Do I Know You?


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Scene Title Do I Know You?
Synopsis Gladstone pays Mischa a midnight visit at her apartment in the Bronx after a two year absence.
Date August 26, 2008

Siann Hall — Mischa's Apartment

It's amazing, really, how little things can change even given a great amount of time. Allen Gladstone is all too aware of this fact; he knows that since the last time he was here in Siann Hall, two or three years ago, the occupants haven't changed much. It doesn't even look like the paint in the halls has changed much. All the better for him, really. It makes it that much easier to find his way around. It doesn't take too long to find his way to unit 305. Briefly tilting his head to the left to work the kinks out of his neck, Gladstone straightens up, raises his right hand and raps his knuckles on the door three times. Knock knock knock.

From within the apartment comes the sound of bedsprings creaking, followed by the soft slap of bare feet against outdated laminate floors. A moment later, the deadbolt clicks and, with a twist, the door to unit 305 opens just a crack, revealing a sliver of sallow skin and one large, dark eye that blinks a few times as if blearily trying to will the world into focus. "Do I know you?" asks a woman's voice, thick with sleep. Although her speech is somewhat slurred, it shouldn't be difficult for Gladstone to pick out and identify her accent which, like its owner, is Romanian.

"Well, let me think about that," Gladstone replies without bothering to hide the edge of contempt in his voice. "You're a nobody of no importance. You live in a shitty, third-floor apartment in Nagasaki West. And you have no money to speak of. If you didn't know me, I'd have better things to do than knock on your door for no reason other than to make sure you didn't finally overdo it and kick off. Open the door."

The door opens the rest of the way, and standing silhouetted in its frame is Mischa Christinel. She isn't clothed in much, but should Gladstone really expect any differently when he comes calling in the dead of night? A man's dress shirt, buttoned haphazardly, hangs from her slim frame and gives the impression that she probably wasn't wearing anything at all when the knock roused her from the bedroom. Unabashed, her eyes rove up and down Gladstone's body, though it's several more moments before her attention affixes itself to his face — and even then she seems not to fully recognize him.

"Had a busy night? You look like you just came back from the dentist." It's more of an idle observation than an actual statement; whichever it is, Gladstone doesn't intend to follow up on or add to it. Without another word, the Brit enters the apartment, pushing his way past Mischa if she doesn't move. It's like a sunflower in front of a rolling boulder, in that case; there's not a lot she can do to stop him. "How's the boy?" he asks.

Mischa, having wisely sidled out of her guest's path, closes the door behind him and then relocks it. "Sleeping," she replies, "so keep your voice down." Sure enough, curled up on the couch beneath several layers of multi-colored and multi-fabric blankets, is a child-like shape with pale skin and a tangle of black hair on the top of its tiny head. "What do you want, Gladstone?"

Despite the question being a simple one, Mischa doesn't receive an immediate or even a prompt answer. Gladstone takes his time, observing the boy on the couch, and then letting his gaze wander around the rest of the apartment, idly walking forward as he does. "Exactly like the last time I saw it," he says, although he at least honors the request that he keep his voice down, "Absolute shit. You should get a better place. For him-" A single nod towards the couch- "You make enough to afford it."

"I get a better place and the police start breathing down my neck, asking questions about Linderman." Mischa reaches up to scratch an itch on the tip of her nose. "Besides," she adds with a shrug, "he doesn't always stay with me." Offering no further elaboration, she meanders away from Gladstone and into the kitchen where she goes about fixing a cup of coffee. As usual, just like old times, she declines to ask him if he'd like some. "You didn't answer my question, by the way."

This time, Gladstone *does* provide an answer: "I'm moving."

"Moving," Mischa repeats, her tone flat — lackluster. Isn't Gladstone always moving? "I was under the impression that came with the territory."

"It does. And as for the territory, you're living in it," the mercenary replies, "There's opportunity here, so needless to say, you'll likely be seeing a bit more of me than you're used to. Just thought I'd drop by, give you a heads-up, in the event that you had any complaints about it. Feel free to voice them any time. I'm listening."

Gladstone may be listening, but Mischa isn't voicing anything — least of all any complaints. She simply stares at the man with a muted expression on her tired face. Apparently, it's too late (or too early, depending on how you want to look at it) for this. Either that, or she's too stunned by Gladstone's proclamation to counter it. He can take his pick.

"Anything?" Gladstone asks, "Anything at all? nothing then? Good, glad to hear that we're in agreement on this matter. Like I said, just wanted to give you a heads-up, in case you saw me on the street and thought I was a figment of your imagination. Now, if you've got nothing to add, I've got work to do, so I'll be on my way."

This must all be very surreal for Mischa because all she can do is raise her arm and point at the door. Perhaps Gladstone is fortunate that she's still in that hazy place between wakefulness and sleep, assuming she doesn't wake up in the morning and think this conversation was a figment of her imagination. "Out," she croaks.

Gladstone's a lot of things; an asshole is definitely one of them. A fool, isn't. He makes it his business to know what he's dealing with in the world around him, and 'out' is probably one of the best places for him to be going right now. Before things start to get out of hand. "I'll see you around, Meesh," he says, walking towards the door, unlocking and then opening it. He's on the other side before things have a chance to get out of hand, leaving it opened in case the woman has any choice words to shout at him while he's walking away.

Gladstone receives no parting shot from Mischa. Instead, he finds himself confronted by a nauseous sensation that roils in the pit of his stomach but gradually fades, getting weaker and weaker the further away he gets from the apartment. By the time he reaches the end of the hall, it's gone — its departure punctuated by the slamming of the Romanian's door.

August 25th: Are You Interested?
August 27th: An Ever Thinning Thread of Hope
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