The Only Thing In Common

Cast: date: '23 August, 2012'
place: Camden
participants: 'Jack,Mattie'
synopsis: 'Jack gets to eat two meals for the price of one.'
log: "The rendezvous spot selected by Mattie is in one of the colorful brick buildings in Camden Town; this one, painted a bright fuchsia on the outside with the simple words \"SUDS AND GRUB\" in graffiti-style lime green letters, makes it very plain what one will find inside. The interior is mostly black vinyl booths and the un-painted brick walls are adorned with a thousand mismatched pictures, signs and odd items with no rhyme or reason: a picture of Ringo Starr sits next to a vintage poster of Disneyland which sits next to a license plate from Florida. \n\nIn a corner booth, Mattie sits with a view of both the front and back door and the kitchen. She has some folders out on the table, though she's reading the menu at the moment.\n\nIn walks Jack, perhaps having come from the 'office', given that he's wearing overalls. They've been half removed, then the arms tied about the waist so that he can comfortably wear a military issue smoke in dark olive over the top which is speckled with rain. At least he's cleaned up, with dirt free hands, although he missed a spot on his cheek where the automotive grime is still visible.\n\nThat ever present sullen aura of the Touched gets him a dirty look from a departing gaggle of youths as they near bump into him. The glare they're given in return shuts them right up and has them hurrying along. This appears to cheer him up, given that by the time he reaches the booth he's quietly whistling. \"Wotcha.\" he greets, attempting a smile now before monosyllablemattie beats them out of him.\n\n\"What's that even mean, anyway?\" she says, not really looking up as she surveys the menu a moment longer. \n\nLooking up, she raises a brow at his coveralls and grease-spotted face. \"You a mechanic?\" she asks, though a little dubiously. Maybe he just likes to wear coveralls for fun, after all. The two never worked together until the other day, so she only has passing knowledge of Jack. Her fingers curl around the menu, finding a crease in the laminate and worrying at it.\n\n\"I am glad you asked that question.\" The reply coincides with sliding down into the booth opposite and snagging a menu for his own purusal while he gets comfortable. \"I dunno if it's true or not, but some geezer once told me that it were based on a phrase from ye olden days, innit?\" He flips the menu over, as though hoping there's more or different options on the other side. Back to the first page while his fingertip follows the lines. \"Which was uh, what cheer you have. Or somethin'. Like, what face are you wearin' today.\"\n\nA pause for a moment, \"Wotcha cock, now that's short for saying 'Alright, me old cock sparrow'. Since back in the day there used t'be all kinds of sparrows around.\" The cockney nods sagely, as though imparting important information that should be taken with the utmost seriousness. \"But yeah. Got me own shown an' everything. Ever your car needs fixin', you can bring it by an' I promise not to rip you off too much.\"\n\nThe long etymological answer earns Jack a double-eyebrow raise from Mattie this time. \"Huh,\" is her first response to that mini lecture. Clearly she wasn't expecting a real answer. \n\nThen, there's the smallest hint of a smirk. \"I only have two faces to choose from, but I guess that's one more than the normal people get. Well, unless they're hypocrites, that is.\" \n\nShe shakes her head at his offer. \"I don't have a car. Or a license, even. I just tube it most of the time. But thanks anyway. If I ever get a car that breaks, I'll remember that.\"\n\n\"Reackon you're takin' that all too uh. Whatsitcalled. Literal. Face like, what kind of mood you in?\" Maybe the sarcasm is lost upon Jack, or perhaps he's just being stubborn. Either way, he seems mildly amused. He's also picked his poison, given the way he sets down the menu and catches the waitress' eye with a little tip of the head.\n\n\"S'for the best, really, darlin'. Gotta be Patrick Swayze to want to drive on these streets. Still. S'useful for our line of work, an' I do fuckin' loves to drive. Just not in rush hour. Or during the day. Or when there's people around.\" Narrows it down a bit.\n\nThe redhead shakes her head. \"I got the metaphor. I might be the only Los Angeleno that knows what 'literally' means,\" she says dryly, before shaking her head at his allusion. \"Patrick Swayze? He's that guy in Dirty Dancing, right? Was he in a driving movie?\" \n\nMattie doesn't let him answer before she shakes her head again. \"Forget it. Not important. Here,\" she says as she pulls out the various folders and pamphlets that all bear the logo for Kings College. \"I stopped by the campus today and picked these up. We'll probably have to get someone higher up help stick us into the system and all, but we can get Edith to arrange that later. Also, we'll need to find out Murdoch's schedule to figure out what we can take that seems at least reasonably realistic. Figure we should divide and conquer, split up her schedule between us to play babysitter and cover all her courses that way.\"\n\n\"Los Angeleno? I ain't got no idea what that is, love.\" Jack replies, earnestly. Lifting a shoulder, he seems to be in agreement to let it slide and continue on to business. There's a hint of a smile back on his lips while he regards her, holding his opinion on the matter of college until he's done with the waitress.\n\nFull English, no tomatos, extra bacon. That's his choice. Along with a nice cuppa tea. He gives Mattie a chance to place her bid too, then talking can resume. \"Well. I got that covered. I'm a legitimate business owner. Although, I ain't got no GCSEs or whatnot to get in to any of these courses, so. She's going to have to fudge that one.\" He's not ashamed of that little point either, shrugging it off. \"Not sure we're goin' to be able to hack nursin' classes though if they're advanced. She in her first year or what?\"\n\nAfter giving her order — fish and chips, no extra directions for the cook — she shakes her head again. \"I think a couple years in. If it's more a babysitting deal, I can just hang out invisible in case shit goes down I guess, if we can't get in the class. My hope is we don't have to hack anything and she just … gives in and lets us help her before too long. Because I don't have a clue what I'm doing, if so.\" \n\nHer brows furrow into an irritated scowl — for the young woman who apparently takes her Gloom-fighting missions very seriously, she seems rather frazzled at the prospect of going to school. \"Maybe she still has her — what do they call it? General Ed or whatever? — to do.\"\n\n\"Yeah I'm with you there darlin'. That'd save a ton of trouble, an' effort. Maybe I can hang out in the bleedin' cleaner's closet an just have Pan attend class. He can't write so good though.\" But then, neither can Jack so that works out. He doesn't say that aloud though. \"Dunno why that girl wants to be so bastardly objectionable. If I were likely to start settin' shit on fire, I'd want people around what understood what the deal was and tried to give me a hand, like.\"\n\nThe latter gets a head tip, \"General Ed? I dunno who that is.\" That's a jest, delievered deadpan. Just the tiniest hint of a smile at one corner of his lips afterwards. \"Seriously though. What'd you mean?\"\n\nShe gives a little bit of an unladylike snort. \"General education. At least in the States, you have to take classes in other subjects besides your major. History, English, underwater basketweaving, I donno, along with your major classes. If she has some regular classes left that aren't nursing, maybe we can swing those, and I can sneak in to the nursing ones.\" \n\nShe picks up the salt shaker and starts to turn it in her hands. \"Honestly though — she probably has to do stuff at the hospital and stuff at this point, and she shouldn't be anywhere near that if she's quick to anger and doesn't know how to control things. Nursing's not exactly low stress.\"\n\n\"S'all very military in America, ain't it?\" he counters, \"I dunno that we do that. Although, s'not like I'm an authority on the matter. None of my mates never went to no fancy university. Reackon I'll be the only one in my family what's ever taken a class even.\" That brings a darker expression for a moment, a fleeting thing that is hinted at and then gone as quickly as it arrived.\n\n\"Right. Meant to fix people up, not set them on fire. Maybe we should just pay some hooligans to rile her up, cause an incident so she reconsiders her need for help.\" It's not the best idea, but it has its merits, certainly. A tilt of the head follows, \"You're a right chatty Kathy when it's all about the job, ain't you?\"\n\nMattie shakes her head first at his suggestion, then frowns at his assessment of her 'chattiness.' \"Not yet. Give her a chance to trust us, to choose us, on her own first. I'm not really sure I like this whole stalking idea, but.\" One shoulder shrugs. She's not going to speak ill of a senior agent's orders. \n\nShe looks like she might say something else, lips parting for a moment, before closing again, and she turns her eyes away to examine the rest of the cafe. Not so chatty all of a sudden.\n\nA shoulder up, \"Figure we should have better things to do that babysit.\" Jack grumbles, snagging up his cutlery and twisting the fork about between his fingers. He's less concerned with speaking ill and more concerned with the overall goal. Beureaucracy seems to get in the way.\n\nThe sudden lapse into silence is matched, turning the fork so that he can use the base of it to pull over one of the brochures to skim over. It's something to fill the lack of talking rather than genuine interest. \"Touche.\" he murmers after a time.\n\nThankfully the awkward silence is interrupted by the waitress bringing the food. Mattie busies herself with pouring malt vinegar over the fish and chips, then salt and pepper. His plate is looked at little skeptically, and she gives a slight shake of her head. \n\n\"The job,\" she finally says, \"is what you and I have in common, aside from shit no one wants to talk about, right? At least, I don't.\" A fork is picked up and a bit of fried and battered fish broken off to bring to her mouth.\n\n\"That's funny.\" Jack's fork cuts an x through the eggs, causing them to bleed out their yolk along the channels toward other breakfast items that can at some point in the very near future be dunked into the yellow mess. HP Sauce. Salt. Ready to go. Three sugars go into that cup of tea, too. \"By funny, I mean, that's fucked up.\" he clarifies with a little crooked smile.\n\nThe end of the knife is painted with a mix of brown and yellow when he points it in her direction, using it as part of a conversational gesture rather than anything that could be construed as a threat, \"See. All you know about me is that I run a garage, an' have the same job as you. So Snooty McPoshbritches ain't got nothin' in common with the common man. I bet you don't even watch Eastenders.\" The latter part is added after a pause, sounding sullen. There's a hint in his tone of an aggrevied attitude in response to her statement.\n\nHer eyes drop as he speaks — perhaps because she knows he's right. That is, until he gets to calling her Snooty McPoshbriches. \n\nHer eyes flash up, narrowing upon him. \"Fuck you,\" she says, standing up suddenly and grabbing the bag that sits on the booth next to her to sling over her shoulder. A hand goes into the side pocket to pull out a few notes, throwing down approximately the right amount for her food she's had two bites of. \n\n\"Just because I don't want to be your 'best mate' or play fucking pool with you doesn't mean I'm snooty or posh.\" There might be more — it looks like she has more to say — but then she turns to go.\n\n\"Calls it like I sees it, darlin'. I ain't the one actin' like butter wouldn't melt in my mouth.\" Jack replies calmly, still cutting up some bacon and sliding it around the muck on the plate. \"Still. Stormin' out of here, that likely proves your point, don't it?\" he adds, with an implied 'Methinks the Lady doth protest too much'.\n\nMight be that he's now in the wrong, although calling someone posh is hardly a killing insult, and the 'fuck you' does put him off from any kind of apology. That and the fact that there's food to be eaten. Plus fish and chips for dessert if she follows through with her dramatic exit. He is still watching her though, out of the corner of his eye. Despite the attitude, there's something that appeals. The attitude, maybe. \"You don't want to be my 'best mate', 'Yet'.\" he remarks, possibly in closing.\n\n\"I'm not here to make friends. We can work together whether you like me or not, and vice versa,\" Mattie snaps back, glaring when one of the other diners turns to look at the little fray. \n\n\"Enjoy your food,\" she adds. And hers, apparently, as she does in fact follow through on her threat and strides to the exit, shoving the door open. Hopefully no one is on the other side."
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