2007-06-05: The Magic Word


Jack_icon.gif Archer_icon.gif

Summary: Jack and Archer talk business.

Date It Happened: June 5, 2007

The Magic Word

Den of Iniquity

After putting in a call to set up a meeting with Archer, Jack booked it down to the Den. Of all the places in the city to trade words with the guy who's got something on his girl, here is where he feels most comfortable. Despite this, he's pacing behind the bar as he waits, puffing distractedly at an unfiltered cigarette that dangles from his lip. With a snug black t-shirt, sturdy grey denims, and his favorite scuffed boots, he looks every bit the dive bartender today.

The Den is closed right now. All the chairs are still up on the tables, and all the lights are off save for one bulb over the bar. Despite the early hour, a freshly opened bottle of Stoli and a half full glass are clear indicators that Jack has already had a nip.

The headlights of the Caprice probably shine through the windows as Archer parks his car. There's some door slamming and soon enough the footsteps that can be heard coming up to the door are no longer there. Mostly, because the door's about to be pushed open by the likes of Samuel Archer, Private Detective.

~ So this is what they call walking into a trap. Sam Spade, I'm not. But let's pray I'm quicker on the draw than this guy. I love you, Joy. Daddy'll be home soon. I hope. ~

His inner monologuing is over with by the time he crosses the threshold into the bar. Immediately, his eyes are with the shooting around the place to make some mental memorization of such things. Like windows, exits and things that can be used for weapons and/or cover.

He does, however, keep his hands where Jack can see them. Just in case.
There is enough warning of Archer's arrival that Jack isn't caught off guard, which is probably a good thing. The Irishman grinds his cigarette out, then gestures to the stool across from him. He even nods cordially. "Sam Archer, I presume. Have a sit-down, won't you?"

Despite his friendly tone and demeanor, his gaze is unwavering. He unabashedly studies the man across from him. Weighs and measures him, both literally and metaphorically. "Care for a drink?"

"I don't drink." Archer remarks, making his way over towards the stool. He doesn't sit down, not really wanting to put himself at a disadvantage so quickly. So easily. Wouldn't exactly be the smartest thing he could do, when he's not on his own turf. "I've got a few more places to stop. So how about we skip right to the part where you threaten me and I rebuttal and then you make me an offer I can't refuse?" All business.

"You're very slightly smarter than you look," Jack replies, thoroughly amused. "I don't want any trouble. What I do want is for you to leave Katrina Mah alone. Let her disappear." Eyes narrowed, he leans forward to rest his elbows on the bar. "Let's do business. We can both walk out of the situation happy men."

"I get that alot. But that's usually -after- I've been beaten to a bloody pulp and hung out the window to rot." Archer shrugs, not really sure if he's telling the truth or not. It doesn't matter, so long as the conversation stays on civil terms. "I don't want your money. I want to help." Archer explains, placing his hands on the bar as he leans against it. "Something doesn't sit right with me and I can't figure out what it is. Droppin' this whole thing? Not my style. But I can't help her if she won't trust me." Pause. "That's where you come in…"

"Stop." Jack straightens from the bar and holds both hands palm out in a warding gesture. "If she doesn't trust you, she doesn't trust you. I'm not helping you get around that." He sighs and reaches up to pinch at the bridge of his nose. "Can't you just leave us be?" Jack's basso voice is strained. The next word comes out so low it's almost a whisper. It hurts to say it, and he doesn't try to hide the fact. "Please?"

Archer narrows his eyes on Jack. Please. He said please. He always told Joy that was the magic word. And, well, sometimes it just is. "I swear to God, I'm gonna' go outta' business like this." He reaches into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulls out a small envelope. Tossing it on the bar, he's turning around to leave. "That's everything about her case, right there. I don't have copies. I suggest burning it, as soon as possible." He shrugs into his jacket a bit more. "Officially, I just lost the trail. How's that sound?"

Jack is ready to look Archer in the eye again. Now his puffed up sense of menace is gone completely. Tentatively, he reaches out and lays two fingers on the envelope. Then he nods once. "Thank you. If you won't take my money, at least accept a favor. If there's anything you need that I can do, it's yours."

Archer doesn't stop even as he reaches the door. "If you two ever have kids, be a good father." Archer figures that's the best thing he can ask of such things. Mainly, well, because he's busy trying to get out of this place before he ends up thinking about the money again. He really needs to get over having this soft spot for people that are clearly victims in situations they have no control over. And he's gone as quick as he came. To try and figure out how in the hell he's going to explain this to that Family…

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