1963-08-07 - Office Space
Summary: Ms. Braddock and Mr. King get an office.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
louis elizabeth 

At the height of the summer of '63 when riots are in full swing and Kennedy sends his regards to Nikita SWAK, Brooklyn seems positively lazy. Those working class boys trudge off to the factories and worry about the shipyards and railyards being too quiet. They drink hard in bars. Union bosses blow whistles and threaten compliance from suffering boys worried about their jobs and friends and homes. They get in fights.

They get in fights over slurs. They get in fights over women. Then they form a ring of flesh in the squalid roof for flesh to meet knuckles with predictable results. What do passersby on the street care? Mostly no one looks. Mostly the cops don't care. Men in their undershirts throw the unfortunate drinkers over a table that collapses with a grunt. At least six of them are involved in the dust-up on the paved square behind a forgettable bar in a string of tired old office buildings and apartments.

A real estate agent in a brown suit with an ill-starred orange and cinnamon tie loosens the knot at his throat, looking patently green around the gills. His briefcase is clutched in one hand. The taxi is already gone too fast and this, the place he was supposed to meet his esteemed client, is now the site of a common brawl. He utters a quiet groan when some poor soul comes staggering through the wooden fence enclosure, torn canvas coveralls proof of trouble. The victim falls flat on his ass, bouncing off the pavement in front of the agent. His client?

She's the one who kicked him square in the centre of the chest, and turns back around to seize the collar of the next brawler trying to smash over the back of the neck with a wooden club made from some kind of dowel.

This is probably not what Mr. King had in mind for a meeting to see if a building would suit their business needs.

But Glory doesn't mix business and pleasure. Does she?


Stepping up from behind the real estate agent, the man known as Louis King rests a hand upon the man's shoulder in way of announcing his arrival. "Hello, Mr. Robinson." He touches splayed fingertips to the center of his chest as he murmurs, "I'm Mr. King. Ms. Braddock is my associate."

Without waiting for the agent to recover, he starts to guide the man around the fallen fellow, walking with an ease of motion that is calm and precise. "She is currently preoccupied and will join us shortly once she reaches a resolution. However, please do feel free to offer me what information you may have. I am incredibly curious about this property and if you sing me the right song, I assuredly will treat you as a fine fine songbird."

Once that's said he exerts some pressure on the agent's collar, to perhaps get him to stop walking once they reach the steps. It's from there that they'll wait, and it just so coincidentally gives Louis a place from which to observe the good Ms. Braddock work her magic. Should she glance over to them he'll give her a small salute.


Robinson nearly jumps out of his skin at the touch of anything. He brushes frantically at his shoulder like some great spider landed upon it and announced himself in Dutch. "No! Unhand me, you scound…."

The spluttering retort dies on his tongue. He whirls too late to see who accosts him. A nice, respectable businessman. In Brooklyn, these are rare as hen's teeth.

"I… the… The Plummer Building. It fits the criteria well enough," he shifts fairly smoothly from shocked man to salesperson though the obvious sound of gears wrenching into action is every bit as audible as Lusitania's propeller churning under a German attack. His teeth grind and clack in rhythm. "Third floor with stairwell access and a fire escape. The full floor. Formerly owned by a retired agency, though they let out two offices that have private locked entrances on the hallway. The lease for the reporter goes until September and the other's been vacant since…" He licks his finger and holds it up to the air. "Paulson. That's it. Paulson closed up on private work and entered public service. Solid building though it runs on a steam boiler, and the pipes are sound. Solid. Checked them myself."

He is about to go on, but another brawler howls as he takes a punch to the throat, run right into a barrel. The unfortunate piece of wood knocked onto Ms. Braddock's neck is now being used to soundly thrash the unfortunate assailant with all the expertise of an angry Englishwoman. They didn't come to rule the world by being panty-waists. Splinters fly to a ghastly crack, and she drops back, adjusting to wielding a half-length club.


That hand on the man's collar tightens a touch, perhaps to draw his attention back towards Louis. "Good, that's good. Of course, you realize, we'll want to keep it as it is for the most part. We wouldn't want too much work performed before we purchase, though we may need the name of a few suitable contractors. Trustworthy ones, of course. We plan to pay well enough that anyone will be terribly pleased to participate, so we will want matters to progress at a suitably brisk pace."

As a piece of the wooden board goes swirling up into the air and crashes down at their feet, Louis lightly guides the real estate agent out of the way, so he isn't too terribly exposed to the violence. "Also we may need the services of some personnel in a few particular capacities. It would be good if someone could aid us in reaching this requirements and would be duly compensated. How do you feel about taking on some extra commissions, Mr. Robinson? You seem a terribly motivated individual."


"As is?" Disappointment flares behind the calculations of a lost bit of value, and what his cut will be. Mr. Robinson is nothing if not an opportunist like most of his kind. He straightens up an inch under Louis' grip. "That may give you some leverage on the price. The building managers are waiting for the renewal of the neighbourhood but it won't happen, not with the prices in Queens depressed and demand high for the reclaimed lands closer in. SoHo and TriBeCa. A bit of downward pressure might be possible there. You know the last occupants smoked? It'll need a thorough scrubbing. Agency can recommend some reliable cleaners, ladies who know their craft." It must be terribly exciting for him to tally up the coins. "Contracting services, construction, painting, we've got good services. A few of them will balk about Brooklyn. The Plummer, though, has bit more space on the stairs to get up."

These are facts of some relevance as they step into the nook of a foyer. Three broad steps lead up to the front wooden doors, and inside is tiled with a row of brass mailboxes and a hanging green lamp that saw better days at the turn of the century. A fan stirs lazily. Wood stairs covered by a rather despicably dull carpet, reduced from a gold-dotted green to murky forest, folds back at a landing to head further up. No such thing as an elevator here.

Ms. Braddock will make her appearance five minutes after the fact. She straightens the waistline of her coat when briskly coming up the stairs, leaving the neighbouring bar in total disarray and chastened. Her knuckles are bruised, the skin not broken, and cuffs of her sleeves impeccable. "I do apologize for the delay. Settling some business," she says. "Good afternoon, Mr. King. This is the representative from Miller Samuel?" The agency in question is hardly unknown. Her hand is not extended for a shake. That's such an American thing.


"And to you, Ms. Braddock. Indeed, this is Mr. Robinson." The tall man indicates the smaller with a sweep of one hand. "We were just agreeing on the scope of engagement we were seeking for the individuals who might be required to further our enterprise." He pauses as he steps towards the stairwell, resting a foot upon the lowest step and his hand upon the brass railing. "I had not made inquiries, however, about the added acquisition of the neighboring property. The one we wished to convert for your needs." He glances towards her as he awaits for the both of them to join him in the ascent.

Once they start he continues to speak, "Though its acquisition may be made under a different name, I believe. Perhaps a firm representing our interests." He slides his off hand into his pocket as he climbs and looks a touch distracted as he seems to feel something almost… distantly? He looks to the side, "I may have to examine the grounds here, however. Thoroughly." He looks towards Glory and offers a smile, his first in sincerity. "Any objections, Ms. Braddock?"


"Given the disposition of the neighbours, maybe we should inquire whether we can take over the second floor or make something happen from the roof. A few fences," Glory shrugs her shoulders, "they might give privacy enough for me. A girl doesn't want to be interrupted by the cameras when she's off duty."

Mr. Robinson gets a small, playful smile from her. Taking the stairs guides them past doors to the second floor and up to the third, which is a toil done under the same green-glass chandeliers that were last stylish when bookies were a thing in the Forties. "We talked about a second property over the phone, Mr. King. It might suit your needs. Walk-up access from the first floor, a suite of offices in a block. The apartments are above, though. It may not suit your specific needs." The agent nods to what she has to say.

While the pair wait, he flips on the light. Bulbs burst into awakening, and the same carpet stretches from the landing to the front doors placed in a U. "However better located, on a central route, and it has a certain ambiance. Wood floors, wood paneled walls. Very handsome layout with open space. Here you'll see it's the long office with the subdivided ones." He pulls out a key and slides it into the frosted door which leads inside. Two more mark the reporter's office and what used to be Van Duisen & Partner in stenciled black block letters.

"Your secretary and I can wait here if you want to take a look about." Robinson has literally downgraded Glory in relationship to Louis, and doesn't seem to think twice about it. She doesn't even blink.


"Oh, Ms. Braddock isn't my secretary." And should she wish to correct him further she's welcome to do so. It might amuse him to hear what exactly she considers herself to him. He steps about the room, looking over the place. He touches a fingertip along the wall near the entrance, then as he moves further inside he lightly touches the toe of his boot to a small know in the floor. One eyebrow cocks curiously, "I do enjoy the ambiance. What do you think, Ms. Braddock?" He gestures towards the other end of the room, "A desk there, one over there. Suitable storage…"

Folding his arms over his chest he looks suitably thoughtful as he moves around the area, opening doors here and there to check into what he can see. On some level, for him, this is all so much pantomime. He can make this what he wishes, can change things how he'd like, can even speak some terribly lovely words to people suitable and get them to do what he wants. But holding to the restrictions of a mortal being, it seems to amuse him as he plays at this role.

"Does it miss anything you need?" He turns to face her, unfolding his arms from his chest as he looks to her for her reaction.


Mr. Robinson looks quite confounded. "That's what the office girls announced her as," he says, a bit authoritative on the subject. His briefcase he places down on a desk. Much of the furniture is laid under white dropcloths intended to shelter the leather couches and the highly masculine ottoman, the deep pintucked seat behind a wood-topped desk. The clasps snap open and he withdraws paperwork — specs, a contract, the various details typed up.

"Filing room back through the door. It's only five by three, with the built-in fixtures," the agent drones on details that matter not one bit to the model. Elizabeth walks over to the wainscoting and runs her finger over the wood, determining how much dust lies on the paint. The carpet needs help. A floorboard squeaks.

The moment leads to another aimless comment. "There are maple floors underneath. Walnut could be installed, much finer than these." A slip of a smile follows there, and the Englishwoman peeks in a drawer, looks around a corner. The windows look out to the street, heavy slatted blinds shown in narrow illuminated slivers.

"Almost. It's particularly dim." Whether this is a bad thing or not, Louis will have to decide for himself. "High ceiling. No fireplace, and these things always seem to have a fireplace." Where she comes from, at any rate. "I would personally benefit from atrocious flocked wallpaper in a confusing pattern over on that wall, and of course a plant probably set to survive nuclear fallout."


Scrunching one eye up, Louis seems to consider one of the walls as he says, "We could put a fireplace in." Though that might be cause to have the real estate agent give them a double take Then again perhaps not. Yet the tall man continues on as if that were not an issue a'tall. "Mr. Robinson."

The real estate agent looks to him and he offers the man a smile, "We'll take it I believe. And the auxiliary purchases as well. Procure suitable contracts with the individuals we seek and set matters to advance. We'll pay the asking price. The price will not be an object for these services, but they will have to be of a speedy application with top skill or I'll know why."

That having been said he steps towards the door that leads back towards the hallway exit, and he pulls it open for the man. "Now, if you please. Ms. Braddock and I have plans to formulate and will continue to inspect the grounds. We will be in contact within the week."

The agent looks around, seemingly filled with trepidation… and yet excitement. But he does as is needed of him and once that door closes behind him, Louis turns back towards Glory.

"Have you given a thought as to the name?"


Issues? They exist to be overcome. Tell someone whose nation decided to initiate the Industrial Revolution and changed the rules because they were tired of the old ones. Elizabeth peers out the windows and assesses other inscrutible nuts and bolts the way women do. Far be it from any of them to realize she is searching for residue visible only to a psychic, hints of profound emotional loss or poisoned resonance welling up through the floor. It mostly looks as though she idly goes in circles, stopping periodically to inspect the craftsmanship of a knob or a window casing.

She goes back to the windows and peers out them again. "I suppose it all comes down to accessibility, really. Whether being on a main drag matters from being off a slightly lesser one." So many buildings march in rows towards the sea, even on the slope. "We're packed in here like chickens. But for the price and wish for space, that matters. Otherwise we would be in Lancashire."

Robinson brightens up at the promise of payment. "Oh yes. All that will be done. The agency has all the requisite details and the attorney on staff to smooth over anything you might need," he jumps to attention on that front. Understanding, mano-a-mano, is conveyed through the prompt bearing. Ultimately they christen a deal in a handshake and a nod the way business has been conducted since a Medici climbed a Florentine throne. Goodbye, goodbye.

When he is gone, the plum-haired woman draws a streak along a crack. "If I had to guess we might have to put a bookshelf here. Something on the wall. The room is rather dark and I prefer to keep it that way." She kneels down and scratches at the plaster. "I still think this will be wallpapered. And there's a safe in the floor he failed to tell you about. I don't know what it contains."


"We should save that for a rainy day." Louis says as he steps past her while he surveys the room, listening to her words as she inspects each place and considers the decor. He wanders over towards the window and lightly parts the shades to allow him to observe Mr. Robinson stepping out onto the street, positively bouncing in step as he moves and probably thinking about all the lovely commissions he stands to make.

Turning away from the window, the shade snaps back into place and he looks towards her. "Make a list of the changes you'd like to implement, I have no mind for such things." Mainly, perhaps, because he tends to focus his thoughts and make such things so. He drums fingertips lightly upon the wall as if considering what's behind it before he looks back towards her. "Come, let us take a walk." He moves towards the door that leads out of their general area, walking towards the hallway and moving along in quiet judgement.

"So what caused the little ruckus you were involved in outside?" He cocks an eyebrow, "Someone dared want extra sugar in their tea?" His lip twitches.


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