(2019-01-03) Nice to Meet You
People getting acquainted in the cafe.
Players:
claire..juni..sam..stan..

Corner Cafe

Long known to be the hangout for the local police and fire department, anyone coming in that serves the community in such a position is offered a 10 percent discount and all beverages are free.

Most times the cafe is a bustle of activity with waitresses, in their mint green t-shirts advertising the name of the restaurant paired with either jeans, moving around at a brisk pace to welcome customers (who are all invited to find their own seat upon entry), to take orders, bring back beverages and then food and refills.

A long bar invites customers to sit and eat, as do a couple of booths and then larger tables with chairs around them for bigger groups. A small window with a heating lamp is the divider between the fountain area and the cook area and is where orders are placed for the waitresses to deliver once the cooks have finished cooking them.

The floors are a serviceable checked black and white tile while the walls are painted a neutral light tan color. Lighting is fluorescent and could likely use an upgrade, much like the entire cafe that has been here for ages.


It's bloody cold on this fine Thursday afternoon, the skies a restful (or broody, depends on how you take it) grayish-blue with a scrim of clouds. Anyone who sniffs the air may or may not discern the approach of snow. Whatever the case, it's a fine sort of day to be indoors nursing a large cup of hot tea. There's a couple of young ladies settled at a counter on stools, though one looks like she is fixing to leave. She meticulously gathers up her fork, knife and a small empty bowl that must have contained yogurt and sets it all aside, ready for the waitress to take it away. The chipper-looking brunette gives the other woman — still seated — a sunny wave and departs the cafe.

This leaves Juniper, in her black flowy paisley blouse and dark leggings.. all by her lonesome. She's just turning back to her toast, but her blue eyes are fixated on a waitress who just looks like she's having 'a day'. Juni loves people-watching.

Well aware of the temperature outside - because he's in it! - Sam is careful about opening doors only wide enough to fit himself through and then leaning his weight against them to have them close quickly behind himself. That doesn't stop the whip of frosty air from striking through the cafe, but it at least keeps it to a minimum. Then he stands still for a few seconds while he does the dance of peeling off gloves and unwinding the scarf that he'd wrapped around his face against the chill.

"Coffee?" Asks the frazzled waitress when passing by the new entry. Sam gives a deep nod and a warm smile to the woman. "You're a saint." Then he makes his way properly into the room and toward the unoccupied stool at the bar, working his way out of his jacket while he walks.

The warm greeting by way of Sam appears to do something for the frazzled waitress who, indeed, has cause to be frazzled. There was a morning rush of patrons, they're down a body until 2pm (within the hour), and this poor thing has been going it alone during the lull. Once Sam moves to seat himself, the woman skitters off toward the coffee station to get the necessities. Juniper watches her pass by, relieved. Being a waitress is hard.

So now the young woman with the peculiar shock of hair turns to observe the source of that brief, lashing gust of chilly air. Sam is still removing his armor against the winter chill and Juni tilts her head thoughtfully, doing what she is always apt to do when observing strangers: she creates a tale in her head, innocuously, as to who they could be! Sam looks tidy and well-put-together… a teacher?

"The coffee is lovely today." Juni offers airily to Sam once he is in earshot. She doesn't drink coffee.

"A little bit like saying the air we breath is lovely today. It is. It always is." Sam replies, finally getting out of his jacket and not missing a beat when Juni speaks to him. He settles onto the stool that was previously occupied by Juni's friend and eagerly accepts the steaming mug when the waitress deposits it before him a second later. "Thank you so much." He says again, before she has to hurry off to deal with other customers.

With himself settled and his coffee well in hand, Sam turns his full attention to Juni beside him, eyes bright while he considers the stranger. "And good afternoon. Your hair is brilliant." Everything in his tone and body language makes the compliment seem genuine.

Another one to enter the establishment is none other than Stan. Trying to catch the door as someone exits, to just sneak in before it closes. Brushes himself off some before looking around inside and moving further inside as he takes out his phone. Nodding a bit to himself before looking for a spot to sit. Ending up at the bar next to Sam. Ordering tea, most likely from the same waitress as Sam. Bowing his head and thanking her. Taking a moment before looking towards Sam and Juni as they speak.

The woman smiles crookedly, looking amused and utterly unbothered by Nancy being replaced by coffee-knight (hey, he was all nice and kind to the harried woman.. how chivalrous!) on the stool alongside her. It appears that Juni is not-at-all a shy sort as she angles her upper body somewhat to converse with Sam; from a distance she looks as if she's known him for much longer than 20 seconds. The smell of coffee is appreciated by the tall woman but she isn't craving it. Instead she nurses a mug of tea that smells minty. "Thank you," Juni says easily once she swallows the hot liquid, her grin returning. "I thought I flubbed it up… and even if I did, hair grows back. It'd be a conversation piece. "But good afternoon to you. How's the day treating you?" Asked easily, though she pauses at the arrival of another!

Stan takes the stool just past Sam and Juni cranes forth to look at the man outright as he looks at them, "The waffles are fantastic." She 'greets' Stan smilingly. She doesn't eat waffles either.

"It is a good afternoon, thank you. I'm still trying to convince my brain that's what time of day it is, but I'm getting closer." Sam admits, taking a moment to have a careful sip of the mug. He leaves the sugar and cream untouched, enjoying it black. By the time he's finished that sip, Stan has settled in and he follows Juni's gaze to the other man. "Not sure I've ever had a bad waffle. Good afternoon." Sam feels very much in the middle, doing that awkward dance to lean forward or back, trying to keep himself in a good position that he's not blocking the conversation between the other two, but still trying to be involved in it.

Stan does smile in return to Juni. "So I've heard. Don't think I've tried them here." He offers easily enough, not seeming to mind. Grinning to Sam's word on the matter, "That is a fair point." Stretching some as he glances around. Taking a moment, still wearing his coat, before finally getting it off and put aside.

He does study them both for another moment. "Apologies, are you new to town? Or am I just too much of a hermit?" He asks in a light manner. To both of them. Perhaps assuming that they know one another. He does try to take in their behaviour as well. Trying to shift so that Sam doesn't have to lean back too much.

The young woman is amused.. she looks young-ish (a twenty-something) but her bearing is a lot older. Most people don't go for the stool seating but 'lo and behold she's gone from being alone to having company again within the span of minutes! How cool! She's in a good spot where she can just tilt forward a bit to look upon the two of them, though she forgets herself and ends up having the end of a hank of hair dipping into her mug of tea. "Oh, bugger," She breathes, pushing the pile of it back. Continues, nonplussed. Juni is about to speak but waits again as the waitress /returns// to see to Stan, offering coffee and a menu. Juni, already fed and watered, simply smiles at her.

"I'm glad you're figuring it out. Are you just finishing up work, then?" She asks of Sam casually.. he looks too fresh to be a nightshift veteran. c.c

To Stan, Juni cranes forth again to look at him but makes sure not to have accidents with her tea. "I've been here awhile.. a year. I've just been really, really good at flying under the radar." A grin, blue eyes alight with mirth. "Sometimes I appear, like a unicorn, to maidens who are being run ragged." Said in an attempt to get a chuckle out of the waitress. "What are your names, anyway?"

"The world could use more unicorns." Sam remarks, smiling at the sight of Juni's hair getting dipped, but making no specific comment on it. He does find a good place to settle as the three of them manage to get in sync, it just involves him turning his head fulling in both directions depending on who is speaking.

"No work today. I'm just coming off a lot of travel that saw me in several different time zones without enough time to adjust to any of them and finally arriving here in the middle of the night yesterday. Just takes my head time to catch up with my body." He focuses more fully on Stan and nods - "So that answers your question. I'm not proof that you're a hermit. Fresh arrival." He extends a hand toward Juni and Stan at the same time to shake. "Sam Bishop."

Stan ahs and nods to Juni. Just a bit shorter than me then. I wasn't really out much until this past fall. He explains. Then looking to Sam on how long heh as been here, nodding a bit. "Ah, I see. Welcome to Calaveras." His own voice is hoarse, almost smokey. Anyone that watches a lot of sports, or used to see a lot of sport related celebrities might find him a bit familiar. But having been out of the limelight, and with more beard and glasses, he might not be recognizable right away.

As for what he get, he makes sure that it ended up at the right spot, so he isn't stealing someone's coffee. as he asked for tea. Though if there was just a mix-up, he takes it and thanks her. Looking back to Sam and Juni, "Stan." Offered with a small salute. Though at the offered hand, he will take it. "Pleasure. Stan Everest." Adding his last name, as Sam did offer his after all.

"Ah, there is a quote that I do love… by a chap by the name of William Gibson," Juni straightens up, white hair sluicing over a shoulder… only to dictate gently, "'Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.'" A pause, an amused smile. "Makes sense, huh? I hope your mental luggage comes off of the carousel soon." Said kindly to Sam, before she slides a warm hand into his to offer a shake. She has a surprisingly firm grip, her nails cut right down to the pink. She must have a job that does not condone claws. "It's nice to meet you, Sam." Juni offers in earnest.

As for Stan, Juni is about as sporty as a mud puddle. She does not recognize him from his past life, but his hoarse voice quirks a brow. She thinks better of suggesting tea, for an irritated throat. Stan receives her palm next in that hearty shake, "My name is Juniper Landis. Just call me Juni. I came here with my little brother, who is taking classes up at the University." A fond look, before she continues. "I really do love it here. It wasn't hard to find work."

Speaking of.. she tilts her head. "What is it that you both do, if you don't mind my asking?" The waitress is over at the cooks' window, looking to be deep in conversation. Her body posture is stressed.

"Nice to meet you, Juni. Stan." Sam says, bringing his hands back and letting them find his coffee mug again, enjoying another warming sip. "And that's a brilliant quotation. I'm going to remember that one. It's so very true."

"I've really only been here for one full day, but it does seem like a very nice place. Cold. But, that's not a surprise. It just feels a bit much when I was in Austin a week ago, and it was much warmer. I'm an author." He adds, since she asked his job. "Moving here for awhile to quiet my life down a bit and concentrate on my work. Yourself?"

Stan ahs and nods as he listens to Juni. Shaking her hand. "A pleasure. And glad that you're finding the town to your liking." As for her question, he nods, "Psychologist." He explains. Seemingly not one to lead with his title, at least not out in public. Listening and nodding a bit to Sam's explainer as well. "That is quite interesting. Hope you find inspiration." Then letting his gaze shift to hear what Juni does.

"Isn't it?" Juni asks re: the quote, looking pleased. Someone who doesn't gawp at her for dredging up quotes?! Bonus. She looks the sort to spout things off at random, though at least she's not raucous about it. Just gentle and watchful. Sam goes on to answer a question that was on tap but not asked yet, and Juni's expression of interest only grows. "One full day. So new now.. wow," She relaxes some; well, as much as she can while perched on a stool without a back. "The cold took awhile to adjust to… I know cold, but this is cold." Remarked next, still looking and sounding completely comfortable in her circumstance.

"An author! What's your genre?" Juni asks of Sam next before flitting her gaze over to Stan. "And a psychologist.. wow! I meet all sorts while planted at a coffee counter. I—" Blink, the waitress steps off to the side some, out of view. Going to the washroom?

".. I work in a spa." Juni concludes, easily justifying her content, peaceful way.

"I had my apartment in New York for the last few years, so I've dealt with winter. But, it's seldom that it gets really cold there. Just unpleasant." Sam says, agreeing about having experience with bad weather in the past. He catches Juni's eyes following the waitress and does the same for a moment, but moves his attention back to his companions when she steps out of view.

"Dark historical fantasy? I write other genres, but my graphic novels have the most success. They usually centre around some real historical event and twist it until it's pretty much unrecognizable." Sam's lips twist while he tries to explain it. Some days he'd just like to write a familiar genre so it would be a one word answer and not involve so much explanation. He grins toward Stan - "Should we call you doctor, then? I think I'm pretty good in inspiration, it's more about finding a place that I'm comfortable and not traveling all the time. So far this spot seems to fit the bill."

Stan chuckles some as he listen to Juni, "I stayed a bit in Denver, so I think this can be kind of similar?" He offers with a smile. Grinning as she goes on about the occupations. He will leave it to Sam to take charge though. Letting his own gaze follow theirs toward the waitress though. Then listening to Sam, "Sound interesting. There was talk about starting a book club, so perhaps we should read one of yours. I believe I also ran into another author in town. Edgar, I believe." He offers and smiles. As for Juni's work, he ahs and nods. "I see, that sounds quite nice. Seen Royal Wellness? She does some massage stuff. In case you've met." Similar business and whatnot.

When the subject of his title is brought up, he shakes his head. "Nah, you're not my patient, after all." He offers in a light manner.

"How brilliant!" Juni exclaims, genuinely. "True-to-life events cannot be easy to weave one's muse around. Maybe I'll have to check it out! I'm in for a new series or few standalone books to dip into at night." She tilts her head, "I just finished up the Game of Thrones lot again. Brilliant books, show is alright too. Great casting. I sure love who they picked for Jon Snow." (teehee) … ahem. Juni returns to the point, blue eyes so very very bright. "I'd love to check your stuff out."

To Stan, Juni brightens again. "Oh really! I've.. not met her! But maybe I can become a client." She offers with a soft chuckle, looking down into her empty tea mug. "I also practice esthetics, I prefer that.. but it's not called on as often over at Paradise. I relax bodies, instead." Said without an ounce of regret. Juni likes her work. "So—"

A shatter of glass, there's the poor waitress. With just twenty minutes to go until she gets some help, she's rushed too much between some booths. She's gone and tipped her tray of three drinks and down it all goes on the floor. Juni startles and looks over and the poor woman is crouched there, her face crumpled up in embarrassment and stress. "Oh no!" The willowy girl exclaims, her expression pained.

"I'm liberal with the history. Which I get no end of abuse for - but it's just there as a leaping off point. It's more like a 'what-if' situation where I take something that happened and make it pretty much unrecognizable. I have a great amount of respect for authors who write historical fiction and are true to the events. Like, Mary Robinette Kowal? Both an incredible author and a dedicated student to weave the story around accurate history."

Sam was about to turn and say something to Stan - perhaps that his title should apply patient or no - but his attention is also captured by the crash of glasses and a twisting of his expression at the mess that blooms on the floor. "Some days." He mutters under his breath, slipping down off of his stool and closing the short distance to the waitress before kneeling down to help with the larger pieces. "Here. I'll get these. Need the map and broom from the kitchen and they might not like me going back there."

Stan ahs and nods about Game of Thrones, "Indeed, quite good. Jon Snow has been interesting. He hasn't really done anything good other than that. I think people will just start calling him Jon Snow instead of his real name." Offered in return. Then listening to some that Sam has to offer, nodding as he studies him curiously. "That is an interesting way to go about it."

Then Stan does glance over as he hear the crash of glass. Excusing himself. Stepping up and moving over to help the waitress out. A reassuring smile as he tries to calm her and help some. "It's okay." Is said, making sure that she didn't injure herself. Following Sam along so it seems. He does offer a brief smile to Juni though, in apology to letting her stay behind alone.

All questions are forgotten.. Juniper hears the chaos and sees the woman and once Sam moves to be the first to see to her, followed by Stan, Juni slides off of her seat with a crisp paper napkin in her hands. People see the three coming to help so a multitude of butts ease back into booths and/or chairs so as to not crowd an area where there's shards of glass. The waitress looks heartbroken, "I'm so sorry," She whispers, "I haven't been sleeping, w-we're short.. I shouldn't have rushed so much. Oh shit," Blush. "I-I mean.. oh God. Hold on," She stands up with Stan's aide and indeed moves to get the mop and broom. "I can get this, I swear—"

Juni pads over toward the spill, unable to start wiping until the glass is dealt with. "She's really had a rotten day." Said mournfully as her fingers work the napkin in her hands. "I'm here to help too."

The poor woman returns with a broom, bucket and a couple of mops.

"Very." Sam agrees, his fingers picking at the larger shards of glass and dropping them into his free hand. He tries to be as careful as he can, and with both him and Stan working away it doesn't take all that long to get the majority of the glass off the floor. The rest would need to be done with broom - all those little pieces. He turns his head to watch where the waitress has slipped out of sight again. "I'd offer to help more, but I haven't waited a tabled since I was 19. I think it would be a lot more harm than good. I hope she gets some backup soon."

Stan nods and tries to calm the girl some, "It's fine, it happens. It's just glass. No one's hurt." He tries to calm her. A hand on her shoulder and a smile offered. Letting her get the broom. Glancing over to Juni, "If we can push it together some, perhaps." He offers and smiles. Helping out to make it easier to bring up all the glass before letting the woman mop away. He does try to reassure her though. "Do get some sleep as well. Sanity is usually rewarded." He offers in a light-hearted jest. Then looking over to the duo helping out with the glass.

"I can try, to give her a break." Juni smiles openly, her blue eyes bright and hopeful. She looks down at the woman as she wrings out the broom from the first pass of mopping. "What do you think Mary? Want me to check on these guys over here?" She indicates the booth; the waitress 'Mary' looks at Juni both helplessly and thankfully and nods. "I'll just be a few minutes. I'm not having these nice men mopping up my mess." Then Mary goes on to tell Juni what these glasses previously contained.

Juni, being Juni, pads over to coffee / drink station and starts refilling glasses. She sucks with trays, she's bringing them to the patrons two-by-two or they will all have another mess to clean up. "Here you go… oh, and here's yours. Good choice. I like that tea." Her singsong voice can be heard as she greenly looks after the other customers.

Eventually the mess is cleaned up and Mary looks between Stan and Sam with overbright, wet eyes. "What ya'll are having, it's on the house."

Sam deposits his handful of glass into a garbage can and loiters nearby to see if he can do anything else - but the mopping is really a single person task. It really only takes a couple minutes from crash to cleanup, and no doubt on a better day it wouldn't have even phased the waitress. These things happen when you're serving tables. Grinning, Sam watches Juni brightly server the other customers and he looks between Stan and the waitress. "If she's not careful she's going to get herself hired. She looks right at home."

He meets the gaze of the waitress when she turns toward them and raises both his palms out toward her. "That's not necessary, really. I'm happy to help. Some days we all need a little pick me up."

Stan grins as Juni serves the customers. His own gaze going between the waitress and Sam, chuckling and nodding. "Indeed, I think you might be right." Looking to the waitress again as well. "Oh, it is fine. It's just more fun to see people smiling than not." He offers to her. Nodding to Sam's last words as well. "This is why you're the wordsmith, and not me."

"Oop.. sorry.. you're the Coke drinker." Juni can be heard… she mercifully refrains from explaning how Coke can kill a complexion. Eventually she orbits back to a suitably tidied-up site of a former crisis. "Look at you guys! Oh, and.. I paid already, don't worry about it." Offered casually to the waitress who previously lost her mind a little bit, in having to rush and work on behalf of two people. The waitress, coined as 'Mary', sighs and smiles appreciatively. She won't argue. "Well, thank you all the same… and—"

The door opens and in waltzes another waitress, looking surprised at what is afoot. The relief in the air is palpable. Juni eases back toward the stool that she occupied earlier, "Never a dull moment." She chimes.

"Here comes the calvary!" Sam says, seeing that another waitress has come through the door. Between that and it being deep in there afternoon, they should be able to get the place under control before the dinner rush really sets in. He navigates back to his own stool and settles onto it again, reaching back for his coffee and taking a loving sip from the mug, as though apologizing from so unceremoniously leaving it on the counter when he left to help with the glass. "Dull isn't any fun anyway. I only wish the excitement wasn't at the expense of poor Mary. Hopefully she's exhausted enough after today's shift that she's able to get some sleep. I'm sure things have been crazy over the holidays."

The cold is real, people. Claire, bundled against it, has her phone to her ear when she trots through the door - and hits the brakes immediately. If it was possible, there would be a cartoon-squeal-noise with how hastily she comes to a halt, looking the busy-ness in here with big eyes. "Oh gosh. I'lllllll call you back," she tells the phone, hanging it up and pocketing it quickly. "So, is this the world's worst time to ask for some stuff to go?" She turns on a tentative smile to whatever mint-green-t-shirt happens to be closest, adding a finger-wiggle-hi toward Sam, the familiar face. Notably, seeing him 'working' gives her a little amused blink.

Stan chuckles and nods. Stepping back and offering a last nod to the waitress. Then heading back to his seat with the others. Sipping from his own drink. "Indeed, things often get a bit more hectic around the holidays." He agrees. Turning as there is a new arrival, raising a brow as she seem to greet Sam, "Only been here briefly and already seem to know more people than I do." He teases the other guy.

"Thank Goodness. I don't think she could take much more." Juni remarks, not-at-all in a depreciating way. Just observation… if anyone could use a pot cookie, it's poor Mary. The mint-green-t-shirt warrior pads in to join her exhausted co-worker and Juni watches her pass, her lips quirking into a little grin. "It's funny how everything pans out… aren't cafes fun?" She asks airily, "Here we are talking together, getting to know one another, and then everything happens. It's like a sitcom!" Exclaimed, but then the door admitting another body catches her attention again. Juni's expression becomes outright amused.

"Not at all miss. I think we're all okay now. What can I get for you?" 'Mary' asks Claire, her energy renewed thanks to the goodwill of people and the arrival of her coworker.

Stan rejoins and Juni pivots in her chair to offer Claire a smile, should the other young woman glance their way. She lifts her mug, sees it's been newly refilled with fresh mint tea! Yaaass!

Sam raises his hand to return Claire's greeting, though he doesn't say anything else to her while she's dealing with putting in her food order. He laughs softly at Stan's comment and shakes his head. "That's what happens when you're not really working and don't have a place to live yet - you spend all day around coffee shops meeting new people. I like it, honestly. I always meet people when I'm traveling, but it's a bit different in a hotel bar. Chances are I'll never see them again. Always a weird feeling meeting and talking and then leaving … " He tails off a bit, perhaps not wanting to bore his new companions too much with hotel bar philosophy.

With another sip of his coffee he grins at the 'sitcom' comment. "A little bit. If I have to be dropped into a type of television show, that's what I'd pick. Something like Game of Thrones seems way too likely to have me without a head by the end of the episode."

Claire rattles off an order to the less-harried waitress, the apology for being a bother at this exact moment in there along with it. But the order is sizable, clearly for several people, and finished with, "To go, please, and thank you." Her eyes do pass across Juni's in the process of ordering, and she takes it as a green light to wait for her order over wherever they are. "Hello," cheerily to all and sundry. "Everyone had the same idea today, apparently." The sitcom vs. GoT talk hasn't landed on her entirely yet, so she sorta stays wide of the underlying conversation.

Stan nods agreeingly with Juni. As for the Sit-com comment, he chuckles. "I guess it is." Grinning over at Sam as well, "I guess that is a fair point. I work mainly, and I think my largest pool of aquaintances are my patients." He admits and grins. Occasionally glancing towards Claire as well, mainly since she waved in their direction before. Seeing her come over then. "So it seems." Offering his hand to her. "I'm Stan." Letting the others introduce as they wish, especially since Sam seem to know her already.

"I would be doomed," Juni remarks on the 'existing' in a Game of Thrones episode. "Dead by the middle of the Pilot episode." Said again with laughter in her tone. Claire joins them and Juni looks pleased, but regretful at her having to depart shortly. All paid up and squared with the cafe. "Hi miss," Said kindly enough, "You're right, there. Our poor waitress found that out the hard way.. you missed a bit of a production." Said to Claire in a casual way, her head tilting and turning to look upon 'Mary' over by the coffee station as she gets started on the larger 'to go' order. "I'd say your timing is perfect now that there's help." She smiles back to Claire, indicating the still-shiny portion of floor where the incident occurred.

A glance up at the clock on the wall, a startle. "Oh! I have to go get Sage—" Pause, a rueful smile. "My brother. We're going to get an early supper. I'd better go before he thinks I stood him up."

She moves to stand, pulls her coat off of one of the pegs on the wall. "You can have my seat if you'd fancy a sitdown." Offered to Claire as she tosses on her coat, white hair messed slightly by the motion. Strange haircolor for a twenty-something. "Nice to meet you all."

"Nice to meet you, Juni. Thanks for the company. Enjoy your dinner." Sam says when Juni spins away from the counter to hurry off and meet her brother. Then he shifts to smile at Claire. "Hello, again, Claire. Good to see you again. I'm continuing my coffee tour." He lifts his nearly empty mug to emphasize that point. "Have yourself a small army to feed?" He asks, gesturing toward the kitchen and the decent sized order Claire had just put in.

Sometimes, you can just tell you're going to like someone - and that's why, when Juni makes leaving-noises, Claire looks briefly crestfallen, but she manages to bring the sun back out to say, "Bye, thank you!" She'll take the offered seat, answering to Stan, "Hi, I'm Claire Reed. It's nice to meet you." A look and then a laugh follows the gesture toward the kitchen and the order, and she answers Sam, "A very small one," with her fingers held apart a little bit. "I," importantly, "read one of your stories last night. A little twisted, hm?" But her grin is an approving one.

Stan smiles and nods to Juni as well. "Take care, and it was nice meeting you." Turning instead towards Claire and Sam. Finally replying about Game of Thrones and Sitcoms, "I would like to believe that I'd sit back and listen, and stay in the background. But I'd probably end up on the chopping block sooner or later as well." He offers and grins. Listening as Claire suggests that she read his book. "Twisted can be interesting." He suggests, grinning over at Sam as well.

"Twisted? Yes, I suppose that's a fair way to put it. I try not to write dark for the sake of dark, but I like to have strong contrasts in the characters and themes and the art. Other authors do subtle better than I do. I personally love books where the characters are complex and you're not sure whether you're supposed to love them or hate them. But, I don't write characters like that. Don't have the knack." Sam smiles and shakes his head. "I don't mean to lecture on my own work. I hope you enjoyed it."

He looks to Stan and motions to Claire. "Claire is working on a rodeo documentary." He notes, telling him pretty much the only thing that he knows about Claire aside from her obviously pleasant disposition. This is how he directs the conversation away from himself.

"That show is so grisly. I don't know how people stand it." Claire cringes at the mere mention of it, the same gesture giving her a moment to pitch forward toward the kitchen - as if she might catch a glimpse of her order. But she doesn't, so she drops back down. "I did," enjoy it, she means to Sam. "And you're selling yourself short. It's the balance, character, story, scenery. Fitzgerald… Hemingway… Sometimes you want to be borne back ceaselessly into the past, and sometimes you just want to fight a bull, you know?" She makes weighing gestures with either hand, eventually settling for balance. "That's an overstatement," she passes along to Stan about her own work. "I'm a production assistant, fetcher of club sandwiches."

Stan nods as he listens some as Sam talk about other people's work. Smiling about the show. "That is true. Though I guess sometimes there can be light in the dark, or similar." As for Claire's profession, he smiles and nods. "Ah, neat. Don't know too much about all of that, but it does seem fun, and like it could be a good documentary." Smiling and nodding about what she actually does. "Still. What if you didn't? They would all go hungry." He points out, adding a bit wide eyes, for effect. Glancing to Sam. "I should check out your work. Before they turn them into movies."

"HBO hasn't come calling yet. But, I refresh my email many times a day waiting to hear from them." Sam says with a quick grin and a shake of his head. "If you are searching for my work, I write under the name Robin Brooks. I don't know what the selection is like in town - I suppose I should find the book store and sign anything they have in stock." He looks to Claire and adds - "I'm sure a production assistant does more than just get lunch. And it is a pretty important part of the process as Stan suggests. Is that the medium you want to work in long term?" He asks.

"I hope that they would figure out how to order room service. But you may have a point. I guess I'll consider it some sort of civic duty, feeding the hungry." Claire rolls her eyes with good humor, tacking on, "What do you do, Stan?" Since now everyone knows what everyone else does. "What? Club sandwiches?" The medium, that is. And, yes, she's joking. "Not at all. If I had my druthers, I'd work exclusively in pancakes!"

Stan chuckles at Sam's comment, "I am sure that they will." Nodding about his pen name. "Will do, thanks." Chuckling some at Claire's words, "Oh, I'm a psychologist." He offers in response. Laughing a bit at the last exchange between the other two. "Pancakes are where the money's at, it seems."

Sam laughs at the way his question was twisted, shaking his head. "Pancakes are serious endgame. But, we can't all be in pancakes. If only." He pushes his empty coffee mug to the other edge of the counter so Mary can pick it up next time she comes past. "As I'm sure you know, I meant were you interested about being in television. A less awkward way of trying to ask if it's your job or your career."

Impressed Claire ahhhhhs. "So it's Doctor Stan, then. Are you going to make some great determinations about my childhood based on a preference for pancakes now?" She makes hopeful eyes at the aforementioned Mary - but there's no bunch of packaged food in sight, so she just crinkles her nose and resumes the conversation. "Ohhh, is that what you meant?" Like it had never even occurred to her. "In that case. It's just a job. I want to be a journalist when I grow up, but this was a stop-gap, and it's at least journalism-adjacent. So." Plucky shrug.

Stan grins as Sam clear up the issue about work. As for Claire's reaction to his own, he grins, "Technically, yes. But no need to call me doctor. It can sound a bit pretentious." He suggests and grins. "Oh, of course. I think the pancakes stem back deep into your childhood." Nodding a bit about what Claire actually wants, "If the documentary goes well, it might lead to allow you to do something journalistic." He offers and smiles.

"Being in anything journalism-adjacent is a good start. It's one of those careers which is all about knowing people and waiting for the right breaks. I'm sure it will strike before too long." Sam says, nodding to her explanation. He digs out his wallet and tucks a ten dollar bill under his coffee mug, figuring Mary can use something to pillow her long day. Then he slips off his stool and starts to gather up his jacket and scarf. "I should likely venture back out into the cold. It was good to meet you, Stan. And nice to see you again, Claire."

"I did used to have terrible nightmares when I was little, and that's why I prefer pancakes now. Those dreams were absolutely," wait for it, "waffle." Claire folds her lips hard to keep from grinning at her own stupid joke. Thankfully, Mary does come along with her packaged food, sparing them both from further bad, bad puns. "Oh, bless your heart." She flashes a quick smile at Sam for the career encouragement, making appropriate 'thanks' noises for that, then settles up her bill. "Here, I'll get the door for you, Mister Ryce. It was lovely to meet you, Stan!"

And then she's off to prove that a college degree in anything lib-artsy is a freaking waste of money nowadays.

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