Guest Starring Mister Random Mugger
Date: December 27, 2009
Matt buys a hotdog and watches a helpless little vet get robbed kick the snot out someone.
Midtown - NYC
This has not been Matt's month. At least he hasn't been caught, but his normal sense of resourcefulness turned out to come up short without the police's familiar information and support network backing him up. And now he can't safely approach Nathan, who for all he knows is angling for a position as Head Oppressor In Charge. While he waits in line for a hot dog, he leafs quickly through one tabloid after another, searching for some mention of Peter's whereabouts - and partly concealing his face to boot, in case the government agents aren't fooled by the hair. His telepathy is kept muffled, shutting out anything less alarming than hey, it's that guy, take him down!.
"Hey there's a hair in this hot dog!" The man in front of Parkman complains to the woman doing the serving. In answer, she picks it out with her gloved hands, examines it and then tosses it away with a smile.
"There ya go, Chap, no more hair!" The wavy haired redhead is cordial at least and she gives the man a large smile before shooing him away. "It's on the house, don't worry about it. Don't forget to leave a tip!" That didn't come from my head, he must have put it there hoping for a freebie.
That line, or variations of it, is one that Matt has heard all too many times. Sometimes he'll approach them afterward, politely hint that they're being watched in case they decide to try their hand at anything more serious. This time, he reluctantly lets the man go, making a show of turning one more page and then tucking the papers under his arm as he nods to the server. "Ah, kosher with mustard and a Coke?" he orders, digging a couple of crumpled bills out of one pocket.
Kosher, this is a street side stand.. what the hell? "Uh… sure, coming right up!" The woman says with a waning smile, her breath visible as puffs of condensation against the cold. They're always looking for something she doesn't have. I'll just give him one of the beef ones, they never really know the difference anyway. "You want kraut on that? They're better that way." Baker smiles at the man and prepares the hot dog with a slather of mustard. The steam from the cart is probably the only thing warming her up right now, she doesn't look too jolly in her fingerless gloves and captain's hat. She places the dog into his hands and reaches into the ice compartment for a can of coke. "There you go, man, three bucks."
Matt is close enough by now that he can't help but pick up a bit on Cody's thoughts, not without the risk of blocking out something else that really matters. He's not observant - the request is just out of old habit - but he's still going to hassle her back. No better camouflage than acting like a random self-interested civilian, right? He nods to the suggestion of sauerkraut, then does a double-take as the price is brought up. "Three? C'mon, lady, it was two-fifty just a week ago, I'm not asking for a foot-long here!"
Not willing to fight over fifty cents, the woman grimaces for a moment and narrows her eyes just a bit. "Two seventy-five, I'll toss in the kraut for free. Okay?" I'm not losing out here, I gotta stand out in this freaking cold weather for what… I'm going to get every little quarter. She sounds like a true New Yorker, that's for sure. The kraut is piled unceremoniously onto the dog and she holds out her free hand expectantly. "Two seventy-five, okay?"
Okay, now Matt hands over the three bucks without further complaint. "Keep the change," he mutters under his breath, carrying the dog and soda over to a nearby park bench to finish up the search for D-list celeb gossip. At least there aren't half a dozen brothers running around like the Baldwins…
Why the hell did I go for hot dogs, why didn't I get a roasted nut stand? Shit it's cold. The woman stamps her feet and hugs herself a little, rubbing her arms with her opposite hands. Never this cold in Iraq… Not even at night… Cody's usually easy going face is set into a stern frown as the wind whips around the street and causes loose garbage to fly up into the air. Maybe I should get a job as a cop or something, I could handle sitting around in a cruiser eating donuts all day.
It's a good thing Matt already picked up the Enquirer before he overheard that last part. The temptation is there, just slip a stray thought into the next customer's subconscious… but he's not petty enough to actually carry it out. Besides, the other part brings him up short: what is an Iraq vet doing selling hot dogs in December? With no way of actually bringing up the question out loud, he merely picks up his things and moves on, idly scratching his head as he heads back toward the apartment.
She's a skinny bitch, I'll get away clean… Been serving pinheads all day. Is the next thought that's projected in the din of the street. Look at her trying to keep warm, I'll just come up behind her and… Apparently the thug is already in action by this point and a gun is held out and leveled at Baker's head. "Gimme your money, bitch!!" He orders loudly.
Coolly watching her customers scatter at the sight of the gun, Cody just nods and reaches into the cart for the cash box. "Yeah, no worries son. Take it easy… Just gonna give you the whole box, okay?" He's holding it wrong, I can duck out of the way and gut him in one swift strike. He won't even be able to get a shot off… on me at least.
Between the hot dog, the drink, and the papers that he still wants to double-check later, it's been slow going for Matt; he's close enough, and the mugger's thoughts are loud enough, that they make it through his filter. Wincing as the first suggestion of a headache twinges through his head, he turns and focuses on the man.
Drop everything and run— she's about to knife you!
The best part is, he's not even lying. Maybe it works better when there's that extra level of conviction behind it? It seemed to work really well with that one guard on the train; for all he knows, the others might have hurt him if he'd stuck around…
The gun becomes shaky in the thug's hand and he cocks the hammer as he points it between the wavy redhead's eyes. "Don't even think about it, bitch!! Just gimme the money!!" She's too fuckin' calm, I'm shittin' myself here and she's just… fuck, she's gonna knife me!!
The gun wavers once more and then Cody's ducking down, cash box in one hand, swinging it at his face while the other makes a more controlled strike at the man's kidney.
Two shots ring out in the air. One ricochets off the building while the other goes through a third story window.
Piece of shit… I dealt with 5 year olds better than this… The redhead is concentrating on incapacitating the man fully. The cash box clangs to the ground as she gives him a few more swift strikes. One to the throat, one to the gut, then a firm boot into the side of his knee, crippling him. "I need a cop over here!! Someone call the police!!"
She's a little late on that, the gunfire has already alerted a traffic cop down the block and he is running toward the pair with his firearm drawn.
Log file not selected, logging not initiated.
Oh, crap. First, the telepathy didn't work that well - it might be the distance - and might have gotten the vendor shot if she weren't a combat veteran. Except that she is, but still. Second, the last thing he needs is to be questioned as a witness and risk being noticed. Don't notice me, he adds for the benefit of the man in uniform, before turning and making good his escape.