House Of The Rising Sun, Part II


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Scene Title House of the Rising Sun, Part II
Synopsis Also Known As: Screwed the Pooch. — Kain and his associates make their way to New Orleans.
Date July 31, 2009

Sunlight beats down like an angry fist on the heat-rippling surface of an open tarmac. Hundreds of feet of smooth concrete marked with stark white and yellow lines of paint spreads out from one end of the heat-hazed horizon to the next. The loud, whining cry of small jet engines winding down mixes with the roar of far larger jets taking off from further expanses of runway.

From the side of a small, white personal aircraft, a hatch opens and folds down, extending to stairs that touch down on the smoldering hot tarmac below. Jet black dress shoes clunk down each step, neatly tailored pinstripe slacks brush their lowe rhem along the tongue of the shoes. With a pair of aviator sunglasses shielding his eyes, Kain Zarek finds nothing welcoming about the thick humidity and sweltering heat of something so bitter as home.

A lit cigarette is pinched between his fingers, withdrawn from lips downturned into a frown as he touches down on native soil, throwing the cigarette at his feet to crush the butt underfoot. "Ah' ever tell you how much Ah' hate this goddamned city?" A decade ago, it was such a different story.

Moving away from the stairs, Kain looks to the shimmering black form rolling down the tarmac, the sleek form of a black sedan with darkened windows driving up from the airport — their chariot awaits. Turning to look up over his shoulder, Kain reaches into his suit jacket and withdraws a metallic cigarette case, sliding it open with his thumb as his dark brows crease together.

"Never thought Ah'd ever come back here…"

Louis Armstrong International Airport

New Orleans, Louisiana


"A thousand times." Comes the heavy drawl from just inside the personal plane's doorway. Moments later, the source of that rumbling voice comes steeping slowly out over Zarek, Dixon's own attire considerably less expensive than that of Kain. The heat and the sticky air is much more comfortable to him, somehow. Not that Dixon likes it here much more than the man a few paces in front of him taking hold of that cigarette case.

Too many memories here. Too many things to think about. So he simply does not, with effort.

"…You shouldn't smoke so much. How many have you had in the last hour? Your lungs probably look like burnt Canadian bacon." Harsh, especially from Mister Thunder-lungs over there, but truthful. Speaking like an older brother chastising the younger, Dixon unfolds his shoulders from the bind of his suit coat, slinging it over one giant wrist and rolling up his sleeves. Dark eyes bore through his own sunglasses down at Kain, head flicking momentarily to the sedan as it sweeps closer.

Kain hesitates with one fingers on the filter of a fresh cigarette, brows creasing together as he shifts his blue stare sidelong through his sunglasses towards Dixon. He sighs through his nose, head downturning as a stringy lock of blonde hair falls down from behind one ear, and the cigarette slides back into the metal case, and it's folded closed with a click of the latch.

"Ah' smoke when Ah'm upset," Kain mutters, pocketing the engraved case again, watching as the black sedan rolls up and comes to a slow stop. The driver's side window comes down with a whirr of the electronic controls, revealing a sharply dressed man in in a suit. "Courtesy of Mister Linderman," the driver notes with a nod of his head before opening the door and stepping out of the car. "I'll take your effects to the hotel, everything else has been arranged for you." He motions into the driver's seat with an uncertain glance from one man to the other.

"Hey!" A voice comes thundering out from the plane, followed by a creak of the fuselage and a groaning noise of each step on the way down, "You think maybe I can drive this time? You never let me drive." A thick Brooklyn accent rolls off of the tongue of the equally enormous bodyguard coming thundering down the steps, briefcase held in one hand and cell phone folding closed in the other. The hot sun beats down bright and hot on the top of his pale, bald head smeared with a touch of sunscreen. Manny Calavera is many things to the Linderman Group, but Kain and Dixon's permanent shadow is the most recognizable of all of them.

"If you need a mechanism, take up knitting or something." And so says the man with the degree. Trust him, take up knitting. He turns as Manny comes down the flight of stairs, looking for all the world like he had never left these two in New York. "If you can somehow fit yourself into that seat, Manny- then you can drive." For effect, Dixon even lowers his nose to peer at the other guard over the rims of his sunglasses, eyebrows hopping upwards onto his dark forehead.

"Maybe we should make Zarek drive. Make him do the real grunt work for once." And for the first time during the trip, it seems like- Dixon cracks a smile- his usual white grin when it happens to crop up on his face. It's a surprise, considering that he's been giving Kain dirty looks most of the time thusfar; he obviously knows that coming here has some other purpose aside from actual business, but Kain is also more inflexible than he looks when it comes to sharing.

A blak stare is given to Dixon, mouth slightly open as he mouths the words knitting? Then, shaking his head to clear out the fog of that visualized idea, Kain's expression becomes somewhat sarcastic again. "Like Ah'd trust you two gorillas behind the wheel of anything other than a tank," he murmurs with a roll of his eyes behind his glasses, patting the Lingerman Group greeter on the shoulder patronizingly as he pushes past him towards the driver's seat. "That reminds me, when Ah' get back to th' city, Ah'm gonna' find out who the hell stole mah' car an' blew it up on that bridge." His tongue rolls over the inside of his cheek as he lowers himself down into the driver's seat, looking up over the top of his sunglasses in much the same way Dixon does, expectantly staring at he and Manny.

"Well what're you two knuckleheads waitin' for, get in." The car door slams shut, and Manny looks to Dixon, adjusting his tiny, circular-lensed red sunglasses before helplessly shrugging. "We got ourselves a regular ol' cat-burgular to go talk to."

One Hour Later

Black Cat Lounge

Black Velvet in that little boy's smile….

The music from the bar on the less-presigious side of New Orleans causes blares through the paper-thin walls of the buildings on either side of it, and clear up through the floor to the apartments above. Surprsingly enough, in the bar itself, there isn't a party going on - it isn't even that busy. Just a few old drunks hanging around, playing darts and pool, chit chatting.

…Black Velvet in that slow southern style…

The sound, as it is heard in the upstairs apartments, is muffled but still of good enough quality to be enjoyed, particularly in the apartment just above the pool-table. The floors are wood, and haven't been finished in quite sometime. It's a studio apartment, with a bedroom to the left, a kitchen to the right, and a bathroom straight ahead. A little TV sits on the table just inside the entrance, bunny-ear antenne twisted every which way as a fuzzy re-run of Julia Child plays on screen.

…a new religion that will bring you all to your knees…

And sitting at that table is a young woman in cut-off jean shorts and a tank top, which is riding up in the heat. She sits just in front of a window fan, causing her matted hair to blow and flutter about. Even so, droplettes of sweat cling to her skin. She's got her foot propped up on the table and it appears, by all accounts, she is painting her nails as she sings in a high-whiny tone to the song as it resonates from the bar below.

…Black Velvet, if you please….

The sudden thundering of knocks on the apartment door overrides the music. A few quick, hammering blows of the side of a fist, followed by a drawling southern accent calling through the thin barrier. There's nothing but the dull throb of the music from downstairs, the conversations too muffled to pluck out any real meaning to, the clink of glasses and the turkey-like warmbling of Julia Childs as she nips from a bottle of vodka on the television.

Up in Memphis the music's like a heatwave…

Another quick series of knocks, "Lola," it's an unfamiliar voice, but the drawl on it is an accent that fits in around the big easy, that languid twang of anything south of the mason-dixon and north of Orlando. "Open up, goddamnit, it's like a hundred degrees in this god-damned hall."

White lightening, bound to drive you wild…

On the other side of the door, Kain Zarek keeps his fist resting against the door, shoulders slouched as his free hand wipes sweat from his brow, turning to look over his shoulder at Dixon and Manny's gigantic frames where they stand like packed sardines in the narrow hallway outside of the apartment. "Ah swear if she ain't home…" his head shakes slowly from side to side, jaws set tight in a grimace.

Mama's baby's in the heart of every school girl

Mm. So Kain either isn't quite loud enough, Lola isn't in there- or she is ignoring them. Dixon's booming voice carries through the walls, just like the music. "I can hear the floor giving out, Lola." Let them in. Sardines is an understatement, if there ever was one. Two gorillas on stilts stuffed in a closet, more like. Dixon isn't having as difficult a time in the heat as the other two, but the fact that he has to tromp through the building in the first place- he helps Kain with the knocking, finally, rapping a hand on the door as he speaks up. Rapping, for Dixon, sounds like a smaller man pounding on the doorframe.

Love me tender leaves 'em cryin' in the aisle…

Lola does hear the knocking and the calls, but she lets them knock just a moment, just long enough to move a graceful, perfecting swipe of 'purple haze' across her biggest toe. "Ahm comin'!" she calls, standing up and hopping - yes, hopping, she doesn't want to mess up her wet-toes on the left foot - to the door. Her hair is plastered to her scalp and neck with sweat as she peers through the peephole.

The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true

Three large men, bashing on her door and calling her name. Three large men that she doesn't know. This can't be good. Still hopping, Lola makes her way over to a kitchen drawer in the next 'room' and withdraws a little baggy of black ash. Hopping back, she opens the door, leaving the chain on so that only her face and arm peek through.

Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for…

"Begone evil spirits, yah! Begone! This is a place a goodness! I don' know nothin' bout missin' TVs! Begone!" she shrieks, all the while tossing the ash from the baggy at the men. She hops back a step and slams the door in their faces, leaving them hot and covered in an ash that…well…stinks.

Black velvet and that little boy's smile…

"God damnit!" Somehow, on every assignment, someone winds up ruining one of Kain's suits. Throwing his arms out to the side, the cajun rankles his nose and exhales a sharp breath, hissing loudly as he shakes his hands and steps away from the door. "Jesus Christ you crazy b— " Kain bites his tongue, slamming his palm against the door as his free hand tries to wipe the ash from his face.

Black velvet with that slow southern style

"If'n you don' open this door Ah'm gonna' have Donkey and Kong here come an' bust it down!" An enormous, pale hand lightly brushes some ash from Kain's shoulder, pushing him back and away from the door delicately as Manny moves to stand where Kain was.

A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees…

"Miss Mayeux," this time it's a Brooklyn accent, "We're from d'Linderman Group. We were told you'se our contact for the city, an' we'd like to talk to you about a business matter?" Spoken with all the eloquence of a public speaker in the charming accent of a cab driver. Manny flashes a smile back over his shoulder to Dixon, then waggles his brows at Kain.

Dixon doesn't touch the ash on his white shirt, hands staying down at his sides. He does, however, remove his sunglasses as Manny steps up to the plate. "If we knocked her door in, the wall would go with it." He looks despairingly at the hallway again, then to Kain. "Did she not know we were coming?" As if it could possibly be his fault too. Why not?

"I don't think you want us to walk out of here and call mister Linderman up on his private line, do you? It's hard to find a good job down here, isn't it, miss Mayeux?"

Black Velvet, if you p-

The song cuts off as the sound of glass and wood breaking resoundes in their place, along with a barmaid screaching something about 'not inside, watch out for the jukebox' or something along those lines. Apparently it's not enough for Lola to notice, who peers out the door again, looking each man up and down as though she were undressing him with her eyes. Then the latch is undone, and the door swung open. There she stands, sweaty in her redneck outfit, one foot still held up in the air to keep the polish from smudging.

"Miss Mayeux," she drawls, teasing. "So fancy. Just for you, love, I'll put the kettle on." She hops toward the 'kitchen'. Truth be told, the temperature in the apartment isn't much better than the hallway, but the fan does seem to be helping, wafting the thin curtains about in the breeze it creates.

Rolling his tongue over the inside of his cheek, Kain's brows furrow together as he stares at Lola before huffing out a snorted sigh, one hand slapping on the door as he pushes it further open when Lola makes her way further inside. "Look Princess," his eyes narrow a touch, one hand still brushing the ash off the front of his suit, "Ah' don't know exactly ho wyou think things get done 'round here, but Dixon an' Ah' were runnin' round N'Orleans when you were still in grade school. We jus' need t'know where a bookie is, an' you can just keep primpin' an' paintin' doin' whatever crazy bitch shit it is you do."

Somehow, with a mouth on him like that and such a smooth way with words, Kain's job title manages to be Public Relations. Daniel Linderman most assuredly has a bitter sense of irony. On the way in to the tiny apartment, there's a wave of nostalgia that washes over Kain, not quite happy in the way he pauses as if someone walked over his grave. His eyes flit around the apartment, snark cutting off sharply.

"Nice place you gots yourself here," Manny murmurs on his way in, wiping one finger on the peeling wallpaper before rolling his fingers and thumb together. "Do you have any chamomile tea? I've got a bit of a sinus thing going on," he waves one sausage-fingered hand at his nose, "and I could really— "

"Manny." Kain's eyes are shut, one brow twitching as he raises a hand to his forehead. Manny's eyes flick over to Kain behind his red-lensed sunglasses, teeth tugging at his lower lip, followed by a grimace.

Dixon looks over at Kain as if he dared speak some taboo, but the expression leaves within another second as Lola actually lets them out of the hallway. "Are we seriously that old?" He asides to the shorter man, half-tilting as they move inside. He's trying to be quiet- but- well, obviously that's not very plausible.

He straightens up as Manny seems to take up her offer, only to be reprimanded seconds later. Dixon sighs loudly, lifting an eyebrow at the other giant man and unfortunately for Kain- continuing the absurdity of the situation outside of the actual business. Zarek knows he missed it. "Didn't you get something at the pharmacy this morning? Or not enough?"

Hop hop hop. Pause in hop to pull underwear out of ass. Hop hop hop. "'Fraid I ain' got that kind of kettle," Lola explains apologetically to Manny, hopping back and setting a clear glass bottle on the table with three glasses. Three, not four. It's a bottle of Kettle One. "Only this kind. An you, grouchy pants, don' get none," she says, giving Kain an evil eye.

"Bookie, huh? Well we've got a few of those. We've got a black fellah always wears his hood up, some young white yuppie what thinks he can pay off his tuition with basketball, and then this Asian fellah for no reason whatsoever." She pours three glasses of the liquid. "Likes to tout the fact that he's asian. Like it's somethin' special, like he can add better than the rest of us. I can tell a good point spread as good as anyone, so what makes being asian so special anyway?" She offers the glasses to Manny and Dixon and herself. "Remember now, pinkie up." Yes, she's telling the big men not to forget to drink with their pinkies up.

"Oh it's like— I don't know this humidity is playing games with my sinuses," Manny rambles on quietly in the background, rubbing at his nose with one hand, "between the heat and the sun and the sweaty people I just— I don't think I'm cut out for southern living. I always thought i'd retire to Florida one of these days but now?" His hairless brows rise up, "Now I'm thinking maybe West Virginia."

"Goddamnit Manny." Kain's hands come up in the air and both rake through his hair as he snaps a gaze over at his bodyguard. Manny's brows stay raised as he looks to Kain, looks to Dixon, and then just grimaces and waggles his fingers over in the direction of the television and meanders over the listen to Julia Childe's warbling voice.

"Sorry you had'ta listen to Quasimodo rinin' the bells there, Princess." Kaina nd Manny's eyes both focus on the glasses of vodka, and as Kain saunters around the apartment on his way to Lola, eyes shifting side-long to Manny as if to imply do not talk about your sinuses. When his narrowed eyes turn back to the young lady of the house, a single black brow is raised.

"We're lookin' for a specific bookie, James Ford." Kain reaches into his pocket with the other, pulling out a photograph that he holds between his index and forefingers, showing a familiar mug-shot to Lola. His eyes narrow, focusing on the bottle of Kettle One, as if just a touch upset that he didn't get a glass, but oddly he seems more business oriented than anything. Admittedly the photo looks ten years out of date — James has less hair now and is as gaunt as a skeleton — there's no denying his cold stare.

"He's been skimmin' on Daniel, an' we gots to deliver a message up to him about bad business practices." Daniel Linderman sent three leg-breakers from New York to deal with a single bookie? Something isn't adding up.

"Don't move anywhere south of Pittsburgh if you're staying East Coast. Try Oregon." Like always, Dixon is the most helpful of gorillas. He looks as if he has been entertaining the subjects coming out of Manny if just to see how much he can get Kain to respond in one day. "Hell, I missed you guys." He rumbles as Manny moves away to watch the television.

"Ah'course." Is Dixon's answer to Lola before Zarek starts out again- habit makes him give the glass a sniff when he lifts it- yes, just for Lola(and Kain's nerves), his pinkie is out when he drinks it. "That picture's a bit old, but still good. Seen'em?"

Lola continues to offer the glass to Manny until he takes it. "Have a nip, as Miss Julia says." Miss Julia never says that, but come on. You could tell that woman was tossing back at every commercial break. Probably why Lola likes her so much.

Upon hearing the name of James Ford, Lola waves off the picture before she's even looked at it. She hops, still, over to the fan, pulling her tank top up to runch it just beneath her bust, letting the air blow over her sweaty skin. It's hot, New Orleans is the armpit of the United States. But it's home. "Daniel is it?" She coos, her southern accent thick and hot like the muggy air. Well, maybe just thick - hot is a relative term. She watches the men over her shoulder after she's thrown her own glass back - pinkie down.

"Big city boys, friends a Mistah Daniel is it…" she drawls a bit more redneck like, just to make her point. "Come on down to poo lil Nawlins ta beat up some old fart? What'd he do, rape dear Mistah Daniel's puppy or summat?" Like there isn't enough muscle in New Orleans to beat up an old man. Hell even she could do that.

"It ain't gonna' matter why we're here, all you gotta' do is show us where he is." Kain eyes the bottle of Vodka again, breathing in a slow and steady breath before remembering he has other vices he can act on. His hand slips into his jacket, withdrawing the metallic cigarette case that flips open, a single black-papered cigatte is rolled out beofre two fingers and tucked between his lips. "Ah ain't been down here in a few years, an' this city changes fast. So ol' Danny thought we should have a local contact to give us th' ol tour of our old stompin' grounds."

Producing a chromed zippo from his other pocket, Kain flicks it open and lights the bobbing cigarette with a tongue of blue-yellow flame before clicking it shut. "Ah' don' konw what kinda' pussy-footin' you do 'round town here, but all Ah' need'ta know is where Sawyer is, an' you can jus' forget the three of us ever showed up." Smoke is exhaled through Kain's nostrils in two thin, wavering jets. "So you don' gotta' do no work."

Let them rumble around the city going on a thinly tethered lead. It doesn't sound like this most productive idea possible, and if Linderman singled Lola out specifically as a local contact, this might be just the in she needs to get herself pulled up and out of the armpit of America.

"She wouldn't on the offchance be your sister or something?" Is all Dixon can manage so that he's neither looking at Lola fanning herself nor looking at Manny investing himself with the small television. This time, he doesn't say anything about the cigarette. His hands find the pockets of his pants, fingers ducking in and thumbs hooked on the outside. "Little to do on your end. We'll be out of your hair once we finish our business. If you do well, we'll even put in a few good words."

"My pussy, my feet and my city are my business." Lola points out, turning to let the fan air blow over her back, hair swirling and twisting into even more knots while she stands there. "Sides, I think I got a right ta know if one in my own city's a doggie-pedophile. Truth be told, he always had that look 'bout him. Matter a public safety an all, I'd have ta make flyers of his penis ta show the neighbors so if their puppies can identify it…you get the rest."

"Mister Ell even got a puppy?" She asks pointly, eying Kain - as he seems to be the ring leader. That, and she can talk nonsense all day until she hears something a bit more interesting. Clearly she doesn't do the job for money - as the state of the apartment clearly shows. She's all about the fun.

Closing his eyes at Dixon's comment, Kain's sigh comes with an exhalation of smoke as he slowly shakes his head. Keeps his cigarette pinched between his lips, he wipes one hand over his forehead and eyes Manny, who's grown susipiciously quiet. Kain watches him staring at the television, then just shakes his head and focuses back on Lola again. "Alright then, Princess," he flashes a sarcastic smile, snatching his cigarette from between his lips with one hand. "If you wanna' play it hard and fast, we can play it like th' good ol' days."

He waves his cigarette in Dixon's direction. "We got ourselves a car waitin' outside. You wanna come on down an' see how we handle business up north then that's fine by me. But one way or another," his dark brows rise slowly, "you're gonna' help us find James Ford."

Princess Lola laughs, tossing her hair back out of her face. It simply blows around into even tighter knots. "Doncha try an sell that Yankee crap on me, boy." Yes, she called him boy. She'd do it again, too. "Ya can' hide yer drawl, you ain' no more of a Yankee'n I am."

She puts the cap back on the 'kettle'. "Aigh, then. Ah'll come with, but ya gotta tell me what he's fer. Ah gotta live in this town, an it won' make me no friends ta let a puppy rapin' Yankee lover live - or not, dependin - without reason." She steps away from the fan, tugging her shirt down a little. She moves to squeeze past Kain….artfully dipping her hand into his pocket and withdraw his wallet with her expertise, moving it between her cleavage at the most opportune time.

Kain's brows furrow, flicking the ash from his cigarette rather pointedly on Lola's carpet as his head quirks to the side and a smile creeps up over his lips. "He's a right bastard that deserves a bullet between his eyes for more'n just skimmin' from Danny. That's all you're gonna get outta' me until we find him."

Looking over to to the televiaion, Kain's brows furrow. "Manny," he drawls out, "come on Igor we're— " Manny raises a hand and pinches two fingers together, making a shh noise as sharply as possible, turning to look over his shoulder at Kain.

"Chicken and Broccoli souffle." He enunciates carefully.

It's going to be a long job.

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