(2018-09-07) Jess' Day at the Cafe
Jessica goes to Java Junction to work, and ends up getting very little done.

Java Junction Calaveras
Fri Sep 07, 2018 — Fri Sep 07 12:25:25 2018

With copper light hangings, it leaves a rustic feel to the entire room. A long bar with a cash register below a sign that says Order Here boasts a display of pastries, bagels, croissants and other foods for breakfast. Sandwiches and soups and salads for lunch and dinner. On a chalk bard in colorful writing is a list of the different beverages offered as well as the prices. Numbers are given on the receipts so when called, patrons can get their order at the opposite end of the bar from the register.

Tables dot the room, wooden with simple center pieces and wooden chairs around them. Also built into one leg of each table is an electrical outlet for laptops or phone chargers. In one corner is a bean bag area with several magazines and a small book swap shelf.

While music plays softly from surround sound speakers, it is usually tuned into one of the two radio stations in the town. The country or rock, depending on what the barista selects at the time.

It's an almost unholy time in the morning; almost 9:30! The cafe is filled with people at most of the tables. College kids, business people who "work from home", and hipsters with no place to go. Settled at a table with two free sets left is a dark haired woman in a pair of scrubs, with; a large paper cup presumably full of java, a plate with a muffin on it, and a sketchpad. She's in the process of sketching someone out.

Into this unholy mess steps Jessica: her long hair pulled into a loose ponytail, dressed in a white blouse and casual black slacks, carrying a laptop under her arm, she certainly looks the part of one of those "work from home" people. She also looks desperately in need of coffee, though one look at the crowd in the joint makes her groan. All thoughts of coffee are momentarily pushed aside as she searches out a table - and it appears Briony's is the only one available. Amidst some "excuse me"s Jessica pushes her way to said table, noticing then that Briony is wearing… scrubs. Oh boy. Still, a seat is a seat. "Morning." The newcomer greets with a polite smile. "Mind if I share your table? The place is awfully crowded today."

Jessica has just entered with a white blouse and casual black slacks, long hair in a pony tail. She's found that the only readily appearent open seat is at Briony's table and as such has made contact! The be-scrubbed wearing woman looks up from her sketch book and blinks a moment, though her smile is easy enough. "Oh, yeah, it gets really crowded this time of day. Please help yourself."

Her fingertips are a touch smudged with graphite as she picks up her paper cup full of java, "Feel free to put your stuff down, I'll watch it while you get coffee— I'm Bri, by the way."

Jessica flashes a smile of gratitude for the table-sharing, and plops down her stuff on unclaimed parts of the table top. Upon closer inspection, she isn't as business chic as first appears: her silver Macbook is a bit scruffed up, and so is her iPhone which is placed on top, but clearly they both function and their owner is reluctant to part with them. "Oh thanks, that's great! Bri, I'm Jessica, or Jess." She returns the brief introduction, stealing a quick glance at Briony's sketchpad out of sheer curiosity. "I'll just be a minute to order my coffee." She pauses a beat as she looks at the lineup. "Or maybe a bit longer."

Enter Ethan, blinking against the change in lighting from the sidewalk to the interior, looking a little more fresh this morning than he did at the same time yesterday. He's at least taken the time to shower this morning, and his clothes are in good order (albeit the definition of casual in jeans and a hoodie), and he doesn't full-on fume at the line in which he winds up waiting. He doesn't really take stock of the occupants until after he's already in that line of impatient souls who all need their caffiene fix.

Turning while he waits, he surveys, and he sweeps a look across the only empty chairs in the joint. His eyes attend Jessica with passive interest (she's good-looking, so of course he has to look), then pass across Briony's with recognition and a question when they flick between her and the empty chair. It's a wordless communique: he's prolly gonna sit there, fyi.

There's a graphite pencil of an attractive man; dark hair, presumably dark eyes, a strong jaw. He's standing behind what appears to be a bar, sliding a glass across the top of it. However, Briony's eyes collide with the subject of said sketch (Ethan) and while he's standing in line she casually flips the page and picks up her pencil, starting a new one. Her gaze flickering back and forth between the page and Jessica this time. You guessed it! The next sketch is going to be Jessica.

Meanwhile, Briony casually uses her foot to push the last remaining chair out a little from the table, though when someone else tries to poach she clears her throat and says, "Sorry, this seat is claimed by someone in line." And her tennis shoe covered foot settles onto it to keep it from behind snaked out from under the table. Despite disgruntled grumpling.

Leaving her possessions in the tender care of Briony, Jessica moves to join the end of the line. Ah, right behind that new person who just walked in! Noticing Ethan's gaze on her, she does the same in return (because he's also good-looking. Everyone here is good-looking except the NPCs, of course!), even adding a polite smile at him as she falls in line behind him. She only has her purse with her, and after fishing a credit card from within, she uses it to brush back a loose lock of dark hair that has fallen over her left eye. She has a second look at Ethan, and this time her head tilts curiously, as if recognizing him. There is a thoughtful pause, before she clears her throat. "Hi there. Uhm. I just want to check, but are you here to meet someone?"

A quick, satisfied smile answers the saving of the chair, and then Ethan turns to eye the line in front of him with the sort of impatience one can only feel in a coffee shop line: OMG ALL YOU OTHER PEOPLE DON'T NEED A FIX AS BAD AS ME. Fortunately, it's mostly people just grabbing coffee, coffee, coffee, so the line is moving pretty well. He's formulating his order in his mind when Jessica interjects, and he turns - a little smell of cigarettes, not gonna lie - to hmmmmm? "Like, specifically or just in general?"

Briony's attention is flickering between Jessica, her paper, and briefly Ethan. But after a moment her attention focuses on the paper and she seems to be getting to work putting the other woman's likeness down onto the page.

Jessica just stares at Ethan for a moment or two, but hey, at least she has the pretty eyes. Then she breaks into a mild chuckle and shakes her head. "Sorry, I should be more clear." With a quick wave of her credit card, Jess gestures in Briony's direction. "I just put my stuff down at that table, with the nice lady in the scrubs. She was working on a sketch of you, so I thought maybe you two have a coffee date or something. And I definitely don't want to be a third wheel… or fifth wheel… or any odd-numbered wheel." Yes Bri, they're talking about you!

..there would be SO MUCH wincing from the nurse if she could HEAR what Jessica just asked. But, luckily, Briony cannot hear it! So she blissfully sketches away in ignorance.

Ethan glances back toward the nice lady in the scrubs, then back to Jessica with an easy smile when he answers, "No, we definitely don't have a date." The barista has even less patience than the patrons, it seems, since she says, "Next," three times before Ethan gets to the register; transaction ensues, and he slides aside to let Jessica have her turn, collecting his sustenance. "Feel free," he adds before weaving through the line and into the seat that doesn't have Jessica's stuff in it, drumming up a whole new smile for Briony. "Morning, stranger."

Briony slides her foot off of the seat when Ethan arrives, standing briefly so she can curl one leg underneath herself and get comfortable again. "Hallo, Mr. Grant." A smile is flashed to him, but it's a touch distracted. Her attention focused onto the paper before her. Her scrubs are a touch wrinkles— as if she's off of work rather than going to it. Her hair is loose at the moment, and occasionally she brushes it back off of her face as she sketches.

"As long as I don't end up feeling super awkward." Jessica gives Ethan a thumb-up to signal all's well. He gets his turn at the counter, and then it's hers. "A Cafe au lait, with extra cream please?" Credit card is swiped, and a short wait later the drink is collected, and now she proceeds to rejoin Briony's table. Despite Ethan's reassurance that it's not a coffee date, Jessica still pauses momentarily, glancing between the two before taking her seat. The phone is pushed aside, the Macbook is flipped open, and she sips her drink while she waits for the laptop to boot up. "You're a very good artist." She says suddenly, presumably to Briony. Hey! Looks like she caught a glimpse of her latest sketch!

"Isn't that the risk we all take when we decide to hit up a coffee shop?" quips Ethan about the possible awkwardness, arranging his things on the table with a once-over for Briony's current work in progress. No sugar, no cream, just coffee and a blueberry muffin; he stops peeling back the paper on the bottom of the muffin, running his fingers quickly over a napkin, to extend his hand to Jessica, navigating it through the tech surrounding her. "I didn't catch your name. I'm Ethan. Grant." The last name is added with a hint of irony after Briony's formality.

Briony shifts a touch awkwardly at the compliment on her artistry. A shake of her head is given, graphite smudged fingers brushing her hair back from her face once more— causing that graphite to smear across her temple now. "I'm just a hobbyist, but thank you, Jess." She sets her pencil down to take a drink from her coffee and tilts her head toward the laptop Jessica has opened, "Doing some work? Are you some corporate bigwig? Maybe a fancy shark lawyer?" There's a touch of smile curling at her lips.

"It's still very good. Maybe you can make my nose smaller on the sketch?" Jessica wrinkles her nose and quips, adding a tap on it with a fingertip. "I always thought it could be smaller." With a self-deprecating smile, she turns towards Ethan's offered hand, and reaches out for a gentle shake. "Pleased to meet you, Mister Ethan Grant. I'm Jessica." Releasing his hand, her attention returns to Briony's questions, with an amused shake of her head. "No, no, nothing like that. I don't think I can live a corporate life. I work for the New Era, as a reporter. Only started about three months ago so I'm still learning the ropes." Beat. "Heyyyy, you're a nurse, right?" Judging from the scrubs. "Maybe I can ask you some questions about the healthcare system in town, some time."

"Hi, Jessica." And then Ethan is right back to his coffee and muffin, attentive to the question about Jessica's work, but also attentive to his need to get caffeine in his body post haste.

"I try to be as true to life as I can be…" says Bri with a little shrug of her shoulders. She sets her pencil and her coffee both aside so she can fuss with her hair. She leans back in her seat a touch, brushing all that hair off of her face and twisting it behind her head, but then … just lets it go since she doesn't appear to have a hair tie. Her blue gaze flickers over Jessica's face and she says, "Besides you don't need a small nose, your face is perfect as it is, Jess." The smile given there is a touch shy, and she covers the awkwardness by sipping at her coffee once more. "Oh a reporter, that's really cool. I…" She trails off at the question about being asked about the healthcare and her expression sort of closes off, going a touch opaque and passive. "Sure." She says without much inflection. A glance is given toward Ethan and then back toward the other woman.

Jessica must be familiar with exactly that type of response from Briony; she's probably seen it a thousand times. "Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to get you in trouble or anything." She is quick to reassure. "There's no story, and I'm not looking to dig up secrets just to have a story. Like I said, I'm new to Calaveras and I just like to understand how everything works around here. It really is a bit of a disadvantage not being a local, while trying to report on local issues, you know?" She trails off and also glances at Ethan, then back to Briony. Scrunching her face, she asks, "Have I made things awkward? I have, haven't I? Listen, I didn't mean anything by it. Maybe I can buy you a muffin as an apology?"

Briony winces just a touch and she says, "It's not awkward, it's just— you know hippa regulations and all that. I, uh. I've been approached by reporters in the past and sometimes they don't really take "no" or want more details than I'm allowed to give." Her head dips down and she says, "I'd be happy to tell you /about/ the hospital, as long as we're not discussing the patients and stuff." She takes a drink of her coffee and shakes her head, "Oh, no it's okay. You don't need to buy me a muffin, and trust me… I am the _queen_ of awkward." There's a brief glance at Ethan now, somewhat telling before she looks back down to her sketch.

Ethan studiously attends his muffin while they talk about the merits of Jessica's face, picking out all the blueberries. It's an incredibly messy way to try to eat, but he seems committed to it, leaving globs of cakey, smooshed blueberries on the edge of the plate in-between eating the actual muffin bits. "Can I ask how you wound up here? Working for this particular paper?" Maybe it's just a nice attempt to defuse any potential awkwardness… and maybe he's just the kind of cranky bastard that don't want no big-city reporter digging into town affairs.

"Oh, no. Definitely not. Patient confidentiality… I totally get that." Jessica shakes her head again to Briony, firmly drawing that virtual line in the sand. Her attention strays briefly back to her Macbook as the login screen comes up, so she spends a few seconds logging in and letting the machine do its thing. Picking up her cup for another sip, Jess tilts her head in Ethan's direction. "My mom was born here, and I came here visiting a relative a few months ago. I guess I just fell in love with the place." She shrugs both shoulders. "I love hiking. I love taking photos. The mountains here are absolutely gorgeous." Beat. "Besides, I was out of a job at the time, so I thought I'd just knock on the local newspaper's door, and see if they're hiring. And here I am!"

Briony's eyes flicker to where Ethan is meticulously pulling blueberry bits out of his blueberry muffin. Her eyebrows lift up at him but she doesn't say anything, and for now she lapses into silence. Listening attentatively but not interjecting into the conversation.

While Jessica is doing things to her computer, Ethan's expression slips a fraction, his nostrils flare and his lips press; he hides it quickly, sipping coffee, but it's there for a nanosecond, in all its technophobic glory. "Yeah? What's your mom's name?" Despite the flash of irritation, his tone is amiable, conversational. "My parents are lifers in this town, they know everybody," he explains with a benign chuckle. And he knows he's being weird with the blueberries, his brow-lift at Briony acknowledges it, but he just takes a bite of muffin and declines to explain.

That next question from Ethan earns him a suspicious look from the otherwise friendly Jessica; even her easy smile fades as she studies him. "I'm sure they do." She replies with cautious noncommittance, then shakes her head with a furrow of her brows. "I'm sorry if I missed it, but what is it that you do, Mr. Grant?"

Briony considers Ethan silently for a moment, and then down at the cakey blubs of blueberry… Experimentally she reaches out and takes a blueberry from his plate and pops it into her mouth. Then, assuming she doesn't lose a hand, she sets both of her elbows onto the table below her forgotten sketchbook, and places her chin into both hands. Her blue eyes flicking between Ethan and Jessica both, her lips curled ever so slightly.

"I attack outsiders until they get the hell outta town and never come back," Ethan says promptly, holding his hand up in front of his mouth so the chewing isn't visible, though his cheeks plump to be tray the smile behind that hand. He pushes the plate toward Briony with his other hand, a be-my-guest suggest with regards to the berries he ain't eating. Then, with a smile that can be seen, he adds, "I'm a photographer."

Declan arrives from the N Main and University Way.
Declan has arrived.

Early in the morning and the java junction is packed with people. There aren't many tables with seats left on them. Which is what brought our three heroes together this morning. Jessica and Ethan are sqauring off across the table in what might be friendly banter or might be the prelude to murder. Meanwhile, Briony is sitting with her chin in both palms as she watches the back and forth between her tablemates.

In response, Jessica just nods sagely to something Ethan just said, and sips her cafe au lait, before putting the cup down. The three are all seated at a table in a rather crowded cafe today, evidently. "The former doesn't sound like someone whom I should be giving out personal information to." She pauses to brush a lock of brown hair away from her forehead again. "As for the latter, I could tell you the model of the camera I use, if he's interested in that." She shrugs both shoulders, and allows a smile to come to her lips, just briefly.

In walks Declan, who glances around immediately upon entering and gets into the line of people queued up under the "Order Here" line, presumably to make an order at some point in the near future. When it's finally his turn, he doesn't order java at all. "Iced tea and, uhh… a bagel with cream cheese. With sesame seeds on it. Yes. Thanks." He pays for his order, snags his receipt and goes to wait for his order, which is quickly prepared. Then he glances around, apparently looking for somewhere to sit in this busy place. He eventually finds a vacant table close to the one Briony, Jessica, and Ethan are sitting, and starts to head towards it, setting down a small tray of food before settling in.

Briony's eyebrows lift upward when Ethan says that he's a photographer, her head tilting slightly to the side. She eyes him for a moment with a scrutiny, as if trying to decide if he's serious or not. A breath is huffed out and she flips her sketchbook closed, though she's briefly distracted tracking Declan as he moves past their table. Her blue eyes squinting as if she were trying to place him, but apparently not recognition comes because she doesn't call out. "It was nice meeting you, Jess, but I should head home." A flick of her eyes is given to Ethan and she says, "Mr. Grant." Then she's starting to piack up her stuff.

"All that to say," Ethan begins pleasantly, "that you're not gonna tell me who your mom is? I can respect that." He shrugs acceptingly, mouth open as if he might have more to say on the subject when Briony makes noises and motions about leaving. "Always a pleasure to chat with you, Briony Bryceson." He hits the word chat a little hard, then slides his muffin-plate and empty coffee cup closer to his person, making room for Declan. "Morning," to the newest arrival.

"Jesus." Briony says with a trace of irritation and a glare at Ethan, "I got the message yesterday. You don't have to be a dick about it." And then she's slinging her bag over her shoulder and headed for the door.

Briony has left.

Sitting at a separate table, Declan glances briefly towards the discussion between Ethan and Briony but stays out of it, except to say "Good morning" back to Ethan. Then he starts to have his bagel and iced tea, taking a bite and washing it down with a sip, once he's properly comfortable in the otherwise-crowded cafe. His eyes briefly follow Briony on her way out, and he occasionally glances around to people-watch.

Jessica makes a funny face and shrugs again, a silent confirmation to Ethan's comments about not telling him her mom's name. She looks over as Briony gets up though, looking slightly apologetic… probably for the awkwardness she warned about when this all started. "Nice meeting you too. I'm sure we'll run into each other again." A glance is spared over to Declan as well, since both Briony and Ethan look over to the new arrival.

Ethan barks a laugh at Briony's parting comment, about to say something… but she's gone too quickly, and he's just left shaking his head in entertained denial. He watches her go for a second, then looks down at the decimated remnants of his breakfast, doing a double-check into the empty coffee cup. There's an air of someone contemplating departure when he asks of Jessica, "Not much chance of salvaging the conversation since it's gone so far off the rails, I'm guessing. Unless you smoke?" He sounds doubtful.

Declan glances aside at the sound of Ethan's laugh, but doesn't interrupt, choosing to enjoy his breakfast for a little while longer. Once he's done with his bagel, he eases back in his chair and enjoys his iced tea through slow, occasional sips. He idly bounces his foot underneath the table he's sitting at, too.

"Well no I don't." Jessica confirms Ethan's suspicion about her smoking. "And since you asked, my mom died six months ago… from lung cancer, so there's that warning label too." As for the conversation, Jess actually glances at Declan again, and points to the man with her chin. "Is he a friend of yours? If so you can invite him over, and talk about something else. Do you terribly mind if I work at the same time?" She points to her laptop meaningfully.

Genuinely, "I'm sorry about your mom. It sucks. To lose a parent." Ethan smiles flimsily through the quip about the warning label, and takes it as a good time to beat a retreat. "He's not, but - hey, maybe he knows something about hospitals? Anyway, sorry for reading you the riot act, Jessica. Good luck with…" He waves vaguely at nothing, at everything, and scoots off with his dishes.

Ethan has left.

After Ethan heads off, Declan looks over to Jessica and says, "I'm afraid I don't know a whole lot about hospitals. And I hope that continues to be the case! At least as far as inside knowledge goes." He cracks a little grin at his own joke and takes a sip of his iced tea, then half-rises from his seat. "I overheard you mentioning something about work," he says while glancing to the laptop. "If you want, I can hang around and chat. But, yeah, I don't know either of your former companions."

Jessica's upnod and smile to the departing Ethan are more polite than anything else. The smile fades to a neutral expression quickly, as she starts typing on her MacBook. She hasn't done much of that before realizing the newcomer is addressing her, and looks in his direction. "Oh, I wouldn't call them companions." She clarifies and gestures around the coffee shop. "Technically, I just shared a table with them because it's so crowded in here… and now I have two empty seats. You're welcome to join me if you like!"

Declan takes Jessica up on her invitation and rises up from his seat to settle across from Jessica, carefully setting down his drink away from the laptop. "That's fair. I know how that can get around here, at least. Seems the town's getting a lot of new people quickly or something, and I'm one of them." He shoots her and easygoing grin and says, "The name's Declan, by the way. Declan Greene. Owner of Tip-Top Heli Tours, opening soonish."

"Then I guess I'm two." Jessica smiles crookedly, regaining a bit of her good humor back now. She'll even offer a hand to the newcomer. "Nice to meet you. Jessica Combs, new reporter for the New Era." She offers an introduction in turn. "You have your own helicopter?"

"It's all paid for and will be delivered soon enough, so yeah," Declan says with a light smile, shaking Jessica's hand. "And everything else involved in running the business is falling into place. Depending on how busy things get, I'll even hire employees. - A reporter, huh? Are you covering the fire or the shooting? Or a bit of both? Or maybe some good news?"

"Well." Jess gives Declan's hand a gentle shake then releases it, reaching up then to brush that lock of dark hair that persistently falls over her left eye. "I'm still the local rookie, so I don't get to cover the big stories. Yet." She points out meaningfully. "Like I was telling the others earlier, not being local puts me at a disadvantage because I have no contacts in the area; that's what I'm working on." Beat. "Is there another commercial helicopter service in Calaveras? I think there is a charter pilot service, a guy who owns a couple of Cessnas, but I'm not sure about choppers."

"Huh, makes sense," Declan says at Jessica's answer. "Honestly, I'm not sure. I haven't seen or heard of any. During the touring off-season I imagine there'll be some taxing and package-delivering depending on how many people are in a rush to get something or get somewhere else." Then he adds, "I can fly planes too, I just usually don't. But we're in the same boat when it comes to contacts. I'm staying at a bed and breakfast, getting to know people here and there, until everything's all set up business-wise."

"I hope you're staying at Stone's B&B." Jessica points out helpfully. "I stayed there for a couple of weeks when I first came here; the owner was super nice and super helpful. You should check out any potential competition though; I think the Era may want to keep your number handy too, when you're open for business. Calaveras is not difficult to get around in a car, but up in the mountains? That's a different story altogether."

"That's where I'm staying, yeah. Katherine's a good host," Declan says, bobbing his head. "I do have more looking around to do for a bunch of things, competition included. Maybe if there's a place to get good sushi, too - that'd be nice to know about. And I'd be happy to fly you or your colleagues around when the time comes! Just gotta get that helicopter and make sure it's in good working order and all that."

Jessica grins a bit at the sushi comment, but reaches for her cup to finish off her cafe au lait before replying. "I hate to tell you this, but you've come to the wrong place for good sushi." She muses. "I'm no mechanic, but I can definitely get behind a safe ride. I have been in my share of very questionable transportation; I once flew in this old Soviet helicopter built probably in the 1960's, and this thing was literally held together with duct tape. Oh! They actually sealed one of the doors with a stolen chain-link fence!"

Declan lets out a soft laugh at that. "Ah, well, the sushi was probably too much to hope for… The Russians made some… interesting… helicopters during the Soviet years. Like the Hind D. Those things can take a beating, so I've heard, but the Russians still use 'em today for training, and sell them off to other countries." After a moment's pause, he explains, "I was in the Air Force before I did civilian flying, so, yeah. We saw all kinds of things. Duct tape and epoxy are the friends of the lazy mechanic."

The brunette bobs her head sagely. "Granted, this was in Rongi, Indonesia, so I can't speak for professional standards of the mechanics there, but I wouldn't take my car to them for an oil change." She deadpans. "Anyway, it was quite an adventure; the pilot only knew one English word, and every time we asked him to take off or land, he'd say 'Okay'. But also every time we screamed we were going to crash, he'd turn around and smile and say 'Okay' too." Beat. "In retrospect, we should've refused to even board the thing."

Declan laughs and shakes his head. "Maybe he was trying to say 'everything will be okay'. Yeah, I'll go with that." He eases back in his seat comfortably, looking across the table at Jessica. "My craziest ride, I think, involved transporting medical supplies across southern Iraq, near the Kuwaiti border. There was a scared-looking Private in the back along for the ride, and he thought he saw a rocket-propelled grenade fly up past the chopper. So I ask him if he thinks I wouldn't have noticed that, and he quiets down for a bit, until he says he saw another fly right past us! And then I have to explain to the poor guy that he's just seeing partriges, or something, because I'd be fully aware if we were getting fired at. - Then we actually -do- get fired at. Thankfully the Private wasn't a 'told you so' type of guy."

Jessica listens to his story and shakes her head slowly, a pained expression on her face. "You should count yourself lucky that wasn't me riding in the back. I'm not a fan of war and I've never been in a warzone before, but I would guess I'd be all hysterical if people were firing grenades at the helicopter I'm riding in. And then pilots like you would have to make the difficult call whether to ignore me, answer me or throw me over."

"It's normal to be pretty jumpy in a hot zone," Declan says. "I'm not a fan of war either, which is why I got out of it as quick as I could. It was a learning experience, just like the rest of life. Nowadays I'd say I'm living pretty good, overall. Calaveras is a nice change of pace compared to the cities I'm accustomed to." He gives a faint smile at that and drinks the rest of his iced tea.

Hmm." The pretty brunette reporter muses in agreement. "It's nice here. Slow, and quiet, and the mountains are stunning. I hope I don't get bored of the view though. Sometimes you spend so much time on the road, it's hard to settle down." Jessica laments a bit, briefly looking at her Macbook and tapping a few of the keys. "Then again, the recent shootings may suggest Calaveras isn't as quiet as we all think."

"Yeah, that's a possibility," Declan admits, glancing towards the door. "Hopefully it doesn't become part of a pattern. I mean, shootings seem to shake smaller places harder. Like, it was hard to find someone surprised by a shooting when I lived in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. It just kind of appears on the news and rolls off into distant memory. But places like this?" Declan rolls a shoulder. "I think people care more."
<Public> Brendan yawns, stretches.

"It's all about the statistics." Jessica points out. "Two shooting victims is a much bigger percentage out of a population of 25,000, than 2.5 million. I agree though, hopefully it's just a one-time thing. The tourist industry here is so important I can't imagine the local economy can survive if violence happens regularly, although I was doing some research in the town's history and there have been more than a few high profile murder cases."

Declan nods a couple of times, considering that. "Yeah, that's a pretty good point… wait, really? That's surprising. I wonder what attracts that kind of behavior." Declan shakes his head a little. "I hope people do come by in the winter and aren't scared off by all the noise. Otherwise Tip-Top Heli Tours is going to go rock-bottom. You can even use that as a headline if that happens." He smiles a little at his own joke.

"Maybe you can hire your helicopter out as a gunship?" Jessica shrugs and grins lopsidedly. "I'm sure it won't come to that; the City Council and the CPD will most certainly take drastic measures to crack down if things get that bad. Governments always do, even if they're always reactive." She pauses to consider. "Maybe I should try to get an interview with someone about that…."

"Yeah…" Declan rolls his tongue in his cheek. "I wandered into a cafe that was full of cops the other day. Turned out the police station was nearby. Or the cafe was near the police station, depending on how you look at it. Could always try there," he suggests. "As far as the government goes, I don't even know who the mayor and people like that are. The town's a little too big to elect a cat or dog as a mayor though, I assume."

"I'm sure it's amusing to some people to do that, but when you're a reporter, that makes it real difficult to get an interview with the mayor." Jess deadpans, smiling just a bit before the iPhone on the table buzzes. "Excuse me a second." She tells Declan, and picks up her phone. "Chief?" Beat. "Yes, I heard. Yes." Beat. "Now?" She glances at her tablemate. "Sure, I can run over and get it right now. See you." With that she hangs up, and immediately begins to gather her things. "Sorry, I have to go run an errand at the City Archives. It was nice chatting with you though."

"Yeah, it was nice meeting you," Declan says. "See you around!"

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