The Meaning Of Trouble


dumortier_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title The Meaning of Trouble
Synopsis Before he leaves town, Rene pops in for a pint; Zach is not at all impressed.
Date April 26, 2019

Dirty Pool Pub

With its scarred and stained concrete floor and mismatched barstools, this is a no-nonsense dive bar and doesn't pretend to be anything but. The only decorating theme seems to be "adhesive," as nearly every square inch of the black-painted walls has been adorned by a sticker, with no particular rhyme or reason.

Along the center wall is the bar itself, long enough to seat perhaps 20 or so patrons. On either side are two pool tables, totaling four. The back wall has a few small tables for those who choose to sit away from the bar itself, but there are no waitresses to bring drinks, so anyone wanting to drink will have to order at the bar before sitting.

"I told you twice already, ami, you should give up now."

Rene is absolutely no stranger to dives, nor to highscale. He slides right into place with both environments, practically effortless. The Dirty Pool lives up to its name, he has found; the games are often bet upon between players, and nobody is afraid to get a little conniving. On the off-chance you're just very good- - people think you're probably doing just that.

The click-clack of a stick bumping into a colored ball, which collides with the others. Music is a backdrop here, accented by the sound of games and patrons. Pulses of The Kinks get caught between turns, the evening radio clear but distant on the old sound system. Rene has his hair back, deliberately windblown at the front; the rest is coiled up by a long piece of green. His eyes gleam under the dimmed lamps, sharp like chips of blue ice as he watches the other player take his turn. His height makes him stick out, but so do his features compared to rough faces and calloused hands. His fitted jeans and high-neck boots fit in, a flash of color at his chest provided by a band shirt.

"Four, corner pocket." His turn. Rene has already gone through the trouble of straightening his cue while waiting, subtle movements easily taken as fidgeting or leaning on its hard end. The pool cue is straight as an arrow now, and balanced far more than before. Click-clack.

"See? Are you certain you want to play this out?" Catching bits of the game seems to be entertaining for those who do watch, including the barman. Rene's voice is playful. "Oh, no need for that face."

The door to outside swings open on its hinges, letting in a gust of spring wind. And, directly following that, a Zachery Miller. He's become a common sight here but nonetheless looks immediately out of place, fingers slipping onto and off of the the doorframe as he enters, black peacoat hiding most of his frame. It's too late to be coming back from work, honestly, but here he is, anyway.

Fresh off of a bus, he's ready for some nice time alone, and draaaags himself over in a path toward the back room… only to have a familiar voice lift his head, his one eye searching for the source between other, less important individuals. Oh.

He finds himself changing course, sauntering past a few of the spectators to come to rest a shoulder against a wall with the very mildest of something pulling at the corner of his lips. Peering directly at Rene, "Must you. There are other bars."

The other player at the table mumbles something about wanting to play it out, and Rene just smiles that angelic little smile and waits his turn; he is angling around looking for an aiming position when he hears Zach before seeing him.

"But none with you in them." Blue eyes tilt upward briefly, paired with the smile and a slide around the corner of the table. "Besides… we did trade deets." Whatever is going on between those two, the little audience doesn't seem to pay much mind to it; just a squint or two.

The sigh that leaves Zachery is maybe a little more dramatic than it needs to be. There is no witty comeback, merely a tilt upward of his head, and a squint at the game. "… Are you winning?" He does not leave much time for an answer, pushing away from the wall again to wander toward the bar for a drink. Though he does offer over his shoulder, "You'd better be. Can't be seen with you if you're not."

The sound of a cue strike echoes after Zach's words, followed by a positive sound from Rene's opponent. He is good natured about the score, laughing softly and looking up to Zachery's back as he seeks out a drink. Rene already had one, judging by the rosiness he is slinking around with.

"Of course I'm winning. For now. These guys aren't half bad." That strikes a chord with a couple of them enough for a chuckle. Rene moves to a spot on the table closer to the bar, taking aim and murmuring his intended target. A clack, and a satisfying tumble of ball into net.

"Must not be as drunk as usual, then," comes Zachery's answer from near the bar, a little hoarser and louder, over the music.

The barkeep seems to be missing, and rather than wait, he casts a few calculated looks around and then just… moves behind the bar, himself, rummaging around for just the right pint glass with just enough familiarity to imply that this is not the first time he's found himself there. Idly, he adds, to no one in particular, "Anyone see Bruce? I thought I told him not to let anyone under five foot nil in here. Ah- there we go." Glass found! And brought over to the taps.

With Rene at the billiards Zachery has no trouble minding himself behind the bar; that is, until the turns go another round and ends with a laugh and a brief handshake. Good game and all.

"There. You happy?" The five-foot-nil in question practically appears out of nowhere at one of the barstools in front of the taps. "I won that one. Got a few bucks, so while you're back there, you mind?" Rene boops one of the tap labels sticking from the top. Be a sport.

Maybe uncharacteristically, Zachery looks up at the booped label and gets to work, reaching for another glass once he's filled his own up with a dark stout. "Sewing people up after fights, getting my own drinks. Maybe I should clear my own tab while I'm at it." Not the cheeriest of words, but beyond a sluggish sort of tiredness, his mood seems… okay. "Keep the money."

Rene's drink, once poured only ever so slightly less perfectly than Bruce would manage, is slid out onto the bartop with a disregard for some of it spilling out over the rim. This partially because Zachery does not care, and partially because he's already chin-up, busy downing half of his pint while still hovering near the taps for, presumably, an instant refill before he's shooed out of there.

Once it looks like he'll get some cooperation, the small blonde on the other side of the bar loses some of that bounce and replaces it with a regard for the 'okay' mood with a tone-down of his own. Keep the money too? Must be a good day. For Zachery, anyhow.

"Thank you." Rene grabs a napkin from just below the lip of the counter, stretching up to do so. "You do that a lot? Work fights? Not your dayjob, I take it."

"Just when things get a little too bloody for their own good," Zachery answers when he comes up for air, leaning to fill his glass right back up after idly swiping a thumb across his mouth.

Once he takes his full (once more) glass and makes his way to the side of the bar that he should be on, he kicks a stool out from where it sits - adjacent to Rene's but now pulled away for the sake of elbow room. He's decidedly not looking at Rene as he sets his drink down, takes off his coat, and throws it over a knee as he takes a seat, one foot propped up. His elbows slide onto the bar, good posture abandoned all at once so he can hunch over and curl an arm around his drink. "It's only been… twice, so far. honestly, I'd expected bikers to be… less civilised. Yet here we are."

Rene does him a small favor and doesn't watch him settle in, instead refocusing on his (free)drink. Only when the other man is settled in and speaks up does he swivel eyes back, studying as always.

"I've met the bad ones too. These fellows are a delight in comparison. I prefer them." Not all Bikers, Zach. "Or maybe they just like me, no idea." Rene doesn't gloat, but still sounds proud of himself for wielding charm as a bat. "So you want them to fight? Or are you just bored?" A difference.

A study of Zachery will tell a person who knows him well enough at least two things, at this point in time. The first is that he's physically tired, moreso than mentally. Secondly, that he's hit a point in his day where he can't be fucked struggling, and he just wants to sit. Just sit. Maybe answer a question or two, who knows. "I'm just bored. As always."

He lifts a hand to rub at his face, fingers pressing deep into his cheekbones, before answering the call of an earlier curiosity. "I work at Elmhurst Hospital now. Though - perhaps for not much longer. One can hope." Up comes his drink again, for a somewhat more than healthy amount glugged down.

"Hospital, hm?" Rene may be making a note of this, but not in a negative way; he doesn't file it away in order to wield it. "That does sound boring." No wonder he wants to find something besides that. At least Zach isn't alone in thinking it. And to come home to a bar? Lucky, maybe. "No hobbies?" The question comes with a faint humor, less a tease, friendlier than that. "I hear model ships are back in."

Finally, Zachery's attention lands back on Rene, and with a start. Hobbies. It's like they don't even know each other. "I'm an orderly now. With basically no way of clawing my way up to something better. There's no energy for hobbies to be gained from that. I feel like it's a miracle my hobby isn't serial killing." He scoffs, into his drink. "Miller the Killer. Does have a ring to it, though." It's his turn to study— over his glass, squinting at Rene. "Why are you here?"

'No energy for hobbies' gets a chuckle; Rene knows that hobbies is a bit of a foreign word here, and the notion that he could always go into being a serial killer earns a snort. "Sounds like a morbid nursery rhyme to me…"

A long drink comes away with leaving a bit at lip, and the blonde is running the tip of his tongue up for it when the more intimated question comes. Ah.

"Hm. Here," Rene points down at the floor. "Or, 'here'?" His hand lifts and he makes a circular motion in the air. Right here, or around?

This only seems to confuse Zachery. The look he gives Rene is one of incredulity. "… Here. You know, the normal-person definition of here. You don't live in Sheepshead. It's inconvenient for you to be here."

It's a statement, from over the top of his drink, but it leaves him like a question, fingers pressing into the cool surface of his glass. Staring like there's something he just doesn't quite… GET. "What do you get out of this?"

"I'm in town for a few days to help with getting supplies. I need some things for water filtration too." Rene offers with no issue; he's not going to be coy about it. Blue eyes stay on blue as he gets stared at from over stout. One shoulder lifts in a shrug.

"I don't know." That may not be what he wants to hear, but it is mostly the truth. "I came east because of the others… it was familiar… and then I heard a feral dog trying to tear your leg off." Also the truth. Rene's body speaks of caution, a bit of resignation in his posture. "You are one of the few familiar things left. I'm sentimental."

For a moment… Zachery's face might imply that he is familiar with emotions of sentiment, eyes narrowing and something of a grimace being swallowed back as his face lifts.

But his haze flits upward and away from Rene, and a dry chuckle leaves him as amusement wipes most other hints of emotion off of his face, "Shit. I forgot about that dog. I'd wondered what'd happened with the, ah—… fabric tears and all." He motions vaguely downward, then brings his drink up again. "You liking it in Providence, then, or…?" Back into the drink he goes, glugging the rest of it down with haste. Though the casual way in which it's done, this may just have become a habit of late.

Half a feeling is more than none of a feeling. Rene doesn't say anything, though pink lips tighten with the barest hint of a smile while amusement shoves it all away. A moment of it was enough.

"You may have forgotten a few things." Rene's brow knits upward, a laugh in his chest. "So far. It has pros and cons. I'm looking forward to finding myself somewhere to, ah, reclaim, though." Take.

"Lots of new faces. Glad to know my people." Fingers turn the glass in a few circles before another drink.

"Your people." Zachery echoes, just in time to see Bruce re-emerge from the back room. "Bruce! I stole a drink," he admits all too readily, cracking a wide grin while offering his empty glass over the bartop.

As it's taken - with a grumble - Zachery looks back to face Rene again, hands gripping into the fabric of his coat as he shifts his weight to turn properly. "That sounds exhausting. Not having a people, though that too. That whole area."

Zach's admission to barside theft isn't surprising. Though he saw Bruce when he came in, Rene hadn't done much except buy a beer from him. This time, however, engaged with the backroom tenant as he is, Rene lifts a hand in a small wave. Sup.

"Even though I'm not sure why we came all this way… I knew they'd need me by springtime." So Rene followed. "Scavenged my way here. Found some nice shit." He flashes a grin, stomach fuller by the time he finishes his glass. Fingers tap idly against it.

"They've been good to me." He looks up to the back of the bar, momentarily drawn into some sort of memory. "Before them, everything…Tout etait enfer."

Zachery's eyebrows dip as the French words reach his ears, as if the meaning of them is too far down in the recesses of his memories for him to bother figuring them out completely. Before he can comment on it, Bruce shoves a refilled glass of Guinness into his arm, mumbling something about a tab after giving Rene a lift of his head by ways of hello. Sup back, little man.

"Eh, you'll be fine," Zachery starts again, apropos of something, elbows back onto the bar as he pulls his drink close like he's going to LOSE IT to the WIND otherwise, and then rubbing at his face - pressing hard over jawline, cheekbone and then into blank eye for a brief moment. It's a tired sort of movement, though his voice reflects nothing of the sort. "It's the age of fresh starts. Feeling it in my bones."

SomethingsomethingTab- - Rene stifles a smirk, instead tracking Bruce as he returns to his work. If he notes the confusion at the French, he doesn't say anything. Being around might make Zach brush up on accident anyway.

"Hah. Yes, I should be." He certainly hopes so. Though he slides aside the empty glass, Rene doesn't signal for another- - just yet, perhaps. "Do you think so? How accurate do your bones tend to be, exactly?" Inquiring minds.

"Very," Zachery answers almost immediately, his hand coming back down again to wrap fingers around glass as he stares down at it, head angled to the side a little, "they have never been wrong, and never will be wrong, and when I die, they will be a carefully collected pile in a museum, where they will be studied and continue to be right, all the time." UP goes his second (and a half?) drink. Apparently, this one also needs to be down as quickly as humanly possible.

"That's a really impressive power." Rene does mean the ETERNAL BONES, but your mileage may vary. He gives Zach a sideeye for his downing the next drink as readily as the first. Perhaps against his better judgement, Rene flags down Bruce for another too. He'll pay a tab if he makes one.

"Must be so hard, being right all the time." But Rene knows he'll never tire of it. At least, in his own head. "The age of fresh starts does sound nice, though. I think we relate on that bit, hm?"

A scoff of a chuckle leaves Zachery, more at himself than at anything else, when he comes back up for air. Rene gets a narrowed look, elbows sinking slightly further down the bartop as he leans a little heavier onto them.

"Yes, maybe. Perhaps." He blinks, then adds, "Did you know I live here?" He motions vaguely outward, like he just retires to sleep on the tables when the night goes quiet in here. "I forgot if I said."

Rene's brows arch up in reply, as he is briefly distracted by a glass on the countertop and a murmured thanks. When he has that taken care of, he glances up and around the place, second-guessing the pool tables as beds. As entertaining as that might be- -

"I did not know that. I just remember you telling me to stop in after four and to tell the big fellow you sent me. Said we'd also define the meaning of 'trouble'." Blue eyes flicker with light, and Rene's small smile hidden half behind a wipe of thumb at the corner of his mouth. "But you were also incredibly hungover and probably still sleep deprived."

"Hungover?" Zachery's eyes narrow further, still, an uncertain smirk making its way onto his face as he leans into the bartop and scans Rene's features. Doubt creeps into his tone, crow's feet deepening for a moment. "… Maybe. I might've been. I'd been… if I'm not mistaken, awake for over three days, maybe four, it's genuinely just hard to remember exactly what I'd gotten up to." There is no pause as he careens into a different subject- "Define the meaning of trouble?"

He doesn't… particularly seem to remember that either, nose wrinkling before it's hidden behind the glass once more. This thing is getting emptied, destination: Zachery's stomach.
"You asked me if I was still trouble." is offered in explanation. "I thought it was partly the deprivation… but you definitely almost puked on me." Rene, to his credit, leans in closer to relay this part. No need to alert everyone.

"So, probably drinking, I'd say." In the least, it gives Zach a better timeframe of when he disappeared on one person and woke up to a feral dog.

CLANK. The stout-drained glass comes down onto the bartop a little too heavily, before fingertips alone slide it dangerously close to the edge on Bruce's side. Is this helping? Surely it is. Zachery eyes Rene with skepticism, but there is a slack that's starting to take over in the way he holds himself, and his expression pulls into something a little more idle as he reaches to bundle his coat up into his arms. "I've never had a drink in my life."

This is, to be fair, maybe become more of a problem recently than ever before. Such is life when you come home to a place like this, perhaps. "And you are still trouble. I feel that in my bones, too."

"Uh-huh." Not in his life. Rene nods along in an exaggerated gesture, "Yeah, I am. Trouble finds me anyway, even if I wasn't." He lifts his partly empty glass in a mock salute. "You don't need your bones to tell you that, do you?" A pause, and then an addition; "So if you pass out in here, do you even get kicked out? Can you get booted from the bar that's also where you live?" Questions! Pressing ones. Maybe.

Coat now in his arms, Zachery pushes away from the bar and off of his stool, standing a little less steadily than before, but managing all the same. Forgoing the answer to the previous question, he starts in an unhurried wander away, toward the back of the pub, and calls over his shoulder, "I'm sure someone would drag me by away the scruff, at least out of sight. Probably Brucie."

Where out of sight, remains to be seen. But he's taking that coat somewhere, after all, in the direction of a sticker-covered black door surrounded by more sticker-covered black walls. Rene can do whatever he wants.

Rene spins a few inches on his stool, brows up and a laugh in his chest. Scruff you, huh? For a moment he pictures Zachery sleeping under the bar, and it is passively convincing. A glance onwards down the other man's path shows him the door; ah, and here he figured that was a bathroom. Or a closet. Or something else entirely, not so much a living space- -

And then it occurs to him that he can follow, because nothing has been done to stop him. Rene finishes the glass, hobbles off of the stool, and scuttles after Zach like Trouble. But, before he makes it too far, he turns a look to Bruce over his shoulder and gives the big barman the most exaggerated, saucy wink he can muster. Of course, all while Zach is heading in.

Trouble. He said so.

Oblivious, Zachery must suffer ignorance as he reaches the door. The coat in his arms gets hoisted up so that he can free one of his hands, which goes digging in the pockets of the black fabric. His brow knits in the way that it does when he thinks no one is looking, accompanying an absent scrunching up of his face as he tries desperately to find the location of the jingle of keys.

Except… when his fingers finally find what they're looking for, there is something that tells him someone is closer to him than they should be, and the look he throws Rene over his shoulder is one of unprepared confusion. Wait, what.

"… If you're going to follow me in here, you'd better think to bring an offering." His voice is lowered. It's serious time. Except then it comes right back up again as key finds lock, and he pushes a shoulder into the door to open it: "Something over a ten percenter, maybe."

Spidey-sense works, obviously, and Rene's answer to an offering is a quirked smile. Duh, he has stuff on him most days- - or hidden away somewhere. Whatever he's about to say as Zachery is unlocking the door escapes his mouth in a puff of breath, cheeks tinting pink with the build up of something else; the blonde slides in after, giving a quick eyeballing to the space beyond.

"I didn't know you wanted more than ten." Rene knows he meant proof, and yet- - "We can hash out a hundred if you're into it. I can middle ground a fourty." Don't laugh. Don't.

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