Care Bear Recruiting



Scene Title Care Bear Recruiting
Synopsis Cally ventures onto Staten Island.
Date February 15, 2009

Staten IslandFresh Kills Harbor

Situated at one end of the Arthur Kill, this small harbor has clearly seen days of better and more frequent use. Though it's little more than a network formed by a few creaky docks and causeways, it's still more than suitable to tie up for those who have business on the Island. Invariably, at least one of the ports is taken up by a houseboat covered in seagull shit. A thick, greenish layer of bilge scum floats on top of the water and clings to the hull of every passing vessel. Welcome to Staten Island. If you have baggage or cargo to unload, there are usually a few layabouts at the Angry Pelican, which is just a short walk away. Just be sure to ask for a clean glass and keep one hand on your wallet at all times.

Staten Island. The hairy mole on the hairy ass that is New York City. That's about the impression that Cally gets as she walks down the harbor towards the island proper. Behind her, a dinghy pulls away, headed back to the city. Cally's got her usual large, patched denim satchel with her, looking even more stuffed full of junk then usual, and a skateboard has been tied onto it with rope and a bit of bungy cord.

"I hope that guy told me right. It's gonna be hard enough getting a ride back. If this guy isn't here, and I don't get some money soon…" Sigh. Cally shakes her head, continuing on down the harbor, wrinkling her nose slightly at a really putrid smell coming from somewhere nearby.

It's possible that the putrid smell isn't just coming from somewhere nearby — it may be the Island itself. As Cally makes her way along the waterfront, the working men and women around her go about their business, though not without the occasional casual glance in her direction. Young, blonde and pretty are three adjectives that stick out in a place like this, and unfortunately for Cally she embodies all three of them. If the rumours about this place are to believed, then simply setting foot on the docks is inviting trouble.

She'll find out soon enough. Up ahead, where wood planks give way to ice-caked cement, two young men sit on an overturned barrel, one of them smoking a cigarette, the other watching Cally's approach with a hungry eye.

Forunately for Cally, another thing she embodies is the true spirit of a spitfire alley cat. Despite the fact that she's never set foot on the smelly Island before, she walks along as if she belongs there. It's something you pick up on the street. If you don't feel out of place, you won't appear to be out of place…

Of course, that doesn't always work. Which is why the young blonde woman also has learned how to give a good staring down to people who watch her in the way the two men are doing now. She pauses as her feet leave the wooden planks of the boardwalk and step onto cement. In that brief moment, she meets the eyes of each of the two men in turn, narrowing her eyes slightly, a challenge, a warning. And then she turns away, heading further away from the pier.

Of course, staring down can often lead to bad things as often as it can turn them away… but Cally doesn't seem too concerned about that, almost as if she's immediately forgotten about the two men as she glances around, tongue sticking out between her teeth in concentration, as if searching for someone, or something.

The two men must get the distinct impression that she is searching for someone or something, because the older of the two slides off the barrel, boots scuffing against the cement underfoot, and brazenly begins to walk toward her, making no attempt to stay out of her peripheral vision. His companion, the one with the cigarette, remains where he is, eyes bright and curious.

"You look a little lost," says the man meandering toward her. "Maybe I can help you find whatever it is you're looking for. Fresh off the boat?"

The blonde runaway slowly turns, regarding the brazen man with a look that clearly says, did you really just use that line? "Actually," Cally says, meeting his gaze evenly, "It was a dinghy, and there wasn't anything fresh about it."

She pauses, mostly for effect, gazing the man pointedly up and down, resting one hand on her hip. "And neither is that line, for that matter. Or your scent. Does everyone on this island smell?" Cally grunts, shaking her head. Glancing briefly to the second man, she turns back to the first one. "Look, are you actually going to be useful, or are you just trying to get into my pants? Because if it's the latter, I'll save you the trouble and knee you in the junk."

Tact, Cally has not heard of you. But there's something to be said for being forthright. Right?

The man stops, raising both his eyebrows at Cally, and tosses a glance back over his shoulder. His companion on the barrel offers him a small shrug in response, his mouth twisting into the smallest of smiles. "Actually," he says, "I know this guy, right? Pays us to sit on our asses all day, keep an eye on who's coming and going." He reaches into his pocket and retrieves a cigarette of his own, dangling it between two of his fingers. "Most people… they show up looking for work. S'my job to point them in the right direction. You got an employer yet?"

Cally opens her mouth in what is likely to be a snide retort of some kind… and then closes it. She eyes the man for a moment, considering. Then she folds her arms under her chest, tilting her head to the side. "What kind of work?" she asks, her eyes narrowing slightly.

"Depends." He pauses, pursing the cigarette between his lips. With no box of matches on hand, looks about ready to ask Cally for a light, but as his hand falls away from his face he summons a tongue of flame from the tip of his thumb with a snap of his fingers. "What are you good for? Apart from hard labour." That much is obvious — Cally's no potential dockworker. Craning his neck, he brushes his thumb against the tip of the cigarette and, once lit, banishes the flame with a deft flick of his wrist.

"Well, I-" Cally begins, and immediately trails off, eyes widening slightly as she watches the man light his cigaratte. Her expression isn't amazement that he can do such a thing, but more that he has the audacity to do it in public.

She suddenly gets very quiet, her body language changing from confident alley cat to a very cautious one. She looks back the way she came, as if considering heading back out on the first boat leaving. And it's about that time that her stomach gives a rumble.

Turning back to to the man, Cally sets her jaw, letting out a breath. And then she comes to a decision. "I got my talents," she says, nodding in the direction of the freshly lit cigarette.

"Yeah?" If Cally didn't have his complete attention before, then he does now. He cants his head to the side, sizing her up from where he stands, thick arms folded across his chest. She doesn't look like much, and disbelief is written all over his features. Still, he's probably seen weirder things in his time. "Why don't you show me what you can do?"

Cally was hesitant before. Now she's just annoyed, and it's written all over her features. Placing her hands on her hips, she ticks her head to the side as she regards the man. "Why don't you tell me what jobs you've got open first before you ask to see my unmentionables?"

"There's John Logan down at the Happy Dagger, for one. I don't know what he's paying, but he's always hiring, and it's probably the safest place on the Island for a young lady like yourself." There's a snicker from the man on the barrel, abruptly silenced as his friend shoots him a sharp look. "Dunno about the Angry Pelican," he continues, "but Shooters could probably use another bartender or two — don't matter if you're old enough neither. No cops around these parts to crack down on it. There's old Muldoon at the Pancratium, too, depending on what sorts of tricks you've got hidden up your sleeve, but I'll tell you right now it'd better be something pretty fancy. Skinny little thing like you wouldn't last five minutes in the cages without an ace in the hole. That said, nobody pays better."

"No thanks," is Cally's first response to the offer of the Happy Dagger. She may be new, but apparently she's heard about that place. She pulls a face as he continues, half torn, and again starts to glance over her shoulder. The last bit seems to catch her interest though. "Cages?" she asks. "Like fights and stuff? How much does it pay?"

"Depends on the odds, how much is in the pool." It might not be the answer Cally was looking for. He wrinkles in nose in thought, attempting to summon the words he needs to elaborate. "I've heard lots of stories from the people down there. Anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousand, really." Pausing to take a dragon from his cigarette, he rolls his eyes skyward. "Kain Zarek'd know better than I would, to tell you the truth. Maybe you oughta talk to him."

Looking thoughtful for a moment, Cally finally shrugs her shoulder, affecting a nonchalent expression. "Maybe I'll look him up," she tells the man. She doesn't seem intimated at all about the fight, as if whatever card is up her sleeve assures her that she can more then take care of herself. But she does seem hesitant, a similiar expression settling on her face as did when the man lit up the cigarette without a lighter. "In the meantime, I got to see a man about a skateboard. Thanks for the advice."

"Sure thing, kid. Take care of yourself." Shoving his hands in his pockets, the man takes one step back, and then another, toe-to-heel, giving Cally her space. Sometimes it pays to be cautious. "Guess I don't have to tell you to be careful out there," he adds with a low chuckle, giving the teen his back as he turns away from her and saunters back to the barrel. "Not everybody's got your best interests in mind."

"Yeah, you're just a regular Care Bear," Cally says, always with a quick retort. Her expression does flash thoughtful, however, eyeing the two men one last time. Then, with a backwards roll of her shoulders, the blonde girl tosses her hair back and begins walking down the road.

February 14th: The Night Is Young
February 15th: Speaker's Block?
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