Lambskin - Flat Conveyer


chuckles_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Lambskin - Flat Conveyer
Synopsis Eileen passes on her findings to someone who may be able to do more with it than she.
Date August 18, 2010

Staten Island

The boy is popular at the Rookery, mostly with the Mexican girls whose brothers and 'brothers' he's shown that he doesn't bruise nearly as easily as they do. Sometimes, when he gets very drunk, he starts mixing up names and Carolinas slip in, but nobody fucks with him about those errors anymore. There are one or two of the young ladies who figure, who know their name could replace that one, someday, and maybe if they're really lucky, they'll survive the series of events that lead to it.

It's unusual for him to want to haunt a bar alone, but he left Shooter's as soon as he finished touching base for business, slipped out of the Tequila Mockingbird after only one shot, and didn't tell anybody where he was going. The Rookery isn't a big place, but it isn't hard to disappear for something private a couple hours if you know it well enough, and after the year he's had here, Charles Delgado knows exactly the kind of rancid-stinking seedy armpit of a dive he wants to meet the Queen herself in.

She got the message, and he's there with exacting punctuality. White boy in a giant T-shirt, jeans, shoes. Gold chain around his neck, but whatever he's wearing on the end of it hangs inside the thin fabric of his clothes. He's drinking cranberry juice, which is probably meant to look like he ordered something alcoholic, but his bit of the bar is the one section that doesn't reek of liquor. Eileen knows.

A woman in a gray dress with no embellishments worn beneath a light wool coat of darkest navy blue doesn't appear particularly out of place in the Rookery, even though her clothes are too conservative and utilitarian to mistake her for a whore and too clean to mistake her for someone whose livelihood relies on the strength of her back or her hands, which are very small and pale. Before she formally joined the Ferrymen, Eileen worked as Dr. Constantine Filatov's assistant at his Staten Island clinic, and on the rare occasion she's recognized by its denizens, it's usually for her work with a needle and thread rather than her position on the network's council or the necessary evils she perpetuates as one of the sole surviving members of the Vanguard.

No one in the bar pays her any attention when she enters, a robin tucked under her collar, and crosses to where Chuckles is seated, the leather soles of her boots making a sound like a metronome. Polished nails with a texture like porcelain or glass rest on the edge of table as she claims a seat beside him. Like her clothes, they are meticulously-kept, two of the fingers on her right hand in splints. "I'll try to take as little of your time as possible."

"Thanks, lady," the young man answers, sitting up slightly in his chair to have a look at her. He focuses on her face, and just her face. Not the chest-then-everything-waist-down that he might give other girls. All members of the Ferry's most dedicated core is naturally familiar with Eileen's physical appearance, and her gift with birds, so he has no trouble with recognition first thing. It's just. You know. "You look taller from further away," doesn't have the edge to it that a real flirt would. A real flirt would constitute a challenge under the circumstances.

Possibly a deathwish. He looks her in the eyes, before his darker gaze drops away, fades down to the tiny robin at her collar. "You can take as much of my time as you need. Shaman's orders."

Eileen's mouth pulls into a small smile. Shaman. Although her rueful eyes don't quite meet his, there's a fractional amount of mirth in them that makes her gaze appear bright enough, sharp enough that it calls rumours into question. The robin is paying him more mind than she is, but that's nothing new — she's possessed the aloofness of an elusive cat for as long as she's known McRae and his followers, though there's nothing unkind about the distance she seems most comfortable maintaining between herself and a select few.

"Brian noticed someone hanging about the Lighthouse who shouldn'tve been. Raith and I took a closer look. Necessary measures to ensure it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm still fairly concerned." One hand folds neatly atop the other, slim fingers interlaced. "Possibly it's a small part of something larger."

If he thinks she is making fun of David McRae's moniker with her canny little eye-squints, Chuckles doesn't let it on. Instead, he drains his cranberry juice, knocks it all back in a reasonable semblance of going bottoms-up on some deliciously liquored beverage. The glass connects damply with the bar again, the boy wipes his mouth with the heel of his hand, and looks at her making origami with her fingers. Then over at the robin, to check what it's looking at.

One might think he isn't interested in the conversation, but he is. "Lighthouse means kids," he says. "Raith and the rest of you means Brian was rolling out some pretty fuckin' big guns then, wasn't he, mami?" He turns his frame in his chair, knees swiveling out before he settles to stare. "Larger means bad. What kinda concerns we talking?"

Chuckles watches the robin. The robin watches Chuckles. She ruins the intricate weave of her fingers to retrieve a cigarette from behind her left ear, then slips a hand into her coat pocket in search of a matchbook with it still pinched between two knuckles.

"Child trafficking." The words have the consistency of sand and feel abrasive in Eileen's mouth, but taste damp rather than dry. That probably has something to do with the weather, all the moisture in the air and on the bar's glass windows as beads of rain still lingering from the last time it stormed. "I've no conclusive evidence, understand. Only suspicions, though with it happening right outside his very own door, I imagine your thaumaturge would want to know."

The young man's jaw squares hard underneath the thin shadow of half-formed beard, and his mouth in a grim line nearly parallel with the two dark hyphens of his brows. He is no longer looking at the robin, though the robin looks at him. "You got names?" he asks, and his hand is already going backward into his pocket, fast enough that half his Rookery associates would have twitched reflexively toward their guns. He's only getting a pen, though. Maybe that was Shaman's order, too.

The only canvas he has for writing turns out to be the tan-colored napkin that his cranberry juice had been furnished with. He takes it up with the ease of long practice, flips it over then flips it open. There's a chilly ring of condensation stained right through, but it doesn't tear at the blackening touch of his pen nib. He has no idea what a Goddamn 'thaumaturge' is, but they do want to know. "Faces? Phone numbers, an address?"

It's easier for Eileen to write than to dictate. When her hand comes out of her pocket, she's already in the process of thumbing open the book. One strike of a match later, smoking stick smelling vaguely of phosphorous discarded into the appropriate tray, she takes her first pull from it and places the book down on the table's surface beside the napkin. "Wireless should be able to analyze the phone we took," she says, and this she produces from her pocket as well, slid across to Chuckles. "You'll get plenty of names from that. Addresses as well, but to start—"

She gently extracts the pen from his fingers with hers, her touch rainwater cool. The napkin isn't the smoothest of surfaces to write on, but it serves its purpose: the Englishwoman dances the pen across the edge of the napkin, leaving behind her cramped script. "It should be as we left it. Be careful nevertheless."

He accepts the phone, first, his fingers going unhelpfully white around the little plastic device's contours although it doesn't break or anything. Charles stuffs it away into some inscrutable compartment under the heavy hem of his oversized shirt, before his wiry wrist fetches up to rest on the table beside the napkin she's inscribing the address on. He stares down on it, brow furrowed hard. Thinking.

Probably about the kids that stay at the Sweat Lodge, rotating families, but almost inevitably— kids. Staten Island promises secrecy, the neighborhood its own kind of security, Felicity and the architectural style a certain homey feel, and the ex-cons, a last line of defense. "We appreciate the heads-up," he nods, a push of his jaw; culturally codefied boy-bravado which, to him, means sincerity in its simplest appreciable terms. "If los chingadores are around targeting kids already in trouble at this shithole, they aren't going to get ours."

Chair legs scrape across wood, and Eileen rises from her seat at the table, matchbook plucked up and redeposited in her coat pocket where it belongs. "I have to leave the country for a little while," she says, the robin steadying itself on her shoulder with a brittle flutter of its wings. "If you find anything I missed, I'd appreciate it if you let me know upon my return."

She returns his pen, not to his hand but the edge of the napkin where it sits, unobtrusive, a shadow cast across the address of the late Elijah Warner, but that is all. Trailing smoke, she closes a hand around the front of her coat and draws it around her, preparing herself for the wet trek back to the Dispensary. "Say hello to David for me."

"Will do, senorita." Graceful word of salutation. The young man tips his head forward, a nod of farewell, even as he collects her written notes in a deft shuffling of callused fingers. That, too, is gone in a moment, packed away while he raises himself to his feet, leaving a few notes on the table for the juice he drank down to its dregs. The barman knows better than to sweep in and pick it up, just yet. That conference had a look about it, no DND sign necessary. "Give Raith and the others our thanks, too. Eh?"

Eileen tucks her chin into a demure nod: of course and good bye both. Her footsteps carry her across the bar, past the same patrons who wouldn't even glance her way when she came in, and ultimately out the door into the fine, silvery mist.

It closes behind her with only the faintest of jingles, the dented copper bells above it shuddering with motion.

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