80 Proof


deckard_icon.gif sacha_icon.gif

Scene Title 80 Proof
Synopsis Deckard's day at the beach is interrupted by some French guy who practically begs to have a gun pointed in his face. Then there are magic tricks.
Date February 2, 2009

Coney Island

Coney Island. It's creepy. Abandoned, rusted, grey. Flashes of color disrupt the muddied mix of sand and snow that marks the water line's uppermost reach at high tide, which is some time other than now. Part of an old umbrella here, some miscellaneous shell of plastic over there. Even shut down and sheltered from most by being a painfully cold and undesirable place to be, the beach appropriately bears humanity's mark in the form of assorted garbage.

It's getting late. 5:30, maybe 5:45, with deep blue already climbing up over the watery horizon ahead and gaudier gold taking hold on the city behind. Deckard has found a chair. Theoretically a lawn chair, but he's dropped it out on the beach, so. As far as he's concerned, it's a beach chair. He's a lone figure for a mile or two down at least, rumpled and grey in the wrap of his overcoat, with a brown-bagged bottle on one knee and his legs stretched out long ahead of him. Maybe he's asleep.

The last few days have been distressing, to say the least, though for some people much more than for others. For Sacha, any sort of bad feeling has been entirely self-inflicted - he wasn't involved in any direct way at all, after all, and the only thing that does link him is the fact that it involved Evolved people. Not a group that he generally identifies with, but that's out of a sense of uncertainty more than any desire to NOT be involved. Trying to find a place for yourself to fit in the world can be hard, especially when you already figured you had one.

He's been taking walks after work, of late, generally short ones that won't take him out past curfew, but today he finds himself wandering along a more southerly route, and one less determined. Letting his mind wander for the hour between leaving his job and feeling forced to be home, he eventually makes his way toward the remains of the once crowded theme park, now an empty husk that the philosophical Frenchman finds as a handy metaphor for the way things are going lately. The figure on the beach is noted, although, given that it's still some distance away, not pursued. Sacha strolls down the sidewalk, hands in pockets, no particular goal in mind.

The last few months have been distressing. The lines etched into Deckard's face and the grey that's taken hold in his stubble collection have a lot to say on the subject. All the other parts of him are currently pretty taciturn — if definitely not asleep. Where there's movement in the shadow of steel structure and abandoned hot dog stands, there's answering movement from the beach. Deckard turns his head, dark sunglasses catching obnoxiously bright against the setting sun at his back while he squints at Sacha.

Company. Probably not a cop if he's alone out here. Doesn't look like National Guard material either. Or maybe he does, by virtue of the fact that he doesn't. No guns, though. Bony fingers rapped idly across the crappy rest they're splayed over, Deckard considers his options. Some of them involve standing. One or two involve running.

The laziest of them merely involve raising his voice.

"Hey. HEY. Are you a cop?"

Sacha lifts his head a bit. A voice? … Oh right, dead guy on the beach. He looks around for a moment anyway, just to make sure there isn't anyone else here that the other fellow could possibly be addressing, before finally shouting, "What?"

Not that he didn't actually hear it, but the question takes a moment to register.

"Non!" It's really more of a 'no', but the accent makes it come out in French. He alters his trajectory to head down towards the beach, hands coming out of his pockets to balance himself in case of any slippery patches. Or catch himself in the event of a fall, of course. Approaching Deckard, he squints against the sunset, holding a hand over his eyes as he looks over at the man, still a bit of a ways away. "What are you doing out here?" Unmistakably heavy accent. There's a pause in his words, then, with a matching pause in his approach. "…Are you a cop?"

'Non,' the guy says. …Did he say 'non?' Immediately skeptical, Deckard sits up a little, twisting himself stiffly around to get a better look. Young, lanky, still gunless. The lines drawn out across the older man's forehead are easily visible from afar. He looks a little rough around the edges — the brown bag and a few isolated scrapes nearly healed across the side of his face working together to paint a less than pretty picture of the sorts of things he gets up to when he's not vacationing at the beach in the dead of winter. Fifteen minutes before curfew.

"You're French," is his eventual reply to all questions posed to him so far. Observant as well as evasive! "Would you believe me if I said yes?"

Sacha remains paused where he stands, running a hand over his hat and ultimately scratching the back of his head. Frowning, both thoughtfully and with some perplexion. "How does me being French mean I will not believe you?" His English grammar isn't all that great, sometimes. Compound sentences, most especially. Given that he's standing still now, he puts his hands back in his pockets, standing at a bit of an angle as he looks Deckard over.

Not terribly attractive, this one. At least not when he's vacationing on the beach in winter. Things probably can't be going too great when one's life goes down this path. "If you say you are not a cop, I will believe you are not a cop." Pause again. "You have not given me a reason not to believe what you say, yet."

"Being French is just unfortunate all around," Deckard departs as if Sacha should already know, almost as if it's a little sad that nobody else has gotten around to telling him. Sunglasses tipped down long enough for him to get a more complete view of his new friend, he pushes them back up onto the bridge of his nose and sets his jaw in a steep aside. Considering.

"What if…I told you to give me your wallet?" Considering finished! His brows lift sharply, genuinely inquiring, though he remains seated, so so perhaps not a tremendous threat to Sacha's structural integrity.

Sacha just shakes his head quietly, running that hand over his head again. "Oh, very droll. It is very amusing to Americans to make a joke of France, non?" Rolling his eyes, he crouches a bit lower to the ground, arms folded inward, watching Deckard for a moment. Shakes his head again. "If you asked me for my wallet, I would probably say, '«Who are you? I have no business with you, please go away.»'" The quote in French, of course.

In any event, at this point he decides it's about time to move on to more productive conversation. "What are you doing out here?" If there are any public advertisements mentioning Deckard's being wanted for murder, Sacha either hasn't noticed them, or hasn't cared enough to commit them to memory. "It's cold." Pause. "It's winter. And it's almost bedtime." Curfew. "You are planning on getting sick?"

"I'd be doing my countrymen a disservice if I allowed the opportunity to pass me by." Flint Deckard the patriot. He doesn't really look the part, particularly when you get down to some of the tattoos he's wearing under other tattoos, but he's hardly skinhead material either. Just some scruffy guy out drinking by himself on a snowy beach.

Meanwhile, Sacha isn't handing his wallet over. He's crouching. Speaking in tongues, continuing the conversation with more questions, none of which seem likely to make him any richer. Annoyance creases in fuzzily around his mouth and harder around his eyes, but he declines to reach for his gun, or anything else. "I could ask you all of the same questions."

Shaking his head again - though this time with disagreement moreso than disgust - Sacha replies simply, "You could." He even almost seems about to answer one before interrupting himself. "But why would I answer a question that you will not? We may start simply if you like. I am not aiming to get sick, because I am walking. You are sitting on the beach, which probably means you will be here longer than me. Non?"

Maybe he is a cop. Lots of questions for a random passerby. Maybe he just likes the company, however uncouth it may be. "In any event, Monsieur Stranger, I think you should answer questions if you want me to answer any more. I have noticed your game."

A sigh forced out through sinuses that remain clear enough despite the biting cold, Deckard lifts his bottle of booze for a swallow and offers it over without looking. From attempted robbery to generous offer of bagged Crown Royal. The French and Canadians are kind of alike, right?

"I have a boat to catch before long. So, no. I don't intend to get sick. And I dunno what I'm doing out here. Sitting." He is sitting. One boot is lifted and dropped again lazily across the other, evidence that he can still feel his feet. "Are you sure you don't want to give me your wallet? Like, one hundred percent sure? I could put a gun to your head."

Curiously, Sacha tilts his head at the bottle of booze. Tempting. He reaches out to take the bottle, after a moment's thought, although for the moment he doesn't yet drink from it. Maybe it's poisoned, he doesn't think to himself. "I bought my wallet from a store in Venice. It is handmade and not irreplaceable, but it would be harder to get a new one than I like. I do not know anyone in Italy." A pause. "I do know an Italian boy, but he probably would not do me the favor, and I suspect that being Italian does not mean that you also have Italian wallet connections." A small joke there, at which he does not laugh.

He takes a quick drink from the bottle, cringing briefly but otherwise swallowing it without trouble. A joke could be made here. The bottle is passed back over, and a thought occurs. "…You are waiting for a boat on a.." Pause, and frown. "What is the word? 'Nothing is here anymore.' Why would a boat come to such a place?"

"It's not coming here. I'm just waiting for it to get dark." Long fingers take up the bottle's neck when it's offered back, the squat base still heavy with alcohol when it's dropped down into the sand at his opposite side. Fortunately it lands mouth up and ass down. It's not exactly cheap.

"You could keep the Italian parts and give me everything else." Only one brow lifts this time, his head tipped over in a long-faced offer of compromise that does not quite manage to qualify as larceny or begging, but some ineffectual blend between the two. There isn't really enough liquor on his breath for him to be sincere either, which mostly leaves being crazy or being an asshole. "I knew an Italian guy. He could take you. No contest."

"Given that your relationship was apparently in the past, perhaps he would not, however." Sacha smirks a bit. "In any case, I explain this because if anything, I would give you the Italian parts and keep the rest. You asked me for my wallet, not the contents, oui?" Smartass.

"I am told it is dangerous after dark now. Terrible people running around. I am not certain it is as terrible as they make it sound, but your country likes people to always be too afraid of everything to mind their own business, I have seen. At times I wonder why I stay here." There is another pause there. He frowns, looking down at the sand, and for a minute he genuinely gives a moment's consideration to that thought. "…Easier than leaving, I suppose."

"He's dead." Matter-of-fact and bland even for that, Deckard lets his head loll forward again out of its tilt, bristled chin tipped nearly to his chest while he peers down at his boots through the black screen of his glasses. When he reaches into his coat, it's with about all the energy and fire of any other vaguely inebriated American dickhead who might be interested in a smoke to help combat the cold.

"I've been here long enough to know that it's best to err on the side of caution when someone says you should be afraid." When his hand drags backwards out from beneath his label, the metal length of a revolver trails it out in the place of a pack of cigarettes, and it is already pointed at Sacha. Kuh-lick. He thumbs over the hammer. "Consider this a practical lesson in self-preservation." His mouth thins, goes hard. Whatever homeless sort of friendliness there was about him has faded, leaving behind about as much evidence on his face as the ghost of his last breath. "Give me your wallet. Or I'll even out the odds between you and the Italian."

There is a bit of tension in Sacha's expression, but for the moment, he doesn't seem appropriately frightened for having the barrel of a gun pointed at his face. Could this be some sort of French bravado?! "I wonder…" he muses for a moment, thoughtfully. Frowning a bit, he pulls his arms back behind himself, crossing them at the small of his back, in a gesture only coincidentally reminiscent of a man standing before a firing squad.

"Truly, I carry only a few of dollars with myself." His grammar's faltering; probably more nervous than he's letting on. "But I have a small trick that I wonder would work, if you would like to see." A pause there. "I do not like to show it to other persons but now I think maybe it would be a good thing to try. A type of magic trick." He's probably crazy. "If you truly are going to shoot me, however, I will jump to giving you the money."

This isn't quite right. No quivering, begging, fumbling for the wallet before the gun's muzzle. Middling in length, it's neither snubbed or cowboy in its proportions. It is what it is. Deckard turns his head a little behind it. Trying to see around the corner of where this is headed, maybe.

He doesn't fire. His trigger finger does not actually curl in behind the guard, but stays straight on, aware enough of the potential problems a hint of misjudged pressure could cause. There's a moment's hesitation, then slowly, slowly, he hooks his thumb up again to release the hammer. Maybe a magic trick offered in the face of potential death is worth seeing.

Maybe Deckard should listen to his own advice on self-preservation.

"Show me."

Now it's Sacha's turn to be a bit hesitant. "…I had hoped you would insist on the money," he admits. He lowers himself down to the ground, sitting back on his ankles in Asian-style sitting posture, and cracks his knuckles in front of himself. "Well." Now he just looks even more nervous, and sheepishly adds, "It does not always work." Nodding a moment, he clears his throat, then does a few vocal exercises. Three or four "Ahh"s, at varying ranges. Getting the cords ready.

Frowning in thought for a moment - this really is taking a lot longer than it should, part of it stalling and part of it him trying to relax himself enough to make the 'trick' work. "Look," he adds abruptly, shaking his head. "It is.. a small bit embarrassing to me, so please do not mention this, d'accord?" Nodding with the assumption that there will be an agreement to this clause, he clears his throat again and starts to … sing. In a way. One steady note, but he steadily raises the pitch. Resonating, one might even say. Eventually, however, he finds the precise note he's looking for and holds it for a few seconds.. at which point a nearby bottle of liquor can be heard to shatter, expensive booze staining the sand beneath it. And he stops, a bit too abruptly, coughing a bit.

"… … My apologies. But you had asked."

He's singing. The French guy is singing.

"…Wow," says Deckard, having let just enough of an awkward silence pass that it's even more embarrassing than it would have been otherwise. His cold-numbed fingers adjust carefully around the grip of his gun, lifted and replaced one at a time while he leans over to inspect the soggy, ruined remains of bag and bottle. It's seriously broken. Into many pieces, in fact. The fingers of his free hand touch lightly over the bag.

Theeen his full attention is back up and around on Sacha. Having endured the soundmaking itself in hollowly amused silence, he's lost even that much good humor in the time it's taken him to calculate how much he probably had left, ounces to dollars. "Now I'm in the red."

Clearing his throat again, Sacha repeats, "You had asked." He pauses. "I could try the same with the gun, but I am not certain what else would go in between." Lifting a hand up in a defensive sort of way, the other hand goes to his back pocket, removing his wallet. He opens it, pulling out two ten dollar bills, a five, and a one. Twenty-six dollars. Wallet goes back to his pocket, and he then goes to dig through a front pocket for loose change. Two presidential dollar coins are extracted, along with some other miscellaneous coinage which, along with the bills, adds up to $29.81.

Consolidating the money into one hand, he holds it out, his expression a bit … lame. "I do not carry much money with me until I go out at night, and with the bedtime we have now, I have not been doing that, so I carry money only enough for meals until I return home after work." His tone is almost apologetic, even though he's the one being robbed here. "I am sure you will regain your liquor at some point; it is only money."

"You could, but I wouldn't." Deckard had asked, it's true, but superpowers aren't magic and he didn't count on having his whiskey disappeared. Irritation rides taut in the clench of his jaw and the flex of his grip, unfaltering while Sacha wisely gets to counting.

It isn't until he gets down to the spare change that Deckard sighs again, exasperated. Twenty-nine eighty one. Guess it only stands to reason that someone stupid enough to be wandering around out here at this hour would be poor.

He takes a ten, the single bill snapped out from beneath its companions and the pile of change with his left hand and little ceremony as he stands. The bag and broken glass are left behind. Not like there isn't already an assload of it out here anyway.

Pushing himself back up to his feet, Sacha brushes himself off, fiddling with the collar on his jacket. Hrmph. "You DID ask," he repeats for something like the third time, more defensive with this insistence. Grumbling to himself, he repeats it yet again. Then, "I didn't have to do it." With another hmph, he looks Deckard over, and sighs. "It is just money. If I ever see you again and I have money, I will buy for you a new bottle. I apologized, and you were going to kill me for thirty dollars, so it only is fair that you have some penalty, I think."

He isn't poor, he's just smart enough not to carry around his life savings when he could very well get mugged for it. Thirty dollars may be 'just money', but add larger amounts or credit cards into the mix and it becomes a headache. "I am not going to try for the gun," he concludes. "As I said, I may break something else instead. «Like your brittle old man hip.»"

"If I was going to kill you, it would be for being a smartass." There's an air of slack-shouldered defeat about Deckard. The sort that can only come from an attempted armed robbery that ends with him out twenty bucks worth of booze but with a ten dollar tip and some uppity French booger insulting him for his trouble. The ten dollar bill is folded over and tucked into his pocket. The gun stays on Sacha while he goes about it, more out of habit than anything.

A few clods of damp snow and sand are kicked over the bottle's remains — his contribution to a safer, cleaner New York — and with one last dirty look, he's off. The night is falling faster now, and it's only a matter of time before moving on the street gets to be a really, really big pain in the ass.

February 2nd: Dem Bones
February 2nd: Seek To Know
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