Tricky Ricky And The Heart Of Gold


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Scene Title Tricky Ricky and the Heart of Gold
Synopsis Company agents find that the curious tie to the curious tie to the Hamilton Heights incident is a personal matter to their criminal informant.
Date July 20, 2010

The Rookery Ricky Daselles' Apartment

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.

Under clouded skies and cooling temperatures, the Rookery's worn down streets are dappled by recently fallen rain, and that fresh smell overpowers the stink of gasoline and sweat that seems so common here. This particular neighborhood where Veronica Sawyer and Albert Rossling has come is considered the Rookery's heart, 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 of 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 Tucker'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 Veronica Sawyer has dealt with him before, dealt with Richard Daselles on his own terms, dealt with the Rookery and dealt with the sight of human detritus that is Staten Island.

When Veronica 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. Rossling is hesitant to continue as he follows at her heels, his camel colored suit and tie ensemble makes him stand out like a sore thumb in this environment. Dress shoes crunch broken glass underfoot up the stairs, and his nose rankles at the scent of marijuanna in the air.

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, same as before. 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 along with shouts of, "Deal! Deal you motherfucker take the deal!"

Ricky loves his game shows.

Noting the various sounds that translate into various threats for the agent to be aware of, Veronica glances up at Rossling. "He's pretty simple — pay him and he talks, or at least that seemed to be the case last time. Don't be all butlery on him. It might make him clam up," she tells the older agent, smirking just a touch before she lifts her hand to knock on the door. She pulls her DHS badge out, since he knew she was a "fed."

The last time she spoke to Ricky was in the freezing cold March; today's attire of a t-shirt and lightweight pants is a far cry from the warm coat, scarf, and gloves that she wore that day. Presumably, no smoke man is taking refuge in Ricky's kerosene heater, eighter — not that Veronica was ever aware that her prey was that close at that moment.

"Hold the fuck on!" comes ringing through the door, followed by thunking footsteps and weight leaning against the door's side. "Oh— okay hold— on a little more you probably want me to have pants on…" trails off as Ricky walks away from the apartment door, eliciting one white brow lifting on Rossling's head as he turns to look at Veronica with a mild expression of surprise.

A moment later, there's a slosh and a clunk followed by the chirp of a bird and then clomping footsteps again, a rattling click of locks, and then a slow opening of the door with the chain still drawn across the open space. Squinting at Veronica, Ricky Daselles offers a look past the brunette towards the immaculately dressed agent behind her.

"Okay look, last time was one thing but could you leave James Bond over there on the curb? Seriously, are you guys trying to get people to think I'm a goddamned Narc?" Rick's eyes flick from Rossling to Veronica and back again, "You're paying per head," Ricky adds before pushing the door shut and unlatching the chain, then pulls the door open and waves one hand into the apartment.

"Get in you're lettin' all the goddamned cool air out." Ricky leans around the door as he urges Veronica and Rossling inside, and only once both have come in does he even so much as slightly relax. Dark eyes check the hall before bringing the door shut and locking the three deadbolts and sliding the chain back over.

While Ricky is handling security Veronica is reunited with an apartment that is befitting of the Rookery, while Rossling is left to wonder if any surface is clean enough to touch. Reaching up into the breast pocket of his jacket, he withdraws a white handkerchief and keeps it clutched like a safety blanket in one hand.

The apartment still 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 that, on Veronica's last visit, looked so dirty it looks like an algae culture experiment, but now contains a twisting and knotted branch upon which a tiny songbird perches, chirping and tweeting beneath a cage mesh cover. On the television, it's clear Ricky was watching Deal or No Deal and eating Fruity Pebbles out of an open box.

"You guys want a beer or something?" Ricky notes as he turns away from the door, his voice quiet over the noise of the television and the rumble of an old air conditioning unit braced in one window. "Also it'll be sixty bucks for whatever you two need, I need a new AC," he suggests with a nod to the old, clunking behemoth.

"James Bond here and I are only staying for a few moments, if you'll be kind enough to answer some questions for us, Ricky" the female agent says with a touch of a smile pulling her dimples to the surface of her cheeks. She then reaches into her back pocket to pull out some bills, holding up three twenties before handing him one as an advance of sorts.

"Tell me," she begins, glancing at Rossling and smirking some more at his discomfiture in the messy apartment, "about your arrangement with Darryl Lincoln. How do you know him, what do you know about him, and exactly why are you handling his financial matters for him?" Veronica crosses her arms, the rest of the money still her palm, now curled in the crook of her elbow as she tilts her head, waiting for Ricky's answer.

Having already taken that first twenty, Ricky looks momentarily stunned by the question. Brown eyes go wide, his mouth opens to speak but no sound comes out. Gone is the facade of the careless stoner and the flippant dealer, gone is the joking and the laughter and the sarcasm. What dawns over Ricky's expression is both haunted and saddened, head dipping down as he lays the twenty out on the counter. Maybe he doesn't want it that bad.

Brows furrowed, Rossling offers the stranger an askance look, then settles his attention on Veronica with one expectantly raised brow. Patient enough only for a moment of silence, the British agent slides in conversationally with measured tones. "It's very important, mister Daselles. We're worried that Darryl might have gotten — "

A hand comes up, Rick'y palm facing Rossling before he waves it around dismissively. "I take care of his apartment, pay the bills for it and stuff you know? For when he gets out. When he's better." Walking away from the agents, Ricky moves to stand in front of the air conditioner, running a hand thorugh his dark, curly hair before turning back around to regard the agents.

"Why're you asking me about Darryl? He's been in Greystone for years…" There in Ricky's words is the first tell of something being amiss. Darryl Lincoln was discharged from Greystone just a few weeks prior to his incident at Morningside Heights. Either Ricky didn't know, or he's not sharing.

Veronica's brows knit together with a little concern. Clearly this is not something that falls in Ricky's usual criminal circle of activity, something closer and more important to him, something personal, perhaps. "He's currently at Greystone," she assures him, not yet letting him know that he had been out. "That's very nice of you to keep his place for him. Do you have any idea why he's been institutionalized? We see his ability is latent or very subtle, but do you have any suspicions of what it might be? If it might have any thing to do why he's mentally unstable?"

After a brief pause she takes a step closer, her husky voice softer with compassion. "Tell me how you know him? Let me just let you know right now, he's not injured or in our custody or at the moment any sort of suspect, if that helps put you at ease. You're not hurting him in any way by talking to me, Ricky. I guarantee you that, okay? What you tell us might be able to help him, though I can't promise you that."
His ability has a look of confusion crossing Ricky's face.

"He's— " careful choices of words later ends in, "like that?" Brown eyes drift between Rossling's stoicism and Veronica's compassion in equal measure. "Darryl's my cousin, we've been friends since we were kids. Best friends, you know?" Walking from the air conditioner and into his kitchen, Ricky grabs an already open beer off of the center island, then looks towards the television in silence before settling his attention back on the agents.

"I didn't know he was like that. Darryl never used to be the way he is, really. He was a really good kid, kind've slow, you know?" There's a careful squint of Ricky's eyes. "He was born that way, people used to give him shit— pick on him? Nobody else would ever have his back, so I got to watching out for him. He was my bro, thick as thieves. He was always jittery, the kind've kid who cried at all sorts of stuff you know?"

Shaking his head slowly, Ricky's brows furrow and he looks down towards the beer bottle. "His sister died in a car accident back in '03, he kind've lost it after that. He kept saying he could hear her talking before the accident, just— it was rough on all of us but Darryl wasn't really equipped to handle something like death, you know?"

Rossling's shoulders slack and his eyes avert to the floor as he listens, breathing in a slow breath and exhaling it as a sigh through his nose. Ricky lifts up the beer and takes a sip, searching the agents with a stare as he does before putting the bottle down. "He got checked in after her death, the schizophrenia was pretty bad… he walked out of his apartment one day and right into traffic because he said he heard something. He almost got run over and— we just didn't know what else to do."

Shaking the bottle from side to side to test its emptiness, Ricky sets it down on the island with a clunk. "We lived together, back when he got put away. I helped take care of him. I couldn't stay there anymore… but his place is like— it's not something you can pack up. He was obsessed with all sorts of little things. He put Post-It notes on the walls, made himself little maps for how to find his socks… I just— it's his home and I know one day he's gonna' get out and he's going to want everything where he left it. I just— "

Rubbing one hand over his head, Ricky finally asks the obvious question. "What the fuck does my cousin have to do with anything?"

"Fucking asshole shrinks," Veronica mutters under her breath. It's clear to her that Darryl was evolved — Greystone might not have known that in '03, but by '07, the doctors should have figured that out. She closes her eyes and shakes her head in anger. "Apparently he tested positive but they never knew what it was. I have my guesses now," she says, unfolding her arms to set the other forty dollars on the counter as she follows Ricky into the kitchen. "I'm really sorry. I know this is hard for you, and I do appreciate it."

After a quick glance at Rossling to assess his take on this, her own less subtle, she turns her dark eyes back on Ricky. "Does the name Shelley Winbrook mean anything to you? Your cousin apparently knew her, felt protective of her, for some reason. Was it someone you both knew, or anyone you ever heard him talk about? Again, we're trying to help. I really want to help your cousin, Ricky. Tell me anything, no matter how small."

"I— don't know who that is," Ricky admits with a narrowing of his eyes and an accusing look flicked between the two agents. "Look do you two want to tell me why you came all the way out here to dig at this? Darryl's been locked up in Greystone for seven years, I don't even have visitation rights to him after how bad he got after Midtown, after he freaked out when I showed up there. Look— you're goddamned right this isn't easy, but it's also private."

Turning on the defensive, Ricky takes a broad step forward, head shaking slowly. Rossling moves up behind Veronica, offering a warding hand towards Ricky to try and ease him down. "Mister Daselles, we're investigating a case that— "

"What kind of fucking case could possibly need you bringing this up?" Ricky's brown eyes narrow and one hand waves wildly around at his side. "Keep the rest of your money, just— get out. I don't want you fucking with him, I don't want you picking at his poor life. I don't know what you want but he's a good person, he doesn't deserve whatever trouble it is you're dragging with you."

When Ricky steps forward, Veronica stands her ground, shaking her head. "We're not dragging him into anything. Let me be honest with you, all right? We're not trying to hurt him or pick at him. Hell, this might even help him, because I don't think he's crazy. He somehow got out of Greystone a few weeks ago, went to a police station and warned them that someone was coming to get this woman, this Shelley Winbrook. They sedated him and brought him back to Greystone, thinking he was just … well, insane. Schizophrenic," she explains.

"The problem, Ricky, is Winbrook lives at that apartment building that has a giant hole in it now. The same address and the same day he said they would come for her, half of the building got taken away."

She frowns, her mind returning to something said a few moments ago. "The day he stepped into traffic — what did he think he heard? What did the voices tell him? Was it about someone he knew or does he get visions of people in danger he doesn't know?" she asks, her voice soft. "Your cousin, Ricky, he's a precognitive of some sort. I'm pretty sure of it. He's not crazy. We might be able to help him with his power." Maybe not, though — most precognitives are a bit off by nature.

Latching on to the obvious there, Ricky's brows lift and his eyes go wide. "What?" is voiced almost breathlessly, "I— I have myself signed as his legal attendant if he gets released. There's— there is no way he got let out of Greystone without my knowing about it." Wild brown eyes dart back and forth now, and Ricky begins to look more paranoid than agitated. "I've been his contact in those forms for nearly ten years. They don't just let him go on his own."

Running a hand thorugh his hair, Ricky furrows his brows and scowls, pacing around the kitchen nervously. "I— don't know what he heard. He wrote stuff down all the time, all over the place. I came home one day and he'd written all over the goddamned walls in the apartment, I had to re-wallpaper the entire goddamned place to cover it up."

That earns a look from Rossling to Veronica, one brow raised in curious reaction. When the older agent's attention turns back to Ricky, he steps in to try and squeeze more information out. "He kept notes, then? You said his apartment was left as-is?"

Both of Ricky's hands come up at that as his head shakes. "No. No, no, no I am not having some train of feds rummaging through his stuff, no fucking way."

With a sidelong glance toward Rossling, Veronica gives a nearly imperceptible nod. The apartment they will be able to get in, with or without Ricky's permission. Returning her gaze to Ricky, the female agent shakes her head. "They were probably embarrassed he got out, and didn't want to call you in, since the police returned him to their care," she says quietly, trying to calm down the upset man. "You'll have to ask them just how it happened, but for now, he's there and we have no reason to think he had anything to do with the actual incidence except for knowing it was going to happen. And that's not a crime, if it was through a vision."

She doesn't pick up the money. He could use a new air conditioner, after all. "Look. I know you're worried about your cousin. I'm going to suggest that someone look into the possibility of him being a precognitive. It's possible he's both schizophrenic and Evolved, which is probably why they missed it, but there's the chance that if he knows how to balance the two — if he is indeed both — he could live a fairly normal life," she says, softly, not without compassion, the neuroscientist that almost was coming to the forefront. "I can't make any promises, but I want to help him if I can. Thank you for being honest with us."

The apartment is not mentioned — they can get a warrant if they want to go the legal route and if not, they hardly need Ricky's permission. Veronica glances to Rossling to see if there's anything else he wants to ask.

"Everyone wants to help," Ricky bitterly admits with a furrow of his brows, "everyone feels bad, feels sorry, but when push comes to shove it's usually too much work. People have all the sad faces and puppy-dog eyes for a sorry story, but when it actually comes time to follow thorugh on their promises, you don't get shit."

Looking to the door, Ricky's brows furrow and he nods his head towards the entrance. "Like I said, you can keep your money. Just go… I can't explain Darryl to you, nobody can. The only person who was ever able to get through to him when he was at his worst was Lisa, and she's gone now. So… unless you talk to the doctors that are taking care of him, I don't know how else to help you."

Rossling sighs thorugh his nose and offers Ricky a slow, apologetic nod of his head. "What you've given us has been immensely helpful," is somewhat being polite, somewhat not trying to give cue that he intends on ransacking that apartment. "Was there anything else, Sawyer?"

"We'll talk to Greystone. I can't guarantee anything, but I'll try," Veronica says, husky voice a little huskier. "You've been very helpful, Ricky. Thanks for talking to us. I'm sorry it was personal. I didn't know or…" Or she would have been more polite in asking him about his connections to Lincoln. She shakes her head. She should have figured that out ahead of time.

"We're good," she adds to Rossling, her legs making short work of the small apartment to get to the front door. The tilt of her chin and the flash in her eyes suggest she's angry — at Greystone — and also on a mission. Darryl Lincoln's apartment, if it's in the state he left it in, might have clues as to just what sort of things he saw before his institutionalization. Whether it will explain the disappearance of Shelley Winbrook and the sixty-foot sphere of apartment building is unlikely, but now Agent Sawyer has more than just that case to solve; she is determined to try to "solve" Darryl Lincoln as well.

Silence, save for the noise of his air-conditioner and the television is Veronica and Rossling's farewell. Left to stare out one of his apartment windows where sunlight breaks through patchwork clouds, Ricky seems to have more on his mind now, more than seeing the agents out. Rossling's silent nervousness is punctuated by a brief nod of his head as he turns, unfastening the chain and turning the deadbolts with heavy clicks into the door.

Opening the exit of the apartment, Rossling looks back to Ricky, then turns his green eyes on Veronica in silence before stepping out into the hall.

They say that mental illness is a struggle, a constant battle with something that can be tempered but never truly controlled. Most of the times, sayings like that are made in reference to the individual stricken themselves, but the struggle against any mental illness is something that affects everyone they come in contact with.

No mental illness can ever truly be cured, but it can be accomodated through patience and understanding, through listening and empathy. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Ricky Daselles isn't just the man he appears to be on the surface. He — like most people in the post-bomb world — has his own private war he fights. The only difference is, Ricky's is a battle of attrition and one he knows he cannot win.

But for Darryl's sake, he's willing to fight until the end.

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