1965-03-10 - Night At Eight Ball
Summary: Arlo meets Felix and finds out cops aren't all bad.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
felix arlo 

A mutant bar, one with pool tables and beer. This is what Arlo does after work. He's in a t-shirt and jeans, sitting at one of the low couches. He's got a beer in hand and is vaguely staring at the TV without really watching it. Only mutants and vouched normies get in, and it's a haven for mutants. A place they can be tehmselves. Arlo looks normal, though. He could pass if he wanted.

The problem isn't that Felix is a mutant. His mutation is an effect, rather than something that shows up in his appearance. The problem is that what is in his appearance is the unmistakable stamp of a cop. Something around the eyes, the way he carries himself, even if one can't see or sense the pistol tucked away under his jacket. He's heading for the bar, dressed sedately in leather jacket, t-shirt, and jeans.

Arlo's gaze flits to the newcomer. He stands out. He sizes Felix up and gathers he's a cop. Vouched for? On the take? He doesn't look like a mutant. Then again, neither does Arlo. He continues to watch Felix, and he takes a drink of his beer. Christ, nowhere is safe from the cops. At least Arlo isn't high right now.

Arlo is not the only one to note that - there are eyes following the cop to the bar. But the bouncer and bartender seem to know him, and there's a gradual relaxation of vigilance. Fel himself seems at ease, enough so to remove his glasses and rub his eyes with the heel of a palm while the bartender pours him a scotch and soda.

Arlo drains his beer. Whelp, it's time for another. He gets up and ambles over to the bar. He gathers glances, too, mostly from women about his age (nineteen? twenty?). He's a looker in his wiry, slender way. It's the long lashes and full lips, the easy swagger in his stride. Plus he's got that wounded pup look some girls find irresistable. He leans against the bar next to Felix, setting down his empty glass. "I need another one of these." His accent is street.

This guy's in his thirties, at least. Maybe older, by the lines. Hard to tell - as the line goes, it's not the years, but the mileage. A look at Arlo, sidelong, from eyes narrow and deeply set. "Buy you a round," he says, very quietly. It may be mutant friendly, but that doesn't mean it's safe for other orientations.

Arlo's new job covers his expenses, but hey, why not enjoy a free beer when one is offered. He smiles at Felix, eyes lidded. "Sure," he says. Hey, muties stick together. That's all it is. Arlo likes girls, and this guy looks straight as an arrow. "Name's Arlo. What precinct do you work at?"

That question makes his brows furrow, and then rise, wryly. "Sixteenth," he says, on a sigh, then offers a rueful grin. Waiting on the reaction. He's had people get up and walk away. "I'm Felix. Yes, like the cat."

Arlo tilts his head. Sixteenth. That's not his problem, so he says, "Cool. You work vice?" Because some things have to be established before he gets up to walk away. Besides, he really wants that beer. "Felix," he says. "Like the cat. I like that."

"Homicide. Haven't worked vice in seven years, hated it like hell when I did," he says, nodding. "Don't care what you did or what you do so long as you don't kill anyone or do something illegal in front of me in public," That has the air of a canned speech. He grins at the name.

Arlo says, "Wait, so if I go home and smoke a doobie, you don't give a damn as long as it's not on the street corner?" He lays a hand to his chest and says, "I don't kill people. I get in fights, but I don't kill anyone." Not so much a canned speech on his end, but it's nice to establish these things.

"What I'm saying is….I don't feel compelled to know about it. I'm offduty," he says, serenely. "If you aren't making people dead, not my problem. Now, if you do do it in front of me on a streetcorner, especially in front of other cops, that is a different matter. Make sense?"

"Yeah, you gotta play ball, I get it," Arlo says. "Don't worry, I do all my vice in private, and I try not to beat up people when cops are around. Just, you know, some people need punched." He shrugs a shoulder. What, it's a fundamental truth. The beer arrives, and he takes a drink, then sighs. Fuck yeah, beer.

He tips his own drink at Arlo, in mute assent. "From your lips to God's ears, son," he says, voice gone sardonic.

Arlo laughs. "Yeah, to someone's ears," he says. He takes another drink of beer. The way he's putting it away, he's not going to be sober for long. "So what do you do when you're not chasing after murderers? What does a cop do when he's off duty? I never thought about it before. I mean drink, obviously."

"You mean like hobbies? Depends on the cop. Me, I run, I read, I swim," he says, with a shrug. "I know a guy who collects stamps. What about you?"

"I drink," Arlo says. "I certainly don't get high." Look at that halo gleam. He licks beer foam from his lips. "I walk a lot. I'm still learning the neighborhood. I used to do this little trick for money, but I stopped, so I need to get a new hobby, I guess."

Felix eyes him, as if not wholly sure how to parse that. "Yeah?" he asks, more slowly. "Where you from?"

Arlo glances down at his beer as he says, "Upper West Side. Got kicked out, I was in Hell's Kitchen, but eh, messy breakup, so I decided to come be among my own kind. At least if they're assholes, they're on equal footing, you know what I mean?"

"We're all assholes with weird genetics together?" He ventures, as if he's not in the least sure he's parsing what Arlo means. Sipping from his own drink like he intends to nurse it for a good while.

Arlo grins slowly, and his shoulders shake as he laughs. "Sure," he says. "I just mean we're on equal footing. Socially, the power levels are the same. You don't have some normie hanging it over your head you're a freak. Here, they're the freaks." He eyes Felix sidelong. "No offense if…"

"I'm a mutant," he says, calmly. Where else can he say it out loud, with no fear of reprisal or insult? "Not one of the ones who can't hide it, but I am."

Arlo nods, and he relaxes even more. "Yeah, I can pass," he says, rather unnecessarily. He glances down at his beer, swirling it in its glass. "So what's your deal?" he asks.

There's a blur, and Arlo's beer is in front of Felix, still sloshing gently. Fast enough that the ordinary eye can't follow. "That."

Arlo blinks a bit, sitting up straighter. "Hey," he says, that's mine. He takes it again, moving it in front of him. Wagging a finger at Felix, he says, "Don't mess with the beer. Nice trick, though." He considers Felix a moment, then says, "You ever wonder what sound looks like?"

"Can't say I have, but if you can show me, I wanna see," Fel returns. He can't help but grin a little - it's too broad for his face, but it knocks years off.

Arlo echoes the grin, it must be infectious. "Okay," he says. He trails his fingertips over the back of Felix's hand. The music from the jukebox keeps playing, and in the field of Felix's vision, there are flashes of blue to the beat. Different shades of blue, and some flickers of white and orange unfurl with the tune. "Do you see that?" Arlo says. "Isn't it cool?"

It makes Fel jump, at first. And then he's smiling, oddly shy. "It really is," he says, slowly, eyes tracking on the imagery. IT gives him a weird, half-blind look.

Arlo's gaze follows the colors; he's experiencing it too. "I can do it on command," he says. "And sharpen my senses, share them. Steal them. It can get pretty intense." The voices in the crowd are a purple murmur, and the crack of a billard ball against another is scratchy white lines. "It's too bad you don't get high. This is such a trip."

"Kid, you're making me wish I could," His tone is very wistful. Detective Straitlaced doesn't have a lot of chances to let down his hair. Not that his actual hair can be let down - it's barely more than a crewcut.

"No one would even know," Arlo says. "Sometimes this is enough, though. I mean I don't judge. It just helps me keep a damper on my senses, you know? Sometimes they flare up, and it's just too much. I gotta dull them down." He takes another drink, then laughs. "I can't believe I'm telling a cop this."

"I understand," he says, softly. "I've had moments like that." Which explains the medicine cabinet full of sedatives back home. Sometimes you have to slow down to human speed.

Arlo is quiet a moment, and he bows his head. "The mutation giveth," he says eventually, "and the mutation taketh away. But hey, at least we get each other. It's rough having to lie all the time and act normal just to get by. Especially when there's brothers and sisters who don't have that luxury."

Felix snorts at that. "Yeah. Exactly. Passing is hard, but it's good to be able to do so." Inasmuch as he does - kind of an open secret, really.

"So I bet your thing helps you catch criminals," Arlo says. "I don't really know what to do with mine. Getting people high off me for money, but I've got a real job now, so I'm a party trick."

His smile is slow, conspiratorial. "It's been very helpful. Especially when I was a beat cop, believe me." That confession makes him grin. "What's your real job?"

Arlo says, "Yeah, I just bet. You gonna cuff me and stuff me?" He takes another swig of beer, then says, "I'm a janitor. I know, glorious, but it pays the bills."

Felix's lips purse, as he bites down on a smile. Stifling his immediate retort, which could get taken in oh such wrong ways. "Nothing to be ashamed of. Honest work," he says.

"Exactly," Arlo says, innocent as can be, or at least naive. "I'm good with it. I keep my head down and my nose clean. Sweep and mop the floors. It's not exactly Columbia's school of business, but." He shrugs. "That ship sailed a long time ago."

He nods at that, commiserating. No offering hopeful platitudes - Fel's enough of a Russian to let cynicism drive things, for a moment.

All the better. Arlo isn't open to platitudes. Sometimes sitting there in the pessimism of it all is what's needed. "Well, what are you gonna do, you know?" he says, and he finishes his beer. "There's nothing wrong with honest work."

"Exactly," Fel agrees. He picks up his glasses again, puts them on. It changes his face, removes some of that vulnerability. Hesitates, and then glances at the jukebox thoughtfully.

It only lasts for about ten minutes. Then the colors start to fade away, and once more Felix is left in a world where music only touches one sense. "So what got you into police work?" Arlo asks. "Were you always this straight-laced?"

He has a momentarily incredulous lift of his brows. "I….wanted to be a cop that actually protected people. And didn't prey on them, like the cops I remembered from when I grew up. I was a kid in Moscow."

Arlo whistles lowly. "Moscow, huh? I don't think you mean Moscow, Pennsylvania." At the incredulousness, he waves a hand and says, "Relax, I'm not disparaging your character. I mean have you always looked and dressed like nonsense won't be tolerated?"

A moment, and then he relaxes into a grin that's almost sheepish. "Yeah," he says. "I kinna had to. I wasn't a big guy and I've always worn glasses. Hard to get other cops to take you seriously, when you look like that."

Arlo looks Felix over. "Yeah, I guess you gotta live up to them. I remember having stuff to live up to. The pressure's tough. Me, I prefer to dress down and let the bastards think what they want. But what do I know? I'm a janitor."

"Cops….there's still a lotta macho bullshit. Especially since I'm foreign-born," Fel's just matter of fact about it. "I want to do my job. So I play along with the bullshit as far as I can." Finally working on that drink in a genuine hurry.

Arlo grins slowly. "Yeah? So when you're alone, do you let your hair down? What there is of it? Don't worry, I won't tell. You're the first cop I've had a conversation this long with. Most of them are just looking for what I'm doing wrong."

Felix points to it, what there is of it. And grins. "I'm pretty quiet. No wife, no kids, more or less married to the job. Got family in Little Odessa, that's it."

Arlo says wryly, "I got family on the Upper West Side, but I don't see them. I don't want to. Other than that?" He shrugs. "I live alone in a hole-in-the-wall apartment a couple blocks from here. No girlfriend, no prospects, but I got an honest job."

…..hm. Fel knows better than to press on that front. But….it makes a lot more sense for a poor kid in his twenties to be single than a man established and creeping up on middle age. He nods. "Hard to find someone good in this town. You'd think the sheer number of people here, but…."

"You think you find someone good," Arlo says. "You give her three years of your life, she finds out you're a mutant, and she leaves you." He shakes his head. "I think I've given up on women. If there's good ones out there, they're out of my league, man."

Felix spreads his hands. "Exactly. hat's the other thing. Maybe down here I'll meet a girl who is one, too. But can deal with my being a cop." He doesn't sound terribly sanguine about this.

Arlo peers into his empty glass, a frown pursing his lips. "I don't know, they'd probably like a cop better than a janitor. Cops can provide, you know what I mean? But hell, I'm not looking for a wife or anything. I wouldn't know what to do with one."

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