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30 April 2008 @ 12:23 am
Coffee Near Central Park... (Locked to dr_julianna_cox)  
Near Central Park, along the middle of the street, sat a small, homely cafe, Cafe Superb. Nestled in between a bookshop with large glass windows and soft cushioned seats, and a curious looking toyshop, it seemed by and large to be just another quirky part of New York City. Sid Hammerback sat in a seat outside the cafe, at a table shaded by an umbrella. As the city whirred around him, he was quiet, peaceful even, reading his newspaper, his glasses clipped around his face. A pencil was stuck behind his right ear, the end of which disappeared into a ruffle of gradually greying hair. A half empty cup of strong piping hot black coffee sat on the table before him, which almost looked as if it couldn't have been drunken as quickly as he had done. Coming off a double shift that had started sometime early in the day previous, and had then stretched into the wee hours of that morning, he had resigned himself to a couple hours of sleep before arriving fresh faced to wait for his company to lunch, or, whatever it was he might end up doing with the woman that had so dubiously been dubbed his main company for the day. That was him, Sid Hammerback, quirky evanescent, partial loner.

As steps clicked towards him, he quirked an eyebrow and looked him, smiling pleasantly when he saw it was only one of the waitresses working at the cafe, the one who had welcomed him in and taken his drink order previously. Her order pad hung over a smart apron tied at her waist, leaving her hands free. With fluid hand motions, she spoke to him silently.

"Waiting for a lady friend, Sid? A date?" the woman signed, and he responded with a shake of his head before raising his hands to reply.

"Another Medical Examiner. New to the City." he tapped out, waving his hand around in the air, in a generalisation of how large his home was, and laughing.

"Big shot?" she questioned, looking at him, her interest evident in her eyes.

The man shrugged.

"I don't know." he indicated, and paused, hands mid movement.

"She's a woman." the man motioned, and grinned when the waitress took it as her turn to laugh.

The ME shrugged again for emphasis.

"Every new person is different. I won't know who she is, until I know her." he signed, and let out a silent sigh.

"Be happy. You've done a lot more than some people have. You deserve it." the woman motioned, and then pointed to her own wide, friendly smile.

"Do you want to order something for her?" she questioned, looking at him directly.

Sid pondered this idea for a moment, whirring through the menu he had imprinted into his head at a categorical, almost automatic speed. If she was a date, then chocolate cake, if she was a "special friend", they wouldn't have any time for eating, or drinking, for that matter. But she wasn't, and he felt he had to respect her, because she seemed worth something, he could feel it. A bran muffin seemed to make him indifferent. Not that every food had its meaning, but it was all in the presentation of the food, and himself.

"Blueberry muffin. Black coffee, like mine." he signed, and smiled mischievously for a moment, his eyes flashing roguishly.

"I'm going to be on my best behaviour, I promise. No creeping her out." he signed out, chuckling, more to himself, than to the waitress really.

"Thank you." the ME said, giving a little wave as the woman turned away.


Hawkes said that when he went to his creepy place, he tended to lose himself some of the time. That time, however, he did want to try, he was going to be well behaved. Things were different, with whoever he met, however comfortable he felt with them, however much they knew about him. With a close friend, he might be devilishly uncouth, and with someone he intended to fuck, he could, and might, set up an intricate game of foreplay. This was normal, however. Two normal people, meeting at a close to normal cafe, ok so they employed mainly deaf and blind workers, but he liked it. They were going to have a normal drink, and talk about New York City. He was excited, of course he was happy, just happy, to meet someone new. He had so many things to show her, if, and when, she wanted to see anything at all.

So, returning to the ever extravagant game that was waiting, Hammerback went back to his paper and his coffee drinking, a seemingly normal person sitting in the shade of a cafe umbrella, his head slightly bent, his glasses on his face. It briefly flitted across his mind that he should have left his fellow ME more of a description other than the location of the cafe itself, his name, and an indication towards his love of coffee.

If he wasn't going to offer the muffin to her, he would have worn it on his head. These were both silly things to do, both the presence of a muffin, and the concept of wearing it as a hat. Seeing as it was lunchtime anyway, and they should be eating a salad, or a sandwich, and he definitely thought that muffin headwear wasn't really a suitable thing anyway. His slight mistake was fixed when the coffee arrived soon after, minus one muffin, but with the addition of an all too knowing wink from the waitress.

As an advertisement for some upcoming outdoor films caught his attention, followed by a rather bland article on the best type of fish to own, Sid was tucked away into his own world of relevant obscurity, perfectly at ease in the brilliant, large, city, that he called home.
 
 
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Cafe Type Noises
 
 
 
Dr. Julianna Cox: sunglassesdr_julianna_cox on April 30th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Sunglasses on, Julianna walked through the crowd of people. If there was anything she missed about Baltimore at the moment it was the sidewalks. Sure they could be littered with trash and there was always a smell coming from the drainage grates, but at least there was space to walk. New Yorkers went everywhere in throngs or droves. She tried scanning the windows of the shops she was passing by and walking at the same time. After a few times bumping into people, she stepped out off the curb a bit and looked at the shops with a more panoramic eye. There, by a bookshop, was the Cafe Superb.

Approaching the cafe, Julianna gave little thought to the man sitting outside at the patio table, engrossed in his newspaper. Adjusting her large shoulder bag that doubled as a purse, she opened the door to the cafe and went inside.

A few confused minutes later, after half-speaking, half-motioning to a waitress, Julianna walked back outside. She glanced at the tables on the patio again and then strode over to where Sid was sitting.

"Sid Hammerback?" She asked, looking down, peering through her sunglasses. She was tall--5'10--and dressed fairly casual -- a baggy shirt with a baggier sweater over it and comfortable slacks.

Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Attentionsid_hammerback on April 30th, 2008 09:39 am (UTC)
Both Sid's eyebrows leapt up as his head swivelled away from a large two page display of grocery specials. He studied the woman for a fraction of a second, taking in her face and clothing, and then smiled. This was mainly done in welcome, and in the comfort that she too, was dressed casually. He himself, had on a pair of red sneakers, jeans, and a dark brown pinstriped dress shirt with the sleeves slightly rolled up.

"Yes, and hello Miss Cox!" he said, his voice surprised, but accommodating. Gifted with a long, thin frame, the man was up within seconds and had stepped around the other side of the table, offering the seat to the woman before he took his own. It was lucky, they were about the same height, give or take shoe sizes and hair. His attention broke away briefly at the appearance of the waitress.

"Two menus, please." his hands motioned quickly, without thought, his eyes soon turning back to Julianna. Perhaps he had been a bit formal in greeting, but it was something ingrained into him, after too many years of marriage, that he could easily dismiss. With this thought, the man silently thanked himself that his wedding ring was absent from his finger and safely hung on a thin golden chain around his neck. It prevented unnecessary questions from people he didn't know too well.

"I apologise for not being more detailed in my message. The conventions of normal message writing don't come easily to the mind when in a hurry." Sid said, speaking for the second time in a calmer voice that was still rich with a trace of an accent melded into years of city living. His eyes, piercing and intent, settled on the woman, finally, permanently, as he folded away his newspaper.

Edited at 2008-04-30 09:40 am (UTC)
Dr. Julianna Cox: at the bardr_julianna_cox on April 30th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
Julianna couldn't help but smile at the man's excitement. As he spoke, she took him in, noting his appearance but saving any further judgment for later.

"It's not a problem," she said, regarding his apology for not being clearer in his message. "You probably had autopsies to finish and pesky detectives yapping at you." Julianna sat where he'd offered.
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Looksid_hammerback on April 30th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
In the intervening moments between the woman's response and the arrival of the menus, Hammerback took the time to study the woman's features more closely. As a scientist, as a Medical Examiner, even as a lover, he could never stop marvelling at the unique appearance of each person in the world. Her face was soft and healthily rounded, but with well defined angles. Her eyes spoke of some things, he couldn't quite understand. He didn't know enough about her yet, after all. It kind of made him hope she couldn't read him as well as he might be able her. If she could be as accurate as he had been able to be in past circumstances, then, and about this he briefly worried, she would see some horrible things in his eyes. Intermingled with the most prominent bizarre genius. That shone, though, currently, the genius, the happiness. He looked like he loved life, like he did, enjoy it.

As the menus were placed onto the tables, Sid smiled and nodded, partially in thanks to the waitress, and partially to acknowledge what Julianna had just said.

"This is Stephenie. She is deaf, but if you face her when you order, she's able to lip-read quite fine." the ME said, signing as he spoke, and smiling slightly as it dawned on him that he probably had a good ten or so years on his fellow Medical Examiner, when it came to turns of age. Not that it mattered, but, it was another inherent nature, to just take so much information about a person, in, at the same time.

"Nineteen hours, give or take lunch, dinner and a nap or two." the man said once they had been left to decide on their orders. Given the first real opportunity to speak to the other woman, he thought it a most befitting thing to actually answer what she had said beforehand.
Dr. Julianna Cox: shortest hairdr_julianna_cox on April 30th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
"Gotta love a double shift," Julianna grinned. Her tone was light, conversational, but also curious. She scanned the menu quickly, but then looked back up at the other doctor. "So how long've you been an M.E., Sid?"
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Workingsid_hammerback on April 30th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
The man shrugged and chuckled a soft, throaty laugh.

"Despite the fact that I took my nap on a clean autopsy table, it was alright. Always with the copious amounts of coffee, though." he said, giving a nod to the coffee cup in front of the room and half hoping it wasn't cold.

When the woman spoke again Sid mimed counting up on his fingers, giving a foolish grin as his mind raced for the answer that would not make him seem like he had no clue.

"I say I recently traded in a career as a Chef for one as a Medical Examiner, but really, I've been one for decades. There was even a muddy stage where I may have been both. And, if I may ask, how long have you been working as one?" the man said, always the ever pleasant sounding person, meeting her in the eyes as he spoke, silently happy when he found prominent traces of confidence in her gaze. It seemed kind of satisfying, to him at least, to have met someone with a bright internal spark.
Dr. Julianna Coxdr_julianna_cox on May 1st, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
Julianna thought a moment. "Fifteen years," she finally said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "First up in Buffalo, after med school, then in Baltimore." She pronounced the city 'Baldamore', as many natives did, and drew out the last syllable as if lingering on a thought more than the word. "Spent the last ten years out in Montgomery County, Maryland...and now I'm here." She gave a slight brow raise as if to say 'and that's the end of that story.'

"Nap on the autopsy table, huh?" She couldn't help a grin at that. "If you were in my morgue, I would have had someone bag you and take you for a ride."
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Looksid_hammerback on May 1st, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
"That's a lot of places for so many years. It seems to be for me at least, because I've always worked here." Sid said, his face intrigued, his eyebrows rising slightly of their own accord. Shave off their age difference, and he would have been in pretty much the same place. Although, roughly ten years ago, while his life had been vastly different, he had still lived in New York City. He had always lived there. Again, as he spoke, the merest hint of an accent that wasn't quite New York was hinted at through his words. His parents had had more of an effect on his voice than he would naturally admit.

Gesturing to his empty coffee cup, and the full one on the table, the man smiled.

"That is yours if you want it. Ah, but back to workplace mishaps. It was more that the bed that we have set up, was being used. As much as I appreciate the company of my co-worker's, we're not up to trying to squeeze two people on a single camp bed together." he said, and a warm smile spread onto his face, and he looked slightly embarrassed as an old memory surfaced through the years of weirdness, happiness and regret.

"I was taken for a ride in a body bag though, once. I remember, when I expressed an interest in being a Medical Examiner to one of my lecturers, he thought it most necessary that I take a ride inside one. Needless to say, he won a hundred dollars, off some bet, and I got half of the proceedings. Not a trick to be tried again, however, for fear that someone may catch on to the scheme." Hammerback said, looking amused as brief memories flitted through his mind.

With the appearance of the waitress, however, he acknowledged her with a small nod and raised his head.

"Chicken and avocado on wholemeal please. And one orange juice, fresh squeezed. Thank you."
Dr. Julianna Cox: at the bardr_julianna_cox on May 1st, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
"I'll have the Caesar salad, dressing on the side," Julianna said, "And the coffee's fine." She motioned to the cup in front of her.

When the waitress left, she continued the conversation with Hammerback.

"It is a lot of places, but things happen. Good thing I like to travel." She said it easily, as if it were no big deal, but her eyes belied something more to the story. She went on to the next subject with nonchalance. "Body bag ride, huh? Creepy, and yet still not the weirdest thing I've seen around the morgue."
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Workingsid_hammerback on May 1st, 2008 06:39 am (UTC)
Perhaps she had not moved on from one place to another in good grace. Something in the woman's eyes, a mere glint that the ME saw and then could not find, had hinted at something extra, unsaid, hidden. Things happened to people, and it wasn't his place to probe openly into the life of someone he had just met for the first time.

"I don't mind travelling, but everything I want and need is here. My family, my friends, my history. Maybe if I'd travelled and worked in different places when I was younger, it would have been easier, but now, years later, moving on to somewhere else, I would find it much too hard. I suppose though, it might be hard, moving on when you're not entirely sure it's what you would have really wanted." Hammerback said, with the same casual air, although his last sentences implied some vague understanding of her veiled words and expression.

"It was as comfortable as a bag can get, but yes, likewise, not the oddest thing I've ever seen." the man said, and reeled through years of odd experiences and exciting conquests. His eyes had lit up momentarily at the word creepy, but had resumed a usual kind of look, now that he was thinking.

"I think, what I've seen, collectively backs up the reasoning that we are all very individual people. I can get two stabbings in a day, and perhaps they are two stabbings from jealous spouses, but it doesn't mean they'll ever be the same." he said thoughtfully, suppressing the urge to tell what Hawkes might have called "one of his stories". After all, taking a ride in a body bag was not the weirdest thing he had ever done or seen, by far.
Dr. Julianna Coxdr_julianna_cox on May 1st, 2008 06:54 am (UTC)
As he spoke, Julianna stirred a couple packets of sugar into her coffee cup. When he mentioned moving on when it wasn't what you expected, she gave a noncommittal nod of her head. Other than that, she just listened, again seemingly curious. She'd met many people since arriving in New York, most of them relating to her occupation, but none of them were as talkative as Hammerback.

When he reached the end of what he was saying, she gave another slight nod. "So, you like your job I take it."
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Looksid_hammerback on May 1st, 2008 08:05 am (UTC)
The ME watched silently as Julianna added the sugar to her drink, remembering, really, that, so far, while the banter had been back and forth, he had probably become a bit chatty. As he did normally, he hadn't really noticed. It was almost a needed job requirement, after years of old faces and new faces, to deliver information in a quick and efficient way. However, the twist he liked to put on things, was to make what he was talking about, interesting. There was no point in giving an autopsy report that was dull and monotonous, and the same went for general conversation.

"I love my job. I have lasting friends where I work, people who have worked together for years, who have become a family to me. I get to see interesting things, even if they are gruesome, and help serve justice to people who have committed crimes." Sid said brightly, meaningfully, and sounding overall like he truly believed in the good of what he was doing, which he did. He had, although, neglected to include comments of the darker aspect of his work, what sad things he could bring to, or take away from it. She would know well enough, if anyone could, and so certain things, pertaining to him and their shared profession in general, were left silent.

"I'm sorry if I'm talking too much." the man said, and paused to wave at the waitress as she emerged with their meals. He made to continue once she had placed them down and gone to get his drink.

"As you probably know, we would both do a lot of talking, delivering autopsy reports and the like. I'm a city person, what can I say, I was raised to talk, a lot." he said, ending on a sheepish tone as he looked down to eye his toasted sandwich with a look that might be more akin to jeweller judging the qualities of a fine diamond. Not that the sandwich was a diamond, but he peered at his food with a kind of analytical interest before picking it up and taking a bite.
Dr. Julianna Cox: at the bardr_julianna_cox on May 1st, 2008 09:36 am (UTC)
"That's apparent," Julianna said frankly, of the man's penchant for words.

She took in what he said about loving his job. The last time she'd truly enjoyed her work had been in Baltimore. She was starting to feel like she could do some good in New York as well...But family? Or friends that were like family? Again, she hadn't had that in a long time. She shook off the thought and began to eat her salad.
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Looksid_hammerback on May 1st, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
The man blushed slightly when she spoke, looking just a touch of guilty. His eyes, for the briefest of moments, revealed truer intentions. He was, in this moment, eager to please. Not someone who was just bizarre and confident, but who was trying his best to be someone personable. Almost before it could be noticed, the look disappeared, and he accepted his juice as it was handed to him.

The man ate, for the next few seconds, in relative, calm, silence, taking the opportunity to really think about his job. It was true what he had said, he had good friends, and he was thankful for his circumstances. The people he worked with, they were there for each other when they needed it. Their shared support, was more than he could have asked for.

"You will find it again here. Don't worry. It takes time, it always does." Hammerback said, almost without thought, without warning as he gave another thoughtful stare at his sandwich, and then up at Julianna's face, his own more subdued, respectful, but still pleasant and bright. Happy. He seemed confident in what he had just said. Even if he already had what he was speaking about, he seemed confident in the idea that it could eventually be discovered by someone else. He meant what he had said.
Dr. Julianna Cox: baylissdr_julianna_cox on May 2nd, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
"It's not really something that can be replicated," she said after swallowing a piece of lettuce. She thought back to the days with the gang at Baltimore Homicide. There would never be another Meldrick Lewis or Frank Pembleton and there certainly would not be another Tim Bayliss. She thought of Kellerman and repressed a snort, the beginnings of which came out as sort of a half-laugh.
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Looksid_hammerback on May 2nd, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
Hammerback licked his lips as he finished his sandwich, listening to what the other ME had to say, blue eyes intently staring at hers. There was something piercing about his gaze, but, nonetheless, it wasn't threatening or meant to be harmful. When she had finished speaking, he nodded.

"I know it isn't. But one can try. And eventually..." the man said, and here he paused, realising his expression, by that point, must have changed. For someone who had a good working family, he seemed to look all too knowing on what it was like to miss something like it. Again, although quite subtly, his expression changed, and masked what went on inside him, internally.

"Something will happen, and it might fill the void, or it won't, but either way, you would have tried to begin with." Sid said, his expression meaningful. He then smiled, and grinned openly, discreetly pushing away all that could be somewhat harmful to a good conversation.

"Have you seen Central Park yet?"

Edited at 2008-05-02 04:28 am (UTC)
Dr. Julianna Cox: sunglassesdr_julianna_cox on May 2nd, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
"I have," Julianna said, "Mugging victim in Strawberry Fields last week. I don't think that's quite what John Lennon Imagined."
Dr. Sid Hammerback, ME: Attentionsid_hammerback on May 2nd, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
"I had a suicide there once. But, no, no, no, that's not what I meant." the man shook his head and chuckled, amused.

"I mean, really seen it. Have you walked around it, through it, have you seen how special it is?" he questioned, leaning forward slightly and taking a drink out of his juice, waiting for her reply. He could almost anticipate the answer, but he wanted to be proven wrong or right or her own time, not his.