2010-06-13: The Proof Of The Porn Is In The Viewing

Starring:

Maggie_V5icon.pngLaurie_V5icon.png

Guest-Starring: Officers Lopez and Parker

Date: June 13th, 2010

Summary:

This scene is really, really great…


"The Proof Of The Porn Is In The Viewing"

O'Meara's Apartment, Brooklyn

Detective Jimmy O'Meara created quite a few roadblocks for his so-called colleagues when he was working with the Irish gang. Uncovering his cover-ups has been an ongoing work of progress since his death. For one detective, it's been going on longer than that.

It's time to see what he'd been hiding at home.

Home, for the crooked cop, was near a dimly lit stairwell in Brooklyn tucked away in a small apartment building, at the very end of a hallway — which, today, is stifling hot. It's not the worst place to live, and it's not a hole in the wall. "Yeah, here we go again," grumbles the squat and aging building manager, prompting an intently questioning look from Detective Powers, who stands waiting in front of O'Meara's door. A couple of uniformed officers are catching up, their footsteps in the stairwell.

The comment doesn't come as a surprise to Maggie, but she's not thrilled by it as she considers what he could have meant. "Who else was here?"

"Bunch of yahoos in suits. Real… federal." The manager starts to slide a key in the lock from a set of many. "Too bad whatever happened to ol' Jimmy."

Those trailing behind in uniform take a bit of their sweet time, for separate reasons. One, a short Hispanic officer, takes his sweet time in order to perfect the lazy, swaggering step that informs everyone around that he could be doing something better than this right now. The second of the pair outright drags his feet, tugging at the blue threads denoting his rank as if they are new to him — in a way they are; Officer Joe Parker's leave of absence was a fairly significant one. Now the lean man has an extra edge that hardens out his otherwise boyish face — it goes with that chip on his shoulder.

Pressure in the hotbox hallway is in no way lessened by the eventual increasing proximity to Detective Powers as both of the boys in blue square off on the other side of the doorway, measuring the locale with their lack of desire to be here. Though Joe's look to the crooked number on the door formerly belonging to O'Meara is bordering on morbid curiosity.

At the end of the manager's commentary, the less burdened officer turns his head to the side and hacks out a cough that more or less might as well have been the word, "Curse," for all he attempts to actually hide it.

As the building manager tries the next three keys when the first proves — with a bout of nails-on-chalkboard scraping against the lock — to be the wrong one for the job, Detective Powers looks over him to the officers, the "cough" catching her attention quite immediately. To that, she remains neutral — if slightly stern — faced; however obvious the guy was, it might be questionable, to them, whether or not she heard more than a hack, or if she's only noticing their belated presence. But for Officer Joe Parker, she does a quick double-take and looks away — just as the building manager gets the door to unlock with a timely click.

Pursing her lips, Maggie takes the doorknob in her grasp as soon as the man shuffles back. "Thanks, Mr. DeLuca." As the door is eased open and Mr. DeLuca murmurs something-or-other and moves to shuffle past the officers in the claustrophobic hall, the detective nods her head toward the apartment as an indication for the others — come on, we're ready — before she starts to enter herself.

"We're looking for anything he might have kept from his time dealing with the gang," Maggie says on the threshold, her voice impersonal and authoritative, speaking into the apartment, rather than in the direction of the officers. "And, anything he might have taken or copied from the precinct."

With one dutifully ignoring — the cougher — and one murmuring apologies to the manager — obviously, Joe — the officers tuck into the small living space. It's unclear whether the feds or O'Meara's general state of living left the apartment in vague disarray, but the slight out-of-placeness — the feeling of being recently touched — lends a surreal atmosphere to the apartment as if to emphasize that the occupant had no idea he wouldn't be coming back. With an open container of waiting kung pao on one table, the detective could be expected to return any moment.

But he won't. Ever.

And the former colleagues now trudging on his worn fake hardwood floors begin pawing through his things, safe in this knowledge of absence.

There's a space lacking in dust that could've fit recent mail, but no envelopes. A couple of other just shifted items. Officer Parker sticks close to his fellow uniform, waiting a few glances from all of them before he leans in to comment. "The place's been swept already…" Something he should've been saying to Maggie, or not at all. And with the semi-loud way he says it, perhaps it is to her — despite the obvious inability to look in the detective's direction.

"Should have been here sooner," Maggie states under her breath deploringly. It might be a reply to the overheard statement, but it sounds a good deal more like she's talking to herself. She wanders through the space with observant glances to every little thing her eyes fall on, repressing the way the atmosphere of the dead man's apartment settles over her. "All the more reason to look harder," she says more loudly with her back, again, to the officers as she comes upon a stand with a drawer on it. The detective tugs it open and sifts through its contents. She's thorough, but half-hearted in her search: she doesn't expect to find anything there.

There's the shuffle and scuffle over her shoulder as the other two get to their work with a similar less than optimistic outlook. Officer Parker is also matching in thoroughness, while his fellow combs the living space with more of a critical judgment than eye — it's just another way to do the job, though, as his disparaging comments bring to focus certain aspects the more straitlaced Parker might have ignored in his too-systematical search.

In this way, the two move opposite Maggie, spreading towards the not impressive but still vaguely separate kitchen area. "Wonder if there's anything in the fridge…" is the last audible mutter before both are briefly out of sight behind a cupboard set.

The drawer in front of Maggie is all of unassuming except that all of her intent knocking about rattles a latch that's already been tampered with, letting the fake top of the secret panel inside shift about loosely with enough pestering. Revealed underneath, the secret basin is well deep enough to hide a substantial stack of papers… yet it's empty… all except for a little yellow post-it note, crinkled some from the investigation of the drawer. In thick black, this small reminder bears only an arrow… pointing randomly to the side of the drawer. Or, above the stand, to a hallway that leads to more of the apartment beyond.

Maggie is a moment from abandoning the drawer when the odd latch rattles and the false bottom moves about — then more, at her insistence. The note is plucked from the bottom and its arrow studied with narrowing eyes. When you're not expecting to find anything, finding a little mystery like this is especially curious. Why would O'Meara leave a note like that? Why would the FBI? They wouldn't. She gives the drawer a more focused examination, her fingers prodding and testing for any more hidden compartments.

Paused with the note in hand, unsure whether or not it's just a scrap, she lifts a skeptical gaze to the hallway and listens quietly to the officers in the kitchen. "Keep looking," she calls back. "I'll get a start on the other rooms." And so she does, sliding the little drawer shut and giving a small shake of her head as she heads down the hall, briskly opening the first door she sees.

Bathroom — sink, yellowed shower stall, medium length mirror, window out into the alleyway. And a man. Positioned directly in front of Maggie in the room with not a lot of space for his size, much less the both of them, Laurie's only standing plainly, but a slight tenseness to the air is indicative of exactly how still he's been holding himself. Black v-neck tee, leather jacket, familiar boots — not even a whisper of fabric from his breathing. Despite this, as he brings a gloved quieting finger to his lips at the sight of her, the gesture retains a sense of mischievous as well as seriousness. It's the former that's reflected in his playful, and not wholly unpleased eyes.

Unaware, the noises from the kitchen continue, but also branch off. The short Hispanic officer rounds back into the main room, his attention diverted distractedly to whatever he's turning back and forth in his hand as he projects into the room, "If the feds were here, don't that make this a Fed case?" He bounces the item in his hand a few times, eliciting a crackling noise before there's the rustle of him setting it back down. "We really got anything to find they wouldn't just take away from us anyway?" All he'd have to do is glance up…

The sight of someone in the bathroom sends Detective Powers into an instant state of tension. When she realizes it's Laurie, she becomes almost as still and silent as he is, staring at him with all manner of opinions — so many that her surprised stare is fairly unreadable. Words are cut more than short; she silences herself instantly on the verge of saying anything. Cautiously, wide eyes track to one side as she tries to glimpse the speaking officer.

As slowly and quietly as she possibly can, looking sideways and clutching the doorknob throughout — don't look, don't look — Maggie steps from the hallway to the bathroom. Inside the small space, she eases the door shut at the small of her back and flattens soundly against it. Her pitches her voice high enough to carry more easily past the closed door to her colleagues, "That's probably true. But O'Meara was on the force, involved in our cases, this isn't only their jurisdiction!" That's her story and she's sticking to it. "Keep looking!"

Next, Maggie reaches one arm over above the sink and pries the mirrored medicine cabinet open a few inches, rustling bottles around on the pretense that it sounds like she's doing something productive. Under this noise, she hisses out a whisper for Laurie. "What are you doing? What if someone else caught you?!"

He looks up. To the tail end of the door closing. "Detective…?"

Whether her words, or his opinion of her — something keeps the officer from pushing it further, and so much the better. As soon as Maggie moves, the reason for Laurie's stillness becomes doubly evident; every tiny shift of weight sends the floor into loud, obnoxious creaking that bends the cheap tiles underfoot.

Now that the detective's movements provide reasonable excuse for the noise, he also eases some, though not to back off and give her any amount of personal space to go cabinet-digging as she is. "What are you doing here?" He challenges as though perhaps they've run into each other at the grocery store and she's just taken the last bottle of salsa with that reach. "Lucky me you're so good at following directions."

The post-it note with its bold arrow (now pointing at the ceiling) is brandished, stuck to a few fingers of Maggie's — of the hand that isn't digging through O'Meara's things. She gives Laurie a funny look with raised brows, speaking expressively without saying anything: You? Seriously? Figures.

She quickly elbows the light-switch on as a sort of afterthought — she should be able to see what she's supposedly looking for. It's not just supposedly, after the first few seconds; she does pay some attention to the cabinet, tipping her head to glance in. She pauses before replying outloud. Out of caution, she's hesitant to speak. Rather than waste words on explicitly explaining her purpose for being here (doing her job), she whispers quietly, glancing around the edge of the opened cabinet. "Was it the feds … or was it you who beat me to it?" Rummage rummage rummage. "Quick, I can't do this forever. You have to get out of here."

When Laurie's arm reaches out, it brushes right past her. "You're going to have to be more specific," he speaks low, but only to be quiet; he's still casual. "I think I might work for them or something." Arm retracting, "Now don't be short with me. I got you a present." Voila, his hand is in front of him but now he's brandishing an envelope at her, stuffed to each edge with three blank VHS cases. "O'Meara's favorite," he informs, though with no intention to specify for which element of this strange package being handed to her.

With as little protest from the floor as possible, he retreats a step, putting him basically against the wall of the tiny room, a hand going instinctively to the windowsill. A breeze is blowing in. He gives a short, regretful, look for the rest of the apartment beyond. "And you shouldn't let Detective Doesn't Care into the bedroom first."

Maggie stops her rummaging and shuts the cabinet. The silence that follows is uncomfortable, exposed, and a signal that there probably aren't going to be any more words exchanged, lest they be overheard. The package of VHS tapes grasped, it gets the questioning look it deserves. The same look is sent behind her, at the door pressed to her shoulder; really beyond, toward the muffled sounds of Officer Parker and "Detective Doesn't Care", who are hopefully following her orders — not as far as the bedroom.

In preparation, she stuffs the now useless post-it into the pocket of a black pair of pants and reaches back and starts to twist the bathroom's doorknob. She gives a tip up of her head to the window, lifts her brows, and mouths 'Go.' She'll cover for whatever noise he makes.

As his other hand joins the first against the edges of the window, though still in a relaxed leaning manner, Laurie's expression pulls into silent appreciation — perhaps for her command, you know, what with his great track record at following them and all. Whatever the sort, he's framed in the halo of the window and by the light outside for a second: watching her with a look behind that other look that she won't have long enough to interpret.

His hands leave the sill, putting him in a precarious position on the edge of the window held steady by his own power. But every second, he steadily is going back. As the hands come up in front of him, he curves fingers around, touching knuckles and pads of thumbs. They frame Maggie… in a heart.

Wink. Whoosh— he just about vanishes, dropping quite suddenly out the window.

On Laurie's choice of wordless language, Maggie gives a faintly put-upon smirk, as if this ordeal is so exasperatingly hassling; it is, in a way, but the look is not a serious one. Maggie watches him vanish — and as he does, she opens and closes the door in quick, jarring succession behind her, hopefully masking the noise she assumes he'll make. The door is then opened in earnest, the light switched off, and she strolls out of the bathroom with the mystery package tucked under one arm. "Any luck?" she calls out casually to whoever's listening, and makes her way to the door in the hall she's assuming is the bedroom. Laurie was behind Door Number One; now what's behind Door Number Two…

… the bedroom. Evidenced quite easily by the fact that the door's already been opened. None other than the officer who has been said to care slightly less is inside that cardboard box of a retreat, behind the opposite side of the unmade bed, his hands clenched around a VHS case not unlike the ones Maggie's been given — except this one… well, it has a picture on it, alright. One that makes its contents quite obvious, even without the examining officer's resulting facial expression.

"A beautiful call girl— a dangerous obsession…?" He reads scandalously from off the front, then twisting his hand to glance at the back. His other hand is braced on the edge of an actual cardboard box that he's pulled up and placed on to bed for better access. "What, the guy's a squealer and he can't even afford to get his rocks off on DVD?"

The fact that officer is, in fact, already inside brings a faint frown to Maggie's face, but it's not out of place upon features that have become stern. The tape in the officer's hand gets a thoughtful eyeing — not because of the subject matter, it should be noted, but for reasons that have her shifting the package in her own possession. "Maybe it's a classic," she comments before shaking her head disinterestly — she has no idea. "I don't know." But she does care about some VHS tapes. She turns away slightly from the officer; not knowing what she's holding makes her a little reluctant to share, so she tugs an object out of the stuffed envelope to see what the deal is with these tapes.

"Riiiiight," the officer observes skeptically, though it should be noted that he hasn't exactly put the video away, either. He just readjusts his grip on the tape a few times idly, never quite putting it into place in the box in front of him full of plenty of others. Maybe there's something special about this one… "Anyway, this is all he's got in here… jeez, they'll make just about anybody a detective these days…" The last muttered, sinking into background noise to the tune of Maggie checking out her wares from the secret hook-up in the bathroom.

Two of the VHS cases are a lie, not containing tapes at all but information rolled into a tight, concise bundle. Dossiers on women, correspondence with clients interested in 'meeting' them… the third case seems to just be a video — except for the piece of paper sticking out from underneath its cover bearing an address and a phone number.

The information is given a quick but observant scan, the papers quickly removed and stuffed back in after every read-through. The contents spur Maggie to glance at the officer and the particular tape he holds onto. She turns about to face him. "Hey, can you check and see if all those cases actually contain videos? I found this in the bathroom." It's not a lie, so she says it with ease. "It's full of … information. It looks like it might connect to a prostitution ring," she says thoughtfully — with a dose of confusion — as she eyes the phone number and address before tucking it back with the videotape. "We'll give this room a good sweep. Then we'll call it a day."

Disbelief spreads on the officer's features before he schools the more disrespectful look away. This doesn't seem to curb his incredulous, "You want me to look through all… this…" Being O'Meara's somewhat copious collection. As though to prove Maggie's theory wrong absolutely, he tugs harshly on the case he's holding, popping the cover off in one sweep. 'Lo and behold, there's a paper stuffed inside the very top, that the cop squints at with mild disconcertion. With some forced effort, he reaches two fingers in to try and pull the stuck sheet out, all the while looking less than happy about it.

As he's pulled the note out — or what is actually a paper and a strip of negatives — Joe Parker appears at the doorway. "Get in here, Parker, and help me finger this porn," the buddy inside the bedroom cracks off, waving what he's found in demonstration, without having glanced over at it yet. Peeling and bent due to its hiding place, from Maggie's position, it's still somewhat recognizable as a picture of her bathroom informant.

It turns out to be fortunate that Detective Powers avoids looking straight at Officer Parker — it means instead of glancing to his appearance, she's still watching the things revealed from the video. And she blinks. "I've got this one!" Maggie swoops in to snatch the paper, negatives, and the erotica's cover — so she can quickly slide the previously hidden information back inside. Unfortunately, the quick move doesn't allow her to study it in any detail. "Sorry," she says with a hastily appearing apologetic smile to make up for her rash grab. "It looks like it's related," she explains with a tipping gesture of the thick envelope in her other hand.

The rushed polite smile falters when she looks to the other cop. "It's no problem Parker, I'll help." She tucks the package under her arm and takes the edge of the box of tapes in claim. "You can search the rest of the bedroom."

Surprised, the officer lets the video be stripped from him. Afterwards, he gives a bit of a judgmental snort as to how eagerly she chose that one. "Well!" He declares, "Detective gets first choice." Derived of his chance to further study that one shining example of mature entertainment, he turns lackluster enthusiasm to the rest of the box — which Maggie has also now claimed. There's a fleeting look shared between him and Officer Parker, the latter of whom sort of nods acceptance and marches to the first corner of the room. It's pretty small; he hasn't gone far. "Should we get a team for this?" The Hispanic asks, semi-joking, as he irreverently begins picking up stray porno titles and shaking them till their covers fall off. The ones in actual boxes have to be popped open; he seems to be leaving those to Maggie.

"I think we can handle it, Lopez." Maggie sets her purloined objects on the side of the box of videos farthest from the officer — closest to her. Focused on the task at hand, she goes through the videos dutifully, opening box after box: she's very organized about it, and O'Meara's collection will likely be more in order than it ever was, for all it matters. Every now and then, she glances up quickly to track Joe's search; and, every bnow and then, there's a faintly uneasy, half-suppressed grimace from the detective over the titles and images gracing — or disgracing — the various covers she works through.

As it turns out, in the end, almost half of the titles looked as though they once contained something other than adult films — or have been prepared to. Near the bottom rests any extraneous VHS tapes that had been left behind when their cases were used — in pristine condition, it's questionable whether they've even been touched since removed from their boxes whenever.

Lopez finds no other stuck pieces of papers, nothing crammed in those kind but plastic bags. Maggie, on the other hand, is fruitful in her careful work when she comes across what is labeled as a bootleg Doves music-video — only it's actually stocked with a thick folded envelope containing articles, a NYPD recent police profile, and a CONFIDENTIAL labeled docket summarizing the FBI write-up of a criminal named Roscoe. A criminal they created. Years ago. Every one of those — all — could be used to expose the undercover agent.

At this point, Officer Parker, who's been diligently searching the trash can the last few minutes, brushes his gloved hands on his knees and glances over hesitantly. "… What have you got?"

"Hm? Oh." Maggie, examining the very tops of the documents in the now much creased CONFIDENTIAL envelope as she thumbs through them, starts to respond lightly. "Well, I guess we'll find out. It looks like more of the same." Cast down at the articles, her eyes are darker and more calculating than her voice. Tucking the newly found documents back in place, she adds them to the collection of evidence — information, blackmail material; whatever it is, it's certainly getting sizeable — and goes back to her search.

The remaining videos don't prove to house any secrets, and she takes her heap of data up in her arms. Every corner of the bedroom is given a critical glance, every area likely to hide things Officer Parker might not have investigated sussed out — but with some reluctance, the detective deems it more or less clean. "I'll track down Mr. DeLuca to lock up — see you back at the station." Joe is given a vaguely awkward side-glance down there by the trash can, ill-fitting with Maggie's confident steps out of the room on her way out of the dead man's home.

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