ArchivedLogs:Two Parts Mutual Aid, One Part Caffeine, Garnish With Bling

From X-Men: rEvolution
Two Parts Mutual Aid, One Part Caffeine, Garnish With Bling
Dramatis Personae

Eridani, Ion, Isra, Natalie


"{/Every/thing's better with family than not.}"


<NYC> Evolve Cafe - Lower East Side

Spacious and open, this coffeeshop has a somewhat industrial feel to it, grey resin floors below and exposed-beam ceilings that have been painted up in a dancing swirl of abstract whorls and starbursts, a riot of colour splashed against a white background. The walls alternate between brick and cheerfully lime-green painted wood that extends to the paneling beneath the brushed-steel countertops. There's an abundance of light, though rather than windows (which are scarce) it comes from plentiful hanging steel lamps. The walls here are home to plentiful artwork available for sale; though the roster of prints and paintings and drawings and photographs changes on a regular basis it has one thing in common -- all the artists displayed are mutants.

The seating spaced around the room is spread out enough to keep the room from feeling cluttered. Black chairs, square black tables that mostly seat two or four though they're frequently pushed around and rearranged to make space for larger parties. In the back corner of the room is more comfortable seating, a few large black-corduroy sofas and armchairs with wide tables between them. There's a shelf of card and board games back here available for customers to sit and play.

The chalkboard menus hanging behind the counter change frequently, always home to a wide variety of drinks (with an impressive roster of fair-trade coffees and teas largely featured) though their sandwiches and wraps and soups and snacks of the day change often. An often-changing variety of baked goods sit behind the display case at the counter halfway back in the room, and the opposite side of the counter holds a small selection of homemade ice creams. A pair of single-user bathrooms flanks the stairway in back of the cafe; at night, the thump of music can be heard from above, coming from the adjoining nightclub of the same name that sits up the stairs above the coffeehouse.

It's been a while since Evolve has been open for business. In lieu of coffee and clubbing the upstairs nightclub has been converted into living space, the downstairs into eating -- when there is food, at least, which is hit or miss. There hasn't been much by way of /meal/ for a while, but right now the kitchen is full of the smells of spicy stew. Ion is chopping up turnip greens to add them to the pot, singing quietly to himself in Spanish as he works. There's a baby carrier on a counter, the bat-winged droopy-eared bulging-eyed creature inside it clicking quietly to themselves, almost but not quite in time with Ion's singing.

The young woman who comes in from outside has been a familiar face around the makeshift shelter here the past weeks. Much like most of the people here, Natalie's dressed kind of plain, kind of functional; sturdy boots and blue jeans, a black sweatshirt over grey tee, a healthy layer of grime on the boots and jeans and sweatshirt though the t-shirt seems clean enough. A knife is at her hip, a backpack on her back -- she unslings /this/ to the counter once she's inside. "It won't help your dinner, but --" Natalie pulls a couple silvery bags of coffee out of her backpack to stand them on the counter. Nearby the baby carrier. "This /is/ supposed to be a coffee shop, yeah? -- That smells. So good."

A less frequent sight than those staying at the shelter, but an occasional deliverer of supplies, Isra stands at the sink, scrubbing a cutting board. She looks anything but plain, between her vibrant green wrap dress, her brilliant jewel-beetle skin, and the rainbow-crystal shimmer of her wings, horns, and talons. Setting the cutting board on a drying rack, she flicks her long, long fingers over the sink once more before drying them on a dish towel. Her nose started twitching before Natalie has even spoken, and before she catches sight of the coffee. Turning, she offers the young woman a nod of greeting. "Ah, very good. Thank you." She takes up one of the bags and inhales deeply, her ears perking up and her tail swaying gently. "I take it you have not had the pleasure of experiencing Evolve in the course of its normal operations, then?"

"Aw /shit/, you the fucking boss." Ion gives a small whoop of delight as he turns from the stove, bouncing on the toes of his heavy motorcycle boots. "You kidding me, this /just/ what dinner need. You put some of this on, yeah? Smell this, Frittata," he waggles one of the bags in front of the baby carrier -- the infant inside likely does not care about the smell of coffee, though they do stretch their wings towards the silver glint of the bag -- "we eating /and/ drinking good tonight. {I hope you like venison, this stew gonna be the shit.}" His Spanish comes with more fluid ease than his choppier English, though both have an equally cavalier attitude towards things like /grammar/.

Natalie shakes her head, leaning down against the counter with one elbow propped on its surface. She watches the baby's wings stretching towards the coffee with a small lift of eyebrows, mouthing a little curiously -- 'Frittata'? -- her eyes lingering a few beats longer on the outstretched wings before turning back to Isra. "No. It was kind of out of the way before. Heard about it, but -- we didn't have anything like /this/ over in Jamaica." She holds out her hand for the coffee, though with a small twitch of rueful smile. "Seems a shame to deprive them of the shiny. For a good caffeine fix, though --" Not /enough/ of a shame that she doesn't snag the bag back. "{I /do/ love venison but -- right now I'm hungry enough I'd eat rat. Hunger's a damn good seasoning.}" Her accent sounds fairly local, a nuyorican color to her Spanish.

"Egg has many names," Isra explains with a fond smile, "and plenty of shiny in their life." 'Coffee, not toy,' she adds to the child in sign before going to fetches mugs--colorful ones in many patterns, not the uniform white or black that most coffee shops sport. "{You'll see that it deserves the legend in good time,} /her/ Spanish is awkward, and carries a very Americanized version of Ion's Argentine accent. "{Ion could make delicious rat stew, too, if it came to that.}"

"{Eyyy dont knock it, rat stew gotten me through more than one catastrophe.}" Ion turns back to the stove, if only for a moment. The gremlin is fidgeting, ungainly limbs scrabbling against the side of their carrier as the bag is taken from them -- 'Bling coffee,' they're answering Isra emphatically, 'toy coffee.' This puts a wide grin on Ion's face -- admittedly this seems to be something of a default state for him. He crouches down, roots in a backpack beside the counter, eventually comes up with a very crinkly squishy plush dragon, a teething ring on its snout and mirrors on its claws; probably at one point it was some other colors but its brilliant glittering array of jewel tones now suggests that Tag has gotten to it somewhere down the line. "{Bling /dragon/}," he both says and signs, tucking the toy in with Egg before returning to his cooking once more. "{And this place, like a second damn /home/ for some of us, the smallshark he's built a good spot. May take some work get it up and /running/ again but --}" Shrug.

"I see /that/." A smile spreads across Natalie's face when the very colorful dragon toy comes out. "That's brilliant --" 'Bling?' She has measured out a large amount of coffee to grind, but now echoes this sign with a very puzzled lift of brows. At least until Ion clarifies it aloud. Her hand moves to her mouth, stifling a sudden laugh. She /stares/ at the glittery dragon, shoulders shaking, then returns to grinding the coffee for brewing. "{I'm sure your rat pibil is fantastic, but I'm still looking forward to trying out the menu here. Whatever work it takes to get it open again --}" Her voice is louder to pitch over the grinder, before she switches it off. "{Least I can do after the past few weeks. Not like I have shit to go back to in Queens, anyway.}"

Isra takes up Ion's chopping when he leaves off for a moment to satisfy his child's demands for bling. Her ears flatten down while the coffee grinder runs, then perk back up again after. "{I think that the work will go quickly,}" she says, undaunted. "{Our community is built upon mutual assistance. And perhaps also addiction to caffeine.}"

"{The biters take over your house, huh? Maybe it still there, who know. City been cleaned up pretty good.}" With Isra chopping, Ion gets out a second pot, filling it with rice and water to start that cooking. "Caffeine the /universal/, sister, we can't claim that. Whole damn city --" His finger curls into a fishhook shape, crooking by the side of his mouth to mime tugging his head to the side. "{But we'll take the help, for sure. Throw a damn fine reopening party after.}"

Natalie shakes her head, her smile slanting a little crooked. "Oh -- no. My -- building got hit by some..." Her shoulder lifts, head dipping a little self-consciously. "People. Once the looting got really bad. Wasn't safe to stay even before the horde --" Her head shakes quickly, smile quicker once she looks up again. "{Reopening party sounds like something to look forward to. But, to be honest, the mutual aid does -- has been, too. Even an apocalypse is a little less shitty with community around.}"

Isra does turn to glance at Natalie when she hesitates in her explanation of what befell her home. Other than that, though, only a quick, sharp sweep of her tail bespeaks any emotional response. "Unfortunate," is her only commentary on that, as she returns to slicing mushrooms. "{Many in the community need new homes, and I think that you will find better recourse for safe housing among your fellows than elsewhere.}"

"/People/," Ion scoffs, more openly derisive, here, "fucking flatscans think they can stomp us for any-damn-thing, s'aright, huh, {you find plenty-plenty folk here have your back. /Every/thing's better with family than not.}" He nabs one of the mushrooms that Isra has chopped, popping it into his mouth and tossing the rest into the pot before lidding it. "Gonna be a fuckload of rebuilding coming up. {Can bet on the city not gonna be looking to fix up /our/ community any time soon.}"

"I'm seeing that." Natalie starts the coffee brewing, turning once it has begin percolating to lean against the wall. "{It's not something I've had before, but -- I've got their backs, too.}" The breath she exhales is kind of sharp. "It's not like this city gave much of a damn about us /before/ the outbreak, I wasn't really figuring on a sudden change of heart now. Just gonna be a lot more people left really needing --" She gestures around the cafe-turned-shelter. "{Someone having their back.}"

Isra drapes a wing around Ion after he finishes up the prep for the soup. She leans back against a counter herself, as far as her lanky and inhuman physique will allow, tail curled around her legs now, its polychromatic glory contrasting with the flat, solid green of her dress. "Needing? Yes," she says finally. "But not left wanting, if we can help it."