2019-04-02 Beast at the Park

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Featuring Granite, Pharaoh
Rating PG-13
Synopsis Granite wrangles a vicious beast at Central Park. (Rating for mild use of swearing)


New York City: Central Park

It's a beautiful day, just getting warm after a few chilly days in a row. The sun is shining, there are people out and about and the park is packed. Some folks are out jogging, others walking through the greenery and a few are playing Frisbee or throwing a ball around. It's almost quite idyllic.

One of those people out enjoying the park is Vito Conte. The man relaxing on the bench has black hair, slicked back with product and dark eyes. He's clean shaven and fairly muscular, in his mid thirties, wearing dark clothes and boots.

He's not got much going on apparently, just messing with a cell phone between people watching. There's even a cup of coffee sitting next to him that he occasionally lifts to take a sip from.


It truly is a peaceful scene as children play and couples amble about.

It’s all destroyed by a small white and brown terror that comes barking and yapping its way down the sidewalk, leash flapping wildly behind its small bounding form. Chasing squirrels and people (attempting to chase people) alike, the wayward pomeranian is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Several seconds later a woman in her late twenties comes running down the sidewalk, armed with wedge heels dangling from one hand and the leashes of two massive pit bulls in the other. Her hair, longer than most have ever dreamed to see, sticks out at odd angles as sweat threatens to destroy her carefully managed makeup. If anyone in their right mind has even spotted a magazine or catwalk, they would recognize Mona Angier-Sharif in all her now ruined glory. Scowling, she yells, “Max you little brat, get back here!!”

Max the bratty dog freezes upon spotting the frazzled woman. It only lasts a second before the pup is racing away from her and towards the relaxing Vito.

“Stop that dog!” Mona screams as she gives chase again.


The antics of the little animal have Vito cracking a smile as he watches it run around, barking and trying to attack stuff. The man is quite relaxed as he's menaced by the diminutive beast, leaning forward to grab its leash with one hand while offering his other for the little dog to sniff, ready to yank his hand back if it decides to chomp.

"Good dog. Good dog," Vito's chill as he speaks to the pup, sliding down from his seat to kneel on the ground next to it, trying to make sure that it's calm. He looks up at it's owner, smiling at the woman, "You got a fierce protector here. Quite a handsome pack you've got, too." His eyes widen slightly as something clicks. Not only is the woman he's talking to stunning, she's someone he recognizes, "Hey, didn't you do that Versace thing? I could swear I saw your picture when I went to pick up a suit."


Calm isn’t exactly something little Max seems capable of. Even as he ‘chills out’, the dog is practically vibrating with barely contained energy. When the hand is offered, a sniff, then a lick, then more barking. The barking never stops.

Mona reaches the man just as he leans down to gently wrangle the little beast. “Terror is more fitting.” She huffs out, leaning forward to clasp hands on her knees as she regains her breath. The pit bulls seem very happy to be apart of any excitement at all as their tails waggle wildly. Only their stern training keeps them from trying to run around and join in their tinier brother’s antics as she tugs the leash back from Vito’s hand.

Mona’s shoes clack as they smack the ground where she drops them, haphazardly shoving her feet back into the daunting heels, “Probably. Not my favorite but they always want me to take part in their spring/summer line… Sorry, thanks for grabbing this guy. Lord knows once he gets going he's nearly impossible to catch.”


A little bit of petting on the little guy's head, complete with scratches behind the ear. Vito's pretty relaxed, all things considered. "Terror might be right, but he seems like a sweetheart," the fellow says as he rises to his feet. "Just excitable."

Once he's standing up again he cracks a smile, "It seems pretty cool that you get a chance to do some modeling for a big name company like them, though. Not that I know anything about it." Then he seems to think for a moment, "I mean, I could go for another coffee or a drink." There's a grin on Vito's face, "But don't feel obliged or anything. I don't mind helping out." His right hand extends forward, "I'm Vito Angelo Conte III, but you can call me 'Trip.'"


“He’s soft. I’ll give him that.” Mona wraps Max’s leash around her wrist as he already begins to try and wander off without the man garnering his attention.

Max trapped within reach, his owner finally begins to relax as the dogs settle around her legs. “I’m hoping my own brand will take off a bit more to the public soon and I can just do my own shows after awhile.” Mona’s frown fades a bit as she looks up to Vito, a smile of her own twitching at the edges of her lips, “I think I can afford a coffee or two. There’s a nice little cafe nearby.”

Her attention snaps to the hand as it is thrust outward, eyes sharp for an instant before easing. It takes a second longer than it should for her to properly respond but when Mona does its to firmly take the offered hand and shake it. “Full names I see. Mona Angier-Shariff, you can call me Mona. I may have to hurt you if you try to call me Momo or something.” She teasingly threatens. Though… there is a bit of a threat to the sudden squeeze of her hand at the joke. Seriously, don’t call her Momo.


"Well, gotta give him something," Vito says with a little chuckle as he watches the critter wander around. "Well, I hope you have good luck with your business. It's pretty cool that you're in a position to start your own thing."

His own handshake is firm, but not intimidating. Almost relaxed, though that might be difficult when meeting a celebrity. "I hadn't planned on calling you anything but your name. Not everybody can rock a nickname like I can." A big smile is on his lips, too big to be a smirk, but he's clearly having fun, "I mean, I've had a lot of practice. I've been 'Trip' since birth, pretty much. My other nickname I had to earn, but I don't go by it any more."


Mona releases his hand once they have the topic of nicknames settled. She steps back, turning away after sending him a jerked chin in the direction of the Upper East Side. Come on then, ‘Trip’! “Makes me curious how a guy named Vito ended up being called Trip. Penchant for falling down?” She glances at him from the corner of her Gucci sunglasses. “Other nickname, hm? Can’t possibly be as good as Trip.”

The pitbulls easily snap to attention, staying obediently on either side of their mistress as she walks. Max bounces every way but where they are going, resulting in the ball of fluff being half dragged by the harness.


"It's short for triple, because I'm the third. Had to differentiate me from Senior and Junior somehow," Vito explains with a smile as he walks next to the woman, giving her and the dogs a little room to maneuver, not wanting to crowd anybody's space or get tripped up in leashes. "My other nickname is 'Doc'. I got that when I was a medic in the Army. Used to get to shoot machine guns, kick down doors and blow stuff up professionally, in addition to taking care of soldiers. Best job in the military, if you ask my opinion. Now I'm a paramedic. Lot less violence, lot more patients to take care of."


Mona pauses, eyes still fixed on his face. "Well, let me thank you for your service to our country then. Always nice to meet people devoted to doing good. You don't always have the chance to be around people like that in my line of business." In both lines of business, really. "You must get a lot of action around here, especially with all of the caped crusaders running around."

As they get closer to the edge of the park, she steers them towards a small but very upscale Cafe. The type where all the of the menu is overpriced, hard to pronounce, and likely not entirely worth the bother. So... Perfect for a socialite.


"It was a pleasure to serve," Vito replies with a nod. "Lots of people do good in their own way, though it's not always obvious. Folks contribute to charity or donate their time as volunteers and you never hear about it." There's more nodding happening, "Depending on what's going on with all the superheros and villains things can pick up really quickly. Mass casualty events bring a lot of patients in to the hospital I work at. I was busy as hell last month when that Hulk dude started breaking people and throwing things around."

Checking out the cafe Trip's eyes widen a little bit, "Cool looking place. Great location, especially on such a nice day."


“I heard about that. I was out of the city that night,” Mona had been in Milan for a photo shoot, and for a guest appearance of the Pharaoh to a villainous team up she eventually declined. It would have been too risky. “It sounded scary. Kind of glad I missed it.”

She approaches the counter, smiling at the Barista who greets her by name. “I’ll take a Iced Tall whole milk Chai Tea Latte.” She may have to keep her figure but she’s not about to wimp out with nonfat sins. The overpriced drink is written down and Mona turns to look at Trip expectantly.


"I got to treat some of the victims of the attack. It was pretty brutal," Vito confirms for her new acquaintance. "Be glad you weren't around when it went down." His alter ego, meanwhile, had been there trying to distract the Hulk at the time. He knows exactly how bad things got for the people present.

When he gets to the counter and Mona looks his way Trip looks at the menu, then smiles at the barista, "I'd like a regular latte, please." Nothing too fancy for this guy. "It wasn't too far from here that he hit," Vito says to Mona. "Usually super crime doesn't hit this neighborhood, but there are always exceptions, right?"


Mona slowly nods, thoughts drifting off before she snaps herself back to the present, "Hm, I had you pegged for a super sweetened drink guy." Their drinks come soon enough and Mona leads them to a table outside. The pit bulls sit on her feet as she lounges back in the small chair.

"Since we are on the topic of supers, how about a more pleasant subject? You got a favorite? I am partial to Black Mamba myself. She's got a very distinctive style that comes with her mutation. It works for her." Mona sips her drink, "My qualifications may be a bit skewed towards my own career goals rather than their credentials. I've been playing with the idea of offering Sentry my company's services. Maybe we could make new costumes for whoever might be interested."


"Is it because I'm such a sweet dude?" Vito asks with a little bit of a chuckle, clearly joking around. When they get to the table he takes his seat and relaxes, setting his coffee down in front of him.

Then his head nods, "I like Black Mamba, too. She just seems like a really cool person, at least from her interviews and stuff." After a moment of thought, though, he says, "Civic Defender is probably my favorite hero, though. That guy just seems like an all around good dude."

Lifting his jaw at Mona he asks, "So what ideas do you have for costumes for folks? I mean, you might have more luck trying to get in with a dude like Granite than with Sentry. That guy'd advertise for you for sure."


Mona's smirk is hidden by the rim of her Latte cup, "Something like that." He is sweet, or seems to be so far, but he just seems like the type that would pour half a container of sugar into his coffee to her. Ah well, instincts can be wrong.

The mention of Granite has Mona growling, "Granite! I have so many problems with that guy, his costume is an offense to fashion! I mean, a balaclava? Really?? Its all practicality, no flair. He needs a pop of color or a better breakup of his color choices." She leans forward, elbows on the table and hands splayed like she is physically drawing an image, "Reinforced faux leather jacket, heat treated for fireproofing, and specially tailored pockets lining the inside or hidden in seams. Then pants that hug the legs for maximum use of his body's natural silhouette. Still deciding on the mask, but the balaclava? Has to go."

Clearly this is something that has irked her for far longer than necessary. It even goes beyond her own ulterior motives for wanting to design for heroes.


"I used to mostly drink energy drinks, but that was when I was still in the service," Vito says with a chuckle. "We'd get them for free when we were deployed and I'd drink a bunch of them. They kind of turned me off of sweet drinks after a while, though."

"You should definitely get in contact with his people. I mean, I'm sure he's got people, dude advertises as much stuff as a NASCAR driver." Finally, he takes a sip of coffee. "This is good. Thank you." But the conversation they're having is very important, "Is there a way you could get him like a Cobra Commander type mask? I think that would be bad ass."


Mona makes a face, similar to one who has sniffed a bit of sour milk. "Cobra Commander, really? That would rob the world of seeing his jawline! A hero needs to be able to smile and humanize himself and hiding the face would completely ruin that... though... it could work in theory if..."

Mona shoves her latte to the near other side of the table as she drops her large tote where it had previously been. Digging around in the overstuffed bag, she eventually manages to wrestle out a sketchbook and shamefully gnawed on pencil. Within seconds its open and she's sketching, muttering to herself as her features settle into a somewhat unpleasant frown. The pencil is jabbed in his direction, her face not looking up, "What are the features of helmets like that that appeal to you?"


"I guess that's true, I mean, that humanizing thing makes a lot of sense. He probably needs it after fighting those elephants," Vito says thoughtfully. He watches the young lady sketch in her pad, then leans back a little bit when the pencil comes his way. "I think they look cool. Like the mirror look and the fact that they're kind of rounded off," as he says this he gesticulates a little bit, making motions around his face. "I don't put a lot of thought into why I like stuff, usually," Trip says with a soft chuckle. "I usually just buy what the people at the store recommend, if I'm being honest with you."


Mona looks up. She stares at him across the table. "..... Nevermind. I can't trust your opinion." Back to the sketches. "I hope those suits you mentioned are at least custom made. You just can't get the same quality from a pre-made suit." Not to mention as good as a tailor may be able to fit a suit, having something made with one's own specific body shape in mind with the ability to customize characteristic just has no comparison.


"You really shouldn't," Trip agrees with Mona's assessment of his style. "Oh yeah, I spent a fortune on them. Way more than I should have, but I feel like a grown up should have nice grown up clothes. My play clothes and everyday wear don't cost nearly as much, but I'm not usually trying to impress people."

"I've generally got expensive taste when it comes to things that are important."


"Good. You get a little bit of credit back." Mona snaps the book shut and shoves it back into her bag with a bit of difficulty. "Sounds like your wardrobe in in less danger daily than mine." She takes off her sunglasses, waving them around, "Gucci sunglasses, five hundred dollars." That's just the sunglasses. Replacing them, she doesn't even attempt to go into her actual clothes or jewelry. "There's a bit of a standard when you are at the top of the fashion world. So I've just got expensive taste flat out."


"Damn! Those are some nice glasses," Trip lets out a low whistle. "I don't wear cheap sunglasses but mine offer ballistic protection and stuff," he explains as he pulls a pair of his own out of the pocket of his shirt. "These are made by a company called Numa. They're pretty hard to break and you can even bend them frames and they return to normal." There's a little demonstration as Vito bends them against the hinges as if trying to break them. When he releases the frame it returns to its usual shape. "I can't blame you for having to maintain the cutting in edge in fashion, though. That's a big part of who you are and your image and stuff."


Mona huffs out a chuckle, "Looks like you're more focused on practicality too." Something in her bag begins to buzz and after more searching she tugs a phone from the unseen depth. Her eyes flick across the screen for several seconds until she simply shoves it back in and stands, "Looks like I need to get going, got an appointment to catch."

Mona pulls the leashes close, brushing off her denim shorts before holding a hand out to Trip, "Thank you again for catching Max."


"I'm not always entirely practical. I do have a collection of cowboy boots back at the house," Vito chuckles before finishing off his coffee and sliding the cup away from himself. "It was really nice to meet you," he says as he stands up and takes her hand. "You're welcome. I like getting the chance to help people out and this was a nice way to spend some time."


"Cowboy boots, really?" Mona rolls her eyes but doesn't move away. As he takes her hand, she slips a piece of paper into his. A scrap from her sketchbook, she offers a simple two fingered salute then adjusts her bag and walks off without another word-- latte in hand.

The note is simply a phone number with "Mona." plainly written below.