Things were quiet, as they usually were at this time of night. Most people were sleeping, but a good amount still roamed the city, whether on foot or in a car. The city itself was of a rather decent size. Neither a sprawling metropolis nor a rural backwater town, Hillgrove was an unimaginatively named but very pleasant town. Half of it was what you'd expect from a modern city. Many roads, buildings, and suburbs alongside shops and places to have fun and waste time. Theaters, both of the movie and stage variant, were the most attractive choices, alongside a zoo and a few parks. While not the most exciting place to live in the world, it was hard to complain. For the adventurous types, the areas around the city were great for bonding with nature. Rivers, forests, lakes, and caves were common, and often had just as much activity as the city's attractions.
While he would've liked to have been out by a river or visiting a library, Salem was instead at home, reading a sizable book he'd recently purchased. It detailed 'forgotten history' and other such things, but he didn't put too much merit behind the tome's claims. Still, it was a nice read, and he was quite enjoying himself with the heavy collection of stories and articles. The picture sections were nice too. Artifacts such as broken swords, armour, pottery, and jewelry were beautifully displayed on the pages. A few of the things had an odd sense of familiarity to things he'd seen before. Maybe whoever had made his rings was also a fan of the book. There was no way for him to tell, and he put it down as simple, but interesting coincidence.
It was getting late, so he decided to get a quick breath of fresh air before retiring to bed. He marked his page with a ribbon, closed it, and set it down on the desk in his bedroom before glancing at the clock. 11:40 PM, not terribly late, but definitely enough for him. With twenty minutes before midnight to spare, he decided to go get a drink of some sort. He left his bedroom, which opened into a small hall that led to his humbly-sized living room, and pulled on his shoes and a jacket. Not his nice white one, that was for special occasion. This time, he opted for a red hoodie. He zipped it up and grabbed his wallet, stuck that in his pocket, and then opened his door and went outside.
Coldness hung in the air, but thankfully, the sky was clear. No rain or snow that night, despite the temperature, so it would be a very pleasant walk. The door to his house was shut and locked behind him, and he headed down the street, intending to visit a coffee shop that was almost constantly opened. In addition to smelling great and being active at all times of day, they had damn great cookies, and he was in the mood for one.
Another pair wandering about the city streets with a strangely similar destination. Though they seem to be leaving a far more lively activity of what appears to be a concert, but the timing suggest it rather early? It would have appeared as if one of the two had no love for the event, while the other was sad to leave.
“The lyrics where beyond childish, and the bassist could not keep up with the drummer it was horrendus! ”
Said the woman who chooses to allow her platinum locks hand straight, and it would seem she has a love for the color blue as her outfit keeps to it. Dressed in what looks to be mostly black tight fitting leather, her jacket and gloves would lead one to believe she should be racing down the street riding a motorcycle.
“How many times must we go through this? The lyrics are merely one aspect of a song, You constantly do this, it really isn’t something you just tie with the words! You got to feeeeeel it, like when you dance! Can you feel it!?”
The other ‘woman’ would have appeared inebriated from the rather animated way in which she gestured and spoke while she walked, quite the contrary to the rather crisp motions of the other. But moving on, her hair was of the same beautiful platinum but it cut far shorter styled similar to that of punk rocker perhaps? In addition her outfit far from modest, as it appears to have been a violet leather trench coat that she had thrown on over a sports bra and jeans she didn’t even bother to lace up her boots.
After the debate continued, they had been walking for some time as the animated one brought it up in a rather long complaint.
“So is there a reason we walked to this joint, I have a car….And we past like 9 others to get there already!”
Without a moment the other responded in a cold manner.
“Yes. First you drank enough to force me to pay, second You REEK of whatever it was they where smoking! THIRDLY….I enjoy walking, and it had a good review. If its any consolation I heard they had magnificent cookies.”
An young man stormed out of an office, slamming the door with enough force to cause a crack to look like it struck out the name on the glass, only leaving the letters PI underneath legible. The man sitting at the desk sighed and stubbed out the remaining bit of his cigarette in the ash tray, a battered gray old thing that clearly had seen its fair share of usage from a variety of qualities and brands. The man sitting at the desk had a clean white shirt on and a black tie hung loosely done around his neck, a shoulder rig with the holster empty standing out against the clean white of the shirt. As the man sighed and stood up, an observer could clearly see a pair of black trousers, a cheaper alternative to the brand name dress pants for suits and had some flecks of ash on them, despite the attempts to avoid such an occurrence coming about. Brushing off the flecks, the man grabbed a button up jacket to complete the attire, grabbing his revolver and holstering it before buttoning up the jacket completely. As an after thought, he grabbed a wallet with what one would usually expect, some cash, a license, permit for the gun, the usual. Walking out to the door and opening it, the owner sighed and shook his head. "And to think I was actually going to have some more extra cash than usual for once, this goes and happens. Half tempted to chase the kid down, but hell, that would cost more than just replacing the window..."
Lucas, the previously mentioned owner, walked back in and grabbed the keys to his car. The late caller had left him unable to sleep, not for awhile yet. The guy was angry that the investigation into his ex girlfriend hadn't turned up a thing that he accused the woman of. So, it was his fault the guy had ditched her over a perceived slight that wasn't anything more than a fancy tale spun in the man's head? Jobs like this made him glad he took half his pay up front, half when it was done. He had gotten the other half, barely, but that was the main reason he had slammed the door as hard as he had. He would cash the check in the morning, and if it bounced, may whoever the client pray to actually help him. Walking down the steps of the small rented house, he unlocked the door to his car and got in. The night was cold but clear, thankfully, and he needed a drink. More like wanted, and as he pulled out and flicked on the headlights, it dawned on him that if he indeed indulged in getting a drink or two, driving home wouldn't be a good plan. But if he simply turned around, it would be a waste of time and he still would be too awake to sleep. So he would compromise, and just drive for awhile, maybe stop for coffee, even if that defeated the purpose completely.
It didn't take even ten minutes before the Volkswagon started sputtering and acting up, creating enough of a problem to cause Lucas to pull over to the side, about a block down from some place he had heard had some damn good cookies. He couldn't even remember who had mentioned it anymore, he just never had bothered checking it out. Getting out and walking to the rear of the vehicle, where the engine was kept in this particular model, and opened it up to check the engine itself. Of course, even with the street light, it was too bloody dark to see much beyond some smoke coming out of the hood. "And there goes the rest of the expendable income this month. One of these days I just might be able to replace this battered old thing." Shutting the engine compartment, he suspected an engine part had come loose and wouldn't get the vehicle any farther. Didn't explain the minor smoke build up though, but he shoved that to the back of his head, hoping it was only an odd symptom of nothing serious or expensive. He opened the driver's side door again, grabbing the keys and shoving a lock box well under the driver's seat out of sight before locking the car up. Maybe the place he was near could spare a phone for him to leave the mechanic that still took care of his Volkswagen a message to pick it up in the morning, grab a snack and coffee if they served the latter, and walk home and crash. It would be a long day, of course, having to walk to the mechanic and use part of his pay to cover the car, then go order another window for his door.
Shaking his head, Lucas realized he had even forgot his pack of cigarettes back at his apartment. Jamming his hands in his jacket pockets, he started a leisurely stroll down the way towards the shop that he had heard of at one point or another, but hadn't bothered to ever visit. Hopefully they were open, and would let him use their phone if he bought something to eat or drink.
Salem was, for a while, one of the only people inside the shop. Not to say he cared much about other people coming in, it wasn't like he owned the place, he just enjoyed the quiet atmosphere it had at night. Some smooth, smooth jazz played over the speakers in the shop, giving it a nice, relaxing feel. Salem had ordered a medium-sized cup of coffee and a few cookies, and was enjoying them slowly while reading a smaller book he'd brought along with him. It was much less historical than his other one, and was, as far as he knew, just one of those 'ancient conspiracy' books that could hardly be taken with a grain of salt. An interesting read nonetheless, and definitely worth the time he was giving it. He made smalltalk with the workers during his stay, about the next day's plans, work, and family life. Simple, but nice things to converse about. While he spoke, he glanced outside, and saw at least three others coming for the shop.
"Huh, looks like they're gonna be busy for once this late," He commented to himself, taking another sip of coffee. They certainly looked interesting enough, especially the ones prancing around in leather. He liked their jackets, and made a note to acquire one of a similar material one day. Not a mental note, either. He picked up a pen and a pad of paper off his table, and wrote it down as a goal for that week. "Buy leather jacket. Make sure it's nice. Crappy fake ones will be considered unacceptable." He smiled a little to himself, and returned the pen to its container. The paper found itself folded and stuck into his wallet for later. And now, he had some time to think about style and colour. Long coats were always nice, but he had to wonder if he could pull it off without looking like a complete asshat. A shorter one would be wearable with a much lower risk of looking terrible, so he decided on getting one of those first. Either way, it'd likely end up paired with one of his hoodies, which he almost never went out without.
He checked the time on his phone, and was relieved to find that he still had a good bit of time before midnight came along. He didn't want to head home just yet. So, instead of doing that, he kicked his legs up onto his now mostly-cleared table, leaned back in his chair, and continued reading his book. Relaxation was always nice, and the warmth, sounds, and smell of the coffee shop made it that much easier to do. After a few pages, he yawned a little, feeling just a bit sleepy. Not enough to warrant going home and turning in, but he certainly wouldn't mind doing that when he was done there.
Another week, another city. And this on, Johnny thought, was a pretty nice one. Yawning, he made his way through the city, trying to ind a place for the night. Maybe an alley again, or perhaps, beneath a bridge. Or maybe mix it up, and find an old abandoned car to sleep in. Oh, they choices, they be endless. Of course, he did have enough money to buy a cheap motel room for the night, but where was the fun in that?
There wasn't any
It was the funless way.
Besides, he was hungry, so he was gonna spend it on food. Sleeping outside was his way of doing things, anyways. The way of the traveling hobo. Ah, magnificent. Besides, his jacket was warm enough to be used as a blanket, so it's not like that was much of a problem.
Anyways, the smell of coffee soon reached his nose. Coffee and....cookies? Hell yes, he could go for that. He heads towards the source of the small, just in time to see another man go in, one who appeared to be quite peeved. He noticed a smoking car about a block away in the direction the man had came from. Johnny could put two and two together! Walking inside the shop, he looked around. Some workers, the man he saw coming in, another dude reading a book, and two ones girls with leather and kind of cool looking jackets. However, his jacket was better. "Hey, can I get some coffe over here?" He yelled to one of the workers, as he walked up to the counter.
One would have thought the pair entering was allowed to get so close when they were of such obvious opposite polarities. Both of the twins tilt their heads in opposite directions, the one with short hair spoke out with her curiosity.
“Hey you think he is in a band? He’s got that grunge thing going on don’E?”
The longer haired woman shook her head condescendingly while turning back to the barista; she didn’t give such a moronic question a second of her time.
“I would like a café white mocha, double shot of espresso, do not put whip cream on it. She will take a hot chocolate and two cookies, and no she will not have more than two.”
The other woman sighed before counting her blessings at least she wasn’t…
“She will be paying, debit.”
The glare from the woman with long hair made it clear this was not any more open for debate than the cookie count. A harsh punishment for choosing a band that didn’t sound good live…
Whilst her sister waited for the coffees she took note of the man reading…and in a less than –less- obvious fashion she checks the title. A strange book to be reading and obviously inaccurate as two other additions had came out post its release, perhaps he is reading it to check for more inaccuracies or perhaps statements that could discredit the author? Wait and his posture so improper, why doing such things is hardly civil. As her thoughts traveled her brow furrowed, and soon enough she would be scowling at the man. Before reason takes hold words spill forth from her.
“Get those wretched, disgusting, horrid feet from my sight this moment.”
Lucas noted the rather abrupt influx of people into the shop, at such a late hour to boot. Some man who appeared to be a step above a penniless hobo yelled for coffee and he figured the fellow was used to acting in such a manner. He reserved judgement rather than create opinions on the abrupt and rude behavior, even if he had indeed arrived first and, by that logic, had the right to place an order first. While walking in he noted the others present, a man reading a book with his feet up, and two woman, one a suspiciously punk rocker looking one and the other with a blue coat to distinguish the two. The silver hair also made them stand out, one straight, the punk rocker one holding a more wild sort of style. Clearly straight hair was in charge, going off what, and how, she gave her order to the potentially flustered attendant at the abrupt arrival of several customers, all giving orders in rapid succession. The straight hair woman seemed to take offense to the man reading, and while that was going on and he had a moment, he stepped towards the counter, relaxed in his appearance currently despite the borderline aggravating event of a broken down car.
"Good evening, could I get a coffee with a bagel, if that would be at all possible? And you wouldn't happen to have a phone, whether its a pay phone or otherwise, I could use? He chose a more respectful and polite approach, considering he needed a phone and being belligerent wouldn't get him anywhere in that manner. He would do his best to not involve himself with the brewing situation that would probably spark from the straight haired woman's comment towards the reader, perhaps even make his call and take the coffee and bagel to go. Broken down car, a fair amount of noise coming from a store that seemed like a place that normally was not so busy, let alone the amount of money he would be wasting on repairs and what not, was not adding up to a good night. Well, Lucas told himself, short of a robbery or some rather unlikely situation, things shouldn't get much worse at least for today. So close to midnight, there wasn't enough time for such negative things to actually occur.
Salem looked above the top of his book, giving the woman a condescending expression. "What, you don't like my shoes? They're designer." The tone of voice he used was dripping with sarcasm. He didn't like her attitude, not at all, so he wasn't going to bother trying to be too friendly. Bad first impressions and all that. He ignored her demands, and crossed one of his legs over the other, moving his foot in a rhythmic way in tune with the sound of drums in the coffee shop's atmospheric music. Things were probably gonna get loud in there soon, which was a terrible shame. He liked it when the shop was quiet. Ah well, he didn't mind too much. As he'd thought before, not like he owned the place. And neither did the chick who told him to get his feet off the table, for that matter.
He overheard Lucas ask for a phone, and he decided to be friendly. After moving his feet back to their proper positioning on the ground, he stood up and pulled out his cell, giving the time a quick check. 15 minutes to midnight, give or take. Really, more like 13, but who was counting. "Hey, I've got one you can use if you want. Here." He held the phone out, smiling a little. He certainly seemed friendly enough, now that he was the one giving the non-hostile introductions. However, he noticed the screen flicker lightly, and he tapped on it. "Huh. Battery must be going out or something. You should have time if you use it though, don't worry." He'd make sure he charged it when he got home. For now, it seemed like there was enough charge for a couple calls at least.
"Beans? Check. Eggs? Check. Flour, butter, salt, sugar. Hmm," she hummed in mock contemplation at the large pile of Everything staring back at her. This wasn't a one-nighter chore. They had packed for the Apocalypse; looking at it made her head and stomach hurt. "Ugh! Check this, check that! Check it all out the window for all I care!! What is this, a bomb shelter?!"
"Just count the stock, missy. It ain't brain science!" yelled the Cook from his bacon-scented furnace.
"You need PEOPLE to eat the damn food, and we're all outta those! Is that on the list? Can I check that? No, it ain't, but that don't matter, 'cause no one's here!!"
"Ey, Yapparetta!" he calls out and pinches the corner of his mouth, pulling it across. His digits were larger than the sausages gently burning on the grill.
She turns her purple eyes onto the sweaty chef, bits her lip and sends him a frown, rotating a hand in mid-air as she shrugs off her 50th warning, "Yeah, yeah, 'Zip to the lip', I got it." The Cook flicks away his imaginary key and eyes her until she gives up the staring contest and resumes her scavenger hunt.
"Only reason I'm doin' it is 'cause he'll eat everything," she muttered into the clipboard. Her eyes and nostrils flared and one could swear that steam was pouring out of them. Her dismay was shared with the world in the only way she knew how to: very loudly.
"Ohhh, you're kidding me! That no good piece of mangy bear crap! Garrrgh!" the next item was the one thing she was trying to ignore. It was written in pen, over-stylised and had a love-heart where the english alphabet should be. Her fingers pressed into the board, the paper clipped to it creased, and then tore, before it was thrown at the metal racks.
"Leila, frick! What'd I-"
"Eat it. I'm on front-house." And with that declaration, she donned an apron and tore through the swing-door. It spat out the other waitress in the same movement and, to show her appreciation for the list of fun activities given to her, Leila sent a pen and apron flying after her.
"Oh gods," the young woman gave a tiresome groan at the amount of speech fogging up what should be a quiet shift, and trudged over to the coffee pot to pour a cup. Taking a long, absorbent sip, she looked over the rim and noticed the guy sitting at the counter. 'Hm,' her breath was almost a chirp, and both eyebrows tweaked in interest. With coffee in one hand, she reached over for the order tickets with the other, feeling the clots of fatigue melt away in her veins. It improved her mood, some.
"Coffee and a bagel, right?" her tone sounded lighter. "Toppings? Something extra on the side?" she grinned without meaning to, "Or are you a plain kind of guy?" A quick look around confirmed four patrons of considerable interest. They were definitely high-calibre compared to the usual denizens who waft in at this time. Moving towards the food shelves packed with baked goods, she got a better look at the trio conversing near the booths. The two club terrorists had a slick sense of style she could appreciate, and the guy wasn't bad either. He was a little pale but still handsome, and his eyes were pretty. Looking back at what she was doing, the image in front sort of caught her off-guard. It was another man, younger looking, decked in brown tones and with a dashing cut of hair. She couldn't make it out for sure, with all her moving around, but it looked like he was communicating with Pretty Eyes. Spunk-1 and Spunk-2 didn't receive the same treatment, judging by the tones of voice.
"Damn, that coffee's good." She spoke aloud but to herself, noting the weightlessness of her footsteps carrying to and fro, and inwardly laughed at how she probably looked the part of a devoted servant. As the milk heated, she turned her head to ask the man how he took his coffee and reached for the notepad to review the queued orders. "One tuxedo mocha without the top hat and a virgin mocha with two cookies - check." As she spoke, her hands darted over the counter, crafting each order in their individual cups and sat them on standby for milk. "And a... wait, what? Ugh, this one's done already!" an exasperated scoff escaped her calm façade as she scribbled out the expired order. "Idiot! And she didn't even record the order right! 'Coffee'? That could mean a million things! She could've written battery acid and that would make more sense. Yeah, I'm talking about YOU, lady!" Leila yelled through the service window at the waitress she'd forcefully relieved of duty. Feelings of contentment were evoked by the sight of her bending over jars filled with mummified pickles in green water. Serves that harpy right for trying to shirk the gross jobs onto her.
"Ah, crap!" Loud as it was, her shout could not turn back time to when the milk wasn't burning in its jug. Expecting complaints, she sticks a hand in the air and yells back, "Five minutes!" Quickly, she sets up another jug of milk and stares it down like a meerkat watching for lions. Leila palms the counter and sighs deeply, sinking into posture until her shoulders could hunch no more.
Lucas looked back when he heard Salem offer his phone, and nodded in appreciation while actually responding. "Thanks, and as long as the battery lasts about a minute, if that, its all fine." At least some people were still willing to be charitable enough to loan their phone to a complete stranger, which might be foolish in some cases, but this hardly came across in his mind as one of them. Dialing in a number he knew by memory, he left a brief message once the call went to the voicemail. "Its Lucas, the Volkswagon broke down again. I'll call again in the morning to check in, or just come by the shop and see how bad it really is." He then gave an address for the mechanic to come by and pick up, said his good bye and hung up the phone, moving to hand it back to the fellow who had given it to him, thanking Salem again. Turning back to the counter, he caught half a glimpse of the shift of waitresses, the one coming out didn't look as happy as one could be. Then again, it was a night shift that was clearly busier than was normal, or appeared to be a clear case of such a thing. Beyond that, the folks here were doing what they willed, and he chuckled when addressed by the waitress, the idea of potentially being offended the farthest thing from his mind.
"Most days I'd throw on butter or a cream cheese of some sort, but I think I'll stick with the plain guy route tonight." The coffee alone wouldn't help with trying to sleep once he walked home, although it would help stave off the night's chill better than nothing. He'd sooner brew a cup of tea for that, but coffee would be quicker and more common in this case. Once he had a chance to eat his bagel and get some coffee into his system, and pay of course, he would have to get back to his apartment, set his alarm clock for way too early, and get everything in order for the repairs for his car. He didn't go out of his way to talk to or bother anyone else here at the moment, leaning on the counter just enough to relax and keep an eye on just about everyone in the place. The rocker chick with the wild hair either didn't live up to appearances, and was a quiet one, or was busy with getting whatever order she had placed for her and her friend, possible blood relation, taken care of. Beyond the casual glances and mental analyzing, he was semi spaced out for the time being.