|Tompkins Park Clean-Up|
|Location||Tompkins Square Park - Mutant Town|
|Participants||Samad, Lea, Kade|
|NPCs||Sergio Mireles, Julia Radnofsky|
|Summary||Open Hands and some volunteers attempt to beautify the Mutant Town park. There are many weeds. But, possibly, superhero topiary.|
| During daylight hours, the park is pleasant enough, if not ever truly safe. Concrete paths criss-cross a green space liberally shaded by trees, while the north end boasts basketball and multi-purpose courts of cracked and pitted concrete. The playgrounds have long since been abandoned, and most of the equipment is rusted and broken, while the pool sits empty save for rainwater. It's often filled with teenagers who've long since abandoned school and those who can't find even the shelter of a squat to call home.
Drugs are freely traded at all hours, but when night falls, the park becomes a veritable marketplace of illicit substances. Interested parties come to Tompkins Square from all over Manhattan to partake, if they're sturdy enough to brave Mutant Town at night. After twilight, the park and surrounding areas are home to drug-fueled parties and violence in almost equal measure.|
| It is a summer evening. The weather is warm and clear.|
In Tompkin's Square Park, two mid-sized playgrounds are located on either side of the corner of Avenue B and East 7th Street -- in full view of Avenue B Apartments. While not the largest or worse-off of the park's abandoned play areas, these two were chosen to receive most of this outing's efforts.
Open Hands residents are spread out amongst the various equipment. Much of the technical aspects of the cleanup involving repair and replacement is being taken care of volunteer contractors and similarly responsible adults. For those volunteers without experience or skill, there is still plenty of gardening, painting, and cleaning to do.
"Perimeter breach!" Sergio screeches from a bramble of overgrown thorn bushes as a stray cat comes careening out of her hiding place. The ragged creature bounds out into the crowd. She zig-zags, barely avoiding getting stepped out before disappearing out into Mutant Town.
The boy receives a pointed scowl from Samad who, along with Julia, was transporting 2x4's across the pathway for the assembling of a new bench. The cat broke his flow. With a grunt of exertion, he's forced to set his stack down for a moment and wipe his brow. The metal-skinned young woman helping him needs no such break and carries on.
"Does he like, ever /not/ have that expression on his face?" Lea wonders under her breath to Sergio as her gaze catches Samad's scowl. She's settled cross-legged on a sideway with her hands covered in dirt, working weeds free from what was, at some point, a bed filled with neat hedges and flowers. Her long, dark hair is swept back in a high ponytail, and she's already earned a smudge of dirt across one brow.
"No," Sergio giggles in agreement with Lea. The young photokinetic presses at the handles of his gardening sheers and produces a satisfying SNAP! From the bushes he's been charged with domesticating. "Yo, how hard do you think it would be to shape this bush like somethin?"
"You do not have enough brains for this. Too much video games." Julia counters with a smirk. The Hungarian transplant is already on her way to retrieve more wood. She's overlapped Samad thrice, now. "Just let me tear the whole thing out before you get cut," she offers with a wide, metal-armed gesture as she slows to a stop by the garden.
"For you?" Lea wonders, watching Sergio's enthusiastic trimming with a dubious eye. "Let's not find out. Just make it look-- bush shaped. But with less pokey bits."
Kade is here for the party...of neighborhood revitalization. He's dressed in old jeans and a /very/ old Chicago Cubs t-shirt, which looks like it's been through many events like this. "Samad my Man!" he hollers in the fellow's general direction. "Point me to a task that needs doing, and I will get /on/ it." Probably a non-skill task, like the painting/gardening/cleaning. General contracting is not among his special skills. He inclines his head around to the Open Hands kids he recognizes. Lea among them.
"Nah, dude! I wanna make this shaped like a rabbit or something! A toperary! Classy as shyyyit!" Sergio brings up the clippers and snaps them a bunch of times in quick succession at the air. It's for the sake of theatrics and also, super dangerous. "One of you should pose for me, I'll IMMORTALIZE you!"
Placing the back of her hands on her hips, Julia narrows her eyes and flattens her mouth.
"Topiary," Samad calls out an unsolicited correction to the boy. He steps forward and extends a friendly hand to Kade without removing the work glove. He's dressed similarly to the other man, but with a sheen of dangerous sweat. "You've got your pick," he offers pleasantly but with much less enthusiasm than Kade, probably. "I think I see some shrubs that could use a controlled burn." That's a joke. Maybe.
Lea is on the verge of objecting to Sergio's plan when Samad makes his correction, and on that note, her mouth snaps shut. She leans forward with a trowel in hand, jabbing it at a particularly deep-rooted weed. "You know what," she says as she jerks on the thing. "Do it. I wanna see."
Kade is enthusiastic, for better or worse. He looks /way/ too eager at the prospect of getting to burn things. He's at least /mostly/ aware it's a joke. Maybe. "I'll start with some cutters. But, if you need torching of some of this stuff once it's gathered up, I am totally willing." He manages to get some gloves and gardening equipment without setting anything on fire. For now. It's taken over to work near Sergio and Lea. "So, should I start somewhere particular, or are just clearing all of this?"
Appearing to share in Lea's sentiment, Julia offers her an unspoken look of defiant agreement before moving on the continue her own tasks. "If you want to immortalize me, you must work from memory," she purrs. Soon enough, she and Samad are hammering away at a crude, pre-cut bench.
"Yo, I know /xactly/ what I'ma make," Sergio jabs at the air with her own clippers in Lea's direction. A bit of light flashes in the air around him as a display of his excitement. "You gotta make sure what you do is /congruent/ with our overall /vision/," he explains to Kade, raising his eyebrows high into his hairline. Master. Gardeners.
Lea turns her glance over to Kade, who earns a warmer smile than any present thus far. "We're mostly just clearing it out," she tells him, jerking her chin toward the pile of weeds she's collecting. "You know. Yanking up the stuff that's not meant to be here." She pauses, then cuts her eyes up to Sergio to add, "Except for him, he's making topiaries."
"Congruent with the topiary?" Kade asks Sergio. With a straight face. He will not mock the boy's botanic artistry. "Cool. I got you. I'll concentrate on clearing the area around your work. Just yell if I mess with anything that hurts your vision." He kneels in the dirt. Starting in on the same sort of plants Lea's yanking. "I don't know much about plants, but this place doesn't look short on weeds."
"You feel me," Sergio agrees with a cool nudge of his chin. He side-steps to allow for more room in the garden for Kade. "I'm gonna make a superhero with a cape and--" Clasping his chin, he steps back to really give the overgrown bush a good and thorough look. "Might hafta be a runt superhero, but this /is/ a playground. Aw, man--" He glances around, evidently struck with some other new fantastical idea to add into the mix.
Lea's expression looks briefly pained at Sergio's suggestion, but all she says is, "It's more weed than anything else, I think. The whole thing seems kind of futile, but." She hitches a slender shoulder up in a shrug and yanks at another weed.
"Superhero? Sweet!" Kade is eager to enable Sergio. "Which one? I was never super into comics, but Green Lantern was my dude. And, well, Superman is /the/ guy." He yanks and yanks and yanks, until he's accumulated enough weeds that he needs to add them to the pile. To Lea, he shrugs. "It'll be less futile if folks do it in the regular. Maybe this is going to be, like, motivation."
"Man, what you think this is? /Which one/," Sergio mocks Kade pleasantly, "I'm gonna be lucky if it looks like anything, but I'm gonna fuckin' try." He nods theatrically, clipping a huge chunk away. The act immediately receives a quick and worried gasp from the boy. Oops. "There goes the cape." Sergio attempts to be a bit more cautious with the rest of his snips and over the course of many snips produces at the very least ...a humanoid-type creature.As what little light remains begins to shrink away and the park's few working street lamps are leant on to provide visibility, the community beautification project comes to a close. The Mutant Town park has had a considerable dent put in it's very depressing facade. Perhaps it even manages to attract morning foot traffic than is customary, pushing its seedier elements back into the shadows where they belong.