Venom And Blood


delia_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif nora2_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title Venom And Blood
Synopsis Some ladies of the Ferry take some time for excessive drinking and awkward conversation.
Date August 14, 2011

Sheung Wan Kitchen

The Sheung Wan Kitchen is a Rookery landmark and, despite its small size and cramped, dimly-lit interior, a popular place for Staten Island's criminal underbelly to get gorged and fat and drunk. On a Sunday night, there are more patrons than there are chairs at the bar or the tables, but none of the rain-soaked women in the far back have to stand; they've been here since the skies opened more than an hour ago and drenched New York City in a cold summer storm. The booming thunder outside cannot be heard over the roar of voices or the rain coming down hard on the establishment's gleaming windows with the daily specials painted directly onto the glass, and that's okay.

They only need to be able to hear each other.

A spread of hot food, cheaper than anywhere else in the city, covers the table, including a deep bowl of savory soup flavoured with beef bones and fried chilies, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and stuffed with bean paste, boiled Chinese cabbage, chestnut cakes, a whole fried fish, and half of what is probably a small duck roasted in its own juices.

There are no napkins. There is, however, plenty of alcohol to go around.

Cheeks flushed from the alcohol coursing through her small frame, Noa Gitelman is laughing at something Rue has said — likely not as funny as it would be were they all sober, but hilarious in a drunken haze. One hand holds the third glass of cobra wine she'd sipped first on a dare and has now declared her drink for life; the other holds chopsticks with a nibble of fish.

If she felt out of time and place, it certainly doesn't show. She points her chopsticks at the other women. "What's the worst pick up line you've ever heard?"

In one hour, Delia has managed to try at least four of the dozen or so Asian beers that the place sells. They come in giant sized bottles and being something of a novice drinker, she's stuck to what she knows she can handle. Or something like that.

Her long, loose fitting jeans cover the anklet that she's been cursed to wear, hiding it quite effectively. On top she's taken the liberty of liberating one of one of her housemate's sweaters. It's oversized, old, and looks like it's missing a few stitches here and there. She's staring at the top of her bottle, willing it to her lips. It's times like this, she wishes she was telekinetic instead of what she is.

Lynette has been spending a lot of time communing with the spirits, as it were, over the last few weeks, but hardly ever with someone else, so it's a bit of a treat, this is. Jeans, boots and an off the shoulder sweater looked much better before the rain decided to drench them all, but she's handling the upset rather well.

"Worst pick up line? I would have to say the worst ever that has been personally used on me was probably… 'Is it love at first sight, or do I have to walk by again'. It's even worse when you hadn't noticed him in the first place. Avoid… men with egos, that is my first piece of advice." Drunken advice, but it'll do.

A cold beer is held against the breastbone of Rue Lancaster, who's laughing loudly at her own wisecrack, which wasn't actually as terribly funny as she or Noa finds it. She's underweight yet, still recovering from sickness, so it doesn't take much to turn her freckled cheeks red and make the world delightfully fuzzy.

While she's been eating, she's been deliberately eating less than her companions. Able to step foot in establishments on the mainland, 'real' food isn't the luxury to Rue as it is to the others. Her blue eyes are bright and wide as she considers the question posed. "That one's pretty bad. Mine is, I don't have a library card, but can I check you out?" An attempt to sip at her beer again is aborted in favour of another giggle fit.

"Avoid men," Rue amends.

Eileen has spent the past ten minutes trying to remember where she's seen Delia's sweater before, because she's fairly certain that she has — and not on the slim, willowy frame of the redhead sitting across from her at the table. She gives up when she discovers her glass is empty, not for the first time this evening, and has to reach across the table to hook up Noa's bottle of cobra wine by its fluted neck. The medicinal herbs floating inside with the coils of dead snake hang suspended in the dark, amber-coloured fluid as she pours it into her glass for lack of anything else to drink.

They ran out of uninfused rice wine a long time ago, and with the kitchen as busy as it is, no one has come by yet to drop off another. She has to think about Noa's question for a few moments before she comes up with her answer, which she punctuates by setting the bottle back down hard on the table. "If you were a real bird," she says, mindful to enunciate every syllable, "you'd be impeccable."

"Good advice," Noa says to Lynette, and she giggles a little at Rue's while chewing a bit of fish and then stretching her chopsticks for a bit of sticky rice.

"I haven't been hit on by a lot of guys. You know… anyone my age back 'home,' I had pretty much grown up with so that would be weird." She snickers to herself imagining Joseph and Kaylee's son trying to pick her up while in line for dinner or something of the sort.

"The worst was this guy," she leaves out the fact that it was Calvin's half-brother, frowning a little at the memory, "who was apparently talking about fish when I walked up and he said something like, 'speaking of fish, what's a hot girl doing in a place like this.' And then proceeded to explain the analogy to me. And how it was nothing bad."

She shakes her head, then reaches to clink her glass against Rue's. "I think you're right though. I might just swear off men." She raises a brow at the red head. "Don't get excited or anything. That's not a come on."

Looking up from the bottle, since it's not cooperating and floating to her lips by itself, Delia decides to use them to deliver hers instead. "Hey! Don't I know you from somewhere?" She pauses for a moment as she lifts the large bottle by its neck and tips it to her mouth to take a few gulps. "Oh, that's right! You were in my dream last night!"

Her shoulder lifts in a shrug and falls again fairly quickly as she gives a rather weak smile. "It wasn't really good… because it was sort of true."

"What?" Lynette says in surprise at Rue's suggestion. "That wouldn't be any fun at all. They have their uses." There's a pause there, as the blonde looks down into her glass for a moment before taking a nice, long drink. Men. "Plus, it isn't like women are any better," she says, pointing a finger in Rue's direction.

But Eileen's contribution gets a laugh from her, complete with headshake. "Oh, bad and a pun, it doesn't get too much worse." Of course, her eyebrows lift when Noa chimes in and she murmurs into her glass, "I stand corrected." But it's Delia's mention of her dream last night that has Lynette finishing off her glass and reaching for Noa's wine herself. Any port in a storm.

Rue actually wincesat the worst line delivered by Eileen. "That's terrible." She clinks her bottle with Noa's glass and laughs merrily at the other lines as well. At least until Lynette points out a fundamental truth. Equality of the sexes. She falls quieter and takes a long drink from her beer.

"You're my bestie!" Rue tells Noa, "We couldn't be lovers, because that'd be weird. Not that you wouldn't make a great girlfriend." Back pedalling a bit. "You know what I mean." Her gaze shifts down to peer at how much is left in her bottle. "And besides, I have my eyes on someone else." Whether it's the alcohol that brings more colour flushing to her cheeks or embarrassment is debatable.

"For the record," says Eileen, raising her glass, "I disagree with Lynette's advice about avoiding men with egos." She tips the glass at Rue. "Or women, for that matter. In my experience, the arrogant ones make the best lovers, terrible pick-up lines aside, and I'll tell you why: A man without an ego gets little to no satisfaction from having your body respond to his. The arrogant man works harder to feel you moaning his name into his mouth, and if you do your job right, you know he'll be back for more because he can't get that anywhere else."

"Ooooh," Noa says to Rue, but doesn't put the girl on the spot since she is distracted by the next speaker. The youngest of the group flushes a little at Eileen's words — more so than she was already flushed from the copious amounts of wine — but then she shakes her head with a smirk. "Man, there's just not room in the bed for an ego the size of mine or bigger," she declares, dark eyes sparkling. Of course, the bed might be one of the few places she doesn't have the ego she has in the metaphorical fighting ring.

But the others don't need to know that.

"So just how big is his 'ego,' Eileen?" she teases, perhaps to push the attention away from her lack of experience, ego or not.

Delia's cheeks turn a bright red and she ducks her head a little to avoid contact with everyone at the table. Especially Eileen. There's just some things she can't talk about, won't talk about. Draining the rest of her bottle, she shakes the few drops at the bottom into her mouth. The empty glass is smacked down to the table and she gets up suddenly.

"'m goin'to get more.." she mumbles, somewhat apologetically. Where she's going to get more isn't immediately apparent. She has her eyes on the bar, but her stagger takes her toward the door. She might have forgotten where the waiters are hiding.

"Now, I didn't say get a man with no confidence, but in my own experience, too much confidence and he'll be expecting you to start moaning and writhing. Honestly. Sometimes you just have to tell him that him just being there is hardly enough to get the job done." Lynette looks up as Delia starts to wander off, and she pushes herself to her feet, too. To come after her. "I could use some more, too. I have no idea what's in half these bottles, but they get the job done, at least," she's saying as she hooks her arm through Delia's, "and you're going in the entirely wrong direction to find the liquor, darling."

"Oh, no. I agree with you there. I've dated models," Rue boasts. "Actually," a thumb is jerked in retreating Delia's direction, "I made out with her sister once at an after party in a club." That ginger head shakes slowly. "Bitch is fucking crazy, for the record. But damn if the crazy ones aren't the most fun to mess around with."

Lynette's chair is scraping across the floorboards before Eileen's can, which is just as well because Eileen has consumed more alcohol than is probably safely proportionate to the size of her body. If she hadn't, she wouldn't be taking Noa's bait like a fish with a mouthful of feather and hook. "Let's, just, say," she tells the younger woman, leaving a little more space between words than necessary, "they did not call him the Magnificent at the Pancratium because it sold the most seats."

She's a teenager so of course Noa snickers at the epithet given to Gabriel, which results in the sputtering of some of the wine in her hand. "Nicely played," she tells the other Brit, then turns to look with some amusement at Delia and Lynette in their expedition for more alcohol.

"We can talk about something less embarrassing," she calls after them, before reaching for the wine bottle to pour some more into her glass.

Lynette is another someone that Delia doesn't really want to face right now. Bad dreams, news of impending nuptuals, fangs sunken into flesh at late lunch, all of these things are what Delia is dealing with. Instead of lashing out at the — electric — person, she gives a wane smile and staggers toward the bar.

"Y'know what I hate? I hate fuckersh that… Fuckersh that… Fuck them. They dunno know what they're talking about…" Neither does she, really. But she's very passionate about it, whatever it is. "I think I'm gonna be sick…"

"Well, perhaps you should sit, then. And maybe make your next round a water." It's very sound advice from someone who's well versed with drinking until sick. Lynette gets them to the bar, and nudges Delia toward a stool before she knocks on the surface in an attempt to get someone's attention. The table needs alcohol! And this redhead needs water! "Not that I don't encourage drunken ranting, hun, but I'd hate to see your father's face if I let you drink until you throw up all over your very nice shoes."

Nevermind that she hasn't even looked at her shoes.

Rue brings her hands up to cover her ears. Or rather, one hand and one fist, because her fingers are still wrapped around the neck of her bottle. "Augh!" Did not need to be thinking about Gabriel naked, thanks.

Then, her beer is set heavily on the table as a great idea (apparently) occurs to her. "Ahmigawd! Nora! — Noa! We should call Jiji!" Rue flashes a broad grin. Isn't this the best idea I have ever had ever?

Either there is a new Ferrymen operative who Eileen has not yet been introduced to, or Rue has found a way to make Eileen's nephew— niece's name even harder on her ears. "Jiji," she repeats, not without some amusement, though it tastes dry and almost sandy. She will never call Benji anything, she decides, except what would be on Benji's birth certificate.

A hand splays fingers on the table's surface, her arm straightens and the Englishwoman pushes herself up to stand. While the server behind the bar is filling a tall glass of tapwater for Delia, she intercepts one of his co-workers as he loops around the table and touches her free hand to his arm to get his attention, murmuring something thick in a language that she only comprehends well enough to borrow from a list of memorized words and select phrases.

The server gives her a curt nod and disappears back into the kitchen.

The nickname for Benji also gets a confused head tilt from Noa before understanding dawns, and her eyes widen. "Probably not," she has the sense to say despite her drunken state, and she gives a head tilt to the bar where Delia sits.

"Awkwaaard," she adds, having picked up on the intonation of that word in 2011 easily enough.

Her eyes then follow the waiter. "What… did you order?" she asks Eileen.

"I don't want water… I want more beer… maybe… ramen noodles but not the gross English kind that— " The redhead quiets and leans in to whisper, not so quietly, to Lynette. "That Nick— " she raises up to a proper seated position again, wobbling a little to her other side before straightening herself on her chair. "— showed me the other day. Do you know they have one called Christmas Dinner? I hate the cranberries. Fuckin' zombie song. I hate zombies."

Jiji and any conversation of, is ignored because Delia has absolutely no idea who that might be. Probably another one of Lucille's model friends. One that she made out with sometime. "Lynette… did you know… Did. You. Know." about bean spilling time "That my dad is getting married? I can't even be there. Didn't tell me. Nope… Nicole told me. I don't think my dad loves me."

At first, Lynette is content to let Delia chatter out through her drunkenness, although she does slide the water closer to her during it all. Hell, who doesn't hate zombies, right?

Oh but the news. It's a bit of a shock for the electrokinetic, and she takes a moment to lower herself onto a stool, nice and slow. "Something a little harder for me, thank you," she says to the barkeep. "Don't worry, he doesn't love me, either," her words are wry and if there's any real hurt in them, she's good at hiding it below a jovial veneer. "He loves you, darling. I know that for a fact. He always kicks himself for disappointing you girls, and Bradley, too. He's just not very good at balancing duty against family. And he's a little dense."

Rue actually pouts when her brilliant idea is shut down. It takes her a minute to realise why it's awkward. "Ohhhhhh. Right. Good call, bestie. My bad." Beer is again retrieved, tipped back against her lips until she realises she's drained it. "Do they still have drunk dials in the future?" she asks Noa. "That's, like, a staple of our way of life. I'm pretty sure. Next to hot dogs and baseball games. And maybe Superman or Captain America." She rubs at her nose, absently watching Eileen talk to the waiter with no real sense of impending doom. "I hope it was more alcohol. I need another round."

The server returns with a fresh bottle of rice wine and five much smaller glasses than any of the vessels the women have so far used to consume their drinks this evening. He's followed by another man carrying a metal tray that looks like it belongs in an operating room rather than a restaurant, as well as a plastic bucket and a short wood pole under his other arm with a hook at the end.

From the bucket, he produces a plastic funnel and, with the aid of his hook, a twist of live cobra coiled around the pole, its hood open and eyes still black and bright. Firm fingers applied to the back of the cobra's head force its mouth around the rim of each glass in turn, bleeding venom like a clear, syrupy liquor.

In case whatever this is turns out not to be hard enough for Lynette, the server behind the counter prepares a single shot of whiskey in addition. Eileen has either done it before or seen it done enough times to assist by opening the bottle of wine so the funnel can be fitted inside while one of the men sterilizes a scalpel-sized knife over the metal tray.

"We don't have phones," Noa tells Rue with a snort. "Though we've done some drunk shortwaving, me and…" she cuts off there and looks away, happy to have the distraction of the waiters returning. Noa's eyes widen and gleam with excitement as she watches the sudden show at their table.

"Primal," she says reverently.

"No way," Delia argues, grabbing the glass of whiskey and downing it in one gulp. Very bad idea. Not because it wasn't meant for her but because now she's even more disorderly. "My dad… My dad doesn't care because he's too busy with his stupid… Whatever it is he does." She wavers a bleary look at Lynette and snerks from the back of her throat in a mock laugh. "Protecting us…"

Her lip curls into a sneer and she lifts her pant leg to show off her peice of E-jewelry (not E-bay). "This isn't protecting me… See? He cares more about… Strangers than he does about me or Lu. Did you know that Lu was homeless until I found her a place to live?" The pantleg is lowered as quickly as it comes up but then her attention is caught by the snake. "Oooo they have a snaaaaaaake! They're feeding it air shots!"

Whiskey stolen, Lynette frowns lightly, closing her eyes a moment before she stands up to her feet, "Sober up, Delia." It's spoken softly, but not without a certain firmness about the phrase. "I'll be outside." She's not drunk enough to try to defend her ex-lover moments after finding out he's engaged. Already.

So this time, it's Lynette who heads for the door, pulling out a cigarette and lighter on her way. She'll have to pass on the snake for now.

The whole display is eyed by Rue with some dubiety. Snakes don't freak her out on principle, but the whole idea of getting poisoned by one does. She leans back in her seat with her bottle clutched again to her chest. Is this even legal?

A cut from the top of the snake's belly to the bottom over the funnel pumps blood into the bottle of wine in rhythm with beating of its heart until its heart no longer beats and the wine itself has turned a milky red. Its body thumps lifelessly into the bucket, discarded, and the funnel is removed so the wine can be poured into each of the venom-doused glasses.

Eileen lifts hers. "As they say in Poland: Na zdravi." She shouts at Lynette's back on her way out the door and into the sopping rain, "To our good health and Colonel Heller's ill!"

The killing of the snake wipes the excitement off Noa's face, though she isn't about to step back from the challenge. She frowns a little at the snake's corpse before reaching for her own glass. The yell toward the exit makes her flinch a little, and while she lifts her glass, she brings a finger up to her lips. "I know this is, like, Diagon Alley or something, but a Muggle might still sneak in somehow." They don't have cell phones but they do have Harry Potter in the future — very worn, well-read books with broken spines and many dog-eared pages.

Delia's blue eyes follow Lynette out of the building, she doesn't follow the woman's advice or chase after her. Bad girl. She does, however, follow Eileen's lead with the little glass and raises it up into the air. A tiny rivulet drips its way down, staining the cuff of her(?) sleeve. Not that she minds in the slightest.

"Dos Cerveza!" She follows suit in a completely different language. It sounds the same at the beginning anyway. Sort of. Anyhow, the shot is slammed into the back of her throat and the glass slammed down onto the table as the redhead tumbles into the seat next to Eileen. "I love you man," she slurs in greeting, "I don't want you to die… ever…"

"Knockturn Alley is just around the corner," Rue agrees in her own fashion. That's where the bad guys live! She picks up her own glass and for a moment almost remarks about things that don't kill you making you stronger, but…

She isn't dead, and she is definitely weaker for her experience. There's a beat of hesitation with that glass held aloft. According to James Bond (to mix in another cultural reference), you only live twice. One life for yourself, and one for your dreams. Rue's already managed to die in her dreams, so perhaps this is tempting fate? "God, don't tell my aunt I died cursing that Heller fucker," she hisses under her breath before pressing the rim of the glass to her lower lip and tipping her head back.

"I've not said anything I wouldn't want my enemies to hear," Eileen announces after she's drained her own glass. She does not sit, but her hand drifts to Delia's shoulder to give it a firm yet gentle squeeze. Although very drunk, she is not so out of touch with reality to be making any promises when it comes to not dying anytime soon.

There is something worryingly symptomatic of self-destruction about the kind of behaviour that involves sending heads to Miller Airfield and political manifestos to the New York Times whether or not she celebrates it with blood.

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