The Sharp End


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Scene Title The Sharp End
Synopsis John and James reevaluate some plans.
Date March 1, 2009

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

The Angry Pelican is one of James Muldoon's favourite haunts, and while he hasn't been making many public appearances as of late, it's probably the first place someone would think to look if that someone wanted to pin the man down. He sits in an old lawn chair that provides him with the best view of the water and the rippling night sky reflected in it, one leg slung over its rickety plastic arm at the knee.

It's late enough that the Pelican's usual crowd has mostly dispersed for the night, leaving only Muldoon and the half-finished glass of whiskey he cradles in the palm of one of his gloved hands. Even the bartender appears to be in the process of closing things down for the night — last call was over an hour ago.

Crunching steps through sand and gravel herald Logan's arrival. Unexpected, not just because he didn't alert Muldoon ahead of time for a meeting, but because someone like Logan rarely makes it down this way, not willingly. To say there is any kind of class system on Staten Island is ridiculous, but Logan still maintains a sense of it, and he's rather sure he's too good for this kind of haunt— and he would have said the same for Muldoon.

When he comes into view, he's lifted his cane up from the ground so as not to scratch the polished black wood on the rougher ground. It's balanced across his shoulders, arms drawn up and hands gripping it casually, very unintentionally martyr-like and casual as you please. He's dressed sedately - dark blue jeans, boots, and an expensive black dress shirt neatly tucked in, with a silky blue scarf wrapped once about his throat and hanging almost cravat like into his shirt.

"'ello," Logan greets, raising his eyebrows at the other man as he approaches. Healthy as ever, but paler, having fought off the remaining sickness of his poisoning and subsequent revival, and distinctly unhappy looking.

Word travels through the Rookery like a horse with its tail on fire to the nearest water source — Muldoon has already heard the rumours about Logan's inexplicable collapse, but to see his face so white and ashen confirms them. Someone really did attempt to bump off his business partner. Imagine that.

Muldoon's eyes roam up and down Logan's lanky figure before setting back on his face, a vaguely perplexed expression finding its way onto his own features. "It's good to see you on your feet, John," he says in something of a subdued tone. "I was starting to worry."

"Oh? That sounds like a really good idea," Logan says - without venom or accusation, which might just indicate something truly is wrong. The cane makes an arc as he swings it back down to rest its silver tip on the ground, moving around Muldoon to perch on the lawn chair just next to him, folding a leg up onto it while his right one stays stiffly straighter, foot braced against the ground and cane balancing on his thigh.

"Had Mu-Qian not been there, off attending to your fighters or something, I might well not be, James." Pale green eyes fix on the older man, a sharper intensity not often present in the lazier way Logan likes to carry himself. His shoulders are tense curves beneath expensive black fabric, hands curled tight about his cane. "I think we have more trouble than can simply be resolved by moving Abigail to the cages."

"So I've gathered." Muldoon doesn't press for details — none are necessary, as far as he's concerned. "What happened was unfortunate," he concedes in a grand understatement that might be insulting if it weren't for the weight carried by his words. Like Logan, he sounds as though he's quite finished toying around. "I'd like to prevent the situation from escalating further, if at all possible."

He raises his whiskey to his lips but does not drink. Instead, he studies the vague shape of his hand through the glass, seemingly fascinated by the way it distorts his long, leather-clad fingers. "Do you know who they are?"

Good. Logan seems visibly relieved that Muldoon is on a similar wavelength, taking out a silver cigarette case from a pocket and a cigarette in turn, giving a soft snort at the question as he pinches the cigarette between teeth. "Know would be generous, they all keep their mouths shut in solidarity it seems," he says with a sneer, lighting the end of the cancer stick and taking a luxurious drag before he continues, accent seeming to degrade as he goes. "But've got names, and I know how to get a message through. Eileen, girl at the clinic. Friend've 'er's, Teo, poof Italian, didn't take kindly to me sending him a message. Deckard," this is said with more venom - he expected better of the man, "the bookie Kain sent us, is a friend of Abigail's and the rest. Went snooping around and— well, you've probably 'eard the rest. I dunno how many more there are. Been 'aving trouble finding out."

Three names are better than no names at all. Muldoon dips his head into the slightest of nods, swallows a mouthful of whiskey, lowers his glass once more and uses his sleeve to wipe his lips, causing the fabric of his shirt to scratch against the hair on his unshaven jaw. "I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say Abigail's no longer worth the trouble — I'd turn her loose now if I didn't know what it would do to our reputations."

Logan's nose wrinkles. Which shows exactly what he thinks of what it'd do to their reputations, tapping his cigarette to let ash fall invisibly to the ground. "We are not letting them take 'er without a fight," he says, firmly, as if he really had authority over what Muldoon does and doesn't do. "Not that you aren't wrong, you're right, but it seems like we've got the shitty end of the stick." From where he's standing, anyway, never mind all the people they've wrung Abby out to heal again and again and again.

"I'd rather the shitty end of the stick than someone snap it in half and stab me in the neck," Muldoon observes mildly. "Let me speak with her friends. Perhaps we can come to some sort of agreement that doesn't involve any unnecessary bloodshed." Unnecessary being the key word, though Muldoon doesn't place any extra emphasis on it. He shouldn't have to.

"Then I shall try to arrange it, maestro of words," Logan says around his cigarette, pale eyes hooding a little. "Without getting anymore fucked than absolutely necessary. I'm starting to think I deserve a raise for my services, and all." It's a joke, really, but he does fix a look on Muldoon like it really would be nice.

A low chuckle rattles in Muldoon's chest, completely without mirth. He sets the glass of whiskey aside, shuts his eyes and leans back in his seat. One of the benefits of drinking at the Pelican is that, even after last call, there's no urgent need to vacate the premises — he and Logan could spent the rest of the night sitting under the stars and the only individuals who might mind would be the opportunistic gulls that are brave enough to fly by night and scour the harbor for forgotten or discarded scraps of food.

"I'll see what I can do." Never let it be said that Muldoon doesn't make promises he knows he can't keep.

March 1st: The Price of Freedom

Previously in this storyline…
The Price of Freedom

Next in this storyline…
A Painful Truth

March 2nd: A Painful Truth
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