Christmas shopping in the holiday madhouse.
<NYC> Spin - Harlem
Half record store, half music shop, Spin is a music lovers' haven. The record side of the store holds everything from vintage vinyl to the newest releases, both new and secondhand, with miscellaneous paraphernalia -- posters, t-shirts, pins -- held in bins along one wall. On the other side of the store, dedicated musicians can find a wealth of sheet music, from modern rock guitar tabs to classical violin and piano pieces. Behind the counter, higher priced rare items are secured away behind the glass. In a departure from the usual bent of this type of store, the shelves are kept meticulously organized.
This close to Christmas, it is hard to find a store that is not crammed full of shoppers, regardless of the time of day. With evening arrived and many people's workdays ended, though, this music store is packed even /more/so, people rifling through the bins and digging through the posters and the line by the tills stretching long. Tucked away into this bustle, Jackson is one face among many -- though a good deal more /colourful/ face than most, with his generous wealth of piercings and neon pink-and-green hair. Though he is inside and the sun set outside, the young man wears large mirrored sunglasses over his eyes, though even with these it is possible to see that his brows have creased down into a frown. He stands by the sheet music, teeth worrying at one of his lip rings with a quiet clicking noise as he slowly leafs through guitar tabs, his other hand tapping fingers arrhythmically against the boxy black bag he carries slung over one shoulder and resting at a hip.
Woe unto those who've left their shopping to the last minute. Gina seems to have come directly from work; underneath her puffy black coat, she's got the full rig of one of New York's Best, complete with Batman utility belt and a stethoscope strung around her neck. In this crush she's just one of many, though...if somewhat more peaked than many of her fellow shoppers. Shoulders hunched in and chin down, she takes advantage of a gap and slides in to her ultimate goal-- the sheet music section. Landing next to so colorful a personage as Jackson has its advantages. There's room to reach for higher sheafs, with others who've actually looked at him giving the man space. Gina takes advantage, glancing sidelong as she does-- and then doing a double take at the sight of...everything.
With his sunglasses on it is hard to tell what direction Jackson is looking, and though his face is turned forward he must have noticed Gina's doubletake; lips glinting with piercings turn upwards in a quick smile, and he reaches up, too, to carefully tuck away one of the papers he is holding. "A lot of them've gotten /way/ out of order, miss," he warns Gina, the molasses-thick drawl of his voice placing him deep -- Deep -- South. "I've been trying to set it right some but I think with this crowd it'll be back t'hopeless right quick."
In a city this big, the habit is to ignore, ignore, ignore. But with Jackson breaking that rule (legitimately, what with the accent and all), Gina's instinct for reserve is set on hold. A quick smile springs to her lips and erases some of the hollows in her face. /Her/ accent is all New Yawk. "Might be better to wait until you close, with the Christmas chum in the water right now," she says, pegging him for employee rather than patron. "You got any of the beginner stuff "set right"?" There's a hint of bemusement and delight for being able to steal both the phrase and enunciation. She taps the nearest packet of music while asking. "/Beginner/ beginner, on guitar? Something decent for four and five year olds?"
"Oh-h, I'll be outta here long 'fore this place closes, with any luck," Jackson answers with an easy laugh. He scoots just a little ways down the row, away from Gina, to rifle glittery-nailed fingers through some more of the music. "Though with those lines, I guess y'never know. We might all die in here. Hope you brought rations." His head tips back towards the wait at the cash registers. "Mmm, I think there was some -- hereabout." Frown, frown, deeper frown, and then a briefly satisfied look as he unearths a small sheaf to offer towards Gina. "These look 'bout right for learnin', miss. You just looking for tabs or -- there's a couple whole /books/ too, somewhere, uh --" His hand waves uncertainly further up the shelves. "I think."
"Oh, shit," Gina sums up. Somehow she manages to cram an apology into that obscenity too, for the misunderstanding. But with Jackson stepping into the helpful role, she's not so apologetic that she doesn't inch along to fill the space he's left. Her shoulder is jostled by a portly and bearded man in grungy denim, the contact drawing a brief flinch before she's able to refocus on the good. "If it gets much worse in here, I might panic and make a run for it...uh. Books might be good, it's been awhile since I've...maybe after Christmas though. I don't think he's old enough to care if...oh, there." Her finger jabs at a thick yellow volume pinched between two others. "If that's a dummies book, we have a winner."
Jackson seems to be well-practiced at the art of Crowds, squishing himself up closer to the wall when people jostle by. He crinkles his nose apologetically at Gina for her wincing. "Last year I came here on Christmas /Eve/," he says, his smile a little crooked. "'f you think it's a madhouse /now/ --" His head shakes, and he shudders with exaggerated horror. "Oh!" He follows the direction Gina's finger is pointing, reaching over to work the book out from the shelf. Glancing at the cover first, he then hands it towards her. "Your kid, miss?" he ventures a tentative guess as he offers her the book. "My boy just started learning last year, but man, if he'd started /young/ --" There's a quick flash of smile, a wryly amused, "-- Maybe the noise at home would be a lot more melodic by now."
Gina's shudder at the description-- and the images they summon in her mind-- is neither false nor exaggerated. When the book is handed to her, she clutches at it like one drowning. "You couldn't pay me. And that's saying a /lot/. I should've took care of this sooner but...you know." Things pile up, outings get put off; she sums it all up in a (careful) shrug. Thankfully, there is Jackson to once again save the day. With parent talk. Even New Yorkers apparently respond well to that-- just look at her sudden grin, awareness of the crowd gone in a flash. "My boy, yeah. He's gonna be five, and Ma is all about the kids learning an instrument early. I figured maybe he wouldn't drop this like I did when I was young and stupid. How old's yours?"
"Yeah, I know," Jackson answers, his own smile warm and warmly amused. "I had so many good /intentions/'a getting all this done but man if work didn't have other plans." He is returning to looking through the music, though he doesn't get very far in his search, consistently distracted by finding things out-of-place and putting them back where they /belong/. "It's a good thought. Starting young. I'd've loved to learn something but I got all the music talent of a rock." He leans a hip up against a shelf -- partially in greater relaxation on the subject of Children and partially in another shift of posture to let a harried-looking woman rush by. "Mine're seven and fifteen," this despite the fact that Jackson looks barely out of his teens himself, "The seven year old don't play nothin', though he steals his brother's instruments a lot. Did your boy pick the guitar or did y'all?"
Her fingers dimple the cover of the book as that lady goes by, and her head ducks until she's passed. Then Gina's back in focus, grin firmly in place. "Never too late, they say. You've got the look down, you'd fit right into the scene once you've got the chops." The book is wagged at him, all teacher at the lectern. "Two...I don't know how I manage with just the one. I don't think Eric really has much of an opinion. He's still at the banging on pots with a wooden spoon stage but since I don't have to shell out for a new guitar this seems like...oh, shit," she interrupts herself amiably. "I'm yakking your ear off and didn't even introduce myself. I'm Gina."
"Three," Jackson says, teeth flashing bright for a brief moment. "Twins. The teenagers. I've got more'a the look than they do," he admits with easy laughter, "though they've got more'a the skills. You sure you don't want to try him on drums?" This is asked almost teasing. "Hafta shell out for a new instrument /and/ a deluxe pack'a earplugs." He straightens at the introduction, offering his right hand (with its missing pinky finger) out for a handshake. "Jax. M'not rightly sure how I manage either," he adds, though he adds it bright enough he might (might) be joking. "Lotsa coffee, mostly."
"Damn, three." Gina responds well to humor-- it doesn't take much to leave her joining in with the laughter, though she's already shaking her head before he's even finished with the teasing remark. "That's pretty low, Jax, you trying to share the pain. You and Ma both," she says as she reaches to take the hand. The feel of it in hers, with that missing digit, leads her to look down during the shake. It's not the most polite thing in the world but a tilt while she's still got a grip on him shows the spot where the pinky should be. "Ouch." --maybe that's her professional medical opinion.
"I'm a generous type. Giving. 'sides, this is New York, everyone should get an equal chance to be miserable." Jackson is still smiling, with this, his handshake firm if somewhat feverishly-warmer than most people's. His smile dims just slightly as Gina turns his hand over, a briefly uncomfortable look crossing his face and then pushed back in the wake of a shrug of one shoulder, a crooked twitch of grin. "Yeah, 'bout sums it up," he says lightly. "Might also make guitarin' hard, though I ain't much tried."
When that expression flickers over his face, Gina releases his hand. Not immediately-- she glances up at him first, her look already transitioning to an apology. Distracted, when the next clump of surly shoppers pass by she doesn't think to dodge and gets another shoulder-check. For a moment, apology is displaced by the same sour twist of expression that decorates the herd. Then she's ducking and turning to press butt to display to create room, and looking towards the exit. The sweet, sweet distant exit. "...yeah. Maybe metal. That's all just wailing on the strings anyway, right? I...should probably get going before this mob gets worse."
"I'm pretty sure there's plenty'a rock bands that don't actually know any chords," Jackson agrees easily. His expression has relaxed back into an amiable smile, though his sunglassy-gaze lingers long on Gina with her sour look before he turns to look to the exit as well. "Possibly, miss, yeah. I mean, even if y'/did/ bring rations, I'll bet it won't take long 'fore someone mugs you for 'em. Good luck, if y'got more shopping to get done. Christmas ain't for the faint of /heart/."
"That's what the Maglite's for," she says with a distracted air, though the smile's quick to return. The hand not clutching the book brushes lightly over the flashlight hanging from her hip. Fear the utility belt. "Guess that means I'm heartless. Next year, I'm ordering everything off of Amazon. It was nice meeting you, Jax. Thanks for the..." She lifts that same hand to mimic a tall person reaching for things for the short one, the finger-wiggle shifting into a see you later sort of wave before she turns to ease into the crowd. Shoulders hunched, chin down, her posture's come full circle.
"Nah, if you was heartless you'd just stay home and skip Christmas entire." Jackson lifts his hand to his head, his gesture mimicking tipping a hat, though he doesn't wear one. "Y'take care, miss. Happy holidays." For a moment he watches as she disappears into the crowd, but then he turns back to the shelves, and his neat organizing of them.