1964-08-27 - Bartender is in
Summary: Luke tends bar as Bruce comes in, then Jessica.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bruce luke-cage jessica-jones 

The Cigar Factory is uncrowded at the moment, as most of the patronage to the establishment doesn't tend to show up till long after the sun goes down. Taking the unbusy time to organize and clean, the establishment's owner Luke is wandering around the bar floor with a cloth, cleaning the chairs and tables with a bit of wood polish and some elbow grease.

If you guess who might be walking into Luke's bar, you'd never guess the guy who comes in. He's a slender, rumpled looking fellow with glasses carrying a notebook. He looks around and seems to breath a sigh of relief at the few people here. He slips onto a stool at the bar and looks around him, dropping the notebook on counter beside him. He reache sout to snag a few peanuts as he waits for someone to take his order.

Not normally the kind of person Luke sees in his establishment, or in Harlem in general, Bruce gets a quick little once over as he makes his way inside and over towards the bar. Still, a customer is a customer and Luke isn't going to disparage one of those from ever walking through his door. "Hey there." he says to the new arrival, tossing the towel over his shoulder as he makes his way back around the bar to stand in front of Bruce. "What can I get you, sir?"

Bruce wets his lips and adjusts his glasses as he takes in the large man. He asks, "Do you do food here too? I could use a sandwich and a beer. That would be fantastic. Uh…grilled ham and cheese or something like that. I'm really not picky." He unfolds his papers and takes a look at them. They are pages and pages of formulas. He rubs his forehead and folds them back up.

Luke Cage nods, "I can whip you up something. I'm afraid the short-order cook isn't in just yet, but I can griddle you up a ham and cheese. At least I don't think I will end up burning the place down."

Luke grins, moving over to grab a pint glass and filling it up from the tap, sliding it over to expertly stop just in front of Bruce "Food is going to be a moment, I got to get the grill warmed up first." He slips behind the door for a moment to the little kitchenette behind the bar, talking through the little pass through that separates the bar from the area he is in. "That looks headache inducing. You don't see chicken scratches like that in this area to often."

Bruce looks baffled for a minute, then, "Oh…this?" He taps the papers. "You'd be surprised. I mean it is giving me a headache, but you'd be surprised where you can find world class physicists. I was just visiting a fellow …" He fades off. No need for draw any more attention to himself than necessary. "So you seem to be doing everything here….you the owner? And, however you manage to grill it up, it's going to be better than I would do. I'm currently living with a hotplate that I ressurected." He picks up and takes a long drink from teh glass. "It's nice and quiet here. I guess it will get busy later, huh?"

Jessica Jones makes her own way in, sunglasses over her face. Sure, it's starting to get dark, but that never stopped Jessica Jones from needing some protection from the glare. Plus, it looks mysterious and shit. What?

She swings open the door and makes her way up to the bar, wearing a short-sleeved white tee and jeans. She has a camera bag with her, which she plops down on an extraneous stool. She looks over the top of her glasses, "Geez, you're still here? I like the eyecandy, but get some free time. Beer and a whiskey," she says, then peers at Bruce momentarily, "Nope, don't know you. What a fuckin' novelty that is. Hello, stranger."

Luke Cage slaps some butter on some bread and tosses it on the grill, "Yeah, I'm the owner. It doesn't tend to get that busy in here till later on in the evening. Big rush if there is a show at the Apollo, but I get my share of regular customers. I've learned that if you don't skimp your customers, they tend to come back, and in this line of work repeat business is everything. Physicist huh? I don't have the smarts for that much math."

He slaps some cheese onto the bread, letting it start to melt before he throws the second slice of bread on and flipping it as he spots Jessica. "I own the place and live upstairs, why wouldn't I be here? Give me a reason to take some free time, and maybe I will take it." He grins at the brunette and slides back around the bar, slipping the plate in front of Bruce before he goes to making Jessica her drinks. "Good to see you again."

Bruce clearly doesn't know what to think of Jessica, so it takes him a couple of seconds to find his voice. When he does, he laughs nervously and then nods, "Hello yourself, miss." His eyes linger on her as he pulls the sandwich in front of him and takes a couple of bites as if he hasn't eaten anything all day. He hasn't. He got distracted with this math thing. "I would stay, but I don't tend to like crowds," he says to Luke. "I was in the area visiting … It was convenient. But this sandwich is pretty good. You might get a repeat customer."

Jessica Jones pulls out a half-crumpled pack of cigarettes, drawing a filtered tip out with her teeth before she lights it. "I dunno if that's exactly a compliment to your business there, Apollo. I don't like crowds, I like it here," she grins.

"And how exactly would I give you a reason? You gonna carry my camera bag while I follow insurance salesmen to sleazy motels so I can watch them run the numbers on their secretaries backsides?" she says, taking a long sip on her beer.

Luke Cage chuckles at Bruce, "Well, you have a few hours or so yet before it starts to pick up, so feel free to stay as long as you are comfortable. I'm never going to turn away repeat business. And if you are liking the sandwich, I will have to see if I can't get some of the fried chicken put aside next time. Don't know if it is any good cold, since it has never made it to a stage where we had leftovers, but there is a first time for everything."

He turns to Jessica as he starts to use the towel to wipe down the bar, sliding an ashtray down to slow to a halt in front of Jess. "It's Luke, and thankfully I get both the crowded and uncrowded times in here, so you can still like it here and avoid the crowds." He shrugs a shoulder, "Sounds like a good time? I've never seen a PI do her thing before. Could be an interesting learning experience."

Bruce says, "Cold friend chicken is pretty good in my experience. " Bruce's sandwich is gone, but he's nursing on his beer. "And I didn't mean to offend or anything. It seems a nice place." HIs eyes go back and forth between the two at the lively banter. He's figured it out, though. It wasn't hard. "You're a private detective," he asks Jessica. "That must be pretty…" He thinks about it before he finishes the sentence. "Well, I suppose it keeps you busy. Are you working on any good cases?""

Jessica Jones makes a skeptical face, leaving a bit of lipstick on the filter of her cigarette, "Only if you find getting a damp ass sitting on a fire escape in the rain educational," she smiles, "Unless your parents never had the birds and the bees talk, then you might learn something new. I mean, it'll make you want to vomit and never make you want to touch another human again, but you will certainly be educated," she says.

She leans her head against her hand and looks at Bruce, "Trade secret: there are no good cases. Sam Spade's pretend. Humphrey Bogart was just an actor. Even when you get a 'good' one, it just means you're gonna get hassled by the cops and probably shot at. YOu should stick to your," she says, and then leans up to peer at Bruce's papers, "gibberish."

Luke Cage glances to Bruce and arches a brow, "Offend? Nah, man. I didn't take anything you said as an offense. It's all good." He smiles, nodding his head towards the man, "Just happy to have your business. Hell, if I thought it would bring in more customers I might even make a 'best insult gets a free drink' night. I'm not against petty gimmicks to make a buck.

He looks to Jessica and chuckles, "I've got the birds and bees down pat. but at least you would have company for your damp ass. Can't see how that job can be anything but lonely."

Bruce quickly moves the papers out of the way, but smiles when she calls it gibberish. "Don't worry. I have no intention of becoming a private eye. I don't have the aptitude for it. I get impatient, and I don't think I could stand seeing other people mess up and just let them..not do something. I have too much of a temper," says the apparent mild mannered, soft spoken man. He then chuckles at Luke's suggestion. "I can't do that. I'm not an insult comedian. In fact, I'm not very funny at all. Or so I've been told."

Jessica Jones shrugs, "Pretty much everything I'm gonna end up doing is lonely. Might as well get paid for it," she says. "Not well, mind you, but at least I can charge expenses. Speaking of which, I'm going to need a receipt," she grins.

She nods to Bruce, "He's right. Guy hasn't made me laugh once."

Luke Cage shrugs, "I'm just offering. You never know, could be fun. I know a bit about investigation, so I wouldn't be a complete drain on your time. Hell, I might even be useful." He chuckles at Jessica, "I'll write one up. Just don't expect me to pad it."

He looks over to Bruce, "People fuckin' up is what people do. Everyone does it, some just do it more often and in a more glorious manner than others do. You can't save people from themselves, no matter how hard you try." Luke shrugs a shoulder and wipes up another spot on the bar.

Bruce nods solemnly at Luke's words. He's finding this an amusing conversation. He tries to find something witty to add. He swears wondering why a guy as smart as he is never quite knows what to say to people. He should have it figured out. Ah, then he does it. Speaking of mistakes. He lets his hair down just a little more than he should. "Uh…I do know a joke. What does a subatomic duck say?" He's still not going to make Jessica laugh.

Jessica Jones throws down her shot, wincing, and washes it down with a sip of the beer, "I'll consider it," she says. "You're the size of a large truck, though, so I'm not entirely sure you're ideal for the sneaking and the stealthing," she says.

At Bruce's joke, she just stares for a moment and says, "I…wait, is the duck talking? Why is there a talking duck? Shouldn't that be a bigger deal? Is it because it's atomic?"

Luke Cage arches a brow at Bruce and smirks, "Sub atomic duck? I am not sure I want to know, but please don't leave us in suspense. Now I gotta hear the punchline."

He looks to Jessica and nods, "True. You got a point there." He shrugs, turning around and grabbing a bottle from the shelves behind him and goes to refill Jessica's shot glass. "You're the one that said I needed to get out of here, though, so unless you have a better suggestion it's the only one I got."

Bruce says, "It's a talking duck because it's a joke," explains Bruce patiently as if she was really needing that explanation. "The point is that it is a /subatomic/ duck So it says 'quark, quark!" He grins really big. He had a better one about Schoedinger's Cat, but he has never told that one very well. He looks between the two faces expectantly. Ten he adds what he thinks is obvious, "You two should just go to Coney Island or something.""

Jessica Jones just stares at Bruce for a long moment and takes a long drag on her cigarette. On the one hand, she has no idea how that's supposed to be a joke. On the other hand, Bruce seems like the kind of guy who probably spent a liberal amount of time in school getting a close-up look at how the toilet water swirls.

"I think that one went over my head, chief," she says. She snorts, "Coney Island? I'm not exactly a Ferris wheel kind of girl. Although I wouldn't say no to some cotton candy," she says.

Luke Cage lets out a little curtesy chuckle at the joke, I mean you have to keep the clientele happy. "Quark. I think I get it, that is some sort of scientific term, isn't it?" He shrugs, taking the plate from in front of Bruce and wiping the area down with his towel. "I'm sure that is pretty funny in the right circles."

He looks to Jessica, "Yeah. I am not sure Coney Island is exactly the place that a guy like me and a girl like her could walk along in peace, you know? Not that I'm worried about a confrontation…I'm not the kind of guy people tend to mess with, even if they don't like something about me." He shrugs a shoulder before he looks to Jessica, "Cotton candy? I'll keep that in mind."

Bruce starts, "Well a quark is a subat…never mind. Like I said. I'm not funny." He shrugs and smiles and takes out his wallet to pay his tab. He will tip, not huge, but enough to not seem like a cheapskate. "But yeah. If you want him to get out of here," he says to Jessica, "Go out and get some cotton candy. There's all sorts of people at Coney island." He picks up his wad of papers. "But I have to get home and study this stuff before work tomorrow. Maybe I'll come back, and I'll try to find a better joke." Is it a threat?

Jessica Jones snorts, "If anybody wanted to give us THAT kind of trouble, at Coney Island or anywhere else, they'd get a fat lip and an education," she says. "If you hit 'em, you'd probably have to deal with the cops. If I do it, they'll be too embarrassed about getting their ass kicked by a woman," she says.

"I think they sell books with jokes in 'em now. Or they even have clubs where people do it these days. I saw this guy, Lenny Bruce, down in the Village a month ago? He makes me sound like mama's sweet angel, the mouth on that guy," she says.

"Honey, you have no idea…" says Luke when she talks about him having to deal with cops if he hit someone. "But if they did try to give us that kind of trouble, they would get more than they bargained for, I can guarantee that. I'm not just a pretty face." He looks over at Jessica, giving her a once over and nods. "Yeah, you strike me as someone who can take care of yourself. tough job being a PI, so that would have to take a tough lady. Bet you have had your fair share of shit tossed your way."

He looks to Bruce and grins, "Yeah, i'd stick with your day job. I appreciate you coming in, and at least giving it a shot though. Hope you come buy some other time, Mister.."

Bruce figures that they are humoring him, but sometimes it's nice to be humored. "Thanks… It's Bruce. I'm probably a better audience than comedian." He can manage this. Live in New York City with out destroying it. He gives a wave to the two, wishes them a pleasant evening, and walks out pretty pleased with himself.

Jessica Jones watches Bruce leave and returns to her drink, "Gimme another, fine sir?" she says, raising her near empty bottle. "But Coney Island does…not sound like my idea of fun. Vomiting tourists, screaming children…sounds like a recipe for a bad time," she says.

"Although I"m not really sure what is my idea of fun. I haven't had much fun lately. I kind of cut it out of my life, fun usually comes with too many complications," she says.

Luke Cage nods, fetching another bottle from the cooler and flipping the top off with a casual flick of his thumb. "Yeah. Not really a fan of Coney Island myself, for various reasons." he says as he sets the bottle down in front of Jess. "Please, just call me Luke. I ain't no sir. far from it."

He cleans up Bruce's spot and rubs it down with a towel, "Can't say I have had much in the way of fun myself. Been to busy running this place, or working over at Pop's doing odd jobs. I don't tend to go for anything more than casual acquaintance for the same reasons." He grabs a shot glass himself and pours himself a drink, "Here is to no complications." raising the glass in a toast.

Jessica Jones clinks her glass with his, "Jessica," she says, by way of introduction. "Gotta work to keep a body fed. I know people with money, even grew up with it for a while after…well, it's complicated, but I lived with some rich people for a while. It's strange. They just kind of sit there. They're like furniture. Not all of them, but the worst ones," she says.

"But friends I don't have much of either. A couple, but not a lot and most of them don't really…get it," she says. "They're nice people, good people. Not like me," she grins.

Luke Cage chuckles. "Nice to meet you, Jessica." he says as he clinks the glass and tosses it back, moving to fill himself another. "I met your friends." he says with a laugh, "At least I am assuming they were your friends. They weren't exactly subtle but they tipped well. If they are the nice and good ones, that makes a man question what type of woman you are, Jessica."

He shoots the second shot and pours a third, sticking the bottle on the bar between them. "Sounds like you have a story. I'll listen sometime, if you ever feel like talkin'. One thing a man learns in prison is patience, and how to listen."

Jessica Jones holds out a hand and wobbles it, "One friend, one acquaintance, one chick I just met," she says. "And I kinda pissed off the friend, so…we'll see on that end,' she sighs. "My mouth, if you haven't noticed, tends to get me in trouble."

She lights a fresh cigarette and nods, "Prison, huh? Sounds like you got a story, too. One thing I've learned as a detective, though, is most people's personal shit is just that: personal. Doesn't much matter to other people, except in how it effects them directly," she says. "Not saying I don't care, but I just met you so…y'know, I don't care. But maybe I will. Eventually," she grins.

Luke Cage laughs, "Fair enough." He grins, leaning back against the counter behind him and crossing his arms over his abdomen. "Carol, right? Yeah, I think you might have crossed a bit of a line there. She'll either get over it, or she won't. I'd say some stupid shit about keeping your mouth busy drinking would keep you from gettin in trouble, but that is total bullshit and we both know it. Hell, sometimes that is the cause of the shit."

Jessica Jones shrugs, "Seems to me everybody was kinda bein' a little mouthy that night, but I guess I spilled her business," she sighs. "People get sensitive about shit. I dunno. I've had people talking garbage about me all my life, so I just learned to shrug it off. Fuck them if they don't like me, generally," she says.

"But Carol's a nice person, usually, and I shouldn't be a bitch to her. I just…wasn't thinking," she says. "I'll talk to her. Maybe let her slap me around a bit. She's one of the few who could," she grins. "She's also gorgeous and blonde and tall as a fucking skyscraper, so she has lots of advantages anyway and maybe she should cut me some fucking slack."

Luke Cage says, "Can't say I don't agree. I mean, from what I could tell I was the subject of most of the tongue waggling. Not that I cared really, at least it was flattering." Luke says with a roll of his shoulder.

"I don't know Carol all that well myself. Just remember giving her some advice not to take a blind date once, which I guess she didn't take and regretted that decision from what I could gather."

Jessica Jones grins, "Yeah, Carol makes her own decisions. SHe asks for advice, but she's gonna do what she wants, end of the day. Can't say I'm any different, though," she says.

She grins wryly remembering that night, "Yeah, it was all complimentary. That Sharon chick probably was about five minutes from inviting you down to the no-tell down the street," she says. "Girl was in straight-up need. Folks act like only guys get that way, but the truth is, horny's just human, period."

Luke Cage chuckles, "Yeah, no shit. I have a feeling if I had just leaned down and blew a breath across her neck she might have just caused a mess right then and there. Hell, wouldn't have been a need for a motel. My apartment is just upstairs. Not like anyone there wasn't going to know if it happened, so trying to keep in on the down low would have just been silly." He grins, "Seem to recall you being pretty blunt that night yourself. Was that just to try and make me or your friends embarrassed?

"Yeah, Carol seems like the no shit type. I'm sure if you talk to her you'll probably get back on the same page. Hopefully it doesn't come to her belting you one, but hey..if your willing to take it I guess it is an option." he leans forward again and takes the shot on the bar, slamming it back. "You got an extra smoke on you?"

Jessica Jones laughs, pulling out her pack and offering a cigarette to the big man, "Hey, I was honest earlier: lonely as fuck right here. Most of the men I meet are either already married (which doesn't stop them from hitting on me), cops who hate my guts and want me to stay out of their business. Or they just wonder why I'm not wearing a dress and ready to get knocked up and married the second they sneer in my direction," she sighs.

"But I don't tend to play coy. You're a good lookin' man, even if I'm not inclined to drool like a puppy dog about it."

Luke Cage takes the cigarette and reaches into his pocket to pull out a lighter. "Well, can't fault you for that, Jessica. Fact is, kind of refreshing if you ask me. Girl wants a guy why not just come out and say that shit? You got needs that need taken care, I got the means to take care of it. No strings, no commitments. We can just go upstairs and do something about that."

He flicks the lighter and touches the flame to the tip, inhaling to brighten up the cherry before blowing the smoke out over his head, "Of course, if you don't want that, no harm no foul either. You ain't going to hurt my feelings and have another shot."

Jessica Jones grins and leans back in her chair, "Why don't we let me have one more shot and then I can figure out how I feel about that?" she says, rapping her knuckles on the bar. "If I'm gonna be technical, I have an appointment to watch Mr. Wasserwitz pumping away on his secretary in about two hours, according to the average time it's gonna take the two of them to eat the Veal Parm at Donatello's. But…I mean…they do that twice a week anyway, so I could always reschedule," she grins.

Luke Cage chuckles and lifts the bottle to pour her another shot. "Well, you would have to reschedule. I don't think two hours would be nearly enough." He taps the ashes of his cigarette into the ashtray in front of them, and pours himself another shot as well. "Something tells me Mrs. Wasserwitz will be getting enough of a settlement that she can afford to skip one round of photos anyway."

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