Drinking Partners


buck_icon.gif diogenes_icon.gif

Scene Title Drinking Partners
Synopsis Coincidentally, Buck takes a seat at the bar in Old Lucy's just next to Diogenes. An idle chat turns into a nigh political debate.
Date June 22, 2009

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the shady crimson walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar. Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the owner's office and just inside a stairwell that leads a apartment on the floor above the bar.

God only knows why Buck would select this particular bar to have a drink in. Perhaps he saw someone attractive go in. Perhaps it's just because he hasn't been in this one yet. But whatever the reason, he swaggers in, conspicuous as ever as he bellies up to the bar and requests a shot of Jack in a Texas twang. He cheerfully takes in the decor, turning his back to the bar to do so.

A fairly young man is sitting at the bar, idly twisting his bottle of Rolling Rock with a single hand, the other resting on the counter, trimmed nails absent-mindedly grazing at the surface. He is accompanied by none but his own thoughts, it seems. Up to the moment Buck takes a seat at the bar right next to him. Thomas turns to look at the cowboy the moment he speaks up. "Are you from South?", he inquires all of a sudden, driving his gaze away from Buck instead of keeping it on him, as common etiquette demands.

Buck takes his hat off and places it on the bar in a relatively safe, non-wet place. He turns to look at the young man addressing him, and gives a slow smile that shows his teeth. "Course," he agrees pleasantly. "Why? 'D I trick ya by lookin' too cosm'politan?"

Although far from a conversationalist, this young adult knew that in such idle chit-chats in a bar or perhaps even in a public transport are where one acquires information usually not found in other media, such as newspaper. "No, it's the… uh, the ridiculous hat and the accent", he replies, Buck's smile being contagious enough to cause Tom smile as well, although his lips are curved in a much more mild, subtle manner. "I don't mind, I jus'… Just haven't met anyone from the South, yet." He brings the tip of the bottle to his lips and tilts it to get a quick swig before he would add quickly: "Do you know anything about the weird grafitty with the… the flaming bird - the Phoenix? Sorry for the swift topic change, but I've just been seeing that grafitti all around."

"'S not ridiculous," Buck argues without taking too much apparent offense, "Y' just don't know th' value of it." His drink gets delivered so he turns around to knock it back without hesitation. And then the guy's changing the subject already, so Buck shrugs. "Flaming bird?" he repeats. "Y' got me. Sounds like a drag queen." Buck accompanies his joke with a grin.

A hand is brought up to comb Tom's disobedient hair back. A couple of digits delicately brush a few loose locks behind his ears, too. His eyes were still focused on the tinted bottle of his pale lager, instead of the man sitting right next to him. He listens to the answer offered to him. A joke. A chortle that escapes Diogenes has been spawned more by the 'why' of the joke, and not itself, as he soon notes with a lowly spoken comment: "You're definitely Texan." With a broad smile now, he takes another, lengthier swig of his drink. "And you're not asleep like every other decent, minimum-wage earning honest-to-God American… why, exactly?"

Buck lifts his eyebrows at Tom. "Maybe cuz I don't earn no minimum wage. I don't earn shit cuz I ain't got a job yet. Could be that," he suggests, putting his back to the bar, an elbow propping him up. "And maybe cuz I wanted a drink."

So much for that attempt to strike up a conversation. Thomas tisks with a slow, reluctant nod. Still, this unexpected curve wasn't beyond salvaging. "That makes two of us, then", he remarks, and, lifting his bottle, he tips it in Buck's direction, "Hope you find one." And with that, the admittedly strange youngster further diminishes the amount of beer in the green bottle. "Hnh… This is a good one."

Buck turns his head to see what Thomas is drinking. He snorts. "How the hell you gonna get drunk on that?" he demands with a friendly frown, if such a thing can exist. "Here, you let me buy you a real drink," he requests. Or orders?

Finally, Tom's gaze ventures off towards the currently hatless cowboy from down South. His lips part, but the words he speaks come delayed, only after a brief chuckle, "Oh, I'm not… trying… to get drunk. Getting drunk alone is pitiful. And I get drunk real fast, too." And why wouldn't he? His constitution was average, if not below that.

"Well, don't get drunk alone, then!" Buck says, solving Tom's problem that easily. "You sit here an' get drunk with me. Have what we call a 'conversation.'" Buck thumps the bar, which gets a frown, but is tolerated for now, since he orders two shots of Jack this time.

Thomas drops his gaze to the bar counter in front of him. Slowly shaking his head in disbelief, he flashes a grin and brings up his Rolling Rock to finish it off and finally empty the bottle in one long - his longest yet - swig, before placing it down with a sigh and a fortunately restrained burp. That empty bottle is pushed politely towards the bartendress, and he turns to face Buck again, whilst they're waiting for the shots. "And what are we going to talk about? Politics regarding Evolved? Girls? Cars?"

"Hell no," Buck says with a frown, "I don't care about any o' that bullshit. Anybody cares about cars oughta get the fuck outta New York City, for a start. What line o' business you tryin' t' get into?" he wonders. "You one o' them starvin' Village artists?"

The brusque words Buck has no restraint in using seems to amuse his drinking partner. "And why should they get out of New York if they care about cars?", he inquires curiously. This is when the shots arrive, although he doesn't rush to down his; he spins the glass about quite like he toyed around with his bottle earlier, instead. At least, for the time being. "Starving Village artists? Village… Greenwich, right? I'm still trying to remember the name of districts and their colloquial nicknames. Anyway… I'm… a businessman. A would-be businessman, at least."

"Cuz y' cain't fuckin' drive in this city," Buck explains, taking his shotglass into his hand. "It's gridlock all the damn time. No point in havin' more'n a couple cylinders in th' engine cuz y' ain't gonna use 'em anyway. Cars here 're just f'r showin' people how damn rich y'are." Buck shrugs and tosses back the drink. "Yup," he says. "They got starvin' artists all over th' city, though."

It certainly felt strange being sociable. Perhaps the beer was to blame. Regardless, it didn't stop him from continuing to converse with the Southerner. "Well… What, do I look like an artist?", he asks, picking up the shot, but still not emptying it, most likely reluctant. "A starving one, at that?", he elaborates his initial question, a grin showing up on his face. "Then again, everyone is sort of an artist, aren't they? Every skill is an art of its own. And I came to this city… hoping it would be my canvas."

Buck snorts. "Everyone ain't an artist," he disagrees bluntly. "I sure's hell ain't. An' I don't know 'f you look like an artist, but y' might be starvin'." He frowns thoughtfully. "What kinda business y' in, then?" he wants to know, although before Tom can answer, Buck points to his shotglass. "Scared of it?" he grins.

The supposed 'starving artist' glances to the shot he's still holding up. That comment was the easiest and the most convenient to respond to, and as such it's the first one he comments on. "Uhh… Heh, yeah", he admits, "I'm not used to drinking strong stuff." On the other hand, he certainly doesn't chicken out of it. Quite the contrary, Tom carries the rim of the glass to his lip and, after a moment of hesitation, he empties it in a mere moment. Shortly thereafter, he audibly exhales a quick gust of his breath and grimaces. "Is this what you drink all the time?..", he squeezes out the words, his brows still furrowed.

Buck smiles broadly at Tom, nodding slowly. "That's what I drink all the time," he confirms. "Sure's hell missed it until recently. If it burns, y' oughta get yerself a beer chaser. But it's still the best, cheapest way t' get drunk, an' it won't have y' pissin' all damn night."

"It tastes like shit… Good shit, though." The empty shot is pushed forth, and the man orders another two shots of the same. "Got to repay the favour", he explains, and his attention switches from the woman behind the bar to Buck. "I'm not in any business at the moment. If I do find a job, it's going to be the usual middle-management crap, getting daily abuse from an overweight superior and sitting in your claustrophobic cubicle from eight to five, barely paying my bills… Yeeeaaa—no, thanks."

Buck grins as the guy seeems willing to reciprocate on the drink-buying. Probably it's supreme self-control that keeps Buck from slapping him on the back. "That's the spirit!" he agrees. But the rest of what the guy says makes him frown. "Well, whaddyou /want/ to do? Y'r dream job."

"I don't know", he replies with an absent-minded shrug, his eyes following the bartendress who's busy refilling the shots for the two strangers. After a short-lasting moment of silence, Tom cranes his neck to look at his 'partner in crime'. "As long as I get to be the overweight - or underweight, in my case - superior torturing others… That'd be nice. Or a job where I don't have to do anything. That sounds nice, too."

"Nobody gets paid t' do nothin'," Buck says with a dismissive snort. "You better figure out somethin' you like doin' before you waste your life not doin' anything at all." He smiles. "So all you wanna do is be the guy who sends the damn memos rather'n the guy who gets 'em?"

"Well, to be serious, whatever it is I will be doing… It's something that matters. I'm not saying I am going to be some idiotic activist sprouting hypocritical nonsense such as 'Save the Baby Whales' or any of that." He gives a nod to the woman who passes the two shots to the two men. "Thank you… No, I'm saying that I'm here to do something more than just earn minimum wage. I'm going to change things. And, if I am lucky, no one will notice."

Buck picks up a shotglass. "So you're too good f'r minimum wage," Buck prompts, although he may be teasing. "Well, whaddya wanna save if you don't like bigheaded baby whales?"

"Virgins. The world doesn't have nearly as much of those in the world as it should." Thomas flashy a toothy grin, and lifts his own shot glass to empty it with much less reluctance which he had shown earlier. His reaction to the drink, is no lighter than what it was the first time, however, and another laboured sigh rushes out. "It's one thing to talk about how you'll turn the world upside down at a bar whilst drinking whiskey with a complete stranger. I'll probably pick up any job to get money, but the real job… what I came here for? I'm going to be much more selective about that."

Buck snorts. "Overrated," he says dismissively on the subject of virgins. He knocks back wnother drink as if it were no stronger than lemonade. "You gettin' drunk yet?" he wonders.

"I'm still talking to you, so… Yeah, I think I'm getting drunk", he says with a teasing smirk. The empty shot glass, which he has up to now held up still, is brought down harshly upon the counter, and slid with a flick of his finger. It's a miracle it doesn't just fly off the other end of the counter. "But not drunk enough, so… Another round of shots here, please!", he shouts out over to the bartendress.

Buck smiles at the fellow's willingness to keep pounding shots. He puts out a hand for a shake. "Name's Buck," he puts forth. "Nice to meet ya." Since the shots keep coming, Buck keeps himself facing the bar now. "So. Y' hate whales but y' love virgins."

The increasingly drunk young man extends his own hand to grasp Buck's and offer a solid shake. "And I… am Diogenes of Sinope." With that sort of introduction, one could guess that Tom was already drunk enough. Still, he looks over to the shot glasses being filled with more whiskey. "I can't really have sexual relationships with baby whales, now, can I?.. Which is why they're automatically on the bottom of my 'things I care about' list. And you? What do you like? Rodeo doesn't count."

"Nice ta meet ya, Di," Buck answers. It's impossible to tell whether or not he's being ironic. "An' what you do with baby whales is y'r own business, I reckon. As fer me…I think I like chasin' terrorists best. Don't know why everybody thinks it's rodeo. It's my sister likes rodeo."

When the next pair of shots are placed before each of the bar's visitors, Tom doesn't touch his. Not yet. The unconstrained laughter, the boisterous chats, the sound of glass hitting glass - all of these sounds fall out of Tom's focus, as his attention now rests on Buck. "Terrorists?", he echoes. "You like chasing terrorists? What kind of terrorists, the muslims? Communists? Who?"

"You think we still got Communist terrorists? I haven't noticed them blowin' nothin' up lately. But I'm talkin'…anybody wants to hurt y'r law-abidin' innocent American civilians. That's a terrorist. That's what I like chasin'," Buck concludes solemnly.

"So… where is the line between 'criminal' and 'terrorist'?" The man who strangely introduced himself as Diogenes hugs his shot glass with a single hand and pulls it closer, though he doesn't empty it just yet. Instead, he's anxiously anticipating Buck's answer, eyeing the man curiously. As luck would have it, he has met someone he deemed interesting.

"Intent," Buck answers simply. "And usually, scale." He tosses his shot back. "Guy shoots a security guard cuz he's robbin' a bank's a criminal. Guy who blows up the building cuz he don't like somethin' an' wants everybody t' know it's a terrorist."

"Let me get this straight… If someone hurts others or causes havoc to get something, he's a criminal. If someone does the same to make a point, he's a terrorist?" Tom's third shot is followed by a tamer reaction; it seemed the man was growing accustomed to the drink, albeit only because it was already in his system, most likely. "This is a pretty strange place for FBI to hang out in, y'know." He deliberately phrases it half-jokingly, so that it would be hard to tell whether he was jesting or not.

Buck shrugs at that definition. "I ain't a lawyer. But also I'm sayin' th' more people y' hurt the more likely I wanna chase y'. But yeah, that's what it means, ain't it? A criminal wants some kinda personal gain. A terrorist wants to create fear. Right?" He lifts his eyebrows.

"Hell if I know. Ask the guys who flew those planes to kill thousands. Did they achieve anything? Fear? I wouldn't say that. Sometimes, a terrorism can be a desperate cry for help. Take a child, for instance. A capricious kid who wants attention could tip over a vase or cause other… miniscule destruction to, uh, get attention. The same could apply to adults." Tom softly pushes the empty glass away from him once again, but this time he doesn't lean forth and shout out to get himself and Buck another pair of shots. "They don't always want fear or intimidation. Sometimes, they just want to be heard in the crowd, and words don't always help."

"Yeah, it ain't miniscule when y' start killin' civilians," Buck says grimly. "An' I think it sure did create fear an' still does. If not, why the hell's everybody still talkin' about it? If words don't help, set yerself on fire like the Goddamn Buddhist monks."

Diogenes promptly shakes his head in disagreement with what the other man says. "Hurting others is much easier than hurting others. And the whole bombings and killings are adult versions of breaking vases - that's what I meant." He directs his gaze away from Buck with a heavy sigh. "So, what are you? FBI? CIA? Or are you going to have to kill me if you tell me?", he asks with a more lighthearted tone, a smirk returning to his lips.

Buck snorts. "You jokin'?" he has to ask. "Ex-Army. You think /I'm/ goin' around gatherin' intelligence?" Buck seems incredulous about that.

"Would have been cool, if it were true", he answers with an even broader smirk, shining with mischief. "Don't you find those Evolved as potential terrorists? They're even more likely to blow something up, aren't they? Ordinary men need munitions, and the whole process of acquiring tools could potentially be traced by authorities. But a guy who can blow a hole in a city? How do you track him? How do you arrest him? 'You have the right not to go nuclear'?"

"Hell, yeah, I do," Buck says frankly. "An' I think the ones that blow holes in shit oughta get put the same places they put the Arabs who blow holes in shit," he continues. "An' I think if they got groups of 'em doing that, /somebody/ oughta be puttin' the groups away or puttin' 'em down."

Thomas tilts his head to the side, his eyes on Buck again. "Sooner or later there is going to be someone going after them - a single man, or an entire organisation. If they don't already do that, just behind the scenes - the registration is mandatory, but you don't hear much stuff on TV about people who don't register unless they do something to draw attention." Diogenes lifts his hand to rub his eye with a weary, soft sigh, apparently getting tired. "That explosion and fire in Staten Island? Most likely the job of an Evolved. This is like a fucking warzone. Cold War all over again, just with more explosions."

"That ain't a Cold War," Buck points out with a little frown. "What I don't understand's why the Army ain't all the fuck /over/ Staten Island stabilizing that shit and taking out the fuckin' perpetrators." He frowns. "Well, God damn, this got serious.'

Although tired and visibly affected by all the alcohol he's consumed, even if it may have been an arguably insubstantial amount, the little cogs of deception are still turning inside Tom's head. "There's a large elephant in the room that keeps wrecking New York. Hard to ignore that kind of elephant", he remarks, before once again addressing the issue currently plaguing the discussed island in the shape of fire. "And they're not allowing firefighters in, either. And they're not telling anyone anything. Stupid, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's stupid," Buck says. "People over there're people with as much right t' be protected 's anybody. Anyway, it ain't my business til somebody hires me t' put things right."

Diogenes is quick to point out: "Now that is just as stupid, paying attention to that evil, which others want you to regard. It's your business. People who don't stick their nose where they want to, have it stuck into shit by others." He frowns and wrinkles his nose, seemingly not content with how that metaphor came out. "Or to put it in layman's terms, people with canine loyalty are easily manipulable."

Buck frowns at what Diogenes has to say. "Don't go 'round callin' people dogs," he advises. "You know that's the worst damn insult in the Middle East? Now, look, I got convictions 'n all that, but I don't risk my life 'n not get paid a livin' wage."

Tom lifts up both his hands in a surrendering fashion, and makes a quick attempt of redeeming himself in the eyes of the former soldier: "I'm just saying that people should have a head of their own on their shoulders, and money is one of the motivators higher-ups will hastily dole out to make you ignore what they want you to ignore." He opens up his bag and rifles his belongings for his wallet. "On the other hand… no money, no Jack Daniel's", he says, pulling out his wallet, and out of his wallet - a few scrunched up bills he puts on the bar.

Buck does not seem to appreciate Tom's current line of conversation. He just frowns, then pulls out money of his own to pay for the drinks he bought.

The wallet is tossed back into the bag which Diogenes hastily closes. He slips off his stool with initially wobbly steps, but balance soon comes back to him. "Don't take my words to heart, cowboy", he chirps, and, with a subtle nod, passes by him, heading in the direction of the exit. "Take good care of yourself", he exlaims as he wanders off.

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