Sorry To Interrupt Your Whoredom


maddie_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title Sorry to Interrupt Your Whoredom
Synopsis Maddie's too-curious nature and Smedley's thieving require the two to make an exciting escape from Staten Island.
Date July 17, 2010

Staten Island

Let's face it. Nightmares on Staten Island aren't anything new, even if recent ones have caused a stir of whispers. It's nothing compared to the crickets and other little beasties of the evening. The sun setting over the distant skyline is still in it's cheerier pinks-and-oranges stage, and the seedier of underbellies hasn't quite crawled out of it's dark hole.

The timing is perfect, actually.

A tricolored mutt ambles down one of northern Staten Island's desolate streets, nose to the ground. Not too terribly far behind the dog walks a man, but he doesn't pay the dog much mind, apart from a random glance. It's not to terribly unusual a day in this area, truth be told. Junkies lounge on porches where children once played. Con artists and dealers use side yards to ply their trade. The occasional building has been boarded up, but only just enough for whatever is being sold inside to be both protected and displayed as a lure for passers-by.

One doesn't become a reporter for the safety and security of the job — either physical or metaphorical, in terms of longevity. The fact that this is hardly the safest place for a petite young single woman isn't a matter of concern to her editors — and if she gets a good story out of it, it's not that much a matter of concern for Maddie Hart either. Her photographer, a giant of a man, had accompanied her, but got called away to an emergency across the water, the only photog within 30 minutes of the site. Maddie wasn't needed for that, and accidents aren't her beat anyway.

So now, as steps out of one of those dilapidated houses to head back to the boat docks, having collected quite a few stories from the people of Staten for a special page devoted to the visions that she has in the works. She hasn't sprung it on her editor yet, but she figures that if she has most of the work done, it's hard to say no. Better to ask for forgiveness afterward than permission beforehand.

It's later than she planned to be here. Maddie frowns at the streaks of color and light in the western sky, pulling her sunglasses down from her head and beginning to move toward the docks. She's dressed casually, faded jeans, tennis shoes, and a gray t-shirt, but there's no hiding that she's not a local. She doesn't have that beaten-in, kicked-like-a-dog look of most the Statenites.

In fact, Maddie's "I'm not from here"/"I don't visit often" appearance distracts Wes Smedley long enough that it takes the dog barking to get his attention again. The mutt has stopped outside the building dock-side of where Maddie exits. With a quick shake of his head, Smedley walks over to the once-flowerbeds, now covered in brush, where the dog has stopped.

"Good boy," he mutters, giving the animal a quick pat before pushing it gently out of the way. He bends to dig fingernails into the dry, cracked earth, chuckling quietly to himself. Rookies. Plain sight is good in theory, but it never, ever works as a hiding place.

But the dog is soon barking again. In the upper story of the boarded up house, a woman who appears to be more strung-out than a strand of Christmas lights leans out of a window, squinting down at the man in the bushes. "Hey!" she calls, her voice somewhere between groggy and hungover, "Geh-owht mah…mah roses!"

The bark of the dog has Maddie glancing over; she knows that Staten has feral dogs, stray dogs that attacked and injured people during the storm. Her hand reaches into her pocket for her tiny cannister of pepper spray. Then she sees the dog has an owner, and she visibly relaxes, turning back to turn toward the dock — the Ferry is not there, and she sees no sign of it on its way. Damn it. Did she miss the last Ferry, thanks to the garrulous old man she spent the last hour with? How does one make a three minute vision a 50-minute story?

The woman calling for Smedley to get out of the rose bushes has Maddie turning back, blond hair bouncing as her head swings around. She chews her lower lip, not sure if she should intervene or stay out of it — after all, he is probably a criminal. The woman is obviously a drug addict. She's out of her element. "Hey, mister," she calls over, finally, Australian accent making her outsider status all the more neon-bright, "Are you looking to get bloody shot or something? She doesn't look like she's got all her marbles, yeah?"

Smedley glances over his shoulder, then immediately goes back to digging up whatever is apparently buried in what probably was only ever a rose bush in the wildest of plant-dreams. "Are you?" he asks, looking back at Maddie again. The dog, still barking intermittently, wanders from the man to the girl, sniffing the air around her and shifting from paw to paw.

The woman in the house retreats, but her voice is loud enough to project down to the street below. "Geeoffreeey! Some asshole's diggin in mah roses!" For some reason, this speeds along Smedley's progress in the reluctant-to-yield dirt, and just as the sound of tin smacking against hollow tin heralds a victory grunt, the unmistakable, resounding click of a chambering round rings out from the house. Smedley turns and dives into the bushes for cover as the bullets rain inaccurately down into the street. Junkies scream. Dealers curse and cower. The dog hesitates between bolting and staying to defend it's master.

Maddie eyes the dog as it surveys her, trying to decide if it's friendly or not, her mouth opening to answer Smedley when suddenly the gunshots start sounding and she's scrambling to find cover. "Fuck my luck, bluming tosser!" she hisses as she manages to scramble back and behind a rusted out Nissan Sentra that doesn't look like it's been moved in four years.

She hunkers down behind the front driver's side, peering through the window. "Get out of the bushes, they're not fucking made of metal, you know," she yells to Smedley, even if he's the one who's gotten her shot at. Why does she seem to draw trouble to her, like flies to honey?

"You think I don't know that?!" The answer is shouted over the gunfire, and when there is a lull in the spray - probably while Geoffrey reloads - Smedley scrambles to his feet and across the road. The Sentra's not a bad place to hide, and soon the abandoned hunk of metal is shielding a second refugee. The dog has moved from barking to whining, and is soon crawling beneath the car to nose at Smedley's hand. He smacks at it. "Damned dog. If you did your job, we wouldn't be in this mess, would we?"

He sighs, then, taking the last second before the second barrage of gunfire hits to peer through the window at the house. It's Geoffrey alright, and he's more than likely unhappy that the old lunchbox that used to be buried in his front yard is now tucked under Smedley's arm. Transformers.

"Sorry, Sheila, but you didn't pick a spot much better'n mine," he says to Maddie, glowering slightly at her. "Geoff ain't too good a shot, and he might just nick what little gas's left in this bucket. We gotta move. Now."

Maddie's peering under Smedley's arm to see what it was that came out of the dry, baked rosebed, and she arches a brow. "You're getting us shot at for a bloody lunchbox?" she says, shoving her sunglasses up on top of her head for a better look, aqua eyes narrowing. "And your dog didn't do anything wrong. Poor pup, did you?"

But she's turning around and looking for better cover. "So you know Geoffrey? He your brother or something? Mad wanker syndrome run in the family?" Apparently she does want to get shot, but by Smedley instead. Her face is pale and she's trembling, however, giving away that the trashmouth is probably out of fear. "Where to?" she finally asks.

While the dog is pleased to have someone fawn on him, Smedley doesn't pay much attention to Maddie's dismissal of the animal's failure in the line of duty. "Gotta get to the graveyard," he mutters more to himself than for the girl's benefit. He reaches over to grab her upper arm, though not incredibly tightly, his eyes glued to the small section of house he can see without risking having his face blown off.

"Lord help me if they ever find a genetic link between me and that idiot," he grumbles as he adjusts his position, getting ready to bolt. From the sound of the gunfire, others have either joined Geoffrey in his endeavor to make Wes Smedley a grease stain or are just joining into the fun of shooting off firearms as the Staten Island sun goes down. Smedley shoots a glance at the house directly behind them, which looks to be filled with the dregs of the Island's carnal offerings. "Through there," he says after a few seconds thought. "On three."

She's either used her quota of swear words or she's in shock, but Maddie glances at the house, her pale eyes widening as more and more gunshots pepper the street. Her brows knit together with worry, and she gives a short nod — down, up — to show that she understands. He may be a thieving criminal wanker, but he's also her best bet out of this street alive — hopefully he doesn't just plan to murder her himself immediately after. Or less immediately, which would be worse.

She rises from her crouch a little, her head still ducked below the line of the car's hood, so that she'll be ready to go on three. Those pale eyes fix on his face waiting for the count.

There is a brief moment where Smedley is also watching Maddie's face, but it breaks almost immediately after she looks back at him. Smedley swallows, then nods. "One." The dog squeezes out from under the car and leans against his master, ears pinned back. "Two." Smedley adjusts the lunchbox under his arm, gripping it more like a football.


He springs, pulling Maddie with him as he bolts, bent at the waist, toward the whorehouse at their backs. The dog is at their heels, but breaks and runs around the house rather then up the small set of stairs. Smedley straightens just enough to give the particle-board door his shoulder, breaking it and falling into the dank, smoky parlor where the few ladies who are sober enough stare at them wide-eyed.

The petite reporter runs, or is dragged by Smedley, more accurately, her arm thrown over her head to hopefully protect her skull from bullets. Once the flimsy door is crashed, she lands on the floor with an unladylike oof, before lifting her head to look at the less ladylike ladies who stare at them, Maddie's eyes just as wide.

"Hello," she manages with a smile, hoping civility will keep them from pulling out shotguns or butcher knives. "Now what?" she whispers to Smedley as she rises to hands and knees. She is never coming to Staten Island again.

One of the ladies reaches toward Maddie with a claw-like hand, her limited brain cells attached like a leech to the girl's hair. Smedley shakes his head to orient himself and check the status of the unholy hell that's unfurling it's wrath behind them. "You're asking me that, and I'm the wanker, huh? Now we get the hell out'uh here, Sheila!"

He stands, offering Maddie the same hand that dragged her along before, and nods to one of the more lucid ladies of the night. "Evenin', gals," he drawls, a more westerly lilt to his voice.

"Evenin', Wes."

"Sorry to run."

And whether Maddie's taken his hand or not, he's charging toward the back of the ramshackle structure.

"Ow, let go," Maddie mutters as she stands, the woman's hand caught in her hair until Maddie yanks free. "Sorry, I'm not used to getting shot at. I guess it was stupid in hindsight," she begins but she grabs the hand proffered to her and follows. "Thanks, sorry to barge in and interrupt your…" Luckily they're out the back before she really has to think of a word to describe whatever it was they interrupted.


"Sorry I called you a wanker," she adds, panting a little as she tries to keep up with his longer legs.

"Sorry I got you shot at," he replies without missing a beat, his attention trained on their escape route.

The House of Whoredom isn't that big, but it's back door opens onto the alley - the darker, seedier, smellier highways of northern Staten Island. The sort of place that one wouldn't want to wind up in after the sun's gone down. It's not quite there - but those pinks and oranges are fading more and more into purples and blues. "Stick close, Sheila," Smedley mutters in a moment of pause on the back stoop.

The dog is sitting there, waiting patiently, tail a-wag. Smedley meets him with a scoffing chuckle before setting off down the alley, his pace a brisk trot rather than an all out run. Running amongst the bedraggled outcasts and bums of a society like this one is never a good tactic. Smedley treads the fine line between speed and nonchalance, taking a moment to slip the lunchbox beneath his jacket.

"Can't promise you'll make the ferry, and I'm afraid my humble conveyance doesn't really measure up." Smedley keeps his voice low, turning his head slightly to direct his words at Maddie. "That okay?"

"Forgiven," Maddie says, staying close even before he tells her to. He may be a criminal but he doesn't seem to want her dead, and the people back there do. She reaches down to pat the dog, and glances off into the distance. "It's fine." Her pale eyes follow the tin box being placed beneath his jacket.

"Feel free to say no, but I'm a tad curious what's worth getting nearly killed for that someone'd keep in a lunchbox in a rose garden in this god forsaken place," she prods.

it much longer, he'd have probably died. I did him a favor, if you think about it."

"What lunchbox?" Smedley affects innocence, then winks. "Later," he whispers, then turns to move between two buildings. The following street is bleed-over from the Rookery itself, and remains the haven of junkies and bums. The real party's inside the Rookery's indistinct borders, anyway. Gunfire blends with gunfire, but it's all relatively far off.

Their route turns into an "as the crow flies" path to the boat graveyard, with the Rookery being the one place where Smedley won't dirty his boots. "I can tell you," he says after a few minutes of walking, "that it didn't belong to him in the first place, and if he'd kept it much longer, he'd have probably died. I did him a favor, if you think about it."

The wink from the rogue gets a smile from the ingenue, and she's content to follow him through the streets, her eyes wary as she peeks here and there — it's obvious that not only does she not belong here, she hasn't been here before. The photographer she came with knew his way around, but she's pretty much lost in the backways.

At his words, she arches a brow, clearly not buying the 'I'm just doing him a favor' answer. "I'll believe it wasn't his, at any rate," Maddie tells him. "But you almost died getting it — is it worth that much?" Of course, she's putting her own life in danger just for stories, so who is she to talk?

The comment leaves Smedley looking wounded, but the expression doesn't last long. "The bastard sunk my best boat. Cowardly way to get at a man's…erm… l-… stuff." Yeah. That sounded okay. Right? "Anyway, what kind of igit buries shit in the front yard? He could have least made it a challenge. Put it in the back. With a fence. Maybe a dog." Smedley sighs, running a hand through his hair. "Didn't count on the woman wakin' up like that, though. Should'a baited her bottle last night." Could'a, would'a, should'a.

The fog of his own rumination clears for a moment, and Smedley looks to Maddie, his eyes focusing somewhere on her forehead rather that directly at her face. "What the hell were you doin' there anyway? Some sorta school field trip or something? You get caught drivin' daddy's Beamer after a night out with the gals and doin' your bit of community service to keep it off your record?"

"I'll have you know I'm a reporter for The New York Times, not some prep school brat on a field trip," Maddie says indignantly, though the petulant look she throws him doesn't exactly make her look like a sophisticated journalist. "Here." She reaches in the back pocket of her jeans, coming up with a business card, which she passes to him. Madeleine Hart, Staff Writer, Evolved Affairs written in small text beneath the familiar Old English font of the newspaper's title.

She offers her hand next, a bit dirty from clinging to a dusty Nissan. "Maddie."

It could probably be written off as shock in finding out that this pretty young thing lost in scary old Staten Island is supposed to be a competent reporter for one of the world's most respected pieces of print that was ever wrapped around a fish, but the jump in Smedley's pulse doesn't hit until he reads those two little words on the business card. But…no, it's silly. Incredibly silly, and completely impossible. Yeah.

He takes her hand all the same, though there's a nervous twitch in his face that is only just hidden by his grin. "Wes. Wish I could say it was a pleasure meetin' ya, but it's been kinda hell. Can only get better though, if you think about it." Then, rather than look even remotely at her, Smedley clears his throat and trudges forward toward the shoreline.

Maddie just takes it as par for the course — some people don't like reporters. "I'm not going to write about this — we pretty much ignore crime on Staten unless it's big enough to involve the police, because really, we just don't have that much space in the paper, you know," she tells him, watching him as he doesn't look at her. She begins to stride after him, her shorter legs having to take longer steps to keep up with his.

"I'm just collecting visions from the 10th, doing sort of a montage write up thing. Nothing bad, you know? But since more people had the visions out here, everyone had one out here, I thought I couldn't really ignore that, right?" Why does she feel she has to justify herself to a criminal?

"Thanks for helping me, though, Wes, I appreciate it," she adds, looking at his back as she follows, brows furrowing again.

There's a moment when Smedley does look back and look at Maddie. "You're welcome," he says before turning around again, slowing his pace so that she's not left so far behind.

The boat graveyard is just that - a graveyard for boats washed ashore or left here to rot. But tucked in among the corpses of metal is a dinghy that's been tied off, and the dog is quick to jump in. Smedley checks behind them before ushering Maddie toward the craft, offering her a hand to help her in. "Sorry again," he mumbles, his brows knitted.

"No," Maddie says quietly, as she takes his hand and lets him help her in, lest she capsize in shallow water — she is a klutz. "You… really, you didn't do anything wrong. When in Rome, right? I mean, I'm the one who's the fish out of water, and I didn't have to be all Miss Nosy Knickers when you started rooting around in the roses. So, really. Thank you, and no apologies. If anything, I owe you. I probably wouldn't have made it out of there on my own, even if people didn't start shooting at you."

She sits, looking a little skeptically across the water — this is supposed to go on the ocean? But for now, her life is in his hands. And strangely enough, the ingenue reporter trusts the rogue cowboy to get her off the island safely.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License