1965-08-21 - Like a Good Neighbor...
Summary: Halgrim and Reno meet and have a neighbourly discussion of spirits, home, and Ms. Guzman's shop
Related: None
Theme Song: None
halgrim reno 

Reno was perched, as a people this time and not a bird, in one of two chairs in front of Pop's Barber Shop. Pop died in the riots the previous year and for that year his protege in haircare, Reno has been holding down the fort with some support from older members of the community who all agreed that the Barber Shop was an important cornerstone in keeping kids out of trouble. In between the two chairs were two stacked milk crates lashed together and a board bolted to the top where a chessboard and the pieces sat.

There's a small, family-run bodega across the street from Pop's, and out of that bodega Halgrim steps, carrying a small paper bag bulging with odds and ends and trailed by two children, a and a girl of around ten to twleve. He's listening to them carefully as they speak rapid-fire Spanish, his expression suggesting he's only catching every third or fourth word. He pauses just outside the door, and tries to form a sentence in kind. They giggle at him, and he sighs with exasperation. "I'm still learning," he chastises them, and the girl demands he learn faster. "Go to school!" the boy demands, and Halgrim rolls his eyes, because a shcool is about the only place he ever is.

But for Reno there is a bit more going on, because Halgrim isn't just a man being taught Spanish by two kids; he's also, apparently, carry a spirit. An enormous one, hovering in and around him like a personal supercell, anchored on something resting over his chest. There's no indication the children are effected by it, though a young man going into the bodega gives him a wary look, and he glances away rather than meet his eyes.

Reno sat back drinking a Coke watching the kids with a lopsided grin. He called out in his native tongue, "Louisa, Miguel, leave the guy alone. C'mere and go buy yourself some gum." He held up a quarter and then flicked it with a thumb for them to catch and go buy sweets with. Looking up to Halgrim he lifted a hand in a wave. Cuuuuurious, but, ya know, also just a guy trying to shop, "Hey man. Sorry about that. They's good kids an stuff. It's the summer though so, like, ya know, no school. They didn' mean anythin by it."

Louisa might be two years younger than her brother, but she's twice as fast as he is; she darts in front of Miguel, snagging the quarter out of the air despite his protests and running down the street to the soda parlor. "Thanks Reno! Goodbye Professor!" Miguel yells, and then he's doggedly following his much faster sibling.

Halgrim watches the two go, and shrugs at Reno. "It's alright," he says. His accent is Scandinavian, faint enough to suggest a fair amount of time among native English speakers and an effort at sounding like them. "They just want me to speak to them in their own language like I do for Mrs. Wagner." The old German widow who fled the bad times of Germany after World War I to open a small laundry and tailoring shop on the border of Harlem, whose English is difficult to understand when she gets frustrated (which is a lot of the time). "If I had more time I could take proper classes at the campus, but," he sighs. "Time isn't a thing I have much of."

Reno smiled. It was like the suna nd all of its joy sat in one bemused little body listening to this. "Awww that's so nice of you. I heard a that lady. THey tell me she bites which I, ya know, don' actually believe. THere was this one ol lady though, she kinda look like my friend Pavel's Abuela Jeni, but like she had dimensia or soemthin. Craaaaziest thing." He could talk forever about everything and every one without losing interest likely.

Those dark, beady eyes stayed focused though observing quietly, "You a long way from home though ain't ya? Aaaaand I don't mean cuase you sound like our pal Loki when he gets really worked up which is like.. every fi'teen minutes."

"I, can understand why somene could think Frau Wagner might bite," Halgrim admits with a wry smile. "She has a sharp wit that turns wicked if she's angry." That smile that fades, not when Reno mentions Halgrim is far from homebecause he very much is, there's no denying it, and he's given up trying tobut when he says the name, 'Loki.'

He clears his throat and looks down the street, where a young man with a banjo is busking to the interest of a half-dozen neighborhood denizens. "Yes. I am." The spirit, which has until now maintained a quiescent orbit, writhes and coils, which is timed with Halgrim grimacing at some thought or another. "So many of us are, these days, aren't we," he says.

When Halgrim's face falls Reno shrugged and reasoned, "Oh, loos like you mettum too. He has that effect on people." Still Reno was a spirit, just in physical form of the not-exactly-fameous Puerto Rican Mohican withthe swively hips, and Spirits beget Spirits. Death's messenger gestured to teh seat, "You can ssiddown if you like. Bobby Fish went home f'the afternoon. I think hegot a date. I dunno, but it been a wahile for him sooo that's pretty good." Dark eyes full of curiosity and an odd kind of kindness watched him offering a hand, "Reno Cordova." He paused and said, "Crow. Go by Cuervo round here t'ya know, some."

Halgrim studies Reno thoughtfully, accepts the handshake. Spirit writhing around and through him or not, his hand itself is plain enough, calloused from some form of work or another, and the girp is friendly and firm. "Halgrim Lindqvist," he says, accent a little stronger on his own name.

His groceries are all non-perishable, so he takes the offered seat, wincing as he does so. "Thank you. It's been a long day." He settles himself, and tilts his head as he remembers his admittedly brief introduction to Loki. "I did meet him—though, it was just a hello, so I don't know much of anything about him. The name alone, though…" He pulls a face. "It's not one someone raised as I was can take lightly."

Reno took a drink from his coke and nodded finding one of those silver linings in anything, "Hey, ya know, say what you will but he lives up to the name. Big name too soooo you know that's gotta be a lot of work. Sometimes though he do good things, I just don' think he wants people t'know it though. Ruins the street cred I guess." He shook his head a bit and asked curiously, "You come all teh way over here to shop at Ms. Guzman's though? You're alright with me. Good of you t' go read to the ol bird though. She's been struggling a bit."

Halgrim looks distinctly uncomfortable at the notion of Loki living up to the name, and says, "He's a force of chaos, or so I was taught. That can be good for us, or, bad." He shrugs. "It's like the weather. A great storm, in and of itself, isn't good or bad, except where it relates to those of us who have to deal with it." He sighs. "I guess we can't entirely blame him if he just does what his nature requires."

"It's not really that far, only a block or so from where I'd go otherwise." He gestures down into the bag. "And, I have it from the relative of a neighbor that Ms. Guzman offers a better selection of the things I prefer to cook with. That family runs a restaurant, I trust their opinion on those kinds of things."

Reno gracked a grin and asked, "It a guy named Lambert? Lil Greek dude with hooves? Can't missem. He got this resteraunt that does this stuff with flamey cheese. If you ain't had it I'm a tell you it's something you both agree on." THere was concern in the young bird's eyes and he confided, "Is a good neighbourhood. GOod people too. Damn shame people gotta make it so damn difficult.." Frustrating. HE was trying not to let it get to him. Instead he followed the path of curiosity, "So Lindquvist. What kinda name is that? Never heard nothin like that before." Not judging, now he was curious.

"No, this is a Portguese family, their restaurant's, mmmm," Halgrim looks around, trying to get his bearings, and points south, "I beieve somewhat south of here? I could be turned around." He shrugs. "Most of the family live upstairs from the restaurant, apparently, but a few of the cousins, they're in the same building I am. But, I've met Lambert, and been to Saganaki, it's wonderful. Very comfortable place, excellent food, and wine."

Halgrim grimaces in sympathy and nods. He admits, "I try to…avoid, as much trouble as I can." There's an unsubtle implication that he's not always successful, though his mouth twitches in a rueful smile. "The price I pay for not wanting to travel so far to the campus. It's a Swedish name—Scandinavian, really, since there are similar names in Norway and Denmark and so on." He raises an eyebrow. "Cordova would be, Spanish, I assume?"

Reno arched both eyebrows up, "Awww you know Bert? He make you try the cheese thing?" Fingers balled in fists of victory, "Sogood. Now… now I'm hungry." Aww food no. Still his attention circled back aroun, as birds do, to Halgrim. "Sometimes, man, sometimes trouble finds you. Sometimes Trouble just happens and we trip in it, but lemme tell you from my experience? some stuff's unavoidable. No one's fault. Life's just messy. And sometimes people jsut go loco and trouble happens. "

He thought about it and finally admitted, "Eeeeeh I dunno I know where Scandahoovia is. I'm a guess Europe? So like kinda way up there on the map huh. I think I remember somethin about tulips and stuff?" Close! He was close. Leaning back in his chair he nodded to confirm, "Heya. My mom from Puerto Rico. She there now cause some stuff came up. My dad? He half Puerto Rican. My abuela on his side? His mama? She's Mohawk soooo ya know, me too, but she still lives on teh Rez an stuff. I think you'd get a kick talkin to her. She knows everything about everythin. I thought she didn't once. I was wrong." His nose wrinkled, "I mighta caught a newspaper for that."

For a moment Halgrim looks disquieted, and says, "It finds some of us more often than others." The spirit ripples, twists, and settles again; he's dismissed the troubling thought as quickly as it occurred to him.

With a glint in his eye, he says, "Yes, farmor are like that, aren't they," and laughs. "I can remember mine teahcing me a lesson or two when I was too young to properly appreciate it. I'm sure I'd love to speak with yours. The histories they can relate to us—they're invaluable." He gestures roughly northeastern, saying, "Europe, yes. North, and east, of the tulips. Where the land is forest, except for where they've dug mines and put up cities." He manages to not sound homesick, mostly.

Reno warmed a grin and admitted, "Thaaaat sounds like it's really somethin. You know upstate is really pretty. Prolly not the same, but really pretty good. FLown over it a couple times. I encourage this. " He gestured to teh street. "Yeaaaah my homeland is a forest of buildings and pigeons that steal my bagels and give out bad phone numbers." Which may include any phone numbers as they are birds and birds don't have phones.

Halgrim nods. "I've been told the northern parts of the state of particularly lovely. I've been meaning to give myself a weekend, maybe find somewhere to camp." He seems even more enamoured of the idea now that they're discussing it like this, in a wilderness of a very different sort. He looks around, though, without judgment. "It has its own merits," he says. "I might like the forest, but there's no beer or wine out there, at least not that you didn't haul with you, and not drop of hot water to bathe with." He raises his eyebrows. "Nothing makes you appreciate the city like a frigid bath in a glacial river."

Reno grinned and shrugged and offered, not really trying to hide anything, but it amused him all the same, "Eeeeh living as a bird? Eh it ain't too bad. Cut back. Bate in a puddle. Really saves on the water bill I'll tell you that much." He grinned and combed his fingers through his feather black hair, "I dunno. I miss people too much. Sometimes it's nice t' just be y'self but here/ This part of us too. Kinda gotta balance it out I think. I'm still workin on that part, ya know what I mean?"

For a moment Halgrim blinks, confused; gradually, as he recounts their convesation, things begin to make more sense to him. He thinks for a second, says, "That must be very convenient," and scratches his beard. He huffs a laugh. "I've only ever been out in the field with other people. Almost never alone." He stills for a moment, maybe imagining it, and the spirit seems to pull inward. He shakes his head. "Not sure I'd care for that kinda of isolation either," he agrees.

He glances at his watch, sighs, and levers himself to his feet. "Thank you very much for the seat, Reno, and the conversation. I should get going—plenty to get done, and some cooking to do."

Reno offered a handshake to the Professor and offered, "Hey since you lve close you need a haircut come by. First one's on me man"

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