Help Wanted


carter_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title Help Wanted
Synopsis Carter comes looking for a job at Tuck's pawn shop.
Date February 24, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

It's a quiet day in Tucker's Pawn Shop. As per usual, the proprieter is behind the counter, behind a layer of bulletproof glass with his feet up on the counter. There's a cigarette pinched in his lips and a magazine on his lap. Very professional.

Like many who wander through Tuck's doors, Carter comes in with all he owns on his back. He's clean, though, and that's something. He plays the part of the casual browser as he walks through the shop, but the only thing he's really browsing are the thoughts of the man behind that thick pane of glass.

Tuck looks from the magazine up to Carter. He squints, then returns his attention to the magazine. The surface thoughts are of nothing interesting, occupied as they are with reading the magazine. It's a copy of Dirty Linen - the folk and roots magazine. "Are you going to keep browsing the Disney movies and VCRs, or are you gonna come up here and tell me what you're looking for?" He pulls the cigarette from his mouth and taps it out in the ashtray. This guy's either a fucking tourist or he's looking for something really illegal. Or he wanted to rob me and then saw the glass.

"I'm looking," Carter says as he rounds one aisle to come up another, "for a sign." There is a pause, a moment in which Carter's boots make three thumps on the floor as he takes three steps up the aisle and toward the barricaded desk, all the while listening more than he speaks or plans to speak. "You know," he adds after that moment has passed, lifting up his hands to draw a regtangle in the air at chest height. "One of those little signs that says 'help wanted.' I just thought I'd try to find it myself before I wasted your time asking."

Tuck swings his feet down off the desk. He scoots his chair forward and leans on the counter. Carter is given a long, appraising look. He pushes air from cheek to cheek. "Well at least you're looking for a physical sign. If you were looking for a sign from god, I was going to tell you that you're out of luck." He doesn't smile, but there's amusement in his eyes. I don't think Guppy's coming back. Fuck. Kain scared him shit-good. I am tired of being on my ass in this chair twelve hours a day. But I don't know this fellow from nowhere. "Well," he clears his throat. "This is Staten Island. We don't exactly have a 'help wanted' column. And putting a sign in the window would advertise the fact that I might potentially be shorthanded."

Carter nods, his lips pursed in a frown to convey the utmost understanding and sympathy as he draws closer. "There are other sorts of signs, though," he says with a shrug and a lazy tilt of his head, letting his eyes sweep back over the shop. "Any employee who care a lick about the money he's getting for doin' his time behind that desk isn't gonna give his employer any reason to cut him loose, which would make you," Carter nods, shifting his weight so that it is on the foot nearest the glass, "Tucker.

"Owner's aren't supposed to man what they own. They're supposed to enjoy the profits. How can you enjoy profits if you're stuck back there day in and day out?" Carter smiles then, the skin around his eyes crinkling, and were it not for the glass, he'd extend a hand. "Name's Carter."

That's quite the sales pitch. "That's quite the sales pitch." Yes, sometimes Tuck says just what's on his mind. He's telling me what I want to hear. He's got an angle. "We-ell, you see, this here is a very valuable business. I don't give just any schmuck off the street the keys to the shop and the ability to make purchases from the kiddie. There's a certain finesse to this job. It's not like selling ice cream sammiches."

His eyes corner to indicate both the wall of weapons behind him and the jewelry case with expensive jewelry and watches to his right. "So if you want me to even consider you, you have to give me some credentials. And I don't mean a list of past employers and their phone numbers. Ones that matter." Criminal contacts, he means. Bet this guy's fresh off a ferry from the mainland. Doesn't know shit about Staten.

There is a nod, and Carter looks solemn. "About a year back, I worked with the Wallace Brothers up and down the coast." The Wallace Brothers, et al., a seasoned bunch of boys who sang the Bank Job tune all along the eastern seaboard. A group whose ability to walk in and out of establishments untouched has long been a mystery along society's underbelly. To say one worked with them, well, is like saying they served coffee on a daily basis to the Pope, especially since the Wallace Brothers and all known associates are currently under very strong lock and key.

But Carter is confident. Carter smiles, looking sidelong at Tuck through the glass. "Wanna know how they did it?"

"Well, I am interested in being told a story, but that's not really what I meant. I want someone to vouch for you. Someone I've heard of. Someone who'll tell me that you won't rob me blind or fuck me over." Tuck takes a long draw from his cigarette, then rolls his wrist towards Carter. "But. Go on." This guy's blowing smoke.

Don't forget the mirrors. Carter's smile widens, and he shakes his head. "Well, I don't know who you know, and I don't think my associates would like it much if I rattled off all their names to a guy who'd sell them out for a nickle." It's funny, because that's what Carter did. Only that nickle was the right to call himself a Free Man.

He nods, then jerks his head out toward the shop. "Watch close," he says in almost a whisper, his eyes narrowing slowly.

The door swings open, in reality to let in a small child with just enough cash saved up to get one of those Disney movies, provided that the price hasn't been changed. But with a little smoke and mirrors, and the fact that someone so short is obscured by a shelf for that vital split second, the person who walks in the door is Alice, one of the high-class hookers that hangs on the arms of those who are looking for a little action at the Pancratium as well as back home once the last bell has rung out.

Her walk is as sultry as he dress, though poised and classy - as classy as a whore can be and still call herself a whore, that is. With Carter looking on with what might perceived as a lecherous smile, she strides up to the desk on those stiletto heels and leans over, giving Tuck a healthy view of generous cleavage. She puckers her lips and regards the man behind the desk with smoldering, bedroom eyes.

"Take me, Gil," she purrs.

"I don't sell out folk there, Carter. Not if I can help it. I've managed to stay alive by not doing that." Cept that time with Arlo. The thought is dismissed just as quickly as Tuck pulls it into his head. Clearly not something he likes to think about. "Just stick yourself in my shoes for a second. You're a guy who waltzed in off the street. Why should I tr—" And then the hooker's doing her waltz.

Tuck averts his eyes, but keeps glancing back to make sure she's still there. "I'm…I'm sorry miss, I think you have the wrong…uh. Wrong address." God, stop looking at me. Stop shoving those things in my face. Ugh.

"You're going to turn down a gift from Logan?" Carter sounds surprised. He twitches his lips, looking at Alice as though she were a jacket or firearm he might purchase, then shakes his head. She looks from one man to the other, her expression one of gentle pleading. "Sorry, miss," Carter says with a shake of his head. "He doesn't want you." There is just enough time for Alice to hang her head in shame before the vision of her fades away like the very smoke it consisted of.

Carter doesn't seem phased at all, however. "You should hire me to sit at that desk and watch over your livelihood because I'll know who's coming in to rob you or rip you off even before they walk through that door. I know about you and Arlo, just from standing here. But I'm not gonna hold that against you. Put it down, kid."

The grubby-faced little urchin with a copy of Finding Nemo stuffed in his pants pauses at the mouth of the aisle straight across from the desk. He had thought he could have gotten away with it. He could steal the movie, then spend his money on food, or maybe a scarf for his mother. She'd like a scarf. But now he stands in terror, looking at the two men.

"S'not worth stealin' it, son. Just put it down." Carter's tone is stern, parental, and he only turns his head a fraction to look at the boy as the movie is slowly produced and laid on the nearest shelf. If they saw him took it when he could have sworn they hadn't…who knows what they can do.

"O…okay. So you know, this mindfuck shit?" His voice tightens. He's clearly agitated. A beat, and Tuck waves a hand towards the boy. "…sorry kid." Then his attention snaps back to Carter. "…not really convincing me to trust you." Fucking Evolved. Figures the bridge going out would drive them here.

He looks over to the little boy again. Like Rocket. And then, "Get out of here kid. Take your stupid fish movie and scram. But don't let me catch you back in here again, okay?" He should sound more irritated than that. But he can't. He's a father.

Then he takes a deep breath. He rubs his forehead. He looks at Carter. Liability. "Why the hell do you want to work here anyway? If you can do all this shit, Logan or Kain'd take you. Why sell watches and stolen laptops?"

"'Cause I don't know Logan or Kain," Carter admits with a smile, tempted, despite his warning, to dig out more information about these two. "And because I don't have a strong urge to be maimed any time soon." Be it by Kain himself or in the ring Logan forces Abby to play medic for. "Pawn Shop is safe by comparison. Decent, reliable pay with a decent, reliable chance I'll get the opportunity to spend it."

Tuck takes his thumb and pushes up on the bridge of his glasses. He sniffs and examines Carter. "Safe. Well. That's relative. The last guy I had working for me got the shit beaten out of him because of my debts. I get a half dozen robbery attempts a week." Exaggeration. Wouldn't be if it weren't for the glass and cameras. "If you think working here would be safe and uneventful. Well. You're gonna be disappointed." Goddamnit. I do need someone. But I also don't want to deal with a mindfuck Evolved who could rob me blind.

There are other options, of course, Carter could bartend. That could provide him with enough minds to pick regarding the Island's activity. Sure. And there'd be less robberies, for sure. So Carter doesn't push his luck. Not too far. He nods, pushing away from the desk and shrugging his shoulders. "Well, if you change your mind, I don't think I'll be that hard to find."

Yes, but a pawn shop has people looking for things. Tuck's place is the information booth of the Rookery. He looks at Carter long and hard. He lifts a finger and jabs at the glass. "I tell you what. I'll give you a chance. Working with me. For awhile. On the condition that you never mindfuck me again. And," a beat, "With the knowledge that I will blow your fucking head off if you steal from me." He manages to make those words sound dull. Like he's ordering eggs. Can't hurt to try. He can't steal anything with me standing right here. At least someone can watch the counter while I'm taking a piss if nothing else.

"Understood," Carter says with a hint of a victorious smile. "Like I said, I'm happiest when all the parts of me are attached and not bleeding. You won't have a problem."

Tuck bites the edge of his lip and considers Carter. Better check up on this guy. "What's your full name? And give me a phone number." He chucks a pen and a pad of paper through the window slot. Maybe Felix has something on him.

Carter snatches up the pad without dropping his eyes to look at it before he's got the pen as well. He scrawls his name and cell number down. Jesse H. Carter. There's plenty an FBI agent can dig up on him, that's for certain, and Carter relaxes into a small bit of comfort at that fact as he pushes the pad back through the slot.

Tuck tugs the pad back through the slot. "Well. Mister Carter. I'll call you in a few days to set up a time for you to come in. How's that sound?" Almost like this was a legit job interview. If it weren't for the talk of criminal activity and the bulletproof glass between them. Give me some time to get Felix to run this name. Shit. Wonder what he's going to ask in return? Fucking Feds.

"Thank you, Mister Tucker." Carter's smile is wry as he backs away and heads for the door. "You have a nice day now." Sunlight spills into the shop when Carter opens the door and steps through to be enveloped by it. How is it that the sun can shine, and yet the word can remains so cold?

February 24th: One Finger, Or Two

Previously in this storyline…
Who's Side Are You On?

Next in this storyline…
A Storm Is Coming

February 24th: Third Wheel
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