Coffee Shop Philosophy

June 22, 2014:

Jeremiah Wolfson meets Barbara Gordon in a coffee shop. Philosophy ensues.

The Perfect Grind Coffee House

A bit on the small side, this is still your typical music playing, wifi providing, latte serving coffee house.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Gotham. After that mess with Klarion - that infuriating Chaos Lord - Fenris has been coming back fairly regularly. Call it wolfish territoriality. To the outside eye he's simply window shopping or wandering about relatively aimlessly. What he's actually doing is stalking and patrolling. He may care little for what humans do to one another, indeed he regards the dog eat dog state of Gotham as something of a natural one, but things like Klarion do not intrude on his hunting grounds without notice or consequence.

Today nothing has incurred his ire, so he's stopped for coffee at a small shop. Folks tend to give way to him naturally. Everything about him is just a bit off. His clothes are just a little bit too nice for this part of town. Not fancy but… too clean, too crisp, slightly too well made. The two foot oaken rod seems could do double duty as a baton and really someone should ask about that but he just feels… frightening. There's something about him that's vaguely predatory even though all he's doing at the moment is politely ordering a latte

*

Coffee is naturally a draw for all types, and Babs is rolling towards it. She maneuvers the chair into the coffee shop, pausing at the counter to order behind him. She fits in, the jeans and sweater covered by a warm coat, and she pays for her drink with a half smile. The mug of coffee is carefully balanced, the lid keeping it from sloshing as she rolls forward, seeking a table. The careful balancing of the drink, and the skill to move the chair between the tables, aiming to get herself positioned where it is easy to park.

*

The house is full today. Well it is just after lunch, after all, so that makes sense, really. In fact the only table that isn't completely crowded or over crowded is the one the tall, lean man just sat down at. That one is completely empty, save for him. No one but no one seems willing to ask to sit down with him, despite the lack of seats, and the mildly brooding look of concentration he has on his face isn't helping either.

*

The woman in the wheelchair pauses near there, her gaze flickering briefly to the rod before she asks politely, "Do you mind if I share your table? The others are a little difficult, given…" A gesture takes in the coffee balanced against the needs of a wheelchair, and she lifts her free hand, pushing her glasses up her nose, adding, "Unfortunately, the others are full, you see."

*

The man looks up as if having not noticed her until just now. Eye contact. Very direct eye contact. Intense even. And then a small smile. "Of course. Allow me."

He rises and moves two of the chairs to the side to make room for Babs wheelchair.

"There." He says as he returns to his seat. The wheelchair draws a curious glance. The physically disabled are not abnormal. One does see them out and about but he still seems mildly fascinated by the device itself before his eyes move back up and he sips his coffee. "Good afternoon."

*

She returns the gaze, lifting her eyebrows at the intensity of the eye contact. Then she nods, accepting the help, her mug placed onto the table. She twists, pulling a bag from the back of the chair, to remove a number of items, not least a laptop.

"Thank you. Good afternoon." Another half smile curves her lips and she flicks the laptop open, taking it to the news pages.

"The chair bothers you?" The question is soft, polite.

*

"Mmmm. No," Is his answer. "I merely find it interesting. The ability of people to contrive machines that enable those with injuries or maladies that would have condemned them to penury in ages past to have relatively normal lives never ceases to amaze me."

Another sip of his coffee. Out comes a smartphone and he briefly glances down at a financial newsfeed before looking back up and sweeping his gaze about the room. When it returns to Babs he gives her another polite smile.

"Wolfson." He offers. "Jermiah Wolfson."

*

"There will be more advances. Neurostimulators that allow me to walk. Frames that carry those that need it." She trails off, before she studies the screen for a moment, echoing his gesture for the coffee sip, and swallowing before she replies, "Babs. Barbara Gordon." She watches his expression, watching his reaction closely through her glasses, the green eyes holding a touch of cynicism.

*

His eyes, which do not apparently have any trouble meeting hers, don't hold cynicism so much as just… age. His gaze looks like one she might see on a GCPD police officer near retirement (She may possibly know what that look looks like), multiplied many times over. It's odd because he can't be much more than thirty, if that.

"Perhaps." He says in his rather deep voice, gesturing with the cup.

"But the basic nature of the species will not. And viewed from that perspective it's really more amazing how much things don't change as they change, if you take my meaning."

*

She studies him, the green eyes glinting behind her glasses, and then she nods slowly, thoughtfully. "We progress faster than we can cope with, socially, emotionally… culturally. Humans, we can cope with a hundred and fifty people we're told, and more than that becomes Them. Someone else."

She stops talking then, giving him a smile that is half embarrassed, half amused.

"Why the rod?"

*

"That's a peak number, in my observations." 'Wolfson' sips his coffee again. "Most people I have met would be strained to show empathy to a room of fifty, much less a hundred and fifty. But to reach out for more is the nature of the species. It drives progress and can be a great gift. Or an equally great curse. Or both, as is frequently the case, in my experience."

"Mmm? Ah the rod."

He holds it up. It's carven oak, tapered slightly and thus thinner on one end. The thicker end has a leather thong tied to it to which are attached a pair of rather odd looking blue grey feathers. They're almost the color of storm clouds.

"A bit of art, and a precaution. This is Gotham, after all."

*

She nods, her face thoughtful, her hands curling around the coffee mug. She studies him over the brim of that mug, the light reflecting from her glasses, her thoughts swift but she takes her time before she replies, "People live in their heads."

She puts the coffee down, leaning forward to look more closely at the rod. "Gotham isn't that bad." The defensive comment marks her perhaps as a resident, proud of it, despite the issues.

*

He smiles now, his smile a bit sharper. Not unkind but… wolfish, somehow. "People have always lived in their heads. Some of the names revered in the West now could scarcely do otherwise. Alexander, Socrates and Archimedes all saw the world as they envisioned it, not as it was. More recent luminaries displayed this trait as well. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs created a brave new interconnected world where there was none before. Inner vision is necessary. Deals with Daimons, as the Greeks called them: the drive of all aggressive life to conquer and thrive." He gestures with his rod at the city that surrounds them. "It has created all this, both the good and bad."

"I think Gotham neither good nor bad. It simply is. The strong prosper here and the weak endure what they must at their hands. It is not unique to this place, only uniquely expressed. Nevertheless, I do not wish those who think themselves strong to test themselves at my expense. That would be unfortunate. For them. Sometimes all it takes to deter them is a length of wood."

As he is talking though he points the rod at the stand where the sugar and creamer are and swirls the tip around in a tight circle. A sudden, very gentle breeze slips past the table and floats several packets of sugar over. Did anyone else see- no… no one did. Everyone is pointedly avoiding looking at the mildly frightening man.

*

She listens, leaning back in the chair, her hands wrapped around the coffee mug, her face sober, thoughtful. "If a tree falls in the woods and nobody takes a picture to put on youtube, does it matter?"

The light irony in her voice comes through and she shakes her head, "To dream and to bring that dream into reality is the best any human can hope for." She leans forward then, putting the mug on the table before resting her elbows next to it, her chin in her hands, the green eyes studying him. "And the strong protect the innocent, the weak, here." The green eyes narrow then, when she watches the sugar float over and she tilts her head, the gesture very small.

Then she sits back, asking him lightly, "Where do you call home?"

*

"They try." Is his simple response. "The results need not my voice to speak."

Jeremiah opens the packets and pours them in his coffee one by one until he has the flavor to his liking. Then he takes another sip. "M-Town, ordinarily, though I come to Gotham or go to Metropolis when it suits me. I occasionally take interest in things that happen there." Vague enough to be sure.

He looks about again, sweeping the crowd as if satisfying himself that someone is not there. "It is the nature of life, and consequently of mankind, to grow at the expense of other life. To rein that nature in takes more than mere strength. It takes vision and the will to bring it out of the realms immaterial and into this one. Until the vision is made real even the greatest of strengths will eventually exhaust itself in futility. Only once the rules of the game have been altered can the board itself change."

He chuckles to himself and smiles at her again, meeting her eyes, a bit more friendly this time. "Forgive me, Miss Gordon. I wax philosophical."

*

"Perhaps, but to look in from the outside is easy." The words are quiet and she shakes her head, reaching for her coffee. She takes a sip, taking the final coffee, her face thoughtful. Her eyes twinkle as her gaze meets his, "Babs. I prefer Babs."

She pushes the empty mug away, adding quietly, "The nature of life is to survive, however we need, however it needs to. The biological urge to survive long enough to procreate is strong in all creatures." She closes the laptop then, adding quietly, "I must go, but it has been a pleasure." Her expression holds thoughtfulness, the green eyes studying him for a long moment.

*

Jeremiah rises, though she cannot, as she makes to leave. "The pleasure has been mine, Babs. Fair day to you."

He gives her a slight bow and walks with her as far as to the shop door, holding it open as she makes her exit.

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