The Murderer Or The Madman


christian_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Murderer Or The Madman
Synopsis Conclusions or drawn — or jumped to, and accusations fly. Christian's paranoid imagination creates a supporter of terrorism; Teo, with his own paranoid concerns, takes a blow to trust. Follows from Black and White.
Date November 8, 2008

Harlem — Teo's Apartment

On a far, cold rooftop Chris sits. Looking quietly at his radios,letting Hana's voice slowly filter from his mind before grabbing the big Thales radio and rapidly punching at the keys before glancing back up to his Laptop. It would take a minute or two, before the toughbook gave a flashing light affirmed the message had been patched and sent. A minute or so later, at Teo's place comes the text. "Have books, had conversation. Good to talk?"

Teo's not in his apartment when the texts come through. Both of them. He's on his way, though, tired, a cardboard cup of coffee sealed with a plastic hat in one hand and his other gripping the strap of his backpack, straggling down the sidewalk with the vague and dismal knowledge that, if he had to reach for his .45, he'd have to drop his already-fragile old copy of Beowulf, probably kill it, and then, really, he'd probably just off himself. The abrupt need to grab his phone instead is unexpected. He stopped to juggle. The first text made his eyebrow go up. The next made it go up higher. "Cosa?" he mutters. Texts back.


Fourty minutes tops, and Chris comes knocking. It was getting cold now, so he was a little more bundled up than usual. His black bag of telecom mutiliation thrown over one shoulder, an armful of books and manuals he'd stapped to the back of his bike in his other. Oh and he'd brought chinese, because Chinese food made everything better. Difficult conversations were no different, but free shit didnt hurt either you know. He'd asked around for retired radios at the FCC building where he'd had his office actually, but he wouldnt tell Teo of how poorly it'd gone.

Remedial classes are always more taxing than the normal ones, and herding high school students never goes easy. Fortunately, Teo's a twenty-five-year-old with energy and masochism to go months on the conditions he's spent the last few days on.

He doesn't look entirely destroyed when he opens the door, ushers the FCC agent in with a crooked grin and customary half-hug, kicks the door shut with a bare foot. Locks it up. It's warmer in here than it is out here, though not warm enough to tramp around without a fair number of layers on. Teo's sweater dangles below his butt, and his trousers are thick; he stops by Pila's cage to touch her tiny beak with a forefinger.

The beers are out already, two of them on the counter. Beowulf and his backpack lay in the corner. "You're going to feed me," he observes, peering through the bars of the blue parrot's cage.

Christian sets the books down, five thick manuals and a thinner one. There was one basic radio book, and the rest were on theory, electrical engineering, band allocations, the whole spectrum. "I'm going to feed me, and be polite."he corrects, unslinging his bag immediately and slumping it on the couch before opening up the chinese bag and digging his order out. General Tso's chicken for him, Orange chicken for Teo because everyone loves orange chicken. "So anyway."he begins, abruptly into things as he moves to the couch to dig out a familar titanium spork. "You and I have a mutual friend, I talked to her a little earlier. I'm amazed at how good she is with a radio, getting reception on that high moral horse of hers."Yes, by now Teo should be getting used to just how smooth Chris is.

Teo veritably pounces on the food and book, both. It wasn't a particularly bad mood, appealing to his stomach and his brain, both. Poverty guarantees the former is a bad idea, and the small, dog-eared library he has jammed into the bookcase implicates his academic tendencies.

This time, as before, he puts himself on the floor a conversational distance from Christian's feet. Flips the book open immediately, peering through its contents page with a swift blue eye, holding the pages spread with his elbows, even as he awkwardly fumbles the orange-tinged box open with his hands. Pauses at the statement. Looks up. Stares, unequivocally, for a moment before his brow caves with confusion. "We have a friend who…" A beat. A thinking beat. Then, "Shit.

"You know—" he straightens, bent knees teetering, half-exasperated, distinctly amused. "Amico. You're way too old to be hitting on the same girls as I am. You know, frankly, saying you'd fuck — or more appropriately, be fucked by Brad Pitt doesn't make you gay, and that has nothing to do with why we didn't work."

Its long moments before he speaks again, he lets the pause linger on purpose. Sure he's eating, but theres more to it than that. "You could have just fucking told me". He pauses, unzipping his jacket to produce his wallet. From there he flips a card at Teo in a single practiced motion.

Its an evolved registration card. "nobody wants it more than me, nobody is any more invested in all of this mess." He pauses, Chinese break. "I have some information to pass along. Now if you will forgive my dishonesty, I will forgive your silence."

The manuals are all quite dry, but like all technical works they are exceptional in their level of detail. Full color diagrams, illustrations. The basic ham book is verymuch like a text book for a more mature demographic, complete with pretests and all.

The card is caught mid-air, with the celerity that Teo once blocked thrown bottles and fists aimed at his face, his hand moving almost of its own accord and his eyes blinking even before they've registered he caught the thing. The small piece of card turns over in his hand, and he glances down at it, eyebrows articulating skepticism, first, then incredulity, second. Teo doesn't answer for awhile. A longer while than would be comfortable by any normal conversational standard.

His lips move silently: Merda.

It doesn't surprise him, not really. Well over half his acquaintance is Evolved. He's only met a handful of non-Evolved who feel strongly enough about the civil movement to do more about it than check a box on a paper ballot and then go home. Most of those who fight for Evolved equality and its oppressors are, by and large, Evolved themselves. However, most people aren't used to this revelation and, though it cloys his gut and reminds him he has a heart, for now, he's just that. The orange chicken is congealing quietly in its carton.

"Who do you think I am?" It's getting obvious, Christian's train of thought. However disaster-bound it is. Teo's eyes flick upward, show something akin to fear.

That doesn't take much thought, he pauses only to finish chewing before he answers. "A guy trying to stop another holocaust, trying to do the right thing. I'm all for doing the right thing, but if your wondering if i think you a terrorist?"he pauses for a moments, eating some more"I'd have let you open the door, shot you and eaten my chinese while I downloaded the contents of your cellphone. Resistance is good, it strengthens the cause. Terrorism, is why I have to carry that card around. The point where people get captured, get tortured, get killed is the point where you become my enemy."

He pauses again, opening up the rice for abit of that before lifting his gaze to find Teo. "So am I misreading things Teo, do we need to reconsider our friendship? I'd like to think your on the same page as I am, as this is important."

The Sicilian watches the older man through an unabashedly astonished stare. The seconds tick past, marked by the sight and audio of Harlem grinding away at the stone outside, Pila's shifting and rustling; she hops from branch to the rim of her water contain, and dips her little striped head to take a sip. The men are, otherwise, perfectly still.

"Are you crazy?" Teo asks, after a moment. It's not an insincere question. He'd read the message, or at least the one pertinent one— forwarded to him half an hour before Christian arrived. At most, inconclusive; at very best, intriguing. Vaguely, he considers the possibility that being hopeless at lying might not be mutually exclusive with a weird sixth sense for the wrongness in the behaviors of others. Christian is, after all, a cop.

Never a good idea to get mixed up with those. Ever. But even with this and that, the fact remains— "I'm sorry, that was rude. I'm going to have to ask you to get out of my apartment," Teodoro offers, agreeably blank, ineffably polite in that stiff-edged, manufactured way one gets when confronting the unknown. He lifts the book off his knee in one hand, picks up the carton of food with the other. Offers Christian both.

It's a surprising reaction for Chris as well, maybe he was too blunt. Still, he doesn't skip a beat. "If your really honestly under the impression that killing people is going to make that card go away, it doesn't. Not that I do this for a living or anything, and not that I was honest enough to tell you how it goes. "he shrugs, lines were being drawn. He rises slowly, putting his spork away and taking on his bag. "Keep' em."he offers, before proceeding to the door without another word. He'll let himself out, unless Teo feels a need to step in.

Seven words follow Christian out of the doorway, and footfalls. Quiet ones, bare-foot, that end at the threshold: "I'm not who you think I am." And as the older man departs down the hallway, there's the faint thump and scuff of books being laid down one on top of the next, left in the hallway, a moment before the door clicks shut and the deadbolt slides home with an air of finality that's only, at best, half true.

They get homeless people up in these dingy hallways, sometimes. Teo will bring the books in before they were taken to be burned for warming fires if they aren't gone by morning.

To Wireless:

'You were right.

'He's also too fucking crazy to be useful, righteous, or successful. He'll learn or he won't.

'Until then, eh? Ciao, signora.'

November 8th: Black and White
November 8th: Two Years Gone
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