Have Hoodie Will Travel


cardinal_icon.gif monica_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title Have Hoodie Will Travel
Synopsis Cardinal has a plan to lure out the man called the Irishman, who no one seems to like very much, particularly Smedley. But For Monica, it means St. Joan has a reason to rise again.
Date December 14, 2010

Piccoli's Delicatessen

Everything about Piccoli's is welcoming. There's a large, cheerful neon sign mounted on the roof, the interior is brightly lit and spotlessly clean, and the old-fashioned decor is more reminiscent of mother's kitchen than a successful business. Since the doors opened in 1946, Piccoli's has been best known for pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, and salami. The wait can sometimes be a little long, but the prices are reasonable and the food is always worth it.

"So I suppose that you're all wondering why I called you here today," Cardinal asks, just because he's always wanted to. It's one of those movie things.

That statement, however, is normally made over a board-room table or some other ominous location rather than in the cheerfully lit interior of Piccoli's Delicatessen. Also, it's normally not stated while waving a home-cut french fry at the people being spoken to.

Still, there's worse places to have a meeting, and who would expect a clandestine conversation in the back of a deli in the middle of the day? Reaching over for his soda, he first asks, "Either've you familiar with a character who calls himself The Irishman?"

Wes Smedley, who had previously been leaning back on the two rear legs of his chair, straightens at the name, bringing the forelegs of his seat crashing down on the tile floor with an angry metal thunk. He frowns across the table at Cardinal, his brows furrowing over narrowed eyes. But he's silent for a beat, reaching to take one of the other man's french fries before he speaks.

"Heard've him," he mutters, dipping the breaded and deep fried potato in the small paper cup of ketchup. "Haven't had the pleasure, though." But there's a good chance that, given the sudden change in his demeanor from easy-going interest to bridled loathing, there wouldn't be much of The Irishman left once Smedley was through with him.

Monica smirks at the opening remarks, and her arms fold on the table in front of them. She has opted for a healthier meal, something with an awful lot of leaves involved. Of course, that only leaves her (haha) with the need to steal fries from Cardinal. Which she does as her eyebrows lift at Smedley's reaction.

"I haven't heard of him myself," she says in that light southern accent, "Seems he's not such a nice guy, though? I gather."

"I figured you would've heard of him," Cardinal says with a hint of the grim to his voice, nodding slightly to Smedley, "Given… well."

Another bite of fry, and he explains quietly, "He's an arms dealer, supposedly, out to make a big splash. That explosion in the paper the other day was his doing. Next target? d'Sarthe's christmas bash. Now…" A wry look to Monica, "…ordinarily I wouldn't shed any tears, but there'll be a lot of innocent people there. On top of that, another source told me that Humanis is planning on blowing up the place. Which is to say, they're one'n the same."

Smedley just nods, keeping any further comment on the Irishman's past activity to himself. "You don't think he'll be there, do you?" He keeps his voice low, then stops for a moment to chew his ketchup-drenched fry. "The way I hear it, he's got one hell of an operation - and unless it's personal, he's lih'ble not to flip the switch himself."

"You're telling me we're gonna save d'Sarthe's?" That does come with a groan, but the woman seems on board all the same. Likely because Humanis First sucks balls. Not that she would put it that way out loud, but oh, she can think it.

"So this arms dealer is a bog dog in HF? Why don't we go after him before there's any explosions? Fish rots from the head, all that."

Cardinal holds up a hand, one finger raised, as if to say 'one moment' to Monica. "You're gonna like this one," he says with a grin, "Trust me."

Leaning forward, he rests an arm on the table's edge. "I've got a couple've other people working on this, some people on the inside of various groups. Roughly, my plan's this… we get Monica here to play the vigilante looking for some nice big kaboom weapons. If pressed? She can say that she's planning on taking them to N'awlin's to use on d'Sarthe. They do a background check, all they'll find is that it's entirely feasable. We use that deal to track down the Irishman's home base."

"Then what?" Smedley asks, nonplussed. He picks at his club sandwich, but he doesn't eat it so much as push the remaining half around on his plate with a few disgruntled prods of his calloused finger. "We find out where they are - they aren't ever gonna take her there. They'll deal someplace else where they have the advantage, just in case."

He pauses, lifting a pickle from the sandwich and studying it for a moment. "The fewer details up front, the better." It's unclear what he's talking about, but then he glances to Monica. "You only tell'em what they need to know - and that's what you need, when you need it by, and what you're willin' t'pay. Y'haggle, but you don't cut'em in on what you're plannin' t'do with the goods. That ain't how it goes." That is, of course, all assuming that Monica has never been the dealee in an illegal arms transcaction.

With a slight sniff, Smedley pops the pickle into his mouth and pushes back from the table. "'Scuse me," he mutters before he steps away, walking still deeper into the restaurant and disappearing around a corner.

"But they have to get the goods from there at some time, if I'm actually going through with a deal. Wherever they want to play out the deal, we can keep eyes on them beforehand." Monica gives Cardinal a nod there, and a crooked smile. "I can play up the revenge angle, too. They went after my family, now they'll pay for being such bad bad men. I mean, it's true." Lord knows she does better with lies that are steeped in truth than ones that aren't.

She does seem appreciative of Smedley's advice, though. "I've never done it myself. I mean, I've watched the thugs back home do it enough, but…" she says just before Smedley gets up to excuse himself. Hmm. But she looks back over to Cardinal to add, "That's how I learned to hotwire a car, too."

"The best lie is mostly true," Cardinal says with a nod, and then he smiles - and none too pleasantly. "And once we know where they are? Well, then…" A glance across the deli, then back to Monica, "…we tell the Ghost Shadows and d'Sarthe both where the little pissant Humanis who're cutting in on their action are. Without telling each other about the other one, of course. Then we sit back and watch the fireworks."

"Ahh, letting them all take out one another. I see where you're going." Monica doesn't even seem to need to give it some thought, or to take time to consider or anything of the sort, "I'm going to need a new hoodie. I lost the old one in all the November 8th mess." The hood is, after all, her signature vigilante gear.

"I think I could spare some cash for a hoodie," says Cardinal dryly, reaching down to pick up his sandwich finally, "I get the feeling that by the end, it'll be the least of our expenses."

"It's so good to have a benefactor with such deep pockets," Monica says with a grin sent over his way. "Just point me toward where I should start asking around, and off I'll go." As he picks up his sandwich, she grabs her fork, but instead of turning her attention to her food, she pauses a moment. "Did you ever find out what was in that box from Edward?"

A bite of sandwich is taken, and Cardinal takes the time afforded by chewing to find his words for that. Oddly pensive as he admits, "Yes." His gaze lifts over the plate to her, and he says simply, "Family."

Monica slowly lifts an eyebrow at that one, some bits of worry and confusion tucked into her expression. "We're not talking about… like, ashes or something real maudlin like that, are we?"

"No, no…" Cardinal shakes his head, a faint smile on his lips, "…nothing that morbid, no…" Another bite, chew, swallow, "There wasn't really anything in the box. The box was the message."

"Okay, good," Monica says, fork finally falling to stab into some of her salad. But as he goes on, she blinks again. "You mean… wait, does that mean Kaylee is family?" There's a little chuckle from her, that's half disbelieving, half baffled. "Wow, there's a mind-blower for you, huh?"

"If… Edward's to be believed," says Cardinal, pausing a moment to add, "And don't repeat this to anyone…" He reaches for his soda, shaking his head, "Kaylee and Val're my sisters, or half-sisters, not sure. Him? He's presumably my father."

Monica brings a hand up over her heart, a wordless promise to keep it to herself. But that last bit, it gets a stare for a moment. "Seriously? Wow, that's… That would be crazy. But it makes sense sort of, doesn't it? Son carrying on the father's legacy kind of. In a way."

Cardinal exhales a snort of breath. "I'm not believing anything until I see a DNA test," he admits, his tone wry, "But if it is true? I'm going to punch him in the goddamn face."

"Probably a good plan," Monica says with a crooked smile. "Both of those, actually." There's a little pause from her for a moment before her hand reaches across the table to give his arm a squeeze. "You doing okay?"

At the squeeze against his arm, Cardinal hesitates for a moment, and then offers her a faint but genuine smile. "I'm… surviving," he admits quietly, "I've had— just a lot of shit piled up on me lately, and it's a lot to… sort through. Y'know?"

"Yeah, you've got a tendency to end up with a lot on your plate." Monica returns his smile a bit, supportive, "If you need anything, you know. You just gotta ask. I worry about you, ya know?"

"I can usually… handle the business stuff," admits Cardinal, his other hand coming up to rub between his eyes, "I don't normally have all this— personal shit getting in the way, is all."

Monica watches him for a second, her head tilted, and then she just shifts seats over to one closer to him to give him a hug. "I'm just saying," she says as she leans back again, "If there's something I, or any of us I'm sure, can do to take some of the pressure off, you've got a pretty good group with you, ya know? Most of us anyway." That last is just a little teasing.

As she reaches over, Cardinal wrinkles his nose briefly as if reluctant to accept the gesture— but he does, one arm wrapping around her in return in a brief squeeze. "Yeah, well," he says quietly, drawing his arm back, "Most of them don't exactly trust me, Monica. Not anymore. I left Liz in charge, for the most part."

"Well, they can get over it," Monica says with a wave of her hand. "Everybody needs a vacation sometimes. If the fry cookers at McDonald's get one, the man trying to leave us with a good future can have one, too."

"Tell that to everyone else…" Cardinal rubs a hand against the side of his face, "I mean… yeah. Sometimes there's shit I don't tell you people. But it's not like I'm doing it just because I fucking want to."

"Rich, come on. No one is completely honest and forthcoming all the time and holding you to some crazy standard isn't fair. I've told you before. You do the best you can." Monica shakes her head a bit, "I know I was upset about the d'Sarthe stuff. And I'm sure everyone gets upset when things are kept from them. But you're trying to lead this group and fix things and run interference and find out what's about to happen before it happens… I don't know, I feel like if we all knew everything you know… well, then we'd all be just as crazy as you, right?"

"Probably." A smirk, as Cardinal looks over, "And wouldn't that be awful?"

"It would be. Could you imagine?" Monica reaches over to pull her salad over, "The future'd be doomed."

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