Down The Wrong Pipe


deckard_icon.gif murdoch_icon.gif

Scene Title Down The Wrong Pipe
Synopsis An undercover cop happens upon a crook for a little beach side conversation on Staten. Predictably they find each other to be a little hard to swallow.
Date June 8, 2009

Staten Island: Coast

It's getting late. It usually is by the time Deckard slinks out of the Lighthouse and out onto the beach that lies beyond, and tonight is no exception. Rather than continue on to the open bar that's lit warm on the cooling red band of the horizon, he's in the process of piling up wooden shit salvaged from a line of abandoned buildings a little ways back off the seawall. Entire chairs, table legs, driftwood. What looks like it might've been part of a small boat at one point. It all goes in and it all suffers under the splurting squirt of lighter fluid he applies with a little too much gusto, clear liquid slopping over rough and varnished wood without discrimination.

He cuts a lean, skeletal figure in the faded blue of early nightfall, scruffy hair grey and suit black against lighter sand when he strikes a match just short of the cigarette already waiting in the corner of his mouth. The same unfortunate match is then tossed into the woodpile, which WHOOMPHS to life with force enough to blast radiant heat across cold sad and sends a miniature fireball belching up over the seawall's lip. Nearby a rusty lawn chair is reclined and waiting in the company of a bottle of whiskey half-buried in the sand.

This is clearly a well walked, well loved patch of sand for Deckard; he has a whole set up, and a secret stash. Not so prepared is Vincent Murdoch, renegade cop, or at least cop-outside-his-assigned-jurisdiction. He is not dressed for beachcombing. His leather shoes, however worn, are meant for sidewalk at the very worst, not sand. So his way is made with a certain gingerness as he skirts the waterline, trying not to get grazed by errant waves.

The burst of flame can't fail to catch his eye, and Murdoch peers through the dark towards the dancing light. Quirking his mouth to the side in a moment of consideration, he points himself towards the fire and begins to trek towards it. His first thought is, ridiculously, about ordinances forbidding the building of bonfires. But then, he reasons, equally ridiculously, that unless the fire-builder just /happens/ to be Evolved, it's not his business anyhow. SCOUT and all. And what are the chances?

Deckard is dressed like a snakeoil salesman, which is apt, although not all that relevant to his work at the Lighthouse. The sooty grey of his suit is tatty around the fringes and ill-fitted to his drawn frame for all that it seems well-tailored to his height and the even slant of his shoulders. He's wearing a tie — a simple, dark striped affair that hangs loose around his neck — and boots that sink far enough in the sand that he seems to move with a limp. Or maybe he is moving with a limp. Gaunt face and long, dancing shadows aside, it's been several days since he's bothered shaving and his hair is a wiry, bristled mess. Even from afar he bears a certain striking resemblance to his wild-eyed mugshot.

Outwardly ignorant of any company he might have, he leans into his chair to stoop for the whiskey, heavy bottle drawn up so that he can fumble with the cap while he watches the fire lose some of its heat to the lighter fluid's fast fading influence.

Murdoch's eyes are not so good as to make out distinguishing features, not yet. And he's off duty which means he's not /looking/ to find specific criminals. Armed, thus, with the power of context (or the lack thereof) he can, with all innocence, step into the ring of firelight and lift a hand for a simple:
"Evening," Murdoch offers. His eyes catch the half-buried whiskey bottle. That's another ordinance, right there. Fuck it, though. "A fine prospect you've got going. I'll have to bring my deck chair next time I'm out here."

Evening. Sure. Right. The lanky pyro jumps, slouched spine sticking ramrod straight between the dish and poke of scapulae at the flat back of his suit coat. One second both of his hands are occupied by the whiskey bottle, the next, he's got the bottle by the neck in his left hand and his right is snatching viper-quick at the Saturday night special holstered under his arm.

Still not used to having people even be capable of sneaking up on him, maybe especially in the dark, Flint bristles like a cornered raccoon, pale eyes bright in the yellow-orange light cast off by the fire. He doesn't return the greeting or accept the compliment. Rude of him.

This is something Murdoch should have expected on the Staten Island. Thusfar, though, he's only seen aggression, never been subject to it. First time for everything, though not if he can help it. He lifts his hands, not quite 'to the sky' but certainly out of easy reach of any weapon he might be holding. "Hey now," he says, "Didn't mean to trouble you. Looking for company is all, honest." His eyes dart to the hand that is going for the gun. Is that a licensed firearm there, buddy? Not the time.

Flint's eyes chip after the movement at Murdoch's hands, manic paranoia ringed into the whites of his eyes and the bare of his teeth. He looks sick. Physically, and probably in the head, too — all sunken hollows and animal tension while he attempts to peel his way through the older guy's skull with his glare.

Alas, he has no luck in that arena and is forced to make a decision without benefit of telepathy. He breathes, more out of necessity than trust or relief, but his hand does fall away from the gun (no way in hell that sucker's legal) and back to the whiskey bottle. "Sorry."

"Drawing iron on unexpected guests is a long, noble American tradition. Frankly, the fact you didn't shoot makes me wonder if you're some sort of Communist," Murdoch says, tone all wryness tinged with just a little 'nearly at gunpoint' adrenaline, "Which is fine with me, by the way. I dated a Marxist in college." He lowers his hands, "If I offer to buy half of that handle off you with an appropriate markup, will you share the wealth? I think your prescription of whiskey and a dark ocean are precisely what I need as well."

The thin line of Deckard's mouth cracks open to reply…only to close again before anything so substantial as conversation has a chance to fall out. He's suspicious again, or confused: brow dimly knit, long face turned at a slight aside while he looks Murdoch carefully over for the second time. 'Drawing iron?' Effectively muddled by someone who cares to talk about college and appropriate markups and dark oceans on Staten Island, he spends a second or two casting his attention out over the black suck of the tide at the beach before he nods hazily to himself and finishes up with the cap. "I didn't bring any glasses."

"I'm not sure if you're being polite in refusing my offer, or being polite in making it clear that you've been drinking it straight from the bottle," Murdoch says, sliding his hands into his pockets (casually, mind you!), "Either way, I appreciate your manners. In any case, mind if I have just one swig," he draws a pill bottle out of one pocket, "I need something to wash these down," he shakes the little orange cylinder. "I'm Vincent, by the way. If you need me to fuck off, just say. I've just… well…" he frowns slightly, "I'm in need of a somewhat less deflating experience than my most recent ones."

"…Second one." Again, Flint is slow to answer, as he might be slow to answer an emu that wandered up off the beach and asked him to make the same distinction. Thoroughly discombobulated, he holds the thick bottle out all the same, whiskey glunking heartily around the base while he reaches up to grasp at his cigarette with his free hand. Still staring. "Flint."

Vincent reaches out to take the whiskey bottle in his free hand, "Pleasure," he affirms, "I'd shake, but we're both busy, it looks like." He lifts the bottle to catch the label in the light, squinting past the scattered sand that obscures the lettering. Not that it much matters. He unscrews the pill bottle one handed, a maneuver that just has to be practiced, and jimmies out a single pill which he pops into his mouth and washes down with a swig of drink. He gulps, winces very slightly, then nods, "Thanks," offering back the handle, "Getting a pill stuck in your throat is, if not the worst, amongst the bottom fifty."

Off to the side, Flint's fire has picked up again with some help from the wind kicking in off the water, licking yellow up the leg of a chair that seems to be the sole source of some particularly poor smelling smoke. Ash tapped off the end of his cigarette, Deckard stands where he is and watches the pill downing process with all the skeptical distance of an island cannibal watching some stranded guy in a suit pull up photos of his kids on a laptop. The bottle's label says Crown Royal, but the contents don't measure up. The whiskey's watered down — there may even be a hint of tea in there.

Deckard takes it back in silence, preferring to keep standing awkwardly where he is rather than take up the comfier post of his crappy chair. Not a big talker, apparently.

Vincent regards the fire for a moment, maybe waiting for the pill to take effect, or at least for the placebo effect to do its work. He lifts an arm to shield his face as the wind shifts and tosses some smoke his way. Rather than keep up the fight, he turns back towards Flint. Something stirs. "You look familiar," he says, "Have I seen you somewhere on the Island before? Shooters, perhaps?" a pause. What the hell, "The Happy Dagger?"

Drinking and smoking is a two handed job when you're swinging around with the entire bottle. Deckard manages the two with a practiced, lazy kind of fluidity, weight sinking lax over onto the plant of his left boot when Vincent turns his attention to the fire. This makes staring at him somewhat less awkward for the short term, fire-sterilized blue eyes glinting sharp in the black spaces hooded beneath his brows once he's swigged down a long swallow of bitter booze. The grungy smoke doesn't seem to bother him. Probably used to it. "Dunno." Firelight plays too warm across his face when he takes a step closer to the blaze, picking up on flecks of white and silver in the otherwise dark bristle of his stubble collection. "I've been all over, but I think I'd remember you."

"Happy to be memorable," Murdoch says, his brow arching very slightly. Familiar indeed. He reaches out a hand, "Mind if I take another drink? I've an edge I'd like to take off, given the option." This is not something he's supposed to do, but a lot of things he's been doing lately haven't been precisely kosher.

While the stink may not be a bother, the chemical burn is a little bit. Flint sniffs against some unpleasant burning in his sinuses, nose wrinkled and nostrils flared. Too close. The step back he takes is used to pass the bottle back off to Murdoch. Now that he seems to have decided he's not going to grow a second head or pull a knife if he blinks, the rangy crook has adopted a more casual air. One that still involves a lot of staring and sideways glances, granted. The last person he talked to on this stretch of beach tried to cave his head in.

Murdoch lifts the drink to his lips, tips back, and lets his suppressed abilities peak over their chemically erected barriers. The result is less than delightful. The cop is bombarded by a stream of violent, traumatic memories, memories of near-fatal injuries, memories of assault and capture and loss; it's all Murdoch can do to stay standing, and it's unlikely he can just pass it off as being unable to hold his liquor. The bottle slips right out of his hands and lands with a muffled thump on the sand, though luckily none of it splashes up out of the bottleneck. Murdoch grips his knees, head down, coughing and spluttering, trying to drag himself out of the mix between memory lane and the house of horrors that are Deckard's escapades.

Effectively spooked, Deckard…freezes in place, steel-corded tension lined from hollow jaw to clavicle and flexed bone white in the backs of his hands. Not the most effective manifestation of fight or flight. Potentially part of the reason why he he gets the hell beaten out of him so frequently.

Smoke winds from the tip of his cigarette in a wispy, fluted spiral, whisking off on the tug of a breeze only to start again once its settled. There is no move made to help or save the whiskey or even ask what the fuck. A weak length of wood in the fire's center buckles; short-lived sparks race up all in a rush. Flint's cigarette rolls from one corner of his mouth to the other.

"Sorry!" Murdoch stammers, "S…sorry. Drink… went down the wrong pipe," he looks up, face pale rather than flushed, but offers a brave smile, "Worse even than a sticky pill." He takes a moment to gather himself, to get over the experience of being invaded, okay so that's not quite fair but still, being /swarmed/ by memories that, for the moment felt like his own. Being nearly killed by your own partner is not exactly an easy thing to grok, made no simpler by the fact that he knows /this man/ was the one maimed. At least he knows, now, why he looks familiar. The name 'Flint' should have given it away, anyhow. What kind of detective is he?

He smooths his jacket as he stands, then stoops again to pick up the whiskey bottle, offering it to Deckard. "I've clearly had enough."

"Sure." Now that it's been spurred back into existence, the tension locked into Deckard's bony shoulders is disinclined to fade. He reaches to accept the offered bottle with stiff fingers, nearly as wary now as he was upon Murdoch's initial arrival. Weird guy comes in, talks about weird things, takes weird pills, has weird reaction to whiskey. He is, to summarize: weird. Flint's arrival at this conclusion is clear in his eyes. Apparently even crazy people can look at people like they think they're crazy.

Murdoch seems unaware or at least unconcerned about how he must be coming off. He is busy sorting the rush of emotionally charged information into usable, impartial components. It's something of a chore, and one he's still getting used to. He sizes up the man he now knows is Flint Deckard. This is a potentially useful individual, "I remember now. It just hit me. It was near the Happy Dagger, though I can understand why you didn't notice me. You seemed preoccupied at the time."

For all that he may be potentially useful, to the unwary observer, Flint Deckard doesn't really look it. He's worn down: almost emaciated with the way his bones push out at his rickety construction, grizzled greyer than he was a year ago, suspicious, scruffy and standoffish. It's been a rough year in New York City. And here he is. Still here, cigarette in one hand, bottle of whiskey weighing down the other. "I get that way when I'm trying to get laid."

Murdoch forces a smile. This should be funny, but it's not really his style. "There's one girl there I've seen before, Bebe by name. But I can't seem to get ahold of her, not lately. It's like she's dropped off the face of the earth… an unhappily easy feat on Staten Island. Still… I've been trying to find her all the same. Any chance you'd know something about her?"

"She used to work at the Dagger. I dunno where she is now." The last part of that is muffled by a return of his smoke to his mouth so that he can have a hand free to scratch at the back of his head, smoke furled white on the leading edge of a yawn forced out through his nose. Then he's back to watching Murdoch, gaze just a little too easy-going when he opts to add: "There was a feeb down here sniffing around after her a couple've weeks ago."

"Feeb? Like a retarded person? Or a bureau agent?" Murdoch's enforced smile spreads a bit, looking tight, but in this light it may not be noticeable, "If it's possible to appreciate the difference." Felix would probably not like that crack, but Murdoch's feeling a little residual resentment after experiencing that beating by proxy.

"I think the point is that there isn't a difference." If Deckard smiles at all it's a slight thing, subtle and fleeting and not having much to do with what little good humor he might have left in him. "Wasn't far from here, actually. You should keep an eye out."

"And get involved with the feds? I doubt it. Generous though john laws may still be…" Murdoch says, "Still, it's nice to see a little law enforcement in the region, as long as it's focusing on saving people rather than tossing people behind bars," he arches an inquisitive brow, borrowing some of Deckard's casual air, "They were trying to find her, right? Which means she is missing?"

"If you're the one that chopped her into little pieces and buried her in the beach, they haven't found anything, no. You're in the clear." Somehow this seems like the least likely option as to Murdoch's motivation. AND YET. Deckard forces out an exaggerated wink before he finally turns to drop himself heavily down into his lawn chair, patience expired. It sifts awkwardly down into the sand under his weight, but the frame holds sturdy. "I don't know anything about Bebe. She fucked me but I never fucked her. We aren't friends. We aren't even business associates. So if you'd kindly fuck off Mister Vincent, I have a prescription to fill and a dark ocean to fathom."

Murdoch's instant reaction is to take offense, but he simply doesn't have the energy to be put out. Denied outrage, he opts for appreciation, and it's a much finer alternative. He chuckles, and gives a small salute. "Alright. Fucking off. And as for the body parts, just don't look too close at any of the breakers, hmmm? Thanks for the drink. Hope you fathom the fathoms well." He turns and starts to trace his tracks back to where he came from.

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