Thanks For All The Fish


abby6_icon.gif benji_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Also Starring:


Scene Title Thanks For All The Fish
Synopsis Some of the islands residents come together to fix breakfast for the masses.
Date November 20, 2010

Pollepel Island

The morning on the island is crisp and cold, reddening noses and making teeth chatter. People seem to be reluctant to abandon warm beds to fill growling stomachs. Outside, the mist rises off the sluggishly moving waters of the river, leaves brown and starting to shed at a quickening pace.

At least in the kitchen it's warmer, the edge taken off by the ovens prepping for use. One use is to bake the bread for the day, something Kaylee at least knows how to do. When she worked at The Smith Inn she found the process rather therapeutic, kneading the ingredients together, before allowing them to rise. The telepath works at a pale roll of dough, long sleeves of her black turtle neck, dusted in flour; the white particles standing out on the dark fabric.

Watching her from a bench pulled up to the table, a tiny girl with cold reddened cheeks and pale hair watches silently, while chewing at a bit of toasted bread. Blue eyes move from the kneading of the dough to the woman doing the work. A smile touches Kaylee's lips and she glances at the child, her hands working the dough into a rounded form. "Not sure we have juice. Water?" Brows lift with her question, getting a wrinkle of the tiny girls nose. No thanks.

"Can't be picky," Kaylee points out with a chuckle. "I'll get you water if you're thirsty."

Unable to sleep, Nick has spent the very early morning hours once more fishing to help supplement the food stores with fresh protein, and comes into the kitchen with a bucket full of river trout. His cheeks are flushed red from the cold outside, the rest of his face pale and too lean, dark circles the telltale sign that he hasn't gotten enough so sleep.

At least he's dressed more warmly and less colorfully than he was last week, in a black peacoat with a knit cap pulled down over his head. His blue eyes seem all the brighter juxtaposed against black wool and pink cheeks, though they are weary and wary.

He clears his throat apologetically when he enters the kitchen seeing it occupied — clearly he was hoping to drop the fish off before the KP crew came along — even if KP is only Kaylee and her small charge.

"Fish," he offers in a monosyllabic grunt, and moves to set it on a counter to be cleaned later.

He caught 'em — he isn't about to clean 'em.

In the wake of Nick's arrival, there is, a little belatedly, the softer thud of foot falls from outside the kitchen — it's a place that Benji tends to frequent now and then, not only to eat but also to help. He's no hunter, no patrolling guard, doesn't babysit kids or suture the people who need it. But he can help lay out dinner for the dwindling group of hideaways.

It's cold inside and out, and layers are one of the better ways to get by. The dark denim of jeans cling to Benji's legs, hems folded over and tucks unto the tops of practical looking boots, good for wet terrain. Cotton and wools of all boring colours you can imagine — from slate blue through to granite grey and navy — are what he otherwise huddles in, a sweater over a shirt, with a woolen jacket he might shed once he settles in.

Doesn't settle in, catches himself at the doorway when he, too, notices the place is occupied — by rights it should be, but still. He is no Ferrymen, and Kaylee would be able to tell that better than Nick.

Tiny blond head tips down at the arrival of the strange men, blue eyes suddenly focused on the flour dusted table, both hands gripping the slice of bread. This one is fairly shy it seems, though occasionally her gaze flits up with curiosity.

The lump of dough is dropped into a chipped bowl to rise and covered with a tea towel, before Kaylee allows herself to focus on the fish. "Oh! Nice." She didn't use to be a morning person, but then five years of early morning chores have helped change that, not that she doesn't like to sleep in now and then. "Fish stew, I'm sure," she sounds lightly amused at the idea. "Not my department today." She gives a flick of her hand dismissing them for whoever gets that job.

Brushing off her hands, Kay offers a bit of a smile. "Coffee's on the stove, if you want to warm up." A mug sits on the table where she's been working. Even though the majority of her long hair it pulled up, shorter lengths of it still escape and need to be brushed aside.

A glance goes between them, her expression curious. "Not sure I remember ever meeting either of you." Eyes narrow in consideration, Kaylee might remember a lot of people, but it's been awhile and some faces may evade her. "Then again, I was laid up with an injury, but… either way, names Kaylee."

It's only polite after all!

A tiny hand wraps around the index finger of her other hand, reminding her of the child keeping her company this morning. "Oh… and this little girl is Emily." She glances down at the child from where she hides behind a jean clad leg, peaking out between the hand she holds and leg, shyly.

"Coffee's brilliant," Nick says, with a nod of thanks. He glances over his shoulder at the new arrival that Kaylee addresses, giving the other man a nod of acknowledgement, then waves at the little girl before he turns to walk toward the coffee pot.

Finding one of the mugs and pouring himself some of the hot beverage, he moves aside to let Benji do the same if he wishes.

"Nick," he finally says, as if only just now realizing that Kaylee's fishing for an introduction. He wraps his hands around the mug, leaning against the counter and watching her at her task. "Yeah, I saw you at the meeting. Glad to see you're doing better. Nice to meet you." He has manners. Sometimes. "And you, too, Emily," he adds to the little girl, before he brings the mug to his lips, breathing in the steam to warm his cold nose.

Ears a little pink— either from the nipping cold or inexplicable embarrassment— Benji lingers in the frame of the doorway before finally entering properly, picking his way towards where coffee is promised. "Benji," he volunteers, moving to go through the ritual of fixing himself a cup with a kind of studious intent on his own actions, letting a slight curtain of black hair shield eyes with his head bowed as it is. "Nice to meet you, I— thought I might see if there's anything I can help with."

A glance towards the fish, mildly freckled nose wrinkling at the smell of it, and he manages a quirk of a smile. "Unless I have to handle fish this early in the morning," he adds, with a quick glance to Nick. His voice is, as ever, something that skates by above a whisper, naturally quiet in tone and a little prim around the words.

She needs stuff to do. Abigail's up, an abundance of energy and a need to keep busy. Folks in need of medical attention are being seen to by others and she was booted out. She can take over later, but for now the former blonde was directed towards the kitchen. While others may be having issues with sleeping in a old castle on cots and crowded, Abigail's old hat at this. She's at home in a tent in the middle of nowhere on a rocky ground. Kaylee can likely hear the woman talking mentally before she is even in the room, known to be a mental chatterbox. Worries about Robert, Rhett, Scarlett, the bar, you name it. The closer she gets to the kitchen though, actually entering the kitchen, the mental chatter shuts down, knowing Kaylee is in here somewhere.

"Kaylee" She calls out in her southern drawl. "I got told you might have a job for me to do" Turning the corner and coming to a stop inside to take a look around. Mental jibbering at odds with the sight the telepath is presented. Brown hair, cut short around her ears, blue eyes - She didn't toss in her contacts today, there was a point out here - sweater and jeans, boots, wedding ring finger and greeting folks in there with an easygoing smile. "Hey" To the others. Benji, Nick, whomever else might be in.

"Well… I would be lying if I said I remember a lot of the meeting," Kaylee states blandly, moving to gently urge Emily back to where she was sitting; lifting the child into the seat with a bit of a grimace and a sigh. "But — refused to miss it." Fingers curling around a pair of crucifix at her neck, gripping them for a moment before she tucks them into the tall neckline of her turtleneck.

Gnawing at the slice of bread again, Emily watches with wide eyes, yet she continues to be eerily quiet for such a young child.

"Nice to meet you both, Nick… Benji," saying each name in turn in an attempt to remember them, Kaylee nods to them both as she sets a plate on the table, followed by a banana and finally a knife. She slices the banana in half and offers one half to the guys, before moving to peal the other half of it so she can slice it into smaller pieces for the toddler.

Abby's entrance gets a bright smile, Kaylee glancing up form what she's doing. "Hey — stranger." The brunette getting an odd look for the change of appearances, though Kay has more subtle changes in matured features. " Actually, the rice porridge needs to get started and eggs on to hard boil. Unless you want to shows these boys, ladies are not wimps and clean fish." Something in how she says that, says that the telepath would rather not do it either.

"I was going to start the breakfast stuff, after I got Emily set up here." The plate is slid over to the tiniest blonde, who stares at Abby curiously. "Got bread rising already." Yes… she cooks now it seems.

When Abby enters, Nick's stance shifts slightly, straightening a bit and dropping his eyes, though he murmurs a good morning, before nodding to the bucket of fish near the sink.

"You know how to clean fish? I only catch 'em. My part's done. And this guy's smart enough not to want none of that either," he says, with a nod toward Benji, his lips curving into a touch of a smirk, before looking back at Abby.

"So if you know and aren't too squeamish 'bout fish, that'd probably be a help to someone later on who'd rather not touch them. Or you know, you can make some breakfast. I'd offer to do that, but I can barely boil water. Might go chop some firewood. You girls need anything not too culinary done, I'm happy to help, and I'll do the dishes, but you don't want me manning a stove."

"Well. If breaking gender boundaries means I don't have to gut dead fish, then I say we try it," Benji says, his voice as dry as bone as he drifts across the kitchen to start taking out the tools needed for the breakfast tasks as described — a large, slightly unwieldy steel pot. A tray, fit for feeding many mouths. A glance, a quick up and down and a nod to Abigail, before Benji focuses on filling pot with water, the whine of old pipes rattling in the walls taking up some room, noise-wise.

Which means he does have to raise his own voice when he speaks again. "And what happened to you? Were you sick?" is either a little nosy or perhaps just well-intentioned when it comes to creating small-talk, a glance to Kaylee signifying whom he means.

Kaylee gets as curious a look as the toddler gives Abby, not quite pinning down what's changed about the woman. "Nah, fish aren't a problem, I don't mind. They don't gut themselves when you get them from the river back home, they won't gut themselves here." She smiles to Benji. "Wasn't it the women who did all the fish gutting when the men brought home the meat? I can help chop wood later too. Whatever's needed and will keep me busy. The upside to having lived in the middle of the backwoods of Louisiana, you know a thing or two about living in a more rustic setting and I'm pretty sure that this whole deal qualifies as rustic" Or a little step above.

There's a hunt for a tea towel and an appropriate knife to take of the task of cleaning fish for later consumption that is paused midway through to lean down and offer a strange funny face to the toddler, crossed eyes and tongue stuck out, head waggled, and then back on the hunt, as if she hadn't just done that. "Anyone seen Eileen? I want to make sure she knows that I'm here, other council members too. And Kay, do you know if there's a safe place where I can just go practice igniting?" Success, tea towel. Knife soon after. She's going to appropriate a counter, grab a fish by the tail, plop it up and set to it.

"Me?" Kaylee asks glancing Benji's way to see him looking at her, shoulder shrugging a little as if it's no big deal. "I was injured in the riots." Not the truth, but what he doesn't know… "Someone knifed me in the side." Brows furrow, the smile she had slipping a little. "Not really suppose to lift things, just yet." Not that it has stopped her from picking the child up.

Emily seems fascinated with Abby, amusement alighting in pale eyes as she watches the faces. What should have been a childish giggle is something more breathy, making it apparent why she's quiet. She does seem to like Abby, offering a slice of banana in reward for the show.

"I'd help with wood, but I'm sure the laundry is piling up again…. with all these people, seems to be a never ending job." Which is to be expected. Kaylee peeks under one of the towel covered bowls,"Busy work, tho — helps keep the mind off everything else."

At Eileen's name, Nick's jaw tenses and his eyes glance up at Abby, watching her as she begins to clean the fish. He gives a shake of his head, letting Kaylee's words pull his gaze and attention away.

"Yeah," he says quietly — though most of the jobs Nick has undertaken are solitary ones, pulling him away from the people and into the maelstrom of his own mind. The first is deliberate; the second an unfortunate but necessary consequence.

"Anyone seen Epstein actually? Amazing that this island is tiny and yet I can go days without seeing someone, where back in the city I bumped into everyone I knew and their mother on every street corner, I swear." Bringing his cup to his lips for a swallow of the hot coffee, Nick glances back at Abby at Epstein, knowing she of the people here know who he means.

Benji nods along to Kaylee's story, the corner of his mouth making a sympathetic indent of a dimple, but words he doesn't bother with as he shrugs his way out of his jacket, and shoves sleeves up his arms. Then, sets about carefully placing eggs into the cold body of water in the pot. Rather than volunteer for more work, he remains quiet as he preps for breakfast, save for a, "I stand corrected," to Abby.

Otherwise, he's simply listening.

"If you have been knifed in the side Kaylee, there is no way that you are going to be hauling or chopping wood, so you can just, bake." The hell did Kaylee learn to bake? Last she knew the blonde was a bona fide professional at takeout only. Her prowess with a chinese menu and the ten digits on the phone was fairly well known. Abigail twists, turning enough to bend knee's, snag the proffered banana with her teeth and a muffled "Hanhk hu" to the young girl and returns to the fish.

Knife in at the gills, tugged all the way to the fish's vent - you know, where it poops - it's sliced open, and there on, it's a matter of hands flashing in, tugging out entrails, putting the offal to the side to be discarded. Off goes the head, tail, fins those tossed into a pot to be used for a soup later - Eileen is likely smiling somewhere at the thought - and the main body squared away to be skinned and then fileted once she's got them all at the same stage.

'Do you? Or do you rest corrected? Or sit corrected?" A small wicked little grin for him. "Abigail, Caliban. Nice to meet you …" She fishes for a name - pun intended. "and no, sorry Nick, Though I think Howard said that he was somewhere… making a still? Which shall be interesting and hopefully he won't drive everyone blind with the alcohol"

"Epstein?" Kaylee's back goes straight, the name tickling at something at the back of her mind. Brows furrow as she struggles to remember, it takes a moment or two, before she pales a bit. Moving to sit next to the toddler on the bench, she looks a touch surprised. "He's… on the island?" There is an uncertainty to her voice. It's been awhile, but she remembers the sleezy man… she especially remembers when Eileen headbutted him.

How could she forget that?

"I know Abby, just glad I can do that… seems like jsut yesterday I couldn't even boil water…" Kaylee says with a heavy sigh, as if put upon. Though… even as her mouth opens to continue, something occurs to her and "Whoa.. wait. Abigail Caliban? Wow…" She studies the blonde for a long moment, amused. Kaylee shifts in her seat, dragging the child into her lap, a little pale still, it's probably best. "Congratulations, lady. I am jealous," her tone teasing.

At Kaylee's shift in posture, Nick arches a brow, then he glances over at Abby and nods, not realizing she's newly married apparently. "Congratulations," he murmurs, gulping another swallow of the coffee down, seemingly with no concern for the heat.

"A still, huh? Yeah, that sounds about right. Cap'n Crunch and moonshine for breakfast in time for Christmas morning, maybe?" he quips, a smirk curving his mouth, though the merriment doesn't quite reach those weary blue eyes.

Once his coffee's finished, he moves to the sink to rinse out his cup, cleaning it carefully before reaching for a towel to dry.

"Abigail Caliban," Benji repeats, as if to secure the name in his mind — or to play with the rhythm of syllables. There's a percussive music to it, especially in his tone of voice, and he crouches a little at the knees as he sets about lighting up the stove top. Claps a broad lid over the pot to let heat and water do the work for him, before he's pushing off towards where a sack of oats are stashed, grabbing the folded over opening in a fist to measure its contents out. "My name is Benji," he introduces himself to the brunette. "Benji Foster.

"Who, exactly, is Epstein? Is he like Eileen? Another one of your leaders?" His tone is difficult to read — not just due to its volume, but polite enquiry banishes any hint of skepticism. And apparently ignorant to Abby's own status, as well as the fact she's a newly wed as he offers no congrats of his own.

"Thank you. I got married nearly two months ago" Perhaps a bit more quietly than she really should be saying it, thoughts turning to the man in an apartment not so far away, wondering what he's doing. If he sleeps as bad as her. She narrowly misses her hand with the knife, giving in for a moment to wallowing. Should have stayed, should have… something. "Maybe it will improve his demeanor, the still, or keep him busy. I'm sure if you find Howard, he'll point you in the right direction" Another fish succumbs to Abigail's hands and knife, offal to the side, fins to the side, head, tail, into the pot. With the amount of people that there are to cook for, fish soup is sure to be on the menu, a way to make it stretch. That's what this will be, a trial spent in learning how to make five loaves of bread and two fish feed everyone here. There's not as many as five thousand people but we can do that. Think we can do that Benji?"

She slants a look his way, a kind one so she can put Howard's description of him to what she see's before her. "I think, that we can do that. Easily. The lord has provided so far through many people" She doesn't see the effeminate in him. "Epstien. I haven't seen him since… I was wrist deep in Nick's chest here and Epstein was making fun of me" She glances to Emily, making another funny face as she rips out more fish guts.

"Ah… no." Kaylee offers at Benji's question. "He seems to be a stray, much like you," she gives the quieter man as smile to take the edge off what that might implicate. "I just remember him from helping out some people."

Emily, who has been watchign Abby like a hawk, glances up at Kaylee with a questioning look, the telepath meeting the tinier blonde's eyes. There is a small nod of understanding before she deposits the little girl back on the bench and gets to her feet. "So how did you end up out here, Benji? That night is such a blur for me." Brows lift at him, her smile is friendly enough, so it's an innocent question.

A small glass is found and a bottle of water, both carried to the toddler who watches Kaylee expectantly. Settling back on the bench, the telepath sets about pouring a glass of water for the child. Of couse, it's Abby who would know what happened between Kaylee and the silent child.

Nick's black brows furrow beneath the black rim of his tuque at the mention of that night. The man glances over at Benji and shrugs his left shoulder, the one that wasn't blown through at short range by a rifle. "Just someone I got some business with. I'm a 'stray,' too, I guess you could say." He doesn't sound overly happy about that fact, though he nods to the women.

"Thanks for putting us strays up, by the way, in case I forget to say it when I take off again," Nick says quietly. "I donno how long I'll stay, which is why I wanted to talk to Epstein, so if you see him, tell him to find me, yeah? If I don't find him trying to figure out how to ferment potatoes or whatever he's trying to make drinkable."

"Oh, I don't know if I can stand to talk about it more, but thank you for asking," Benji says, gently, of how he came to be on the island. Likely, it's the kind of conversation that gets circulated a lot when it comes to wiling away long hours amongst strangest. His blush is returning as he shrugs away the question, vaguely pinker beneath faded freckles — maybe shy about rejecting Kaylee's question, and so he continues; "But 'stray'. That's a good word for it. That's what I am and how I came to be here. A stray astray." Nick's glance and answer, more or less, goes ignored.

There's a soft hiss as cupfuls of oats are poured, measured. "You met Howard? I'm so sorry."

"Ayup. he's a curmudgeon, I know more than my fair share of curmudgeons. Now, I have met you and that leave Hannah to meet. I've been told we'll get along just fine if'n I don't mind apples with razor blades in them." In truth, they're all strays. Displaced from their homes, making a new one no matter how temporary.

Kaylee and the little girl and their telepathic communication is a little weird, in that, Abby doesn't know if the others know about Kaylee's ability. More fish fall to Abby's blade, working her way through the bucket of scaly watery beasts, sparing glances for the oats being measured. "You like your porridge with brown sugar on top or no sugar?" This to Benji. "I'm partial to a little milk and then a nice helping of brown sugar. Best stuff on earth on a cold morning"

The blush gets an understanding look and a slow nod, "That's alright, Benji. We all have things we'd rather not talk about with people we don't know too well." Much like Kaylee and her five years in another time. It's why she doesn't push it.

"And taking in and caring for strays is part of what we do, even when we are homeless ourselves." Kaylee points out as well.

Tiny hands grasp the glass of water, assisted by one of Kaylee's own hands. The telepath watches the toddler drink, which is fortunate as she is able to save the glass from spilling over the girls cloth, when the mention of porridge and brown sugar pulls the girls attention. "Pay attention to what your doing, kiddo," the blonde woman chides gently, finger brushing under the girls chin to catch a droplet of water.

Porridge, sugar, babies — Nick is out. It's just too much small talk after too much time in a place where he was treated like an animal rather than a person.

"I'll repay the debt," he tells Kaylee solemnly, "and help protect you while I'm here the best I'm able."

His eyes sweep the room, giving each a nod. "Thanks for the coffee," is added in a quiet voice, and with that his long legs take him toward the door, off to do one of his seemingly never-ceasing tasks, whether it's chopping wood, fishing, guard duty, or kidnapping dreamwalkers.

"So long." And thanks for all the fish. Shooting a glance for the door as the younger of the two men in the room makes his leave, Benji hesitates as if he missed Abby's question, before he returns a glance down to what he's doing. The look of someone who just lost count. "With salt," he finally answers, as to how he likes his porridge. He dumps one last cupful inside before setting it down.

Hesitates, before his mouth goes into a line and he continues setting up for breakfast, although he falls quiet, and quick to work as opposed to chatting over the necessities. Like Nick's discomfort translated to him, or reminders of homelessness — but mood change only manifests in silence. What is next, sloshing through the dried out oats, a head twitch to flick black hair from his eyes.

"Milk?" he requests, a hand out to whoever is able to pass it over.

"Salt?" That's surprising, she wasn't expecting that. Not in the least, a parting wave to Nick as he takes off. "That's interesting, I'll have to try that some time" Abigail muses, almost done with the last fish, making sure that for the most part, her body is hiding the whole gutting and entrails part from the little girl. His comfort level, she watches Benji, flashing him a smile before setting down to the task of skinning them now, the fish that is, and fileting. "Okay, well, almost done with the fish, Benji here is doing mighty fine on the eggs and the porridge. The little princess seems to be doing good, and we are.. Well, we are a big ol room of awkward aren't we"

"Pay it forward is a better idea," Kaylee calls after Nick with a smirk pulling of a corner of her mouth. Her gaze shifts to Benji and his request, pushing to her feet to retrieve milk. "I'm in the brown sugar camp, I've seen people do butter and regular sugar as well." The container set next to Benji on the counter, "All in how you're raised I guess."

Emily seems rather content to watch the grown ups and nom on banana slices, the sound of her chewing filling in the silence.

"Should be ready for the breakfast hoards." Already the murmuring of mental voices growing louder with their wakefulness, battering against the telepath's mental barrier. Leaving Benji to the porridge, Kaylee flips a towel off one of the dough balls, touching it with a finger, before nodding. "Bread should be ready for dinner, it'll go well with the fish stew.

"I do appreciate the help, guys." Kaylee offers, her thanks genuine. "I think I took on more then I could chew this morning," she even sounds a little worn, as she's still recovering some.

That last comment from Abby receives a smile, Benji adding less milk than water to the mix, albeit still liberal, considering the quantity. "I don't know many rooms that aren't awkward. Sorry." Pot set on the stove, a very low heat simmering beneath the sludgy mass within the steel, he goes to tug his sleeves back down over forearms and wrists. "Oh, never mind that, honey — I don't have anything better to do. But I think I need some fresh air. I'll be back to check up on anything, but if you don't mind…"

It's probably a rather abrupt departure, but in the same way he seems used to awkward rooms, wriggling out of one with manners and social cues aren't high priorities for them — and after all, he'll need to check on the porridge anyway, and he's leaving his jacket behind. He dusts off his hands from where stray oat dust lined his smooth palms, heading— quite swiftly— out the door.

Howard at least isn't totally unjustified, he'll be thrilled to know. Benji does run— or jog— a little like a girl.

Abby watches him go, lopsided smile on her face. "Yup, Maybe he is like Howard done said he is" Either way, Abigail's finishing up the fish, it'll take her five more minutes, then another ten just trying to debone them. "Make a list of what you need done that requires lifting Kaylee and we'll have folks do that till Megan says you can lift and that includes" Abby points to the little girl. "Picking her up. We clear?" They'd better be clear, because a downed Kaylee won't do them any good. The more healthier people up and about, the better it will be.

"Now, lets get breakfast served for the rest of the monkeys in this zoo" Benji's jacket left alone. She can't see whether it needs mending too or not.

There is a grimace at the mention of Megan, truth been told Kaylee's been avoiding the woman when she can. "Yeah," the word is sighed out heavily from Kaylee, her good mood kind of flattening a little. "We're clear," tone bland. Children seem to have a way of sensing things, Emily looking up at the only person who can hear her.

Her idea of cheering up the telepath is to offer a slightly mashed banana slice, her tiny digits greasy with the fruits gooey-ness. Emily is sharing her food.

To her food makes everything better.

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