Twelve

Participants:

cardinal_icon.gif cat_icon.gif eliot_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif zoe_icon.gif

Scene Title Twelve
Synopsis Bidding commences on the final Brill painting.
Date March 19, 2009

Shooters Bar and Bistro


Shooters Bar and Bistro isn't the classiest place in New York to hold an auction, but neither is Staten Island itself — which makes it perfect for sloughing off illicit merchandise when things back on Manhattan start getting hot. Over the course of the evening, the auctioneer has sold everything from exquisite sets of diamond jewelry dating back to the 1920's to a rundown periwinkle van that sits idling outside, its tacky paintjob glowing resplendently in the sun's dying light. Brilliant fingers of yellow and gold filter in through the bistro's front windows and squeeze through the venetian blinds that its proprietor has erected specially for tonight's occasion.

The final item up for bid sits on an easel raised above the crowd and the platform upon which the auctioneer stands behind his wooden podium. It's a painting done mostly in dark colours by an artist that the auctioneer will only identify as "the late Mr. Brill", and depicts five shadowy figures standing upon a craggy precipice while lightning crackles blue-white in the background, forming the shape of gargantuan man.

The auctioneer thunders his gavel to quell his audience's assembled murmuring. "Bidding for Villains starts at six thousand dollars."

Zoe totally recognizes that periwinkle van, but she is not here to fuss over it. She still has Teo Laudani's contact number (granted, under a name that was not his own), and makes a note to herself to get the plate number on it, if it even has plates. She's standing next to Eliot, having declined any drinks from this locale, undoubtedly the seediest place she's ever been in her life. She refuses to look uncomfortable. She raises her hand. "Six thousand."

Eliot looks comfortable anywhere. He has a beer in his hand, and his other hand is on the small of Zoe's back, to keep her calm. He takes a drink of the piss-tasting-beer and enjoys it. Because growing up an orphan, you drink a lot of things that are worse than piss-tasting-beer.

The auction of the periwinkle-hued van stirred some dark amusement in Cardinal as it went up upon the block, though he didn't bid on it; its secrets, as far as he knows, have been explored thoroughly. Indeed, he might be more or less overlooked, sitting a bit out of the way at a table with everyone's favorite pawn shop owner. As the final item is brought out, though, that causes the thief to lean forward—one arm resting on the table's surface, gaze lingering on the paint. "Hell-o," he murmurs — not raising his hand to bid just yet, glancing over to Tuck.

"Well. Isn't this a touch of serendipity, hmm? Don't you, don't you have a buyer for that particular item there, my friend?" Tuck tilts his chin up and presses a finger to his lips. He considers the painting, then glances over at Cardinal over the top of his glasses. "What was your client willing to pay again?"

Having been here for some time, engaged in calm and quiet observation, Cat's task is performed simply by being present to see and hear whatever is seen and heard. The various items auctioned off haven't drawn much interest from her, but one never knows. She's got the iPhone on her person, a thing used here and there to capture photographic images without drawing attention for doing so as it doesn't have a flash. It looks like she's listening to music from time to time and choosing songs among the contents.

The painting causes a mild lifting of a single brow, however. Since arriving in New York and moving in the circles she does, the panmnesiac has become well aware a painting can at times be more than just art. Eyes travel around to see who seems interested. Zoe making her bid is observed, as well as Cardinal with Tuck. She lets a few beats go by before catching a photo of the painting.

"Six fifty!" someone in the crowd shouts out, but before the auctioneer can acknowledge their bid, another voice cuts them off with, "Seven grand!"

Luckily for Zoe, there don't appear to be many art aficionados in the audience tonight — most of the crowd came here for other things they knew would be on the menu. Paint splashed across an old canvas doesn't hold a lot of intrinsic value for most of the individuals in attendance. Already, throngs toward the back of the bistro are already beginning to filter out in a thin, disjointed stream of boots and shoes scuffing against the hardwood underfoot. "Seven grand," says the auctioneer. "Do I hear seven fifty?"

Zoe puts her hand up, calling for a hold. She approaches the painting, peering at intently, not so much at the picture but at the nature of the paint. She doesn't touch it, but she stares at a small corner for a good long time. Then, straightening, she informs the auctioneer, "Eight." With that, she returns to her place next to Eliot.

Eliot is waiting for Zoe when she arrives again, leaning his forehead against the back of her head and smiling. "It's kind of hot when you get all rich and demanding," he opines quietly.

"I don't think that we can compete with certain people'n this crowd, honestly, Tuck," Cardinal admits with a slight shake of his head to Tuck's words, though his gaze lingers on the red-head in the glasses and suit, his voice softening still further, "…which doesn't mean we can't still pick up some've the action, of course…"

The other calls of bids bring his attention over here and there, though, eyes moving behind the shield of his sunglasses—only to notice, finally, another woman sitting there. A brow appears over the edge, furrowed a bit at the unexpected sight of Cat. Then back to the auction.

"Well sir, all we have to do is acquire the painting for a little less than what your buyer is willing to pay for it. I can help you front the capital. It just so happens I dug into my kitty just in case something piqued my interest at this auction." Tuck glances from the painting to Cardinal and raises a glass of tomato juice to his lips. Not a Bloody Mary - just straight tomato juice.

The bespectacled redhead and her perusal of the corner on that piece catch Cat's eye, there's a touch of curiosity about what she was looking at or for there, but she remains nonchalant for the most part. It's not missed that Zoe seems to place value and intent on acquiring it. Idle consideration is given to making her own bid of ten thousand just to see what would happen, but is soon placed aside. She already has the artwork photographed, and that's all she really needs if it does turn out to be something significant.

Zoe's approach toward the easel and the painting leaning against it earns her a few reproachful looks from those nearby, including one of the other bidders, but the auctioneer gives her a tentative, tight-lipped smile, idly tapping his gavel against his pant leg as she inspects the painting. "Very well," he announces. "Eight! Do I hear eight-fift—"

"Nine-fifty!"

"Ten!"

And so, significant or not, it continues…

"I'll try to make an effort to be rich and demanding more often in the future, then." Zoe murmurs back to Eliot. She continues to listen to the bidding as it raises with a small smile starting to curve her lips. She's enjoying this. She lifts her hand. "Twelve."

"You skipped a whole grand. If I were your bed mate, that would totally earn you extra special bonus sex," Eliot tells Zoe with a small smile. He's waiting until such a moment presents itself where his particular skills might come into play. For now, he's just teasing her.

"I think we've just gone over my buyer," mutters Cardinal under his breath as there's that shout of 'ten' and then 'twelve' from the redhead, leaning back just a bit in the chair. One hand lifts, fingers curling in to scratch at the side of his neck, "Christ. Twelve? What's so valuable about…" He shifts a bit, reaching into his jacket and pulling out a phone. Thumb flips it open, scrolls down through a list of contacts, and taps against the keypad to send a text. It doesn't go far - just over to Cat's phone. Any idea why everyone wants this damn thing? Not exactly high art, here. -Card

"Me oh my," says Tuck as he takes note of the bidders and takes a closer look at the canvas. "Mmm. Just as well anyway. From the way people are salivating over this thing, they'd probably try to break into my place to take it if we did get our mitts on it." And then his face lights up and a tiny smile curls. He leans towards Cardinal and murmurs. "Think maybe we should tail the redhead if she wins it? See where she takes it?" Why pay for legitimately what you can steal?

Idk, Cat texts back when her phone shows the message he sent. Ntnd 2 find out. Xprnce sez art may prdict. She's still watching, very much planning to find out just who that redhead is. She may keep watch over her for a bit after the auction concludes herself to see if anyone attempts to snatch it away. Two silenced pistols are hidden under her coat, after all, just in case things get rough. This being Staten Island, Cat knows it's very possible and is beginning to make nonchalant assessments of which attendees seem most likely to try such a move.

The bidding falters are twelve. There's a long stretch of silence from the other contenders, punctuated by oscillating voices elsewhere in the crowd. Apparently Cardinal isn't the only one out there wondering why someone would be willing to pay over ten thousand dollars for what amounts to something that gathers dust on a wall.

"Twelve grand, going once?"

Why? Because the man who is like a father Zoe told her to retrieve the Brill paintings, at any cost. And that's what Zoe's going to do. This being Staten Island, there are a few Lindy-thugs waiting to transport it back to the archive of course, but none of this is information anyone has to know. She is of course, prepared to bid higher, but contentedly waits to see if anyone will challenge her final bid.

"Man, if I say thirteen, you'll never have sex with me. So I'll just keep quiet," Eliot says with a smile, resting is chin on Zoe's shoulder.

"You've been hanging around me for way too long, Tuck," Cardinal replies with a private, unpleasant little smile of his own, "You're reading my mind, now." It takes him a moment or three to decipher the text, part of the last line remaining entirely out of his vocabulary. He just doesn't have the frame of reference to understand it. So he lets it go with a shrug, thumb tapping in a response. redhd ID?

"Oh no, no. It just means that we're both brilliant," Tuck deadpans. He clucks his tongue and keeps an eye on the auction. Risk assessment time. No use considering a caper if the gain isn't going to be high enough. That's how he's managed to become a nearly 40 year old criminal. That takes talent.

Unkwn, Cat replies by text. Will lrn. It isn't lost on her the way interest has waned with the bidding at twelve thousand. She considers bidding thirteen for it, just to see what will happen as a result, but it might make the redhead bow out and stick her with an item she already photo'd, plus the worry of needing to move it off this lawless island through possible robbery attempts. That idea is discarded.

By the time "Twelve grand, going twice," rolls around, the discontented grumbling from the other bidders has dwindled into nothing. The gavel comes down with a thunderous bang. "Sold!" the auctioneer booms. "To the little redhead with the glasses! That concludes tonight's bidding. Those of you who've won items can collect them from security in twenty minutes, but be advised that we won't be admitting anyone into the back room without proof of payment."

Only then does Zoe's brain play catchup with what Eliot's been saying at her shoulder, and she abruptly flushes, making her look momentarily like a birthday candle in a business suit. Collecting herself, she turns to face Eliot. "Our principle," she says, gently stressing it so that it's clear that they probably don't want to swing the Linderman name around, "Will be quite pleased."

"Aw, I'm sure he will." Eliot smiles at her and then glances over the auction gathering, hands in his pockets. He's such a pleasant guy; just standing there, being nice.

The phone's clicked shut after the last message is recieved, and Cardinal tucks it back into his jacket. "No argument there," he replies, flashing a roguish smile to his companion-in-crime before pushing himself up to his feet, rising as so many others do. Rather than heading for the exit, though, the man heads instead for the bathroom, shoving the door open and disappearing inside.

It's a handy place to leave unwanted things behind, like corporeality.

Tuck has no idea what Cardinal can do. Which is just as well. That's the kind of thing he might let slip when some thug is shaking him down for money. For now, he just does what he does best - watch, listen, observe. If there's a way to make a profit out of this evening, he's fairly sure the opportunity will present itself.

Her observance continues, eyes sweeping across Cardinal briefly as he excuses himself, then Cat turns her thoughts back to Zoe. Has she seen this woman before? She hadn't taken time to think of it before, but… the whole thing with Nalani and Grace caused her to do some research and read the most recent issue of a magazine the woman publishes. It's here she finds the identity in question. The article and photo appears in her mind's eye briefly. No glasses in that image, but it's her, of this Cat is sure. One more text goes to Cardinal. Rdhd=Lndrmn.

"Come with me when they call for people to make payment." Zoe murmurs softly to Eliot. In point of fact, she'll give him a nudge to finish his drink so they can start heading over there. Man, this chick is bossy. She accepts congratulations offered by strangers with low murmurs of thanks and nods of her head, though this isn't the sort of crowd to be overly welcoming about such matters.

Eliot doesn't care if she's bossy. He finishes his drink and totally fakes tripping as he follows her, one hand on her elbow to balance himself, the other on her butt to… well, there's a reason he doesn't care she's bossy. He eyes her cheeks for the tell-tale flush.

Whether or not that last message is read beforehand, well, there's none to see one way or the other. Cardinal, however, doesn't visibly return from the oh-so-lovely facilities of the cafe. A shadow slips under the door, taking advantage of the poor lighting to flicker from one to the next, stirring beneath tables and briefly hitching a ride in the shadow of a man walking in the right direction as he tails the pair who purchased that painting that's drawn so much interest.

Tuck waits a few minutes for Cardinal to come back, then shrugs and scribbles a note on a napkin. It just says 'back at shop. See you later. - T.' Who needs txt msgs when you have ink on damp napkin? He grabs for his coat, takes a moment to examine the painting, then steps out of the bar to head for home.

There is temptation to approach Zoe and speak with her, but like earlier contemplations this too is discarded. Cat opts not to draw attention to herself by doing so; Staten Island isn't a place she wants to have her name spoken or speak it, nor does it seem a good idea to let the redhead know they've the link of having known Dani between them. The man with Zoe is regarded again briefly when he trips and his hand settles on her backside, but the interest passes. Cat makes her way to the door and outside, headed home to Manhattan.

Zoe flushes and scowls at the man beside her - but she doesn't stave him off from following her. Whatever credentials she presents to those offering admittance to the back area is palm-sized and hard to see, and thus, she and Eliot disappear from sight.



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Previously in this storyline…
Arisen

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Plus One

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