Desperate Times...

May 06, 2015:

Terry's shelter gets visited by some desperate punks looking for Smooth

Shelter in NYC


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

There’s a sign outside of ‘Giuseppe’s House of Pizza and Pasta’ that states it is the best pizza on the East Side. There is also a footnote that reads ‘As determined by Giuseppe’ and the sign itself looks to have been printed on a dot matrix printer in the late 1980s. Giuseppe himself is known as Fred by his staff…since that is his real name…though for the sake of the ‘dream’ they call him Giuseppe in front of the customers.

Tonight there have been precious few customers and Terry is wiping down the tables before heading home for the night. “Thanka you fer coming” waves Giuseppe to the last of the customers, complete with Italian accent. Though once they are out of earshot his words to Terry are very Noo York accented. “I’ll finish up, Terry. Get yerself home. It’s getting dangerous out there.”

“Thanks, Fred” Terry smiles before tossing him the cloth and untying her waitress apron. “I’m gonna be stopping by the shelter a block up first. Make sure everyone is okay.” Her Irish accent is very legitimate.

“Well just make sure ya get yerself home before it gets too late” Fred insists. “I’ve been here fer decades and I know a drug war coming when I see one. And I don’t mean between Panadol and Aspirin.” He looks out at the street through the dirty glass windows and frowns with the weight of the world. “I’m even thinking of closing up for a few weeks until it blows over.”

“Don’t do that, Fred” replies a worried Terry. “I need the shifts.” Then, realizing she is being rather selfish she nods in understanding. “Do what ya need to do, Fred. But I’ll see ya tomorrow, right?”

Fred nods to that before escorting her out the front door. “Remember…get home early.”

The shelter is only about five minutes away and Terry is in great hurry. She casually strolls through the cold drizzle of a New York spring, the collar of her battered green jacket upturned to protect against the wind as best it can. Her mind wanders to Deadpool. She hasn’t seen him in far too long and Terry hopes that he is safe and not locked up somewhere…as if anyone could put up with holding Wade in detention for years. It would be more a punishment for the jailer than the criminal. A frown as she recalls that Deadpool did like to call himself an anti-hero…and he had this annoying habit of stealing money for people. At least he usually gave it away. That’s good…right? Terry shakes her head in answer to her own question. Though it doesn’t seem to be her problem anymore. Why she thought she could keep the interest of a smart, urbane, charming and funny man like that she will never know. He’s probably ankle deep in supermodels…and hanging upside down at the same time. At least it was fun while it lasted and, if he ever came back, she wouldn’t turn him away. Might hit him a few times but not turn him away.

Terry slips through the door of the shelter and out of the cold…and into more cold. It seems like the boiler has died again. “Christ on a fucking popsicle” she curses, opting to keep her jacket on as she winds her way through the tables and gives a nod and a greeting to both regular and new guest.

“Terry, there you are” says an exasperated blonde woman in her thirties. This is Margaret Muldoon and she gets to work here all day and all night. Underpaid and overworked and living in one room in the back of the shelter, Terry admires this woman’s heart and courage no end. “The boiler’s down if you hadn’t guessed so I’m going to go down and have a look. Didn’t want to leave until you were here.” She leans closer to whisper, her eyes flickering over to the room where the really sick are given a place to rest. “A man arrived earlier. I’ve never seen him before but he looks very ill. He doesn’t want an ambulance but if he gets any worse then he’s going to get one. Could you have a look in on him in a few minutes.”

“Sure, Madge” nods Terry before having a look around. “Everything else okay? Sorry I missed out on helping you with dinner.” Dinner being a warm bowl of soup and yesterday’s cast-off bread but it’s better than nothing.

“Everything else is okay” nods Margaret before forcing a smile, “Let’s hope it stays that way.” Then she is off downstairs to check the boiler.

Terry does a quick circuit of the dozen people in the shelter before checking on the man in the sick room. Margaret was right, he looks a mess. He shivers upon the bed, his skin pale and sweating profusely. His red ringed eyes slowly rise to look at her with barely any comprehension of what they are looking upon. “Hello. I’m Terry” she smiles down, speaking with as calming voice as she can manage…and she can make it as calming as it takes. “Can I get you anything?”

“Smooth…” the man mumbles, an arm feebly rising to reach out for her. “Smooth” he repeats, his mouth dry and lips cracking with even the slight movement of saying one word.

Terry should have known; he is a drug addict suffering withdrawals. Still, that means he needs help and he won’t be thrown out for some bad lifestyle choices. “How about some water instead?” she offers before a scream from the main room causes her to rush out. The shelter guests are huddled to one side, cowering from a group of six men who stand at the entrance. The men are dressed in some kind of pseudo punk motif; leather jackets, tight pants, torn white t-shirts, pins sticking into their skin. Even as Terry watches one of them is pushing a rusty nail through his cheek, hissing in pain yet also looking relieved after doing so. One of them steps forward; a large man with a wild look in his eye.

‘We want the Smooth” he informs the cowering group and the non-cowering Terry. “We know that Jake came in here and he didn’t come out. So we want what he got. Now!!”

Terry rolls her eyes and steps forward as well though the punk speaker, and probably leader, towers over her. “Jake? I don’t know his name but I can assure you that he didn’t get any of that Smooth here. He is ill. Very ill. Too ill to receive visitors. So how about you and the other Wombles be on your way?”

“What the fuck is a Womble” is the punk’s succinct reply before gesturing to his compatriots. “Fine him. Drag him out here. We need to get that Smooth off him.” Two of the men head for the crowd of homeless while the other three move around Terry, heading for the sick room. The leader grabs Terry’s arm. “Uh-uh. You stay here, Red. Don’t want you getting hurt by accident.”

“Ya really don’t want me to start yelling at ya, Toots” Terry informs the punk who holds her forearm in a vice like grip. “So this is yer last chance.” The man just laughs so Terry hides her face from him and watches as the homeless people retreat into a corner from the approaching punks. She stamps her foot down the shin of the punk and drives her boot into his toes. Something cracks and he bellows out in pain as he releases her. She runs for the homeless, getting between them and the punks who are now surprised to see her. Her mouth opens and a wall of sound, though unheard by human ears, emanates from Terry to create a barrier that one of the approaching men thuds into. He rubs at his bruised head while looking in confusion to his compatriot and then their leader, the latter currently hopping up and down on one foot.

Leader Punk is just about to call for Terry’s head when the others return with the shivering, frightened Jake. The big man turns his gaze on the pale wreck. “Where is the Smooth!? Who is your dealer here!?” He jabs at Jake with a thick finger with every word. Hard enough that ribs cracking can be heard.

“I don’t have any” Jake pleads, sobbing in fear. “I couldn’t find any. I need it too, man!”

The Leader Punk does not look pleased. “Fuck”. He rubs his chin for a moment before, “Drain him.” The three holding Jake nod in understanding and then hurl the screaming man to the ground before pinning him with their weight. One of them takes out a huge syringe from his jacket and plunges it into Jake’s neck, quickly filling it with a pint of blood as the pale man gets a little paler. Once it is filled another appears from another jacket and is jammed into the whimpering man’s jugular.

Terry stares at the show. They’re draining the drug out of someone to use it themselves? That’s crazy…and desperate. “I don’t think that’s how drugs work” she offers.

The Leader Punk looks over Terry and the homeless behind her before sniffing. “And then burn this shithole down and kill the witnesses.”

Terry takes a deep breath before cracking her neck from side to side. “You can try” she grins to the punks before thinking to herself – ‘Now would be a good time to show up, Wade’.


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