Two Fingers of Whiskey


milton_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Two Fingers of Whiskey
Synopsis On a sunny afternoon, there's bodyparts flying and there's one finger in two fingers of whiskey.
Date September 14, 2010

Morningside Heights

Morningside Heights was and is still known for its high density of educational institutions. Most of the neighborhood is owned by Columbia University; the rest is shared with Barnard College, the Manhattan School of Music, the Teachers College, Columbia Greenhouse nursery school, and a variety of religious seminaries.

In addition to places like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Morningside Park, the neighborhood boasts a variety of restaurants and clubs, excellent bookstores, and Mondel Chocolates, selling handmade chocolate candies even today.

Before the bomb, Morningside Heights was dominated by students. That is still the case today, but their majority is now far smaller — with Morningside being one of the neighborhoods least affected by the explosion, it has become a very popular place to live. Housing is extremely expensive, but people are willing to pay through the nose for a place they know is safe and sound — at least in structural terms. Population density is high; like everywhere else in the city, so is crime, although Morningside's biggest problems are theft and embezzlement. Along with the consequences of college parties and/or pranks.

Sunny, summer waning, fall soon to be sliding it's colorful grip on morningside Heights. The afternoon brining a nice heat to the day as the day carries on and people do their business's. A city bus lumbers by, groaning to a stop at a pole and bench, disgorging with a hiss of brakes and squeal of opening doors, it's passengers who will carry on from here by foot.

Pigeons duck their heads and scuttle about the garbage when a passerby drops the remnants of a bagel, a sweet delicious poppyseed bagel towards the garbage but it misses and falls down within their lucky reach. It's a good day to be a pigeon. Bad day to be a squad, that's on the menu of the frou frou restaurant that's on the corner and preparing for it's evening. A mother looking harried and laden with groceries and parcel pushes a green and grey stroller down the street, navigating the pitfalls of new york sidewalks while a merchant stands on his step watching a group of college kids emerging from the distant campus of Columbia.

Away from the crowds and a good distance from his apartment, Brad Russo has managed to relax at this frou frou restaurant. His producer is nowhere in sight, and his AA group had been in an entirely different community. Here he should be able to drink in peace, even on the patio in the open. Somehow engaging in his vices visibly makes them seem less like vices and more like everyday normal behaviours. His suit jacket and dress pants help him blend with this crowd, but he'd long since abandoned the tie at his office — wearing only the maroon button up shirt Kristen had insisted he dress in, especially after his assertion it was pink.

He'd chosen to sit on the patio and enjoy a scotch on the rocks; it's been weeks since his last. A vague glance is given to the other patrons outside before his eyes settle on the scotch. When he'd ordered it, it had been on the rocks. Since then? The ice has long since melted and he still hasn't brought the liquor to his lips. Normal or not, he feels guilty, especially after the last time he'd drank.

One of the passengers who descends from the bus, and who's left behind it as it pulls away with a hiss of closing doors and a growl of an inadequately maintained engine, is a lean young man with a leather jacket and sunglasses. Where most of the passengers head straight off about their business, he loiters on the sidewalk for a few moments, looking up and down the street, with the air of a man trying to get his bearings in an unfamiliar part of the city. After a few moments he comes to a decision, straightens his shades on his nose, and turns north; a direction that leads toward the university, but more immediately, brings him towards and past the restaurant with seating area against the sidewalk. He saunters along as if in no hurry.

The harried mother bumps into the back of the chair when a wheel refuses to co-operate behind russo, a defctive grocery bag breaking and spilling it's contents of fruit across the sidewalk. Apples and oranges spilling out in shades of red, greens and orange. They roll under Russo's table, to in front of Milton, they roll off the sidewalk and onto the street where the students are walking with their cooler in arm, jostling each other with elbows and laughing like there's some conspiracy.

One student steps on an apple, the fruit skittering away from him, leaving the young man comically windmilling his arms, reaching out for someone or anyone to stabalize himself and he manages to grab one of his counterparts, bearing the cooler.

A domino effect, the one bearing the cooler clutches tight, while throwing his arms up, thereby the contents inside come flying out, over their heads and up into the city fresh air.

But what comes up, must come down and down comes something into the whiskey on the not so rocks.
You paged Russo with 'congrats, there's a human finger in yer drink!'
From afar, Russo dies.

Brad was going to drink that.

With the plop sound of fluid displacement, he blinks in mild confusion, he hadn't exactly seen it happen although with the rather odd bewilderment around him something has happened, but with his hand sprayed from the displaced liquor, his attention is directed back to the drink. His face scrunches together while his eyes narrow, examining the amber fluid, recognition doesn't come quickly, in fact, it takes several moments of examination and a very quietly uttered, "What the hell — " before his face pales and his jaw, quite literally, drops.

There is a finger in his drink.

Quickly, his chin lifts and his attention moves to the street, his actions now all reactionary rather than thought-out. Screeeech His chair slides across the pavement as he pushes himself away from the table — all motions hastened with the urgency of a finger in his drink and the necessity of catching the group of students it came from. "Hey!" he calls loudly, but, Brad isn't one to learn from others' mistakes (or his own for that matter) as he steps, he too, rolls along the fruit, only just managing to keep the finger contained within the glass while finger-scotch creeps over the edge and down his arm, the notion of which only makes him feel queasy as he slides on the pavement.

Milton has a prime front-row view of this whole slapstick episode. He doesn't even try to suppress his smile as fruit goes rolling around like the balls in a play-tank at Macdonalds, and a couple of young guys go over like bowling pins. His amusement, if anything, only increases as the cooler's contents come tumbling out and flying into the patio of the restaurant, to the discomfiture of some of its patrons. He comes to a halt just by the point where the restaurant's frontage ends and joins up with the next building on the street, giving the situation a few seconds to clear before he tries to walk through it. He hasn't noticed anything else wrong, yet, and when he sees Brad spring to his feet and start chasing the students, he seems to view this as good sport, as well.

Brad got a finger. Other folks got fingers too and the rest of the hand landed smack in the baby's stroller in front of a wailing and screaming child frightened by the whole affair. There's fresh squeezed orange juice too as others follow suit of the television host, backing away from tables, calling for the waiter and otherwise giving in to the havoc that the situation creates.

Two of the four students who seem to be at the center of the chaos created by the body part, are bolting for it when they see Brad approaching despite the impediment of the fruit. They're taking off, one colliding with Milton hard enough to send him spinning to the ground with a faceful of granny smith and car bumper of a parked vehicle mere milimeter's away from his face, and some scraped palms when all is said and done.

'Ohshit ohshit ohshit" The two bearers of the illicit and quite possibly illegal goods are both on the ground and trying to scrabble backwards into the street like they're imitating crabs. "Ohshit" A taxi squeals as it's forced to stop short lest it hit one of the two. The cooler lays on it's side, ice spilling out from it. On the brightside… besides the finger, the whiskey has fresh ice.

Catching some semblance of balance, the tv host, catches his bearings again. With amber fluid colouring his arm, Brad curses before setting the finger-liquor on the pavement, there's no way he can traipse after them with it in tow. Like the students, he's running, essentially ruining the suit he's dressed in. In other words? He's going to be reprimanded later.

"Hey!" he yells again — his voice forcefully staccato'd. "STOP them!!" he urges people down the road. When a finger ends up in your drink, there's something wrong, even if everyone denies it.

Milton's amusement comes to an abrupt end as he gets bowled over and almost pushed into traffic by the fleeing youths. "Hey, asshole!" he yells in true New Yorker fashion, sitting upright, scrabbling for his sunglasses… and then he sees Brad go scooting past, clutching a glass slopping amber fluid and with … a finger perkily upright in it? Not knowing quite why he does it — and this is /not/ like a true New Yorker — rather than make himself scarce immediately, Milton jumps to his feet, snatches up his shades, and joins in the pursuit.

People are moving, working to gather up the fruits while the mother soothes her child after having screamed at the palm that fell into the tray, bringing out all manner of antibacterial arsenal to deal with germs and whatever else that the baby might get from touching. It wouldn't be surprising to find the stroller on the curb that night, for someone to take and not know what had happened and a shiny new one taking up it's place in the hall of their small apartment.

Others are making for the two crabwalking, bringing them to the sidewalk with their cooler so that they can't escape. But Brad and Milton are out of luck as the two had a headstart, no matter how slight, and are very familiar with the area, bolting fast as their studious feet can carry them and dodging left and right, breaking up into two alleys and disappearing from sight.

As the students take off, Brad finds himself doubling over and huffing and puffing for breath. "Dammit!" he murmurs as he turns back to face Milton before turning on his heel towards the restaurant, his face paling further as he plucks the drink from the cement again. He shudders with disgust as he runs his free hand down his jacket; he left his cell phone at the office. Of course. "Someone needs to call the cops — " the words are laboured thanks to his still fast-beating heart. He really ought to get to the gym this week. He faces Milton, "You have a phone? Make the call." A hand is raised to his forehead. There's no way Kristen isn't going to hear about his latest drinking foray, this is a story that is just too good not to share.

Attention is redirected to the mother, "Are you okay, ma'am?" he has, momentarily, forgotten the drink in his grasp.

Milton finds himself reaching inside his leather jacket and pulling out a cellphone without actually thinking about it, as Brad gives that command. He punches out 911. "Hello? Yeah… police…" He stares at the finger in the glass as he speaks. "…yes… there's, uh, body parts on the street… no, I don't know… no, I don't know that either…" He looks up and down the street for a second, then spots a nameplate attached to a lamppost at the nearest intersection. "Amsterdam and 111th… okay… seriously, I don't know!" he repeats, scowling. "Kreisler… no, with a K for Kilo…" He spells out his surname with the weary air of a man used to having to do so. Eventually the call's done and he eyes Brad. "That /is/ real?" he asks, as he tucks his phone away, though he already knows the answer.

Very much real, pale, and sitting at an awkward angle in the cup. The two college students sit on the side of the road, under the watchful gaze of some good folk new yorkers who see fit to loom over them. The mother alternating between yelling at them, proclaiming they're murderers, thief's and relaying to Brad when he has the mistake of asking if she's okay, in teary saline soaked voice about how horrifying the whole thing is for her child, and that the infant - Who has since calmed down with a bottle stuck in it's mouth and can't be any more than just turning 1 - will have nightmares for the rest of his life.

On the phone with Milton, the cops take down his name, and in the distance he can hear the sirens, police coming to take over from the civilians and get down to the bottom of this. Which they will. Medical Students, for a lark, absconded with a lower arm and hand of a cadaver, with the intention to scare a roommate in the middle of the night. There but the grace of god and some fruit, is the roommate spared finding a human hand in his bed, and four students - they'll track down the other two - will find themselves sans education, and having to explain to their parents, why they need bail.

Brand will have fodder for his show and an infuriated Kristen, and Milton… Well, the case will likely cross his desk, to be filed away later in some dusty shelf.

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