The Merits Of Trying Hard


jean_icon.gif tracy_icon.gif

Scene Title The Merits Of Trying Hard
Synopsis Tracy wants a falafel and Jean wants a conversation. They both achieve their goals, being ambitious young people in this age.
Date May 20, 2009

Financial District

The Financial District is a symbol of the true bloodlines of America. Despite 9/11, despite the bomb, areas where money flows like storm runoff will always seem to bounce back the fastest. That's exactly what's happened here. Police are always on beats here, and expensive suites still wander with cell phones and laptop bags with lots of cares in the world - but very few, if any of them, about the bomb or the fallen towers. Money wipes those slates clean.

Tracy Strauss blends in with a natural camouflage to this jungle, a white power-dress with blue piping and pearls. A blazer is worn over the outfit, with a briefcase-bag over her shoulder and a cell phone attached to her ear. "Well call him and arrange the meeting, I'll be back to the office in about 20 minutes, I'm just running down to that falafal guy."

In a drifting sea of anonymous businessmen, it can be hard to pick out faces apart from their suits. Shades of grey, business navy, pinstripe, all form a homogeneous kind of tide of swinging suitcases and the clamour of people talking to no one nearby. Much like Tracy, people talk into their cellphone or BlueTooth with their eyes set ahead towards their goal, and never really to each other. Everyone on this street, passing by, has their own agenda, their own conversation, that has nothing to do with those they walk with.

Save for one face, trying to pick out identity from all the others. "Pardon, Miss Strauss?" A male voice manages to cut through the sounds of the city with just enough clarity, designed to grab attention. Cutting out from the crowd, it's almost as if Jean Gosselin seems to materialise next to her, stepping into pace with her. A pale coat, weatherproof, manages to disguise the suit underneath that would have have otherwise allowed him to blend in better.

The hand that goes out, even as they walk, is all professional. "My name is Jean Gosselin, I'm a writer." No paper is named, hell, to deduce he is a journalist would be a matter of context. His smile is crooked but polite, and his accent is diluted. "I was wondering if you had a moment."

Luckily for Jean, Tracy was just tucking away her cell phone as he came along. She looks over at him, giving him a polite, 'political' smile, because really Tracy only has two smiles that she offers to people. And a writer? Definatly doesn't get the sincere one. Usually.

"Not exactly, but if you don't mind talking while we walk, I'll see what I can do for you Mr. Gosselin." Actually she has about 20 minutes, like she said on the phone - but she doesn't want to put herself in a position to stop and talk without any escape if the questions should be ones she has no desire to answer. So being quick and brief with a potential escape is always favorable. "Who do you represent?" Is he writing his own book, a freelance writer…?

Pretty much everyone in the world gets the same polite smile from Jean. Which works well for complete strangers. Less so for closer friends and family, when it simply becomes condescending, and maybe even before then, but luckily for Tracy, perhaps, there's no intention to become closer friends and Jean nods his head once. "Oui, I can do both at the same time," he confirms, his hands burying into his pockets and moving with her down the sidewalk as if well trained.

"I try to represent a little bit of everyone," Jean answers, airily, sparing her glances rather than paying attention to their destination. "I am freelance. My name is more common in international publications, but so much goes on in this one city, don't you think? You'd know better than me, it is your own back yard."

And where are they walking? Well down the the falafel place, of course. Because who doesn't love a good falafel? There's no one! They have veggie ones. Meat ones. Oh man, I want a falafel.

Tracy offers the man a soft chuckle as they walk, adjusting the light bag over her shoulder. "New York is the crossroads for the world, although I wouldn't necessarily call it my own backyard - I came here after President Petrelli took office from DC." The idle-banter portion of the conversation passed, Tracy turns a corner as they draw nearer the falafel place. "So, Mr. Gosselin, Freelance Writer, what is it I can do for you today?"

"That's true, you are almost as new to the city as I am," Jean says, who wouldn't say no to a falafel, incidentally. Her question seems to fly over his head, so unless he wanted conversation, he's not going to get what he wanted any time soon. Of course, conversations for a journalist aren't usually low on their list. "I cannot tell yet if your being put here by President Petrelli means he favours you or not. It's been a rough week for you, hasn't it? It seems you were the star of the show during a protest rally against this FRONTLINE we have all been hearing so much about."

Ah, so now we come to it. Tracy almost offers a wry smile as the matter is danced around. Each reporter has their own style, after all - and now she's found his. "I like to think that President Petrelli assigned me to New York because New York is one of the most important metrolpolises in the country and at the forefront of many national debates." Read: FRONTLINE. "I also like to flatter myself every now and again with the idea that I'm good at my job, and was put here based on my merits." The door tinkles as Tracy enters the falafel shop, holding the handle for Jean to walk in after her.

Mmm falafel. The man behind the counter is overweight and balding, like most deli-like owners in NYC. "Hello Bert." Tracy says, with her natural smile. "I'll have the vegetarian please."

Jean puts out a hand to stop the door from closing on him as Tracy offers the same courtesy, glancing around the store with apparent interest. Well, it's good to know a good place to eat in any city you go to, and Jean's gone to a few. Not hungry today, though, apparently, he rests an elbow against the counter as Tracy makes her order, a smile offered to the shopkeep and attention mostly on the communications director.

"I like to think I am here based on my merits too. Most debates, you know, even the national kind, are split neat down the middle. How do you feel about FRONTLINE and its being criticised on all sides possible?" The question is dropped innocently, earnestly, as if this were assumed truth.

Tracy is speaking with Bert for just a moment, nodding as she hands over some cash from her bag, reaching out to accept her falafel in a nonchalant manner. While she thinks.

"I wouldn't say it's being criticised from all sides possible. I would say that FRONTLINE is undergoing a healthy amount of debate and scrutiny, which I am quite open to. This is not a rubber-stamp Congress, and it is important that every bill that is discussed undergo a thorough investigation to assure that the outcome will best serve the American people. Like you and I, Mister Gosselin, FRONTLINE will have to stand on it's own merits, which I think are many. Thanks again, Bert."

"That is one opinion floating in a sea of many," Jean states— agreeably, at least. "Others say it is fighting fire with fire, scrutinised or no." Assuming a woman of Miss Strauss's stature would prefer not to linger in a cornerstore deli, Jean is headed for the door, its bell dinging loudly as he opens it up to hold it open.

Ladies first. "But that is not so much for us to decide, mm? We are merely the media, on different sides of the line." She gets a smile, slightly brighter than the former one. "Not that it stops us, I feel. You have admirable loyalty."

Well it's nice to see chivalry isn't all dead. Even if the man is Canadian AND…well. "Thank you." Tracy says, easily breezing through the window. Prim and ladylike as always, the bites of falafel that the woman takes her very tiny, just a step above nibbles. Dainty, yet substantial enough for her to get food into her system.

"I support what I believe is the right decision. The threats posed by terrorists that utelize Evolved abilities are numerous and ever-changing, as the recent Hiro Nakamura development has proven. A new line of defense is needed between these terrorists and the citizens of our country, Evolved and Non-Evolved alike. FRONTLINE will be that defense." Tracy also seems to have mastered, among other things, the ability to bite into a falafel wrap without even smudging her 'Sparkling Wine' lipstick.

Jean's hands return to his pockets, not quite done with shadowing woman down the sidewalk, although with a wandering gait that suggests he might break off at any time. "To be honest, the new Hiro Nakamura development has proven very little other than the government's ability to drop names and keywords, Miss Strauss, which I suppose brings me to my next line of conversation— " A trace of irony, there.

"When will the government opt not to keep us in further suspense? And where, I suppose I should ask. Location is important," Jean states, wryly.

Tracy really could argue the Nakumara point. National security, vital American interests have kept the leaks and informers underground for their own safety. If everyone critisized every mechanical cog in the governmental machine, nothing would ever get done. But she doesn't - she lets the reporter have his brief flash of subordination.

As to the next question, however? That, Tracy will address - and with an impressive smile over her shoulder at the man. "Now Mister Gosselin, you can't expect me to give away all of my secrets, can you?" Yes, she gave him some good quotes - as far as she's concerned, for now, that's all he'll get. But she'll remember him.

His steps grind to a slow halt. Apparently, his journalism style doesn't cover going 'pretty please', although arguably, Jean could pursue it further and retain decorum. Or perhaps he senses a dead end and leaves it that way. "Sadly not. But your PA knows now how to contact me," he says, voice carrying over the buzz of city audible ambience, "if you ever desire to make my day."

He raises a hand in a kind of farewell. "Embrace New York City's spirit of supporting struggling artists, oui? Have a good day, Miss Strauss, salut."

Tracy's steps do not hault, in fact it doesn't seem like she really has a speed beyond 'brisk'. The 'brisk'ness continues, carrying her back toward her office. But she's not so cruel, Canadian. Oh no.

Tracy turns, her steps still going brisk - and backwards - for just a few moments as she has one last quote:

"Try harder next time!"

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