2011-02-23: Small Business



NPCs: Stan and Ollie

Date: February 23, 2011


Welcome to Canal S & G. First floor: jewelry, electronics, firearms, black eyes and white lies.

"Small Business"

Pawn Shop, Lower Manhattan West

No matter where you are in the Five Boroughs, it seems like you can't throw a rock and not hit a pawn shop, pizza joint, a deli, or a bail bonds office. A reflection on the city and its people? People that like to cram their faces full, hock their heirlooms, and get thrown in jail? Seems to be the way people from outside New York see them at least!

On a bright and crisp New York day, Aurora stands just outside the door to one of these nameless pawn shops. It's got heavy bars over the windows, a buzzer on the door, and - are you ready for this? - a round dude just inside the door with a slice of folded New York pizza in one hand and a greasy paper plate in the other. Even the bouncers at pawn shops have to eat! A well-weathered leather backpack is slung over one shoulder, and a pair of oversized shades hides her eyes from the glare of the sun. Buzzing repeatedly, she waits to be let in, business to conduct ASAP.

The shop has seen some ups and downs over the past few years— a few returning patrons still remember the time it was closed for, what, three months straight? Four? Vandals had a field day with it, too. Maybe that's why Fatso is gainfully employed.

There's someone else here today, looking to sell some stuff that isn't his. Car screeching to a halt alongside a stretch of curb down the block, Stefano - dressed down for the occasion, looking like a fair imitation of a non-traditionally-aged college student - lugs a satchel of his own toward the shop front. "What, now they're workin' banker's hours?" he asks Aurora, pointing a thumb toward the door.

Ophelia isn't there to sell… she's there to buy. Well, mostly. She's got a few things on her, but nothing too interesting. Falling into place near the other two, she folds her arms across her chest, glancing up at the sky as a convenient cloud rolls to lessen the sun's glare. She peers towards the shop. "Economy?" She suggests.

If nothing else, the growing crowd outside the pawn shop is reason enough for the guy inside to finally pay attention to the frantic buzzing, set down the pizza, and pull the keys from the lanyard on his (ample) belt. Also on full display? The handgun on the side, which looks like it hurts pressed into his gut like that.

Stefano's hopefully rhetorical question is met with a blank stare from Aurora. Afterall, it's not like he could see much behind those glasses. Neither of them are answered, not for her part. She just tugs her coat tighter about her - a wool overcoat with two big buttons on the front - clasps her bag tighter over her shoulder, and heads on into the shop. Nobody would think anything out of the ordinary about her, given the plain blue jeans and fuzzy-topped boots that show under the hem of the coat.

Fatso turns, slowly, revealing a comically tiny cell phone wedged in between his ear and shoulder. Between the pizza and whoever he's listening to, he's visibly distracted at first, finally shaking his head as Stefano's turn working the buzzer a few times manages to work its way into his consciousness. "Hon, I got customers, I gotta go." Closing up the phone with the butt of either palm, he sets it down, then the plate, and wipes his hands on his pants before reaching out to fumble with the latch. "Sorry about that— you know how it is when the old lady gets on a tear, am I right?"

There's a slight raised eyebrow from Ophelia, but she smirks slightly, looking towards the pawn shop. Her thoughts are elsewhere, the sun peeking out from behind the clouds again as she waits for them to be let in. "Don't worry about it," she offers in response to being kept waiting.

The shop is…well, it's something alright. It's about as old, cluttered, and cramped a building as one could get. The path from the door to the counter is an open aisle, obviously, for safety and visibility reasons. Beyond that? The layout is anyone's guess. It's mostly just shelves stacked with crap in some order. Stereos here, VCRs - yes, VCRS, five bucks a pop - there, drum sets piled in that corner over there, pictures hung up on the walls, a real eclectic collection. The real bread and butter is in the glass case there that runs almost the whole perimeter of the store, across the back wall and around. Inside there are the jewelry, the iPods, the the handguns, and all the other stuff they can really turn a profit on.

The dude at the entrance is given barely a second glance by Aurora. No, she's got her eyes set on the jewelry case, and the other employee standing back there. Pawn Stars this is not.

Stefano shakes his head. "Tell me about it," he replies to Fatso, before heading inside in turn. With Aurora still ahead of him, he contents himself with setting his bag down nearby, digging around in it as he compares the contents to what the shop already looks stocked up on.

Eh. Ophelia didn't need the money, and her own stuff was just a couple of little trinkets she threw in. However, a cursory glance at the place gives her the idea that she wouldn't get much money for anything she has. Instead, she makes a beeline for the glass case, eyes scanning the handguns. It's about time she picked one up.

All that lugging around of the backpack and then it turns out what Aurora really wants is deep down inside the pockets of her jeans. You know that random little pocket, inside the big pocket? That you only have one of? Turns out that it's a pretty good place to tuck keys and jewelry and other small, losable things. Today's haul? Two rings, a set of earrings, and two necklaces, the latter of which emerge from the bigger jeans pocket.

"I wanna pawn these…sell them, whatever. I'm not coming back for them." They clatter down onto the glass of the case as Aurora plunks them out for all to see. Strangely, she's not taken off the sunglasses.

The guy behind the counter stands in stark contrast to the doorman: same height, but exactly the opposite build, and a lot younger— his voice sounds like it's not quite finished cracking yet. "All right," says Slim, leaning down to grab something under the counter, "I've got a standard price list here. You know the karat on these?" Leaving the list upside down on the countertop, he picks up one of the rings and squints at it. "Ooh, 18. Someone's got good taste."

In the meanwhile, Ophelia is quietly glancing at the guns. She's content to wait, really, because she's still looking as to what she wants. She's undecided on the exact size she wants, so instead she'll just look between them, slowly narrowing things down.

"Yeah, well, you know…" Aurora starts, turning on the charm and playing the angle. It's a hustle she's used approximately a lot before. One fingernail clacks against the plastic of the sunglass lenses. "Gifts that I don't really want anymore, you know?" Aurora doesn't even look at the list of prices: whatever's on there is more than she paid for them. Rather, she slides the jewelry across and waits for the inspection to go.

Slim has heard it a hundred times this week, and doesn't bat an eye, just piling up one bill after another as he moves the items down into the display cabinet. "We don't sell ammo, so you know," he calls out to Ophelia in the meantime. "So nobody can come in here and do the Ahhnuld thing."

"Understandable," Ophelia agrees, pressing her fingers against the glass as she sizes up the options, ears keeping a careful ear on the conversation not too far away. She peeks over in that direction, but her eyes mostly focus on the guns as she makes up her mind.

Ophelia would get a good look at just why Aurora's wearing those oversized shades, because Aurora's looking down at the teeny-bopper checking out Desert Eagles to play Dirty Harry or something. Shades pulled down over her nose a bit, that big 'shiner' is pretty visible, which would explain the jewelry getting sold. At least, if it's real, and not some skilled application of eyeliner, eye shadow, and foundation to create just the right purplish-black with yellowish at the edges.

"And how about you, big guy?" says Slim. "You selling off the family jewels or what? Wait…wait. You're not with this chick here are you? Because, that's not cool, dude. Not cool at all." That goes in Stefano's direction, since he's come in holding a duffel full of stuff.

"What's not cool?" Stefano looks up, finally setting down a few small items of his own: an iPod a couple generations out of date, a gold-plated cigarette lighter. He's at the wrong angle to catch sight of Aurora's black eye. "No, I don't know her, should I?" He does have a thing for blondes sometimes…

"Excuse me?" Ophelia says, glancing back between Stefano and Aurora. The eye's noted, carefully, as she leans against the glass. "Got a bit of a mouth on you, don't ya?" Her gaze, for the most part, flickers back to the guns.

Aurora's brows raise, and she spins around to look at Slim, then at Stefano, then back to Ophelia. "Hmmm? Me? I didn't say a thing!" Those glasses are still pulled down, so now Stefano and Slim get a chance to see that shiner. "I was just thinking about how much one of those would be worth if it were gold-plated, you know?" The blonde chicky selling jewels is pointing at one of the bigger handguns there in the display.

Stefano winces at the sight of the black eye. He has no qualms about kicking somebody's ass if they deserve it, but a woman? Not cool, indeed. "I think she meant him," he offers to Aurora, gesturing toward Slim. "He's right, though, your ex-boyfriend can go fuck himself if you ask me." He doesn't belabor the point past that; it looks like Rory's already on the same page, what with selling off what he assumes were gifts from the aforementioned ex.

"Yeah, sorry," Ophelia points out, glancing back towards Aurora. "But yeah. Don't need to keep that kind of shit around, you know?" If Phi's relationships were anything like normal ones, she'd probably do that too. For her, though, she doesn't have to worry about that issue, and she glances at the gun. "I dunno that there'd be a point in gold-plating a gun."

"Then…I could do more than just trade it in for cash, you know?" Oh yeah, milk it for all it's worth. "Might be more valuable that way. I don't know. The cops would probably need to find it for evidence or something, like they do on all those CSI shows." Aurora spins back to the counter, looking a little antsy to get on the move though, with the trade done or nearly done. "So ah…how about that cash?"

Slim bites his lip. "I'm working on it, okay?" This is what he gets for running his mouth. "All right, here you go," he says, sliding the pile across to Aurora. "Hope you— uh— hope you're happy with it."

Ophelia shrugs just slightly, eyes glancing towards Aurora and her money. Her gaze flickers back towards the handguns, tapping idly at the glass. "I'm getting one of these, if you don't mind." After all, looks like Aurora's done.

Done, but not finished. There's forms to be filled out, name and address and all that, for police reporting. Worst thing than can do is take in stolen goods…that part, at least, IS just like Pawn Stars. Here's the part where Aurora has no trouble telling the truth though, which is strange. Contradictory, even. She scribbles her name down, address, everything like that, then takes the cash, counting it out fifty by fifty.

On her way out the door though, Aurora offers advice. "You should pick that one, it's the prettiest," she says to Ophelia, pointint out one of the nickel-plated pistols with wood inlaid grips, very bulky and last-generation. Then she's off for the door, fiddling with her pack and swinging it around on her shoulder to put money in and take something out.

There's a slight scowl from Ophelia, and she gestures to one of the other guns—probably the best of the lot. Small, compact, and with enough firepower to get you in and out with minimal trouble. "I'll take that one." Her eyes flicker to the door where Aurora disappeared.

Thankfull, doorman has finished his pizza and seems considerate enough now - after she's traded in a few G's woth of gold - to open the door for Aurora as she fumbles around in her pack. Back in the great outdoors, an observant shopper could see her pull out a wipe from a little plastic packet, pull off the shades and start scrubbing at her eye. Some shiner that is.

Slim is left in there to work the counter with Ophelia, pulling out handguns and helping the little lady try them on for size. Devoid of other customers, even Fatso waddles on over and gets behind the counter to rifle through Stefano's stuff. In the end, there'll be plenty of paperwork to fill out, buying, selling, or pawning. Nobody's the wiser as to how Aurora pulled off a little financial magic trick there, however, turning a few bucks into a few thousand bucks. Regardless, this pawn shop is not likely to see her again.

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