The Proposition


murdoch_icon.gif bebe_icon.gif

Scene Title The Proposition
Synopsis Just another day in the life of a hard-working hooker who seems to have inadvertently become cop catnip.
Date May 11, 2009

The Rookery

He's been across the island and back searching for this ghost of a woman. He'd be irritated at his bad luck, but the fact is that Murdoch is chasing less the woman and more his own absurd instincts. Long an individual of rigorous logical deduction, the detective is following a hunch, a feeling, and, since he is not accustomed to hunting down hunches, it's leading him on a merry chase. From the Happy Dagger, to Shooters, out into the mean streets of the Rookery itself, Murdoch is getting more and more discouraged and, inversely, more and more determined not to let his discouragement dissuade him. He has an overcoat on, shielding him from the slight May evening chill, as well as a hat with a brim, making him just a bit noire.

Sometimes persistence — even incredibly unlucky and downright dangerous persistence — pays off. A woman like Bebe really shouldn't be so difficult to track down, all things considered, but given her recent priority shift and a slight segue in vocational training, the Dagger has seen less and less of John Logan's borrowed pound of flesh to peddle. However, technically speaking, she does still sleep there and so, eventually, she will come back to the sordid streets of the Rookery in order to find her way… home?

She just so happens to turn the corner and walk right by the man all dolled up like Bogart on a bad day. Night. Whatever. There she goes, gumshoe.

This is just too improbable for him not to do the dramatically ridiculous thing and pull a double-take. Is that? No way. No way!

Murdoch turns about to confirm his suspicion. He is confronted with a choice. Call out and risk scaring her off (he is, after all, a strange coated man on a Staten Island street at night), or follow her to the Dagger and risk getting caught and /definitely/ scaring her off. Not much of a shadower, he opts for the somewhat more polite option.

"Miss!" he says, removing his hat out of habit, "A moment of your time, if you would?" This sounds insufficient just as soon as he says it. "I'll make it worth your while," he adds, feeling at once like a sleazeball.

Given what it is that Bebe does under the Happy Dagger's roof, she's encountered her fair share of presumptuous assholes who sometimes can't tell the difference between being inside the whorehouse or out. They're about a block or so out of earshot of the bouncer standing by the Dagger's door, but Bebe still dutifully refers to proper policy when it comes to offers made out in the street. While she's polite about it, Bebe brushes the man off somewhat coolly, "Sorry. I'm not on duty." And she proceeds to keep walking.

Of bloody course! What else would his offer be interpreted as? He breaks into a jog to try and close the gap a bit, but slows to a walk when he's within ten feet of her, so as to still give her some space. "That isn't what I meant," he says, "But I'm still willing to pay your rate, just to chat briefly. I've got a proposition of a different sort for you." Already he's regretting his choice of words. The room for interpretation is staggering. He quickly amends, one last time, "It's a job offer."

Bebe pauses, if only for a moment, to turn her head and look halfway over her shoulder in order to relay, "I've already got a job." Not that it's one she particularly enjoys, duty-bound as she is to perform it, which is likely the only reason she's even bothered to stop.

"Make it quick."

Murdoch steps up, now only five feet away, close enough that he can keep his voice down, "It's a job you can do at the same time as your current one," he says, "In fact, one that your current one can assist with. But it will take a little explaining. I'd like to rent your room, pay your rate, and take the time to discuss it properly. If you don't like my terms, you can turn them down, and I'll walk away, leaving you a night's pay without having had to work for it. Sound reasonable to you?

Bebe's brow furrows somewhat unnecessarily, as if something was settling quite right with her tonight, but she turns her head a little more — shoulders, too — in order to get a better view of the man who's propositioning her. "Is this job offer something you wouldn't want my current employer to hear?"

Murdoch summons up a smile, "Nor my current employer. Very much under the table," he says, "But I'm not intended to give either of our employers any trouble over it."

Bebe's big brown eyes regard Murdoch with a carefully calculated look before she allows her brows to flatten out as they finally fail to maintain a measure of piqued curiosity. Something isn't quite right about this but Bebe would much rather be safe than sorry. "Alright," she says, pitching her chin in the direction of the Dagger down the street. "Follow me." And without further ado, she continues heading in the same direction that she had been previously, on her way back to hearth and home for the fortunate few 'good' hookers housed on Staten Island. But, two steps later, she pauses only to offer over her shoulder, "Take off the hat."

Murdoch does as he is bid. This is her turf, at least comparatively, and he'll play by her rules. He removes his hat and holds it under his arm as he follows Bebe towards the Happy Dagger. The bouncer may recognize him. He was in a couple hours ago, asking discreetly for a girl who just happened to fit Bebe's description, playing the part of the picky John. He gives the man a cordial nod and a smile, as if to say, 'Thank you for your help, I found what I was looking for.'

The Happy Dagger

Long ago, in a land far, far away… the Happy Dagger was once a happening dance club that catered to the trendy Manhattan socialites looking for a safe place to 'slum it' for the weekend. When they just had to find their way over a bridge instead of selling their soul to a ferryman to find their way across to Staten Island, that is. Now, under John Logan's management, the atmosphere may have become much more sedate, but the crowd seems to have remained the same albeit a little rougher around the edges. 's the side effect of the price you pay for selling your soul to a ferryman in order to shop for something sweet on Staten Island. Bebe leads Murdoch through the weekday denizens of the club; there aren't too many souls to be seen at this hour of the evening but, that doesn't mean this place isn't packed. There's a dark-lit stairway that requires ascension and then a hallway lined with closed doors, some of which have doorknobs decked with 'do not disturb' placards, until — at last — sanctuary.

Bebe opens the door to her room without a key and gestures inside while pressing her shoulder blades against the frame. Welcome to the hooker hotel.

Murdoch steps into Bebe's demesne, glancing around with a mild interest as he sizes up the conditions of her living. Curiosity vies with a slight case of the nerves for dominance, but in the end both have to dip their heads to the business at hand. He unbuttons his coat and slips it off, revealing his buttoned shirt and dark green tie. He folds the coat over one arm. "I appreciate this," he says, "I'm Vincent, by the way. Might I have your name?"

Closing the door in Murdoch's wake, the little whore leans against it for a another moment or two longer before traveling what must be a well-worn tread in the super shag over to the edge of the bed. "I'm Bebe," she says with a small smile crowding in at the corners of her mouth. Given that she's still appareled in her street clothes, however, the pose she claims isn't nearly so lascivious as it might seem if she were wearing nothing but lingerie. Try not to think about that, though.

The room itself isn't actually all that bad. Sure, it's not exactly a master suite, but it's sufficiently spacious and provides more than enough room for what must happen in here more often than not in order for a dollar to be earned. The one thing missing is a clock.

"A pleasure," Murdoch says, "I… well, I admit I'm having a hard time deciding how much detail to go into. But I'm this far, I suppose so," he draws himself up slightly, "I was recently called out of retirement by the NYPD," he lifts a hand, trying to ward off any immediate protest, "But it's because of my disagreements with them that I'm here. I was done with the policing business. It's only out of a sense of obligation during a time of crisis that I'm lending my hand. And prostitution is /not/ one of the factors of that crisis," he gives a wry smile, "Your profession will still be going strong when my own becomes obsolete. So… yes. I am a policeman. If that fact is intolerable to you… I won't waste more of your time. But, otherwise… I'd like to sit and talk business." He glances around again, "Any way we can get a drink in here?"

When Murdoch — make that Vincent — smirks, so does Bebe. She plays the mirror without quite realizing it, though there is a little something sad in her expression that doesn't quite relay the same level of appreciation for the joke. Instead of focusing on the business at hand, Bebe extends a gesture to the door and says, "I could call down to the bar, if you'd like?" Call down with what? There's no sign of a phone in here but, oh. Over there. By the door. A quaint little intercom system.

"I would appreciate that. A scotch on the rocks, if that wouldn't be too much to ask. And whatever you'd like, as well," he turns his hat in his hands, slowly, running fingertips along the brim, "First, may I ask you your feelings on Staten Island’s current state? Your honest opinion, if you don't mind. Not just any old platitude."

"Frankly?" A beat. "How long does it take for you people to rebuild a bridge?" You people… as in law enforcement? Or perhaps just the folks who live on that other island that boasts the heart of the legitimate city or some other group that Bebe obviously doesn't consider herself to be a part of. It's an interesting turn of phrase but, maybe it doesn't mean anything at all.

Bebe bounces herself up off of the bed and ambles the few short steps it takes to relocate over to the intercom. Depressing a button, there's a metallic buzzing sound that prefaces tin can silence. "Viv? Can I get a scotch on the rocks up here, please? And a Shirley Temple?"

The distant voice of a woman on the other end of the line says: "Sure thing, baby doll."

Murdoch gives a single 'heh' at Bebe's response, "Indeed," he says, accepting whatever association she's making, "The simple fact is that we've been ordered to keep out. Something about the risks being too great. I'm not going to comment on the salience of the strategy, that's not my bailiwick, but it is idiotic to create your own worst blindspot," he quirks his lips, "May I sit down?"

Is he serious? Bebe makes the universal 'be my guest' gesture in the direction of a rather comfy-looking chair situated in the far corner of the room while she, meanwhile, remains by the door. It's a casual sort of lingering but her posture is abruptly interrupted by a sudden thought that widens her eyes. Without further ado or explanation, she peels out of her t-shirt and tosses it over her shoulder so that it doesn't appear as though she's holding court still clad in cotton with a customer who has presumably paid to see her dressed in a whole lot less.

S'just in time, too, as there's a knock on the door not more than a moment after the shirt's hit the floor. "Thank you," she says with a smile to whoever it is that's on the other side of the wood before once again resealing the hatch and letting 'privacy' resume. Little whorephan Bebe escorts Murdoch's scotch over to wherever he's decided to seat himself and then sets her pink drink aside in order to reclaim her seat on the edge of the bed, now wearing nothing but a bra from the waist up. "So. What is it you want me to do for you?" Besides unloading that question, maybe.

Murdoch settles into the seat and takes the scotch with an appreciative nod. His lips purse slightly as he tries to orient himself to Bebe's toplessness. He's not so much wound tight as he is just plain old sheltered. When it comes to bodies sprawled about with gunshot wounds, he's just fine, but quasi-nudity up close and personal? He takes a sip, then sets the drink on the arm of the chair, "I want eyes on the Island," he says, "Nothing more than presence of mind and sharp observations, nothing to put you at risk. But I would be paying you your regular hourly rate to meet for updates, and a bonus for anything of interest you notice. As far as anyone else is concerned, I'm simply one of your regulars, so neither of us should fall under and suspicion."

"Well, gosh, when you put it that way…" Bebe leans over in order to wrap her fingers around the tall tumbler that holds her kiddie cocktail and takes a sip from the skinny straw rested against the edge in the company of a pair of ruby red cordial cherries. "…almost makes getting my tongue cut out for being a snitch seem totally worth it." That was sarcasm, clearly, but not without suggestion. Her chin adjusts its cant ever so slightly and she says, "You wanna know how to do this right? Get dirty. They find out you're a clean cop around here, you and I'll both end up dead. But, if there's something you're looking for that they might be able to provide that's a little bit less than legal…? Something they think they might be able to hang over your head…? They'll set you up with a suite in here if you can make it worth their while."

The detective's expression goes a little taut. This would be easier to take if she weren't so obviously right. He attempts a smile, though it ends up much closer to a grimace, which is of course much closer to how he feels. "Wouldn't my very presence here be enough?" he asks, reaching for what he knows must be straws, "I'm afraid I'm not particularly good at breaking the law. This… right here… is, probably obviously, my first attempt." He takes another drink, more a gulp this time, "Still, suggest something to me. What do you think a good training sin might be?"

"An addiction to something other than flesh is usually a good place to start," she says with the straw to her Shirley Temple still stuck in the corner of her mouth. There's something in her eyes that suggests she might even be speaking from some sort of personal experience but the pristine insides of her elbows say otherwise.

Murdoch lifts a hand to rub the bridge of his nose, "I would rather not do anything that would compromise the reputation of my division," he says, "I imagine marijuana wouldn't be seen as too considerable a black eye. Hardly addictive, but certainly illegal." There is something just a touch petulant in his tone as he says this. "Very well. If visiting you is not enough dirt for them, then I'll make sure to purchase some restricted substances on my way out. That pledged, are you interested in my offer? Do you have further questions for me?"

Restricted substances. Pledged. Who is this guy?? Bebe mulls over the man's offer in a manner that suggests some apprehension or nervousness; she's chewing on the tip of her skinny straw and looking off into the opposite corner thoughtfully. "Let me sleep on it?" she asks, finally lifting her chin and bringing her brown-eyed gaze back around to lay on Murdoch for a little while longer.

Murdoch's tone is maybe just a bit snide, "I should hold off on buying the reefer, then?" the way he uses the outdated term makes it sound like he's pronouncing a foreign word, over-enunciated and with undue care. He lifts the scotch to his lips and finishes it in a single long drink. Nodding, he sets the glass back down. "Giving you a number to call seems unwise. When and where can I meet with you again to hear your decision?"

"Tomorrow," she says succinctly. "Six o'clock. Tuck's pawn shop." While she fails to specify an 'am' or 'pm' amendment, odds are Gilbert Tucker probably doesn't open at the crack of dawn.

Murdoch gets to his feet, stepping forward and offering his hand to Bebe. His eyes remain rather pointedly on hers, a sure sign that he is suppressing the natural impulse to ogle. "I shall see you then," he says, "I appreciate your bearing it this far."

The kiddie cocktail is once again rested on the small side table located next to the bed and Bebe very thoughtfully smears the residual condensation left on her palm against the dry denim on her thigh before accepting Murdoch's offered hand. No need to give him a clammy farewell after he's been such a gentleman. "Take care," she says. Her tone of voice suggests that just might be a genuine sentiment she's seeing him off with. Before she relinquishes her grip, however, she says, "Don't look anyone in the eye on your way out."

This suggestion elicits a smile from the older man. He nods just before their hands part. "Understood," he says, and turns to gather his coat and hat from where he set them, next to the chair. He slips the former on, but keeps the latter in his hand. Hats aren't to be worn indoors, after all. "Good evening, Miss Bebe," he says, and turns to go.

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