anders_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title Shill
Synopsis The Department of Evolved Affairs has a stake in making sure operations on Roosevelt Island transpire smoothly. Unfortunately, thanks to Vincent, so does Anders.
Date April 2, 2010

Lighthouse Park

Day two of the Roosevelt Island Sweep.

Evening two, actually.

Pinks and oranges in a wintry, watercolor blend in bands across clear skies and white snow. So much snow. The keepers of this park have managed to keep brick paths (mostly) clear by diligence and sheer force of will, which makes Vincent uncommonly easy to spot at a distance. He's checking his watch against a backdrop of rank water and the devastation of Midtown, fedora snugged down warm over his bare skull and tie knot pulled loose around his neck beneath warm woolen lapels. Nearly seven.

He churns out of sight again once he's determined as much — no less strange at a distance than up close: a whirl and flush of magician's smoke that dissipates more gradually than it reconstitutes into Agent Lazzaro five minutes and fifteen feet further along.

Footprints approach the meeting spot, though they don't seem to be attached to any form. Left, right, left, right and so on — size eleven boot prints appear to advance upon Lazzaro until they stop a few feet away — the landscape above and behind the footprints suddenly becomes blocked by a body — boots, jeans, leather jacket, and Ander's tired and scruffy face above it all.

"I'm here. Sorry if I'm late," he mutters. "Why can't we meet inside somewhere where it's not colder than a witch's tit, dude?" he laments, teeth chattering to punctuate his words.

"Almost," says Lazzaro on the subject of lateness, watch glanced to again with a kind of passive not-quite-annoyance for Anders' not having been earlier anyway.

He looks tired.

Not the relieved kind of job-well-done worn out, either. The circles shadowed in around his eyes speak of genuine sleeplessness and gnawing stress and there's a brittle, obsidian flintiness to the curt sweep of his pitchy glare up and down Anders' person after sign of injury. Of which there appear to be none. Slightly reassured on that point at least, he scuffs a hand over his sandpapery jaw and steels himself out with a deep breath before letting it fall into a vague gesture of invitation.

"Primarily because we shouldn't be seen together. Secondarily because I don't trust you not to piss on the carpet of private Department property. Please report."

"I'm house trained. I just have accidents once in a while," Anders quips, though he glances around a bit nervously as if Lazzaro's paranoia is contagious. "We got a call from some dude who got tipped off, not sure how. They woke us all up and started talking 'bout evacuation. Some kid said to get to the boats — 'Queensboro to Brick House' he said," Anders murmurs, rubbing at his eyes with the back of his hand. At least now he'll be able to quit inhaling diluted pepper spray to feign illness. "I argued that if they were trying to find sick people, that most the people in the house might be better off at a hospital. Some of 'em agreed, and they left that Else Kjelstrom broad behind — she was pretty fuckin' sick, could barely move. Some doctor stayed with her and a red head chick named Delilah, but I think those two were already registered."

He scratches his nose as he thinks for a moment. "A girl named Lee, a kid named Kendall, some three little kids, and a crippled chick named Daphne all left with them. Oh and another kid who wasn't sick, I didn't get his name. Brooding teenager type. Since he wasn't sick, I never really talked much with him."

Someone tipped them. Surprise shows as a rapt blank on Vincent's face, mostly Italian and entirely displeased. It's enough to make him hesitate, poker face discarded to exhaustion in a resigned lift of his brows — silent request for clarification. Or elaboration. Or a 'just kidding.' Any of the above, really, would be great.

"An ambulance was called out to the location to remove a small number of infected voluntarily prior to the sweep's arrival."

Elaboration is granted (non-specifically) in return, a bird's eye view to the worm that Vincent has gone back to eyeing accordingly. Water sloshes blackly at his back, muddy ice slackly adrift amidst flakes of styrofoam and plastic. He rubs his face again, paired fingers pressed hard to the bridge of his nose. Wake up. Think. Pay attention. "Did the tipper have an alias? Alternately do you know which of them received the call?"

"Not sure who got the call — a French guy, Francois, kinda a doctor, and Melissa, the blonde I told you was in charge of the den, and a guy named Al were sorta the ones running around. Melissa was the one on the phone, though," Anders says, glancing up into the dimming sky as he tries to remember the details of the hectic morning.

"Francois said someone named Teo was sending the driver. And when the guy in the van showed up, Francois asked if he was Ayers," Anders recalls, eyes dropping down as he kicks at the snow. "The guy said he could put some of them up if they needed to — sounded like maybe he was somewhere on Roosevelt, but I think the plan was to get to the boats. I said I'd walk, to give them the room they needed in the van. Francois and Al, they walked too."

"…Okay," says Vincent after a pause that could easily accommodate say, an elephant. One that is now sitting in the room in which other Department representatives are currently listening to this conversation. "Long blonde hair, heavy on the eyeliner?" clarified only once he's reached into his coat to switch off the mic recover a somewhat smashed box of smokes, the shorter man looks Anders over again and sighs.

His breath hangs heavy in the air, lighter than the stuff he periodically plunges out of being into, and he looks Anders over again as if weighing his options while he fishes for a book of matches to light up with. He looks like he could use the nicotine. Maybe a couple of cold beers, also.

Maybe more than a couple of cold beers.

Maybe three beers.

"Do you feel like you're confident enough in your success so far to go back in, or are you done?"

Anders cocks a brow at Vincent. Success is a word that isn't used very often in regards to Anders Stuart, aka Anders Dennison from New Jersey. "I could try but I donno how to get a hold of 'em if they're all evacuated from here. I mean, I can prowl around and see if I see any of 'em, say I ran into some trouble on the way to the boats, but they might not buy it twice. What d'you want me to do?"

"The reason I ask is because one or more the names you have mentioned are red listed." That doesn't sound very promising, does it? The way Vincent's brows tip up confirms any suspicions Anders may have accordingly, but he takes his sweet time in tapping a cigarette out and scraping a match tip up to its end opposite the corner of his mouth. He loosens his tie further still, gloved fingers fidgeting at collar buttons to trip them open as well. "That is to say," drag, puff, snake the tie loose entirely while only Anders is here to see, "they might torture or kill you if they discover your infidelity. But. Given that the vast majority of them were able to bleed themselves off the island to avoid containment, I would like to see you shored back up in Summer Meadows to keep an ear to the ground."

The younger man's green eyes widen and his brows raise high in his forehead. Torture? Death? No one told him these were the dangers when he got manipulated into this position. Shit.

"Uh." He swallows audibly, then reaches up to scratch his head as he stares at the other man. "I can hang back out at my apartment I guess. I mean, I can just say I didn't make it to the boats, convinced them I wasn't sick and they let me get back to my apartment, right? I think that'd work. Right?" He frowns and shoves his hand back in his pockets. "What are my options if I just say I'm out of here?"

"Your record will be flushed clean and your prior indiscretions forgiven. You are bound to confidentiality, but not to your manhood or the city of New York. Free to hope they don't see your face in a tabloid anywhere and that I don't see your face in any surveillance photographs without reasonable notice that you've re-established contact." Vincent recites this warning as if it's not the first time he's given it. Maybe even not the first time he's given it today, scarily enough.

"I've been very kind to you, Anders. You will have to trust me when I warn that you don't want to change my mind on that account."

Anders puts his hands up as if to gentle an angry dog. "No, no, I totally appreciate all you've done for me, dude," he says, as he takes a step back and looks up at the sky again, scowling as he thinks. "Indiscretions waived, clean slate and all that, but I don't got a job or any money to move anywhere that's worth moving. If I stay," he says, turning to look back at Vincent, "maybe I can get paid in something besides free rent? Otherwise I'll just head on and get out of this fuckin' ghetto, man. 'Cause while it's been real, it hasn't been real fun."

"If you choose to remain on the island and continue to provide us with information relevant to our interests, I will make it worth your while." No poker face necessary. Vincent is capable of making such promises as a matter of fact, these days. One benefit of being as high as he is on the ladder. Like the helicopter.

"There are steps we can take to keep tabs on your position as well, should you suddenly vanish less intentionally than usual." Measuring, the former cop tucks cigarette box and matches away upon realizing they're still sitting dumbly in his hand.

"Aw, you'd do that for me? You do care!" Anders says, crooked grin twitching to the left of his face as he teases the much more serious man. "You'd miss me, admit it." He certainly doesn't expect Lazzaro to admit it. "All right. I can stick around. I should probably lay sorta low until the flu should be done or else they'll wonder why I'm apparently well enough to move around and all, yeah? That and I really don't wanna keep spraying myself with fucking pepper spray just to look sick."

"Waste not," says Vincent, with just enough contempt that it might be extrapolated he's doing the math on just how massive the liability he's now inviting upon himself is going to wind up being. "Scumbags are a dime a dozen, Mister Stuart. Finding one who cares as much as you do about preserving the sanctity of your rear exit is harder to do." Black eyes hardened under the low brim of his hat, he sweeps them out over the water and Manhattan beyond that. Even in the cold, with snow so fresh it can't possibly have been contaminated by anything more terrible than the air itself, this close to the sluggish roll of leaden grey waves — it smells.

"We could always infect you with the traditional flu," posited as a (somewhat) less serious solution, Lazzaro turns back inland with a skeptical up and down and still another glance at his watch. "Otherwise what a man chooses to spray in his face in private is his own business."

So no laying low for Anders until the flu should have run its course. The man looks a bit disappointed. His hands come out of his pockets once more in the surrendering gesture, fingerless gloves failing to keep his hands warm in the frigid weather. "That's okay. I'll, er. I'll just try to look sick like I been doing." There's no such thing as a free lunch or a vacation, clearly. "So just hang out around Summer Meadows, see what happens? Anything else I should keep an eye out for, Boss?"

"Maybe you can angle yourself towards a career in theater." If Vincent sounded any less enthusiastic or supportive he'd be sleep talking. As things are, he looks like he's having enough trouble sleeping as it is. For some reason. That probably involves little girls being tasered in the streets. Or something.

"You have my contact information. If you hear or see anything interesting let me know. Otherwise — for now —do what comes naturally."

"The ladies do think I'm hot," Anders says in response to the acting remark. "Got it. I'll keep an ear to the ground and be in contact then, Boss." The younger man then fades from view, and the footprints in the snow begin to move away. "Get some rest before you come down with something, boss. You look like shit." And then the footprints speed into a jog, heading toward the apartment building Anders will continue to call "home."

"I'm sure." They do. And God help whichever among them is eventually stupid enough to try and tie the knot. His next sigh kicked out in a tarry blast of hot breath and smoke, Lazzaro flexes gloved hands and squints after the regular stump of invisible feet through visible snow until the path fades into the gloom and he dusts ash off the end of his cigarette. His cell phone chirrups in his pocket, and a simple text reads, Got it.

"Kid calls me 'boss' one more time and the next time he wants to pepper spray himself he'll have to aim for his asshole to reach his sinuses,” muttered to empty space, Vincent switches the microphone under his lapel off for real and vanishes against the aching cold in a furl of dark smoke, cigarette and all.

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