Teacher's Fret


cesar_icon.gif jonathan_icon.gif

Scene Title Teacher's Fret
Synopsis Agent Diaz goes to interview another Safe Zone Citizen's Watch member to find out more about the food thefts and how to handle jumpy kids. There's also cafecito and chalk, Gaga and salsa. These things don't have to be dull.
Date March 13, 2018

Red Hook, a classroom

It's later in the afternoon when Cesar's meeting Jonathan, after the kids have left class. Better to not spook them with a recently dubbed "a little intimidating" federal agent. He likes to think he hardly resembles such, appearing with a regular button down and pants like a typical guy out and about. He could potentially blend with the teaching staff, although nobody say that it's not the fashion that makes the agent, but the way he carries himself that speaks to the years of law enforcement.

"Thanks for meeting with me, Mr. Smith," the agent remarks as he sets down an old handheld recorder along with a rugged looking thermos. What comes out of the thermos is nothing other than coffee. But not just any coffee. It might not be immediately clear why the cups he's brought with him are tiny espresso sized cups compared to the usual, but a Cuban colada, sweet and punchy, is what he's chosen to share with the man. "Hope your day's gone well?"

Chalk is currently being removed from the board, with great sweeping arcs as Jonathan Smith cleans up his classroom after a long day. It’s a tedious chore, but he does so while humming a little…

Is that Lady Gaga?

The arrival of the agent is greeted with a warm and friendly smile, “Agent Diaz, right?” It’s inquired politely, while he brushes off his hands. Once, he feels they are sufficiently dust-free he offers one to the other man. “Excellent to meet you and yes. They day went well. The kids decided today was not the day to stage a coup for that I am rather grateful.”

He catches sight of the coffee offering, expression turning to one of utter amusement. “You’ve been reading up on me, I see,” Jonathan comments with a chuckle, “Gives me confidence that SESA is going to do a fine job with this matter.”

Amusement certainly crosses the agent's features when he recognizes the song, but Cesar stifles a laugh down to just a smile. Then he sets up the two cups away from the chalk dust floating in the air - not the type of creamer that's intended to go with the drink. "Yes sir, though you can call me Cesar if you like," he responds, shaking Jonathan's hand readily and without any mind for lingering chalk dust.

Once the colada gets poured, he scoots one of the cups over. "Hey, I figure anybody who's willing to fight back children and demanding staffers all day in the name of educating the future generations? Deserves a damn good cafecito." Cesar picks up his own cup to test with a quick sip. "What grades are you teaching? Or is that not a thing anymore?" he asks, taking an available seat with cup in hand. He's not rushing into the questioning part. Can't rush good coffee.

Jonathan doesn’t answer right away, there is a cup of coffee in his hands and it needs to be tested first. A sip is taken carefully and there is open appreciation when the cup is lowered again. “Excellent.”

“I’d offer you a seat, but as you can see, we’d have our knees around our earlobes.” Glancing around the room full of it’s tables and small chairs he sighs, “I usually take on what classes I need, too. As part of the watch, I feel I need to be flexible so that the children get the education they deserve. I’m not a sub mind you,” Jonathan is quick to point out. “But like recently, it seems like there has been such an influx of children born around the start of the 2nd American Civil War.” His brows lift a little, with an added ‘go figure’ shrug, as he takes another sip of the coffee. “Really… that is excellent.” Setting the cup down, the teacher picks up the eraser and continues what he was doing. “So right now, I’m teaching a kind of Kindergarten - 1st grade mixed class.”

Maybe Jonathan doesn't realize it but Cesar is watching him particularly on the reaction he has to the coffee. A smile plays on the agent's face that accepts the other man's reactions as genuine. "Glad you like it," he says as he sets down his cup, finished for now, and pulls out a notepad with a pen clipped to it. He jots a few things down as Jonathan finishes up his clean up. Cesar offers a somewhat sobering thought, "Lots of those kids are growing up scared. They don't trust the authorities, and the recent times haven't been too good to them either." Then, with a more joking tone, "I don't really remember being this age, but I'm sure I made enough trouble. Pretty amazing that you're taking that on, times what- thirty?"

There are pauses for coffee sipping, but for the most part, Jonathan Smith continues tidying a little. Though he does stop to turn and offer the agent a thoughtful look. “I think, what their parents went through, it’s bleeding down on them.” There is a matter of fact way to his words. “It might be a new world, but… the wounds are still fresh.” There is a touch of sadness at the idea that it had to happen at all. “All we can do is reassure them.” He spreads his hands a little.

The man suddenly straightens a little. He is a man who clearly had an idea; expression brightening a little. “You should come down next time we have a career day.” Fists rest on the desktop, as the teach leans towards the agent with a grin. “Help show the kids there isn’t anything to fear. You seem like an personable fellow and good community relations is a great start towards changing these kids minds.”

“Doesn’t help, then, that everyone’s getting hungry too.” Cesar’s pen taps on the notepad, and the man scans his notes this far from this interview, and previous. He looks up as the teacher straightens up with an idea, expression looking askance. But when Jonathan relays the idea, the agent keeps from barking out a laugh. “Oh man, you think I’m good for that? You serious?” He blinks, then realizes something else and the man’s expression takes on an impish grin. “How about two SESA agents? I know just the guy who’s perfect for a career day.” He bends to scribble a quick note to himself in the pad: Lin’s Career Corner.

Then, he’s reaching over to pour a second cuppa for himself and offers a refill to the man as well. “Honestly, though, I agree with you. Kids do well when they got good role models, when they can look around and see… hope. So you got a deal there, Teach. And we can make arrangements after we do this li’l interview.” Cesar nods in promise made.

Thermos set down, he picks up the recorder finally and pushes the record button, setting it down. “So, Mr. Jonathan Smith. Besides being a schoolteacher, you’re also part of the Safe Zone Citizen’s Watch. The incident of food theft at the storage facility. Were you around when the incident occurred?”

“Oh! Thank you, don’t mind if I do,” The little cup is held out for a refill, his head bobbing a little. “Hey, two agents would be great! Any really. I have some of the MP’s coming also, but…” He tilts toward the agent like he has some great secret to tell; brows lifted in a knowing way. It looks comical with the way he holds that cup between his fingers, “Between you and I? They can be a little intense.” There you have it.

The freshly refilled coffee gets a sip, before he collects his thoughts. “I was absolutely there that day. Like clockwork… Have you had Eleanor’s mochas? Simply amazing.” The guy does love his coffee. “Though, I have to admit. The smell of sewage… almost took the appetite for it right out of me.” A hand detaches from the mug to hold up a finger. “Almost. It wasn’t like super strong. But it was bad enough that it was pretty gross. Tucker should really have those sewer lines checked.”

“Is what she puts in them real chocolate?” Cesar wonders as a side thought about Eleanor’s mochas. He hasn’t tried them, apparently. “I’m more a café con leche guy myself, but.” But that’s off topic, and so he refocuses on the subject at hand, writing down testimony along with the recording.

Cesar looks up from the pad. “Is that unusual, or par for the course? Infrastructure instability is already an issue that we know of. What else did you see or hear? Did you see the storage yourself, or someone told you?”

“I was told about it. I was gone before it was discovered,” Jonathan look rather apologetic about that point. “And… it can be ‘par for the course’ as you say, but not in awhile and not so far from the sewer grates.” There is a small lift of the teacher’s shoulder, fingers moving to push his glasses up on his nose. “But as you say, the whole infrastructure is still pretty… delicate in places.” He grimaces a little.

“Beyond that…” He turns thoughtful, clearly thinking back.

“Oh!” His attention turns back to the Agent. “You know what… Not sure if it has anything to do with this, but I saw this young man the day before that happened. Probably around 11 year old. I don’t remember seeing him around the school, but… I saw him walk through a wall.” His head bobs a little at himself as he remembers. “I tried to talk to him, but he seems to be awfully skittish. Avoided me when he saw me coming.” Lips pressed together, his expression is one of concern and not suspicion. “I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t homeless. There are always options, as you well know.”

The glasses are pushed up again and he focuses on Cesar, “I asked around. Everyone has seen him around, but no one knows his name.” The concern returns, “If you see him, see if you can find out of he is alone. Let him know there is shelter for him if he needs it.” Doesn’t really seem to be in Jonathan’s mind that the kid is suspicious… or maybe he is just a poor lost soul in need of guidance.

Notes scribbled on the pad in his hand, Cesar alternates between looking down at what he’s writing and back up to the man as he speaks, much like a dedicated student listening to lecture. “You’re not the first to mention an SLC Expressive phaser,” he says after a pause in the note-taking. “But I’m finding it hard to believe an eleven-year-old is capable of this level of theft. Nobody’s been able to talk to the kid, but everybody’s pointin’ fingers his way.” The agent’s eyes narrow at his notepad. Then he glances back up. “How about, have you seen a teleporter around as well? Female, kind of tall, brunette, skinny?”

Exactly,” Jonathan point at the other man when a pleased smile. “I am glad that we are both in agreement there, sir. ” He seems rather relieved, too. “Even if he did, there is probably an adult behind him. Sad really when something like that happens.”

Finishing off that amazing coffee, Jonathan thinks on the question. “Honestly, there are a lot of tall, skinny, brunettes out there.” Hands are turned up in a helpless gesture. “So who knows, if I have seen her. I haven’t had anyone bamf in or out around me.”

Cesar has to laugh at the man's observation, easing back on the seriousness. "You're right, there's a lot of them out there. Guess I set myself on that one," he admits with a bob of his head. The pen tapping resumes briefly as he considers, "Can you think of anything else that was unusual about those days? See anybody else or hear anything that caught your attention about the area?"

"There was a separate report of a guy named Eugene Arrowood as well, working the floor basically to get some people to buy stuff from him. Might have caused a disruption. Heard of him?" And from the way he looks at his notepad as he reads the name, he sounds like he's trying to figure out connections too.

There is a little back and forth wobble of Jonathan’s head as he considers the question, “I know of him, but only that I’ve heard complaints of him and his brother being completely blitzed,” he makes a gesture with his hand that indicated they were probably heavily drinking, “out of their minds at the market.”

Slowly, shaking his head, Jonathan says sadly, “Just a couple of troublemakers, those two.”

The noncommittal noise Cesar makes turns the subject again, away from the topic of drunkards. "What've you heard of steps being taken to prevent another theft? Assuming there are," he asks with a glance back up to the man. "And… you got any tips on how to approach the jumpy kids?" The latter question comes with a wry, crooked smile. "Something tells me the 'I just wanna talk' line doesn't work on them anymore."

Or anybody, really. Except he might have said as much when he originally asked to meet with Jonathan.

“I can assure you, that the council is working on the problem and looking at all options.” It isn’t much of an answer, but right now it is all Jonathan has for him. “We should be looking at come voting at the next meeting.”

However, he looks rather impressed by the kid-based question. Jonathan crosses his arms and turns thoughtful. “What an excellent question, Cesar.” Fingers tap lightly on his arms as he decides how to approach it. “You have to find a way to get down to their level… And I don’t mean, just getting literally down to their level.” The ground is motioned at.

Stepping around the desk, Jonathan might be in lecture mode. “You have to figure out what make them tick. What they seem to show interest in.” His arms unwind and he pushes up his sleeves to the elbow, the kids are something he is passionate about. “Before all this war stuff went down, did you ever watch videos on the internet? Especially, the ones where the police officers step out of their vehicles and engaged the kids… That is what you Agents need to be doing. Engaged them in what they were doing, whether it was basketball or to dance with them.” Jonathan literally does a little dance-like move.

“That, Agent Diaz, is the start of approaching jumpy kids.”

Rather than take notes now, Cesar reaches over to turn off the recorder, slipping it and the notepad into his pockets. The work here seems to be done, leaving just the two men and a thermos with a bit of coffee left. Peeking into the thermos, Cesar finds there’s a half cup left, which he holds out to Jonathan if the man would care to polish off the drink. “Can’t fault them for being wary about the police, but yeah, they’re always surprised when it turns out we’re people too,” he nods in agreement with the man’s insights. “I get you, though.”

The agent holds back the laugh once more at the man’s dance moves. “I feel like you need to come with me up to one of the salsa clubs some time,” Cesar says with a crooked smirk as he pushes up to his feet. “How about it, Teach? You got some moves.”

There is a blink as if Jonathan is surprised to have that said to him. “Really?” The smirk he gives the agent says he doesn’t believe that. “You’re pulling my leg.” Though he seems intrigued. He considers it for a moment. “I mean… maybe? I’ve never tried salsa before.”

Jonathan seems the type that has a lot of friends, but doesn’t get out much.

Cesar schools his expression to something more serious, but only just barely. “Really,” he says, leveling a look to the man that’s gauging, evaluating. “Mmhmm. Yup. You got it in you, I can see it. As the great artist Shakira said, those hips don’t lie.” He bends to gather up the cups once they’re done and tucks it away into a small bag that he’s brought the thermos in, and straightens, giving the other man a promising, wholly sincere smile. “So can I count on you, profesor?”

There is a short bark of genuine laughter from the teacher, head shaking slowly. “I don’t know about my hips, but…” Jonathan’s hands settles on his hips and he sighs, “How can I refuse an offer like that? You, sir, are very convincing.”

Taking a step towards the agent, Jonathan offers his hand for a shake, the easy going smile is still there, but there is a touch of seriousness to his eyes. “Thank you, for what your doing, Agent Diaz. I know the council will be relieved when we have some answers and can calm some of the residents.”

The handshake is a solid one, man-to-man, eye-to-eye. “Your thanks is much appreciated, as is your work too, Mr. Smith. Once we got this case solved, we’ll have something to really get out there and dance about.” Cesar moves to pick up the bag and collects himself, casting a glance around the classroom one more time. When he settles his gaze back on the teacher, he nods his farewell and turns with a wave to head back to the office, back to the info board.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License