2007-02-28: A Bum With A Theory

Starring:

Daphne_icon.gif Randall_icon.gif

Summary: Daphne's shoppping, and runs into a crazy guy on the street, who kind of freaks her out a little. What's his deal, man!?

Date It Happened: February 28th, 2007

A Bum With A Theory


Upper East Side, New York City

Randall looks a little raggedy for this corner of town, which is probably why he's parked on a bench outdoors rather than taking in one of the restaurants. He's holding up what looks like a moist towelette to the air, tilting it around and peering closely at it from time to time.

—-

Nice day, even though the February chill is still prominant in the air. It's dry cold, too, which means Daphne's holding a glove up to her face to keep out the more bitter chill so she can at least breathe comfortably. After a morning at work that was too cold for outdoor shows, she needs to pick a few things up for her own small zoo at home, which means a late afternoon out on the town for the young woman. Not that she's complaining; after all, New York is the /place to be,/ all things considered. Now that she knows other… talented… people exist, though, she's kind of been on her guard. Pigeons tell her things, and it's /creepy./ If you want to know something, ask a rat with wings. It's almost like clockwork… if you can get them to talk. Turning a corner on her way to a pet supplies store, she passes Randall, walks right by him, then turns so she can give him a double take. Okay, okay… tact, Daphne. Tact! "—What the /hell/ are you doing?/" … Okay, so tact is not a go.

—-

Randall has a thick black jacket over his usual outfit, some synthetic material or other, leaving his face rather red from the cold. He remains composed, though, as he turns and looks over Daphne. "Measuring," he answers, "or trying to. I think the city's undergoing a form of externalized pranotthana— never seen anything quite like it." Meanwhile, a handful of pigeons wander around the general area, looking for scraps.

—-

It's always pigeons, isn't it? Always scuttling around where they ought not to be! For the moment, she ignores them, since the talk of them going foodless since Randall's been standing there doesn't interest her in the slightest. Looking up at the towel the man's holding up, then back down at the guy himself, she points to the air. "Only thing you're going to discover is that New York is filthy. Put that under a microscope, and you'll have a whole little teeny tiny collection of bacteria and dirt and smog. A whole miniature civilisation." Nothing to learn by looking at rags, that's for sure. Daphne has no idea what pranotthana means, but she's willing to bet it'll put her to sleep, even on a /good/ day.

—-

Randall laughs a little. "I'm sure you're right, but this isn't really bothered by germs. I mean, unless there was mud, or something so thick you couldn't see through—" Then he pauses, blinking and folding the towelette in half, and leaning toward the young woman. "Look, I know this will sound weird, but would you mind picking this up for a minute?" Well, it's probably not much dirtier than just walking around in the nasty air, anyhow.

—-

It's not going to be /that/ easy! Especially because he kind of looks out of place in New York's upper east side, and… well, it's a big city, he could totally be a bum. "Yeah, that sounds weird," she says, a half-smile appearing on her face. The expression doesn't look very friendly, and is for closer to a 'what are you on?' unspoken. Here's a guy she's just run into, holding out a towelette that could very plausibly be much worse than the animal leavings she has to occasionally clean up at the zoo. "I have no idea where that's been," she explains, taking half a step backward to indicate her utter lack of interest in taking the towel from him.

—-

Randall shrugs, withdrawing his hands. "You're right, you don't, do you. But—" He peers at it again, up close this time, and blinks. "Right, there /is/ a nexus, only it's folded over and the interference patterns…" He trails off into his own private thoughts for a while, then belatedly catches on to Daphne's backing away. "Hey, wait!" he calls out, suddenly more concerned.

—-

Blue eyes widen as he deviates from the conversation enough that Daphne has no idea what he's talking about. Seriously, this guy could very well be /on/ something; curiosity dictates that she sticks around long enough to figure out what that is, exactly. Then again, she thought she was nuts when animals started talking to her, which means she has to believe that, in some way, not everyone who appears crazy is necessarily off their rocker. Still, this guy… "I'm not going anywhere," she says, one foot shuffling backwards just a touch so it's obvious that she /is/ going somewhere. If she can just back up enough that if he makes a jump for her, she can run, it'll all be okay. "Look, just tell me this. If I stand here and continue to talk to you, am I going to end up needing to call for help? I'm really not in the mood, so … if you could clear that up really quick, I'll be happy to listen to you talk about wet napkins."

—-

Randall remains where he is, setting the towelette aside and resting his hands in his lap. "No, I promise I'm harmless. Really. I just—" At this point, the hands come up, gesturing helplessly. "I sense these… things, these patterns. Not very well, I still need help, but there's /something/." Beat. "So, uh, I'm used to people thinking I'm a little nuts if I go and mention that, but sometimes I have to risk it anyway."

—-

Okay, good. She'll take his word for the moment, even though she's not usually entirely trusting. He's caught her interest, though, especially with what he says next. Had she not met Jane a few days ago, Daphne wouldn't give it a second thought, but now that she knows there's more people out there than just her and her best friend that are exhibiting these abilities… The girl's demeanor changes slightly. "There's /something,/ yeah," she says. "Clearance sale down the street, it's crazy. People running out of the store with the floorboards. But… I don't think you're entirely insane." It'd be too much of a coincidence. Finding out Laurel had abilities, randomly running into Jane on the street… And now this guy. "What do you think you're 'sensing?' I mean, you don't HAVE to tell me, but you've got me to stay now, so you might as well."

—-

Randall sighs, letting his hands fall into his lap once again. His lips twitch at the 'entirely' disclaimer, but he lets it go. "Life energy, basically. But beyond that… I don't know. There's a fair amount written about it, but I've come up against the edge of it. Now it's becoming folded and knotted, and the colors are bleeding into one another and— well, I guess I have to see what people actually do, and look for what fits."

—-

She'll still keep her distance, wary eyes watching the man with interest and caution, though she doesn't get the sense that there's any reason to fear him. She's in a decently crowded area, and what's more, she's not Laurel, who's afraid of her own shadow sometimes. There's nothing saying that this man really knows anything, nor is it written in stone that Daphne needs to stand around and talk to him, especially with the fact that it's pretty darned cold outside. But here she is…

"You feel it?" she asks, very specifically.

That's about all she gained out of the seemingly non-sequitur rambling about folds and colours. Daphne feels something, too, even if it's probably minor and not even really particularly important. It's a sort of trepidation, fear of the unknown— now that her little bubble's been burst, she can't help wondering if she's been missing something all these years. "Whats holding a towel in the air helping you prove? And none of this cryptic bull you've been feeding me. Straight up, just tell me. I'm not interested in guessing."

—-

Randall shakes his head. "I'm not trying to be cryptic— it's mostly because I don't /have/ names for any of it, the best I could do is draw pictures." A shrug. "I can do that, if you think it'd help. Especially if--" He looks around, lowering his voice; he's already explained what he thinks of himself, but what he thinks of others might be something to keep under wraps a little longer. "--do you feel it, too? Maybe even more instinctively. I've been looking for it for years now—"

—-

"Change my mind? You mean, you want me to hold that towel for you?" she asks. Her curiosity is really starting to get the better of her, even if there's a thousand little red blinking warning lights going off and telling her that this could potentially be a bad idea. A worse idea would be giving this man her phone number, though, but only because she's convinced that he's crazy, and no one likes calls from crazy people. Between the two options, she'd rather do the former, because it seems less dangerous, and she can always just wash her hands. "If I do, can you clue me in a little?"

—-

That wasn't what he meant, and in fact he looks confused for a second, but then he decides to roll with it. "Sure, it might help me fill in part of the picture." He picks it up again, holding it up by one corner and letting it fall unfolded once again. Looks like a harmless napkin, or piece of blotter paper or something.

—-

Still dubious, she reaches out for it, taking it by the centre of one side and holding it between her fingers as if it's diseased. She's not too bad with science, really, but this is kind of taking the cake regarding various crackpot experiments. Perhaps it's some kind of social thing - can you make someone talk to you long enough to hold this napkin? Daphne wouldn't be entirely surprised if that's the case, but… there's those feelings again, causing her to wonder if this guy's actually onto something. "Okay, now… What's this all about?" Her eyes focus on it. Of course, she won't see any dirt on the surface if it's just been a couple hours - according to the pigeons - but who knows where it was before genius here started waving it around?

—-

Looks like blotter paper, even up close. Feels like blotter paper. No fancy designs, though, and - lucky break - certainly not the slightest hint of anything like acid. If there was any, then it's already been used up. "Thanks, that should be long enough," he says. "If it's going to filter out any markers, it'll have done it by now."

—-

Wait, markers? "Markers?" she asks. She knows what those are. She's going to school for a certan branch of medical science, after all. Daphne momentarily looks somewhat alarmed, holding onto the paper as if it has suddenly become important to her. She can't say there isn't something odd about her, which makes her suspicious as to the motives of this guy. Where she hadn't wanted to take the paper initially, now she doesn't want to give it back, and yet, she's torn between letting him have it, or keeping it - which would draw attention to herself. So in the end, she simply asks, "Why are you looking for markers?"

—-

Randall thinks for a second, then fishes through his pockets, coming up with a pen and a small notepad. He doesn't take any special notice of the other piece of paper yet. "Okay, prana is energy; it's not air, but it sort of flows with air, in sort of the same way." Outlines are quickly traced out. "What I think is going on is that these currents are getting more intricately tied up in themselves, and extending through places as well as people… though with things packed so tightly together, it's hard to say. Anyway, that's what I've been trying to do here— the paper acts something like a time-lapse camera, if I can figure out how to work with it properly."

—-

Not much on theory, Daphne can't help lacking the understanding for such things. She can /get/ the desription in a sense, but it's not her cup of tea, or her area of study. Everything she knows has a complete basis in fact… Dissecting an animal will reveal that they do have organs, livers, kidneys, stomachs, hearts. It won't reveal that they had energy, though it would have been true based on what they did when alive. She can't see this 'prana,' doesn't have any basis in fact for it, so the only way she can reply is a brief mutter of assent that dictates that she kind of knows what he's talking about.

"Sorry, I wish I could totally follow you, but…" There's a brief hesitation, and he /did/ say he hasn't yet figured out how to work with the paper yet. It doesn't even seem likely that he's looking for special people like herself, just some crack-pot theory about energy currents, or - Daphne finds herself thinking - maybe not so crack-pot. Things /are/ starting to come together, and it's weird to think of how they really fit. Eventually, she holds the towel back out to him. "All right, here. But if this is some sort of test to see if I'm, like, the father of someone's kid or something, I'm not, I promise." There's the first hint of a smile as she holds the paper back out to him. "You have a name?"

—-

Randall takes the towel back, glancing at it and then slipping it into the notepad, letting some of the pages fall on top. "Randall," he says, offering a handshake. "Good to meet you, —?"

—-

Well, that's that, then. If someone comes knocking on her door to drag her away for science, she knows who to blame. Eyebrows arching in a sort of 'I give up' expression, she reaches for the man's hand. "Daphne. I can go now, right?" She's still not giving him her phone number, but there are a few clues about where he can find her if he really needs to. She's still wearing the clothes she wore at work, the shirt embroidered with the 'Bronx Zoo Staff' logo.

—-

Randall shakes briefly before letting go. "Oh, sure, sure. I—" He opens up the notepad again, takes a closer look. "Well, hopefully I'll run into you again some time. Thanks for humoring me." With a nod, he stands up and looks around, heading off toward a corner where the sandwich prices are moderately less jacked up.

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