Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Just playing.
Post Pilot. Acquainting her new partner with the modern world is a work in progress.
"Lieutenant... Are you entirely certain this is meant to be eaten in such a state?"
Abbie watched as Crane tugged at the wrapping around his fast food hamburger, his long fingers carefully peeling back the edges as if he were removing the wrapping around a bomb. Ok, sure the burger looked a little squished, a little lopsided... but it was a burger. It was just the way these things worked.
"It's fine," Abbie said, a little impatience seeping into her tone, only partially due to her exhaustion. "Just eat it."
"In my day, beef came from cows." He frowned down at the flattened burger distastefully. "This... I am not sure cattle were involved in producing this."
"Trust me. Ronald McDonald raised that cow just for you. Now, eat it."
"You know this man?"
Abbie didn't even bat an eye. "Yeah. He's a good guy."
After the seemingly never-ending succession of losing a friend and mentor, chasing and being chased by a headless thing, being shot at, deciding her new companion might not be completely insane, finding out she was a Witness with a capital W, discovering her fellow policeman in a cell with his head still attached, but so not how it was supposed to be, followed up by a mountain of paperwork, interviews, witness statements (not with a capital w this time), general stress, fear, and confusion... She'd decided some food was in order.
The closest place had been a fast food joint, and since Crane was incapable of functioning on his own, here they were, sitting together in a corner booth, each with a tray holding a burger, fries and coke. She took a sip from her coke and immediately relaxed, while Crane still looked like an alien who was visiting a strange land. He was too tall for one thing, and had been forced to fold himself into the booth. His clothing, of course, and hair also made him stick out like a sore thumb. They were definitely drawing their fair share of odd looks.
Abbie's first clue that this had been a bad idea was when they'd stopped in front of the counter to order. Crane had briefly looked around the restaurant, which to her looked like every other fast food place on the planet: Tile floors, booths, a counter to one side for the drink dispensers, another counter for napkins, straws, condiments, etc. Elevator type music was playing from speakers somewhere, workers were milling behind the counter at various tasks, and all around them was the scent of fried food.
Once he had surveyed the "establishment," as he insisted on calling it, he had turned his eyes to the menu board, studying it as if his life depended on it.
"You know what you want?" Abbie had asked.
"I presume that poultry is involved somehow with the Mc. Chicken." He made it two separate words. "Other than that I fear I am at a loss." He frowned, still looking at the glowing board of food offerings.
Abbie rolled her eyes, but didn't reply. Instead she merely said, "I got this," and stepped up to the bored teenager waiting to take their order. Crane had remained silent, listening and following her as she went through the mindless routine she'd been through hundreds of times before - Order, wait on the trays, fill the cups, get lids, straws, etc, find an unoccupied booth. Crane had watched her every move, listening, drinking in the information with rapt attention despite how tired he had to be, and Abbie had been struck yet again by how strange this must all be to him.
Which led to his most current question. "What, may I ask, is that... concoction you are placing on your meal?"
Abby looked up to see that Crane was staring at her tray. She'd just torn open a packet of ketchup with her teeth and was squeezing the contents out for her fries. "Ketchup. You want some?"
"I... What is it?" He clearly did not like admitting as much but had no way to get around it.
"Ketchup," she said again. "Uhh... Tomatoes, all mashed up into a sauce."
"Tomat-" His eyes widened in alarm and his hand flashed out grabbing her wrist and stopping her from raising a ketchup-covered french fry to her lips.
"I'd suggest you let go of me," she said sharply. "Right now. I have a gun and I'm not afraid to use it."
Crane seemed completely undeterred. "Are you mad?"
"Not yet, but getting there. As a matter of fact, I'm about to hit pissed off any second."
He pursed his lips in annoyance at her deliberate misunderstanding. "Are you out of your senses, Miss Mills? You cannot eat that. Wolf peaches are members of the Nightshade family. Belladonna..." When Abbie just continued to look at him, he added, "They are poisonous," as if speaking to a simpleton.
Abbie sighed and dropped the french fry back on her tray. Her companion immediately released her. He sat back and sighed as well, although his seemed to be in relief.
"I know I'm gonna regret this, but what are you talking about?" she asked. "Tomatoes are perfectly fine. I have no clue what a... wolf... whatever you said is." As if to show him, she pulled her hamburger open and showed him the tomatoes that were on her sandwich as well. "Everybody eats them, Crane. They're fine."
"It is well known that they should not be eaten. They are deadly, not to mention they are used in the black arts." Crane frowned fiercely, although she could tell he was beginning to falter in his certainty. Too much had changed for him, far too quickly, and the ground beneath him could crumble at any moment. "Although a tolerable looking fruit, wolf peaches are to be avoided at all c-"
He actually gasped as Abbie grabbed her ketchup covered fry and popped it into her mouth before he could stop her. "It's fine," she said plainly. "Not poison. Just ketchup."
Abbie sighed again. She seemed to be doing that a lot since she'd met Ichabod Crane. She pulled out her phone and typed in "wolf peaches," which was quite possibly one of the silliest searches she'd ever run. To her surprise several sites came up showing the history of the tomato and how it had only been in the last couple of hundred years that it had been accepted as edible. She scrolled back up to the top of the page and handed Crane her phone. "Here. Read." She knew he had been watching her closely, as he accepted the phone delicately, studied the screen as if he had been handed something dangerous, then used his finger to scroll down as she had done. It took him a few seconds to get the hang of it, but he was a quick study. He raised an eyebrow very briefly at the workings of the phone, toying with it, before focusing more seriously on the topic at hand.
After several glorious moments of silence, which allowed her to continue to eat peacefully, Crane nodded and handed the phone back to her. "I see. I must beg your pardon, Miss Mills."
Abbie shrugged. "No problem. Now eat your food before it gets cold."
He eyed his meal dubiously, but after having already been wrong once, Crane chose to remain silent. He picked up a packet of ketchup and mimicked what she had done. He paused momentarily before dipping a french fry into the ketchup, then once again before quickly popping it into his mouth as if deciding to do it before he could think better of it.
Abbie watched as he chewed it carefully. "Feeling poisoned?" she asked, unable to keep the laughter from her voice.
Crane huffed in frustration. "I am so pleased I can be such a source of amusement to you, Lieutenant. What can be more amusing, after all, than to sneer at the backward man who was trying to save your life?"
Abbie almost felt bad. Almost. But she was too tired. "Right. Rule of thumb? If they're serving it in a restaurant, odds are it's edible."
Crane looked down at his smashed hamburger and raised an eyebrow as if to ask "Even this?" It suddenly seemed so funny that Abbie couldn't help laughing out loud. After all, how many times had she thought the same thing when looking at a flattened fast food thing that looked nothing like it did on the commercial? When her laughter began to reach hysterical proportions, Crane reached across the booth and put his hand on her shoulder, a far gentler movement than when he'd grabbed her wrist. She also noted that it was completely unfair that he was so tall and his arms so long that he could easily reach across the booth to comfort her.
"Are your well, Miss Mills?" he asked gently.
The laughter left as quickly as it had arrived, leaving with it the sudden desire to weep. Her friend and mentor was dead, decapitated. She was lost, confused, and possibly going insane. Abbie took a deep calming breath. "I'm fine," she said, trying to sound much steadier than she felt. When Crane seemed to hesitate, she added, "Really."
He pursed his lips again and withdrew his hand, but she had the feeling he understood all too well what was going on with her. Stupid over-smart revolutionary soldier. He'd probably seen a few post-battlefield breakdowns in his time.
Crane didn't believe her, but he didn't say anything else either. Instead, he picked up his questionable sandwich and began to eat. He was giving her time and Abbie liked him a little better for it.
They quickly finished their meal with only a minor blip when Crane discovered the unexpected effect of carbonation when he tried his coke. Abbie rose first and Crane followed, trailing after her as they walked outside. He jumped when Abbie used the fob to unlock the car and it gave a faint honk. It wasn't the first time, but it still seemed to unnerve him.
Abbie thought about the plan to put him in a hotel for the night and all the modern amenities he would encounter. It seemed her own need to sleep would have to wait just a little longer.
"C'mon, Crane. We gotta stop at the drug store. We're gonna need some post-its."
No kidding about wolf peaches! Do a search and you'll run into this anecdote:
On September 26th, 1830, Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson stood on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, Massachusetts with a basket of potentially toxic fruit. Despite warnings that its poison would turn his blood to acid, he told several hundred cheering spectators that he planned to eat the entire basket - and survive.
"The foolish Colonel will foam and froth at the mouth," his own doctor shouted, "and double over with appendicitis. All that oxalic acid - one dose and he is dead. He might even be exposing himself to brain fever. Should he by some unlikely chance survive his skin will stick to his stomach and cause cancer."
Johnson, wearing black, ate the entire basket and indeed survived.