1965-03-07 - Bar Advice
Summary: Calvin visits Club Atomic to check out the mutant scene and ends up giving life advice to the bar's young owner.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
douglas mimic 

Alcohol was something that Calvin was always down for, spending time in Mutant Town was also high up on that list. In fact, the list as a whole only had three things on it. Calvin was always down for drinking, being around other mutants and punching someone. That was it, that was the whole list. So when he heard about this new bar in town, he had made a mental note to come and check it out, and then repeatedly had to put that mental note back up because there were other more pressing things that had demanded his attention but tonight, nothing else required his presence, just this bar.

The idea of going in when it may be packed with mutants though wasn't on the itinerary. He knew his own limits and while feeling full of power entirely was a thrilling and addicting experience, it was dangerous to more than just the people around him but also himself. He could only handle so much at once.

So a Wednesday evening, Cal thought might be safer, around five pm, before too many people would be filing in felt safest. And that's precisely when Calvin Rankin arrives, tightly fitted button down shirt, tight pants, the sleeves rolled up on his shirt and approaches the bar, waiting to see if anything takes over.

There are always a few mutants in here, when the place is open — this is the place for it, but in the middle of the week things are slow enough that it's not precisely overwhelming. The Jukebox is going and a few of the locals are scattered about, drinking beer — no band in tonight. There is a young man in a bow tie at the bar, talking to tonight's bartender — when you get close to him, you start being able to understand… things. Nuances of movement, of body language. He's genial but there's an undertone of frustration to him right now, a sort of general one, not directed at anybody present in particular. It's… an odd clarity.

Calvin can't honestly tell if this is a mutation he's pulling off of the other man or some kind of self taught skill, /understanding/ as a whole is hard to pinpoint. Though when he opens his mouth to order something, a language that is very much not English comes out instead and leaves Calvin with a perplexed look on his face as if he were not the one who'd just spoken.. Swahili.. is what his mind quickly provides.

Doug looks up and tilts his head, before he responds. First in Swahili, then in Afrikaans. You never know, Calvin might be South African, though it seems odd to start off on that foot. Either way, he's saying 'Hello, welcome to my bar'. He extends his hand for a handshake.

Calvin understands both, so either this man is just multilingual or this is a mutation. Could be either. He takes the offered hand and shakes it and responds back in the second language now, trying yet again to order a beer. He smiles slightly and gives Doug a once over. In Afrikaans, he asks Doug, "Speak another language to me, any one."

The bartender has no idea what the guy is asking for. Doug tilts his head, and looks at Calvin, and then promptly switches to sign language. His fingers move into it, skillfully, effortlessly, like he was born to it. 'Like this?' He signs.

Calvin is impressed if this isn't a mutation. Hell, he's impressed if it is. And very few things impress the man who can do anything so long as he's close to someone else that can. His eyebrows spring up and that smile widens, flashing shiny white teeth at Doug. He pulls his own hands up and signs back to him, just as effortlessly as Doug does. "Exactly like that. This is amazing. You're amazing." Of all the mutations that Calvin has mimicked over time, this one is the one craziest to him.

Doug's eyebrows go up, and he says, 'You think so? I always thought that when they handed out mutant powers, I must've been out taking a leak. How are you responding to me?' He gestures to the bartender and says, "Get him a beer. Just ignore us."

"No, see, that was me. I'm mimicking you. That's my ability. Anything you can do, I can do just as well as you by being near enough. It's not just mutation, I can copy skills too. I was fantastic at pissing off the other team when I was kid in soccer because I could copy any move any of them made." He explains with a wink. "Everything else I've copied, mutation wise, at least, is all about making the most damage, which is useful, I'll give you that but /this/?" And he signs that with an amused smile that he gives to Doug. "This is groovy."

The corner of Doug's mouth turns up in a smirk, and he says, switching back to English, "Well I'm flattered. I'm Doug, and this is my bar. You have the power to mimic other people? That's neat—" He thinks about that, and then says, "You'd be the ultimate team player, actually, since you can back up any group on aky task. What does a guy DO with a power like that? I know of a Mutant who can absorb other people's powers… it's kind of messy though."

"This is your bar? You're so young, though." He seems to be impressed by that too and gives Doug /another/ once over, as if there was an age limit on people allowed to own bars, or maybe he's just using it as an excuse to check Doug out, again. Who knows. "I can't keep any of it. The powers, I mean, and if there's too many I get overloaded, because I know the mutation to the exact level you do… and that can get overwhelming when I have five of them at once. I like yours. I don't have to worry I'm going to put a hole through your bar borrowing it. Might make some poor sap feel like an idiot when I start speaking three languages simultaneously to him, though."

"You learn to modulate it, tune things out." Doug says, before he shrugs, "Well, I'm technically only half-owner, but the other investor's a silent partner, he's fine with getting a cut of the profits and drinking for free." He gives a grin, and a shrug, and then he says, "It's kind of a part of a long-term vision, you know?" Then he strokes his chin, "Not that it hasn't had its stresses." He's not precisely thrilled about something, that someone — not Calvin, but someone — noticed this place.

"I would assume it does, owning any sort of business usually does and you own a mutant friendly one, that comes with it's very own set of problems all their own." Calvin agrees, cocking his head slightly to the side at the change of look on Doug's face and surprised when he can read it. "Something's bothering you. I can.. read that, off of your face. Is that something else that you can do?"

Doug looks up, and raises an eyebrow. "Face, movement, gesture. I can, yeah. It gets a little annoying, actually. You have to learn not to 'hear' people and sometimes when I'm in a crowd I get too much at once, and I get a kind of vertigo." He shrugs his shoulders. "Weed helps. Also, I understand the meanings of things that would just be ambient to other people, like birdsong… it's pretty smutty."

That last bit makes Calvin laugh hard, nearly choking on the beer he was drinking. He pulls in a deep breath and covers his mouth to cough, looking at Doug through watery eyes. "I would imagine. They're all out there just trying to get laid and telling people to back off their nest, right?" He asks as he tries to remember how to breathe with beer in his lungs.

"That's about right." Doug says, leaning back against the bar. "Really they're not SO much different from people…" He snorts, and strokes his chin, thinking about something else. "Sorry if you're getting weird stuff from me, I've just got a lot on my mind. Not really anything I can do anything about, though."

"You wanna talk 'bout it?" He taps the bar and motions for the bartender to bring him two beers and he presses one towards Doug with the backs of his knuckles. "Here, unload, man. I'm a stranger, I ain't going to remember it tomorrow."

Doug thinks about, and then he says, "I suppose I'm just getting impatient, that's all. And feeling like as much as I'm trying to do, I'm not doing it the right way, that I'm just missing SOMETHING. I'm getting angry at having to deal with temperamental friends — some are trying really hard, and I see them growing every day. Others?" He snorts, "Completely up their own asses, and treating me like I'm some sort of…" He gestures. "You know, I can't think of the word?"

"You are gonna have to give me a little more to go off of than that. I don't have any friends here, Doug. I'm not going to remember the names. You're being vague. What's got you impatient? Is it work? School? Your powers? What temperamental friends?" Calvin tries to engage him and he doesn't know /why/. This is far more attention than he usually gives other people but being strangers seems to make it different. Maybe it's a nice change of pace to know that Doug struggles with other people too. To not be the one on the hot seat. "I'm Cal, by the way, didn't give you name. Treating you like your less than them?"

"Not exactly." Doug admits. Then he puts his hand over his eyes. "Look at me, dumping personal stuff on a stranger." Then he sighs. "It's more like — half of them are obsessed with propriety, like they think there's a way they've got to be or it makes them miserable — and they don't see that there's a freedom on the other side of the door, if they just go through it. The other…" he shakes his head, "I thought I could rely on him, once upon a time. Now I'm starting to see that I can't. And it hurts me. Just… seeing people as they really are, I guess. I still care, I just… can't depend."

"That's the exact reason you should dump it on me, pal. I'm a stranger. I ain't gonna remember any of it and I've got a clean slate as far as you go, so I'm on your side inevitably." Cal says reaching over to heavily pat Doug's shoulder. "I think everyone is afraid of being themselves as a mutant. So much hatred out there. You can't expect people to get over that fear overnight, takes time. Immersion therapy. I know a lot about hate, it screws people up inside." He advises gently, shaking Doug's shoulder before he moves the hand away. "Sometimes we gotta let people go in life."

Doug thinks about that, and the thought seems to have a bitter taste, and leave him galled. "I'm still trying to figure out who I am, in order to be me. And to be perfectly frank? Nobody seems willing to help, and it's churning me up inside. I've thought about leaving my share of the bar to Jay, he's the house musician here, and just going on a walkabout again, but I know that'd leave him miserable, and wouldn't really solve anything — but I honestly don't know what to do…" He shrugs. "And that's just it. I don't know. I can't fix their problems — I can't even fix my own. But I can't just ignore them either. My powers *won't let me*, and *none of them get it*. No matter how often I say it — they don't understand that I'm picking up on every single thing they don't say. I'm stuck being empathetic when *I don't want to be*."

Calvin picks up the beer, forcibly takes Doug's hand and presses it into it. "Alright, hon, first of all, you are going to drink this." He insists pressing Doug's wrist up. "Second of all, while abandoning everything sounds fantastic and exactly what you need, it isn't. You find yourself through the challenges you face. How old are you? Twenty three? Young still. You've got time." Calvin advises. "You can't change what you are, it's hard, I'm sure, I hear you, and if you need to take a step back from your friends because they have too much going on, then that's fine too. You have to accept what you can't help."

"That's just it." Doug says, "The only way for me to not *hear* it, so to speak, is to not be around them. And if I just shut them out, even if I tell them, 'Look, I can't help but pick up on what's eating you alive, and I can't help, so you're honest-to-god hurting me and I need to take a step back' it's like…" He shakes his head, and sighs. "Never mind, it's not helping and I'm a selfish bastard, aren't I?" He looks at the beer, and then shrugs, and tips it back. It's his beer, after all.

Calvin taps on the bar for another round, taking the empty beer from Doug and then presenting him with another. "Don't make you selfish at all, and I'll bet if you tried saying exactly that, they wouldn't think you were being an asshole in the least. You can read everyone else, Doug, but I'll bet no one can read you. They don't know that they're hurtin' you, unless you tell them."

Doug looks at the beer, and then waves it at Calvin. "I'm an asshole if I drink too much." Then he puffs out his cheeks, and says, "…I'll try." He shakes his head. "But I'm not optimistic." He sits, in a slouch, and rests his chin in his hand. "But thanks for hearing me out, stranger. I'll tell you what, come to the next night where we have live music, I'll spot you a few drinks."

"I'm an asshole always, but more so when I drink alot. So we have that in common, mon amie." He says, French coming out more eloquently than he means it to and he bets that has something to do with Doug. "You don't strike me as someone who's optimistic very often, Gorgeous. You might need to work on that too."

Doug raises an eyebrow, and says, "Maybe if I could shoot eyebeams or fly, I'd be a little more chipper. You'd think fluent french would've gotten me more dates than it did, but, no—" Then he shakes his head, and snorts. "Thanks, Cal. I owe you one for the advice. Let's see if I can follow it."

"Well, you ain't been whispering it between anyone's thighs is the problem." Calvin teases and winks at the linguistic mutant. "I can't do anything unless I'm next to someone who can, but I still try to look for the best in the world." That's only a recent truth. Years in college did that to him, and he only looks for the best, because otherwise he /will/ find the worst and that's never a good ending.

Doug looks down, and thinks about that. "Tell you what." He says, wryly, "Our house musician, can't miss him — red wings, golden voice, real looker — you should come by and get friendly with him." He smirks, "I think he'd be interested in a guy like you, Cal. In the meantime, I need to go try and smother myself in a pillow—" He looks up. "Come by more often, 'kay?"

"I give you some life advice and you trade me some yourself, hm? Wings are painful to grow back in and out, honey. But I'll come 'round to see you more often." He says, getting up to toss some bills on the bar top and then a few more on top of those. "See you around, Doug."

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