1965-03-22 - Prohibition, Grilling, and Tabula Rasa
Summary: In which Johnny and Mike talk Puritians, Prohibition, and Grilling.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
johnny-storm mike-matthews 


"So there she is, Delatour, with this megaphone attached to a blinking box, ready to blast the little crystal things and the chandeliers, glasses, everyone on the dance floor when all of a sudden it just explodes, blasting her backward, shower of sparks… and those crazy crystal creatures? All of a sudden two real big ones show up… turns out, the ones we've been seeing and getting drunk? Just babies.." Mike says, continuing to tell the story that he'd been telling Johnny as they'd been walking down the street toward the entrance of the club. "Picked up the little ones and just took off, like a shot," he gestures straight up. "Who knew bartending would be so eventful!" He holds open the door and then heads inside, following Johnny and taking a look around.


Johnny chuckles softly, shaking his head slowly, "And what do the big ones get up to?" he inquires, voice calm and sort of lazily content. He is dressed in a simple pair of jeans and tightly fitted red t-shirt, "I'm going to guess that the adult version isn't so keen on just getting drunk." He passes within and gestures around, grinning, "This is one of the more unusual clubs in town, though fair warning, there's a non-zero chance that it'll get raided by the cops. It probably won't because the mob owns it and pays bribes, so even if it was to be raided someone would probably get tipped off and warn everyone inside."


"No idea," Mike admits with a shake of his head. "They just took off. Looked to me like some errant kids decided to party on earth for a bit and mom and dad finally found them and took them home." He gives a little shrug of his shoulders. "They weren't there long enough to try and ask." He then takes a look around the club as they walk inside and then says, "And if it does get raided by the cops?" Because there are any number of different possible reactions, and he wants to make sure that he's prepared appropriately. It doesn't seem to bother him that the place might be raided by the cops, though.


"Oh. Huh. That's a far more benevolent outcome them I was expecting; I figured kids getting drunk, parents eat everyone." Johnny chuckles softly, heading to the bar to nod to the bartender and order scotch. He gestures to Mike, flashing a smile, "First round's on me." Then he purses his lips, "Well, me, if it gets raided, I'll flame on and see who is brave enough to try to arrest me. Really, its just intimidation. Its a sort of catch-and-release without any serious consequences. The Foundation will take care of any fines."


Mike Matthews laughs, "I don't know. They didn't sound happy at first. The little buggers scattered everywhere. Hid in the chandeliers, even. But then they called out to them a couple more times and they took off. It was actually pretty funny." He shrugs his shoulder. "But I don't speak crystal critter, so I have no idea what they were saying." He sidles up to the bar and leans up against it, nodding to the bartender and asks for a bourbon for himself. He then nods and says, "Ah. Well, here's to not being raided, at least for this evening, if possible." He lifts his glass when it arrives and takes a swallow.


"Crystal critter isn't one of your known languages?" Johnny asks, deadpanning a shocked expression before he grins, tosses back the two fingers of his scotch and tapping the glass with a nod to the bartender to fill it up again. "Well, you'll never accuse me of coming from a boring planet, I expect." He grins "Oh, really, here's-to, yes, but the mob really does keep the police paid off. It makes me wonder why they even bother; make something illegal and what happens? The mafia shows up to monetize i. You know they made alcohol illegal for awhile?"


Mike Matthews smirks at Johnny just a little bit and takes up his glass, his attention shifting out to the room and those in it, watching as they come and go, couples moving out onto the dance floor while others move off, mutants drifting by with very obvious mutations — though truth be told, he was accustomed to seeing alien beings that might look like mutants with obvious mutations or vice versa. He raises both brows and says, "Alcohol? Illegal? Why would anyone do that?" He seems baffled.


"There was this Temperance movement, where some self-righteous people— think Kryptonians— thought alcohol was the root of all social ill. Men beat their wives? Alcohol. Crime? Alcohol. Infidelity? Alcohol." Johnny waves a hand expansively, "At the time, women couldn't vote, but their Temperance Movement was hugely popular because they had super nagging powers and cooked. Anyways, they managed to convince a lot of people that if only the nation went dry, all would be well. Instead, it gave birth to truly organized crime for the first real time; there had been gangs before, but nothing with the power, wealth or organization of the bootleggers and speakeasy's and such run by the mobs."


Mike Matthews turns to lean back against the bar, studying Johnny's profile as he listens with interest. He's always been interested in history, and he seems to drink it in whenever more of it is offered. He lofts a brow and says, "Interesting. So, in essence they only made the entire industry more lucrative through making it illegal, giving rise to those willing to provide it for a premium because it is more difficult to get. It's not an uncommon phenomenon, but I wasn't aware it was something that had happened here. So then, they decided to make it legal again? After how long? What caused them to do so?" He takes another swallow from his drink. Then he chuckles and says, "Or.. would you rather go and dance? Rather than answer my endless questions."


"Exactly. Worse, though, they made it more lucrative— but worse. Alcohol from the prohibition era was bootlegged— made unofficially— and wasn't aged, entire processes for making fine distilled spirits were lost and after the fact it took years to rediscover the method when the companies went out of business." Johnny looks a little wistful, though of course he didn't live through this; he came up not long after, though, so he heard stories. "It lasted 13 years. It ended because they argued almost the same thing— it wasn't alcohol that caused all of social ills, it was its outlaw. Plus, it was rural america imposing their puritanical values on urbans, where the prohibition was always less popular." He then takes a long drink from his scotch and grins, "Hey, we can dance later. I like the company, its not mutually exclusive."


Mike Matthews doesn't understand the term bootlegged, but he seems to get the gist after further explanation, nodding a little bit more once he seems to catch on. He holds his own glass out toward the bartender for a refill and gives a dip of his head in thanks when he receives one. "What does puritanical mean?" he asks, since that one he doesn't quite get. He then chuckles and says, "No, it's not."


"Ah." Johnny laughs softly and tilts his head, "I sort of mentioned them early on; the country was founded— in part— by religious zealots who were persecuted in their country of origin. The Puritans were once such group, and they founded one of our very first colonies. They were… extremely strict in their interpretation of the faith, in particular in their restriction of behavior deemed sinful: pleasure, sex. To be puritanical is to be austere, strict, cool." Pause, "Boring as fuck." Johnny laughs and shrugs, "The influence of those roots are felt today, even though no one really follows that faith specifically anymore. Especially beyond cities, where people knew fewer people, fewer different people, fewer people whot hink differently, they tend to be … stricter." He finishes off his second drink then, and taps it for some more.


"Ah, right, yes. I remember, now." Mike lifts his glass but doesn't sip from it, considering for a moment, and then chuckling with a nod in agreement with Johnny's assessment. Boring as fuck, yes. He says, "There were societies that were not dissimilar where I'm from. It wasn't something that we had on Daxam, but there were others that we interacted with that had various levels of strict adherence to particular faiths that were.. limiting in their nature, of things that they considered to be outside of their particular moral code." He then does take a sip from his glass.


"If it is possible for a humanoid to feel superior to another, they will do all they can to feel that superiority." suggests Johnny with a slight nod and a grimace, "Even if it means depriving themselves of what is essentially the essence of their rights as a humanoid. I use the word 'humanoid' not from a human-centric sense but we don't really have a good word for Pan-Species-People-Like-Beings." At that, he snickers, "Its a trait of being… a person. You can be superior to someone else by actually being better, or you can make everyone else around you less. The latter is easier."


"I think we just call them people," Mike says, "Or at least, that's the closest word that you have to what I would conceptually call the same thing." He takes another swallow from his glass and finishes it off, setting it down on the bar and then looking back out into the bar itself. "One of the things that I find I struggle with here is that I am used to so many different types of people. I went to the museum to that event with the Indian art, and there were statues with multiple arms, and of elephant people, and I had a hard time determining which of these images were from myths and stories and whether or not there are actually six armed people who live in this place you call India." He chuckles, "I still find myself discovering things constantly even after having been here for some time now."


"Anything that doesn't look, essentially, like us, is a myth unless it happened recently; mutations are … new." Johnny nods, some sympathy entering his voice as he sips his scotch "But I can totally get the question. Go to another thing and you'll see people with wings. Angels. But our imagination vastly outstrips our differences; we even imagine grand differences where the only real difference is the amount of a certain pigment naturally expressed in skin. You must think us a little bit mad."


"I find it surprising, strange.. It's definitely something that I am not used to, but I have been learning, over time, what sorts of things are considered unusual here that wouldn't have been elsewhere." Mike then smiles a little wryly and says, "Yes, I had it pointed out to me that most of these art pieces were all to be considered symbolic representations and not literal replicas of figures. It did make it easier to not seem mad, myself… which is more of what I struggle with than the reverse."


Johnny grins and nods his head, sympathetic, reaching out to give Mike's arm a squeeze, "Its probably very strange, an entire context-switch; I can't fully get it, but I can imagine, I think." He nods his head then, "The goal is to not seem insane, or not, but eccentric. Unpredictable. Once people don't know what to expect of you, its no longer a question of seeming mad, but a question of them catching up to you, and not vice-versa."


Mike Matthews smiles at the squeeze and says, "I mostly try to make people laugh and dazzle them with charm whenever they start to think something is off. Distraction maneuvers." He reaches out for his refilled glass and lifts it to his lips, taking another swallow before he says, "Catching up to me is another story altogether. I can move very fast." He gives a little flash of a grin though, indicating he full well knows what Johnny meant.


"Excellent moves." compliments Johnny with a quick grin, "I too am familiar with the dazzle-charm approach, but I mix it up with shock, awe and just a little bit of offense. Being outrageous is practically part of my branding." He laughs then and nods, shrugging helplessly, "Fair point. Unless I'm in the air I'm sure I can't outrun you, and even that I don't guarantee a long-term match for success."


Mike Matthews chuckles and gives a little bit of a handwave and says, "You have things. I have things. We seem to work together as a team when we combine those things, so I think it all evens out in the wash.. sort of." Then he says, "I am not good enough at knowing exactly what is offensive and what is not, and how to give just enough offense without too much, in this culture. Maybe in another couple of years I will be prepared for those sort of advanced maneuvers."


Johnny waves a hand idly, "Or maybe you'll never need to; you have the smile of warmth, and here you don't have the playboy royal thing to live up or down. Maybe here you don't need to walk the balancing line between fame or notoriety. Maybe you can just be the good guy. Or not. Its your choice: my place is half-chosen half-chosen-for-me. You might not have to make similar choices, and need similar maneuvers."


"Well, I wasn't saying that I'd necessarily need to. I was more just attempting to be funny," Mike says with a little bit of a laugh and gives Johnny's shoulder a light squeeze. He then finishes off the remainder of his drink and sets the glass to the side. "Sometimes I do miss people knowing I'm a Prince," he admits with a shrug of his shoulders. "But no, I don't have anything to live up to or live down here.. and there's nothing wrong with that."


Johnny nods with a quick dip of his head, "I can get that, missing it; I don't even know what I'd do if suddenly hey, Johnny Storm wasn't a brand. I'd probably flip burgers somewhere, or just be a human grill." He smirks, finishing his third drink and rising, "So I get it. I just mean, there's something to be said with a clean slate, tabula rasa, nothing is written. Okay, let's try this whole dancing thing."


"I can't picture you as a human grill," Mike admits with a shake of his head and an easy laugh. "You'd still be a racer. I can't imagine you not working on engines and racing machines." He does, however, rise as well and pull away from the bar when Johnny does, moving toward the dance floor. "I won't argue against a clean slate, since I can't say as I have much to complain about." He gets a little bounce in his step as soon as they leave the bar, the music beginning to move him even before he's actually fully out there.


"Man, with my control of temperature, I make perfect steaks every time." Johnny says with absolutely no hint of shyness. "They are seared to perfection on the outside and exactly medium rare to the degree. Mon-el, man, I am a perfect human grill." He laughs and shrugs, but follows towards the dance floor. "But you're right." he admits with a nod, "I'd always work the engines, and the tracks, and play the risk. I'm a betting man and nothing makes me feel more alive then the challenge. Nothing outside of bed, at least."


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