Tricky Ricky And The Spanish Inquisition


bowie_icon.gif ricky_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title Tricky Ricky and the Spanish Inquisition
Synopsis SESA agents Sawyer and Lin venture to Staten Island to ask a criminal informant about the Arrowood brothers.
Date March 12, 2018

The Rookery

Little can be said about one of Staten Island's most “historic” neighborhoods that doesn't involve the phrase, "shit hole" or some clever variation thereof. The Rookery used to be the Sodom and Gomorrah of Staten Island, but the lofty heights of debauchery and sin that this place once represented in its heyday are long since past.

The smell of freshly fallen rain overpowers the stink of gasoline and sweat that seems so common here among the shanty towns demarcated by blue canvas tarps and cardboard boxes. This particular neighborhood where Veronica has come is considered the start of Staten Island’s fatal criminal infection, a place that even in its heyday was a tumbledown ruin of derelict apartment complexes and those that still stand lie boarded up, with burned out husks of cars on the street side, and graffiti covering 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 and pock-marks from bullet impacts in the brick. The old sign that once proclaimed Tucker's Pawn Shop is so badly faded as to be illegible. Near the pawn shop entrance, there is a stoop entrance to a stairwell marked with a smashed in intercom and buzz-lock system that leads up to apartments above the derelict pawn shop.

It's here where a man known on Staten Island as Tricky Ricky resides — perhaps has always resided and may continue to reside forever. Ricky was a criminal informant for the Company during their time, also a known drug runner, and generally untrustworthy pile of shit. But Veronica Sawyer has dealt with him before, dealt with “Richard Daselles” on his own terms, dealt with Staten Island and dealt with the sight of human detritus that it is filled with.

It's unfortunate that Veronica Sawyer's job has brought her out here, again, to the streets flush with garbage and feral dogs, to the buildings no longer with stable electricity that people choose to live in rather than the Safe Zone. The entirety of Staten Island has succumbed to the infection that began in the Rookery, and has been divided up by the drug dealers, human traffickers, and violent criminals who remained in the wake of the civil war’s end.

Inside the apartment 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 and damp in the hallway as it is outside, save for the lack of rain. There's the noise of a baby crying on the floor above, a couple having an argument on this floor, shouting and strained voices.

When Agent Sawyer pulls open the shattered door 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 sobbing. Veronica and Bowie’s shoes crunch broken glass underfoot up the stairs, the scent of marijuana clings in the air. There is no electricity in the building, and all light spills through blown out windows that allow a cold breeze through the halls and their walls of peeling paint and split wood.

One floor above 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 with red permanent marker poorly filling them in. The door looks like it was recently kicked in and the door frame is splintered, but it is held shut by a brick balanced behind the door. A paper sign reads Please Knock and is taped to the door.

Beyond the door, the sound of a too-loud radio prattles muffled through the too-thin walls along with shouts of, "She was queen for about an hour, after that shit got sour!"

Ricky loves his shitty music.

Even before she was a well-known face, Veronica dressed “down” to come to Staten Island. Now there’s little chance of going incognito, but she can still look less “like a fed,” and she’s instructed Bowie to do the same. Her hair’s pulled off the nape of her neck in a ponytail; a pair of sunglasses obscured most of her face outside, though she’s now pushed the glasses up to the top of her head. Her sidearm isn’t drawn, but close at hand beneath the army-green anorak jacket she wears on top of jeans.

It feels like 2010 and yet it doesn’t.

“I wish I could tell you it wasn’t always like this, but…” she says wryly. It’s a stretch of the truth — but only just. It’s always been a shithole. Just not quite this much of one.

But Ricky usually makes it worth the time.

She lifts her hand to knock.

Bowie dressed down. He super dressed down. He's in jeans, Veronica. Jeans. And a pair of Chucks that he must have been holding onto for decades, because they're pretty beat up. His sweater is nice, but not enough to draw attention to it. And covered by a black jacket that's a simple peacoat.

He looks uncomfortable.

His weapon is present, too, but tucked away as Veronica's is. It might be the only source of comfort he has. "Nah," he says to her, "I don't like it when you lie to me." He smiles over at her, crooked and amused. But he looks back to the door when she knocks. And does his best to look casual. It's not great.

"Hold on!" Comes the booming voice from inside, "Hold on!" The radio abruptly cuts out and thinking footfalls come pounding over to the door. As it's pulled open Veronica is greeted to the perennial sight of Ricky Daselles, swaddled in a neon pink, furry bathrobe, barefoot, with bruises and cuts all over one side of his face. In an unfortunate turn of character development he's let his curly, dark hair grow out into what's probably a mullet by the standards of places like the Cambria Salon.

“Holee shit,” Ricky’s wide-eyes as he stares at Veronica. “As I live and breathe, Betty!” Nope. “Just fucking look at you, huh? Wow, you had some work done too? That's unbelievable.” Ricky leans forward, eyeing Bowie.

“Is he like, takeout or drug running because I already paid Zhao.” Ricky’s brown eyes flick back to Betty Veronica. “Wait you're not Betty.”

“Veronica, Jughead,” Vee says with a roll of her eyes that she had forgotten she had in her repertoire. It’s the one reserved just for Tricky Ricky and his terrible apartment. “And that’s racist. Can we come in?”

She doesn’t actually wait for him to say she can come in — he knows the drill, and she knows he doesn’t really want them hanging out in the hallway for everyone to sniff their special fed aroma and suspect him of being a narc — if they don’t already know.

Vee pushes into the apartment with a nod for Bowie to follow. “One of my associates. And no, I didn’t get any work done. Some of us try to live healthy and not off pizza and weed.” Despite her cranky words, she cracks a smile, showing him her dimples. “It’s good to see you. Same shit, different year, yeah?”

Bowie listens to the back and forth with lifted eyebrows, at least until Ricky gives him reason to lower them. Which he does.

"We don't all know each other," he states flatly as a follow up to Veronica, and then follows her further. Into the apartment. He doesn't wait for politeness this time around, either. It's for your own protection, Ricky, really. He takes a look around the place once they're in, but manages to keep his thoughts out of his expression. "Nice robe," he ends up saying. He isn't even looking at Ricky when he says it.

“Thanks, it's like My Little Pony or something,” Ricky says with casual confidence as Veronica shoulders her way past him. Though the embroidered white cartoon cat head with a red bow on the robe’s back is most certainly Hello Kitty. “And it's totally different shit right now Vee!” Ricky slams the door—

— only to just have it bounce back open and the doorknob fall off. “Motherfucker.”

Ricky pushes the door shut again, then slides the brick back in front of it with a bare foot.

While Ricky is handling security Bowie is perhaps nonplussed with his surroundings. Surroundings remarkably familiar to Agent Sawyer. 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 and there isn't a place that delivers to Staten Island so their age is questionable. 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 dry fish tank full of musky smelling rocks. The television doesn't look like it's been used in years, and an old battery powered radio is perched atop it that seems much more recent.

“Look, unless you're here to either buy a shit ton of Refrain or wave your fairy magic godmother wand around and turn the Arrowood brothers into mice, I'm all outta fucks to give.” Ricky makes a helpless shrugging gesture and shakes his head. “But for real I have a shit ton of Refrain I've gotta move and the bags of ice in my cooler are a meltin’ if you know what I mean.” Brows raise slowly, as if that's… innuendo. But it isn't.

“Don’t touch anything, you’ll get a rash,” is said under her breath to Bowie as Veronica looks for a place to lean.

“Different shit, hopefully slightly better shit. At least for me. Not sure about you. Where are you moving? And why?” she asks, while reaching into her pocket for the twenties she has there to make Ricky talk.

She fans out a few before setting them down on top of the television. “That’s not for the moving questions. I’m just curious. Buying my pal Bowie here some Facetime with you,” she says, with a nod to Bowie to talk, while she wonders if Ricky knows what Facetime even is.

Bowie's pretty quiet while the other two discuss, but the mention of Refrain has him turning around to look at them again. It might read as an interested party. But when Veronica gives him the go ahead, that isn't what he asks about.

"I could see about turning the Arrowood brothers into mice," he says, like he might be willing to do Ricky a favor, for whatever reason. "Some business of mine with them went sour. Haven't been about to track them down since. You can point me at them," he says. It isn't a question. A glance to the door makes it definitely not one. "I can do something about it, maybe." But then back to Ricky. "You hear anything about them having new supply? Not drugs, something much more valuable right now."

Though he’s taking the money, Ricky’s expression very quickly slips to something more disapproving. “Ok look, like… I don’t know you any better than some of the other folks I work with,” he dodges the question about moving entirely, “but the Arrowoods? They are Deliverance crazy, ok? Like, Brick Top in Snatch crazy. Feed you to pigs crazy, ok?” He counts the money again, then tucks it into one of the pockets of his fuzzy robe. “This?” Ricky points at the still healing cuts and bruises on his face. “That was from Eugene, when he thought I was snitching on him.”

Running a hand through his curly, greasy hair, Ricky rolls his eyes and looks over at Bowie, then back to Veronica. “The Arrowoods dunk on anyone who encroaches on their shit, and by dunk I mean chop you the fuck up and feed you to their dogs, ok?” Ricky looks at Bowie, as if to make sure he gets that too. “I’ve got enough trouble out here without getting that pack of fucking animals breathing down my neck.”

Veronica’s brows lift and she glances from Bowie to Ricky and back. “Well, that’s not a no,” she says lightly. “So clearly you’ve heard something.”

She nods to the pocket where the money’s just been deposited, to indicate he’s agreed to answer the questions. “You’re not our only CI. We can take our business elsewhere. But we’re already here and I don’t really want to see what all the other apartment buildings smell like, so make it easy on us, yeah? What’re they dealing in?”

It's such a charming description. Bowie lifts his eyebrows, not because he's scared but because he thinks it's all a bit much. Like Ricky might be overselling it. "They won't hear about you from me," he says before he nods to Veronica, "It's not a no, it's the opening volley of negotiations." They say everyone has a price, and that is more true of some than others. Ricky, it would seem Bowie assumes, is valuing his information (and what's left of his apartment) higher.

"She wants to know what they're dealing in. I want to know where I can find them and their stock." As it were. "Both of us know how to keep our mouths shut. I suspect you know that already." About Veronica, at least.

Ricky scrubs a hand at the back of his head, taking in a slow and deep breath. “Fucking half of everything, man.” There’s a genuine fear in Ricky’s eyes. “They’ve got guns, Eugene usually buys crazy fucking hallucinogens from me. He’s into the heavy witch doctor shit, I dunno.” But he’s dancing around a subject, and that hesitance has him looking at Bowie and Veronica again. He walks into his kitchen, not really answering their question. But the apartment is an open concept, mostly because the kitchen wall looks to have rotted away revealing just the wooden studs.

Rumors are all I got, but,” Ricky bends out of sight, and there’s a clunk and a slosh of water. “Eugene sells meat.” Slowly, Ricky rises back up holding two vials with a glowing blue liquid inside. Stepping back across the room, he looks from Veronica to Bowie. “Some folks say it’s like— whatever he can get his hands on. Fish from the river, stray dogs. Other folks’ve said he’s a straight up fucking cannibal. I don’t know, man. I legit don’t know.”

Holding the vials out to the agents, Ricky makes a flat statement. “You wanna know any more you’ve gotta take some of this off my hands, make your trip here legit. Sixty bucks a pop.”

This is probably against protocol. But paying for the vials versus paying for the information itself — it’s half a dozen of one, six of the other as far as Veronica’s concerned. At least it’s two less vials getting pumped through the veins of someone on the street — she’ll throw them away or give them to the lab for whatever the lab rats do with them.


Vee peels off six more bills and hands them to Ricky, then opens her gloved hand for the vials. She nods to him, to indicate he should start talking.

It is most certainly against protocol, but if Bowie has any feelings on that subject, he's smart enough to leave it be at this exact moment.

"I heard they were looking to move a bunch of new stuff. Food. Real food. Not stray dogs." He digs into his pocket, too, to pull out his own collection of bills. He's putting his own payment down, too. For the vials, for information. Ricky's got a point about making this visit look like a real one. "If they're going to market, I want to be there." A couple extra bills are put down, too, to match Veronica's stakes in the matter.

“Food?” Ricky counts his money, flipping through it slowly before stuffing it with the other dollars in his robe. “Nah, the Arrowoods don’t have the fucking resources to move like… lots of food. They’ve got exactly one beat up pickup truck and I’m pretty sure that’s for impressing the babes,” he says with a put-on southern drawl and a waggle of his head.

Slouching into a sideways shuffle, Ricky starts to circle back to his radio. “Only thing I know, at all, is that the Arrowoods might deal in like, people. Literal human trafficking. I don’t think they’re the bosses behind it? But I’ve heard a lot of stories about them being middle-men in that sort of shit. Oh, and…” Ricky slaps himself on the good side of his head. “The guns. I— totally forgot the reason I’m all beat up. Probably the concussion. I guess there were some guns moved, I dunno of the Arrowoods lost them or someone else did, but they were these fancy Russian or Syrian things. Real distinctive, expensive as shit too.”

Pursing his lips, Ricky looks at the floor, then the “fish tank”, then back to the two agents. “You go down to Crooked Point in Great Kills? Might be somebody up that way who knows what you’re looking for. But food?” Ricks shakes his head. “Man, if it’s out here, I ain’t seen it.”

Veronica’s mouth thins into a flat line at the mention of human trafficking, and she glances at Bowie, then back to Ricky.

“You know anyone in the Crooked Point that’d be willing to talk without us playing Russian Roulette?” she asks, before circling back to another question, asked by Bowie.

“These Arrowoods, they have a place to call home turf, with their one pickup truck? You’d really think they’d be doing better for themselves.” She makes a tsking sort of noise before she slides those vials into her pocket.

Bowie's expression mimics Veronica's at the mention of human trafficking. Not the kind to sneak innocent people out from under an oppressive government, obviously. That might be slotted into his mind as something to poke around at. Later.

"It would be good to have a name to go to. Not too many friends over there."

He only looks back over to Veronica when she gets this line of questioning back on track. But then back over to Ricky for the answer. "That's got to be awkward, if it ever actually works on the babes. One truck between them." The mention of a concussion isn't missed, and the nurse has to get shoved to the back of his mind. This isn't the neighborhood for good samaritans.

Ricky grimaces and works his mouth from side to side, hand at the back of his head. “There's a uh, pirate out there,” its hard to tell if he’s joking or not. “Goes by the name Etienne. He's like, wild as a fucking goose, but he knows basically everyone. He’ll stab you for pretty much the fuck of it, but— I mean it's Staten Island. Everyone out here's crazy, man.”

“As for the fucking Arrowoods? They've got a trailer park out by the old fish packing plant in the northwest. About a hundred fucking dogs too, vicious fuckers.” After the explanation, Ricky motions to the door as if it were his next salient point. “Now, take your fucking drugs and get out of here before you get the other side of my pretty face messed up.”

“Etienne,” repeats Veronica. “The fucking goose pirate. Got it. And really, who hasn’t stabbed me? I can take it.”

There’s a grin at Ricky, before she reaches out to touch his shoulder lightly. “Thanks, Ricky. Take care of yourself, yeah? It’s good to see you alive.” Against all odds, her tone implies.

She glances at Bowie, before she moves to the door, humming, lightly, the theme from Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Yo-ho-yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me.

Bowie listens to the information, nodding to all the warnings. It's a big list. But at the dismissal, he takes his part of this drug deal and lets Veronica say her goodbyes. He steps toward the door, scooting the brick out of the way so he can pull it open for her. At her whistling, he chuckles lightly and shakes his head before he moves to follow her out.

"Yeah, okay, we can go meet a pirate. A fucking goose pirate. Is that better or worse than a goose fucking pirate?" Bowie asks in an aside to Veronica. But like all good plays, the aside is projected to the audience. "I just want to be clear on what, exactly, we're going to be walking into…" His voice trails off as the pair make their way back to the street.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License