Royalties

February 15, 2016:

When Shift picks up his bike from Junkyard Jane, she has a surprise for him. So, he turns around and surprises her.

Gage Family Scrapyard and Fort Kirby

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Bruce Banner

Plot:

Mood Music: Jesus Built My Hotrod by Ministry


Fade In…

Its cold. Damned cold. Bad weather is coming in from the Midwest, snowflakes peppering the sky under the command of a frozen wind that picks up every so often, tormenting New Yorkers all around.

An MTA bus pulls up to a bus stop nearby the Gage Family Scrapyard, depositing a handful of individuals, all wrapped up in their own way. One of them is Kwabena Odame; bundled up in a hoodie, leather jacket, beanie pulled low over his forehead, fingerless gloves. A cigarette is promptly lot once clear of the bus, leaving plumes of white puffing above his head with every deep, frozen breath.

Sure doesn't seem like the ideal day to be driving around on a motorbike.

*

Despite the cold weather, the door to the garage/workshop's open. Of course, Jane has three space heaters in there, all red hot and blasting. Jane's standing in front of an actual anvil. She's got on her welding goggles and seems to be pounding something red hot and metal into shape. Over that, Kanye West is blaring something vaguely misogynistic and racially offensive but damn, does it have great production values.

*

Kwabena strides up toward the garage, retrieving earbuds from their home in his ears. The rapid clicking of a synthesized hi-hat can be heard clicking away, but the music coming from Jane's garage overwhelms. It is Yeezy Season, after all.

"You got any idea," he calls over the din, "how many N-bombs dere ah in dis song?"

*

Jane glances up. She waggles her hammer and then slams it down onto the piece of metal held in her tongs. You know what comes next. Glowing hot metal in a bucket of water and lots of steam. Jane pulls out what appears to be a simple rod and nods, dropping it on the anvil. "Hey!" She says before walking over to turn a knob and knock down the volume. "There's a lot. Is that a problem because he says them or because I'm listening to them?:

*

With even strides, Kwabena closes the distance and enters the threshold of the garage. "Neidah," he answers, truthfully. "Tell you what, dough; you'll scare off some of yah older clients."

Once he can feel the heat radiating to his face, the mercenary begins unwrapping himself. "You been alright, Jane?" he asks.

*

"Oh, that's easy enough to fix." Jane taps a button on her seemingly antique stereosystem and Kanye gives way to Celtic rhythms and class har playing. "Now, I'm just a good, pure Irish girl who likes to play with machines." She winks and then picks up a bottle of beer. She takes a swig of it, then motions towards the bucket full of ice and beer.
"I've been fine. Good weekend. Cold as fuck but…"

*

A snort of laughter escapes when the music changes. "Right," he fires back, with a heavy load of sarcasm. There are no good, pure Irish girls.

"Cold as fuck," he agrees. "Real shit show of a week to be waiting around for dese MTA busses, but den again, rising a motahbike around in dis mess is sort of a dick move as well."

He keeps peeling layers off, until finally the jacket is separated and the hood is unzipped. Should she pay enough attention, she may notice his top, what can be seen, is a gunmetal gray skin-tight material not unlike racing gear.

*

Jane looks. Up. Down. She's happy to turn her female gaze on him if he's going to show. "Nice." She mentions, before taking another swallow of beer. "Your bike's ready." She claps twice and a partition slides away to reveal the bike. It looks all repaired and cherry except for the red button bolted onto one of the handlebars. "Don't press the button. Seriously. It activates the ejector seat."

*

With a cold beer in hand, Kwabena takes to the inspection. He walked around the motorcycle twice, occasionally testing a connection or making sure somethjng 'feels' the way it once did, and all the while, he casually sips from the ice cold refreshment.

Then he comes to the red button.

Eyebrows raised, Kwabena turns back to the mechanic for a long moment. "…. seriously?"

*

"Oh, well…" Jane actually blushes, the red cheeks looking pale beneath her freckles, "… I just perfected a form of super compressed gas and I wanted to test it so I hooked it into a removable ejection seat. JUST the bitch seat. Not the whole thing." The red-head motions toward the back of the bike, not the front.
"I hid the canister for it in the frame. You get one shot per button push so if you use it and don't go to jail come back and I can replace it."

*

Silver eyes move from Jane to the bitch seat, then back and forth a second time. Kwabena remains silent for a few more seconds, before a rueful grin spreads across his lips. "Oh, dat is… fucking beautiful." He turns, like a goddamn child at Christmas, and runs a finger around the red button with a toothy grin. "Fucking beautiful!"

Leaving the bike, he walks back over and swings the bottle of his beer against Jane's, clinking their ass ends together in a sailors toast. "Lotta guys like me might be sore ovah something like dis, you know." That glimmer of mirth is unmistakeable though. Kwabena is quite pleased. "Here's de thing though."

He begins counting out $300 cash, bill by bill, without quite finishing the thought.

*

Jane's smile grows as it becomes clear her client is quite pleased. She was prepared to take it off but asking Jane to fix something and not improve it is like asking a Republican congress to approve a Democratic president's budget. Some things just ain't gonna happen.
When the cash gets peeled off and handed to her she crinkles it all up and stuffs it into her pocket. "Awesomesauce." She says. More beer to celebrate! Jane drains down the rest of her bottle. "That is anything but street legal so when you're going to for the inspection come here. I'm licensed and I can ignore that shit."

*

Kwabena shrugs. Inspections he can handle, and he'll have no issue bringing it here for the work. However, he's still counting. Way he sees it, something like that is worth at least… what, another $200?

Another swig of beer is taken, before he folds the money up and sticks it into the breast pocket of his rising jacket. "Here's de thing, dough," he repeats. "I need to take a test run. Way I see it? If you trust your work, you won't be afraid to sit in de hot seat. Littah run around de block is nothing. It's cold as fuck out dere, but a ride around de block and you get a nice, fat tip."

Another long drag from his cigarette is taken, before he lowers the item to his side and fixes Jane with a look of intent. "Now, if you feel like raising de ante? I got something I can almost guarantee's gonna tickle yah wrenches, but it's a bit of a drive." A pause. "Jersey side."

*

Jane raises one red eyebrow. "Huh." She says. "Now you're challenging me. Damn. Take a ride with a big, intimidating guy I barely know who clearly is into something illegal to Jersey?" The mechanic laughs. "How the fuck can I say no?" She pulls out her surprisingly new smart phone and begins tapping and sliding. "Let me set the yard to closed and we'll go for a ride on your pretty little bike."

*

"Trust me," Kwabena asides. "You haven't seen 'big' yet." Something tells him, Jane here has never met Banner.

The mercenary pulls a long gulp from the bottle before walking it over to a recycling bin and disposing of it properly. The cigarette is crushed into the cement and discarded into the regular trash, once it's good and extinguished. Then, he's back over to the bike, swinging a leg around it and firing the monster to life.

The Iron-883 purrs like she's brand new, which brings a nearly feral grin to Kwabena's face, soon to be concealed by a helmet. Because there are laws, and no one wants a cop involved for breaking such a stupid law. "Got a spare helmet around here?" he calls over the motorcycle's menacing grumble.

*

"I don't clear five foot four so big is relative." Jane points out as she pulls on a leather aviator's jacket. The sort that would be absolutely normal for a motorcycle ride if it wasn't for the wires running through it, attached to the sort of plastic dial one finds on an electric blanket. "Of course I've got a helmet." She has to dig it out, but eventually comes up with a standard motorcycle helmet, flaming red, with a jet black pull down visor. She jams it into her head, then slides behind Kwabena. "Let's ride."

*

Kwabena's uniform, that little peek that was given, is enough to keep him warm. His helmet, not surprisingly, is gunmetal gray, with a similar pull down visor. Once he's confident Jane knows what she's doing, he walks the bike out of the garage, then speeds off onto the road.

Some time later, the bike peels off the freeway and heads toward an old, abandoned military base. As if that weren't a warning sign to begin with, they seem to be headed toward a rather sizable service hangar, the type that's large enough to service a number of airplanes. Or, perhaps, one very large, old C-130.

The motorcycle pulls into the hangar, where the massive airplane sits in its imposing splendor, staring at them. The engine idles then drops out, at which point Kwabena says, "Welcome to Fort Kirby."

*

"I just came in my pants a little." Jane says,s taring at the old C-130. She pops off the bike and runs up to put hug the aircraft. Well, what she can reach of it. "Hello, beautiful. You don't mind if I hold you for a while, do you?" She sighs and leans her cheek against the metal of the landing strut, not worried about getting grease on it. "Don't tell the B-52 but…" She whispers this, "… you were always my favorite."

*

Of course, Kwabena doesn't have nearly the same level of enthusiasm over the vehicle, but then again, this isn't his first time. He climbs off the motorcycle, removing the helmet and dangling it from one of the handlebars.

"Had a feeling you'd like her," calls out the Ghanaian. "I'd love to tell you she were mine, but even I don't have dat kind of money. Merc mahket's a tough mahket, dese days."

Kwabena hangs back, allowing Jane to have her moment with the airplane while reaching for his pack of cigarettes. Even with a menthol in his mouth, however, he simply can't hide the smug grin that has planted itself upon his lips.

*

Jane pulls back from the landing gear. There's now a large smear of lubricating grease on her left cheek from where she hugged it. "I can't help it. She's so swishy." The short woman pats the landing strut one last time and then walks away. "I don't get to see them intact like this often. Most of the birds that come to my yard are in pieces and won't ever go up in the air again. I've built a couple of ultralights and they're fun but it isn't the same kind of pure power and sexy design."

*

"Well, she flies alright," Kwabena answers, the words a bit muffled while he takes the time to light up his smoke. "Not dat I know de first thing about how to fly her, but, way I see it, she's old. She could use some TLC. Just don't tell Cap I said so. Hear tell, every time he frowns, a kitten gets run ovah by a semi truck or something."

*

"So, you're what, a private security contractor?" Jane asks, wiggling her fingers in air quotes as she says 'private security contractor'. "That's cool. Parts are harder to come by on a bird like this. I'd have to custom make some. That's not a big deal. A lot depends on what's wrong with her. I'm a fucking awesome mechanic but I'm not an aeronautics engineer."

*

"He's a lot of things," Steve says as he enters the room from beneath. The Captain finishes climbing the ladder and nods to Jane. "Hi. Steve Rogers. And she seems to be in fine working order…"

"The plane, I mean. Butwe are hoping to have someone on call when we need to make repairs."

"Also, we'll have to clean up the language a bit."

*

A rueful smirk is granted when Jane refers to him as a 'private security contractor'. However, before he can formulate an answer, Rogers steps in. Thankfully, now Kwabena doesn't need to provide an answer.

"Nothing wrong with her," he adds, "fah as I can tell. But, trust me, at some point she'll take a beating and need some work." It's inevitable, after all.

Kwabena continues hanging back, allowing Jane and Steve to make their own introductions. The only thing he adds, of course, comes with a gesture toward his motorcycle - the same one that had been wrecked to hell and back during their mission to Mexico - which now looks good as new. She also has a red button on the left handlebar.

"She installed an ejection device into de bitch seat."

Well. Kwabena stares at Steve for a long moment, because that's just what it's called these days. The look lasts a few seconds, before the Ghanaian scoffs and digs out a dime, flinging it across the room and into a mason jar marked with the words 'SWEAR JAR' in black marker.

*

"Holy Mary Mother of God." Jane whispers, eyes going wide wide wide. "You're Captain America!" She looks towards Kwabena. "He's Captain America!" Then back at Steve. "You're Captain America!" She runs across the room and slaps Shift on the arm with one of her glove covered hands. "You didn't tell me I was going to be meeting Captain America! God! My mom used to have posters of him up on her wall! I think he kept her company at nights when she didn't have a date."

*

Steve opens his mouth to say something, closes it in a ring, tilts his head towards Kwabena, and says nothing.

*

That rueful smirk lingers. Kwabena seems to be quite enjoying this. It's much more satisfying to have tricked Jane into coming all the way out here on the back seat of a sportster with a strange mercenary, than to have just asked her if she wanted to meet a living legend.

That last part, though. That one steals the show.

Lowering his cigarette, Kwabena stares at Steve with mock horror. "Steve! You old dog!!"

*

Jane's blushing now but only a little. "God." She takes a deep breath and says to Steve, with as much respect as she can muster, "It is an honor to meet you, sir. My name's Jane. I guess the jackas…. er… jerk her brought me by to look at your beauty here."

*

"For the record, Odame, I don't think I actually lived long enough to get any of the royalties from those posters." Steve shakes Jane's hand with a smile, "It's an honor to meet you as well, Jane. Any help you might be able to give would really be a help to the Avengers." He nods to Kwabena's bike, "Looks like you have a talent.

*

"She does," Kwabena adds, finally turning away from the two to walk around his bike, feeling it's curves for a moment. "Bit of a drive out here from de city, felt like I'd just rolled her off de lot." He turns back to face the two, then angles his head toward Jane. "Something tells me, your lack of aeronautics experience won't exactly get in de way."

With the cigarette perching from the corner of his mouth, the mercenary-Avenger folds his arms and smirks. "So, what do you say, kiddo? On-call mechanic for de Avengers here? Doesn't pay much, but considering our language problem, we can probably let you lift from de Swear Jar time to time."

As an after thought, he mentions to Steve, "I also know a good lawyer."

*

"I have no idea what an Avenger is but if it involves Captain America and the sexiest thing ever to fly I'm in." Jane says with a little bounce that makes her pigtails flop around. "Absolutely. I mean, I make enough money to live on and all the parts I ever need at the yard so I'm not greedy anyway…"

*

"We have plenty of space out here, as well, so you can feel free to take a building for your own tools and supplies. Whatever you need. We don't have a lot of money, but we do have a good bit of area and a runway," Steve says with a nod. "Lawyer?" he asks Kwabena.

*

"Yeah," Kwabena tells Steve. "Real greaseball up front, but he's got it where it counts."

Now with a self-satisfied smile, he reaches over and gives Jane a friendly shove toward the boarding ramp. "Go on. Take a look inside. Oh, and here's your tip." The bills come out from his jacket pocket and are offered Jane's way. "Keep putting toys in my bike and I'll be yah best friend."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License