Logs:One Day In the Life

From X-Men: rEvolution
One Day In the Life
Dramatis Personae

Rafael, Shane, Flicker, Nessie, Anole, Ryan, Scramble, Ion, Jax, Mirror, Joshua

2019-07-05


"{This fucking city.}"

Location

<NYC> Grand Street Market - Lower East Side


This neighborhood fixture has stood at the corner of Essex and Grand for a long, long time. Though it has a name and even a proper sign which declares 'GRAND ST MARKET', to much of the neighborhood it is simply the bodega, as though there weren't 10,000 others like it throughout the City. It's open 24/7, but after midnight anyone who isn't a trusted regular has to ask for their purchases through the bulletproof glass service window. Business tends to be slow but steady most weekdays and extremely lively on Saturdays--almost as lively as the trade in community gossip at this underrated social hub.

The long counter extends back from the front door that opens onto the corner. Many of the more expensive small items, such as cigarettes, medications, and electronics, are sequestered there between the old-fashioned cash register and the late-night service window set into the outer wall. Farther along the counter, there is a food prep area that serves up coffee, soup, sandwiches, and a rotating menu of Dominican snacks. Between the end of the food service counter and the back wall, there is mounted a dry, crumbling cork board overflowing with event announcements, ads, and lost pet fliers and a slow but reliable ATM.

Beyond this, the rest of the respectably sized store is crammed with shelves and end caps and refrigerated display cases. It sells prepared foods, produce, groceries, home goods, alcohol, personal care products, toys, over-the-counter medications clothing, and a variety of Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Chinese specialty items. Interspersed with and crowding between these common household necessities are small luxuries and occasional startling whimsies. In addition to the human employees, the shop is staffed by Coquí and Sapo, the resident cats.

---

5:45 am.

It's early. The store isn't due to open the proper doors again for fifteen minutes or so yet, but Rafael has almost finished getting things ready for opening. Outside there's already someone waiting, a middle aged white man in a business suit impatiently checking his watch and then checking his phone as if it might disagree. In between this, he's turning a scowl to the other man waiting outside the door, slightly older, much scruffier, dark-skinned and heavily bearded and just waking up from where he's made his bed on a pile of newspapers in the doorway.

Tap tap tap. The man in the suit taps with his phone at the glass when he sees Rafael moving within. Rafael points him to the overnight window, the cashier there reading a magazine behind the bulletproof glass. TAP TAP TAP. The man rat-tat-tats a little harder at the door. "C'mon," he says irritably when Rafael opens up the door, "I just need my coffee and sandwich. You really should do something about this riff-raff at the door," kicking at a duffel bag presumably belonging to the previously-slumbering man, "you'll drive away paying customers."

The look Rafael gives him is flat. "Starbucks down the street," he answers simply. "Hey, friend," to the other man, who is now sitting up and collecting his things protectively, "you need a coffee? Sandwich? You come. Is on the house."

---

6:30 am.

Shane's steps are dragging, heavy. A slow trudge as he comes up to the door. Rubs his hand against his eyes, pushes his way in. He gives a small nod to Rafael behind the counter, stifling a yawn as he heads over. His enormous eyes fix blankly on the short deli menu -- as though he doesn't already have it memorized. Elbows resting on the counter, shoulders slowly slouching, for a long stretch he seems -- on the verge of nodding off again before he straightens with a blink. Looks to Rafael apologetically. "Sorry, I'm still --"

Somewhere in the intervening stretch while the sleepy-eyed shark leaned up against the counter, Rafael has produced a large black coffee and an open-faced ham and sausage and egg croissant sandwich. Very heavy on the meats. "-- Waking up."

---

9:15 am.

There's not much eye-catching about Flicker in his khakis and grey polo. He has an armload of flyers in hand, colorful and eye-catching. "You mind if I put these up?" He gestures to the corkboard past the counter. "We're doing a fundraiser for --" Though he doesn't get to the end of the sentence, Rafael already waving him on back.

It's a little more eye catching when he blips over there. Tries to choose a spot on the packed board that is, if not unoccupied, at least occupied by a flyer advertising an event long past. Tacks up his flyer for an art jam at Chimaera, fundraising for a legal defense fund for mutant immigrants. Thanks Rafael cheerfully and blinks back out of the store.

Almost as soon as he's gone a young man is glaring daggers at Rafael, already heading toward the board. "{What are you letting those freaks in here for?}"

"Tss." Rafael's push of breath is dismissive; he waves the other man away from the board before he can tear the flyer down. "{Man, leave it. He's a good customer.}"

---

12:40 pm

From the moment they skitter and slink through the door, there are a lot of eyes on the pair of Morlock teenagers who've just arrived. Nessie is drawn up high on her many legs, kind of towering over the rows of shelves, her sharply barbed tail flicks over her head at unpredictable intervals. She chatters loud and bright to the serpentine girl who accompanies her, shorter and muscular with slender locs hanging down around her deep brown shoulders; Nessie's companion slithers alongside her not on legs but on an enormous snakelike lower body, deep russet scales with splotched black saddles and an iridescent flash to them. The girls take their time about browsing -- toiletries first, then candies, taking one item after the other after the other off the shelves to discuss and, ultimately, put back each. Just before the exasperated staff finally looks ready to yell at them to leave they make their way to the counter in the end with only one pack of Skittles between them to pay for it cheerfully but tediously in small coins.

Amid all the kind-of-fearful, kind-of-irritated gawking, nobody really notices the last of the Morlocks. Anole scurries up along the ceiling, mottled and unobtrusive where he blends in to the dingy paneling. As the girls leave, he darts out the open door along with them, his backpack heavily laden with a bounty of canned food.

---

3:25 pm

"No me diga?" Ryan is crouched against the wall near the bulletin board, hand outstretched to stroke at the chin of a very loudly purring cat with dark rosettes marking their brown fur. His head is tilted up, towards a game of dominoes two older women are playing at a rickety table beside the lunch counter. "{But I thought their wedding was going to be --}"

"{We don't know, maybe the wedding will still be on!}" one of the women crows as she lays a domino down -- whether her glee is at this piece of gossip or her most recent play, who knows. "{Go through all that fuss, all that money, why not still have the party?}"

"{How are you going to have a wedding when the groom's left the whole country?}" Ryan's laughter is quiet but warm.

"{The papers they tell me you're single,}" says the other woman with a pointed lift of her eyebrows. "{You know my Gabi she's pretty as a flower and,}" like this will just sweeten the deal, "{we have a wedding already arranged!}"

---

6:50 pm

Scramble has been wending through the store, in a cropped purple tank top that bares an expanse of midriff above her shimmery gold short-shorts, gradually filling the basket hanging from the crook of her elbow. The items are mostly common household necessities -- sewing thread, toothbrushes, Tiger Balm, duct tape, a big bottle of white vinegar -- but now she frowns down at the checklist displayed on the screen of her phone. "The fuck do we need ten of those for?" She lifts her eyes, casting around as she moves down the narrow aisle.

She's about to turn to the cashier for help when she practically walks into the item she's been trying to find. Shaking her head incredulously, she reaches out to pluck not one, not two, but five packs of long, white ear candles from the hanging display. "The fuck do we need any of these for?"

---

9:05 pm

Ion is leaning up against the counter, waiting for his order of chicharrón to finish frying up. "{-- kind of depends on how often you get back there.}" he's just saying to the young woman behind the counter, just before she turns aside to help a nervous-looking young man who's just stepped up to the cash register. The man places a pack of gum on the counter together with his cash -- and pulls a gun from his waistband once the register dings open.

"{C'mon c'mon,}" he's saying, "{what do you have in the till? I need all of it.}" His eyes are wide, his hand not entirely steady on the pistol as the girl fumbles the money out of the register. Hands it over. The would-be robber looks at it -- his expression drops as he leafs through the bills. "{Wait, what, is this all? This can't be all, come on, this isn't barely going to cover a month of my baby girl's insulin, what else you got?}"

"{Friend,}" Ion's deep rumbling voice is quiet; he shakes his head slightly at the cashier as she starts to reach to press an alarm beneath the counter. "{Talk to me. How old's your little girl? Me and my dogs, we help you out. You don't need to be doing family like this.}"

The man hesitates a long time. Stares down at the cash on the counter. Looks up at Ion -- his eyes fix on the Mongrels patch long and hard before he slowly lowers the gun. Slides the money back. His shoulders sag, head shaking. "{She's only four. You'll really help?}"

"{Come on, bro.}" Ion snags his chicharrones, offering them out toward the other. "{I got you.}"

---

10:35 pm

Jax's red and black guard uniform looks crisp and neat; far more put together than the rest of him, slouched and dragging and stifling a yawn as he shoulders his way in to the store. He knuckles at his eye as he trudges through the aisles, stopping in front of a display of medications. First he reaches for a 100-count bottle of ibuprofen. Sticks it back on the shelf after a moment's consideration. His hand hesitates over a 300 count bottle before he finally plucks a bottle of 500 pills off the shelf instead and carries it like a priceless treasure up to the counter.

---

2:55 am

The door to the bodega is locked, the sign directing people instead to the plexiglass window at which the night cashier sits watching John Wick 2 dubbed in Spanish. When Joshua stumbles toward the door, tries it -- tries it AGAIN, frowns at its stubbornly not-budging handle, at first he barely looks up. But eventually, gives a second, longer glance to the very wobbly young man, half stripped from work in grungy undershirt and his dark blue pants and work boots. Rafael snorts, shaking his head in recognition and getting up to open the door, gesturing the man in wordlessly.

Joshua's thanks is effusive, if slurred. He's soon followed by a second Joshua, this one in flannel pajama pants and a much cleaner undershirt, only very marginally more steady on his feet as they head to load up an armload of salty oily snacks.

Rafael blinks when the two Joshuas come to dump their junk food on the counter. Says nothing as they pay and head out, just shaking his head again as he locks the door behind them once more. There's more fondness in his voice than otherwise as he takes his seat again, chin resting in one hand. "{This fucking city.}"