1965-07-27 - Alternative Forms of Education
Summary: In which two teachers talk about founding a school in Mutant Town.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
halgrim julie 


It's a hot Friday in summer, so of course the pool hall is only half full; the lack of AC drives some would-be patrons right back outside. Fans can only go so far, after all. This leaves it at a level Halgrim can feel relatively comfortable with, and so he's playing pool with a trio — two young women and a young man — who look like they've only just reached an age where it's legal to be in any establishment serving alcohol in America. They're not playing for money, if the pile of trinkets on the corner of the table means anything: a colorful, enamel Avengers pin; a silk tie, black and red; a Byzantian chain mail keyring, worn from considerable use; and a gleaming shooter marble, dark blue and green. The tie is probably Halgrim's, since he's not wearing one and his shirt color is open. He seems to be paired with one of the young women, a mousy-haired East Asian girl who watches every move the other two make with intense focus. Not the focus of using a mutant power, though; just the focus of someone trying to understand the game.

Julie is, meanwhile, sitting at the bar with a beer, and talking to an older fellow who's been wiping coal dust from his eyes periodically, this seems quite ordinary for the old codger, who seems to be something of a village elder around here.

When it's the young woman's turn, she and Halgrim discuss what she should try to do, considering options, and then he shows her an angle for her shot. He then leaves her to it, and she's successful — away goes the 13 ball. She bounes, excited, and her friends — despite that they're probably losing now — cheer for her. And so she continues, making another shot, and then missing, and so it's the other young woman's turn. There's only two moneyballs left, though, so it's not long before the game is done, and they're settling up, as it were. It seems Halgrim and his teammate are the winners, and she claims their winnings, giving him back the tie. She also offers him the pin, which he declines. The young man gently punches the girl in the shoulder, and she sticks her tongue out him. They wave goodbye an run off, and Halgrim sets to racking the balls once more. Once that's done he heads to the bar, presumably to order himself a drink. Teaching young mutants Chicago is thirsty work.

Julie gives a smile as Halgrim turns up, raising her glass as her company's attention's diverted by one of the regulars. "Howyadoin?" she greets, in a New York Italian accent. "Tables treating you all right?"

"Well enough," Halgrim says to Julie. His accent is as foreign as hers is local, a Scandinavian lilt that suggests a long time among English speakers. "And I don't mind playing for lower stakes; makes it more fun, in its own way. None of the stress." One of the bartenders looks reluctant to even acknowledge Halgrim's presence at the bar, and one of his cowokers rolls her eyes and takes his order instead: a German lager. She's back with it in short order, and he pays in cash, which she scoops up and ferries to the cash register. He turns to lean against the bar and has a drink. "And, as stuffy as it is in here, it's still nice to be around people, mmm?"

Julie nods, eyeing a ceiling fan briefly, and says, "Well, the beer's cold, anyway. Been a hot enough day out there I guess I didn't notice." She adds, "Probably best just to play for fun around here, anyway, you never know when someone's got more than technique."

Halgrim nods, and laughs. 'More than technique' indeed. "Yes, there's that too—though, in such a case, I would assume, as they say, all bets are off." He sips from his beer. "Word would get out, if someone was too good, around here. Assumptions would be made…and then no one would play with them." He thinks about what he's just said, and shrugs. "I suppose that's the risk, in deciding to, ah, use what you've been given."

Julie nods. "Well, I guess that can be fun, too, as long as it don't wreck the tables. Just ain't smart to do any hustling, or look like it if there's any real stake."

"I suppose that would be entertaining if there was a way to keep it safe and, as you say, handle the, ah," Halgrim clears his throat, "damage." He looks wryly amused at the idea of no-holds-barred-Mutant-Chicago. "But, my manners." He sets his beer down and offers his hand. "Halgrim," he says.

Julie smiles, taking the hand. "Dizzy. New around here? Kinda think I mighta seen you around, not sure."

Halgrim's handshake is firm and friendly, and his hands are calloused from some form of work or another. "It's a good to meet you, Dizzy." He says the name a little awkwardly; American nicknames are still new to him. "I'm somewhat new to here, and the town, yes, though less so to the city. I was here some time before I met…others who were also different. A friend of mine showed me around some weeks ago; I help him at the garden when I've time for it." He takes up his beer again, has a long drink.

Julie ahs, "Oh, right, that place, maybe that's where I saw youse, if it's what I'm thinking of. I been to a couple parties there. Pretty wild scene, sometimes."

"In all likelihood," Halgrim agrees. "Or occasionally, the Community Center, though that's less common." He seems about to say something, stops, makes a face. It's not easy to talk about scaring little kids by simply standing among them, not really. "But sometimes, they like to have someone who can speak languages other than English, so I help with that as I'm able." He raises his eyebrows. "You sound as though you are from this city—long time resident, then?"

Julie ahs, "Yeah, apart from a couple years on the other coast, been here all my life. Community center, though, eh? Probably ought to drop in there more often, …I kinda meet some of the kids here afternoons to ah, help em with schoolwork, or, some substitute for it. A lot of em missed out. What languages you got, anyway?"

Halgrim grimaces and nods in agreement. "So many of them are denied schooling. I wonder if there is someone to speak to, and help tutor…" He shakes his head to bring himself back to Dizzy's question. "Danish and German and Norwegian—not fluent, those, though I can converse well enough. And Swedish, which is my first language. Not so much use for that here, but there are a number of Germans who fled the war and the Soviets." He sounds especially sympathetic to that last bit.

Julie ahs, and nods. "Yeah, I know a guy who went through that. He's in import parts and stuff." She sips her beer and thinks a moment, taking out a cigarette and offering one to Halgrim. "Yeah, I've heard talk about setting up some kind of school here, too, now and then. You know, more than the community center is doing and all, something regular."

Halgrim holds up his hand and shakes his head, murmurring, "Tak," as he does so. "That would work, I think—there must be enough of us who can teach a variety of subjects." The more he thinks about this, the more he clearly likes it. "I suppose the city or state would have regulations to consider, though I can't imagine there are no lawyers here, in this neighborhood, or someone versed in these things." He takes a handful of peanuts from a nearby basket and gives Julie a sideways look. "Know anyone this idea should go to?"

Julie nods, "Yeah, there's even a few backers for the idea. I dunno about the red tape end of things, though. I oughtta ask around a bit. Like I said, I should drop by the community center more." She looks back for the fellow from her previous conversation, who seems absorbed in talking about baseball, and looks back. "Maybe Coal Man's heard something, when I get a chance."

"Well, I'm perfectly happy to help with such a thing, if you find more. So perhaps, if there are enough who are interested…" Halgrim pauses, frowns, then leans over to fetch a pen from the black leather workbag sitting under the bar at his feet. He scribbles on a napkin, and offers it to Dizzy. "That is my number at the University. They can take messages for me, and that sort of thing." His writing is neat and precise, almost draftsman-like. "When we're in session my time's much more limited, but in the summer I've much more time."

Julie smiles. "Sounds good, I guess I'll see what kinda progress there maybe is. Maybe what's the hold-up."

Halgrim finishes the last of his beer and takes up his bag. He stuffs his tie, which has been dangling over his shoulders, into it for safe keeping. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Dizzy," he says. The name doesn't sound quite so awkward when he says it. "If I meet anyone who seems interested in this project, I shall take note of them. And send them—well, here, I suppose." He looks around. "A pool hall is just as good as anywhere else."

Julie nods, "I get messages here, too, drop by fairly regular."

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