Monday, October 12, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 2

"Everyone pitches in Skulley, we got a job ta do. Until we get ta the salvage operation, yer job is just as it is in the contract, cookin' an' takin' care o supplies. On th' job, y'do what y'kin. Cuttin' throats, takin' orders, gettin' yer hands dirty 'r yer clothes salty. Ain't goin' ta ask ye ta do anythin' outlandish, but if I give ya an order, y'does it on the spot." Xionn took a long drag from his cigarette, exhaling. He was sitting in a chair bolted to the floor in front of the desk. It was bolted off center and turned sideways so he could kick his feet up on his own desk, rather than make any practical use out of it. "This's a salvage job, ain't nothin' big, but yer goin' ta be helpin' us haul shat outta the water. Lafoot and Alejandra be cataloguing it on board as it comes aboard, you'n Jerijah 'n Arioch down below. 'm helpin' Hawkeye bring it all aboard."

"A'right." Skulley paused and slid one of her own cigarettes out of the slim silver case in her hand, lifting it deliberately to her glossy purple lips. (No one ever caught her applying lipstick. One merely assumed she did it on the sly with a tube of paint hidden somewhere on her person. Same went for the thick coal-black liner around her eyes, though it was anyone's guess how she kept it from smudging in the heat and humidity.) She had no tricks or sleight of hand today; simply lighting up with a flick of one bony wrist, she took two puffs in silence. "All that's well enough. I know how t'be useful, y'already know it. For my part I expect the crew'll keep outta my galley 'less they got pressin' reason t'be in it."

His eyes studied Skulley's face to see if she was serious. She was. "I'll mention it t'the crew." He blew more smoke in her direction. "They's used ta havin the runna the ship. Y'seen the crew's quarters." He was referring to the room with hammocks hanging along the walls. "It ain't a big boat t'be picky about space. Hit the big load an' we kin buy a luxury cruisa fer these jobs." He stood up, tying a black headband around his forehead, pushing his hair back. He threw one just like it to Skulley. "Keep th' sweat an' drippin water outta yer eyes."

She caught it lazily, a gesture like an afterthought, and refolded the cloth into a large triangle, tying it around her head and tucking in the loose sides. It swept the dark wings of hair back from her cheeks and made her face look even thinner. He could see how she might've earned her nickname for a brief moment, then she tipped her head forward to twist her ponytail into a massive knot and produced a dozen pins from nowhere to hold it up. "I'll be wearin' a mask too, 'less y'object. An' I've got reasons for the wankers t'stay outta my cupboards, after the state they was in. Rats an' boots. I intend ta run a respectable kitchen an' if the crew's hungry they'll learn ta ask me or be stuck eatin' naught but beets fer th'duration. Shittin' red fer a week'll teach 'em."

Xionn couldn't help but give that mental image a laugh. "Right, headin' up then, donna try ta pocket anythin', 's all bolted. Har."

Skulley just snorted as she ducked into the tiny cubbyhole of a kitchen and pulled a thick leather apron over her head, mindful of the lit cigarette dangling from her lips. "Not plannin' ta steal from ya. Y'know what they say, cap'n. 'Don't shit where y'eat'." She poked her head out from behind the cupboards and grinned at him. "Ain't shite t'steal anyway."

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