==============-< << Mercy Plaza - Back Alley >> >-==============
Dark and foreboding even in the daylight, the back lane of Mercy Plaza is cast in perpetual shade. At the back of the alley the ten foot tall concrete security wall makes up the far barrier, and keeps any would be thieves out of the self-storage next door. Complementing the first wall is a second that runs the length of the alleyway, clearly older and crumbling in some places. The top edge looks weathered, pockmarks exposing unpainted cement and rebar. Dilapidated as it is, the barrier separates the Plaza from the two-story apartment complex that takes up the rest of the block to the other corner.
The asphalt here has been patched with obvious slopes of cement where the management was too cheap to just get the spot refilled and sealed. Sloped from both the street side and the dead-end at a slight grade, a shallow cement gutter is dotted with grates leading to a central sewer access. Faded paint lines designate loading zones for the various businesses residing here; an assortment of sun-bleached pallets and crates litter the alley, some more tidied than others. Lining the crumbling wall along the apartment side, graffiti'd dumpsters rest partially propped or shoved up against the long wall looking ready to leap down the grade and bite someone or someone's car.
Every door in the back is a security door, thick metal – decorated in colorful paints in Gathering Wool's case. A surprisingly bright light hangs over each back entrance right beside a sturdy looking security camera. Upon closer inspection, there are similar cameras set up at the end of the alleyway and at strategic building corners.
Centrally, near the back door of Dirty Laundry is a small makeshift tent made out of metal poles and a tarp to make a lean-to off the back wall. A circle of milk crates surrounds a 5-gallon work bucket that looks about a third full of dirty water and old cigarette butts.
=========================-< << R08 >> >-==========================
The streets are pretty quiet at the moment, and the cloudy sky helps to cast quite the gloomy ambience into the alley Denver is currently 'busy' in. One meaty thwack is followed by a pained grunt... This is followed again by the sound of something solid hitting meat and a coughing ladened with agony.
"Next time you get to me sooner d'ya hear? I won't tolerate late payment!" Bending down over a prone form, the young muscled guy rifles through the pockets of someone who's legs are the only thing visible past a battered rust decoratd dumpster.
A final kick is aimed at the 'victim', and Denver turns away with a curl of disgust lifting his lip while he's busy counting a wadge of bills, his knuckles scralet with a goodly smearing of blood.
Beating a man behind a laundromat? This is exactly Samantha Whitaker's scene! Of course, she doesn't just dive right in to intervene or overtly observe. She doesn't do much anything, save linger around a corner and wait for the victor to leave the victim behind. And then? Well, this snake has no interest in men that just lost fights.
When Samantha steps out from around the corner, Denver will find her dressed in tight jeans with the knees blown out, old ratty boots, and an old Metallica tee. She's wearing on a smile on her lips. "Well done," she says, once she's fully in before. Her fingers are tucked into the pockets of those jeans, and though her look is innocent enough (no weapons, no violence in her gaze, nothing), she sure does look mischievious.
Coming to an abrupt halt Denver gives the woman an appraising look before one eyebrow climbs in enquiry.. "Well done?" He asks... repeating her statement as a question even as the money is vanishing into his own jean pocket. "For what?" Head canting slightly to the left he follows up with.. "You were watching me?"
With deliberate slowness he looks up and then down the street... "No the nicest part of town for you to be walking about in... Even this time o'day." Its just an observation, but its delivered in quite a flat tone.. One might almost assume it could be a threatening tone.
For now its obvious Denver is tryign to get the measure of the self confident woman before deciding what to do.
Self confident, without a doubt. Sam nearly oozes confidence. It's in her smile, her eyes, the way she stands, so relaxed. "I was just having a smoke while I waited on my laundry," she tells him, then pulls a hand out of her pocket to thumb at the building they're standing next to. "But, well, if someone's going to be putting on a show... I'm not going to... not watch," she says, with a little shrug of shoulders. "Anyways, I think it's a perfectly nice part of town."
Sucking his teeth while he listens to Sam's explanation Denver eventually asks.. "So that does it for you huh? A guy getting the snot beat outta him?" There's a slight hint of mockery there, and a ghost of a smile plays across his own lips. He's also not short on the confidence front.
A few brief moments pass, and stirring Denver jabs a thumb at his own chest and states "Denver..." The single word spoken so you can almost hear the ellipsis, the invitation to respond. Though almost on the heels of the previous word he adds, "Let me buy you a drink.. Or.." here he pauses to squint at a battered looking brass watch clinging to his wrist with a worn brown leather strap.. "Or.. breakfast?" The invitation accompanied by a flash of brilliant white teeth in a brief cheeky grin.
After all, can't pass up a chance to get to know a local girl!
Eyes fall from face down to hands, then back up. Samantha lofts an eyebrow. "Oh?" she asks. "Is that snot on your knuckles?" she asks, and follows it with a too-sweet smile. She watches the man a moment longer, then leans to the side, to look past him. "Yeah... I could eat," she says, as she stares down the way. "And likely a good idea to go somewhere. Hate to have him call the police and you still be lingering around, Denver, all because you wanted to flirt," she says. There's a wink, and then Samantha turns, and starts in the other direction. "Call me Sam."
There's a moment of appreciation, both at the form on display and the sass that goes with it then with a soft chuckle Denver starts walking, easily catching up to Sam.. Giving her a sideways glance he says "Why'd you think I'm flirtin? /Maybe/ I'm just bein nice cos I'm new in town and wanna get to know the locals?" The easy grin is back though, and he walks with just a hint of swagger.
"So, Sam, know anywhere good round here for breakfast? Always work up an appetite when I gotta go looking for my money!"
There's no response to that pit about flirting, just a roll of her eyes. She does, however, look off, down the alleyway, considering where they are and where they might find a bite. "I don't live in this shit hole little town, if that's what you're after. Just a frequent visitor," she says. Then there's a wave of her hand, and she points. "Half a mile down, there's a junk yard with a greasy spoon in the office. Food's pretty good. Plus it's in a junk yard, and you don't exactly get anyone who asks too many questions coming into a junkyard to eat," she says, with a smirk. "Meet you there?"
Giving a grunt and a nod.. Denver squints down the road.. "Sounds odd, but sure.. Meet you at the junkyard." Looking down at his hands he grimaces and mutters "Will use the toilet first.. .Need to clean my hands." There's no comment about her being a frequent visitor, nor about how she found such an out of the way place to eat.. Assuming Sam is going back to get her laundry, Denver merely lengthens his stride and starts stalking toward the promise of food guaranteed to coat your arteries!
================-< << Last Chance - Diner >> >-=================
The owner of the Last Chance Diner appears to have never updated it after the 90s. As one enters through the door on the end, on the right hand side sits a row of booths, the red with white triangle leather a perfect complement for this motif. On the left resides the long counter and behind it the kitchen, with red leather stools serving as an alternative place to dine. The walls house a variety of memorabilia from the times: Movie Posters from Pulp Fiction, The Matrix, Fight Club, The Silence of the Lambs and more. Others house pictures of people from the time, and more than one of these appear to have an authentic signature.
Ceiling fans circulate air when it’s hotter, and windows on the side of the booths give an overlooking view of the junkyard and the entrance. The menu here is All American: from coffee and peach pie, to pancakes and bacon and burgers and milkshakes. A jukebox sits in the corner, taking only nickels to get some tune – a selection from the late 80s through to the late 90s – playing in the café.
=========================-< << R06 >> >-==========================
Samantha's not long. Back to the laundromat to grab her stuff, and then if Denver lingers, he'll hear the roar of an old V8. If he doesn't catch sight of it then, he'll likely see it in the parking lot of Last Chance. Samantha's car is a rather beautiful 1970 Buick GSX, in yellow. Nearly perfect, might as well have just rolled off the factory floor.
But when Denver gets past the car, he'll find Samantha once more. She's already inside, already at a booth, and already has the waitress pouring two cups of coffee. It would seem she was quite certain Denver would actually show, and not simply bail when he went to wash his hands. She takes her coffee black, of course, so it's just lifted and then sipped, scalding hot temperature be damned.
Wandering back out o fthe restroom, Denver looks a little more presentable and swiftly spots where Sam's decided to park herself. Sliding into the booth opposite, he snags the spare coffee cup and takes a tentatvive sip... Seems he also prefers it black and unsweetened. Ordering a stack of pancakes and syrup, he looks across to Sam and asks "Whaddya having?" Leaning back to study the woman through the steam curling up from his mug.
Only once she's ordered or sent the waitress off, does he stir sufficiently to ask "So... Why didn't you go calling the cops on me?"
"Bacon'n'eggs," Samantha says, without any thought given to it. "Over easy. Cooked egg yolk is disgusting," she adds, with a faintly amused smile. She takes another sip of her coffee then sets it down. "Well," she starts. "Couple of reasons. First..." she considers a moment, then gives a dismissive wave of a hand. "That's none of my business," she says. "Second, what are the odds a man like you gets angry, and decides he should leave two people bloodied and beaten in an alley, on account of the second being a snitch?" she asks. Her smile goes sweet once more. "Third, well... how could I ever offer you a job if you were in lock up?"
A simple nod is given to reason one, but a faint smirk steals acrosses his features and his eyes' hood a little at the second reasoning. There's a pause while he sips his coffee when there's mention of a job...Eventually he asks, "And just what sort of job did you have in mind? I'm... Assuming its something morally grey at least.. Least I /hope/ so.. This town has been fucking boring so far."
"Morally gray?" Samantha asks, there's a huff and a roll of the eyes. "You know who colors their morality?" she asks. "Assholes," she answers, before he gets a chance to answer. "I need a few people... looked into. Followed around. And maybe if their phones go missing or some shit, well... you know. It happens," she says. "Sound like something you'd know anything about?"
"Careful" Denver says in a soft tone while he watches the steam rise from his mug..."People don't get to call me an asshole. I was trying to be polite..er.. Whaddya call it? Obtuse?" Giving a little irritated wave of his hand he adds, "Anyway... This doesn't sound difficult.. A little shadowing and picking pockets should be pretty easy. More importantly what does it pay... And when you say a few people.. How many, and who are they?"
"Watcha gonna do, Denver?" Samantha counters, amusement tickling her features once more. "Beat me up?" she asks, as she stares at him. Yes, the mischievious and deviousness is back in her gaze. She stares for a long moment, then upturns a palm. "Couple hundred bucks," she says. "For tailing and taking some notes. Couple hundred more if you happen upon a phone, or you know... whatever. A journal. Little black book. Whatever," she says. "And I can give you names soon as you give me an answer. But, well... five people I have in mind. All should be localish."
Scratches the end of his nose as he contemplates the woman opposite him.. His reverie interrupted by the arrival of food. He tucks in with gusto accepting a top up of his coffee too... Once the waitress leaves he says around a mouthful of pancake.. "You call me an asshole again I might just introduce you to a little gentle persuasion.. help you learn respect. Respect is everything!" A moment later he gives Sam a brilliant grin.. "Though to be fair, I like you so.. I'd feel bad about hurting you."
A few more mouthfuls later he nods, sipping his coffee, "I'll do it if you make it a round five hundred. Also.. I am assuming you don't want them all tailed at once. That'd be impossible."
"Oh, excuse me, miss... could I borrow a pen? I'll bring it right back," Samantha says, with an actually sweet smile to the waitress. She gives a quick nod when it's handed over, and then Samantha's reaching for a napkin. "Get over yourself," she murmurs out to Denver as she starts to scribble down a list of names. "And yeah, just... you know. Whatever you have time for. Find out where they hang out, where they live, whatever the case," she says. She finishes her list - five names, as promised - and then slides it over.
The list reads:
* Logan Brenner
* Max Jones
* Billy Ray Johnson
* Dave Desrochers
* Nathania Winters
"Max is a woman," she points out. "Little bit harder to find that one. She likes to fly under the radar. But the others... Logan is rich. Easy to find him. Dave is a Desrochers, local family here. Ask for him at Desrochers Pub," she says. "And Nathania... eh. She's fuckin' weird. Should be easy to find. Then Billy Ray, he owns a gun shop," she offers up. And after she does, she's shifting to reach into her back pocket.
Frowning while he looks over the list he nods "Seems easy enough, I'll find them and follow them. What are you after? Just where they visit? What? I will lift their phones too if I can but eh.. That'll be hit n miss, unless you don't mind me getting up close and personal with them? I can just out and out mug them?"
The list is placed carefully near his plate while he demolishes the last of his breakfast.
"Should be easy enough," Samantha agrees, with a faint nod. "Assuming you don't get caught. And assuming you're not stupid enough to say who hired you," she idly points out. "And that's all. Just looking for whatever they're up to," she says, with a faint shrug. "And however you do your work, you do it. I won't question it," she says. Samantha is also eating between words. And Samantha? Yeah, she eats. Quickly. Voraciously.
"Ok. Finally .. How do I contact you? Gotta number?" Denver asks, sliding the napkin with the names on it back over Sam's way. For his part, his plate has now been scraped clean, and he's back to sipping coffee while he watches the woman opposite eat. "Nice car" he adds idly, glancing out the window at the bright yellow automobile. "You steal it? Own it?"
Samantha gives a small nod, and is uncapping it once more. She then snorts. "Steal! How dare you," she says, though that amused smirk lingers. She quickly scribbles out a number, with an 802 area code. That's Vermont. The whole dang state just has the one area code. She slides it back over. "I work in a garage," she says. "And that is my baby. Not exactly the pinnacle of my work, but... I love her so. And she's been so good to me." She gives a wistful sigh as she stares out the window at the car.
Giving an appreciative grunt Denver says "Maybe I'll come to you when I want some wheels then. Though... Not sure whether I want a car or a bike. I dunno.. "He gives an off hand shrug and pulls a fat roll of bills out of his pocket. "Well, nice to meetcha Sam, I'll be in touch when I have something concrete for you!"
With that he peels off enough to cover breakfast and a generous tip for the waitress and slides on out of the booth. He gives the woman one more speculative look before shaking his head, grinning and heading out without a backward glance.
"You're in Vermont," Sam says, in response. "It's winter here six months out of the year. Get a car," she says, with a small nod. "And I look forward to whatever you might find out, Denver. Thanks for the breakfast," she says. And then she'll just tuck back into the rest of her breakfast.