Gambling Fools

Summary:
July 13, 2014: The floating poker game in Flushing Meadows is interrupted by a pair of aliens.

Flushing Meadows Park - New York City

A public park in New York City. It contains the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the current venue for the U.S. Open tennis tournament; Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets baseball team; the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art, the Queens Theatre in the Park, the Queens Wildlife Center, and the New York State Pavilion. It formerly contained Shea Stadium, demolished in 2009.

It is located in the borough of Queens, between the Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway and stretches from Flushing Bay, at the southern edge of LaGuardia Airport, to Union Turnpike.

The fourth largest public park in the city of New York (see List of New York City parks), it was created as the site of the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair and also hosted the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair.
[* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flushing_Meadows%E2%80%93Corona_Park]

On the outskirts of Flushing Meadows, on the long drag of College Point Boulevard near 41st, a small, nondescript building has a single beer sign in the window, advertising that it's a tavern. The parking lot is less than half-full.


Characters

NPCs

  • the Blood Brothers
  • Murray, Agent To The Stars

Mood Music:
I got nothin'


One of the hardest things to find in New York City is the real infamous, semi-illegal Floating Poker Game. This is not usually on a boat; it's simply moved from place to place, and uses real money.

Simon Williams' agent, "Murray" by name, has gotten him in touch with one such game, and has set up a prepaid line of credit (plus a bonus) so that Simon can learn this seamy underbelly sort of thing from real people, for an upcoming movie role.

Nobody is using real names. Everyone is wearing sunglasses. Simon's even wearing a loose black silk shirt and has his hair tied back, and is chewing on a cinnamon toothpick.

The game is in a small back-room of a bar out on the edges of Flushing Meadows, and it's only slightly seamy.

~

The man in the cowboy hat seems, well almost distracted really. It's not that he's losing though, it's that he's winning that's got some players a little miffed. Leaning back in his chair, he waves a hat towards the waitress with an easy smile.

"Darlin, if ya'll could get me two Whiskeys straight and a book've matches I'd be ever so grateful."

That'd be the "gunhand" folks whisper around, well that's what most folks call him anyway.

You could categorize his play as exceptionally aggressive, and so far he's five for five. He's been called, and the guy usually has a rather strong hand. Luck seems to be with him tonight, further evidenced by the pile of chips thats slowly built to his side. Flinging a pair of chips into the pot. The dealer calls out a quiet "The gentleman Raises" as he sorts the chips in the pot out, thats fifteen grand right there and this isn't the biggest pot of the evening so far.

~

Simon's not pleased with his cards, and his 'tell' seems to be that he sorts his chips left to right when he has a weak hand. Well. He's not the only one in the game. Rocco is happy with his cards, and he's going to call. Then Father Ted, who folds. Simon folds, and the other two were already out of the hand. So it's back to the cowboy hat.

There's some noise in the distance, nothing unusual for this area. Car motors revving. Might not even be noticed by most of the people inside here, with the cheap jukebox playing old fifties country songs out front, and the raucous laughter of the increasingly drunk therefore finally attractive pairings in the front bar.

~

Noah pitches another fifty in the pot, a pretty modest bump. He's usually far more aggressive, this is the first time he's played things slow. Half turning to accept his drinks, and matches of course. "Anyone mind if I ask for a fresh deck after this one, This deck has been all over the place."Glancing back after his pile before sipping his drink.

~

The noise outside gets muted as… well something just walked into the bar. Something that puts a damper on conversation. It's an indian. Well, it's a US Marshal who happens to also be a Choctaw indian. And he's moving with a purpose toward the back.

~

Noah sits up, downing one glass before snagging the other.

"Deal me out, I'll bail on the hand, thank you."

Finally, giving a bit of a break in that poker face of his. There's a roll of the shoulders and a rub of the cheek, it would seem not everyone loves Johnny Long Arm.

"I reckon it's been a right pleasure, but I just recollected. I've gone and left the stove on at home."

~

The dealer looks up at a silent signal, and presses a hidden catch on the table. This is an ingenious device. The table, octagonal in shape, has a three inch lip, and the middle of the table lowers down two inches. All the regular players, and Simon once he sees it, drop their cards face-down on the table in front of them, and grab their drinks. The fancy lampshade over the table folds out into a cover that perfectly fits over the table, lowering to completely conceal the cards under a false top, leaving an ordinary looking lamp above. Drinks are placed on the battered looking false top, and Father Ted begins reading a sermon. With his sunglasses still firmly in place.

"We'll settle your account shortly, sir," the dealer says to Noah. "We have a guest."

~

The lawman stops at the table.

"Rocco," he says, his eyes narrowing. "I'd really, really, really like to do this the easy way."

A black Belgian Shepherd is standing at his side. Panting. Good dog. The Marshal produces a badge that proclaims him Thomas Nashoba, US Marshal's service.

"I don't want to make a scene, if you don't mind."

Noah glances over his shoulder towards the exit ever so casually, before seemingly looking at nothing at all. Dropping his hand below the rim of the table to produce those cigarette which he sparks to life, before down goes that hand again and it's real easy not to notice that it stays down there. Downright subtle, someone's been to the rodeo before.

~

The silence from the bar remains, allowing the howl of racing engines to be heard, and they're growing louder. An abrupt SMASH from the parking lot is followed by an even more abrupt SLAM as the emergency exit collapses inward. It's followed almost instantly by a large, red fist attached to an even larger red arm, something that most people would be proud to call a leg — and then the doorframe is bent as an ape-like thick-skinned fellow forces his way through.

"Hello, weakling hoomans of planet dirt. We want your moneys. NOW."

He looks directly at the dealer, who had pulled on a bar jacket and towel to appear as just another server before the Marshal made his way into the room.

Rocco looks up at Nashoba.

"You get me out of here, I ain't gonna argue."

~

Thomas turns at splintering noise, gun coming out almost immediately.

"I'll give you a rain check on that, 'kay?" he says, eyes narrowing as he looks at the… ape… thing.

"Oh my various… gods…"

There's a flash of light and then Thomas seems to be… differently dressed. And his eyes are glowing.

"Please tell me he's not here for the nightlife…"

~

There's a quiet moment from Noah, looking first to the ape before looking back to Thomas. Then, a little sigh, "Aww hell."

Lifting his hand he produces a black bandanna which he neatly ties around his face. Rising slowly as the room drops a degree or two until it's, well you could call it corpse cold. Noah's clothing fades from blue to, well black. A black three piece suit, black cowboy boots dressed with a bright silver toecap and spurs. A large silver belt buckle, silver cufflinks, even a silver buckled hat band as Noah's dress alone flashes back to the more colorful depictions of an old west Gambler. Hands sweeping that long coat back to expose a pair of nickle coated, pearl handled revolvers.

Noah the man is, well, not there in short order. Taking on an entirely skeletal visage in little if any time, before letting that bandanna fall around its neck. Eyeless sockets swiveling towards the ape as he exhales, a sound like dead leaves over the dirty ground.

"I reckon, pardner, Y'all's luck just ran out."

~

The door frame is wrenched wider and crumbles away partly as a second red behemoth makes his way inside. The two servers — the barmaid and bar-back — manage to escape into the common storeroom, and there's an exodus out the front door, with the usual screams and swearing. The dealer in his barkeep disguise has tried to scramble back from the first big red apelike fellow — to no avail. He's lifted from the floor. The wealthy fellows are making their way to shelter behind the bar, and Rocco, freed from the threat of arrest, is scrabbling along the ground.

Father Ted is still giving his sermon, but he's also backing away into a corner that might be safe.

At this point, Simon stands up, and the second big red apelike fellow says, "You! Stay outa da way!" and punches him like a triphammer to the jaw.

Simon goes flying across the room, trailing purple smoke, and smashes into the bar mirror, shattering it.

The police, somehow, haven't been called, yet. Odd, that.

~

The .45 in Thomas hand goes off. Bullets fly as he aims right at the beast's center of mass, like a cop's supposed to.

"Well crap…" That didn't seem to do a while lot of anything. He drops the clip and reloads as he moves for cover near the fallen, purple smoking man.

"You alive bud?" he says as he takes aim again. It doesn't seem likely but… maybe…?

~

There is no elaborate hovering of a skeletal hand above the grip of his revolver, there is no tumbleweed to blow across. Very few people have the eyes to even see the draw, but it announces itself with a terrific flash and a nasty report from that blackpowder .44-40, left hand held low over the gun as that first shot is snapped off with understandably supernatural accuracy towards the Ape who ripped the door open. Followed by another, and another until there's six in such brilliant rapid succession that it sounds more like one loud explosion than six. It's also entirely sufficient to fill the room with smoke, and the stink of blackpowder.

~

TWO hoomans shooting at them with those annoying slug-throwers! Those pellets may not make it past their preternaturally tough skin, not while the Blood Brothers are standing within touching distance anyway, not that these pitiful hoomin dirtlings know anything about that — but they HURT. This is not supposed to be what happens! There was only supposed to be that guy who's crawling out of the wreckage of the mirror!

The dealer disgraces himself, causing the one holding him to sniff and drop him in disgust. As he steps forward, he bumps his head into the hanging lamp, which explodes, sending electricity across his body. Again, not enough to really hurt him when his brother is close, but damn. So he throws a chair at the skeletal man. The other one, having punched Simon into the mirror, is now about to punch that OTHER guy - the one who shot his brother.

Meanwhile, Simon, slightly groggy, is finding his way to his feet, and his glasses are gone. Father Ted mutters something about the red-eyed devil and makes his way into the toilet to hide.

~

Thomas stands up abruptly as the second of the Blood Brothers closes and… actually blocks the hit. He's got a sort of ethereal, blazing aura about him that just sprang into existence, seeming to make him stronger, perhaps, the equal of the thing he's facing. In a way, anyway, apparently it still takes some exertion. Fortunately for Thomas, he's not alone. Much larger now, eyes blazing red, mouth foaming with viridian witchfire, Virgil darts in and bites at the big ape's leg, tearing and dragging as he tries to pull the huge thing off balance.

~

Noah is thankfully quick on his feet, or boots or whatever. Stepping deftly to the side of that chair's arc, holstering one gun with a spinning flourish before he gets back onto the offence. Whipping that glass of whiskey at the nearer of the brothers, before taking another few calm steps backwards. One hand dropping for that gun, as the other produces a large wickedly pokey looking bowie knife with a grunt.

"Just like I thought, you two are all hat and no cowboy."

~

Hell-hound! Magic! Filthy primitives aren't supposed to know that stuff, this wasn't on the contract. Brother Two tries to slap the dog away, distracted from the guy who, wait, didn't fall down? What the … Whiskey stinging his eyes, he slips on a card apparently dropped by the Gambler, and is pulled backwards, cursing.

Meanwhile, Brother One, spitting sparks, reaches again for the dealer, grabbing him and yanking at his waist, pulling away a money belt that was concealed by his clothing. The man sinks to the ground, with a groan of pain. He starts to say to his brother, "I got it!" when a fist from behind the bar slams into his head, knocking him out the door. Bills trail behind him like a monetary comet tail. Simon vaults over the top of the bar in a single movement, and says, "You boys picked the wrong night to try this shit."

~

Oh good. That guy isn't dead. And he looks… really, really familiar. Concentrating, Thomas pours magic into his weapon, liming it with the same witchfire — only silver in color — that his dog's jaws drip with. Then he turns it on Brother Two. blam-blam-blam-blam The heavy automatic spits bolts of silvery energy instead of bullets. "Get on the ground!"

Yes, normally cops do that before shooting but the protocols for dealing with hostile meta-humans are a bit different. In Tommy's head.

~

The Gambler sends another six rounds fired right on top of one another as he slithers foreward with the jingle jangle of spurs, apparently focusing all his attention on the whiskey soaked one. That Blade downright zips forward, with downright uncanny accuracy in an attempt to get the whiskey soaked hoodlum in the eye socket. The deftness of the aim is, well pretty amazing all things considered. It isn't that the skeleton is all that strong, no he's just got a particularly dangerous mixture of speed and accuracy going on.

"Commence to fightin', or step away you yellow bellied jackasses!"

~

Brother Two screams when the silver energy tears into his body, and his twin brother, knocked nearly ten yards away through the door (and leaving a hole behind him in the process) has slammed into a car — some kind of a convertible — and is cursing in the same alien language. He tosses the money belt into the open back seat, and lunges toward the bar again, getting stronger as he gets closer. Brother Two manages to block the knife — he's no stranger to knife fighting, the block is a reflexive smash at the elbow of the skeletal man along with a side-twist.

"Come ON!" the first brother yells, grabbing him and kicking aside the dog, who manages to tear some flesh in the process. They crash backwards into the car, the holes in the second brother's chest slowly closing as he recovers.

Simon reaches the door, and then lunges for the car, just as, with a blinding FZASSH! it disappears, brothers, money belt and all. Well. Not all. Only half the money seems to have been taken, judging from the trail of bills.

~

Thomas and Virgil are out the door at a slightly less superhuman speed, his weapon spitting out a couple more bolts of energy.

"This is Marshal Nashoba, I need backup at my location. Two hostile meta-humans on site. Civilians engaged. Currently in pursuit."

Well… sort of anyway. Simon's more in pursuit than he is, but his car is, thankfully, not yet smashed.

~

Noah takes the hit and well, doesn't seem terribly put off all things considered.

"I don't reckon that was expected," he offers, sounding for all the world like, yes a skeleton. Away goes the knife, before he pops the top strap of that topbreak open and sends a shower of empty casings to the ground with a clatter. Quietly pulling rounds from a jacket pocket as he reloads, but the gaze is elsewhere. Not that it's noticeable with, ya know, empty eye sockets and all.

"I reckon, Marshall. Ya'll and I have met someplace before, least it feels that way."

~

The second convertible in the lot — having smashed into Father Ted's rather decrepit little Yugo — hums for a moment, and it too disappears in a blinding FZAASSH! leaving behind a faint energy trail. Teleportation. What a ripoff.

Simon looks around, and shakes his head.

"Any idea what that was about?"

He looks towards the broken-out wall where there should be a door. Father Ted, and two of the Rich Guys, are peeking back out. The dealer is still lying on the ground groaning — apparently, having someone forcibly rip a belt from your body with super-strength hurts a lot. And the owner of the place is now having a discussion with Rocco, about 'protection'. He seems unhappy about the quality of what he's been paying for. One of the servers is sent to collect the money from the parking lot before it blows away or gets picked up by hobos.

~

Thomas holds up his hand and walks back over to Rocco as another car in US Marshal's markings shows up.

"Rocco," he says, clearing his throat. "Your ride is here."

He's still in the duster, eyes are still glowing. He is holstering the glowing weapon now. Virgil, scary hell-hound that he is, has walked up to Simon. And wants pettins.

~

Noah ever-so-casually strides back to the card table with a sigh. Tossing his hat onto the table to reveal that perfectly smooth bone, before leaning a back casually against the thing to continue reloading his guns.

"What a waste of a perfectly good day's worth of work, all for red monkeys."

~

Rocco blanches, and the owner backs away. Somewhere in the distance, there's an ambulance siren.

Simon looks at the glowing-eyed hell-hound, and says, "Really?" … but he provides the desired scritches, pettings, and otherwise congratulates the dog for being a good boy and biting the red guy. Because, well, Simon didn't get to punch HIM back. The rich guys have made their way out and are very quickly no longer on the premises and never were; they were elsewhere, and they have witnesses to prove it.

The Kingpin is not going to be happy. Rocco is taken away. There are curious glances at the Gambler, but this is New York. At least this one isn't on fire, with a motorcycle and chains.

~

The odd clothing and various supernatural effects sort of just… fade… from Thomas, and then Virgil also becomes much, much more normal.

"Right… so. Those were the Blood Brothers Mister… I'm sorry, you look really familiar," he says to Simon.

"And for that matter, so does that guy back there…" he says, giving a glance backward in Noah's direction.

"What were you doing here?"

~

"They call me the Gambler, Marshal," and finally the skeleton re-holsters up with an artful little flare.

"Playing cards, what do you think I was doing back here, givin' birth?"

So no, skeletons don't seem to be all serious business.

~

Simon's phone rings — the ring tone is 'We're In The Money' — and he sighs, holds up a finger to the Marshal to indicate one second, and answers it.

"What do you want, Murray? … Yes, I did. No, a pair of big red jerks attacked … No, they didn't get all the money. Why? No, Murray. Just no."

He ends the call abruptly and puts the phone back inside his shirt pocket. The ambulance pulls up and the dealer is taken to the hospital, and Father Ted goes along with him, leaving the owner to take the money from the waiter, and he glares at the three remaining. Simon is about to answer the question when the owner stalks up.

"I suppose you want a refund. No refund for you, Williams. You punched that guy through the wall. I gotta pay for repairs. And keep this outta the papers."

Simon shrugs, "Sure, I learned more than I thought I would."

The owner does give the Gambler a packet of bills — his stake, plus ten percent. Not the big payoff it could have been.

Simon looks back to the Marshall, finally.

"Simon Williams. I was doing research for a movie role. I appreciate your example, Gambler, it'll help a lot to make my performance believable."

~

"Ah. Yes, I thought you looked familiar."

The poker game is kind of… small potatoes to this.

"Come on inside, Mister Williams. Let me buy you a drink."

He eyes the skeleton. "I can't recall… ever meeting a talking skeleton before, Mister…?"

~

Noah accepts the envelope, and proceeds to quietly look through it before setting it aside.

"Carthrite," comes his only response to the pair, as a skeletal hand lifts to tug the bandanna free and with it the spell is broken. Flesh returns, the clothes slowly shift from black to well jeans. Well ok, so he does continue after a brief pause to tuck the envelope in his jacket pocket.

Peering coolly after Simon, he says, "You wanna watch card sharps, go to Vegas. You wanna see dangerous, go find a rattler. Pardner, everything else is just shades of what's in between the two."

~

"The role isn't card sharps, it isn't Vegas, it's real people playing cards for high stakes," Simon replies. "You were schooling these guys. I was watching how they reacted. Wasn't really paying that much attention to my own hand, just playing the role."

He follows the Marshal into the still-working side of the bar, which is mostly empty. The owner seems to want to say something else, but … what the heck. Simon tells the bartender to make whatever she wants to.

~

"I'm a card sharp, Hollywood. So then I ain't the feller ya'll are after."

Noah saddles up to the bar with a sigh, tossing his hat down.

"Whiskey straight, if ya'll would be so kind?" head bowed into a cigarette as he lights a fresh one.

"I weren't schoolin' nothin' or nobody, them fools lost a long time ago. Got hope and reality mixed up, if it weren't me it'd be someone else."

~

"I think that's true for the Father. Rocco too. The other guys were there for thrills. They didn't care how much they were losing, really. It wasn't important — it was chump change for both of 'em. It was more like the drug of winning or losing. Or they acted like that," Simon says, taking a sip of whatever poison the bartender has given him.

"I was watching you too, because your tells were much more subtle, and I get the feeling they weren't any more real than the ones I was using."

~

"The myth that everyone has a tell, is just that, pard. Not everyone does, I don't. I met a few others who don't, but you get too cool and people start thinking you're cheatin'. They take a card sharp, for a card shark. They raise their voices, accusations get made, blood gets spilled and it all ends the same way no matter what. I walk away paid, and them fools go into the ground. So you manufacture somethin', let'em think they understand it. Same sort've nonsense that leads folks to thinkin' in Roswell, or JFK or 9/11 was an inside job."

Noah shrugs as he accepts his drink.

"Not understandin, is scary. Even if all it is you got is a lie, it makes ya feel in control. You know the secret, makes you powerful.

~

Simon nods. "I can't really play honest poker. I can hear heartbeats. I can see the super-fast dilations in the pupil when the cards are good, I can hear the breath changes. So I knew pretty much what everyone had. Even if the cards weren't almost marked by their handling — using that deck too long. But I wasn't there to win, just to see how the players acted. I wasn't going to give away money, but I wasn't using most of that information. I wasn't even looking for their tells, but they all had 'em."

~

Noah smirks, "I thought so. You spent too much time trying to keep from bleeding, not tryna win. I weren't sure if you were a narc or what, but you played like you knew too much."

Sipping quietly after his whiskey with a satisfied sigh.

"I reckon that feller the Marshal wanted would've done something if we'd kept at it, your playin' and my winnin' looked an awful lot like you were luggin' the table."

~

Thomas chuckles.

"He might have, but it would have been really, really dumb. He's already wanted back in Nevada for a number of things, murder among them. Normally I'm not after people like him but I was in the area and had a tip off that he might be here, and the Warrant is outstanding so I figured I'd do NYPD and FBI a favor."

Virgil walks over for more scratches from Thomas, which he gets.

~

Simon raises an eyebrow. "Lugging the table? Haven't heard that one before."

No, it's not in the dictionary of slang that Murray sent him. But then half of that dictionary is in yiddish.

Simon takes another sip of the brown alcoholic … "What's in this?" he asks the bartender. "I can almost feel it."

~

"He would not have survived the mistake, small fish big pond and so forth," Noah does give Thomas a glance, and a little salute with a lifted glass.

"Slowing down the play intentionally, for some sort of advantage. It's a thing that happens, usually the lug works for the casino but sometimes it's two players working together."

~

Thomas is watching the other two from over by the bar.

"Feel it? I gotta say, Mister Williams I'm impressed. Your… abilities don't make the papers very often. Or maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention."

Eyes back to Noah, "You do look familiar… but I feel certain I'd have remembered meeting a talking skeleton. Speaking of things not being in the papers…"

~

Simon takes another sip. "Is this ok for normal people? Just everclear, you say? Huh."

He answers Noah's explanation with, "Well, he'd have been right. I was lugging the table, so I could study 'em longer. That streak in the beginning that Rocco had, if I'd bet like the others, I'd've been busted before ten minutes. I had a full house kings over deuces, he had the four nines. His heartrate went from 90 to 120 just like that."

Simon looks at Thomas and says with a sardonic grin, "I'm mostly known for being un-blow-up-able, and looking good in a swimsuit while I give almost convincing dialogue. I don't advertise the rest."

~

Noah smirks, "It's mutual, Marshall. I'm pretty good with faces, especially when they're the law. Kinda similar, tricks we got too. Funny how those things work, an outlaw and a lawman. Know where ya'lls juice comes from, or mind tellin the story of how ya'll lucked into it? Sort've wonderin if we might be, related in terms of what it is we do."

~

Thomas chuckles. "I suppose not, considering the cat's out of the bag. I had a dream when I was eighteen and just a few weeks into police academy. Justice, like, the idea itself, told me that it had been loosed on the world by a magic spell in the late 19th century and that it had chosen me to act as it's agent. I waved it off as bad DFAC food, you know? Well weird things started happening around me. I started seeing, I dunno, ghosts or something. Thought I was going crazy."

He glances over to Simon watching to see his reaction.

"Then I graduated and a few months later we got this call. Big, violent bank robbery. My partner and I were the first two on scene. Tribal police, you understand, not a big well funded department like the NYPD. Well, my partner, he got shot and… something happened. I was just invincible, moved faster, shot better. I had all eight of them, two dead, six in custody by the time backup arrived. I don't rightly remember how though. I've learned a lot more about how to use it since."

The Marshal takes in a deep breath. "Yeah, that's the cliffs notes anyway. What about you two?"

~

Simon blinks. Takes another sip, and smiles, "This is good."

He deadpans at Thomas's story — makes his own seem kind of normal.

"Ok. I was an experimental guinea pig, mad scientist and witch used unknown science and some kind of alleged god-magic to give me powers, and then I started to come apart at the seams. I beat the guys who had experimented on me, died as far as anyone could tell, and didn't wake up until a year later when some guy in a chicken costume did a voodoo ritual to bring me back as a zuvembie. It's so stupid that I wouldn't be surprised if there were a guy in space with little robot pals, making snide remarks about it somewhere."

~

Noah speaks then.

"I killed a pair, then about seven more. Bad hombres, they started it. Anyway one of them put one in me, gutshot. Hurt so bad, tried to drive myself to a doc but it didn't happen. So I died, I reckon anyway. Woke up on a cold prarie, found a nearby town with a saloon. Skeleton dealin cards, some men I recognized from pictures sittin round. Vern Miller and Little Arkansas, few others. Asked them to deal me in, woke up fine. Started seein' things, hearin' things. Wierd dreams, funny notions about things. Thought I was loosin my mind, fallin into darkness."

Noah pauses there for a moment, gliding a fingertip around the rim of his glass.

"While later, saw this pretty girl. She was gettin chased, they was gonna rape'er. Now, crook or not there are limits. So I figured, I'd roll the dice. Skeleton, shooting, women screamin, you can figger it out I reckon. Gambler, got made with some hoodoo by some of your folk," motioning towards Thomas, but it seems more like he's just not very PC. Theres no Edge to Noah's words.

"Finds men of 'appropriate character.' Gives 'em the power, same as ya'll I reckon."

Glancing over at Simon casually, before digging around in his pocket and dropping a mangled .50AE on the bar.

"Found that in my pocket, after I was dealt in. Playful bastard."

Thomas looks interested. Virgil is nosing at Simon's shoes again. They're… interesting. He really is a police dog… when Thomas needs him to be.

"Interesting. I wonder if that's why you sort of felt familiar," he says with a nod to the Gambler. Simon gets a curious look.

"Experimented upon? Wow. You're a hell of an 'American Dream' kinda story aren't you, being all there in Hollywood. Why don't they try making a movie out of that?"

~

"I'm not giving 'em the rights," Simon answers. He scratches the dog's head.

"See, I don't want anyone trying to repeat it. Found out they killed six people before me, before they figured out just how to do it, and another one afterwards because it doesn't work on everyone, you have to have the right potential or something. I dunno, not my specialty. But if anyone knew how it worked, they'd be killing more people to make more like me, and I was pretty much just lucky."

~

Noah shrugs a little.

"Reckon the world's full've evil, gettin so bad even an honest crook can't make a living these days."

Yes, it would seem that's actually a thing that exists.

"There are, degrees yaknow. Theres crime, and then theres evil. Too much evil, too much senseless crime."

~

"Luck or not, glad you were both here tonight. I don't usually have quiiiiiite that much luck. Wrangling Rocco and handling the Blood Brothers solo would have been a chore."

"Ugh," Thomas adds suddenly, remembering. "I'm gonna have to file a report with the SRD. I hate working with the NYSRD. NYPD? Golden. FBI? Fine. NYSRD? Those guys are jerks."

~

"Yeah, well, we didn't catch 'em, they got away. That pissed me off. Was I hallucinating, or were they talking like they were expecting me to be here? Because that's … really bizarre. I didn't even know I was going to be here until six hours ago," Simon muses. He finishes the drink and shakes his head a bit, the red of his eyes leaking out into the air.

"Whoo. That's some intense alcohol poisoning."

~

Noah grumbles, "Any way I could convince you to keep me out of that, Marshall? Just leave me as, unnamed or whatever? I don't rightly reckon they'll be too kind to me, have some priors and so fourth. They'll flip they hear a crook like me, has any manner of power. Automatically reckon I'm some flavor of supervillian type, which I reckon is pretty plainly something I aint."

~

Thomas nods.

"Sure, I can do that. Your involvement, much as it was appreciated, isn't as important as the fact that the Blood Brothers were here. Mmmm, would you like me to forget your involvement as well, Mister Williams? If you'd prefer to avoid the entanglement with the SRD, I wouldn't blame you at all. I theoretically work for the same team and I am not, as you heard, that enthusiastic."

~

The owner is hanging around, listening, and becoming increasingly unhappy that his little bar with its little back room will be mentioned in an SRD report… but then it WAS attacked. He paid the protection fees that were supposed to prevent this. He fired off an email to the Kingpin, at that special address, with the special encryption and everything. Kingpin is nothing if not current with the times.

Sadly, the Kingpin isn't actually running an insurance company, but he might be moved to do something for the poor fellow who is now terrified that he won't have any customers. Perhaps, purchase the place off him, at a discounted price of course, given all the problems the place will have and the expensive repairs. May even insist.

Simon looks up at Thomas, and blinks, as his system burns through the alcohol.

"No worry. The SRD knows about me already. Just … maybe don't mention the poker game. That's something the Serds would go after just because they can."

~

Noah tips his glass to Thomas in a little salute.

"So Marshall, first time I've ever even thought 'bout it but, have a seat and let me buy you a drink?"

Simon gets a little shrug and a nod in return, as if Noah has anyone to tell about this mess anyway.

"I reckon, I ain't too keen on this big city nonsense what with giant red space monkeys and traffic. Might as well be neighborly of those I don't mind."

~

That makes Thomas laugh.

"I don't normally drink on duty, but this was a special trip so why not. Thanks. And you can both call me Thomas. Or Marshal Nashoba, if you really insist. I'm not too keen on the giant space monkeys either. Other people are supposed to have them locked down… but they don't. Which is why you get people like me."

He nods toward Simon. "Sure, I can keep that out of it. I didn't properly see anything anyway, so it's all speculation right?"

~

"Thanks," Simon replies, and the owner slumps in relief. At least that part won't be a problem.

Williams stands, and if the booze is affecting him at all it doesn't seem to be touching his balance as he reaches down to say goodbye to the dog. He salutes the two, and steps out the front door, missing the ground with the first step and continuing upwards, purple ionic fire taking him to his cheap hotel.


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