... Or I'll Sit In Your Lap


cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif conrad_icon.gif

Scene Title … Or I'll Sit In Your Lap
Synopsis Helena Dean brings operatives together, and uses an unusual threat to get what she wants.
Date November 19, 2008

The Surly Wench

A punk rock pub through and through, The Surly Wench is dim, cramped, and incredibly popular. It's a small, rectangular venue with a bar bordering one entire wall. Despite this, ordering a drink on a weekend can be an exercise in line-waiting and rib-elbowing. There are a few small tables ringed with high stools for seating, but these are prime real estate. The majority of the patrons are forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder on any given night. Almost half of the cramped interior is devoted to a low stage for live music. There's no dance floor. If you feel the need, you'll have to thrash in place..

It's not seven at night, the time is much closer to eleven p. m. or even midnight, but it's still November and it's cold in Nuked York, at least outside. But inside the punk bar known as the Surly Wench, it's far warmer. The place is loud, so very loud, and filled with people dancing in their high energy punk ways. It can be difficult to move around through the thick crowd, let alone get a drink once one manages to reach the bar.

The loudness is from the stage, where a twenty-something brunette in dark clothing is prowling the stage like a black leopard on the grasslands hunting for prey. Five feet eight inches tall, wearing two inch heeled boots for added height, the woman plays guitar with skill gained across years of practice. She makes eye contact with people among her crowd from time to time, keeping them engaged with the performance. At present, she's midway through a blistering rendition of something from the Runaways.

There isn't a free table in the house… wait, there is one way back in the corner, close by the stage. A guitar case is leaning against it, there's a backpack in a chair, and a pint of stout sitting untouched. Why is no one at that table?

Well well well, free table! Conrad doesn't pay attention to nagging little questions in the back of his mind like 'why isn't anybody at that table?'. He just saunters through the bar, looking about as out of place as a redneck wearing NRA paraphenalia at the Democratic National Convention. His own mode of dress just now consists of sneakers, jeans, t-shirt, and…aha! An Atlanta Braves jacket. With matching Braves baseball cap. He's a sports fan, one could suppose. Down he sits at the table, out of the way of the pint and that guitar case, though he conspicuously eyes the pint after a brief moment and it doesn't take a mind-reader to guess what he's thinking…

It's not long after Conrad sits at the table where no one else was, and on which the pint of stout rests untouched, that the woman on stage comes to the center and her fingers go still. Cat scans the crowd slowly with her eyes, and declares "It's time for my break! I'll be back on stage when I feel like starting again." There are groans of protest from the thick throng in attendance, to which she laughs. "Shut it! I'm not your monkey bitch! You'll wait for me to feel like playing again and like it!" Is Cat really like this, the way she speaks to the people who pay for her performance, or is it all part of the act, working the punk angle, indeed being a surly wench in keeping with the establishment's name?

Conrad will soon find out, because just after that riposte onstage, she's headed for that until recently unoccupied table. Not a word is said to the man there as she settles onto one of the stools and reaches for the stout. If, that is, he hasn't appropriated it for himself.

Helena makes her way into the Surly Wench. She gets waved through by the bouncer who now knows her face quite well, and once more she's working the Madame Alexander moppet look: large black men's jacket, straggly hair, black long lashes and doll like makeup. Somehow, it suits the place. She meanders up to Conrad, standing at his side. "Be a nice man and buy me a Red Stripe?"

The pint's untouched. Odds are good it'll stay that way since Conrad isn't completely oblivious and notices the tyrant storm that is Cat disembarking from her stage of anguish and…man, that's a good one. Or maybe not. "Buzz off, sister. I don't waste drinks on girls I can't bang." he says with an insincere smirk at Helena. "Where'd you come from?" he asks her, "Getting good at that ninja shit. I was just coming to meet uh…" He looks to Cat and pretends not to know her name, snapping his fingers.

Her fingers curl around the pint and pull it over toward her, she holds it in mid-act of drinking when Helena steps up and speaks to this man who has taken up space at her customary table in that corner by the stage. A nod of greeting goes to her, then the eyes travel on to look him over neutrally. It's still loud in here, but with Cat on break it's at least quiet enough to talk among themselves without having to yell, and without much risk of being overheard. "You know this man?" she asks.

"I do. I sent him to talk to you." Helena replies matter-of-factly. Then to Conrad, "Buy me a Red Stripe please, or I'll sit in your lap." Now that's an odd sort of threat. What sort of man wouldn't want Helena in his lap?

Conrad makes an unpleasant face and says, "…oh all right…" and produces a wallet from which he starts producing bills. "You only do this to me because you know I don't care about the fact you're too young. And yeah, Cat, is it?" This part for the lady with the pint. "Name's Conrad Wozniak. Con-Man." He looks to Helena again as he hands her enough cash to buy two drinks with change. "See, this is what I'm talking about. She has no idea who I am."

Conrad tacks on, "Order me however much Crown that'll get. Please. And stay outta my lap."

Her demeanor shifts slightly when Helena speaks to knowing and having sent the man, and he speaks his name. The back becomes straighter, and her attention more sharp. He was already committed to memory, with Cat everything is, ever, but now she actually wants to remember him. "Conrad," she repeats. "You found me. I'm Cat." There's a hint of a smile at Helena's elicitation of money and drink from the man after threatening to sit on him. "You've got the floor." Her hand now completes the action of bringing stout to mouth, and she drinks.'

Helena seems content to keep her mouth shut for the moment, because hello, beer. Hooray, Beer! Helena likes those commercials with the happy Jamaican man.

Con's demeanor doesn't change one whit. He's still giving off that air of the cocky guy who thinks the entire room is revolving around him, or getting ready to. The fact that it clearly isn't doesn't seem to bother him either. "'kay, check it out. I wanted to pick your brain, Cat. Helena here tells me you got the goods on our entire outfit. She recently gave me a big project, and part of that project's gonna require I know as much as I can about what's going on in here. And anyway it seems like a good idea to me because hey, what happens if the wrong people get their claws on you, in you, whatever. Follow what I'm saying? By the way, nice to meet you, and yes I like your taste." He points at her pint. "Or…at least your appetite. What's in that?"

"Stout, made by Guinness, it's an Irish brew," she replies, lifting the glass of dark beer with the creamy head a bit. "I'll give you the info in organized form soon, on whatever media you ask for. You're Mr. Security, so I've got confidence in it being safe to do so. I do caution," Cat adds, "it needs some updating from the charts she and I made that day, but it's easy enough. I'll recreate the chart and tack on whatever else fits, save it to a USB drive." Her pint is lifted and held poised to drink from again, as she asks each person with her eyes if this is a solid plan.
Helena murmurs, "I'm a fan of visual aids. We should actually meet up again and do an update. We've got more problem children now. The Company's less a priority."

"Nice. Actually just one spreadsheet'll do it. No hard copies." Con mutters only slightly to himself, "…gonna have to gank a laptop or somethin'." He looks at the table and asks nobody in particular, "Why isn't there a drink here!? Wait a minute…" He checks his wallet. "Money's missing. But there's not a drink. It's fuckin' mysterious!"

One hand is raised, and Cat snaps her fingers. It gets the bartender's attention promptly. They seem to like keeping her happy here. Ah, the power of musical talent. She then gestures toward Helena, and in so doing ensures when she reaches the bar he'll tend to her desires swiftly, she won't have to wait in the crush of people around the bar. "Wonderful," she replies. "What are your material and financial needs for the task at hand, Conrad? It would be best to create the charts on our own secured machine."

Helena rolls her eyes, but gets up and goes to the bar. "Gimme he Crown, please." she says to the 'tender, upon getting it, takes it back and sets it front of Conrad. "Your drink, good sir." she says, in her best Saint Paulie Girl voice. Because if she has to schlep for him, she's going to make it disturbing, regardless of him buying her beer.

The ready way Conrad responds to Cat's question shows how much he's been thinking of it. "Need more real-estate. I'm looking for something we can turn into more of a real honest-to-God safehouse, plus something like a training facility. So a lot of what we need's gonna be mundane stuff. It's really just money. Investment capital, y'know? Awww thanks babe. you shouldn't have!" He gets completely happy when Helena comes back with drinks. He doesn't care what voice she uses. It's booze dammit. "Excuse me while I indulge in a lil happiness, please…" he pardons, taking part in Crown Royal.

"How much investment capital are you thinking you'll need?" Cat asks. "It sounds like you've got thorough plans to bring to life here." Another drink of her stout is taken.

Helena finishes her beer, and lets out a yawn. "I need to bail." she tells the two. "You two play nice now. Thanks for the beer, Conny." With that, being useful in as much as she verified Conrad's identity, she ambles away, pushing through the crowd and disappearing out the door.

"I don't have hard numbers just yet. But it's gonna be seven figures before any of the better plans get y'know…accomplished." This is what Con says before Helena talks about bailing, and he replies to her with a sneer that doesn't reach his eyes. "God I hope she doesn't get herself killed. By the way, I got a lead on a couple of people like us that're bad guys. Described to me as a crazy Asian guy, pale guy, and some bald British guy. Any of that ring a bell with you?"

"Seven figures? Good luck with that," Cat replies. She doesn't speak on the prospects of Stormy becoming not alive, her mind is moving on. "An insane Asian, a pale man, and a bald British man. I've not heard of them before. It would be good if I saw them directly, I could reproduce detailed descriptions for the chart, but with them being trouble it might not be advisable. Are there names to match, at least?"

"Thanks!" grins Con. Like it was a sincere wish for luck. "Don't have names or any better descriptors, sorry. I mean, if I did, I probably would have more to bring you. But the guy that turned me onto the info couldn't talk. He was wearing a wire and had to tell me with written notes, so there was all this back and forth fake conversation and it was distracting, you know…"

"I understand," Cat replies. "Not everyone can remember everything." Another drink is taken. "What sort of legal cover are you thinking about for the safe house and the things you buy with those seven figures, Conrad?" she asks, seemingly in idle curiosity. Talking with her, one could get an impression this is no mere surly guitarist. Some extensive education is perhaps in play.

"Legal cover? Why, can you provide that? I'd love to hear your suggestions, sister." The tone Con's using isn't as challenging as his words might imply. It's more the casual way he tosses out his thoughts. "Y'know, I bet you know a whole lot, what with what I've heard about you. In fact, if I were you, I'd get really bored all the time. And it'd be real hard to impress me or come up with something I haven't seen." Eyes searching Cat's, he takes a drink.

"Well," Cat suggests, "if you're talking about using seven figures to achieve your goals, you may want a cover for that much money being spent by the same person. Like maybe a non-profit organization established which can receive donations and buy things. I'd have to think about it more." And a quiet grin is flashed. "What have you heard about me, Conrad?"

"Okay, so still I'd love to hear your suggestions. I mean I've never run this big a thing before so you tell me. Seriously. I'm not being a smartass, I just know the pricetags." Con picks up his glass and takes another sip, then grins back. "I heard that you remember everything you experience. That enough?"

"Memory is no issue for me," Cat replies. "I've got some ideas, and ways I can maybe cover it. We can take donations, there could be a newly established recording studio somewhere. We'll talk again soon when we build the charts, and brainstorm more, Conrad." She finishes her pint and stands. "Good to meet you. Enjoy the show!" And she's off, taking the stage to the delight of the packed place.

With a grin, Conrad gives a nod and a half-salute to Cat as she gets up to do her thing. Next time she looks at the table, he's gone. Probably much to the relief of the establishment whether it knows it or not.

November 18th: Two If By Land

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 19th: Big Shot
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License