The Lunchbox


ina_icon.gif maddie_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title The Lunchbox
Synopsis More trouble follows Smedley, and thus Maddie when she runs into the smuggler a second day in a row.
Date July 18

Jamaica Bay

While convenient, Jamaica Bay isn't exactly the best of landing spots. That is, unless you're in a dinghy fleeing gunfire. Then it's pretty much your only option. Thankfully, when Smedley, Maddie, and the tri-colored mutt Carson dock at the junkyard-estuary, most of the bay's inhabitants haven't yet returned from their daily begging stations in the relatively cleaner parts of Brooklyn. Egress is easier at this point. Smedley even hails a cab for Maddie before disappearing into the growing shadows with his liberated lunchbox.

But daylight finds him scuffing about in Brooklyn once again, with Carson at his side. Smedley is just another visitor to the marshland park, taking in the beauty of nature in the hight of summer. Except he's doing his best to not look like he's looking rather intently at joggers instead of birds.

There is no such thing as coincidence — a belief held by Buddhists, lawyers, cops, and reporters, Maddie frowns a little as she notices the now-familiar tall form of Wes Smedley and his tri-colored dog Carson. She has just said goodbye to a source, who insisted in meeting in this park far from his own Upper-West-End daily activities. She's carrying a cup of coffee, tucking her slim reporter's notebook into her purse, strapped across her chest and hanging down by her hip where she can keep her free hand on it once the notebook is set inside. She's naive, but not totally stupid.

Her path curves to set her on a collision course with him, were they running along at the speed of the joggers. Luckily they're not. "Fancy meeting you here," she says, pushing her sunglasses up, her eyes slightly narrowed in something possibly like suspicion, even if she put her trust in him yesterday.

New York may be the meltiest of the states in the melting pot that is the United States, but hearing an Austrailian accent out of the blue is still enough to throw Smedley a bit. Carson lets out a yip of joy and bounds over without any hesitation, if only to check and see if Maddie still smells like, well Maddie.

"Sheila," Smedley says with a nod and a grunt, looking from side to side before coming to a stop a few feet from the young woman. The lunchbox is still tucked under his arm, making his jacket bulge slightly. "Thought you would'a turned tail and kept your nose out'a this neck'a the woods for a damn long while. 'Parently you got no sense."

Left. Right. Left. On and on Ina goes, one of those joggers that travel along the trail. a little small day pack with a camel bag in it, this is a woman who's serious about her jogging despite that it is ninety fucking three. There's a marathon soon and the weather before with it's extended winter kept her cooped up above Burlesque with the space heater and no running.

Left. Right. Left. Pause. THe flash of blonde hair is familiar and it's when Maddie turns at some point, her profile coming clear to the Linderman woman that she recognizes her long lost bosom buddy! Okay, that might be stretching it. But she'd developed some form of friendship with the woman. So course is altered for a woman she hasn't seen a long time, even though she's sitting down with a guy and his … lunchbox?

Now that they're not being shot at, Maddie grins when the dog comes bounding over, dropping into a crouch to pet Carson and let him snuffle and lick her face. She's dressed a little nicer than yesterday's Staten-slumming outfit; Brooklyn slumming is a little more up-scale, with trouser jeans and a pair of ballet flats, a sleeveless blouse and her hair in a loose bun, tendrils of blonde hair curling around her face and neck.

Maddie shrugs one shoulder as she peers up, squinting at Smedley. "Girl's gotta work, you know? And this is across from the scary part of the woods… well, okay, it's still bloody scary here, but it's daylight and I carry pepper spray, mate," she tells him. Tilting her head, she sees Ina coming their way, so she stands from her crouch and waves to the jogger, before adding to Smedley, "Still carrying around the lunchbox? You could put it in something less… noticeable. A man purse maybe?"

"Who carries lunch in a purse?" Smedley rolls his shoulders, then takes the lunchbox from under his arm. He looks from Maddie to Ina, then to another jogger coming up the path. This isn't going to work if there is a crowd. "Dammit," he mutters with a scowl.

There's a largish rock by the path, and Smedley turns to sit on it, resting the lunchbox in his lap. Carson trots over, once Maddie's face has been thoroughly inspected for any remnants of tasty-things, and rests his jaw on Smedley's knee. "It's not for you, Carson. You know that." Silly dog. Lunchboxes are for smugglers.
"Hey mads, fancy seeing you in this piece of crap section of town" Ina calls out, her footfalls carrying her within range of canine and human alike. When she bends over, hands on knee's, it's not to give a greeting to the dog, but to catch her breath. "not interrupting business am I? Because I can scoot if you're getting a story"

"Hey mads, fancy seeing you in this piece of crap section of town" Ina calls out, her footfalls carrying her within range of canine and human alike. When she bends over, hands on knee's, it's not to give a greeting to the dog, but to catch her breath. "not interrupting business am I? Becaue I can scoot if you're getting a story" There's a glance to smedley, taking in the rugged man with a raised brow. 'Hey handsome"

"Well, it's obviously not lunch," the reporter points out before she catches the Dammit and winces. "Aw, bullocks, I'm screwing something up, aren't I," she murmurs, awareness dawning on her face before she turns to smile at Ina.

"Ina, Wes, Wes, Ina. No, he's not a story, but I think… I might be interfering with a blind date or something." Nice cover, right? Not at all suspicious. "Good to see you and out in the sunshine. Wanna sit?" She gestures to a bench, some few meters away from Smedley's rock, to try to help him out. She glances at him apologetically.

Handsome? Smedley blinks, and a sheepish sort of smile ghosts onto his face for a moment before he looks down at the battered Transformers painted on the dented metal. He does glance up at the introductions, nodding, but not looking directly at either Maddie or Ina. Not even when Maddie tries to apologize with her eyes. Carson wanders away to inspect the new arrival, nose a-twitch.

A pack of three joggers make their way around the bend and up the path, not too far behind the lone jogger. Smedley swallows, and the lone jogger - a trim, tanned man wearing aviators and a Bluetooth headset, slows, coming to the side of the path to stretch.

"You're late," he whispers, his words intended for Smedley's ears alone. But if the other nearby strain, they just may hear him.

No straining to hear, a hand dropping to scruff at the ear of the dog before Ina follows Maddie to an adjacent bench. She could deal with a small break, have something to drink. "You mean you're not his blind date" She ribs the other woman. "Dunno, I could see you and Wes here together" He's not meeting eyes, fine enough and not much of a talker. Maybe he isn't Maddie's blind date. "What have you been up to?"

Reaching to push her sunglasses down onto her nose so she can watch without looking like she's walking, Maddie moves to the bench and sits, taking a sip of her coffee. It's too hot for coffee, but she's not an ice-blended-frappe kind of drinker. She's a serious journalist! Serious journalists don't need whipped cream and caramel drizzle.

Except, sometimes, at deadline.

"Not mine, no. Just an acquaintance. I'm pretty sure we're not each other's types, though he is sort of handsome," she murmurs, tilting her head a little to survey the rugged man in question before glancing away when the jogger turns his head a touch.

"Keeping busy. Working, all that. Your hotel bouncing back from all the reduced pricing, I hope? It was quite nice of them to do what they did, during the storm." Another furtive glance at Smedley and his contact is stolen.

"Like I said," Smedley grunts in reply. "Unexpected delays. But it's here."

Smedley shoots a quick look over at the women and squints, but the jogger resting his foot against the rock to retie his shoes snaps him back. "Let me see it," the jogger says with a quick nod to the lunchbox. The mob of joggers, similar in build to the one who stopped, stop at the next bench down the path for hydration. Smedley swallows again before unlatching the metal tabs that hold the lid down.

The lunchbox lid lifts with a creak, and there is a faint glow reflected on the surprisingly shiny interior surface. The jogger lifts his aviators to peer at the contents with disdain. "It's taken a beating."

"Look, I wasn't the genius that decided to put it in a lunchbox, okay? So just pay me, and take it already."

Ina knows when somethings going down and when a lunchbox is opened, and there's something glowing inside, well, she's not worked for the linderman group as long as she has not be oblivious. Someones doing a trade off. Someones doing a trade off and the jogger brought back up. 'Free. Think of the PR nightmare if we had charged anything for eight people scrounged into a room. I can't stay long, I got jury duty tomorrow. God damned beauracracy, figures. Never got it when I lived in Vegas but less than a year her and BAM"

"Jury duty… I think I can get an out on that, on account of being the horrible, left-wing, communist-loving, liberal media, should it ever come up," Maddie says with a chuckle. "Not to mention the polar bear in the kitchen," she adds with a bit of a chuckle. "It's good to see you. Say g'day to your mates, Roddy and Kain, for me, if you see them."

With the number of Linderman operatives in the city, it could be that this jogger is effectively one of Ina's co-workers, and they just haven't met. Afterall, The Linderman Group isn't one for office parties every time someone has a birthday. "Does it still work?" the jogger asks, an eyebrow raised skeptically.

Smedley closes the lid with a clack, flicking the latches up with just a bit too much force.

"How the hell should I know?" Smedley hisses. "It's not like there's an easy way to check."

"I didn't get tossed, I was hoping I'd get tossed, but they didn't, so i'm in. Too bad they don't pay as good per day as I make huh. See you around chickie, make sure your friend there doesn't get shot. Shifty deal happening, you need help, just call, I'll see what I can do" Maddie has her number, and with that, nary a wave for smedley, she's off, ipod buds back in her ears and taking off.

"I think that might be the status quo for him, to be honest. Good luck with jury duty, Ina." Maddie waves to the jogger as she heads off again, then glances back to the deal going down. Maybe she should… walk away.

That seems like a plan. The blonde Aussie stands from the bench and begins to walk away from where Smedley and his contact is, unfortunately having to pass the other two runners. She keeps her head low as she passes by.

If it weren't for the small dot of red on the jogger's temple, Smedley wouldn't know to duck before the airy fwoom sound cut through the air. Still, blood spatters over his shoulder and chest when the bullet meets brain and the jogger slumps to one side. The other three joggers resting at the far bench draw pistols, and while less outfitted than the piece wielded by their fourth, they work well enough. You know. For making the bullets go boom.

Smedley springs from the rock, nearly plowing into Maddie as he bolts for the cover of the marshland's long grass. Carson bolts, tearing through the marshes and leaving only a few splashes and rustles of the grass to mark his trail.

More gunshots. She can't remember ever hearing one in her life before she came to New York City, and now they're as ubiquitous as Starbucks in her life. She squeals, no swear words this time, scrambling into the long grass and lying flat — so much for the brand-new pants. They weren't cheap, either.

"What the hell is it this time! What is in that bloody box!" she hisses at him, though she's not curious enough to wait for an answer. She's looking for an exit, a way to get away from the bullet magnet he seems to be. They do have at least that much in common.

"Did you drive here?!" Smedley hisses back at Maddie, the box cradled in his arms. But there isn't anymore gunfire. Just the sound of running feet on pavement, and the rustling of grass. "Look, I'm sorry, but when you traipse around in places like this, this is what'cha get. Now if you've got a car, we can get out of here a hell of a lot faster."

"Yeah," Maddie says, with irritation. She usually takes cabs and subways but she did finally get a car when she finally won a lottery for a parking space in her apartment building. "And I've 'traipsed' around in this park a few times before and never been shot at, for your information, Lunch Box. It's not that common in broad daylight in a public place, you know," she says, nodding to the north end of the park. "My car's that way."

Army crawling isn't exactly the easiest way to traverse marsh land, but it's really the only option that Smedley and Maddie have for the first two thirds of their way back to her car. A few shots are fired into the grass, but Brooklyn is far more civilized than Staten Island, and their assailants have a corpse to deal with.

Once in the car, with a less than immaculate Carson in the backseat, Smedley leans back into the headrest and sighs. "I don't care where we go, but we gotta get. Tell me you ain't a virgin when it comes'tuh New York traffic."

Wrinkling a nose at the fact that mud is getting all over her '65 Mustang's leather seats, she shrugs and throws the car in gear, peeling out of the parking space and heading for her home — also in Brooklyn, a few blocks away. "I'm no cab driver, but I'm not a total newbie either. And I went to college in Chicago."

She demonstrates her prowess by cutting away from the curb and in front of a city bus to let the larger vehicle help cover their exit — after all, her top is off and it's not like she can just push a button to cover their heads like with newer models. She hadn't looked back when she heard the gunshots, but she glances over at him — at least her eyes are covered by the sunglasses. "They kill that guy?"

"Yeah." Despite it being a convertible and Maddie's skills being adequate in the intense carnage that makes up a metropolitan city street, Smedley keeps his eyes closed. It's only after they've got a few blocks between them and the bay that he opens his eyes to look at the box in his lap. He curls his fingers into his palms, then opens them to flick the tabs and lift the lid in a swift motion. The contents still let off that faint yellow glow, amplified by the shiny metal of the interior.

Smedley stares at it, his face drawn. "You know, I'm not even sure what it does. But if there are people who'd kill for it… it's gotta be worth more than what they were gonna pay me."

Keeping an eye on the road, Maddie suddenly changes lanes without warning. She's driven in NYC long enough to know that you can't turn on a signal if you actually want in; the other drivers will just speed up as soon as they see the indicator. She spares a glance for the lunchbox's contents, then shoves her sunglasses up to look again. "Huh," is all she has to say before making a sudden left with just enough space for her car without making the through traffic stop.

"Okay, my flat's a block away. I don't see them behind us, do you? I don't wanna park in my structure if they're tailing us." She glances in the rearview mirror, not seeing anyone behind on this less-populated street.

Smedley closes the lid and looks behind, swatting at Carson's flank to get the dog out of the way. "We're clear." He smiles a bit then, eyeing Maddie's cheek while she watches the road. "You're one hell of a driver," he muses. "If you didn't have a day job, I'd consider hirin'yuh full time for this kinda shit. Car's a might flashy though. Nice, don't get me wrong. Sorry about the seats."

"Thanks, mate. I do my best." She pulls into the parking garage, driving around a couple of times just to be sure no other cars enter the structure before finally pulling into her spot. Sunglasses back on top of her head due to the dim light, she narrows her eyes at him. "You can hang here til it's safe, and maybe grab a shower or something if you want to get the muck off," she offers, then peers down at the dog. "Hopefully Dingo will forgive me for Carson," she adds, with some amusement, glancing back up. "Dingo's my cat. She's… yellow." To explain the name.

"And eats babies. Right." Smedley turns to open the door, then looks back over his shoulder. "Thanks, Sheila." He even smiles a little before getting out of the car, the lunchbox tucked once again under his arm. He whistles, and Carson leaps from the car and gives his fur a quick shake. But rather than trot off after his master, he lingers, looking at Maddie with his head tilted to one side.

"Only if they whine," Maddie says, shutting her door and locking it. She pats her leg. "Come on, Carson." She leads the way to the walkway that will bring them into her apartment building, entering through the side door rather than the front lobby. "Where do you live, when you live somewhere? You seem like a decent guy, but you should know I'm not normally the type to hang about with criminals and people who get shot at." As if that's not obvious.

After a turn or two, she unlocks a door, stepping into an apartment that is neither immaculate nor a pigsty, but somewhere in between, a few cardboard boxes suggesting she's not totally moved in yet.

"Oh, I'm always livin', Sheila," Smedley says with a laugh. He takes stock of the place, not for it's monetary value, but for it's strategic one. "Tell you the truth I ain't laid my head in any sort of regular place for longer'n I care to admit. You're a saint for lettin' Carson and me hole up in your place."

Carson, meanwhile, smells cat, as well as other cleaner, more feminine things than he's used to smelling. All such scents must be cataloged in his dog-brain, and so the routine sniffing and snuffling begins.

Smedley takes the box from under his arm and holds it up. "You ain't got a safe or somethin', do ya? Can't imagine you want this little time bomb sittin' pretty on your kitchen counter."

"I really hope it's not some sort of bomb. Not a wise word to say around these 'ere parts," she replies, trying to mock his southern accent, but failing miserably. "Mm, I don't have a safe. But um, here." It's an old apartment, with built-in shelves and cabinets. She pulls open a skinny door and reveals an ironing board inside. "Maybe here? Or is that like, obvious? I don't think like a …" she's about to say criminal, but realizes that might be offensive, "…ransacker."

The cat, Dingo, meanwhile, a yellow tabby, is sitting on top of the TV armoire, his fur all bristly and tail bottlebrush-big as it hisses and spits down at the dog.

Carson eyes Dingo with nothing more than good natured curiosity, his tail wagging and tongue lolling. He even sits, thinking that if he shows what the master has deemed as "good behavior", the cat will come down. Right? It makes sense.

Smedley can't help but smile at Maddie's attempt to mimic his accent, even if she's way off by region…as well as just bad. "You wanna be a cowgirl, we can make'ya a cowgirl, Sheila." He winks, but more at her nose than at her, then peers into the closet and purses his lips in thought. "Never hit a house before. Tip I got that found this thing said that Geoff idiot liked to hide shit like his grandmother did. Not that if you had a yard, I'd be diggin' it up to stow this thing." He reaches into the closet to feel at the back wall, humming softly. Old building. Old construction. He gets his fingers between two boards of the back wall and tugs, making the nails screech.

"Dingo. Stop that. Be polite, you bum," the reporter tells the cat, then reaches down to scritch the dog's ears. "Good Carson. You, sir, are a gentleman."

His owner on the other hand… "What the hell, you're breaking my … ironing closet!" That she's never used. Ever. "How long are you planning on hiding it for? And how do you know about that thing, if it isn't yours?" She looks suspicious. "That thing better not be radioactive or something. I saw that House episode, where there's some little junk yard thing and it's killing the kid and I really don't need a rash on my nether regions, mate."

"Cool your jets, Sheila," Smedley grunts in the final moments before he frees one of the panels from the back wall of the closet, exposing the pipes and studs. "I'll put it back when I'm done. He rests the lunchbox on a pipe, leaning it against the insulation, then puts the panel back in place. "It's not like I can go to my regular fences to unload it. All I know is that it's part of something bigger - somethin' spendy."

Holding the panel in place with one hand, Smedley reaches into his jacket and pulls out a revolver, only to pop open the cylinder and let the bullets fall to the floor. "Like how your spleen is just this tiny thing, but without it, you wouldn't, you know. Work. Or something like that." He tosses the pistol into the air and grabs by the chrome, then promptly slams the butt against one of the nails, driving it back into the wall. "Anyway," Smedley continues between whacks, "When I do get rid of it, I'll cut you in. How's seventy-thirty sound?"

"You can live without a spleen," she points out, glancing at the bullets and giving a little shiver. "Your kidneys or something just have to do more work, I forget exactly." She moves to an overstuffed armchair and pats her leg for Carson to come to her so she can pet his warm fur. "Seventy-thirty? I get seventy, you get thirty?" she asks, mock-innocence in her tone and face as she looks up at him.

Carson gleefully ends his sniffing routine to leap into the armchair and onto Maddie's lap, giving her face a sound lick. That's what she wanted, right? To share the chair with him? Totally. Has to be.

Smedley's too busy hammering the panel back into place to notice his dog's misbehavior, but he does laugh at Maddie's assumption. "Maybe if you were more of an accomplished rustler, ye'd warrant a cut like that. For now, you're the thirty, but that might just be subject to negotiation at some…future point. We gotta find a buyer first."

When the panel is back in place, Smedley squats to retrieve the ammunition. "Been some time since I butchered anything. My anatomy ain't that up to snuff." He pauses then, and looks at Maddie for a solid second before his face flushes. "Fuck, that sounded creepy as hell, didn't it? Dammit."

The dog in her lap gets an oof and a laugh from Maddie. Well, at least she wasn't clean yet, so the dog's mud on her mud will just make for muddier clothes. "I was kidding, actually, but I suppose if you're gonna hide it in my flat, 30 sounds fair. My cut goes up if I get shot though. Fair's fair."

She smirks at the anatomy comment and his reaction. "Sure, blame your failing anatomy on lack of practice. So typical." She smirks as she pets the dog on her lap. "So, how the hell do you find a buyer for a weird crystal thing you don't know what it does?"

"Carson, ge'down." Smedley snaps and whistles before holstering the pistol again and closing the small closet. Carson whines, but then slinks off of Maddie's lap and settles on the floor next to the chair. Smedley moves around to sit on the couch. "They just told me to get the lunchbox. That lunchbox," and he makes a sweeping gesture toward the closet. "Didn't tell me what was in it, only that I'd know it was the right one. Thing is, they put a bullet in my contact's head. The trouble with contacts is that you don't get more'n one, us'lly. And I don't think too highly'uh doin' business with people that like to shoot at me." He pauses and looks at Maddie's feet. "Or you, I guess."

Muddy paw prints on her jeans and shirt, Maddie just chuckles and reaches down to pet the dog, then glances up to check on Dingo. Still spittin' mad. Check.

"Okay," she says, reaching into her pocket for her cell phone and typing into its small keyboard. Glancing up she smiles. "Just emailing work that I'm not in today, not calling the cops, I swear." Just in case he's worried. "So. Um. Why don't you take a shower and I'll make us something to eat and some coffee. Do you like vegemite?"

Smedley smiles, nodding slowly. "Can't say if I do, but coffee sounds like a plan." He stands, then looks about the small apartment once more. "Where should I, uh… put my stuff?" Stuff that is a little less than clean at the moment. Plus at least one pistol.

He can only hope that she's got some straight up soap. Those poofy things are…poofy. And weird. "I can bathe Carson too, but I dunno if you'd prefer a mud-dog to a wet-dog. S'up to you, really."

"Either way. Um. There's a laundry hamper in the restroom and I'll … I think I have a clean shirt that will fit you anyway, if not pants," Maddie says, looking at him skeptically. There's ome ex boyfriend's shirt she wears for laundry day's no doubt. "There's a laundry room in the basement, we can wash your stuff. Whatever else, just throw in a corner, I don't care. There's towels in the bathroom." Her soap is, sadly, in the former of shower gel. He will have to smell like cherry blossoms today, if he wants to be clean.

With just a nod, Smedley departs. It's after he's gone that he whistles, calling Carson up from his pseudo-nap and into the bathroom. The apartment is small enough that both the clank of at least two pistols and his disappointed grunts can be heard in the living room area.

The shower doesn't stay on for more than seven minutes before a towel-clad Smedley and a wet and grinning Carson emerge. But Smedley has the decency to dig up that ex-boyfriend's shirt and even a pair of boxers before he wanders back into the living room.

"I smell," he announces in an irritated tone, "like a Japanese Garden."

Oh hi. There's a man in underwear in her living room. Smelling like cherry blossoms. Maddie glances from the kitchen, eyes widening just a touch. Ina's right, he is handsome. The coffee maker is making its bubble, bubble, toil and trouble sounds, as water filters through and drips into the pot. "Just making some coffee. I'm not much of a cook, but there's bagels, some fruit, cereal, milk, if you like. Help yourself to anything except the chocolate." It's a joke, of course.

She opens a cupboard and pulls down a mug, setting it on the counter next to a spoon. "Serve yourself. I'm going to go grab a shower."

Maybe a cool one, at that.

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