The Axe, Part 6

Summary:
July 15th, 2014 Kwabena Odame witnesses something odd that unknowingly has large ramifications on the Rhys Bale case.

The Ulcer, Mutant Town

Just about the worst bar you can think of, smack dab in the heart of Mutant Town.


Characters

NPCs

  • MYSTERY NPC

Mood Music: Calexico's Gypsy's Curse ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfidKiHSlbw )


THE ULCER

MUTANT TOWN

Smoke of a thousand odors hangs just below the lights of this dingy bar. The brick style pavers seem wet and look as if they haven't been mopped in years. There are stains here which are better left to forgetting.

The mismatched bar stools are in disarray, seemingly brought in from a dozen different styles and episodes that scream, "Hey, this one's free. Let's take it." The bar itself is black and just as shoddy the bartender behind it is a clear mutant, under her green Mohawk are scales that change rainbow-ish hues depending on the light.

The walls are decorated with scenes from hell-dragons, nude zombies eating each other in some morbid pseudo sexual manner, demons of every kind and color. This is the Ulcer and its patrons roam in their own tight knit cliques.

It's amazing just how far one can make a stack of cash run. Ever since his untimely run-in with SHIELD, the mutant from Ghana has been laying low. Of course, the term 'laying low', when applied to Kwabena Odame, typically equates to 'not blowing shit up'. He's taken the odd job here and there, but it's been boring kind of stuff. The kind of jobs that aren't likely to put him on law enforcement radar. It's been enough to pay the bills and keep him from digging too deeply into that stack of cash under his mattress in Queens.

As for Shift, he's playing at something only a daredevil might do; he's hitting on the bartendress. It's that slow period somewhere between 2:00 and 5:00, where the early morning drunks have taken to snoozing in their booths and the working stiffs have yet to roll in. It's a true sign of boredom, that he's taken to such games, but as the green-mohawked woman looks on with wonder, Shift smirks. From the wrist down, his hand has transformed into black tendrils of smoke that curl around each of their shotglasses, forming a constantly flowing figure-eight that eventually coalesces and lifts the glasses into the air.

"Ladies first." More of his arm turns into smoke, crawling up toward his elbow as the gas lifts it up toward the bartendress's lips.

Not far away, down at the other end of the bar, a pair of people are talking quietly. They both look human enough, one wears a punk rock style jacket with large spikes that match those in his hair. He definitely looks in need of a good washing. He's the more animated of the two with a voice that gets a bit loud now and again.

The other man, constantly giving him the downward wave to get him to shut the hell up is wearing a black hoodie pulled up over his head. His face cannot be seen, but a toothpick is lolling in his mouth, the tip of which is viewable to Odame.

The bartender scoffs, her lizard like eyes showing a hint of amusement. "Alright, let's have it," she says as she takes the shot.

The smoke-fingers let go of the shotglass when she takes it, only to draw back and double up on his own shotglass. Down goes the whiskey, taken like a true champion. It's like water to the African, after all, and his hand only re-forms when the shotglass is down upon the bar again. Shift's smirk broadens, for he was watching her the entire time. A nod of approval is given. "You didn't even wince."

The word is almost cut off when the punk-looking dude raises his voice again. A fresh bit of whiskey is bound to make someone act a little rash, and so with a snap of his head, Kwabena glowers at the guy. "Hey, keep it down over dere. It ain't happy hour yet, and you're cramping on Lars Ulrich." He looks back toward the bartendress, rolling his eyes. "Anodah?"

"You buyin?" says the bartender with a grin. She'll keep drinking, because if he's buying she's getting double the tip. It's an alright deal.

The man with the spiky hair looks back towards Kwabena and gives him an upwards nod, as if to say it was 'his bad.' The two go back to talking. Within five minutes, however, things start to get heated once again.

The man with the hoodie reaches onto the top of his glass where a lemon slice is garnishing his beer. Not very manly-fruit in beer-but he doesn't seem to have a problem with it. He balances the slice on the table as the guy with the spikes begins getting louder and louder. With a flick of his finger the lemon leaps from the bar up and into the mouth of the man with the spiky hair.

Rex, as he's known, reaches up to grab at his throat and immediately turns a shade of red as he staggers back from the bar. The other man stands up slowly, reaches to his pocket to throw some cash on the bar, and turns to walk out.

So, the spiky haired punk decided to be decent. Good choice.

"Damn right, I'm buying," answers Shift. It's hard not to pay attention to the bartender, after all. He's halfway through flipping another twenty onto the table when the guy gets loud again. Now, Shift wasn't a huge fan of Metallica, but he came here to enjoy some whiskey and decent music. It was an extra plus that he'd gotten scale-girl's attention. He sets the bill down entirely too calmly (a bad sign if you know Kwabena), then holds up a single digit toward his primary target. "One… moment."

The bar stool creaks as it spins about, but something about the developing situation stops him from getting physical. There's a lot of pent up frustration going on in the African, after all. Boredom takes its toll. That lemon, however, draws the eye. Eyes narrow, and Shift watches it take flight, like some kind of Jedi trick, right into the asshole's mouth.

"Huh." He turns back toward the girl, shrugging his shoulders just so. "Hope you know de Heimlich," he quips, before leaving the Jackson on her bar as either a healthy tip or a deposit for later debauchery. Then, he's up, pulling the leather jacket over his tank top as he makes for the door in a manner of discrete pursuit.

"OH MY FUCKING GOD!" the bartender screams as her eyes go wide. "Rex is choking!!! Shit!" She runs over to start slamming on his back, and while she tries the Heimlich, her arms are two short to get around his much larger frame. By the time Kwa makes it outside, the pair are trying to use a chair to get the lemon free.

As his feet scrape the steps of the outside porch, Kwa will see the man in the hoodie down towards the end of the alleyway on his motorcycle. He begins to rev it and looks to be ready to peel away.

Well, there go Kwabena's chances with scale-girl. A part of him considers… 'you know, fuck it. I could use a good fuck.' He could have turned around and dug that lemon out of Rex's lungs. That'd probably get him good and laid.

Then again, this is exactly the kind of trick he'd have pulled if he wanted someone to shut up. One doesn't just go around choking people. Kwabena looks from the end of the alleyway, toward where his own bike is parked on the street. Then, he hangs back for a moment, lights a smoke, and looks to watch which way the hooded man turns. There's bound to be another road or alley he can use to begin a discrete tail.

Once he's got a general direction to go with, Kwabena lowers the cigarette and goes hustling for his bike. He leaps onto it and starts it without much fanfare, before heading down the road in an effort to cut off the biker.

The hooded man pulls off and heads down the street as his bike roars to life. Kwa takes the other round, losing sight of the man as he tears away. The African works hard to cut the man off at the pass, but as Kwa gets to his own bike, the motorcyclist in question is taking a left away from Odame's position, making it even harder to follow.

"Thank God it's not rush houah." Kwabena dips the bike around traffic, eyes keenly looking out for any signs of cops, beat patrol, or SRD. As he comes upon the intersection upon which his quarry turned through, he's stopped by a large, articulated commuter bus. Wincing, the African slips the bike around the bus, threading carefully between the vehicle and the curb. He can even feel his jacket brushing up against it.

"Fucking Christ," he mutters. "Dis laying low shit is a real drag!" Finally at the intersection, he guns it through the red light and accelerates, hoping to catch up to the hooded fellow down the road.

Kwa turns a corner and can see the thug in the distance. Just as he does so, the latter is looking over his shoulder and sees that he is, indeed, being followed by the bar patron. With a twist of his hand, he gains speed trying to put more and more distance between himself and his shadow. He begins to weave in between cars and nearly goes up on the sidewalk in an effort to evade.

Kwabena bears his teeth when he recognizes that he's been tapped. "Let's see if dis sonovabitch knows Harlem." A quick glance is given to a pair of street signs, giving him a point of reference. Shift takes a moment to internalize the street grid he knows so well, then opens up the throttle fully. As he skids between a pair of taxi cabs, he reaches behind him with a leather-gloved hand and punches something upon the back of his bike. The license plate immediately falls off, skittering off into traffic, leaving the vehicle unmarked.

Head bent forward, Kwa focuses on traffic. Every street corner is counted down in his mind, constantly thinking about the street grid and oncoming traffic. He's waiting for the hooded biker to make a turn, with every passing intersection considering different options he might use to gain and cut his prey off.

The man heads south south south, seemingly forever before finally making a turn. He takes a right on West 57th street and heads west into the Kitchen. By now he's straight up bookin', and it's a wonder he hasn't caught more notice of the police.

Or is it?

That'd depend on who you talk to.

As he carries on he does slow down a bit, but only to grab at a cell phone and start jabbing in numbers

Shift has grown tired of counting. He's also growing extremely paranoid that the cops haven't shown up. Either way, he's committed, and the stubborn Ghanaian doesn't like to back down from a challenge.

When the man finally turns onto W. 57th, it's time to make a move.

He notices it almost a second too late. An abandoned bank lobby, one of those NYCU branches that were shut down by the FDIC in 2011. He banks the bike hard to the left, then leaps upon over the handlebars. Boots thud against the front housing, and his wrist continues pulling the bike at full throttle. Beneath the leather jacket, his mutant body is hardening.

When the bike hits the curb, it goes airborne. Shift hunches down, protecting the bike as he goes back first through the abandoned bank's window. Glass shatters around him as he hits the lobby, and with another turn of the handles, he bashes through the old check-writing station and through the opposing wall, into an alley beyond.

A hard pull of the handlebars straightens his journey. He can tell by the way the alley walls pass by on either side of him. He remains on the front of his bike, a mutant battering ram that throws dumpsters to the side and keeps his precious bike safe. When he's near the alley's mouth, he leaps back over the bike and falls on the seat with a heavy thump, causing the bike's underchassis to spark as it scrapes along the asphalt.

Then, he's bursting onto W. 57th again. If he played it right, he'll be in front of the hooded biker and ready to make a firm cut-off.

If he played it right.

Kwa would have played it perfectly if the perpetrator wouldn't have stopped. By the time Shift emerges from the bank, the hooded stranger has parked his bike and is getting into a black SUV and for as the back door opens, Kwabena will get a glimpse of a very recognizable figure both in the underworld and the business community. A giant, fat white man with a bald head and wearing a gleaming white suit looks up to the hooded man as he enters the SUV, shutting the door quickly.

The SUV looks to peel off, and just as Kwa looks as though he's about to give chase his body rocks as his motorcycle is SLAMMED by a guy in a Lincoln town car. The man gets out of the vehicle straight away and his slick hair and perfectly trimmed facial hair fight in tandem over notice after the gold watch, gold rings, and large gold pendant necklace.

"Oh shit, man! I'm so sorry," he says almost as if he's being forced to. Shift no doubt completely destroyed his car, but almost by design Giuseppi Maldini is very apologetic.%rThe SUV, however, is long gone at this point.

_ _ _

"Wait," Matt says as he tilts his head towards the office television.

"Wait what? I wanna see the score of the damn Yankees game."

"Shut your mouth," Matt chides as he turns the volume up. "The Yankees aren't going to win this year anyways."

"This just in to Channel 4 news: A perplexing scene this afternoon at a bar called The Ulcer in Mutant Town. According to a mutant bartender, a man by the name of Rex Snyder was assaulted by an unidentified man by…get this…a slice of lemon…witnesses say that the man, shown here in this security footage, flicked the lemon slice directly into the mouth of Snyder and caused the latter to choke." The station goes from the security footage to the newsroom where one of the hosts is holding up his hands and shaking his head with a laugh, "Well, now I've seen everything." The other cohost, a lovely brunette looks to the camera, "The lemon bandit remains on the loose."


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