Almost Worth Celebrating


smedley_icon.gif lola_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Almost Worth Celebrating
Synopsis Smedley and Raith meet with Lola to cut a deal.
Date December 7, 2010

New Hamburg, New York

Approximately 10 Miles from Pollepel Island

The White Hudson River Marina is far from glamorous. Full of mostly independently owned fishing boats and other recreational crafts, it sees very little activity during the winter months. The dark waters of the river are frigid, and the wind is bites as it cuts across the satin river of black to the mainland.

Wes Smedley couldn’t ask for better weather.

On a small wooded island a good stone’s throw away from a railroad track, not far from the marina, he waits aboard What Jenny Thought with his hands tucked in the pockets of his oilskin coat. The wind whips through his hair, and he holds his face in a stern expression as if he had the ability to stare the breeze into submission. Carson stands on the deck with his paws up on the railing, his face turned into the wind alongside his master. Behind him on the deck of the small yacht are several long crates, all covered with a blue plastic tarp that crackles when the wind hits it with enough force.

It’s nearly ten, but Smedley is the picture of patience.

Lola is not the happiest of campers to be out in this weather. In fact, if one listens closely enough, they might hear something along the lines of, “Feckin’ Yanks,” murmered on the wind as the woman comes out from the woods, stumbling over a rock. She grunts, softly, feet hitting the ground a few times in quick succession to keep her vertical.

“Oi!” She calls to the boat, the man and the dog. She’s making her way over, slowly enough, but keeping her distance all the same. Whatever she wears doesn’t matter - it’s a big, black coat, a black cap and some gloves. And still, she looks cold. “Draggin’ mah ass ta shit knows where…freezin’, all Ah done was do what they ask…” she mutters on as she gets closer.

Crates and a tarp that crackles when the wind hits it with enough force are not all that reside on the deck of What Jenny Thought. There are intermittent, small puffs of smoke that accompany the smell of 99 cent cigar tobacco, as well as one more coat, this one occupied by a man of a markedly darker disposition than Wes Smedley.

The ship’s captain may be the picture of patience, but Jensen Raith is struggling with his own impatience. It’s not because he doesn’t want to be out at the marina at this hour. It’s just that he has a lot that he needs to do. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like he’ll have to be sticking around that much longer. When he hears Lola’s voice, the ex-spy rises up from his seat on one of the crates and comes into the woman’s view as he approaches the railing, the glowing tip of his cigar a better indicator that he’s there than anything.

Perhaps strangely, he’s elected to wear his sunglasses, the dark, round lenses standing in stark contrast to what any reasonable person would consider reasonable eyewear after dark. But then again, that’s just one of his many quirks.

Carson barks in response to Lola’s hail, moving from one side of the boat to the other, his tail held high in anxious anticipation. Smedley is slower to turn, glancing first to Raith before he looks beyond the shore to the young woman they’re here to meet. But as soon as she nears enough for him to clearly see her, he narrows his eyes and purses his lips in a disappointed frown.

“You hidin’ your haul down your chest or did’ja shove it up your ass?” he calls out rather curtly. “We ain’t got all night, Lola.” He doesn’t put any emphasis on her real name in lieu of the alias she’s handed him twice now.

Lola frowns a little, narrowing her eyes. “Fyne,” she drawls. “We kin do it like that. No respect fer names, Ah guess, but if that’s how it’s gonna be.” She lifts her hand, shwoing a little flashlight. “May Ah?” She turns, flashing the light about 10 feet off to the side and a little behind her, to where some boxes are just visible behind a tree.

“Was heavy,” Lola admits, turning off the little flashlight and setting it back in her pockets. “Ya kin go over an check if ya like, darlin. Ah’m here fer good business. Ah’ll wait. Then hopefully we’re done jumpin’ through hoops, we kin do our thang an Ah kin go someplace with a heater.”

Raith affords a brief glance towards Smedley, and then he’s climbing over the side of the railing. “This’ll suck,” he mutters, carefully dropping to hang as low as he can before he drops towards the water. It’s cold: There’s no reason it would be anything other than cold. But sooner or later, he was going to have to get his feet wet. None of this improves his mood.

Quickly wading to the shore, he regards Lola only briefly while on his way over to the boxes hidden mostly out of sight. “Alright,” he says when he reaches them, and then reaches to open the nearest of them up, “Let’s see what we’ve got in here.” What they’ve got, under the soft glow of the LED penlight Raith brings out of his coat pocket, is the pleasant, warming shimmer of brass and copper: Bullets. Full metal jackets. And despite how wary Raith is about, well, everything, he can’t help be crack a small smile. “It’s Christmas.”

But it’s short-lived. Almost instantly, he’s checking the other boxes and verifying their contents: Cigars, whiskey, and some more ammunition. Not a whole lot of any of them, but far more than Raith has had the opportunity to see in one place, at one time, in recent memory (with the exception of the ammo, as the Ferrymen still have quite a bit of that in their stores. “Holy shit, it’s Christmas.”

Smedley is smarter than to plunge himself into the water, and he takes his time balancing on the edge of the yacht to aim a leap from a more strategic side of the boat onto one of the rocks on the shore. He splashes some, flailing his arms so as not to slip on the ice, and in the end only gets the bottom edge of his coat and dungarees damp with the spray.

He comes to stop behind Raith, looking over the Ferrymen’s shoulder at the supplies that will more than likely wind up in the man’s apartment on Bannerman Castle, likely (for the booze at least) never to see the light of day again. With eyebrows raised, he turns to look at Lola then, a smirk playing on his lips. “So why the show?” he asks, bringing it all out. “Runnin’ from somethin’ after all, or did you think I wouldn’t check up on’yuh?”

While Raith digs around in what is clearly his new collection of toys and Smedley works to keep himself dry, Lola withdraws a cigarette and a shitty bic lighter (the nice silver one is gone now) to light up a fag. “Cute,” she remarks dryly to Smedley’s attempt to stay dry, and his failure what’s more.

She watches them inspect the goods. “Ya’d be amazed how many folks don’ check up,” she responds, walking leisurely toward the men as she smokes. Inhale, exhale, smoke. “Anyway, if ya checked up on me ya know that ain’ neither here nor there. Ah do mah job, Ah do it quietly an Ah don’ go round causin trouble for folks.” Mostly she ends up causing trouble for herself. “Don’ mean Ah got a lotta fans, but it do mean fer somethin’ like this, Ah’m golden. So Ah take it ya like what ya see?”

Does Raith like what he sees? If his earlier exclamation was any indication: “It’s alright.” Gee, thanks. “But hey, the goods look good, so I’m not about to start complaining. You can never have too much dakka.” It’s something of an arcane sounding phrase, fer sure, but it clearly means that, yes, Raith likes what he sees.

“I believe, then, this brings us to the next order of business.” For now, the goods are forgotten, and Raith turns his attention fully to Lola. “It’s freezing, and we’re in the middle of nowhere. Nobody would drag all this shit out here unless they were getting something out of it. So, how much of what?”

Smedley’s only answer to Lola is a shrug and a bit more to his smirk. He steps back then, moving around to Raith’s side to further inspect the goods - or, at least, that’s what he appears to be doing. It’s Raith’s show now - he’s just here as backup.

“Like Ah done told yer boy here,” That’s right, Smedley. You’re Raith’s boy. “Just some information. Simple, nothin’ too complex, just a little bit a love fer yer girl here an we kin all get on oughta here. ‘Bout the Ferry.”

She pauses to inhale, and then exhale. “Here’s what Ah done know. Ah done know Ferry’s been targeted some way, an that some folks might be gettin’ targeted to. Ah’m askin’ bout them targets, what them folks what ain’ been targeted need, an who on an individual basis might, ya know. Be at risk followin’ the 8th.” Smoke.

‘Humorless’ would be an accurate way to describe Raith’s expression. Not a particularly good way, but an accurate one. After several moments of silence, Raith finally decides on what he ought to say regarding all of this: “I’ll tell you the parts that aren’t classified.”

“Someone inside the organization sold us out to the G-men,” the ex-spy states, “So I’m sure you understand if I seem a bit paranoid. Inside jobs’ll do that to you. As for who’s at risk of being targeted? Anyone who has ever had more than incidental contact with us might be at risk, but especially anyone who’s dealt with us on a regular basis listen-” The lack of a pause in his words is not some quirk in his manner of speaking, but is caused by the fact that his brain switched gears that suddenly- “Why do you want to know, anyway? Associating with us right now is pretty bad news, if you hadn’t guess.”

Lola doesn’t smirk or anything of the sort. Instead, she listens respectfully, something most people might doubt her ability to even do. But she’s doing it all the same, look at that. Her cigarette is flicked away as Raith asks the question that was bound to come.

“When Ah first moved ta New York, sugar, Ah was put undercover workin’ fer a fellah. Well, somebody what worked fer him too decided it was a fuckin’ funny idea ta blow mah cover, an let’s just say the years followin’ this little exchange ain’ exactly been kind ta me. Ah got the scars ta prove it, if ya wanna see sometime - ya do got the dark an broodin’ thing goin’ on, Ah’ll give ya that. But Ah know what yer thinkin an what bein’ sold out is like. Ah ain’ here ta hurt ya’ll, or mix the pot or anythin’ like that. Ah’m just askin’ around. Whose bein’ targeted, who ya think might’ve sold ya out, an what ya’ll might be short in the way of. Ya know,” she smirks. “Aside from smokes an booze.”

Once again, Raith gives a glance to Smedley, as is to wordlessly ask him what his take on the whole situation is. But after just a moment, his attention is, once more, back on Lola. “We’re still working out most of that, unfortunately.” No lie: Who is at risk? Stuck on Pollepel as they are, it’s become exceptionally difficult for the Ferrymen to figure out things like that. Their usual intelligence channels are, for lack of a better term, dead.

“But there are some people of interest. In fact, they’re of particular interest to me. I don’t need them picked up or interrogated or anything like that. They seem to be quite safe where they are, but I can’t keep an eye on them, and that makes me nervous. Especially since I know that there certain people within the government that still have a razor-keen interest in my little girl.” Now, perhaps, things begin to get interesting. Whatever Raith is about to propose- If Lola continues to show an inclination to be interested in lending a hand- is shaping up to be far more personal than professional.

Lola continues to listen, her dark eyes watching Raith with a keen interest. Yes, keen. And the talk of a little girl makes her eyes soften just a bit. But just a bit, a little and no more. “Well here’s the thing ‘bout little girls, darlin. They get fucked with an they grow up ta be women, an ya’ll know ‘bout women scorned bein’ hell and all that. Fortunatley fer you, ya’ll got a grown up one right here, all ready an willful.” As much as she’d like to force the conversation to get the information that she needs, she knows she can’t. She’ll have to go with it. And the idea of a little girl? Well, who knows - maybe there will just be some babysitting involved. Or killing. Hopefully not of said baby.

Smedley arches an eyebrow when the talk turns to what Lola wants, and he tenses until Raith steers the subject away from any potential threat to his arrangement. Still - the discussion interests him, as does Lola’s interjection of colorful commentary. He stands, lifting a hand encased in a thick leather workman’s glove to prop himself up on the tree, watching the exchange intently.

“Good.” Finally, Raith relaxes just the tiniest bit. “Like I said, she and her mother have been pretty safe where she is, so it’s not like either of them needs a bodyguard. Just someone who can check on them from time to time.” It’s true that Lorraine and Liette already have someone checking on them, but Raith can’t help but try to make up for the fact that he’s not able to check on them himself. Which might seem odd to those that know him, since he got along fine for years without knowing about or checking on either of them.

“That’s part of the job. There’s another bit, but it hinges on you having a space where I can store things. And, to a lesser extent-” There is the slightest pause, just enough to keep the woman focused on what he says next- “On your willingness to hold onto a couple hundred pounds of TNT for me.”

Lola listens, and to the last part, she stops and thinks for a moment. Well, in a pinch, she could always sell it. But that is just as dangerous as selling something from the mob, she’s sure. Lola’s already smart enough not to be fucking with these people. “Sure,” she finally decides, knowing that she’ll be going back to Staten for a chore like this. “Ah think Ah kin find a way t’do them things fer ya sug. Don’ exactly sound labor-intesnsive, anyway.” She smirks a little. “Now ya gonna be a proper gent an tell me yer name?”

“Now where’s th’fairness in that?” Smedley interjects, his smirk replaced with a wry grin. “Seein’ as you weren’t all that forthright. I’m thinkin’ my associate here’s got every right to leave y’hanging in that respect.” Then again, it’s not Smedley’s call.

He bends again, this time to close and lift up one of the boxes with a grunt. Jenny is that far from shore, but getting the goods onto the yacht is still going to be a challenge. But he doesn’t head that way just yet, lingering instead and waiting for Raith’s official close of the transaction.

Smedley does have a point. But that’s what part of the transaction is: Trust-building. “Jensen,” is his answer. He very nearly fell back to his old standby, the King of Swords, but… there’s a new King of Swords, now, and it’s time Raith accepted that particular chapter of his life being closed for good. “By all means, feel lucky, seeing as I didn’t give you one of the fake ones I keep in my head for occasions like this. What’s yours?” Because fair is only fair.

Besides, it’s no good for him if things go south later because of this, and he doesn’t have a name to pin to the face he would intend to cave in.

Lola does the most mature thing that she can do when Smedley decides that it’s time for his two cents. She sticks her tongue out at him. “Well, mah name, sugar, if it weren’ fer this fellah here bein’ a spoilesport, woulda been Sara. Seein’ as we’re bein’ all truthy now, it’s Lola. An Ah think we both done part of our deals but good, so unless there’s any other information Ah oughta have….” she offers her hand for a proper shake. A business shake.

Really? Tongues? “Sorry, darlin’,” Smedley drawls with his own regional accent, going so far as to wink at Lola. “But we don’t know each other well enough for that - ‘sides, you ain’t my type.” He looks to Raith then, his expression on the thin line between bored and restless. “You ‘bout ready t’head?”

For a moment, Raith considers whether there is other information that Lola ought to have. Finally, however, he decides that yes, there is some other info that she might find pertinent. “A few things to keep in mind,” he says, “One, the Ferry has all but abandoned Staten Island, so if you’re looking to lend a hand, that’s not a very good place to start. Keep clear of of woman named Sarisa Kershner, AKA the Queen of Cups. Keep clear of a man named Desmond Harper, AKA the King of Swords. You’ll know them if you see them. High profile government types. CIA and FRONTLINE. And, above all else-” Raith reaches out and clasps Lola’s hand, giving it a firm shake-

“Watch out for the Meat Man.”

Lola ignores Smedley in favor of getting this deal to go down properly with Raith. She reaches out, her gloved hand clasping his in a proper shake. “The what now?” She frowns, one eyebrow tilting up above the other. “Ah had ya up until ya started talkin’ ‘bout a Meat Man, sugar. Sounds like a bad porn name that one. Still, if Ah’ll know him when Ah see him, that’s good enough fer me. Ol cowoby over there kin get ya mah contact information.” She gives his hand one last shake before moving to release and step back from her new deal, made with a new faction.%r

“You’ll know him if you see him,” Raith replies, “Pray that you don’t. Because there won’t be any force in the universe that can save you from him.” Once again, that’s that, and unlike the previous ‘that’s that,’ the one is much more final. “I’ll get you the rest of everything you need to know about who to look for and where after you help us load all this stuff up.” Of course, there would be a catch. Not a particularly pleasant one, either.

But does that matter? Like Lola observed, new deal, new faction, new opportunities. It would be worth celebrating if it wasn’t so cold outside.

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