20101018 - A Cafe Scene



The Polychrome 2.0 is a serious upgrade in both style and function. Gone is the soft-industrial warehouse look, the walls repainted from their worn brick color to a more warm rich red adobe. The walls are adorned with old Sci-Fi posters and paintings by independent local artists.

The entire cafe is situated around a circular bar-like counter in the very center of the room which, in turn, surrounds the chrome and copper homemade monstrosity Frankenchino machine the only surviving relic of the previous Polychrome. Frankenchino billows steam and froth from it's masses of pipes and valves, the temperature and levels of fluids measured by gleaming old fashioned pressure gages and controlled by a plethora of levers and turn-gaskets. Comfortable high backed chromed stools with leather upholstery orbit the counter, which through it's thick Plexiglas surface into it's refrigerated interior can be seen sandwiches and pastries and other snacks in refrigerated. Above the counter is an outfacing circle of LCD TVs showing various feeds off the Internet.

Circular segmented couches surround low black coffee tables around the cafe, each one having a computer monitor on a swivel in the center and a cordless keyboard and mouse and allowing the patrons full and free net access. In one corner there are more dedicated semi-private computer terminals at high-mounted and a kiosk where one can rent a laptop. Another corner sports an Internet jukebox which has been built into the body of a full sized Robby the Robot replica. Another corner has a small stage from which patrons can enjoy independent bands or poets on certain nights. The last corner is set up with merchandise such as books, magazines, shirts, mugs and gadgets.



Evening time, and the cafe is reasonably busy. Alejandra has taken over one corner of the couch and the little coffee table in front of it, her coffee mug to one side and a finished plate of food beneath it. She is leaning forward, reading a newspaper, her face thoughtful. The job papers, it seems, and she has circled a few here and there.

Meanwhile, Rob has walked in and is looking for someone. When he doesn't find them, he simply shrugs and goes over to the counter to make his order. He doesn't notice Alejandra for the time being.

Alejandra reaches for her mug, lifting it to take a swig. A flicker of confusion, followed by a frown as she realises the dire news: Her coffee mug is empty. She rises from the couch, leaving the paper there to hold her place as she heads towards the counter, standing beside Rob.

Rob looks to his side and ohs. "Sorry, I didn't see you originally," He says looking a little embarassed. "I guess I was kinda preoccupied."

Alejandra glances across to him, her forehead wrinkling before she offers a shy, half smile. "No problem. You were here first…" She replies, before enlightenment dawns. "Oh, you were April's friend?" She questions carefully.

"Well, I've seen her around, but I don't know her formally," Rob replies, grinning nervously. "Name's Rob Adder, I'm a P.I., nice to meet you." He tries to sound polite.

Alejandra offers her hand, giving him a shy smile, grey eyes warming a little. "Alejandra Ramos. I'm an unemployed teacher of sorts." She leans against the counter, waiting for staff notice, "A P.I., huh?"

Shaking the hand, Rob says, "Unemployed teacher, eh? What's the story there?" He doesn't sound sarcastic, but truly concerned.

Alejandra turns her head, ducking her face away, the movement natural enough as she turns to ask for a coffee. "I moved recently. Just between jobs." The comment is a reply, but she doesn't expand on it, "Does everyone make jokes about you finding out for yourself? I bet it gets old…"

"Not really, actually," Rob says, smirking a little. "It's kinda funny, ain't it?"

She laughs and shakes her head, a little more relaxed now as she receives the coffee. "Nice to be original for once." She comments softly, nodding her head back towards her couch. "Want to join me?" The invitation is asked uncertainly.

Rob takes his coffee and goes to take a seat with Alejandra. "Sure, I'm not going anywhere for awhile." He grins as he fixes his coffee to his liking. "And yes, I prefer to be an original."

Alejandra settles on the couch, tucking a leg up beneath her as she closes the paper. The movement covers the circled job adverts, and she gives him a smile. "So, how does being a PI work? I mean, is it all divorce work?"

Rob sips his coffee and then says, "Believe it or not, I'm actually a P.I. who specializes on supernatural activity. I also assist the Chicago Police Department when they need help in that area." He chuckles at the divorce comment. "Sometimes I wish it were that easy. Either that, or children asking me to follow their parents around during Christmas shopping season!" He laughs.

Alejandra folds the paper neatly, pushing it into her bag. His comments bring her gaze up to his face, "Supernatural activity? What type of thing?" She brings her mug up, taking a slow sip, the gesture covering her own expression for a moment.

"Preters and things of that nature. Make no mistake, I have nothing against them. it's just the CPD has trouble has trouble handling them sometimes." Rob says.

"What type of handling?" Her question is serious, thoughtful, her gaze resting on his face. "I mean, crimes they do, or just finding out who they are, or…studies?" Alejandra's forehead is wrinkled, her expression serious.

"I guess it's a mix of them all. When there's an attack by a preter or some sort of strange activity that causes problems, they ask me to investigate since I have a degree in studying those kinds of things," Rob explains in a matter of fact voice. "Sometimes, I'll also be asked to try to tail them if necessary to gain more information."

"Wow. That is a …" Alejandra takes a moment to consider her words, picking them carefully. "How do they take it? I man, surely they'd respond badly and …I'm sorry, I'm making assumptions. I assumed you weren't one …"

"I'm not, actually," Rob says. "That's what makes my job so dangerous. Yet, it's more enjoyable that way. I guess it makes it more exciting. All the while, though, I'm not just doing it for a thrill." He sips some more coffee. "I do it because they pay me for it."

Alejandra's forehead creases more and she glances across the cafe before she returns her gaze to him. Her hands are wrapped around the mug, cupping it between her palms. "How do you know when someone is human or one of them? I always wondered…" She speaks casually.

"There's, no easy way way unfortunately," Rob says, biting his lip a little. It's not because he's offended, it's because he's uncertain of how to answer the question. Finally, he looks up and says, "I guess it's a matter of waiting and seeing what happens. Although honestly, if a human is around a shifter when they shift, it's very dangerous…"

"So you can't tell unless they shift?" Alejandra's question is asked in a soft voice, her gaze resting on his face, interested and curious. "What type of supernatural do you follow? Have you ever killed one?" She sips her coffee, watching him over the brim.

"I've had to shoot some zombies, yes," Rob says, with a sigh. "Unfortunately, there are some creatures that cannot be reasoned with. There's no choice but to use force." He finishes his coffee and then says, "Violence is not always the answer, but there are some times where it's the only option. Even then, how do you kill something that's already dead…"

She moves her hands, rolling the mug between her hands as she considers his reply. Alejandra picks her words thoughtfully, "Zombies…" She repeats the word, her mouth twisting slightly, "What about shifters? Vampires?"

"It's been very rare to shoot a shifter, I believe. Once I had to shoot a werewolf, but that's all I can remember," Rob says in a somewhat forced voice. It's like he's either struggilng to remember or is dealing with something he doesn't want to bring up.

Alejandra studies his face for a moment, her grey eyes considering before she nods slowly. "Not easy." She comments softly, presumably about his words. "I guess… Rob, I have to go, I'm meant to be meeting someone." She gives him a shy half smile, lopsided, her eyes warming up. "Thanks for the coffee…"

"No problem," Rob says with a slight smirk. "Glad to meet you."

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