2010-07-03: Sawdust



Date: July 3, 2010


Two lost souls with mysterious pasts meet in a hospital hallway in a rather unorthodox way.


Mt. Sinai Hospital

This is Kain's fourth new job this year. It's not that he's unemployable, it's just that he has to stay one step ahead of his personal reaper. So far, he's had a good deal of luck doing so. If you're always moving around, chances are, the person who's looking for you isn't going to find you.

Granted, he's kind of here for a different reason this time. His ability is gone, and he's hoping said reaper will be more inclined to talk to him if he can't hurt her - or anyone else - ever again. The job is still minimum wage and temporary besides, in case he does have to leave in a hurry. It's not something that really utilises his skills, either, as a hospital janitor is a far cry from a doctor. Still, it's employment. Long hours means he can afford his rent in sub-par housing, and he can also keep an eye out for the person who's been after him.

So, someone threw up in the hallway. Kain's seen worse, but this is pretty gross. It's not something the mop in his hand is really cleaning up, either. It's really just sort of pushing it around, which means he's probably going to have to get down on his hands and knees and scrub it. What does he know about being a janitor, though? Looking at his cart, he spies a bottle of Drain-O. Doesn't that stuff dissolve anything!? Picking it up, he unscrews the lid and adds that to the mixture he's already got on the floor.

That it's not Morgan's vomit is simply a matter of timing and locale— Morgan did her praying to the porcelain god last night upon arrival at Erin's apartment, following the three doubles of scotch that her possible-new employer provided her with, along with a swallow or two of eight or nine other drinks that had been discarded in her quest to find something she could stomach.

Turns out scotch, at least three doubles' worth, is not something she can stomach.

Morgan slept late into the morning, and is now no longer queasy, though she still bears the headache that comes with hangovers. Having just looked in on Erin through the window to the sick woman's room, it seems visiting is pointless when the patient is in quarantine. Morgan rounds the corner, stopping and covering her mouth at the stench of the mess that Kain is cleaning up. She frowns a little and watches as he adds the harsh chemicals to the mix.

"Sawdust," she says, though her hand muffles her mouth. It's not something she knows from personal experience, but she has since seen a mall custodian at a food court cleaning up a similar mess.

"Why the hell…" Kain mutters, as the Drain-O sputters and hisses, while not really doing anything to dissolve the mess on the floor. He's a genius, really. Most of the books he's read didn't tell him how to clean up hospital puke, though. He scrubs at it with the mop again, just before Morgan rounds the corner.

"…Sawdust? Really?" he asks, looking at her as if he's crazy. Then he remembers that box in his cart full of sawdust, that he wasn't sure what it was for. Why would a janitorial cart hav sawdust on it? Perhaps this is the answer. Fishing through the various boxes and bottles, he finally pulls out a plain brown box and opens the taped-shut lid. "So… what, I just pour this on there? What good does that do?"

He should probably be acting like he at least has a half-clue what he's doing, but this is getting really, really annoying. "'cuz I can't see how this is gonna clean up this mess. I mean, look, I don't even know what this kid ate to— you know. Make…" He presses his lips together and looks a little green himself, before quickly looking away and upending the whole box on the mess. The hallway is suddenly filled with dust.

At least the huge amount of sawdust seems to help mask the smell. Morgan arches a brow — well, they surely don't hire the most brilliant people to be janitors. Maybe he's special, she tells herself, so she speaks slowly.

"I think it absorbs it. You'll have to sweep it up once it's soaked up the moisture," she tells him, not getting much closer and basically shouting down the hall way as if talking to a five year old with special needs. "Let it sit for a little bit and then sweep it up, then clean the area with bleach so it's," sanitized is maybe too big a word for him, "not germy."

"Not germy? You mean 'sterile?'" Kain asks with a smile. Yeah, he gets the idea that this girl thinks he's pretty dumb, by the way she's talking. It's kind of offensive, while being funny at the same time. Looking around, he leans the mop against the wall, waves his hand to dispel the dust, and takes a few steps nearer. "My last job was as a medic in Africa, so… I mean, if someone puked on the ground, it was already pretty dry, so…" He shrugs. Another job he'd only had for a handful of weeks before he came over here. Before that, he was a gardener in Tennesee, and let's face it, not many people are around to puke on your petunias. "Um. First time I've… You know. Janitored. Don't tell anyone— You don't… Work here, do you? I mean, you're not coming to check on me and fire me, are you?"

When he's clearly not as dim as she thought he was, Morgan's cheeks color a little. "Sterile, yeah, that's the word," she says, glancing down. She has a hangover — eyes that bright shouldn't be allowed! "No, I don't work here. And I won't tell anyone you're not very good at being a janitor," she adds with a smile. "You sound like you're over-qualified for the job."

That's something she can relate to — whatever job she can get certainly isn't going to make the most of her mind, since she has no degree to get something that actually challenges her. "I don't have one at the moment. Think they're hiring? I mean, I at least know what the sawdust is for."

Kain laughs, rolling his eyes. "I'm just one of those people who likes to try everything once. I don't think I'll be tryin' this again anytime soon, though. But hey, it's money while I'm here, right. Thanks for the tip about the sawdust. I was about ready to go get the vacuum outta the closet to see if that would work."

It'd probably just make a bigger mess.

"So, you don't work here. Visiting someone then? I have a brother in the hospital back home, so I know what that's like."

"Yeah, visiting. My friend… roommate I guess, she's sick. But visiting isn't really happening, since she's like in quarantine, and it's sort of hard to talk through a door," Morgan murmurs. "I don't really know all why, to be honest. It's not like she has Ebola or something."

She takes a few more steps forward, though she keeps a wide berth of the mess on the floor. "I'm sorry about your brother," she adds. "Where's back home?" She's not sure why she's having a conversation with a janitor around a pile of vomit and sawdust, but the fact the only person she can really call a friend is in the hospital might have something to do with it. Well, there's the potential employer who taught her how to drink, too. Maybe she has two friends now.

"Y'mean the one down the hall?" Kain asks, nodding in the direction of Erin's room. "Yeah, weird, huh? Hope she's okay and all. They won't let me in to clean it, so…" He ends the statement with a shrug, looking at the pile of sawdust on the floor.

"Back home is back home," he answers. "I dunno, I don't feel comfortable talking about it. You ever get like that? Like you can't say what you wanna say?" He gives Morgan a crooked smile. "He's been in the hospital for awhile." He leaves out that it's his fault that Tony's never leaving the hospital ever again, because most people wouldn't understand. His reaper certainly doesn't.

Kain starts to hold his arm forward to shake Morgan's hand, but he winces, pulling it back and rubbing his shoulder until it pops. "Let's try that again, huh?" This time, he's able to hold his hand out. "My name's Kain."

Does she ever feel like that? "All the time," Morgan murmurs, dropping her eyes. She can't tell anyone where home is to her, because Llanview doesn't exist. At least not the Llanview she comes from. She can't talk about family because they don't exist.

She glances down at his hand to make sure it's clean — he is cleaning up vomit, after all! — before offering her own hand. "Morgan," she says, hoping he doesn't know who 'the one down the hall' plays on a certain television show and connect it to her own name. Or if he does, hopefully he'll chalk it up to coincidence.

Yeah, Kain isn't much of a TV watcher. After all, he just got here from Africa, so American soap operas aren't his area of expertise. Erin McCarty is just another name to him, and while he's heard people say she's on TV, he knows nothing about her or the character she plays. Morgan is spared the connection. "All the time, huh? Sorry, didn't mean to strike a nerve or anything."

It's nice being able to shake someone's hand without holding back his ability. Thankfully, it's gone now, so he neither steals Morgan's age nor hurts her. Because he can, he holds onto her hand for an extra few seconds before letting go. "I dunno many people around here. I should be off work in — " He checks his watch, and frowns. "Well, I thought I was here longer than I was. I guess I've still got three hours ahead of me. I was hoping I could say like, fifteen minutes. Then I coulda been all gentleman-like and asked if you wanted to go out for coffee or somethin'."

"Time doesn't fly by when you're talking to me, huh?" Morgan teases, glancing down at her hand when he finally releases it. She then glances at the watch on her other wrist. "Three hours. Well. I actually have to see a man about a job — that might take about that much time, right? And maybe I can come back to peek in at Erin once more to let her know that I care, and then we can do coffee?" She should probably peek in at Janet, too, but she's afraid of being accused of getting the other woman shot and being told that she isn't real. She isn't sure her hangover can take that today.

Kain didn't expect that response. Actually, he was kind of thinking he'd get a 'too bad, well, maybe next time' before never seeing her again. Pardon him, therefore, if he seems a bit like an excited puppy when Morgan offers to return. "Really? I mean, that's great, I didn't… I mean, I hoped you'd say yes, but I didn't think… Yeah! Yeah, that'd be great, and I'll make sure I have this…" He nods at the mess on the floor, "…cleaned up by then."

There's a quiet chuckle from Kain as he takes a step back. "I'm glad I didn't know how to clean this up, or maybe you wouldn't have said anything. D'you ever think there's a reason for everything? Like everything leads to something else?"

She smiles at the excitement — she hasn't lived long in this real world, but she's not used to that much enthusiasm from just about anyone about anything just yet. The rest gets a thoughtful furrow of her brows. "To be honest, I'm not sure. I'm sort of having a philosophical … reawakening and all, and trying to figure out what I believe," she says. She nods to the waiting room at the end of the hall. "I'll meet you there, in about three hours, then. It was nice to meet you, Kain."

She steps clear of the mess and begins to make her way to the elevator, glancing to smile over her shoulder. A janitor — Erin would probably say she could do better, but… what qualifications does she have to offer to some one of higher status? Not much, except long legs and a pretty face.

Kain waves as Morgan goes, a smile still on his face until he can't see her anymore. As soon as she's out of sight, he slumps up against the wall, the fake smile he's been maintaining since he saw her melts away as if it hadn't ever been there. Blue eyes fall to the floor, and he sighs.

What the hell are you doing, Ted?

He rubs his shoulder again. Everyone he's close to, everyone he's loved, has ended up hurt. His parents, dead. His brother, as good as dead. His baby sister wants to kill him. As if he can ever have a life anywhere.

Maybe Jo will understand. "Three hours," Kain says, looking at his watch again. "Yeah, I'll be waiting." All part of the persona. All the same routine. In the end, he's just going to have to disappear

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