1963-11-03 - A Back Alley Shoot
Summary: Tigra foils what she thinks is a break-in, only to find something else
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tigra spiral 

LATE IN THE EVENING, on a cold November night in the tenements and concrete-and-brick canyons of The City, especially here in Hell's Kitchen, there is something going down in an alleyway behind a well-shuttered and well-guarded jeweler's shop. Yes, the place is seedy and doubles as a pawn shop - but that doesn't somehow make crime OK.

It's surprisingly easy to spot - it's one of the brighter lit alleyways in the Kitchen. Maybe that's why they chose it: hide in plain sight. Even so, these aren't nocturnal locksmiths: two men in ski masks and leather jackets are right near the back door of that shop, which is only illuminated by a single lonely light within.

One of them has a revolver, held out and at the ready. It must be the lookout. The other has strips of thin metal being slid into the latching assembly of that ironclad door. He's working 'em pretty industriously. Noisily too. Sloppy of them.

But it seems that nobody's keeping an eye out - even if there seems to be someone stargazing on a neighboring roof.

The cold bothers some in the city, but others have protection against it, such as a built-in furcoat like the tigress slipping her way through the alleys of the Kitchen. It'snot the most pleasant place to travel, especially for someone with her enhanced senses, but if she's out looking for trouble, it's a likely place to find it.

She pauses and tilts her head at a sound, tail sweeping back and forth briefly. Hmm, that doesn't sound "normal," she thinks. Not far from here, she thinks, allowing for the echoes that distort the sounds, and she makes her way towards the alley in question, crouching down to try to get an unnoticed look.

Tigra moves quietly to not be seen. And not seen she is - apparently anyway. The alleyway smells like it sees a lot of traffic, or did recently. As she slides her way inwards, one of the apparent robbers pops open the lock and says with surprising clarity, "Got it."

"Get in," says the gunsel, waving inwards. "I'll cover ya."

"Heh heh - nice and easy -"

She moves quietly and low to the ground to reduce her profile, or tries to, at least. Of course, it's easier to hide from those you know are there. The tail remains in motion as she considers her next move, watching and listenign to the two of them. She smiles a little to herself, plannig to wait for the one crook to slip inside. After that, Tigra intends to dash out and try to disarm the other one while he's alone.

Tigra lunges inwards with perfect precision as the man with the gun lingers on the stoop and his confederate slips inside. Just as Mr. Gun turns, he gets a sudden problem in the form of the addition of lean, gently furred feline muscle. He drops the gun, tumbling off the stoop and into several garbage cans with a loud clatter, crying out "Hey!" as he goes.

Someone somewhere says "Cut!"

The lights in the alleyway get brighter, revealed to be, in at least some places, accent and fill lamps included to suggest a more real and gritty ambiance. The top of a Dumpster flips open, the occupants apparently relieved at this unburdening, for there was, it seems, a camera inside…?

"Phil? Phil!" says the robber with lockpicks, who steps out to look at Tigra, eyes wide. ("Keep rolling," says one of the fellows in the dumpster.)

"Jesus, lady!" says the man in the trash cans. "Did you lose the gun?"

"Ah, crap! That's the only one we got!" says Mr. Lockpicks, who asides to Tigra, "Blanks."

From inside the jewelry store comes a very clear and direct voice. Female. "Take five, all of you. Is it Spider-Man?"

"Uh," says Mr. Lockpicks, looking at Tigra again. "No ma'am."

"Oh well."

The take down on the gunman goes pretty much as planned. A quick bodyslam to disorient him, get him to drop the gun, and she's spinning towards the doorway to the store, readying herself for his partner to come out at the sound of the commotion.

What does go as planned is the light increasing in the alley, and the presence of…a camera? Tail lashing, she restrains herself from going after the lockpicks.

"Uhm," she says somewhat uncertainly. "What exactly is going on here?" She's not leaping on anyone, but she's still tensed and ready, not sure what's going on.

Mr. Lockpicks raises his hands where the horrifying were-cat can see them. "We're actors. Honest, I swear. Look, the producer's gonna be out here in a moment, she can explain it all. We're with Channel 6."

"Yeah," says the guy in the trash cans. "Rudy! My butt's stuck!"

The guy in the dumpster who isn't operating the camera starts sniggering.

"I swear to Christ I'm gonna bust your - uh - tail, bone, I mean your back side," says Trash Can Guy, apparently discomfited at the prospect of swearing in front of a lady even if that lady is a cat. "If you don't stop laughing at me!"

Whoever it was who was stargazing on the roof packs up their telescope quietly. Weird, stargazing in this part of the city. But it was just some guy.

Mr. Lockpicks continues, hands still raised upwards, "It's like… you know, an ad. For the TV. We got permission. I swear."

There are footsteps from inside the shop but nobody else emerges JUST yet.

The stargazer is is unnoticed by Tigra, though she often travels the roofs, herself. If she'd noticed, she would have remarked upon the strangeness of stargazing in the Big Apple.

She looks closely at Mr. Lockpicks, listening to him. After a second, she relaxes, unable to hide a small grin at the sound of the sniggering. "Okay. I'm sorry that I busted in on you guys, then," she says sincerely, then turns towards the trash cans to try to give the 'gunman' a hand. "Let me help you up. I hope I didn't hit you too hard."

Mr. Gun looks up at Tigra. Uncertainly, he offers a hand. He did, in fact, get his backside stuck in an empty garbage can, but this is not a major problem with even token aid. "Yeah, uh… just… kinda bruised, a little," he mutters.

In this interim, there is a rustle of cloth. People have moved around. Once Tigra looks back, there's a woman with silver-gray hair worn to cover one eye, an immaculately made up face, and a no-fooling satin cape with a white fur collar. She looks with her one revealed eye slightly downwards, towards Tigra herself.

"He was right," the woman says. "You aren't Spider-man at all." Her voice lifts slightly; "I said take five. Five! None of you are taking even two at best. Shoo! Leave the camera alone. JUST the way you had it, Paul, thank you…"

Tigra hauls Mr gun to his feet easily and it will be the work of but a moment to get the can liberated from his ass. "Well I'm glad to hear that," she tells him with a quick smile of apology. After getting him squared away, she turns back to the others, and is visibly surprised at the sight of the woman who's appeared. "Nope, I'm not," she confirms. "Neither spider, nor man. I'm called Tigra, and again, I'm sorry I interrupted your shoot."

The tall woman looks down at Tigra in thought for just long enough to be awkward. In this period Tigra can sense that she's wearing some sort of strange, perhaps European? perfume.

"Walk with me," she says to her. "If I'm not keeping you. From whatever brings you to this place in the middle of the night."

As she steps off the stoop, the lockpick man calls, "Hey, Goldblat wants to know if he needs to stay in position?"

"For what he's paying us? He can stay in the rafters for fifteen more minutes," judges the white-haired woman. "Excuse me," she tells Tigra. "It's a concept piece. Do you watch us?"

That's a perfume that Tigra won't be forgetting, as distinctive as it is. She's not unfazed by the quiet period of looking, or at least, she doesn't show it. What cat would? "I'm not on a schedule," she assures the woman, falling into step with her, curious about all of this. "I can't say that I have, no." She then snaps a finger. "Channel 6? I remember seeing an ad for you people. It was definitely…striking."

The woman starts walking. She's wearing some kind of clicky heels but that isn't enough to justify how much she seems to be shimmying under that cloak. Then again it does look somewhat warm. "Yes - striking - exactly. We hope to have a lot of hits. I'm having a cigarette: You? No obligation."

She sounds weird, at least. From the way she's walking she may intend to circle the block.

"Why don't you watch us? Bad reception? No set? We try for color but it's not obligatory. You'll get to it eventually. Of course, I'm just a producer. You said you were 'Tigra'?"

Certainly some interesting body language to this woman. Tigra doesn't know its origin, but maybe it's a 'television people' thing. "I don't smoke," she declines politely, and she'll try to stand upwind of the cigarette if possible. "I don't watch very much television, truthfully," she answers. "I'm usually…stretch my legs in the evening. I'll have to give our channel a try, though," she says, wanting to be polite, and now a bit more curious about the station. "Tigra, that's right," she confirms. She notes the producer hasn't introduced herself yet, but doesn't ask for a name.

Unfortunately, Miss Strut here has positioned herself upwind. This can probably be worked around, but somehow she produces the coffin nail without apparent effort, one manicured hand holding it saucily to the side after a single drag. "Is that the name your mother gave you? Forgive me," she adds, "but I can't help but notice all of the…"

The cigarette is waved as if it were a general pointer indicating all the ways in which Tigra is a cat person. "Family thing? Good luck? Fallout?" asks Still Not Self-Introduced Woman.

If she can't avoid the smoke, she'll just endure it. She's done so before, and knows she'll do so again. It's not the worst thing she's smelled in this city. She grins broadly as the producer references her lack of normality. "No, it's not the name my mother game," she confirms. "But it was given to me." At the wave of the cigarette, she can't help but do a quick twirl, so the SNSIW can see the whole 360 degrees. "Mm. Bit of luck, I think we'll go with that." She certainly was lucky to have become this, as the alternative at the time was to die.

"Are you happy with it?" the woman asks.

Her voice sounds… sultry as she says it.

"After all, it must raise… difficulties. I'm surprised I haven't heard of you. Spend a lot of time by yourself?"

"Happy with it?" Tigra asks, a bit surprised, and puzzled by the tone the woman's voice takes. "Well, yes. I certainly had some problems adjusting to it," she says, glossing over some significant issues, "but I'm happy being who and what I am now. I certainly stand out in a crowd, but if anyone has a problem with it, well, that's -their- problem." The other question gets an askance look. "Bit of a personal question, that one." Not that the other one wasn't..

"Nice line. You practice it? Very convincing," says Still Unnamed Woman Who Is Spiral: "I like it. Lots of refinement."

After another philosophical drag, she concurs, "It was. I'm wondering if you've ever thought about acting. Very striking appearance - room for improvement, but I can see how you move, too. Can you cartwheel?"

"Line?" Tigra asks, feigning ignorance. "Not sure what you mean." She gives a small shrug. "What kid doesn't think about being an actor or actress when they grow up? I certainly did, but that was the end of it, and I can cartwheel, backflip, summersault or whatever with the best of them." Now she turns towards the woman with her hands on her hips. "Room for improvement?"

That gets a smirk from the still-unintroduced woman. After another scenic drag, she says, looking away: "I don't believe you. Prove it."

Then she smiles, lopsidedly.

"Can't just hire you on the spot, of course, but if you won't object, we did get a bit of you tackling that fellow. Got a mailbox? We could kick it upstairs. Not a lot of money sloshing around… yet, but everything can change."

Tigra smirks a bit in return. At the challenge to prove it, she proceeds to do exactly that, crouching down, and then flinging herself backwards, landing on her hands, pushing back off to land on her feet again. She crouches, then leaps forward, all the way back towards her take off spot, this time landing on one hand and twisting to send her momentum to the side, landing on the other hand, then sideways onto her feet in a quick cartwheel, upright to her feet, then a ten foot jump straight up to push off the wall of a building, hitting the ground, tumbling and coming up on her feet to sweep into a graceful bow.

This makes the Mystery Woman stop and watch. Her head turns, tracking Tigra with precision and efficiency. She flicks ash onto the sidewalk.

"Very good," she says, raising her visible eyebrow. "Practiced? Or is that you in the raw?"

Tigra straightens from her bow and stands more relaxed again. "Little bit of practice. I -like- being able to move like I do, and I get a rush from it. There's nothing formal to it or anything. Never was an acrobat or gymnast, I just like pushing myself and just…well, being a cat," she says with a grin, brushing hair out of her eyes.

"Innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnteresting," says Spiral (let's just not play) as she hears that.

Then she tilts her head back, visible eye half-lidding. "So. Address? Phone number? Pigeon hutch? E— no, not that at all. If you don't hear from us in a few days - come by the station sometime. If you can tolerate Long Island."

Okay, that drawn out interesting is not what Tigra expected, and she looks a little uncertain at it. "I've got a PO Box," she says, giving its number, not wanting to give away more information. "And sure," she says. "I'll come by sometime if I don't hear anything. Would be neat to see what goes on there, if nothing else."

The woman repeats the number back once - but didn't seem to hesitate.

"We'll give you a tour," Spiral says: "Show you around the shop, perhaps. I think you'd have a great time. Is there anything else that we could do for you… Tigra? Perhaps you'd like to watch the rest of the… Show."

Down these mean streets, Mr. Lockpicks is bellowing a name: 'MISS S.' From the side-glance from the woman, hey: now you have SOMETHING to go on.

It's a start, plus the perfume. "No, I should be on my way, but thank you. Again, I'm sorry to have interrupted. If I run into Spider-Man, I'll let him know so he doesn't surprise you," Tigra quips.

"Be careful with that Spider-Man," Spiral says.

With evident relish and a tone of low confidentiality, she says, "He's a menace."

With a twirl and a "Tata~!" she saunters and shimmies her way back towards Goldblat's jewelry shop. And so peace reigns in Hell's Kitchen… for a half-hour longer.

Honestly, it's a little eerie. But crime has to have days off sometimes too, right?

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