eileen_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title Passage
Synopsis Eileen digs up a man able to help her get those under the Ferrymen's protection to safety. Smedley obliges her, and for less than her offered price.
Date November 1, 2010

Shooters Bar and Bistro

A place that used to be a cafe and is making a slow progression towards being a dive bar. During the day, the balcony and a good portion of the sidewalk is taken up by outdoor chairs and tables, where people can enjoy a beer as well as a sandwich or whatever else is on their menu - a decent, if simply array of bar food. During the evening, unless it's a warm night, these are taken inside, and the kitchens are closed. A wide variety of beer is available, along with hard liquor and maybe a few wine labels, but nothing fancy. The interior decor is similar to traditional British pubs, with a hardwood bar and brick wall. There's an old pool table towards the back, along with a dart board. The building is actually two storeys high, but whatever is upstairs is inaccessible to the general public.

Despite the fact that the temperature hasn’t fallen to the point that would render the Angry Pelican a less than ideal place to conduct business, Wes Smedley has effectively relocated the planning end of his operation to Shooter’s. Not that there’s much to really plan. With his contracts with Kain Zarek and Devi Ezell for the two categories of item most highly trafficked into Staten Island, Smedley’s legwork to track down jobs has been effectively reduced to finding things to take off the island, to make both ends of the trip worthwhile.

And there hasn’t been much exodus lately.

Then again, Smedley’s business isn’t one that is easy or wise to advertise.

His sales model for these sorts of runs is a simple one. He sits in bars in the Rookery or near the docks, nursing glasses of whiskey and waiting for the business to come to him. Deep in the den is sometimes the safest place for those offering unlawful services to conduct business. No one wants to get caught in the crossfire, so they’ll watch their own back by watching yours.

Given the warmth of the afternoon, Smedley has set himself up in a corner of the balcony. It allows him to eat his sandwich with the subtle din of junkies, radiation victims, and general ne’re-do-wells that is the Rookery during daylight hours. Carson lies beneath the table, his nose sticking out between two of the balcony’s railings and twitching at the various smells that waft across on the gentle wind. He’s long since abandoned the battle to win scraps of his master’s lunch. Smedley’s brown leather coat rests on the back of his chair, exposing the twin six-guns in the artfully tooled leather holster slung around his hips. Boots, jeans, and a dark t-shirt round off what might as well be his uniform.

Mister Smedley.

The voice is familiar, though it isn’t one that the smuggler has heard in recent memory. A combination of English accent and pitch makes Eileen immediately recognizable even before Smedley turns around — if he turns at all.

She hasn’t changed much since the last time they saw one another with the exception of heavier clothes made from denser material to account for the worsening weather. Long brown-black hair is worn in an elegant twist at the nape of her slender neck, and she carries the same cane in her gloved hand that she wielded when they first met in spite of the handsome little magpie perched on her left shoulder, its licorice eyes beady and glittering.

“I have a business proposition for you.”

Despite being here for just that purpose, the sound of Eileen’s voice is startling. It isn’t one he’d thought he’d filed away, but there is no mistaking it. When he turns, his eyes go from wide surprise to narrowed interest in a matter of seconds, the muscles in his neck relaxing after that brief tension. Feigning nonchalance, Smedley lifts the half-empty glass of lemonade to his lips, momentarily turning his back on Eileen once more. But after the release of a contented, appreciative sigh, he turns enough to look over his shoulder.

“I’m listenin’,” he says, a sly smile wrinkling the skin in the corners of his eyes. He gestures toward one of the other chairs gathered at the bistro table. “Why don’t you sit t’spin it, hm?”

Eileen accepts Smedley’s invitation in silence. It isn’t until she’s seated at the table and folding her gloved hands over the grip of her cane, which rests across her thigh, that she speaks again, and when she does it’s in a gentler tone than she used to address him, though not by very much. “I need a boat,” she says simply. “One with a capacity for twelve or more passengers and a quiet engine.

“I also need a captain who doesn’t ask any questions.”

“This captain allowed t’ask where you might be takin’ these passengers, should I accept your business proposition?”

The words borrowed from her own phrases are leaned on, and Smedley arches his eyebrows even as his eyelids lower. It brings a humorous tone to the words, but it’s shrugged off with a shake of his head. “I’m gonna need a little bit more’n that b’fore I know if I can help you are not, Miss.” A smile - a real one - hitches into one side of his face for a moment as he looks from the young woman’s forehead to the bird on her shoulder.

“The captain will be provided with coordinates in the event that he accepts,” says Eileen, “but not before then. You’re aware, I’m sure, of the premonitions that have this city burning. I want to make sure my people have safe passage through the flames before they consume us. Additionally—”

Because there’s always an additionally. “I’m looking for someone dependable who can deliver supplies to a rendezvous point on a regular schedule for up to two months after the eighth, and although I have a contact who’s more than willing— I can’t say that I don’t trust him to plant a knife in my back as soon as it’s turned. The evacuation itself will pay two thousand, half of which I’m prepared to offer you upfront. Everything else is negotiable.”

Smedley squints at his potential client, the gears in his head grinding as the less than well-oiled mechanism that is his brain pieces together the few spare facts he’s been given. He’s silent for a few moments as he studies parts of Eileen’s clothing - the quality of leather that her gloves are made of. The texture of the cane. The stitching in her coat. All provide him with a mask to think behind.

“What kinda supplies?” he asks after a moment, bringing his eyes back up to Eileen’s nose before he returns his attention to his sandwich. Carson shifts beneath the table, extending his snout to snuffle and sniff at the woman’s shoes.

The warmth of the dog’s breath seeps through the laces of Eileen’s boots, soaks through to her feet and has her using her cane to discourage it from pushing its muzzle too close, and Smedley may notice tension and additional rigidity in her posture that wasn’t there before.

“Food,” she says. “Most of it non-perishable. Medicine for our wounded. Ammunition.” But not, apparently, the guns that are paired with it. “We have access to clean water where we’re going and not much else. I’ve a full list, along with suppliers who are friendly to my organization and will work with you if you need it. All of them operate off of the island, so you won’t have to risk docking on the mainland, assuming they’ll let anyone dock at all.”

Everyone is looking forward to the eighth so much that the day is already infamous, though it is likely that it won’t carry the same anti-climatic tension that Y2K did. This threat is real. Smedley takes his time chewing a bite of lunch, his eyes fixed on the worn Formica of the table top. “You’re plannin’ on bein’ there awhile,” he observes. When he does look up at Eileen (as much as he ever would), he immediately squints. Swallowing the rest of the bite, he kicks out a foot to lightly nudge the dog beneath the table. Carson edges away from Eileen before settles back down with a pathetic sigh.

Taking a deep breath, Smedley leans back in his chair, one hand on his knee while he drums the fingers of the other on the table. “Stuff like that’s gonna be scarce in the next week’r so, so I can’t promise when you’ll get your first good shipment. ‘Course, that all depends on where you’re holin’ up, and if your suppliers get run on b’fore you run out’uh whatever you’re takin’ over with you.” Since it’s clear enough to him that hiding is what this woman plans to do with “her people.”

Drrrrum. Drrrrum.

“You got reason t’believe this other associate’uh yours’d do you harm, and I walk in, I’ve got’tuh suspect he’d do the same t’me for stealin’ his business. Less you already cut ties, which I’d suggest you do for the sake’uh your own skin.”

“The Irishman is an opportunist.” Like Eileen’s voice, it’s an alias that Smedley will recognize, if only because there is not a smuggler on Staten Island who hasn’t heard it at least once before. That the man they’re speaking works for the New York Police Department and carries a badge with the name ‘Detective Daniel Walsh’ on it when he isn’t running guns goes unspoken; either Smedley knows or he doesn’t, and if the latter is true then it’s to Eileen’s advantage to keep things that way.

Knife prepped to plunge or no, he’s a valuable resource. “And as long as I don’t provide him with the opportunity, my skin isn’t in any immediate danger. His connection to Humanis First is what has me concerned.”

The last piece of the puzzle falls into place for Smedley, but the “ah-ha” moment doesn’t shake him. He doesn’t arch his eyebrows. He doesn’t inhale sharply. He simply moves his eyes from Eileen’s cheek to her eyes, keeping them there for no longer than the amount of time it would take to cough twice.

“You fill up my boat,” he says with only the slightest nod of his head, “and tell me where and when to pick up you and your people, and you can keep your two grand.”

Eileen says nothing at first. Being blind does not mean her eyes can no longer speak for her. They convey her quiet gratitude in lieu of words, and as she rises from her seat at the table, she tucks her chin into a gesture meant to do the same. The tip of her cane comes to rest against the floorboards at her feet in Carson’s peripheral vision with a click that’s scarcely audible.

“Two blocks south of the old Brooklyn cruise terminal in Red Hook, nine o’clock on the evening of the eighth. There’s blood on your hands and mine if you don’t.”

The old dog lifts his head all the same, his ears perked as he peers up at the diminutive woman from under the table. His nostrils flare, and a low, breathy bark that lacks any teeth puffs out of his chest as if he were an ancient set of bellows.

Smedley sniffs, and behind tightly closed lips his tongue fishes a bit of foot out from behind molars before he nods.

“I’ll be there.”

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