When Pigs Fly


abby6_icon.gif howard_icon.gif nelly_icon.gif nick_icon.gif shannon_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title When Pigs Fly
Synopsis Howard doesn't want to work, even after Nick gets hit in the head with pork. Everyone lays into him for it, but even without the strange refugee's help, it would seem the islanders are one step closer to a normal November.
Date November 19, 2010

Pollepel Island - Pier

What Jenny Thought anchored at the Bannerman Castle's dock early this morning, before dawn had even though about spilling it's purple rose-glow over the eastern horizon. The two men and one woman aboard slipped like shadows into the Castle, taking up their lodgings, some more permanent than others, with as few words as possible. But when the sun rises and the new residents of the island stir in their beds to begin another day of work that while hard, is rewarding in it's own self-reliant respect, Wes Smedley joins them. A few hours of sleep here and there between both laborious days and long nights at Jenny's helm have darkened the circles under his eyes and hollowed his cheeks, but he'll not say a word in complaint.

But he also won't let a man like Nick York catch more sleep than he's able to.

With no boats coming or leaving this far into the day, now that the cloak of dawn has been fully drawn away to reveal the light of the mid-morning sun, the sight of the two men heading for the docks, one of which is known to be the captain of one of the vessels slated to make regular runs to and from the island refuge, is certainly an odd one. Smedley's old dog, Carson, trots along at his master's side, his tail held high even as his nose is close to the ground.

It's November 19th. Presumably, people can start leaving today. But neither Smedley or Nick have brought baggage. Instead?

They have a wheelbarrow.

The nineteenth. A day that Shannon has been waiting impatiently to come around for ages. Okay, a week, but still, she's been impatiently waiting its arrival. She has yet to sleep where anyone can find her, though she was around to fix breakfast. Fortunately for her, she didn't expect to come to the island, so she hasn't had to worry about packing anything. Which means that she's completely unencumbered when she heads down to harass the sailors. Smugglers. Boat-type people.

Nick is looking worse for the trip — which is hard to do, given the fact he showed up on the Island on the 8th barefoot and in a Nazi coat. He's obviously not gotten much sleep in the hours since he's left — and he hadn't gotten much sleep while on Pollepel the week before. But he doesn't complain through the loading and unloading, even as he grows more pale and those dark circles under his pale eyes grow more pronounced.

Among the packages delivered to the infirmary was a bag full of antibiotics and morphine, good quality institutional stuff — his answers vague when asked where he got it. "Is this the last of it?" he asks Wes. He gives a wave to Shannon as he sees her heading down toward them.

Away from the long pier leading out to What Jenny Thought, Howard Phillips sits in relative isolation on the rocky shores of Pollepel Island. At this hour of morning, it's just barely past 45 degrees and the dew on the rocks and the foliage had crusted over with the first frost that the island's residents have seen, now melted by the mid-morning sunlight.

Despite the cold, Howard is dressed for the middle of summer, his olive-drab military surplus jacket unbuttoned, no short worn beneath and the cold metal of his necklace handing against the middle of his chest. He's been slinging river stones into the water going on a half hour now, having come out to the shore in a huff from inside of the castle.

Blonde hair is wind-tossed and disheveled, much like the rest of his faux-army chic attire; cargo pants wrinkled and creased, worn at the knees. Another rock whips out of Howard's hand, skipping across the water three times before disappearing beneath with a plunk. It's the nineteenth and he could leave. But where to go is a question Howard isn't sure he's ready to answer yet.

Enough time for fitful sleep, not enough time to hunt down Eileen and the others who were part of the council new and old. The lone cellphone that she had was separated from it's battery before she'd even hit the dock back in new york proper, not taking any chances. She's brought her hiking pack with her, clothes and such, but the now brunette had hightailed it back with Smedley and Nick to the boat for her EMT bag and for other bags, help cart things in.

Those not familiar with the woman are sure to not recognize Abigail, what with her hair cut so short, brown hair and brown eyes instead of blonde and blue. Layers disguise the lean woman who's now on the run with the rest of everyone. The few hours sleep have done little to cure her of her quiet, hoisting the navy blue duffel, EMT in white words along the side. A large locked toolkit that holds all of her own medical supplied used when folks needed patching up. SOme heavy drugs in there. The former healer looks towards Howard and his rock tossing, pausing for a second on the boat before hopping off onto the dock. It'd almost be like camping really.

Only, you know, without the whole bounty on your head, kill on sight deal.

Nelly yawns as she makes her way down towards the pier with a blanket draped about her shoulders, hair slightly disheveled and overall looking like she rather still be in bed. It wasn't often before the eighth that she had seen this hour of the morning. Still, she wasn't one to shove all the work on others while she napped away. At least not during times like these. With that in mind she has made her way down to the pier along with the handful of others to volunteer her services for the unloading.

"Should be able t'do it in one load," is Smedley's answer as he steps from the stairs built into the rocky shoreline to the pier itself, looking first to Shannon and then to Howard. His eyes gloss over the former but linger on the latter before he lifts his fingers to whistle, long and sharp, at the man sitting idly. Carson barks, jumping in a quick series of stilted circles before the lack of attention from the smuggler settles him down again.

"Hey!" Wes calls, his brows furrowed and one hand cupping his mouth to make his voice travel farther. "Come give us a hand!"

Though worded kindly, it's not a request.

It's only then that Smedley continues down the peir, giving Abby a nod. "Wait a second," he says to her as he vaults onto the deck of the boat. "Could use an extra pair'uh hands with what's left. Y'mind?" There's a double-standard at work here, where Smedley expects young men like Nick and Howard to work from dawn until dusk if not long after night has settled in, and women to only do minimal fetching and carrying and hammering and scouting.

You can take the cowboy out of the frontier, but you can't take the frontier out of the cowboy.

Nick's wave is returned with a curt nod from Shannon. She's not the cheeriest and friendliest of people on a good day, and a week of being stuck on an island has just made it worse. She heads for Smedley though, since he seems to be the one in charge. "You're taking people back to the city starting today, right? You planning on only going at night?"

"Let the man rest, Shan," Nick says quietly, with a shake of his head. A turnaround trip is tiring, especially for the captain — Nick didn't get much rest himself, but he got at least an hour or two while on the water. He glances at Wes, and gives the man a nod. "But lemme know when you do go. I may need to bail with you again." He gives a nod toward Nelly and Howard of greeting as well.

"I can take one more thing, after that, I got no more hands" Southern drawl still there, just about the only thing that she couldn't change. She'll try to change it while she's here though. Find someone to practice with. "But I can make the trip back if there's anything left. Abigail slants a look to Shannon, unfazed to see the woman here, nor that she's inquiring about getting off the island. There's bound to be a few more who want to get off the island, start spreading to the remaining active safehouses. "Hey, they move Bennet here?" Inquired of the other woman. "Do you know?

Looking up towards Smedley's ovice when it becomes apparant that the request is being delivered to him, Howard is slow to do anything other than chuck his last rock across the water with a skip-skip-sploosh. Howard's brows furrow, blue eyes track the motion of people up on the pier, and with a resigned sigh he exhales a lungful of steaming breath, pressing one hand down onto the rocks to lever himself up to his feet. Boots crunch the loose gravel of the shore underfoot, and the lanky blonde makes his way up the shoreline and onto the wooden pier with a clap of his boots.

"What." It's stated more like a greeting that a question, no rise at the end of his words, delivered in a flat monotone. Those blue eyes scan Smedley as he approaches, tucking his hands into the pockets of his jacket, broken input jack pendant dangling back and forth at his collar. "I ain't lifting any heavy shit so you can already forget that."

He's eternally grateful for his life being saved. Provided it does not involve heavy lifting.

Nelly comes off the steps a few moments later after Smedley and quietly makes her way towards the pier, silent save for the sounds of her footsteps, glancing about and offering a nod in return to NIck as she's noticed. Her attention is turned towards the boat as she hears those orders doled out and moves to stand near Shannon, waiting until her and the other womans questions are out of the way before clearing her throat to announce her presence. She brings one hand out from beneath the cover of her blanket and raises it slightly into the air as she looks to the man in charge. "I can help with the unloading if you need." And adds as she hears Howard's complaint, "If there's anything particularly heavy I can take care of it for you."

"S'what the wheelbarruh's for," Smedley says with a jerk of his head toward the tool left on the pier at Nick's feet. He looks around when Shannon addresses him, then darts his eyes from Howard, his brows furrowing and his mouth creasing into a frown that only relents into a sideways grin when Nelly announces her intent to help.

"I am," he says with a nod, "but I ain't goin' till it's dark. And I ain't comin' back for close t'uh month. Jenny ain't no taxi, and I ain't no cabbie." Smedley bends then, opening the hatch to the cabin below deck and securing it back so that it stays open. "So if you're goin', y'better be goin' t'Red Hook, and y'better not be thinkin' you're gonna hop back th'next day."

Smedley stands then, wiping what water has beaded on the deck onto his oilskin coat before he nods at Howard, looking to Nelly. "Happy t'have the help," he says pointedly. "I got'uh mess'uh canned goods. We make a line'uh sorts t'load 'em in the wheelbarrow, we can get this done right quick." Looking to Howard again, his smirk gains strength and his eyes narrow. "Y'can make sure everythin' looks tidy, if y'd rather."

Shannon glances at Nick and says nothing for a long moment. Just because she got him here doesn't mean she likes him, apparently. Instead she shrugs at Abby. "No idea. I haven't heard anything him. Pity too. I wouldn't mind a chat with him." She smiles sweetly at Smedley. "I wouldn't dream about coming back here the next day." Or any other day, from the sounds of it. "I was actually going to offer to help you out."

Nick turns narrowed blue eyes on Howard. "Ain't gonna lift any heavy shit? You can earn your keep or you can swim to the mainland," he says in a low voice. "Everyone's gotta help out as long as they're calling this rock their home, piece of shit as it might be, and if I can fuckin' help, so can you. You gonna let a girl one-up you man? Grow some fuckin' balls."

He turns toward Shannon to cock an eyebrow at her. What you looking at? is tacitly asked, before he shakes his head and heads back toward the boat to start the hauling. His mood might not be any better than it was the last time he was on the island, but at least he's no longer in the clown costume, having found some of his own clothing while in "town."

"Nick…" She won't outright say 'watch your language' but… Abby holds out the EMT bag and the toolbox "They're not to heavy, if you want to carry those and I'll just load up with other stuff" A peace offering to Howard. Get him out of the heavy heavy stuff. The answer to where Bennet is will be found out late, maybe once she suss's out Eileen and other council members.

Howard's stare is long and flat down to the wheelbarrow, looking at it in the way someone might a large and unfamiliar dog. Thanks, but no thanks is painted across his face right up until Nelly interjects her offer of help. One blonde brow raises as Howard looks the brunette up and down with an assessing stare. "Unless yer gonna' strip down and cheer for me I really don't see you being much help, sweetheart." Crass opinion of Nelly's skills aside, Howard looks askance over to Abby, then down to the toolbox and EMT kit.

"Just put 'em down," he explains with a tip of his chin down towards the pier. "C'mon," his brows raise as he looks back from the pier underfoot to Abby. "I'll pick 'em up after you set 'em down."

Nelly huffs and narrows her eyes at Nick momentarily as she catches that girl comment, but seems to think better of saying anything more as the man stomps back towards the boat. Oh, but Howard? He doesn't get off so easily. A glare is shot at the man as she move to his front with hurried steps and reaches out once there, sharply poking at his chest. "Unless /you/ are gonna learn some fuckin' manners I don't see you not going for a swim far out in that damn water." She then turns back towards the pier and heads towards the boat, calling out behind her. "Now get your ass to work like your captain told you to, before I help him deal out some punishment on your lazy ass."

It's probably a good thing that Smedley has already slipped below deck before most of the fighting breaks out. He's handing up a flat - that's right, a slab of heavy cardboard wrapped in plastic - of canned pumpkin to Nick when he climbs the ladder just enough to poke his head out. "Hey now!" he calls, his brows furrowed again. "Less talkin', more passin, or no one gets off this rock on my boat!"

With that, he disappears again, and within a few seconds, there's a one pound can of green beans being handed up for Nick to take.

Nelly's comments towards Howard have Shannon glancing at him consideringly. Even she isn't that difficult. Normally. Sometimes. Then she looks away, shaking her head. A moment later, Howard is…standing there on the pier…in frilly pink underwear. Just frilly pink underwear. Frilly pink granny panties. But she's busy looking at the stuff that Smedley wants unloaded, which mostly hides the little smirk on her lips. She's innocent, really. Just don't look at her too closely.

"Fuck, man, pass 'em up more than one at a time or we'll be here til lunchtime," Nick mutters taking the can and passing it down the assembly line. He gives a nod of approval to Nelly and her talking down of the slacker. "I'd really like to actually sleep for more than an hour straight."

He waits for the next item to pass down the assembly line. "So anything happen since we left yesterday? Everything's good, yeah?" he asks, looking at Shannon and then Nelly to answer the question.
"Hey!" It comes sharply from Abby, putting all of her southern authority into her voice and volume nearly the same time as Smedley's giving his hey now's as well. Putting down her bag and kit, she's trying to interpose herself between Nelly and Howard while he admonishes. She lets the heat crank up a bit, warm enough to make it really uncomfortable to be even right close to her

"Back off. The lot of you too" She gestures to everyone else. "Right now, life isn't easy for everyone. Tempers are touchy, so just back off and get on with the getting on and help with supplies. He's going to carry my stuff okay. End of discussion. Y'all can get in his face some other time when there's not stuff to carry and daylight burning and we're not standing on a dock and needing to worry about patrols" Trying to play peacemaker to a degree. A warm degree. and then there's… pink underwear.

"That stops too, knock it off, whoever's doing it right this instant. Smedley's gotta get the gear unloaded to make room for the folks who want off. You have time to pull this bull hokey, you got time to get your hands busy carrying stuff" Abby's looking to the ones she doesn't know who might be doing whatever that is. "So keep your hands and abilities to yourself, don't touch anyone and if you have a problem with any of that, you can talk to me later or another council member if you got issues with people here. But right now, this isn't getting stuff unloaded and it's just gonna make me ignite and I don't have an endless supply of clothing so I'd rather not if it's just the same to y'all"

Abby gestures for Nelly to carry on towards Smedley. "Get with you, get stuff" A look to Howard and down to her own stuff, ignoring his apparent change in clothing. "Thank you, for carrying my stuff. I appreciate it. You just need to take it on up to the main area, I'll collect it from there"

Howard does not like the heat, and that much is evident when he recoils and lifts one arm up when Abby turns on the pyrokinetic thermostat. Huffing out a shuddering breath, he ambles away from her and Nelly both, only to look down a moment later to the confusing juxtaposition of reality and inappropriate states of undress. Blue eyes grow wide, Howard's face flushes, and he takes a stumbling step back and away from the lot.

"Real fuckin' cute!" Howard defensively snorts in brusque manner, waving one hand wildly in the air, dressed as gaily and inappropriately as Shannon's mind can devise. "You all can go to hell," Howard shouts as he takes a few clunking footsteps backwards. "And— and whichever of you asshole is doing this, c— cut it out!" He's genuinely embarrassed.

Also sparking. A few static electric cracks and pops down his arms and in his hair that is slowly frizzing. "I said stop!"

Nelly doesn't quite look like she takes some Abby's words to heart. Or any of them really, but she's already on her way to help by the time the heat becomes uncomfortable and doesn't seem intent on harassing Howard any more than she already has. She does glance back over her shoulder as she hears Abby's second warning and can't help but laugh as she sees Howard's new outfit. She does her best to stifle it though.. As much as she might want to give Howard that lesson in manners she's smart enough to know that the last thing anyone needs here are petty fights. Plus, she's not sure she could top those panties. She soon makes her way onto the boat and gives another nod to Nick, adding another link in the moving chain as she takes the packs of cans from his hands to move into the wheelbarrow.

"The fuck do you want, York?!" Smedley calls up from behind the can of beans. But rather than hand Nick either of the two similar cans he's got below, a rather large ham comes flying out of the relatively small hatch, closely followed by a second. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, ham juggling is on Wes Smedley's resume.

(Okay, not really.)

"I think you're missing the point, girly. We don't need to worry about patrols right now. And we're all big boys and girls who can handle ourselves," Shannon says, voice a good deal more irritated than it was a minute ago. Howard is just as suddenly back in what he was wearing, lack of shirt and all. She looks at Smedley. "Let me know when you're going. No patrols when spot you," she snaps, before moving away from the boat and further down the pier. She does spare Howard a quick, "Sorry," that sounds totally insincere.

Nick's turned to give a glance at Howard's tantrum, snickering a bit, and so gets beaned in the head by a ham.

"What the bloody … Fuck, cowboy, don't make me come down there…"

He rubs his head, and bends to pick up the ham and hand it gently to Nelly, though he actually smirks. "Thanks for the help," he tells her, before reaching for whatever else is coming his way. "Okay, don't get your knickers in a knot, sorry," he mutters down the hole.

Heat is dialed down, Nelly's going to help, Shannon's snarking which just earns her a slight roll of the former blonde's eyes. "But they can hear us and that stunt with the fake underwear sure doesn't tell me that everyones being big boys and girls" Shows shows her back to the illusionist, Howard back to normal, a gesture to his usual state of dress even as her own heat dials down after a few seconds concentration. "Ignore em. You let em win when you don't ignore em. Come on, you can carry my EMT pack, I'll carry my meds, you can calm down on your way up. Wouldn't do for you to tall into the water and neither would it me" She'll snag something else to carry along the way. Get away from the crankies and the loaders.

"No," Howard snaps, stepping back from Abby anxiously as another crackle of electricity jumps up his arm. The noise of the discharge has howard wincing, hiccuping out a gasp of discomfort as he grasps at his wrist. Visible pain crosses his features before he takes a few more quick steps back and away from Abby, jaw trembling and eyes watering.

"I've— I have to— " and Howard can't finish his sentence, treading back further across the pier, one hand wrapped fast around his wrist as he walks at an errattic hustle along the pier with clomping footfalls, and by the time he's reached the furthest end, the air around him is rippling and wobbling before the illusion of his naughty nightwear peels away like a layer of smoke from him.

There's a curse hissed under his breath, and Howard seems to be in a hurry to get out of sight as another crackling pop of electricity runs like a Jacob's Ladder down his back, bones in his hand lighting up bright beneath his skin for a moment.

Seems like he won't be helping out after all.

Nelly gives Nick a dismissive wave of her hand before taking another of the goods to move. "No worries, m'glad to help. Seems like you guys have done quite a bit already just getting this here." She's quiet for a moment after that before perking up slightly. "Oh and sorry, I think I got your question kinda lost back there. Nothing big I know of happened around here, but I'm not exactly in the loop or anything either, so you might wanna ask around a bit once we're back inside." The crackling and heavy steps on the pier draw her attention towards Howard as he rushes along it and despite the earlier mess, there is a hint of genuine worry in her expression.

Once they establish a rhythm to the passing up and loading of foodstuffs, the work goes relatively quickly. The nigh-on industrial amount of groceries that are ultimately unloaded and hauled via the wheelbarrow into Bannerman's Castle amount to three large hams, three pounds of green beans, a flat of canned pumpkin, a flat of cream of mushroom soup, a flat of cranberry sauce, a flat of yams, two pounds of fried onions, five pounds of potatoes, and enough bags of marshmallows to make it the only thing a very burdened Nelly can carry in one trip.

It's not everything to make a proper Heartland-style Thanksgiving dinner, but it's a start. And there's still time left for Smedley to see how many wild turkeys happen to be roaming around the island and take his chances trying to shoot one. If all else fails, and if those manning the kitchens deem it necessarily, it isn't far to shore and the nearest grocery store, and it's probably best to wait to get items that can't be packed in ice until the big day comes.

Still. The people on Pollepel Island, whether they stay or catch the first boat back to New York proper, have plenty to be thankful for. And small celebrations that involve the simple breaking of bread can be the most soothing of balms in times such as these.

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