1965-08-11 - Summer Night in the Village
Summary: Arlo wants money. Ambrose just wants to be left alone.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
arlo ambrose 

Summer in the city. It's nighttime, and the world has cooled off some. Arlo leans against a lamppost, watching each passerby like a potential mark. It's Greenwich Village, he's got a fair face, and he's not above using it to put a little money in his pocket; he'll scam a sucker who thinks he might get lucky.

For now, he smokes a cigarette, and he sizes up the few stragglers coming out of a bar. Nah, they look broke. Starving artists. He wrinkles his nose. Art never put food in his belly. Unless he was pawning it. It's getting late, people are going home. This night's going to be a wash.

There's always been something about the night, at least in the twilit hours when the world slows and silences, and when the stars come out in their wash of twinkling diadems. Ambrose makes his way along one of the main streets of Greenwich Village. Tonight, he's going where his feet take him. It may be to one of the cafes open late, with yawning servers and other tumbleweeds who wander in between shifts. It might be to one of the clubs where he can take up a corner and listen to what the musical scene has to offer while he sips at a drink and…absorbs the environment around him. Regardless, it's an old habit for a man long used to ignoring any sense of circadian rhythm. He hasn't slept in…what, sixty-odd years. It's a curse.

There's a meaningful nuance to his pace, as if anyone who steps into his way is going to get shouldered out of his path without apology. He might not look like much in his zipped-up field jacket and jeans, but maybe it's the distance of his eyes as well. They're thousands of miles away as he walks.

Arlo zeroes in on Ambrose as he makes his way up the street. He plucks the cigarette from between his lips and sizes the man up like a starving dog regards a steak. Is this a meal ticket? The young mutant isn't feeling quite desperate tonight. He can take his time. Hell, this might just be practice.

"Where's the fire?" he says lazily. He sounds like a native, Upper West Side if one were savvy to the specifics. He pushes off the lamppost, and his gaze sharpens. He takes in the details, down to the tiniest. That's how he knows Ambrose will knock him aside if he gets in the way. So he doesn't.

Being addressed brings Ambrose back to the present time and locale in a heartbeat. His attention crystallizes and flicks to the young man speaking to him and his steps slow a little on approach. Up and down, the stranger gets the cautious once-over and then the man in the field jacket comes to a slow and intentional halt.

"What about a fire?" His own accent is crisp and precise with stresses here and there to mark European English as his first language, but only by a hair. The Fertile Crescent blooms in his voice otherwise.

Arlo stands poised as he's given a once-over. That's right, stranger, get a good look. Arlo flicks ash from his cigarette and steps away from the lamp post. Now he's in Ambrose's path, and he inclines his head as he says, "Tourist?" Ambrose isn't from around here, after all, and t'is the season. "You look lost. I can help you find your way."

He gestures up the street and down. "I know the clubs, the cafes, the hotspots, off the beaten path. You name it, I can find it for you." The smile he offers Ambrose is sweetness itself. Not innocence, never that. But sweet.

"Can you find it." By Ambrose's tone, he's not convinced. "I'm familiar with the city myself, being…not a tourist by any means," he continues evenly, his stance still wary. He seems disinclined to approach the other man further, even going so far as to rotate on the spot at a small angle to deliberately avoid any form of social mirroring.

"And I'm in no need of a chaperone of any kind. I tend to weary of them quickly and they of me. It would be better if you continued on your way and myself as well," he then says, beginning to shift his weight in order to walk around Arlo.

Arlo's brow upticks slightly. "So cautious," he says. "You have been around here before." He pricks an ear to the night and his gaze goes distant, but briefly. He spreads his hands, and though he doesn't move to block Ambrose, he turns to remain facing him, and the gesture doesn't lend itself to getting out of the way.

"They're arresting people that way," he mentions. "Queer-busting, it happens down here sometimes." There are voices coming from down the block, and if one looks ahead (a direction Arlo was not facing) one might see people pouring out onto the street.

And Arlo? He gets a wicked glint in his eyes and says, "Wouldn't it be funny if I screamed that you were putting your hands on me? Five bucks says we'll never know."

Ambrose brings himself up short and rolls back onto his heels rather than outright retreating when the young man doesn't do a thing to get out of his way. His eyes flick to the commotion beginning beyond this impertinent stranger and then back to him, their cerulean hue cooling another shade yet.

"Ah, a con man." His lips begin to slowly curl into something rather sinister in terms of a smile. "What a cad. Now…what would be more entertaining in my evening?" He seems to ask of himself and Arlo both. "Allowing you to yell and simply walk away afterwards or actually putting my hands on you? I have a few suggestions for you if the latter." That smile never reaches his eyes.

Arlo's expression lightens, and that smile magnifies its charm. It does reach his eyes, but there's as much malice there as mirth. Hmm, maybe not malice so much as the necessary hardness that comes with being hungry and cold. Sure, he's not desperate right this second, but the desperation does come. That's a constant. A young man has to plan ahead.

"Tell you what," he says, his voice dropping to something low and honeyed, "for the right price, I won't scream at all."

"You're absolutely correct. You wouldn't." Ambrose's smile drops away entirely to something nearly reptilian in its absence of animation but for about his eyes. Still, he continues, his voice dropped to the same volume but lacking all form of warmth. "But I have no interest in leaving you as a corpse or in what you may be offering, and so — instead, since you seem to wish for money, by all means." He reaches into the back pocket of his jeans, up beneath the hem of the field jacket — the bottom half of a gun-holster flashes — and then out comes a small roll of bills.

"Here. It should count to two-hundred and some small bills. I have no need of it." He flicks the money at Arlo with an utter lack of care for where it lands and then begins to turn in an about-face. Fine. He'll travel the long way around the Village.

Arlo watches Ambrose awfully carefully for someone wearing such a casual air, particularly when Ambrose is patting himself down. There could be weapons. Keen senses have taught Arlo what to look for, and he relaxes when none are being unveiled or aimed at him. "I think we both know I was going to rob you when your pants were down and run like hell," he says. No harm in honesty now.

He snatches the roll of bills from the air and does a quick count. Those glinting dark eyes widen, and he laughs with delight. As Ambrose turns to go, Arlo steps out of the way and says, "No, it's cool, you may pass." Another laugh lightens his voice as he adds, "And a very good night to you."

Ambrose rolls his eyes, in full field of view of this stranger, even going so far as to drop his jaw slightly.

"Your delivery was no better than a strumpet of Fleet Street," he informs the other man as he pauses to give him a nice slicing glare. "Find yourself an honest job. Your idiocy will end with your death, young buck. …on that note, I'll do you another favor and once it's done, I'll assume that next you see me, you make yourself scarce." Eyes narrow. "Do you have a name that I can pass on to the authorities in case I find your dead body stashed away behind a dumpster? I can at least grant you that modicum of honor if you keep at this attempt at con artistry."

Gosh, it's impossible not to be in a good mood while slipping two hundred plus into one's jeans pocket. He just grins, broader still as Ambrose's jaw drops. "My delivery just got me the most money I've held in my hands since my bar mitzvah."

He tilts his head as he regards Ambrose with such merriment. "Arlo Avery. Make sure they tell my mother I died doing something truly awful."

The man in his field jacket simply looks unimpressed. "You were paid to never speak to me again, Arlo Avery," he explains as if the fact required an excessively patient delivery. No doubt the accent makes it desiccated of emotion. "Again, favor granted, and now, I beg you, leave me to my peace."

Ambrose just shakes his head as he completes his turn-about and begins to walk away, intending to backtrack along his previous route and take a side-street, given the inclination of direction. No need to head towards the kerfuffle happening down the way. Only more possible lives impacted if he heads that way.

Arlo presses his lips thin and mimics locking them, then tossing the key. He's even courteous enough to travel the opposite direction, though toward the kerfluffle it be. He's just that nice of a guy. Nope, he'll never talk to Ambrose again if he can help it. What are the odds they'll ever cross paths again? Two hundred for doing nothing he wasn't going to do anyway. His laughter is delighted, youthful and bright, and it carries to Ambrose's ears as he walks away.

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