Talk over coffee

Bean Scene Cafe

Bean Scene is a small coffee shop and cafe that caters primarily to a younger crowd. The cafe has always been at least a year late in joining any given fad, and in the past it's been done in western-style, set up as a beatnik hangout, a go-go disco, a fern bar, and once even attempted to cash in on breakdancing. A plaque has recently been placed above the door, and says, "No fad is dead until it appears to Bean Scene".
Case in point, the cafe has a grungy feel to it.A grey brick facade has been placed over the walls, the flooring looking more like a worn down metal grid, complete with old sewer grates every few feet. Tables and chairs set about the cafe are quite casual in appearance, made of metal meant to look rusty and splattered with multi-colored paints. Metal street signs hang from the wall amid images of garage bands. Behind the counter is a black chalkboard displaying the available items and costs.

Thank god it's friday! Done with a week long slaving over their perspective jobs, the cafe already sports a minor crowd, even though it's only a little after sunset. Plenty of people in need of a latte with friends or colleagues before hitting dinner. Still there are some tables unoccupied, though not that many and those will be filling up nicely in the next hour or so. One such table, located where the light's a little brighter, hosts Josephine, a double sized cappuccino and a piece of cherry pie, half eaten. The rest of the table's surface is filled with an unfolded map, some tourist and landmark folders and this morning's paper on top of it all. The woman's reading it, every single last little article.

Michael makes regular visits to the coffee shop, it's actually one of his favourite locations, after all he may not drink coffee but he does enjoy the smell. As such he holds a black, unsweetened coffee as he walks away from the counter, writing case tucked neatly under his arm. He smiles slightly as he notices Jo, and then the map. He seems somewhat torn between going over to the woman and leaving her to her paper.

Folding the newspaper closed, briefly scanning the adds on the back, Josephine folds it again, leaning back now to sip from her mug, a content little sigh as she licks the foam from her lips. She must've been sitting here quite a while, for she sets the coffee back down and stretches her arms above her head, twisting her head from side to side, stiff as hell.

Michael makes his way over smiling slightly as he nods his head. "Good evening. It finds you well I hope?" He takes a look at the map for a moment. "So, you're just visiting the city?"

A rather surprised glance up, before a tired smiles introduces, "Hey, uhm… Michael, right." Josephine briefly nods to the chair opposite her. "Sort of. All work, little play - at least that's what my boss thinks, neh. Staying for a few months at least, so might as well know who's who, I was thinking." Was the light in the bar yesterday yellow and dim, the lighting in the cafe allows for more scrutiny and she's studying his face, as intensely as she did yesterday.

Michael's fed so there's some colour there, but he's a little pale as he answers, "That's me." His expression doesn't change, although the eyes show mild amusement at the scrutiny she offers. "Well it's a good place for both in my experience." He slides into the chair placing his coffee and the writing case down, on inspection the case seems to be made of very old leather, it's larger than most and bound with a string of leather rather than a popper. "If you don't mind my asking, what business would that be?"

"Heh-heh," Josephine chuckles, shaking her head, appearing puzzled, but unwilling to delve into her line of thought. "Sure, no problem. I'm here to write a number of background articles for a magazine back home." The case gets a curious inspection, but nothing more then that. Instead, she lifts her cup and sips, explaining, "Pays the bills." Tilting her head sideways, "You?"

Smiling slightly Michael seems to consider her for a moment. "At present most of my money is invested in stock, but I'm looking at beginning a business here, I'm thinking a library. My personal book collection is considerable." He laughs slightly. "But I doubt that will happen soon, I suppose I've also considered selling antiques again I have something of a collection in storage, but it seems a very specialist field."

Quirking her brows, Josephine considers him over her coffee, "Must've been doing well then, rolled in on the internet hype or just born into the money." Her grin is teasing, maybe she's just testing where he draws the line on impertinent questions. "A library though. Sounds… Dusty?"

Laughing Michael smiles a little. "I suppose after a fashion you could say all three." He smiles a little. "I have a love of books, music is how we remember the spirit of the age, but books are how we remember its personality." He looks at Jo for a moment. "You're a writer, why do you do it? Is it simply to pay the bills, or do you hope to leave a legacy one day? To write your thoughts, your feelings so that they'll last?" He inhales taking in the aroma of his coffee but not drinking it. "I think it's the closest most will get to immortality."

"Pfff… Who wants to live forever in a world like this, neh," Josephine waves the notion away, apparently not her thing. "Nah, me, it puts bread on the table, so to speak. Is that the English expression as well?" She chuckles wryly and continues, not waiting for his reply, "Everyone's good at something and it just happens to be mine, you know. Like yours apparently is to know a good investment from a bad one. Didn't know anyone really collected books anymore though. Aren't you afraid it makes you come across a little… Archaic?"

Shrugging slightly Michael smiles. "There are always collectors, and I suppose it may seem a little archaic, but I like to think I'm more than my choice of career, a love of old things has always been a quirk of mine." He takes a look at Jo. "So, is there anyone in particular theme for your 'background articles'?"

A lopsided grin and a nod which can be probably be translated as 'fair enough' and while emptying her mug, Josephine lets the topic slide, rolls her shoulders a little, rolling with the change of topic, "Not so much a person." Taking a moment to think over her wording, she explains, leaning a bit more to the table, "It's supposed to be a series about American society, how everyone's handling the vampires jumping up and yelling, 'Surprise!'. You know how it is, Americans are always so over the top in everything, not like us. Should prove interesting?"

Nodding slightly Michael takes a longer moment to consider that. "The question I think that raises is who do you mean by everyone? Are you looking for how humanity has handled the news, or how the Vampires have?" He rolls the coffee cup in his hand slightly.

"Oh, both," Josephine shrugs, "From the mayor's office to the desperate housewife. Basically as wide as I care for. Seems to be something everyone has an opinion over, so that should be easy." Biting the inside of her cheek, she murmurs a little more sober while she leans back again, "And easy sounds pretty good at the moment, so I'll take what I can get, you understand."

Michael steeples his fingers over his mouth as he leans forwards on his elbows. "I see, it's good to hear." He seems to study Jo for a while longer than he has done so far, a little more thoughtfully. "You have to understand that only the middle of the road types are likely to want to speak openly, the rest will keep their view to themselves, that's the way of people I suspect."

Laughing softly, a warm but mostly confident sound, Josephine folds her arms right after she waves a hand over the table, indicating pretty much everything on it -or the entire city of Dallas-, "Now don't you worry 'bout that. You got your talents, I have mine, remember. Talking to people's what I do and for some reason, people like to confide in me. Just the way it is. Got you talkin' to me, neh."

Laughing slightly Michael nods. "I'm a surprisingly open person though." He seems very amused by this though. "And I wonder, what secrets have you gleaned from me?"

Tongue in cheek, litterally, the woman makes a show of studying him from head to coffee cup, "Just the ones you care to share in two encounters so far, and you know that Michael. You're a private person, the kind who only shares what he wants to share. Neh? You're rich - at least richer then average. Like the past better then the present. Hope that by association you might gain immortality, and… You like to feel younger then you are, otherwise you'd probably be drinking coffee in a less trendy cafe. How am I doing so far." The mirth in her eyes is obvious.

Laughing Michael sighs a little. "I'm not rich although I have been, I do think it's fair to say I like to feel younger than I am…. and I have no hopes to gain immortality through association, just to ensure those that deserve to be remembered are done so correctly." He studies Jo for a moment. "You're doing better than most however."

The laughter is more genuine now, "Not like you make it that hard though. After all, not that many men around who have that micro peel done," she traces fingers over her cheek and chin, "Tell me, did it hurt much? Result's good though, you look practically glowy. Now if that's not a sign of a man who wants to feel younger, don't know what is." She follows up with a little wink, apparently knowing all about midlife crisis and men. She looks away for a moment, to try and see if she can find anyone to fill her cup again or if she needs to go and get it herself.

Michael arches an eyebrow, his expression once again amused. "Oh, I worry more about fitting in than /looking/ younger." He leans back from the table, his hand once again going to his still untouched coffee. "I look glowy?"

"Positively," Josephine smirks, still scanning the counter, "Could also be that your secretary was in a rather willing mood today…" With her tongue between her teeth, she muses, "What do you think, will the coffee come to me, or must I go to the coffee?"

There's a very slight frown. "I haven't had a secretary for years. And my assitant David isn't my type." He grins a little. "And I think it's a coin flip… it seems to depend on the mood of the staff."

"Bugger…" There's a sigh, then the scraping of chair as Jo rises to fetch some more coffee, checking if he needs a refill as well. "It's getting cold," she tells him when she finds his cup still full. "Can I get you another?"

Rising from his own seat Michael shakes his head. "No, please allow me." He smiles slightly. "It is the least I can do for the excellent conversation." He smiles slightly as he picks up his cup.

Somewhat stunned, but in a pleasant way, Josephine sits back down again, tilting her head sideways, "Fair enough." She considers the list on the wall again, then shrugs and goes for "Another double cappuccino then. Thanks."

Michael heads over to the counter as he orders both a double cappuccino and a black coffee, for him the habit of hiding amongst humans hard to shake. He brings them back his movements as always confident and surprisingly graceful. He places the coffee down with a slight smile. "As you said I'm old fashioned. And good manners have always served me well in the past."

"Well, this ain't the past," Josephine blurts, shifting a little uneasy in her seat of a sudden. She starts folding the map, clearing the table a little. And while she's doing it, appears to start feeling guilty a bit, "Though… Appreciated." She's frowning mildly, her eyes on his hands. A little smile tilts the corners of her mouth as she sets flyers, map and paper aside, "I… Thanks." When she looks up, he can tell that the smile hasn't quite reached her searching eyes.

As he slides back into his seat he studies Jo for a moment. His expression still that unreadable mask, his own eyes still hinting at mild amusement. "You're welcome." He leans back once again taking a deep breath of his coffee before placing it down before him without drinking it. "I have always loved the smell of coffee."

Josephine looks up, from the coffee back to him and chuckles softly, honestly. "You know, for an Italian, you're patient. Thanks. I know I can get a little… Overly… Straightforward. Glad you're taking it well." Raising her mug, she smells to show she agrees, then sips.

Laughing Michael shrugs. "As I said yesterday, I enjoy speaking with someone straightforward, I grow tired of hunting hidden meaning in people's words. There's a time and a place for such things." He stares into his coffee for a moment. "One of the great truths of the world is that few people will ever say what they really think unless they're confident it won't get back to them."

There's a rather unladylike snort from Josephine who's wiping the foam of her upper lip, but at least it was an agreeing kinda snort. "Preaching to the choir, Michael. You know, sometimes I think everyone's favourite game must be politics. Even little kids want to be friends with the kid with the biggest console or what it is these days, mutant turtle doll? I hate politics…"

Smiling slightly Michael seems to give that a few moments of thought before he begins to speak, his tone's heavy with the thought in his words. "We're pack animals, we form groups and because a group must always have some form of purpose we seek someone to guide it, to lead it. We always choose someone who has something valuable. Although of course that's where we go wrong, in the past it was strength, the strong took power and held it, that was politics, then the cunning and the wise learned to better lead men, and they took the power from the strong, and that was politics, now days there are differences, we pick those who look good and make grand promises that they can't keep, or that come with hidden barbs, but ultimately we need politics because all power comes down to support from below."

At least she has the courtesy to hear him out, even though her head is already shaking halfway through his explanation, "Nuh-uh, it's much simpler." She takes a big gulp of coffee and leans back, setting the stage for the greatest revelation of all time, "We all just want what the other one has." That seems to be pretty much it. After a moment she concedes and starts to illustrate, pointing out a few people around them. "That guy at the bar in the blue shirt looking all jealous, he wants to have the money the guy in the grey suit has, so he can impress women such as the blonde beside him." Eyes roving to the next example, "Sweet sixteen in the black /skimpy/ little outfit over there, wants to have sex with that older guy -and I'm going out on a limb here to state he's her teacher- so she can get better grades. He wants her too, so obvious, wanna bet his old lady has been dealing him the cold shoulder lately?" Another sip. "Politics."

Smiling slightly Michael nods. "That's a remarkable sense of observation you have." He pauses a moment. "And it's true, but it works within the structure that I offered not against it. It's all about finding better social standing within the pack… and of course there was the common connection between each of your examples, they were each looking to have sex… They were each hoping to better advance themselves for the same reason." He smiles. "Take away the need to reproduce and the human animal becomes something very different."

Josephine laughs, shaking her head with a hint of bitterness, "It's all in the body language, just too easy." She finishes her mug and starts to put her belongings in a shoulder bag. "Listen, you've been here for a bit, right? Know your way around. Mind pointing me in some useful directions?" She tears a corner from her newspaper and searches for her pen to write a number down, after checking on her cell, a brandnew Motorola Razr, "I know, politics, just human after all, but I'd appreciate the help."

Nodding Michael seems to consider that for a moment. "Of course." He rises himself, still having left the coffee, he passes her a card with a smile. "I would suggest you start at the top though. I'm not sure of many of the movers and shakers." He pauses a moment seeming to have only just thought of something. "I will advise that if you want to speak with the Vampires you go through the AVL, it's in East Dallas. They'll give you the official response… I don't suggest you try writing statements from any other Vampire authorities, most don't want their opinions recorded." He seems to consider that. "The Vampire angle could be difficult to gather. Although I'll gladly speak with my associates if you'd like?"

That catches her interest, "You know the vampire authorities. Now I know you'll call me…" She takes the card, slips him the number in return, reads his before she pockets it. "Thanks Michael, I'll do just that. AVL, noted." At that, she shoulders her bag, prepares to leave. "And thanks for the coffee."

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