thanksrainman: (Default)
Okay, if you're reading this, it's because you've expressed interest in the Magician's Poker plot.

The premise is simple. There are two types of people in one of these games: you're either a con or a mark.

If you are a con, then your character knows how to work a deck of cards. Gus, Penn, and Teller are all going to be in this camp. Some amount of god-moding will be allowed, since that's sort of what this whole thing is about, but it MUST be done reasonably. Also, if you're playing in this camp, you may want to count on some cell-time for your pup, since they are sort of breaking the rules.

And above all else, put EVERYTHING your pup does in your tag. Every palm, false cut, and second deal. Half the fun of this is knowing that everyone is trying to cheat everyone else.

Info for players who will be playing cons )

If you are a mark, then you're consenting to a bit of god-moding by the cons. Prepared to be swindled, lied to, and cheated. Your characters will have money stolen from them, because that is how these sorts of jobs go down. At some point in the game, security will be alerted and the whole thing will be broken up, and the marks will likely get anything back that had been stolen.

Additional info about the set-up:

Penn and Teller both know that Gus is trying to cheat them, but Gus does not (at least right away) know that they are trying to cheat him. For the purposes of this post, they WILL NOT be in "uniform." This is a scam they've long-since perfected during layovers at airports and in bus depots. Penn dresses very casually. Dark T-shirt, leather jacket, tight jeans, et cetera. Teller is a bit more conservative: trousers, button-down shirt with an open collar, and reading glasses. Unless you already know one (or, in a few cases, both) of them, there's no indication that they're working a double-act on you.
The cards being used in this game are a standard pack (deck) or Red-Backs. They are unmarked and (at least at the beginning of the game) un-crimped. The deck is 54 cards; four suits, 13 cards per suit, and two jokers.

To make this fun, I do ask that nobody burn the game right away. That's where you basically use as many methods as possible to get all the money, take the money, and get the hell out of dodge. The game probably will get burned at some point, probably around the same time the game gets busted up because everyone's stealing from everyone else.

Anyone is free to tag in and play. Since there are bound to be quite a few people playing, tagging needs to be structured. The best way to do this would be to show up in crackchat to keep track of everything. Failing that, track the entire post.

Dealing will rotate, and will go in order of tags. Pups A, B, and C will start off in the EP. Since I play all three of them, there will be a lot of using one account to play the three of them, just to make things easier. After A, the deal will go to pup D (the first person to tag the post), then to pup E (the second person to tag the post), et cetera, until it comes back to A, at which point either B or C will take it.

Game play will rotate in the same way. A, B, and C will be played at once, then the tag will go to D, then to E, and so forth, until the hand is over. When D takes the deal, the first tag will be E.

TL;DR, your tag will always follow the same person. There will be a lot of OOC orchestrating going on to keep this whole thing sane, which is why crackchat is seriously recommended. If you can't be in crackchat, let me know, and we'll set up a way to be in contact some other way.

If you want to join in to the game mid-thread, let me know, and I'll shuffle you in. :D

Winning Hands in a Game of Poker (Opens in GDocs)

A player's hands are pretty much determined by the player. We're going on the honour system (ha!) here. So, if your pup is honestly playing, they probably wouldn't be getting great hands every time.

Especially since there are cheaters in this game, who will be dealing deliberately bad hands.


Aug. 31st, 2010 03:18 am
thanksrainman: (you make Gus' head hurt)
He'd gotten himself into some pretty sticky situations before, but this was the first time he'd actually been scared. Properly scared. If this didn't go his way, he was done.

And that scared him.

It wasn't the sort of visceral fear he'd been used to. Not the 'get your heart racing, stare down the barrel of a gun' fear. That might have been easier to handle.

This was new. It was knowing that everything could be won or lost in an instant. Worse than every bad con and burned poker game gone horribly wrong. At least then, the option to lie low and disappear for a while is always present. When you burn a game, you're not looking at life without the possibility of parole (well, not unless you've seriously fucked up somewhere along the line, and burning the game also meant killing everyone else involved, or something equally screwed-up).

As it was, there were no other options. He'd played all of his cards, metaphorically and otherwise, and now it was up to someone else to decide what to do with him.

And that; not being in charge of the situation was what scared the hell out of him.
thanksrainman: (lonely)
Gus was starting to think that he'd never get out of jail. Jail was a horrible waiting game, where nothing happened. He did not want to be one of those guys who wound up spending months in jail before even seeing the courtroom.

Everything hurt. Sitting up hurt. Moving hurt. Breathing hurt. He'd finally been looked at by sound county doctor a few days before, but that seemed to just be to shut him up, because he hadn't heard anything since.

When someone did finally come round to fetch him up again to go talk to his lawyer, he'd managed to finally fall asleep.

“Can't he come in here?” Gus asked tiredly. “Cause I don't think I can get up.”

“Nope. Come on.”

Gus grumbled more, but didn't want to press his luck. The guy was at least patient with him and let him take his sweet damn time hauling himself to his feet before leading him off to the tiny room.

“Well, the good news is everything checks out with the medical records,” Todd said, a bit too cheerily for Gus' liking.

“How is that good news, exactly?” Gus asked. “Because, let me tell you, living like this is not my idea of fun. If I'm lucky, it only hurts when I move.”

Todd sighed lightly. “It's good news because it gives you a little bit of credibility,” he pointed out. “And frankly, Douglas, you can use every once of that you can get.”

Gus just stared at him. He had a special way of insulting a person's intelligence without saying a single word. This was especially helpful when actually insulting that person would be a bad idea.

“You said you were gonna get me out of here,” he said.

“I'm doing my best,” Todd told him. “But you've got to help me out. They can't find this 'Dr Sandhu' character anywhere.”

Gus shrugged. “Yeah, well,” he started, trying to think of a new out. “He's Middle-Eastern, so that might not even be his name.”

He couldn't help but wonder about the ass-chewing he'd get for saying something like that in the bar.

“Even without that, I've got more good news,” Todd said, making a few notes on a pad. “Because everything the hospital back in Oregon gave us does check out, we're able to get you moved to somewhere you'll be able to get some proper care.”

“Oh, thank fuck,” Gus said, resting his head on his hands.

“It's also giving us more leverage with your case,” Todd continued. “We can easily use the defence that you acted out of fear for your own safety.”

Gus snorted loudly. “Ya think?” he asked. “Why's this shit taking so long, anyway? Where the hell's my speedy trial?”

“Douglas, they hardly had a case before you showed up,” Todd said. “Everything has to be verified before we can go to trial.”

“Fucking hell.” This was going to go on forever. He just knew it.
thanksrainman: (don't be stupid)
“Dominick Wilson,” Gus said simply. “Least, I think that’s his name. For all I know, he’s been using a fake one for the last twenty years. But the dumb fuck’s even listed. How do you think I found him?”

“Who’s that?” this attorney asked, taking notes of the entire conversation.

“Guy who got me set up as this Fisher person,” Gus says. “What’d he do, anyway?”

Todd shook his head. “Can we stay on topic, please?”

“Right, sorry.” Gus sighed, able to recall faces, but not remembering any names at all. “Ya know, my memory ain’t what it used to be. That happens when you fall, sometimes.”

Todd looked up at Gus from across the table. “Funny you should bring that up,” he said. “There’re no medical records for you anywhere during the last two years. And this wasn’t mentioned anywhere in your papers from Jean.”

“I fell,” Gus said simply.

“Douglas, I can’t help you if you don’t work with me,” Todd said tiredly. He began to gather up all of his papers. “You’re in a lot of trouble here, and I feel like I’m just wasting my time.”

“No, no. Wait, wait, wait,” Gus insisted, reaching out slightly to stop him from walking away. “I... I know something big, but you gotta get me immunity. I ain’t gonna get out of doing time for this thing, just to get locked up for that one.”

Todd slowly looked up at him. “How big?” he asked cautiously.

Gus cringed. “Big enough that it went national.”

“Douglas,” Todd prompted.

“You gotta get me immunity,” Gus insisted.

“I can’t do that unless I know what we’re dealing with,” Todd told him. “If you’ve got enough information, then there’s a good chance they’ll work with us.”

Gus sighed again and counted silently on his finger. “Talking five, probably six, here. Maybe more,” he said. “Including a cop, a reverend, and a fed.”

It took Todd a moment to catch up. “Are you talking about a body count, here?” he asked, startled.

“Yeah, but I swear, I didn’t kill anybody,” Gus insisted.

“You’ve got to be honest with me.”

“I am!” Gus had intended to keep this whole ordeal as his own little secret until the end of time, but the more he thought about it, the more he realised that it just might be his ticket to (relative) freedom. He scrubbed his face with his hands and inhaled deeply. “Okay, here’s what happened.”

He told Todd about the plan to blackmail the reverend, and how that sort of went to hell about ten minutes in. The more he went on about the entire horrible night, the more he seemed to remember. The snuff film collection they’d found, how Charlie drowned the guy pretending to be the reverend in a septic tank, and that stupid fat fucker that turned it into his personal mission to seriously mess with their night.

Of course, there was a large chunk of the night that was missing from his account – specifically everything after the moment he was shot, but he didn’t stop there.

Damnit, if he was going to do this, he was going to do it right. After all, everyone loves to hear about corrupt cops. Corrupt sheriffs are even better. Corrupt sheriffs that cover up the murder of their own husband to be able to walk away with two million dollars are a sure win.

“What did you do with the money?” Todd asked after Gus finished.

“Have you ever tried to disappear?” Gus asked. “It’s fucking expensive.”

“What have you been doing the last six months?”

“Sleeping, mostly,” Gus answered. “Seriously, I’m fucking done. I don’t care about anything anymore. I just want to be able to fall asleep in a comfortable chair with the TV on, and the only place I can do that is at home.”

“Douglas, this may take a while to process,” Todd pointed out. “They’re going to have to check every detail to make sure you’re telling the truth.”

“Of course I’m telling the truth,” Gus insisted.

“Would you believe you?” Todd asked simply.

Gus hardly had to even think about it. “No,” he admitted. “Well, put it through on rush, or something. Cause I can’t live like this. I fucking hurt. Literally. You ever fall off a second-story ledge?”

“How have you been handling all this?” Todd asked, realising it was an obvious question that had been overlooked.

That pesky conscience thing returned, and Gus realised that answering this question would implicate someone who hadn’t actually done anything wrong.

And then he realised that there’s no way on earth anything could be traced back to him anyway, and they’d need a name...

“I know a guy,” he said. “A doctor. He wrote prescriptions for me.”

“Does this doctor have a name?” Todd asked.

Gus had to think about this one. “Sandhu,” he said, knowing he was probably pronouncing it wrong. “I don’t even know his first name. I’ve always just known him as Doc, really.”

He really fucking hoped there was no way that this would get back to the guy, and realises belatedly that he probably should have made something up. Though, it’s unlikely that they’d look to England, even if Guppy was from the same universe.

“Is there anything else?” Todd asked.

Gus thought about this and shook his head. “I don’t think so. Like I said, I been going out of my way to avoid this shit.”

“Okay,” Todd said, getting up. “Well, I’ll get this through as soon as possible. I think we’ve got something solid here.”
thanksrainman: (Default)
Gus had been sleeping more than usual lately, but he’d just put that up to... well, everything. There wasn’t a single thing he ever did that didn’t take a massive amount of energy. Even living under an assumed name is hard work, even if you don’t do anything.

So when there was a knock at his door at ten at night, there was plenty of cause for concern. Gus woke with a start at the noise, hoping that maybe he was dreaming.

A second knock dispelled that theory at once. Gus didn’t keep company, and there was no reason anybody should be knocking on his door this late. Or... ever. Grumbling, he managed to pull himself to his feet and made his way to the door. Making sure that both chain locks were secure (he did live in Manhattan, after all), Gus opened the door to peer out at whoever dared wake him up.

“Martin Fisher?” a guy in a suit asked stiffly.

“...Yeah?” Let’s hope that was the right answer.

The guy in the suit held up an NYPD badge. Trying not to cringe, Gus held up one finger as he gently shut the door.

“Shit!” he hissed to himself as he unlocked everything, quickly running down his options.

Did he even have any options? He could make his way down to the laundry room and... what? Get trapped at Milliways again? Time would stop here, so he’d either be imprisoned there again (which wasn’t as fun as it sounded), or stay here and be imprisoned in, well... prison.

There’s always a third option. Bullshit your way out of it.

Gus opened the door and tried to offer a friendly smile. “What’s this all about?”

“You tell us,” Mr Suit’s friend said.

“Listen, uh... Detective. I don’t really get out much since getting home this winter.”

“Afghanistan, right?” the first detective asked. He looked like someone who might be on Law and Order.

“Yeah,” Gus said cautiously. This was not going well.

“Which unit?”

“Uh...” Yeah, not going well at all.

“How many Martin Fishers do you think got shot in Afghanistan in January?” the first detective asked.

Gus laughed nervously. He never even had a chance. “Heh, fuck. Let’s... get this over with, then.”

Cooperation is always the best way to deal with these things. Go quietly and think of an exit strategy by the time you get there. They took his prints, so he knew it was just a matter of time before they figured out what was going on.

What he couldn’t figure out is why they wanted to question him. Everything seemed pretty out in the open, but there he was.

“It’s funny,” Detective L&O said. “We would have never found you if it weren’t for Mrs Fisher.”

“Who?” Gus asked. “Oh.” Duh. “What... what about her?”

“Most people steal someone’s identity and they use it as a free ticket to go nuts for a few weeks,” the detective said, ignoring Gus’ question. “You stole someone’s identity to try to make their credit score better? What’s going on?”

Gus laughed. “I’m wondering the same thing.” Seriously, what the fuck? “I don’t know who any of these people are, I swear.”

“So you’re just living under a dead man’s name for no reason?”

Blink. “He wasn’t dead when...” And here’s his exit strategy.

“When what?” The detective asked, picking up on this immediately.

“I am not going back to jail,” Gus said simply. “And I ain’t talking till I get a lawyer.”


Feb. 5th, 2010 02:13 am
thanksrainman: (Default)
In a shocking turn of events, Gus realises that he’s not so much going stir crazy, but just getting bored. He’s begun to consider getting a job, but he’s not sure what he can do any more. Labour’s out of the question, unless he wants to die of an asthma attack, and he can’t even go back to tech support until he figures out the tricky business of hand-eye coordination.

He’s resorted to just walking around Manhattan in the evenings, for nothing else but to just keep busy. He’s still got enough of the money Penelope had given him to keep him from getting desperate enough to start looking up old “friends.” At least enough to keep him under the radar for a year or two, anyway.

He leaves his cane at home, even though he always needs it by the time he gets home. But a man’s got his dignity, and he’s learning to tell when he’s over-working himself before he even gets to that point. But it’s cold tonight, and what’s usually just an annoyance that he can ignore is beginning to send searing pain from his knee to his hip.

What he needs is to get off his feet, and in Manhattan at night? Only an idiot would even think about sitting down on the sidewalk, and going into a deli would mean that he’d have to buy something. His building is just up ahead, and he can see it, so he grits his teeth and makes his way to the front door quickly as possible. It’s only a brief struggle with the key before he’s in, and turning to the door to his left.


Jan. 23rd, 2010 02:33 pm
thanksrainman: (Default)
He knows he can’t do this on his own. He needs help, which is exactly why he came to New York to do it.

The problem with pulling favours is that they’re exponentially more difficult to come by with each passing year. He’s owed some pretty big favours, but it’s been nearly twenty years since he’s had contact with any of the people that are in his debt.

He’s not so much worried that the people owing the debts won’t be too keen on paying up. He’s worried that he’s never going to find these people again. After sleeping nearly sixteen hours in a drafty hotel room, he decides to start with the obvious path, and rounds up a white pages.

There is, of course, another problem and it’s slightly more personal. He can’t remember any names. That’s not to say that every name of every person he’s ever known has fallen out of his head, but the names he needs right now? Gone. Oddly, he does remember what he was calling himself all those years ago, though. That’s at least a good sign, surely.

Eventually, he does manage to come up with one name, but it’s not sure if it’s right. Still, he starts flipping through the white pages, hopeful that he’ll come up with something. Finally, he finds the listing he’d been wanting to see, and reaches for the telephone by the bed. It takes him several tries to dial the number, which is annoying. He used to be able to touch type – this just isn’t fair at all.

“Can I speak with Dominic?” he asks lightly when a woman answers the phone.

She tells him to hold on, and several moments later, a man picks up.

“Yeah?” he asks.

“Hi, Dom,” Gus says casually. “It’s Thomas. We used to do some jobs together back in the day.”

There’s a long pause. “Hold on,” Dominic says eventually. As he shuffles about on the other end, Gus can’t help but feel relieved. Things just might wind up working after all.

“What do you want?” Dominic demands once the shuffling has stopped.

“I’m back in the city, and I need a favour,” Gus says simply.

“No, I’m not doing that anymore,” Dominic insists.

Gus sighs. “The way I see it,” he says, “is I took the fall and went to prison for you. Was that your wife that answered the phone? She sounded nice.”

“Don’t you dare,” Dominic warns.

“Does she know you been lying to her all these years?”

There’s another long pause, and Gus manages to relax a little bit.

“Where are you?” Dominic asks finally. “And you disappear after this, all right?”

“That’s exactly the plan,” Gus assures. “Just come get me.”


Jan. 22nd, 2010 03:24 pm
thanksrainman: (Default)

He’s never felt so lost before. The feeling of being completely cut off from resources which he’s become dependent upon is crushing, and completely new to Gus. For the first time in his life, he doesn’t know what his next move is, and that scares him. With two notable exceptions, he’s always had a “next move.” He’s always been able to stay one step ahead. Now, he’s five steps behind, and he’s panicking.

His first move is to get out of the car park. Quickly as he can manage (which isn’t very quickly at all, actually), he makes his way into the Greyhound station, and into the men’s room, struggling to keep hold of all of his papers and pills and envelopes. Locking himself into one of the stalls, he looks at the money Penelope had given him – really looks at it this time.

She’d thought this through.

Looking at the collection of bills – a sizable amount of small bills amongst a collection of mostly 50s and 20s – sheds a bit of light on the situation. She’s paying Gus off to keep his mouth shut. He wasn’t exactly inclined to go talking about the whole ordeal anyway, but a little incentive never hurt anybody.

He manages to pull about a hundred dollars from the envelope before wrestling it and his prescriptions into his jacket pockets. For a moment, he almost considers just ditching his discharge paperwork, but thinks better of it. He might actually need to know some of the information it contains, so he does his best at folding it up before wrestling that into his trouser pocket.

The actions take far longer than they should have. He knows what he wants to do, but his hands rebel; sharp, jerky movements that confuse and infuriate him. These are not his hands. They look the same, but they do not act the part.

Once he’s convinced that he’s not actually going to have another a panic attack, he makes his way back out to the ticket line. The next step is to get out of this backwater state and somewhere where the accent doesn’t make you sound like you have an IQ of 12.

At the counter, a grey-haired woman smiles warmly and asks, “Help you, darling?”

Gus looks up at the fare board, but can’t seem to make sense of it. “Yeah,” he says, giving up on the board on the basis that he’s just tired. At least, that’s what he tells himself. “Going to... uh...”

This is slightly worrying.

“Where’s the airport at?” he asks. The fact that he can’t remember is almost enough to send him back to panic mode.

“Portland?” the ticket woman supplies.

“Yes. That,” Gus says quickly. “Going there. Right now.”

She quickly punches something into her register, and then says, “That’s sixty-eight, forty.”

Nodding, Gus manages to count out $80 and sets it on the counter. “How long’s the trip?” he asks curiously.

“About seven hours,” the woman answers. “Is that gonna be all right?”

Gus is a bit shocked at this. “It’s gonna have to be,” he admits as she hands him his ticket and change.

“Next coach is in about two hours. From door six.”

Gus forces a smile and wanders off somewhere to wait.

After about two hours, and several stops, the coach driver announces that they’re coming to a meal stop, and that everyone is expected back on the coach in 30 minutes time. They park at a truck stop, and Gus wanders into a gift shop of sorts, finding a small book bag, which he buys, along with a sandwich. Back in the coach, he puts his few belongings into the bag, and tries to ignore the children three rows behind him.

The next “meal” stop is in Salem, and by then, it’s completely dark. And when the sun goes down in Central Oregon in spring, it gets cold, so Gus opts to just stay on the coach in the relative warmth.

By the time they finally enter the metro area, Gus is exhausted. When he gets off the coach, he realises he hasn’t the first idea where he’s at. He makes his way over to the ticket counter, where he’s greeted by someone who could have easily been the same woman at the counter in Bend. When she looks up at him, he asks quietly how to get to the airport.

“Probably just take the train,” she says. “The stop’s only a few blocks away in China Town. Just go down... Fifth? I think?”

She digs around, eventually finding a small street plan. “Yeah, on Everett. Head toward the river and catch the Red Line.”

Gus blinks. “What?” he asks. “How far away is that?” To make his point, he lightly taps his cane against the counter.

The woman just smiles and nods lightly. “I can call you a cab, if you want,” she offers.

Gus returns the smile. “That’d be great.”

He hangs around long enough for her to make the call, and inform him that the cab will pick him up out front. When the cab does pull up, Gus almost mistakes its black and white paint job for a police car, before realising it was just an unfortunate choice of colour scheme.

“Where to, buddy?” the driver asks as Gus climbs into the back seat.

Gus shakes his head slightly, trying to remember. For fuck’s sake, the woman just told him.

“Uh... Train station in China Town,” he comes up with.

“MAX?” the driver clarifies.

“I think so.”

It’s a five dollar fare, and the driver lets him out onto a curb, informing him that getting any closer to the stop would involve driving on the tracks. He points down the road, where a small shelter can be seen, indeed right next to several sets of tracks. At the stop, he finds a large ticket machine, that’s demanding $1.75 for him to get to the airport. The smallest bill he has is a $10 by this point, so he gives that to the machine, and is annoyed when his change is returned entirely in coins.

When the train arrives, he’s even more annoyed to find that it’s completely full up, standing room only, and his stop is the last one on the line. As he manages to pack into the car that’s full of students and hippies, he catches a glimpse at a crude map up above a window, and immediately wonders why he hadn’t just taken the cab all the way to the airport.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he mutters as he leans against one of the Perspex bicycle guards by the door.

The ticket desk at PDX is the most annoying ticket desk in the country. The airlines don’t sit in any order of any sort of sense, and the counter is about a half-mile long. Or, at least it seems that way when you’re tired and just want to get off your feet.

Gus picks United, since it’s closest to the door, and stands amongst everyone else just wanting to check in and get on with their lives. When he tells the man behind the counter that he would like to go to New York. Now. Please, the man just shakes his head.

“We don’t have anything direct,” he says. “You’ll have to stop a few times.”

“I don’t care,” Gus says, annoyed. “I don’t care about the price, I don’t care about the stops. I just want to get to New York, quick as you can? Think you can manage that?”

He’s entirely out of patience, and he knows the longer he stays in Oregon, the more his chances of getting caught increase.

“I can get you there via SeaTac—”

“I’ll take it,” Gus says simply.

“... With another stop in Chicago,” the man finishes.


Inhaling nervously, the man punches things into his computer and quotes a price of $230 to him.

“Next flight to Seattle is at 10:45,” he says, counting out the cash Gus hands him.

Gus looks up at the clock. That’s three hours away.

The flight to Seattle is little more than a puddle jumper; a small prop plane that seats maybe 40 people. It’s loud, cold, and takes just under an hour. And if PDX was confusing, SeaTac is even worse. The gate where the plane lands is on exactly the opposite end of the terminal from where his connecting flight to O’Hare is set to take off. Luckily, or unluckily as the case may be, the layover is another two hours.

By the time he even gets to Chicago, it’s seven in the morning. The next day. He’s been travelling for far too long by this point, and has another three hour wait until landing at LaGuardia. At least it’s not JFK. He’s close to Manhattan, which puts him close to... people that hopefully aren’t still mad at him.

And hopefully aren’t in prison.

By the time he does touch down in New York, he’s been on the go over 24 hours (including all the ridiculous waiting for everything to happen). He’s amazed he’s made it this far, and hails a cab, telling the driver to take him to the nearest hotel. He’s so tired, he doesn’t even look at what the room looks like when he gets in. Making sure the door is locked behind him, he turns out all the lights, and immediately passes out on the bed.
thanksrainman: (Default)

“I know who you are.”

The situation that Gus thought he had a grip on has once again completely gotten away from him. He’s not sure why he’s in the front seat of an old station wagon that he KNOWS he’s seen before, and why this supposed detective put him there.

“Okay, uhm, bear with me,” he says, holding his hands up slightly. “In case you didn’t know, I had a pretty bad knock on the head. So, humour me when I ask what the hell is going on?”

Penelope casts him a very brief glance as she backs the station wagon out of the parking space.

“I hate you,” she says flatly. “And you should know that I’m only doing this for the sake of my daughter.”

“Your da—what?” Never get in the car with strangers. It’s the first words of advice every parent gives their children. “Lady, I don’t even know you!”

“No, but you knew my husband. Charlie Wood.”

She doesn’t watch him, her attention focused on the road as pieces begin to slowly fall into place.

“So, I’m not under arrest,” he says sickly. And suddenly, he almost wishes that were the case.

“No,” Penelope says, exasperated. “Believe it or not, but that is the last thing I want right now.”

Gus tries to figure this out, but fails. “Do I have to remind you?” he hisses. “Let’s try this one step at a time, okay? Because I’m having a real hard time following.”

Penelope quickly turns sharply off the road, stopping in a small car park. “Mister Mitchell, unless you want to go back to prison, I’d suggest you get the hell out of my car.”

He opens his mouth to say something, but for a few long moments, can’t think of anything to say. Eventually, he settles on, “How?”

Penelope begins digging through her purse. “I told you,” she says, not looking up at him. “I know who you are, and what you’ve done. But, on the off chance that you did wake up, I was able to...” she stalls, as though fighting with herself to continue. “I was able to take care of certain things.”

Gus isn’t exactly the sort to believe in the random charity of strangers; random charity of cops even less. “Why?” he asks, not sure that he wants to know.

“Like I said,” Penelope says, shoving a thick envelope into his hands. “For my daughter.”

The bag was full of toys.

Gus can’t help but laugh. “I can’t believe it,” he marvels.

“Get out of my car,” Penelope demands again.

“That sneaky son of a bitch,” Gus says.


He jumps slightly at her tone, and it’s only now that he’s realised that the car park they’ve stopped in is in front of a small Greyhound station.

“You’re kidding?” he asks, indignantly. “Where the hell am I supposed to go?”

“I don’t care,” Penelope says. “I don’t want to see you in Deschutes County ever again. I don’t want to see you in Oregon again. I’d run you out of the entire Northwest, but I’m feeling generous. Now out.”

He falters slightly for a few seconds before raising one of his hands slightly. “I can’t... really...”

Sighing, Penelope leans over him and pushes his door open, watching in silence as he struggles to get to his feet. Struggling to keep hold of both the envelope and the cane, which still feels foreign to his hand, he watches as she quickly pulls away, leaving him with very little choices for his next move.


Jan. 10th, 2010 06:15 am
thanksrainman: (Default)

“I told you, I can’t,” he says flatly, rubbing his face with the back of his hand.

“Come on, you almost have it,” the next in a long line of specialists and therapists says, determined to make him get it right.

Instead, Gus angrily kicks off his shoes and sort of fails at crossing his arms over his chest, very much giving the impression of a stroppy eight-year-old.

“Fine, then,” the woman says coldly. “We’ll put these on, then. No laces.”

She pulls a pair of plain black Vans from a box and shows them to Gus.

“Out of the goddamn question,” he says sternly.

The woman sighs heavily as she shoves the shoes back into the box, and Gus wonders if she’s new. Certainly a new record for lost patience, by any means.

“Well, you have to wear something,” she says, getting up to her feet.

Gus, of course, is only too happy to press the matter as far as it can go. “Why?”

“Because we’re going home.”

Gus’ attention shoots to the source of the new voice by the door, where a vaguely familiar woman is standing. He feels like he might know her from somewhere, but he gets that feeling a lot these days.

He very nearly asks her just who the hell she is, but something in her eyes when she looks at him says, “Shut the fuck up.”

Not saying anything at the moment seems to be the best course of action. He watches as she bends down to pick up his shoes and help him into them.

“I’ve tried to get in touch with your mom and dad, but I think they’re still in Mexico. I’m sorry.”

Who the hell is this woman? He begins to suspect that he’s forgotten a lot more than he’d realised.

“Mexico?” Gus asks as this mystery woman ties his shoes for him.

She smiles up at him sympathetically before turning to the therapist. “That’s normal, isn’t it?” she asks.

“Yeah,” the therapist says as she makes her way toward the door. “He’s lucky he even woke up at all.” She ignores Gus sneering at her. “Can you handle him, then?”

The apparent “friend” of Gus just smiles as she gets back to her feet. “Of course.”

Before leaving, the therapist pushes a wheelchair in from the hall, nodding one last time at Gus’ visitor. As soon as the therapist is gone, the smile completely vanishes from the other woman’s face.

“Who are you?” Gus demands quietly, his gaze quickly darting to the door and back again.

Detective Penelope Wood,” she says just as quietly. She seems to get some form of satisfaction from watching all of the colour drain from Gus’ face.

“I—I told that other guy last week that I don’t remember anything,” he insists. And it’s partly true. “I’m not much help in this, really.”

“Can you walk?” she asks flatly, ignoring him.

“Not very good, but yeah.” It all makes sense, now. Of course they wouldn’t arrest him until he’s ready to be discharged.

“Good.” She pushes the wheelchair close to where Gus is currently seated. “Get in.”

He’s not exactly sure which part of it is “good,” per se, but he does as he’s told anyway, shakily getting to his feet and getting situated in the wheelchair.

“Have you got all your things?” she asks, more as a formality than anything.

He waves vaguely at a small bedside table. More specifically, at the stack of papers on the table, and the aluminium cane resting against it. Quickly, Penelope snatches up everything and all but throws it at Gus.

As she begins to push him toward the door, she leans down to his level, her chin almost resting on his shoulder.

“It would be best for both of us if you didn’t say anything until we’re outside.”

Gus sighs. "I need to get my prescriptions filled," he points out.

"And they can do that for you here."


Jan. 5th, 2010 12:38 pm
thanksrainman: (Default)

He’s not necessarily surprised when he’s moved to a private room. He’s finally to a point where he’s awake about the same amount of time that he’s asleep, and despite his hands still not working, Dr. Miller seems convinced he’ll make a near as makes no difference to full recovery.

“You’ll be starting some physical therapy this week,” Dr. Miller explains. “Motor skills are sometimes amongst the last of everything to return to normal.”

He’s not necessarily surprised to hear this information, either.

What does surprise him is that he’s been left completely alone. It was surprising enough to hear the hospital staff calling him by a name that’s not actually his, but the only thing that means is they haven’t been told the full story yet.

He’s certain that as soon as he’s left alone in his private room, the penny’s going to drop with a deafening clang, and he’s going to get a police officer guarding the door. And he’s surprised when it doesn’t happen. He’s almost surprised that he hasn’t found himself handcuffed to the bed, but for all he knows, he doesn’t remember how to walk any more.

And that’s something he’d rather not even think about.

Though somehow, he’s not at all surprised when Dr. Miller informs him that he may have to re-learn that particular skill as well. He’d completely forgotten about his “third” bullet wound – the one in his leg – until he saw the still-rather-fresh scar the first time a nurse had helped him change into something a bit more comfortable than a hospital dressing gown.

The room he’s moved to is a fair bit more cold than the ward he’d woken up in. Gus watches his new nurse as he fiddles with getting everything set up for a few moments, hoping that one of the things he’s going to change is the heat.

“It’s cold in here,” he says after a few minutes. “I get a sweater or something?”

The nurse – his name tag says Bill – smiles at him lightly. “Sure thing, man,” he says, clipping one last tube into place. “Be right back with that.”

He leaves the room, returning quickly with a grey hoodie, the hospital’s shield embroidered in blue on the front.

“You’re not gonna ask to take this off in twenty minutes, are you?” Bill asks, stepping next to Gus.

He shakes his head. “No. Why?”

As though answering the question, Bill does something with the IV line, separating it in the middle. “Careful,” he says, helping Gus into the hoodie. Once Gus’ arm is through the sleeve, Bill reattaches the IV line.

“Better?” he asks.

Gus nods as he pulls the hoodie around his shoulders. “Yeah.” He reaches for the zip, staring blankly at the bottom hem of the hoodie. “No. Help.”

He knows how a zip works – he’s 41 years old, for Christ’s sake. Or rather, he knows in theory. Somehow, the two bits connect, but for all his staring at the small, vinyl teeth, he can’t figure out how they come together.

Bill quickly reaches over and zips the hoodie for him, the effortless motion only annoying Gus.

It isn’t fair. It’s hard enough to stay on his feet as it is, but apparently getting shot through the thigh tends to complicate things. He doesn’t remember it really bothering him on the night, but he was also running on adrenaline then. And he suspects that things are more complicated for it.

“I can’t—I can’t— I can’t do this,” he manages, his arms shaking as he holds tightly to the arms of the physical therapist, a devil-woman called Wendy.

“You’re doing fine,” Wendy assures him, taking the smallest step backwards.

“Hurts,” Gus says. He’s not really looking anywhere, his gaze unfocused toward the space in front of him.

“I know, but you’re doing great,” she says. “Two more steps.” She steps backwards again, leaving Gus with little choice but to follow after.

“I don’t want to be doing great, I want to be done.” Nonetheless, he takes a small step forward, gasping as a spike of pain shoots through his hip. “I didn’t get shot in the fucking hip. Why’s it hurt there?” he demands.

“That can happen sometimes,” the devil-woman assures. “It’s fine.”

“No it’s not,” Gus argues. “Fine is by the fireplace, watching the fish. This is torture.”

He doesn’t see the confused glances the orderly and Wendy exchange. Eyes still screwed shut, he takes another step forward. Putting weight on his left side doesn’t hurt quite as badly, but it’s not comfortable by any means, either.

He doesn’t even listen to the frankly annoying praise coming from his physical therapist. By this point, it’s all just meaningless tatter that he’d rather not be listening to. He lets the physical therapist help him back down into the wheelchair, and all but pushes her off when he’s situated.

“What’s worse than the devil?” he asks, letting his head rock back so that he’s staring straight up at the ceiling.

“I’m not quite sure what you mean, Gus,” Wendy says cautiously.

“I met the devil,” he says, still panting slightly. “You’re a lot worse.”

Wendy flashes the orderly another concerned glance, but he only shrugs and wheels Gus back up to his room.


Jan. 1st, 2010 01:38 am
thanksrainman: (Default)
The first thing he notices when he wakes up is not actually that he’s awake. That’s rather a bit farther down the list of things he notices, actually. No, the first thing he notices is that he’d really very much like to gag, only whatever it is that’s making him want to is also preventing that very reaction. Slowly, as different bits of him begin to make an attempt at catching up with the present situation, he realises that there’s something shoved into his mouth, and whatever it is, it’s made the back of his throat quite raw and unpleasant. Right. He should do something about that, shouldn’t he? The plan is to pull whatever’s in his mouth right the hell out, but before his brain manages to send that message to his hand, he’s back asleep.

His second (conscious) go at waking up is accompanied with less of a feeling of choking, and more of a feeling that the room is spinning, and has been for several days. His throat is still dry, but whatever it was that was crammed into his mouth is gone. This just leaves him with enough awareness to notice an unpleasant, although not necessarily painful, sensation in the back of his hand. He tries to sit up, and when that doesn’t work, he tries to pull out whatever’s stuck in his hand. When even the simple effort of trying to move his hands doesn’t work, he’s completely run out of patience.

“Oh, fuck off,” he mutters.

“Welcome back.”

Gus hadn’t registered the presence of someone else, so the new voice causes him to jump slightly. And now he’s completely exhausted.

“What? No!” he says, looking over to see a woman standing beside him, doing something with some sort of machine. Neither of them seems to neither notice nor care that Gus isn’t making much sense right now.

The woman just smiles at him lightly and finishes up whatever she’s doing. “I’ll go fetch a doctor,” she says before walking away.

Gus is asleep again before anyone comes back.

”Has he woken up today?”

“For a few minutes this morning, but he wasn’t lucid.”

“He didn’t swear at you again?”

“No, I’m afraid he hasn’t done that since last Thursday.”

He’s not choking. That’s good. The room isn’t spinning any more, either. Also good. His hand? Starting to hurt, now. Ah, well. Can’t have everything.

After struggling with his arms to cooperate for some time, he finally manages to sit up slightly, but gives up when his vision starts to go grey. None of his muscles seem to be working, and the task of just raising his hand, let alone pulling himself up, feels like gravity has launched an all-out assault on his entire body. He wants to pull what he’s now figured out to be the IV needle from his hand, but the effort is far too tiring, and he can’t hold his hands up long enough to try, so he just gives up before he gets the chance to realise that his fingers barely work yet, anyway.

It’s not until now that it fully hits him that he’s in hospital, in a small ward that isn’t exactly quiet at all. The air is full of beeping and humming and hissing, and somewhere in all of it, buried under several layers of sound, the sound of hushed voices. He’s startled quite badly when a thin divider curtain is pulled aside, and if not for the fact that he’d used up all his energy just sitting up, he might have jumped clean out of bed. An older man, maybe in his fifties, smiles at Gus as he steps beside him as he picks up a clipboard from the side of the bed.

“Feeling better this evening?” he asks lightly.

Gus says nothing. He tries to give this man his best annoyed sneer, but can’t quite remember how.

The doctor raises his eyebrows curiously as he looks down at Gus. “Do you remember me?” he asks. “I’m Doctor Dan Miller.” He says it in a voice that gives Gus the distinct feeling that they’ve had this conversation several times before.

“Where am I?” he asks after a few moments.

Dr. Miller’s expression turns to a rather pleased one as he makes a note on the clipboard. “Saint Charles Medical Centre. In Bend,” he explains. “You’ve been here about nine weeks.”

Gus shakes his head slowly. “No, I was just in the bar,” he says, not managing to really hit any sort of tone at all, smart-arsed or otherwise.

That pleased look on Dr. Miller’s face changes slightly. What started out as something positive – and hey, a man that’s been unconscious for nine weeks has just managed to form a complete sentence without swearing – has turned to something a bit more concerned. “What bar was that?” he asks cautiously, making some more notes on the clipboard.

“Milliways.” He manages to hit a matter-of-fact tone, but only just.

Dr. Miller struggles with suppressing an odd smile. “One moment,” he says before walking off again, pulling the privacy curtain shut again.

”Beck, has Dickinson had any family in here at all?”

“Just that one friend, but she never stays long. Why?”

“Nobody’s been reading anything to him, then?”

“Nobody’s been here long enough to.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

Gus listens to the conversation on the other side of the curtain, completely unable to make any sense of what he’s hearing. “I been at the bar about two years,” he insists when Dr. Miller returns.

“Mister Dickinson, do you remember what happened in January?” the doctor asks.

Gus is too busy being confused to notice what name he’s just been called. Instead, he’s shaking his head. “What? In January?” he asks. “It was just Christmas like, two days ago. Place gets crazy this time of year.”

“It’s the nineteenth of March,” Dr. Miller says gently. “You’ve been unconscious for about nine weeks. Do you remember anything of what happened?”

“Yeah. No. What?” He tries to sit up a bit better, and nearly faints from the sudden exertion.

“Okay, careful. Careful.” Dr. Miller helps Gus get situated and inclines the bed a small amount.

“Wait,” Gus starts, suddenly confused again. “What year’s it?”

“You don’t know?”

“I’m asking, aren’t I?” Annoyed tone. Hit it perfectly.

Dr. Miller finally returns the clipboard to the side of the bed. “2006,” he says simply.

He manages to bring his hands up to his face as a sudden, horrible reality comes crashing down from the ceiling. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he mutters. “Jesus, none of it was real.” He could almost cry right now. And then another reality comes crashing down on top of everything else. “Oh, fuck me.”

“Is everything all right?” Dr. Miller asks. Of course he’s concerned. He has to be. It's his job.

Gus just shakes his head. “Can I be alone?” he asks.

“Of course.”

With the doctor gone, Gus very nearly does start to cry. He’s home. It was all in his head, and none of it ever happened.

And now he’s going to prison for the rest of his life. Not exactly an ideal trade-off, that.

IMDb Flu

Dec. 28th, 2009 10:53 am
thanksrainman: (IMDb Flu: Scotty What)
The room is near the stairs, and in a bit of a cluttered state, but that's to be expected when it's been inhabited by a bachelor for the last two years.

Even as the door is opened, Gus still doesn't seem to really care about what's going on. He'd rather try to figure out where his tricorder's gone off to.
thanksrainman: (innocent)
I was putzing about on IMDB, and came across this, totally by accident. Alternatively, if you don't have an IMDB account, it's apparently also available here (I've never used Hulu, and therefore have no idea how it works).

It's Gus' source material. Completely for free on the interweb.

thanksrainman: (Default)
As Gus leads the way upstairs, he steals a small kiss on the back of Jordan's neck. Nearing his door, he quickly tears down a paper sign that he'd taped up earlier and unlocks the door.


thanksrainman: (Default)
Gus Dickinson

September 2010



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