: Belasco, openWhat
: conversation over drinksWhen
: Saturday, 8:15 pmWhere
: Maddie's Bar, Greenwich VillageRating
It was a slow night at Maddie’s. The dinner crowd had petered out by now, and the few kids that would come for the band later on wouldn’t show up until late. Customers had come thinner and thinner each night, and the ones that did seemed jumpy. There were stories about what happened to people that strayed out after dark. Stories that gave pause to even Maddie’s more…exceptional… clientele.
As it was, tonight’s early evening crowd was mostly regulars, and the only one among them with a touch of The Sight was Andy. The big construction worker looked up from his beer, eyes twitching like he was trying to scratch some psychic itch. With a little more training, he could have noticed, back into the corner hallway near the men’s room and the cigarette machine, the shadows lengthening and the figure stepping from them. Instead, he simply shuddered, tipped back his mug, and called it an early night.
The Man With One Arm felt it as soon as he materialized. This was not some simple wayhouse or tavern; it had been Marked. This was neutral ground. It was a place where even blood enemies could share a drink without threat of violence. A few small sorceries backed it up, but most of its strength came from the compact between owner and patron. Outright carnage here would be difficult. Not impossible, just difficult. And, truth be told, that wasn’t on the agenda anyway.
But, first things first. His shiny leather valise, immaculate black suit, and too-smooth inhuman features would call all the wrong kinds of attention. The Man With One Arm gripped the ruddy marble-like flesh above his right eye and pulled, hard. It stretched grotesquely before he let go, and in snapping back sent ripples across his image. Standing there now was a middle-aged man with weathered skin and piercing blue eyes. He wore a rumpled brown suit, the right sleeve folded up and pinned just under the shoulder, and carried a beaten old suitcase. The man, whose wallet now carried the name of Scott Bell, salesman for Symme & Nast Insurance Co., ambled over to the bar. With the weight of a man who was at the end of a very long trip, he dropped down onto a barstool. He smiled, wide and friendly, and spoke with a hint of a folksy, Southern accent: “Hello there ma’am. Might I have a tall mug of whatever you have on tap and take a look at a menu? I am starved!”