The Emperor Of Staten Island


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Scene Title The Emperor of Staten Island
Synopsis One of the people in this scene wants to take over and it's not Tuck. Also, now Satoru is the one who's boned.
Date June 2, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

There's an operation going on in the neighborhood, even if the man who works in the pawn shop isn't aware of it. It may, however, be somewhat surprising to see Cardinal push through the door in a flight jacket with Chicago Air's logo on it, black-and-grey urban camo pants, and a black t-shirt a little nicer than what he's usually wearing. Aviator glasses instead of his usual Ray-Bans.

"Hey hey," he calls out, letting the door swing shut as he heads for the window, "You home, Tucker?"

Tuck is aware, but he chooses to ignore charity encroaching on his properly-appointed slumland. He's behind the counter as usual. There's a horse race on TV and the pawnie is smoking and flipping through the paper. "Where else would I be?" His right hand is conspicuously hidden underneath a tea towel. Not the most creative concealment, but functional.

He peers up at Cardinal, over the rims of his glasses. "Please tell me you robbed a guy for that getup."

"I'm playing corporate vice-president today, I have to look the part," Cardinal replies casually as he walks along over to the window, pausing as he notices the hand beneath the towel. A single brow arches over the edge of his shades, and he looks back up to Tuck, asking dryly, "Did you go see Doctor Pepper?"

Tuck flares his nostrils and exhales smoke. He lifts up the edge of the towel to briefly reveal his hand. No. No he did not. "I would prefer to pay off Mister Logan and get my life back on track than to truck over to the mainland to see some doctor you can't vouch for. Dangerous time to be running around where the cops care." His gaze returns to the paper.

At the sight of the hand, Cardinal grimaces, one hand lifting to pinch the bridge of his nose. "Alright," he sighs, "Alright. I'll have to find this…Asian friend of yours so I can pay him and get him to fix your damn hand and carry a message to John."

"Besides, with me off the island, who'd look after my booming…shithole?" Tuck makes a vague motion around the shop and then glances down to the paper. He eyes the headline. "Soup. What the fuck is with soup anyway? I mean…" and then a pause. "Fuck. Fuck it's him. It's the little fucker…right here!" He jams a finger down on the paper, on the article at a half a sliver of Satoru's face in the left of the frame.

"Soup is cheap as hell, easy to produce, and makes for good…" What? Cardinal reaches over to slap a hand on the counter, leaning in with a tilt of his head to look at the guy in the picture, eyes widening a bit, "What? It's… that guy? That skeezy little kid that was at Miller? That's the bone guy?"

"Yes, unless the fucker has a twin or this guy didn't speak English. If he talks like a gang banger and wants you to locate naked pictures of him, that's definitely the rat." Tuck spins the paper around and raises the cigarette to his lips for a long pull. Fucker!

"Motherfucker… what page is that?" Cardinal pushes back from the window, and he pulls out his cell phone, snapping it open and sliding his thumb over the keypad to scroll through his contact list, scowling.

"Logan's newest…minion." Tuck spits the word out. It would actually be kind of funny under different circumstances. He draws deep on the cigarette. "Who're you calling?"

"A collection agency," Cardinal mutters under his breath, "I'm going to have him 'collected' to come fix you."

Tuck pulls the cigarette away from his face. He looks at Cardinal, his expression dubious. "What's all this costing me, Card? The money, the doctor, 'collection agency.' My business acumen is an asset, I know, but surely one crook's not worth all this fucking trouble." And it can't possibly out of friendship. Because, pff, who on Staten has those?

"Hey. This is the Reaper. The guy I need is in the paper- uh, the Times- " Cardinal cranes his neck to look at it, "…Local, page one, the article on my company's charity shit here on Staten. The Asian kid in the picture that the article talks about. Let me know when you have him, remember, no skin contact."

The phone's snapped shut, and he slants a look over to the pawner. "You always complain this much, Tuck?" A shrug of one shoulder, "Your sister in law works for my boss's company now. Consider it extended benefits."

"She…what?" Tuck blinks. Companies. Bad things in his book. Then again, the only 'organization' he was ever involved in was the mob. And that wasn't exactly the coziest of lives. Or the safest. "Geez Card. What's next, matching white tennis shoes and Hale Bopp?" He's just cranky because he's horribly deformed. Don't mind him.

"Well," Cardinal replies, slanting over an amused look, "We needed someone to keep the soup trucks running, Tucker."

Tuck leans an elbow on the counter and rubs the side of his face. "See why I think this is all fucking…suspicious? No one on this island does something for nothing. Fucking…charity work, Cardinal? You're a thief, for god's sake. In the space of a few weeks, you've gone all corporate on me."

"Of course I'm not doing something for nothing. What do I look like, an idiot?" Cardinal replies with a rough snort of breath, leaning against the counter and vaguely gesturing through the air, "The food dispersal gives us some general good-will amongst the populace, so when we start moving in we have more support. One way or the other, Tuck…" He gives the pawner a serious look, "I'm taking this goddamn place over."

"Now why would you want to do that? Sounds like a lot of trouble. And there's a lot of fuckers who've made nice nests here." Sort of like Tuck. Except he's not a fucker. Not most of the time anyway. He might've been if he wasn't a dad. "You go kicking over the anthills, you're going to have a mess on your hands. Not that I don't appreciate your desire to dispose of Mr. Logan."

"I'm not kickin' over any anthills that're too big," Cardinal admits, shaking his head, "I'm hopefully meeting with Kain pretty soon. I'm not up to goin' head to head with Linderman." Yet. He quirks a faint smile to Tuck, "Why? 'Cause Logan needs to go. Muldoon's already on the run. And that means there's gonna be a really big fuckin' power vacuum here, and I don't want to see an all-out underworld war in the streets right here. Somebody needs to step in." It's not quite the truth. But it's part of it.

"Oh yeah? And what's my part supposed to be in this brave new world, oh Emperor of Staten Island?" His brows arch and he crushes out the cigarette into the ash tray. "Minister of Trade, was that the idea? What makes you think the army won't just drop a bomb on us if you try to declare us an independent nation?"

"I'm not goin' quite that far," Cardinal replies with a roll of his eyes, "Christ, do I look suicidal? I just want things a little quieter around here. Less fuckin' people getting kidnapped and shoved into bloodsport arenas or addicted to that asshole's drugs and forced to whore it out. There's plenty've less… offensive business opportunities here that there aren't on the mainland."

"So," says Tuck. His jaw works to the side. "You're trying to clean up Staten Island." His words are dull. It's hard to tell just by listening what he thinks about that.

"Not completely," Cardinal snorts, "Clean it up completely, we'll have fuckin'… cops all over, and, oh, hey, last I checked I'm still a wanted felon." His tone dry, "There's degrees, Tuck. You can have a fuckin' brothel and a fighting ring without fuckin' torturing people to force them to do it. There's lines even I won't cross. Logan and his people're dancing merrily down that Yellow Brick Road."

Tuck scratches his cheek with his good hand and regards Cardinal levelly. "Who opened you up and installed idealism?" He's certainly lost his. Then again, he's got over ten years of criminal life on the young shadowthief. He saw the bomb and the destruction of the Gorksys and the supposed death of his son. "Look. I'm not going to stand against you. But I've survived this long by not pissing too many people off."

Cardinal's jaw tightens a bit. "It's not about idealism, Tuck," he says, one hand lifting to pull his shades off, making eye contact and saying quietly, "Things are… about to get back. Really bad, if I don't miss my guess. And I aim to be in a position to protect myself…. and my friends… when the shit hits the fan."

"Wanting to make shit better is idealism from where I'm sitting," says Tuck, head canted slightly to the side. He bites the edge of his lip and then pushes his glasses up on his head and rubs the bridge of his nose. "I just…want my hand back the way it was."

"You'll get it, Tuck," Cardinal says quietly, leaning against the counter a bit more and quirking a faint smile, the shades spun lightly in his other hand, "Sometimes we don't get the luxury of just sittin' back and letting life go on as it was."

"Oh, you're lecturing me now, are you?" Tuck quirks a tiny smile, glasses still balanced up on his head. There's lines etched into his face that aren't always obvious. Somehow, in this light, with this conversation, he appears more like a man pushing forty than usual. "I'm small fry, sir. That's how I've managed to keep my head."

At being called 'sir' there's an amused snort from Cardinal. "Yeah, yeah. Not so much your hand, though. You keep goin' like this, old man, you won't live to meet your son's girlfriend."

Of course, Tuck calls lots of people 'sir.' It doesn't mean anything. "Hey, extremeties heal. I have this…wicked knife scar on my side. Was about your age. Crossed the wrong m…" he stops, blinks at Cardinal. "…what?" Oh not fair. Playing the kid card.

"Knife wounds heal. Yeah, missing hands? Not so much…" Cardinal quirks a brow upwards, observing casually, "I told you I had someone keeping an eye on him. He's got a crush on a protege of mine, Zu. She's a good girl. Tough. Doesn't take any shit."

It takes a little effort, but Tuck manages to pull out and light another cigarette with only one hand. "Protege." He lets the word curl around his mouth even as he holds the end of the cigarette in place as he tosses the lighter down. "You. Are clearly more than just a petty thief. Or you're trying to move up in the world."

A low chuckle stirs past Cardinal's lips, head turning to look out over the store as he slides the glasses onto his face once more. "Six of one," he admits, "Half-dozen of the other…" A pause, and he adds almost wounded, glancing over, "Petty?"

"Petty is not an insult, kiddo. It just means you know not to go running around stealing Van Goghs." He pulls his glasses back down to their regular spot on his nose. "If you expect me to rise up and fight against people in exchange for this help, I'll find my own way to pay off Logan." His tone is a touch tight. "I'd like to be alive long enough to see my kid and this girlfriend of his."

"I don't expect you to do shit in exchange for my help, Tuck," Cardinal says with a tight shake of his head, pushing off from his side of the counter, "Logan shoved an Evolved friend of mine into a cell, forced her to use her power for him, cut her fucking tongue out when she tried to pray. He half-blinded another guy I know, just because he was looking for her." A look back to the window, and he says flatly, "I'm not letting him hurt any more friends of mine. I'll see you soon, Tuck."

There's a rough grinding sound as Tuck tugs his bone-transformed hand off the counter. It hangs down heavily at his side, making his shoulder ache. It's hard for him to imagine getting something for nothing, being protected by someone. That's not how things work on Staten Island, not in his experience. Logan's exploits don't shock him. They don't even raise a brow. He knows. And he knows what the bastard before Logan did. And what the Gorskys did to traitors. None of it's pretty. "Watch your back, kid. And you know I'll kill you if you've gotten Tali into bad shit." He says that with no real malice in the words. But Card probably can tell he's serious. But then he contradicts that sentiment with a genuine-sounding, "Thanks."

Maybe Cardinal is an idealist. He's not even sure, anymore, why he's doing all of this, and what he's doing it for. He's been doing what his gut tells him for awhile now, wherever it might lead him, and he's in too deep to stop now. Maybe he'll figure it out as time goes by. The door's pulled open, and he pauses, glancing back with a wry smile and a tip of his chin up, "Anytime, Tucker." Then he's out, on the street.

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