New York, New York

December 12, 2016:

John Constantine, fresh off of a successful trip to the Louisiana bayou, heads to NYC to see if he can't drum up support to deal with the latest supernatural crisis to ping his radar.

New York, NY

It's the city that never sleeps.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatara, Zatanna, Swamp Thing

Mood Music: New York, New York


Fade In…

start spreading the news
i'm leaving today
i want to be a part of it—

Tough to tell if the sensation of turbulence was real or imagined, indistinguishable from other elements of his persisting hangover. He'd woken up late in the French Quarter with his mouth tasting like the inside of a hot tire. The hotel bed had been just mussed enough to make him suspicious, but after a cursory check he determined that he was alone — not that that meant much of anything. A cab got him to NOIA just in time to board a flight that had been temporarily grounded for opaque reasons. He learned at check-in that he'd been upgraded to first class.

Classic him.

these vagabond shoes
are longing to stray
right through the very HEART of it

He'd spent the first half an hour consulting a bloody mary about the blurry, indistinct memories of the evening previous—his kind of city, New Orleans — and the next half-hour being actively angry with the patch on the inside of his forearm, until the throbbing in his head reached peak oscillation.

He ought to be thinking about his next few days, the next few moves he needed to make, but that wasn't likely to bring any relief. There would be favors he'd have to call in — lots of them, and he never liked settling other people's debts if he didn't have to, but this was too big for him — and after the debacle with Zatara several months ago one of his major connections was offline until further notice.

"What, you think this was all my idea? Slithered into your home to corrupt your innocent angel? Mate, dunno if you've noticed, but she doesn't even wear trousers out of the house."

You'd have thought a man like that would appreciate dealing in facts. He supposes the truth always hurts, no matter how many knacks you know.

Anyway, he'd been tossed out on his arse: a cushy, two-year gig that didn't involve anybody trying to kill him suddenly upended, just like that. He hadn't had time to decide whether or not it had been worth it, because he was off to Louisiana straight-away after that, and he'd spent the last few months knee-deep in gelid, pond-scum muck, helping an infant elemental toddle its way toward its rightful place in the order of things. He might actually have walked away from that feeling good about things if he hadn't been tipped about some sort of nastiness brewing down in Argentina.

No rest for the wicked, as they say.

i'll make a brand new start of it

It's sleeting when he steps out of La Guardia, a clutch of bought newspapers under one arm, and it takes him only seconds to find what he's looking for: a huddle of nicotine-wreathed strangers standing miserably in a knot beneath an overhang too small to shelter all of them. He ignores their dirty looks as he edges in with them, somehow finding space where there is none to be found. Bollocks to standing the rain. It's not so much the cold he's avoiding; precipitation in New York always leaves a sticky residue behind when it dries. He leaves the patch on and lights the clove — rather a new twist on the old, enduring vice, but he had his reasons. They were growing on him, anyway.

The smell of the city in winter hits him like a fist, even through the fug of smoke: wet brick and concrete, soggy rubbish, rust, exhaust, sewage; the exhalations, scalps, skin flakes, and toiletries of eight and a half million people.

top of the list

The air freshener stink in the cab was worse, nauseating, and so was the driver's lead foot. They made it hard to think.

Kip, then food, and then he'd get to work. Nobody was going to be happy to see him once he got to telling them why he was popping 'round. 'Fact, could be most of them wouldn't be happy to see him at all, even before he opened his mouth. It was going to be a bloody long day of chatting-up. ''llo luv-and-or-mate, long time no see. Was in the neighborhood and fancied a visit, and also there's this bunch of nutty Argentinean warlocks using Chilean magic to summon up a bad bit of business with its head on backwards that you're going to help me deal with, on account of that thing I did for you, you remember the one…'

They always get that look when they open the door and find him standing on the other side of it.

king of the hill

The short-stay building could not be shabbier, but it didn't raise any of the sixth-sense hairs on the back of his neck, so it would do. The room was a closet with pretensions, but there was a toilet and sink, a bed — mattress on the floor, anyway — a desk and chair. Practically luxury, for this overstuffed metropolis. He's just tossing the newspapers on the desk and starting to undo his tie when he feels a quicksilver bullet make the rounds in his bloodstream, provoked by something glimpsed on one of the newsprint pages out of the corner of his eye. He flat-stares at the mildewed plaster of the wall, knows before he turns to look that something's gotten complicated. Christ, not even an hour on the ground.

His lean frame bends over the desk. He pushes the other rags aside. The article is in the Gotham Gazette, a spread featuring occult symbols, ritual implements. A deep freezer. Never a good sign, that. He congratulates himself on the prescience of his cynicism and flicks a half-interested glance over the text that becomes considerably more interested when he spots the name of a certain backwards-talking goth princess.

He stares. Snorts. Frowns. Bloody typical. But that's a cock-up that he can think about on the other end of sleep and a full stomach. He lazily flips the newspaper over, bad omens face down.

and if I can make it there

Ten minutes later he's outfitted it as well as could be expected against your typical, run-of-the-mill urban occult threats, but a pair of shit-kickers and a knife would handily do him in. No way around that, he thinks, stretching out on the mattress, springs jabbing his back like bony knuckles. He didn't much care for guns. They'd get a hell of a surprise before he bled out, though, wouldn't they? The dim, dishwater light oozing in through the small, grit-blasted window glows on the brief, sharp slash of his grin.

I'm gonna make it anywhere

In five minutes flat, he's down for the count.

it's up to you
new
york
new
yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooork

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