Tricky Ricky And The Armored Van


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Scene Title Tricky Ricky and the Armored Van
Synopsis Rumors of a disappearance on Staten Island similar to the one Rebel has been speaking of urges Catherine Chesterfield to investigate the man who claims to have seen the event.
Date January 29, 2010

The Rookery

The Rookery is one of the most dangerous places in the United States, a haven for drug and gun running, human trafficking and murder. Even with the United States Government leaning down on Staten Island, the Rookery still proves to be the pustulent head of Staten Island's infected underbelly.

It's on one particularly wet night that brings Catherine Chesterfield out to this terrible side of New York City, where derelict apartment complexes lie boarded up, burned out husks of cars lay on the street side, and graffiti paints nearly every building and surface. Steam rises up from trash-clogged sewer grates, rain soaked newspaper pages lie patch worked across the sidewalk, and homeless junkies are huddled in shallow alleyways and stoops for closed up businesses.

On one particularly run down street, there lies a brick-faced building of crumbling appearance with barred windows on the ground floor. The old sign that once proclaimed Tuck's Pawn Shop is now unlit and left to fade further than it already was. Near the pawn shop entrance, there is an entrance to a stairwell marked with a smashed in intercom and buzz-lock system that leads up to apartments above the pawn shop.

It's here where a man known on Staten Island as Tricky Ricky resides, a loose-associate of the Ferrymen, drug runner, and generally untrustworthy sod of a man. But Catherine Chesterfield's mental Rolodex knows him by a different name, Richard Daselles, and knows him as the man who purportedly saw an armored van that has garnered Rebel's attention as of late.

When she pulls open the shattered frame of the doorway that leads to the apartment stairwell and heads up the concrete steps to the second floor, she can hear the muffled and distant sounds of an argument, a man and woman's voice raised, something smashing, a child crying. Another floor up a dog is barking and someone has their radio on too loud, but far enough away that only the generic bass beats can be heard through the ceiling.

Apartment 201 is the first door on her right, just like she'd heard. It's numbers have long since been peeled off— they were copper, but copper is valuable — and all that remains now are the faded markings that ghostly show suggestions of numbers. Beyond the door, the sound of a too-loud television prattles muffled through the too-thin walls.

It's loud in there, so the darkly clad woman in winter coat with hood up outside the door knocks in a more urgent manner than she might normally, to ensure she's heard. Then she stands to one side of the door and watches, waiting, in case the person within desires to start shooting through it rather than open up right away. One never knows, in this location, when an occupant might get spooked by unexpected arrival and take it as Frontline turning up, or some other hostile presence.

"Hold on!" Comes the booming voice from inside, "Hold on!" A little quieter that time. With all the noise in the apartments, Cat can't quite hear what's going on behind the door, not until the floorboards creak right in front of it, and the chain slides back, two deadbolts click back into the door and the knob unlocks. When the door comes swinging open, there's a confused looking man with an unruly mop of curly hair standing on the other side.

He looks like he was expecting someone else.

"Whoa, fuck— Jesus." He closes the door partway, pressing a foot up against it and peers through the open crack at Cat while frantically trying to hook the chain back on. "Who the fuck are you, what the fuck do you want? Did Frank send you because I fucking told him I don't have any. Not that I don't appreciate the gesture but— fuck."

"I'm not Jesus," she replies dryly as two steps are taken to place her in front of him. "And no, Frank didn't send me. Cat's features show most of the trademark calm, but contain a hint of distaste that he seems to believe she came here looking for drugs.

"Mr. Daselles," she goes on to say, "word is you witnessed an abduction some time ago. I'm looking into that vanishing. And no," she anticipates, "I'm neither cop, Frontline, DHS, nor Company out to take care of people knowing too much."

"Whoa yeah uh— right because that's making me— " Ricky waves a hand in the air, "How the fuck do you know my— son of— There ain't nobody by that name here, name's Micky Stemple— I— I didn't see shit. Kindly get the fuck out." The door comes shut somewhat feverishly, but Cat can still see the shadow of feet beneath the door, and the peephole at the door's center is dark. He's still there, peering out at the hall even as locks click and bolt and pop.

An old adage comes to mind; you attract more flies with dollar bills, than you do vinegar. Well, that's not quite how it goes.

"I'm no one's son, Mr. Stemple," Cat replies dryly as the door closes. She looses a slow and quiet sigh, starting to extract money from inside the coat. Under the door a single twenty slides, arriving at the toe of one foot in that shadow. "I hope you weren't implying I look other than entirely female. Beyond that, regarding the unspoken part of that sentence, I never met the woman who bore me. So I can't say whether or not she was a bitch."

A second twenty dollar bill slides under the door, she being prepared to keep them coming until he opens up.

Silence affords the first twenty simply because he doesn't seem to notice it, three more later the locks are coming undone and the burly, unshaven man is peeking out through the open crack again, the folded bills in one hand as he squints a scrutinizing look at Cat. "Jesus you are one weird fuckin' chick. Alright, whatever the fuck you want get the fuck in I ain't got all goddamned day I'm doing important work here." Opening the door the rest of the way and standing behind it as he lets Cat in, Ricky leans around the door once she's inside and checks the hall before bringing the door shut and locking the three deadbolts and sliding the chain back over.

While Ricky is handling security Cat is perhaps nonplussed with her surroundings. The apartment looks both like too many people and no one lives here all at once. Open pizza boxes are piled up near the door with crumbs on the linoueum floor. Portions of that very gaudy avacado flooring are peeling up in places. The paint is quite literally curling off the walls in spots and the flannel-covered couches have cigarette burn marks in them and tears in the upholstery where yellow foam pokes out.

A small cathode tube television rests on a tray opposite the couch, squeezed between a bookshelf and a fish tank so dirty it looks like an algae culture experiment. On the television, it's clear Ricky was watching Family Feud and eating Captain Crunch out of an open box. Judging from his attire, he was doing this in his boxers and a UCLA Berkley sweatshirt.

He is a man of class.

"Alright, who the fuck are you and what the fuck do you want. You've got six minutes." He wags the sixty dollars in his hand and starts heading for the kitchen in socked feet, heavy footfalls thumping gracelessly with each step.

"I'm a curious person," Cat tells the man simply, "looking into things which match a news report in Texas and some claims circling around the internet, about armored black vans and disappearances of people with the SLC who are also registered. Word is you told a story a few months back about men in biosuits wheeling a lighted coffin out of a house and into such a van. And that you've not see a man called Juan since."

Her eyes have only briefly surveyed the interior, she choosing instead to keep focus on him instead.

"Oh fuck me you can't seriously be— " Ricky stops after opening the refrigerator, looking back over his shoulder at Cat. God damn alright look— I'll tell you what I told the other guys who asked. I was drunk, okay? I was really drunk, and maybe I didn't see anything? Maybe I was so high off my ass that I didn't even go looking for Juan that night." Reaching into the refrigerator, Ricky pulls out a carton of mily and pops the flap open, taking a swig out of it before putting it back into the refrigerator, swishing the milk around in his mouth before swallowing.

"But if I did see something— and I ain't saying that I did— it might have been a big fucking black van— truck— thing and it might've been at Juan's place. He lives on the other side of Staten, sells Refrain out on the southwest side, usually deals in Jersey. My shit dried up when the Gook fuckers got axed by Frontline, so I needed to see where Juan was getting his shit from."

Circling around the island in the kitchen, Ricky goes over to a rocking chair, finding a pair of sweatpants with a couple of grease stains on one leg, and then moves to stand behind the island again as he tugs them on one hairy leg at a time. "The truck didn't freak me out really. You ever seen one of those Schwann's delivery trucks, the big freezers on wheels things? Kinda' looked like that, but way heavier. I dunno if it actually was black or not, might've been like a gray or some shit. Black sounds scarier though so— I might've said black. I don't fucking know."

Now with pants, Ricky moves back to the kitchen and looks at the refrigerator. "You want a Coors Lite or something?"

"No thank you, sir," Cat replies to the beer, as she speculates on what this man has told her. "I'd like to see the place where this happened," the panmnesiac states, "and now I'm more curious. Tell me about the others who came to ask about all of this."

Hopefully the dealer won't start seeking more cash.

"Suit yourself." Ricky states, opening the refrigerator again, leaning over, and then retrieving a silvered can. "Well, Juan lives— lived— out on 440 Rockaway street, out in Tottenville. That's way the fuck out on the southwest side near Jersey." Cracking open the top of the can with a pop and a hiss, Ricky brings it up to his lips and takes a long swig of it on his way past Catherine and towards the living room again. "When I got to his house that night, that truck was parked ass-end up to his door with the back open. I didn't think shit of it, figured he was getting some big delivery from the Chinese or something."

Quirking his head to the side, Ricky turns around and looks at Cat with a suspicious expression at first, then just shakes his head. "The ah— when I saw those fucking guys in the big plastic suits with the masks and shit? I bugged right the fuck out and hid in his neighbor's yard. They were wheeling out this big like— fucking iron lung looking thing with hoses and lights and shit? I dunno what the fuck it was. But these guys had guns, so I wasn't about to fucking ask. Juan was one've th— " he cuts himself off. "Y— ou know, special. Dunno what the fuck he did, think it had something to do with chemicals though. So I figured Johnny Law finally got sick of him and decided to pack him up."

"I went back to his house a couple days later…" Ricky admits, leaning against his couch. "Whole place was cleared out, no furniture no nothing. It was like he just fucking up and disappeared. The dudes who came by asking about him were like… two— three weeks later?" He entertains a sip from his beer, dimpling in the side of the can with his thumb absently. "Scary Chinese fuckers in suits with guns. They busted up in here like they fucking owned the place and asked me where Juan was and where his pile of Refrain went. Somehow they knew I bought from him, and fuck— I didn't know shit. They kicked me around a bit, tore up my place," he waves around at the apartment, "then took off."

"I see," Cat floats after the story concludes. So it wasn't other people following the track Rebel's set out, apparently, but Triad after their drugs. "Thank you, sir. Is there anything else you know about all this?" His face is studied, the reactions watched for signs of deceit.

"I know if you come around here waving a fat stack of cash again you're probably gonna' get your ass shot off." At that comment Ricky takes a moment to appraise said goods, out of concern, clearly. When his eyes deviate back up to Cat's, he shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head. "Nah, I ain't seen anything like that shit happening around here since. Nobody fuckin' believed me anyway, not even the Triad fuckers. You're the first person I've talked to who didn't think I was out've my goddamned mind…" That comment makes Ricky stares down at his beer.

"Which— I guess means you're either loopier than a box of Cheerio's, or I'm not as big of a dipshit as I thought." He brings the can up, taking a long sip from it before lowering it again, eyes back at Cat now.

"You wanna' score anything while you're here?" Ricky is a businessman after all, it would be impolite not to ask.

"My ass is more dangerous than you might think," Cat tells him with a look coming into her eyes which backs up that claim, the eyes of a woman who's ended lives before and wouldn't shrink from doing it again. "Don't underestimate me, ever." They watch his face for an extended moment before she turns to go, choosing not to dignify his question about drugs with an answer. She pretends he didn't just ask her if she wishes to partake of a weak and pathetic person's refuge.

"Well— if you ever need a hook up!" Ricky shouts as Cat starts headed for the door, unlocking it and showing herself out, lifting his hand to make the universal pantomime for call me at one side of his head and mouthing the words, right up until Cat slams the door on him. Once she's out of the apartment, Ricky rankles his nose and looks down at his beer, lifting one arm and sniffing— just to check and see if that's why she was so terse and short-staying. His judgment:


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