Magic Tricks for Children


douglas_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Magic Tricks for Children
Synopsis Neither knowing who the other is, Douglas and Eileen both get the same idea and stop for cigarettes at the same corner store in Brooklyn's Red Hook District.
Date September 14, 2009

Red Hook — A Corner Store

The faucet slowly creaks off.

His hands are smoothed over once more with the soap. Taking a step away from the sink he goes to open the door of the restroom, the door thuds dully against the obstacle behind the door. A small curse as he delivers a little quick to move the object, allowing him to step out of the door fully. Shutting the restroom door the man walks back into the 'lobby' of the corner store.

Wearing a red jacket, and a black shirt, and black pants then black boots. A pair of thick sunglasses rest on the bridge of his nose. Douglas shifts through the store over to the counter. The owner of the store isn't present, which gives Douglas a curious glance behind the counter. As if looking for him.

Frowning a little, Douglas reaches into his pocket and brings out a lighter. Stepping behind the counter he goes to procure a carton of cigarettes for himself. A few bills are slapped cleanly against the stained counter. He slides them across the counter towards the cash register. Then he goes to hastily open it.

The bell above the corner store's door jingles merrily and admits a small, dark-haired woman dressed in a pair of faded denim jeans and a black top cut low. A leather jacket hangs off her slim frame, the sleeves just a little too long for her arms, but otherwise sewn to fit someone of her diminutive proportions, and although she carries no purse, she's already reaching into its interior pocket as she steps into the store and makes a beeline for the counter.

Eyes so pale they border between green and gray peruse the selection that Douglas himself has been scrutinizing just a few moments ago. As she arrives at the counter, her gaze alights on something to the left of the man's head, and without paying him much attention she begins thumbing through the crumpled wad of cash she holds in one small hand. The other reaches up and rubs a knuckle under her nose. "Can I get a pack of Camels, please?"

She thinks he's the shopkeeper. Easy mistake to make.


An arched brow pops over the large sunglasses. Placing his carton on the counter he delivers a smooth smile. "There you go. Share mine. I don't really work here, whoever does wasn't in here when I came in. But the door's unlocked. Greeat mystery." A slight boston accent rattles off his tongue. "I was just takin' this and leavin' the bills." He points to his money. Pushing his cigarettes over the counter he slowly goes to walk out from behind the counter.

Striding out he goes to give her an easy pat on the shoulder. "Hope he's alright though. You know? Maybe he just stepped out back for a smoke or something. But this is New York City you can't leave your shit unattended like that, am I right?"

The pat on the shoulder earns Douglas a quizzical look from the woman — Eileen — as she reaches out, picks up the carton of cigarettes and uses the tip of one lacquered nail to break the plastic seal. "Thanks." She doesn't have much of an ear for accents outside of Europe; his low vowels and nasal consonants are difficult to place, which is probably what leads her to ask the question she does next.

Peeling away the gold foil, she selects one cigarette from the package between forefinger and thumb and maneuvers it into the left corner of her mouth, lips pursed around the paper filter. "Whereabouts are you from?" Not New York City is the unspoken implication. But that's all right — unless she's putting on an act, neither is she.


A small flame flicks up from the lighter, as Douglas brings it forward under Eileen's cigarette. "Born and raised." After the cigarette is lit, Douglas goes to take one of his own. Stuffing it into his mouth he brings the little flame up to his own mouth. Lighting up the cigarette he places the lighter down on the counter. Glancing around the store.

"Man. Where is this guy? We could make off with everything in here." Douglas murmurs through the smoke that spews from his mouth. He gives a shrug. "Oh well." Though his eyes run over the refrigerating units. "Want somethin' t'drink?"

A glance askance is cast in the direction of the security camera behind the counter, its blinking red eye trained on the store's floor, divided by shelves of lewd magazines, non-perishable snack foods and bulk candy so old and stale Eileen would chip a tooth on it if she tried to take a bite. "That's in Hawaii, isn't it? Oahu?" There's nothing skeptic about her tone, only tentative, and this has less to do with Douglas' presence than it does the conspicuous absence of the shopkeeper's.

"M'sure he's around back," she says, heading toward the nearest fridge. It clicks open with an audible hum. "Anyway, he hasn't got anything to worry about. Our pockets aren't nearly big enough."

The blinking red camera though is recording nothing. If Eileen should look close enough she might find a little snip snip in one of the wires. But it's hardly noticable. "Hawaii?" Douglas asks with a tilt of his head. "Naw. Alaska." He responds confidently, going over with her to look in at the drinks for sale. "My pockets are plenty big. I could take anything in here." He mumbles, eyeing a bottle of vodka.

"Except for you. Unless I chopped you into real itty bitty pieces." He gives a shrug, going to open the fridge and take the vodka in question. "Where are you from?"

"If you chopped me up into itty bitty pieces," Eileen says, selecting a bottle of soda water for herself, "I'd leak, and you'd be tracking muck." Honolulu, Alaska doesn't sound quite right, incidentally, but she doesn't question Douglas' geographical authority. Instead, she takes a drag from her cigarette, removes it from her mouth and blows smoke at her reflection in the refrigerator's glass door as she closes it again.

As for where she's from, that's easy. "London, East End. Been in New York for what's coming up on a year now. Me and my da." Lit cigarette pinched between the knuckles of two fingers, she twists off the bottle's cap with an audible fizz and pauses to wash her mouth out with a swig of carbonated water. When she swallows, it's with a sour expression on her face. "S'no Amsterdam, but I like it well enough. What about you, hey? What brings you all the way out to the Metropolis of America?"

The top of the vodka is undone on the spot, as he eyes the soda water. "You know that stuff tastes like acidic urine, right?" His brows slightly widen. As if he was offended at her selection. His lips thin for a moment as he considers Eileen. Taking a sip of the bottle, he lets out a groan from the burn of the liquid.

"I'm here to perform magic tricks at birthdays." He informs her, "'s my job." Another sip and another growl that the alcohol burned his throat. Grr. Bringing the bottle down, he tilts it up to peer at it. But it is leaned over a little too much, some of the alcohol pouring out of it and perhaps accidentally onto Eileen. "In my free time I model nude."

Vodka splashes onto the grimy linoleum floor at Eileen's feet, spattering her flats and the hem of her jeans with alcohol. Her soles squeak as she steps aside, shakes out an ankle and rubs her calf against the opposite leg in a feeble attempt to redistribute some of the mess. "Do you?" she asks in a voice slightly tighter than before, though her eyes are bright with mirth. The corners of her mouth quirk up into something that resembles a smile but isn't exactly.

"What sort of tricks, then? Have you got a rabbit you pull out of a hat? Doves up your sleeves? Maybe you saw a lady in half?" His remark about chopping her up into itty bitty pieces would make more sense if he did. Eileen is starting to become uncomfortable, and it shows in the underlying tension in her neck and shoulders, muscles growing stiff beneath the material of her clothes. Where the hell is the man who's supposed to be attending the counter?

"I'm sorry." He mutters, looking down at the puddle he made. "There's a bathroom in there, you can wash your shoes off. The sink works at least. I know that much." Taking another drink of the bottle he then replaces the half full bottle back into the fridge unit. Without restoring the cap. He lets out a slow burp, looking quite impressed with himself before looking back at Eileen.

"I've never used a saw to cut a lady in half." He says almost defensively. "What is it you do?" He asks, replacing the cigarette in his mouth. Taking another final puff of it he throws it down into the small puddle of vodka. "He won't mind I'm using his floor as my ashtray. If he were doin' his job, he wouldn't have this problem."

"I'm a violinist," says Eileen, and the lie comes easily because it isn't one. Not really. She doesn't ask Douglas what he'd use to cut a lady in half instead of a saw; she gets the distinct impression that this would be asking for more trouble than she's already gotten herself into, and right now she feels like that's about knee-deep.

Stepping around the puddle and the discarded cigarette floating in it, she makes her way back to the counter where she counts out two ones and adds them to the cash he'd palmed down before. It should be enough to cover her soda water, and if not— well, sorry. "I was hoping the Philharmonic might take me this year, but I don't think I'm quite there yet. Coffee shops. Street festivals. It's enough to get by."

"They're drunk fucking gay fucking bastards for not taking you." Douglas growls, his eyes narrowing so much it seems like they might shoot a laser beam out. But no laser beams shoot at this time. As she sets down the money, Douglas reaches up and takes it himself. Though he doesn't even look at it, like it wasn't even happening. Quietly he places the money into his pocket. Even though he payed a greater price earlier for the cigarettes, those bills still resting next to the register.

"If I was the philharmonic, I would take you every single year." The words are delivered heavily. "You deserve more than street festivals." Says the man who met her three minutes ago. One hand comes up to rest gently on her shoulder, his other hand removing those large sunglasses so he can give her his red rimmed gaze. Apparently he's feeling sorry for her, so sorry he's teary eyed. "What's your name again?"

Eileen's eyes follow the money on its journey from the counter to Douglas' pocket. She's about to turn away and make for the door when that hand settles on her shoulder, riveting her feet to the spot like the roots of a tree, her legs long, pale beeches. Her gaze lifts to his face. "You haven't even heard me play," she points out, though she's careful to keep her voice mild, neutral.

A moment later, she's tapping ash from her cigarette into the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny receptacle in a nervous gesture and averting her eyes, shadowed by the dewy veil of her lashes. "Shoshanna."

"Sho-shanna." He repeats in a breathy voice, his sunglasses setting heavily against the counter. His hand doesn't move from her shoulder. "Sometimes you just know things about people. Like how I can tell that you're good. I can tell what you deserve." He smiles softly at her, his hand wandering from her shoulder to her neck, his thumb carressing her there gently.

"Just like I could tell that the store owner not only was evolved but also a very bad man. Cheated on his wife, beat his kids. That sort of thing." Douglas explains, letting his fingers trail over her cheek. "I did everyone a favor." His chin motions to the bathroom door. "It was nice to meet you Shoshanna." With that he goes to snap the cigarette from her hand and place it in his own lips. Then he's turning his back on her and making his way for the door.

It isn't until the door has closed behind Douglas and his silhouette disappears from view that Eileen lets out the breath she'd been holding. Air escaping through her teeth in the form of a thin hiss, her hand goes to her neck and drags fingernails across skin, scratching at where his thumb stroked along her throat. She's intimately aware of the sweat clinging to the hairs on the back of her neck, the thunder of blood in her ears and the taste of fear, acrid on her tongue, but none of this matters.

Douglas is gone, she's still here and there is apparently a dead body in the bathroom in the back of the shop. There's nothing she can do about two of those things, but the one that remains can, should and is remedied as swiftly as possible with nary a backward glance — but not before sweeping the sunglasses off the counter and pocketing them inside her jacket for safekeeping. While Douglas might not have left her with a name, names are ultimately unimportant when more can be gleaned by the practiced touch of one Amato Salucci or others like him.

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