2010-07-13: Giraffes and Greaseballs



Date: July 13, 2010


Jamie recounts the story of her year while some others try to go unnoticed.

"Giraffes and Greaseballs"

Bronx Zoo

With summer vacation in full swing, the Bronx Zoo is going through a frantic time - not quite as bad as the weekends, but it's still crowded. And hot, amplifying pleasant and pungent smells alike. And noisy. Not a minute goes by without a loud screech from one direction or another— and those are just the kids wired up on cotton candy, the animals are actually taking it in stride. They're here every day, they're used to it.

"That one with the spots over there is a leopard," Matt says, hoisting his son up so he can get a better look. "No, not that one— he's got spots, too, but he's a giraffe. See how tall he is?"

The small no-tell motel room she was holed up in was hot, stuffy and boring. You can only watch tv and the walls for so long before you start to get a little stir-crazy, and Quinn was never the type to want to stay still for long. It was a risk, but maybe the ones she worried about weren't really looking all that hard for her, it has been a long time, and with a little.. hell, she's an impersonator, damnit, even if she doesn't have her old.. advantages at the moment. Its old school, but she puts a scarf over the hair, sunglasses, and heads to somewhere not her usual style, the zoo. Lots of kids and parents, milling around.

She sits on one of the benches, in front of the big cats, watching them pace, looking as trapped as she feels. Unknowingly, she has a quarter in her hand, threading it expertly over and under her fingers, fluidly, a nervous habit.

There's something to be said about watching Matt with his son, and it never ceases to amaze Janice how good of a father Matt ended up being. She smiles, standing a half-step behind the larger Matt and the smaller Matt, her own gaze falling towards the giraffe. "He's taller even then Daddy, isn't he? That's pretty tall." Janice states, peering between her son and the giraffe.

Ordinarily, at about this time, Charla Keble would probably be borrowing her parents' dog for a walk. Unfortunately, Charla has come down with a bad case of nonexistence recently, so her original form, Emmitt Galloway, is the one doing the relaxing today- minus the dog. He recently took the risk of taking his alter-ego's ATM card out for some extra cash- and this is the result. A trip to the zoo. Appropriate for a guy who, a few weeks ago, felt like he'd just dropped a few rungs down the evolutionary ladder. He passes by the bench where someone is sitting. "Do you mind if I sit here?" he asks, as he watches the happy family from afar. He hopes he'll have a family of his own someday- and make sure things turn out better for his children than they did for him with his original parents.

A week with no powers starting to get to Jamie, making her want to wander. With no more friends to find who might have a clue where Sydney is, she's turned her attention to something more fun… the zoo! And unable to convince her sitter to stop with the paperwork and take her out, she decided to go herself. Getting out of Kirby Plaza away from her sitter was easy, now that she's done it a few times and security aren't really even trying to stop her anymore. Getting up to the Bronx was even easier. So, now she can be found outside the leopard pen, arms resting on the railing as she watches the animals. That is, until she hears a familiar voice. She looks over quickly, and waves towards Matt with a smile. "Hi!" She quickly zig-zags closer through the crowd.

Oh yes, Matt is freakishly tall. Sure. Never mind that most of the adults present can look him in the eye without straining— Janice among them. "Not as tall as mommy's shoulders!" he declares, in fact, setting the kid down on just that spot.

The trick with the quarter starts to draw his attention, but before he can turn and see what's going on over there, there's another familiar face approaching. "Oh, Jamie, hi! Haven't seen you in a while." He turns and gestures toward the others by his side. "Janice, this is Jamie, we met late last year. Jamie, this is Matt Junior and his mom." Enough information for each of them to draw some conclusions, but to anyone else's ears, it's just typical small talk.

Quinn doesn't notice her little habit, her attention drawn by the person who just asked to sit down. She glances over quickly, hand reaching up to check if the sunglasses are still on, but nods, keeping her voice soft and low. "Umm.. sure, no problem." The additional nervousness has her moving the quarter, it slow motion flips from one finger to the other, then passed under, and then back up again, almost like magic, but more like.. prestidigitation, literally. Sleight of hand.

Emmitt watches her for a while. "Hey, you're pretty good with that," he comments, before looking back at the family. It looked like they had a visitor now. "…I wonder what I'd be like as a parent," he muses, before turning back to Quinn. "So… what brings you out to the zoo today?" he asks her.

Janice settles her son on her shoulders, making sure she's got a good grip on him as she points to the giraffe for a moment. "Now we're almost as tall as he is!" Her attention, however, is drawn back down to another as Matt introduces his friend. "Hi, Jamie. It's nice to meet you. Enjoying the zoo so far?"

Jamie waves to both Janice and baby Matt, "Hi!" Then she nods quickly to Janice's question, "Yep. Well, don't like seeing so many animals locked up, but guess there's no other way for so many people to see them. Isn't fun at all to be locked up, though."

Matt shrugs. "They're taken care of, at least." No animal rights protests in his immediate future; sure, there are probably some abusive places somewhere out there, but the Bronx is high-profile enough to do a good job.

While Janice and Jamie exchange polite greetings, he looks out across the crowd, squinting at an open area between the monkey cage and a helium balloon vendor. He's not sure yet, but he thinks he just spotted someone else he recognizes… and not in a good way, this time.

Quinn realizes what she is doing, even as the man mentions it. Damn! She grabs the quarter as it passes under and then her hand opens, its gone. Ok, that was probably not the best way to end unobtrusively, but her smile is wide, innocent, "Just… fiddling around. Oh, yeah, families." She glances around the zoo, "This is a great place to take kids."

"Yes, I can imagine that it's not so fun being locked up." Janice agrees, looking back to Jamie. "But it is nice to be able to see them, and they're made very comfortable. They're used to these as their homes." She lets her gaze go to the leopards again, letting Junior point out things excitedly. "Little Matt's a big fan of animals. And animal cookies."

Emmitt nods. "I'd bet," he says. "I'll definitely take my kids here if I ever have any." A thought strikes him about this. His powers are coming back, so… when he has kids, will he be the father or the mother? …He shakes his head. Honestly, that was a pretty stupid thing to think about. "So, what's with the sunglasses and the scarf thing?" he asks. "It's not that bright out, is it?"

Jamie nods quickly to what both Matt and Janice says, "They seem like they're nice here." She shrugs a little then and giggles a bit at the explanation of little Matt's excitements. "Well, *everybody* loves animal cookies," she says with a grin aimed at the younger Matt. Then she looks up to the older, and answers one of his earlier comments, "Probably woulda seen me earlier, but soon as we got out of hiding Saul took me to Brazil on a vacation. We were in a plane crash, and a bunch of us were lost in the jungle. Saul's still missing, even."

There— walking around the side of the building that houses bathrooms and a small storage area. That guy from the mall a couple weeks ago is at it again, dealing in broad daylight by way of losing himself in a crowd. Pretty effectively, too— with his ability still muted, Matt has had to fall back on his older skill set. Walk forward, act casual; service revolver in the fanny pack, where it won't show any telltale outlines until withdrawn. Good thing Janice - and now Jamie and her travelogue - are around to keep Junior away from the action.

Observation is one of the biggest tools in a performer's arsenal, or a magician, or an impersonator, much less someone in hiding. Which meant Quinn's 'spidey sense' was on, and on high. Talking idly with the man beside her, though keeping some attention on him, she murmurs, perhaps a little less than convincingly, "Sun sensitive.. I don't want to burn." but her attention is primarily drawn by Matt, and then to what is drawing HIS attention. Something about his manner shifted from what she'd call 'family day' to 'serious business', and she wants to know what triggered it.

Janice knows Matt well enough to understand that his casual walk is something that could mean trouble. She keeps a firm grip on Junior's legs, where he sits happily on her shoulders, and her gaze flickers back to Jamie. "Stick close, something's up." She tells her. Considering the way she and Matt had been talking, Jamie's likely well aware of danger. She continues her conversation with her son, though, as if nothing had really happened. "Maybe we'll have some animal cookies later… we can try and name all the animals correctly." She tells her son, then looks to Jamie to see how the girl fares.

"Makes sense," Emmitt replies. He also notices the suspicious look on Matt's face and wonders what's going on. He's also a bit suspicious of the woman next to him, but that doesn't seem quite as important right now.

Jamie blinks, glancing up to Matt as he starts to walk away like that. She, too, apparently picks up that something's wrong. She seems calm, though, not too worried at least, as she nods to Janice's words, saying a soft, "Ok." She's taking it seriously. She looks back up to Janice and the smaller Matt again, and asks the boy, "Seen lots of fun animals today?"

Luck, it seems, is with the off-duty cop today; the lanky guy with the greasy hair is overconfident enough that he has his back turned to the crowd, trusting them to simply ignore him as just another random teenager. His customer - a strawberry blonde, the right age and build to belong to a JV squad - is not so calm; at the last second, she realizes that someone's approaching and makes a run for it, nearly jogging Matt's arm in her panic. Following suit, the dealer turns around, but stands his ground and whips out a switchblade instead. Really, really overconfident! Snorting your own dog food will do that sometimes.

Quinn's eyes narrow at that predicament. Damnit.. she didn't come here for trouble, tries to avoid it, but.. she has that pesky soft spot, having seen the kid from before. Sucker for kids, prefers they not see their parents die. At least switchblades don't go off suddenly, but she doesn't have /all/ her usual tricks. Just.." a hand slips into her pocket, pulling out something the size of a small marble and, surreptitiously tosses it to the right of the knife wielder, so he will have to turn the knife away from Matt.. as a loud pop goes off, with a flash, like a small.. well, firework.

Emmitt watches this maneuver with interest. "Whoa, ninja," he says with a laugh. "I figured there was more to you than meets the eye," he comments to the woman. "Do you carry those things around all the time?" But then again, he figures, she's probably not interested in small talk at the moment.

Matt Jr. is good at pointing out animals and finding his favorites. So when Jamie asks him about the animals, there's a great opportunity for the tyke to babble on about them. Janice smiles, letting the boy chat, though she's careful to keep him on her shoulders… mostly because the last time something bad happened and Junior was around, he proceeded to end up very nearly caught up in the business. Safer for her son to stay on mother's shoulders than puttering around father's feet.

Jamie listens closely to the little boy's babbling, grinning all the while. She does take a couple quick glances Matt's way, eyes widening as she sees the knife being pulled. Quickly, the young girl steps so that little Matt is looking as far from his father as possible if he's looking at her.

It's too bright out for Grease Boy to be distracted much by the flash, but the bang does the trick well enough on its own. Holy crap, did he just get shot? Would he even feel it if he did? And then Matt lunges forward, grabbing the wrist in one hand and the blade in the other, tossing it away; there's a loud metallic clang as it hits the side of a trash can and drops to the concrete.

It's still a struggle to wrestle the guy toward the nearest chain-link fence - Matt's unexpected strength countered by the younger man's desperation high - but it looks like no one's going to suffer more than a few bruises for it, whichever way it goes.

Quinn gives an innocent look, "Umm.. leftover.. from the 4th of July. I just remembered I had it in my pocket." she murmurs, "Lucky thing, I guess. Looks like he got that guy."

"I see," Emmitt says, standing up. "Well, I have things to do," he says, giving the woman a friendly look. "Maybe I'll see you again sometime… and maybe I won't." That all depends on his powers, he thinks.

The sound of the bang startles Matt Jr., who seems just a bit upset at the loud noise. Janice, however, makes sure to turn so that it'd be very difficult for her son to turn his head to see his father, and Jamie's doing a good job of being a distraction too. Janice smiles at the girl. "Matt," she tells her son, "Why don't you tell Jamie what animal's your favorite and why?" Janice herself doesn't know how well Matt's fairing, but she'd rather keep her son focused from thinking something bad is going on. She trusts Matt to take care of things, whatever it is. She's just praying that wasn't a gunshot.

Jamie glances back to the older Matt momentarily, but quickly looks back to the younger one before he can notice she's looking past them. "Yeah! What's your favourite, Matt? My favourite's the penguin, because they look fun and can swim really fast."

By the time Emmitt reaches his feet, the struggle has swung in Matt's favor, as he gives up on the fence in favor of pinning one of the teen's arms behind his back and then kicking the back of his knee, causing him to lose his balance. "Janice," he calls out, "call for backup? I've got my hands full here." Indeed, even without any leverage to speak of, the guy is still trying his best to get up and away.

Quinn nods to the man about to walk away, murmuring, "Sure, its a big city, but people do seem to run into each other." wryly. Then she literally facepalms when she hears Matt call out to his wife. Should she? No.. no.. she glances to the aforementioned Janice, to see if she's going to take care of that.

One hand carefully reaches into her pocket for her cell phone, and Janice is dialing quickly for the police. She's well-aware of what to do, since it wasn't something you could ignore, being in any sort of close relationship with a cop. She proceeds to give them the current location and a quick description of the situation before she hangs up. Thankfully Matt Jr. is still distracted by talking to Jamie.

Jamie looks to Janice as she makes the call, blinking a little in surprise at how professional she is about it, but then turns her attention back to the younger Matt's talk, smiling brightly to him. She may or may not follow his babbling, but she puts on a show that she does at least.

A few tense minutes pass - one of the zoo employees comes over to see what's going on, along with a couple of visitors - before someone in a uniform walks up, cuffing the teenager and leading him away. Matt mops his brow as he stands up, handing a card to the officer and then heading back toward his family. "Hey, Matt, you wanna go see the aquarium next? Lots of bright-colored fish!" More to the point, it's indoors, and indoors means air conditioning. He could stand to get the smell of this guy off himself as quickly as possible.

Quinn takes a breath. She doesn't know why she stayed, even why she helped. It was stupid, really, but.. it seems safe now. A hint of a smile ghosts over her lips as she looks at the kid, he is pretty cute.. so is.. ok, that one she recognizes. She almost waves, then drops her hand. Jamie wouldn't recognize her like this, and its best she doesn't. She rises, slowly, reluctant to get back to that empty, boring hotel room.

Janice gives a nod to Jamie as she notes Matt returning, her face a visible sign of relief. No gunshot wounds. Then it's just back to being a happy family. She smiles down at Jamie. "Thank you." She offers, indeed grateful for the help. Her gaze goes back to Matt. "Alright, aquarium it is." She lets him lead the way, giving Jamie a nod to follow if she'd like.

Jamie smiles back to Janice and says, "You're welcome." She looks back up to Matt and says, "You were awesome over there… from what I could see anyway," she adds, as obviously having been unable to focus on what was going on. She looks hesitant just a moment in following, until Janice's nod of invitation, then she smiles and follows them along towards the aquarium.

Before disappearing into the crowd again with the others, Matt glances back, scratching his head. Who should he be thanking for distracting the guy before he could take a swing? Nobody obvious: a gray-haired couple eating hot dogs, a twentysomething wearing what looks like a burqa. I owe you one, whoever you are, he thinks to himself.

Quinn glances back toward the couple, grabbing a quarter again from what looks like mid-air, to twiddle between her fingers again. She takes a deep breath, thinking to herself again, "Stupid risk.. good thing I still keep the poppers around, though. Comes in handy.. kid did not need to see his pop get it in front of him." Ok, back to the hotel room again.

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