Stanislav and Alyona Kuzminski
Date: August 24th, 2010
Mina switches hats from doctor to detective and meets the parents of Craig's runaway friend Marcy in hopes of figuring out her whereabouts.
"Meet the Kuzminskis"
New York City
Past the massive Ukrainian Catholic Church with its brickwork and rounding architecture, past the little shops boasting all things Little Ukraine, past the Catholic school, past the Ukrainian Museum, past the bars and restaurants, past the trees that spruce up the sidewalk and many Cyrillic signs that separate this little stretch of New York of a world of its own, a walk-up considerably less interesting than all of those things. Purportedly houses the only North American family of Marcy Kuzminski. It is not well kept up, from the outside. Trash is piled up out front. The curtains are dark and pulled, the windows smeared. From the sidewalk, it wouldn't be hard to hear banging around inside and yelling that, every so often, isn't just the blare of the television.
After having to do an interview yesterday, Mina has decided to help the boy she's so generously taken in. Mostly, she's taking steps to ensure that she can get him off of her hands as quickly as possible. She was never quite the motherly type, even though she's a doctor, and she still has yet to truly come around to the idea of kids. Teens are even worse than kids, at times. Plus, he's eating her out of house and home.
Most people don't really notice (or want to notice) the two people nearby who seem to have quite literally appeared on the street. Wilhelmina lets the boy go as soon as they stop, taking a few steps away from him and turning to point a finger at the now well-dressed teen. "You stay here. Let me handle this, okay?" The woman, dressed in a black skirt that ends a few inches above her knees, a pale blue tank top, with a drapey grey short-sleeved sweater worn over her shoulders, complete with a pair of heels and sunglasses, which are pushed up to the top of her head.
Then, Mina turns, making her way toward the house in question, her hands tucked into the pockets of that 'sweater' of hers.
It takes a second — or several — for Craig to readjust. He squints in the light of day now that everything seems very still, and acquaints himself with the unfamiliar neighborhood. He appears a little awkward in his nice clothes, a big change from his juvenile detention outfit, even though they fit — instead of giving him a confidence boost, the seventeen-year-old shuffles in them as he follows Mina. Not too far — he hangs back, just like she said. Hollowed eyes pin the Kuzminski's door with concern. More yelling sounds from within, predominantly a male voice. Craig fidgets. "If that's her parents in there… they're bad people, doc," he says, cautiously pitching his voice so she'll hear, but not wanting to be too loud. "Be careful what you say or we're screwed about finding out about Marcy."
The small-ish woman smiles over to Craig, nodding slowly. "It's okay, kid. I'll get as much info as I can. If they don't give me info…then I'll get it myself." She reaches back, patting the boy's shoulder, before she's on her way toward the door, her heels clicking smartly on the ground. Once she reaches the doorway, she pauses, and suddenly she looks much neater than before. Then, clearing her throat, she raises her hand, knocking on the door. A brief glance is cast back to Craig, along with a gesture to indicate that he should get out of sight, then she turns back to the door.
All noise except for the television ceases within the house when Mina knocks on the door. Mumbled voices; footsteps; a chain lock sliding off. As the door cracks open, Craig hops into a small cranny between buildings, and disappears in a timely fashion.
"Eh?" The man in the sliver of open door studies Mina critically. Thin as a rail, short, but a wiry variety of strong, he doesn't paint a pretty picture. His deeply lined face is patchy with unshaven silver and white; the same hued straggly hair is swept over a balding head. His skin is sallow, his eyes are deep set and bloodshot. The wife beater the man wears is stained. "We're not buying whatever you are selling," he informs the doctor dismissively in rough, disagreeable voice with an accent straight from the real Ukraine. "And we don't give to charity. Scams."
The woman stares for a very brief moment at the thin man, her brows raising ever-so-slightly as her eyes flit over his form, before looking back up to her face. She shakes her head slowly, raising a hand to signify that she is after neither of the things he assumed of her. "No, sir…I'm not a salesperson, and I'm not a charity worker. Hardly," She offers a small smile, running a hand through her hair. "I've come because I have a few questions about a missing person." She leans on one foot, peering the man over with a confident look on her face.
Mina's purpose earns a grunt from the man — Kuzminski, S. according to the phone book — and he rolls his eyes so far that he winds up looking straight back into the house.
What can be seen of the interior is messy and dim — save for the bright pink flowered robe of the woman who appears behind the man. Her long, brittle blonde hair is a halo around her head, and the lipstick she wears is as neon as the floral pattern of her robe, circa 1985. Her accent matches his, but her voice is much more delicate. "Stan? Who is this nice lady— ?"
She is immediately cut off by a coarse hacking sound from her husband, who eyes Mina and waves his hand uncaringly at her. "She is looking for missing person— do we know a missing person?" he asks. Rhetorical, since his wife is only allowed to stammer before he continues, "Only missing person I know is my good-for-nothing daughter, unless you know where she is, we're busy."
"Actually, sir," Mina murmurs, rubbing a hand over the back of her neck. "If your daughter's name is Marcy Kuzminski, then she's the one I'm looking for." She pulls a badge from her purse, flashing it to the man. A genuine article, certainly, considering she snatched it off of an unsuspecting female cop who probably ended up thinking that she lost it.
"She's recently escaped from a juvenile detention center, and I'm trying to find her. It's very important that I find her and the young man she escaped with, sir. If you could offer any information that might help me find her, I really would appreciate it." She flashes a small smile to the man.
Another grunt. "You 'n' me both, lady," Mr. Kuzminski gripes. "She oughta be grateful — she was, what's the word, downgraded," that's not the word, "to community service, she could have come home, instead she runs away. Probably with some boy."
Mrs. Kuzminksi peeks around her husband, long nails in the shade of pink she seems to love best curling around the outside of the doorframe. The paint on her nails and the doorframe are both chipped. "We already talked to the police, they said they would tell us if they found her… do you know something more? Than what they said?"
Well, shit. Someone has already been through. Mina shakes her head slowly, frowning. "She and a young man ran away, and we've been having trouble finding them." She glances over Mr. Kuzminski's shoulder at the woman, before looking back to the man. "I know that the boy and her have separated…but that's the only other thing that I know." She shifts her weight to her other foot.
Wilhelmina looks thoughtful toward the other two. "Please, if you could give me any indications of where she used to hang out, or the locations of the friends she kept in her company, I would really appreciate it. Places she frequented, stores she liked. Perhaps you could just allow me to take a look in her room for a moment…?"
"Do you think she's in trouble??" Mrs. Kuzminksi pipes up, despite Mina having already announced saying all she knew. The blonde woman at least seems concerned, whereas her husband is flat-out dismissive.
"You want to see her room — how would that help?" he all but growls at Mina, instinctively leaning to one side to bar entrance.
"Oh, I'm not ready for company— " Mrs. Kuzminski interjects frantically.
"The goddamn playground up the street," he says with a grimace, revealing ill-kempt dental work and alcoholic breath. "The local teenagers hang out there. At night, like the delinquents they are. Think we don't know what they do, until they get arrested. What are her friends' names, Alyona."
"Um— that aren't in that horrible detention center, you mean. I know Steven. Yuri, Phoebe, N— " she struggles, voice raising in pitch. "— N-Nadia. I do not recall— anyone else."
The woman doesn't seem too horribly phased by the man leaning to bar the enterance, standing as tall as her 5'3" plus heels will allow her. "It may give me a little bit of insight into her life. I only need a quick glance around. If not, of course, that is fine, but I am only trying to help find your daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Kuzminski." She glances to the woman, then back to the man, nodding slowly at the information.
"Unless you got a warrant, a person's house is a person's house," Stan's low, grating voice informs Mina.
"There is nothing in Marcy's room but— posters and clothes and computer," Mrs. Kuzminski interjects again. "Kids these days— always on computer, even Marcy, who is so active…" She's quieted by a sharp look by her husband and gives Mina a tiny nod, her mascara-lined eyes wide and saddened on the doctor turned cop for a day before she ducks out of sight subserviently.
That leaves Mr. Kuzminski staring down at Mina. He's not tall himself, but the step up into the house helps him glower from above. "What did you say your name was?"
The words are barely out of his mouth before a crash, thud, surprised shout and a frantic rattling noise creates chaos upstairs.
Mina offers a small smile. "No, sir, I don't have a warrant. I agree with you, your house is your house." She smiles softly, running a hand through her hair. "I was only trying to help." She then glances to Mrs. Kuzminski once more, arching her brows for a moment. Then, it's back to looking to the man. "Detective Donna Johansen, NYPD." She flashes the badge once more, which displays the same name.
The crash, shout, and rattling noise draws her attention, her eyebrows raising. She turns to the man, frowning. "What was that?"
Hell if Mr. Kuzminski knows, but he glares at Mina as if whatever happened upstairs is her fault. With a firm grip on the doorknob, he twists around and shouts in his native tongue, vicious, demanding shouts that feature "Alyona" several times.
The shrill shouts of Mrs. Alyona Kuzminski are confused and of no help. With a grunt, the man closes the door on the "detective".
Craig appears around the corner of the building where he disappeared to, looking rather frantic himself. Wide-eyed, he waves his hand excitedly. "Doc! Doc!!" he whispers as loudly as a whisper can go and holds up a bundle of stuff: a laptop, a red sweater, and who knows what else tangled up in it all.
No sooner does Craig appear that, above, a new, younger voice can be heard shouting with the clarity than can only be given by an open window on the second floor. "— swear someone broke in?!"
The woman watches quietly as the door is shut, before turning to look to Craig, her eyebrows raising. As he holds up the bundle, she raises her brows, and…then, she's next to Craig, glancing back to the house. "I take it you were the one who caused the sound." She arches a brow down at the stuff, then back to the house.
"I suppose we should get the hell out of here, shouldn't we? Tonight, we have a playground to visit."
(TO BE CONTINUED…)