2011 06 25: Know Your Neighbors

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Mission Name: Know Your Neighbors
Date of Mission: June 25, 2011
Locale: Lobby, The Manchester — Upper East Side - Manhattan

Picking up the bills and chatting about what they do to pay them.

Tamara Thomas

Tamara has ventured downstairs this evening to retrieve her mail, it seems. Her leg, while improving slowly, is still not exactly 100 percent, so she makes use of one of the leather upholstered benches to rest upon while she flips through the correspondence, chucking most of it into a brass garbage can at the end of the bench. Only two envelopes are even worthy of opening, which she does deftly with a manicured nail, careful not to chip the polish.

Thomas is downstairs on similar premises, or was; a pair of envelopes are folded and stuffed into a shirt pocket small enough for them to stick out the top, some more have already been trashed… and he paces back and forth, visibly annoyed as he listens to his cell phone. His voice is no smoother, either: "That's what you said last week. Promised e-mail, phone call, fix the price list. What do I find out this morning? Zero for three. You'll hear back from legal." Without waiting for an answer, he hangs up and glares at the display. "Waste of fucking time."

Tamara looks up as her spidey-sense tingles - or perhaps she just has a honed ear for agitated conversation. Either way, she notices Thomas as he paces, and watches over the top of her mail as she continues opening the envelope. The letter is withdrawn and given a quick glance, before that too is added to the trash. Starting on the second envelope then, she waits for him to hang up before speaking. "Troubles at work?"

"Their trouble, mostly," replies Thomas, tension easing off as he turns to regard the somewhat familiar voice. "Salesman writing checks his ass can't cash— happens all the time, I just have to shut them down early." Exciting stuff, that. He sits down and takes out the remaining envelopes, absently running through them in turn. "How about you, leg still on the up and up? You said you had it looked at."

"Mm, always a dangerous thing, to promise what you can't deliver," Tamara concurs with a nod, giving the last letter a quick glance before deciding to keep it. One out of ten ain't bad? "Wise, drawing a line in the sand early and standing by it." She shifts slightly to face him on a gentle angle, rather than looking straight out over the foyer. "It's healing. Slower than I'd like, but I suppose it's a good thing I haven't managed to destroy it completely. I'm somewhat attached."

Thomas inclines his head. "Hate to see you lose i—" The latest bit of small talk is interrupted by another phone call, and this time he looks more concerned than annoyed as he answers. "Awaryjne? …nie, piec minut." And, after a pause, hangs back up again. "Overseas office," he explains. "First thing in the morning for them."

"No rest for the wicked, I suppose," Tamara teases lightly as she folds the envelope neatly over, precisely in two, and then sets it beside her on the bench. "What is it you do?" she asks, pausing slightly at the end. "You know, all these encounters, and I don't believe we've been properly introduced. Tamara Carver," she offers, holding out a hand to shake in proper greeting.

If only she knew. And if only he did; they're more alike than either realizes. "Purchasing," is the automatic reply, sticking with the more boring of his cover stories. "Electronic components— I watch the dollars while the other guys work on details." And the handshake is returned, the papers shifted to the other side: "Tom Marshall, good to meet you properly." A slight lift of one brow suggests the same question in return without directly voicing it.

"Dollars are some of my favourite things. Although I generally prefer spending them to watching them," Tamara replies lightly, buying the cover story easily since she's thus far been given little reason not to. "I'm an emergency-management consultant myself. It sounds more exciting than it is, and I'm not sure it sounds terribly exciting to being with. But I enjoy being my own boss."

Thomas scratches his head as he tries to work that one out. "So, what, you make sure people can get out if there's a fire or something? Or is it more like waste management consultant?" Now that one he would understand just fine.

"Less to do with individuals and more with the company as a whole. I help them recover financially when there's a crises, whether natural disaster or some sort of self-imposed PR nightmare," Tamara explains with a dismissive wave. "I can't go into too many details. The NDA clauses are quite fearsome, of course. But if I do my job right, no one even knows there was ever a problem."

Thomas nods. "Ah, that type of emergency. And I understand about the privacy thing, get that all the time." And not just from his day job, either. Speaking of… "I promised to call back in five minutes, I'll see you later? Hopefully we can complain more about work and less about other things."

"I'd like that," Tamara replies with a smile, nodding just once to confirm the sentiment. "I'll see you around, Tom. Good luck with the, ah, ass-cheque cashing," she says, amusing herself a little with the phrasing. In no rush to get back upstairs herself, she remains on the bench for now.

A little half-grin in response. "So would I." Picking up the envelopes, Thomas heads back toward the elevator, tapping in a redial along the way. "Kim jestesmy dzisiaj zabij—" but the doors close before any more of the conversation can be heard. Oh well, probably nothing important, anyway.

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