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Forums > General Roleplay Forum > Trick or Treat: Mooncat's Pizza

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Mooncat's, or "Moonie's" as some of the locals call it, has been around seemingly forever. Nobody can remember when a time where Mr. Serut didn't run it. He's just always seemed to be a fixture there.

Most days Viro just quietly sells his food, and it's known to be some pretty good food at that. He's a pretty private guy, but a few people know that when he's not working there, he's down at the Xavier place teaching. For the most part he's well liked in his neighborhood. He doesn't cause trouble, and nobody else does either. If they do, they stop being around to cause trouble anymore. Not that anyone can prove that it was Viro that did it.

Besides being a hot spot for local youth and the occasional couple in the know, Moonie's is well known for taking in the occasional hard luck case. Viro is always offering room and board to those who need it, as well as protection, though it's also well known that he doesn't tolerate lay abouts either. He can be a bit of a task master, but is fair.
Mooncat's is a pretty unassuming place. You might even call it a dive at first sight. The outside is all age worn brick and concrete, with only a bit of questionable looking neon to pretty it up. The restaurant's sign doesn't look like it's been repainted in ages.

Inside is a lot better. It's clean, for one, meticulously so. The decor is dated, and looks like it stepped straight out of the 80's but it's well cared for. There are a couple of old fashioned booths, a jukebox, and the counter with it's display of specialty drinks on it. There's an ancient television mounted above the counter that looks like it's barely getting color at this point, but works well enough. If you peer behind the counter, you can see the kitchen, which isn't huge, but like everything else inside, well maintained.

A curtained partition leads to a few more booths and a small collection of arcade games. There's another doorway past that, blocked off by more curtains and a sign that reads, "Employees only".

October 31st, Halloween
Mooncat's Pizza, New York, New York

bQOYjd.png"Hey Ted, remember me? From high-school? Yeah, we were chemistry partners in-- Yeah, Mrs. Henkle's class. I was scared you wouldn't remember me for a minute there. Man, wouldn't that be awkward." The laugh that followed bordered on a growl.

The short red head thumbed the picture of one 'Teddy Franklin' and smirked into the receiver. It was a well worn picture in a well worn yearbook, but it wasn't his. Viro had never attended any place called, 'Warner High'. Not in this century anyway.

"So hey, listen," he said, his voice thick with the easy attitude of Brookyln, and beneath that, something like a soft, lazy drawl that was hard to put one's finger on, but brought to mind heat and alligators. "I got me a pizza place runnin', and I heard you grow some pretty good peppers now. I thought about goin' elsewhere, somewhere cheaper mebby, but--"

His rumbling voice hesitated over the line, but it was a false pause of sympathy. The man's sanguine eyes were focused on the flickering screen of the television wedged just above the well loved kitchen counter. They rolled faintly as text scrolled beneath the fuzzy figure of the news anchor-- Something about another mutant attack.

"Y'know, I figured, this guy was cool way back. He could use a break, and I bet his goods are worth the price--"

There was a hurried babbling on the other side of the line, and the red head's smirk crooked up just a few inches, exposing the pearly sheen of a canine just a little too sharp in his smile. "Oh hey-- no need to play favorites. It's good to know we're still close though-- I guess if you're alright with that-- Great, I'll put my order in in a few days. Oh eh, I'm going by another name these days... It's a long story. I'll have to catch you up some time."

There was a moment of confused hesitation on the other line, then an an answer in what sounded like a small voice.

"Viro Serut," said Viro. He grinned into the phone, and it wasn't a nice smile.

Then he caught the faint tinkle of the entry bell from the front door, and the red-head's smile faded a little at the edges.

"Man, you know I'd love to talk all night, but costumers. Duty calls and all that." He chuckled a bit. The voice on the other end sounded almost relieved, and didn't protest at all when Viro hung up.

Brushing some flour off the sleeve of his leather jacket, he wandered towards the front. It was nearly eight. The trick or treaters were starting to filter in, and Moonie's had become a popular candy hotspot over the years. Nobody knew what kind of goodies Mr. Serut would be carrying from year to year, but they were always a hit. And when the teens came in, it was a good opportunity to test the new stuff. It was how he had come up with Pepper Candy Floss, which had earned a permanent place on the menu.

And when the kiddies went to bed, and the clock struck twelve, he had opened up shop for a little... midnight jamboree. It was a time of the year Viro always looked forward to.

Persephone didn't really know what pushed her out of her usual haunts and unto the streets for Halloween. Or, maybe, she did know, but didn't want to look too carefully at herself. After the strange recent experiences of seeing ghosts and interacting with them, she was looking for a night where she wouldn't be looked at as if she was a madwoman talking to herself on the streets. Her job at the bank was suffering, and she had slept very little in the last few weeks, ever since it had all started. A good night out, dressed up for Halloween, was better than the bottle of red in front of her laptop at home or, worse, the company of a whiny spook.

It was how she found herself in from of Mooncat's, dressed as a modern Queen of Hearts. It was the best she could improvise on a short notice, out of her old red leather jacket (she secretly envied all those powerful women who refused to play by men's rules) and an equally red dress that reached below her knees. Her hair had been pulled up and decorated with matching Queen of Hearts playing cards. Lipstick and shoes were, of course, also red.

She pushed the door of the pizzeria slowly, as if she wasn't certain if she wanted in. The place had looked a little dubious from the outside, so Persephone's doubts were understandable; this was very different from her usual fare. However, by talking to ghosts, she had recently learned to be more open-minded. She heard someone earlier recommend this place, and so she would try it. She stepped in more confidently after a quick glance; the inside looked clean, and cared for. If she were honest with herself, she had the eerie impression of having stepped into an old movie which she wasn't able to remember for some reason; she shook her head to dispel such thoughts. She wouldn't be weird tonight. "Hello! Is anyone ... Oh, I am sorry, I didn't see you there!" She laughed a little, thinking herself silly.

Viro's annoyed expression lost it's venom and spread into a slow grin as he took in the sight before him. Well, well, wasn't she just a sweet lookin' little canary? And here he was the big bad old tom cat. He followed her gaze as she glanced around the place. It wasn't the first time he had seen that look. In fact, it was rare that someone new to Mooncat's didn't come in with it.

"Hello yourself," he laughed. It rumbled the same as before, but pleasantly this time, like the purr of an enormous and content feline. He paused behind the counter, leaning his weight on it while he watched her with thinly veiled amusement. "Don't let the digs scare you off," he told her. "It's a little dated, but that's only to keep the tourists away." He threw her a broad wink, then took a moment to admire her costume. It was something clearly thrown together at the last moment, but as far as cobble jobs went, it wasn't bad. The playing cards were a nice touch.

"What can I get ya?" he asked, casually sliding one of their paper menus across the counter with two fingers. "Or are you here a trick or treatin' tonight?" That grin was back, as if he almost hoped she'd try to sell him on the latter.

It was as if the grin of the young redhead in front of her had been infectious, because Persephone found herself reciprocating. This was exactly why she needed a night out. On her high heels, she was quite a bit taller than him, and secretly very amused of the fact. Normally, her petite stature meant she was looked down at by men. Well, not tonight, she thought. Her host looked also quite a bit younger, in contrast with the atmosphere of the pizzeria itself. Again, Persephone felt like she had been transported back in time, but she dismissed the thought. The 80's had been popular and probably the pizzeria had its regulars.

"Why not both? Even tricksters get hungry sometimes. Besides, walking in these heels is a killer. Mind if I take a seat while I look?" Without truly waiting for an invitation, she did just that, and was almost tempted to take off her shoes for a minute. But it wouldn't have been proper. She instead took one of the menus, looking through the options curiously. Several of the combinations she had never seen before, and she tried to imagine what they would taste like. "This looks good. I think I'll have the Mooncat Greens with the Liver." She unconsciously licked her lips and grinned again. "Some Blackberry Cider, also. It'll help me think of a few tricks."

She couldn't help but glance at the jukebox. "Do they still work? I've never seen one before, other than in movies."

"It's what they're there for," Viro chuckled, watching her sit. Dames like this always thought they had to get cute-- and she was, but she was a little try-hard for his tastes. Still, never let it be said that he didn't deliver on an expectation. Heels in a pizza join in the Bronx. Poor kid really was off the beaten track, wasn't she? Still, she didn't seem terribly upset, so probably not dumped here by a beau. Probably just curious.

"Liver and Greens, comin' up," he echoed. She ordered a cider and he reached for the cooler, but not before, "Got your ID?"

He was usually a pretty good peg when it came to age. She looked plenty old enough, but beyond laws, he had fun rankling the ones just on the cusp and flattering the ones who still hoped someone would card them once and a while.

He followed her gaze to the jukebox. "That? Yeah, sure," she answered. "You haven't been in many diners around here, then." His was genuine, but there were plenty of knock offs floating around NYC still. They were popular gimmicks in 'old timey' diners and dives. He stocked his own music, though, the good stuff.

"You like swing?" he asked.

Persephone rolled her eyes, yet made no gesture to search her pockets for her driving license. She had no intention of showing her full name and home address to a complete stranger just to get some alcohol. She looked older than 21, obviously; that should be enough. "You Americans and your liquor rules. No wonder you have Prohibition music in your jukebox." But she was smiling wide as she said the last part, and she leaned on the counter with a lazy movement. "I actually love the music. It reminds me a little of the Tom and Jerry cartoons I used to watch as a child."

"This area is not my usual haunt." She then caught herself, and shivered. Why did she have to use those words? All the events of the last few weeks came back with a vengeance, and she looked a little anxiously towards the entrance of the pizzeria, just to make sure the door wasn't open to allow a array of spooks to float in. She turned to the man with a pleading look which was half serious. "I swear I'm old enough, and I could really use that drink." It was at that moment that she caught the glimpse of color in his eyes. Red. Did he wear contacts? Interesting color, if a bit unusual. Maybe it was part of his Halloween costume?

Viro tutted. "No ID, no drink," he told her. He meant it too. Had to set a good example for the kiddies. "It's the law, Sweets. Wouldn't wanna go getting me in trouble now would you?" He drifted around the side of the counter to slide a quarter in the juke box. She seemed a bit too squirrely for swing, and he wasn't looking for that kind of jitter bug in his establishment. The mournful tones of Billie Holiday rose softly out of the speakers, filling the room with the slightly staticky melodies of another age.

"How about a soda instead? On the house. It's Halloween." He was already selecting one of the Zingers from the case as he put back the cider. Something a little more spicy, he figured. It was Halloween after all, and that ought to take her mind off of whatever was suddenly troubling her.

The glass grumbled over the counter as he slid it to her.

"I happen to like America," he told her as he did. "Prohibition and all. It was an interesting time, you know. Lot more going on than just kiddie cartoons. You ought to brush up sometime on it. Where you from, sugar? This is an odd place to find yourself on Halloween." Unless you were in the know, of course, but she had already said she wasn't a local.

The desire to have some alcohol battled prudence, and almost won. But Persephone was stubborn. She frowned slightly, then pouted, finally deciding that maybe it was better to stick with the soda. "Thank you, that's kind of you." The tone was only slightly ironic; she couldn't help it. "From France. It's strange to me, to have these laws. I used to drink wine at the table when I was fourteen. But I've been in New York for quite a while now. I guess there's a lot to learn?" She smiled a little more genuinely, grasping the glass and playing with the drink for a few moments before taking a mouthful. The taste was a shock, but not unpleasant. If she had been drunk or tipsy, it would have been enough to make the vapors disperse. "This certainly packs a punch."

One of the remarks of the man had stayed with her, however, and she felt the need to comment. "You talk as if you'd lived that era. I've read about it, but I guess from an outsider's perspective. It's different if your family was involved, or lived through the events." The tone of her voice had gone up slightly with the implied question; Persephone had found that Americans were only too willing to talk, if given the opportunity. She wondered if it was the same for this man. The music had made her slightly nostalgic, and she was keen to hear a story or two. "Why is it odd to be here?"

"Made in house," Viro answered, a touch proudly. He had come up with the Zingers somewhere around the prohibition actually. Sure, he did more than his fair share of rum running, so to speak, but sodas also became quickly popular among the straight crowd too scared to poke their heads into speakeasy. They wanted novelty, and something a little grown up. The Zingers had sold better then than they did now, but they were still pretty popular.

"I'm a bit of a hobbyist," he told her. If she was hoping he'd spill his guts, she would be hanging around waiting for quite a while. "Had ancestors in the business." Close enough to the truth, which was something that Viro didn't avoid talking about, but not something he handled out willy nilly to complete strangers either. It was hard enough getting by in this day and age when people thought you were a mutant, forget vampire. There'd be fits.

He paused their conversation to dip into the kitchen, and was gone for a while while he put together a salad and fried up some livers. He returned with a fragrant smelling basket, and a mouth watering bowl of greens, both of which he plunked down in front of Persephone while giving her an odd look.

Why was it odd to be here? Boy, she really was from out of town.

"You're not in the best part of the city," he told her. "Folks in this neighborhood right here mostly keep their noses clean, but you go a couple of blocks and you'll land in Hell's Kitchen-- which I would advise against. People who come by here are mostly locals. They come because they know it's here, not because it's on some tourist's map. Ergo, it's an odd place for you to wind up."

She nodded, as if she understood. In a way, she did; old French families that still had their vineyards and made their own wine were proud of their products and history as well. While he disappeared to the kitchens, she went and looked around curiously, occasionally taking another mouthful from her glass. The smell of food, however, soon brought her back at her seat; she felt ravenous, as if she hadn't eaten in days. Still, she was too well mannered to inhale her food, and too much of a hedonist too. She wanted to taste it, especially new combinations and savors, and so she took her time, stopping for long moments to ask a few more questions about the business.

"But I'm not a tourist, and I heard a couple of people earlier talking about this place. I was curious. That's not a sin, is it?" She pointed at him with the fork as she said that, as if to illustrate her point. It was probably too early, she thought, they were talking about the place being packed, yet there was nobody else in the pizzeria. She didn't want to look at her phone to see the time, however. If nobody else showed up by the time she finished her meal, she would probably leave, but it was a pity. She would probably go home to that bottle of wine, which she had wanted to avoid in the first place. Well, that and the ghosts.

"Have you always worked here?" The man seemed excessively knowledgeable and certain of himself despite his young age, and Persephone got the feeling that he had known the business for a long while. Maybe he was related to the owner? It could have explained a lot of things. "This is good." She announced a moment later, a little more than half-way through her plate. Maybe she could order something sweet as well?

Halloween had been a busy day for Bruno and his 'associates'. As a Capo of the Lazio Organization, Bruno was acting Boss of the family's city operations. Usually things were centered on making money. There was a strong system of businesses tied to the 'family name'. Anybody who wanted to be connected had to earn profit and 'kick up' payments to Bruno. This meant he had his hand on companies across the city. Most businesses were useful to the Lazios….

One way or another.

Today's meeting had been especially stressful. A particular street gang had risen to prominence in a neighborhood formally under Lazio protection. The companies hadn't been on Lazio books for some time, but recent incidents might provide a chance to collect protection money in that area once again.

The issue is that this would lead to a messy situation, as the family would have to 'clean up' the streets. It had been some time since the Lazio's had a proper conflict with a rival gang. Bruno didn't want to think about that right now. All he wanted was some decent NY pizza. The soldado entered wearing a black velour tracksuit complete with two orange stripes that ran along the side. It was the most festive he could get while dressed for the earlier meeting. His long chocolate brown hair was tied up in a manbun, clasped in a gold wreath.

"How ya doin'?" The capo moved towards the counter, eventually taking a seat near a visiting lady. He picked up hints of a French accent from her conversation. His focus was on the menu, waiting patiently for the staff's greeting. "You guys make a spicy pizza. Worked up myself an appetite, over here", he said in a thick local accent. A calculating smile slowly crept across his facial features.

(( Ahhh, sorry, the thing didn't alert me that there were new posts. ))

Viro laughed. "You're tourist enough," was his only answer.

"Been doin' it since I was a kid," he told her. Again, he didn't elaborate. It was close enough to the truth. He leaned over to eye her half empty basket. Damn skippy it was good. And then, as if he could read her mind. "You want dessert? Seems like a poor Halloween without a bit of a treat, huh?"

But Viro's attention was stolen away for a moment as the front door dinged again and a new face entered. He didn't know the face, but he knew the cut of his jib. Trouble, but only if you let him be. Viro's cheerful demeanor flickered to one of faint annoyance for a moment. An appetite had better be all he was bringing. Beneath the sunglasses, the vampires eyes wandered to the window. It was starting to drizzle, but there were no cronies following Trouble in at least. Maybe he really was just hungry. If that changed, Viro had no problem making him into a useful reminder of who's turf this little slice of New York was.

Eventually Viro wandered over. "Sure as hell do," he answered. "Best in town, and don't let anybody tell you different. Which one you want? Personally I'm a sucker for a Cheap Date." It was also one of the most expensive things on the menu. He flashed the guy a smile with a few too many teeth. "But if you don't like Seafood, the Inferno's good too."

The Lazio have eyes all over town. Bruno knew where he was and who he was talking too. He also felt no intimidation. The family knew many Old World secrets, including knowledge of certain supernatural realities. Although he was alone, eyes were always on him. Not far away, in the skies above the city, a lone bat flew a circular orbit above Mooncat’s and the nearby block.

Duke Zane keyed in on the conversation below from within the supersonic hearing of his animal form. Zane wasn’t ‘made’ because he wasn’t Italian. The 1452 born sanguine hunter was glad to be on the family’s good side for all the feeding opportunities it presented. He didn’t mind being a ‘button man’. If Viro wanted trouble, he could find it. He’d best stick to slinging pizza because things could get more ugly than a fight or two. Bruno’s people could make things very uncomfortable and unprofitable if they so chose. Syndicates like the Lazio could do more than violence.

There were city officials and crooked cops that could run the immortal out of town and send him back to the South. It would also ‘suck’ if paid hoodlums set fire to the establishment and took the fall. Even if it were rebuilt, insurance rates would go up.. And up again with the next vandalism... And again, and again.

Luckily, Bruno did indeed come for Pizza. He wasn’t part of a two-bit operation, but was a member of a long tradition. He’d had a long day and didn’t have time for rivalries with some undead shopkeeper.

“Yeah, I was thinking of Dante’s”, Bruno replied. He really wasn’t much for seafood. “Peppers are my thing. I’ll have a kiwi soda and the greens too.” While taking another look at the menu, he decided to order a beer. “And a Cattle Prod before the meal as well.”

He figured he’d drink the beer before the main course and save the soda until then. His expression remained calm and collected, lips barely pursing up into a half smile.

It was a good thing that Viro's supernatural origins were a well kept secret, wasn't it? Otherwise it would be terribly awkward for both of them. He also wasn't in the mood for a measuring contest. Halloween was for relaxing, and if this bum couldn't get with the picture, then he could leave.

"Fresh out. I'll wrap your pizza to go. We're closing." They weren't, but Viro's hours weren't set where anyone could see, and it was local knowledge that he liked to open and close on a whim. He turned without waiting for an answer and went back to the kitchen. It wasn't too long before he reappeared. He always had a few Inferno's ready to be fired up in the back. They were popular. Bruno's was in a cardboard pizza box. He plunked it down in front of him, along with a soda.

"My treat. Happy Halloween. Have a good night." His tone all but said 'get out'.

There was a certain level of respect the old families had shown each other back in the day. These young pups had neither the wit nor the pizzazz for it. There were certain rules that didn't go unbroken unless you wanted all out war. Viro didn't have the patience for it.

Again, he didn't wait around for a response. Instead, he returned to Persephone's side to lean speculatively on the counter. "So dessert? Why so many questions anyhow? You gunna write me a book? Always wanted to be famous." He grinned teasingly down at her.

At no time did Bruno threaten any action. Mooncat’s paranoia and almost racist assumption that Bruno was here on bad business spoke ill of the doughboy’s character. Mooncat didn’t know anything about the Old Families. If Moonie tried to represent such, he was a terrible example of it. The Lazio have earned (mob RP forums since 02-04) their name among family groups going back to the time when some people the moody shopkeeper knew were elementary kids. Fancy the cat feeling old.

“Keep it buddy.” Bruno said with a wink. “Tell your crawdaddy I said hello.”

Bruno’s expression twisted into a grin. What a piss poor attitude from this judgemental salesman. If Viro could tell Bruno had connections so easily, so to were the pizza man’s origins transparent. Zane worked for the family and could easily sense another. The family often sent their undead scout to record the location of undead folk around town.

Viro’s Belief that he was the only vampire around and his attitude that Bruno should kowtow to him were both fallacies.

The pizza and soda sat where they had been placed.

Bruno showed up looking at Viro as an equal, even reaching out with his presence. Time is so valuable and Bruno put some of that into this visit.

For what? Just to find out that the owner is a grumpy guss with a bad attitude. Bruno took out his cellphone as he left and typed a few notes. He left to find a place more authentic and hospitable. Preferably run by somebody with a heart and warmth in their blood.

With nothing to prove, he let Viro show his rear and push his Cajun brand of intimidated bravado.

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Forums > General Roleplay Forum > Trick or Treat: Mooncat's Pizza