Postcards from Gotham: American Woman
Synopsis: Faye Gunn, foster mother extraordinaire, stops in Harper Row’s shop to have a old gaming console repaired. Harper supplies her with a working gaming console and several more games that she had before. Faye advises that she will come by with one of her folder children to drop of her television for Harper to repair.
People visiting Harper happened often given her reputation. Whether they got in to see her was another story. When the van pulled in front of her shop a few people took notice as it was definitely more than a few years old. It sounded like it was in needed of new muffler. It was one of the stops that the owner was going to be making today, but this was a more important stop given the information that had been shared with her since she set out in search of a young boy that seemed to be quite adept at hiding in plain sight it seemed.
Opening the door she stepped out looking around while drawing her coat together. Clearing her throat she shut the door behind her before moving around to the opposite side of the passenger van. Opening the door she lifted a box up. She moved well, but it was a lot to maneuver.
“I got it ma’am.” A young boy wearing a boy scout uniform ran over to shut the door for her.
“Thank you, young man.” She smiled over at him while she walked over towards the shop. He opened the door for her while she walked in with the box in her hands and her purse hanging off her arm. She gave him a nod stepping into the shop looking around tipping her head to the side for a moment looking for the proprietor.
“Hello.” She called out taking another step inside her eyes gazing along the shelves before setting the box down upon the counter. The door was open so they had to be open. Hopefully. It was the Narrows.
Opening her purse she reached in to retrieve a piece of candy while she waited.
Harper Row sat at the larger of her two work stations in the hidden rear section of her shop. She had intended to begin working on one of her many pending projects, but then as they say the rhythm got her. So instead she found her hands moving in a faux rhythmic drum movement of the music blasting over old school book box that presently sat in the corner of the shop and all but ignoring the monitors for the front room. The goggles intended for use with a welding torch swung forward and back again as Harper moves her chest ever so slightly with the movement of the song she had found herself truly enthralled with.
“Twenty..twenty four hours to go….”
Harper continued to mime the minimal but no less potent drum portion of the song despite having not a single drumstick on hand, the long slender wrenches would have to suffice for now. Spinning one of the tools in her fingers she finds it slipping from her grasp and sailing into the air. A sound best described as the mournful cries of a heartbroken and possibly randy gibbon escapes her lips as she scrambles to catch up to the rogue wrench.
Her distress can only rise as the wrench strikes the boom box sending it teetering back and then over to fall to the floor the music it produced ending far to abruptly for her taste. Waking over to inspect the damage she stops as her eyes catch site of the monitors for the outer room. Taking a few short steps to the laptop the monitors were linked to Harper zooms in on the older woman in what some might call. A lobby, but only if they were being nice.
Tapping the microphone icon on the laptop Harper begins to speak.
“Can I help you?”
The woman continued to look around pausing when she heard the sound of the girls voice across the intercom. Taking a step back she scanned the lobby turning her attention to any cameras she might come upon.
“Hello there.” She waved. “Perhaps. It all depends.” She moved towards the box holding it up. “I heard you’re a bit of a fixer and I have something called a Super Nintendo Entertaining System.” She shrugged. “The fellow I bought it off of said it needs to be fixed. Most laughed when I set it down before them started talking about X Station and Playbox.” She shook her head.
“Whatever those are. All I know is that this was thirty dollars and if it’s salvageable then i would like to give it a shot for my kids. I think they would like it. It would be a bit of a treat for them. Could you take a look. Let me know if it’s possible?” Setting the box back down she stood there waiting.
“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I couldn’t…”
Harper said in reply, then tapping the microphone icon again to mute her voice she moves to pick up a nearby broom. Snapping the dustpan free she takes a quick moment to sweep up the bits and pieces that her wicked wrench solo had caused to come loose from a clients boom box. She supposed that project had gone from competed to once more being on the pending list.
“Be right out.”
A moment passes and the door to the interior shop sides open following the sound of at least three locks disengaging. Stepping into the lobby Harper moves closer to Faye taking a moment to wipe her now gloveless hands against the grungy overalls she wore before offering one to her new client.
“Harper Row and you are?”
“Sounds like I’ve come to the right place then.” A warm smile spread across her lips. She did want to get this fixed up for the kids. A bit of a reward for doing so well with their schoolwork and chores. She seemed to be quite pleased with Harper’s responses. Hopefully this won’t cost too much. There was a budget that needed to be followed and she rather find a way to give the children something to enjoy without having to send them out to the arcade. If they went to the arcade then they were limited in the number of games that they could play.
“Of course.” She stepped through the lobby noting that it could use a good cleaning, but it is a workshop not a home, but a good cleaning could do wonders.
When the door opened and Harper came into view Faye offered a polite smile one that seemed familiar while she stepped towards the box.
“Well, look at you.” She reached out to shake the young woman’s hand. “Miss Gunn. Most call me Ma Gunn.” Releasing Harper’s hand she took a step back the other could take a look at what she had.
“So I take it you do well in your science and math classes. STEM is what they’re calling it right? Is that what you want to study when you go to school, engineering?” She paused.
“Apologies for prying. I just find it refreshing to see young people so curious and interested in science and technology. So many have no idea what they want to do or what even interests them.”
Harper moved to open the box the system sat in her movements careful and deliberate. Clearly she held the system in a high regard and knew just fragile an item she held. Taking the lid to the box and laying it on a nearby countertop , Harper places the Nintendo on the lid clearly to keep it from the grime of the actual counter.
“I wouldn’t know…”
She said in reply containing to work on accessing the inside of the system stopping just long enough to slide a pen light from a pouch on her chest. Clicking it on and aiming it inside inspecting the simple inner working a moment before looking back to Faye.
“Did you try blowing into it?”
Harper,s face remained impassive and without emotion for less then a second as a wide grin moved across her formerly serious features. Turning back to the system and again aiming the small but powerful light inside.
“I haven’t been in school for awhile Miss Gunn, life sort of demanded I pick it up on my own…”
Faye watched the young woman while she examined the item in question. It was definitely second hand, but seemed to be clean enough. It would power on, but it would not read the cartridges when one was placed inside. “Yes. The game box itself and the cartridge. The person I purchased it from said that that might be required. Something about older games being quite sensitive.” She shrugged.
“If I need to get my money back then I will have to undertake that task, but I think it still has some life left in it. So I thought best to bring it into a repair shop. I’ve heard that you had a bit of a magic touch. I was in the area, so I thought I would pop in and see what you would say.” She moved towards Harper watching as she worked a bit.
“Well, that’s unfortunate. I gather you’re a bright young lady. Hopefully someone appreciates your talent, but I understand. Life doesn’t always unfold the way we would like. We can either let it have its way with us or we adapt. Though I do hope that if the opportunity of school presents itself that you will take it. Sometime tells me that you would do quite well there and perhaps teach the school a thing or two.” Faye might be buttering her up a bit just to get a good deal on a the price of a repair or she could be quite honest or a bit of both.
“I want my children to finish school. If it is not for them there is nothing that I can do about that, but they have the opportunity. I don’t want them to ever think that it was not possible. After they’ve graduated then they can make the choice to continue or not continue. It was the promise I made to them. It’s also one of the rules.” She smiled a little.
“Their my foster children. They’re dears and monsters. Their children.” She laughed. “I love each and every one of them. We make due with what we can, but they have to do their part and I have to do mine. Good home. Meals. Clean clothes most of all, all the love and support I can give them even if it feels like I’m being the monster, because I won’t let them do whatever they want.” She made a bit of a sound.
“Sorry. One of my free days and I’m boring you with the prattle of old woman. I usually meet with my friends to play a few hands of poker or bridge. They’re used to it. I’ll let you get back to examining the game box.”
Clicking the pen light off with her thumb and placing it back into its spot in her grease stained overalls as she turned around to face Faye again. Moving to lean on her palms as they were placed behind her against the counter the system sat on. Harper listened quietly as the older woman spoke nodding a few times until she again paused.
“Ill give you a free pass this once I suppose..”
Jerking a thumb over her shoulder at the system.
“This I can fix in the time it takes me to grab something from the back room. It you have the right part and an obsession with old tech its not hard to repair at all.”
Harper had known the moment she had looked inside the system that it was truly screwed, but she also knew she had at least three working Nintendo, and a box of games her father had left behind somewhere in her workshop. It wasn’t as if he would be coming back for either item anytime soon, little time for games during thug time…
She looked towards Harper with a smile. “Thank you. Once I get going sometimes I don’t how to stop.” She chuckled shaking her head, but smiled when Harper said she had what she needed to fix the game.
“That would be fantastic. You are a life saver. I knew when I came in that you were the right person to speak to. Miracle worker you are.” She smiled over at the young woman. “Perhaps I can pop again with another item, that’s been giving me a bit of trouble. Television set. Might have to have one of the boys come with me to carry the thing, but it’s been a bit twitchy. I should really buy a new one, but it hasn’t gone out on me completely.” It’s something that needed to get repaired.
Still, it’s possible that Harper had other work that she needed to do.
“Only if it wouldn’t be too much of a bother. It’s my own set. Had it for years actually. Probably due for a new one, but I have to focus on our expenses. Enough for a repair, but not a new one yet unless the repair is going to be quite steep. I might need to consider my choices, but the only way I’ll know is if have someone look at it first.”
Have to start somewhere.
“I don’t see why not…”
Turning from Faye and walking to the keypad alongside the door into her actual working area, Harper presses her thumb against a well worn and greasy biometric scanner. A moment passes before a series of sounds can be heard from the other side of the door. The moment the sounds stop and the locks cease opening the door itself slides into the wall to let Harper enter.
From within the shop Harper again speaks out to Faye.
“Give me a minute…five tops…it’s in here I swear..”
The voice comes across muffled and difficult to fully understand as Harper moves further into the shops interior searching for the needed device. The strange series of sounds emanating from within the room that Faye can hear now with the door open likely only add to the break down in communication.
Shouts Harper emerging back into the light of the outer waiting room with a sizable beaten and faded cardboard box, its contents clearly held in place with due to the liberally applied duct tape and the odd dinosaur sticker.
Harper sets the box down in front of Faye and steps back to allow the woman to look inside for herself.
“Splendid! I will pop by in a few days to drop it off. Pick it up in a few days.” There was a schedule to keep. Today was a bit different she had a bit of time to spare, but most days there was work to be done. Faye’s lips curved into a warm smile at the prospect of getting her television repaired. Now if she could get this gaming system fixed then everything would be perfected.
Of course, she would have to devise a schedule and perhaps the children would now be more inclined to do complete their chores and school work in a more-timely fashion. She knew it wasn’t the latest and greatest, but it was better than nothing.
“No worries, dear. Take your time.” Far be it for Faye to rush the young one. She seemed to know here way around electronics. She watched her go in to what she could only assume was her workshop. Interesting the precautions she took. It made Faye wonder if there was something dangerous behind the door, expensive perhaps. They were in the Narrows and one never could be too careful.
While she waited, Faye walked the length of the front room counting to herself silently while taking another pass with her eyes while running her finger along the counter glancing at it few times before turning back towards the direction that Harper went when she cried out that she had located what she was looking for.
“Have you…” Faye blinked several times stepping toward the box. “What is this?” She took another step until she was close enough to look inside of the box to see what was inside.
“Oh my…” She glanced towards Harper then back into the box. “This is quite generous.”
Harper waves off the comment about her generosity in as nice a fashion as she can muster, she didn’t want to appear dismissive. Stepping up closer to the box and leaning over to reach inside her hand grasps one of the games inside and pulls it out holding it up toward the dim light overhead. Tilting it to better catch the light her eyes light up as the label gains new clarity with proper illumination.
“Ikari Warriors…a true classic.”
She holds the cartridge up for a moment longer and with a brief sigh places it back into the box, her hand now free moves to slide into one of the side pocket of her overalls. From within she removes a card which she holds for for Faye to take.
“Just call ahead and I can make sure I’m about to let your kids in with the television.”
Whether she was waving it off or not, Faye, didn’t care. She meant what she said. This was quite generous and unexpected. To provide this to her for the children. It made Faye’s face light up. It was far more games than she originally brought it.
When the game was brought up into the light Faye looked it over. “I’ll be sure to mention that. Perhaps the children can teach me to play. I’m sure I can keep up if not I’m sure there’s something in there that’s more my speed.” If not there was always cards right?
Reaching for the card she looked it over before she moved in to give Harper a good-natured hug. “Oh, I know probably too much, but I can’t help it.” She stepped back looking into Harper’s eyes. “The children are going to absolutely love this.” Faye transferred some of the games she had from her original box into the larger box. No sense in carrying two of them.
Slipping the card away she nodded. “I’ll make sure to send them in and you have my word they will be well behaved. If not they know that I will be quite disappointed with them and they will be reprimanded appropriated.” She did hate the word punished.
Slipping her arms around the box she lifted it up. “If you could help me with the door. I need to get this in the van. I have a present to wrap up.” She sounded positively giddy.
Harper nearly falls over herself when she realizes how truly terrible a person she was being. Running the two steps it takes for her to catch up and pass Faye she sweeps the box into her hands as gingerly as she is able.
“I got it, no problem.”
With that she turns and opens the door using her foot and then moves to take the box to Faye car.
With a smile Faye walks towards the door but Harper’s already pushing it open with her foot. Walking towards the van she opened the passenger door so Harper could load the box inside.
“Thank you, Harper, for everything.” She came in to get a repair and got more than she anticipated. “Now, don’t linger to long it’s a getting nippy out. Oh..” Before she forgot. She reached into in her purse to get what she needed and pressed it into Harper’s hand.
“I think that should cover it for everything that you’ve done.” She hoped eighty dollars would cover it. She felt it was fair. Perhaps there could have been some more, but she moved around to the other side of the van before Harper could say anything. “If it’s not enough let my boys know when I come by with the television and I’ll add a little more.” She slipped into the van starting it up.
With a wave and a smile she shifted the van into gear and began pulling off from the curb with a light double tap on the horn.