Hard Times for Dishonest Men


cardinal_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title Hard Times for Dishonest Men
Synopsis Tuck's down on his luck— so Cardinal offers to cut him in on some action, in exchange for some legwork.
Date February 17, 2009

Shooter's Bar and Bistro

A place that used to be a cafe and is making a slow progression towards being a dive bar. During the day, the balcony and a good portion of the sidewalk is taken up by outdoor chairs and tables, where people can enjoy a beer as well as a sandwich or whatever else is on their menu - a decent, if simply array of bar food. During the evening, unless it's a warm night, these are taken inside, and the kitchens are closed. A wide variety of beer is available, along with hard liquor and maybe a few wine labels, but nothing fancy. The interior decor is similar to traditional British pubs, with a hardwood bar and brick wall. There's an old pool table towards the back, along with a dart board. The building is actually two storeys high, but whatever is upstairs is inaccessible to the general public.

A knot of lowlifes have claimed the pool table and have been circling it for the past half hour or so. Among them is Gilbert Tucker, who leans on his cue and eyes the stack of cash on the edge of the table like a carrion bird eyeing a fresh corpse. He's playing with a red-haired guy who takes a shot that misses every ball on the table. Tuck hisses air between his teeth. "Y'see…the object of the game is to hit the little balls, and then they go into the pock—."

"Shut the fuck up, Tuck."

"Hey, that rhymes."

The redheaded dude just eyes him.

The door to the former-bistro, present-bar is pushed open to admit Cardinal, who seems like he's in a pretty decent mood—whistling under his breath to the tune of some classic rock song (American Woman if one must know) and starting along over towards the scratched surface of the hardwood bar. Of course, he hears the venom spit back at Tuck, hears the name, and smirks a bit to himself. Between tables he meanders, along towards the back.

"Look…Thad, I really need this cash, dude. So if you could not fuck up, that would be beautiful. Ace." Tuck makes the 'perfect' symbol with thumb and finger. Also known as the 'OK' symbol. The redheaded guy known as Thaddeus knocks Tuck on the kneecaps with the bottom of the cue as he passes.

One of the other pair takes a shot. They look decidedly more dangerous than a slim redheaded guy and a short, dark-haired pawnbroker with glasses. Two of the balls are sunk before he misses. Then it's Tuck's turn.

As he's circling the table, he catches sight of Cardinal and nods to the thief. Now that it's his turn, he's apparently all business.

"Tuck." The greeting's casual from Cardinal's lips as he walks up, though he leaves the players room about the table to move about without interfering. In this part of town, that can get you beat the fuck up. So he leans against the wall, smirking a bit as he watches to see how the fence's shot goes.

Tuck has to lean rather far over the table to line up his shot. To which the two opponents start to wolf whistle at his ass as a way to throw him off his game. It apparently works. The short pawnbroker gives them the twitchiest looks, then stalks indignantly to the other side of the table. Perhaps not surprisingly he misses his shot. "Fuck."

"Tough break there, muffin," says Thad. He pats the pawnbroker on the shoulder.

Tuck just shoots a look over his shoulder, leans his cue against the wall, then heads towards the bar for a much-needed drink. He passes by Cardinal as he goes. "What's up, man?" He's trying not to let it show how much that rattled him back there.
A click of tongue to palate, and Cardinal's head shakes slowly from side to side. "Can't let 'em get to you, Tuck," he observes, pushing off the wall to follow along beside the pawnbroker on the way to the bar, "Get distracted, your game slips—and not much, not much. Got laid last night, plannin' out my next job, all's good. You?" A stool's claimed, sliding onto it and waving to the bartender.

"Kain? That Cajun bastard from the card game? Came in and busted in Guppy's head," a beat, "Uh, that's…that's the fat fuck who works for me." Tuck keeps an eye on the pool table as he waits to be served a beer. "Trust me kid, you don't wanna owe that guy money. Speaking of. This new job isn't gonna score anything that'll move, will it?"

"It might…" A cant of Cardinal's head, a single brow crooking at the pawnbroker, "…how much, exactly, d'you owe that suited sonuvabitch, man?" As the beers are served up, he scoops one up, twisting the cap off.

Tuck wipes the mouth of his beer off on his shirt before he takes a pull. The bartender doesn't really look like the kind of guy who washes after he pisses. "I dunno. Lost track." His face screws up like he's doing mental math. He even pushes his glasses up with a finger, all intellectural like. "…a lot. A few grand at least. Maybe…ten." He half mumbles that. "I tossed him two to keep him from biting me again. Called in a few favours, but mostly I borrowed it. So now I'm in it with some lesser forms of scum."

Cardinal's eyes close briefly at the other man's words, taking a long swallow from the beer. "Shit," he replies, eloquently. So he takes another swig of beer, head canting a bit to look sidelong to the other man. The tip of a finger raps against the bottle in his hand a few times, before abruptly admitting, "There's one thing I'm on that'll pay well. Real well. Tricky part is finding out where it is. Not sure how good your information sources are anymore, though."

"They are fine enough, sir. As many favours as I owe folk, they owe me ones too." That's why it pays to be the guy who can get his hands on stuff. Everyone needs something strange sooner or later. "And I never call 'em all in, no matter how much cash I owe. Ribs heal." But a favour owed can be worth more than cash. Tuck keeps an eye on the pool game and mutters another curse under his breath as their opponents sink the eight ball. "Well. Down another hundred." But he shrugs it off quickly enough, then turns to pat Cardinal on the shoulder. He motions to a table. "Shall we talk business?"

The back of Cardinal's hand wipes over his lips, and then he pushes himself back from the stool. "Sounds good to me," he replies simply. To his feet, and he turns to step along over to that table off to one side, twisting one of the chairs about and dropping himself down to lean forward on folded arms.

Given where they are, it's not like they have to whisper and look over their shoulders. Everyone in here probably does or is in the process of doing something illegal. Tuck swivels the beer around and peers at Cardinal over the top of his glasses. "So. What kind of info do you need there, sport?"

"There's a couple items that've just ended up on the market, and ended up in private collections," Cardinal says in quiet tones, toying with the bottle of beer from one hand to the other, "Items that people'll pay a damn good sum for. If you can find one or more've 'em, I can steal 'em. A series of paintings, by this guy named Brill."

Tuck clucks his tongue and leans back. "Oh, I can't move art, my friend. This is Staten Island. If we were still connected to the mainland, I might be able to hook up with some of the fences in higher income brackets. Here? No one wants a Van Gogh to hang on the wall of their shack. What, are you kidding me? I need guns. Ammo, particularly. Cigarettes. Prescription drugs."

"You might be surprised," Cardinal replies with a faint snort, tilting the bottle Tuck-wards, "At who's after these an' where they'd move— but, hey, if you're focused small league." He leans back as well, swirling the bottle about in a loose clasp of his fingers, "Mnm. You're not going to make ten or twenty grand quick with that shit, unless you hit a -real- big score."

"It's true. But I don't need to make it at one go. As long as I keep feeding the monster, and don't get myself more in…debt okay I see your point." Tuck pulls out a pack of cigarettes and pulls one out using his mouth. He lights it with a zippo. "So do you know where said works of art are currently housed?"

"No fuckin' clue," Cardinal scratches under his chin, "S'the problem I've got under my hands here, I can get 'em, and I can move 'em - hell, myself, even - but I need to know where they are. You— " He smirks, "— you got more contacts than me, Tucker. We score one of those paintings, and all your Zarekian woes go away."

"Do you have any clue, amigo? I mean, I would like to have more to go on than 'paintings by a guy named Brill.'" Tuck exhales a mouthful of smoke. The little hamster wheel in his brain is squeaking away. When he was a more respectable criminal in a mob family that liked to play at high scoiety, there was a need to find rare works of art. Most of them folks're probably dead though. "If I do find you the information you request, I'd need a finder's fee. Whether the information I provide for you results in you successfully snatching said paintings or not. This could potentially use up a few connections."

At that, Cardinal grins just a touch. "I wouldn't expect anything else from you, man," he admits, leaning forward ever so slightly, "Thomas Brill. You find the information for me, I'll pay your finder's fee, Tuck. I don't have much in th'way of expenses, so I've got some cash squirreled away that you could throw at Zarek to keep him off your back for awhile more."

Given that he earlier quoted how much he owes Kain, Tuck considers the number of his fee to be understood. He purses his lips, then takes a slow drag off his cigarette. "Well, there is a particular rumour going around, come to think of it. I shall investigate it and get back to you on whether or not it's relevant to this particular job." His voice has dropped lower now. He could tip his hand now, but that might lower his finder's fee. That's something he can't afford with Kain Zarek breathing down his neck. "In the meantime, if you know anyone who'd like a job, let me know. Guppy quit. Even though it was the fucker's own fault for leaving the window open." A sigh as he fiddles with a pack of matches. "So hard to find someone who only steals from me a little."

"No honor amongst thieves, eh, Tucker?" A chuckle tumbles itself past Cardinal's lips at the other man's words, his head shaking slowly from side to side, "Well, I don't exactly know anybody who's lookin' for work at the moment—but I'll keep an eye out, eh? Still, here on Staten, that's about what you get…" One hand lifts, scratching under his chin in a rasp of short nails against stubble, "…s'why I work alone, for the most part."

"I start to feel like a fish in a bowl locked behind two inches of bulletproof glass. Sides, I can't actually run my business sitting behind a counter." Tuck can't wait for everything to come to him. "It's about watching the market. Seeing what's in demand or what's gonna be. And making sure I have a supply. For instance. I'm hoarding water purifiers and generators. The city's abandoned us. It's only a matter of time before public works goes to shit too." He nods his head back and forth. "…quite literally in terms of the sewers."

"Not a bad idea…" Cardinal tilts his head back a bit, regarding the other man for a moment before offering, "Not a bad idea at all. Unfortunately, doesn't help you short term, eh? Well— " He grins, "— we pull this shit off, you'll be jus' fine, Tuck."

"I will be fine…with Zarek. But he's not the only one I owe money to. He's just the only one who remembers that I owe him." Tuck glances around the room and exhales. "Well, I better get back to the shop. I made Guppy finish out a few more shifts til I can find someone else. But he's only got one good eye and he might've locked the shop on me. I'll let you know what I hear, all right? See ya." And then he's up and swinging a jacket over his shoulders.

February 17th: Amateur Night

Previously in this storyline…
Amateur Night

Next in this storyline…

February 17th: Antipode
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