Y16/08/09- Shop Talk

Cast: Conrad, Dia
Location: MLK Boulevard, Florence, South Central
Time: Early evening on August 9, 2016
Synopsis: Conrad and Dia run into one another on the street.

East Martin Luther King Boulevard - Florence

As MLK twists its ill-orange streetlit way down towards Vernon and Florence, turning into Central Ave., the area becomes less cluttered, and more sterile. There is a sense of commercial and industrial decay — this wide, well-used road is not so much a slum, as a corridor of wasteland, wreathed in metal. Every yard is protected by iron fencing, every lot ringed with chain link, and every window of every struggling 98-cent store set with bars. Off the main street, disheartening triplex apartment buildings and dilapidated houses from a happier age stand lonely vigil, their occupants among those who walk vacantly along the street, congregate at a bus stop, or simply sit - weakened by the trials of life in the City.

Obvious exits:
Urban Brawl (SW) Chop Shop (N) Warehouse (NE) Long Beach Boulevard (SE) Slauson Avenue (S) Exposition Park (W)

Conrad arrives from Long Beach Boulevard - Florence.

Conrad has arrived.

Conrad strolls slowly down the Boulevard in a westerly direction.

Jumping up into the air from a standing position, a small-framed woman with a familiar face and dress grabs onto the two handles of the Chop Shop's roll-up door. With the help of gravity, she pulls the door down to the ground - the metal end slamming into its concrete home and causing quite a bit of racket. She walks over to the side of the door, removes a set of keys from her front pant pocket and begins to lock up the small building.

Conrad startles at the noise, turning to identify it's source. He offers Dia a polite nod and a smile, "Good evenin', Miss Chavez."

Dia slowly removes her key from the lock on the door and doesn't turn around to greet Conrad right away. Instead, she takes her time turning about - the girl hiding the inquisitive furrow in her eyes and brow as she searches her memory for the owner of the voice she hears. Whether she connects the voice with the right face or not, Dia finishes turn around to let her eyes fall squarely upon Conrad. When she sees the man, a visible wave of relief washes over her face. She smiles at Conrad and says in a somewhat chipper voice, "Buenos noches, Senor Little… What brings you around this part of Florence?"

Conrad moves a bit closer to Dia, settling in against a green electrical box atop the sidewalk and shrugging his shoulders. "Just passing through to the park, the nights are so warm now it just feels nice to be out and in them." He waves towards the chop shop, "Nice place, your business?"

Dia looks to her left and right, as if making sure no one was coming down the sidewalk to interrupt their conversation. There are a few gangers, both male and female, down a block and on the other side of street outside some warehouse - but they are barely audible and don't seem interested in the two individuals down the street. Focusing her eyes back on Conrad, she says, "Lucky you - can't even tell when it's cold or warm anymore really. Have to look and see how everyone else is dressing to look even somewhat appropriate. But yeah…" Dia looks back at the Chop Shop door for a quick second and then back at Conrad. "Not really a business, but something Ali secured for me to keep me busy and out of her hair."

Conrad chuckles softly, dipping his head and dropping his voice. "I make it a point to try and remember the things that seemed important, I've found it helps. Is it keeping you busy, then? Perhaps you're even seeking customers?'

"I do favors for people in the neighborhood…" Dia says, placing her hands in her front pant pockets and sticking her elbows out slightly. "Repair what they need fixed, you know. Sometimes get paid by the boys wanting to put new rims on their car or whatever. As I said, not really a business - but if you need something special done on a car of yours, I'm all ears." Dia takes a step backwards and leans against the rolling door, the metal rattling slightly as she does so. "But busy, not really. A good distraction? I'd say so. You got any distractions?"

Conrad says, "I've got a sixty-four continental, original four-thirty bulldozer still in it. I've been using lead substitute, but I always feel kind of bad about that, not to mention the lack of catalytic converters. I'd drive it a lot more often if I could run it on unleaded." He smiles at the thought and continues, "Absolutely, my teaching is a welcome distraction. There's something I've noticed about people becoming detached once they cease working like a normal person, it's unhealthy.""

"Oooh… A '64 Lincoln Continental… Don't see those much more…" DIa says, flashing a brief smile as she talks about the car with some intrigue. "Especially love the suicide doors on them. They aren't practical, but they look so bad ass. Always thought about looking for one to fix up for myself, but they handle like a boat. I'd never drive it." Dia shrugs her shoulders, giving off a rather c'est la vie attitude. "You teach?" she asks thereafter. "Didn't know that - what do you teach?"

Conrad nods quickly, "Ship is the correct term, I think. Boat's more like one of those two-ton diamond star collaborations they made a number of years ago. I teach History and African studies at the junior college in Watts. Just a few night classes, but I enjoy the interaction and opportunity."

"For a second there, I thought you were gonna tell me you were some guru or something…" Dia says with a smirk, almost breaking out into a silent bit of laughter. "But that's good you're doin' something other than just hanging around South Central being a nuisance. Were you a teacher before you… you know… or was this something that came later?"

Conrad lets out a loud laugh, shaking his head and blinking his eyes rapidly. "A guru? Heavens no. I'm glad you approve, although i can't say it's particularly kept me from being a nuisance. Yes, I started teaching shortly beforehand, at Pepperdine originally."

"Gotcha, gotcha…" Dia says quickly, nodding her head as she acknowledges the tidbit of information offered by Conrad. "Pepperdine's a good school. A bunch of rich kids, but its got a reputation. So what kind of history is it that you teach? Like African history or somethin' a little more exciting like Medieval Times?"

Conrad's smile grows as Dia expresses an interest, "To a point, it depends on what students sign up for. Southwest has quite a few students studying American history and African history, but I've also taught world history and ancient history. The latter is one of my favorites, as few students know of Nubia's conquest of Egypt prior to the Romans.

Dia nods as she listens to Conrad intently, grinning from ear to ear when she hears the bit about ancient history. "World history was probably may favorite course in high school - or at least the only one I stayed awake for. The first few weeks were the best, talkin' about the Romans and the Mongols and all that. Don't know why, but I got that kind of morbid fascination with war-time history… Seems like all the interesting shit happens then, ya know?"

Conrad says, "Of course, it is conflict that breeds innovation and is most often written about. Well, conflict and worship. I only wish the conquerors hadn't done so much to erase the history of those defeated civilizations, it makes reconstructing the past that much more difficult."

"Well, I can understand why they did… Kind of like the gangs you see here in South Central…" Dia says, the girl looking over her left shoulder and eyeing a piece of graffiti written on a nearby building. "You don't want the tags of some gang you kicked the shit out of on your land… Makes it look like you tolerate people talkin' shit about you. Sometimes, it looks like your inviten' people to come back and kick the shit out of you."

Conrad follows Dia's gaze to the tag, studying it a moment before dipping his head. "I'm positive the history of South Central's gangs is fascinating, the conflicts and conquests no less real than those of Egypt and Rome, if on a smaller scale. I suppose I'm doomed to be a scholar, for I'd at least record the inscriptions before tagging over them."

Dia turns her attention back to Conrad and says simply, "Just don't let whoever is runnin' the show catch you do it… Might think you were a spy or somethin' - and that's never good." The girl grins for a brief moment before asking, "So what's the good word? Been kind of out of the loop since Bells kicked me out of Elysium."

Conrad casts a cautious glance down the street in both directions before replying in a hushed tone, "You and half the domain, hermana. Miss Santiago, Mister Devon, at least no one can accuse you of being in poor company. Not many visitors to the expo these days, the locals are all migrating to the Phoenix. Northrup's puppet was shot there last night, but so long as curious parties can keep their interests on the down low I don't suspect there will be any repercussions."

"Really?" Dia asks with a quirked right eyebrow, seemingly surprised by either the shooting or the number of individuals banned from the Elysium. "I knew Ali was in trouble, but I didn't know Devon was banned as well. Doesn't surprise me that people are seeing the writing on the wall and just heading elsewhere to socialize…" Dia leans up off the rolling door and removes her hands from her pockets to wrap about her torso, her hands gripping her ribs. "Problem we got there - as you said - is people keepin' some for of respect for one another. Lots of bad blood - so to speak - is flowin' and bein' where there's no rules is just gonna make it easier for shit to go down."

Conrad says, "Yes, Bells proclaimed that as his gifts can alter the mind, they could not be used within the halls. I saw Ace a number of weeks ago in the Expo, so perhaps the Phoenix is not entirely without rule. If nothing else, we should support our blood's claim to the place."

"I have to credit Bell on that one… Don't think there's any reason for people to come into an Elysium and use any gifts - whether they want to be seen or not, or whatever the case. Should be a place where everyone is on the same playing field… Makes only common sense. But there's plenty of people out there without it - so whatever… Just me rambling…" Dia says, shrugging her shoulders softly and looking down towards an invisible spot on the ground. "And we'll just see how long law hangs around the Phoenix…" Dia flicks her eyes back up to Conrad. "… and how long until it changes on someone for the worse."

Conrad says, "I cannot find any fault with her logic, I simply hope she has the courage not to back down on the issue. I've never felt particularly safe within the hallowed halls anyways, so to me at least the point is largely moot."

"I agree…" Dia says with a smile, reciprocating on Conrad's thoughts regarding safety in the Elysium. "One day…" she adds in a whistful tone. "One day…" Unwrapping her arms from about her body, she clasps her hands at the small of her back and spreads her feet a little into a wider, more comfortable stance. "So what got John shot the other night? I've only met him once I think - and that was with Will Johnston in the room. He didn't seem particularly… what's a good word? … 'fond' of the man. Seemed to go past the general disregard people have for people like John."

Conrad says, "I do believe Mr. Johnston only allows Mr. Rainer to continue breathing to keep civility within the Chantry. I'm not sure it was any action he took, for although I'd only stepped into the parking lot a minute beforehand his only real ambition seemed to be polishing off a pack of Marlboros. No, I suspect it was his very presence that provoked such a violent response."

Dia rolls her lower up up into her mouth and under her upper teeth for a few seconds as she takes in the information regarding the shooting. Nodding her head once, she unfurls her lip and says, "Well, we certainly don't need that kind of attention - so hopefully John's learned whatever lesson he was supposed to learn, and that'll be the end of that."

Conrad coughs lightly and nods in response, "John won't be visiting South Central any longer, outside of a suicide attempt, and in return for the generosity of our Domain Mr. Northrup will be informing Charles of his gratitude for the assistance of two of those falling under the decree of Acton. A little peace could do us all some good, I feel.

"Hrm…" Dia murmurs, her mouth contorting into an awkward grin - both sly and full of amusement. "That should be interesting. Maybe I don't understand the whole relationship between those two, but knowing Ali and my relationship to her while I was 'working' for her, I honestly don't know if Ali would 'kiss ass' for me if I did something that stupid…"

Conrad says, "Until presented, any creation is the creator's responsibility. In their world, at least, such behavior on your part would reflect poorly upon her. I can't know what effect it will have, but I don't imagine it will hurt. It's not kissing ass, just letting the truth be known."

"Yeah… Guess Ali still needs to fill me in on all th-…" Dia's words are interrupted by a shout from down the block, eminating from the crowd of gangers. "YO DIA! TIME TO GO!" shouts one of the male gangers, who has since walked out into the middle of the street. If she could blush, Dia probably would as she gets slightly flustered. Looking at the ganger and then back to Conrad, "Sorry - totally forgot I was drivin' people tonight. Can't be late. It was nice talkin' to you and all, Senor Little. Hopefully we'll run into one another again… Hasta." And with that, the young woman gives Conrad a twiddle of the fingers on her right hand, turns to look up the street and then skips - yes, skips - towards the group gathered outside a looming warehouse.

Conrad gives Dia a wave in return, "Enjoy your evening, I'll see you around!"

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