Date: June 1, 2010
It's not the D any man wants doubled… but it'll do.
"I know it'd technically be my turn to owe you a favour, but if you're in the country…"
"Where did you need me to be?"
"Washington Monument, thirty minutes."
His voice sounds distant, tinny, there's distorted scramble on the line as though the call is coming from somewhere overseas. With no explanation the line goes dead.
30 MINUTES LATER…
A lanky figure stands alone on the sidewalk, looking up at the countries most blatant phallic symbol. In each hand, he holds a Starbuck's coffee, one of them he's drinking out of, the other one sits with the swizzle stick still stuffed into the drink hole. He's dressed in his summer outfit, which looks exactly the same as his fall, winter, and spring outfit. A black jean jacket layered over a t-shirt with some silly design on it, and a pair of faded black jeans. As though mired in the 80's, his combat boots have been traded for old black sneakers which are left undone.
Another figure strides toward the site of the monument and the man who waits. She stands out by the sheer fact that she separates herself from the few people who stroll by, veering straight toward him — and by the fact that she's recognizable in general; long blonde hair, a businesslike, but casual, three-quarter-length sleeve grey blazer, white blouse, dark jeans. Tracy Strauss is just on time, not a minute too late.
"I wasn't expecting you to be so fast," she admits, pleasantly, but with a certain polite restraint, the way one speaks to a passing business acquaintance. She adjusts the long strap of a tan-colored purse over one arm somewhat importantly, keeping the bag close to her.
Without looking at her, Pyle holds out the coffee that hasn't been drank from in offerance. "I would have been here sooner, but it took a little while to clear the area." Oddly enough, his statement is backed by the fact that there isn't another soul around. Not even a security guard or traffic cop to keep other people away.
"So, Miss Strauss, or should I call you Tracy?" The man finally turns his head and gives her a light smile. The reflective aviator glasses do wonders to hide with two tiny Tracys where his eyes should be. "Have a coffee, on the house… I'm assuming you don't want to talk about your house guests, what is this about?" His face angles slightly downward and then up again, it could very well be assumed that he was either looking at the bag or checking her out.
Blue eyes unshielded by shades examine not only Pyle with critical curiosity, but the whole area, on his mention. As she lifts the coffee from his hand, she gives a vague lift of her brows and faint crinkle of her chin as if to say huh, how about that. "Tracy is fine, 'n' no, it's not about my former house guests. This is about something else entirely."
On her own cue, Tracy unfurls the front flap of her purse back and reaches in, stepping closer to the agent as she does. A small, elongated black box is carefully slid out.
Tracy is no stranger to using her connections to her advantage; working on the Hill, it's pretty much what she does. However, when a matter comes up that hits closer to home, she's reluctant when it comes to reaching out and asking for help.
But some things just require assistance. Like when it comes to the world of abilities. And threatening presents from, possibly, a dead man.
"This was delivered to my apartment. I knew as soon 's I saw it I couldn't go to the police," she says evenly. Other than a tone of bitterness, there's purposefully little emotion attached to the statement. She hands the box to Pyle. It looks like a jewelry box, except that it's shaped like a coffin, with the inscription ~IW~. "The only person I know with those initials is supposed to be dead. If it's real? I'd sure as hell like to know whose blood that is."
Taking the box in hand, Pyle isn't as gentle with it as perhaps he should be. He first picks at the plate with one fingernail to see if it can be moved or is removable. "Someone's into the gothic stuff, huh?" he asks quietly as he slides the box open to examine what's inside.
The bloody pearls give him cause to pause for a mminute or two before he shakes the box, rolling them to the side. Then with the same hand he used to pick at the plate, he pokes the lining inside the box, trying to see if any of it can be pried away.
"You have the delivery receipt?" Is the first question that he actually expects answered, that's followed by a stream of others. "Or was it waiting for you at the door? Was it wrapped in anything? Did you keep the wrapping?"
"It was waiting with the rest of my mail from the weekend. It came in a delivery box," Tracy answers. "It said DeadEx instead of FedEx, like it'd been … vandalized," she says with some wonder and disgust, grimacing faintly. Seriously. It's tacky. "And then," she starts to add, reaching into her purse once again, not for anything so gothic this time. She retrieves her phone and quickly navigates the keypad to get to her e-mail. "This." She turns the screen toward Pyle.
Subject: <No Subject>
I'VE GOT A SECRET.
I'VE GOT A SECRET.
I'VE GOT A SECRET.
I'VE GOT A SECRET. …
It scrolls off the small smartphone screen. "Over twenty-four hours it just— kept coming, the same message," Tracy says. "I'm not asking you to be my private investigator. I can manage, it's just, these messages," a glance goes from phone to jewelry, including them both, "If they're someone … connected, to Ivory Wynn… he had an ability. He knows… things." Worry creeps thickly into her voice for the first time. She puts it back in check. "I mean, he ran the Alpha part of the Protocols for awhile. There's not much about this I can explain to the authorities. Not safely."
"Do you still have all of it? The box?" The question is restated as though her explanation of events didn't really answer him the first time. "I'll give you an address, drop it off there…" He slides the lid of the box closed and then reaches into his back pocket, producing a wallet. He flips it open being careful to keep his hand over the entirety of the photo ID slot.
Balancing it carefully on top of the gruesome little jewelry box he reaches into it and pulls open a few papers, receipts. Looking at each one carefully, he finally hands a little green ticket to Tracy. It's a dry cleaning receipt. Number 87. "When you've got everything that it came in, go there and give this and the box to the woman behind the counter." Then he turns to take a few steps and then stops to look back at her, "Oh, mind if I take this?"
Tracy gives a barely-there nod and "mm" of confirmation — yes, she still has it — before she slides her phone away in order take the dry cleaning receipt. It's given a somewhat skeptical look, which in turn is given to Pyle, but she tucks it away in her purse anyway, holding onto the strap after. As for his taking of the jewelry box, she takes a slow (almost hesitant) sip of the coffee and spreads a few fingers flippantly around the strap of her purse. She doesn't care to look at the thing anymore, but she doesn't outright and say he can take it, either. Not until she's convinced this meeting has some merit. "What're you gonna do with it?"
"Once I have the delivery box, I'm going to track where it came from. Then, this box is kind of unusual, first I'm going to find out who makes them and then find out who sells them. Then I'm going to locate everywhere that you can get an inscription and see if any of them got an order like this." Sliding the little coffin open again, Pyle rolls the pearl into view and shakes it without touching them. "Then, I'm going to find out whose blood this is… Unless you had other ideas?"
Sliding the box closed, the lanky man tucks it under his arm and holds it there like a football.
Tracy manages a small smirk, at that; it stays as-is for a moment before broadening, though it's short-lived once it does. "No, that sounds like a plan," she answers easily, slightly amused for whatever reason. She sobers up quickly, eyeing the box in Pyle's hand darkly before tracking up to his face (and her images in his sunglasses). "Look, I hope you don't mind," she says, "I don't want to waste your time, drag you away from… whatever… it is… you do when it could be nothing. I'll owe you. Double."