other side of the street again, and shrugs.

Keagan nods, "Space aliens are out there, they're scary. They got big eyes and they'll so kidnap you. I don't want to hear what they do. It's probably bad." He looks at the sky, and checks his phone in his pocket. "Well, I gotta run, don't want to get caught out after dark," he tells Nocturne. "Good to meet ya, old geezer. Hope you can get a job." It' kind of endearing. A little.

"You get home and don't make your aunt mad or any of that nonsense," Nocturne says. He leans on his cane a little, and then grins. "Thanks for giving an old man space to talk. Maybe that's why I stand out here all day, so I can meet folks." Nocturne nods his head to Keagan, and when the walk signal changes, slowly walks across the street, still slightly talking to himself and oblivious to the drivers who think he's taking too long.

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