It's mid-day on Persimmon Street, a very pretty word for a street that unfortunately only resembles the fruit after it's been trodden underfoot for a while. The apartment buildings here are sagging and give off an air of hopeless resignation. There's an unusual preponderance of satellite dishes, though, and most of the open windows send the drone of televisions into the air, all turned to random channels, none very interesting. Especially compared to the little drama happening in front of one building. A large man and a thin man are arguing...well, the large man is screaming at the top of his lungs at the thin man, who is smiling and trying to break in whenever the other guy takes a breath. "WHERE IS MY FUCKING WIFE?"
"Well, she thinks it's time for her to move on..."
"FUCK THAT, YOU LITTLE PISSANT! WHERE'S MY WIFE?"
While Mason keeps a nice front up, with the smooth looking underground room, the car he drives sure looks like a beater. The old coup with one rusted door slides, noisily, to a halt two doors down from the screaming couple. Like the rest of the neighbors, the man doesn't hide the fact that he's gawking. In fact, as the larger man begins to get into his tirade, Mason smiles openly, shooting a wink at an older woman in hair curlers, after slamming the door of his car behind him. Crossing his arms, he settles against his car, ignoring the bit of steam that trickles out from under the hood, while watching the show.
Mason has a habit of looming with repressed energy, as though there is a great deal of tension in his broad shoulders. Though he isn't overly tall, his confidant stance and expressive face tend to make him seem larger. His short, dark hair is a tangled mess, and his brown eyes are set deep into his face. Most don't notice his full age until up close, where his forty plus years are noticeable in the laugh lines around his eyes and lips.
A light beige jacket with a bright orange stripe covers an old, comfortable button-up shirt, which once was black, and now has faded to a dull iron-blue. A heavy pair of jeans falls to the top of a very comfortable pair of brown leather shoes. Mason seems comfortable in these clothes, and he carries himself with a relaxed, friendly air.
The thin fellow, looking like he fits in this area of town, except for the mild expression and cheerfulness even in the face of a guy who probably outweighs him by seventy pounds, holds his hands up. "Now, I don't think it's the best idea for me to tell you that right now. But, look, as I understand it, half of the marital assets do belong to her, and she'd like to have..."
Possibly not the best tack, because the jilted husband roars his disapproval, the outraged profanity almost drowned out by the sheer volume of the sound. One huge fist swings out to turn the thin fellow into paste, but the latter dodges, still smiling mildly. "YOU MOTHERFUCKER! YOU THINK I'M GONNA GIVE THAT BITCH ONE RED CENT!?" He takes another swing, with as much effect, then snarls. "I'm goin' up to my apartment. And I'm gonna get my gun. If you're still here when I get back, I'm going to blow your brains all over this fucking street."
"I don't think that's really necessary," the thin fellow starts, but the large man just turns on his heel and stomps back into the apartment. The guy rubs the back of his neck, looking sheepish, but somehow pleased, as he says, "Do you know, I think he means it." He turns, catches sight of Mason, and start ambling in that direction. "Hey, you. Got a minute to help a lady in distress? Or make a quick hundred bucks. Either way."
As to the comment about the lady, Mason's eyes begin to narrow, and his slender hands come up before him in an attempt to ward off any request for his assistance -- the eternal palm that is given to those most in need of food or shelter. Then...the money is mentioned. With his broken down car, he could easily be taken for someone who might require some cash himself. With the wetting of his lips, he looks over at the gathering crowds, a refusal on his lips. But something tugs at his gut, and other words fall out of his mouth. "Yeah, sure. What do you need, 'cause I'm not about to face a guy with a gun." There is a bit of nervousness around the poker player that wasn't there before, and it isn't energy or excitement. "I'm not looking to get caught up with the cops, neither."
The thin man laughs, and is quick to shake his head. "Nah, nah. No problem with the cops, and I'll distract Bozo the Bull. But the lady needs a little starting out funds, and I have it on good authority that her husband's got quite a little stash up in a lockbox under the bed. It's dirty money, so I wouldn't advise keepin' it, but if you'll run up and get it while I play bait, I'll cross your hand with...let's make it a hundred and fifty dollars of clean money." He sticks his hands in the pockets of his tattered coat, and brings out...a slender pair of gloves, an apartment key, and a fifty dollar bill. "No breaking required. Just entry. And it's even for a good cause. How often do you get a deal like that?" he asks, with a conspiratorial grin. And then a quick look over at the building. Some crashing can be heard from the third floor. "Think quick, my friend, 'cause the sand is falling."
That's all it takes. With a quick nod of acceptance, Mason steps forward with an open hand to accept the offering. "Quite a lot of stash, huh? Any idea how much?" His words come out in a rush, and all thought to why he was in this neighborhood in the first place have vanished from his head. "It'll be the easiest $150 I've ever made. Since you're going out of your way to set it up, and all." His eyes begin to narrow a bit, after he takes a few steps away towards the house. Twisting around on one heel, he approaches the slender, little man, his face bright with newfound pleasure, "And, after all, you wouldn't be setting me up, right. Not after all we've been through together. Hell, we're practically family."
The thin man who, upon closer inspection, has light gray eyes, and seems to be in his mid-thirties, looks honestly hurt at the suggestion. "I wouldn't do that, man. You're helping me out. Look, meet me at the Rusty Nail in 30...should be about 2-kay cash and some odds and ends. If the odds and ends stay in the box, there might be a bonus for you. Apartment 301," he adds, his voice speeding up as he talks. As soon as he's finished, he skips backward, ignoring Mason utterly as he takes up a position by the door to the building. And just in time, because 'Bozo the Bull' explodes out of the door. "You FUCK! You think I was playing? FUCK YOU!" And out comes the gun, as he fires off a wild shot. The thin guy laughs, and taunts, "You'll have to do a little better than that, chico. Or maybe you can only scare girls." With that, he dives for the nearby alleyway, and Bozo charges after him with an incoherent bellow.
Nodding stiffly, obviously pleased with himself, Mason turns back to the house, ignoring any onlookers as he strides up to the front door. Without looking down, he slides the thin gloves over his own small hands and begins twittering about with the key. He tests the door, to see if the Bull was smart enough to lock it behind him. With a frown, he glances back over at one young boy idling bouncing a worn, brown basketball. Mason's lips furrow as a thought comes to him, but he shakes his head and just goes for the door himself. Should it open under the key, he'll slide inside, keeping his eyes around him, as he looks for others in the house, before going to locate the bedroom.
It seems like the key is needed; apparently the Bull retains some kind of thought even in his rage. The apartment is small and cramped, smelling like garbage that hasn't been taken out in a while, and tobacco. The door opens immediately in the combined living/dining area, with a tiny kitchen off to the right. There's a small hallway to the left, with two doors ajar revealing a tiny, dirty bathroom and what's probably the master bedroom, messy sheets and what appears to be a recently broken bureau on the floor. The other door is closed, and with his keen senses, Mason can detect someone's breathing, deep and even, as if they were asleep, inside.
He attempts to sidle up to the door, keeping quiet as his feet step lightly through the debris on the ugly organge carpet, so he can peek inside and see who remains sleeping. With pursed lips, he aims to get a good, long look at the creature, before deciding if he should continue sneaking, or use other measures to get the money.
The door creaks ever so slightly as it opens, but the form sleeping on the mattress...no frame, just a mattress tossed among the boxes of what is probably a storage room normally...doesn't stir. It's a man in his mid-to-late twenties, sleeping in a tank top and jeans, his arms 'decorated' with what look like intentional scars and needle tracks.
Whistling mutely to himself, Mason turns away from that door, to enter into the other bedroom. His intent is to stealthily grab the loot, then escape out of the house, before the Bull returns. His fingers dance lightly at the thought of the cash, his teeth running along his bottom lip unconsciously while he concentrates.
Something crunches under his feet as he moves into the master bedroom. Small beads that probably once belonged to a cheap necklace or decorated handbag pop, leaving little glass slivers in the carpet. Beside the bed, not beneath it, is a standard sort of lockbox, its lid hanging open. The contents are the neatest thing in the whole place: two organized stacks of bills on one side, and several baggies on the other that probably do not contain rock candy.
With a quick look over his shoulder, Mason leans down next to the bed, trying to keep one eye peeled. He slowly takes the inside contents of the box -- all of the money, and the drugs, as well. With a frown, he glances back at the door, then puts the drugs back, although it takes a force of will to leave them behind. He wants to stand quietly, and get himself out of the house, preferably by a back entrance, if possible. His body moves a bit more jerkily, as his attention is split between the messy floor and the goon in the other bedroom.
Luckily, the master bedroom butts right up to the fire escape, in an unusual bit of good planning by the civil authorities. The window is old and swollen, though, but can probably be forced upwards without too much difficulty.
Mason sighs at the window, but then looks back to the door, then back to the window. With a pathetic attempt to crack his knuckles, he leans against the window and puts his back into lifting it up. He's glad he /did/ put his back into it, as it takes everything in his frail limbs to force this thing upwards, letting out a loud screech as it gives way. Mason winces, looking back behind him in startlement.
In the other room, there's the faint creak of mattress springs. A voice muzzily calls out, "Rob? That you, man? D'you bring the bitch back home?" There's the thump of someone rolling to their feet and heading towards the door.
That's all Mason needs -- a chance to make his escape. With a much greater quickness than his flailing strength, he slides his way out of the window and down the fire escape. He steps quickly, but doesn't run, as he moves through the houses towards the next block over. He hopes to be able to get back to the front of the house unwatched, in order to retrieve his car, before making it over to the Rusty Nail.