It's Hard Out Here


konga_icon.gif carter_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Hard Out Here
Synopsis …for a pimp. Lessons in "how to treat a lady" are held as needed in the Rookery, facilitated by Konga and witnessed by bystanders, Carter included.
Date February 22, 2009

The Rookery

After the bomb, Staten Island grew to become a haven for undesirables. If the Island is their home, then the Rookery is their playplace. Equal parts gritty and decadent, it boasts dark alleys, bright lights, and every pleasure that one could imagine. Provided you know where to ask, of course.

Some areas have fared better than the rest of the island; some have fared far worse. For each well-tended brothel or gaming house, there's at least one creaky, crumbling structure left over from the days of pre-bomb suburban glory.

The population is considered universally distasteful, even by much of the rest of Staten Island. Criminals, refugees, victims of radiation poisoning… Those who have nowhere else to go often end up here. The most common method of getting out is to have your body dropped in the river, followed closely by being left wherever it is you got killed.

Good luck.

The Rookery is as active in the daylight hours as it is once the sun sets over the mainland, and there is no lack of things to see, smell, taste, or for the right price, touch. With his hands tucked is pockets and lips tightly pressed together, Carter walks among the various vendors with booths and blankets with only his eyes nose, and ears to guide him amongst the plethora of sensations. He carries a backpack, and for all the world looks like some sort of modern vagabond who has decided for one reason or another to wander a little more slowly through this proverbial truck stop.

There are some things that are different given the hour in the Rookery, but the selling of flesh is something that happens regardless of time. Not all of these transactions occur within the relative safety of the Happy Dagger, either. A woman stands at the mouth of an alley, leaning against what was once a streetlight. Now it's only a metal pole, broken off high above her head into a jagged, tooth-like spike. Her profession is obvious by her manner of dress, but even if it wasn't-

"Gloria!" a voice booms from deeper in the alley, loud and angry enough to pierce through the babble of the street. The woman turns toward the source, her eyes wide and fearful, but she only presses her back against the pole, as if it would defend her against whatever violence is headed her way.

She walks down the sidewalk and like the parting of the Red Sea, the crowd lets her pass right through, moving out of her way. She has yet to have a single fight. The local promoter has put her name out on the street, and it's been passed around like wildfire. There is no one in any hurry to try and test the large Ugandan. She is dressed to conceal, but it's hard to conceal the large beast dressed in sweats and a hoodie, the hood pulled up and over her head to give her some privacy. Yet, they know. and they look. Like looking at some circus sideshow freak. You just can't tear your eyes away from the visual. She knows only a few English words. The rest has no meaning for her. Food. Clothes. Fight. Those are the words she needs to know. She has been told that very soon she will fight. That she must win. Loose strands of braided hair, both black and blonde peek out from the hoodie as she turns the corner and continues down the street.

A solid grasp on the English language isn't particularly necessary to understand what is happening at the mouth of the alley. Yes, heads turn when Konga starts down that particular street, either because they have seen advertisements, heard stories, or have never seen a woman that big before. Carter is best put in the larger category, though it isn't entirely true. Still, he angles his steps to give Konga a wide breath, but he is equally intrigued, as are many others, by the altercation brewing at the alley.

"Gloria, you sleezy bitch!" the voice thunders, getting louder as the man attached to it finally barrels into view, roaring in the woman's face as he grips the lapels of her cropped jacket and pushes her even tighter against the pole. "What's this about you dealin' on the side, stealin' good money from those that take care of yas?"

Gloria is silent, her hands up despite their inability to push the man away given his relative size and strength and her own lack of leverage. All she can do is fearfully shake her head, but it doesn't seem to do much good.

"Are people lyin' to me, Gloria?" the man bellows, twisting his head to one side just as he twists his features into a more deeply lined scowl. "Are people thinkin' I'd be fool enough to believe my best whore is stealin' business out from under the man that made her? I pulled you out of the gutter, you bitch!"

With that, the man pulls Gloria away from the pole and throws her down to the street, into that very gutter currently filled with dirt riddled snow and snow riddled mud.

There is shouting she hears as she walks down the street. The contents of which she couldn't understand. The tone however is very familiar. Anger. Someone is angry. She also senses fear. She stops at the mouth of the alley and turns her head to the side to watch as the man has just pushed the female down into the cruddy street.

She can already feel her skin as it begins to thicken as she turns her entire body to face the alley now, her dark eyes peering out from beneath the hood. Her hands come out of the pockets in the front of her sweatshirt and she takes a step closer just in case the man decides to continue assault one much smaller than he.

You see, she understands the concept of fighting. An even match between competitors. She also understands fighting for one's life. Survival of the fittest. This is neither of those scenarios. This is one larger man bullying a smaller female. This completely bristles the large woman as she feels her hands swell as the skin begins to grow around her fingers and fist.

Fortunately for Konga and the growing crowd, though unfortunately for the man who apparently saved and made Gloria the woman she is today, he is more intent on doling out his punishment on the woman who has 'betrayed' him than he is on watching his back.

But everyone else can see it coming. It takes all of Carter's will not to metaphorically step in. Flies don't step in. Flies observe.

The crowd doesn't bother her. She already knows she will be fighting in front of them soon enough. She cannot possibly fathom the publicity this will generate for her first fight, as such things are far from her mind at the moment. Her nostrils flare large as she breathes in and out of her nose taking several steps forward and stopping about three feet away from the man who would beat weak women.

She doesn't touch him. He's really only yelled and thrown her down. If he walks away now, he may live to eat dinner tonight. But just in case, her fists clench tight, the sound of old leather creaking when her knuckles stretch the thicken flesh against her bone.

Lying in the gutter, Gloria makes no move to fight back. She curls her arms around her ribcage as she struggles to stay warm in the snow and breathe through the sobs that rack her frame. "Lookit me when I'm talkin' to you!" the man commands, lifting his arms to balance himself as he swings back a leg and delivers a healthy kick to Gloria's side in order to roll her onto her back. But Gloria doesn't move, and so he aims to kick her a second time.

The first kick happens, and just as he swings back to take the second, the Ugandan beast lashed out with an open hand slap right to the man's right ear from behind. It wasn't the hardest she could hit, mostly just to get his attention. Well, and to ring his bell.

The man staggers after the blow, clutching the side of his head in a vain attempt to staunch the steady trickle of blood that flows from his ear. "Jesus Christ!" he booms, and when he turns, there is a knife in his free hand, pulled from his pocket. Konga's size only stuns him for a moment before he flings the knife in her general direction. Clearly, this isn't the sort of man who will allow himself to be seen beaten by a woman.

Pity for him. The knife toss is taken as an aggressive move by the untamed woman. She reaches for his shirt and pulls him towards her, just as she lets a fist fly towards the center of his chest. Upon connecting there's a loud pop as he would feel his sternum crack. She takes a step back, spins around and catches him with the back of her hand as she holds a fist, the loud smack connecting with the man's cheek.

The man is putty in Konga's fists, and both blows are taken without any recourse. There isn't time. It's only after he's been lying still on the pavement for a few moments that Gloria decides to try and move. But once she's on her feet, she scurries away like some sort of frightened animal made to wear shoes with disastrous heels.

The crowd stares in awe for a few moments, mumbling amonst themselves while some cheer out all manner of things, from obscenities to cries of good riddance. Carter, for his part, simply gulps. This is too coincidental for his tastes.

What sort of place is this island?

The man is no longer a threat. She backs off. She could kill him, but she really only kills those who pose a mortal threat to her. She grunts as the turns and stares into the crowd. Amidst the cheering, she moves towards them causing them to scatter out of her way, ceasing the cheering lest they antagonize the beast. As she turns back down the street, the way she was originally heading, the crowd begins to pick up their cheers and murmuring once again. All eyes are on the beast. Slowly, her skin turns back to normal, though no one would notice and it isn't long before she gone from sight. But never from their mind.

February 22nd: Angel In The Infield
February 22nd: The Green Mile
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