Can't Grift A Cowboy


edgar_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title Can't Grift a Cowboy
Synopsis Looking for work is a tough and dirty job all on its own.
Date September 7, 2010

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

Well somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a gir— zzzzzzt! Edgar's been a busy little boy, a very very busy little boy. Over the past few days he's been lifting wallets from people on the sidewalk, on trains, on busses, in businesses, near cars, at the pizza place… everywhere. Taking what little cash they have, he drops the rest and keeps three things: Social security number, driver's license, and the all important registration card.

The problem with having more than thirty of them is if you get caught, you can get into a real heap of trouble. It's likely that the cops are already on the lookout for a wallet thief, that's nothing new in New York City, but Edgar's not as worried about them finding him as he is of being found without one card.

Into the Angry Pelican, the ex-carnie saunters. His work boots look like they've seen better days, much much better days. His hands are in the pockets of his worn down corduroys, and his black t-shirt is overlaid with a leather draggin' jacket. He looks like he could fit in, especially with the self given faux-hawk.

With a slightly more legally obtained set of identification in his own wallet, Wes Smedley has settled in at the bar of the Angry Pelican. A nondescript brown glass bottle sits in front of him, and with the general light and atmosphere of the Pelican, it's hard to judge just how much of it has made it's way down the man's throat.

It's still relatively early.

A white-faced dog has curled up beneath the man's barstool, and he seems content to lie there. His eyes are open, and his ears perk when Edgar walks in. Carson may be old, but that doesn't mean he sleeps all day long. Especially not when the boss is hard at work drumming up business.

Smedley, for his part, is dressed in a pair of well worn jeans and boots that have kicked their share of, well. You know. He's hung his sportcoat on the back of his barstool, which leaves the heavily tooled leather holster slung around his hips - and the two revolvers it carries - exposed to the world.

Taking a seat near Smedley but not close enough for the two of them to be considered close friends, Edgar pulls out his own wallet and gives an upward nod to the barktender. "Barkeep, I'll 'ave sum'thin dark in a short glass. Make it strong." Enough money is tossed down to cover the drink and a modest tip, nothing that would make the man spit in his drink, but it won't put his kids through college either.

As he reaches to put his wallet away, the speedster's jacket pulls away just enough to reveal a set of three throwing knives stitched into the inner lining. One of them is missing. The bartender doesn't seem to either notice or mind as he slings the drink and scoops the cash in a smooth motion.

Picking up the glass, the carnie takes a sniff before taking his first sip. It's a vile substance, but the man never did mention the word good. He said dark and strong.

Though Huruma herself is not an unfamiliar sight on Staten, the late deals with card carrying have made it harder and harder. Some crime has moved off the island, some has flourished with those gone. Her business here is of an arms dealing kind; while she has her own arsenal or three stashed around the city, it always pays to get anyone else something new.

Shadowing in just a minute or so after Edgar sits and gets his drink, the tall, dark woman in her fitted leather jacket, dark pants, and tall boots fills the entrance for just a second before slinking on into the room. She garners perhaps a look or two, before able to saunter further in and find a seat at the further end of the bar, as far as she can manage with having the rest to her front. No showing her back here, that is only begging for it. The form-fitting pants tucked into boots rustle only slightly as she sits, taking care to note the others in the room with unblinking eyes. When Huruma looks away, it is only to gesture the barkeep towards the older rum he keeps.

Women like Huruma are a rare sight inside places like the Angry Pelican, which are usually the drinking holes of dock workers and seedier Staten Island types. So when she enters, Smedley isn't the only man who looks up for more than a moment to watch her progression into the bar.

Once she passes, he raises his eyebrows at Edgar before turning his head to continue watching. Once Huruma has settled, he takes a swig from the bottle before him and shakes his head either against the taste or in response to the most recent visual stimuli. "Takes all types," he murmurs, snorting out a chuckle as he sets the bottle back down on the bar.

Smedley is barely glanced at in favor of the dark woman slinking through the bar. His usually low brow is raised high on his forehead and he clears his throat loudly in response to Smedley's comment, ending it with a rather squeaky, "Uh huh?" To mask the treachery of his voice to his manhood, he takes a large gulp of whatever it is in the glass and pounds his chest twice with his fist. "Yeah, all kinds…"

Another grunt clears his throat and his eyes find the tall drink of water at the end of the bar, "Sort'a intimidatin' though. Dunno if I'd like teh tie teh the wheel or the other way 'round."

Visual stimuli indeed. Even if Huruma were half the size she is, the eyes and manner provide more than enough fodder for prying attention. She watches the length of the bar for a time, while waiting for that halfheartedly-cleaned glass and the drink floating inside of it. When it comes, she pays heed to it, with her eyes, and to the room with her invisible readings. It isn't hard to pinpoint various interest, various distaste, various puzzlement; though when Huruma looks back up and puts her drink down to the bar, she finds the first set of eyes on her.

It happens to be Edgar, and by spatial association, Smedley nearby. Can I help you?

"You have fun wi'that bronc, friend. I'll sit this one out."

Edgar's pointedly other-side-of-the-pond accent is countered with a phrase that carries Smedley's own origin along with it, rooting him deep within America's frontier. And while he doesn't exactly know what Edgar is saying, he can derive the jist well enough. Besides - while not a regular himself, this is the first time Smedley has seen either Edgar or Huruma in the Pelican, and watching one make a pass at the other may prove to be just the sort of entertainment he needs.

Huruma's turn in his direction has Edgar coughing once and turning back to his drink. "Naw, I think I'll leave that'un to some'un a little more… able teh handle." He finishes his drink and slides his glass toward the bartender, raising a finger for another.

As it's being brought, he pulls another few bills from his pocket and eyes the man behind the bar for a moment. "A friend tol' me that there might be some work 'ere for a man t'get. Y'know anyone lookin' fer an errand boy or anythin' that'll being in a small pittance?" He keeps a finger on the bills, meeting the eye of the server until the man shakes his head and places the drink down on the bar with a small slam.

Smedley laughs, then nods to the barkeep before he jerks his head silently toward Huruma, indicating that the woman's drink should go on his tab, if only to make up for Edgar's comment. He looks to her then with a slightly apologetic smile. Scary women are still women, after all.

When Edgar's attempt to get information out of the bartender fails, the old hand chuckles again. "You're new here," he observes with a squint. "Ain't 'cha, boy?" Though there can't be more than half a decade's difference between their ages.

The carnie glances at Smedley and shrugs his shoulders once, letting them drop almost the instant that they rise. "New… jes' lookin' for work, cousin. Th'woman I met said I looked like I fit in 'round 'ere. So I came." He gives Smedley a long gaze up and down and then leans over to look at Huruma and nods a greeting. "I think she was righ'. I might fit in a bi' more 'ere than anywhere I been fer a few years." Verbal prowess not included.

"I was lookin' at construction sites, figgered they'd be at least searchin' fer a hand." Letting a hissing breath through his teeth, he shakes his head and then takes another drink, a smaller one this time.

Huruma considers the motions, and the underlying fineries, before settling when the barkeep at least acknowledges that her tab is being taken care of. No matter. She nods curtly when each of them look to her next, her fingers sticking around her glass for now, rather than sitting idle or fidgeting with the old countertop.

"Per'aps you may fit here, but I do no'think you should work here-" Huruma begins, her voice floating down the bar's relative silence like a slow-moving python. "-unless you have somet'ing to …provide. Services. Goods. Unless you want t'work f'the reclamation, well. You will no'find much well paid, legal work." As she speaks, she pries her hand from the glass and sits back, straighter, her posture quite impeccable even in a dump like this.

Smedley can only echo the smooth words spoken by the woman, and so a smile slides onto his face and he chuckles once, taking another sip from the bottle. "She's got a point," he says with an incline of his head toward Huruma.

"You want'uh work construction, your better off out that way." He nods toward the door and the general direction of the Reclaimed Zone. "Don't know who told y'differn't, but…well, we ain't the type that like that sort'uh…labor. Ain't nothin' wrong withit," he's quick to add, and Smedley even leans away from the bar and lifts a hand in defense. "Just that we like to keep our pretty hands all nice and smooth." Though it is clear the man's own palms have seen their fair share of hard work.

Edgar's lip curls a little when his dark blue eyes follow Smedley's gesture. With a small shake of his head, it's dismissed just as easily. "I don' belong nowhere near tha' place," it's not a cryptic reply in the least it's plain as day. Taking another slow sip from his glass, the knife thrower watches Smedley and Huruma both by proxy of the mirror behind the bar. His orbs flit back and forth once, just once, in a rather unnatural speed, should anyone be paying attention to them in the mirror.

"I 'ope yer pretty 'ands'er smoother than this swill in my glass." He emits lowly as he sets the glass down in front of him. One hand is placed over top it to indicate that he's had enough.

"Swill is swill on Staten, mm?" Even the bartender seems to chuckle at that. Huruma watches the men, still, possibly waiting for something. "If you do no'care for that, then I suggest y'find construction work elsewhere. Roosevelt-" She happens to butcher that word, for some strange reason. "Per'aps in one of th'neighborhoods where people'ave been relocated to. Roosevelt'as many, for all of its size."

Little does she know of his purpose here, however. Ivory eyes turn to Smedley, twinkling dully.

"Yes. What beautiful hands we'ave."

Smedley's grin widens at Huruma's comment, and he winks at her. "All th'better t'turn the world with, ma'am." When he looks back to Edgar, he shrugs and lets his head tilt toward the shoulder nearest the other man.

"If that don't suit 'cha, then maybe you oughta start lookin' for another line'uh work. S'plenty a crates t'throw out at Port Ivory. Or you could try your luck in the Rookery." It all depends on how safe Edgar wants to be. "Though one comes with a bit better benefits."

"I don' think yeh caught my meanin', cousin," Edgar turns his head to look at Huruma and then Smedley in turn. "Might' be a matter've language barrier, 'cause I don' think I'm catchin' yer drift either. I ain't used teh walkin' on this side've— civilization." There's a low growl and an audible grind to his back teeth as the speedster twirls the short glass between his fingers. He actually bumps it up onto his knuckles and then flips the cup to land flat on his palm.

His quick hands aren't imperceptibly fast, though, more like a sleight of hand artist as he shows off a little trick or two. It's mindless and numbing, something to pass the time as he eyes his two drinking companions in the mirror. "Which one comes wi' the mos' benefits?"

"Mmm." Huruma seems to understand what it is he is getting at, though she offers nothing more than a small, unassuming hum, still watching Edgar.

"I woul'ave t'say… if you are looking for somet'ing here, th'port is always working. Always. Otherwise, off of th'island, there are always going t'be small jobs. Find a bookstore, butcher, baker, candlestick maker? The dark woman seems to sway on her seat, in the half-light of the Pelican. "It is up t'you t'decide what t'do. Not us."

"Never had much respect for the life coachin' gig," Smedley says with a shake of his head, his tone suddenly somber. "I mean, if your gonna rob a man, have the decency to do it outright. S'courtesy to be up front about a thing like that." With another sad shake of his head, Smedley tips back his bottle again, but he leans back with it, presumably draining it of it's last few drops.

There's a fairly large amount of confusion on the juggler's face as the two foreigners (foreign to him) talk, as though speaking a different language altogether. "Bookstore— Life coach— No. I don' read, an' I've giv'n up tha' Yankee baseball. Thanks fer the tip though."

The glass is placed gently down on the bar without a sound as the speedster makes an effort to slip relatively slowly off his barstool. Adjusting the jacket, he runs a finger along the lining of both sides of his jacket before zipping it up. "I'll check th'port fer some'then'."

"God forbid y'get a real job, either…" Huruma mutters, mostly to herself, but as always, audible enough. Her forefinger traces along the top of her glass, and the other hand, in universal motions of boredom, perches at the side of her face, knuckles at jawbone. "Do what you are skilled at, tha'is all I can tell you." She gives Edgar a rather pointed look, for some reason or another.

"God forbid y'get a real job, either…" Huruma mutters, mostly to herself, but as always, audible enough. Her forefinger traces along the top of her glass, and the other hand, in universal motions of boredom, perches at the side of her face, knuckles at jawbone. "Do what you are skilled at, tha'is all I can tell you." She gives Edgar a rather pointed look, for some reason or another.


That's the sound of Smedley's comment whooshing over Edgar's head. He arches his brows in mild surprise at the man before glancing to Huruma. "You gonna be dolin' out advice, ma'am, I'd charge'm if I were you." Smedley waves at the barkeep's proffering of another bottle of brew once the empty one is taken away.

As grimace is given first to the large woman and then the cowboy. "Charge, I weren't lookin' fer no advice. I was askin' the bartender eff 'e knew of any work." His eyes flit toward Huruma, a dangerous narrowing of them as he regards her. There's a faint recognition in the dark blue orbs, but he doesn't say anything. "I ain't able teh ge' a real job, the las' one I 'ad was sorta taken away."

Pulling a wad out of his pocket, Edgar flips through the bills to pull a couple of them out for the man behind the bar. From Smedley's vantage point, he can probably see the stack of registration card tucked in his palm.

Huruma keeps her attention between the two men, for the most part, though she visibly hesitates on Edgar when he studies her a critical moment further. "My advice is always free, provided it is kept." She purses her lips, shrugs with a roll of shoulders, and changes her gaze to Smedley. Huruma lifts her drink to largely finish it off.

Smedley is at work fishing out his own wallet to cover Huruma's addition to his tab when he glances over at Edgar and sees the stack of cards. He can't help but whistle, long and low. "Boy says he ain't skilled," he remarks before letting out another chuckle. "You got a powerful need for more'n one name, or is it just a hobby?" He keeps his voice low but it shouldn't be hard for Huruma to hear him as well, and there's a knowing gleam in his eye as he leans slightly in Edgar's direction.

Before Smedley can blink, the cards are gone as though they were never there at all and the shorter man is giving him a rather suspicious sidelong glance. "I go' needs you couldn' even begin to imagine, mate. Startin' wi' needin' more'n a dozen names." Edgar's voice is even lower, with an angrier edge to it. He doesn't want to be heard by anyone, though it's likely his gravelly voice carries toward the dark woman at the end.

Standing a little straighter, he jerks his head to the side, letting loose a series of cracks. Taking a deep breath through his nose, he puffs out his chest a little and stands to posture against the taller man. Like with wild animals, Englishmen know that you can't show a cowboy any fear. They can smell it and when they do, they usually go for blood.

Huruma does hear, if very barely. She does not show it, however, preferring to appear content with finishing the drink off while making a valiant attempt to listen in. Nothing more, nothing less. What she does do, unbeknownst to the pair, is keep a hawkish watch on their moods.

Far from set on edge by the foreigner's sudden tough-guy act, Smedley is, in a word, amused. "Oh, I'm sure," he says with a grave knitting of his brows, coupled with a frown. "S'nasty world out there when a man can't use what's his." He sits a little straighter, tossing the necessary cash across the bar to the barkeep before he pockets his wallet once more.

Once the leather has been slipped back into the pocket of his jeans, Smedley extends a hand across the empty seat toward Edgar. "Speakin' a names," and a grin cracks across his face. "Smedley."

The hand is taken and the carnie's own rough one grips around Smedley's. A driver's license flips out from between two fingers of his other hand and Edgar reads off the name, bringing the card closer and further away from his face as he introduces himself. "Li-Liam Banks," he starts, pauses, then finishes with complete conviction. "Liam Banks, pleasure teh make yer acquaintance." The license is pocketed bare into the back of the shorter man's corduroys.

But Smedley's rough-hewn hand tightens around Edgar's when he is so blatantly lied to. His gray-blue eyes shine as his slipe slips to one side of his mouth. "No, now, Liam," he chides. "It's one thing to respect a man's privacy and quite another'tuh let another lie t'your face about somethin' as simple as his name. Now-" and his grip gets even tighter for a moment.

"You wanna try that again, or should I take it upon m'self to find from those kind folks mannin' the bridge, or maybe the boat you rode in on, who you really are?"

There's a small flare of the jaw as Edgar's lips purse into a tight scowl and his azure eyes flit in the direction of the dark woman, the bartender, and finally the old guy passed out in the corner for a brief, yet pointed, moment before looking back up to Smedley. "Beggin' yer pardon, but where there's other ears, me name's Liam." And then the cowboy's firth grip is met by one of the juggler's own. "If yeh prefer, you can call me by me last legal name, Augusto Hernandez."

Now, the odd thing about that is, he doesn't look or sound the least bit Hispanic. How anyone could ever believe that he's passed as one when he went by it, well… sometimes people preoccupied with money don't pay attention to the tiny details.

Smedley releases Edgar's hand with a chuckle and slaps his own down on the bar. The noise stirs Carson, and the dog lets out a short, low report in response. "I'd prefer t'do mor'n that," Smedley says with a mischievous grin. The way he gets off the bar stool can only really be described as dismounting, and as soon as he kicks off a rung, Carson moves out from under it and heads toward the door.

Gathering his coat, he glances from Huruma back to Edgar, doing his best to stifle a self-satisfied sort of grin. The pistons are churning away inside that brain of his to the point where the beasty purr of the thing is almost audible. He slips his coat on, then, as he walks past Edgar, slaps the other man's shoulder jovially. "Hard work like that shouldn't go'tuh waste," he muses with a shake of his head. He tucks his thumbs into the belt of his holster, using a foot to kick the door open rather than one of his hands.

"No, siree."

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