League Of Black Kettles


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Scene Title League Of Black Kettles
Synopsis Logan and Kain make a decision to save the future. That it involves assassination and scraping as many diamonds into their own individual shit piles to lord over is totally coincidental. Yeah.
Date October 24, 2010


"Thirty large sounds good, ya'll have that like always. Mah boy'll be round t'pick it up in th' mornin'."

The cling and chime of slot machines fills the air, amidst the stink of cigars and the din of quiet voices backed by the smooth sound of Jazz pumped through a PA system. Under dim lighting and beneath a cloying fog of cigarette smoke, Kain Zarek sits with his back to old faux leather bench seating. A cell phone held up to one ear and a cigarette pinched between two fingers. "Yeah, that works. Pleasure doin' business with 'ya." As he turns off his cell phone, Kain's brows immediately furrow together and a click snaps at the back of his tongue, cigarette brought down to crush out in the nearby ash tray.

"Fuckin' Mik," Kain grumbles as he lifts blue eyes up and across his booth's table to the lanky, blonde-haired brit possessed of a far more emerald stare seated across from him. "Sorry 'bout that, ol' Lucky Charms calls me for a lead infusion all th' wrong times." Leaving the crumpled cigarette butt in the ash tray, Kain leans back in his seat, settling the cell phone down beside the ash tray, one brow lifting.

"So, John-boy," Kain says with a crooked smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes— sarcasm and nicknames because it's expected of him, not because he enjoys it. It's clear that whatever joy he used to find in ihs life and job has been snuffed out. "What brings you 'round Speakeasy way these days?"

Having already stepped into the speakeasy carrying the scent of smoke with him, it is probable Logan's only just recently finished his own cigarette and ditched its remnants outside. So his hands are free, lacing together in front of him and tucking the ridges of his knuckles beneath his chin as he waits for Kain, although does not shift from this position when the Southerner sits back down and deals attention his way. Logan appears tired, himself, but not beaten in the same way Kain has been slowly seeming for a long time, now.

For the younger man, he just hasn't had enough sleep. "The usual. World ending, violence. Things've started happening. You hear about the hit on Rapture?" His fingers twitch, like he might go for his own pack of cigarettes already, but he just places his hands down on the edge of the table. "I didn't, 'til after it happened. Neither did the Shadows."

No one's owning up to it, the leak. The Shadows are even denying that they even drew guns. That wasn't us, seems to be the tight-lipped consensus. "All roads seem to lead to you these days, so here I am," the Brit adds.

"Ah' may've gotten a phone call, warned me not t'hang out in the VIP lounge that night." Kain's attention averts down to the smoldering butt of his cigarette. "You weren't nowhere 'round there, so maybe I didn't feel th' need t'tell you 'bout it…" There's no smug pride in Kain's voice, despite all perceptions of him seeming to suggest that there should be. "Gideon's markin' his territory," sounds more like Kain, but still serious, "an' he's a big, big dog, Johnny."

Looking up to Logan, Kain reaches down for his half-drained glass of Whiskey, "You find a dog that big, you get kinda' worried 'bout slappin' him on th' nose when he starts pissin' all over everythin'." Lifting up the glass, Kain slowly tips it back and takes a long drink from it, emptying it down to the bottom before settling it back down next to the wrinkled paper coaster it should have been sitting on.

"Dickie thinks he maybe has ol' Giddyup on a leash, Ah' ain't thinkin' that's the case no more…" When Kain's focus squares up on Logan again, there's obvious worry in his expression. "Ah' didn't go about doin' this t'trade one asshole for another, 'cause lemme tell you both've 'em smell like shit."

"Rapture was run by that faggy upstart, and I fucking hate hipsters," Logan dismisses with a blink in place of a shrug, though communicates it just as well as he leans back in his seat. "So if I had to pick a place for him to fuck with, it might well have been that one. However, if he's really keen on knocking out Linderman properties, that's where I start taking issue. Half our business is our businesses," and his pale gaze skims the speakeasy, resettles back on Kain, with a lift of an eyebrow that says, you know that, "and while we might not end up paupers if he keeps at it like this, it's not going to be painless."

A hand goes up, loosening his tie before undoing it completely, the evening too muggy to tolerate his own suited get up. He lets the scarlet satin hang beneath black cotton collar, which he opens. "This thing you have with Cardinal. Maybe he's not got Gideon on a leash anymore, but I'm wondering which one've you's really holding the short and curlies of the other.

"Answer me that, and I'll tell you 'bout my proposition. Honestly, now. The man's got shit on Nichols, and he knows plenty about me. Why him?"

"Long time ago now, back durin' the bad storm we had this winter… Richard came t'me at mah penthouse. He found me when Ah' was at the bottom, rock bottom. He told me some story, 'bout how some people he knew saw somethin' that was gonna' happen— the future. Y'know how that shit is, like Roddy's painting, 'cept not on oil an' canvas. Ah' dunno if he said they went there or if they saw it or what the fuck ever, but he said in that there future… it was all mine."

Kain's brows tense when he says that, chin tilting up slowly. "He tells me that the whole damn thing, kit an' kaboodle, all Danny's empire is mine." Keeping his voice low as he says this, Kain lets his shoulders slack as he folds his hands in his lap, eyes settled down to a spot on the table, though his stare is more distant — more far removed than that. "He's workin' on somethin' right now, gettin' paperwork from Danny. His will n'shit, right? He's gonna make some artistic revisions, get it changed so that all'a Danny's possessions go t'me after he's done and gone."

When Kain looks up, there's still no smug pride, no Devil's smile; just worry. "All this shit Dickie says checks out. Ah've heard from people 'bout the Zarek Group, 'bout how they said they seen it with their own two eyes. Says Ah' take over Staten Island, clean up th' city, turn everythin' round. That sounds like th' kinda' sacrifice Danny could get behind…" Kain's attempt at humor, however, seems a bit dark. "Guess he don't know he's the sacrifice yet."

There is a chilliness that seemed to happen somewhere beneath Logan's expression. Sets it with steel and focuses his stare on the other man, as if something just changed, as if lines were redrawn. But maybe it's the creases of worry in the cajun's face that has Logan keeping his quicker reactions in white-fisted check as he listens, about as intent as Kain's seen him. Theories of the future, are ones Logan has heard before. It sounds like the future wherein he was in jail.

Like Ghost told him. "Right," he says, throatily, eyes hooding a fraction, before he manages a grin. "It's not going to work, Kain. I got told about a future, too, got spun a story. I stay on Staten Island, in this narrative, and I get put behind bars for life. It's half the reason I even stepped foot on this island, you know that?

"So here I am. Robert Caliban and I have had some chats. We've already started breaking down Linderman's own fortune — businesses, money. Refrain. I'm getting me some decent fences who deal in bulk. You're not going to lord over anything. Things change." A beat, before he twists a smile at Kain, "Except for the sacrifice."

Now he could use a cigarette. Goes through the motions of silver cigarette case, matching light. Talks through it, cigarette shifting beneath his teeth at each syllable. "Now, I'm telling you this, not so you can fuck off and stop me. Maybe you could. Put it to rights, as it were. But I don't think you've have told me all that if we weren't laying down some cards. I don't want to be your enemy, not while Cardinal's walking around and you're the best in I've got with 'im. How do you feel about making your own future? Not some bullshit dusted in sugar."

"Ah'm thinkin' you'n me might be sittin' on the same idea," Kain quietly offers with a tilt of his head to the side. "Why don' you lay yer plan on me, see if we're smokin' from the same pipe." With that request Kain leans forward, letting his hands fold on the table. "But 'fore you go'n get into your soliloquay, Ah' don' think Ah've ever told you about what Ah' saw m'self."

Pushing his empty glass aside with the back of his hand, Kain makes space in front of himself to gesture freely. "Ah' was up in Danny's office, in mah Sunday best an' Ah' was watchin' th' city burn. Everythin' was on fire, everythin'. The sky was black with th' fuckin' smoke, embers were fallin' like snowflakes and Ah' could hear the pop of gunfire echoin' forever."

Then, lifting up one hand in the shape of a gun, Kain points two fingers at Logan. "Then Ah' turn 'round, see a feller dressed like one've them Frontline folks. Ah' tell him this is all his fault, point mah gun at him an' say Congradulations, Dickie. You murdered yourself a future."

Kain clicks his thumb forward, makes a click sound with his tongue and kicks his gun-hand back like a recoiling handgun. "Last thing Ah' remember hearin' was th' sound've helicopters goin' past…" Kain lowers his hand, that haunted look in his eyes he's been keeping these last few months looking prominent again.

One brow lifts, expectantly.

"In mine, I'm having sex with this girl from the fight club hours before anything eventful happens," Logan provides. Just to match. Not that he isn't unmoved by Kain's storytelling, having listened to it between inhales of smoke and billowing, white-ghost exhale to add to the poison in the air. After his own summary, he's going back over the picture painted for him, mutters a fuck before he's ashing off excess embers into the ashtray beside Kain.

He shrugs beneath the silvery-grey lines of his dinner jacket. "I propose we get the Shadows to take out Cardinal," is his soliloquay, then smiles at Kain through the smoke. "I figured I'd be succinct — you never sell what's already sold. They'll be riled up after the other night, and I bet you and I can spin it.

"I can let Robert know you're back on the straight and narrow, too. It isn't too late to save the future." Ha.

There's a look from Kain at the name Robert, one that implies a are you serious look before he — for the first time all night — offers a snort and a shake of his head. "That old bastard ain't told you, has he?" Kain's blue eyes narrow, his head tilts to the side and the faintest hint of a smile creeps across his lips in a way that wordlessly says I know something you don't know.

"Zhao's probably got his panties in a knot after all this shit gone down, but he ain't gonna be happy with us either. Danny offered him and his boys protection for helpin' take care of Ding and Dong an' the whole lot've the Flyin' Dragons…" Reaching inside of his jacket, Kain produces a thin cigarette care, flipping it open and sliding out one slender stick before snapping the case shut.

"If you got an in t'talk t'him Ah'd do it, 'cause Zhao an' Ah' ain't never seen eye t'eye, and it ain't just on th' account've him being a tiny little slanty fella." Kain tucks the cigarette between his lips, then looks up to Logan with one brow raised; got a light?

The silver lighter goes skittering across the table for Kain to pick up and work, Logan settling back after a narrowed, quizzically brow-crinkled stare at what on earth Kain has left to bge smug about, but he lets it slide in the immediate moment. "I've had some success in dealing with Zhao," Logan dismisses, though his voice holds a note to two of caution. Dealing with the Triad is rarely a guarantee. "Even if it's just thanks to my power. I wouldn't be shocked if he's pissy, but we'll give him something to focus on, perhaps.

"What hasn't he told me?" is inevitable, sharply delivered and mildly annoyed. Caliban has a good track record for lying to him. "I mean, if you mean the brothel burning, we went over that one. I broke his nose in his own place. And if you're talking about him marrying Beauchamp, yeah, I'm aware of that too."

The look Kain gives Logan implies that it's all of that and likely none of that. "It's a sick joke is what it is," Kain says with no sense of amusement after he picks up the lighter, flips it open and spins the flint to create a spark for nothing save for the desire to see something bright. "Him shackin' up with her. It takes a certain kinda' person t'be like that, Johnny, an' Ah' ain't seen people like Robert Caliban since shit on your ol' island was high and mighty."

Lifting the lighter up to the cigarette, Kain gives a flick of the flint wheel again, this time with enough spin to get the wick to ignite and burn the cigarette. Kain breathes in, the paper crackling and popping as he sucks in a slow breath of smoke, letting it warmly exhale in twin streams from his nostrils.

"Yeah, Robert Caliban burned down your brothel…" There's a snap as the lighter is flicked shut, and Kain looks up to Logan with a markedly serious look. "You should ask him what other secret it is he's been keepin' from y'all…" is suggestively offered by Kain, "because if Bobby-boy's worried 'bout me bein' on the up an' fuckin' up than maybe he should stop callin' the fuckin' kettle black when he's a big ol' stew pot himself."

"Steady on," is very British and indignant, Logan's lip curling. "Why don't you think about being nice to the man holding onto Linderman Group purse strings, alright? We're all damned, Zarek, one way or another. Black kettles, each and every one." Collecting back his lighter and cigarette case, he slips these into pockets and pushes himself to stand, stepping sideways to back off from the table. "Look, just focus on the next month— less than that, even— and know you're doing the right thing. I'll pick a date with the Shadows and let you know."

A point, then, and in a more Loganish echo of Kain's words to him, over the unveiling of the future in oil and paint, "Don't fuck this up."

Rolling his tongue over the inside of his cheek, Kain watches Logan for a good long moment. There's something in his expression that casts a shadow of doubt on to how honest his silence is, whether he's taking his lumps or if he's just resigned himself to accepting Logan's ignorance of what Robert Caliban actually is.

"Ah'll keep mah ear t'th' ground, keep mah head down…" Kain's cigarette is plucked from his lips between pinched fingers, waved around to trail smoke behind it in a lazy arc. "Y'all best make sure you can trust th' people y'keep 'round you, Johnny. You an' Ah' both know that Richard Cardinal ain't got no lost love for you after what you'd gone and done t'him back in th' day. So if you go t'take him out…"

Kain brings the cigarette back to his lips, taking in a slow, steady drag. "You'd best be sure it sticks," is said with a hushed exhalation of smoke. "Ah' here-tell he's awfully hard t'kill."

"Only if you take your eyes off him," Logan says, taking the cigarette out from his own mouth to lean and tap ash one more time. "And I don't intend to, this time." Now would be a good time to maybe threaten Kain, about what might happen if he deviates this path he's taken a step down now, but it can either be inferred, or it might drive him off the path altogether. So Logan delivers a thin smile. "I trust myself. And you. It's a short list."

And not a dishonest one, entirely. Maybe unwise. For all that the city saw their future, it's still murky as sewerage. Tipping Kain a nod of departure, Logan makes for out, patent leather shoes sounding sharp on the ground.

As Logan turns to leave, Kain eyes the cell phone in front of him again, warily. Reaching down for it, he lifts it up and flips it open, running his thumb over one of the buttons to speed-dial someone in his contacts list. There's a shift of Kain's eyes askance to the bar, then back to Logan's retreating form as someone on the other end picks up.

"Yeah, it's me… When y'get this message, call me back." is quietly offered into the phone as Kain's brows furrow, a look of guilt crossing his face. November 8th is closing in, and for all that it seems like the end of the world, Kain Zarek feels compelled to get his affairs in order.

"You'n me need t'talk, Kaydence. Soon."

You never know what the future holds.

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