2007-03-11: Disappointed Buyers

Starring:

Noah_icon.gif Sydney_icon.gif

Special Guest: The Haitian

Summary: Noah and the Haitian stop by Sydney's loft to inquire about the missing Mendez pieces.

Date It Happened: March 11, 2007

Disappointed Buyers


Sydney's Loft

Sydney's loft is a lot messier than it usually is, and to those who have been here before, that's really saying something. The place looks like it's been ransacked, complete with broken pieces of glass and wooden splinters littering the floor while the furniture is in various states of disarray — some pieces are overturned, others are missing key components such as shelves or cushions. But, perhaps most importantly, the smell of gasoline permeates the apartment. Even though the front door has been left wide open, there's no sign of the loft's tenant except for the distant sound of rummaging that comes from the upstairs bedroom.

Noah is dressed in a long wool coat, leather gloves, a shirt and tie and his infamous glasses. He looks in the open doorway, then back at the bald, dark-skinned man behind him with raised eyebrows. Noah indicates with a nod of his head towards the kitchen, and the Haitian man heads that way to find a kettle and put it on. He should hopefully be out of sight that way too when the person upstairs comes down, at least for a moment. Anything to put the opponent off balance. Noah takes an idle look around the downstairs, not trying to be quiet or stealthy, looking for anything that might be packed up paintings.

There are no boxes in the downstairs sitting area, but a blue tarp in one of the far corners looks as though it might have been used to cover something in the past. Upstairs, a drawer slams, punctuated by a strangled curse. Moments later, a lanky blonde dressed in a pair of faded denim jeans and a form-fitting gray tanktop appears in the bedroom doorway, a heavy winter coat slung over one shoulder, a suitcase tucked under her arm, and — of all things — an unlit blowtorch clutched in her free hand. Sydney freezes at the top of the stairs when she sees Noah, her breath hitching violently in her throat.

"Hi there," Noah says with his most friendly middle management white guy smile he can manage. His eyes take in the woman, the blowtorch, the suitcase, but his smile never falters. "Sorry, the door was open or I would have knocked."

"The last one knocked too," is Sydney's response, ground out through gritted teeth and a clenched jaw. She does not budge, and unlike Noah, the expression on her face is the furthest thing from a smile. "What do /you/ want?"

"The last one?" Noah asks, entirely innocently. Noah moves slowly towards the blue tarp, talking in conversational tones as he goes. "I'm just a patron of the arts, very interested in the work of one artist in particular. Isaac Mendez, a very gifted young man. Rumor has it, some of his paintings ended up in your possession."

Sydney snorts. "Mendez." She might as well have spat the name, her tone is so venomous. "Sure, I had a few." Her chin lifts, and she indicates the corner occupied by the tarp with a sharp jerk of her head. "Not anymore."

"Oh," Noah says, looking and sounding for all the world like a disappointed buyer. He keeps on heading towards the tarp to pull it back anyway. Just in case she was joking. "I don't suppose you could tell me where they ended up? It's worth a lot of money to some people, and there would be a finder's fee."

The only thing under the tarp is a common cockroach. With a flick of its antennae, it scuttles away, claiming sanctuary in a crack between two floorboards. "Couldn't tell you," Sydney says as she cautiously begins to descend the stairs. "Some bubbly little bitch and her partner broke in last night and took them all. Ripped the bathroom door off the fucking frame, too."

"Oh," Noah says, and sounds genuinely surprised. But he always manages to sound genuine. "So you actually saw the robbery? Has it been reported to the police?" He glances towards the bathroom door for confirmation. "I don't suppose you could describe these two individuals."

On the bottommost step, Sydney pauses, eyeing Noah the same way that a mouse might eye a sleeping cat. Sure enough, the bathroom door — like so much else in the apartment — is in pieces. Its hinges dangle haphazardly from the remains. "I told you," she says, "one was blonde. Tall. Said her name was 'Gina,' but the guy she was with called her 'Jessica'. I didn't get a real good look at him." No mention of the police. Given the fact that Sydney wasn't supposed to have the paintings in the first place, it's probably safe to assume she didn't call anyone.

Noah takes a deep breath and shakes his head, full of sympathy. Can you believe the world we live in, he asks silently of Sydney? It's so hard. "Well, I'd like to thank you for your time. If you find out anything more, here's my card," Noah says, offering a business card with the name Noah Butler on it, Regional Manager of Primatech Paper in New York, and several hundred dollar bills folded with it, "And something for your trouble. And if you ever hear of more of Mr. Mendez's paintings, we're always looking to add to our collection."

Sydney reaches out with her blowtorch-wielding hand and sticks out two fingers with which to grab the card. As she peers down at it, she fails to make the connection between Primatech Paper and the Company, though this is probably just as well. Her lips pull back into a thin, unhappy line, and she nods. "All right." The money is pocketed, along with the card. Not even a thank you.

"Thanks again," Noah says with a smile, and nods towards the kitchen area. "Just the details and face, you can leave everything else," Noah says to the Haitian. A very dark, intense looking man in standing in Sydney's kitchen, and with a nod he advances towards her, one hand held out.

Flick! On goes the blowtorch. Unfortunately for Sydney, she's carrying too much to brandish it as a proper weapon, and that hand finds its intended target. Unfortunately for the Haitian, the moment his skin touches hers the reaction is something like two people pulling on opposite ends of a rope. The young woman tenses, lets out a sharp shout of surprise — and then, blackness. Somewhere, in the distance, she can hear someone shouting in French. When she opens her eyes, it's to the shrill whistle of the kettle on the stove. Imprinted on her memory is the hazy vision of the man in the horned-rim glasses carrying away a much larger figure, but of Noah and the Haitian, there is no physical sign.

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