luther_icon.gif maddie_icon.gif quinn_icon.gif



Scene Title Twitchy
Synopsis Maddie's getting a fluff piece about the weather and it's displaced denizen's, Quinn's just looking to help and look, Luther just wants food.
Date June 3, 2010

Prospect Park

Prospect Park is a 585-acre public park sitting square in the heart of Brooklyn. While the borough around this verdant region of lush foliage, tall trees and rolling hills is prospering, Prospect Park has become something of a ghetto within the city's bowels. Brooklyn has grown steadily following the destruction of Midtown, but not everyone in New York City can afford to live in Brooklyn, and those that cant have resorted to vagrancy across the city. Some brave the southern edge of Central Park on Manhattan, but the lion's share of mainland New York's homeless are here in Prospect Park.

Where once was a blossoming park pulling itself up from a nadir of abandonment and disuse in the seventies, Prospect Park has sunken back down into a state of disrepair and squalor. Tracts of forested land are laden with blue tarp tents, fire pits and makeshift shanty towns. The park is no longer officially maintained by the state of New York due to budget constraints, so the park's once pristine boat house and other facilities have been made into a makeshift homeless community, such as they are.

The Prospect Park Zoo, which once featured over seven hundred animals, was closed shortly after the bomb and the facility rests in decay in the park behind rusting iron gates and sturdy fence.

The population of the park is still high despite the weather. The tips of tents, a veritable shanty town covering the grounds of a once beautiful park, masses huddled around fires and staying warm even in the right at freezing weather. Mercy vans, and volunteer groups in soup vans still dot the edges and people line up to get soup and bread, a meager meal and maybe the only one they'll get if another group doesn't show up for dinner.

But it's noon and the ice and remaining snow still blanket the city if dwindling. Ambulances still come periodically as they have, take away people unearthed by the snow and those who died and haven't yet been burned for heat that have been discovered. This lends to an interesting aroma that has permeated the air, and everyone looks away when another body is heaped on the fires. Humanity at it's worst and desperate, getting out from under the grips of the evolved individual or individuals who have done this to them.

A group of church people, likely Jehovah's Witnesses have braved the edges and are working their way in, passing out blankets, sweaters and preaching the word of god and offering comfort to those who are willing to listen. A cop is going through, stopping at the various groups of tents, asking for name of those who have died. A linderman patroned van - manned by employee's and not the benefactor himself - hands out food on this end of the park. It's a dark day even if the sun still shines and summer promises to come soon for real.

Some days, Maddie Hart hates her job. It was what she wanted to do since she was a child, but no one ever talks about the days like this, the scent of burning human flesh in the air reminding everyone what they've lost, and how close they were themselves to dying in the freezing weather. She doesn't like having to ask people about their darkest times and most frightening moments, and yet that's what she's here to do. Some want to talk — usually she finds them easily, as if she had a sixth sense about those who are eager to open up and pour their hearts out to a stranger.

But some don't — and they unleash their fury and bitterness and nightmares by taking it out on people like Maddie. There is some shouting and yelling, the words "exploitation" and "yellow journalism" and "media whore" coming from a hysterical woman jabbing her finger at the young blonde woman, who takes her cue and hurries away, leaning against a light pole to catch her breath once she's at a safe distance. Some days… she hates her job.

Quinn used to walk around and through Prospect Park with some frequency, seeing as it isn't too far from her home in Brooklyn. These days, though, things were a little too… iffy to say the least. Still, with the remaining snow and standing melted water made going for a simple 'ol walk a bit more annoying than it normally was, she had found her way there as she walked to clear things still lingering in her mind that shouldn't be - and now she couldn't shake the smell that permeated the air, causing her eyes to narrow. It was a shame, and seeing things like this did a good job of shaking her normally high levels of optimism.

God and food. Two things Luther needs to see more of some time in these darker hours. The man mills amongst the many faces, waiting patiently in line for his turn to approach the Linderman van. His gaze turns up, silently counting how many more he has to go. The hunger gnaws away at the chains of his conscience. What if he cuts ahead? The cries of the woman of journalists present draw a flare out of the homeless man's nostrils more than the scents of decay and burning. He looks thataway. Hell, could probably take on that stubborn old lady in a pinch, but who knows if she might curse him to worse luck than what he has. Never mind. The line's moving. But now that there's media, he slouches more and not so furtively skews his eyes in the direction of the journalist. Keep track of the predators.

Tall and Skinny, dark haired in need of a haircut badly, one homeless man stands out - surprisingly enough - in the line of folks around the food near those who've come. Eyeballing Maddie in a way that might be construed as improper and lewd, same goes for Quinn. Hands sunk in his pockets and a jacket that likely has been the better of a day, his look that of a fresh from somewhere, wet behind the ears, barely legal to drink dope headed guy. Just at home in a house full of frat kids with beer and smoke ring from smoking a little reefer as he would be in a small down working the gas station with an oil rag sticking out the back pocket of his jeans. Disarmingly creepy.

Luther gets a nod from the young man, parked in front of the other homeless man, stamping his feet to keep warm. "Reporter. Hot piece of ass" He nudges Luther's elbow with a knowing grin. "what paper you think she's from? Your piece of bread, says that she'll last only another ten minutes out here, against mine"

The reporter in question can't hear their words, but simply breathes deeply for a moment before adjusting her powder-blue scarf around her neck and flipping the page of her slim reporter's notebook to jot down a few notes. She changes direction, avoiding the piercing gaze of the still-angry woman, turning instead to survey the food line. She's clearly considering the need for more quotes, but how many sob stories can she take — not because she's heartless and they bore her, but because she has a heart, and each person's story brings tears to her eyes and makes her feel guilty for being so lucky? As she takes a step toward the line, she is saved by the sound of a chime in her pocket — pulling out the iPhone, she busies herself with answering the text from an editor.

A bit of a chill runs down Quinn's spine. She doesn't give it much thought, this is the kind of place that can do that to a person. Hands slipped into her pockets, she frowns, catching view of what appears to be the one other person she can see who doesn't look like they belong her - was she the one she'd just head being yelled at? Shrugging, she threads hair out of her vision and begins to move towards her, though she keeps an eye on the crwod of homeless folks. Maybe it was time to help out again? Well, maybe once the snow finishes melting.

Luther ticks up his head at the nudge, shooting Tall, Dark and Creepy a bewildered look that follows up with a much more sentient stare. "Hn? Prolly the Times." They all say that anyway, don't they? "Since when d'you have a watch?" rumbles back the older of the two. Back to staring at that pretty blonde face, though. Another step shuffle forward, closer to the actual goal of food.

"Fifteen minutes, for your piece and soup," finally dares Luther. Upping the ante, he sweeps his gaze past Quinn and back to his so-called peer. A brow arches. "And, I'll even get her number."

Is his soup and bread worth it? "Since two days ago. One of the bodies" He pulls up the sleeve of his lined jacket, display a mens watch that looks like it's seen better days but was cared for. His jacket looks new, and there's boots that look ill fitting, but winter and bound to give some protection against the puddles of water and mud that will start appearing soon enough.

"Bet you the watch, you can't get her number" There's a gesture to Quinn, even as his left eye tic's repeatedly and his head jerks to the side in an unconscious gesture. "and hers"

Man on street quotes should be going to the intern fast and furious fingers are typing into the iPhone to her editor. The storm was caused by an Evolved, sure, and she's the Evolved Affairs reporter, but this? Smoke curling above a pile of dead bodies like funeral wreaths while people line up to get fed, some for the first time in days? Not that she really would wish that on anyone, the sweet intern from Columbia U. Suck it up, Friday comes the reply of her editor who is no doubt chuckling behind his desk, having forgotten what it's like to be out there. As if she can feel the eyes on her, Maddie's head comes up and her pale gaze falls on the two men making bets. Her brows knit and she slides the iPhone back into her pocket, tilting her head to look for someone who looks in charge — she's got enough from the masses.

She can't really hear what the men are talking about, she can only hear just enough noise to know that they are. She wrinkles her nose and quickens her pace to more of a jog, attempting to catch up to the woman she saw. "'Ey!" Quinn calls out, smirking. "Not often t' see someone else walkin' through here that doesn't look it." She comes down to a slow walk as she comes up to the woman's side, looking around.

Eyeballing the watch for the time, then Quinn, Luther debates. Christ. Probably half my age. Or worse, Jailbait. "Your watch ain't worth that much," he decides ultimately, turning back to the line. Another step forward, and he's one away from goal. Still, he can't help but wonder. "What're you twitching for? Nervous about talking to girls?"

"What twitch? I don't twitch. What makes you think I twitch. Maybe it's you who's too nervous to talk to the girls. It's just a number, gets you my soup and my bread if you can pull it off" The young man states, dragging up faux bravado from deep in himself somewhere, slapping it on like a broadway star slaps on theatrical makeup.

There's another series of twitches that wrack his body and he scowls at Luther before suddenly looking angry. "Stop staring at me" A glance around, furtively. "All of you, stop looking at me. Stop staring, before I do something" The latter yelled to the two ladies.

"Who doesn't look … what? Homeless?" Maddie asks the other woman, her Australian accent also marking her as a non-native of the Big Apple. The yelling from the dark man in line gets Maddie's attention, and she turns to look — ironically, she wasn't staring at him until he started shouting. She flinches a little. "Sounds like a schizophrenic…" she murmurs, though it's spoken with empathy and compassion. Her fingers are reaching for the phone again, to have it in her hand should she need to dial 9-1-1. There is surely police presence in the park, so it wouldn't take long for them to respond — she hopes.

Quinn raises a hand, about to respond to Maddie, but like the reporter, her attention is grabbed by the yelling man. A grimace crosses her face, hand returning to her pocket. "Poor fella', the snow musta driven him crazy." Perhaps tact wasn't always Quinn's strong suit. "Not sure what he's makin' a fuss about, though." Now she's turned so she is looking in his direction, though not dead on him - that'd probably only egg him on, and Quinn at least knew well enough to know that that was a bad idea.

Luther stands his ground, but he tenses up and by doing so, straightens to a taller height. The volume falls on his end of the conversation. "Hey man, no need to get wild and crazy here. We're just gonna get somethin' to eat," he states neutrally. "C'mon, we're almost there anyway." Gray eyes flick towards the two women. Hands move towards Creeperson's shoulders, to turn him gently and hopefully his attention back towards the front of the line that they're oh so close to. He could smell the soup now underneath all that dead people.

What brand of crazy may be in question and when Luther's hands come down on his shoulders, it makes him flinch, another uncontrollable twitch again but it has the effect that the other homeless man was looking for and the aggression dials back down, shoulders turning inwards as he lets himself be guided to face towards the van, take the step forward that leads them almost as Luther said, to the front of the line.

The phone still held, ready to dial, Maddie glances from the line back to Quinn. "I don't know, either. But then, that's probably why he's homeless, innit? Not that there aren't plenty of people just down on their luck, especially with that storm, but lots of our homeless have undiagnosed mental problems. Just one more way the system fails them," Maddie says, with a shake of her head, her liberal heart on her sleeve. She offers a smile at Luther when the large man calms the twitchy younger man.

Quinn offers a nod in response, and begins to says something - but stops short, instead just offering a shrug. "Can't say I disagree," she says i lieu of anything insightful. One of these days, she'd have to volunteer out here or something. She sighs, shaking her head. "Hope someone can so somethin' to help 'em out now that the storm's broken, though." With that, she turns, and takes a slow pace as she begins to walk past Maddie.

And then, they're at the head of the class. Wait, the front of the line. Luther doesn't give his spot up to Twitchy though, and makes sure to receive at least one portion. Another pause for reconsideration of the bet. No, probably not worth it. Before the other man mentions the supposed bet again, Luther quickly makes his way off the line.

He hasn't forgotten about those blankets though. And so that's where he aims to go, but his path angles close enough to the pair of women as to bump personal bubbles with theirs. Then, against his better judgment… "'Scuse me, ladies," he interrupts of their polite conversation. "Either of you feel like sparing a dollar 'r two to help a guy out?" He keys his voice down low, eyes averted down and just off to the side.

Twitchy gets his own bowl of soup, breads and he too parts ways with shoulder hunched - does nothing to hide his tall frame - and disappears back off into the crowd.

"See ya," Maddie tells Quinn as the other woman turns to go, but then she's looking up into Luther's downcast face. "Oh, hey. Thanks for, er, defusing that before it got too wonky," she murmurs, reaching into her coat pocket to see what she comes up with. A five is peeled from the wad of fives and ones, and handed to him discreetly, lest the other homeless people all come looking for their piece of her. "Coulda gotten ugly. I appreciate that." Her phone chimes, and she gives an apologetic smile, before turning away to answer it. "Hart," she murmurs into the phone, taking a few steps away from Luther.

Quinn raises an eyebrow, glancing first at Maddie as she begins to walk off, and then to the homeless man. "Oh, you're the one who calmed 'im down? I imagine that warrents a good somethin'…" She doesn't normally give money to the homeless; nice as she is, it's usually a wasted effort. But he did ease a bad situation, and he seems nicer than most other other folks about. Reaching into the pocket of her hoodie and pulls out both her own iPhone, and a few dollar. Handing the bills over to the man, attempting to be at least as discreet as Maddie, she offers a smile and a nod. "Do well by it, then."

Luther receives those bills with an awfully surprised expression. "Er, th-thanks," he summarily expresses to the two of them. Quickly and away the bills whisk down into a jacket pocket, stuffed in with the piece of bread for later. "Wasn't any trouble really," he adds to Quinn, head bobbing. The iPhones come out again. Luther's face falls a little. But before he starts to step away, he stops again in midstep and calls back to Maddie, "Hey Lady. Which paper 're you with?" Inquiring minds just have to know.

Maddie's call is quick, and she slips the phone back into her pocket, turning to look back at Luther. "The Times," she says with a small smile, pulling a card from her pocket and handing it to him. Under the familiar script of The New York Times is typed her name, Madeleine Hart, Evolved Affairs Staff Writer, and… yes… a phone number. It may or may not count.

Quinn grins, turning to look at Maddie. "A Reporter? Doin' a story on all this?" She can't imagine any other reason she'd be out here. She turns to the man and gives a nod. "Not a problem. Trouble or not, it was good work." A wink, a pivot, and she begins walking again.

Hah, triumph! He's got her phone number, and it really was The Times. And she's… "Evolved Affairs?" he gulps back. Where Quinn moves off, Luther stays pinned in place for those initial seconds, staring at that card. The look he next gives Maddie is a gauging one.

"New sort of 'beat' — you know. Some reporters report on city council, others on schools, others courts? I do stories that have to do with the Evolved. Like, legal issues, ethical issues, that sort of thing," Maddie explains, frowning a little at the nervousness her job title seems to have caused the man. "I'm all about being fair and neutral, you know, no reason to be afraid. It's just a category of news, really. News is news, people are people, right?"

Doing his best not to frown as well, Luther stiffly nods. "Nothing about 'em here though. You can bet on that." Nope. Nothing. Nada. No ma'am. He starts to scoot back as well, turning with a clutch of the soup cup to his chest. "Best o' luck to your assignment, though, Miss. Appreciate the help." Once turned away, then the frown and brow furrows etch out, and Luther beats feet at a decent pace.

"I'm not on the prowl to find any, you can relax there, buddy," Maddie says in her voice, surprisingly low for such a petite and feminine thing. She shakes her head and takes her own path out of the park. It's time to get into a warm office and write up the story while sipping a vente cappuccino, thanking the stars for smiling on her. There but for the Grace of God go I.

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