2019-03-08 - A Vespa In Manhattan


Simmons has a wee spot of bother with her Vespa.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Mar 9 02:16:15 2019
Location: Lower East Side

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New York City is not exactly the best place to drive and it can be even worse to try and ride a bicycle. The war between pedestrians, cyclists and cars is ongoing and vicious. Jemma Simmons, strangely enough, tries to circumnavigate it by taking a track in between: a vespa. It's a light blue, reminiscent of Roman Holiday and she can't help but love it, even many may think it horribly impractical. The SHIELD scientist is wearing her helmet (as is only proper) as she rides down the bicycle lane. That's when the machine starts to stutter and jolt. Concerned, she moves the handlebars one way, then the other only to find it listing horribly to the right and into the sidewalk.

In vain, she tries to get it to stop only for it to very inelegantly bump right into a mailbox. Luckily, it was also slowing, but it does tip to the side and spill her onto the concrete with a bit of a surprised, "Oof!"

Elmo is one of those hardy souls who drive regularly in New York. His old, bright yellow pickup happens to be in the lane next to Simmons' Vespa when the disaster happens. He curses when the Vespa goes over. Traffic flows (or rather, struggles) onward, but Elmo takes a sharp right swerve to come up behind her. He leans out the window, eyebrows up in alarm. "Hey!" Then he hops out of his truck. "Lady, you okay?" He approaches cautiously, hands out in the universal sign for 'I'm unarmed'.

Simmons blinks a few times, tangled up in the toppled Vespa. Luckily her legs aren't crushed, but she is still slightly dazed. A few other concerned citizens have gathered about her to try and pluck her out from underneath the disaster she has created. Their reaction is immediate and then once they know she is alright and she has waved them off, they go about their own busy lives.

Looking up to Elmo, she is finally out from underneath her vehicle, sitting on the pavement and plucking off her helmet. Her brown hair is mussed, but she does not seem to care. "Oh, yes, I believe I'm fine. I simply have to figure out how to drag over a hundred kilograms of steel and wiring multiple blocks." Her accent is easily pegged as British. "Unless you happen to have a mechanics garage hidden under your coat, I believe I will sit here for a moment to problem solve this dilemma. Thank you, however, for stopping. It's not true what they say about New Yorkers. You all are incredibly thoughtful when the mood strikes."

Elmo crouches down. It's not far, he's really short. "We're good in emergencies," he says with a wry quirk of his mouth. "Been through a lot of 'em." He doesn't try to touch her in any way, but he's looking her over in a brisk fashion. "You sure you're okay? You know what year it is?"

"True, at that." Simmons raises an eyebrow as he starts to look her over. She does not take in a way that he is attempting to check her out, especially with his added question. "It is March, 2019. Honestly, I am alright. I may have a slight concussion as I am experiencing a little dizziness and a dim ringing in my ears. If I sit still a little while and then perhaps call myself a tow, I will be fine, I believe." Confidentially, she leans forward a little toward him. "I am something of a doctor."

Glancing over to where Elmo parked his truck, she sits back again and then watches him. "It was kind of you to pull over."

Elmo relaxes a little as Simmons gives him the right answer. "Okay. You're a doctor? Pretty cool. What kinda doctor? And hey, you broke down in front of the right guy. I can getcha rollin' again, no sweat. Maybe you oughtn't ride, but I can fix ya little Vespa up." He grins at her, expressive eyebrows up. "My work is down the block, you want to sit, have somethin' to drink?" His accent is pure New York Yiddish, as Jewish as brisket and horseradish. "Eh, kind nothin', I ain't gonna let someone take a spill and not check on 'em."

"Mostly simple patches, or research, really. I guess the best term would be general doctor. I've done quite a lot of autopsies, I will assure you." Perhaps that knock to the head is giving her a little bit of a loose tongue and in a way Jemma does not intend. "Oh, no, you're quite right. However, just being able to get it up again would be lovely, thank you." Brushing off her hands, she nods a few times. "I think sitting is the thing. Though, I do wonder what your definition of kind is if it does not include stopping for wayward Vespa drivers who have happened to crash their vehicle on the side of the road."

Awkwardly, Elmo shrugs one shoulder. "Chesed, we call it." He straightens up. "You sit right there." Jogging to his truck, he takes out a toolbox, and returns. Putting his hand on the Vespa's housing, he mutters, "Good girl, gonna take a look at you." Apparently …to the machine. Then he's popping open the toolbox and getting into the engine. "You're kinda young to be a doctor, aren't you?" he asks, while he does so. "What's doin' an autopsy like?" Maybe he's trying to keep her talking, maybe he's genuinely interested. Maybe both!

"Chesed." Simmons repeats the word, testing it. "What language is that?"

She does, in fact, sit right there as she watches Elmo go to the truck to grab his tools and then go back to the Vespa. At his talk to the machine, she doesn't look offended but rather more amused. Introducing himself to her Vespa looks something like a good idea to her. "Do you often talk to machines?" Running right into his question, she answers, "I started young. I don't work in a hospital or have a practice or anything."

What is doing an autopsy like? She thinks for a moment. "It's like looking for the constellations. They're all these little dots that are pretty if you don't know anything about them, but when you know what you're looking for, you'll find Cassiopeia."

Elmo glances up, eyebrows cocked, smiling crookedly. "Hebrew. And, uh, yeah. I talk to machines all the time." He pats the Vespa as if comforting it. Listening with interest, he gets things patched. "Constellations! Yeah! Man, astronomy is the best. So it's like that, you gotta kind of follow the paths around the stars, like a map. But in 3-D. And, kinda, squishy." He clips off a wire. "You gotta be pretty smart to be a doctor in the first place, it can't be easy doin' it when you're our age. Machines are simpler I bet."

"It's nice to talk to machines. Do they ever talk back to you? I'm not sure if I every would want that. I've been incredibly cruel to my laptop at times when it misbehaves."

The minute constellations are brought up as a topic of conversation, Simmons is immediately enthusiastic. "It is! I adore star watching. I used to watch the stars with my father out in the countryside. It was incredible. I often am sad the stars are harder to see here: light pollution and all."

Nodding a few times, she rearranges the helmet in her lap. "Squishy, yes a bit. Organs are heavier than you might think, though." Is this proper conversation? She doesn't seem to care if it is or not, Elmo seems to be alright about being frank. "Machines are just like mechanical people. Wires and purposes and figuring out what is wrong."

"Oh yeah, they tell me a lot," Elmo says, somewhat absently. "Your girl here tells me her oil injection system's on the fritz. So aside from un-shakin' what got shook up, that's your problem. You can mix the oil and gas by hand until it's fixed. I'd have to take her apart, can't exactly do that on the sidewalk. Looks like you need a tow after all. Sorry about that, woulda liked to get her rolling."

He looks up, and his grin is sudden and brilliant. "You go stargazing? Can't see nothin' in the city, but north a few hours, get some great darkness up there."

Then when Simmons says machines are just like mechanical people, Elmo gets a comically awestruck expression. Proper conversation or not, he doesn't care, all he cares about is Simmons is speaking his nerdy language. "That's what I try to get people to understand! Usually they just think I'm weird."

"Ah," Simmons nods at hearing that her Vespa needs a tow. "Thank you for looking. It's good to know what's wrong so I can be sure they're not trying to give me a runaround. The oil injection system. Would I need to replace parts or is this simply an involved process that cannot be done on the sidewalk?"

The stargazing question is met with a grin. "I used to. I haven't been stargazing in awhile." With a laugh and a shake of her head, she is pleasantly surprised at Elmo's immediate enthusiasm. "Then they simply don't understand. I certainly wouldn't operate on a Vespa."

"Bet it's clogged, maybe the valve is stuck. Probably won't have to replace much if anything. These guys are pretty simple. I could fix 'er no problem, just not on the spot. Someone'll come along and kick ya carburetor, it's no good." Elmo rattles on, but reddens when Simmons laughs, shyly dropping his eyes. "Yeah. They don't understand." He begins to button up the Vespa. "Uhm, what'd you say your name was?"

"That's good. If you'd be available to fix it and willing, I'd be more than happy to tow it right to where you could." Seeing Elmo redden just slightly and shyly drop his eyes, she misinterprets. "I appreciate you stopping and even looking into it as much. Honestly, the fact that someone who could know as much as you do about my Vespa when you were simply passing by is quite remarkable and I sincerely thank you for stopping."

There are a few slow blinks as Elmo buttons up the Vespa and asks her name. "My goodness, I didn't even ask for your name. I do believe that possible concussion has been upgraded into probable. I am so sorry. Jemma Simmons." She sticks her hand out for him to shake. "And may I ask yours?"

"It's, uh, it's not that I know a lot about Vespas. I just know cars. And machines. You know. Happy to fix 'er for you though." Elmo reddens further, as Simmons offers her hand. "Uh, I wouldn't wanna get engine grease on you." He holds up his own hand as demonstration, shrugging like 'what can you do?'. "I'm Elmo. Rosencrantz. It's nice to meetcha. Uhh…do you need to go to the hospital?" The eyebrows go up again in worry. Those eyebrows, man, he could signal the space station with them.

"Settled then. We can figure out a way to get Princess Ann where she needs to go. I'll call a tow. If you're sincerely willing to fix her, I will be glad to hire you." Seeing Elmo redden and give an excuse, Jemma does not press. Instead, she nods. "I understand. I've dealt with similar." She did, after all, just tell him about all the autopsies she's done. "It's been a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Rosencrantz." Does she need to go the hospital? She shakes her head. "No. I think I just need a bit of rest. Honestly, thank you."

Elmo laughs a nervous little huff. "Aw jeez, please call me Elmo. Only guidance counselors call me Mr. Rosencrantz." Kneeling on the sidewalk while people just carry on flowing around them, wiping off his hands with a rag, he grins lopsided at Simmons. "Do I call you Doc Simmons?"

He tucks the rag back in the toolbox. Then he muscles the Vespa upright with a grunt and kicks down the stand. "Breakdown in the slow lane, ya gotta go around," he says to the people who are giving him dirty looks for taking up the sidewalk. Then he's dropping back into an easy crouch to look anxiously at Simmons. "D'you need help up? Need me to drop you off somewhere? …Look, I worry."

"If I am to call you Elmo, you may call me Jemma." The Vespa is righted and the stand is down. The honking commences and the people of New York are trying to regain their space. Realizing she has taken up quite enough time on the sidewalk, she slowly pushes herself to standing. With an appreciative smile, she shakes her head. "No, I appreciate that. Though, would my Vespa fit in your truck? If not, I shall simply wait for a tow and then meander my way to where I was going. If it could, I would wave it a 'see you soon' and then meander on my way."

Elmo does a quick estimate, measuring the Vespa with his eyes and muttering to himself. "…Yeah, sure she would." Belatedly, he realizes Simmons has told him to call her Jemma, and clears his throat. "Well, uh, lemme give you my card. Not really my card, the card of the shop I work at, but there's only me and the owner. Get your number, too." He's already rummaging for a card and notepad when he gets flustered and adds, "Just so, you know, I can keep ya updated."

"Is that nice? To work in a smaller place? Where I work is a ton of people, a lot of people to answer to." Simmons smiles at Elmo at the offer of the card. "Thank you, I appreciate that. I don't really have a card, really." The offer of getting her number is met with a nod. If he's willing to take her Vespa to help fix it, he should have a means to contact her. Taking either paper or notepad, she writes down her number and name for him and also takes his card. "Thank you so much, honestly. I thought I'd be rolling her around for blocks and blocks until I simply gave up."

Elmo hands over the card by holding it at the very tip of a corner. "It's not you," he mutters, embarrassed. "Just, touchin', it's too loud." The card reads Rosario Electronics and Repairs. Elmo tucks Simmons' number into a pocket. "Yeah, to be honest, it is pretty nice. I work construction, too. Now that's loud as hell, and that's just the guys." He looks at the sky as if requesting help from God. When he looks back at Simmons, he shrugs bashfully. "Hey, don't worry about it." Almost he seems like he might ask her again about a ride, but it occurs to him that a girl like her might rightfully have reservations about getting into the car of a guy she doesn't know. "I'll call you when she's fixed. Won't take long."

Too loud? Simmons isn't quite sure what to make of that statement, but it seems impolite at this moment to bring it up.

The loudness of construction is met with a nod. "I believe that." She knows enough about construction to know that it is certainly loud, though she has not participated in it. "I appreciate that. Truly. Thank you again for stopping and helping."

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