nick_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Services
Synopsis Nick offers a Nightingale a seat at his table. The Nightingale offers Nick her services.
Date October 7, 2010

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

Eventually, anyone who's nearly died returns back to the scene of their near death. It's been weeks since Nick was shot on the docks, falling into the dirty harbor, nearly dying from loss of blood, shock, and infection. While he's been back to work in Port Ivory, while he lived and recovered in a dirty flat in the Rookery after his injury, this is the first time Nick Ruskin has been back at the Angry Pelican.

It's a little risky — it's possible people will remember his face as having been present that night, but Nick has a way of blending into a crowd when he chooses to. It's one of the reasons he was chosen for this job.

That, and he has a death wish.

He's here to listen to the chatter of thieves, smugglers, and other lost souls — perhaps one of them will drop the lead he needs, the secrets that Walsh hasn't yet entrusted to him.

He sits at a table toward one end of the row of rickety tables, drinking a Guinness and watching the beach, one ear on the conversation of the two men at the table closest to his.

"My friend David said I could leave a message for him here," a young woman with white hair says to the bartender, holding out a white envelope toward him. "Tallish guy, fauxhawk, funny accent? My name is Gale. If you can't deliver it, I mean… If he doesn't show up? That's fine, just… toss it out." Money is held out once the envelope is taken. "And a Guinness, please? Thanks."

Glass in hand, the woman turns and tries to decide where she wants to go next. Eventually, she takes up a post leaning against one of the wooden supports for the meagre roof sheltering the Pelican's patrons from the elements. The breeze coming off the harbour tousles the woman's hair and sends a shiver through her body.

She's too clean for this part of town. Her charcoal grey sweater dress over opaque black tights and four inch silver sequinned heels. It's perhaps the black patch over her eye with it's equal-armed red cross, paired with the scars that pit her face and cut trenches across her lips and throat that show she's made of tougher stuff than her wardrobe hints at. To her credit, she doesn't carry a purse.

Curious blue eyes slide from the water to the strange appearance of the woman leaning not far from him. Nick quirks a brow — it's not every day you see a white-haired woman with an eyepatch and sequinned stripper heels. Not even in Staten. He glances down the crooked row of seats and tables, noting that most are taken, while he, at his own solo table, has two empty seats.

Lifting his Guinness to his lips, he takes a sip, swallowing with a little bit of labor — he's usually a Bass man — then nods her way. "You don't have to stand," he says, jutting his chin toward the seat across from him. The accent is all American, though generically so. There is no nasal Eastern tinge nor Southern drawl, nor rounded vowels of the midwest.

It takes Odessa a moment to note that the man's actually speaking to her. Turning to glance over her shoulder, she offers a smile and then comes to take the seat across from him. "That's very kind of you. Thank you." She sets her beer on the table and smooths out her skirt. It doubles for drying the moisture from her glass from her hand before she holds it out to the man. "Gale."

He wipes his hand off on his jeans only because she wiped hers first, then takes her smaller hand in his own, smiling a bit crookedly at the handshake. Not many women on Staten Island offer their hand to shake.

"Nick," he says simply — he's had other names, fake names, that aren't the same as his real first name — he prefers not having to lie on one aspect of his life, when everything else in his legend is a lie.

"A girl after my own heart," he says lightly, then, lifting his own pint of dark beer — though that's a lie, too, since he prefers the pale bitter Bass. "You mind if I smoke?"

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Nick." Odessa smiles with a breath of laughter and lifts her glass to her lips when he points out their similar - supposedly similar tastes. When he asks if she minds if he smokes, she shakes her head. "No, not at all. Knock yourself out." She sends a look to their surroundings, it's brief enough that she doesn't seem bored, just alert.

Pulling a pack of Capstan cigarettes out of his pocket, Nick shakes one out, bringing it to his lips, then holds out the pack to her while pulling out the Zippo lighter, flipping its silver lid and spinning the wheel to produce the flame.

"Ain't seen you around here before," he says, glancing at her face with curiosity, though no aversion, it would seem, to her scars and eye patch. "You don't look like the typical kinda girl who works 'round here." It's a nice way of saying she doesn't seem like a prostitute. Except for the shoes.

Odessa eyes the pack for a moment. She doesn't smoke, but… She reaches out and plucks a cigarette from the pack anyway, settling the stick between her lips and leaning forward to wait for him to light it for her. "Thank you," she murmurs, watching the Zippo flicker to life.

"You're cute," she remarks with amusement in her tone. Cute like precious, it implies. "You really think I'd make any money with a face like this?" It's a polite way of confirming that no, she isn't a prostitute. Despite what the shoes imply. She takes her first puff from the cigarette. It's obvious smoking isn't a habit of hers and brings her free hand off cough lightly into the back of it. "Excuse me."

The lighter is snapped shut and shoved back in his pocket. His brows raise, furrowing his brow as he looks at her. "You haven't been around here a lot if you think that you couldn't do serious business. Most the workin' girls here, they couldn't hold a candle to you. The only thing they got that you don't is a full set of eyes, but you got all your teeth, it looks like, and the rest of you seems to be workin' just fine for what most the paying customers are after," he tells her.

"Unless I'm naive to think they're after sex, and really they're paying 'em to, I donno, conspire to kill a bald eagle or somethin'. You know," he gives a wry grin. "Serious shit like that." He punctuates his quip with a long drag off the cigarette.

A blush creeps into Odessa's cheeks when Nick explains to her how she could totally be a prostitute around here if she really wanted to. She did walk right into that one. "You caught me," she admits. "I don't spend much time in this area anymore. Or, at least, not paying attention to those sorts of things." A looong drink of Guinness is in order after that.

"No, I think you've got it right. I'm sure it's about sex. That's not my trade, though." Odessa glances around again, but her attention quickly returns to Nick, a small smile playing on her lips. "I believe they call me a ripper, if I have my lingo right." The words sound foreign and awkward to her. "A doctor who doesn't ask questions, at any rate."

Nick's dark brows rise again as if impressed. "Well, that's handy to know. I ain't really keen on having my vitals all on a hospital record, if you know what I mean. Coulda used you a month or two back, actually. You got a shop set up somewhere, in case I need your services in the future?"

If the irony of his word choice, after the prior topic of discussion, makes itself known to him, he doesn't show it. He takes another drag of the Capstan cigarette before dashing the ash off onto the sandy ground.

"I have a card." And perhaps by sleight of hand, Odessa procures a card and offers it to the man across from her. "I make house calls." The card simply has the word Nightingale printed across it in bold, easy to read font, with a phone number below it, and in the upper left corner, a red cross, like the one on her dark eye patch. "If I can't help you, I can usually direct you to someone who can."

"Nightingale," Nick says after accepting the card. A chuff of laughter escapes with a puff of smoke from his lips as he throws his finished cigarette down on the ground, one booted foot moving to grind out its glow. "That's real cute. And Gale. I get it. Red Cross and all, huh? Not like it matters if I'm in serious need of a doctor if you ain't got the actual diplomas to hang on the walls, but you look a bit young to be a doctor, even one who doesn't ask questions. You a miracle worker, by any chance? I hear about healers, but I ain't met one. It'd be handy to know one."

He gives a crooked shrug, just his left shoulder rising and falling. "I smuggle. Tend to get in fixes now and then. Be good to know someone who could fix me."

"Yeah, like Florence." Odessa smirks and shakes her head. "No. Not a miracle healer. I've got more experience than my youthful features suggest. I've got almost ten years as a surgeon under my belt. I could put Humpty Dumpty back together again." She brings her cigarette to her lips again and inhales slowly, blowing the smoke back out between her lips in a measured fashion. Ash is flicked off onto the ground inexpertly, with stray flecks falling against her skirt. She pays no mind.

"A smuggler, huh? Yeah, I can see how that'd get dicey." Her head dips in an appreciative, thoughtful nod. "You call me if you need something stitched up or dug out."

"Speaking of," Nick says, with a glance at his watch, "I better get moving or I'll be coming to you both outta work and with my ass in a sling, right?" He gives another crooked smile, though the humor never quite makes it to his blue eyes that make him look older than his apparent youth.

He holds out the cigarette pack to offer her another as he stands, slipping her business card into his back pocket. "Was nice meeting you, Nightingale."

Odessa takes another cigarette from the pack and tucks it behind her ear, presumably for later. "Thanks. It's been a pleasure. I hope to hear from you soon. Just… not because you've got work for me."

The effect of a wink is somewhat lost when there isn't another eye visible to remain open, but the intent is still there. The way the right side of her face scrunches a little with the closing of her lid.

"See you around," Gale muses with a smile and a wave of her hand.

Another cigarette is drawn out as Nick grins at Odessa. As he lights the smoke, he can't help but feel that returning to the scene of one of his near deaths definitely could have gone worse.

After all, he didn't nearly drown nor did he get shot, and he got the phone number of a useful woman without even trying. Maybe things are starting to look up for Nick Ruskin.

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