Title: Heart of Gold: High Stakes
Description: Ready to Gamble it All?
Petaline - October 26, 2006 07:46 PM (GMT)
Petaline brushed off her hands, dirtied from helping replace the storm-stripped solar sheeting. Jonah was clinging to her leg, riding her foot and giggling gleefully as she lifted him with each step she took.
"Petaline, letter for you." Helen handed her the notice, stamped with the official seal of Burgesstown and she opened it with a frown that only deepened as she read it.
"Jonah, sweetie, go find Blacky and play in the yard." The letter was from Burgesstown City Council, more commonly known as Mrs. Burgess, the Wicked Widow's Web.
Petaline glanced around the Comfort Room. Things were mostly put to rights after the storm, and business was slowly coming back. Without Master D. and Catri, the Dark Room was closed, but overall business had been down anyway. She'd hired a temporary chef; good enough, but he was no Shanti, and the customers knew it. The Reynolds Room had lost it's personal touch.
Damian had sent a wave saying they'd be delayed a bit, but that Catri was healing up fine and they'd be home soon as they could. Sooner the better, from Petaline's point of view.
The new Gambling Hall manager seemed to be working out, and the rescue workers who'd come to Burgesstown to help seemed to like their evenings with the rest of the staff. So, that, at least, was good.
But still, the business wasn't good enough to pay for this... this RANSOM that the Widows Web was demanding! Petaline read the notice once more and then handed it off to Jordan. "Taxing us for the storm recovery. Just because we're the only business doin' business! What's next?"
She turned once more and scanned the room, a challenge in her eyes as she faced her staff, "Well, best we focus on gettin the most out of our clients tonight. I'm gonna go change into my red dress and put down my hair. Let's make a shiny dime tonight."
Ludlow Morrant - October 27, 2006 09:06 AM (GMT)
Ludlow Morrant. At one time a man to be feared on Londinium; nary a crime nor misdemeanour was committed that he didn’t know about and didn’t receive a slice of. Those thieves, pick pockets and general scum of the earth used to cower into his office, literally with cap in hand and ask him for a favour. For a small price a favour could be bought from Ludlow Morrant and you knew it would be honoured. That was the reputation that it had taken decades to build up.
But what if they could see him now?
Ludlow Morrant. A Gambling Hall manager. Still wearing his expensive suits, still smoking his sweet smelling cigars, still to be feared by the scum of society who wanted to win money not lose it, by any means. And yet it just wasn’t the same by Lud’s standards.
His suit was slightly rumpled from the way he leaned in his seat, pouring over the records from the last year in the gambling hall. The sheen that was so popular on Ariel was faded with the dust of this godforsaken rock, and lost in the shadows of the folds. His cigar hung limply from his fingers, a long stick of ash that had burned down as it sat ignored just hanging by sheer determination, threatening to fall into his drink. His thin lips moved silently as his eyes ran across the page. He was lost in a world of figures and profit margins, only to be interrupted by the voice of his new boss.
"Taxing us for the storm recovery. Just because we're the only business doin' business! What's next?"
Lud raised his eyes from the log book and watched the curve of Petaline’s hips as she walked into the room with a small smile curving at the edge of his mouth. It had been a while since he’d felt the hips of a good woman, he couldn’t help glancing hungrily before she noticed. As she turned and surveyed the room, Lud hastily turned his eyes back to his reading, taking a long drag of his cigar and tipping the long length of ash into a tray beside him.
"Well, best we focus on gettin the most out of our clients tonight. I'm gonna go change into my red dress and put down my hair. Let's make a shiny dime tonight." Petaline said, in what Lud could only assume was the enthusiasm she could muster. He had heard that there had been a bit of trouble during the storm though he hadn’t inquired, basically because it weren’t his business. But from what he was reading, the trouble was a bit older than that.
“You’re gonna need a bit more than a shiny dime judging from these figures,” he tossed the book aside onto the table beside him and picked up his drink, sipping on it delicately, “We’d better hope Lady Luck is taking a sabbatical tonight. We’re going to need everyone to be leaving with empty pockets, or they ain’t going to be leaving at all.”
Petaline - October 27, 2006 04:56 PM (GMT)
"You’re gonna need a bit more than a shiny dime judging from these figures,”
Petaline turned to face Mr. Morrant as he tossed aside the books and looked at her over his drink.
“We’d better hope Lady Luck is taking a sabbatical tonight. We’re going to need everyone to be leaving with empty pockets, or they ain’t going to be leaving at all.”
"Things that bad?" Petaline's worry creased her brow. "We were well in the black until the first of the year... then they increased our fees. I got us some breaks with the Mayer, but..."
Peter was dead. The mayoral mansion had been destroyed during the storm, and Peter, his wife and two children hadn't made it to the shelters. No more breaks for the Heart of Gold... not as long as the Widow's Web continued to spread.
Petaline sighed wearily and dropped into the chair across from Ludlow, studying him for a moment, "We need to increase business. Increase our prices. Or both. I'm open to any suggestions you've got, Mr. Morrant."
Vitorria Tate - October 28, 2006 05:09 AM (GMT)
Every day when Vitorria went on duty she mentally recited an old quote, one that she heard, in other forms, from Miss Petaline almost every day. “Sex appeal is fifty percent what you've got and fifty percent what people think you've got.” Basically that translated to "walking sex must look sexy."
In general this was fairly easy to accomplish through a flirtacious wink here, maybe a hint of perfume there. Tonight Vitorria did both.
Sometime between the fifth recitation and the sixth her eyes alighted on a rather thin man in the bar area who was dressed in ratty furs, probably dog, who stared at her unwaveringly, hands flat against the table. His lips were constantly moving- must have been drunk, to be talking to himself. Vitorria knew a sure sale when she saw it.
Vitorria approached him, emphasizing the sway of her hips. Smirking seductively, she touched his arm lightly with a forefinger. "Evenin', darling," Vitorria purred, running a hand down his arm. "You look lonely. Let me help you with that."
The man seemed enthusiastic enough, judging by the way he jumped to his feet and half-pulled her up the stairs and into the first unoccupied room. As soon as the door was closed the man latched the door closed. A chill crept up her spine when the locked clicked into place. Most folk didn't bother to lock doors in the Heart of Gold- wasn't much point, really. Unless you have something to hide.
He's probably just paranoid, she reassured herself, glancing coyly at his hands through lowered lashes.
A customer's hands could tell a lot about the person. Shaking or sweaty hands meant the customer was probably nervous, either because he or she was a virgin and/or had issues about sexual completion. Steady or experianced hands meant that he was an old hand at the game and maybe a regular at the Gold to boot. This man's hand held a knife, a barber's razorblade to be specific.
For an instant she couldn't process it. A knife? That was a surprisingly primitive way to go. Usually she suspected dying from another medicinal fiasco.
A breath later her brain caught up to her eyes and screamed in her ear. Move! Her brain ordered harshly, frantically sending orders to her feet to move, knee him in the groin, anything but stand there like a piece of furniture. Move, gorram you! MOVE that over-sexed tush of yours before he knifes you, you twit!
Apparently her feet was having a mutiny because Vitorria watched helplessly, frozen in horrified fascination, as he moved his hand slowly, almost lazily, and placed the razor's edge on her throat, right above her pulse. At this close range, Vitorria heard clearly what he was saying. "Bulls like icecream. I like strawberry. And alarm clocks. They make noises, like dice rolling on the floor."
She didn't even realize her mouth was moving until she'd started to shriek. A breath later the man's hand slapped against her mouth, muffling the sound. "Shut up!" He hissed, face twisted in some demented emotion. He grinned manaically at her. "I'd be unhappy if you attracted attention. You won't make a sound, will you?"
Blond ringlets flashed as Vitorria shook her head emphatically, eyes wide.
"Good." The man smiled at her and dug the knife in slightly. "You ever cut an apple into squares? Easy, fun... How about a fish? Gotta gut them, de-bone them..." He smiled. "It's so hard to perform vivisections on animals anyway." Vitorria whimpered against his hand.
Kazimir Sternberg - October 28, 2006 06:01 PM (GMT)
Kazimir sat at one of the tables, nursing a beer and watching the brothel's patrons. He held the beer in his right hand, as for the moment his left was suffering from the shakes again; he had the shakes ever since Newhall, or Newhell as the planet had been dubbed by Corporal Wu, one of the jokers in the company. Wu's head had been blown apart like a grapefruit by a Seeker two days before Kazimir's men laid down arms. Thinking about Wu just made the shakes worse; if the beer had been in Kazimir's left hand it would be spilling all over the place.
"Sir, there's too many of them! If we don't pull back we'll be cut off from the main force!"
"We've been ordered to hold this hill, so we're going to hold this gorram hill lieutenant. Is that clear?"
"Sir, if they cut us off we'll be slaughtered!"
"I didn't ask for your opinion, so don't give it to me. Until command says differently we hold this hill, and that is final!"
Kazimir dispelled the memory with a shake of his head, he came to this brothel so he could forget about his demons for a few brief moments, not to wallow in misery. He went back to looking over the room, trying to pick out a woman who was attractive enough to take his mind out of the past and give him a few moments of piece. Instead he saw a man eagerly rushing up the stairs with one of the working girls, and a worried frown made its way onto Kazimir's face. The man looked like Watkins had after spending a week in the trenches under constant bombardment by the Alliance. When he'd gotten some R&R time...
"Watkins cut a girl up sir ... cut her up real bad."
"Corporal Watkins, you have been sentenced to summary execution for your crimes, may God have mercy on your soul." Kazimir pulled the trigger.
Kazimir once again tried to shake away the memories, tried to forget about the men and women who had died under his command, but he'd been trying to forget for a long time, and he'd never had any success. His musing came to an abrupt end as a muffled shriek came from upstairs; normally sounds like that weren't too out of place in a brothel, but something seemed off about it, especially when Kazimir was already on edge. Clearly he was not the only one who had noticed something off about the sound, as one of the employees called down, "Miss Petaline, I think we gots us a problem."
Kazimir rose up from his chair as soon as the whore spoke, he had to stop ... Watkins ... whoever the hell that man was from hurting people. Kazimir drew out his pistol and stalked up the stairs, then looked at the girl who had called down the stairs and asked. "Which room?"
The girl was clearly a little frightened by a strange storming up the stairs with a gun drawn. "I ... I don't..."
"Which room?" Kazimir repeated, his voice now a deep growl; he had no patience for this kind of delay while that man was...
"I ... in there..." The girl said, pointing a trembling finger towards the door closest to the stairs. Kazimir noticed the girls trembling and thought briefly to his own shaky hand, which had now become steady as a rock.
"Thanks." Kazimir growled at the girl, not sounding particularly grateful. He stalked over to the door and kicked it open, not particularly surprised to see the girl being held captive with a razor blade at her throat. Kazimir didn't waste any time with preliminaries and challenges, his first bullet took the man in his elbow, jerking the man's arm to the side and removing the blade from the girl's neck. The second shot caught the man in the shoulder and sent him spinning to the ground.
Kazimir rushed forward and none too gently pushed the girl away from the downed man. As the man tried to rise Kazimir put his boot on the man's chest and brutally forced him back down. "Sentenced to summary execution." Kazimir muttered under his breath, bringing his gun up and firing off the shotgun barrel at point blank into the man's face, killing him instantly.
Kazimir scowled at the corpse for a moment, then turned his attention to the girl. "Y' alright miss?"
Vitorria Tate - October 29, 2006 12:59 AM (GMT)
For a moment Vitorria stared at him without comprehension. Am I alright?
The man was silently watching her, onbviously expecting an answer. He didn't seem the patient type, given the circumstances.
Her words, when they finally came, blew out in a shuddering gasp. "I-" I want my mama... "Yes," she told him softly. "He- I'm fine. He didn't have time to cut me." She was about to thank him when something wet brushed against her bare toes. Moving reflexively, without conscious thought, her eyes traveled down to discern the source.
The dead man's left hand had been flung out wildly, and was twitching slightly in posthumus death throes. A particularly violent twitch had landed it completely on her foot. Half of his face was gone, blown off by the gun, but his remaining eye seemed to stare at her, and was wavering slightly in her vision. "I think I'll need smelling salts," she told her savior unsteadily. "I believe I'm going to faint."
Ludlow Morrant - October 29, 2006 04:17 PM (GMT)
"Things that bad? We were well in the black until the first of the year... then they increased our fees. I got us some breaks with the Mayer, but..." She sighed and fell into the chair opposite Lud, "We need to increase business. Increase our prices. Or both. I'm open to any suggestions you've got, Mr. Morrant."
Lud raised an eyebrow at the apparent weariness of the mistress. Reaching to the table beside him he grabbed the bottle that he had been servicing and a spare glass and poured a healthy portion. Passing it over to her he said quietly, “Please, just Lud. I haven’t been called Mr Morrant for a long time.” …and I haven’t earned the right to be called it again so soon, he kept the last to himself though.
Returning to his own drink he thought over any suggestions he might have. He did have plenty of ideas, but they were generally of the marking the cards or weighting the tables kind. They worked back on Londinium, but he wasn’t sure this was that kind of establishment. At least, not where Petaline was concerned. But it was a sure way of keeping any money that the punters wanted to spend.
His mind turned towards the more legal side of gambling, “The trick is, Mistress Petaline, to entice the customers and then keep their buttocks on our seats until they’ve spent all their money. Freebie’s are the way to go I feel. A small loss at the beginning but after a few weeks you’ll see a definite improvement. A free drink to every customer, gets them sat down. If they lose then leave them alone, if they win then fawn over them. Free drinks, free food, keep them there until they start losing again. No one leaves with a profit if we can help it.” He smiled slightly at the thought of profits and sipped on his drink.
Petaline - October 29, 2006 05:50 PM (GMT)
“Please, just Lud. I haven’t been called Mr Morrant for a long time."
Petaline smiled at that. She grew weary herself of the constant "Madame" that her employees seemed to like to tag onto her name. That had started with Jordan, she remembered fondly. She cast a quick eye to the beautiful barkeep before turning her attention back to Ludlow. "Very well, Lud. Tell me what you have in mind."
“... A free drink to every customer, gets them sat down. If they lose then leave them alone, if they win then fawn over them. Free drinks, free food, keep them there until they start losing again. No one leaves with a profit if we can help it.”
Petaline nodded appreciatively, "I see what you're saying. We wouldn't offer the good liquer... Jordan can mix up something special... a Drink of the House? They'd never know it's the cheap stuff." She glanced at his face to see if she was following the logic, "As for food, without Shanti, the kitchen is suffering, but perhaps we can put together somethin' simple... a snack plate or the like? If they aren't leavin the tables to eat, that might work."
Emma's worried voice traveled down the stairs, "Miss Petaline, I think we gots us a problem.".
Before Petaline could even move, a stern looking fellow, someone who'd been in before, was on his feet and moving. The hand-cannon in his grip said he meant business. What had he seen that she'd missed? She'd been so occupied with business that she hadn't been paying attention to business.
She hadn't even reached the stairs when there was the sound splintering wood, followed immediately by gunshots. "Ai ya! Not again! I've had just about all the shootin' I can take!"
Still, she dashed up the stairs, her mind racing. It was Room 5 ...who had Room 5 tonight? Vittoria! The thought of the petite, delicate blond, with her sweet, waif-like demeanor hurt, possiby shot, sent panic through Petaline.
"Y' alright miss?"
She made it to the door and found the room splattered with blood. The customer
was standing sturdily over the corpse of a thin man, a ratty fur coat soaking through with blood. Petaline averted her eyes to Vittoria. The girl was pale, trembling, but her voice seemed relatively calm as she addressed the man with the gun.
"I think I'll need smelling salts, I believe I'm going to faint."
"Whoa! No, no you ain't, girl." Petaline grabbed her by both shoulders and wrangled her out the door away from the bloodshed. She pressed her to lean against the wall, letting Emma and Lucy support her. She hollered down the stairs, "JORDAN! Get us a shot of brandy up here for Vittie! She's had a shock. And better find Dusty... we've got a mess to clean up. "
Then she turned serious eyes to the man, his gun still in his grip. "Well, sir. I mighty thank you for seeing to that little situation. I take it there was harm comin' to our Vittoria if you hadn't stepped in when you did."
Slowly, she scanned from his boots to the top of his head before meeting his eye, "Whatever you'd like, sir, is on the house, and you may call me Petaline."
Kazimir Sternberg - October 29, 2006 06:24 PM (GMT)
"I - Yes." The girl said, clearly shaken by what had just happened. "He- I'm fine. He didn't have time to cut me. I think I'll need smelling salts, I believe I'm going to faint."
Kazimir frowned slightly at the woman's last words, he knew he wasn't the warm and fuzzy type of person who could comfort a traumatized woman, but he felt like he ought to maybe do something for her. After all, he didn't want her ending up like him. Fortunately the gunfire had drawn the rest of the brothel's staff to the room, and from the way they were tending to the girl they clearly had a better idea of what to do. Once everything seemed more or less in hand the woman who Kazimir assumed was the madame came up to him.
"Well, sir. I mighty thank you for seeing to that little situation. I take it there was harm comin' to our Vittoria if you hadn't stepped in when you did. Whatever you'd like, sir, is on the house, and you may call me Petaline."
"Wat ... the man had a knife to her throat when I came in. Didn't like the looks of him when I seen him downstairs, run into his type back during the war." Kazimir scratched his chin, considering the madame's offer. "Don' reckon I want for much Miss Petaline, I was thinkin' on hirin' out a lady, but I ain't certain if I'm wantin' that or not. Ain't no need to be given' me nothin' for free, just did what any decent man oughta." Kazimir shrugged, a bit uncomfortable with everyone's gratitude. "Ain't no big thing."
Vitorria Tate - October 30, 2006 02:21 AM (GMT)
Voices floated around but she couldn't understand them. Everything was all a muddle of colors and ringing noises, darkening at the edges into a meaningless mass until everything went black, like a vidscreen turned off. The next thing she was aware of was the feel of something cold pressing against her mouth, accompanied by a rush of cold liquid trickling down her throat. The liquid burned going down, shocking her into wakefulness.
Vitorria sputtered, coughing up a good deal of the liquid -tasted like brandy- on herself. Opening her eyes was strange; they felt odd, like they were weighed down. Little bright dots danced around her vision, slightly hiding the shapes of Emma and Lucy's anxious faces as they peered into her eyes. Emma frowned slightly, pressing the back of her palm against Vitorria's forehead. "Hey, Vittie. You ok?"
"You fell down and everything," Lucy chimed in, giving her hand a friendly pat. "Lucky Miss Petaline handed you to us, or you would've taken a nasty bump when you went down." Vitorria didn't remember falling down.
Vitorria had been raised by farmers, and according to her mama, fainting was definitely not a good excuse for laying around on the job. Smiling weakly Vitorria struggled to her feet, using the wall as a brace. "That wasn't the good stuff was it?"
Petaline - October 30, 2006 04:03 AM (GMT)
"Don' reckon I want for much Miss Petaline, I was thinkin' on hirin' out a lady, but I ain't certain if I'm wantin' that or not. Ain't no need to be given' me nothin' for free, just did what any decent man oughta. Ain't no big thing."
Petaline shook her head at the man's modest declaration, her eyes falling back onto the gruesome remains before sweeping across the bloodsplattered bedcovers, "Sir, there's a big difference between what decent people aughta do, and what's actually done. And saving one of my girls is a very big thing in my eyes."
She hesitated, then met his gaze again, "I don't suppose you're looking for work?"
Petaline tried not to think of what Ludlow would say about adding another to the payroll, but they'd needed a good bouncer for a while, and Petaline really couldn't stomach the idea of risking anymore of her staff. Or clientele, for that matter... even if they DID turn out to be undercover Feds. "I've been looking for someone to get our backs around here, help out when we've got fights, turn the tables when the rowdies start up. Comes with room & board, although the board ain't much since Shanti's been gone, and we can work out whatever salary seems fair to you."
The obsurdity of talking hiring when a mans brains were slowly oozing across floor planks only feet away didn't escape Petaline and she had to step away from the doorway, "Of course, if you don't fancy a cashy salary, we can always work out something more satisfying, even if the mood for this evenin's spoiled."
Dusty pushed passed them and whistled to himself, "This is a mess."
"Long as us and our-own are okay, mess don't matter." Petaline said firmly, "Just get the body out.. take it out the rear balcony, and lock the room up. We'll clean it tomorrow after the guests are gone."
Then she turned back to their savior, "Well, sir, fancy a new job?"
Kazimir Sternberg - October 30, 2006 04:24 AM (GMT)
"Well, sir, fancy a new job?"
Warm bed and regular meals would be nice, been a fair while since I could count on having both them things every day.
Kazimir gave a slight shrug. "Sounds a fair idea, warm bed and good food's a fair powerful enticement for any job to offer for them what don't always have 'em. Reckon I might occasionally want some of my pay in trade 'stead of in coin, but don' wanna impose none on them what ain't interested." Kazimir waved a hand in the direction of the girl he had saved and her two friends. "Know I'm fair old compared to young'uns like them, 'magine they'd rather be with folks there own age then a dirty ol' jon yee like m'self. Seems like if'n I'm to be workin' here I needs to get 'long with them what I'm workin' with, don' reckon I kin do that if'n I'm askin' them to give me somthin' they ain't particular wantin' to give."
Kazimir shrugged again. "Reckon we'll work somethin' out if'n it comes up. Anythin' I need to know for the job?"
Jon yee = Browncoat
Petaline - October 30, 2006 04:31 PM (GMT)
"Know I'm fair old compared to young'uns like them, 'magine they'd rather be with folks there own age then a dirty ol' jon yee like m'self. Seems like if'n I'm to be workin' here I needs to get 'long with them what I'm workin' with, don' reckon I kin do that if'n I'm askin' them to give me somthin' they ain't particular wantin' to give."
"Reckon we'll work somethin' out if'n it comes up. Anythin' I need to know for the job?"
"Why don't we head on downstairs and continue this in more...comfortable...surroundings?" Petaline took the man's arm in her own and guided him towards the stairs, "As for workin' in trade, Mr... I'm sorry, what IS your name? I've been prattling on and haven't even asked. Guess havin' a man's brain-pan scattered kinda scattered my own thoughts."
"But what I was sayin' is, as for workin in trade, I think you'll find my girls ain't shallow. They're kind-spirited, and know best the difference between a young fei-wu and a grown man with a bit of experience under his belt." Now she gave the stern fellow a wink, "And most of us recommend the latter over the former."
"Now, as for the workin' part, You can start tomorrow if you'd like. Tuesdays through Saturdays, with Monday bein' a restin' day. Best rule is if it looks like it's gonna start a fight, put a stop to it. Don't recommend splatterin' blood on the rugs if you can help it, but mores the time I've seen a simple fight at the card tables or over a girl get outta hand. Just keep a keen eye out, and watch the staff to make sure they aren't gettin' trouble.
We'll also be asking you to guard the cash-box on the bank runs and what-not, though we ain't had that kind of trouble in a while..."
They had re-entered the Comfort Room and she guided him towards the bar, sashaying a little as she crossed the room, "Ludlow? This would be our new bouncer. 'Spect you aughta say hello."
fei wu - useless person
Vitorria Tate - October 30, 2006 08:27 PM (GMT)
Moving carefully in case the dizziness came back, Vitorria headed down the stairs, trailing one hand on the bannister for balance. She was still a bit woozy, but the spots had gone away quickly and Vitorria was confident that the lightheadedness would too. It had been difficult, but Lucy and Emma had scurried back to their respective duties after Vitorria gently assured them -twice- that she was fine and could walk around by herself.
Skirting the bar Vitorria slipped out the main entrance, heading around the the back of the building. A decently-sized garden was half-hidden behind one of the sheds, part of it shaded by the shed's awning. Lines of greenery marched away for several feet, alive with blossoms and fruit. A neatly trimmed rose bush grew under one of the windows, wafting a pleasant scent through if the window happened to be open, which it usually was. The herbs were coming along nicely, including the Black Cohosh root. The root was uniquely suited to businesses like the Heart of Gold for it's special properties, among them helping with menstrual pains. It was also, supposedly, useful as a birth-control method, but Vitorria wasn't sure on that point, having never used it successfully for that herself. She'd started nurturing the plant soon after her hiring, to help repay the pleasure palace for taking her in.
Weeds had started tangling up the roots of the roses, and would need cutting back, and some wild critter had nibbled at the rosehips. That was easily enough taken care of, if she could borrow some hot peppers from the kitchens- when the juice squeezed from them was sprayed along the garden's boundaries, animals tended to stay away.
Vitorria loved her little garden. It was her special place, where she went when she needed time to herself or a quiet place to think. A born and bred farmer, nothing was so soothing or pleasurable to her -not even sex- than sinking her fingers into dirt she'd worked with her own hands, breathing in that speacial wet-earth scent. She was grateful that Miss Petaline had let her start it, and even more so that most of the workers at the Heart of Gold left her alone most times when she was gardening. She always felt awkward if anyone saw her tending her garden, like they were watching one of her most private and intimate moments. She'd tolerate it, of course, but it made her feel awkward and unsure, like when poppa had quizzed her on her sums.
Sighing in contentment, Vitorria knelt on her knees and started tearing up clumps of weeds, losing her fear in the simple concentration required for the task.
Petaline - November 8, 2006 04:22 AM (GMT)
"Petaline? She's gone out to the garden."
Emma's voice pulled Petaline's attention from the gentlemen.
"Think I should check on her? She likes her quiet out there, but I don't like her out there by her lonesome...?" Emma's voice dropped off in uncertainty and Petaline patted her shoulder.
"Don't worry, Emma." Petaline reached for Vittoria's shawl, draped over the back of a chair and went to the back porch where little Jonah was tussling with the huge black and white hound. "Blacky, boy, find Vittie. Guard Vittie."
She held out the shawl, letting the dog get the scent, then repeated herself. "Guard Vittie."
"MAMA! Wants play!" Jonah protested as his dog put his nose to the ground, tracking determinedly to the gardens.
"Mama wants Jonah in his bath and ready for bed!" Petaline scooped up the little boy, cuddling him despite his protests and tears. "You can play with Blacky in the morn."
The little monster scrubbed clean, read to and tucked into bed, Petaline changed into her red dress and let down her hair, promising herself once more as she looked in the mirror that no matter what it took she'd keep this place alive; for Nandi, for all of her girls and her boys, and for her own gorram sake. She would take care of their own.
Then she straightened her cleavage, blinked the worried frown-lines from her forehead and made her way back into the Comfort Room. "Gentlemen of the House! The Lady of the House is open for business! Anyone who can beat my dealin at the BlackJack table gets half my goin' rates!"
She shot a wink to Ludlow as half a dozen men hurried their way to the blackjack table. Well, it was a start.
Kazimir Sternberg - November 9, 2006 04:16 AM (GMT)
Kazimir made his way back to the bar, this time opting for a corner seat so that he could keep an eye on the room. Reckon there's not much to do now but wait for trouble to start. Might oughta get to know folk if'n I'm to be workin' here.
Kazimir waved the bartender over. "Name's Kazimir, Miss Petaline hired me to be ya'll's bouncer." He told the woman, getting the introduction out of the way. "Some milk'd be nice, don't reckon I oughta drink while I'm on duty." He glanced over the menu and added, "The dog curry good? Reckon I might not have time to eat if'n things get real busy." Like that time when the 'bellies just kept coming and coming back on Boros. Man tries to sit down and eat a meal when there's fighting goin' on he's likely to get 'imself killed.
Petaline - November 10, 2006 04:08 PM (GMT)
Petaline lay awake, perspiration cooling on her naked body.
Beside her, snoring lightly, lay the gent who'd managed to pull a 21 on his tenth hand. Half off her goin' rates, plus a handsome pot to boot.
He'd been fun, a bit too much into the wine, and they'd both laughed their way through the love-makin' bit of it. Now, though, she couldn't rest. Fun was over and worry had returned.
Silently, she rose from the bed, pulling the cover lightly over the gent...had he even told her his name?
Downstairs, things were winding down. The Game Room was dark. Jordan was wiping down the bar, putting things in their place. A few of the staff still huddled quietly at tables with clients, still hoping to negotiate a deal before they fell asleep.
Petaline moved behind the bar, and sat in front of the Cortex screen with the sound turned down, watching the news flicker past in scrolling ripples. She missed Shanti's avid newswatching and the girls tendency to fill her in on events in the 'verse that might effect the Heart of Gold. A newsline caught her eye and she scrolled back, then she changed to search mode.
There it was. The answer. She could make it all happen.
Her fingers fairly trembled as she checked the time-differences, and then keyed a number she'd sworn she would never use.
Fanty and Mingo - November 10, 2006 07:47 PM (GMT)
The twins are at a table with a wall behind them. The left one speaks first.
"Hello Love. I think we can make the ribbon thing work..."
"*Ahem* We would like to help Petal-love, but before we do, we would like to know how it is that you intend to pay us back. We believe that you will pay, but we have a *Mingo smooths out his clothes* reputation to think about, dear."
Petaline - November 10, 2006 08:18 PM (GMT)
The way Fanty... or was that Mingo? called her Petal-love, was a delightful bonus for having to go begging. But they were willing to hear her out, and that was the whole point.
Of course they had their reputations to think of.
And of course they would want to know how she intended to find the means to pay.
One knew full and well that being a whore on a back-water such as Jinye meant scrapping more often than not. (Well, apparently the Widow and her Web din't know it.)
Petaline hesitated a moment before making up her mind. 'In for a penny in for a pound', as her Pa used to say. She forced her most business-crisp smile onto her face, and glanced down the bar to see if Jordan was listening in before sending her reply.
Fanty and Mingo - November 11, 2006 04:31 AM (GMT)
This time there was only one twin, Fanty, in front of the camera. Not that Petaline could tell...
"Hallo love. Well helping out might be a bit of a difficulty right now. We are in the middle of some heavy... transportation issues soo... we can only do this on one condition...
We would like a nice discount when we come over to watch this so-called Rim-poker Tournament. We won't interfere with your business, we promise.
*He leaned into the camera, conspiratorial-like* Personally, though, I think Fanty over there needs the break a little more than I do. I think you might be able to help him with that, though.
*He straightened up* Send us a wave with when you expect all this to happen exactly and we will be there. Might even make some money off of us.
Petaline - November 11, 2006 06:40 PM (GMT)
Petaline felt her shoulders relax for the first time since Helen had handed her that gorram letter. At least now, if she lost The Gold, it wouldn't be falling into the Widows Web. Far better the eccentric and well dressed duo than that bitter-snouted old tart!
She called down the bar, "Ludlow? Jordan? Get a good nights rest. We're gonna have some work to do in the morning!"
Then she waved back Fanty and Mingo, no longer forcing a smile, but finding it lit up her face as naturally as the sunrise. Not that she was ever up and awake for that time of day.
When she signed off, she was too keyed up to sleep. Instead, when the orange gleam of pale Jinye plains sunset rose through the windows of the Comfort Room, she was still before the Cortex Screen, a note pad under her right hand, which was scribbling lists, backtracking, crossing out, and re-writing...
100 players. 2 grande ante-in.
Seven card stud- five players to a table- ten rounds a day.
Winner finale round takes all.
Food- Ask Sha// =Mikey? How much? What kinds?
Liquor stock - resupply
tables- Dusty + storm scrap = tables
space? pool tables out to the shed.
Advertisement? Cortex Ad... Personal invites-
Who- Brock Cataran... call his agent.
Endorsements? Sihnon wines? BlueSun Game Supply? (Ask Ludlow)
She was still scribbling and screening when Jordan dropped a cup of coffee under her hand; when Emma carried Jonah through to the restaurant for some breakfast;
As the Heart of Gold slowly came awake, Petaline was, for the first time since gunfire had shredded the Comfort Room a week earlier, standing up and finding some hope.
"Petie? Want d'ya want me to do with that guy Kazimer had to blow away?" Dusty's voice drew her back, "He din't have no id or anything."
Petaline was surprised to find that the previous nights events were already half forgotten. She glanced up into Dusty's gorgous black eyes and shrugged, "Bury 'him out by the rose bushes, plant a shrub on him and call it a Sunday mornin', Dusty. Then I got a few chores for you. You see Vittie yet this mornin?"
Dusty shrugged an 'I dunno' and headed out back. She admired his tush as he went...
Vitorria Tate - November 12, 2006 09:12 PM (GMT)
Vitorria stifled a yawn behind a hand as she inspected the last of the white rose bushes, frowning slightly at what she saw. The leaves had turned a bronze color, and some parts of the rose had died altogether. They're over here, too. Drat. Third time this month. Mites had infested the roses again.
This type of rose was a hybrid variety nicknamed the Racy Lady, a classification that Vitoria found endlessly amusing. But for all their beauty and ironic appeal, Racy Lady roses were particularly susceptable to mites and other vermin, and needed close attention. Picking up a large spritzer bottle from her side, Vitorria began to carefully wash every inch of the bush. The only way to get the mites off was to spray everywhere; once the arachnids were removed, they couldn't climb back on.
Exchanging the bottle for a pair of shears, she snipped of a length of plant that was completely infected with the mites and tossed it on the brush pile. It hurt to hack away at her plants, but it couldn't be helped. If the cutting had been left on the bush, the mites would spread even faster.
The bush was only half done, but Vitorria paused to rub irritably at her eyes, leaving a streak of mud on her cheekbone. A few times during the night she'd almost dropped off to sleep, but she'd managed to keep herself awake. She didn't dare go to sleep- there was no telling what sort of images her mind would show her. If anyone had asked why she was still awake, the roses were an excellant rationilization. It took hours to do all of the roses correctly, after all, and if they were abandoned for even a day, some of the best bushes would die.
The crunch of footsteps on mulch startled her into raising her eyes from the plants. Dusty stood at the edge of the garden, smiling sheepishly. "Petti's lookin' for you, Vittie," he said, tilting his head toward the main building. "And before you go, where'd you stash the shovels?"
Vitorria gestured vaguely toward the shed behind the garden as she rose to her feet and dusted off her knees. "In the shed, same as always." Dusty nodded and headed for the storage shed she as she went inside.
Petaline was nursing a coffee at one of the tables, but looked up as Vitorria came in. "You were looking for me, Marm?"
Petaline - November 13, 2006 03:52 AM (GMT)
Still wrapped up in her research, Petaline didn't hear Vittoria until the girl spoke directly at her elbow.
"You were looking for me, Marm?"
"Sure I was, hon. Sit down a spell." Petaline glanced her over... dirt on her skirt and under her nails, a streak of brown on her cheek, leaves and mulch still clinging to her. "You spend all night in the garden?"
Then she was forced to confess, " 'course, I spent all night right here, so I can't say a bit about it. I was just a bit worried about you. You had a bit of a bad time last night. How ya holdin' up? If you aren't up to workin' for a few days, I understand. Maybe if you want to help out in the restuarant, or something instead of takin' clients?
Or if you want, you and Lucy can go doubles a few nights. Two's always safer than one."
Petaline glanced down at her stack of handwritten notes, "I've got us a plan to get our financial bit straightened out, but it's gonna need everybody pullin' together to make it happen, so I need you back on your feet as soon as you can."
Vitorria Tate - November 13, 2006 02:58 PM (GMT)
"-Or if you want, you and Lucy can go doubles a few nights. Two's always safer than one."
Vitorria flushed, rubbing at the muddy streak on her cheek sheepishly. "I'm fine to work, Marm, just as long as I don't contemplate last night too much. If I double up with Lucy for the next few nights like you said, I won't mind that much. It's the thought of being alone with a client just now that gives me the heebie-jeebies."
"-so I need you back on your feet as soon as you can."
Vitorria nodded. "You couldn't tear me away from my regulars, Marm. One of the gents gives me foot massages when we're done."
After a moment of contemplation she couldn't resist adding, "Blasted widow. If you don't mind my saying, that devil-woman needs some good sex. That'd straighten her out some. I ain't volunteering for the job, though," she added hurriedly. "That's more than my life's worth."
Petaline - November 14, 2006 04:26 PM (GMT)
"You couldn't tear me away from my regulars, Marm. One of the gents gives me foot massages when we're done."
"Foot massages!" Petaline exclaimed, a laugh burbling up as she winked conspiratorially at the girl, "I hope we don't charm him extra for givin' those."
As always, when the talk turned towards their current troubles, smiles turned to growls.
"Blasted widow. If you don't mind my saying, that devil-woman needs some good sex. That'd straighten her out some. I ain't volunteering for the job, though," she added hurriedly. "That's more than my life's worth."
Petaline wanted to add, 'More than Rance's life, too, apparently', but held her tongue, instead giving a grim frown that turned to a wicked smile, "I'd like to see her walk in our door and try to find a service. I don't think a single one of our boys would be willin' to freeze their jingees off with that ice-queen!"
"The Wicked Widow?" Jack stumbled down the stairs lookin' like he'd rolled half the sly boys in the county the night before. Well, he probably had! "I say we dump her in the river, soon as the floods high. But get her some decent shoes first! HAVE you seen those things! Brown leather. With laces. It's disgraceful! And she's in line to be our next governor?"
Petaline burst into another round of laughter. "Well, we'll put you in charge of dressin' her for her own funeral, Jacky. Now, call in everybody else, I gotta announcement to make!"
Kazimir Sternberg - November 15, 2006 05:56 PM (GMT)
Kazimir had almost finished his daily two mile run, something he had gotten in the habit of doing during the war and never really stopped. Given the way his life had been going, anything that gave him a little structure and routine was worthwhile, and if he closed his eyes and just focused on the movement of his legs he could almost forget everything that had happened. Almost.
Once he had finished his run he made his way back to the Heart of Gold, and paused at the doorway as he heard his employer laughing, pausing a moment to see if he could find out what had her so amused. "Well, we'll put you in charge of dressin' her for her own funeral, Jacky. Now, call in everybody else, I gotta announcement to make!"
Kazimir gave an apathetic shrug, clearly he'd missed whatever had people laughing, but the last part about there being an announcement was important, seeing as he was likely among the people Miss Petaline would want to speak with. Kazimir opened the front door, which judging by the lack of rust on the hinges had been put in quite recently, and took a seat on one of the empty couches. "Heard you say there was an announcement Miss Petaline; reckon I'm one of the everybody you'll be wantin' to talk to."
Eunae Ji-hye - November 16, 2006 08:34 PM (GMT)
Eunae scowled at the buttons on her pants, cursing her fingers. She knew how to put them through the holes, she'd seen other people do it countless times after all; it seemed a simple enough task. Her fingers just refused to cooperate. They twitched and fumbled through the task, more often than not shoving the buttons in the wrong holes or slipping off the plastic pegs' slippery surface.
Mother was right: I really am hopeless.
She'd been trying to dress herself for twenty minutes already, without success. It had looked like it would be a good day at first: she'd gotten her arms through the holes in her shirt with few mishaps, and her socks hadn't been too hard. The buttons, however, had defeated her. Tugging viciously at the topmost button, she tried to force it to the correct button hole through sheer force of will. Instead the button snapped free from it's threads and flew away through her fingers, clattering on the floor.
With a sigh Eunae turned to her clothes, all neatly set out on her trunk, and was debating whether she should just put on a dress or something when Miss Petaline's voice drifted in through the door. "-call in everybody else, I gotta announcement to make!"
Might as well see what the fuss is about. Giving up her clothes as a lost cause, she dragged a hairbrush through her hair once or twice and headed to the barroom. Grinning at the assembled people, Eunae threw herself an empty chair beside Petaline, watching her expectantly.
Maybe Petaline had finally decided to use the STD protection methods she'd suggested when she'd first arrived. That'd be nice.
Petaline - November 20, 2006 04:40 PM (GMT)
"Heard you say there was an announcement Miss Petaline; reckon I'm one of the everybody you'll be wantin' to talk to."
"You certainly are, Kazimir." Petaline glanced around the assemblage and pushed to her feet, standing in front of the bar. "Ludlow ain't up yet? Well, I'll fill him in later. Concerns him more than anyone else."
"Folks, y'all know that we've had a mite of a problem with the storm. Yesterday, I got notice that the County is charging us a double helping on our taxes and callin it 'storm repair tax'. Straight answer is, we don't have the money."
Petaline took a deep breath as her folks gasped a bit, and Helen clasped li'l Evangeline more tightly to her breast. "Ain't no one gonna take this place from us, ever. I made that promise when Nandi died and I aim to hold to it. So... we're takin' a little loan from some friends."
"A loan? Who? How are we gonna pay it back, Petaline?"
Helen's face was as white as the baby's blanket.
Now Petaline couldn't help but smile. Her gaze flashed to Eunae, who was grinning, even though her hair was in her eyes and her trousers were unbuttoned. It was as if that girl had already cottoned on to the plan. "We are goin' to hold the largest, most challengin' Draw Poker Tournament on the Rim."
Vitorria Tate - December 11, 2006 05:43 PM (GMT)
Eunae grinned even wider, nodding enthusiastically.
Across from her Vitorria let out a whoop, relaxing back into her chair with a happy smile. Petaline's idea was grand, a poker tournement was just the thing to bring in money, and the timing couldn't be better since the last tournements had just ended. Those gamblers would pour in like a wave. "Wonderful idea, marm! Sounds like it'll bring more than enough card-players in, and lordy knows they might have some extra money on their hands for a horizontal meeting or two. When is it gonna be?"
Kazimir Sternberg - December 11, 2006 07:09 PM (GMT)
"We are goin' to hold the largest, most challengin' Draw Poker Tournament on the Rim."
Well ... that'll be interestin' Kazimir smiled slightly as Vittoria let out an excited cry; it was nice to see that the young woman had not been too badly scarred by her recent ordeal. Pretty young girl like that shouldn' end up as rutted up as I am.
Kazimir had never been much of a gambler, so there wasn't much he could add to any conversation about the tournament. Might want to have a word with that Vittoria gal when I git the chance to though, make sure she's handlin' everythin' that happened allright.
Petaline - December 12, 2006 05:58 PM (GMT)
After a slight murmur of reaction, Vittoria's voice rose cheerily above the rest.
"Wonderful idea, marm! Sounds like it'll bring more than enough card-players in, and lordy knows they might have some extra money on their hands for a horizontal meeting or two. When is it gonna be?"
"That's my hope, darlin'." Petaline smiled as she surveyed the room. A little less enthusiastic than she hoped, but after all, it was morning and most 'her folks worked late. "I'd like you and Helen to use your artistic whimsy, whip us up some pretty cortex ads. Maybe run through the cortex and line us up some advertising. We could use some sponsorships, maybe Blue Sun Games? See if we can't get some free advertizing for using their cards and chips?"
"Kazimir, I'd like you to do a run through of our security. We'll have cashy money coming and I'd like to keep it safe. I know our old wall-safe ain't much, but there's no money for somethin' new. We'll have to make do as is."
"Jordan, darlin', figure us out somethin' tasty and cheap that we can bribe the players with. No real fruit. That costs us. I'm sure you can come up with somethin'."
"As for when it's gonna be," Petaline hesitated. There seemed to be so much to get done, and there needed to be enough time for core-folks to make the journey. There was also the small matter of trying to make it happen well before then next big Core tourney. "Five weeks. First adverts are goin' up on our cor-ad today to start gettin customers pointed our way. I know we're gonna be hustling, but I've got faith in y'all."
She hesitated, loathe to let them know how much was riding on this hair-brained scheme. Guilty for keeping the secret, she scooped up Jonah as he ran past to bolster her courage and distract her lie. "We've got alot at stake here, folks. We've got one shot at this,.so let's make it happen."
Roland Black - January 8, 2007 11:51 PM (GMT)
Roland's hoverbike purred contentedly as he locked it down outside the Heart of Gold, patting the dark leather seat lovingly. The bike had been a useful steal, and with a new paintjob and some creative denting, the original owner hadn't a clue of who took it. Pocketing his keys, Roland strode inside with a carefree air, a sly smile on his face. Rustle up some pool, hustle some drunks, maybe nab a wallet or six...who knew what could happen?
Of all the clubs, whorehouses, seedy hotels, and casinos he'd been to, the Heart of Gold was the most profitable, with the easiest money access and lowest risk. He could dance rings around the clientele, and was too quick to snatch for the bouncer to see. At least, so far Roland hadn't been caught.
"And I don't plan on breaking this hot-streak today," he thought, almost rubbing his hands in eagerness. "Or ever."
Vitorria Tate - January 9, 2007 01:53 AM (GMT)
Vitorria nodded, pushing back her seat. "Sure thing, Marm." At the next table over Helen nodded too, smothering a yawn behind her hand.
The two women relocated to the bar and huddled together over a small cortex screen. Every now and then one would murmur quiet questions or point out something to the other. Abruptly Vitorria swiveled her head to see Petaline. "Guess the timing was good, Marm, cause Blue Sun sent us a return message-"
"Wave, hon," Helen corrected.
"Return wave," Vitorria repeated, "to our request for sponsorship really quickly. There's lots of flowery words muddling it up, but the gist seems to be good. Says they'll get the word out to folk, and they're sending oodles of chips and cards to us. Dunno how long it'll take to get them, though. A few days, most like."
The ad itself took longer for them to do, but not by much.
|Blue Sun Games Presents |
(The opening day, five weeks hence, is printed here)
You could win 400 credits!
Potential 1st place prize
4 credit Buy In
Where: The Heart of Gold, Jinye
When: Registration at 1 PM
Play starts at 2 PM sharp
Blue Sun Games is an interplanetary corporation that provides millions with enjoyable entertainment and commodities.
(At the very bottom of the ad is a map of Jinye with the Heart of Gold rendered as a poker chip. Watermarked over this is a green digital timer counting down the days to the opening day.)
Roland Black - January 9, 2007 02:40 AM (GMT)
Making a beeline towards the bar, Roland saw Helen and Vitorria hunched over something that apparently demanded all their attention. Idly snatching a forgotten coin on the bar, he called to the two, a charming look of curiousity in his eyes.
"Hello, misses. Not doing anything sneaky, I hope?"
Jack - January 9, 2007 03:51 AM (GMT)
Tasty boy was here again.
Jack grinned as he watched Roland stroll in and make a beeline for Vittie and Helen, knowing the girls were busier than anything. It was still fairly early in the afternoon and things were quiet, so Jack didn't figure any harm in strolling over himself.
Leaning his back against the bar, both elbows planted so that he arched backwards slightly, his shirt falling open all the way down to his naval, he leaned towards the Tasty and smiled conspiratorially, "Those two don't know the meaning of the word sneaky."
He shifted even closer and whispered, "I'll bet you could show me a thing or two about it though, if you've a mind." '
Jack let his pale blue eyes slide down Roland's body from the top of his head to his boots, then raised them back to his gaze before flickering them upwards towards the privacy of the rooms.
Roland Black - January 9, 2007 04:38 AM (GMT)
"Those two don't know the meaning of the word sneaky."
Roland chuckled. Jack, however hopelessly lustful, was good for a laugh or a few games of pool. A fiend for gossip, he was a useful informant, too.
"I'll bet you could show me a thing or two about it though, if you've a mind."
Roland laughed lightly. "Not quite so ready to jump the fence yet, Jack. But you'll be the first to know when I do.
"So, what's the deal about Vittoria and Helen? Playing secret checkers back there or something?"
Vitorria Tate - January 10, 2007 06:38 AM (GMT)
"So, what's the deal about Vittoria and Helen? Playing secret checkers back there or something?"
Vitorria squeaked at the unexpected voice by her ear, and flinched away just the tiniest bit. When she saw that it was Roland, though, she brightened and leaned right back into her spot. "Good morning, Roland! I'd jump you like a jackrabbit in heat, but we've gotta have Marm look at this cortex ad we've been working on for the tournement. I got to write down the words," she said with clear pride. "Speaking of which..." Leaning around Roland, she raised her voice slightly, directing her next comment to Petaline. "Marm, the ad's done!"
Roland Black - January 10, 2007 02:56 PM (GMT)
"Good morning, Roland! I'd jump you like a jackrabbit in heat, but we've gotta have Marm look at this cortex ad we've been working on for the tournement. I got to write down the words."
"A tourney? What kind?" Roland said, immediately attentive. Thousands of monetary possibilities soared through his head. A tournament of any kind brought in huge amounts of money. Entry fees, refreshments...and the entrants, of course, padding around with their wallets wieghed down.
"And all the money will be sitting somewhere in the Heart." Roland grinned widely, rubbing the yen symbols on his hands excitedly.
"Marm, the ad's done!"
Roland leaned in, reading the ad carefully, taking down each detail and engraving it into his memory.
"Say, Petaline," he called while reading over the ad again. "I think I could get my hands on something a little more valuable than four hundred creds. Put that up in the ad, you'll attract a lot more customers."
Roland didn't mind letting go of the blinder, as long as him giving it up caused the staff to attract more customers, become more distracted, and open up more opportunities.
Petaline - January 10, 2007 06:39 PM (GMT)
"Marm, the ad's done!"
Petaline put down her coffee and headed over. Noting Roland she shooed Jonah out back to play. Mr. Black was a bad enough influence on young Jack without having a little boy idolizing him as well!
"Say, Petaline," he called while reading over the ad again. "I think I could get my hands on something a little more valuable than four hundred creds. Put that up in the ad, you'll attract a lot more customers."
"That 400 is just the beginnin, Mr. Black." Petaline's crisp business tone came up, even as she eyed the handsome young man up and down, "I took out a small loan to fund this venture. We're looking at bringing in 100 grand Plat above and beyond the expenses."
Critically, she scanned over the ad, "Vittie, Helen, knew I could count on you two! Good work on gettin' the Blue Sun sponsorship. Of course, they're tryin' to improve their name out here on the Rim, so it's not really surprisin'. I figured they'd have thrown more hoops at us to be leapin' through."
She looked back to Roland and shot him a wink, "Now, I might take take you up on that offer, though."
Sweeping onto a barstool beside him, careful not to displace Jack, (that boy-whore defined the term!), Petaline leaned towards him with interest, something around the 15% mark, "Tell me your story, Mr. Black."
Roland Black - January 10, 2007 07:09 PM (GMT)
"I got into a private vault a few weeks back, nabbed at least ten pieces of priceless, and about..." he paused for a moment, wondering if he should give up the true amount he'd pulled out of that money-tomb.
"Seventy grand," he said truthfully, with more than a little regret. "It'll pay off even in the end," he reasoned. "Gotta risk money to get more."
He smiled toothily. "I'm willing to give up half of that, and some consolation prices for this tournament."