In which five ageing whitey whitebreads of the 10s pretend to be young hip black dudes of the 70s.
Cast of White Hats
Roosevelt ‘Arby’ Brown: player DL. A build that emphasizes speed and card-sharping rather than anything else. This episode, Arby rebalances a little, lowering Influence and raising Kung Fu. He avoids a Cowardice drawback.
Victor ‘Vic’ Creed: player DB. A true min-max tank and restrained with difficulty to a mere 10 points of drawbacks. He has had a 3-point Mental Disorder replaced with a 3-point Obligation to the Mission.
Steve (or Stevie) ‘the cutter’ Cutter: player SM. A nicely-balanced fighting build.
Jon Samedy: player AL. A vodou priest/doctor, using a coco macaque (stick) as a 3-point Quality. He has Oral Tradition rather than Occult Library.
Warning: taken out of context this post contains offensive material
Scene: PD3’s jail
Theme: Trouble Man
Stevie’s still got a swollen jaw from the last time he asked for a lawyer, but they process him out anyway. Maybe Cleo’s protest group – mostly ho’s what had just been kicked out but some of the ex-Panthers from the Rec Centre too – has made the charges more trouble than they’re worth. Or maybe that older white dude that took Arby away had something to do with it. Either way he’s a free man. Stevie shuffles over to Cleo, not exactly the walk of shame but he’s not feeling too fly.
“Girl, this is just a thing, what it is, The Man got me in wrong…”
“You on’y got one thing be ‘shamed fo’, Steve Cutter! An’ that how yo’ babies don’ gonna see you tonight! Tell me Iz wrong!”
“Uhh, an’how, Iz good fo’ th’ money you got comin’ sugah. Got’ be slippin’ cuz work be callin’…”
Feeling like the commitment-shy louse he is, The Cutter crawls off.
Scene: PD3’s (clean) interview room
Theme: Sweetback’s Theme
Arby smells smoker-man before he sees him. A well-aged whitey, expensive suit, eyes permanently crinkled up from the haze of smoke from his cigarette.
“Roosevelt Brown? Right, that’s you is it boy? I’ll have a word with you, just finishing a quick look through your file…”
It’s a solid stack in police manila, so Arby concludes it really is his file. Smoker-man continues:
“Hmm, your life to date has not been that of a model citizen, has it Mr Brown? Well, there’s an opportunity for you to eh, ‘do the right thing’ as it were. I take it you do care that your father is dead?”
“He dead? But th’ doc…”
“Oh – yes, dead I’m afraid. So, you are concerned? Right. I’m Head of Station Malcolm Lansing, CBI. This is your opportunity to get out of this shooting business and work with us.”
Arby decides to go with the flow, and accepts the role of snitch. He gets a number to call, then Lansing tells him they’ll be bringing him to his pappy’s house to see what might be missing. They know he stole the keys from there. Apparently those ‘conspiracy to commit’ charges have gone now he’s committed himself.
Scene: Outside the Dean’s Office, CWRU
Theme: Soul Man
Jon’s out of handcuffs, but a pair of large campus policemen are standing down the corridor, between him and the exit. He’s seated on the uncomfortable form usually reserved for wrongdoing students. At least his stick is back by his side.
His senses are wired though: sounds he’d usually tune out are coming in loud and clear. Salespeople a corridor away, bragging up the targets they are going to hit. He vaguely recalls they work with Farmatec, a private concern affiliated with the Med Lab. Alternately grumbling and whining exchanges behind the Dean’s door. Finally a worried staffer exits and hurries away clutching a sheaf of papers… that dude’s from another wing of this place – the Clinic. Not Jon’s territory – mostly drug trials for middleweight pharma firms like Farmatec.
The Dean doesn’t waste time. Jon is fired. Out of concern for the University’s reputation, the charges have been dropped. In a bewilderingly short time he’s on his own, with a small box of personal possessions, looking west down University Circle. Off in the northern haze a scow’s horn blasts scornfully. Lacking a fixed destination, Jon limps home, forgetting that his car is parked back on campus.
Scene: VA Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit
Theme: Cold Sweat
Jon’s calling, courtesy of the Junior League. And his back still smarts from the cane maman laid over it, after he got home. Chided gently by such phrases as:
“Don’ gimme that Creole Jon, you been American these twenny years! I’ll knock the Black off you!”
He’s surprised to find Vic Creed. Though come to think of it, those six policemen dragging Vic away did say they knew the guy and where to send him.
Jo’s also surprised to find that Vic seems quite rational. What’s he doing in the psych ward anyway? Well, the staff there need beds and his diagnosis helps things along. Vic is freed, and the two of them are eventually standing in much the same place Jon was earlier that morning.
There’s a black sedan, nicely polished, too far away to see who the driver is. And closer to hand a thin, anonymous type is leaning, idly watching them. After a quick debate the two decide to head through lower Hough around Fairfax then drop down towards the Brother Gloves gym.
Scene: Soul Food Diner near the Brother Gloves gym
Steve and this light-skinned brother that was waiting in the gym settle into the Soul Food diner. Dude’s name is Jude Humphrey. He starts out by claiming he’s with the DA’s office ‘in a manner of speaking’ but when he pushes across a business card, it says he’s with DeNaRes out in the county. And eat up, he’s got an expense account.
“So… what do ‘Department of Natural Resources’ gotta do inna city?”
“Oh… we catch the odd stray wildlife. Raccoons, that sort of thing. It’s a handy card to have, anyway. Hang onto it. Call me if you need something.”
Steve starts pulling a bill off his thin roll but Jude, if that’s his name, beats him to it, laying a twenty down as if it’s nothing. They part ways.
Scene: Prof. Brown’s apartment
Theme: Purple Haze
Arby kind of hates to go back in and look at THAT WALL again but since Lansing is there, he don’t see much choice. But something smells different – kind of a bleach smell. And a newish smell, a bit like paint. And something is off about the doorway.
The wall is completely bare. The stand and vase of flowers that was against it has been moved carelessly off to one side. The beat-up floor has a scatter of paint and paper chips, badly swept clean. Arby looks close at the wall. It’s not been painted over – it’s been stripped back – new wallpaper been put up. And the door’s completely gone.
He stands there feeling like he’s looking down a deep well. Lansing’s bored voice comes through, eventually, along with cigarette smoke.
“Yeah. Wall might have told us something about why your father was a target. We think you might be able to help… fill in the blanks, heh.”
Arby can do that: he’s got this freaky memory trick where he can ‘re-see’ what’s he read. It got him lazy through high school. But just the image gets him freaky again.
Lansing finds a decent size piece of paper from somewhere, and Arby sets himself down at his pop’s worn sideboard in the dinette, and draws what he saw that day. He’s no artist, and it’s all in one colour since that what he remembers in. Lansing takes a look.
“What’s this gap?”
“’At’s where door was, man.”
“What was on the door?”
“Dunno, I guess I open the door an’ lef’ it open.”
“But look – most of the arrows go into the doorway. There’s a word, or piece of a word here. ‘Clinic’ maybe. Mean anything? You didn’t see which clinic?”
“No man, Iz freakin’ out jus’ seein’ all they shit written there.”
“Hmmph. Less than satisfactory. Well, keep your nose clean, Mr Brown, we’ll be in touch.”
Scene: on Chester just past the Dunham
Theme: It’s a Shame
Vic takes a slow look back and round. Using the one-ways they seem to have lost The Man’s car, but the foot tail is still idling after them. Jon isn’t set up for running and he’d rather ambush anyway. Picking a clump of bushes overgrown nigh to being trees Vic signals Jon and they swing down a walk past the old tavern, keeping a Church tower as a landmark ahead, and duck out of sight.
It doesn’t work. Vic is just too big. The wiry dude makes with the feet – the other way.
Shrugging, and passing off a low five, the pair ease on down over Euclid and towards the Brother Gloves gym.
Scene: Outside the Brother Gloves gym
A volley of gunshots brings Arby running: The Cutter’s already there of course: and Jon and Vic come stompin’ in from around a north corner – catching an impression of a dark sedan moving away fast. A brother’s just been gunned down outside the gym. Haile Selassie has thrown his last pose: face up, grimacing, fist raised in defiance.
Steve’s determined to take some action to avenge the brother lying fist-up in the street, and asks Arby where Haile Selassie might have stashed anything he took from the Med Lab, or was trying to hide. Arby can think of three likely places so they set off directly.
Scene: Haile Selassie’s pad
Theme: Boom Boom
At the likeliest, there’s another whitey waiting for them, well-dressed, shit-eating grin on his face. Jon keeps him talking while the others get in and start searching.
The man’s name, according to him, is Mitchell Delaney, some kind of big wheel with Blackhand Security. According to him they are ‘extending their footprint’ in this part of the world and don’t mind ‘working with local contacts.’
Meanwhile the other three toss the pad, Steve having the idea that a fly brother like Selassie would stash something outside down the fire escape wall. He’s right, and prys away a piece of siding that conceals – not papers – but a rock. With screwy marks on it.
About that same instant, a sedan howls to a stop outside, four armed men jump out and hell breaks loose.
Without stopping to scan the area, three race up the steps, throwing lead into the stairwell. They are not bothering with silencers. The fourth, the wheelman, does have his eyes open and sees Delaney, who stands out like a well-dressed whitey in Central. The guy lifts his pistol in one hand and empties it into the middle distance, none of the shots coming close to the target except by chance. Jon has strategically taken cover behind Delaney, who whips out an RT handpiece and calls for support. Jon escapes around the building and towards overgrown trees out back.
Upstairs the other three skedaddle down the fire escape, Vic taking the entire window frame with him and ignoring the cuts. They too take to the wilderness of feral allotments and all four make their way away as two police units and a private car with a Blackhand logo race in to help Delaney.
It’s time to lie low. They toss around a few ideas, but since Steve’s point that Alderman Creed is the one most likely paying for the hits, they decide not to go anywhere he would expect.
Scene: Stevie’s pad
Theme: Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing
Eighteen hours of rest and sending out for meals has worn billfolds thin. Vic didn’t have any, Arby only had the bills the cops didn’t find. Steve heads out to open up the gym and collect a paycheck, and Vic checks in with his home.
His mom is relieved to hear from him, and it seems like she’s been lining up help. She knows he’s been released from the VA psych unit and has heard he’s in trouble.
“I’m sending a note round by messenger. It’ll have details, but honey, you get yourself out to the reservoir. Not the Lakes reservoir of course – Baldwin. There’ll be a man out there you can trust, called Roosevelt. If you don’t find him, ask for Kelly Anderson. She’ll look after you all. And honey? You have money for a cab? I’ll send some round with the boy.”
Scene: Brother Gloves Gym
Theme: Mercy Mercy Me
Steve’s a little late in, and again, there’s a dude perched on the ringside. This one’s built for middle distance not heavy-bag work – maybe around thirtyish but with some grey showing on his short-cropped hair. Wise eyes and a half smile. Wearing a dog-collar.
“C’n I do for you, padre?”
“How do, son. Iz callin’ in as a perfessional courtesy, seein’s how you be a ‘quaintance of my, uh, Uncle Jon Samedy.”
“S’kinda comp’icated, son. Get Jon t’ ‘splain it maybe. Anyhow, thought Iz let you know, you a marked man. Time to get gone. If I see you again, it be through a telescopic sight.”
Scene: crossing the Detroit rail link
Theme: Don’t Look Back
The taxi got them all to Jon’s Plymouth in the University carpark where he left it, and the Plymouth is getting them round and up to Baldwin.
Vic and Arby are keeping an eye out the back. In case of tails, Jon has decided to idle down the road until a transit unit comes up the cutting, then dash across ahead of it. Steve’s calling distance and watching the west side. It works fine. Jon guns the engine in low gear, the car rocks across yawing up and down on its sloppy suspension.
Vic and Arby both see the same thing: As the unit comes up out the cutting, a man plunges head-first out a door, terror on his face: face-plants into the cutting side with an impact they fancy they can hear. Leaning out the door, just briefly before the unit gets into sunlight, a brother, eyes glaring – blazing almost yellow – then he yanks himself back in and the door shuts.
Vic feels a stab of despair: another killing! The others argue against turning back and Jon keeps his foot down.
“Anyhow, a dead whitey ain’t nothing,” Arby reassures Vic, but the big brother is plunged into depression for the rest of the day.
Scene: the DeNaRes station, Baldwin Reservoir
Theme: Higher Ground
Kelly Anderson is a nice surprise, Vic discovers once he’s eased his frame up out of Jon’s Plymouth. She’s maybe forty but it’s a young and fit forty. Her skin is café au lait, she wears her hair fairly straight and onto her shoulders, and she fills the Wildlife Officer uniform out in all the right places. She welcomes them all, taking a curious and closer look at Arby.
Jeremiah Roosevelt, she explains, is not in right at this moment, but things have been readied for them. She takes them inside, and the smell of cheap bad coffee and slightly burnt crust welcomes them to the ranger station. Kelly takes a big manila envelope out of a drawer and slides it over.
“What is you do, exactly, Miz Anderson?” Stevie asks curiously, looking at the fake ID with his face on it. Apparently he’s a Wildlife Officer now.
“Call me Kelly, honey,” she reassures him, “Why my branch of DeNaRes really does look after wildlife. Some of it wilder and stranger than others. We gen’ally call them raccoons, around the city. Explains most things.”
Some minutes pass as the four finish orientation and grab coffee and a bite. The ‘regular’ officers are lounging outside, enjoying the late-lunch sun. One’s an Asian, one’s Latino and one’s a cute, preppy-looking girl. Steve strikes up an easy rapport with her, and discovers that Laura is something of a party girl, and is looking forward to getting to know him better. Arby tries some Vietnamese on the Asian and gets a ‘yeah, us Asians are all the same’ look from him.
Kelly returns from trying to get hold of J Roosevelt, and says she has a job for them.
“So you want us to what?”
“None of the regular officers here like goin’ into creepy old factories after ‘raccoons’ and as chance happens, we got a call about one, just out this way. I figure you’d like to test the water, so to speak, go an’ ketch the little rascals and settle things down.”
“You givin’ us guns then?”
“Mercy no child! You get catch-poles, an’ a baton, an’ a good solid torch. More than enough for this kinda job.”
“Ain’t we s’pose’a’kill then?”
“Why would you? Mostly, we release the raccoons to the wild again. Oh, an’ as a big bonus, if you do good on this job, you get to drive the station van.”
Feeling deeply confused, and not particularly enthused about the van (like the Mystery Machine but without the paint job) the four gather their equipment and set out afoot for the old Golden Crème Delights factory. It will be mid-afternoon by the time they get there.
I used the fadeout scene of CD1 to step the posse through the process of going to negative life points. At zero, the Prof makes a consciousness roll (Con+Will) and spends a drama point, making it. There is a negative of 1 per 10 negative Life Points. Subsequently, the Prof also makes a Survival Test under the same conditions. He’ll need to keep making 1 a minute.Jon’s Doctor plus Intelligence helps with both stabilizing and resuscitating. For the latter, the Doctor/resuscitator can spend their drama points as well. Since I don’t want to drain Jon’s drama points, I leave the step-through there.
Big Pistols, such as the one the wheelman was shooting with, are Unsteady if not held in two-hand FBI posture. -2 to hit. Big Pistols do 15 damage. Any damage that gets through armor is doubled, so it does not take many shots to whittle away all Life Points.