A Serious Problem


joanna_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title A Serious Problem
Synopsis Joanna drops by and Vincent learns that everyone in New York has one.
Date September, 7 2010

Vincent's Apartment

Vincent's apartment is isolated.

It's also big. Open. Spacious. And expensively furnished — contemporary in a masculine way, light carpet, wood and walls offset by black leather furniture and the odd piece of abstract art. There's a view of the bay from the balcony, just far enough away to take advantage of the silvery flatter of moonlight off glassy black water with none of the stench.

There's a large flatscreen television, of course — currently off like everything else, screen a soulless span of grey to match the shadows cast long around the living room by ambient city light. Vincent's seated on a footrest at the end of his armchair while he waits, black electric bass balanced lazily across his knees. He's in his suit, still, glare gone brackish in its unfocused drift through cigarette smoke while he plucks out the lead into We Gotta Get Out of this Place at half speed.

There are a couple've windows open to help the smoke circulate but it's not really helping — by now the stale scent of tobacco's seeped into everything. He probably won't get his deposit back.
Joanna might have belonged in a place like this, if the contraception measures they had taken hadn't failed.

They might still have been together and delivering some things might have been a lot easier. Or maybe they wouldn't. There's a mass amount of If's in the equation that frankly would make even Edward Ray shudder at trying to compute. But this isn't her place and she doesn't have the ability to transform into asshole and slip in under the door. Not for lack of wanting at times. So a very solid hand raps on the door with knuckles.

A sharper intake of breath at the rap plunges Vincent back into icy reality. Both hands still and the instrument is disengaged; he shrugs out've the strap as he stands and sets it carefully down into the chair behind him. Smoke weaves thin in his wake when he pads his way to the door, cigarette worn down nearly to the filter, shiny shoes kicked off at some point for all that he's retained everything else.

All the way down to his tie clip.

A couple've lights are flicked on in hazy afterthought before he reaches the door, bleeding normalcy into the gloom before he tips a look through the peep hole and works the lock.

When he opens the door, he is precisely 5'8." Bald, getting a little grizzled around the carefully kempt layer of stubble he maintains. Tired, probably. A little hollow about the eyes. "Morning," he says. Because it is, technically.

“One Colette Demskey has me playing deliverywoman Vincent"

No good morning, no hello Vincent how are you, nice to see you're still in a suit. Joanna in a mulberry suit and ready for a day in the office despite whatever day it might be stands outside his apartment door, expecting to be invited in. "Our Daughter was on Staten Island and hurt. Do you have any idea, why our daughter might have been hurt and doesn't want to tell us?"

Not yet adjusted to the light despite that last half-hearted effort at the switches, Vincent knits his brows over a puffy squint that speaks of sleeplessness as much as it does ignorance. Colette who?

Cigarette unplugged and held aloft, black eyes swept down to take in mulberry and sensible shoes, he is forced at length to confess further ignorance with a light shake of his head and a lift at his near shoulder. No idea. He doesn't invite her in, either. Not thinking. "Presumably because she was doing something she shouldn't have been."

GREAT LEAPS OF LOGIC. That's why they pay him the big bucks.

"Quite obviously. She's running around with scarf on in the middle of a heat wave" Joanna doesn't wait to be invited in. Just turns around to walk around or squeeze past him so she can start digging in her briefcase for the manila envelope bearing what she was supposed to bring. "Her girlfriend broke into my apartment. She can apparently, on top of her little light tricks turn invisible"

Rooting through even as steps carry her further in to the apartment, uncaring that Vincent might not want her there. "Spoke that you had been wheeling and dealing with her little groupof… the Ferry. That she couldn't be seen passing these to you so asked me to pass it along. Also wanted me to watch them so that I would… understand"

The envelope is brandished in one hand, held out as if it were just some other legal brief and not a cellphone with pictures on it and two drives with video's on them.

Vincent doesn't seem to mind. He's not even resigned to her presence, really. More acting under the assumption that she'd let herself in when she was ready to. And she did.

Door nudged shut after her, he follows in his socks with a hint of a hitch in his step, cigarette stifled into a tray on the corner of his little-used dining table in passing. The windows are still open; a clean breeze filters in through the screens in fits and starts. The only papers to stir are a copy of yesterday's Times and a few glossy brochures on the coffee table. Every one of them politely urgers the reader to register.

He takes the envelope once he's caught up with her, manila turned over crisp in his hands so that he can thumb at the brad while he practices trying not to let his jaw hinge out into a belligerent jut. "I'm sorry she's bothering you, but for the record," he says, "we're not. Wheeling and dealing."

The first disk slides out into his waiting left hand and he turns it over, contempt dry in the pull of his nostrils while he tries to rally enough energy to make heads or tails of it.

"This is what happens when you have a terrorist organization run by the Spice Girls."

"Really? Spice Girls? You don't say" The soft sided briefcase is dropped to the floor, lean against a piece of furniture with a glance to the bass that makes wrinkles appear on her forehead when she stares at him. "Did I make you nolstagic?" But barrels straight on and not expecting an answer. "A woman, that was in a white coffin, asking for her babies. The other one is interviews with people in her little group of terrorists talking about what they all saw during the visions. She wanted me to pass them onto you. She also found the man who was in my own visions, the Russian. Name of Sasha"

"…Maybe a little," confessed blandly on the subject of nostalgia, Vincent sizes her up while she stares at him, too worn out (And stoned? He looks a little stoned.) to care overmuch about the implications. Or anything else right now, all the way down to the manilla envelope and the CD he's already extracted.

Still, he crosses the living room for the flatscreen and its associated DVD player once she's given him a synopsis of the contents. The door is opened; the DVD is inserted. The door is closed. The television flares brilliant blue, painting itself bold over every available surface. "Sasha who?"

"Damned if I know Vincent. Next time there's a episode of mass visions, i'll make sure to see something where he's wearing a name tag or pause in my dying to ask him his name" It comes off snippy, annoyed that he'd think to ask her that. "His picture is on the phone" Which was also in the envelope. She's seen it all before, the contents of both and even has copies tucked away in her place in some deep dark corner of her apartment just in case.

You never know. "You don't need to bring in the extra agents, I'm taking Tasha and her girlfriend on a cruise the week of. If that doesn't work, well… There's always having her arrested"

"Her girlfriend and co-conspirator Colette Demskey, who broke into your home and asked you to give these to me." Reciting as he would a phone number so as to better commit fact to memory, Vincent manages to find the right remote control without two much shuffling and tabs play. The screen turns black; Lazzaro scuffs a hand across his mouth, looking at Joanna, still struggling to stay fully awake and aware. But somehow skeptical all the same. He's not that far gone. "I think they should go with you anyway."

The unholy screams the video starts off with are enough to crank his head back around to the screen and stiffen his spine, though. Maeve and her albino bat arms outstretched from her makeshift coffin, mouth open, tubes slack. Recognition on his end is immediate — reaction less so, until it becomes apparent that Lesbian Temptress Spice is the one doing the camera work. Then he looks a little more alarmed, not waiting for the video to play itself out before he mutes it and shakes the phone out.

"Did she leave you a contact number?"

Joanna gestures to the cellphone. "Her number is programmed in there for mine and your convenience. Apparently" She caught it, that he knows who the woman is, or at least recognizes the coffin. "Who is she?" A gesture to maeve.

"A serious problem," says Vincent, plain as he is deliberately vague. Further study of the coffin leads his attention back to the screen and holds it there, but distraction doesn't last forever. He presses the phone on and blinks hard, sobering up by sheer force of will. It isn't until he's started to file through after a stored number that he hesitates, focus drawn sideways back to the screen one more time. "Did you make any copies?"

"Of course I did" Anyone who's smart would have.

Anyone who's smart wouldn't have. "Hidden away. Do you need me to destroy them?" She flicks a hand towards the phone. "I didn't make a copy of that. A picture of this Sasha fellow is on there too, in the pictures part of the phone. See if you can't figure out who he is. Seems Tasha came across him too" He knows her, it's above her paygrade as a civil servant, don't ask again who the woman is.

Joanna sighs, pushing away from the furniture that sufficed as her perch so she could close her hand around the handle of her briefcase and smooth her jacket.

"I don't know," says Vincent. "Maybe."

More staring at the video yields few answers, and it's not long besides. The screen is blue again by the time he looks back at Joanna to see her smoothing her jacket and hefting her briefcase, brow hooded hard until he realizes that she looks like she's getting ready to leave.

He shouldn't call right away. That was two months ago, at least. It can wait until he does a little research. Should wait.

"Are you going in to work?" is one of those questions he shouldn't have to ask, uncharacteristically dumb. "I have coffee," isn't much better. "I could make coffee."

"I have a big case tomorrow. I was hoping to get some time preparing my opening speech" he's asking her if she wants coffee and there are more words coming out of his mouth than he cares to normally expend. "So unless you want it to be like old days where I made you sit on the couch while I pranced back and forth in front of you while I wax on about how this bastard needs to be in jail…" He likely has far better things to do.

It's possible, for the briefest of silences, that Vincent looks like he's considering it. Manilla envelope still in hand, he shifts his weight and finally shakes his head, dismissive. Reasonable. He should sleep. He even says so.

"I should sleep."

See? "This is something you're going to have to stay quiet about, Jo. It was irresponsible of her to make you watch it."

"No Vincent, I'm going to take out a full page ad in the New York times" Of course she's going to have to stay quiet about it. "Go to sleep Vincent, I'm going to go to the office for a few hours, then I will come back and you can make me coffee and I'll read you my opening. Then you can tell me how I'm wrong and punch holes in it" Joanna's hand still firm around the handle of her briefcase, she starts off for the door.

"Only it won't be in my underwear and you won't be getting lucky afterwards"

"Okay," says Vincent, still in his living room. Trusting that she can let herself out.

"But that wasn't what I was thinking," is called out a little later. Tellingly defensive, maybe, before she slips all the way out and he drops the envelope to scuffs both hands over his face.


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