Logs:Ghosts at a Discount

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Ghosts at a Discount


Characters: Damas, Essie, and Colm
Date: 2020-06-09
Summary: New Orleans Haunted Boat Tours gets a couple of customers. Colm takes them out to see the Lonely Widow of Green Pointe.
Disclaimers:

There have been ads out. Not in classy publications but in anything he can get a free, or nearly free, ad into. Also a few fliers around down. New Orleans Haunted Boat Tours! Experience all the ghostly goodness of New Orleans by boat (not in those exact words, but not really much better). There's a phone number and, for the adventurous, directions. The directions lead to a rther run down marina (because, again, there's a budget). An old fishing boat (3-5 crew recommended but 1.5 can probably handle it in calm waters). The boat could use a little work, at least cosmetically. Anyone who knows anything about boats, however, could see that it's sound. Even cared for. The name 'The Bayou Banshee' stands out, because the paint seems newer than the rest.

For those who aren't coming to the run down marina for the tours themselves, there are some other attractions. A dive of a bar. Some shop with blacked out windows. Some other shop with iron bars on the windows even when it's open. Another bar. It's a good neighbourhood. Evening has passed and night has fallen. Which might be thankful because it's more difficult to see how grimy everything is. And, well, it adds a certain mystery. Right?

Colm is currently sitting on the dock, near the rickity gangplank to his boat, on a folding chair. The old aluminum kind with nylong straps interwoven, highly faded. He's dressed in a black t-shirt, beige Carhart work pants, books. He's got a half-empty (half-full) bottle of liquor in his hand, resting against one thigh as he watches the docks. He looks lost in thought. Or brooding. Or maybe that's just how he looks. The Bayou Banshee creaks behind him.

In attempt to stir up business, there's a carboard sign pinned to a piling nearby that reads 'New Orleans Haunted Boat Tours'. He could probably work on his advertising some.

Run-down marinas are Damas's current scene. He's been hunting for buildings and boats, and these places often have them, unoccupied. His 2013 super-tinted Toyota Highlander is parked in the marina parking lot and he's just strolling down the docks, looking at things, particularly buildings and boats. Run-down warehouse that probably gets used but might host a rave every month, check. Shuttered shop, check. Open bar, reeking of smoke and alcohol, check. New Orleans Haunted Boat Tours... he stops, attention swiveling over towards it, his hands securely in his pockets and his stare assessing, calculating... and then his steps veer towards Colm.

Essie wouldn't know a classy publication if it hit her in the face. She got the contact info of a good old fashioned telephone pole posted flyer. The woman shows up a few minutes before the designated tour time, straight from the dive bar with a to-go cup of something dark in her hand. She eyes the man sitting in the folding chair and the sign. "You the one in charge of this whole shebang?" Her non-booze holding hand waves to the sign and the boat and it all even as she cautiously eyes the approach of the other man as well.

Colm looks up as Damas starts in his direction. He's vaguely intrigued, but obviously assuming the man's aiming for something /other/ than his boat. Maybe the end of the pier? Or... yeah, he doesn't think that hard about it. And then there's another, and this one actually seems to be specifically /looking/ for him. Or, well, at least looking for something.

He looks around quickly, to make sure she's actually speaking to him, then looks back at her. "You're gonna hafta get a little more specific. What shebang are we talking about?" He speaks with an unmistakeable Irish brogue. He couldn't really have /forgotten/ that the flier actually listed tour times, could he have? Or maybe he's not the right person, but there's nobody else around, and the name 'The Bayou Banshee' is clearly written across the boat that floats nearby.

Of course, a person could probably smell him a few feet away. He smells like he's the one that consumed that half a bottle. Possibly more. He looks between the two of them, still curious about what Damas is looking for, but settles on Essie. She seemed to be addressing him, after all.

The corner of Damas's mouth quirks just slightly. Drunkenness. That sounds unhealthy. He parks himself a good distance behind Essie and simply... waits his turn. Surely this boat will be doing something after dark. After all, ghosts don't care for sunshine any more than he does, right?

As the man by the sign looks around all confused and asks her to be more specific, Essie rolls her eyes before giving a very deliberate lean in to read the sign next to Colm. "New Orleans Haunted Boat Tours," she drawls like a Southern native, but definitely not from New Orleans. "Or are you just sitting there drinking 'til the captain gets back?" For now, she just steps back and crosses her arms, waiting for a response but not before she takes a sip from her booze straw.

Damas gets a somewht curious look as he just hangs back. Kinda creepy. But that thought lasts about two seconds because Colm's so used to lurkers around these parts. They're just usually not so well dressed. Essie, however, is actually talking at him. To him! He looks back, registering what she's saying.

"Oh! That." Yes, that. He clears his throat and stands up, offering a broad smile. "You came to the right place! Captain MacNamara at your service, you can just call me Colm. Please, just call me Colm. My, ah, assistant is running late and she forgot to mention we had an, ah, tour scheduled tonight." It's a bunch of mixed truths, that - most of it is true, and the rest is excuses.

"Come aboard, have a look around. We'll stay docked until you settle on a route." And a payment. "Anything specific you're interested in, or just want to have your eyes opened? To see the great New Orleans. To... right, the ghosts. To see ghosts." He really could use a PR person. He's not a salesman. But he seems earnest (and drunk) enough.

That. The faintest ghost of humor flickers in Damas's flinty eyes. He steps forward, taking this as invitation to begin exploring the boat. It's sort of like opening the door to find a stray cat on the doorstep and watching it invite itself in and just start strolling about, criticizing the decorations with a jaded stare. He doesn't bother speaking. Essie seems like the talkative sort, she'll keep Colm occupied. Damas, meanwhile, is checking out the boat, specifically for size and comforts and various interesting things like that.

Essie nods slowly as Colm starts up that very rough spiel, not entirely convinced but also doesn't seem like she has any more pressing matters to attend to this evening. "Right... think the flyer said something 'bout seeing the unexplainable or something?" She gives a shrug as she steps up into the boat, following after Damas. While the other many might be doing the whole stray cat inspection, she simply settles for one of the first seats she comes to, sprawling out in a rather unlady like fashion and mostly just content with drinking her dark and stormy and whistling a tune that might just be 'What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor'. Or at least it would be if Essie had better whistling skills.

Colm turns his head as Damas walks past him. And then... onto his boat. Right past him, and across that gangplank. "Hey! Hey! You can't just..." Except there's no signs or anything, and it's fully physically possible. "I mean..." He looks back at Essie and opens his mouth to say something but then she's following after Damas. He stands there a second, blinking. He glances at his bottle of liquor, then sighs, takes a swig, and follows after the other two.

"Hey! HEY. I hadn't even given the intro yet. And are you both even /here/ for the tour," he looks over at Damas. To give him credit, although he's scrambling to catch up with the times, he's taking it all very well. "Over here, new person!" At which point he's pointing out a cooler strapped to a barrel (pressumably to keep it from rolling around), "Drinks there."

He's still watching Damas, because who even does that? But Essie's also a potential customer and he's torn. "Yeah. Unexplainable, unbelievable. Ghosts. It's ghosts. I take you to haunted places and you see some ghosts. Are there any particular stories you're most interested? I'll prove them true, or false." The last sentence seems like a bad thing to promote considering his business, but he's had a few and it's the truth.

Drinks. Ha. Damas turns away from what he was currently inspecting - the prow - to look at Colm. He turns and glides back. When his hands emerge from his pockets, it's with a bit of cash. He reaches out to cup Colm's hand in both palms and press the money into it. "Don't mind if I do." The murmur is not at all loud. Damas doesn't like loud noises. "Take us for a ride. I'd like to hear them all."

Essie glances over to the cooler stash, taking notes for future use, but right now she does have at least a half a cup worth of rum and ginger beer to get through before seeking additional refreshments. When Colm asks if she has ghost stories she's particularly interested in, she gives a soft snicker. "Nah... I don't particular believe in ghosts." And yet she's still here! And she'll nod in agreement as the other man suggests the ride starting. "Yeah. Sure your version of whatever the local legends are is a real hoot."

Colm grunts as Essie says she doesn't believe in ghosts. He grumbles to himself, "I fucking wish I didn't." Now /this/ would have been pretty good PR. But instead he grumbles it to himself, and with heart. He really wishes he didn't know about ghosts. But then he focuses on the present and the stupid smile and stupid dialogue reemerge. "Well you /will/ Are you interest in a trial tour, where you get to go out on the boat and see one location, or a..." He looks Essie over.

"Let's go with the trial tour. For two hundred dollars, I take you to a haunted location. I know where when and where to see the proof you're looking for." Again, there's a sense of 'mostly truths'. It's not a complete con. In fact, the way this guy fails at delivery, he's be a horrible con arist.

When Damas suddenly approaches, shoving that cash into Damas's hand, Colm's expression changes. A few times. From surprise, to pleasure (he needs money), to confusion. "I, uh... " He moves to count the money, but it's clear that something's shaken him slightly. He's drunk, though, so he doesn't dwell on it too long. "Well, then, let's do a trial, yeah?"

The handshake is done, the money delivered - not enough, Damas realizes with a snort, and fishes more out with a sigh to hand it over, no handshake this time. He's starting to relax slightly. "That's four hundred. Just take us somewhere interesting." And he moves to find a seat the way Essie has, because she's got the right idea, and he... well, he's gotten a taste of whatever Colm's drinking, and damn, that man is drunk.

"Two hundred dollars?" Essie's no longer laid back as that amount gets tossed out and her eyes bug just a little bit. "Shiiiiit... you'd have to be drunker than I thought to think..." But whatever she was going to say she just lets drop off as it appears the other stranger is just going to toss around the big bucks, she'll sit back but not before turning a questioning glance over towards Damas and scooting just a bit further away. She'll resume her lounge, but not quite as casual as before, a little guarded. "Thanks, man. A trial. And hope it doesn't end up being one of those gilligian's island type tours that ends in disaster."

Colm suddenly doesn't feel to great. It's probably the alcohol, but he looks a little pale. Still, that money perks him up a bit. He takes it, stuffing it into his pockets (after counting it). He glances over at Essie, then back at Damage. He grunts, "Ok. Hardly worth the gas for two people but you know what? I'll cut you a deal." And they're the first customers he's had that weren't oddly wealthy and obviously looking for something else.

"I know a place that's close. You heard of the Lonely Widow out at Greene Pointe? Probably not, because it's a private island." His voice takes on a tone that all but screams 'fucking rich people' combined with a little 'god I wish I had an island'. "Rumour is she's lonely because she killed everybody on the island. Back when that was like eight people. Now it's a winter get-away and no one pays attention to the tower. Except me. And she's lonely."

It seems like everything he says is filled with half-truths. He doesn't seem the deceptive type. It's not manipulation that causes it. There's something else. A layer of protection? At any rate, he moves to untie the boat from the dock, then heads to the wheelhouse. He's set his liquor aside at some point, he's not even sure where. "It will take a couple minutes to get us into open water. Have a drink." He actually looks a little green at the idea, as much as he loves drinking. "I'll go get her going." And he goes to start firing her up and begin the process of getting out onto the water.

Worst case scenario, Damas will just... swim back to land. That's a thing, even if he hasn't been swimming in decades. He, despite the offer of alcohol, doesn't touch the stuff, just stays seated right where he is, basking in the buzz of what he stole when he paid the mortal money. A glance casts over to Colm regarding the tower, the loneliness... he tilts his head, and turns to watch the boat set out into the night, stretching his senses curiously. That drink did him good, even if he still isn't much of a talker.

Essie might not look like much, but she's probably strong enough to make it back to shore as long as they don't get deep, deep in the ocean. She snickers a little bit at the mention of the lady killing everybody off. "Sounds like she has nobody to blame but herself!" She would totally be the person loudly criticizing the choices made in a horror movie in a crowded theater. But as Colm's story telling drops off in order to get the boat going, she turns her focus towards her fellow passanger. "Sooo... ya go on random boat rides often?"

Thankfully, Colm doesn't seem as if he's about to murder anybody. If anything, he looks happy for the customers. And a bit surprised. And a bit drunk. But, well, this is the captain. He does seem to know his way around the boat, however, and that was clear just from his undocking the boat. Even drunk, he coudl do this.

Essie's words have him grunt, "The name isn't about whose fault the loneliness is. It's bout what she's done since then. Island would have made a nice little resort, probably. But the people that live there, with their big old mansion, don't set foot there. I bet they don't even know there's still a dock there."

He pauses, then grunts, "So I guess she's lonely now that she's a ghost, too, without anyone to haunt." He grunts, then heads off to get the boat started and power out into clearer waters. It's night and the water is dark, even glassy once they're away from the docks. They head out, further away from the main city (that they were already on the outskirts of).

Suddenly, there's a crackle over a speaker and they can hear his voice, "Estimated time of arrival, fifteen minutes. Have a look around. If it's locked, don't open it or we'll know. If you get bored, bring me more booze." He's still a bit woozy, and only one thing will fix that. Well, booze and not crashing, which is why he doesn't just get it himself. Otherwise, his guests have a little time to introduce themselves.

It's not that Essie's question startles Damas, more that... Damas really was watching the water, letting the buzz roll over him. He looks over somewhat slowly. "I don't think it's quite random, is it?" he says, just loud enough to be heard over the boat engine. His attention swivels forward again towards Colm and his head cocks. "I want to know more about this place." That's almost to himself. There's a spark of interest, attention, fascination in his eyes now. Ancient haunted mansions are /wonderful/ places to start delving deeper into the sorts of things humans weren't meant to know.

"I'm not gonna feel sorry for a ghost," Essie snorts as Colm tries explaining that the lonely widow ghost might be lonely now that she's killed all those people or driven them off. "That probably doesn't exist in the first place." Her head tilts towards Damas and his question. "I mean... I guess if ghost tours are your thing? It's random enough for me." She gives a little shrug. Not like anybody that knows her would put her for being on a spooky ghost boat ride on a Tuesday night. But the weater is nice and she seems to be enjoying it enough for now.

Colm pilots the boat out into open waters and sets a course. It's open enough that he can step away for a moment. Not so far that he's want to step away for long. He's found another bottle of liquor and he leans against the wheelhouse doorway, either because he's being casual or because he needs it to stand up. He catches the last bit of conversation and grunts.

"Random? Oh, no. I'm just going for the closest ghost I know because four hundred doesn't cover a lot of fuel. If you want to see specific ghosts, or legends, we can arrange that." He glances at Essie, then shrugs. She's paid for and isn't causing trouble, so he doesn't really care /why/ she's there, as long as the latter continues.

"It wasn't her family she killed. That's what everyone always thinks. Her husband was rich and sent her off to this island, surrounded by bodyguards that were really prisoners. Eventually, she got in contact with somebody. No one knows who this person was or how they knew her. They somehow smuggled poison to her and she killed all her guards."

"You should," Damas comments, a distracted sort of air, eyeing the water like it fascinates him. "Imagine being alive, but no one can see you, feel you, hear you. You're isolated. Lost. Alone. Everything you've ever worked for has been taken from you and left to the selfish descendents who leave you rotting to your own devices and take everything that isn't nailed down..." He drifts off. Personal experience? Or maybe just experience. He's now staring at Colm intently, his dark brows rising. Something about that story strikes him as... "Was she going to escape? Or did she simply want privacy?" In which case, she's probably not going to like them poking at her secret mansion island.

"No wonder her husband sent her off..." Essie is really not feeling for Ms. Ghost Lady, but she does raise an eyebrow as Damas seems to be taking the ghost's side. "The lingering dead don't have a monopoly on being isolated. Or having what's theirs taken from them." But she'll leave it at that without any specific examples of her own specific trials and tribulations.

Colm grunts at Damas's words, rumbling in that brogue, "Oddly specific, but ok." He's not one to judge. He moves on, focusing on the ghost. "She was imprisoned there, so I imagine she wants to escape. But every attempt has failed. No one who's tried to help her have been successful. She only reveals herself when she /wants/ to be seen." He looks over at Essie, the skeptic, and chuckles. "That's truth. But I wasn't paid to take you through downtown, was I?" He pauses, then, and says, "Wait..."

He steps away from the wheelhouse - they're nearly at an idle now - and points toward sthe sillouette of the island. There's enough moonlight that they can see the ruin of the old tower. And there's a waver of light there. Not bright enough to be a spotlight, but something more mysterious. Like the light he carefully angled onto some hanging props to reflect from this location exactly. That was a hell of a climb. He holds his breath, wondering if it was worth it.

It seems to work on Damas, at least. He rises to stare intently towards it, swaying only slightly. Damn but that man drinks a lot. "Can we land?" Yes, he'd like to get out on the docks and hunt down the ghost himself. Somewhere up there, there might be mystical power to rip into and claim for his own... and if it's at the expense of a ghost who prefers privacy, so much the better. She'll leave him alone.

Essie quiets her peanut gallery as they pull closer. Bluster can be set aside as she focuses on staring at the tower and the awfully convenient flashing of the light up there right as they get in view. "LEDs and a fog machine?" She more whispers the guess than anything, but as Damas is asking if they can land she tilts her head and looks towards their drunken captain to wait the response.

Colm holds his breath a moment. He's worked for weeks on setting up a few little locations like this one. So. Much. Climbing. And sweating, and getting torn up, and generally being miserable. And now is the moment. He starts to breathe again as Damas seems to buy into it. His question, though, has Colm shaking his head. "Oh, no. This is just a trial." He smiles broadly, as if amazed he was clever enough to think of that when he did.

And when Essie's speaking. He looks over at her, feigning confusion. He's a /really bad/ actor. "What do you..." Yeah, even /he/ knows he's bad. "A little dramatic flair, ok? Because /normal/ ghosts don't catch /anybody's/ attention. And, really, it's /better/ that way." Yet... Damas, who's pretty familiar with the supernatural, catches something. Sure, it's LEDs and smoke. Or at least smokescreen, blowing in the wind. But there's something else. A sense of forboding. A sense of /something/. The dramatic flair might be a ruse, but there's soemthing bout that old tower still. Something real.

Colm grunts to Essie, "You didn't pay for it, so just enjoy it, ok? I'm not making this shit up, even if I embellished it a little. Fuck, most people can be staring right at a ghost and not even see it." He sounds like a man who knows. And doesn't want to.

"I'll give you a thousand dollars to take me up there," Damas says distractedly. "No tricks, no special effects needed. The place feels haunted." It just does. He might be a little obsessed. "Inconvenient, though..." To have to take a boat to get out here every time he wants to work? That's going to be a problem. His lips purse. He hasn't stopped looking at that tower.

Essie had only whispered a guess but as Colm bristles she gives a head shake. "Dude... you really gotta work on your people skills." Says the cyborg whose only real people skill is punching people. But then she's laughing as Damas just hastily tosses out the bribe amount. "Now //he's// got people skills!" Money talks, baby! But she's not going to do much more talking as she holds her hands up to Colm in what she hopes is a concilatory gesture as she slinks over to the cooler to grab another drink. For herself, not him. She's not that concilatory.

Colm looks over at Damas, opening his mouth, then closing it. A thousand dollars. Yet. He glances at Essie, then back at Damas. "Ok, but not tonight. And it will be two thousand. The climb's a real bitch." He looks at Damas to see if he takes the bait. Or offers a counter offer. Or just outright laughs. Yet, Colm can see the way he looks at the tower. And Colm didn't pick this location for his tricks because it /wasnt/ haunted. It's just like he said - sometimes people can't see ghosts without a little extra help.

He looks back at Essie and grunts. "It's not the /people/ I worry about. It's them." He motions towards the cliff. "We're heading back now, trial over." He scoops up his bottle, or a bottle, and heads back towards the wheelhouse. And he'll get them back, in one piece. In fact, it's rather impressive how well he handles the boat considering how drunk he is. Sea legs. He'll fall over once he hits land.

And whether Damas agrees to the island exploration later or not, he's not landing tonight. He has to grab a few things from home, first.