The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce


cardinal_icon.gif kailin_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
Synopsis After dinner at Tucker's Pawn Shop, a customer wanders in to discuss Staten Island.
Date May 24, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

Every shelf, every flat surface in the entire shop is covered with things. VCRs, DVDs, small pieces of machinery, cheap jewellery - all the kind of stuff worth little money. It's the merchandise that's not worth protecting, even here. If someone wants to steal a VHS copy of 'The Little Mermaid,' then so be it. The primary purpose of the clutter of items is a front - to distract from the fact that the real purpose of the shop is to sell stolen, high-value goods.
The front part of the shop with its knick-nacks and assorted low-value items is separated from the high value items by a counter and a layer of bulletproof glass. There is a slot beneath the window for exchange of money or small goods. At the base of the counter is a chute for larger items. Surveillance cameras keep a vigilant watch over every square inch.
There is a small arsenal of weapons up on a pegboard above the counter. Not just guns but knives, tasers, pepper spray, handcuffs, nightsticks, brass knuckles - all sorts of things meant to cause pain. There's a rotating case at the counter that holds many expensive jewellery pieces, including a few Rolexes and a large assortment of engagement rings. There are expensive cell phones, iPods, laptops and other various small electronics, including listening devices and CB radios. Just about anything worth stealing is displayed behind the glass and up on the walls. Many items however, are by special request. You gotta know what you're looking for.

"So," Cardinal's voice is audible through the store as he leans against the bullet-proof glass of the window at the back of the shop, gesturing vaguely with one hand as he chats with the store's proprietor through it, "…your, uh, what is she, anyway? Cousin? She doesn't look enough like your ugly ass to be your sister. She's not your baby-mamma, there wasn't enough blood in the back."
Tuck looks unimpressed by Cardinal's comments as he makes a few notes on a racing form. He sits on a high stool beyond the glass, though one of the larger panels are open to make chatting less like talking to someone in prison. "She's my ex's sister. Rocket's aunt. Which means she's off-limits. Got me?" And he doesn't just mean for hitting on. For getting into trouble as well. Though Nataliya would probably take exception to Tuck herding people away from her.

Kailin steps into the pawn shop, pulling open the door slowly and slipping inside. He keeps his shades on as he wanders through the aisles, examining the various itmes stored along the shelves for viewing. He keeps his hands tucked into his pocket and moves along slowly, wondering if some random piece of merchandise might catch his interest. His head turns towards Cardinal and Tuck as they speak and his gaze goes to the pegboard above the counter. He makes his way over and gives a nod to Cardinal, then Tuck. "Hey. What's up." He motions to the weapons and says, "I'm looking for a handgun. Can I see some of those?"

"Hey, I wouldn't want him calling me 'Uncle Rich' anyway," Cardinal banters easily, seeming a hint amused by the cautioning from the pawner. As the door cracks open, he lifts his head to look towards it, neck craning a touch to check out the newcomer to the place. Hm. Nice clothes. Earring. Expensive boots. The boots get most of his attention.
"Hey," he greets, absently, chin lifting up towards the man.

Someone who smells a little bit like he shouldn't be here, in Tuck's estimation. "Hellooo." He folds up the racing form, glances to Cardinal, then over his shoulder at the pegboard of guns. "You want to be a little more specific? We have a fantastic selection for all your killing needs." He makes a gesture at the weapons.
"And I would not like that either, Mister. I would prefer it if my son didn't fall into a life of crime." Oh how little he knows.

"Rocket…" He says the name as it clicks in his memory. "I just ran into him the other day. Seems like a nice kid." Kailin nods in Cardinal's direction and then to Tuck. "I'm not specific about the type, but I want to get something reliable. Can you tell me which one of these is the best maintained?" He takes his hand from his pocket, motioning to the weapons. "The caliber doesn't matter. I'd prefer a semi-auto but that isn't nearly as important."

"Hey, he's fine, I've got one of my people keeping an eye on him…" Yeah, that's probably encouraging. Cardinal's friends are such upstanding citizens! The thief's mostly regarding the other man's boots, before looking up and asking casually, "New to town?"

Tuck's expression darkens almost immediately as this man says he knows his son. This man who doesn't look like he's a regular Staten resident. "And you'd best stay away from him." It's a threat, but a parental one. The pawnie's expression stays dark for a moment, before he forces himself back into politeness.
He stands and reaches to pull a few of the weapons down from the pegboard. An H&K 9MM, an old but well-maintained Smith and Wesson and an M9 pistol. "All've these have been cleaned and checked. Reliable." They're slid across the counter.

"He and a girl were playing in Manhattan. In the ruins." Kailin gives a look towards Cardinal at that, thinking he may know who that girl is. "Yeah, I'm new." He looks back to Tuck as he reaches for the 9mm first. "I ran into them, that's all. I was asking them about the city, since they knew way more than I did. They were telling me just how shitty things are around here." He looks over the gun and asks, "Mind if I check it myself? You can never be too sure."

"Thought so." That's all Cardinal offers for the moment on the subject of being new, however, just leaning back against the bulletproof glass and the wall, arms folding loosely over his chest. A faint chuckle, then, "Things're shitty all over. We're just more honest here."

"If you're asking if you can fire it, um, no." Tuck pushes up the bridge of his glasses with his thumb. He files away information about his kids playing in irradiated ruins. Goddamnit, he needs his son home. And he doesn't believe that it could have been some other kid named Rocket that Kailin met. Because, well, his name's Rocket.
"I guarantee my merchandise. If you want more than my personal assurances, I suggest you take your business to a pawn shop that isn't on Staten Island. I have a reputation to maintain though. I don't sell shitty merchandise. Or if it's shitty, I price it as shitty."

Kailin grins at Cardinal's comment and turns towards him. "Yeah, that's what I'm finding out slowly. I had no idea the city was as bad off as it was. Most of that stuff doesn't get reported. I kept hearing about how services were being restored and things getting back to order. And so far I've mostly seen the opposite." He shrugs lightly and taps the weapon lightly. "Fire it? No, of course not. I just want to look inside. It will only take a few seconds. When you say you guarantee your merchandise, does that mean I can get my money back if I don't like it? I came to Staten Island cause I wanted to find something untracable. And apparently Staten Island has become the land that the law has forgotten."

"Oh, they remember it," Cardinal notes, his tone rather cynical, "They just decided that they'd rather not give a shit. Plenty of business opportunities here, though, if you're looking for it." He jerks his head to the window, then, pointing out, "If he sold shit that didn't work, someone would've killed him by now. The fact that he's still breathing is a pretty good guarantee as far as I'm concerned."
"Yes, I offer refunds on guns. That someone could kill with and then return to my shop." Sarcasm drips over Tuck's tone. "No. I sell you shitty merchandise labeled as good, my reputation gets hurt. My reputation gets too bad and someone takes me out in an alley and puts me down. That's all the assurances you get." Normally he's more personable than this, but talk of his son has put him on-edge. "Look all you want. But if you break anything, you're paying for it."
And Cardinal gets a briefly appreciative look for the defense. Though, it's brief.

Kailin shrugs and says, "Hey, I'm not saying it won't work, guys. But there are guns that fire and guns that fire under many different conditions. Will it fire wet, if it gets dropped in sand or dust… That kind of thing." He shakes his head and says, "Look, sorry. I'm not trying to be a pain. I'll take it. I'm just particular. You never know what kind of mess you're gonna get dropped into." He reaches into his front pocket and takes three hundred dollars, setting it on the counter. "How much is it gonna be?"

"It's hard to be particular when you're looking for untraceable," Cardinal points out dryly, before one hand comes up to scratch under his chin, lifting his head a bit as he considers the man through his shades. "So what's your name, new fish?"
"Look, I don't have a spec sheet or history on these guns, all right? S'far as I can tell, they're in good condition. They've been cleaned and test-fired. Everything looks fine." Tuck tosses up a hand. "You gotta do your research on this kind of thing before you walk through my door." A beat, then, "Three-fifty."

"Kevin." Kailin gives his less formal name as he normally does. "Friends call me K." He nods to Cardinal and goes about stripping the weapon quickly, clearing the clip and checking the chamber. "So how do you guys like livin' out here? It can't be easy, but it has to have its advantages." He frees the slide and and takes out the guide rod and recoil spring. He's obviously had a lot of experience with field stripping and assembly. Kailin looks back to Tuck he nods and says, "I know the specs. That's why this was my first choice." He looks back down to the weapon, blowing roughly through the barrel. Satisfied, he puts it all back together again quickly, snapping everything together and putting the weapon back down on the counter. He takes another hundred from his clip and passes it across where he placed the others. "Sorry for being anal." He shrugs and continues his earlier question. "Why live here instead of the rest of the city? Why not just work here?"

"I don't live here," Cardinal replies with a shrug of one shoulder, watching the other man break down the gun with a faint, bemused smile, "I got a place down in the city. This's just a hell of a lot better than home as a place to hang." That said, he tilts his chin up to Kailin, "Besides. Just 'cause the government's abandoned Staten doesn't mean everyone else has. And a lot've people don't have anywhere to fuckin' go. Not in this economy."

"What is there for me on the mainland except for a bunch of cops?" Tuck watches Kailin tearing apart the weapon and putting it back together with interest, but not surprise. "Besides, it's not exactly an easy commute. Hundred bucks or more to get back and forth. No guarantee you won't get robbed and pushed overboard. I think I'll stay here, thanks." He pulls out a cigarette and lights it, then glances to Cardinal. "You don't live here?" News to him.

"If you guys had one suggestion to make the city better, what would it be?" Kailin takes the weapon and brushes back his jacket, tucking it away near the small of his back. "What's the most important thing to get done over there that could help people here? More jobs? More housing?" Kailin shrugs to the both of them and says, "I know its probably a lot more complicated, but where would you start? The politicians have their own agendas that doen't have much to do with anything but getting re-elected. But its not all that hard to tie in what is good for the city with what is good for them. What would you two do if you had one thing to change?"

"I sleep here usually, don't live here," Cardinal replies with a shrug. It's a fine distinction, but it seems to be one the man's willing to make. Then he looks back to Kailin, a brow quirking up slightly over the edge of his shades. A snort of breath answers him, then, before the criminal drawls out, "Jobs? Housing? You don't have a clue 'bout Staten, do you? Frankly— " He gestures sharply with one hand, "— so long as Petrelli'n his fascist goons are in charge, I'm more than happy to see them keeping the fuck out."
Tuck snorts a bit of laughter and casts Cardinal a 'do you believe this guy?' look. "Well I believe the community centres are underfunded. How about a nice ice rink? A neighborhood watch?" He folds his hands together on the counter and then reaches to slide the weapons Kailin didn't choose away. "I think if the politicans do anything? They should fix the bridge or the ferry so people can get here without risking their lives. Not that…" he rolls a wrist. "…I particularly advocate that. Like he said," he nods towards Cardinal. "Most people here are happy to be left alone."

Kailinailin shakes his head and says bluntly, "No, honestly, I don't shit. I'm trying to find out what the hell this place is all about. I've never even conceived a place like this so being in the city all of… five or six days, I'm looking to know as much as possible about it. Hell. Everyone I talked to told me to not even come to this place, but there's no better place to learn, is there?" He shrugs nonchalantly and says, "And I know how I sound. But the questions are too important to me to worry about looking or sounding like some uptight prick. Whatever it takes." After the brief explanation he says, "Now, I understand you want to be left alone. Its nice not to have to worry about cops. You can do pretty much whatever you want - that won't get you beat up or killed. But why would the government leave this place alone? If its lawaless, won't that just spill over to the mainland? They end up having to deal with it anyway."

"Think about it," Cardinal gives his head a tight shake, "The bridge blew, and they… abandoned the island. The people here, if they weren't criminals before, well, most of 'em are now. Or they've done something illegal, anyway, just in the name of survival." He regards Kailin over the edge of the shades, gaze flat, "So. If they rebuilt the bridge, or added more security to the ferries to stop the pirates… they'd bring the people from here back to the mainland, fleeing all the criminal syndicates. Then they'd have a criminal and unemployment problem. If they sent in the National Guard to secure Staten… there'd be a public outcry about 'military intervention'. So what they fuck can they do?"
He smirks, head falling back to the glass, "Ignore it and hope it goes away."

Tuck lifts a shoulder. "You're asking the wrong people, pally." He leans back on his chair. The springs squeak under his weight. "You should ask the government why they've abandoned Staten, not the people who live here." He picks up his racing form again and goes back to making marks on the page. It's an idle gesture. "There's no room for idealists on this island. If you're looking to change the world, well, best catch the next ferry back to saner territory."
He glances to Cardinal, then over to Kailin. "We're doing fine. As much as it might not look like it from your perspective. I don't have to worry about keeping permits in order or getting raided. I can conduct my business the way I want to."

"The crime doesn't spread to the rest of the city?" Kailin raises a dark brow which rises up above the top of his shades. "Cause I know no one is going to believe in their wildest dreams that the lawlessness and crime are just going to stop here on the island. I found a way over. There are plenty of other people that can go back and forth." He motions towards Tuck and says, "I saw Rocket over there. And he was just hanging out. So I know people are going over there to commit crimes. Why rob someone here? Its people over there that have the jobs and the money. Plus you're less likely to find someone armed or skilled enough to resist." He shakes his head and adds, "If the politicians think that stuff is gonna stop just by leaving it alone, they are as stupid as they are cowardly. I'm headed back soon enough, but its making me sick the more I learn about what the city has become."

"There we go," Cardinal replies cheerfully, "Stupid and cowardly. That's the way of politics in America." He snorts, then, "Welcome to the truth of things, Kevin. Told you - we're honest here."

"If you've come here to debate social reforms, well, you're in the wrong place." Tuck's smile is all teeth, no warmth. But that's primarily because Kailin mentioned his son again. "We don't make the rules, Mister K. We don't influence the reforms or make policy. We're just…" he lifts a shoulder. "…living our lives. Staten's my home. Has been my home for almost twenty years. I lived her before it became a shit pit. That's why I'm still here." That and he's a criminal.
"Now." He glances to Cardinal, then over to Kailin. "If you're here to yammer on about things we have no control over, I suggest you go talk someone's ear off at the bar. Because I'm not particularly interested in your uninformed opinion about the state of Staten Island. But, thanks very much for your business." Faux smile appears.

Kailin rolls his eyes lazily. "Ugh. Writing off its own citizens. What has our country come to… They're not even trying to hide it anymore." He glances back at Tuck and says, "Not looking to debate. Just doin what I said before - trying to figure out how things actually work in New York." He shrugs apathetically at Tuck's smile, wondering why he would bother. "But I won't take up any more of your time with it. I know a lot more than I knew when I walked in. So thank you both for that. If I need to buy anything else, I'll come back." He raises a hand and gives a brief wave before turning to head out.

"They've got better things to worry about than us anyway," Cardinal shrugs, pushing off the wall with a shake of his head, "Like illegally arresting and detaining citizens, pissing on civil rights and encouraging teenaged suicide." Just a wee bit bitter there, Card is! "See you around, new fish. Don't shoot anyone I like with that."

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce would be irritated at Tuck for being so cold to a visitor. Oh wait! They don't have one anymore. "I'd suggest you dress down next time you come around. Some folks around here aren't as charming as we are." He nods his head towards Cardinal and flicks out his racing form.

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