1965-05-03 - Ugly Lil Men with ugly Lil Signs
Summary: People from all over amassed in an impressive turnout to really let the city know their tolerance for endorsed segregation is over, and some great lunch recommendations are given.
Related: Burn Barrles, Tiny signs, Big plans
Theme Song: None
lambert arlo jay severin kwabena elmo julie jp mosaic 

4am - NYC, City Hall

In front of City hall there arose a gathering in a rather mixed multitude: Mutants were there with decidedly non-human features being those that couldn't hide in plain sight, those that could, persons of various ethnic and social minorities, and a mixture of the two. Even some allies showed but everyone had something in common: they were all carrying signs they stole in the last 40 hours from shops that would bar people from employment, service, and utility based on these traits for no grand reason. Tonight the flier called to people to take their liberties back for themselves and others by taking the signs down and destroying them in the barrels in front of city hall.

Standing on the back tailgate of a pickup truck with the license plate covered was a familiar face around Mutant Town these days. Dear god who gave JP Bonaventure a megaphone? There were 3:1 odds he stole that off a cheerleader somewhere. Now under the cover of darkness did everyone gather. "Tonight we 'luminate New York City. Find a barrel, add the tinder."

Whenever JP managed to stir things up, Severin Bonaventure was not far off, though without the attendant megaphone. Instead, the younger Bonaventure brother sits on the edge of the back of the pickup, keeping an eye on the crowd and watching as people filter in and bring their signs forward. His are already in the blaze, used to get the party started. In jeans and work boots, and a plain white t-shirt, he looks like he could blend right in with the crowd. He does, however, chant along with the crowd every so often when a call goes up among the participants. He grins over at JP and says, "Mighty fine turnout, all told."

Elmo has a couple "NORMALS ONLY" signs and a real prize, a wooden one that reads "NO: DOGS - JEWS - NEGROES". These he piles into a barrel and sets alight with a miniature stroke of lightning. It goes CRACK! and rocks the barrel.

Somewhere amidst the crowd is a black man on a motorcycle. A 1964 BSA Lightning Rocket, the red painted black, license plate simply removed. Silver eyes and lack of a helmet suggest he's one of the mutants, and a negro to boot, so one might assume he's here to protest. Interestingly, he holds no sign.

Truth is… he's here for one reason alone, but he hopes no one will need to discover just what that reason is.

Speaking of myriad non-human features, Jay debated with himself back and forth quite a few times whether or not this sort of thing was more covert or overt. The responsibility of being someone who doesn't clock as human isn't lost on him, but also the danger of cops going around asking 'hey, where's the ginger mutie with the enormous red feathers' is also really high on his awareness scale.

In the end, he decides that a 4am bonfire smacks of covert, at least at first, and he's crushed his wings up underneath a jacket on this crisp spring morning, barely a lump on his back, long primaries still sticking out the bottom in long tails behind his legs, dusting the ground while he walks through the masses with a pair of signs he took out of shop windows. The largest of the three declaring in neat lettering 'No Muties Inside', but the other two are good ol' standbys with 'Whites, Only' and 'Coloreds Use Side Door'.

He's wandering slowly through the people, kind of gobstopped by the turn out, his expression fixed in wonderment when he hears the crack of the megaphone. Jay winces. "Oh lord, who gave JP a megaphone…" Jay makes quicker work toward the barrel, nudging up when he notes the crack of lightning. He jumps, ready to yell at his brother and instead—"Oh, El!" Rushing the distance between, he grabs for Elmo's shoulder.

Arlo comes up alongside Elmo, signs gathered up and tucked under one arm, except for the larger ones, which he carries in his hand. "Show off," he says with a grin as Elmo uses his lightning to set the signs on fire. He adds his to the barrel. As the winged Jay rushes up, his bright-eyed smile dims. Stranger danger. Still, he offers Jay an amicable, "Hey."

At the moment, Mosaic watches unseen as the outworlders gather to protest.

Julie is just about making her way through the area, driving a rather careworn-looking '61 Chevy Biscaynne wagon, for the sake of inconspicuosity, beginning a slow patrol around the adjoining blocks to keep an eye out for trouble on the way.

JP stopped pacing the back of the truck folding one arm over the other replying to his brother "Yeah, I' proud of em." He called into the megaphone, "I want this crowd t'know, We proud a' each an e'ry one a ya." Yeah, a Cajun yelling into a megaphone was not the most comprehensive speaker system in this corner of the galaxy. "You risk a lot… doin what yous did t'build this. I ain' been in New York long, but one thing is true: A city is built of it's people. That' all of us. All of us an' all of our communities make this city what it is, and make it special, and… for the most part? The food is pretty damn good as a result so…. I thank yous f'that. Shoutout t'that Jewish deli at 53rd an' common. I can' pronounce you, but I love the hell outta ya.. Rest a y'all you ain' check that outgo try them lil round things. They' amazin." Yes, food… is important here.

It was 4:20 am and there was, as Severin pointed out, a surprising amount of folks showing up for something that was word of mouth. Found on the periphery were starting to be a couple people with cameras; not press in any classical sense.

Out in the crowd, people keep filtering in, adding their signs to the barrels, building up the flames. Severin keeps an eye out, hopping down from the back of the truck to prowl around the periphery, like he do. He finds a couple of younger looking mutants struggling to get their sign into the barrel and gives them a hand, clapping each on the shoulder and thanking them for coming out and showing their support.

Elmo grins sharply back at Arlo. The amount of crowd and noise and general stimulation has him ready to destroy something. Luckily, things to destroy are close at hand. "Tateleh, you ain't seen the half of it." Jay comes up and Elmo turns eagerly towards him—but almost doesn't recognize him, with the wings crammed away like that. He seems taken aback. "…Jay! I never seen you like this." Then he's going in for a hug. In public. In the middle of a crowd. "This is Arlo," he tells him, "works at our garage. Arlo, this is my buddy Jay Guthrie." He lets Jay go to check JP and the rest of his team. He's on edge.

Out comes a pack of smokes and an old beat up zippo. Kwabena, perched atop his motorcycle on the sidewalk, is quite content to light up and smoke in silence. He does smirk a bit at the irony of the man speaking, before realizing that it's likely fitting.

Jay's serene smile warms into a blaze just like those signs Elmo caught, whispering on a gentle chuckle when the small multi-colored man turns into him for a hug. Jay embraces him hard with a firm squeeze and a single pat on the back. "Ah know, it's weird, ain't it?" The Kentucky thick in his voice, he lets Elmo go and his smile transfers easily to Arlo with that easy warmth and amiability. An upnod and spare hand shot out to the designated coworker. "Hey. Good t'meet ya." The pale southerner chortles into a whisper when JP sends his love to the Jewish Deli. Jay whistles shrill and high his agreement.

Still with his signs pinned under his arm, Jay turns his head as Elmo goes to peel off, reaching for his elbow for a halting moment. "Hey," his expression goes serious. "Somethin' happens, stick with 'em, y'hear? Ah'll be okay." Because it sounds like some classic bullshit for someone to go back through the crowd of chaos and get caught up, themselves. Then releases Elmo to go check on his people.

Arlo's smile makes a tentative return at Jay's warmth and amiability. Jay's an infectious birb. "It's good to meet you to, man." His own accent is street rat, New York version. He laughs despite himself at JP calls out love for the Jewish deli. "Don't worry," he says, "I'll keep him safe," and he claps Elmo on the shoulder all friendly-like.

Mosaic slides into one of the young mutants that Severin was helping, and the mutant— Chad— turns a smile up at Severin. "Hey, thanks. This is cool. Do you know who that is?" He indicates JP, the organizer.

Julie motors on along the street, watching amid the wee-hours deliveries for anything that might be out of place, or stand out against said background later. She yawns, keeping an ear on a radio playing lowly on the off chance there's a news item of relevance. She lights a cigarette, murmuring, "Well, I really hope I got outta bed at this hour for nothing. She spots Kwabena, who may have gotten a similar idea, likely by his new bike, and gives a little salute as she rolls by.

JP was quit in a dangerously elevated position there were assholes to start showing up to take exception. Right now it was people with signs to be tinder, people with cameras, and people from all over. In the brighter light his shirt read: 'Yes, I'm a Mutant - No autographs' on it in dark orange letters. The cheering and some of the chants rose and fall drawing a grin from the anarchist. His eyes kept on the crowd though. hey when you become a parent,you get a secondary mutant trait of 360* vision. it just happens.

In the chaos the outpouring started to ramp up to a couple hundred people trickling in. In the wider space there was plenty of room. The radio didn't have anything turn up yet, on the horizon there was the unmistakable sound of sirens. This was New York, but there seemed to be more than a couple. The man with the Megaphone called into it, "Hey I know more than a couple a you like me get arrested for standin' still. Remember none a' this is illegal…except the part where a bunch of places had them signs robbed but I ain't seen anyone here do that. We' tell em we found em this way, right?!" OH the agreement there.

Severin grins at the kid broadly and says, "Yeah, that'd be mah brother, JP. I'm Severin. Nice to meet ya." He offers Chad a hand to shake in greeting. He spots some other familiar faces through the crowd and lifts a hand to wave in the direction of Elmo, Arlo, and Jay. The sound of sirens catches his attention and he turns his head vaguely in the direction that they might be coming from. Hard to tell in a city with all the buildings and the way sound bounces around. Still, he lingers for the time being.

Mosaic-Chad shakes Severin's hand with an easy smile, "I'm Chad, or Slick, if you would rather." he introduces himself thus. Sirens get the kids attention and his expression becomes grim. "Whoops, I better get some speed." He sets his left foot down and then kicks off with his right, and he begins… sliding. On cement, as if it were on ice and he had an ice skate.

Elmo pauses when Jay catches his arm. "Yeah," he says, reluctantly. "You'll be okay." He can't argue; Jay is tough and mobile, two things he isn't. Sirens! He can't see over any of the crowd, but that's okay—he's got someone better. "Arlo, can you take a look for me? …Unless you wanna go. You can. I'm stayin'."

Catching sight of Julie is an easy thing, considering Kwabena's vigilance knob is currently dialed into eleven. He smirks openly and flashes her a two-fingered salute before going back to his smoking and vigilantism.

Jay slides an amused, but companionable look in Arlo's direction when he tells Elmo that he'll take care of Jay. Humored, but not degrading in any way, just gleaning the amusement off it. Jay grabs his three signs and being the everloving boyscout that he is, he tries to tipi them in the barrel that Elmo's lit for them. For a moment, the flame goes dark in the shade of all that hate propaganda. Then the flame grows brighter as it catches and starts to run up the surface of the signs, bubbling the paint and letting it peel away.

Jay upnods back to Severin when he catches the wave and lifts a hand back briefly in his direction to acknowledge it. The red-head turns back to Arlo and opens his mouth to ask him something and probably make small talk when some distant whine of siren sends a ripple of discomfort and some movement through the crowd. Jay looks up when JP calls it out, then exchanges looks between El and Arlo. "Ah ain't got nowhere to be." His boss is going to kill him. If his brothers don't.

Several moments before the sirens sound, Arlo tells Elmo, "Incoming." Then the sirens approach. He laughs and tells Elmo, "I'm staying." He skims the crowd, jumping up a few times to see above it. "Five cars from over there," Arlo points, "And four from there." He points again. "Put on your innocent face, man. They got nothing on us. Yet."

Julie keeps circulating around the block, pulling to the side a bit as a file of green-and-white NYPD cars roll out of their parking areas, Dizzy musing, "Well, that ain't surprising, but at least they got there before any of the other problems, this time," she comments herself, pausing to sip out of a thermos cup of coffee.

Arlo wasn't wrong, There were easily about 12 cop cars rolling up. There was also some people in suits presumably on behalf of the City Offices, and the Comissioner's office. Oh hey they have megaphones too. The addition of red and blue flashing lights was not lost on anyone as many people started to get a bit defensive from emotions, and for others purely from historical precedent of unfair bias, or survival instincts kicking up. The Cajun with the megaphone looked more determined than ever telling the people, "You have done nothing wrong, this a peaceful protest… unless you a hunk of wood right now." Yeah the signs were getting theirs. Wood crackled and snapped and the heat rose. One of the barrels had a distinct pink colour to the flames from some magnesium based chemical infused with something in there. Hey it was pretty…weird but pretty.

The cops were armed and ready in case, though arms were not drawn on the crowd. Tension was still high in New York after the series of riots last year and the loss of Malcolm X in February. Some of the crowd gathered brought hand drums and tambourines. It was starting to get a little musical on the scene. There were men with suits marching looking unhappy. Not furious, unhappy besides being called out of bed at 4am.

"Hey, nice to meet ya," he says and then Chad is sliding on off and he gives the kid a wave. There's a grin in Jay's direction and then he begins to cycle his way back around toward where JP is working the megaphone and calming down the crowd. The appearance of the cops and the suits is not lost on him. He hops back up onto the pickup and takes up a spot sitting where he was, keeping an eye on his brother as much as the crowd, feeing that tension, and perhaps getting ready for a bit of fight or flight if it came right down to it.

Cops are bad news. Mosaic-Chad knows this, as his host knows this; the authorities can not be trusted by the mutant community. So, Slick has one defense. Speed. He keeps to the outside of the group, pushing off again and again. With each push of his right foot, his left goes faster and faster, as his power completely nullifies friction there is little to stop that speed from continuing to get faster. He's not engaging, just circling, waiting for the shit to hit the fan. As he zooms past Severin again, "Watch out!" is called.

If there's one thing Elmo's really bad at, it's keeping his cool. A buzz of static electricity rises around him, causing crackles in clothes and hair to lift. "Done nothin' wrong, this is a peaceful protest," he mutters JP's words like the Cajun drilled them into him. Which, in fact, he had. He sticks close to Jay and Arlo, eyes on the cops.

Cops were inevitable, but their arrival was part and parcel of why Kwabena was here. Law enforcement, especially where minorities are concerned, yield a high probability of conflict. A part of him is tempted to do something untoward; the part of him that has seen a cop shout racial slurs before beating someone down. His teeth grind for a moment, and he takes an extra long drag of his smoke, but fortunately he stays put. Nobody wants to see Shift going into action here unless it's to defend someone.

Jay remains lingering as he was near the two very short, Jewish men. Trying so very hard not to look amused when Arlo starts…hopping…to see above heads. Oh lord. Jesus. Help me. So Jay turns and clears his throat, trying to make room for people who quickly try to beat a retreat because they have more to lose than the rest of them. A little bit of jeering occurs and he pipes up, "Hey now, y'all don't know what they got back home. Make some room an' let 'em leave. We're here t'point out the ugliness goin' on, not contribute to it."

The Guthrie in the crowd glances back to Arlo and Elmo and gives the former a helplessly 'aw shucks' sort of smile in spite of himself. Innocent face? DONE! "Easy 'nuff." Then starts casually stripping off his jacket and folds it over his arm. A roll of those broad shoulders and his wings slowly stretch from the cramped position they have adopted collapsed underneath. With a ruffle and a shake, those feathers come free and remain held high and easily spotted in a vermillion folded display.

"Keep yer temper on ya, El, yeah?" Those bright green eyes fix long and hard on the brightly dressed mutant to impress the plea on the hot-tempered man, practically feeling the static building up on him. To counteract Elmo's bristle, Jay POURS on the southern respect, making eye contact with each suit and officer who comes by, giving them a genial tip of the head and a 'Sir' or genial 'Good mornin'. He's not a pot-stirrer. But the music is interesting. He nudges Elmo and Arlo with his elbows and jerks his head toward one of the people Tambouring, "Should get 'em a night at the club." Positivity and even levity just rolling off him in thick waves, trying to counterbalance tension. "So, what did ya do b'fore the garage, Ar-lo?" That southern cadence thick in his voice. Yep. He's going to make small talk in the middle of all this.

Julie hrms, as, after another turn of a corner, it seems so far that things have been going quietly, she pulls over to watch what's left of the show, getting out to lean against the car by the spot Kwabena's chosen, raising the cup. "Morning, there," she says, pausing as a newspaper truck rolls by. "Guess this won't make the morning edition, what you think?"

Ahhh, excellent. When one has left over pastries and other goods, what better a time to get rid of them? Lambert has rocked up with a little tray on a harness around his body, and has small takeaway cups of hot tea and coffee as well as little pieces of baklava in honey. The chef has a hat crammed down over his ears, though the goatish eyes are impossible to hide, and there are now two points stretching the fabric of the cap at the front. "Hot drinks! Cheap snacks!" he calls out merrily "Hot drinks - tea with honey, coffee with milk -" Ignore the shadows of the truly hungover under his eyes "Everyone needs something to pick them up after a hard night!" Working or protesting, he leaves it unclear.

The suits, with the police escort walked up to the truck to have a word with someone who was having some hand in rallying them. JP looked back to his brother and muttered to Severin in French "We play this cool. Don't want people gettin hurt or the message gettin lost. We gonna be alright. Just… yeah okay." The crazy Cajun listened to the 'suit' both eyebrows going up looking to Sev with a wry grin as the police and such formally announced themselves. Aw hell, JP don't do something just as dumb,. He called into the megaphone, "C'mon we bein polite to our guests. Thems the rules. E'ryone say g'morning, Commissioner Stadler." A hand gestured to the crowd as they sounded like a chorus of school children greeting comically, Gooood mooooorning Commissioner Stadler. The 'bureaucratic fucker' part was judiciously left off for now. "He wanna know what we doin, an' I told him we're watching these signs melt so this city can get on bein a nicer place, yeah?" He turned the megaphone on the Authority, "They wan' our money but they don' want our business? They say they wanna help us, so long as it ain' in their neighbourhood? Commissioner, this our neighbourhood too. We are helpin you do that startin there." He pointed to the barrel though it was about this time they took the megaphone from him through insistence and wrestling it from his hand so he stopped shouting at them from four feet away.

Near Kwabena there were several of the gathered who looked just plain afraid. This seems to be a common sentiment between the feelings of 'fear' and 'fuck you' to the authoritarian figures gathered. A few more were backing off, and in several places there were people taking up hand-in-hand from various groups. You were there, nearest neighbour was in this with you too.

Mosaic-Chad skids to a halt, since the cops seem to not being doing violence. The surprise about this shows on the kid's features, but he shrugs and runs a hand through his short dark hair. Inwardly, Mosaic decides to keept his body for awhile, and experience what it is to be a mutant.

"Only because de presses will not have time to print something dat is not edited," Kwabena points out to Julie, in a casual manner. There is a moment where his gloved hands squeeze the handlebars of his motorcycle; a crackling sound suggests that the flesh and bone beneath are momentarily transforming to their super solid state and back, but it's short lived. "Dey will somehow make dis out to paint minority in false light. Mark dese words, Diz." He pauses long enough to observe the people gathered. "Is good thing dat will be made to look… what is it…. I do not know de word, but, is k'natha."

Kwabena's attention immediately darts to those nearby who seemed to be getting skittish. "Hey!" he shouts to get their attention. "Stay cool. You stay de fuck cool about dis, yes?" Silver eyes flash, as if to remind them that they do in fact have a stake in how this all goes down.

"Sure," Elmo says, nervy, to Jay. He's trying, but then one of the cops is wrestling the megaphone away from JP and even though JP gives it up and no worse happens, Elmo snarls. Sparks fizz to life at his fingertips, dripping to the concrete. He…doesn't do anything. He stays put. He doesn't intervene. But he is staring at those cops as if daring them to rough JP up.

Arlo is warming to Jay. At the nudge, he smiles. To Elmo, he says, "Keep your cool, Sparky." As for himself, he puts his innocent face on. It might be more believable if he wasn't hanging around a barrel full of stolen burning signs. To Jay, he says, "I used to use my power on people who paid me. I don't do that anymore." He perks up as he spies Lambert. "Over here!" he says. He needs his baklava, dang it.

Jay cups his hands around his mouth and calls out 'Gooood mooorning C'missioner Stadler' with the crowd. Though he does weave in a chorus of voices along with his own just for the fun of it. More voices. Jay's attention is split between watching what's going on with JP and the suits and the rest of the crowd, head on a swivel. The sparks from Elmo's fingers have Jay stepping forward a bit and reaching to hold on to Elmo's hand, even briefly, daring him to start that spark shower again. "They ain't gonna do anything to him here, El. Not in a crowd like this."

Turning his attention back to Arlo with an easy turn of a curious smile, he nods. "Oh, like V. Yeah. Ah know plenty of folk who got in a bad way with stuff like that. Good t'hear that you got off it all right." He looks around the crowd again and sighs. "Shoot. Ah wish Ah had like…fliers or somethin' fer that exhibit. This would be the perfect crowd t'get the word through on it." When he catches sight of Lambert as well at Arlo's call. There's a pause, and hesitance while he thinks twice of it, but then tries for a friendlish, testing wave.

Julie nods, there, as she looks over to the others talking with the policemen.. in various ways. Then back to Kwabena, and shrugs. "Some of em, anyway, you can be sure. But some of em would do that anyway, whatever it was. Kind of a matter of getting word to some of the rest." She does glance to those standing around nervously, repeating Kwabena's sentiment to them, though, "Yeah, everyone be cool and it oughtta be OK."

Lambert waves across at Arlo, and then makes his way towards the mutant side of events. Since he is neither fully human nor at all mutant, he might have no particular dog in this race. What he has, is baklava. He has already sold three cups of coffee (no tea, alas - foolish choice!) by the time he gets there, and he offers Arlo a small packet with the sticky treats in. Since Arlo has seen him last, his horns have grown - enough so that they are lumps behind his cap "Hello!" he says. He nods at everyone, and Jay's caution is rewarded with a hot cup of sweetened tea being thrust his way. That'll show you! Hot tea! With extra cream for the cold! And then Lambert eyes the fire "…gosh. And look at all those police." He mutters "I should be selling donuts."

The police, for whatever their opinion were tight-lipped . There were absolutely a few in the bunch who were waiting for someone to do something stupid and those on edge looking for it most could find someone that fit the description. That being said the crowd while being in part skittish seemed to rally to listening to the large , dark skinned man on the bike telling them in no uncertain terms 'be cool, honey bunny', and the crazy Cajun with the megaphone that was playing MC to this giant pile of 'nope'. There seemed to be some discussion up at the front while the music went on and JP and Sev seemed to heat the Comissionaer Stadler out. The suit looked 'regretful' in an official capacity. The smile was gone from JP's face as they talked 'business'.

There were more sirens now closer but this was not more police, this was the fire department with rescue companion truck with it in case there was injury. The city liked to cover their ass on these things. Ultimately in the end JP turned to have a word with his brother pointing to him and somewhere vaguely 'off and away' "Call Roberto. This' get resolved by lunch."

The cops and fire did ask people to stand back from the barrels and the commissioner took the megaphone, "The City hears you and will take this into account. There is not much more right now at 5:30 in the morning. Please return peacefully to your homes. There will be a city hearing on this." It was a start but they were also presently handcuffing their MC who seemed somewhat resigned. Nearby people that heard started yelling, "Disturbing the peace? We'll disturb as much peace as we have to!" but it wasn't just Kwabenna's voice that the people heard it was others' as well trying to assuage the emotions of the bunch to keep it from boiling.

With that, Mosaic-Chad wills friction away on his left foot, and kicks off with his right, and is quickly speeding away, sliding along the road. Yes. He'll keep this body for awhile and explore the implications of what he knows while in it.

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