The Floor Is Wet


christmas_icon.gif matt_icon.gif

Scene Title The Floor Is Wet
Synopsis Matt shows up at the Suresh Center for business, and is greeted by a mysterious man.
Date September 5, 2010

Suresh Center

The lobby of the Suresh Center is an open, very well-lit space; the exterior walls are more window than wall. There's a raised half-level on the right side of the irregularly-shaped room as one walks in, carpeted in pine-green, decked with oak furniture and small table lamps; a comfortable-looking space, with actual living plants at the top of the stairs and scattered here and there elsewise. Continuing to the left brings one to the receptionist's desk, a small vending area located just beyond that.

Passing the receptionist brings a visitor to the core of the building. Here are the Kastin and Chapman auditoria, named for donors who provided the money that built them; rooms designed to seat many people for lectures and presentations, equipped with large projector screens, pervasive sound systems, and video recorders. Four conference rooms fill out the central section, reduced in scale but no less comprehensively outfitted. The wings which branch off to either side contain rows of classrooms: smaller, more private and personal, some with installed technology and some with nothing more elaborate than a whiteboard.

The classrooms, conference rooms, and auditoria are all available for public use; anyone who wants to reserve one may do so for a nominal fee, be it to teach a class, hold a meeting, or present a seminar. There are no restrictions on subject, nor even the credentials of the instructor or lecturer, though the Center waives all liability for courses taught by a third party (which is all of them). These courses and seminars are all by definition open to the public. Donations may be requested, or small fees charged, particularly for courses with a materials cost.Description of location, if any.

Once the front doors to the Suresh Center are locked, there are few people who remain in the building. There are, of course, still some administrators and other personnel who don't know the meaning of the word "weekend" still slaving away in their offices, doing their best to put the final touches on a lesson plan, or get a report that's due to be sent out first thing Tuesday morning wrapped up.

But through the front doors stride what can only be part of a security detail, the locks no match for one's deftly handled keyring. Two men in crisp black suits enter the center's lobby, tell-tale curly, white cords stemming from buds in their left ears and trailing down to disappear between their collars and jackets. Outside, two more men are stepping out of black SUV's and toward a sedate black sedan.

Inside, most of the lights have been turned off or dimmed to a lower level. Power conservation is important, after all. What light is there is reflected off neatly mopped floor. The cause of the mopping is rather clear to the security detail as they enter, the slim and short figure of Christmas stands as the only person in the lobby.

He stands next to a janitorial cart laden with all manner of cleaning supplies, a wooden mop in his hand that he pushes monotonously back and forth across the floor. He looks up as the men enter, blank-faced, before he resumes his mopping.

The security detail, in turn, looks back to Christmas. They nod to each other, then one presses a finger to his ear and says something unintelligible from across the lobby. The meaning is clear enough, however. Outside, the back door of the sedan opens, and out steps Matt Parkman. He's dressed not unlike those that accompany himself, save for the quality of his suit, and the wool coat he's thrown over it to stave off the evening chill. It billows slightly as he walks to, and then through the door. His face is held in a fiercely rigid expression, and like the detail that went ahead of him, he pauses to look around.

It's not every day that a man like Parkman descends upon a place like the Suresh Center, so all the better for such a visit to come when the only person in the lobby is the janitor.

Really, Christmas may as well have not even gone back to mopping. It was clear by the dress, stance and demeanor of the men that somebody else would soon be coming in behind them. So when Christmas stops his back-and-forth mopping motion to look up as the doors enter again, he hadn't made much progress.

This time, Christmas doesn't look back down. Instead his eyes slowly come to focus on Parkman, watching the man's movements as he strides into the lobby and then pauses. He leans against his mop, simply watching. If Parkman's eyes come to rest on him, they will find his expression blank and his thoughts equally barren.

And come to rest they do.

Parkman would be remiss if he didn't focus in on the man's thoughts before continuing on. It's a procedural safety precaution. The Suresh Center is a relatively secure facility, sure, but one is always responsible for one's own neck.

Pursing his lips, Parkman nods to the janitor, only slightly off-put by the man's completely lack of thought. Still. There are any number of reasons why that would make him suitable for such a job. He turns back toward the two men that proceeded him and furrows his eyebrows slightly. "Watch the door," is all he says before he moves his attention to the other two men that followed him inside. "Let's go."

Christmas' eyes are cold and eerie, like two pools of water that have grown stagnant and refuse to move. When Parkman looks away to direct his lap dogs, Christmas begins to pack up his mop and bucket, placing them into his cart while he retrieves a yellow sign.

Moving over in Parkman's direction, he gets in the man's way and plants the sign down - CAUTION: WET FLOOR. Then he takes a step back, looking up at the much larger man. The name tag on his blue jumpsuit is faded, but readable: Macendale is written there in red italics. "Careful, Mister Parkman. The floor is wet."

Parkman blinks at the obvious intrusion, where there is so much lobby left to mop and so many other places to put the sign. Clearly, the man must be simple. But standing with his shoulders back and with that disappointed frown deeply etched on his face, Parkman narrows his eyes to search Christmas's brain. Is the janitor just socially awkward, or did he have some good reason for getting in their way?

"I can see that," he says flatly. The two men that stand on either side and slightly behind him glance to each other, their own expressions stiffening with displeasure. They're the sort that don't like it when things don't go smoothly.

True, there is much of the lobby left to be mopped. So why did the small, unassuming looking man decide to plant his sign directly in the path of such an important man? A search of his mind reveals trace thoughts of a calculation on how long it will take to finish his work, and what he will cook for his mother tonight.

The much scrawnier Christmas backs away more, stepping sideways to move his arms out as if beckoning Parkman forward. "One can never be too careful, sir." He raises a hand to his temple, tapping it a few times. "Things are not always what they seem."

Parkman grunts in agreement rather than say anything more to the strange little man. He rolls his shoulders and glances back to the two black-suited, wired-up men before he shakes his head and continues across the lobby toward the stairs.

He looks back toward Christmas once, but shakes his head again, as if pushing whatever ill-feelings or suspicions he may have aside. As true as the statement about perceptions may be, he simply doesn't have time to dwell on the reasons behind a man like Macendale expressing it.

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