You Gentlemen


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Scene Title You Gentlemen
Synopsis A chance meeting at a bus stop followed by an aligning of priorities.
Date January 16, 2011

A Bus stop, outside a Drug store

The drugstore, he'd said. You know the one. With the lights.

So now dusk is fading into the night and Calvin's lighting up from the pack of Marlboro's he just picked up inside, left hand cuffed 'round the sputter and scrape of his lighter to protect scant flame from the wind. It's not snowing but it might as well be: ice has crusted here and there across the sidewalk and older slush has slumped into dirty grey piles like sick against the curb. The day was grey and so is the dusk, any hint of warmth muted from the skyline so that the onset of evening is really just a study in gradual reduction of contrast and detail.

But his cigarette smoke is warm and so is the orange neon sign blazing D UG STO E and //OPE // against the sickle slivers of gingery dreads and the long black back of his coat while he waits.

She really only stopped on the way home; just needed a couple of things that she knew all too well that Sable would be clueless about. Delilah has faith, but sometimes just not enough to not want to do things herself. The way home turned into this side-trip, and she eschewed the latter half of the bus ride to take herself and Walter into the store. She has to wait for the next bus to pass anyway, and so she spends a bit more time inside than she needed to, if to keep everyone warm and tingly.

It'll only be a short time for the bus now, and the redhead sidles out of the store with a tote bag over her shoulder, and one arm curled around the bulging bottom of the front of her long coat that hangs loose around a long skirt. Public transport is that much easier with just a kid strapped on rather than in anything. The baby is bundled up inside her coat against her chest, mumbling about something that probably only has pertinence to babies and to the mitten he has taken upon himself to inspect heavily.

Having been in and out and more or less oblivious to the mundane sampling of rabble browsing shabby metal shelves and lukewarm ice boxes while he was in for a minute to pick up a pack of smokes, Calvin flexes a gloved hand against creeping cold when he turns his head enough to look her exit over at a contemptuous boobs to sidewalk and back glance.

Only once he's puffed out a winding furl of tobacco smoke and foggy breath does he hood his brow and have a second take, nose rankled as if he's just realized she has a tattoo of an ass that covers her entire face.

He's the sort it's hard to miss staring, too — his own coutenance being something slightly out of the ordinary even for dusk on the corner outside of a scuzzy drug store in New York. Eyes clear blue, expression one of antiseptic unease.

With a scarf that hangs around the back of her coat collar, Delilah- and company- are kept quite cozy. Her shoulder shrugs a little to make sure the bag stays on her shoulder, before she realigns her boots with the sidewalk to start towards the bus stop proper. It is literally right there on the corner where the store ends, so she does not have far- but she does pause long enough to take in the stranger giving her a look over. Maybe Dee is just too used to weirdos, because she just smiles brightly and wanders her way closer to the bus stop, incidentally just past the third person of ginger denomination.

"You waiting for the bus too? I hope it's not long, sometimes the snow clogs'em up… I need to get home, I'm due for a hot cocoa, been thinking about it for hours." Delilah waggles her eyebrows, one hand sturdy and protective on her coat, her expression for Calvin as warm as the thought of that cocoa.

Furrow-browed as he is, Calvin appears to be disarmed somewhat by the brow-waggle. At least, he lifts his unevenly in turn, the anchor beard soft on his chin eased into a jut when he coerces himself into looking her over again. Especially the tail section. More practically considering this time. And so a shade more scandalously while he smokes.

A list of his wrist and a peep at the watch there may or may not be relevant to anything — perhaps he is also waiting on the bus, though he doesn't look the type to cram onto a rickety oblong tin can for giggles.

"Maybe," he says lightly after too much of a pause, dialogue options ticked through like slides through a dubious projector. His eyes tick only once to the lump of baby under her coat, halcyon blue cut cold against the neon cast bleeding off the store behind them. "I could buy you a cocoa."

Delilah secretly loves the bus, even if it makes her weird. Probably knows all the drivers by first names on Roosevelt, no less. The baby under the open breast of her coat kicks a little against her, and maybe to allow him some head-wiggle room, pulls the open part of the coat open a little more. The bundled infant wags his head to look around a bit, unsteady neck not doing a terribly good job before he rests his head down on Dee's chest again. The only difference is that now he was trying to peer out at the other voice, blue eyes resigning to examine his mitten again, burbling.

"I've got someone at home waiting for me, I think I can make her do it and I can fiiinally sit down. But, thank you." Delilah smirks a little that time, almost knowingly. Knowing of what, that probably isn't certain. Probably guy things.

Approaching is a burly young man, woolen beanie pulled down low over caveman brow and the tops of his ears in resolute protection of shaven skull against the cold of a coming evening. A hood is pulled over for maximum insulation, and sunglasses pushed high up on nose bridge that reflect oil rainbow colours. His hands are shoved into pockets so that his knuckles don't drag on the ground maybe, but one comes up to remove the accessory off his face, which should strictly be there, just—

Joshua didn't have anywhere better to put them come sundown, but now, winds up stuff glasses into his back pocket. There is a mark on his face where a tiny lady fist bounced a punch off it, below his eye, just a couple of nights ago, but otherwise unharmed. A wallet chain glitters silver at his hip.

He slows, though, for all that the thud of his foot falls gave away his presence too late. Hazel eyes shift from man to lady. What the fuck, is this some sort of convention.

Get it. They're gingers.

Calvin manages to smile his (mostly) polite understanding at being shot down. A kind of unspoken hah at his own expense in a rock of his shoulders that blends his smile into a grin and then just a show of his teeth when he gets a look at Walter's over ripe peach noggin rolling ineffectually about on his round baby shoulders.


A quiet beat taken to recover, he extracts his cigarette to better dictate a mild, "S'that your baby?" that might still be considered polite because it hits all the right registers. He also steps closer when he asks, so optimism may or may not play a role even once he's had a chance to size up Joshua's approach at Delilah's opposite side. "He's a bigums, isn't he? Lookit those cheeks."

The arm around the baby rocks slightly, and Delilah sways for a few passing moments, chin tipped to regard the baby's frustrated expression with the mitten. A glance goes up towards the approach of what she assumes another bus rider, then to Calvin. Though Dee doesn't know him, she- like most moms- loves to show off her little one, and he seems polite and inquisitive enough for her to do so. Walter's tiny hat and hood does not cover all of the ginger orange hair, sprouts peeking out from underneath of it. He tilts his face to peer around when Delilah allows Calvin closer.

"No, I stole him from the ginger circus." A beat, as if that were an actual answer. But of course, it isn't, because she is sniggering and grinning. "Yeah, he's mine. Excuse that face, he doesn't like wearing the mittens. He only just realized that those were his hands." So of course, he wants to touch them, chew them, fiddle with them. Mittens obscure the process!!

Now Joshua is studying mom and child by the light, in the kind of frank stare that random bits of scenery might get, a hand up to scratch nonchalant beneath his jaw. Eyebrows raise cynically at the commentary at least partways directed to him as well as Delilah, once Calvin's acknowledged him. There is the scent of Axe and only recently stale cigarette smoke about him, not entirely unfitting for a youthful twenty something who dresses like, occasionally, when pressed, he might attempt rapping.

On a good day. "Creepy. I mean. Babies are in general, no offense. Sup," and that last part is to Calvin.

"Is he making a face?" Evidently having assumed that was just — its normal face, Calvin squints from closer range. He doesn't blow smoke into baby's face until mum's looking at Josh, if she does. If she doesn't it trails more innocent-like out the corner of his mouth before he plugs his cigarette back in after it. "Looks like a mate of mine. Especially the size of the head in proportion — "

Leaned back straight after that, Calvin busies himself innocently with the receipt of a buzzy text messsage in his coat pocket while panning out a sup jerk of his scruffy chin to the late arrival of his partner in crime. "Don't hate on babies, Josh. I've seen you get confused after putting on mittens."

"Babies are not creepy…" Delilah laughs, almost out of disbelief. But, some people are not baby people. She knows that well enough. But creepy? Come on. She assumes it must be part of the 'black-white-boy' thing that Joshua has going on. To her credit, Delilah doesn't look away again while he is that close. The face that Calvin gets from the baby when he squints closer is a mixed one. On one hand, this is a new person; on the other, it is …a new person. Knitted little brows peek up at Calvin, disturbingly poignant for about a second or two, before it disappears and Walter's lips gum into a faint smile.

"Yeah, Walter's got a pretty big noggin, don't you? Just more of you to kiss, I think.." Delilah leans her chin down to kiss at the top of his hat, stifling a giggle on Joshua's behalf. Mostly. It is enough of one to get Walter cooing happily in between the sounds of the street, cheek snugged against fabric.

"No you haven't," motherfucker, is sincere protest, wrinkles at his brow that smooth out again just as easily as Joshua resumes perusal over the picture that Delilah and tiny Walter make together. "And yeah they are. They're like mini-people." With their widdle hands and widdle feet or— well he doesn't have that much conviction in his voice, as blandly unemphatic as that can change at a moment's notice. A hand comes up, scritches sleeve against his nose, drops again.

That hand that then goes out. Cigarette want. Cigarette get. While he lapses back into study.

For a moment Calvin can't help but look faintly disconcerted by all the cooing and kissing, like there is a literal illness touched into his guts in the infrequent glances he casts up between taps at his smart phone. He keeps the source of it to himself, though. Suppressed in as well as out. Soon enough he's tapped send and Joshua's hand opens into his periphery, so that he has to switch phone for pack of cigarettes and lighter again. "Tiny people that shit themselves," is agreed at a mutter while he shuffles in his pockets, transparency of thought in tandem with distraction. Eventually the whole box is held out and he taps ash of the end of his own smoke at a flick that's a bit harder than is strictly necessary. "Speakin' of which, I ran into an old friend in Midtown the other night."

In the distance near the end of the street, the big, crusted-with-winter bus rounds the corner and ambles its way nearer.

"Eat, shit, sleep, that's been the last couple months of my life." Delilah informs them, rather brazenly, though she still has a lick of a smile on her face, brown eyes watching the bus lights wander closer, patient as ever. "Shitstains on my heart'n all that, I suppose…" Walter obviously left them there. She seems to visibly disregard the conversation between the two men, but in reality- Delilah is always listening. She only has a minute or so til the bus gets there- maybe enough for a little eavesdropping.

The box is taken from Calvin's hand, somewhere behind Delilah's head, with Joshua subsequently going through the much repeated ritual of lightin' up. It doesn't take very long, especially with store bought fags all neatly rolled as they are, with their filters, orange dipped end and pristine lines. Soon enough, smoke puffs thick and white, before the pack is offered back in lazy underhanded throw — this time in front of Delilah, taking enough care for it to not, like.

Bounce off Baby Walt's skull or something. "Me too. Not Midtown. Your friend's probably way better than mine was," he says, happily talking passed Dee, as if she were not there. Or maybe, like a dinosaur, he can't see her without her seeing him.

Calvin catches flying Marlboros out've the air with his free left hand, easy as a viper snagging a cardboard rat. He is as content as Joshua to speak over the head of current company, literally as the case may be. Now that it's established that she is more interested in baby poos than having cocoa with him. And maybe sex.

"Depends on what kind've rating system we're talking, I suppose." The cigarettes go away, except for the one he's still dragging on. Back into his coat. "Tall guy," he says. "Long neck." He says. "Glowing red eyes."

He lazes into half a smile at Walter when he toys with that last bit.

Cocoa has no concurrency with sex, no matter how much Calvin wants to sign some sort of Death Warrant.

The fringe of Dee's hair doesn't do much to disguise the faintness of the look on her face; searching for some sort of meaning in the words floating around her head. She has the niggling feeling that this could be important. But these days, sometimes, she does catch herself looking for things that are not there. A woman's intuition is never perfect, and a girl's imagination always wild.

No time to dwell at length on it, because the bus is pulling up and creeping to a halt. Glass and metal door creaking open ahead of the curb, Delilah has a hand fishing into her pocket for her pass, and she takes a step forward and onward, perching on the first stair of the bus before looking back.

"You gentlemen have a good night." Less of a wish and more of a suggestion, from the sound of it. Somehow.

"Later, lady," is from Joshua, twitching a look to her departing self with a blink of distraction. Before that, he'd been squinting over her head as if Calvin had presented him with verbal sudoku and two of the top row squares have fives printed in them. A veil of white haze comes up on an exhale, cigarette tip burning as bright as the described glow, before pinched between his fingers, hanging low at his side. Worried wrinkles set into his forehead smooth out the same time a genuine, if crooked smile spreads across his features.

He flicks ash to the pavement. "Then I guess I know where to go for a good night," he notes, over the hiss and complaint of bus mechanisms, neither man following her onboard.

Mister Rosen watches Delilah board the bus with a vacantly intent kind of study. Eyeliner and bristly mane. Mind on her and elsewhere.

"Stay safe, Delilah," is a nice thing for him to say, anyway, cigarette flipped away into slush and decay in place of an exclamation point. His phone is buzzing again. This time he ignores it, his full attention passed over onto Joshua without an accompanying look his way.

If he says so.

"Heard anything from the island?"

Delilah offers a second's more of a smile before shifting to go up the rest of the stairs onto the bus. The older driver seems to bear with her pace if just because she does have the infant with her. It is only when the door closes behind her, and the bus rumbles awake and away from the stop- does she realize something incredibly important that sends a wash of chilly, mixed shock up her spine, to tingle in her fingers and toes.

She never told him her name.

Except for right then, of course, but if Joshua catches it— no Joshua doesn't really catch it, preoccupied with cigarette, the way the cold seems to bake up off the pavement tingle his toes, and what's happening in Midtown. He doesn't even remember whatever old friend he might have told Calvin about, but then again, the night is young. Unless you're into curfew. He watches the tail lights of the departing bus, before looking back to the other man.

And rocks back a step, emphasis for them to get moving. "Naw. What the hell's there to report? 'Dear diary. Today we hid like fuckin' cowards some more and had fish for breakfast. Despite bein' two hours out of the way and completely off the fuckin' map for everything ever, we managed to compromise our security, but tomorrow's another day.'


"M'getting restless."

Calvin even says it itchily after a pause, stale energy tweaked into the tension wrapped in taut across the backs of his arms down to his hands when he flexes them away from his sides. The kind of twitchy stretch school kids get up to at bus stops trying to keep warm in the morning. A blast of breath forced out stiff through his nose reinforces irritation with a kind of literall huff.

"Homo sapiens is making its move while we sit on our hands, y'know? We can wait and see all we like but the world keeps fucking turning."

In contrast, Joshua's posture, his demeanor, is relatively loose. Casual or relaxed would be inaccurate, but it's the kind of defeated content of having nothing better to do of someone more naturally inclined to be on high alert. He has a job, right, and a guitar tucked against the sofa in Ingrid's apartment, but he's also listening. Uneasily, his tongue pokes around molars. Homo sapiens. "Yeah," he says, after the kind of prolonged silence that suggests wheels turning in his head, bringing up a hand to itch around where the hem of his cap clings to base of his skull.


Admitting to hands sitting when one would rather not be but no real reason to not be comes at a trudge. "It ain't like island-side gets news that ain't second hand. Like Midtown. You got a plan or somethin'?" It might be a first.

"A little of this here," says Calvin, "a little of that there. Plan's a strong word for it." Isn't it? "S'mainly, just — if they're going to put all this work into militant repression here in the city, it almost seems rude not to give them a reason?"

A cant of Calvin's brows matches the tilt of his shoulders, apologetically reasonable on New York's behalf. Whether New York likes it or not. "That and the odds are stacked a little more even these days, but they won't be forever. The sooner we set upon them the less prepared they'll be."

He is saying a lot very quickly, he realizes, perhaps a line or two too late. Also, scuff at his nose and the odd out've place questionmark do little to mitigate the underlying gravity of his bullshit. He looks sideways to Joshua. Measuring.

Joshua's lip curls slightly over the filter of his cigarette. Something ingrained squares itself in his sholders, though, at measuring glance. "Well, you know who t'call if you need to find someone who can make a lot of noise," he remarks, into the night, only slightly unshaven chin tilting up as he regards cloud-choked night sky threatening to salt shaker snow down on them whenever it wants to. "'specially if you wanna help out with this liquor store in Queens I been eyeing up."

More ash sprays with a flick of thick fingers, guitar string calluses and other scars. That he isn't balking probably tells of how much bullshit Joshua's listened to, or maybe his faith in Calvin's. "They stamped out Messiah. They took down PARIAH before that. I don't think everyone'll be into showin' 'em how it's done."

Good. Great. Great and good. Satisfied (a touch reluctantly) with his survey, Calvin draws himself up against the cold and the weight of the world and the promise of snow and everything else with a staunch brace and shiver that wavers his breath and brings his arms up to fold across his chest. The nod he tips in for his part is resolute. On the subject of resistance. And liquor stores. Presumably in desperate need of robbing.

It takes a fair amount of self-control not to light up again when he plies another look over at Josh and his eyes catch on the cigarette.

"You thinking've knocking it down tonight?"

"Can't deprive the masses of half-price liquor, in a winter like this. No one goes there — no tanks, no cops. So." So. It won't be like last time. Not that getting arrested without identification and blackbagged to north New York taught him anything especially. Joshua takes off with that sudden kind of compulsive energy he occasionally likes to embody, practically jaunty if it wasn't for the fact his boots always sound like they hit the ground harder than anyone else's. They don't, especially.

But Calvin can feel the vibration of the first. "Unless," he adds, with a look back at the other man, a slice of ivory in half-smile, or a baring of teeth, "you wanna introduce me to your friend."

"I didn't get his number," says Calvin, naturally evasive shorthand for it was obliterated, "unfortunately. Soooo." Burglary may be a more productive waste of time and energy. Is what he's saying. Although with a remote leniency that suggests he is willing to sit around and read the paper while Joshua runs in circles trying to draw a robot out of its hidey hole.

Shoulders still hunched and arms strapped in firm against the weather, he keeps pace with Josh's for all that his longer stride keeps different (equally dramatic but less percussive) time. "How's Ingrid holding up?"

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