Smiling At The Sound


joshua_icon.gif quinn_icon.gif

Scene Title Smiling at the Sound
Synopsis One musician encounters another on chilly, fortuitous lunch hour.
Date January 19, 2011


Lunch breaks.

Who would have thought that lunch breaks could be such a foreign concept. It wasn't like Quinn was new to it, but with most of her time working over the years had either consisted of shifts that didn't require it, or had been at jobs like Tartarus, where she was constantly taking breaks after small sets anyway. So, the idea of an extended lunch break in the middle of a normal, eight hour work day?

Robyn Quinn is in awe.

But rather stand stay stuffed up in her Studio K office (another vastly foreign concept she was still getting used to) eating a hot pocket or something, she had decided to hit the streets, maybe see if any of Manhattan's famous street vendors were out tonight. Afterall, few things are better than getting a hot dog from a good street vendor, one that makes that crisp snap sound when you bite through the casing. Besides, she had something she needed to pick up form a music shop nearby.

So down the street she walks, in the latter half of her requested break, half eaten hot dog in one hand, and a black guitar case in the other, back towards the Studio. But she's got some time to kill yet it's just matter of figuring out how to spend it.

A distinctive riff winds down the street.

It's an unlikely set of chords, considering the man playing them, with his scalp shaved down to a near invisible bristle of dark hair and silver chain. One would expect a more contemporary tune rather than Springsteen's "Fire" of Elvis intentions and belated execution. The intro is being plunked out around the time Quinn can spot the street musician on the corner, his guitar case open at his feet and strap slung weapon-like around shoulder and neck.

Occasionally, Joshua sends sharp eyed glances to anyone who makes the mistake of walking by him without intention of dropping money for his efforts, but short of actually physically intimidating anyone into paying up, he settles for glares. And then smiles, when it seems like honey is a better lure than vinegar, and neither tactic has any bearing on a masculine, youthful and clear voice that goes through the familiar lyrics.

"You say you don't like it, but girl, I know you're a liar. 'Cause when we kiss… fire."

A street musician. Quinn shouldn't be that terribly surprised, but it wasn't really something she saw that often any more. So, she regards the performer with a keen curiosity, their paths inevitable to cross given that he's decided to play along the path that Quinn has to go on to get back to the Studio. Taking a bite of her hotdog, her pace slows as she gets closer, just listening to the song her plays - it's only when she's almsot to him that she recognises it. For how big her mental catelog of songs is, SPringsteen is not collected with in. Not much of his stuff, anyway.

Honestly, what surprises Quinn more is that this guy is pretty cool, unlike a lot of street performers. She stops on waht she thinks is just at the edge of his eyesight, setting the guitar case vertically , arms rested against it's top as she takes another bit of her hot dog.

"Late at night I'm taking you home…" There's a slightly simpery quality to this song and its delivery, if not entirely unattractive in the context of classic rock, played up for the sake of performance in a kind of off-hand way. Whatever kind of artist Joshua may consider himself to be, it is a low-key one, guitar almost louder than his own voice with notes striking true and clear with seemingly little effort. "When I say I wanna stay, you say you wanna be alone. "You say you don't love me — girl, you can't hide your desire…"

His perusing scout of the street finally snags on the girl come to stop and observe, seeing more the curve of her guitar case first, if only because winter clothing doesn't do much in support of fabric clinging to hips and ass and all. Still, does not take very long for him to glance up at Irish pale feminine face.

His eyebrows crawl up his distinctive brow in automatic how you doin', a crooked smile following even in the midst of lyrics.

Too busy paying attention to his hands and his guitar work to notice the gesture, Quinn remains still for most of the rest of the song, smiling at the performer as she listend, foot tapping a bit, and she actually starts to sway a bit in time to the music, her skirt swishing smilarly at her ankles. It's only as Joshua appraoches the end of the song - she thinks - that she lifts up her guitar and strides close to him, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a few bills. And a few pieces of mint gum, how did those get there?

Popping one of the pieces of gum into her mouth, Quinn tosses a ten down into the guitar case, backing back away and continuing to listen, at least for the moment.

Hey, ten, how you doin', says a little head tilt from Joshua, regarding her departure and where her attention really lies. Which urges Joshua to continue and finish as opposed to engage in conversation, shoulders squaring some and strumming out the last of the bars, repeating the refrain it's out of control (as fire is wont to be) until an appropriate fading flourish can be reached. The strings still slightly blurry before he's clamping fingers to cut their sound.

An arm goes out as if addressing roaring crowd with great gratitude, except really it's only—


Who is hardly roaring. It's a cold day and no one buy music anymore, after all. "Thanks," he says, with a chin up her way, flicking a thumb nail against metallic string.

She claps at least, loud enough to turn a few heads and surprise one person walking by her on a cell phone. But no, she isn't roaring, she's a bit too cold and her mouth is a bit too full of gum washing away the taste of hot dog from her mouth. She manages to stop shewing long enough to smile, though, offering Joshua a grin. "You're quite good," she remarks with a grin, taking a half step towards him, and thus out of the way od some man who isn't really paying attention to where he's going.

"Don't really see many street performers anymore. Nice t' see someone keepin' it goin'. SOmeone who's good, at least." Though she looks around a bit sadly, seeing no one else really watching. "Shame people don't seem t' appreciate it."

A beat.

"Want some gum?" Quinn offers randomly, holding up one of the sticks.

"Really?" is open and honest interest at the notion that Joshua is part of a dying breed, though he doesn't seem displeased. The acoustic guitar— a thing of burned gold tone, with a decent set of scratches and scuffs of use— is slung easily onto his broad back, though he doesn't go ahead and collect up the notes and coins in his case — there aren't yet enough to make him want to move on. Hooking a thumb around strap, his glance abruptly turns into squint, enough that he almost misses the offer of gum.

Even when verbal offer is coming out of the face he's studying, and by then, he flips a hand with a distracted naw and drops his gaze towards her own guitar. "So you play. That's cool. Too fuckin' cold for street jamming and— apparently— listenin' to it. Maybe they'll all come back for the summer.

"Josh," he introduces himself.

"Robyn," Quinn offers in return, a wide smile on her face. Her hand is even offered for a moment, before she abruptly releases the handle of her case, barely catching the neck so she can turn it back upright. It probably looks pretty stupid, both in the sense of looking like she's fumbling and in the sense of what is that idiot doing?. Leaning back against the top, she smirks. "You do this often?" she inquires, lips smacking quietly as she chews her gum.

She takes a moment to look around, chuckling. "Too cold t' play, if you ask me. You've got balls t' be standin' around out here like this. But yeah, I play. Just picked up my guitar from gettin' it refinished." And with a grace quite unlike her earlier stumbling display, the latches on her case are flipped open, Quinn opening it to reveal a bright red, sparkly guitar. It starts to lean like it's going t' fall out, but Quinn grabs it by the neck and pulls it out herself.

Cool is uttered when she delivers her name back to him, and then, "Playing warms me up," is a bit of an outlandish claim, especially as steam mists around his words in exhale when he says it, but delivered simply enough that he might believe it to be true. Thumb hooked into belt, the other gripping the guitar strap otherwise crossing diagonal ways across his chest. Joshua is still mostly just watching her before red sparkliness inevitably draws his gaze, a wry tip his brows.

A bark of laughter, quiet if a little under-used, cuts through a quick smile. "That's a six string and a half," is dubious compliment. "From the look've you, I might've pegged you as a piano lady." His guitar is swung back into his hands, absently running the tips of his fingers along the strings in musical fidget. "Maybe a singer. Super sparkly guitar— hell, why not."

"Well, in my defence, I've had it since I was 18. Can't blame me for havin' a sparkly, girly guitar!" Which might explain why it's just a slight bit small looking as Quinn holds it up in front of herself. "Would it look better if I had my Flying V?" she asks, struming fongers down teh front. "You're right, though, I do play piano better. An' sing! I do as much as I can." A hand reaches up to scratch her short black hair, before a pick is suddenly withdrawn from inside her sleeve.

"Is guitar all you play?" She asks with genuine curiosity, her guitar case falling shut - and then falling to the ground beside Joshua's, still closed. Clearly, Quinn doesn't care for it like she does the actual guitar. The pick runs down strings once, as if in a practice strum, before Quinn looks him more dead on, grinning.

"Fancy a duet, then, since we're both here?"

There's a sort of abashed squiggly seesaw shrug to Joshua's shoulders, a weird and arguably uncharacteristic shyness settling in muscles on muscles and severe bone structure as he drops hazel eyes on where his hand grips the neck of the instrument. For a decent guitar player and someone with a sense of pitch, he doesn't look like much of a musician — not that musicians ever look a certain way, but he looks like he might be at home doing other things.

Like lifting weights or standing at the door of a red carpet strip club, maybe. "Yeah, and pretty much just this one. I mean, there was the first one, but I broke it." C'est la vie, says the pull of his mouth, a jarringly, tremoringly loud strum of notes acting as punctuation to the brush of pick.

"I'm down," he adds in quick enthusiasm, stepping aside in gesture of giving her space, a smile cutting abrupt across axe chop hard features.

"Very cool!" Quinn enthuses as she pulls the strap to her guitar ove rher shoulders ad claps hands together a single time, though rather enthusiastically. "It's a nice guitar," she adds as he steps aside. "Really, any guitar that functions, soudns good, an' that you're fathful to is a nice guitar. 's why I've never felt the need t' replace thise one, even though it's as old as it is." Hell, she just got it touched up. That's dedication when it comes to a 8 year old sparkly red guitar.

Leaning casually back against the wall, she lets out a side, strumming. "Granted, I have no idea what we both know. I know a lotta more recent stuff, but I can do Beatles, Boston, the Cure, Lennon… Oasis/…" is thrown in there for good measure, "But pick somethin', an' I can at elast wing it."

"Yeah, I'm a little old school, turns out." Taking the lead after a few moments of uncertain hand hovering, a familiar few bars are strummed out as Joshua watches his hands with a little more care and concentration than he was when unaware of Quinn's presence — and even the ears of non-musos could probably pick out the acoustic designs of "Friday, I'm In Love" by the Cure, played in the same key as the famous recording as opposed to Robert Smith's live performances. Jauntily amicable, it echoes around the near empty, chilly street, with the occasional whine of traffic doing nothing to really interrupt him.

Joshua flashes a brief glance to her to see if she's, as he might say, vibing, and sings without attempting to bend his wholly American accent, probably for the best. "I don't care if Monday's blue, Tuesday's gray and Wednesday too. Thursday I don't care about you — it's Friday, I'm in love."

"Nothin' wrong with that. I now a few people who are-" And then Quinn almost instantly perks up as JOshua begins to play the song. She knows it almost instantly, after all, she's played it live before. Of course the last time was with a full band and with the aid of Else Kjelstrom, God rest her soul. Quinn had also been playing bass that night, but it's all good - if there's any Cure song she knows her way around, it's this one - Joshua could have only done better with A LEtter To Elise.

It just takes a moment before her guitar joins in, taking the rhythm guitar part, which luckily was meant for an acoustic guitar anyway. Waiting for him to finish his verse, she decides to take lead for a verse, angling on alternating vocals. "Monday you can fall apart, Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart. Oh, Thursday doesn't even start, It's Friday I'm in love~"

Looking over with a smile, she nods to him to carry them through the rest of the song, smirking along teh entire time.

Cold nips at strumming fingers, attempts to stiffen the joints navigating birdishly over chords, but Joshua wasn't totally wrong — the activity is a warming one, once the first movements are hurdled through. There is a harshness to the chill and it seems to almost translate to the sound, which would have to be a little harsh, a little edged, considering the way it must be worked for, out here. Which doesn't stop it from being the strummy little nineties tune it is. Alternating lyrics and occasionally covering the same, Joshua allowing a brief smile back at her when he catches her smirk in the corner of his eye.

No one is really around to throw money at them as they sing.

Save for a couple of teenagers lurking on the curb across the road, glancing passed the cars that drive street-sleet up beneath shining wheels. Too young for the Cure, maybe. Arguably, so is Joshua, but he carries the song through, voice modest, as if desiring to listen to her sing more than himself, but maintaining as it comes to a close, his voice with its moderately unpracticed quality in contrast to clear and confident guitar work.

The last few chords vibrate out. "Primal, thanks," he says, once the song's come to a close.

"Are you kidding?" Quinn replies with a laugh, even as she strumsout a few idle notes, despite Joshua having finished playing. "Thank you for lettin' me play with you. I haven't played on the street in ages, much less with someone. Loads a' fun, though, I really do it more often." Of course, she doesn't need to do it for the money - not taht she knows if Joshua has to - she would be doing it for the sheer fun of playing for people walking down the street. Any tips? Well, that's just gravy.

Her guitar is lowered off her shoulders, her pick slipped back up into her sleeve and somehow not falling right back out. One hand slips into her pocket of her coat, the other carrying the guitar back towards it's case. "I'd say that sounded rather good. People are philistines for not stoppin' an' at least takin' the time t' listen. Good song pick too, one a' m favourites." The guitar settled back into it;s case, Quinn hunches down and pulls some stuff out of her pocket, doing someting out of Joshua's immediate sight.

Shoulders jolt a it's cool shrug at the thanks dished back at him, hands resting loose on the curves of guitar. "It's just nice t'perform with a musician, you know," Joshua says, rocking his weight back on his heel in idle fidget as she sets about packing up, squinting length-wise down the street and coming to the decision that it's not so empty that he has to necessarily give up just yet, even in the cold. "It's weird how people'll pay cover charges to get inta gigs, or handfuls've money for concerts, but the idea of buyin' a CD or tossing a few bucks at the guy on the street is like— fuckin'— uncool 'cause they don't have to.

"But it's aight, I steal diamonds as my real job." Laid on just thick enough to be a joke. Or at least be passed off as one. Joshua strums punctuation with a brief grin.

"Feckin' right on!" The reply comes enthusiastically, Quinn slipping a pen back into her pocket. along with a pack of cigarettes. She she rises back to her feet and turnsback to Joshua, one of those cigarettes hanging loosely between her lips, a lighter and some paper in one hand. "Trust me. I'm hopin' people wise up real smart like, soon. But, hey, at least when someone's feelin' generous, they make it known, right?"

And with that, another few dollars is tossed in, somewhat unceremoniously. Not that Quinn's trying to make him a chartity case, but she geuinely enjoyed playing alongside the stranger today, and that's the best way she has to show it. Well, that any the small, rectangular business card shaped thing that seems to ahve settled in with the money she tossed. Her guitar is picked up, and the lighter flicked until it provides flame with which to light her cig. Her now unoccupied hand is offered out for another shake, Quinn grinning. "Thanks again for lettin' me play. Have a nice day, Joshua."

There's a lazy, not entirely disingenuous salute for the token of appreciation in the form of money, and there's a moment where hazel eyes trick over the shape of a business card half obscured by fluttered bill. But his curiousity is easily put in check in the gesture of departure, sticking arm over his guitar to grasp her's in a quick shake, over-rough hands warm despite the cool. "Pleasure's mine. You too." A thumb nail picks out a brief scale as Quinn goes to make her departure.

And Joshua waits until she's at least several paces away, bending at the waist with guitar set against his hip to pluck the card out. The Studio K logo is dimly recognisable for him, and he automatically turns it over at the faint texture of pen marks impressing the stiff paper. Call me if you ever want to jam - Q is penned beneath scrawled phone number.

It gets slid into back pocket with a tick of a smirk tugging sudden at the corner of his mouth. Joshua skims his attention passed it, to the scattered coins and bills in black velveteen lining, and tells the meager earnings what they are not in comparison: "Jackpot."

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