Claire Pullman (undermyheel) wrote in handfulof_dust,
Claire Pullman
undermyheel
handfulof_dust

Claire! In the bar!

For those with good noses, she smells vaguely of perfume (not hers), zombies (maybe a pet? probably not) and blood (is it hers if she's imbibed it?).

Also, she's trying to think up slogans for a grassroots Anna for sheriff campaign.

All she's come up with so far is, "Stop being idiots. Vote for Anna."
Tags: claire pullman, preston vasquez
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Preston has a fairly good nose by default.

But he tries not to remark on what he smells most of the time, because it doesn't really seem polite. Instead, he sticks with a more boring, "Evening, Claire."
"Hello, Bass," Claire greets.

"How're you doing?"
"Decently," Preston says, and jerks his head towards the door. "Not been too eventful."

Which, in this time and place, is almost always a good thing.

"How are things up at the museum?"

This is his polite way of asking about the zombie smell.
"Well, I'm trying to decide if I want to be more or less like Don Corleone."

She gestures around her. "Do you want them owing you favors? Or working for you?"
Preston grins - dude, who doesn't love a Godfather reference - but answers, "I guess it depends whether you expect to be able to keep paying their salary on a regular basis."
Claire waves a hand, "I can always pay, but I wonder about loyalty."

She nods to the general public.
"That's the kinda thing you've got to judge on a person-by-person base, I guess."

Preston shrugs. "When you're hiring henchmen, I guess it's a fine line between enough of a conscience so that they'll be swayed by considerations of loyalty, and so much of a conscience that they'll start putting ethics over you."
Claire laughs, startled.

"Henchmen?" She laughs again. "What kind of operation do you think I'm running, Preston?"
"Hey, I was running with the Don Corleone."
Claire shakes her head, still amused.

"Henchmen," she mutters. "George will love to hear that. They're 'Lieutenants' in that version of the mafia. And you know I wasn't just talking about vampires."
Preston raises his eyebrows.

"If you're talking politics, that traditionally works more along the favor system."

His tone has shaded back into polite neutral; Preston, to everyone's surprise, disapproves of politics run on the basis of loyalty and favors.
Settling her chin on her hand, Claire regards him for a moment.

"Sometimes it's very tiring and very complicated to have a conversation with you, Bass." Closing her notebook, she glances back up at him. "Politics is an entirely different animal of commerce. That's got a commercial system where the currency is support and sincerity and votes. Until we have a working political system I don't see any reason to bother with it. What if someone came to you and wanted you to take care of a problem for her? Do you do it, or do you charge for it?"
"Our system won't be a working political system unless we act like it is," Preston points out, apparently unperturbed by the complaint. "To use your metaphor, someone's got to put in the initial currency of support and sincerity to start the system off."

He gives a half-shrug.

"That's a pretty vague question. What kind of problem? And what kind of solution does it need? A problem like 'my car won't start and I need help getting somewhere' is on a different order of magnitude from 'there are zombies in my backyard', which is on an entirely different level again from the most traditional kind of problem-solving euphemism."
Claire waves a hand, "Favors are whats in now. If they need me? Then they won't want to get rid of me."

Having settled that, she glances over at him, "So does that mean you're in favor of an investment in this bank of politics?"
"I've been in favor all along," Preston reminds her. "Just a question of -


"- I was gonna try for some kind of complicated extended metaphor involving investments and stocks and whatever, but it's been too long since Econ. You know what I mean."
"Just a question of how to start?" she asks. "Or a question of who to start with?"

She nods. "It's important to know what you're starting with, where you want to go before starting."
Preston nods, choosing his words carefully.

"I guess it's a question of where to place your stock of support. Because if you're gonna build something, you've gotta invest it one hundred percent. Can't pull it out."
"Now who's trying to sell whom," Claire laughs. "I'm already fully invested in the idea of civilization. The question is who else is?"

And how you win them over to the side of kittens, puppies and civil liberties.
"Making a list?" Preston says, eyebrows raised, and caps himself, "Checking it twice?"

Claire: like Santa, in a way.
"Well, that's always a possibility," Claire says.

She has lists, not that she wants anyone to know that yet. You'd be surprised how much information people are willing to give up when they think it's procedure. Give blood, admit your loyalties, admit your residence, admit who you are.

"There's also just starting it. None of our founding fathers were elected: they were just there and knew it needed doing. I can get you a nice hat," Claire offers.
"They also spent two years or so arguing out the whys and wherefores before they got so much as a Declaration. And another couple decades before they had a constitution.


"Not that I'd say no to the hat, but I dunno if I've got the patience to do it their way."
"They were a nation: we're a city. And we have a basis. They were starting from scratch. I'm sure the library still has a copy of the important stuff."

Claire takes a sip of her drink.

"We the people of Chicago, in order to establish a more perfect union, establish justice, promote domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and protect the delicate equilibrium between wolf, human and vampire, do hereby ordain a new law based on the democracy of the United States as read in this new, new world."

She stops. She looks vaguely surprised at herself. She hadn't intended to reveal quite that much.
Preston is watching her fairly carefully; he doesn't look surprised, particularly, but there's a slightly rueful smile on his face.

Mild: "That's not at all bad off the top of your head.


"Should I be writing this down?"
A slight smirk. "Well you could, but then we'd have to discuss whether this more perfect union is what you want for Chicago or whether I'm just an old vamp with ideals."

Now it's her turn to watch him carefully.
Preston answers easily enough. "I didn't think it was any secret that I support linking the disparate groups we have now into some kind of community."

He leans back.

"What I don't want is the kind of perfect union those founding fathers made - with significant portions of the population disenfranchised, denied citizenship or basic humanity. Especially not now we've got all these exciting new ways to discriminate against each other. You say we'll have it easier than they did, but I'm not so sure you're right. Because we're going to have to do significantly better than that if this has a chance of working at all."

He stops, and if he's embarrassed at having turned a comment into something the length of a minor speech, he doesn't show it.

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