The Man With The Van


brynn_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif joe_icon.gif

Scene Title The Man with the Van
Synopsis The first job of the day has Caspian meeting a familiar face and her brother.
Date February 23, 2018

Phoenix Heights

Opening Lance's apartment door to leave meant literally running into Joe as he went to let himself into the place. There was *MUCH* silent squeeing, *HUGE* hugs and a lot of bounce in a flurry of excitement from the deaf girl, and then she drags Joe out of the apartment — cuz Lance isn't home — and toward the Market. As they walk, she (silently) fills him in on everything that's been going on back home. Now, however, as they enter the Marketplace, Brynn's fingers have finally slowed down enough that Joe can finally get words in edgewise.

OMG, did you know Hailey is living at the freakin' ZOO?? What the hell, Joe? That can't be safe! Of course, the camps aren't safe either — that's why Lance gave me the couch, you know how he gets, the petite brunette signs. What on earth are you guys getting into down here? I didn't get into school this semester, it has to wait til the fall — unless I want summer classes, but I don't know about that yet. Are you taking classes?? Because communications between here and back 'home' can be a bit spotty when it comes to teens and keeping in touch without the benefit of cell phones.

Joe /was/ going to go raid Lance's fridge and cabinets. Cuz he has food. Joe typically doesn't. Imagine his surprise though when there was a Brynn. There might have been a squee from Joe too. But a manly one. Nowhere near as high pitched as Brynn. For real. After some jumping and hopping around, making enough noise to wake the dead, and definitely anyone still trying to sleep, he found himself being dragged along. Not that Brynn has to do much dragging. Joe is always up for adventures. Joe walks along, bumping into things as he's paying more attention to Brynn's hands than he is where he's going. Doorways, walls, a lightpost or two. Not that Joe really seems to notice when he bangs into things other than that he has to go around them.

I did yeah. Lance and I had to go like deflea her the other day. I mean not really. I mean she does need to be deflea'd. But we didn't go do that. We did go visit her though. Well Lance did. I mostly hung back cuz he didn't want me to scare her off. Scare her. Me! And you took my couch?! Joe puts a hand up to his chest as if she's wounded him, and staggers a few steps before he recovers and walks along happily next to her. I got into school, but I turned it down cuz I don't want to go without Lance. I'm gonna help him study, and you too now. And we're all gonna get in together. Another Lighthouse Kid adventure. As to what we're getting into… not much. I'm babysitting, Lance joins me sometimes. Babysitting is so easy when your'e not being shot at, or on the run, or wondering if there'll be food the next day. Like so easy. Uhh where are we going?

As the pair walk towards the market, a white van, of all things, is seen parked on the side of the street. This normally would not draw a second glance if it weren't for the ladders and things on the rack on top, locked in with heavy chains and padlocks, and a fairly well-protected back door. The logo on the side and on the back, Outside Electric, is done in a graffiti-type style. Standing at the doorway of the building, a man, dressed in khaki pants and a blue button-down shirt is finishing up with a woman who seems to be very displeased with something he's told her.

"You said you could fix it!" She shrieks at the top of her lungs.

"Yes Ma'am, I did say I could fix it if it wasn't too badly damaged. When you hooked everything in your house to the generator during that brownout, then turned it on, you seized the bearings and it requires a rebuild if you want it to not break in a month…"

"I don't want to hear it! You're stupid and I won't call you again!" She growls, snatching the clipboard from his hands, scrawling her signature on it, flinging a handful of bills at him and then stomping back into the building, leaving Caspian on the step, blinking at the slammed door in front of him.

Picking the bills up from the stoop and tucking them away, he looks back to the door. "Mal tanni!" he calls, flicking a two-fingered salute to the door before heading back down the stairs to his van.

Babysitting is definitely on the list of skills they all possess. Being the older kids in an orphanage during a war guarantees several things: plenty of skill running and hiding while clamping hands over toddler mouths, plenty of skill cleaning up child messes, and plenty of exercise keeping up with everyone cuz they move fast! That's a good way to make money, Brynn observes. She hadn't considered carefully what she was going to do to LIVE when she got here, so she has a very few dollars in her pocket and some things she can trade stuffed in her backpack. But… hey, a VAN. It's a sight that is not the usual, and then there's some kind of argument on the stoop that Brynn can't hear (obviously). She pulls lightly on the arm of Joe's shirt, though, and points out the van. Hey, we met that guy the other morning, me and Lance. He did that design on the van — primal, right?? Because it's definitely Caspian's work.

I was thinking I might start selling some of the artwork… or at least doing artwork on people. What do you think? Would people actually pay for that stuff? Because she doesn't think being able to fire a pistol or work in a garden will make much money here.

Joe slows his walk when there's a show being put on nearby. Namely the angry lady yelling at the guy with the VAN! That guy better be careful with his van. Good way to get it stolen around here right now. Running around showing it off. Can you imagine how many of us we could cram into a van like that? It'd be like a Lighthouse invasion force storming the beaches of Normandy or something. Joe's hands moving excitedly, amusement plain in the grin on his face as he watches the ongoing spectacle, culminating in a slammed door. I was thinking about that. We should all get tattoos. Well by that I mean you should give us all tattoos. We should come up with a design and stuff. LHK tattoos. He nudges Brynn with his shoulder lightly as they a little closer to the man with the van.

People would totally pay for that stuff. You could also totally help Lance and I babysit. I mean I'm still convincing Lance it's a reasonable and business avenue. But he'll come around. So… you know this guy then? With the van? And the lady yelling at him? Oh she was totally yelling at him. Basically calling him an idiot cuz he couldn't fix something she doesn't want to pay to replace. Gotta love people. He looks up in the direction of Caspian, then back to Brynn, then back to Caspian.

Money gathered, Caspian makes his way down the steps, around to the back of the van, unlocks it (revealing a lot of space…and tools inside), and tosses his bag in, making sure it's on its little hook to keep from sliding around as he drives over the streets. Yes, he's got a VAN, and yes, he keeps it parked and locked inside at his place every night, with multiple 'you can't drive this' things installed to keep all but the most determined from even having a shot. It takes him a good twenty minutes to even get it able to drive in the mornings, thanks to two wheels living with him upstairs in his apartment. He closes and locks the door, flipping the page to the next one, mumbling about where he needs to go next….

You should let him know that he better lock it up REAL tight. The tools look valuable, Brynn signs. And then she nudges Joe. He's new here in the city, too! And he does graffiti! Which goes a long way with Brynn, of course — anyone willing to tag buildings and walls with color is already going to be on her good side, without even having to do much else!

Joe signs to Brynn when he speaks aloud to other people, always looping her into whatever conversation is going on. "My friend says you should lock your van up real tight at night. Your tools look valuable. I think she might be jealous of your art skills Mister Toolman. She didn't share your name with me though so I'm just gonna call you Toolman for now. I'm Joe. She thinks the work on your van is awesome. And said she met you before. Like last week or a month ago. Maybe yesterday." His hands moving for her the whole time, and then a little bit afterwards. But seriously. Think about all the kids we could pack into that van. It'd be crazy. He pauses, thinking about the last time a bunch of Lighthouse Kids were crammed into a van and the shenanigans that ensues. Last time we rode out in a van I got grounded for like ever.

Peeking up from behind his clipboard, Caspian focuses first on the speaker, then the flailing of hands, and then Brynn, who he recognizes. Perking up a little, the man grins. "Toolman I guess I could deal with. I generally go by Caspian or Cas to people I paint with. Hi Brynn." he gives her a wave, making sure his mouth isn't covered as he speaks so she can follow along. "We actually met yesterday morning outside of a park. Her and Lance…well, mainly Brynn, there." He gestures to her. "Added a giant burst of color and little bit of sparkle to a mural I painted the night before. Walked right up on me as I was finishing, added a few flourishes of her own. Made the picture nice."

It wasn't forever, it was only six weeks, Brynn objects. But it is one of the things she loves about her Tribe — generally speaking, most of them keep her in the loop when there's a conversation going on, signs flowing as freely as words. Joe is one of the best ones about it, too, even though the stream of consciousness is occasionally enough to make her poke him. He has no filter at all!

Her gray eyes sparkle with pleasure at the compliment, though she ducks a little. Despite the way she introduced herself, she usually doesn't like to just walk up to a stranger and try to talk to them. But artists are a little different. And she was a little excited. She waves just a bit shyly. I didn't really walk right up like that, she demurs in sign to Joe. Just, he had this one spot that looked wrong and it really needed a different shading to balance it out. And I couldn't help it, I just had to fix it!

"I mean… I'm not gonna be painting with you. So she…" He jerks his thumb at Brynn, interrupting his signing for her for a moment. "Can call you Cas. I'll stick with Toolman. She's the artist I'm… uhhh…." He looks over at Brynn, then back. "The Joe." He finishes lamely, grinning wide when he does it though. "Lance is our brother. Brynn is my sister. I mean essentially. We all grew up together." He pauses when Brynn starts signing, nodding his head along and translating in relatively real time for Caspian as Brynn signs. Once he's finished relaying what she says he snorts out a laugh and nudges her with his elbow lightly. "She's shy cuz she likes your work and is embarrassed for having just stepped in and messed with it. Don't let her fool you. Brynn isn't shy." He flashes a grin at her, cuz he signed that for her too. He hops out of easy smacking or elbowing range, grinning ear to ear.

It's weird, for Cas, to have to listen to Joe talk for Brynn, but seeing as how it's happened twice with two other people, chances are that, any time he sees Brynn around with another one of her family, it'll be this way. Or notes. Conversation will happen in some form or another. He sits on the bumper of his van and nods, tossing the clipboard back into the back of the van. "Well, no art until business is done. I've got another stop later in the afternoon at the radio station - something about a fuse box they wanted looked at, so I'm fairly open for a while. And don't be so sure, Joe. You show up with her and me painting, we might get you stenciling something. Sucking at something is the first step of being sort of good at it. We don't all have innate gifts to help us with the art, though, but from what I saw, Brynn doesn't need 'em." A little compliment to the brunette.

"Where are you two headed? I might be able to give you a ride if you don't mind cramming into the back. I've got the drivers seats from an old Mustang in there for passengers in the back, y'know, just in case."

Brynn merely wrinkles her nose at Joe. But the explanation about their siblingship will at least explain Brynn's thrilled reaction to meeting up with Lance in the dark morning. I'm not shy! she signs even as Joe says the words. I just like to have a little freakin' MANNERS. There's a rolling of her eyes. You and Lance haven't got any, so ONE of us has to actually be polite to people!

Her eyes rest on Caspian's face while he talks, and she seems to catch most of what he's said, but she frowns a little at the last part. Without tone, the body language says compliment, but the words … come across like he's saying she doesn't need talent because she has a power?

I just wanted to go to the Marketplace. I saw a stand there yesterday where someone had paper. I was hoping to trade for it. Do you want to go somewhere else? she asks Joe.

See, it's not weird for Joe. At all. He's used to translating for her with anyone that doesn't know ASL or Lighthouse Cant. So is Lance. It's an automatic thing for them to loop her in. Cuz she's one of them. She's their sister for all intents and purposes. "Oh no. I'm not an artist. Lance is totally an artist too though. He likes to sketch and stuff. Me? Nope nope." There's a soft snickering sort of laugh from him at the idea of him trying to art. "Nope, she doesn't. I mean her power is well and good and all, but it'd be useless without actual artistic talent. Of which Brynny here has plenty." He pauses in his signing to step back in and bump his shoulder against Brynn's, then step back out of smacking range.

"I said you weren't shy!" Joe replies back in English, and signs back. "Oh, she's yelling at me. She's so mean to me Toolman. Like a brutal overlord. With like one of those big bull whips. Like the balrog in Lord of the Rings." He stomps around in a circle like he's a giant winged monster, then steps and grins at both of them. "She says Lance and I don't have manners. Like she's a perfect prim little lady." He snorts aloud and sticks his tongue out at Brynn before turning back to flash a wide grin at Caspian.

"Like I said. Siblings. But really we're just wandering around." His hands flying the entire time, signing to Brynn the conversation. "I didn't know she was in town. Ran into her while I was sneaking into Lance's place to raid his cupboards. She drug me out here. Evil overlord, like I said." He looks over at Brynn and hmmms. "No I don't have anywhere else to go. But we should definitely get some paper for you to work with. Also he totally didn't mean it that way. He was giving you a compliment." Signing to her as well of course. "It just doesn't translate well."

Joe's rambling delivery does make sense, but it takes Caspian a couple of seconds to parse it all before forming a coherent response. "Yeah. I wasn't meaning to insult, and if you took it that way, I'm sorry. What I meant was that you've got talent. The ability that you have with color is just kind of an added bonus. I could give you a few spray cans and come back and hour later and there would be a masterpiece." Cas slows down his cadence, talking clearly so Brynn can easily read his lips, looking to Joe as he translates, hoping that, out of it all, it all kind of makes a crazy sort of sense.

"I can see that. I bet you guys are in terror of her, sneaking into your rooms or something and drawing clown makeup on you that sticks for a few days." Imagining a Brynn scorned, just going and giving people permanent Juggalo makeup causes him to chuckle a little. "Well, it's up to you both. Want a ride to Red Hook?"

The signing from Joe makes it a lot easier to follow things, and at the nudge from her brother, she brightens. Then Cas clarified further, and the girl is fine. When he comments about clown make-up, though, she claps her hand over her mouth to stifle her mostly silent laughter. With a wicked twinkle, she signs, Clown make-up, blue hair for no reason, making their clothes really ugly, you name it, she admits easily. She looks to Joe though, to see if he wants the ride. it's really not that far, but she knows her brother's mind — he's coming up with something.

"Oh, she's drawn a few things on us that were so not okay." Joe stares at Brynn for a few moments, that stretch into a few more. She knows what she did. What Brian had to tell her to remove. Yes she does. He peers at her just a few moments longer. Just to make it extra awkward, then pulls up and flashes a grin. He translates for Brynn, and for Caspian both. The conversation might move a bit slower this way, but everyone is included equally.

"She tries to play innocent and shy but she's not. She might be the most devious of us. Like…" He pauses, glancing aside. "Well I don't feel like getting beaten up so…" He shrugs his shoulders at the question of Red Hook. "I'm… honestly not really sure where a lot of stuff here is. I was a little kid when I was here last. Still getting to know the area. What's in Redhook?" He asks, glancing between them both, then shrugs his shoulders and stops, peering at Brynn. "What? What are you giving me that look for? Something in my teeth? MY HAIR? Did you do something to my skin? Or my hair?" He starts peering at his arms and legs, then his face as if that's going to tell him that his skin is now purple. Fingers pinch a lock of hair and stretch it out to make sure it's not pink.

"I walked around for like three days with bright like… Blue Blue hair one time. And no one said anything. Then our caretaker got back and he was like BRYNN YOU GET IN HERE AND CHANGE HIM BACK THIS INSTANT. Then he remembered and went to go find her." He cackles and steps back in closer to Brynn offering his adoptive sister a warm smile. "Those were better times than being shot at yeah?" What kind of childhood did they lead? "But if Brynn wants to go somewhere I'm totally down with tagging along. She was wanting to find some sketch paper. SHe said someone had sketch paper to trade. Oh Brynn you could totally do them like a marketplace sign in exchange for the paper. We should find like some plywood or something and you could make an awesome sign in trade. I mean… with the world the way it is right now I'm pretty sure you could trade art for food and stuff."

Caspian watches responses more than the man giving them out. His errant comment about clown makeup was a guess but it looks like he managed to find one of the ways Brynn gave her brothers and sisters a hard time. " Red Hook is the market. lots of scavenging, lots of stalls where you can find lots of stuff and do some trading. Lady with good coffee, too." What about it? he looks to Brynn. "Get into my windowless van. what could go wrong?"

Brynn tries to look VERY innocent when Joe's griping about things she shouldn't have drawn on them. Maybe they shouldn't have messed with her! And then Cas makes his joke. They didn't grow up with 'don't get in the van with strangers,' clearly. There were constantly people in and out of their world. So Brynn, honestly, trusts her gut about who can be trusted and who can't — because if she makes a mistake and they can't, well…. the boot knife that her brothers and Brian insisted on teaching her how to use with efficiency will fix that problem right fast. The petite brunette grins at Caspian and shrugs. I think I'd rather walk, but thanks for the offer. Next time. Because shes going to also use the time to give Joe some trouble. Maybe just look at EVERY DAMN THING in the market before she buys paper.

Also Joe is nigh on indestructible. Between their powers, and Joe's commando training at Brian's hands? Yeah, they're good. "Sure thing. Ride is fine. I mean we could totally walk there, but then you'd be driving along next to us, trying to talk to us, or you'd drive there and wait for us to walk there. Either way is suuuuper awkward. Really just easier to get in the van. Get in the van little kids…" He pitches his voice super deep for that, like comically deep. And gravelly. And he signs it for Brynn too naturally. Pretty much any time he talks if she's around he signs. It's a given. "Oh… you want to walk? Really? After I just gave a speech about awkwardness? Really? You want to walk?"

He eyes Brynn for a few moments, eyes narrowing. "Pretty sure she did that just to mess with me. Apparently we are walking. Would you like to join us in walking?" He asks of Caspian, grinning at the man. "You're a good sport though I'll give you that Toolman. Most people dont' have the patience for our antics and shenanigans." He reaches out a hand to ruffle Brynn's hair, the movement well advertised since it means his hands stop signing.

"Nah, then it just looks creepy. Me, following you two down the road? Assuming I could even keep up, what with the traffic….". Caspian chuckles, looking from one to the other. "Another time, sure.".

Throwing her hands in the air as Joe keeps talking, she gives him a patented /Your Sister Is Annoyed/ face. By the time he looks at her and asks 'What??,' Brynn is just shaking her head with a sign. She signs back to him, I did NOT just do that to mess with you. Dodging the hand that wants to ruffle her, she signs indignantly, You've been here longer than I have, almost as long as Lance, and you don't know your way around yet? For heaven's sake, Joseph, you need to get a sense of direction! So we're walking!

Turning back to Caspian, she signs to him with a bit of a grin because Joe …. USUALLY… will translate even if he doens't agree with what she says. I'm sorry for Joe, Cas — he's a complete ass sometimes. And then she crosses her arms, waiting to see if the apology for Joe will be conveyed.

Joe gawks, and gapes, and grouses and grumps. All in like… a few seconds. Then his eyes narrow and he lets out a HMPH! And stamps his foot just for good effect, and tilts his chin up to emphasize for the girl that can't hear the HMPH! He also totally translated for Toolman. He starts pulling faces at Brynn. Overly dramatic faces. "Hey! I know my way around. Just not… here. And I haven't just gone walking around the city all that much okay. I moved back here, found a shoebox of a room to rent, dropped my stuff there and started looking for work, and taking entrance exams. And now I gotta help you and Lance study so we can all go to college together! Okay miss sassy pants?" He even lifts one hand from signing to do a 'Z' in fingersnaps. Then he gets to translating, scowling at her as he does so. "She's sorry for me Cas, I'm a complete ass sometimes. And of course all this /despite/ the fact that I translate for her faithfully. See? She's so MEAN to me. Pretty prim little princess my backside."

Caspian can't help but chuckle at the interplay between the two. Locking the back of his van, he listens as Joe translates, turning to nod at the final bits. "You're like the family I went to high school with - at each other's throats until one of you gets in trouble, then god help anyone on the other side of that group." He sits on the bumper of his van and nods to Brynn. "Next time, sure. Just be sure to show your brother the major routes and specifically where isn't very safe to go without a weapon. Assuming you're cut of the same cloth as Brynn and Lance are, you probably have a way to take care of yourself that isn't entirely visible."

Caspian stands and offers Joe a handshake. "Pleasure meeting you, Joe." Then he turns to Brynn, offering her a handshake as well. "Pleasure seeing you again, Brynn. There's a place across from the coffee stall that has a lot of art supplies. You might be able to find a sketch pad or two there pretty cheap." Straightening, Caspian gives the pair a wave, a small salute, and climbs into his van to head off to his next job.

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