Criminals and Super Heroes


tuck_icon.gif carter_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif ezra_icon.gif bao-wei_icon.gif xiulan_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif kaydence_icon.gif

Scene Title Criminals and Super Heroes
Synopsis It's Rookery Poker Night again, and some unusual visitors drop in.
Date March 24, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

Every shelf, every flat surface in the entire shop is covered with things. VCRs, DVDs, small pieces of machinery, cheap jewellery - all the kind of stuff worth little money. It's the merchandise that's not worth protecting, even here. If someone wants to steal a VHS copy of 'The Little Mermaid,' then so be it. The primary purpose of the clutter of items is a front - to distract from the fact that the real purpose of the shop is to sell stolen, high-value goods.
The front part of the shop with its knick-nacks and assorted low-value items is separated from the high value items by a counter and a layer of bulletproof glass. There is a slot beneath the window for exchange of money or small goods. At the base of the counter is a chute for larger items. Surveillance cameras keep a vigilant watch over every square inch.
There is a small arsenal of weapons up on a pegboard above the counter. Not just guns but knives, tasers, pepper spray, handcuffs, nightsticks, brass knuckles - all sorts of things meant to cause pain. There's a rotating case at the counter that holds many expensive jewellery pieces, including a few Rolexes and a large assortment of engagement rings. There are expensive cell phones, iPods, laptops and other various small electronics, including listening devices and CB radios. Just about anything worth stealing is displayed behind the glass and up on the walls. Many items however, are by special request. You gotta know what you're looking for.

It's poker night once again at Tucker's Pawn Shop. It's a wonder that Gilbert manages to afford these weekly games with his luck. But then, he's a compulsive gambler. He finds the money.
The table is set up in the back room of the pawn shop. As per usual, attendees have to walk down the narrow alleyway into the dark space at the back of the building. The door is heavily barred and can only be opened from the inside.
Tuck's in an armchair not far from a small TV. He has his feet kicked up on a milk crate as he shuffles through a deck of cards, cigarette dangling from his lips.

A triple-knock raps against the door from the alleyway, Cardinal's knuckles doing the rapping in question. "Hey, open the fuckin' door, Tuck," he calls through, rolling his eyes, "I've got a six-pack of Dong Hai here, an' it's already gettin' warm. Long way from C-town, y'know!"

The only other person in the shop at the moment is Tuck's lone employee. Carter steps in from the shop proper, twirling a set of keys around the index finger of his right hand. They're deposited in their place before he claims a chair at the table, leaning back in it once he's seated and folding his arms across his chest. Normally, one would think, Tuck's fellow gamblers might see an unsealed deck as a red flag for possible thievery on the part of their host. But Gabriel Tucker owns a pawn shop in Staten Island, and all of the night's participants are willing.

His eyes are on the door even before Cardinal makes his presence known with the knocking and shouting. After the man's presence is known to Tuck as well, Carter merely smirks. "S'gunna be a lively night," he remarks dryly.

"Oh, it's always a ball'o fun. Are you sure you're ready for it there, sparky?" Tuck stands and walks towards the door. He drops the pack of cards on the table. "I'm comin, Card. Keep your pants on there, cowboy."
He pinches the cigarette between his lips and hauls up on the heavy bars that block out the back of the shop. With a grunt, he lets it swing out far enough for Cardinal to sneak in. "Evening, chum."

"Hey." The greeting's short, but affable as Cardinal steps over the threshold and into the back room of the pawn shop. That six-pack's hauled up to show off the chinese beer to prove his words from earlier, then thumped down onto the table. "Carter," he greets as well, a slight nod over towards the other man. A glance back to the owner, and he asks casually of Tuck, "Think Zarek'll be showin' up tonight?"

There's a knock at the door. Slow, uncertain, but… well, it's a knock. The door opens after a few moments of delay — less of a permission knock and more of a "heads-up" knock — before a man in what was probably a crappy suit before Staten Island went to hell. Now it's a very nice suit, what with the Dickensian patches and threadbare elbows. He waits, at the door, for a moment, before pulling both hands out from behind his back.

He may have just been shot. At the very least, everyone is probably paying attention.

Provided he survives, he has in one hand a stack of five dollar bills and in the other, a bottle of San Hua Jiu in the other. "I come bearing gifts," he says, shaking the bottle.

Ezra thinks for a moment, and adds: "The money is not a gift."

Carter nods in turn to Cardinal at the same time he leans forward to pick up the deck of cards. He doesn't shuffle them, but rather strokes his thumb across one end of the stack, letting the stiff papers smack together once they pass it. The question wasn't addressed to him, but he frowns and shakes his head nonetheless. If what he's gleaned about Zarek's last visit is true, and he has little reason to believe it isn't, a second visit doesn't seem likely. Not unless Tuck's done something worthy of it that has escaped the telepath's attention.

There's a knock at the door. Slow, uncertain, but… well, it's a knock. Through the narrow viewhole there is a stranger — at least to everyone but Carter, and, furthermore, at least for the moment. He's dressed in what was probably a crappy suit before Staten Island went to hell. Now it's a very nice suit, what with the Dickensian patches and threadbare elbows. He waits, at the door, for a moment, before pulling both hands out from behind his back. He has in one hand a stack of five dollar bills and in the other, a bottle of San Hua Jiu in the other. "I come bearing gifts," he says, shaking the bottle and his buy-in at the door, seeking entry.

"Gee, I'd be more touched by your gift of beer if I fucking drank, Card." Tuck takes a long inhale from the cigarette and walks to the mini fridge. He pulls out - of all things - a can of orange juice. "Oh. I forgot to send Kain an invitation." He smacks his palm to his forehead in an overly dramatic fashion, then clucks his tongue. "What a social faux-pas." There's a smirk, then he moves towards the door at the knock. It's like Halloween.
He peers out through the peephole and squints at the unfamiliar figure beyond. He nods towards Carter and Cardinal in a way that suggests they get ready to shoot a bitch if Ezra makes any signs of trouble. Then he slowly tugs back the bar and peers out through the crack. "Who're you?"

A quiet chuckle tumbles past Cardinal's lips as he claims a chair, sprawling down into it with a half-turn away from the table to let his legs stretch out one ankle over the other. An elbow rests on the table, and he pulls a lager from the six-pack, twisting off the cap as he replies shamelessly, "Oh, damn, I forgot. Well, more for me." The beer's brought up, and he takes a sip of the beer, shoulders sliding back to make himself comfortable.

Were he open about the extent of his ability, Carter might see it as his place to footnote Ezra's arrival to aid his employer. As it is, Carter simply smirks as he looks from Cardinal to the door. It will be interesting to see how the ill-mannered man fares in this den of thieves, though for all Carter knows, Ezra is one of them. There is a certain joy in learning he is an unknown.

"You get started on that too early," Carter says in a low voice, peering at Cardinal despite their relatively close distance, "and I'll be makin' sure you've got a lot less to carry home than you might like." The smile is still there, lending credit to the joking tone the older man adopts.

"I'm here to take all of your money. I'm gonna make you give it to me, in fact," Ezra says. "I'm Ezra. I don't think we need to deal in last names, right? Sound fair?"

Tuck opens the door far enough to let Ezra see past him and into the room. He glances back towards the pair already inside. "Hey Card, Carter. You ever seen this guy before?" He tugs the cigarette down from his lips and squints at the man.
After a moment of long consideration, he purses his lips and motions inside. A new face in Staten interests him. And what better way to see what he's all about than over a game of cards? Sure, the game might be illegal, but there's nothing else obviously against the law going on. Though one would assume this isn't an ordinary pawn shop.

A length behind Ezra, a pair of figures slip into the entrance of the alleyway. The taller of the two, a man of good build, short black hair, and undistinguished Southeast Asian features, pauses on the way to listen to what the shorter, much broader one tells him in Cantonese. This one is the only man to step forward again, the apparent guard lingering behind in the alleyway to try and do what he has been told.

"The party hasn't started without me, has it, mister Tucker?" The low-pitched, almost grating voice that echoes its way into the back door of the pawn shop should be familiar to most of them, and unfortunately for Ezra- the undercover man is likely to be one of them. "It has been a while, has it not?." As Bao-Wei steps his way into better visibility while the door remains open, a smile is crawling over the lover half of the rotund Triad's face, parting an expertly trimmed chin of black facial hair. "I've not brought any 'gifts'- but it seems as if I did not have to." Drinking my town out of house and home? Both eyes have already trailed their way onto the drink that Ezra carries, then straight up onto what Doctor Cong can see of his face.

The observation about getting started earlier elicits a rough snort of breath - tinged with amusement - from the second-story man sprawled out in the chair, tipping his beer in Carter's direction with a smirk just-twitching to his lips. "Please. As if I ever walk away with a profit from this anyway? I swear t'god," Cardinal admits, "Tuck makes most've the money I get off him back during these games…"

His voice trails off as another deep, grating voice speaks from the alley, and he pauses with the beer almost to his mouth, head tilting just a touch to look to the door, trying to identify the face to go with the voice.

Dark alleys and equally shady company are pretty much par for the course for the lean man lurking a few paces behind Bao. Shabby black overcoat, ratty charcoal suit, black sunglasses, greying hair, scruff, and scuffed shoes complete the image of Flint Deckard. He's quiet, content to watch the exchange between the slanty-eyed guys in wary silence, and near enough to sidle in through the door before it closes despite the definite lack of association there.

"Wait for it, Card. I'm on a streak that is not built to last." They never do. Tuck always ends up behind, eventually. That's what happens when you don't stop gambling. He's about to shut the door when Bao-Wei approaches. He eyes the guard, then back to the doctor. "C'mon now, doc. This is a civil gathering. You didn't need to bring a goon. We're all here for a friendly game."
There's a momentary twitch when he considers slamming the door at the shadow of movement. But oh, it's only Deckard. "Evening. You all can…" he waves around the room. "…introduce yourselves. Or not. Anyone hungry? I'm gonna order a pizza. Buy in's a hundred, gentleman. Carter. Do the chips, will ya?"

Of all the people in Tuck's shop at the moment, Carter is one who hasn't heard that voice before. Even when he digs in the minds of others for a name, he comes up with little context. DHS and FBI may work together from time to time, but they're separate entities dealing with issues that only occasionally overlap. Carter is left with a hard-lined yet contemplative expression as he watches Tuck's back and Ezra enter, patiently waiting for a face to go along with the voice. When the last men enter, Carter spends a moment looking each one over.

He stands without delay when Tuck gives the order, grabbing the box of chips from a shelf before he returns to the table. "You heard the man, gentlemen," Carter says with a wry smile when he drops the box, the chips inside clinking together.
Ezra looks back at Bao-Wei and nods with mutual recognition. "It's been awhile, you're right. I'll never forget how you taught me the Law of the Jungle, so many years ago." There's a pause as Ezra starts to sit down and collect his chips.

"Oh, wait. That was Baloo. Sorry."

"Heng is staying back- I doubt I'll need him." A glance from the Doctor is given to the man that stays behind in the alleyway, who is immediately finding something to occupy his time- a book, out of his pocket. "I had to bring him at least this far. Obligated." And to anyone that pays attention to Chinatown- it is no wonder.

As a guest, he is perfectly content to find a chair to withstand him; Tuck knew he was coming, and so there is one that looks particularly sturdy. Good man, Gilbert. Removing his long coat and putting it over the back of the chair, Bao-Wei is peachy until Ezra decides that he wants to try and be funny. We'll see how many people laugh. Zero, if you count the Doc first.

"I would much rather be 'Baloo' than be called a 'porker'." The Triad's mismatched eyes flare into Ezra from across the table as he sits, a knowing glint behind them. Porker? Pig? Police? Get it? Ha-ha-ha. Cong knows, and so maybe it's a bad idea to be traipsing around insulting him. "You would be wise to warn your newer guests against testing me with immaturity, mister Tucker."

"Some new faces tonight, I see…" Cardinal shifts slightly to sit up straighter, drawing in his legs and scooting the chair into a more appropriate spot—one arm resting on the table, the other raising up his beer in casual salute. The man considers those new faces from behind dark shades, even in the dimly-lit confines of the shop. "Cardinal," is the name offered, chin raising in a slight nod. Then, "Evenin', Deckard."

Deckard's long face draws a little longer when he overhears Ezra, flat lines tracing skepticism out across his forehead in a look that's passed a little sideways onto Tuck. Oookie dokey. He shrugs out of his coat all the same, slow strides eventually bringing him around the table's flank so that he can drape it over the back of an unoccupied chair. The suit beneath fails in its endeavor to be a uniform shade of grey, faded in some places, stained dark in others. It seems to be clean enough for that, however, and the only stink about him is that of whiskey, fortunately for those nearest when he sinks down into his seat. "My name is Mike. Asshole."

"Hey there, bud. You be a fucking gentleman or I'll toss you out on your ass." Tuck holds his cigarette between two fingers and points towards Ezra. "Sit down, shut up and play cards. This is my show. No one stays if they piss me off. Got it? No refunds. You start shit, you're out and whatever cash you brought with you or won stays here. Them's the rules." He glances around at the gathered sundry characters, then picks up the phone to dial the number for Panucci's Pizza. "Yeah, hi. Two larges. Hawaaian and a deluxe." He's not botheing to make the pizza ordering democratic. They'll either eat the two standards or not. "And a side of breadsticks." He glances sidelong at Ezra. Everyone keeps looking at this guy. His criminal Spidey sense is tingling.

Money and chips change hands relatively quickly, and soon all are sitting with a tidy pile of plastic disc and a hand of cards. But, of course, the point of these gatherings isn't so much the money that is won or lost, nor is it the thrill of the game. It's all about the social aspect of it.

Carter's rueful smile doesn't fade as he routinely glances at Ezra, enjoying the sidelong rebuke he's already received on a count of his mouth. Unlike Cardinal, he doesn't see the point in introducing himself. After all, he's not here to snag a job or gain a political contact. He's here to be a fly on the wall. He's here to listen and to read.

"Sorry," Ezra says, pointing at Bao-Wei. "All in good fun, right? I thought we were all being tough, gritty thugs with hearts of gold type guys, not The View-watchin' type guys." He makes a little swinging fist gesture. "Me and Egg Shen are gonna get along like gangbusters, from here on in, you've got my word.

"Doctor Cong." Is as much of an introduction that they'll get for now. It is not that Bao-Wei hides his name, he only prefers otherwise. As the game is set up and the cards dealt, the rigidness that had so readily snapped on Ezra seems to secede. Not a miracle, but never something that comes easily.

Taking the ends of his sleeves and rolling them up to both elbows, he gives the man parallel one last leer before concentrating on the task at hand; ascertaining the extent of the power changes on Staten Island, for one. The black ink lion on the doctor's forearm twitches from underneath as his hands move. As for getting along like 'gangbusters'- "Forget it, Jake."

"Right. So we got Jake, Mike, Tuck, Carter, me, and the Doctor. Good to meet you, Doc," Cardinal picks up the six-pack of dong hai, offering it over to the big (big!) man in casual offering to welcome him to the table. The cards are swept up in hand, held close to his chest as he antes in.

Having entered quietly, sat quietly and organized his chips quietly, Deckard remains…quiet. He's tired and worn down, bristled jaw hollow and shoulders sloped against the back of his chair. Occasionally he clears his throat or has to muffle a cruddy cough into his raised fist, but that's about it. After a dirty look at Card and a cursory peek down at his cards, the black screen of his sunglasses turns up onto the others, scanning faces, skulls, innards and firearms.

One by one he takes them in, with no hesitation at all until his survey reaches the good Doctor Cong. Potentially owing to the perpetual presence of booze in his blood, he can't…quite keep his eyebrows from lifting over his shades. Poker face a failure on that account, if less so where the state of his hand is concerned, he does manage to catch himself before his jaw slacks open. Hhhh. What was he doing? Attention redirectedly downward, he blinks hard and checks his cards again.

"Listen here pup. Wisecracks are a three-game minimum. You gotta earn the right to slag people off." Tuck taps the end of his cigarette in the ashtray and takes a seat. He stacks his chips into three neat piles and picks up his cards as they're dealt. "You notice I'm not asking who the hell you are or why you're here. You keep talking, I'll start asking questions. And from the way these respectable gentlemen keep looking at you, I'd imagine there's something about you that I don't particularly want to know." He purses his lips, then glances around the table. After he examines a card, a chip goes into the pot.
The pawnie rubs the side of his neck and then glances sidelong to Deckard. "Hey. It's not Bermuda in here. What's with the glasses? They're not x-ray specs, are they?" From the curl of his lips and the amusement in his eyes, that was entirely a joke. Oh, the irony.

"This isn't the World Series on ESPN, Mike," Carter chimes in, pursing his lips as he studies his cards and flicks in a chip. "Just a friendly game. D'ya mind?" A slight smile at the end is intended to sweeten the subtle request. Carter leans back in his chair then, confident of something.

"Sure there is, and the rest of you guys ain't got nothing to hide," Ezra says, leaning forward. "I'm here to play some cards. Well, it's more weird alpha male dominance game than that, but it's basically a card game," he says, sifting his cards.

"That sounds quite right, I do not have a thing to hide." Bao-Wei has The Poker Face. Seeing as he makes this face all of the time- neutral, somewhat furrowed, always intent. His hand picks up two of the larger chips and sends them over. "It is never just a card game." The doctor's second smile of the evening bares itself, although naturally cautious. "Not in all the times I have seen it."

The comment about x-ray specs very nearly results in Cardinal spewing beer all over his cards. Fortunately, he manages to resist this urge, though he ends up choking in the process and coughing several times, pounding a fist against his chest. As he recovers, he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, the cards laid down for a moment. Face down, of course. Still wearing his own pair of sunglasses, he picks up his cards once more, asking casually, "So what're you a doctor of, exactly, Doc? You got a clinic somewhere, or you one've those laboratory types?"

"I wasn't aware there was a dress code. But if you really want to know, it makes me feel all edgy and dangerous. Better than jerking it on the subway. This guy knows what I mean." Brows having adopted a cynical knit, Deckard tips his head at Cardinal, who is also wearing sunglasses, and apparently 'this guy.' Then he folds.

"Oookay. Cyberpunks. Fine. Don't know how either of you see a damn thing." It's not like Tuck's back room is illuminated particularly well. Damn x-ray and shadowmen. He trades up a pair of cards, then drops a few more chips into the pot. A beat then, "Soooo. Doc. Things're getting interesting in your neck of the woods." That's not a question. He takes a sip from his can of orange juice.

Unable to simply say 'No' to a request from a girl as seemingly innocent and sweet as Xiulan, Magnes allowed her to see exactly what it's like for him to deliver a pizza. After a bit of food preparation, strapping her on to his back with a series of ropes, and explaining to her that she has to hang on at all costs (But not too tight… awkward), they finally left the shop!

About 20 minutes and huge shit-your-pants Incredible Hulk leaps later, there's a knock at the door from the delivery boy with bags of Tuck's food. He had to knock with his forehead. "Panucci's Pizza!"

Yes, Deckard, that Panucci's PIzza.

Xiulan /is/ sweet and she is relatively innocent. *sniff* Just because she happens to bodywork for the Flying Dragons doesn't make her a bad girl, thank you very much. Okay, so, she was a whole lot more innocent before the strapping on with ropes… And she's not exactly certain she's thrilled about /that/. In fact, at one point, she does point out to Magnes that she owns a pair of roller blades and that that might be easier… Then they are off, and frankly, as innocent as she might want to be, she cannot help but comment on how much easier it all would have been with a saddle. Probably a statement that only managed to turn the two of them bright red.
By the time the knock comes, however, Xiulan is almost frantically attempting to undo those ropes, one hand smoothing her hair into place as she twists and squirms with a flexibility that would do Cirque du Soliel proud. Course, Magnes is knocking on the door and his hands are full, so her escape seems to be entirely on her. (Thank god she wears jeans, yanno?) "Magnes, wait… I'm a mess." Good lord, let the person inside be slow.

Oh, good. Pizza. Ezra doesn't make any apparent attempt to get at it. "Judging by the good Doctor's… well, judging by the Good Doctor and our mutual acquaintance, I'd say that neck of the woods you're talking about is Chinatown, eh?" He tosses some cards. "I don't care, personally, as long as a certain order is maintained. So, is the change for the better, I guess is the question … or for the worse."

"Both. I have a clinic in Chinatown." Bao-Wei leans back in his chair to better examine the handful of Poker partners at the table, mulling over the best way to explain himself to someone that may not understand complex terms. No offense, boys. "I have several specialties, so 'Doctor' aptly covers that." As Tuck begins to address him, the Doctor turns his eyes upwards to receive it.

"In as gentle terms as one can put it, yes." This time, he decidedly keeps his gaze away from Ezra. "Order will be maintained, I can assure you. As for the differences that this change is going to make-" Bao-Wei glances sharply up at the table for a split second. "-provided that I continue keep a short leash in my hand, it will be for the better."
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"I hope so," Cardinal observes in a quiet murmur as he looks over his cards, not looking up from them just yet, "If things get too… gang war… it's bad for everybody's business. I prefer things to be nice, quiet, n'orderly, so best've luck in keeping that leash tight, Doc. You ever need a freelancer for acquisitions, too, just give me a call…" A few cards are traded in, and then there's a knock upon the door, and he brings his head up, both brows raising. "Panucci's delivers to Staten Island?" It's the Deliverator!

"Oh, you know me, doc. I'm not the type to be sticking my nose in anyone's business. I just like to keep informed." When the knock comes, Tuck examines his cards, sets them down and announces, "Fold," as he gets up and crosses to the heavy metal door. He digs into his wallet for cash and then lifts up the heavy metal bar.
"That was fast. Uh." He blinks at the presence of ropes and at the fact that it apparently takes two to deliver pizza. "How much do I owe you, kid?"

The sanctity of his sunglasses thus safely established, Deckard falls silent again, content to watch and listen. Thumbs crossed and fingers curled around his folded hand, he glances to the door at the approach of a couple of new skeletons outside, then double takes at the knock. One of the skeletons is Magnes. And the other skeleton is tied to it. He sighs, voice dropped to an unintelligible murmur. "Oh boy."

Dismissively shaking his head at Xiulan, his work glasses a bit crooked, Magnes assures her, "Don't worry, there's no way anyone could think you look bad." in his amazingly innocent tone. Then Tuck comes, and he looks back, curiously attempting to look behind the man. "Sorry, but I can't really calculate everything with all this stuff in my hands, mind if we come in for a moment?" he asks, briefly looking back at Xiulan with a smile. "She's my assistant."

Too busy straightening her hair and clothes, it is only belatedly that Xiulan glances up at the sound of the door open, dark eyes crinkle at the corners, just in time for her to hear Magnes' words and blush. "Awww…" Course, then she is called his assistant and she whispers close to his ear. "I will not be appearing in a comic book, Magnes." It's undignified. It's about that time she glances into the building and blinks once. "….Chicken man?" And then another blink follows and she flashes a bright smile at Bao-Wei. "Doctor Cong!"
"There are some problems that need to be addressed, but I doubt that it will escalate into 'war'." Bao-Wei scoffs lightly, his hand of cards still in hand, and another chip being flicked into the pile on the table. "When internal affairs deals with problems, none of you ever see them."

The newest voice to really float in the open air seems familiar to him, but the doctor has to turn his shoulders in order to look. "Hahaha. Xiulan? Since when do you help to deliver pizzas?" Since never, but he is taking the appearance and Magnes' presence at face value.

"Does she…take down the minutes of your various important meetings and answer your phone that must be ringing off the hook all day long? Does she file your pepperoni by type?" Tuck could go on, but it's really not that funny. So instead he just takes the boxes from Magnes and steps inside. The poker game behind him is in full swing. The fact that he doesn't slam the door in the face of the young'uns is apparently an invite to step inside.

Looking inbetween Xiulan and Bao-Wei, Magnes briefly raises an eyebrow, but he doesn't question it… yet. Things don't seem too suspicious as he enters the building, looking around at everyone, and then, suddenly Deckard. "Flint Deckard!" he dramatically announces and points, as if he just encountered his arch nemesis. "I hope you're being good, and not disrupting anything for these legit men."

As another round steals more of Cardinal's hard-earned - okay, illegally-earned - money to the other players, he's got one ear to the matters near the door where the pizza's being paid for and handed out. The man's head lifts a bit, then, brow furrowing at a familiar accent and lilt of voice. No, it couldn't be…
…but then, there's that affirmation from Bao Wei about the voice's identity. The burglar's head lifts, brow furrowing in bemusement. "Well," he murmurs under his breath, "That's… coincidental." Then Magnes charges in to accuse Deckard of… harassing… legitimate… blink.. The cards are set down, and he reaches out for another beer.

Ezra is seated and playing cards with a bunch of people who look like they probably want to kill him, or are, at least, considering it distantly. He seems cool as a cucumber. "Well, Doctor Cong — 'not war' is really all a guy can ask for, right?"

Lower jaw jutted out of its narrow set, Deckard endures Magnes's pointing and name announcing with a long-drawn and long-held breath. His patience is a living, tangible thing, caught and muffled in the cage of his ribs until it's forced out through his sinuses in the form of a long-suffering sigh. "They said I can sleep here and eat the leftover pizza as long as I mop the floor after everyone's gone." Left hand clapped down over his folded cards, he finally shoves them over into the rest of the deck. Maybe with just a little bit of excessive force.

Affording Doctor Cong a respectful bow, Xiulan tucks a strand of dark hair behind one ear as she follows Magnes inside. Course, Magnes goes to confront Deckard for whatever reason, and Xiulan pauses to offer Richard another smile. "You are still coming for a tour of Chinatown, yes?" Course, Bao-wei asked a question after a fashion and her attention turns back to him almost immediately. "I was curious about the job," she admits. "Magnes has an amazing amount of freedom in his life." Ah yes, there is just a hint of envy there. Course, the conversation turns to 'not war' courtsey of Ezra and Xiulan sobers visibly and draws a step closer to… Hn. Confrontations or unpleasant topics.. Yuck. Instead she turns a smile on Card, her shoulders rising and falling in a mild shrug, hands tucking in the front pockets of her jeans. "Are you winning, Richard?"

"Kid," Tuck sets the pizza down and snaps his fingers at Magnes. "How much?" And then a blink. Deckard. Mike. And what was the other name? Sure, it's not unusual to have aliases, but it is pretty careless to have so many of them. That and have three people with three different names in the same room. Shitty luck, Deck. "Jesus. Does everyone in this city know everyone else?"

"Of course he isn't winning," Carter says drying as he splays his cards for all to see and sweeps a hand out across the table, scooping in the chips toward him. "It's a small world, after all, Boss." Despite the front that Carter's attention is only on the game, his mind is as actively in everyone else's as it can be without popping aspirin every hour. Trouble in Chinatown is only the tip of the iceberg, after all. He passes the deck rather unceremoniously to the left so that the next hand can be dealt, leaving a chip of his own in the center to act as ante.

"An amazing amount of freedom, and pennies in his pocket." Though he can hear the envy, it's in his mind that there's no better place for her than doing what she has been doing. Bao-Wei's expression flatlines as Carter prevails, but he's not really here to win money. Defaulting on the Tyler Case deal was enough for a long time. "Not War is enough for any peaceful man, Cardinal." And hopefully enough for Chinatown.

Staring at Deckard for a long moment, Magnes' expression softens into a smile of approval, then a nod. "Good work, Mister Deckard. You're really on your way to a full recovery, you don't have to worry about the island." Then he holds his hand up to his lips, and makes a zipping motion. "So, how do you two know eachother?" he asks, pointing between Bao-Wei and Xiulan, with the hand that has his small Xu-made tattoo on the underside of his wrist.

Staring at Deckard for a long moment, Magnes' expression softens into a smile of approval, then a nod. "Good work, Mister Deckard. You're really on your way to a full recovery, you don't have to worry about the island." Then he holds his hand up to his lips, and makes a zipping motion. "So, how do you two know eachother?" he asks, pointing between Bao-Wei and Xiulan, with the hand that has his small Xu-made tattoo on the underside of his wrist. While he's waiting for an answer, he pulls out a piece of paper and writes down the prices for each item listed, then holds it out to Tuck. It's twenty something. "And Mister…" he addresses Bao-Wei. "Money isn't as important as self-fulfillment, in my eyes."

"What he said," Cardinal admits rather ruefully to the question from Xiulan, his thumb jerked in the direction of Carter as the chips are swept into the possession of the Pawn Shop Clerk (junior grade) that's seated across the table from him. One foot hooks into the leg of an empty chair nearby, and he drags it closer, offering to Xiulan easily, "So, take that cute ass of yours and sit down, join us — yeah, I'll be stoppin' into your neck of the woods at some point, if the offer's still open." The pizza boy's considered for a moment, and then he leans over a bit to murmur to Xiulan, "Who's the batshit crazy motherfucker?"

"Magnes J. Varlane," Deckard answers for Xiulan, a chip tossed back into the pot with his left hand ahead of the next round. The right hand goes to his brow, where it can contribute some pressure to the headache building there. "He's going to send all the bad people in Staten to third world countries."

Tuck passes over the cash to Magnes, along with a half decent tip. He drops the pizza boxes on a spare surface and grabs a slice of the deluxe. Just when he's about to seat himself back at the table, there's a pounding on the door out front. Sounds like someone's yelling his name.

"Oh, fuck," says the pawnie with a mouthful of pizza. "Listen. I gotta take care of this. Keep playing. Hands off my chips. Nobody start a commotion or they get a time-out." He sighs a longsuffering sigh, sets his piece of pizza down and swallows the rest of his orange juice. Whoever's waiting for him in the other room, he's not happy about it. He heads to the front of the shop.

Slanting a glance at Carter when he wins, Xiulan affords him a small smile and a polite bob of her head. "Congratulations on your luck then." Magnes' response to Bao-Wei earns him an appreciative smile from Xiulan and a momentary press of her palm against his shoulder. Course, there was the question of how she knows Bao-wei and it is that she answers next. "I have done some of Doctor Cong's bodywork, Magnes. Course, she's offered a chair and the offer earns Richard a smile before she inclines her head and perches on the edge of the chair. "He is crazy, really," she asides to Richard concerning Magnes. "He just has a very keen sense of right and wrong." Pausing a beat, she offers politely, if not belatedly. "Richard, Doctor Cong, this is Magnes. I would introduce the others, Magnes, but I am afraid I haven't been introduced myself." After another brief pause, she whispers in an aside for Richard. "I'll make sure there are no chickens about." And, of course, she can't help but flash a smile at Deckard. "I do not doubt it in the least, sir. Magnes is very devoted to his cause."

"These days, it is virtually on the same level." Bao-Wei turns fully away from addressing Magnes, and his end of that particular conversation is over. The last thing he wants to do is talk morals with a pizza boy. "All of Staten? Good luck." Okay, not quite over.

The doctor watches Xiulan as she perches on the edge of the offered seat, silently brooding to himself about the little people that make strange and possibly worrisome friends. A few chips land in. "Let us hope he just keeps his nose where it belongs." A last, laserlike glance moves to Magnes, and back to the table.

Completely oblivious of the various whispers, more focused on Xiulan's words, Magnes walks over soon after his business with the pizza is done, straightening his work glasses with both hands. "Mind if I take a seat? And I wouldn't say money and self-fulfillment are on the same level. I may not get paid massive amounts of money for my work, but I can afford comics and the occasional videogame, and of course I can afford my rent, that's enough for me. One day the city will be completely clean of crime, and we'll all be a lot happier and a lot less greedy."

Shave and a haircut, two bits. A woman leans against the frame of the back door patiently for it to open up. "Is there room at the table for Lady Luck?" She flashes a charming smile before tilting her head to one side, the teased ends of her dark updo swaying gently with the motion. Lady Luck looks like she just got off a shift at the Happy Dagger, judging by the attire worn under her brown leather bomber jacket - a short skirt and a low-cut halter top in vibrant red that matches the shade her lips are painted, as well as the patent leather heels. Black legwarmers over fishnet tights suffice to ward off the chill lingering in the early spring night, it would seem. Her eyes scan the players and she finds herself surprised to recognise so many. Though, the fact that she's attending a poker game means she isn't showing this surprise on her face, just in thoughts clearly broadcast to the man who opened the door. What the hell are you doing here?

Carter simply nods at Xiulan's commendation, then squints at Magnes. "Tuck paid you, right? There something else you need?" It doesn't matter to Carter at all if the young woman in the pizza boy's tow leaves or stays. But when a new arrival makes herself known, Carter's off to open the door, his own mind reeling with WTFery even before he can get the bars slid back, looking through the peephole just for show. I could ask you the same damned thing. I work here. "Hundred dollar buy-in, miss. You sure you want to blow all your hard-earned cash in one night?"
Xiulan's smile is met with half of one in return, too wolfish to pass for sincere without some serious naivity on the receiving end. Smiling is not one of Deckard's strong suits. And he can see her boobies.

A glance down at his cards later, Mike/Flint Deckard flips them down again and scruffs a hand up over his jaw, a measuring look canted over at Bao before he begins to push to his feet in earnest. "You can have my seat, Magnes. Gambling is so fraught with temptation I don't think it's safe for me to keep playing. I might slip. Fall." His coat follows him up off the chair back, blanking the way for Varlane's ass end. "Lose my way."

Xiulan's smile is met with half of one in return, too wolfish to pass for sincere without some serious naivity on the receiving end. Smiling is not one of Deckard's strong suits. And he can see her boobies.

A glance down at his cards later, Mike/Flint Deckard flips them down again and scruffs a hand up over his jaw, a measuring look canted over at Bao before he begins to push to his feet in earnest. "You can have my seat, Magnes. Gambling is so fraught with temptation I don't think it's safe for me to keep playing. I might slip. Fall." His coat follows him up off the chair back, blanking the way for Varlane's ass end. "Lose my way."

"I've got ten bucks down that the kid doesn't survive the week," Cardinal observes in rather dry tones, and quite shamelessly openly as well. As if he was somehow unaware that Magnes was, in fact, sitting right there in a chair. One hand lifts to scratch against the stubble shadowing his jaw, briefly distracted as the door opens. Hey, now there's a pretty li'l thing. At least the eye candy is starting to show up. Xiulan, Kay…

"Leavin' so soon, Deckard? Have a good one," he offers then, chin jerking up in a nod to the other man.

"I don't know, Richard," Xuilan admits. "Magnes is very resourceful." Looking up at Deckard stands, she affords him a polite smile and a nod of farewell before turning her attention to Magnes. "Don't worry about it, Magnes. Not everyone has to be fully focused on having as much money as possible." He's just fine the way he is, thank you.

"You, my pizza-toting friend, are in the wrong place to be bringing up such things." Leaning back and sorely tempted to turn his amused tone of voice into a laugh, Bao-Wei examines Magnes one more time, then Deckard as he gets up to leave, and finally, back to the table.

Is he the only one disinterested in the appearances of girls worthy of Cardinal's distraction? Yes. "King-high flush. What do you have?" His cards lie bare on the table, the start of ending the second round.

Happily taking Deckard's seat, Magnes gives a casual wave to the man. "You're doing well, Mister Deckard, don't stray." he offers, then looks around at everyone, smiling cheerfully despite Cardinal's bet and Bao-Wei's warning. "If you're all criminals, it's alright. I haven't seen you do anything wrong yet, so I have nothing against you." he casually points out, unfortunately not giving Deckard the same benefit… he insulted Abby. Then the new woman comes in, and his eyes widen a bit, cheeks flushing red, and he asks with a perfectly straight, even if somewhat awkward face, "U-um, are you a stripper?"

"Same to you, Richard." Deckard's tongue can't help but fork around the name, withheld from him as long as it was while his own ricochets off the pawn shop interior like a retarded pigeon. Christ. Paired fingers tipped up into a lazy salute after Magnes's advice once he's shrugged back into his overcoat, he turns to head for the door. Aaand Lady Luck, who is very conveniently in his way.

Maybe it's the way she's dressed. Maybe it's the setting. Regardless of what 'it' is, the way he looks her over when he gets close might be a little worrisome. The knifed return of his smile isn't much better. The trace of his hand from her middle back around to her rear in the step it takes to pass her: still worse. It even ends in a little slap for extra points. "Too bad you weren't here earlier. I might've called in and cancelled my plans."

"The hard-earned cash came from a blow, may as well return the favour, right?" Someone's going to have to apologise profusely for her cover later.


Oh! A customer!

Wait! What's your rush? What's your hurry? Lady Luck lays a hand on Deckard's chest as he passes her by. "Leaving so soon, handsome? Seeking a good time elsewhere? How about it, sweetheart? I'll give you a discount." Her eyes slide to Magnes and she gives him a wink. "Do you have singles?" Her eyes flit back to Deckard and she procures a folded piece of paper from the, ahem, natural pocket between her breasts. The paper is scented faintly with rose perfume. It's also tucked into the front of Deckard's pants rather… gratuitously.

Wait. Wait. Magnes. The name finally clicks into place in Cardinal's head, at least the part of his head devoted to actual business rather than the part wondering how far up those legs go and if, in fact, he could hit on Xiulan without Bao-Wei sending hired killers after him. They're very distinct parts of the brain, after all. The realization of who their pizza boy is sinks in, slowly, and he brings one hand up to rub against the bridge of his nose. He actually slides off his shades to do so. Magnes should be proud, not many people can make him do that.
"Magnes," he says quietly, eyes closed, tone pained, "Please… please stop talking. Abigail will be very upset if you get yourself killed on a pizza delivery, and I am really not going to stop anyone if they try."

Carter lays a hand on Kay's shoulder, frowning darkly. "Fold," he says loud enough to be heard at the table, mostly to speed up the poker hand. "M'am," for she is hardly a miss, "you're going to have to peddle that elsewhere. I can only let you in if you're gonna gamble." He gives her a slight push before he starts to close the door again. It's clear to anyone how perturbed he is, but the cause of it is up for interpretation.

Magnes' question earns a startled gape from Xiulan, her eyes widen faintly before bestows a light kick to his shin beneath the table. Course, then the woman is responding and Xiulan's expression turns even more startled. Startled, however, is a briefly flickering thing and quickly replaced with narrowed eyes. Again, that expression passes just quickly, a sigh spilling from Xiulan's lips as she shakes her head. Rather then comment on the 'comment', she slants a glance at Richard, one arching faintly. "You know each other?"

Quickly shaking his head at Kay's offer, Magnes yelps slightly at Xiulan's kick. "I'd never exploit a woman's body, it's disrespectful to her and every other woman I know, even if you are the one offering." he says quite seriously, holding up the 'I'm teaching everyone a lesson' index finger. Then Cardinal says Abby's name, and he shoots him a surprised look. "You know Abby? And don't worry, I'm safe, I mean, you guys wouldn't kill someone in front of an innocent girl like Xiulan, right?" he asks, nodding his head over at her.

Even that much contact is super effective. Deckard stops, scruffy chin tilted down after her hand at his chest, which is a little too still in the couple of seconds it takes him to remember about breathing. And how important it is. A quick glance over her face through black sunglasses later, he turns his head enough to squint at the table, where the last of his cash is currently being donated to the cause of Magnes's assisted suicide.

Mouth open to reply, he closes it again when her hand tucks something papery and perfumed down past the cheap metal buckle of his belt. Distraction and disappointment both color a more subdued shake of his head and heeey there Carter! Chilly eyes lifted to the big guy at the door, he finishes off with a muttered, "Some other time," and heads out in earnest.

For the majority of this entire situation, Bao-Wei has been quiet. When Magnes finally asks the golden question, however, the doctor has no idea whether to laugh, or feel pity. He's really this stupid. This chivalrous. His eyes focus on the youngest man at the table, peering past lowered eyebrows. "You would be surprised at what I would do, mister Varlane." A hint of a smile moves to Xiulan over the table, swift to amend the words. "But seeing as she seems to like you, for whatever reason that may be- I'll let pass this first impression in hope of a better second."

"I… know of him, through a mutual acquaintance," Cardinal says with a slight shake of his head to Xiulan's question, the fingers attempting to banish his headache falling as he regards Magnes with reddened, bloodshot eyes for a long moment. And then he just says, firmly, "Ask her." A pause. "Are you sure you fought at the Pancratium, kid? And you're //still/ this naive?"

The /moment/ the words words were out of Magnes' mouth, Xuilan had forgotten to breath. Doctor Cong's response, however, is met with a quick breath and a painfully respectful bow of her head in a silent demonstration of thanks. Richard's remark, so quick on the heels of Doctor brings her gaze to Magnes, her expression quietly serious. "When dining with lions, Magnes, it is wisest not to give the impression of being a rabbit." Oh, she has /no/ doubt that Doctor Cong, at the very least, would happily slit Magnes' throat right in front of her, if he were so inclined.

Some other time, then. Miss Luck actually stumbles back before pushing one hand against the door forcefully. "I've got the cash. I'm playing." The flirty tone is replaced with one far more insistent. "No more peddling. I promise. The only money I'll earn tonight will be from playing at the table, not dancing on it." She locks eyes with Carter, for a moment letting her emotions get the better of her. Aside from the general thoughts of annoyance, the passion she's famous for flares in her eyes and flickers for a few seconds before a deep breath calms her again. Matt.

"That place showed me the very edges of evil, the extremes of what physical pain can possibly be, and just how callus and greedy Humans can be, however…" Magnes collects the money Deckard leaves, ready to actually get into the game, tone growing gravely serious now. "Even if any of you happen to be murderers, crime bosses, drug dealers, or any of that bad stuff, I still give you the benefit of having a heart, having standards, rules, and families you care for. I wouldn't even insult the most evil person in this room by assuming they're as evil as Logan and Muldoon… Something in me just doesn't want to believe you can meet someone capable of doing what Logan did to Abby, twice in one lifetime."

The conversation inside has turned to something of Carter's more immediate interest, so with a gruff grunt and a wave of his hand, he lets Kay in before closing the door behind her. Chips are again doled out, and she's dealt in without much hullabaloo. The subtext - the unspoken words that comingle with that is verbalized, are just as interesting as what everyone hears.

Oh for the love of God, I'm going to have to shoot him before he says something really stupid. Cardinal starts to say something, and then he closes his mouth, turning just a bit to look to Bao-Wei with a 'is this guy really for real' sort of look. Then he looks back to Magnes, starts to say something, gives up, and reaches back for his glasses.

Murderer, Crime Boss, Drug Dealer- Magnes, stop describing him. Bao-Wei dutifully notes to himself that at one time or another he is all of those things, yet, Magnes is also right in his having standards of conduct. Evidently.

Watching the next face to join the table(yes, face, no mistake), his gaze meets Cardinal's when the other man looks at him from across the poker table with an interesting expression. The one he gets back from Bao-Wei is simply an expression of patience in the face of irritation. "I would say that I do have standards." The Chinese man finally speaks and drops his eyes to the cards, breaking that moment of silence and placing his bet.

Finally granted access, Kay takes a seat at the table and counts her chips absently before plucking up her cards, very clearly broadcasting her hand to the man in charge of the room. She lays her cards on the table, waiting patiently for the bet to come to her. "Sweetie, what's your name?" she asks of Magnes.

No, that probably wouldn't be the best idea. Not here. Carter's words in that small, unidentifiable as foreign voice tickle in the back of Cardinal's head. While Kay works on Magnes, Carter's own attentions focus more on the ambassador from Chinatown's underground. He squints across the table, intent on plucking more than just what Bao-Wei has in his hands from the man's mind. Thank heaven it's a game about bluffs, or the look might be taken differently.

"See, you're not a monster." Magnes offers to Bao-Wei with a warm smile, holding his cards up to look them over. He's played card games before, he knows what things like bluffing are… and playing stupid. "So um, I think I have good cards, but well, I'm sure I can figure it out…" Oh, yeah, he's going to attempt a hustle. "My name's Magnes J. Varlane." he offers to the woman, nodding politely. "Nice to meet you."

Now that the game is recommencing and Magnes has joined in, Xiulan glances at her watch. "I should be going," she asides quietly to Magnes. "I have clients early tomorrow morning. Will you be all right getting home?" Apparently, she isn't the least bit concerned about getting home, herself.

Magnes shakes his head at Xiulan, looking up at her from his card. "As long as you'll be alright, I'll be alright."

Yeah, yeah, I know… Hey, Cardinal talks to himself in his head. Most people do, after all. …I've got to shut him up somehow, though. The thief's fingers sweep along the cards set down for him, and he draws them up in a light fan of paper-stock kept close to his chest. Hm. He shuffles them about a bit, gaze flickering then over to the cleav to Kay with a brow's raise, "So what's your name, babe?" A sidelong look, then, to Xiulan as she rises, "Be careful out there, it's a hell've a jungle on Staten. I'll stop by your parlor sometime."

Let the hooker talk to him. That'll distract. Sure it will. With a sigh, Carter stands again to let the young woman out, offering her a strained yet cordial smile. "Stay safe, alright?" Nothing but good wishes from Tuck's goon. When he returns to the table, he peeks at his cards, then tosses in his bet. She's probably got the clap or something, he adds in Cardinal's Other Half mind voice. Teach the kid a lesson.

"«Be seeing you, Xiulan.»" Bao-Wei's response to the girl's leaving comes in their native tongue, and he looks at her as if to say that he might be actually seeing her some time coming up. Back at the table, the Doctor peers back at Carter while he ups the betting at the table. His cards aren't the best- and as for what is going through his head- the majority of it is in Mandarin. The only English that floats through his thoughts often have to do with medicine, and for what it is worth, there is a torrent of thinking going on in there.

"I'll be fine," Xiulan assures Magnes. Slanting a glance at Richard, she smiles as she dips her chin in a nod. "Stop by anytime, Richard. Good fortune," is offered to Doctor Cong as she stands up and flashes Carter a reassuring smile as she steps out. "I'll be perfectly safe, no worries." And off she goes. Course, Bao-Wei's parting remark can be taken either as a good thing, or bad thing… She's not real sure and she's not real anxious to find out. Heh.

"Nice to meet ya, Mister Varlane." Kay may or may not be making bedroom eyes at the younger man. "Stella," she responds easily when asked for her name by the man who is totally not staring at her breasts instead of his cards. She smirks to Sunshine and Lollipops again. "Magnes. Strong name. How old are you, sugar?" She sets a few chips out in front of her, raising the bet.

The departure of the chinese woman is watched for a moment, and then Cardinal's attention returns to the game, and its players. "Cardinal," he offers casually in return, shuffling through his hand and laying two down to collect others. Another beer's cracked.

"Twenty-one." Magnes answers, assured of Xiulan's safety, he puts up a rather modest bet. Instead of keeping a poker face, he just appears to not be paying much attention to the actual game. "I'm not sure how to tell when a woman is flirting, and I usually have a hard time talking to girls, but I should tell you that I really don't have an interest in making you exploit your body for money, I'm just saying…" he repeats, trying not to give her the wrong idea.

"It's not exploitation if she's the one offering," Carter assures Magnes, though his tone is dry. "Not that she's offering. If you run out of chips, you're not allowed to put yourself on the table either. Ma'am." Either Carter has a dislike of whores or an overdeveloped appreciation for a good game of poker. "Besides, it's not like we don't know who you'll be headin' off with once we finish here."

"Cardinal. A pleasure." Red lips twist into a polite smile as she both greets the man across the table and listens to Magnes' little display of gallantry. "I wouldn't make you pay for it, kiddo," 'Stella' teases. Jesus Christ, Matt. This kid is gonna get himself killed. What's he doing getting messed up a Goddamned shithole like this? "I hope your poker skills are better than your people skills, sir. Or you won't be stacking those chips of yours for very long." One long glance at the chips Magnes sets out and the woman's sliding her cards forward without lifting them to glance once more.

The cards in Cardinal's hand are regarded for a moment, and then he shakes his head — dropping them to the table with a rueful, "Fold." He leans back just a bit in his chair to let the rest of the round go by, fingers curling about the beer in his hand to bring it up to his lips, another swallow taken. His eyes close. Relaxing for a bit.

"It is exploitation, if she offers or not. I won't disrespect a woman with money, a body isn't a thing to be bought." Magnes responds to Carter, rather annoyed, but then 'Stella' talks, and… offers, for free. "A-ah, um, I see, well, umm…" Cheeks suddenly flushing completely red, he hastily lays his cards down, which lightly bounce off the table, their gravity completely gone. "F-f…" he stammers, almost unable to get it out, eyes locked on 'Stella'. "Four-of-a-kind…"

Then you keep him alive long enough to get a testimony out of him. He's a pal of Beauchamp's. Shouldn't be that hard to get him into the station. Carter's eyes linger on 'Stella' while she talks and he telepathically answers in turn, then they slide over to Magnes. Narrowing them, he throws his cards in, revealing a three-of-a-kind hand that isn't as high as the kid's.

The exchange between Stella and Magnes is entertaining enough, but for the most part, Bao-Wei keeps his focus on Cardinal and Carter instead. Perhaps it is ego that keeps Bao-Wei from seceding his hand earlier, but alas, it ends up too late. "Looks like you win this fight against crime, mister Varlane." The doctor lays down his hand- a straight- eyeing this young man with the stupidly dumb luck.

Oh, god, now he's making the cards float. Cardinal sets down the beer upon the table, and he levers himself up to his feet with a grunt. He bounces briefly on the soles of his feet, adjusting the fall of his jacket, and then offers the others at the table a rueful half-smile, "Well, that's it for me for tonight, I think. I've got some shit to do. Good meetin' you, Doctor — if you're ever looking for freelance acquisitions, feel free to get in touch — Stella — maybe I'll see you around, sometime. Have a good one, Carter."

"Well done, Mister Varlane. I can see you're a natural at this." Had to know he's a card shark. Nobody comes in and shoots their mouth off like that at a game don't have a clue how to win. 'Stella' sets out her blind and waits for her cards patiently. Her head tilts upward to offer a sweet smile to Cardinal, "Oh, I do hope so."

"Mm," Carter intones before actually looking away from the business of starting a new hand to watch Cardinal leave. He cashes him out, then gives him a slight smile. "Take care of yourself."

"I'm just gonna quit while I'm ahead." Magnes takes his winnings, pulls a small plastic bag from his pocket, then dumps his winnings into it. He walks around the table to 'Stella', then sits the bag in front of her. "You can have all of that, on the condition that you don't 'work' tonight, alright?" he asks, awkwardness fading as his tone becomes warm, yet still with an air of seriousness.

"Tell you what, Mister Magnes J. Varlane…" 'Stella' surreptitiously pushes Magnes' and her chips toward Carter so they can be changed to cash. "I won't work tonight on the condition that you keep your money, and you walk me home." She takes his hand and rubs her thumb over the backs of his fingers. "You're a gentleman enough to do that, aren't ya?"

Magnes stares down at her hand, his seriousness and maturity suddenly blown away by a simple touch and a re-flushing of the cheeks. "A-ah, um, sure, it's my job to protect the innocent, after all…" Well, as innocent as they get, anyway.

Cashings out happen all around, though Carter pauses before he does his own pile of chips. "Doctor?" he asks, looking to the older man at the table with the gentility of a valet or professional dealer. Who knows? Maybe the gangster wants to do a few rounds, one on one. Be careful, Kay, Carter can't help but transmit. More is relayed as well - Carter's own address in Staten Island. He'll be awhile at the shop, especially since Tuck is still dealing with whatever called him away.

Much reduced in participants, the game plays on into the night…

<date>: previous log
<date>: next log
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License