The Plate Spinners


rami_icon.gif felix_icon.gif pam_icon.gif

Scene Title The Plate Spinners
Synopsis Rami and Felix knew each other from years ago. They meet up for dinner and run into Pam. They discuss animals and adoptions. After Pam has gone, their discussion turns to the psychology of law enforcement.
Date November 23, 2008

The Nite Owl

Description of location, if any.

First part of the log was lost, but it was just hellos as they met for dinner.

"Felix, you must know by now that I can't tell you that. You're a smart man, I'm sure you can infer." Rami's eyebrows go up and he chuckles warmly. "Now. Is there anything to eat in this place that won't kill me?"

"You could tell me, but then you'd have to kill me," Felix says, amused, and entirely unoffended. "The food here is excellent. Just beware the bacon, because it alone has enough cholesterol to clog the arteries of a horse."

"Well, I eat meat…extremely rarely. And only then when it's an excellent cut and preferably organic. Though I don't suppose the…" Rami reads off the menu. "…heart attack supreme burger is made of free range Kobe organic beef." He curls a wry smile. "I suppose I'll just have my usual indulgence of french fries." He and Felix are seated at a booth. Both are wearing suits.

Pam steps into the Nite Owl with a canvas backpack slung over one shoulder, ridiculously high heels clomping along. Someone forgot her comfy shoes for when she got off-shift. Unbuttoning her coat, she heads for the counter.

Felix has swept aside a heap of paperwork towards the window edge of the table. "No, that's a bit upscale for here," Fel's expression is tolerant. Oh, you free-range CIA hippie, you. "The salads, however, are excellent," he adds. "Now, does you showing up mean that your spook friends are going to appear and shower me with goodies?"

"Oh, when do 'goodies' ever enter the equation? If you see us coming, there are no good things in the forecast." The side of Rami's mouth pulls up in a half-smile. He peruses the selection of salads. "This one has bacon, that one ham. Ah yes. Perhaps a caesar and a side of fries. That sounds only minutely deadly." He looks up when he hears the tinkle of the doorchime as Pam enters.

Pam has a glance around; spying Felix, she hesitates a moment before offering a little smile at him. And then there's Rami, He Who Should Not Have Pets. Should he look her way, she'll give him a little nod. Just little acknowledgements tonight, it seems. Depositing herself at a seat at the counter not so far from Felix and Rami, she requests of the girl working there, "Fries, please. Just a big ol' plate of 'em."

Felix is out of the spook closet to Pam, you see. And sprawling in his corner ofthe booth like he owns the place. Pam gets a quick glance, and then a closer one. Oh, it's Deckard's….girlfriend? Favorite stripper? "True, that. Just your mere presence makes my SAC recoil like a vampire confronted with a crucifix. I, for one, am glad to see you, though. Even despite the fact that most of the bastards we're dealing with are local and homegrown. It's fucking awful."

It takes a moment for Rami to register that he knows Pam. Oh yes. The very nice shelter girl. He nods in return when he catches her eye. He notices Felix looking as well. "Do you know that girl?" Ever the Spook. His radar's up. If Felix knows her, she might be worth keeping an eye on. He chuckles at Felix. "Well, well. No reason to recoil. We are, of course, on the same side of the line. We're only now beginning to experience the terror and social strife we believed belonged to poorer, so-called backwards nations."

Pam smiles a little more, since they seem to recognize her. She smells like sweat and cheap bar booze, which doesn't quite equate with the 'nice shelter girl' thing, but whatever. "Evenin'."

"Stripper," Felix says, calmly, but without disapprobation. God knows he worked Vice long enough. "Honeybee? Something like that, don't know her real name." He bares his teeth at Rami. "I know, right. We need to talk more with MI-5, they're more used to handling this stuff." Pam gets a gracious nod in reply.

Rami chuckles. "Oh, I'm afraid I won't be the one to do that MI-5 aren't fond of me. Deserter. Affront to the Queen or some nonsense." Rami leans in, almost conspiratorily, "I think they're just unhappy the Agency scooped me up when I was sitting under their noses for twenty some-odd years." From the smile and the chuckle, he clearly doesn't mean that. He may be a cold man, a strange man, a -creepy- man, but he's not arrogant. Then he glances to Pam again, and back to Felix. "Oh really? Well, she moonlights in animal rescue. Or perhaps daylights would be a more apt description." He looks around for a waiter. "I'm starving. I'm going to the counter to put our order in. Do you know what you want?" He starts to stand.

"I'll have a heart attack supreme," Felix says, in all apparent seriousness. "And I hadn't thought of that," he says, about the point with MI-5. "Ah, well, fuck 'em for being sore losers." Now Pam gets a second looking over, with a hair less obvious dismissiveness. "Really? How'd you meet her?"

Pam drums her fingertips on the bar; the fake press-on nails have come off again. Her fries arrive - for whatever reason, maybe they'd just made a batch or something - and she quietly requests some vinegar. The white kind.

"The company shrink told me I should get a cat. Of all the strange suggestions. Do I seem like a cat person to you?" Rami spreads his arms, grins, then goes up to the counter. "Ah yes, it appears our section is overlooked." The waiter replies one of their servers is late for work. "No problem. But please can we have two coffees, a…heart attack supreme…" he seems to feel pain just saying that order. "And a caesar salad with a side of fries please? Yes, thank you." The order in, he looks to Pam. "Are you all right, miss? You seem a bit out of sorts."

"I have two cats, mostly because someone gave them to me. I actually kind of like having pets. You should totally get a kitten. It's wonderful for humbling one, and god knows you and I are both the sort of arrogant bastards who need it," Fel says, still entirely matter of fact. He grins at Rami's apparent revulsion.

Pam looks up at Rami and shakes her head with a faint smile. "No, thank you. I'm fine. It's been a long night, I suppose?" She hesitates, then asks, "How are you? Did you decide to get a fish?"

"The young lady decided that none of the cats she had in stock were suitable," says Rami as he indicates towards Pam. "Ah, no. I'm afraid my quest for a pet has been waylaid by work. Perhaps it's just as well."

Felix concedes, voice dry, 'Perhaps you should get a fish," The blue eyes remain amused. "What were you doing at a pet shelter in the first place? Doctor's orders?"

"Well, more that you didn't seem to like any of them," Pam tells Rami and Felix, clearing her throat gently. "Fish are very nice." Felix is given a speculative look. "Did you say anything about having pets?"

"Doctor's…firm recommendation. To help me relax. Reduce stress. But I fear owning a pet would be a great responsibility, and thus more stress. But yes, fish might be…meditative. Colourful ones." There is something in Rami's voice as he says this, a hint of the tightly-coiled man beneath the veneer of pleasantries. He moves back to the table.

Felix indicates himself, with a jerk of his thumb. "I did. I said I had two," he says, a touch quizzically, though his expression is now a little more pleasant. "And you need to relax, man."

"Colourful ones, right," Pamela says after a moment. "Relaxing is good. Doctors recommend it. At least a little." She eyes Felix again and ventures, "I don't suppose you have room for another animal in your life?"

Rami chuckles a bit tightly. "Ah, you've been targeted, Felix." He starts to doctor up the coffee that arrived. "Pretty soon you'll be the crazy cat-man if she has her way."

"I already am the crazy cat man," Felix says, blandly, though now he's giving Pam a suspicious look. "Define 'another animal'. Possibly another cat, and that's about it. No room for a dog, and anything that lives in a cage or a tank would be harassed to death by the cats. You work at an animal shelter?"

Pam's vinegar arrives; she twists the cap off and starts shaking it out over onto her fries. "I'm a vet tech," she says, with just a hint of a /tone/ to her voice that implies maybe he shouldn't say otherwise. Of course, it's too late for that, isn't it? "The shelter's always too full. If you ever want another cat…"

It is indeed too late. But it doesn't seem to make any difference to Rami. Then again, he's not the type to let that kind of thing show. "I suppose I should be glad you found me unsuitable, miss…?" He motions towards her. "I'm sorry, if you gave me your name I've forgotten it."

Felix inclines his head, but makes no commitment, even verbally. "What shelter do you work at?" he wonders, politely. No comment on her afterhours job, but then, it's no longer his business.

"Pam," Pam tells Rami, offering her hand. Fortunately, she hasn't picked up any of her fries yet, or else it'd be vinegary. "It's the Chelsea shelter." She rattles off a street address and smiles brightly at him. It's not a 'I am a pretty girl, my smile will make you do things because you are a boy' smile, it's more of a genuine 'maybe he'll help out an animal!' smile.

"Rami," he says again, just in case she's forgotten as well. He shakes her hand. His is calloused in strange places. Across the top of his palm and his trigger finger. It's the handshake of a dangerous man. "And this is Felix. He has a cat's name. You might just convince him."

Well, considering certain of Felix's mannerisms, it's dubious that the former version of that smile might have the desired effect. But he can't help but smile in return to that, almost shyly. "I'll come by, but I just moved into a newer and smaller apartment, so I'm not sure it'd not be too small for three cats."

"Rami," Pam repeats, nodding. And she winces a little. "A smaller apartment? Maybe not, then. Why don't I ever meet people with mansions and big yards?"

"Oh my dear, in the city we live in, it's a wonder you're finding people with homes to begin with." Rami picks up his coffee again. "Would you care to join us? It's rather awkward to converse this way." Their food arrives and he pokes at the lettuce of his salad. Apparently he finds its appearance satisfactory, because he takes a bite a moment later. Maybe he should get a rabbit.

Or a chinchilla. "What he said," says Felix, oh so eloquently. "It's New York. A shoebox is about all I can afford, on my salary." And then he starts devouring his burger with real enthusiasm. At least he's a neat eater.

Pam nods, picking up her plate and shouldering her backpack to head toward their table to sit. Because talking is kind of awkward. "I'm not living anywhere big, either, or I'd have more than a cat," she tells them.

Rami is absorbed for a moment in doctoring his fries just so and making sure ketchup won't touch his salad. Felix might be a neat eater, but he's a meticulous one. If one pays that much attention, he seems to measure each bite with an equal nibble of crouton and salad with every bite. "No doubt you've had some unusual animals turn up at your shelter."

Felix eyes Rami, and notes, with affectionate mockery, "And I thought -I- was a princess," Pam gets a nod. "I miss Seattle. I had a house I was renting out there. Almost got a dog, but I had a sneaking suspicion I was gonna end up dumped back here," he says, rather glumly.

That's a little weird, what Rami's doing, and Pam notices it but doesn't say anything. She just kind of gives his plate a funny look before picking up a soggy fry and guiding it into her mouth. "That's too bad. About the house, and the dog. And yeah, there've been some weird animals turning up at the shelter. There were a lot more right after the explosion, but that's… tapering off now." As housepets don't learn to fend for themselves. That kind of thing.

Rami doesn't seem to realize what Felix means, precisely. Mostly, it's because the people around him know him well enough to either ignore it or know better than to tease him. Not that he snaps at people. But still. If you've seen him in killer mode, needling seems unwise. "You're fortunate I accepted this invitation. How about next time we go somewhere where everything isn't deep fried? There -is- a dramatic excess of mayo in this dressing." He holds up a bit of lettuce that is speared with romaine that -is- rather drenched in dressing. He shrugs and pops it into his mouth. "I always thought a snake would make an interesting pet."

"I had one as a kid, back in Russia. A grass snake my grandfather caught for me," Felix says. And there's a funny touch of wistfulness in his voice. But he grins at Rami, unrepentant. "Sure. There's a great Indian place near Federal Plaza."

"It's cheap here," Pam says, perhaps explaining why she dines at this particular establishment. "I've never had a snake as a pet. Just picked them up sometimes, the little garter snakes."

"Well. That's one pet I wouldn't have to be concerned with being home to feed. I hear some can go months on a single meal." At least Rami is eating his fries with his fingers, though they get wiped off frequently. "Indian, yes please. I'd love a decent curry."

"My treat, then," Felix says, grandly, though his expression has turned a bit sardonic. "I'd get another one, but my cats would worry it to death, trying to get at it. Glock's extremely obsessive about what little hunting he can do."

Pam's fry pauses halfway to her mouth. "You named your cat after a gun?"

"Glock? I like it. I suppose this pet thing has its merits after all." Rami chuckles and forks another even distribution of salad. "What's his pal's name? You should have named them Heckler and Koch or Smith and Wesson."

Felix slants a look at Pam, almost feline itself. "I didn't name him. I have him and his brother Ingram because when we did a raid on a warehouse full of smuggled and illegal weapons, we found a mother cat and her kittens. Some wiseass in the precinct named them all after the brands we picked up. His mother is Kalashnikov, he does have a pair of sisters named Heckler and Koch, his brother Sig is precinct mouser in the 4-10….I can't remember what the others were named."

"That's… almost cute," Pam says, munching on the fry. "Key word there being 'almost'."

"Well I like it. It's like recruiting animals into law enforcement. They need little tags in the shape of badges to make it official." Rami seems greatly amused by his own idea. He makes short work of the salad and gets to work on the fries.

"Cops aren't exactly known for their droll sense of humor, overall. I think that was about the level of witticism you're going to find," Fel notes, finishing off theburger. "I think Sig is technically on the books as an employee. But, my sergeant handed me two of the kittens and told me to take 'em home, since I was stupid enough to admit I had both room and no prior pets." Like pets are like convictions.

"There already are animals in law enforcement," Pam points out, but with a smile. It seems she's amused as well. She stuffs more fries into her mouth - not really dainty, this one - and comments, "I think I like your sergeant."
If Rami was more sensitive, he might take issue with the fact that -he- likes the names, quite a bit in fact. Hey, you take what laughs you can get in a mostly-brutal job. "Well yes. But adopting them isn't quite the same as breeding them for a precise purpose."

Felix nods. "I used to want to go into the K9 units," Fel says, grinning at himself. "And I miss him. He was a great guy, Vincennes. Died in the bomb, unfortunately."

Pam nudges a fry around on her plate. "Figures," she murmurs, upon hearing the sergeant's fate. To Rami, she says, "Training starts young."

"Well. Is the dessert good here, or is it the type that's gone stale from sitting out all day?" Rami isn't through his fries. Apparently his indulgence involves half of a side. He takes a sip from his coffee.

"The desserts are the best part. Especially the pie," Felix enthuses. "Yeah, it does. You've gotta have an exceptional dog for it to be suitable for canine police work," he agrees, a touch pedantically.

Pam finishes off her fries, grinning a little. "The desserts are pretty good. At least, they look good. Except the cookies with the blue icing and the gummy bears. Those're just gross," she says. "Well, I better head on home now. Y'all take care, now."

Rami's nose twitches. Ew. Though the idea of gummi bears in general isn't something that appears to him. "Take care, Miss Pam. I'll be sure to direct anyone looking for an animal to you." He reaches to peer down the list of pies. "Hm. Which kind do you recommend?"

Felix lifts a hand to her in farewell. 'I'll come by, once I've consulted with my cats about adding a new roommate," he says, gently. "The pecan pie is excellent."

"Hmm, a little sweet for me. I was thinking of something with fruit," Rami's brow furrows as he considers the menu. You'd think this was a particularly serious decision from the way he considers it.

"Try the cherry," Fel says, deadpan. Because the fondness of FBI agents for a good cherry pie is legendary.

"Cherry? All right then." Rami doesn't seem to get it. "Do you want something?" He goes to stand. It's a bad night. He's not going to wait on a server.

"Cherry pie, now that I've thought of it," Felix says, smiling to himself like he's made some tremendous (and stupid) joke.

Rami remains clueless. Hey, he grew up in a semi-poor neighborhood in London! He doens't always get pop culture references. "All right then." It doesn't take too long for him to return with the pie, heated, and with whipped cream rather than ice cream. He sets it down in front of Felix. "So. Anything fascinating happen to you lately?" he takes a bite and chews thoughtfully.

Felix says, picking the pie apart bite by bite, "Serial killers. Terrorists that make the IRA look like kids with firecrackers. Cop killing. It's a fucking zoo," he says, grimly.

Rami frowns slightly. "Yes, it is quite unfortunate." Which seems an understatement unless you realize he was in counterterrorism and spent almost a decade in some of the most dangerous and war-torn cities on earth. He eats his pie slowly. "Is is indeed a world gone mad."

"It's your endless understatement that's the charming thing about you," Fel says, affectionately. All the strife doesn't seem to have affected his appetite.

"-Just- my understatement? Well, I clearly need to work on my other areas of charm, then." Rami smiles and neatly eats another piece of pie. "Well, you were right. This is quite good."

Felix notes, drily, 'I don't know you well enough to comment on the rest of it." No, that wasn't a pass.

"No one does, Felix. It's a hazard of the job. You see very few rings on the fingers of senior agents, and even fewer that remain longer than a few years." Rami flexes his hand, shrugs and takes another bite of the pie. "It's to be understood. When it is your job to be guarded, to put up barriers. Well. It doesn't precisely scream 'emotionally present.'"

"Thank you for summing up my relationship history so beautifully," he drawls, eyeing Rami for a moment. "And nice to have someone who can commiserate."

Rami chuckles. "Oh, you are not alone, sir. Not by any stretch. We all have these same issues. It's inescapable. It must be so if we are to succeed at our jobs. And oh, we do them so well, now, don't we?" He arches a brow.

Felix frankly snorts. "We're doing a fucking awful job. The bastards just attacked a high school. They are really out to win the murdering fuckwit award, and we're just bumbling on along behind them like the Keystone Lops." He shoves away the now empty pie plate with unnecessary vehemence.

"Yes? But remember Felix, for every one tragedy that occurs, dozens more have been prevented. But no one realizes this and appreciates how many armageddons have not come to pass." There is an odd, spooky knowing in Rami's voice, in his facial expression.

"It's like the Chinese spinning plates in the circus. How many, how long, how fast can you keep it going before the whole fucking pile spills and shatters?" Felix says. Beware, Rami, you may end up confessor and confidant. He puts his face in his hands for a moment, that calm facade slipping.

Beware? But he'd like that. Information is Rami's lifeblood. When he speaks, it's with absolute calm. "But the plate spinners are oh-so good. And it's rare you see one fall and shatter, for all it looks like the wobble is terminal."

Felix raises his face, after a moment, composure restored, save for a shaky deep breath. "True," he says, more quietly. "Busy on your end, too, hm?"

"There are many plates to spin," says Rami cryptically. He takes one final bite of the pie and pushes the plate away.

Felix leans back, making the cracked vinyl of the booth squeak in protest. "How are you always so zen?" he wonders, that usual sardonicism firmly in place again.

Rami cracks a smile. But it's not one that brings merriment to oddly green eyes. "Mmm. Practice? Necessity? I am the eye of the storm, Felix. And if you want to survive this new world of ours, you'd best become an eye as well."
He gets a smirk in return, though Fel steeples his fingers lazily before him. "Now I see why my oldpartner used to hate it so much when I was so calm. It's hard to resist the temptation to trouble calm waters, even if you have to do it by dropping a stone in."

Rami gives Felix a look. "Are you saying that my calm makes you wish to provoke me?" His tone is wry and tics of his facial expression display hints of amusement. "That seems counter-intuitive."

"Human nature is often contrary," Felix says, as the waitress returns to refill his decaf. He seems more at ease, himself. The real anguish is reserved for the stone ears of the Virgin in the Cathedral, apparently.

"Are you saying that human violence is a railing against calm?" Of course, that's not precisely what he said, and Rami knows it. It's just a little showing off, a little semantic challenge.

Felix stirs in a few spoonfuls of sugar before answering. "Not all of it. But you know how it is. There's always that destructive impulse, just for sheer contrariness's sake. Grafitti, that kind of thing at best."

"Ah yes, but the world isn't covered in graffiti. And they would have no canvas were it not for the fight against chaos that is a city itself." Rami holds up his mug of coffee in a sort of salute before sipping it. "I might say that human nature is those two conflicting sides at war. The desire to create, the desire to destroy. The desire for order, and for chaos." The simple matter is, he can be so calm because he gets to kill.

"There is that," Fel concedes, reaching over to dump cream into the mug with absolutely no shame at all. "And I'd agree with you. I spent ten years fighting against the results of that impulse for chaos, and am still doing so now, really," he says, spoon clinking against the china.

"In many ways, a man of the law is the embodiment of this conflict. We are sworn to uphold order, but that can only be achieved through the use of violence. So a man cannot be completely…zen, as you say, and be in a job like ours." A not quite subtle hint from Rami that he's calm for a reason.

He tests a spoonful of the coffee as it stands, before dumping in one more cream. "True. Not without complete burnout. And when you get to the point where you can regard killing without something in you wincing a little, it's time to quit. We can't all be 007," he says, musingly.

Rami lifts one shoulder. Then, he reaches into his jacket for his wallet. "I'm afraid I must be off. But yes, let's do Indian next time." He sets enough money to cover both of their dinners on the table. Given the nature of the place, it's by no means a great amount.

"My treat next time," Felix says, easily, not bothering to demur about the check. "Good to see you again, you spook," he says, fondly.

Rami quirks a half grin, stands, and as he's walking by, pats Felix on the shoulder. "Remember to calm yourself. The anger, the righteousness. It will only obscure your vision. And then the plates will fall." With that enigmatic remark, the former CIA agent opens the door to the diner and heads off into the street.

Any additional notes fall to the bottom.

November 23rd: Bike Lesson

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 23rd: Quiet Now
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