Tricky Ricky And The Incredible Melting Man


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Scene Title Tricky Ricky And The Incredible Melting Man
Synopsis Veronica Sawyer comes to question Richard Daselles about the murder in the Rookery associated with Luke Campbell.
Date March 23, 2010

The Rookery

Little can be said about one of Staten Island's most notorious neighborhoods that doesn't involve the phrase, "shit hole" or some clever variation thereof. The Rookery used to be the Soddom and Gammorah of Staten Island, but the lofty heights of debauchery and sin that this place once represented in its hey day were quick and brutal to come crashing down.

The fire that burned down the Happy Dagger, once considered the hub of information in all of the Rookery, is considered by most to be the beginning of the end. With it came the disappearances of Robert Muldoon and John Logan, the two most notorious and feared criminals of Staten Island. Then, their silent investor who managed the Pancratium fighting arena vanished after the arena's destruction in the fall. Now, with the onset of winter's heavy fist hammering down on the east coast in what should be spring and the encroaching presence of the United States Government reclaiming block after block on the other side of the Island, the Rookery is finally breaking apart at the seams.

It's unfortunate that Veronica Sawyer's job has brought her out here, to the streets that have been barely plowed and buildings no longer with stable electricity. The Rookery has been divided up by the drug dealers, rape gangs and violent criminals who remained in the wake of Logan and Muldoon's departure, a microcosm for what could possibly happen if a crime lord like Daniel Linderman ever fell, a power vacuume that turned this place into a sink hole of filth and the detritus of humanity.

Above the boarded up storefront of what used to be Tucker's Pawn Shop, judging by the partially faded sign above the plywood boarded window, there lies a small tenement building. Accessible by exterior wooden stairs that creak and groan under each step, the apartments can be said to be among the worst places Veronica has ever had the displeasure of visiting, even considering Argentina.

Here the halls smell of must and urine, faded carpet torn in places and dingy wallpaper peeling away from yellowed sheetrock. It's almost as cold in the hallway as it is outside, save for the lack of wind to blow through the building. There's the noise of a baby crying on the floor above, a couple having an argument on this floor, shouting and strained voices.

Mercifully, the apartment of Richard Daselles — "Tricky Ricky" as he's known around these parts — is right by the entrance. The apartment'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 the number "201". Beyond the door, there is nothing but silence.

Being sent to this hellhole is just one more piece of evidence, exhibit W probably at this point, for Veronica's case that Martin Crowley loathes her.

Her jeans are soaked through up to the mid thigh from the snow that hasn't been plowed, and since her boots only come up to her knees, she's thigh from the knee up as well. To make things worse, she's dressed to blend in, which means she is wearing a raggedy coat and a baseball cap instead of a Gortex snow parka and cashmere scarves and hats. At least she has a bulletproof vest on underneath the tattered coat.

Her gloved hand rises to knock on the door, waiting for an answer from the other side.

At first there's just silence, then after a metallic clank and a glass clink, there's a noisy whooping cough and then a wheezed out, "Hold— Hold on!" Creaking noises and heavy thumping footsteps slowly approach the apartment door, and there's a subtle addition of weight on the inside of the door and a darkening of the peephole as whoever's inside inspects whoever's outside. "Shit," is murmured ont he other side of the door, followed by footsteps going away, "Just— hold on a second! Lemmie put some fucking pants on!"

Because apparently, he was without them, just now. Thanks for sharing, Ricky.

There's further creaking and loud footsteps further into the apartment, a few more coughs that sound dry, and then the slow thumping of footfalls coming back to the door, chain unlocking and not one, not two, but three deadbolts coming unlocked before the door opens a crack and the barrel of a sawed off shotgun is pushed out thorugh the opening of the darkened apartment and aimed out into the hall.

"Afternoon," comes the voice of a round-faced and nshaven man with curly hair. Heat radiates out from the door of his apartment, but there doesn't seem to be more than candle light flickering inside. But accompanying the warmth of heat coming thorugh that space in the door, is also the overwhelming aroma of marijuana. "You're either a hooker or an addict or— fuck— probably both. What'd you want hot lips?"

"If you really thought I was a hooker, why'd you put your pants on?" Veronica says back, tilting her head to look up and smile at the man. Best not to show that the shotgun has her quaking in her boots — if she died here, would anyone even know?

"To answer your question, I'm neither. I'm looking for some information on Robinson. I don't give a shit about your drugs or anything else, and if you talk really nice and put that fucking shotgun away," her eyes flicker to the barrel and back to his face, "I'll make sure you get compensated for taking the time to chat, Mister Daselles." She waits a beat, then adds, "In currency, before you get the wrong idea."

Tipping the shotgun barrel down, Ricky furrows his brows and breathes out a curse under his breath. "Fuck me another fucking fed." There's a slow shake of Ricky's head as he just pushes the door open and steps into the candle-lit and cluttered apartment. "Fine whatever just if you're gonna shoot me at least lemmie grab a boob or something before I get my brains blown across the wall?" Tossing the shotgun into a ratty armchair near the door, Ricky just walks in to the heated apartment, picking up a still smoldering joint from an ashtray on the kitchen counter near the door, bringing it up to his lips and drawing in a sharp breath, and orange glow coming from the tip that illuminates the puf-off expression on his face.

Wheezing out a breath, Ricky exhales a few sharp coughs and waves Veronica in. "for fuck's sake," he says breathlessly, "get the fuck inside before you let out all the fucking heat." 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 linoleum floor. Portions of that very gaudy avocado 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. By the couch, a small kerosene heater sheds a considerable amount of warmth to the apartment.

Also visible on the table near the furnace, are two syringes glowing with a soft blue light from the liquid inside.

She can't help but smirk at the request as she steps into the apartment, reaching to close the door behind her lest the precious heat escape. Now that she's in where it's warm, Veronica suddenly realizes how cold she is, and not for the first time does she wish she never left California. The agent moves closer to the heater. "I'm not going to shoot you," she says, then taps her coat. "I'm going to pull out a file — not a gun, so don't overreact, all right?" she tells him.

She reaches into the coat for the plasticized envelope.

"When's the last you saw Robinson, and do you know anyone who might have wanted to harm him? Again, to be clear, you're not someone we're seeing as a person of interest in this case, except for what you can tell us that might help us find our guy, so there's no reason not to cooperate. I'm not going to turn you in for anything related to your business, so there's no reason to hide anything."

"Oh fuck me sideways, the incredible melting man." Ricky blurts out with about as much sympathy as one would give a dead rat. "Yeah I know that pig-fucker, there's a lot of people that'd want him dead." Making his way across the apartment, Ricky comes to stand on the opposite side of the heated from Veronica, his wrinkled polo shirt having a dusting of orange across the chest in the shape of cheetos-stained finger prints. "Yeah he's— kind've a fuck off and this place is better off without him. He's one of those sick fucks, has a grudge against hooker and junkies, but sells his shit all the same, right?" Dark brows lift up, and Ricky offers Veronica a curious stare.

"So instead of just, you know, doin' some kinda' normal job he sells fucking bad drugs to people he don't like. Shit laced with strychnine or rat poison or who the fuck knows what. I remember this one guy he sold some Blue Fairy to?' Ricky motions to the syringes of Refrain with a nod of his head, "was just a bunch of fucking bright blue glow-sticks. You know what's in those fucking things? Fiberglass." There's a slow shake of Ricky's head, bringing that joint up to his lips again, pinched between two fingers as he draws in a slow breath and exhales the smoke in twin jets out his nose, followed by a wheezing cough.

"He'd nab all the suckers in the town who didn't know where to get the real shit. One sick fuck if you ask me. I heard what happened to him, but it wasn't no surprise, really. There was this Oriental guy," yes he actually said Oriental, "who came by here like two or three weeks before old dude here got turned to fucking melted wax. Looked like one of the homeless people who lives down by the meat packing plant on the east coast of the island. He was asking around about rumors he heard about a dude selling tainted Refrain, so I pointed in in that shit-hole's direction. I figured he was an undercover cop or something, he walked the walk, you know? Had that cop swagger to him, even if he was all fu-man-chu."

Offering out the joint to Veronica, Ricky adds, "You DEA?"

"Sounds like a charmer," Veronica says dryly, her jaw setting at the stories of the selling of bad drugs. She knows people who have done Refrain — the what ifs aren't lost on her, and she shakes her head in disgust. "So I guess no condolences are in order. That's good. I don't like to lie about shit like that." Having been on the other side of the situation when such people lied to her, Veronica does hate the duplicity of her job at times.

The agent opens the envelope to pull out the photograph of Luke Campbell, handing it to the Cheeto-flecked and scruffy man. The stench of the pot is giving her a headache and making her a bit dizzy — she was a good girl, one of the movers and shakers, in high school and then set on her mission to become FBI or CIA in college — she wouldn't have compromised her career for a toke or two. Alcohol, yes. Drugs, no. She makes a conscious effort to try to breathe through her nose shallowly.

"You see this kid around Staten about that time? Know anything about him?"

Shrugging his shoulders and bringing the joint back up to his lips, Ricky pinches it between them and reaches out for the picture. He squints, leaning forward to hold it down towards one of the candles so he can see it betterm then shakes his head, talking out one side of his mouth so as to not drop what's left of his joint from conversing. "Nope, ain't never seen the kid before." Straightening back up, Ricky's eyes drift in scrutinizing manner up and down Veronica.

Handing the photograph back, Ricky plucks the joint from his lips with his other hand and tosses it down into a larger ash tray with a couple of others after the fact. "Now, maybe if you wanna tell me who you work for I won't just straight up lie to you. I got a good thing going here, okay? I share a tip or two here and there when Feds come down knocking on my door and they leave me to my business. I'm small potatos, alright? You come up in here waggling your ass around like some rookie out of the academy thinking she's foolin' anybody who's been on the street long as I have, and— you know— you're either gonna get yourself shot, or me shot."

Folding his arms across his chest, Ricky arches one brow and squares a look at Veronica. "So maybe I did see your boy, maybe I didn't. You want me to be straight with you, there's two ways you can do it; be straight with me, or lay down some cash."

Waggling her ass? She can't even feel it, it's so damn numb from crawling over snow drifts taller than she is. Veronica just arches a brow, and reaches into her inner coat. Not for her firearm, though she certainly wouldn't mind shooting the asshole in the balls — not so much for the sexist comment but more because he dared call her a rookie!. Out comes a few bills, which she fans out like a poker hand so he can see they're all twenties.

"I'm DHS. Not looking to screw up your little gig with the feds, and I don't care about your business like I said. Just looking to keep people from getting melted. The kid could be dangerous. There was someone else, someone who probably didn't deserve it, who got the same treatment as your buddy."

Looking at the money, Rick reaches out and takes the wad of cash between thick fingers, fanning the bills out and nodding once before tucking them into the pocket of his sweatpants. "Right," he says in a gruff tone of voice, nodding his head once. "Yeah I saw the kid, same day that I heard ol' melty-face got slagged a couple blocks away. He was cruising around town like he knew where he was going, I don't think he talked to anyone though. He was down at Shooters," there's a vague nod towards one wall of his apartment, "one of the dive bars 'round here, waiting for someone. I dunno if it was waitin' for Mister Melty or not, but yeah I saw him out here. I was down at Shooters when he came in, gettin' myself a drink and making a delivery to an old buddy a'mine."

Ricky scrunches up his nose, eyeing Veronica with a scrutinizing stare. "There anything else you wanna know? That's a good half hour of my time you just paid for right there, Miss Dees," which is likely short for DHS, he's so clever! "So if you wanna' start flappin' them gums with anything else you think might be relevent… I'm all ears."

"So this kid acted like he was a regular round here?" She makes a note to go check around Shooters, see what they know about Luke there. "You ever see him before that day?" Veronica asks, while opening her envelope to slip the photograph in. She moves a bit away from the heater, feeling a touch warmer now, and trying to get away from the skunky stench that envelops Ricky like a cloak. Her eyes also flicker over to the syringes of Refrain, then back to him. It doesn't seem like enough to sell. Curious.

"Nope, but there's a lot've grifters and homeless 'round here now that the Rookery's gone to hell in a handbasket. Most of the sane people moved away once shit started getting bad, now it's just gone from bad to fucking worse. If I were you I'd check out the creepers that live down at the Meat Processing plant near the cost, it's about five or six blocks from this side of the Narrows. That Chinese guy might've come from there, and he was the last person who was askin' round about your dead man. Maybe it was some Triad bullshit, I stay away from them fucks as much as I can."

Glancing over to the heater, then back to Veronica, Ricky tips his head up in a suggestive nod towards the folder. "So this kid, you think he did some sort've mojo to melt down our mutual aquaintance, or is he just some sorta' witness? 'Cause it'd mean a lot to me if you'd tell me if there's some wiggle-finger fire melty kid running aorund with a chip on his shoulder."

"Thanks, you are exctremely helpful," Veronica says with a dimpled smile. "We're looking for him as the suspect, for this case and another. I wouldn't think you'd be in danger, but if you see him, I do highly suggest you stay away and don't upset him. From what it sounds like, he doesn't have good control of his power. I don't think it's deliberate, but more instinctive self defense — if you see him, don't piss him off."

The agent tilts her head. It wasn't on the to-do list, but she asks anyway. "You haven't had any contact with your brother, have you?" Sawyer knows he's most likely deceased.

Rick might have been about to ask something, from the way his mouth is open, but Veronica's last question steals his words away. Brows furrow, and there's a distant look that comes over him. Swallowing tightly, he shakes his head and looks away. "Nah… Nah I— I ain't seen Trent since before the bomb. Me an' him— we didn't get along very well. He wanted to do the whole cop thing, I kind've…" he waves around to the apartment, "went in another direction."

Huffing out a sigh and slouching his shoulders, there's a look from Ricky to Veronica, then just over to the glow of the space heater with a frown. "You got a number I can call you screaming at if I see your incredible melting man anywhere, sweetcakes?" He's going to keep calling her by names until she punches him.

"I'm sorry to hear that, Mr. Daselles," Veronica says softly, and there seems to actually be some sincerity in her words. She knows what it's like to have estranged family.

"Getting a card," she warns him, as she reaches behind to her back pocket, pulling out a card with nothing but her name and a number. She holds it out to him between two fingers, following his eyes to the heater, and back. Oh, fidgety rabbit, what are you hiding? She inclines her head. "Let me know if you see the kid, or if there's anything else you think of," she says, before moving toward the door, trying to keep an eye on him, heater, and shotgun all at once, while trying not to walk into a wall due to a contact-high. She feels like she's at her first rock concert back in Irvine Meadows.

Watching Veronica go, Ricky tenses up and watches the agent leave, turning over her business card in one hand slowly, eyes angled up towards the door again as she shows herself out. Once Veronica's moved into the hall, Rick exhales a deep sigh, moves over to the doors and locks the three deadbolts one by one, then places the chain back over the door and lets his head come down against the surface with an audible thunk. Swallowing noisily, Ricky looks down at the card, then curls it tightly against his palm. It's only once Veronica decides to leave, once her footsteps echo down the stairs, that Ricky's attention goes towards the heater again, and the thin wisps of smoke issuing out from the vent at the top.

The smoke filters from the kerosene heater, billows out and swirls across the floor of the apartment, and then condenses into a pillar of choking black smoke in the shape of a man, a low and deep, rasping voice rumbling up from within. "Now then…" the ephemeral figure of smoke and ash growls in a weary old voice, "…I believe you and I were discussing… medical supplies?"

Ricky's lips downturn to a severe frown, and he nods his head slowly, looking to the syringes of Refrain afterward. "Yeah…" he admits awkwardly, back to the door.


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