I Am Not Interested In Your Profession


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Scene Title I Am Not Interested In Your Profession
Synopsis Hiro realizes, that first impressions are not always the truth. Minea doesn't forget a single thing either.
Date February 22, 2009

Sheung Wan Kitchen

It's not just the large selection that makes Sheung Wan Kitchen special - it's the quality, the sights, the atmosphere, and the friendly service. This is a very small restaurant with only a handful of seats in front of a large, flat counter where meals are prepared in full-view by some of the Rookery's more knowledgeable chefs. Stacked high against the far wall are wicker baskets full of dried sea creatures, mystery animal parts, deer antlers, wine with whole king cobras, heaps of herbs and twigs and tree barks. Although these are meant to go into the dishes that are served here, it is not impossible to haggle for them.

A large chalkboard behind the counter advertises the kitchen's special menu, though some items are more difficult to read than others. Most popular is the Tree Lizard Soup - cooked with yams, Chinese dates, ginseng, medlar, and something called tragacanth, which is reported to be good for asthma, colds, lungs and the heart.

Yes, folks, Hiro Nakamura does sometimes change his clothes. And he sometimes even loses the sword. Those things are almost surely stashed somewhere safe, for it's unthinkable he would leave them at risk of being found, damaged, or stolen.

In broad daylight the Japanese man has been making the rounds in Staten Island, taking care of an errand of lesser importance that he really didn't even agree to. All while wearing a gray pinstriped business suit and carrying a briefcase. People carrying briefcases look like they're doing something for people more important for them. That's a sort of protection of image down here. The briefcase is absolutely empty and just for show.

He's looking for Linderman's Paintings for Zoe Porter. He didn't tell her he would. In fact he intentionally made it sound like someone would have to drop them in his lap for him to return them to her. But here he is.

Playing the role of a Man With Money and and interest in art, Hiro has gone from shady looking pawn shop to shady looking printshop to shady looking variety store. No luck. And he's been at this for hours. It's not that he's stupid enough to walk in and ask where they keep the stolen paintings. It's more like he's been going in and vaguely expressing an interest in rare art.

Out of patience for this errand for the moment, Hiro spies the Chinese (Pan-Asian) place he went to the other day and sighs to himself. He's hungry. And he might as well go ahead and duck in there. So yet again he finds himself walking through the door of this place.

And yet again he runs into the prostitute. Dressed a little more refined than the previous time he saw her. Expensive blouse, stiletto heels, hair done up, a high class call girl who's killing time in a Chinese restaurant not far from where she lives. Roles are reversed this day ladies and gentleman. The only available seat is beside the older beauty who's writing down dates in an honest to god day planner. Her foods not here yet and but there's warmed sake and some hot tea steeping. A quirky habit maybe or just for giggles, while one hand is inputting something with pen, the other hand is twirling a chopstick before sliding it neatly into her messy bun that is her hair.

The forward progress of the hungry hungry Hiro is paused when he notices her. Great. Had he realized this woman was a regular here he would have kept walking. In spite of himself, Hiro stands there, thinking. And while he stands, hoping in part that someone will take that last seat for him and make the decision easier. Leave or stay? It's much less a matter of him thinking this woman is at all dangerous and more about how he doesn't really find her very tasteful at all.

The chopsticks in the hair are a bit much, Hiro thinks. Gaijin look crazy when they try to imitate Japanese. On the heels of that thought is another about how ridiculous he himself must have seemed when he first came to the United States. Indeed.

But then the chopstick is back out. Idle maneuvers it seems. Hiro's silent wish goes unfulfilled as no one else enters, yet no one else leaves. That empty seat painfully obvious as the only place to sit, unless he'd rather stand. But then, that exactly is what gets him noticed by the woman. The person standing and making no movement. Minea glances up, meaning only to look up then back down but it's who is standing there. Staring, that catches her attention. There's a polite smile offered to him. "It's empty, and I don't bite. I promise. I'm off the clock right now anyways"

Well at this point it's more like a matter of saving face, as well as not looking too strange. If Hiro turned and left now he would seem like he was fleeing the woman, and that would indeed be strange. He would sure think it was. Briefly he makes a motion as if to check a wristwatch, because that's just one of those tics you develop when you need an excuse to avert the eyes.

And he doesn't wear a wristwatch. No real surprise about that. What possible use could Hiro Nakamura have for a watch?

Resigned to his fate, he claims the seat and sets the briefcase down by his feet, folding hands on the counter. He does not want to talk to her. He does not want to talk to her. He does not want to "I am not interested in your profession."

Oh well.

"Then we won't talk about it. There's more to me than sitting on a man's lap and smiling" The warmed sake is pushed over towards him as someone magically appears to put down another little cup and take Hiro's order now that he's managed to park his butt in the only chair. "No sword today? Unless it folds up in your briefcase, but I highly doubt that" Names, and times, littered across the calendar page of February. Personnel report due is double underlined for the coming Friday. A doctors appointment it seems this Tuesday. A few initials and the late evening times. She's a busy woman.

"Water, please." Hiro bids to a server, who goes to retrieve it. He opens a menu and looks it over. Everything's numbered, and it's definitely mostly Chinese, with some things Hiro isn't sure are Vietnamese or Filipino or what in origin. Not that it matters. Without gracing Minea with a look he replies to her (because he well and truly trapped himself into this by even speaking to her to begin with), "Forget what you saw."

Unable to help himself further, Hiro's eyes cut to the side and glance at what's in front of the woman. All that really stands out to him is the doctor's appointment. Tuesday. Well…if something comes up that he needs to, he has an idea of when to find her and how to narrow it down to where.

Not that Hiro would need to cause you know, she's just a prostitute. Forget what she saw? See, when you tell people to forget what they saw, that just makes them remember. But, Minea just nods. "Minea Lancaster. Or when i'm working, Alice Heart" By way of introduction. She places her order, using the numbers on the menu. She's a woman who doesn't mind eating. Either that or she likes leftovers.

Is he being too uptight? There was a time when Hiro wouldn't have judged someone like he's doing now. It occurs to him too, and he folds his menu closed and sets it down on the counter, looking straight ahead and wrestling with himself. So what she's a prostitute? He hasn't lived her life. Does it make her a bad person?

Sighing, Hiro looks to Minea and says, "I owe you an apology. I have been rude. My name is Hiro Nakamura." Then the menu comes back open and he ponders what he'll be getting, although there is significantly less of the ice in his demeanor than before.

"Hero Nahkuhmura" She's deliberately not saying it right, though it comes off as she's trying to wrap her tongue around the words. "I'm sorry, i'm not saying it right. I try to be very good with names. How do you say it again? as for rude. Your not the first. You won't be the last. it's excused. But apology accepted. Let me buy you your dinner. My apology for my behavior the other night. He expects me to act all tawdry and .. hookerish. It's his thing"

"I'm sorry, I couldn't." Hiro says with a hand raised in a mild gesture of protest. All right. Downside is he can tell that he did misjudge her. Upside is that apologizing and speaking to her more civily seems to have been the proper thing for him to do. In spite of her attempt to mangle his name, it's actually one of the harder Japanese names to mangle. Certainly the woman is putting too much western inflection in the vowels, but it's still not categorically wrong.

Server returns with water and Hiro orders a small dish of beef and broccoli. He's decided not to trust the sushi here. Once that business is conducted he belatedly corrects, "Hiro Nakamura. If you're trying to correct it. It's proper to slightly roll the R's."

Takes the older woman about three tries before satisfaction, of the non carnal kind. She's speaking his name properly, a toothy grin at that. "What is it that you do Mr. Nakamura" her fingertips grasp at her Sake cup, lifting it to her lips for a delicate sip before it's placed back down.

"I travel." Hiro answers with the vaguest of truths. And then it occurs to him. Perhaps this woman might know something related to his little errand. "Would you happen to know anything about where to buy art? I'm interested in paintings."

The look Hiro gives Minea is steady and probing.

Minea Dahl knows allll about art. Where to buy art depends upon whether your commissioning a piece or buying something already made. That and a thousand other variables. But Minea Lancaster? "I have some clients, who deal with art. I've had to become more than self educated in my spare time, since it pleases them. I could maybe direct you towards some places. It all depends on what your looking for" Her fingers remains lightly resting on the sake cup.

Hmm. Maybe? Hiro looks thoughtful for a moment and turns toward the counter, placing his closed menu back in its holder. "Who would have paintings for sale that might not be entirely legal?" he asks, stroking his chin as he watches Minea.

At least he doesn't suspect her real identity!

"That.. i'd have to ask my client" Because she doesn't actually know the answer to that. Not about where to fence stolen painting in the U.S. of A. France, suuuuuuure, she would. So it's a true honest thoughtfulness that soaks into her facial features, even as her order is brought over, and someone is there to take Hiro's. "I would think private collectors maybe. I would think there's a black market for paintings. You hear about it all the time. Or the paintings get painted over and sold as something else innocuous to someone and then uncovered for the real thing. That's what I've come to understand. But as to who here would actually sell them…" Minea frowns. "Are you looking to sell or buy.. a painting that perhaps wasn't obtained in the regular fashion?

Briefly Hiro nods. "Yes. As a favor to a friend I am searching for some that were stolen." Him, steal? Never! Except from Linderman. And Takezo Kensei. And all the gamblers he and Ando rooked in Las Vegas. Okay so Hiro's been known to steal now and then.

His food arrives and Hiro takes it, then says, "It's okay. I might find them or might not." It's not really all that important in the long run.

'Got a number, or some way to get a hold of you" She opens her planner, flipping to march and a M.S. 7pm that's filled in for early early in the month. "I'm meeting with one of them, beginning of the month. I can… pillowtalk an answer out of him"

And here is where Hiro runs into something of a conundrum. He doesn't approve of prostitution, for all the proper reasons. But the paintings are things of value. But he doesn't really need them anymore, because he knows what they looked like. But she's offering to help. But should he get involved in this woman's life with her questionable lifestyle? Ultimately he concludes after some visible thought, "Please, forget I said anything about it. I shouldn't involve you." Also he doesn't want to give this woman the number to the one phone he has, which isn't really his anyway.

This is getting sticky. Now this woman knows his name and might tell her clients or her pimp or whoever it is she speaks to about how he's looking for these paintings. He needs to not come here again.

"Ms. Lancaster, I apologize but I must go." Hiro adds, taking some currency out that he thinks will cover the food, but in all honesty isn't sure. If anything it's overpaying by a lot. Fortunately this place is cheap enough to serve food on styrofoam plates so nobody's going to care if he takes it, plate and all.

Half the money is plucked up, handed back over to him. She rattles off her phone number, the NEW phone number, to Hiro. "If you change your mind. Hell, all I was gonna charge you was to teach me a few words in Japanese if I found out what you need or not. Now, take that back" A motion with the money "Because you've left a really good tip now if you do, as opposed to an outrageous tip. They remember outrageous tips. It was a pleasure to meet you again Mr Swordman" Since he wants her to forget his name and the like.

Fine. Without thinking about it too much Hiro takes the offered cash back and says, "Please. Have a nice day." He follows it with a nod and almost forgets about that briefcase. The stupid empty briefcase.

This entire errand was a stupid idea anyway, he decides, so he heads for the door intending never to come back for that briefcase. And to somehow finish his beef and broccoli before going too far because eating off of a flimsy Styrofoam plate while walking is difficult.

Minea smiles, watching Hiro walk off with his plate, leaving the briefcase where it is. She either has him flustered or he forgot. If it'd been the sword she's sure he wouldn't have. Once he's gone, out of sight, and even then, a little bit more a waitress is flagged down. One plastic baggie later, some more money to pay for the glass that Hiro used, the glass is in the baggie. Fingerprints and saliva. DNA. They may have it on file already, who knows, and this might be a different version of Hiro. Goodman might be happy about that and it shows progress. The briefcase, she'll keep, for now. Could be used to meet up with him later. "All in a days work" She didn't think she was bound to get so lucky again in the future. Time to carry on with the rest of her day

February 21st: Qui Es In Caelis
February 22nd: What Purpose
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