Helpers At The Nest
|Helpers At The Nest|
|Date of Cutscene:||20 May 2017|
|Cast of Characters:||320|
Penny dangled her feet off the ledge of the fourth floor of the Twelfth Street Bank as she listened to the dial tone on her LexMobile phone. Beeeeep...Beeeeep...Beee--"Honey? You know you're not supposed to use the phone while at work." Penny could almost hear the wry smirk in her mother's voice.
"I'm on break," Penny quickly replied. "I was just, uh...thinking, you know, about..." She trailed off. Her gaze dropped to the crumpled newspaper fluttering in the breeze, her water bucket resting atop it so it doesn't fly away. "Remember how we were talking about leaving Gotham?" Penny pulled her phone away from her ear, knowing exactly what to expect.
"Penelope Anne Fowler!" Her mother's voice grew sharp. "My mother lived in Gotham, and her mother, and her mother before that!" Penny sighed and dropped the phone to her lap, her mother's voice barely audible. It was the same speech about tradition and family and whatnot she's heard every time she mentioned leaving Gotham. Once her mother took a moment to breathe, Penny spoke up.
"Gotham's police are run by the Joker, Mom. It's not safe here, and you know it." Anticipating her mother's next words, Penny interrupted before she could even start. "And no, we won't just 'ride it out'. You don't expect the Joker to give up and go home, do you? It's going to get worse before it gets better, a-and I want you to stay safe." Her voice cracks at the last few words.
An uncomfortable silence filled the air. The breeze died down for a moment, the newspaper resting gently atop the concrete ledge. After a few seconds, Penny's mother sighed. "Penelope Anne, I am not giving up our house. If we do, who knows how long it could be before we find another place this cheap?"
"I'll stay," she quickly stated. "I can fly, and...uh, y-you know, my 'Spidey sense'?" Her mom's silly colloquialism, referring to the Big Apple's friendly neighborhood Spiderman...even though Penny kept insisting it worked differently ("But how do -you- know, Penelope? Have you talked to Spiderman?"). "I'll be fine, okay? There's this really nice--" She sighed and grabbed for the newspaper, the rustling noise echoing through the phone. "Okay, i-it's...as low income as you can get, but it's...cheap. Your welfare a-and my job should cover it. It's..." Penny took a deep breath, gathering her courage to continue. "They provide utilities with rent, and I can help out with food. It's...ah, some kind of program for family members of mutants, metahumans, things like that. We c--"
"You are not a 'thing', Penelope Anne!" Her mother took more offense to phrasing like that more than she did.
"Mom," she said sternly. "I'll...text you a link. It's the best I can do with my job. I'll live here in our house, I just don't want you to get hurt, alright?"
Another pause. "...I'll consider it," her mother said in a defeated tone. She hated to admit she'd agree, but Penny knew what those three words meant.
"I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, dearie. Get back to work."
Fifteen times twenty is...three-fifty? Three-fifty a week, times...were there four weeks in a month, or five? Penny let out a frustrated groan and grabbed at her scalp. Eight hundred a month for her rent, plus up to four hundred for her mom's place...Groceries for the two of them were about four hundred dollars a month, so half that is two hundred. Penny did some quick math in her head. "One-twenty-ish." She groaned and tugged at her hair. She'd be starving herself to keep her mother safe. But, her mother didn't have to know, either.
Penny took a deep breath and ran her hands down her face, then stands and grabs her squeegee. Break's over. Back to work.