2019-04-11 - Vespa Take 2


Simmons gets her repaired Vespa back. Pastrami and astronomy are discussed.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Apr 11 03:50:28 2019
Location: Katz's Delicatessen

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Theme Song



Elmo has called up Jemma and asked her to meet him at the famous Jewish deli in the Lower East Side, Katz's. "Literally every Uber knows it," he tells her as a suitable excuse for why they should meet there. He's here with his bright-yellow pickup truck, Princess the Vespa in the back, wrangling a plank as a ramp. Getting it rolled down to the street, he's futzing over the machine just a little more, polishing this and that and trying to adjust the mirrors to where he guesses Simmons needs 'em. It's a usual afternoon in Manhattan. People are amused or irritated at him as they go by.

As Simmons arrives, she's wrapped up for the beginning of New York City spring weather. While a Brit by birth, she's lived in the city long enough to take the subway to where she needs to go. It's not hard to spot Elmo with the bright yellow pick up truck and her Vespa in the back. "Hi!" She greets immediately as she walks up. "Thank you so much for this, I appreciate it quite a bit. And also to come bring it here! I would have gladly gone to the shop."

Elmo looks up, eyebrows popping up, a grin blooming on his face. "Hey! Eh, it ain't no big deal. I was comin' here for lunch anyways." He might be fibbing a little about that. He's got the Vespa leaning on its kickstand while he straddles it so he can get at one last speck or smudge on a dial. The scooter is gleaming like it just rolled off the showroom floor. He detailed it to within an inch of its life. "So, uh, how's she look? Lemme—" he hops away, "lemme let you start 'er up."

It doesn't look like Jemma realizes that Elmo may be fibbing about him coming here for lunch. "As long as I'm not taking you out of your way! You've already been so kind." Looking over Princess Ann, she grins. "Wow! It looks like I just bought her. Actually, better, as I got her used. A friend helped me fix her up. This is amazing! Thank you!" Running a hand across the handlebars and then the seat, she grins. "You weren't kidding, you really do have a way with vehicles!" As asked, she turns the ignition and it immediately turns over. "I think she runs better than I've ever seen."

"Nah, I live right around here. Few blocks down." Elmo holds his breath for just a moment while Jemma turns the key. He lets it out in a comical whoosh when the repair meets with her approval. "Yeah, well, I can do one thing real well, and that's it. Fix cars. Fix stuff. Ain't no good at nothin' else." Grabbing the plank, he heaves it back into the bed of his pickup. "She's a doll of a machine. Oughta run real smooth for you now. Not to say anythin' about your friend, just the engineering on some of these can be kinda funny." He tosses the rag he was using to clean up Princess in the back, too. "So, uh, yeah, glad that, you, uh, you like it. You, uhhhh you hungry? Best pastrami outside my grandma's kitchen here."

Turning off the ignition, Jemma pockets the key. "How much do I owe your for parts and labor? This must have taken you awhile, I'd hate to let you go off without compensation for your hard work." As she looks to Katz's she smiles. "I could go for a sandwich. I've heard this place is amazing. Also, I'd never pass up the best of something. Those things must be tested upon for science's sake."

Elmo has carefully considered the issue of what he's going to charge for this. It's a delicate question. Undercharging Simmons would probably make her feel bad. He can't say he did it for no charge, because that'd definitely make her feel bad. On the bright side, she might not know how much to expect to pay. So he says, "Eh, forty bucks for parts," putting on a damn fine act of knowing exactly what he's talking about. That's at least a third of being a good mechanic. "Labor, how about you buy me lunch and we'll call it square."

Simmons tilts her head as Elmo gives the price. "Forty dollars? Are you sure?" While she is not the best at figuring out lying, she does generally know the cost of labor. However, she is not about to call him out exactly. "I'd be glad to pay you back in sandwiches. That sounds a lot like I'm getting off with the easier side of the bargain." Jemma waits for a moment and then moves to go inside.

"Parts are cheap," Elmo says with half a hitch of one shoulder. "People overcharge for 'em all the time." Now that is God's honest. "They're only expensive if you gotta get 'em in for something that either ain't on a production line anymore or uses really particular parts. Even then, half the time I can machine 'em or salvage 'em. This, hardly nothin'." He shoves up the tailgate of his truck. "Daisy, watch Princess, would ya?" Elmo pats the truck's side fondly and follows Jemma inside.

The first thing that happens is the burly older guy behind the cutter's counter hollers at Elmo. "Ey, boychik, this ain't a garage, I don't wanna see you messin' with some car in front again!"

"Awright, awright, it was an emergency!" Elmo yells back, flinging his hands up. "Keep ya damn pants on!"

The guy eyes Simmons, eyes Elmo, rolls his eyes and shakes his head. "Whaddaya want? Hurry it up."

New York manners are so refreshingly honest!


"And Vespa parts aren't particular?" Jemma gives Elmo a skeptical look at that. She doesn't imagine a lot of people are riding around New York City on something like this. Perhaps she shouldn't, as it has already proved unreliable.

The way that Elmo pats his truck is met with an uptick of her lips. The way he talks to his truck is amusing to her in a familiar way. "I name my microscopes," she confides.

The yelling from the guy behind the counter is met with a firm look. While generally unerringly British, she is also someone who does not tend to allow people to yell at her. However, nor does she wish to make a scene, so instead she is quick. "A Pastrami sandwich. Please." It is, after all, what was recommended. Aside to Elmo, "Perhaps this is worth more than parts. They certainly are brusque."

"All part of the ambiance," Elmo asides back, grinning at her with a flash of mischief.

He asks for a pastrami sandwich too, and has more details to apply: marble rye, grain mustard. "An' for the lady, too," he adds, to get Jemma the properly prescribed version. The grouchy guy behind the counter may be a grump, but he knows his business. He puts together thick, warm slices of pastrami, nothing like comes from behind a supermarket deli counter, in sandwiches that are dauntingly massive.

While they wait, Elmo asks, "You name your microsopes? Whaddaya name 'em?" genuinely interested. Probably the guy who talks to cars is actually interested!

"This is almost cartoonishly New York," Jemma replies sotto voce. "I can practically hear someone say 'no sandwich for you.'"

As Elmo adds on extras to her sandwich, she nods. While a resident, she doesn't quite know all the ins and outs of the perfect marble rye pastrami sandwich from Katz's.

The question about her microscopes is met with a bit of a shrug. "I mostly name things by reference or constellation. Right now I'm going through Disney names. I've got microscopes and samples named after Triton's seven daughters. I'm really hoping the sample Ariel grows properly. I've got high hopes for her. I haven't told her I accidentally broke Adella when I couldn't see through my goggles and knocked her to the floor."

Pausing for a moment, she waits, watching the man behind the counter expertly assemble their sandwiches. "What's it like working in a garage?"

Elmo's grin gets bigger. "Jeez, that's cute." Then he immediately gets flustered. "Uh, I mean. No, I mean, cute, but, I—uhhhh fergeddit." He waves his entire attempt at a sentence away like it's a bee.

Sandwiches are presented. The counter guy gives Elmo a look when Simmons pays. "What, you gonna let the lady pay?" Elmo blushes hot bright red and glares at him, muttering, "Gimme a break, would ya?" He takes his plate and goes to sit down.

"Ahh, I don't actually work in a garage," he tells Simmons, once they're settled. "I work in an electronics repair shop. Do electrical work, too, go around the city on dispatch."

Jemma smiles a bit at Elmo telling her it's cute and then getting flustered, blushing a bit at that herself. "It's not cute, so much as scientific necessity. There's only so much you can do with sample 01-2032. Putting names on each of them helps."

TAking her sandwich from the counter guy, she gives him a look. "What's wrong with letting the lady pay?" she asks him. The tone is not exactly aggressive, but she is challenging him. "I understand the chivalrous thoughts, however this is my insistence. There's no need to guilt us." Then, almost in the same breath, she gives him a smile without waiting for an answer…in fact she doesn't allow one. "Anyway, thank you. Have a nice day." This is the British version of a New York goodbye.

Then, she turns away and moves toward the table that Elmo has moved toward. Sitting down, she pays no attention to the previous conversation and puts her focus back to the conversation at hand. "I'm sorry, I assumed, with your help. What is that like, then? Do you enjoy it?"

Elmo is kinda tickled by Simmons playing the game her own way and doesn't bother to hide it. He hitches his eyebrows at the counter guy, like, 'you got told'.

"Scientific necessity can still be cute," he says, slouching on the bench seat of the booth. "I could work in a garage, I just don't. It's okay." Elmo shrugs, takes a bite. And sighs happily, rolling his eyes at how good it is. Swallowing, he goes on, "It kinda sucks, I'd rather be doin' my own thing, you know? A real job, feh. Used to just freelance. But I'm good at it, it's pretty easy, and I kind of had to get a real job, anyway. How about you? You enjoy growing samples named after mermaids?"

There is no further thought given to the person who attempted to guilt her and Elmo for having her pay. Instead, she takes a large bite of her sandwich and it takes her a few moments to chew through and respond. From the look on her face, she enjoyed it. "That's amazing, though there's no way I can eat this whole thing. I'll have to bring it back to the lab and reuse it for dinner."

Tilting her head, she puts the sandwich down and asks, "Why can't you do your own thing? You're clearly talented and you've got excellent customer service. What's stopping you?"

As for growing her own samples, she grins. "Yes. I love my job. Not only do they allow me to name my own samples, they have quite the advancement on technology."

"Yeah, they kinda expect you to take it home." Elmo grins at Jemma's enjoyment, and leans his elbows on the table, studying her with alert interest. It might come across as kind of rude. His eyebrows go up, then, and he looks away. "Eh, you know. Was told I hadda. Somethin' about needing responsibility." He shakes his head ruefully over the state of things. Responsibility, who, him?

He has to look back, though, when Jemma talks about loving her job, and he listens with real and obvious delight. "Aww, hell yeah, naming your own samples, am I right?" He leans into the conversation again, his dark eyes sharp. "You work for biotech or something?"

Jemma looks up at Elmo when he studies her and then back at the sandwich. Making a decision, she decides to assure him, "It's delicious!" Then, added, "Unless that is not why you were anticipating and answer. If that was you anticipating an answer."

Then, setting the sandwich down, she gives a quirk of her lips. "I get responsibility, very sincerely. But, you can be responsible and have your own shop, can't you? I can't imagine being more responsible than being in charge of others. Perhaps that's the British way. You're responsible to those you report to until you are the one who others report to and then you are responsible for them. You can be responsible either way."

Picking up her sandwich again she takes a bit. "Something like biotech. It's more government work."

Elmo blinks, puzzled, then his eyes get wider, realizing he's being rude. "Sorry! Uh, sorry. I'm, not good, at stuff, sometimes." Embarrassed as hell, he pulls back, reddening up. "My own shop?" he says, partly trying to find something else to talk about other than how he can't figure out how to act, "that ain't such a bad idea. A lot of time, though. And the old guy I'm workin' for, he needs the help. Still. Ain't a bad idea."

He gives Simmons a curious glance when she says she does government work. Two dozen questions suddenly flash behind his eyes—but he doesn't opt for any of them. Instead, he goes back to his sandwich for a couple of minutes.

Then he hazards, "So, you ever been to the Hayden? The planetarium? I used to go all the time when I was a kid. Not as good as real stargazing, but, not half bad."

Simmons blinks a few times. "Not good at stuff?" Her head tilts, seeing Elmo redden and seem embarrassed. "What do you mean?" She seems concerned, trying to figure more out.

Moving forward with the shop idea, she smiles, "You could open your own shop and then hire the old guy." Business tips from Jemma Simmons!

The mention of a planetarium stops any other thoughts she was thinking about. "No, I haven't, actually. The last one I attended was the London Planetarium. It's in New York?"

Elmo shrugs, anxious and uncomfortable. "I'm not…not good at people. Good at machines. Not so much with people." But Jemma says what he was hoping for about the planetarium and he perks up. "Yeah! It's here on the island, Central Park West. At the Museum of Natural History. They got this crazy accurate digital projection system. You, uh…" big risk! He takes in a breath. "You wanna go sometime?"

After her last statement, Jemma picks up that she is making Elmo uncomfortable. However, unsure of why or how, she tries to reassure. "But…you are good with people. You helped a random stranger on the side of the road when she had a Vespa problem. That's good with people!"

Then, though, she whirls into the tiding and question of going to the Planetarium. "Oh, that sounds lovely! I love a good planetarium."

Elmo flushes red again, flips one hand over in a classic Yiddish gesture of 'ehhhh'. "Well…if that's bein' good with people, then, …good." He considers that. "Good. Definitely good." Like he really has to think about it. He really brightens up, then! "Yeah? Okay! That's good too! That's even better than good. You gotta let me know when you're free. Maybe this weekend?"

"I think that's certainly being good with people," Jemma affirms solidly. Then, she smiles. "This weekend I should be available. You sure you won't be bored having been there a million times before? I know what it is like trying to take someone around a city that one knows more than the other."

"Bored? Listen, I'm never bored of astronomy. They got new shows there all the time anyway. There's nothing boring about Manhattan, neither. It's so complicated, you know? Layers and layers, and nobody knows 'em all, not even people who lived here all their lives. Always changing. They say it's never the same city twice." Elmo smiles in return, kind of awkwardly. Just awkward, this guy, at least when he's trying not to be.

As Elmo talks about it, Jemma grins. "I've heard that if you're bored of London that you're bored of life. I think that may cross over to Manhattan. We'll see!"

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