2008-06-05: Dog Eat Dog World

Starring:

Merrick_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Merrick and Niki meet under slightly unusual circumstances in Chinatown.

Date It Happened: June 5th, 2008

Dog Eat Dog World


Chinatown, New York City

As the clouds begin to roll in from the west, the smell of rain seems to taint the New York air. In the mood for some steamed dumplings from Cherry Blossoms, Merrick makes his way to Chinatown after class. As he exits the subway, Merrick looks up and notices the clouds and frowns. He decides he better make his way to the food market quickly. He makes his way down the alleyway towards the establishment. His backpack over his shoulder, which houses his laptop.

A new… ish… Honda Civic is one of the vehicles moseying down this part of Chinatown, white, nondescript and boring as hell, which is probably the point. Inside, the woman at the wheel (not quite so nondescript) moves a pair of glossy black sunglasses onto her head, pushing back blonde hair. With a furrowed brow, she leans over the steering wheel and looks up at the cloudy sky. It was so nice ten minutes ago. Stupid rain. NYC traffic makes moving slow this time of day; the snail's pace gives Niki a good look at the multitude of restaurants nearby. Like Cherry Blossoms. She eyes the time and makes a snap decision to try to park near it. Might as well bring back lunch.

As he makes his way down the Alley, Merrick turns the corner and a small group of the Triad are hanging out by their motorbikes. Merrick stops suddenly, his body going tight. He can see the restaurant at the exit of the alley a good 300 feet away. Does he continue to walk or turn around. He looks down at his watch and he would have to waste 15 minutes of back tracking to get their.

As he makes his way down towards the Cherry Blossom, the older Triad begins to speak in Chinese to Merrick. He looks down and begins to walk faster. The group begins to advance on the young man like a pack of wolves. Merrick backs himself into the wall holding his hands up and says, "Guys I don't want any trouble. Please."

After an adventure in parallel parking that causes at least one passer-by to blare their horn and nearly ends in disaster, Niki gets out of the car. The Honda's door locks and the car secures itself moments after its (new — thanks Jack) owner slams it shut, noises that are lost in the hubbub of Chinatown.

Niki is distracted with putting her keys away into the oversized silver purse hanging heavily from her shoulder as she steps up onto the curb, in a hurry — not only does she have to get "home", it looks like she's about to get rained on. The group of men are hard to miss, though, and before she makes it to the restaurant she stops and hesitates several feet behind them, taking stock of what's what.

As the older Triad laughs, "You walk down wrong alley way boy. Now you must pay us to exit it." Merrick blinks as he speaks in his English Accent, "No listen hear mate. I don't Adam and Even this…" One of the younger Triad point at young man and says, "He not even American. He have to pay big. We want the Laptop." Merrick blinks and slides his arms under his other strap." Bullocks. I don't give a witches tit what you want mate. And me mom and pop are from Manhattan."

The guys begin to advance on the young man and his hands come up to his head to protect himself.

Out-of-the-way in the alley, the gang and the young man are easy to pass by. Most of the New Yorkers know not to mess with whatever's going down; stick to your own business, you don't have to worry. Niki knows that point of view well, but her whole being doesn't subscribe to it so much, even if life would be easier if she did. She can hear Jack's voice from not twenty minutes ago: You're a good person. I've seen how hard you work at it. She sidesteps away from the alley's mouth, laying a hand against the outer wall of Cherry Blossoms, peeking into the alley, tense and ready to move.

As his arms come up to protect him, Merrick drops to a knee. He sees a chain link near one of the motorcycles. As the guys quickly move to beat on him, he reaches out for the chain and his hand seems to shimmer as if you were looking at a road on a hot day.

The chain begins to slither across the ground, and around the older Triad's feet. Merrick is doing all he can to stay focused on his manipulation yet when he is hit in the head with a fist he loses control. The chain grips tight and the Triad is lifted up into the air upside down, and he goes flying out of the alleyway directly towards Niki's car!

As blood trickles out of Merrick's nose, the gang is simply staring at their flying friend as he travels through the air with the chain around his legs.
Merrick has partially disconnected.

Niki starts to rush around the corner when she sees Merrick being struck, but hurriedly backpedals. If someone could put words to the expression on Niki's face when one of the gang members is suddenly forced into the air and thrown, it would be something like WHAT THE F—. Wide-eyed, she whirls to flatten herself against the outer wall, a whirl of blonde hair and blue fabric of a casual, summery dress.

Meanwhile— CRASH. That might leave a dent in the car. At any rate, the alarm goes off, shrill and obnoxious.

Okay, so maybe the guy doesn't need any help.

A few of the gang members begin to rush out of the alleyway to help their friend. They seem to ignore Niki…for now. Only two stand over Merrick now, and look down at the bleeding boy. "I am haunted mate." coughs Merrick as he holds his nose. "Its me guardian angel. She protects me." The boy's left hand shimmers again, yet the motorcycle key on the closet bike turns. The kick stand drops and it roars to life. It begins to drive down the alley and the gang runs after it. They are swearing in chinese as Merrick turns and begins to run out of the alley. His head turn on the bike as it travels towards the wall, not seeing the fact he is running directly towards Niki!

Only half comprehending what's going on in the alley, sparing quick glances around the corner, smart enough not to barrel in, but she gets the jist. She starts to jog toward the men at her car, the alarm still accosting the eardrums of everyone in the vicinity, but no such luck. She spins around in time to see Merrick running straight for her and swipes for his arm instead. "Hey, kid, are you okay?" The blonde aims a glare at the men helping their fellow gang member by her car. Niki and Merrick aren't exactly intimidating in comparison to the Triad, but they've seen what at least one of them can do.

As he blinks, Merrick is holding his nose. He does not allow the bike to crash, as it stops but he looks over his shoulder, then back at Niki. He makes an attempt to lie, "So odd. I think we have electromagentic pulsars spiking today. The live wires over our heads when not aligned properly can create odd things related to metal and electrical things." He chuckles weakly, "I hope your ok lass."

"… Right," Niki says with a dismissive shake of her head. Maybe she buys it, maybe she doesn't (let's lean heavily towards doesn't), but she doesn't seem interested in figuring out whether Merrick believes it or not. "I'm fine." She lets go of the young man and gestures to the vehicle, the passenger side door slightly indented, and watches the gang members running off. "I guess I can't say the same for my car, though."

As he looks at the car, Merrick winces and takes a step back from the woman. "Ummm yeah. Sorry about that ma'am. I don't know what happened there." As he holds onto his backpack a second, Merrick's knees buckle and he holds his head. He reaches out to grab the wall to keep himself from falling. As the gang runs off swearing in Chinese. The mugging has been averted, yet Merrick is hurt and his laptop most likely got the worse of it.

"Hey," Niki grabs for the stranger's shoulder this time, a concerned expression cropping up on her features as she tips her head to the side and tries to get a good look at his face. The woman's hand is strong, supportive. She smiles reassuringly, bright, but dampened by a wary sort of worry. "Don't worry about it," she says. "It was free. Are you sure you're okay? Let me help you inside where you can sit down."

Merrick chuckles weakly, "Bloody Chinese…all I wanted was some dumplings." He allows the woman to lead him, as he holds the side of his head. He mutters about going to feel this is in the morning as he runs a hand through his hair.

"Did they swipe anything?" Niki, taking a firmer grip on Merrick's arm, leads him to the door of Cherry Blossoms. She pauses to point her car starter behind her and shut the alarm up, finally, before she pulls the restaurant door open and lets the man go first.

As he walks into the restaurant, Merrick shakes his head slowly as he says looking down at his shirt, "Now that is just poppy cock. I just bought this shirt." He motions to the blood as he looks over at Niki, "No…yet something tells me the laptop in my backpack is broken and needs to be taken back to Best Buy for repairs." He sighs softly waiting to be seated.

"Table for two?" A stout Chinese man pops up to ask the pair of strangers cheerfully.

"Just one, I'm here to place an order," Niki responds politely, but nevertheless follows to the booth by the window that they're led to, flat sandals quiet. Amidst the vivid colours and non-cloudy light of the restaurant, the healing cuts, scrapes and bruises that fleck the woman's body — at least her arms, legs, and back — are harder to miss. "That's too bad," she tells Merrick belatedly. After a pause, she asks somewhat hesitantly, "Are you gonna call the cops?"

As he leans against the wall, "I will just have dumplings to go." He cocks a single eyebrow as he runs a hand through his hair. "Ummm…I don't think that is right. I think I will let it lay. I don't need some pissed up porker with a badge asking me questions. Unless…well with your car? I just rather not have them involved. I can pay for the damages." Does he feel guilty 'he' caused the dent or is he being nice?

Niki sits down opposite Merrick at the booth, perched on the edge of the seat; Cherry Blossoms is busy as usual, but there are a few tables left, and the man who takes their orders doesn't seem to mind. Niki glances at the short menu on the table and just says, "Number five." To the employee before focusing on Merrick. She shakes her head with a sway of blonde waves. "It's not like it's your fault some losers attacked you in an alley." Or that one of them went flying? She flashes a smile. "Like I said. Don't worry about it."

As he takes a napkin, Merrick looks into his lap and says, "Thanks." He begins to wipe his nose of the blood. "I knew New York was bad yet I did not know it was this bad. Its like a dog eat dog world."

"Tell me about it," Niki says with an unhealthy dose of bitterness, although she smiles after the fact. Maybe that makes up for it. "I hate to say it, but I think the whole world's like that." Sliding her purse onto her lap, she starts to dig through it. "I have some aspirin in my bag if you want— "

"Oh that would be all right. Thanks.." Merrick makes an attempt to wipe off his hand on his shirt. "I am a horse arse. 'y 'ame is Merrick…Merrick Jones. A pleasure lass. Thanks for the help and the…" He smiles softly…'The aspirin. My head and nose thank ya mostly." Merrick runs a hand through his floppy hair to get it out of the way.

A travel-sized bottle of aspirin is placed on the table with a half-full (or half-empty, depending on your point of view!) rattle. "Oh. Right. Of course," Niki says with a somewhat flustered smile, forgetting her manners. Forgivable for both of them, all things considered. She slides the bottle across the table and offers her cleaner hand to Merrick. "Niki."

Merrick nods as he takes the bottle with one hand, and shakes Niki's hand with another. "Thank you again Niki." He releases her hand and begins to open the bottle. He sets out 4 of them, as he pops them back and swallows without any water. Merrick closes his eyes a moment as he allows his body to relax.

"You're welcome." Niki's quiet for a moment (or two or three) as well, taking the bottle back, making it disappear into the depths of her purse. Running a hand along the opposite bare arm, over a small slew of scrapes and bruises, she watches out the window, where rain has started to pour down on Chinatown and cause vendors to duck inside their shops. "…so I take it you're new to the city?"

(Fade Out)

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