leah_icon.gif lou_icon.gif

Scene Title Ping-Pong!
Synopsis Lou and Leah play a game of ping-pong and innuendo!
Date January 5, 2009

Fat Cat Billiards

Fat Cat Billiards is far more than just a bar. Equipped with a plethora of tables for pool, ping-pong, shuffleboard, chess, checkers, backgamon and scrabble sets to satisfy a mob, as they say, it's almost like an adult arcade. A barely noticeable layer of smoky haze hangs in the air, and smooth Jazz plays over the speakers as the boisterous Saturday Night crowd goes about their business of occupying their time in whatever way they choose.

The bar looks to be fully stocked with a wide array of beers on tap and bottles, and enough of the harder stuff to satisfy most palettes. The tenders are as friendly as one might expect (it keeps the tip jars filled, after all) and are usually pretty competent when it comes to filling orders, although there's little showmanship. Just a good drink served at a reasonable price here.

Leah slips in from the sidewalk outside with a slide and scrape of square-heeled boots. Once inside, she gives her eyes a moment to adjust to the warm dim light of the billiard parlor, the crook of her mouth slight where it bears rue and amusement both. Sway to her hips more one of habit than any deliberate sensuality, she moves toward the bar after a long breath of familiarly cigarette-scented air. Her hand slides over the bar as she leans into it, her weight rocked onto the balls of her feet. "Whatever's on tap," is her order.

Once obtained, Leah holds the glass loosely between her hands, hip braced against the bar as she considers the array of tables and players that might draw her attention. There is a restlessness to her, reflected in the flick of her eyes, in the drum of her fingertips against the glass.

Like any practiced combination barfly/game junkie, Lou's noticably tall figure has posted up on one of the ping-pong tables. One side has been flipped up to provide a sort of one man game which he somehow still seems to be losing at… Whether it's some sort of inherent ungailiness in his frame, the effects of the two empty pitchers next to a third half full, or some combination thereof is anyone's guess, really.

As the ball bounds off the edge of the table he utters a muffled curse, barely managing to catch it before it hits the floor, and apparently decides it's time for a break. His mug is topped off, then tipped to his lips as he stares over the table, possibly seeking some answer to the mysteries of play in its featureless green.

Witnessing the bounce and flight of the ball before Lou catches it, Leah allows a smile to shadow the curve of her wide mouth, and drifts away from the bar, sipping at the light gold of the beer in her glass. She rakes him with a glance, blue eyes slanting up the solid foot that separates his height from hers. Humor ghosts over her low voice, leaving it darker with a tremor of unlaughed mirth as she speaks: "So. Ping-pong, huh?"

"Not feelin' like pool tonight, I'm too old for foosball and not old 'nough for shuffleboard," he explains as a grin cracks his lips. "But I'm startin' to think I should have stuck with the felt," he continues, finally turning to face the onlooker. "Ah well, even that Gump fella started out bad, huh?"

"Oh, well." Leah laughs, although it is a brief sound, more breath than voice, and she shakes her head, dark hair tumbling back from her face. She has aged well, though the marks of that maturity do suggest themselves here and there in her features. Not an ingenue! If, herself, still too young for shuffleboard. "If you were perfect without practice, what point playing?" she asks.

"Well if you're perfect I don't see much point in playing at all, save for perhaps a wager here and there," he replies as a single corner of his mouth lifts slightly higer than the other. "On the other hand, skipping all the horrible and embarassing bits at the beginning might well be worthwhile—most of them aren't even good for a story later." He pauses just long enough to take a pull from his mug before resting it on a nearby table, then continues, "really, who's gonna want to hear about how ya spent four hours tryin' to bounce a plastic ball off some particle board and it kept goin' off the edge? Not exactly showtime at the Chuckle-Hut, y'know."

"No," Leah agrees easily, "not really." Her glass clinks lightly against the teeth of her smile as she tips it to her mouth for a long swallow, and she exhales with an arch and drop of her eyebrows as she lowers the beer again. "I don't think I'm very good at it," she confesses, "but I haven't played since my sorority days."

"Ah, last week then? I'm sure you've got some pointers for me," he flatters, before waving towards the propped up end of the playing surface. "Drop it down, and show me how it's done, hun." Ah yes, obvious flattery and innuendo, but somehow lacking the usual lounge-lizard sleaze… "Paddles are over there."

Cocking an eyebrow at him, Leah favors him with the slow, lazy curve of a considering smile. "Why, you'll turn my head," she says, and takes another swallow from her glass. Moving toward the end of the table, she lets her fingertips drift along its length as she walks, and sets down her half-empty glass. Over her shoulder, she says lightly, "Usually before a guy asks me to pick up a paddle we've at least swapped first names."

"Well I suppose that makes me either rude or mysterious," he replies in a pleasant tone. "I'm gonna go ahead and say 'rude,' as you don't seem the sort to fall for the other." With a quick stride he closes the distance enough to extend a hand, "Louis—I prefer Lou, but I've been known to answer to worse on occasion."

"Tasha." Leah lies without batting an eyelash, for no discernible reason, and as she meets him with a firm, warm handshake and a slight toss of her head. She even leans in slightly toward him, balanced with her palm against the table with all body language that bespeaks openness, welcoming. Only the spark of humor that shines in her blue eyes suggests that anything may be amiss. "Though you'll never know what I'll answer to. Don't you think it's charming to let the lady win, though," she warns, scooping up the paddle in her left hand as she withdraws her right. She points it at him, although there is really not anything very threatening about a ping pong paddle in one's off-hand.

"Tasha. Huh," Lou vocalizes as he pauses for what appears to be a moment of serious reflection. In short order he shakes his head slightly, restoring the grin to his lips as he assures her, "any losses here will be genuine, I swear… but you may wanna remind me if we make our way over to the pool table at some point." As he talks he leans back, taking a moment to (quite obviously) eye her up with all the guile of a construction worker about to bust out in wolf whistles and catcalls. "And, I'll even letcha serve."

Leah, or "Tasha," whomever she is, apparently finds leering attention to be quite relaxing, judging from the leisurely way she tosses her ping pong paddle from her left hand to her right. "Know how to handle your stick, do you?" Her eyes crinkle at the corners, almost suggesting apologetic humor for how easy that one is. Taking up a ball, she tosses it in the air and catches it. "You are all courtesy, friend." Whatever joke lingers beind the surface there, though, it does not get vocalized.

"No worse than you are with balls, it seems," he replies with a look that seems to say 'yes, it was bad, but no worse than yours.' He turns briefly to grab up his beer and empty the mostly full mug down his throat before spinning back to present the face of his paddle. "Hospitable," he corrects, "as we say back home."

At that, Leah grins, and tips her paddle at him, as though by this gesture she acknowledges the score of a point. "Yeah?" she says. She tosses the ball into the air to catch it with the flat of the paddle, sending it across and wobblily towards him after its first bounce. There is no particular grace to its flight! "Where you from?"

"On down south," he replies, batting the ball back with no particular finesse of his own, and not particularly seeming to notice that there's a whole lot of ground covered by that statement. "And you? Can't say I hear a whole lot of Bronx and Brooklyn in that voice of yours."

"I've been around," Leah says. She bats the ball back at him, although it is clear that for all her lies, she wasn't lying at the point where she said she is not awesome at ping-pong. Competent so as not a complete spastic flailer, but still, she barely sends it back over the table to continue the volley. "All over the place, actually. You could call Michigan home, I guess, although the last few years were Jersey."

Lou is a fraction of an inch off, and the ball rebounds off his paddle and off the side of the table, clearly out of bounds. "Damn yankees," he utters as he manages to once again snatch the ball out of the air before it hits the floor. "One for you," he offers with a wink as the ball's passed underhand back in her general direction—although not exactly right to her. "Jersey, huh? Is it as bad as everyone says, or just a buncha hype to keep the rest of us out of their back yard?"

"It was pretty bad. Although I made great pals with the rats." Leah nearly fumbles the ball, reaching for it, and has to toss it back in the air with a swat of her hand to catch it for real, flattening it against the table with the smack of her paddle. Then she snaps the ball up and smashes it back towards him in a clumsy but exuberant serve. "Roaches were downright unfriendly."

"Always are," he replies, having to recover from a reach to refill his mug to swat the ball clumsily back, sending it in a long, slow lob back to her side of the table. "That movie with the guy from Sliders lies out its -ass-… And I guess I'll just hafta pop over that way to see for myself sometime—for all I know, you could be trying to close off that cushy back yard yerself."

"Damn, I'm found out. God bless Trenton, be it ever so humble." Leah dives at an angle to swipe at the ball, and cleanly misses it. It sails right past her paddle. "Oh fuck," she adds, and laughs. This time the sound is brighter, louder, more a bark than a puff. She chases after the ball on a few long strides, pinning it to the floor beneath one black leather boot. Sadly for the spectators, the drape of her long beige coat obscures the view of her jeans when she bends over to pick it up.

"You oughta try that one more often," Lou asserts with confidence, allowing a brief glance before returning his attention to pitcher and mug. "The laugh that is. Don't get me wrong now, I'm not the kind to go discriminatin' based on such small things, but the natural one suits ya better."

Perhaps inevitably, Leah replies: "So you can tell when I'm faking it, huh?" The vaguest prickle of a flush at the apples of her cheeks betrays her, chased by a smile as she straightens, tossing back her long hair with a flick of her wrist. She tosses and catches the ball again. "Quite the flirt, aren't you," she adds, turning the paddle with a jerk of her wrist in his direction. Look who is taalking.

"Some men are more fond of honesty than others," he fires back before performing his not-exactly-unique-or-famous disapearing beer trick. "But all men learn to spot what they like well enough," which is, of course, accompanied by another long look at her form. "As for flirtin', I suppose you could say it's right up there in the top five of my favorite passtimes."

"Ha," Leah says, the single syllable neither true laugh nor false, although the edged amusement in her voice as she offers it suggests a little of both. Her glance sweeps him again, a leisurely acknowledgment of his height before it rests briefly on his face, and then she looks away, a whisper of restlessness in her gaze and in the motion of her body. She tosses and catches the ball one more time, and then slams it back toward him. "I think we're tied."

Lou brings his paddle around in a sweeping motion that looks almost professional… save for its absolutely lackluster result. The ball lands squarely on his side of the net and rapidly spins itself off the table. Another lunge, and a few drops of beer spilled from a half-filled mug later and the ball is rolling across the floor. "Not for long, it seems… So what about you?"

"What about me?" Leah returns, laying a hand over her breast with a return of that spark of humor. "Do I flirt?" She cranes her neck, hunting for the ball beneath the table with the sweep of a glance that becomes slightly squinty as the little white sphere fades into the shadowed underside of it. She scoots a few paces back, rocking her weight behind onto the square heels of her boots. "Whoopsie," she says, and rather than go ball-diving, she picks up her beer for another long swallow.

"Oh no, I've got my answer on that," he replies, bending over in a decidedly overly-exaggerated 'flirty femenine' fashion to retrieve said missing orb. "I was askin' what you do to kill time—aside from flirting, of course." A few moments later he's back on his feet and demurely offering the ball back to her.

Grin crooked, Leah studies his posture and his general physical attributes with cheery shamelessness, and takes the ball when it is offered with a duck of her head in acknowledgment. Tapping it against her chin as she steps forward at a sideways angle to consider her next serve, she says, "Oh, I don't know. I like to have a few drinks, play some cards. Relax. Meet some new faces." Bouncing the ball once against the table, she whacks it — but too awkwardly, so that it goes soaring too high and does not even bounce. "Damn, we can't even get a volley," she says, mouth twisting with the quirk of a grimace. "On one beer for me, too. Lame."

Lou says, "Ball in play," he cals back before cheerfully swatting it down in his first decent move of the night, bouncing it right into the corner nearest to her. "Cards… Shoulda figured with a poker face like yours. Aside from that, any other prusuits I couldn't have figured out just from the last five minutes? A few drinks and 'new' faces were a pretty obvious call, mine being 'new' but prolly not a whole helluva lot more.""

"Aw," Leah chides. She swings forward to swat the ball back across the table, barely clearing the net, and catches herself in mid-bounce like a slightly awkward dance-step. "You looked like a nice guy. Sometimes you want to talk to a nice guy," she says. Lightly, she goes on, "Let's see. You really think there's that much more to me than meets the eye?"

"Name one person over the age of three who ain't," he challenges with a smirk, attempting to swat the ball back but obviously caugth off guard by the fact that it was returned at all. "And I gotta admit hun, that's going in the record book, cuz I can't say I've ever heard 'you looked like a nice guy' before sound so sincere. Now, I won't say I believe it any more this time, but it -was- a good one."

Tic-tic-ticticticticicicicic goes the ball as it flops down harmlessly on his side of the net. "Blast it. Would have been so much more dramatic if it went over."

"Believe what you like!" Leah's eyes crinkle at the corners again, her breath snorted lightly past her nose as she tips her chin. "But thanks for the compliment. You know I've met a lot of not-so-nice guys." She arches her eyebrows, leaning her paddle lightly against her side of the table and then tapping it once or twice in a restless twitch of a motion. "Damn those laws of physics, interrupting perfectly good drama wherever it occurs!"

"How very egalitarian, to accept my right to believe as I choose," he replies, folding his paddle over his heart as he strikes a pose mimicced by numerous posters encouraging men to 'ENLIST TODAY!' "And I'm sure ya have, they're everywhere—practically a plague of not-so-nice folk stomping about…" He takes the opportunity to drain his mug once more before attempting to slip his paddle beneath the ball and flop it over the net, only to have it go far higher than intended. "And again. Physics: the laws ya can't pay a ticket on."

Pushing herself up onto her toes to bat the ball out of the air, Leah's swing misses completely and it falls down to bounce past her, richocheting off the side of the table to fly freely across the bar. "Whoops!" she says, or — shouts, rather, and laughs again, hitting her forehead with the heel of her hand. "You can say that again. Shit!"

"Physics: the laws ya can't pay a ticket on," he replies in a sing-song of boredom. Ah yes, the cliche'd and expected joke made all that much worse by the teller realizing just how awful it is. He watches with a mild wince as the ball bounces right across the middle of an occupied table, offering an appologetic wave to the inabitants before heading off after it.

Hissing out a long, sibilant breath past her teeth as he repeats the joke, Leah lifts her beer to drain what is left of it in a long slug. Licking her lips, she hitches a hip against the ping-pong table, and leans against it, studying her nails with every pretension to snooty refinement, except that her nails aren't painted and, probably, could use a trim. Damn reality, spoiling that drama. Also perching against a ping pong table is not really very refined. "Maybe we should call it a game," she says after a few beats. Her lower lip caught in the teeth of a smile, she suggests, "Before somebody gets hurt!"

Lou manages to snatch up the ball before it darts beneath a table populated by women in skirts that are likely entirely too immodest for their parents' taste, offering the girls a quick, playful grin before he straightens up and makes hsi way back to Tasha. "You know, that may not be the worst of ideas. Granted, I'm more afraid of collateral damages around here than you or I—it's never the idiot with the gun that winds up losing an eye after all, just the folks around 'im."

Leah's hands move to the belt that cinches her coat shut, as though she is testing it at these words; and then she lifts her chin slightly, tipping a nod to him at an angle. Her smile lingers on her wide mouth, not quite faded. "Exactly my point," she says. "It's all fun and games before someone loses an eye, as my mama always said." Running her thumb down the length of her glass, she takes half a step back, resting her paddle back in its place.

"Well everybody gets at least two," he retorts with a grin as he tucks his own paddle back on the rack, holding onto the ping pong ball which is now sporting a sizeable dent in the side after its cross-bar journey. "I usually gauge the fun by when the cops show up, myself… Poor boys are always mean drunks," he quips before asking, "Buy ya another one, or have ya had enoug?"

"Mmm." Leah shakes her head slowly, although her smile still quirks her mouth. "Thanks for the offer, but maybe another time instead," she says. She glances around the room, tucking her hands into the pockets of her long coat. "I think I should be going for now. See you around here?" she asks, flicking her glance from him to the tables and then back again.

"Ya might, might not," he replies as his grin becomes a smirk. "What with my mysteriousness and all. Been a real pleasure though, Tasha…" He takes a moment to size her up once more, this time more of an appraisal than eye-humping. "I 'spect you'll find a way to bump into me again, anyhow."

Tipping a slighter, warmer smile in his direction, Leah inclines her head. "I think so," she says to him lightly, and then turns on her heel to move off and away, pausing only at the bar to pay her small tab before heading back out into the Village evening.

January 5th: The Whetting Stone
January 5th: Catching a Drink
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