Log:CAT Audition

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CAT Audition

Bronwyn, Quinn, CB Alexander, Cerise, Kiril, Zhenya

10 February, 2018

Bronwyn discovers CAT when Quinn is there to play


Cat-22 Collective

Saturday night at Cat-22 means the joint is, well -- hopping might be a bit of a stretch, because it's still a cafe and there's no performance going on tonight. But it's busy. Several people are working behind the multiple counters. One of them is a young man with unkempt brown hair and a pair of silver, oval-shaped wire-rimmed glasses that keep slipping down his nose. He's wearing a blue and white plaid flannel with the sleeves rolled up, and seems nearly incapable of smiling, at least to customers. But he's the one taking the orders, scribbling them down on a pad and sending them back to the kitchen. Every once in a while, he makes a drink or gets a muffin himself.

There is also a gray and white fluffy Cymric cat sitting on the cat tower in the middle of the room, surveying everything through big yellow eyes. Must have been the inspiration for all the paintings. Janis Joplin's voice wails out over the speakers: "Cry, cry baaaaaaby..."

Outside of the cafe, a police squad car sits. Just /waiting/. Every once in a while, a cop gets out to survey the scene, or just stand up against the car. And they don't appear to be going anywhere.

Bronwyn has been roaming. And to end up here, she's been roaming quite a bit. A wave to the police offices in the squad car before she asks them, via confused gestures and hand signals, whether it is okay to go inside the cafe. They could be here because the interior just burned down. They wave her inside so she gives them a smile of thanks and does so.

Quite the place it is. She can't figure out which counter to go to first but maybe some light food before heavy drinking. Her long blonde hair tied back, thick rimmed glasses perched on her nose, she is dressed in desert boots, slacks and a jumper against the chill. "Hi" she greets the young man taking orders. "Love the decor" she smiles before glancing over at the cat. "Is that the owner? Umm...could I have a sesame muffin and...ummm...a glass of water?"

The young man at the counter, who also happens to be C.B., frowns at Bronwyn over his own glasses. He's never seen her in here before...and he squints, like he's trying to get a better look. "Thanks," he says suspiciously. That's about the decor. The comment about the 'owner' gets a smirk out of him. "Well, we're a Collective, so actually, we're all owners. But if there had to be one Bossman, then yeah, it'd be Yossarian." As if he knows his name, the gray and white cat looks right over at the pair of them when said name is uttered. "Water is right over there, sweetheart." He points to the glass carafe at the end of the counter as he heads off to get her muffin.

Out of the kitchen comes a woman carrying a freshly baked tray of brownies, already cut and displayed artistically, ready to be slid in behind the glass and served up on demand. Cerise is a slender woman with her dark brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her clothes are neat and speak of someone who is no-nonsense, a simple pair of jeans and a well-fitted sweater, both of which bear the marks of being designer made, and both of which look like they've seen better days, even if they are fastidiously kept. "Don't let C.B. put you off." She remarks idly to Bronwyn after setting the tray in place. "We may share ownership, but he keeps this place running more than most."

Quinn has never been in here before, but in a lot of ways it’s just her kind of place. It's probably why she comes in tonight, carrying a soft guitar case slung over a shoulder and dressed for chilly weather. She steps out of the doorway once she's inside, and there she pauses to look around the room. In doing so her eyes get caught first by CB, which is probably not surprising since he's the only person in there who has lightning crackling on him (to her eyes), and she watches him for a few moments before continuing to look around. That's when she spots Bronwyn, and a smile brightens her face as she heads over. "Bron!" she says on her way, and if that gets any attention she wiggles her fingers in a greeting.

Bronwyn grins at the name of the cat. "I get it. Yossarian. Cat-22. Nice." A nod to where the water is. "Thanks." Though she does think it a little odd that a member of a Collective calls a woman he doesn't know 'sweetheart' - bit sexist. Thankfully there's a Cerise to explain, sort of. "He didn't bother me at all" she assures the other woman. "Umm...don't want to be nosy or anything, and I'm sure it's only because they love the food, but there is a cop car outside." Hearing her name called, Bronwyn turns to see an incoming Quinn. Her confusion about the police turning into a big grin at seeing the young woman. "The Mighty Quinn! So wonderful to see you again. Forget the wave..." She opens up her arms to offer a hug.

C.B. scowls at Cerise, although...it's not a -real- scowl. It may even be a -fond- scowl. "I do not. I'm barely functional half the time." Not clear if he's kidding. He returns with Bronwyn's muffin, just in time to see Quinn come in. She gets a long look from him, and indeed, some of that lightning crackles in his eyes. Then he's placing Bronwyn's muffin down, actually cracking a smile when she 'gets it.' "Halle-fucking-lujah, someone gets it without me having to explain. You'd be shocked how few people do. I -- " The smile turns back into a scowl again at the mention of the cop car, and he rolls his eyes. "Yes. We're all aware. That'll be two dollars and ten cents." Pretty damn cheap for a muffin.

Cerise's sigh is deliberately inflated. "And now we'll never hear the end of it! The rest of us keep quiet for a reason." Nevertheless, the mortal woman slides next to C.B. and gives him a fond smile in return as the two women greet each other. "Don't worry about it. They won't hassle you - we just get our own security detail is all."

Quinn walks straight into the open arms and gives Bronwyn a friendly hug, made only slightly awkward by the guitar she has slung over her shoulder. "I'm not so sure about the Mighty thing, but you're at least half right. We'll round up," she says in a voice that's surprisingly musical to everyone, even if they can't see and hear through to the real her. Then she turns to say, "I take it the cops are normal? Figures," she says with a roll of her bright blue eyes, and the rhythm of her words gets a little sharper. "Anyone expresses a slightly different political view from the norm, and suddenly they're radicals that need to be watched carefully? Or are they assuming you're selling pot out of the place or something? I, for one, am curious to learn more about the collective. And maybe some food, after I check out the menu."

Bronwyn squeezes Quinn with her hug...as best she can with a guitar in place. "Hey. Did you have that talk yet?" She seems genuinely concerned for the other woman. "Oh...are you here to play? I told you that you were a storyteller." A look to each of them as they discuss the police outside. "Is pot still illegal in this state?" She'll keep that in mind. "You would think they'd have better things to do than sit outside here all night." Bronwyn rummages through her pockets to find the cash required...plus tip. "Here you go" she smiles as she hands it over to CB. "Don't people read in this town?" she teases about the cat name. "Oh...I'm Doctor Bronwyn Gallagher" she announces, just in case anyone is interested. "But call me Bron."

C.B. is working behind the counter right now, and Cerise is working too, flitting around doing various things. "Yeah, they won't harass you, they'll harass me," he snarks, though she gets a tiny smile back. To Quinn he adds, "They're only 'normal' because they follow me around. Long story. You're interested in the Collective? We can always use more people." He even seems to mean that! He takes Bronwyn's cash, makes change, and hands it back to her. "No. People do /not/ read in this town. And several people in this town are actually illiterate." Does he sound pleased about this? Not one whit. He gives Bronwyn a very slight smile, much like he gave Cerise. "Call me C.B., Doc." She didn't say to call her Doc... "Is that medical doc or PhD doc?"

"You're assuming that we're not radicals that need to be watched." Cerise leans up against the counter idly, a twinkle in her eye clearly indicating that she's kidding. Then her demeanor changes and the woman pushes herself upward, questioning, "Doctor?"

Snowy paws patter over the mat - Beren the dog steps in delicately, as his Lost holds the door for him. He's in the heavier of his vests, one that functions as a doggy jacket. Not that he seems to need it, being a fluffy beast in his own right. Then he's trotting forward to the counter. Right behind him is his pet New Yorker. Kiril's got his long hair tucked up under a watchcap, though he's pulling that off as he comes in, all the better to tuck it into his parka pocket. You'd think someone who works there might want to hang out somewhere else on his off hours...maybe it's the art on the walls, flashbacks to the old days in Moscow.

"No, not yet," Quinn admits to Bron, looking a little sheepish but offering only a shrug by way of explanation. "Soon, hopefully. I just haven't been ready yet." Then she realizes she actually has no idea if the state legalized weed in the few years she'd been gone from reality, and a brief moment of panic shows on her face when she thinks she might have slipped up in some way. Not that anyone would actually care if she made such a mistake. She turns back to CB and says, "whether I'm interested depends on the collective's policies and politics, you know? Which it probably should, for anyone who has principles." Then she lets out a mellifluous laugh and says to Cerise, "one person's radical is another person's rational, right?" Then back to Bron she says, "I wasn't planning to play, I just had the guitar, but since I don't have much money I'd be willing to play a few songs for a bit to eat." She looks at CB and Cerise. "If that would be a trade you're interested in." She has a guitar case slung over her shoulder, which is probably what prompted this line of conversation.

Who brings a scarf and their own travel mug to the Cat-22? Someone environmentally conscious, perhaps, the excuse that Zhenya will use. She carries that empty vacuum-sealed flask in one glove, the other wiping down the door handle of a few errand bits of snow carried in by the wind, Kiril, or possibly herself. Her scarf is a bit of a masterpiece in disorienting patterns, given somehow, someone managed to weave in an entire technicolor peacock and the necessary tree branches to create some kind of forest scene. Given the handmade quality, probably a gift or her own handiwork. It's bright, radically so.

"We need more art," she says, a thoughtful statement off Kiril's side. The statement is simply that, unadjusted for their whereabouts. Curious looks will pass; the young woman is quiet most of the time, becoming even more so among strangers. Sometimes.

"The latter" Bronwyn informs CB. "I'm an anthropologist. So I can't help with any aches or pains, sorry. Well...cultural ones maybe" she teases. "Though it looks like you're pretty certain with what you believe in judging by this place." A bite into her muffin. "Umm...yummy. Don't worry, Quinn. It'll happen when it happens. And, remember, don't worry about it before it happens. It doesn't help. If they don't want to hear you play, then I can buy you dinner." A glance over at the new arrivals before back to eating muffin...and drinking water.

C.B. notes Zhenya and Kiril when they come in and gives them both a brief nod. Meanwhile, he snorts at the notion of Cerise being a radical. Then he leans his elbows on the counter so he can size up Quinn. "Well, if you want to know more about said policies and politics, I can enlighten you. And sure." He gestures towards the stage. "Sing for your supper, that's fine by me." He's about to vault himself off the counter again so he can turn off Janis Joplin, who's still wailing over the speakers, but he pauses to answer Bronwyn. "Anthropology, huh? What's an anthropologist doing in a non-university town like this one?" /Now/ he's heading over to switch off Janis.

"Anthropology, huh? That's pretty neat. I had to take a course in college for an elective and I really enjoyed it." And at that revelation, Cerise relaxes back down onto the counter, elbows propping herself up and wrists crossing one over the other. Apparently, she's going easy on the work for once. "I also vote aye to this trade, /especially/ if C.B. agrees to join you for a chorus of something."

"Fine by me too," Quinn says, and she gives Bronwyn a smile before unslinging her guitar and from her shoulder and heading toward the stage that CB gestured toward. "Be back to talk soon." she says to those around her as she slips away.

When she gets to the stage she puts the soft case down, takes an acoustic guitar out of it, and then pulls up a chair where she sits down to start checking the tuning, while CB is turning off Janis. She's still finishing that up when the music cuts off, and she looks quite in her element.

"Yeah, we do," Kiril's got his own cup here, one of the perks of working here. He's heading to the counter to order - whatever Zhenya desires, a croissant for Beren, and a decaf Spanish mocha for himself. The prospect of live music has him looking over with interest, just as Beren peers over, ears perked.

C.B., meanwhile, reaches for his own mug, off to the side of the counter as it is. He takes a sip and watches Quinn set up -- though he will take Kiril's order once his fellow worker-owner is ordering. Croissant is put on a plate and decaf Spanish mocha will be made, after he takes a sip from his own cup. He snorts at Cerise on the way to the espresso machine. "Only if Quinn plays something good." He doesn't define what 'something good' is. Quinn will have to guess, apparently.

Shocking surprise; Zhenya prefers a chai latte, something hot and spiced, thick with nutmeg and cinnamon thick upon the palate. No specifics on milk or foam, only that she offers her cup for the making of such a thing. A few napkins picked up give her an opportunity to kneel in front of Beren, reaching for his paw with the intent, clearly, to dry them off one by one. "No leaving mud, yes?"

She raises her head slightly to Kiril's interest, the floating cobweb glow of her hair to Lost eyes all the more evident in a fuchsia-red pang. "Music is a treat."

Cerise eyes Quinn setting up before she's pushing up again and helping to pour lattes and fetch muffins and generally fill orders. As she brings a cup to the counter next to CB and the register, she leans over to mutter to the man, her dark eyes floating back up over to Quinn once more.

Once she's satisfied with the tuning of her guitar, Quinn clears her throat once, settles herself, and then starts to play. The song starts out with a soft, somewhat sorrowful sounds of Green Green Grass of Home on just the strings of the guitar, but before long her voice joins in. That voice is full of a hauntingly painful longing and a bone-weary resignation to it, which all seems a bit at odds with the youthful woman's appearance. To the lost and others who can see them, her pale skin shows faint pulses of color to the song's rhythm.

       The old home town looks the same
       As I step down from the train
       And there to meet me is my mama and my papa
       Down the road I look and there comes Mary
       Hair of gold and lips like cherries
       It's good to touch the green, green grass of home

Bronwyn plonks herself down on a seat, near Cerise and CB is she can, to listen to Quinn tune up. It's a bit avant garde for her taste but then Quinn starts an actual song...much better. "She has such a lovely voice" the anthropologist sighs. "She should really make a career out of this." The sesame muffin is finished so much be time to hit the alcohol now that her stomach is not empty.

C.B. sips from his mug, muttering something back to Cerise. He looks highly skeptical, but once Quinn starts to play...his brows move up, and surprise clearly shows on his face. Surprise...and then something that could only be described as deep nostalgia, at least for the briefest of moments. Good thing no one is looking at him and all eyes are on Quinn. He glances to Bronwyn, as though acknowledging that she spoke, but he neither nods nor says anything in return. Just goes back to watching Quinn with a rather intense gaze.

Cerise mutters a few more words to C.B. as Quinn gets set up. She, too, pauses in her work to listen, but at the end, her eyes are floating back to C.B., watching him watch Quinn.

It's definitely got Kiril's attention, too. He looks...the word 'stricken' might apply. The Soldier's frozen, lips parted, a distant look in his eyes. The expression of someone desperately searching memory for context, a way to lay a floating fragment of recall into the patchy mosaic that's all he's got of the life before Russia and before his Durance. Even Beren's questioning nudge doesn't stir his limp hand for petting.

Quinn plays this song with her eyes closed for most of it, her and the guitar and whatever emotions it stirs up within her. There's either quite a bit of that emotion fueling the song, too, or she's particularly good at faking it.

       The old house is still standing
       Tho' the paint is cracked and dry
       And there's that old oak tree that I used to play on
       Down the lane I walk with my sweet Mary
       Hair of gold and lips like cherries
       It's good to touch the green, green grass of home

C.B. murmurs a few more words back to Cerise, though then he gives her a stern sort of look. Good thing he doesn't seem to be aware that she's mostly watching him watch Quinn. The nostalgic look floats back onto his face again, eyes going a touch distant as hw watches and listens and drinks.

Differences apply, sometimes. A woman who doesn't know English relies more on the rhythm of the words and the melody to interpret the song than she does the actual stanzas. Pain, the curse of being far away from home, are nigh universal themes, all in all. She rather forgets the business of the latte, one damp napkin blotched against the malamute's paw. Her inscrutable eyes, fathomless and devoid of rendered emotion, lock to Quinn and do not stir away. Fingers slowly creep up to touch Kiril's unmoving arm, nothing more impressive than that.

Cerise is so enraptured by the song and by C.B.'s nostalgia that she doesn't even argue with whatever he whispered to her. She just leans against the counter and watches him as the song washes over them both, being pulled away only when a customer comes up, which she takes herself rather than disturb C.B.

Quinn's eyes open as she hits the first line of the last stanza of the song, reflecting the words themselves, and the tone of her voice changes. The sorrow deepens, fading from the nostalgia for that long lost home into the aching realization that return to is never going to be what she hoped, or ever would have expected before she left it.

       Then I wake and look around me
       To the cold gray walls that surround me
       And then I realize that I was only dreaming
       There's the guard and the sad old padre
       Arm in arm we walk at daybreak
       Again I touch the green, green grass of home
       Yes, we'll all be together in the shade of the old oak tree
       When we meet beneath the green, green grass of home

The sound of the guitar fades away as her voice does, and she takes a deep breath and looks around like she's noticing the rest of the room for the first time since she started to play.

Bronwyn has had her breath taken away by the beauty of Quinn's voice. When the singer stops, it takes a moment for the magic to face before the blonde is on her feet cheering and clapping loudly. "Whoo! Yay, Quinn!!" After about ten seconds of this she realises she is acting like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Her cheeks flush red as she sits back down, pushing her glasses back up her nose and hiding behind a glass of water.

It breaks the spell on Kiril, as he's lacing his fingers with Zhenya's, and finally awakening to pet the dog, lightly. A hair embarrassed, gaze dropping to the worn toes of his boots, before he releases both to turn back to the counter. About that drink - might need to spike this one.

"Espresso?" The way Zhenya says that holds a certain hesitancy, hushed so much to avoid cracking Quinn's rapturous spell. She might apologize, if she could, from abusing the position afforded to them all, being witness to a powerful movement of song. Some vague part of her is stricken, in a vastly different way than Kiril.

At some point, C.B.'s head drops and he's actually looking at the counter instead of Quinn. Listening deeply. Lost in whatever memory that is. His head jerks up when the music stops and Bronwyn starts hooting and clapping. Then he snaps his fingers, beatnik-style, instead of applauding, before moving to reach under the counter for something, which he pours into his mug.

Cerise takes the order quickly, her voice kept low while Quinn sings. When she returns from getting the coffee, she passes close enough to brush a hand up against C.B.'s arm, and that hand stays there even as she slides the coffee to the customer on the counter. Her own expression seems tinged by sorrow, but when eyes land on C.B. there's more than a little bit of concern.

Bronwyn rests her head on her hands, elbows on the nearest flat surface, as she stares at Quinn. There is a tear running down her cheek that she quickly wipes away. "Oh...wow...she's...she's awesome" the Doctor sighs in the same way someone with a crush might do. And when she realises what she sounds like, her eyes go wide with shock and she makes her way quickly to the bar. "Double vodka. Be right back." The mortal quickly disappears into the bathroom, getting the right one eventually.

Quinn doesn't get up, just blinks her eyes a couple of times and looks around, then shifts her fingers on the neck of her guitar. She flashes a grin at Bronwyn, who cheered her rather vigorously, and then she starts to play again. This time, the beat of the song she starts into isn't quite the grief-stricken one she just played, but maybe fits in with a lot of the attitudes that can be found in collective like this: To Have and Have Not, by Billy Bragg.

That's when he finally finds a seat, the usual table big enough to let a giant furry marshmallow camp out beneath. Kiril looks...dreamy now. Usually that's more Zhenya's field. He's forgotten the requested croissant, which makes Beren whine, and K turns back, embarrassed.

C.B. glances back when Cerise squeezes his arm. He gives her a half-smile, reaching out to pat her hand. Bit of a bewildered snort when Bron goes running away, and then C.B. keeps drinking as he listens to Quinn continue. It's pretty clear he doesn't know this one, so he listens with a skeptical expression. It's only natural, at least for this particular worker-owner.

Cerise seems reassured at the pat to her hand and so she gives C.B.'s arm another squeeze and then lets her arm fall away to complete Bronwyn's order. When the woman comes back it will be there on the counter waiting for her. Meanwhile, this song doesn't seem to be nearly as depressing and so Cerise passes her time while listening by pulling out containers of paper goods and refilling the stock behind the counter.

Zhenya takes the small plate with the croissant, along with her latte. Forget if anyone makes her an espresso or not. Hardly possible for her to mix up one for herself, no great help using any kind of metal machine with dials and hissing steam and whistles. This much she can manage, steering Kiril to a table. A click of her tongue against her palate welcomes to dog to follow, to a seat. Grief-stricken she is not, still detached in her way, but a certain sharpness lurks behind the woman's countenance. In her wake goes the vaguest scent of the sea.

Totally composed and emotions in check, Bronwyn emerges from the bathroom and heads straight to the bar. A nod of thanks for the drink before she can't help but watch and listen to Quinn's performance. Another lovely song that gets to the heart. Bronwyn downs the double vodka in one go. "Another" she requests, placing the glass down. "I'll be right back." And off she goes to compose herself once more.

It's not a long song, and before long Quinn is done with it. After she finishes she wordlessly starts sliding the guitar back into its case, then slings it onto her shoulder to head back up to where C.B. and Cerise are hanging out, and Bronwyn was until just a moment ago. "So, do I get some supper for the couple of songs?" she asks.

If no one makes Zhenya an espresso, and she needs one? C.B.'ll make it! Once he stops evaluating Quinn, at any rate. The espresso is pushed across the counter for Zhenya. He snickers as Bronwyn drinks up and heads to the bathroom, squinting after the anthropologist. Then nods to Quinn. "Yeah. Not bad, kid. So what can I get ya?" He adds, very casually, "Cerise thinks I should ask you about having a regular gig here. Of course, we'd have to run it by the rest of the Collective, but if you were into that idea, we might be able to work something out."

"Hell, take it outta my paycheck," Kiril's reply is quick, the Brooklyn accent harsher than ever. That's his vote on the subject, voice made a little raw. Usually he'd resent someone conjuring up that kind of emotion...but here, there's gratitude more than anything else. He murmurs his thanks to Zhenya, gives her a grateful grin, as Beren lays his furry head on his leg.

Since C.B. is talking to Quinn and getting coffee which leaves Cerise to deal with refilling Bronwyn's glass. For some reason, the mortal woman seems to hesitate, giving a skeptical glance to C.B. before filling it with more vodka, but perhaps she takes it a little easy this time.

Beren receives his fair share of the croissant, a piece torn free and offered on a handful of a morsel. He can lick up Zhenya's palm all he wants. "Thank you," she says to C.B. Mm, coffee. "The music is very good. How do you learn this thing?" She goes back to capture the cup, one way or another.

Bronwyn emerges once more. She's not too worried about getting drunk, more worried about hiding emotions. Besides, there are some nice policemen outside who can drive her back to her cabin in the woods if need be. She picks up the refilled glass but doesn't down it this time. Not yet at least. "You were great, Quinn. I knew you would be" she blushes to the other woman. "You should definitely sing regularly here...umm...not that it's up to me."

"I might be interested in seeing what we can work out," Quinn says, expressing interest but not committing to anything. "We'll still have to talk about the collective's details before I can say whether I want to get more involved." She considers for a moment before saying, "how about a falafel sandwich? And an order of fries, and a chai latte." She smiles at Kiril and Zhenya, who are strangers, but she's evidently friendly toward strangers, and then Bronwyn comes back and she laughs. "Thanks, Bron. It's been a while since the last time I performed for an audience. I wasn't sure how well it would go."

C.B. grunts. "Yeah, well, I told you I could tell you about them. But not one of us is greater than any other one of us. Remember that." He nods to Zhenya -- a sort of belated, gruff thank you -- and sends the order behind to the kitchen, although no doubt they're getting on towards late night menu hours. He goes to make the chai latte himself, keeping an eye on Bronwyn and Quinn, occasionally glancing over to see what Cerise is up to.

Cerise is busy filling yet another order, but when she finishes, she wanders on back to C.B. and Zhenya, bearing with her a plate with a sandwich and fries on the side which gets passed over to Quinn with a smile, "Is there anything in particular you know would put you off? I mean, we could get that out of the way first and save a bunch of time."

The Soldier's content to brood over his drink a little, listening to the discussion, but not adding any more commentary. Beren takes the scrap with a wave of his tail and a grateful lick over her knuckles, but doesn't beg for more.

Bronwyn is interested in people...the study of is what she does for her living...so she's intrigued about this Collective as anyone. Though she hasn't mentioned a desire to join it. She will stand quietly, listening, sipping on her vodka.

Zhenya is quiet to sip that chai latte, adding part of the espresso into the rotation of drinks. The first sips, however, go to Kiril, pushed over on the little plate adjacent to the croissant scrap.

"It's hard to say, and I can't think of anything that's likely," Quinn admits to Cerise, since she asked a question. "I just know that sometimes people can get a little weird, so I prefer to know what I'm getting into with things. Kind of like one of the problems with trying to get a job most places, beyond the exploitation kind of inherent in capitalist systems, is that you never know if your boss is going to be cool or an asshole. It might be less likely with a collective, but you never know." She takes a seat, then slides her guitar to the ground by her feet.

C.B. pushes the chai latte towards Quinn, clearing his throat so he can lean over and start pontificating: that's what he does. One of the many things he does. "Listen, it's pretty simple. We're a Collective of worker-owners with a radical bent. We try not to put a particular slant on it -- 'anarchist' or 'libertarian-socialist' or any of the sort -- to avoid pigeon-holing, although I myself would say I'm all of those things, radical included. Every worker here is entitled to be an owner, but not required to. We make decisions by committee. There is no Big Boss. Some people who are better at some things are in charge of them, if only because they're good at them. Like Xa, our head cook -- she went to NECI." He's talking about the New England Culinary Institute, a well-regarded cooking school not far from the area. "There's nothing particularly 'weird' going on. Work, go to meetings, get paid, be an owner if you'd like." He shrugs. "It ain't a cult. It's a cafe."

Cerise arches an eyebrow as Quinn rattles on about capitalist exploitation and her eyes float over to C.B. again, "Oh, somehow I think you'd fit in just fine here. I can assure you, that the people are no weirder than, well, what you'd expect, but you can always come back and chat up the workers here, if you want. I was a regular for, what, two months before I got roped in?" Cerise again glances sidelong at C.B. and then shrugs before she hefts a soup pot out of its heater. "I'm going to go get more from the back. Won't be long."

"It's a good place to work," pipes up the Winter from his table, gruffly. "I mean, I've only been here a few weeks. But what he says is true. You don't wanna get involved in the political stuff, you don't haveta. No one's trying to cram ideology down your throat." The idea of which is anathema to him, by that cynical look. He takes a sip of the latte, gives Zhenya a wry little smile, reaching for her hand.

"So what happens if the vote is even?" Bronwyn asks innocently after another sip of her vodka. "I mean, democracy is wonderful and all. but do you always have odd numbered members? What happens if someone is not available to vote?" She glances around at those chatting. "And I think I'll shut up and go sit over there." A wave of her hand towards a table and she makes her way over there.

"All well and good," Quinn says as she picks up the chai latte. "That's pretty much what I would hope a place like this would be. I'm not going to say yes right now, but that's largely because I'm making myself hold off on making any big decisions for a few weeks, at least." She brings the cup to her lips and takes a small sip, while watching Bronwyn wander off. "I just got back like a week and a half ago," she says, which could be taken to mean back in town. "I've got a lot to figure out right now." She nods to Kiril, acknowledging what he said, but doesn't say more just yet.

"They are kind," Zhenya says. She hooks her heels against the leg of her seat, balance for her over the fluffy white hedgehound. Long fingers curl around the steel body of the travel mug, the spiced fragrance filling her head with eastern dreams and bazaars. Her other hand curls around Kiril's, fingers entwined, that surreptitious gesture easily overlooked.

"See?" C.B. smirks, pointing to Kiril. "He doesn't have to say that. He doesn't even talk much, but he's willing to say that." He reaches down for whatever he keeps back there to refill his cup, and the smirk is given to Zhenya as well, though it's more of a smile. Almost. Bronwyn's many questions get a snort out of him. "If someone's not available, well, we take that into account on a case-by-case basis. And if the vote is even, we usually table the item for a future vote." But she's going away, moving to another table, so he just shrugs and zeroes in on Quinn. "Huh," he says, slowly bobbing his head. "Well. Fair enough. I'm usually here, if you ever want to rap about it."

Kiril says, with a faintly arch look, "I only talk when I really got somethin' to say," And implying nothing by that, surely. But he adds, "He's right. Keep coming by. Watch us in action. You'll see." And Zhenya's piped up, so he gestures at her, "And she talks even less than I do, so you really gotta listen when she offers her opinions."

Bronwyn's still listening though. Making mental notes. It's all very interesting to her. How cultures and sub-cultures come to do what they do. It may even be scientific detachment that has her move away. If she makes comments, then she is introducing ideas into a group that may not have had them without her intervention. And that's a no-no. She taps softly on her glass, intrigued by all the different people...and their animals...that have come here.

<<English is not the best for speaking.>> Zhenya's opinion drawn in Russian comes softer, more profoundly evoked than anything heard prior. Soft volume defines that response, timbre modulated almost to a whisper. Rarely does she slip into her native tongue, short-lived as that may be. Do not wish to be rude, after all, and speaking in a language that maybe a third of the people in the room hold any facility in counts.

"I'll keep it in mind," Quinn says, not wanting to commit to anything right now. She lapses from musical speech to quietly sipping on her chai latte while waiting for food, but looking like she's in a pretty good mood in general. She shoots a glance toward Bronwyn and gives the woman, who she evidently knew from before, a smile.

"Well, given that I tend to just run my mouth, having a balance in you two is pretty good," C.B. says to the Russians with a little half-smile. Too bad he doesn't actually understand the language...although isn't he always reading books in Cyrillic? Weird. "Hey, if you're into jazz," he says to Quinn, rather off-handedly, "a few of us are putting on a little concert tomorrow at Alchemy. You should come." He heads back over to the stereo to place the needle back on the Janis record.

Bronwyn returns Quinn's smile - rather proud of the young woman's singing...and touched by it. She pets the table, suggesting Quinn come sit with her once the food arrives. But then follows it up with blushing expressions along the lines of 'but only if you want to'. Her vodka finished, it may be time for a coffee.

<<No kidding. We make a lot of noise, but it takes a lot to say much. Russian's much more pithy.>> Kiril's Russian is accentless, it seems. He gives C.B an upnod and a grin. "That why you hired me? To balance out your tendency to spout off?" Comfortable enough to mouth off a little, New York brass glinting, so to speak.

Taking her food over to sit with Bronwyn seems just fine to her, and she's been invited over, so she leans down to pick her her guitar bag, slings it over her shoulder, then grabs her plate and her cup. "I'll see you all around I'm sure, but I'm going to go sit over there," she says, nodding toward Bron's table, and then she heads over. "How's it going?" she asks, sliding into a seat and putting things down.

C.B. makes a little gesture: thumb and forefinger together around his eye, which he moves off again. "Be seeing you," he says to Quinn, turning back to his mug. He chuckles at Kiril. "/I/ didn't hire you. The Collective hired you. Come on now, keep up." He actually grins a little, showing teeth that are very yellowed from too much coffee and too many cigarettes, and have a slight gap in the front.

"Good. Good" Bronwyn nods in reply to Quinn, offering her a warm smile as best she can. "I went to the local library up at the lake. Found some great books that would help. Got a name to talk to. Met some...interesting...people. Including a famous boxer if you would believe that. And you? You haven't had that talk and it sounds like you're a bit low on money so if there's anything I can do to help...did I mention you have the voice of an angel?"

"A famous boxer, at the library?" Quinn asks, connecting the two things even if they might not actually be connected. She picks up a fry and nibbles on it. "Help yourself to some of these if you want," she says as she reaches for another. "I'm staying with some people who are filthy stinking rich, so I'm not really hurting. It just feels weird to take more than I need. Thank you, though. For the offer and the compliment." She eats the fry and then picks up her sandwich.

The Russian woman nurses that chai down to the dregs, and the espresso ought to shoot an anxious bolt of adrenaline through the veins. Nothing as yet exposes her to the jitters. When Kiril ventures a few sideways words, she shakes her head slightly. "That one," a nod to C.B., "has teeth. Attitude." She tries the words on. "Needs these ladies to be honey and spice."

"I know, weird" Bronwyn shrugs. "Though I guess boxers have the right to live where they want when they retire. And even go to libraries. I shouldn't try and promulgate stereotypes. Thanks." A fry is gratefully taken. Two even. "Oh, you've found someone to stay with. That's great" Though there may be a bit of disappointment in her tone. "I hope they're not taking advantage of you or anything like that but I know you're smart enough and strong enough not to let that happen. I'm glad things are going well for you. And it sounds like you could have a job here if you want."

"Yeah," Kiril agrees, amused, conceding the point to C.B. A nod at Zhenya. "Exactly," he adds, leaning back comfortably in his chair, rather than brooding over his drink.

C.B. moves briefly down the counter to clean up a spill and, while he's at the bar end, gets himself a can of Narragansett Lager, despite the fact that he's also drinking something else. When he moves back, he's squinting at Zhenya. "Wait, what did you just say about me?"

Zhenya, untrustworthy creature, gives one of those enigmatic Slavic smiles. It could mean anything. On the other side of the Mask, her glittering countenance is all the more obscured by the faint light she throws off brightening a fraction. "Exactly."

"Sure they do," Quinn agrees, at least after she finishes her mouthful of falafel sandwich. "It seems like an unlikely spot to run into a famous boxer, but there's certainly nothing wrong with it." She takes another bite and shakes her head as she chews. When she has swallowed that mouthful she says, "I've been staying with them since I got into town. They're treating me well, I promise. Nothing hinkky, no taking advantage. They're kind of too caught up in being in love with each other for anything like that, I think." It's not a complaint, probably, since she seems more amused by it than anything.

"Awww...that sounds sweet" Bronwyn smiles about Quinn's hosts. "Sounds like you're doing great then. The boxer was with two people that I first thought were on a day outing from an asylum. That was my second thought too. But, nope, they were just being themselves. It does make it easier to understand why folk stories still have such sway here. And there was a woman too. Very...strange. Had quite the air around her." She laughs softly. "Sorry, this is probably not very interesting to you at all."

Kiril doesn't rat his girl out. C.B. looks over, and he gets presented with Kiril's very best 'who, me?' face, and a broad shrug. "Couldn't tell ya," he says, innocently.

"Right," C.B. says, narrowing his eyes at Zhenya and Kiril. At least he's smirking a little. Maybe he got it more than he lets on. "Got some stuff to do. Might come back out front later." At that, he heads into the back, and Mason -- a pink-bearded millennial who often works the night shift -- takes his place up front.

Quinn finishes off her sandwich and says, "it's interesting, but I should probably get going anyway. Maybe we can catch up soon and you can tell me about things? I just stopped in for a bite to eat, and I've been here longer than I expected to be."

"Sure. I might head home too. I'm staying at a cabin at the end of a very dark road. It was...it was really nice to see you again, Quinn. Lovely to hear you sing too. I look forward to seeing you again" Bronwyn gets to her feet to give Quinn a hug before they leave together separately.

Whilst Kiril is busy being innocent, his hand is squeezed once and, daring to impossible heights, she might even stroke her thumb against the arc separating the webbing of his lowest knuckle from the higher mount above his index finger.

Bad Zhenya.