Chapter Eight Point Five: Kraw’s Lone Night

Kraw Maga.  A happy go lucky birdfolk in a dangerous world.  The Scene:  Interior.  Smoky Room, approaching twilight.  A dame with no business being in the company of ruffians, drug dealers and mercs sits down on a stool next to you.  A big rock on her finger catches the light and blinds you for a second.  She looks around, takes a drag from her long cigarette, and asks the bartender for a Kingsbridge.  Tilts her head towards you and says, put it on his bill.

the-expensive-statue-inn-and-tavern-night
The Expensive Statue: Night

The Innkeep doesn’t crack a smile, he might’ve laughed, if he remembered how.  He sets down the Highball glass he cleaning and pours a cheap whiskey, some bitters and a cherry.

She extends a hand and says, “Names Audrey.  Who’re you?”

<Squak> “I’m Kraw!  Nice to meet you, Lady!”

“Let me ask you, Kraw.  Have you ever lost someone you loved?  What would you do to get them back?”

“I’m not sure, but go on!”

I’m hoping to hire someone to find my husband, Millard.  He used to be a respectable businessman, selling designer hats to some of the more well-to-do Daytownites.  We hit a rough financial spot about six months ago, it was taking too long to come up with next year’s styles and the business started drying up.  My poor Millsy goes to take out loan after loan.  Eventually, the local Dubouis Bank of DuBious refuses to loan him anymore, but he’s working on some new style hats.  We need to make rent for just another month or two, so he comes to a place like this, makes a deal with a loan shark.  Turns out the terms of his new loan weren’t so good, and now everyone is looking to collect.  The gangsters are clamoring for their cash back, and we paid them back everything we owed ‘em but they still wanted more.  Said we were late, said they didn’t like Millsy’s tone.  A week ago, he just never came home.  I tried reporting it to the Precinct, but with all the problems going around, whats one more missing person?

“Uhh, Okay!  How am I supposed to know him when I find him?”

“He’s got a great, bushy beard.  Please, please just find my Millsy!”

“Sure thing lady.”

They each sit and drink at the bar.  Shane McGuire, the merchant of questionable character that has been bankrolling much of their adventure, turns to Kraw.

“Listen Kraw, I don’t like the look of this one bit.  Glenn and Co were supposed to be back here before nightfall to act as a little bit of backup on a sale of some of the shrooms I’ve been picking up.  I’ve done some poking around and there’s a new crime boss running things, a construct by the name of Coppergut.  Real mean dude, not many have seen him, but those that live to tell the tale say he has a pretty mean umbrella gun.  Anyways, I’m getting cold feet about the whole thing, but they’re supposed to be coming by soon.  If they start giving you trouble, you can always throw this in their faces and make a break for it.  He hands you a small container of very fine sand.  Don’t breathe it in.  I’m gonna disappear, but if they come asking for me, tell ‘em I’ll come to them, will ya?”

“Who are you again?  Oh, hey Shane.  Yeah, if anyone comes looking for you, I’ll play dumb.”

Shane reaches into his robe and pulls out a vial that appears empty.  He pops off the cork, downs it, and vanishes.

Several minutes later, Audrey finishes her drink, and goes to leave.  She brushes past three gangsters, entering the bar, knocking her out of the way.

He frowns, and approaches the bar.  He points at the bartender.  Carl!  I thought you said that merchant would be here.  

Carl, the barkeep, drops the glass he was cleaning, holds up his hands and says ‘Hey, Vinny!  He was here, and then he left.  I don’t know what to tell you.’

Vinny, frustrated, turns to Kraw.  “What about you, birdbrain?  You’re new in town.  You see that tool in red with a shitty goatee around?  Maybe know where I can find him?”

“Nope, sure don’t know anyone with that description!”

Vinny is angry at this point, and walks over to the statue in the center of the room.

“I swear to god, Carl, you make me do this every time.”  Vinny pushes over the statue, and it shatters as it crashes to the ground.  Carl rushes over to pick up the pieces of his broken, expensive statue, and Vinny and his goons leave in anger.

Kraw sleeps peacefully through the night, and in the morning Meowsington warns him that he ought to check out The Lords Industrial building — there was a jailbreak, it would seem.