Working Together For Good


finn_icon.gif kara_icon.gif max_icon.gif odette_icon.gif ollie_icon.gif paul_icon.gif reena_icon.gif

Scene Title Working Together For Good
Synopsis Some citizens of Providence come together to help make something better.
Date March 3, 2019

New Hope Church

Looking much better than it was.

New Hope Church has been fixed up enough so that Max can hold services there every Sunday without the roof caving in and sending them all up to Heaven a little bit earlier than they intended, but there’s still plenty of work to do. Benches in the back need fixing, things need to be repainted, some of the glass should be taken out (and eventually replaced), along with many other projects that are the sorts of things that aren’t immediate needs but would make it seem a lot nicer.

So, Max has gotten everything together to make this a little bit easier and hopefully a little more fun. As promised, there’s food set up on the table outside — smoked game that has been caught by various residents, cornbread, collard greens that have been cooked with various things that make them delicious, as well as a couple of pies. Inside, there’s a table set up with various tools, paint, nails, etc, and Max himself is currently resetting the leg of one of the pews.

With a boom box that is probably as old as he is on one shoulder playing YMCA of all things, Finn arrives with a broad grin and his own toolbox in tow. At the food table, he pulls out a bag from his coat pocket to add to the fare there — lollipops. Perfect for eating when your hands are full.

He enters the church, holding up the boom box like John Cusack in Say Anything for a moment. “Too bad I don’t have that Peter Gabriel song… your eyes, the light, the heat,” he sings, to help Max determine just which one he means. “I picked this up at the swapmeet in town the other day. It came with Pop Hits of the ’70s and Pop Hits of the ’80s volumes one through four except I’m missing a couple,” he says brightly, setting it on the table near the paint.

One of the youngest members of this community sits at the table of food, having pulled up a chair so she can sit and watch. Odette probably isn’t going to do much beyond run messages back and forth, but she’s definitely going to partake in small bites of food and she doesn’t think anyone will stop her. The owl in her arms is of the motionless stuffed variety, big beady eyes watching in the way a stuffed animal can do. A fairly new stuffed animal, by the level of wear it has, even though she seems to take very good care of her creatures. Most the time.

Capataz Coruja likes it, Mister Finn,” she speaks up, looking toward the song. She often has a bright smile for ‘Mister Finn’ as he often seemed gentler and nicer than many people. And perhaps he even played along with her talking to stuffed animals and even getting so engrossed in her scenarios that every single one has a name and specific voice that she uses when she talks for them.

Which she demonstrates here when she speaks as the Owl, “Indeed, I do. You should bring more of this music for us to listen to.”

With a quiet sound behind Max, a teen steps through the pew between them, tools hanging from his belt as he surveys the leg that he’s repairing. “I got the broken seat two pews down,” he says, kneeling down to look at the leg with a crick of his neck. Paul Rodriguez had been with the community for a few months now, having been taken on as a farmhand in exchange for room and board before the beginning of winter. He’s a hard worker, though, often giving a hand when repairs were needed.

Which was often.

Ollie is already at the back of the church among the benches. A pile of them, from best to worst are stacked at his side. He’s currently sawing a piece of lumber to fashion into a leg end. Pausing, he stops to wipe the sweat off of his brow with the back of his hand.

“Paul, you mind holding this down while I make the final cut?” The teen is especially helpful to him and though the large man is quiet around most of the people in the commune, Max and Paul are the ones that hear his voice the most. The former because of his religion, the latter because of his common place among the people.

Kara arrived early and dove right in, laying out old sheets snug with the walls before sanding them to prepare for the task she's only just begun to tackle in earnest. The munitions 'chaplain' bears arms in a different way today, the long extension pole in her hands assaulting the faded white interior with a fresh coat of paint administered by roller. She looks up when Finn strides in with his music, slowing the downward roll she's making and letting out a note of amusement.

It's taken her a while to wake up and really become social this morning, but she's getting there. "God, I can't remember the last time I heard this song. Nice get, Shepherd." She tosses her head toward the table in a quick gesture before returning her attention to the roller. "Mind bringing me that next can while you're over there?"

Reena appears to be coming along behind Kara, with a smaller brush and her own can of paint. Her chosen duty is the detail work. Molding and window frames and doors. She gives Finn a sideways look at his entrance, crooked smile hidden by a shake of her head. Officially, he is ridiculous, of course.

So is her young farmhand, but she seems more openly indulgent of his walking through pews and walls. Used to it by now, likely. She can't help but feel a sort of guardianship over him, even though it's only been a short time since he came to her farm.

Max looks up as Finn walks in, and there’s a snort of amusement for the entrance as he turns back to finish hammering in the last nail in his particular bench. “Shoulda used your fancy luck to find Pop Hits of the ‘60s instead,” he opines as he stands up to survey his handiwork. Satisfied, he turns toward Paul when he hears the young man behind him, giving him a thumbs up. “When y’all are done with those,” ‘y’all’ possibly being Paul and Ollie, “I want to get that last row that came up reset in the floor. Gonna be at least a two-man job. ”

He wipes a hand across his forehead as he steps back to survey the progress so far. Kara’s and Reena’s painting gets an approving nod, and he starts over that way to assist them, though looks over his shoulder to gesture to Odette. “You want to do some painting, darlin’?” he asks. “Capataz Coruja can watch to make sure we’re doin’ it right.” His accent on the name is atrocious, but he says it very seriously, not at all like he’s just indulging her but instead as though he considers the owl an integral part of the process.

“Nothing from the Age of Aquarius, I’m afraid, though I do have a cassette of the Sergeant Pepper somewhere I’ll have to dig up,” Finn tells Max fairly seriously. He crouches down next to Odette to peer at the owl and the girl.

“Well, I am very glad you like it, Capataz,” he says solemnly. “Swannie here and I will have to show you how to do the moves, though,” he says, giving his hand to the child just as the chorus comes on.

It is very likely Finn isn’t going to get any work done.

It’s fun to stay at the Y - M - C - A,” he sings, showing her the arm gestures that every human being who knows the song knows. “I expect you to follow along, Capataz,” he tells the plushed animal sternly, encouraging Odette to do move his little wings in time with the music.

“Don’t act like y’all don’t know it,” he says, adopting Max’s accent to point to Kara, Reena, Paul, and Max.

For someone with a mischievous sparkle in his eye a lot of the time, Paul does seem to work well with others, as if this sort of thing reminded him of home, rather than “work”. But then a majority of people who lived these days probably had to work with others to survive at some point— and this kind of project really did remind him of his childhood. With less of the same person running around doing half the work on his own. “Can do,” he responds first to the big guy who he definitely looks up to a little, moving to kneel down and hold the wood in place for him. The young man takes a second to glance up at his “hot boss” as he calls her in his head with a grin, as if he could see her eyes on him.

Not that he would ever actually say that to her. Too old for him, but still hot. And talking to another way too old for him hot lady, too. Surrounded by too old hot ladies. The tragedy.

“Consider me half of that two man team. I’m stronger than I look.” Though honestly, while he’s definitely on the short side, he did look muscular. As long as he didn’t lose control of his ability and phase through whatever it is he was trying to carry around. That didn’t happen too often.

At the response from the preacher, Odette beams visibly, as if she appreciates all the adult's efforts to treat o capataz as a member of the team. “I can paint! I’m even wearing the right dress for it.” The dress she’s wearing is one of her ‘work dresses’, not one of the nice ones she usually tries to wear to get-togethers. It has wear and tear on it, stains and the like, but it’s still nice. And she’s wearing thick leggings underneath too, and a layer. As she hops down from her seat, she starts to dance with the stuffed owl, moving his wings to the beat as she dances toward the preacher. Cause while she can’t help much with tools and moving heavy objects, she can paint!

With Paul’s help, Ollie finishes cutting the leg end of the bench and blows the sawdust off the piece of wood. It’s not fastened to the end of the bench right away, instead he places it next to the bench and begins measuring a different broken bench for another piece to cut. Apparently, his method is to gather all of the pieces first and then fit the benches together all at once. This time, it’s a broken back.

Scrubbing the scruff of a beard with one hand, he ponders for a moment before looking at Paul. “Whaddya reckon’ we take the back off and use the wood to make smaller pieces for other benches? Or whatever?” It’s obvious that he’s just not sure about the right course of action. The particular bench he’s referring to has a rather nasty horizontal split through the middle and might not be good for much else, except kindling.

"Shot down to come painting," Kara ruefully notes on Finn's behalf with an over-exaggerated cringe. "How unfortunate. Only for you, though. Your loss is our gain over here." The little girl's dancing, but she's already doing more than Finn is just by the nature of being en route to do something.

"Young man," she sings along with the song, and then breaks to repeat in tune, "Please go grab me that paint, I said young man," Kara is grinning as she carries on, trying to keep from laughing. She eventually swaps back over to the actual lyrics of the song. She'll sing, but dancing is out of the question for now. She's a busy woman with this painting.

While dancing and singing goes on around her, Reena seems engrossed in her work. It needs attention, after all, the detail work. Despite Finn's words, she is definitely pretending like she doesn't know the song.

Her attention turns to Odette when the girl gives herself a job, her smile reappearing for a moment. "Grab a brush, honey," she says to the girl, her foot tapping again her paint can as she talks, "and you can come share my paint." The owl gets a quick salute, to acknowledge his role as their supervisor in this endeavor.

“Good. We’re gonna need all the help we can get. Lots of walls in here.” Max nods seriously to Odette and the owl, though there’s a smile lurking there beneath the serious veneer. He smiles at Reena as she hands the little girl a brush, and he takes one, too, dipping it in the paint as well before he moves a little bit further down to begin painting as well.

He turns toward Finn then, his smile shifting a little dryly, though still with amusement. “I’ll freely admit I know it,” he says, in…well, his own accent. “But I ain’t gonna dance just now. Maybe in a minute.” Kara’s rendition, though, gets a little chuckle as he goes back to painting.

“Harsh,” says Finn, but it’s with a smile and he goes to grab the paint that Kara directs him to bring her, along with a paintbrush for detail work, before crouching down to pop it open with a flathead screwdriver.

The music swaps to the a capella intro to Take a Chance on Me by Abba, and of course he begins to sing the men’s part, the rhythmic “take a chance on” chant underlying the women’s melody. He pauses his singing to yell over his shoulder, “If you guys don’t sing along with this one, you are clinically dead,” to the non-singers in the room, before dabbing his brush in the paint and setting out to touch up the window sill.

Setting the happy little plump owl down where he can oversee them, Odette grabs the offered brush and settles down next to the paint she’s getting to share with a joyful smile. She doesn’t quite do it correctly, getting way too much paint on the brush before she tries to get to work, but at least she seems to be enjoying herself. Even as she drips paint drops on the way to actually painting. Among other things.

One will not be surprised if she ends up getting paint all over her dress, most likely. The owl won’t be.

At Ollie’s suggestion, Paul looks carefully at the wood mentioned. “As long as it’s not rotten we could probably do it. Probably need to sand it down, though, refinish it, all that stuff.” He remembers some of what he’d learned when he was putting together safe houses back as a kid. It usually involved, for him, a lot of sanding. “But we should do what the preacher man wanted help with first. This is his house.” Well, God’s house, but God wasn’t the one down there directing them in what to do first, so he’ll stick with preacher man’s house.

And while Paul is not singing, he does bob his head a little in tune with the music.

When Odette comes to join the painters with her overloaded brush, Kara pauses for a moment, eyeing the brush rather than the child directly. She glances back at Max, who seems approving enough, and decides it's not worth starting any fuss over. She pulls the pole back, carefully tipping the new can into the paint tray to give her a fresh base to pull from before reloading the roller.

The new song gets a tilt of her head, well before Finn starts singing along and casting aspersions. Aside from having a difference in musical opinion, she can't remember ever hearing this tune before. "Now that's rude. I'm sure both Odette and Paul have no way of knowing this one."

And her, but she'll hold onto that admission for a moment.

Reena smiles over at Odette as she drips paint on her way to work. It's likely the church will just have the mark of a kid's help. Reena isn't gonna fix it, anyway, not when the girl is so happy to help out. Her attention moves to the radio when the song changes, then to Finn with a lift of her eyebrow. She seems to accept the challenge, because she doesn't sing along— although she knows it— she doesn't even tap a foot.

He'll have to try harder, apparently.

"She's got a point, let's not damn them for the age they were born in, right? Sounds like they'll have plenty of chances to learn it, though," she says, more dryly, as she looks over at Kara.

Ollie nods in agreement to Paul, “Yep.” He ambles over to the bit of flooring that Max had mentioned to them and tests it by pressing one foot against the floor boards. It bows in the middle before buckling completely and in a blink of an eye, Ollie finds his leg swallowed by a hole.

“Well that's no good,” he sighs, crawling out of the pit he's just created. “Floor's buckled in places and rotted in others, Preacher.” That's called out to Max, then he motions over to Paul to help him tear up the pieces of hardwood that have come up and the pieces that are just too worn to carry much weight.

Max grins at Odette as she starts to paint, and he must not care too much about whether she’s doing it perfectly or not, because he seems to be looking on with approval. Maybe he figures it makes it look more like everyone participated. “Looks good,” he pronounces of the painting, before turning toward Ollie when he calls over to him. He nods once, before putting the paintbrush down before going to help with the ripping up of the floorboards.

“Watch where you’re dancin’,” he warns as he looks over his shoulder at Finn, his tone a little dry, though he’s still smiling. “Unless you’re tryin’ to help us find the bad spots by goin’ right through the floor. If you are, go on ahead, I suppose.” He turns back then, grabbing a crowbar that’s only a little bit rusty. “I ain’t got the wood ready to fix this today,” he admits to Ollie as he pulls up one of the boards.

Finn shakes his rear when Max tells him to watch where he’s dancing, but other than that, he does seem to be painting in earnest. His work isn’t bad — he’s a mechanic when he’s not a pilot, and he’s used to working with his hands, so the detailing along the window sill is done steadily and efficiently.

Looking over his shoulder at the conversation between the preacher and Ollie, Finn offers, “There’s an abandoned church a few miles northwest of here. Probably have some decent boards we could use. Maybe even a few pews we could bring back here.”

He scratches the back of his neck with his free hand as he goes back to dip his paintbrush in the can near Kara. “I donno what your lord and savior might say about taking from one house of God to put in another, but I don’t think it’s stealing if nobody’s using it,” he adds.

“Falling through the floor is my job,” Paul says with a wry grin as he— does just that. One moment he’s standing here, the next he’s falling through the floor into the space beneath, feet hitting the dirt. This gives him an interesting perspective for the problem, even if he has to kneel down to unphase enough to get a look at the floorboards from below, illuminated by the holes, including the new one. When he pulls himself back up and resolidifies, he dusts his clothes off— even if they didn’t actually get dirty doing that.

“Yeah, definitely got some rotting in the floor, but at least it doesn’t look like termites.” He’s not an expert at buildings, but he’s been around projects much of his life, safe house repairs and the like, that he knows what some things look like. “If we can find usable boards at that other place we could probably just replace the ones that need it. If not we might need to think about cutting up new ones.” Making boards wasn’t impossible, with the right tools. He’d seen it done! A few times.

Mostly he just sanded, snuck around, hung off the rafters and smart mouthed, until recently.

Odette laughs joyously at the sight of everything Paul had just done, looking as if she wants to clap, but them remembering she has a paintbrush in her hands. Paint that’s getting on her shoes, on her leggings, on her dress. But these were work clothes, so she doesn’t really care. “We should paint some things different colors!” she exclaims, and then suddenly, she glances over at the stuffed owl, black beady eyes on her. “I know, I know. Listen to Mister Max.”

A moment later as she puts brush to wall, she adds, “But more colors would still be nice.”

With Max’s help, the boards are torn up in quick time and carried outside to be burned or recycled into ugly things made from rotting floorboards. Hipsters at the Red Hook Market are likely to buy anything, maybe even rotten benches made from reclaimed wood. Once the holes are measured and cordoned off, Ollie begins testing more of the floor. He’s not dancing like Finn but he is hopping on one foot rather than two in order to find more loose or rotting planks that might need replacing.

He is near Odette when he hears the wish for more color and kneels down to her height, pointing at the benches. “Y’know Squirt,” he says, quiet enough that Max can’t hear, “I bet the ends of all the pews could use some pretty flowers on them. If God didn’t like colors, why would he make so many of ‘em, right?” Then he gives her a little wink and straightens up to carry on looking for more floor to tear up.

Reena looks over at Paul while he examines the flooring, giving the endeavor an approving nod before she turns back to her own work. "I don't think anyone would object to some color, Odette," she says, to back up Ollie's suggestion. "Right, Preacher?" She smirks a little, because who could say no to this adorable child. Except her own Owl, apparently.

Kara grimaces at the sound of the cracking floorboards, shaking her head to herself while she rolls the pole back up the wall. They had made a lot of progress here and with other buildings, but there was always something else. "Odette, you be careful walking near there." After a pause, she adds, "You and your Capitán both."

She's not as good at playing along with all that.

After the next stripe, she lets her arms relax and rolls her shoulders with a long exhale. "I'm going to take a minute here, Reena." The extension pole is set aside with the roller in the paint tray, and she turns for the refreshments. She's been at it a while; time for a break.

“I don’t know what he’s got to say about it, either,” Max says with a shrug and a grin in Finn’s direction. “Somehow the Bible’s vague on that particular point. Seems like it’d come up all the time so I can’t imagine why.” A moment later he says, more seriously, “That’s a good idea.”

He might have said something more, but that’s when Paul falls through the floor. He moves forward just a fraction as though he’s going to make sure Paul is okay, before his mind catches up with his reaction and he chuckles wryly. “Every damn time,” he says as he flings his hand up in the direction of the teenager instead, shaking his head. Though he does sound amused, despite the dry tone.

Since Paul has not actually fallen through the floor, he turns instead to Ollie, Odette, and Reena, just in time to hear the latter’s words — he does not, of course, hear Ollie’s, but even so, he nods, continuing, “Sure, darlin’. But the colors’ll look nicer if we do the white first. After that, you an’ Capitán get whatever colors you want and go to town, all right?” He starts toward the refreshments table after Kara then, grabbing a piece of cornbread.

“Show off,” Finn says with a glance over his shoulder at Paul, but it’s with the amicable grin he usually wears. “Some days I wish I had an ability that people could actually see to believe. Most of the time they laugh when I say I’m lucky, like that’s not a power. The padre here probably just thinks it’s a blessing every time I duck a bullet with my name on it and not science and genetics.

He grins over at Max, knowing the argument the man might make in return. “On the other hand, it’s pretty great to see the look on someone’s face when I manage to get away when I shouldn’t. You should’ve seen Shambrook’s face when he tried to kill me. He could’ve been a meme.” He glances over at Odette. “And then we all lived happily ever after!” he says more loudly, in case she’s picked up on any of his words. Obviously he’s not used to editing himself around children, even after all these months.

That Odette is given permission to paint flowers gives her a triumphant look across her face as she glances toward the Owl, almost as if she wanted to go ‘HAH, Told you so’. “I can paint flowers! I was always good at painting flowers. And clouds and trees and smilie faces.” From the way she’s beaming, it was as if she got told she could go play in the leaves or something. Which she sometimes did. Much to the shagrin of whoever has to clean her clothes. “But just flowers,” she says after a moment.

Just flowers for the church. Last thing she wanted to do was upset the big guy in the sky.

She does, however, add a quick, “And it’s Capataz,” to correct their title. How she manages to give her stuffed animals such diverse names is anyone’s guess. The Owl, apparently, is portuguese, of all things. If she took the ‘tried to kill me’ part badly, it doesn’t show. Odette’s been with the group long enough she’s heard things, and maybe she’s too distracted by the future painting.

The young man who just fell through the floor on purpose doesn’t seem abashed that he might have worried someone, in fact he may not have even noticed it really. He sometimes just walked through the wall instead of going around to get to the door. He’s never been shy about his ability, and likely never will be, even with people uncomfortable with it. He’s one of those. “Your ability’s kinda cool, man. You never have to shave.” He rubs his cheeks, which required more attention than he would like sometimes. Even at this young age. He could have been sporting a goatee if he really wanted to. “But I can go through and mark the boards that are rotting underneath so we can replace them before they get far enough people besides me fall through,” he offers.

"I can't keep up with all these characters of hers," Kara confesses in an undertone to Max while she fixes herself a plate. "It's only gotten worse since we moved closer to town." Since there were more opportunities for stuffed animals to head the girl's way. A bite of cornbread is taken, the rest of the piece settled on her plate.

"Feels like we're making good progress here, but it's your house." A look back over her shoulder accompanies the remark, letting her take stock of the forward movement and setbacks both. "What do you think?"

“Sorry, sorry, Capataz. I’ll get it.” Max smiles at Odette before taking a bite of the cornbread, before turning back to Kara as she asks her last question. He turns to survey the work, his lips pressing together a little bit as he considers, before he pronounces, “Think it’s good enough to earn a break.”

His tone is teasing, though, and after that he turns toward the others, beckoning them to the table. “Come on over,” he says, and his smile widens as he adds, “I won’t even make y’all say grace.”

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