The Right Hands


raith_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title The Right Hands
Synopsis Information is shared between client and provider, and the machination of a trap are set into motion.
Date November 23, 2010

The Piggy Bank, Beacon, New York

Less than 10 minutes away from Pollepel Island

The message said to meet at the pig in the lighthouse. If Wes Smedley hadn’t be the one to write it, he’s not sure if he’d have been able to figure it out. But given the reasons behind his needing to talk to Jensen Raith off of Pollepel Island, discretion and secrecy seemed to be the best tactic.

He sits at a table far from the windows, but within few of the door, hunched over a pulled pork sandwich that’s been recently delivered. It’s an early lunch that he isn’t really hungry for, but you can’t drive an hour and a half out of the city just to talk to someone - you might as well eat.

His oilskin is draped on the chair behind him, bearing to the world his faded South Dakota State University Jackrabbits t-shirt, worn over a long-sleeved thermal that could probably be white again with a little bleach. Smedley carefully lifts the barbecued sandwich to take a bite, trying not to cover himself in the sauce.

‘The pig in the lighthouse’ is a cryptic clue for certain, but banking that Jensen Raith is accustomed to cracking cryptic clues is a safe bet, made certain when he does, indeed, come into the Piggy Bank. Unsurprisingly, he’s not dressed in battle garb, but perhaps surprisingly, he’s not wearing much of what he usually does. Even though his long coat remains for warmth, the clothing underneath it is a slate grey business suit that has seen better days, but does the job of making him not look like Jensen Raith at first glance. The lack of his sun glasses helps as well.

It only takes a few moments after arrival to locate Wes Smedley at his table, and only a few more to make his way over to him. The ex-spy sits down without a word, not bothering to remove his coat: Clearly, he’s not planning to stay long. “Got your message,” he says, “I hope this is important. Last time I went out on a limb to meet with someone, I was barely fifty feet ahead of FRONTLINE while they were chasing me through subway access tunnels, so you understand if I seem a little jumpy.”

Smedley arches his eyebrows as he looks up from his sandwich, taking the time to chew and swallow before answering. He sets his meal back down on its plate and lifts his napkin from the table to wipe his hands, his brows furrowed. “I’ll let you be the judge’uh that,” he comments dryly before he pulls a scrap of paper from his back pocket and slides it across the table.

“Some chick calls herself Sarah gave me that after Carson sniffed her outta a bunch’uh trash cans in Red Hook.” What the smuggler was doing in Red Hook is left unsaid, but given his profession, it isn’t exactly difficult to make certain assumptions. “Thought you’d want’uh be the one t’track ‘it down, but if not, I’ve got people. Any case,” and Smedley pauses, licking his teeth behind his lips, “That’s what it is. I ain’t gonna ask you any questions concernin’ as t’why there’re people out there lookin’ to buy information on y’all, but I know if it were me, I’d think bein’ aware’uh it’d be pretty damned important.”

Raith’s met a few Sarahs in his life. He dated a Sarah in high school. But the number of Sarah’s he’s known lately is not exactly a large number. The number of Sarahs he knows who would be asking questions about the Ferrymen is even smaller. The number does not rise even after he stealthily accepts and glances at the writing on that scrap of paper. “What did she look like?” is the first question he thinks to ask. Maybe ‘Sarah’ was just a pseudonym. It had better have been a pseudonym, because the writing on that scrap of paper reveals to him several questions he’s not sure he’s wants answers to be given for.

Smedley shrugs, squinting off toward the windows as he tries to recall the woman’s face, or any other distinguishing features. “Thin. Maybe five-eight? Reddish brown hair. Had a southern accent. Not like, Georgia south, though. Real south.” He pauses to rub his jaw, then shake his head.

“Had a BB gun. Said she was in Red Hook workin’, but workin’ apparently meant sittin’ there.” With a sigh, he brings his eyes to Raith again. “Sittin’ there practically on top’uh Jenny.

Jenny, like Sarah, is probably a common enough name that Raith may have to once again employ his series of Venn Diagrams, but coming from the smuggler, and given the lean he puts to it, the name of his boat is more than clear. The fact that the mysterious cajun might be watching him is something that has Smedley more than a little shaken up, if his frown and narrowed eyes are any indication. “Suffice t’say, things’ll run a bit different come the December shipment.”

The whirling rolodex in Raith’s head turns up no matches fitting that description, and he’s back to square one (which, truth be told, he’d never left). “Can’t blame you for wanting to run things different, all things considered,” is a heart-felt, and very true response from the ex-spy. For a few moments, he massages his temple with his thumb, as if hoping he might be able to coax a half-forgotten memory about ‘Sarah’ out. No dice.

“I don’t like the questions she’s asking,” Raith says, “And I know that means you don’t, either.”

The smuggler can only nod at that, his shoulders rising in a small shrug. “People I got, might be able to hatch a snare to get more information outta her, maybe even watch her a bit, but if I use that number to find her again, I gotta have somethin’ to give her.” Smedley leans slightly closer, letting one arm fall onto the table while the other hand braces against his thigh.

“So if you’ve got somethin’, or if you can concoct some story to feed this gal to buy us some time, I’m all ears.”

The ex-spy rests his chin in the palm of his hand, idly rubbing two days of stubble while he thinks. “Milk run’s as good a way as any to get some more dirt on her,” he says. After a few moments more, he seemingly decides that he’s rubbed his stubble enough and returns his hand to the table. “Does she know you know where we are?”

“S’far as I can tell, no,” Smedley says with another shake of his head, leaning back in his chair and reaching for his glass of lemonade to take a quick drink. “She beat around the bush, though. Would’uh gotten on Jenny if I hadn’t been quick enough. Feelin’ me out, maybe. Asked if I was one’uh yuh, though. And well, that wasn’t a hard question t’answer.”

Raith nods, spending another few moments in thinking. His next question doubtlessly gives Smedley some insight into what he’s working out in his head. “You got a pen? Something that can write on like, a napkin?”

Smedley purses his lips together and sighs, effectively answering in the negative. And even apart from whatever his views on technopaths may be, he isn’t the sort of man to carry any electronic means of jotting down information. But being a barbecue restaurant, there’s an ample supply of napkins in a dispenser on the table. All Smedley has to do is flag down a waitress with a smile that’s 90% charm and 10% ruggedness and ask to borrow one of hers.

Pen in hand, he offers it across the table with a smirk, the waitress shuffling off to take the order of what appears to be a family in town for the holiday.

Once Raith has the pen and napkin, he quickly writes out a short list for whatever milk run he intends to send ‘Sarah’ on. Sliding it across the table to the cowboy, it’s clear that it’s only a half serious list, including things like ‘whiskey’ and ‘cigars’ along with things that they would reasonably and actually need: Diesel, bandages, antibiotics, and 9mm and 5.56mm bullets. “Half the stuff on there, we don’t really need,” he admits, “But here’s the plan. Let her know that when you give us stuff, you meet with a couple operatives up the river in New Hamburg. If she’s fixing to sell us out, we’ll notice any weird traffic, since Breakneck is still pretty messed up.

“Gives us a chance to asses what she can do at the same time. If she can get half the stuff on that list on short notice, say, you’re meeting us next in four days. We’ll know something’s up. Ain’t met a person yet who could get antibiotics and bullets on short notice unless they have an impressive web of contacts, in which case we don’t want to be messing with them anyway, or they pull it out of government storage.” That family that might be in town for the holidays earns a brief, half-nervous glance from the ex-spy. In the entire establishment, the only one he can trust is Smedley, and he’s not even completely sure if that’s a good idea.

Smedley looks over the list with a contemplative set to his jaw and brow, then nods as Raith details the plan. “I’ll call’er this weekend,” he says with a short, sharp bob of his chin. “Let’cha know how it pans out.” Probably the same way he got Raith the message to meet him here. It gives Smedley another chance to come up with a code, but there are only so many ways one can say yes or no without sounding like they’ve stepped out of a bad spy thriller.

“One’uh mine,” he whispers as he folds the list and tucks it into his pocket, “can like…see what other people see. I ain’t gonna bring ‘er with me, but if she can piggyback into this gal, she will. We can tail’er that way. Can’t promise it’ll turn much up, but won’t hurt to try.”

“Hey, use every asset you’ve got,” is the only reply Raith has to give in regards to that. One more quick glance to the family is all he can afford before he starts looking suspicious. “I really shouldn’t hang around here much longer. Need the intel and all, but you know. Trying to avoid the spotlight.” While he still has the pen, the ex-spy commandeers a second napkin and hastily scrawls out some more words onto it, before sliding that across to Smedley as well. “Staten’s getting to hot. I’ve got another mailbox set up in New Windsor, easier to get to and not quite as dangerous. Use that one from now on, but still expect a couple days in between replies.”

Smedley nods, taking the second napkin just as he did the first. He doesn’t ask for the slip of paper back - but it’s safe to bet he’s copied the information down so as not to lose it. He lifts a hand to wave Raith off then. “Get outta here,” he says with a half-smile. “I’ll bring you a sandwich once this is all sorted.” With that, he picks up the pulled pork once again and tries for another bite, not even bothering to watch the man in the suit leave the restaurant.

People may talk, sure - but if it’s a place that both Smedley (Todd Grahame, today) and Raith only appear once, it won’t matter in the least.

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