1965-05-26 - Re-Generating
Summary: Elmo and Jay take a look at the Community's Center's shoddy electrical system. And Elmo manages not to tear his skin off over how screwed it is.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
elmo jay 


.~{:--------------:}~.


It's no secret Jay hangs out at the community center when he can. Maybe not as continuous as he once was thanks to desperate avoidance of a soul, but he does run a music program out of the center and tries to help them keep up on repairs. Having worked at the grocer, he also does a lot of the supply runs for Ethel and her kitchen, being the good ol' southern boy he is, helps in the kitchen when he's not shooed away.

Today the feathered young man is standing in front of the center with a worn tool belt slung around his hips, eight feet up on a ladder, trying to re-hang the battered canvas so it looks a little less pathetic. Nails sticking out of his mouth, he's tacking the corners of the banner into the wooden siding with a hammer.


Elmo has about a thousand other things he's trying to do simultaneously, so his presence at the community center has dropped off too. Today though he's managed to get away from work to…come here and do more work. He steers in a dolly loaded with boxes of supplies. He's got his tool belt too, although his is laden with the arcane and mysterious gear of an electrician. Letting the dolly rest, with a hand on top of the boxes to keep them steady, he looks up at Jay, hammering away, and gets a silly, besotted grin. "Hey there," he says, chipper with workaday cheer.


The ladder is, admittedly, in front of the front door, so Jay is trying to be quick about what he's doing. Tap, tap, tap, bang, bang, bang! He tacks down the final top corner and pulls the final nail from between his pursed lips. "Sorry, Ah'll be done in a flash—oh, hey!" The automatic apology changed around as the long-hair looks down from the ladder, and notices just WHO it is. Jay smiles warmly, cocking his hips to one side so he leans into the incline, one foot poised on the step above the other. "How's it goin' El?" He gestures comfortably with the hammer. "Ya workin' somewhere?"


"Yeah, you know how it is around here. Like sweepin' back the sea." Elmo seems content to stand there and gaze at Jay, at least for the moment, one hand on the dolly. "Been busy with the garage and the shop—both shops, now, so it's been kinda hard to get in here. Short of copper, too." Casual kvetching. "But hey, I'm here now. You want some help with that?"


Jay glances back at the sad sign and the one flapping corner that isn't tacked down. "Ah'm about done here, just fer that corner. But, actually, Ethel's havin' a time with the line they got runnin' to the kitchen if you wanna give it a look." He squints at Elmo thoughtfully, then relaxes his expression again. "Yeah. You'll be okay. Ah was gonna say it's pretty shady stuff to be messin' with, but Ah remembered you took a shot from Jeb."


Elmo brightens up at the prospect of a dangerous electrical project. "Yeah, of course I'll be okay. I did take a shot from Jeb." He laughs about it now, as cranky about it as he was at the time. "Could take a lot bigger shot, too. It can't hurt me. Just overloaded me, and then he punched me and I lost my grip on it." He shakes his head over that Jeb.


The serene smile playing over Jay's mouth leans to one side with humor while Elmo explains how much he could take. "Uh huh. From what it sounded, you were plenty tuckered out after." A gleam of humor in his eye, Jay turns around smoothly and pins the nail to the flapping corner of the sign. With an efficient tap-tap-tap, bang-bang, Jay finishes up and slides the hammer into the loop of his belt then climbs down the ladder, his wings slicked tight to his back. Firmly on the ground, he folds the ladder up and slips an arm through the rungs, smiling at Elmo as he hefts it up effortlessly. "C'mon, Ah'll show ya where they pirated it in."


Elmo turns his hand over, a flippant gesture. "It was, uh, unique." Trying really hard not to blush in front of God and everybody. He tips the dolly back onto its wheels to tuck it against the wall, out of the way. Then digs out his notepad, scribbles, 'Don't touch, I'M SERIOUS' on a sheet, rips it out and sticks it to the stack of boxes. "Not that it'll help," he mutters under his breath, then looks back at Jay, smiling and just…so, so happy to see him, hammer in hand, toolbelt on hips, hefting a ladder around. "Okay, show me!"


Amused, Jay shakes his head at Elmo and jerks his head around the corner. "If ya want, we can go in the back? There's a loadin' door back there that's wider, you can bring the dolly. Hate ya to lose anythin' cause someone got sticky fingers. Ah gotta take this thing to the back anyway." A broad shoulder shrugs up the ladder with an easy heft. He steps forward and claps Elmo on the shoulder, heading around down the side alley before the guy can protest. "C'mon back."


Elmo shrugs cheerfully. "All right, what the hell. It's just some of the stuff's kinda sharp." He grabs the dolly and follows Jay, and tries not to be too obvious about totally checking him out when they hit the alley. That there is a fine looking birb.


Birbin' it up as he leads the way, Jay hums something under his breath as he makes his way down the dingy alley. Around the back there are some old boxes haphazardly stacked and fallen over, and indeed, a loading door. Jay pushes up the rolling door and holds it open for Elmo, flashing him a quick flash of a wink. "Hey," somehow his tone seems softer. A hint more intimate a greeting in a single word.

The back room is used for staging supplies, and rather stark with metal shelving and open boxes or bags of everything one needs to run a shelter, center and soup kitchen. "The kitchen's 'round there. You ever been back here? Ah 'magine you have. Ignore me!"


Focused intently on Jay, Elmo catches the wink and all its connotation, and then he really does blush, turning bright red with dizzying speed. He mutters something annoyed and amused in Yiddish and rubs his face, trying to get it under control. "Um, yeah, a couple times," he says, acting like he isn't lighting up the place with a red glow. "Updating GFCI outlets."


"Neat," Jay smiles, trying not to draw attention to Elmo's blushing, the corners of his mouth tense in amusement. Turning around to set the ladder up against the wall, the red head shover a hand through his hair and blows out a breath. "Okay. Well then yaknow that they jus' sorta, uh, patched in from the generator. None of it is really done right. Most of it gets sucked up in the kitchen, but the lights in the front rooms always end up flickerin' on us at night. Makes winter challengin'." He smiles at Elmo with a whispering chuckle. "What do ya wanna take a gander at first?"


Elmo is highly reactive to teasing and everybody knows it…resulting in him getting teased a lot, but he takes it with a lot more grace nowadays than he used to. Or maybe it's just that it's Jay. "Uh, what were we talkin' about?" He gamely tries to rally. "Right, right—the disaster this place has for an electrical system. Now I remember why I didn't do that much, because I want to redo it all, and I never got time or material. And shuttin' em down for that long, it ain't that practical."


Jay winces around his persistant smile, planting a hand on his hip, thumb slipped idly into the worn belt hooked around his hips. "Is it really all that bad in here? Ah knew it was pretty shady but—" He lifts his attention just as the light overhead flickers a little bit, as if just talking about it reminded the electrical that it was a mess. "Uh, someone must'a turned on the lamp in the front room…"


Elmo hikes his eyebrows, like, see what I mean? "Yeah, it's bad. Worse, it's dangerous. Hate leavin' it like this." He folds his arms loosely, frowning. "I could maybe build something to boost the power and regulate it. I could build it modular so I can just hook it in when it's done. Maybe that's the way to go. Wiring's still a mess, but I can fix that as I go, don't have to shut the place down."


Jay nods slowly, curiously while he eyeballs the light. It holds steady for the time being, but who knows how long that will last. "Sure, sure. Well, what do you need t'make all that happen? Ah can help build just about anything Ah got half a mind to, but electrical ain't really mah thing. Ah mean, so long as we get things done a room at a time, we can probably get folks t'stay out of it while yer workin'." He pauses the thought, angling a small, apologetic smile to Elmo. "Ah'm sorry. This is a big project an' Ah know you got a lot goin' on."


Elmo shakes his head. "S'good to pin me down about it. So I'll actually do it, yannow? Gevalt, I got so much mishegoss. But this I can do and it'll be done. Needs to get done, anyway, and I'll feel better when it is." He meanders over next to Jay. No reason, just, you know, this is a great vantage point to think about stuff.


Jay's lips purse slightly, suppressing the further upturn of his smile with all the yiddish. "Uh huh. Ah get it. Things are easy t'get away from ya." Tiling his head down to peer at the smaller man while Elmo lingers near him. "So what do you /need/ t'make it happen? You wanna go room t'room and take stock with me? Ah'll be yer gofer."


Elmo smiles back at Jay. "Sure thing. …Hey, you know what, I could build a generator!" And he's pulling out his notepad again, with the air of inspiration. He writes on it with frantic speed, as if the idea will escape before he can get it down. "I mean, why not, I can put something together way better'n that chazerai. More power, safer too. Could run it on just about anything." He draws something, fast strokes of his pen. Then looks back up, embarrassed. "Sorry, there I go, huh?"


"A generator? Would it be better than the shoddy ol' thing Ethel runs the kitchen off of?" Jay squints with a wince thinking about their makeshift system. Watching Elmo dive into his own world again, Jay shifts on his feet quietly, smiling to himself, watching Elmo scribble away. "Really, it's great to watch you get into yer head. Did you wanna see the shoddy thing that Eth works off of? At least ya can get an idea of what yer up against then."


"I can promise it'll be better." Elmo, all lit up, beams at Jay. "Yeah, show me so I can be horrified and work faster." He reaches for Jay's hand—stops himself, suddenly, snatching his hand back with a wince. Right. It's Mutant Town, not Boys Town. "…Sorry."


The quick snatch back has Jay's eyes dancing with amusement, a ripple of motion shivering through his wings. Feathers slick down his back into two streamlined tails once again. "Yer okay, El. Ah understand." He flashes a wink back at the little angry Jewish man. "C'mon. Let's get yer hands dirty, huh? An' afterwards Ah'll buy ya dinner as thanks. How's that sound?"


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