A Quiet Drink


jay_icon.gif maxwell_icon.gif

Scene Title A Quiet Drink
Synopsis Jay meets his mentor and Maxwell meets the ghost of his youth
Date September 10, 2009

The Surly Wench

A punk rock pub through and through, The Surly Wench is dim, cramped, and incredibly popular. It's a small, rectangular venue with a bar bordering one entire wall. Despite this, ordering a drink on a weekend can be an exercise in line-waiting and rib-elbowing. There are a few small tables ringed with high stools for seating, but these are prime real estate. The majority of the patrons are forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder on any given night. Almost half of the cramped interior is devoted to a low stage for live music. There's no dance floor. If you feel the need, you'll have to thrash in place.

It's a sad, sad thing that Jake is old enough to go get killed on behalf of the nation, yet the desire for one little beer, the sort of thing his parents had no problem with him getting at home, sends him to a hole like /this/. He's not about the loud music right now, but maybe it'll help the memories die, and if he really needs any help in that department, there's always tequila. On the other hand, despite the terrible atmosphere for brooding, the joint does have one thing going for it: slight of hand tricks with the ID are very likely to be completely missed, and no one's gonna look twice at someone youngish trying to get something alcoholic. They're too damn busy to look even once.

In he comes with his shoulders slumped; he takes some time fishing out the ID to show at the door, and manages to evade getting stamped. Then comes the damned line - wading through people to get to the goddamn bar. "Fuck, this fucking bites," he snarls to himself irately. No fear of being overheard - not with that noise coming off the stage.

Maxwell Quinn is plenty old enough to get in here, but the guy at the door is checking everybody. That way he doesn't need to use judgment. Not that he's really looking at the cards anyway. This way it gives the illusion of diligence in case the cops come by. The problem is, his name rings a bell. Even if they never heard of his TV show, never paid attention to the movie, the controversy after it means the rhythm of his name tweaks peoples' ears. So the bouncer double-takes at his ID, then glances at his face. But fortunately for the actor-turned-stuntman, the tweak doesn't translate into actual recognition. He mumbles a thanks and shoulders his way further in.

Wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up isn't exactly unusual in a place like this, and it at least keeps him from being visible from a distance. He too moves towards the bar and ends up two people behind Jay.

The line moves by inches, and after a bit Jay starts slithering forward on his own. Then again, maybe that's just the line doing its thing; he acquires a train of other people interested in drinks who really do think it's just people getting served, which it may be. "God dammit, move!" he finally gripes, rather loudly, at some big meathead - who can't quite turn around, so only gives him a dirty look. Then? His turn. "Guinness." No, they haven't got that. "Christ. Sweetwater?" That's not common either. "Fine, just gimme whatever you have on tap." And he pays - with cash. And then it's time to try to find somewhere as far from the packed masses as possible without spilling his drink. Somewhere dark, quiet, and preferably at the very back of the room - which, as luck would have it, is a possibility, with a small crowd vacating to move off towards the bathrooms. He swiftly glides in to get a spot. It's really the only peace and quiet in the joint, and he glowers at the next group that tries to horn in on it.

Max does the smart thing that experienced drinkers do in busy places - he orders a pitcher. That means fewer trips to the bar and booze to last a little while at least. But that also makes it difficult to navigate. As it happens, he's looking for a spot not unlike Jay - somewhere quiet and away from the chaos.

He moves towards the underaged guy and stands awkwardly with the pint glass in one hand and the pitcher in the other. "Hey buddy? You mind if I set this down here? There's a pint in it for you."

See, that last phrase right there makes it okay to come by Jake's spot. "Go right ahead. Thanks, man. Have a seat." Not like he's expecting conversation, given the noise level, but at least it's possible here. The beer is eyed with avarice and he takes a big swig of his own. Good - time to work on the buzz.

Max slides into a seat and pushes the hood back. His hair sticks up at all angles. "Well. So are you here to see, uh…what was the name on the marquee? Bumpy Pustules? Or maybe Satan's Baby Teeth?" He makes a bit of a face and then swallows a little beer. Then he glances sidelong to Jay. "You old enough to be in here? Not that I plan on telling."

"It's God's Hairy Balls, and no. Fuck them." Grumble. Jake's feeling sullen. "And fuck that, too, you damn ageist, you." But that last is followed by a sharp smirk. "I've been drinking beer and wine with dinner since I was twelve. Goddamn Puritans ruined it for the rest of us." A sigh is heaved and another drink taken, then he makes a face and looks around the room, likely tallying yet another sin up to the supposedly Puritan founding fathers. "S'yer name?" Might as well ask.

Max chuckles and raises the beer to his lips. "Just curious, man. Just curious." He waves a hand and peers through the crowd. There's a brief pause and he works his jaw to the side, as if contemplating his answer to what should be a simple question. He hesitates a moment more and then says, "I'm Max."

The look Jay shoots over is somewhere between wicked, knowing, and skeptical. "Just curious," he replies to that a bit dryly, then, "Call me Jake." A hand gets offered over the table. "What're you in for?" Because this place /is/ a shithole, no question about it, as far as he's concerned at the moment.

Uh oh. Max raises a brow at that look, but chooses not to comment. "Jake," he offers his hand. "I am…in…for a place that is busy. I've been going a bit stir-crazy lately. I've been…" a beat, "…sick. And contagious. Needed to be by myself." Not really true. "This place has interesting ambience at least."

Shake is given and returned firmly, a brief thing, just for greeting's sake. Jake tilts his head and squints, then lifts his beer and toasts silently. That's followed by a quick, hard gulp. "I'm here," he says after a moment, "because my life is insane and if I don't drink I'm not gonna relax and think about it, and it'll just keep getting worse." There. More honest than Max's answer, anyway. He's yet to call the stunt man on his true identity; he may not even have recognized him. "I almost got my balls bit off by a fucking doberman. I swear to god, I'm being punished."

"It's this city. Weird shit goes down. Things you never think would actually happen seem to on a regular basis. Terrorists and serial killers," Max shakes his head. "Truth is stranger'n any fiction in this town. But that," he lifts his pint in a salute, "…is why we have this stuff. I have a running theory that this city is actually purgatory. It's not as fucked up as it could be, but it's certainly not sunshine and rainbows. Makes you wonder why any of us are here."

Apparently a little booze and a little punk music brings out the philosopher in him.

Apparently so - and Jake listens to all of this with a growing, bemused grin. "You know, if I could buy that I'd feel better, but me and my brother, we're just here to go to school, man. It was just a fucking frat party." And just like that the slightly morose air creeps back in and he sighs deeply, downs another quick gulp of the beer. "And I have no fucking clue how I'm getting home, I'm on my last twenty bucks and I aim to get shitfaced. So it's fucking likely to happen all over again." It's bugging him and he's yet to resolve to talk about it.

Max scruffs fingers through his hair. It makes the side of it stand up, but he doesn't seem bothered. "A frat party with dobermans? Man, I missed out not going to college, apparently. I just joined the army. Nothing that weird ever happened to me." Not until lately nayway.

The rest of what Jay says doesn't really click. "What's likely to happen? And why don't you call your folks?"

At this, Jake smirks. "You wouldn't understand." And he bows his head for a moment, gathers himself up… then leans back and starts working on draining the last two or three swallows of beer. Down, down, and… down. He sets the cup down, then sets his sights on the pitcher with a savage grin. "All right, man. Hit me." Otherwise he'd drink the whole pitcher if he thought he could get away with it.

In another bar, Max might let him get away with it. But he doesn't fancy going back up there anytime soon. So he fills Jake's glass and tops up his own. "Slow down, man. I don't know you well enough to be carrying you out of here." Then, "Try me. Pretend I'm one of the bartenders from Cheers." A brow raises, "…and please tell me you've seen Cheers."

"Sure, my dad made me watch an episode once." Jake rolls his eyes, raises the beer, and slouches back. "I can't, okay? It's not important." Except that it is or he wouldn't be in here. "Just keep the beer coming, I'll buy the next round, all right?" Distractionary tactics are a favorite with him. He has another quick gulp; the buzz is beginning to make itself known.

"Sorry, kid. One, I don't believe you have enough money for another round. Two, it'd take a half hour to get more, and I need this booze." Max pokes at the pitcher. "Three, you shouldn't even be in here." He peers at Jake, brows arched. "You don't want to tell me your problems, that's fine with me. But you're not drinking all my booze."

Jake rolls his eyes and squints over, then eyes the bar. "I could get another pitcher and be back here in five minutes." This is the bad side of things; he's now officially somewhat drunk, and prone to bragging - and doing stupid things. "Dare me?" A slightly stubborn hint creeps into the set of his jaw.

"Oh jesus. Look, you see all these people with metal spikes in their noses and cheeks? They like pain. And they'd take an excuse to beat up a college boy. You go elbowing your way through this crowd and you're asking for it. I mean, I wouldn't even do it." And he's six-foot-something and looks pretty damn solid.

And Jake breaks into a grin, because that only makes the challenge, you know, a challenge. Wicked-bright eyes flash over the crowd, fixate on the bar. "I'm gonna do it." And he shoves to his feet. "You stay here, I'll be right back." And he climbs onto his chair.

"Oh, lord," mutters Max, hand to his forehead. He pulls the hood back up on his sweatshirt. But he doesn't try very hard to stop Jake. Mostly because when he was his age? He did the same kind of stupid shit. And hell, he made a career out of being a stuntman. Who is he to tell someone else they can't take a risk?

Up goes Jake. And then? "GOD'S BALLS! WOOOOOO!" Top of his lungs. Which gets, of all things, an answering cry of "WOOO!" from a pack of teenagers fairly close. That'll be when he lunges off the chair and into the crowd. A moment later it looks like he's literally swimming through people, hurling himself up and onto others, forcing those who weren't expecting him to participate in this bizarre crowd-surfing exercise. "Bar! Get me to the bar!" he shouts; someone yells, "Fuck you, man!" and grabs his collar, tries to jerk him down. The shirt rips. Good thing it was a shitty one. He vanishes from sight, and there's no sign of him for several long, long seconds. …It may be a complete surprise, considering that there's still a fighting commotion where he went down, when he pops up and clambers onto a miraculously, momentarily free barstool. "Gimme a pitcher, right now!" he shouts, waving the twenty energetically. That part of things takes only a minute to get handled. Of course, then the problem's going to be getting back, and he crouches down on the barstool with the pitcher, eyeing the crowd… when inspiration strikes. "Honey, I love you," he tells the nearest woman, and, "Marry me?" And then he plants a kiss on her, long and lascivious and… "Ow!" Muffled, because she bit him, and now his tongue's bleeding. Nevertheless, there's a great big grin on his face - and a large man clearing a path straight towards him with a look of ire in his eyes. The crowd starts to part and Jake takes advantage to go bolting straight back to the table, laughing. The pitcher gets set down - "Made it!" and then he whirls to face the large man. "Hey, man, sorry, I didn't know she was your sister."

Well. Gotta admire the kid's balls if not his brain. "Well, at least you know how to fit in in a punk bar," says Max with a note of admiration in his tone. That is until the large man is looming over them. "I think your mistake was shoving the tongue down that chick's throat." Ya think?

He pulls the hood back down again and squints up at the big man. He bites the edge of his lip in a thoughtful expression, head slightly tilted. "Well. I wouldn't say you made it there, Jake."

"Shut up, relax," Jake says lightly, eyeing the oncoming monster of a man. "Any second…" Three. Two. One. And the lead singer of the band on stage begins slamming his shitty guitar down on the edge of it over and over and over, then takes a whack with the neck of the destroyed guitar at a stage light. There must've been something wrong with the thing, because it goes flying with only one hit - and shatters on the side of the big dude's face. "Fuck, that's gonna hurt," Jake says with a wince and a look of pure surprise - and then drops back down at the table. "What's my time?" …Yep, he's drunk. The big man, like a tree in a forest, topples slowly over behind him.

If his face hadn't just been all over the news, Max might've been ready for a bit of a down and dirty bar brawl. But given his profile lately, it's better not to. Never know when there might be members of Humanis First lurking around - especially in a place like this. So he just watches the big man's approach with a slight wince.

Jake's either an idiot, or knows something — well, will you look at that. He throws an arm up to protect his face as the guitar explodes and takes the guy out. "Holy fuck," he murmurs, then looks from the downed man up to Jake. "What're you, a precog or something?" Which would sound insane. Except for, you know, the Evolved thing.

Note how Jake turns just an odd bit red. "Naw." Oops. He's just figured out what he just did. "Shit, I hope that guy's okay." And he twists around to look as the bouncers begin hauling him out. "I'm sure he'll be fine. Probably sue the band or something, which is fucking good because THEY SUCK!" That last one's shouted in the vague direction of the stage. "Just… pour me another drink, all right?" That previous one is going straight to visit his liver and give the thing hell, see, right now. He just fucked up, and he knows it.

Max reaches out to grab hold of Jake's arm and haul him into his seat when he yells out that the band sucks. "Listen…" his voice is a little too loud. He lowers it and looks the younger man in the eye, "…listen very carefully, and take it from someone who's had his share of shit come down on his head lately. You don't want to invite it. There are people around here that even suspect you can so much as make people sneeze and they'll curb stomp you without a second thought. I don't know what you can do, or if you can do anything at all. Just…" he takes a deep breath. When he speaks again, his tone has gone from irritation to concern, "…keep your head down, all right?"

That right there is enough to get a look of stark fear from Jake for just a moment. He almost pulls out of that grip, almost hurls himself out of that chair… but there's nowhere to go, and he's drunk as hell, and… "'M sorry," he mumbles, and reaches for the pitcher he brought. Fuck it, he's drinking the thing straight. Probably couldn't manage pouring at this point anyway.

Max curls a decidedly strong hand around Jake's wrist and pushes the pitcher to the table. He does his best to pry it out of the young man's hand, then pours half a pint's worth into the glass. The rest is set over by his elbow, out of immediate reach. He looks him in the eye and asks, "Where do you live?"

Jake twitches. It's not quite sullen, not quite ashamed, but he does look down and both of those attributes are present in his face. "Dorms." Because what's this guy gonna do? Really? And it's bad, but Jake's /just/ at that point of drunkenness where he's pretty sure the gift will take care of him one way or another - if it doesn't kill him.

"Which dorms? I'm not from here." Max glances over his shoulder. There's a chance someone else will decide to come at them if they were friends of the big guy or of the girl he kissed. The way he watches, well, even with a couple of beers in him, it's clear that he's been trained to watch his back.

"Columbia." And Jake finally gives his arm a tug. "Let go, all right? I'm sorry. I don't know what got into me." It happens, though - and that right there was all but a confession of guilt. "Besides, that was my last twenty bucks." Half a pint, going down; he reaches and grabs it, and moves to toss it quickly back.

Every time Max opens his mouth to criticize Jake's actions, he has a flash to his own youth. And that quickly stops him. He wouldn't have listened, wouldn't have reacted well to criticism, so he keeps it to himself. He inhales and nods towards the door, then stands. "C'mon. What got into you is too much beer, too fast. If you're going to binge-drink, at least do it in a crowd, in a better bar, in a less…suicidal part of town." He keeps a sharp eye out for anyone who might be watching them, and an eye on Jake to make sure he doesn't fall over and pass out.

He's only had two - or was it three? - drinks. Maybe more. Maybe something before he got here. Jake hasn't got a problem getting lucky finding someone to pick up alcohol for him. "Fine, but you're buying," he manages, and heaves to his feet, ripped shirt flopping open. "Where're we going?" The depression's worn off for a moment and he straightens up a hint, hardly at all visibly affected - so far.

"I gotta be honest with you. You probably don't want to be seen with me anywhere less insane than this place," says Max. He keeps his voice as low as he possibly can and still be heard over the din. He navigates Jake out of the bar and into the cool autumn air. "Tell you what. I'll buy you a six pack if you take it back to your room and stay there. Deal?"

"No deal." Jake hurls over a sharp, stubborn look. "This may surprise you, Max, but I actually fucking like you. You're a rambly drunk and you'd have backed me up if that guy took a swing. I don't bail on drinking partners. C'mon." And it's his turn to do the guiding as he tries to drag the man in a random direction down the street. "You want fun, you want trouble? Or you just wanna sit down somewhere?"

"You have had too much booze and don't have all the information to make that choice, man. I have experience with the kind of curb stompers I warned you about. Trust me, you don't want to be caught in my orbit of shit." Max rolls his eyes and follows behind Jake, but to watch the younger man's back rather than out of a desire to follow him anyway. "I just wanted to be around people without…" might as well come out with it, "…without someone recognizing me."

Finally, finally Jake throws a look back, pausing, and narrows his eyes. Recognizing…? Give him a minute, it'll make its way through the drink-addled brain - but it's taking its time, so he says, "Well I don't recognize you, is that good enough? And I can handle myself, so quit worrying." If only he had the slightest /clue/.

"No offense there, Jake-o. But you're not in the demographic that usually pays attention to the news. Though you were in the target market, so I'm a little disappointed you don't know." Max flashes a small smile, then digs through the pockets of his jacket until he finds a Chupa Chup lollipop. He tugs off the wrapper and sticks it into his mouth.

"Dad's a fucking journalist, I read the goddamn n…" Bingo. His eyes widen. "Shit. You're the second famous person I've met since I got here. Holy fuck." Try not to mind that slightly dazzled look in Jake's eyes now. He's remembering what little he knows of the guy standing in front of him.

Maxwell waves a dismissive hand even as Jake puts the pieces together. "I'm only famous because Humanis First kept trying to shut us down with pipe bombs. Then he eyes the young man again. "Who was the first?"

"That heiress chick. Peyton Whitney." Jake shoves his hands in the pockets of his hoodie. "Dude. …C'mon, okay? Let's go for a walk." Get the hell out of this area of town, away from the nerve-wracking and flinch-inducing music. "I, um… used to watch your show." Sheepish confession, because he's totally star-struck right now.

"Ah. More proof that you don't wanna go drawing any attention around here. I got off easy compared to what happened to her." From the way Max tugs the lollipop out of his mouth, holds it awhile and then puts it back in, it seems to be a proxy for smoking. At the comment about his show, a bit of a sheepish grin appears. "Yeah? It was…well, it would've been better off if we called it 'things exploding and ladies in bikinis' rather than pretending we had any kind of plot or character development." He looks back to Jake, then, "Don't look at me like that, man. I'm just a guy. And I don't have a career anymore."

"Fuck, dude, shut up, you may not have a career anymore, but you're talking about my childhood here. Christ, I almost broke my leg because of you." Jake starts walking - shuffling, really… and then he flashes over a grin. "My brother and I set up this giant cushion thing on the side of the house. I was gonna jump off the roof like that one episode. He got the bright idea to try it with something heavy first, just to make sure the cushions would do the trick, so we grabbed Dad's motorcycle outfit and filled it up with junk and dropped it off. …Damn thing split wide open. Sucked, too, because that was a replica of Bruce Lee's Game of Death suit. He about strangled us both."

"Fucking hell," breathes Max. "Now you're going to make me feel responsible and old. Good job, man. Good job," He clucks his tongue. "And trust me, when I made that jump? I had a hell of a lot more than a 'giant cushion thing' to break my fall. Where are we going, anyway?" He stops and looks back the way they came. "I don't even know where we are. I think Little Italy's that way," he points. "…and Chinatown's up that way. Best stay away from there. Heard there's lots of Triad activity lately."

"This way. Look, dude." Jake lets out a shaky little sigh, then, "When I want to find something I just start walking, thinking about it, and sooner or later I find it. Like, I want money, I walk down the block till I find someone's diamond ring, fell off in front of the bar. I pawn it off and I've got money. I don't know how it happens. I don't know which comes first, whether it's me doing the wishing or just feeling what's gonna happen and making my wishes based on that. Fucking… you're not gonna tell anyone, are you?" And he shoots over a look of pure, pleading paranoia.

"As long as you don't tell people that the former celebrity Max Quinn was drinking alone in a shit bar," His grin is sloppy and wry. "Don't register unless you have to. Sounds like you could write off what you do as luck, even if they did test you. Trust me, it's…uh…I was kind of afraid the DHS wouldn't let me out once they had me in to test my abilities."

"Shit," says Jay, because you hear stories about that business. "So what do you do? For real." Because surely the press release didn't say the whole thing. It's good to know, at least, that he isn't absolutely wrong in his almost irrational desire to avoid registration.

The press release didn't say anything at all, actually. Just that he was registering. "Well, I make electronics fritz out is the short part of it." Max lifts a shoulder. "And I had no idea I had it. Honestly." That's just not a press ploy or a way to try and get out of the charges that get laid if it's confirmed that you knew and didn't register. "It's been hard. I'm…well, I keep getting kicked out of places because I get a…bump and make stuff fritz. Usually it's not a big deal, but it's enough that the neighbors get pissed."

"Man, that sucks," Jake says with wholehearted compassion. "God, hell, I do that kinda thing and I don't have any control of it. I bet if they got me I'd…" And he winces. "Probably never show up again. I don't know what would happen." A shudder twitches through him. "I've never tried this thing for real. I'm afraid to wish for anything big. Hey, can we go somewhere else? This place is making me nervous." He shrugs his shoulders together and veers towards the street. "You got cash for a taxi or do I need to wing it?"

"So wait, you wish for things and they happen? So you either make things happen, or you're predicting what will," Max considers this for a moment, then, "Weird. That's…yeah. At least I know when something is this…thing and when it's not."

He lifts an arm to hail a cab. "You sure you don't just want to get dropped home? You see why I can't go out to a club and why I went to that place. I'm probably just," a sigh. "…going back to my place." The place that he's been the last week. Prior to that he was in a hovel in the middle of Midtown while he got his power under control. It's quite the switch from having a chauffer, a security guard, an agent, manager and publicist, plus the director and producer all around him. Most people have given him a wide berth lately.

"Dude, take it this way. If I didn't live in a goddamn dorm with a bunch of morons who're probably even bigger fans than I am, I'd bring you back to my place just to prove to James that you really did say hi." And Jake flicks over a wry, lopsided smirk. "He doesn't know, though, so that'd be a bust anyway. But dude, you need to lighten up. If it's really that horrible…" Then he shrugs. "I don't mind being seen with you so long as I don't get tested. If they're still after you or something I could probably get you out of it." If he saw it coming.

Ah, yes. If there's one group where Max is a genuine celebrity, it's the frat boy set. "It's not horrible so much as I'm trying to stay out of the news. In a few weeks, people'll forget about me and I can try and go on with my life. But if I get in a bar brawl because someone harassed me, then that'll keep my story in the press." He steps out onto the road to try and spot a cab, but it seems they're a bit sparse tonight.

He gives Jake an incredulous look that turns into a grin. "Being Evolved isn't contagious, man. They're not going to test you just for being around me."

"They'll test me if I get picked up." That's what really bothers him. Jake has a stubborn set to his jaw and a gleam in his eyes. Cab. Need a cab. …Down the block, thataway. He resumes walking. "That's what bugs me. My dad's in big support of the tests, and they're running them everywhere, even if they don't charge you for a crime. Huge civil rights issue. He thinks it might possibly be worth it, but he's been to too many wars. I do something like that thing at the bar today again, and a cop catches me? I'm going down. Maybe forever. That's why that thing with the doberman - they raided the party and I ran." He makes a face. "Didn't help that I ended up dragging some chick with me. She got bit by the dog, I think. I don't know. By that point I was up the ladder and in some old gay guy's apartment. It was freaky as hell."

"The thing that worries me about all of this isn't the civil rights issue so much as that people like Humanis First pretty much have a ready-made hit list. They killed six people with a bomb early into filming. And why? Because we used Evolved to do effects and had other Registered Evolved as crew. People who carry ID cards, are registered with unions, certified. Upstanding citizens. And because of that, because the movie happens to have Evolved characters, they blew us up. Twice." Max kicks at a crushed beer can. It goes a good long way.

"Second time is when I manifested. So now I'm worried that if I don't keep my head down real far, they're going to mark me as a target and decide to take me out. Before I was always a secondary target. I was just an actor. But if I open my mouth too much, keep my face out there, they might decide to take me out. And one day when I open my car door, it explodes on me."

"Fuck that noise," Jake says stubbornly. "If anything like that happens I'll blow those fuckers up." Yeah, young and innocent and stupid. He's probably going to get himself killed. "No getting blown up, all right?" Another shiver twitches through his shoulders, which hunch into a tight shrug. So far he's had no reason to get involved in any of that.

"Listen Jake," Max stops and moves in front of the young man to stop him, to meet his gaze. "Trust me on this. You've seen the kind of risks I'm willing to take. And at the risk of sounding like a PSA? I don't fuck with these guys. Homeland could lock you away if they thought you'd be a danger to society. Humanis First would kill you or at least beat the shit out of you just for having a power, no matter how harmless. This is serious shit."

"Yesterday I ran away from the cops," Jake says stubbornly. "I fell into a dog kennel and got chased by a doberman, while dragging a girl with me. Got up a fire escape, into some guy's apartment, ran into some robbers who dropped their fucking gun, while this blind guy just wandered right through and completely missed us. Then I tripped over some English dude with a change of clothes in his trunk who dropped me off at my place after I got dressed in the back of his Rolls fucking Royce. Yeah, they're bad people. Yeah, it's serious shit. I almost got my balls eaten by a dog, dude. The only way they might get me is if they /know/ I'm the one causing them trouble, and I don't know they're coming." Which is bravado, but… maybe he's got good reason to feel that way? He's not sure. He drags in a deep breath. "Maybe I'm stupid and suicidal, but I'm not dead yet, and I take a lot of chances."

"Yeah, well, tell me 'I'm not dead yet' when you're forty and it'll be more impressive, Jake." Max grins wryly and starts moving forward again. There looks to be a few cabs up ahead. "I didn't take this shit seriously til friends of mine started getting killed. Even then, I felt confident they wouldn't come after me because I wasn't Evolved. Now I have an ability the government could decide to label as really dangerous. And I don't know what would happen if they did."

He looks at the young man out of the corner of his eye. He clucks his tongue. "Why tempt fate, even if fate seems to be on your side?"

"Dude, to hear you say that…" Jake laughs sharply. "I guess Hollywood really is a sack of lies. S'all right, I just… I dunno. I don't wanna get involved. I probably do deserve to be locked up. Look what I did to that guy - could've gotten him killed." A wince spasms across his face. "Like I said, it's only a big deal if something happens to someone I know. You go up in flames, I go on a rampage. Same with my brother. I think if something happened to him I'd make the whole world burn." Yet one more shudder, full of a deep and abiding fear that this may not be entirely hyperbole.

"I've just undergone a rather dramatic perspective shift these last few weeks. And I know it'll probably take something just as big to get you to change your thinking too," Max draws in a long breath and pulls fingers through his hair. He knows how Jake thinks, because not very long ago, he thought the same way. "Sides, stuntwork is all about making things look a lot more dangerous than they really are. And about controlling things that look chaotic. We're not daredevils, we're stuntmen." And he still thinks of himself more as a stuntman than an actor.

"And don't think that way, okay? I might have the potential to black out this whole city and fry every piece of electronic equipment for miles around. I also seem to be able to magnetize shit and make people dizzy. But I wouldn't do that on purpose. See. Humanis wants to get rid of anyone who has the potential to be dangerous, even if they wouldn't willingly do that. And you can't be thinking about that either, okay?"

At the very least this has given Jake something to think about. Actually thinking instead of doing? It'd be a change, that's for sure. "Yeah." He falls quiet, though, and broods. Which is what he'll be doing for most of the ride back. It's gonna be a long night, and he's not nearly drunk enough for the amount of contemplation he needs to do.

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