The Beginning of Something Troublesome


conrad_icon.gif marla_icon.gif

Scene Title The Beginning of Something Troublesome
Synopsis Trouble for other people, that is. After unintentionally targeting the same safe, Marla dubiously accepts Conrad's offer to team up.
Date November 22, 2008

A pawn shop in Queens

Roy's Pawn and Gun is one of those forgettable places in the bad part of town that most people just drive right past. It's got bars on the windows, three kinds of locks, and just looks run-down on the outside. Its neighbors are a small liquor store and a closed down disused ex-video store on either side of it. It's late at night, and nobody's here.

Except one guy.

The slightly more than casual observer might notice how the front door is a little ajar, its bolt broken out of the door jamb along with some obvious crowbar marks to explain how the deed was done. No lights on inside, though there is the occasional flicker of a red flashlight in there. Conrad's good with using the red lights because they don't draw the same attention white lights do, plus they save your night vision. He's currently kneeling in front of the safe in the back, through a formerly closed door signed: Employees Only.

Putting one hand to the face of the safe, he uses his unique ability to sense every delicate motion going on inside the locking mechanism as he turns the dial, reading and waiting for a slight shift in the lock to indicate he's reached a correct number. When he does, he goes the other way until that shift is felt again…

Conrad might believe he's the only guy here. To all eyes? That's what it looks like. But a tickling tremor of a breeze- the flutter of something moving by unseen- might indicate differently. Marla McCarthy is also here, bundled up in a baggy sweatshirt and gray sweatpants against the chilliness of New York's night; both of which are as invisible as she is, sneakers silently plodding over the floor in Conrad's wake. Her dark eyes follow the flickering of red light, and presently, she is leaning against the wall by the man's head as he works at the lock.

She waits. Just watching. Letting him finish with the safe.

There's a moment of pause in Con's work as he seems to listen. And cocks his head. He basically freezes. In the gloom it becomes apparent his hands are rubber gloved, because he sniffs and rubs them together, making that distinctive artificial rasp of rubber on rubber ever so slightly. And he says, "I hear your heartbeat." to the dark.

Judging from how he's not exactly focusing in any one direction, it's unclear if he has an idea of WHERE he hears it though.

Up Marla's eyebrows go. There is suddenly the beginning of a slow inhalation, breaking any quietness that she had been conforming to before this. A distinctive /click/ - a gun being cocked, a sound recognizable to even those unfamiliar with hearing it firsthand. "Do you hear this?" A low female voice asks, mildly.

"Yeah. I hear it." says Conrad, still as motionless as before. "You with the Company?" he asks, manner careful. There's a crowbar (the one he used to break in with) near his foot, where he set it before going to work on the safe. But he isn't making a hint of a motion toward it.

"The company? You mean whoever runs this shithole of a pawn shop?" There is a snort from the darkness, then stillness again. Stillness that lasts for several good, long, awkward seconds; Marla even refrains from taking any new breaths, pausing it at the bottom of an exhalation. If Conrad will look around, even sweep the area with his flashlight, it should be become clear that there are still no human figures to be seen.

How mysterious.

"So what, are you some vigilante? Here to stop me and turn me over to the cops? Or you just tryin' to mug me? Because I got no cash on me, sister." The least Con can tell is that it's a woman with a gun. And he can't see her. He knows she's nearby because she SOUNDS nearby, and even has a sense of where she is (unless of course she's throwing the sound…he can do that so why not someone else?). Spreading his hands in a kind of resigned gesture he says, "I mean, I got this safe here in front of me, I know it's gotta have enough lunch money to make it worth the effort, and you're Somewhere with a gun. So what's the move?"

"/You/ are gonna bend down. Finish opening that safe. No moves towards the crowbar, or I'll blow your brains all over the wall." The voice thickens slightly; there is more audibly an accent, nearly British in how clipped it is. Marla accompanies this with a small, harsh headtilt towards that safe, before remembering that Conrad still can't see anything. Dur. Irritating how one never grows out of the reflexive habit. "That's all the move is."

"You sure you wanna do this? Why don't we work a deal?" suggests Conrad, not doing what he's told just yet. But no, not going for the crowbar either. "We can probably make it worth both our whiles."

"Deal, deal, that's all anyone says." There is the 'crick' of a joint being popped, and then a 'crickcrick' the other way. What? Marla's neck could use the relief. "What kind of deal? This had better be freaking good."

"Well…" Con thinks real quick. It doesn't really take long to come up with the obvious solution. "You're obviously specially gifted. Probably here for similar reasons to myself. Why don't we work together, knock this place out real quick, and go get another while we're at it, and split the take half and half?" Sounds good to him, anyway. He warns, "Gonna kick the crowbar away." And he does, standing up straight and using a foot to send it sliding several feet away from him. "You can come out and we can talk face to face. You still got the gun, so what do you say?"

A foot shifts abruptly against the floor when the crowbar is kicked off into the distance, but otherwise there is nothing. No miraculous materialization anywhere around Conrad. "Man, I was gonna do that myself anyway. Why would I need you? More for /me/ if I just did it by myself." Inwardly, she wonders a little. At the use of 'specially gifted', specifically.

"Watch the safe." the man says cryptically, concentrating. What happens next is strange to watch because the effect is so complex. At once he encloses the thing with a bubble of silence to mask any noise coming from it while pouring an increasing resonance into the thing. While the safe is made of metal and more malleable than say, concrete, it does have a tolerance, and promptly begins to shake violently. By the time Conrad is done concentrating on it, its door has come loose, the locking mechanism is looking like someone worked it over with several sledgehammers, and the reinforcing bars that keep it closed have cracked such that with little effort and pulling, he can get it open. "I mean, I was gonna use more finesse than that but I figured you might like a demonstration. Think that's a useful trick? Because I can do it on people too."

And that, invisible girl, was a subtle threat.

When it is over, there is no immediate reply from Marla's end. There /is/ a brisk puff of air from between her lips. "Impressive," comes that somewhat low, rough tone of a voice, carrying a hint of acknowledging mildness but no more than that. "So I guess you're special flakes too, huh. Well, fair enough. I suppose."

And then? There she is, not five feet off to Conrad's side. From her bristly halo of short, dark hair, sweatshirt and pants, thick eyebrows and a cynical, critical stare, the stocky woman is all there, though various areas of her form are still pocketed in shadow and thus, difficult to make out. As soon as she's visible, she spreads her own palms wide, one of them with its fingers stilled curled around the handle of a gun. "M'name's /Marla/, by the way. Figured you'd at least like to know that."

There's a grin as Con looks the woman up and down, now that he can see the gun isn't pointed at him. That part's a relief at least. "Conrad. Call me Con. I was wondering if you were invisible or what. That must be nice." Visibly relaxed, he kneels down and starts yanking the door more properly off of the safe. It's not easy going. "Hand me the crowbar, will ya?"

"Not your maid. Get it yourself." Now that there's no point pretending about her appearance anymore, Marla digs in one pants pocket for a lighter and pack of cigarettes. Her grip on her gun is shifted to the last two fingers to allow a shared hold, and it isn't long before there's a tiny jump of flame in the blackness. "And yeah, it is nice, I guess. Lets me avoid most people. Like you." Or try to, at least.

"Fine, fuck you." He claps his hands and there's a BOOM from inside the safe the throws its door open and sends little bits of metal flying everywhere. Fortunately none of them are big enough to cause any real damage. They'd just bounce off of clothing and cause a little sting otherwise. And the contents of that safe seem not to go far. Using his flashlight, Con checks out what's inside and starts taking it out in an orderly fashion. There are a couple of zippered cash bags, locked and fat with obvious contents. Receipts. He leaves those.

"Shit—" Marla, who had been standing right by the safe thankyouverymuch, flings her arms out to shield her body from the zinging metal projectiles. Luckily, she had deposited her two non-gun items back into her pocket right before the explosion. But: "/Fuck/- fucking fuck it, /fuck you/-" The sputter continues even after the noise has stopped ringing and the debris has settled.

That makes Con bust out laughing, and he continues to for a while, producing a pocket knife and proceeding to cut the cash bag open. Somehow a lock on a bag seems so stupid. He leaves the sawed-open thing on top of the now-ruined safe, coming out with several bundles of bills in common denominations, all rubber banded together. Naturally no big ones like hundreds or fifties. Those probably get deposited each day. So he tosses two bundles of twenties at Marla and says with a grin, "Next time get me the crowbar."

Interrupted in her fuming, Marla only catches one bundle with a start; she completely misses the other, which skitters past her on the ground. Miraculously, her lit cigarette is still gripped between the two longest fingers of her right hand, and it is one end of this that she pops into her mouth as she bends for it. "I can still shoot you, you know," she says irritably, twirling the gun once the cash is safely tucked in her sweatshirt front and her hands free once more.

"Whatever. I can shatter every bone in your body with a shout. But I don't like hurtin' people. It's messy." Con walks right past Marla and scoops up his crowbar, tucking it under his shoulder and getting a rough idea of the money in his hands before he makes for the door. "C'mon, let's make some money."

"Hoooold on there, lassie." Marla isn't through /yet/, and the only move she makes is a slight pivot in Conrad's direction when he starts for the exit. She does stare intently after him, taking a short drag from her cigarette as she does. "I still don't know anything about you, man. You could be one of those— escaped prison people. I mean, hell, I want to know what the hell I'm getting myself /into/." She waves one hand towards the demolished safe in a very vague gesture.

Looking over his shoulder, Conrad asks casually, "What? Like I know everything about you? You gonna give me a bio? I didn't think so. You wanna go out to dinner or someshit? Take the money and go, or come with me and make a little more. You're the one with the gun and the invisibility. It's not like I can keep you around or that I even care."

Marla finally visibly holsters that gun, and a very heavy frown slips onto her face at Conrad's response. "Well. Fine, jesus, but keep in mind it's not for the money. You're not the only one who steals, you know. But I have been dying for something /new/." Boredom. Of course. She fingersnaps, strolling towards the other thief with a very distinct roll of her eyes before quite suddenly, she is no longer there. "…if it /does/ get messy, I'm bailing."

November 22nd: Easily Done

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 22nd: Chasing Rainbows
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