1965-05-06 - Life with Latkes
Summary: Post arrest and protest some of teh X-Ternals regroup for latkes, truths, and a beer
Related: None
Theme Song: None
arlo elmo jp 

Arlo usually leaves the upstairs apartment alone unless Gearhead tells him to come up for something. Today, however, he comes knocking. He's done cleaning up downstairs and has changed into his street clothes, in this case a t-shirt and jeans. He's got his battered leather bomber jacket, too. It's rarely ever far away from him.

JP closed the shop down from regular traffic. Elmo was exhausted and passed out somewhere. JP spent all night in a concrete bnb. TOday was an official day of rest. Gearhead had something tagged somewhere because he manually grabbed the door. Seeing Arlo eh nodded and muttered something in French some could assume to be come up, or come on in. Arlo was regular, he got treated casual. This was good as fancy greetings involved a lot of trolling and eyebrow waggling.

JP says, "How ya standin, Arlo? Get home a'ight? Wanna drink, there' shit in the fridge."

Arlo does well with casual. He steps into the apartment, hands shoved in his pockets. "Oh sure. Everyone went to a diner and I made it home okay. Heh, we had to hold Elmo back from coming after you." He grins despite himself and says, "Yeah, I'd like something." He gravitates toward the fridge, unsure if that was an invitation to get his own.

JP certainly wasn't playing no fancy host. Help yourself with permission seemed to be the way of it. The recollection brought a half grin to hi s face in bemusement, "Yeah, he good like that. He didn' want me t'go back alone, and while that's amazin? I do not wan' y'all t'get used to goin there like I did. That'd be me doin wrong by yous. If that' makin sense."

"I figure you know how to take care of yourself," Arlo says. He takes a beer from the fridge and meanders back over, unhurried as he looks around the place. "I can't believe I've never been arrested. I guess I just never got caught." No mystery there when he can always hear the cops coming. "You look no worse for wear. Did they treat you all right?"

JP snorted and joked, "Hell I tol' Elmo weren't the first time some stranger give me jewelry and take me back t'their place. Y aknow… he did not find that as funny as I did." There was the grin on mischief. The Cajun dropped into one of those stolen chairs and elet himself sink right into it. "Eh, the landlord' alright. THey smart on this one. THey know they try t' pin them signs on me they can't prove it in court. We didn' raise no fists so they lay hansds on me? Harlem Riot all over again an' what they do not want is aone them riots breakin out in the financial district. Cause then it's all their shit we breakin, not ours." He put a ridiculous amoun tof thought into this. Who knew. He tapped two fingers to his temple. "So yeah I'm fine. It' jes a few hours and SSev came an' got me. But the lesson is, pick you' battles. Location and advantage of damages? That everythin. Know what fights t'take and which hills to die on. That how you get ahead. Ya follow, man? Have a seat. Park a while."

Arlo settles into a seat and stretches his legs out. He takes a long drink of beer, and for once he actually looks like he might be considering getting comfortable. "I figured they didn't have shit on anyone. Worst they could do is question you." He grins, lowering his long-lashed gaze to the label on his beer. "Elmo, though. Jay and I had to hold him back and even then I wasn't sure he wasn't going to run after you. He's got a good heart. Sometimes, though, you just have to have faith."

JP let his eyes slide shut and that grin went ear to ear easily, "Yeah I htink that was a long night f'all of us. But faith man? Faith can be a scary fekkin thing. Have an angry angel choke you out agains ta wallsometime. Man, they can mean mug like a pro. Much respect there. But still, ya know you ain' wrong. Gotta trust the plan. DOn' mean it ain't scary as hell though."

"Sure," Arlo says. "He was plenty scared, but I knew you knew what you were doing. I guess he did, too, but he was afraid for you. He really cares about you." He studies JP, takes another drink, then admits, "I'm still trying to figure out what to make of you, but I doubt you do much of anything that isn't on purpose."

JP slouched down and let the grin hand easy as a saturday afternoon. "Eeeh don' mean it ain' scary as hell for me neither, man. So m'papa uset'tell me as a boy Jean-Pierre, braveery have shit t'do with fear. Bein brave have everythin t'do with gettin the job done even if you afraid. An' ya know i try' stick to that. But plans?" Oh how did he want to explain that one. his eyes didn't open but one eyebrow arched entertained by this discussion, "Part of the plan is havin no plan. Like… you go into a situation an' the plan ain' gonna survive contact withthe enemy times outta 10 anyways so why really bother. Know what you gotta accomplish, a then ya have fun and improvise til you get there. You get marreid to that plan and it changes? You'll be dead in the water. Usin the goal t'guide you is like sailin byt he stars man. You'lleventually get there. Promise you that, Arlo."

Arlo says, "I don't plan much. The information your senses tell you, it changes. You gotta act on what you know in the moment. That's what I live by, man, what my senses tell me. I had a plan, growing up, you know? Then I got kicked out. Plans get broken. You end up surviving moment to moment long enough, that becomes the plan." He shakes his head. "I don't know. I wasn't afraid for you, because I can't imagine anything keeping you down long."

JP sat withteh easy smile staying put, thought eh words, slurred as they were in that mess of French vowels was genuint, "Look I really 'preciate teh vote of confidence. It do mena a lot, Arlo. But you get it." His eye cracked open and looked to his company for a long moment and nodded in agreement with somethin. "Always wonder what it's like to get all that other information. That blows my mind, but ya know we get used t'the advantages we got. Adapt. move forwards. I thin k you like me in that regard. Don' fight what you can' win. Know when to pull teh rip cord on a thing."

"When I can't filter it out, I go kind of nuts," Arlo admits. "Most of the time I'm okay, though. You just get used to filtering through a lot of stuff for that one thing you're looking for." He raises his beer to JP. "Adapt and move forward." He bobs his head in a nod, then takes another drink. "Gotta know when it's time to walk away."

JP was slouched in what was now his chair (best chair) wearing his jeans… yup that's how thte world got him. His consession withthe world today was pants but he drew the line there. Fancy was for Yanks lettem tell you. He rubbed his face with a hand and murmured, "Yeah I dunno if I was ever born with so much common sense, but y'ain't wrong. There an art to it."

The door to one of the rooms opens and Elmo comes out, looking rough. Unshaven and exhausted, and wearing just an undershirt over his scrawny chest where he's usually wearing a full shirt, waistcoat, and tie. "Hey, boychik," he says to Arlo, voice hoarse, and schleps himself to the kitchen for water.

Arlo gestures to Elmo with his bottle and says, "Hey. You look like hell." He says it with amiable affection. A quick glance between Elmo and JP sorts out a few suspicions, but he says nothing about it. "I just came by to say hi. It's nice to get some time to get to know JP, you know?"

JP grinned in that lopsided manner that suggested if someone told him the room was on fire he might respond, well we have a couple minutes before it gets here, we fine'. Lazy. Lazy bemused Gearhead. Eyebrows went up curiously. His eyes looked, finally his head turned jsut as curious, "Heeey there , Sleeping Beauty. Was t' join the land of the living." Elmo said an hour. It'd been like four and a half.

"Why didn't you wake me up?" Elmo grouses at JP. He downs a couple glasses of water. He kind of shrug-nods at Arlo. Yep, he looks like hell, no lies there whatsoever. "An' you look like you belong on the cover a *Seventeen*, what's your point? Christ, I gotta piss like a racehorse." Schleps off to the bathroom to do just that.

Arlo laughs, and he shakes his head. One would think by now he'd be used to being the prettyboy. Wonder of wonders, he's still got some humbleness in him. "You guys are my kind of people," he tells JP. "Elmo's just the best. He's been a good friend."

JP had no idea what humble was and just preened. He wasn't even being spoken to but for the chiding which he also somehow, somehow, took as a compliment to his cleverness. "I tell you, Arlo, stick t'the game plan an' good things happen. There a bigger picture t'all this. I seen it." He yelled at the bathroom door, "Yeah I know I ain't tall enough t'see no future."

Elmo at least looks more alert when he comes back out, due to liberal applications of cold water. "I still don't know what that means," he tells JP, just annoyed as anything. He flumps on the beanbag and rubs his eyes.

Arlo grins at grumpy Elmo. D'aww. He salutes JP with his bottle. "I'm with you, JP. Don't worry about Felix. I keep that part of my life separate from this one. Emotions and all that." He runs a hand through his hair and gives it a toss with a shake of his head. There's something almost feminine about the gesture.

JP grinned at Elmo coming back and after the other owener of teh garage drops down into the beanbag does JP prop he feet up on it. "We had this talk?" He doesn't even remember bringing it up. Figures. Both eyebrows lifted and he said simply like the sky is blue "He a cop and I'm a share somethin with you I trust not to get back. There was a whooooole merde pile of paperwork cause I' near end of parole right now, and technically shouldn' be outta Louisiana. My brother did me a solid there. But that why Elmo' pissed at me.. This garage? These people an' me got a lot of history and I'm a do all I can t'give us a shot at not goin back man. Someday? Maybe other guys too. You, someone else? Whoever. If thinks gon' change we gotta change em cause the world don' give two shits 'bout us, so way I see it? We gon' have to start givin out the shits… I dunno if that saying really translates well. But, anyways, thank you f'no cops an… f'helpin me get htat thing utta the ceiling."

"Ain't always so easy," Elmo says to Arlo, but not snark. More thoughtful. Felix made some kind of impression on him. JP he shakes his head at. "'m not pissed at you. Except you let me sleep half the day, but aside from that. …Wasn't so much a talk as you talkin' in your sleep, is this something you actually want to say? Sounded like you were dreaming." He drapes an arm over JP's ankles. Comfortable, intimate body language. If some of the specifics of their relationship weren't painfully obvious before, they are now.

Arlo nods to JP soberly. "Yeah, none of that has anything to do with Felix, so there's no need for him to know. He's got enough on his plate doing homicide for the 16th. Just try not to murder people in front of me if you can avoid it. Self-defense I figure is fair. And I know some times tough calls have to be made, so I'll just happen to walk away if I need to."

JP wiggled his toesgetting comfortable in his chair and finally addressed the issue, "Qu'est-ce que tu veux de moi? You needed it, schmuck." Awwwwhe's learning. Even if his accent is, and forever will be, utterly terrible. That easy grin hung there and had no malice in it. Rollin his head back he murmired, "Eeeeh, Arlo, I'll make sure you ain' in the room. Ain' a path e'ery oe should have t'walk."

Elmo rolls his eyes, but doesn't argue more. That's how you know he really did need it. He jerks a thumb at JP, saying to Arlo, "He told me he was gonna get arrested, and not me. I did a terrible job with that. Thanks for not lettin' me, Arlushka. You 'n Jay, but I already thanked him."

Arlo inclines his head to Elmo. "What are friends for?" he says. He takes another drink, nursing his bottle along. With a nod to JP, he says, "I'm good for a lot of other things, though. You'll see. I know how to kick ass, and I'm not afraid to start a fight."

JP rubbed his forehead with his fingers watching the two talk giving Arlo a small nod. "I'll see? Arlo if I didn't a'ready see it you'd not be in my not-a-livin room." That smile had a plan. AIt always did. What plan that was he didn't say, as per usually, and maybe the plan was to come up WITH a plan later, but somehow these fiberous entanglements with society seemed to have some sort of weird purpose. "Don' worry about tryin so hard. It'll come. Now… what won't/ Is food. I gotta figure out how t'make that a thing. I ate my free spring rolls."

Elmo scratches his new beard growth, admitting, "Feel lousy for losin' my cool. So, glad you were there." He rubs his wrists next, not realizing he's doing it. "I told JP you can fight, and that you're good at it. That ain't in question, Arlo." He glances at JP. "Latkes?" he offers. "I could finally teach you how to make 'em."

Arlo relaxes. Oh! JP's already heard about him fighting. Good. "I'm used to having to prove everything," he says. "If you knew my ma…" He shakes his head. "But that's past tense. I'll be cool." He perks up though as Elmo mentions latkes. "Do you want help with 'em? I haven't had a good latke in forever."

JP was sprawled like a lazy damn cat. it'd be hard to move him right now though, yes, food will do this. The offer though kinda surprised him, "You'd break the mos' ancient of Jewish laws… f'me? I'm touched." His feet slid out from under Elmo's arm and he got a light double-slap to the cheek as JP passed, bare feet smacking on the wood floor. "I'll get the T'basco."

Elmo snorts. "Don't flatter yourself," he says to JP. "It takes a lotta work settin' up, which we ain't done. Still gotta eat. Anyway, all those rules are kinda ridiculous. You should see the arguments over what 'cooking' means." He's discussing the Shabbat. Getting up, he stretches. Without all his usual clothes on, it's way more obvious how skinny he is. "Sure, you wanna peel some potatoes?" he says to Arlo.

Arlo finishes off his beer and gets to his feet, ambling after Elmo. Who he regards with some curiosity since he's not used to seeing just how thin he is. Arlo's slender, but compared to Elmo he's Captain freakin' America. "Sure, I'll peel potatoes. Geez, you're skinny. Do you have to jump around in the shower just to get wet?"

JP scoffed sauntering into the kitchen, "Flatter myself? Been five minutes an' it totally my turn. It's called bein responsible Elmo." JP looked to Arlo and gave him a dubious look. One might expect him to defend Elmo, and he does… in totally the back-asswards manner that can only be expected of him, "Please he much smarter than that. He get a tard an a funnel so it all fall in one place." The Cajun rolled his eyes looking back to his partner and said, in the most sincere tone that invited a punch of retaliation, "Don' worry. I won' let no one call you inefficient."

"You guys oughta kiss me where the Jews repose," Elmo grumbles. In other words, on the ass. He rummages around in the kitchen. Grater, cheesecloth, potatoes, peeler, onions, eggs. Apples. JP's stolen enough at this point that the kitchen's well equipped. "These're just potato pancakes, JP. Kinda like hash browns, but way better."

Arlo snap-points at JP. "That's a good point. Sorry, Elmo." He's not apologizing for the original comment, mind. Just that it implied inefficiency. "Way better," he echoes Elmo. He takes up the potatoes and peeler and gets to work. For a guy who grew up with servants, he's learned the basic skill of peeling a potato.

JP asked confused, "New Jersey?" He pulled his switchblade out and rinsed it off under the tap and grabbed an apple to start peeling it. No, he was not fancy, but was a damn fine cook weirdly. "So the next thing that gonna happen? I been thinkin while I was at that bed an' breakfast… Might build a track out back." In what yard? There was a lil bit of property sure but maybe to park something, not move it with any purpose.

Elmo glares at JP, not that it helps, or does anything except amuse the Cajun. Sighing, he says, "What for? Ain't hardly room for anything." He's peeling an onion, and grates it up. "You grate the potatoes and onions together, okay? Then you gotta squeeze em through some cloth, though you can ditch the cloth, but you gotta squeeze. Or they're soft and don't get the crispy edges."

"Nothing sadder than a soggy latke," Arlo says. He keeps peeling the potatoes, happy for the busywork. "Yeah, what are you gonna make a track for?" he asks JP. "Pug racing? Gosh, you know, I'd actually watch the hell out of that."

JP was so, SO amused. Does he get cofused? From time to time not that it's ever in teh history of mankind slowed him down, but that glint of amuement assured he knew exactly what he was doing there. To Arlo he counteres the nothing sadder comment, "Except the guy that gotta eat a soggy latke." Fair enough point of agreement. He shrugged doing as Elmo instructed. "I'm thinkin slot cars. Maybe pinewood derby. Enough kids aroun here I fugre we could. When we was kids, ya know, there like 40,000 of us in one room wit' no pot to piss in, but ya know we made our own things and it's somethin lot of these kids wit' no cash can do. Enough of em prolly got a knack for it they can maybe even discover a trade or somethin. My thought is we keep em busy an' buildin…" He shrugged and looked to them, "Maybe they don' turn out so much like us."

Elmo gets a slow smile as he listens, ending up a big smile at JP's conclusion. "You see why I hang out with this guy?" he says to Arlo. Genuine pride there. "Always with the good ideas. And the bad ideas, but the good ones almost make up for 'em."

"I thought it was because he's good-looking," Arlo says to Elmo with a grin. To JP, he says, "I like that idea a lot better than pug racing. I see those little squirts running around with nothing to keep them out of trouble. They could use something like that. Though as far as teaching them trades, though, Elmo here has a trade and he's still a miscreant. I guess you do the best you can."

JP stopped peeling this long enough to point the switchblade thoughtfully in Arlo's suggestion witha very official and studious look, "That too." Going back to peeling he boggled, "What's a pug? T'be fair his trade skill is gettin angry and ruinin lightbulbs and mine's runnin my mouth and attractin bullets. " With a thought squint he guessed, "Aaaaaaah'm thinkin these is prolly not traits parents want pased on't their kids."

Elmo hitches a shoulder, amused. "Better a miscreant with a trade than without one. At least that way you can bring home some cash that probably ain't all that illegal." That's a hell of a qualification.

Latkes get made. Egg for binder, a bit of flour, seasoned and fried up in some oil. Something like a potato hush puppy, they're crisp on the outside and creamy (and as hot as lava) on the inside. Elmo also gets applesauce made to go with them. He even lets JP put diced jalapeno in some of them. Jews are as good with poverty food as Cajuns, it turns out.

Arlo leans back against a counter to stay out of the way during the actual cooking, which he observes with anticipation. The boy likes his latkes. "It's a little dog," Arlo says, "with a smushed up face. They're so ugly they're kind of cute." He then tells Elmo, "I'm making good enough money now being a good boy, but I got me a sugar daddy on the side. You should consider that."

What was defined as cooking was still up for debate. Still. JP chuckled, "Wrinkled smoosh-dog? They good for huntin at all?" There was the important part. Even if not for raccoons there was always squirrels. Maybe he's not noticed hte innate lack of Squirrels in NYC. "Team's got two, man. Between you I an' wrinkle pup? Money technically ain' our issue. Not even the point. It's knowin we can get it 'the fun part."

"I don't think they're good for much of anything," Arlo tells JP. "My aunt had one and it pretty much sat on her lap and looked dopey." He then says, "Yeah, I think we're doing all right for money. I never needed much to get by anyway. I'm in it to do right by my people."

JP nodded flipping the pancake, "Woo, TRES bein, mes amis!" He was delighted seeing these come into fruition. It's the lil things. "Honestly f'me, an this jes' being me,, but I don' like gettin dependant on shit. If I can' do f'myself I'm livin under someone else's thumba nd that? That I got a problem with. Anyhtin' I need I can get. Like I tol' Elmo, ain't about money. Money easy t'come by if you resourceful." He wasn't getting into wha thte rest of that conversation was about.

Elmo's mashing apples for the applesauce, and gives JP a funny look. "Who's the other one?" He adds to Arlo, "Vitale bought mosta this building."

"Being friends with Vitale sounds resourceful," Arlo says. He nods to JP's words, though, listening. Just what the world needs, Arlo being influenced by JP. He's a little brother in search of a role model.

JP grinned wryly to Elmo and paused. Holy shit he did. not. know. "Bobby? RObert? Good lookin Brazilian guy withthe sharp suit that always on business? He like the owner of a multi-billion dollar global thing, chere. I dunno if he could buy New York but he could sure as hell try. An' t'be fair Sev bought the other half. Don' let the rabbit fool you. He also a squirrel and hide shit better n' anyone I know." Truth. He handed a plate with either the latke with or without the jalapeno in it. He wasn't keeping track. To Arlo he agreed, "Vitale' good people. That the reason t' be friends wit' V right there. Jes' careful of his family. They cna complicate things fast."

Elmo pauses and frowns at JP. "Are you kidding? I knew Bobby had money, but…I didn't know he had that kind of money. Jeez. I guess that's why he's always in meetings." He shrugs again. JP doesn't have two dimes to rub together, and Bobby's insanely wealthy? That's the X-Ternals for you. They don't have to make sense to anyone else, only to each other.

"Yeah, he seemed pretty cool when I met him," Arlo tells JP. "I can avoid his family. Hell, avoiding family is what I do." The talk of money catches his interest. Bobby, he remembers that guy. "He looked pretty classy the one time I met him. I remember thinking gosh, at least one of us is."

JP turned the spatchula on Elmo and Arlo, "Pop quiz: what's better. Havin a million dollars or always havin exact change in you' pocket, hmm?" The Cajun's eyebrow went up. His brain worked funny. "The way I see it is I ain' ever without. If you figure out what you need and you can get that? Then you have everythin. You have a ton of cash and don' ahve the means to get the shit you need but you got a lot of stuff? THey ain' doin so well. So is a patter of precipitation." Perspective, JP. Perspecti- nevermind. A grin warmed, "Bobby's m' boy. He's good peeps and a hell of a pool player. Thing with Bobby though is he honest. He comes out cause he wants to. He likes bein with his own people and knows throwin money at problems don' always make em go away… an' I think honestly he jsut loves gettin his hands dirty cause it amuses thehell outta em."

"He's got that level of power and he's richer than Croesus? Some guys got all the luck." Elmo just sounds amused, though. He's a fan of Bobby too. "He don't come out with us much, but when he does? Whew." He hands a plate of fresh latkes to Arlo. "Every time my ma made latkes she'd tell us not to burn our mouths, so now you get it from me. Don't burn ya mouth, and if you do, don't come cryin' to me!"

Arlo helps himself to a latke, bouncing it around his fingers so as not to burn him. "Hot hot hot!" He blows in the latke, then takes a nibble on the very end, not taking in too much of the volcanic insides. "I grew up pretty well off," he says between tiny nibbles. "I'd rather have what I got now."

JP shook his head impressed. Some things got the 'aww damn' look. THis was one of them. "Yeah Bobby's playin on a totally differen' ballfield than us…well.. maybe not you Elmo. You closer, but man Arlo I was like can we go up and he all casual stanin there like yeah I'll melt the ceiling so we can crawl through it. It jsut steel." He boggled and rubbed his face with his hand. "He an my sister I swear could take on the world alone, an here the rest of us like tha hell…" he had to laugh about that. He didn't say what his sister did or does but he had a healthy respect for that one.

"Well off for money, maybe. But you weren't even taught Yiddish. That ain't well off in my book." Elmo sounds like he's reviving a prior grievance, with Arlo's upbringing. "Who cares what kinda penthouse you can afford, you can't speak your own language? Buncha nonsense." He's breaking one of the latkes open to let it cool faster.

"Yeah, I know," Arlo says, "I'm making up for it." He eyes Elmo breaking up the latke to cool it, and he does the same, like he just happened to think of it on his own too. "My ma is all screwed up. My uncle died in the war, and apparently she was never the same. No excuses, but at least it's not just random."

JP did not interrupt the other two fellas as they were having their cultural tet-e-tet. With a simple, profound matter-of-factness he pointed, with latke-on-fork to Elmo, "Ces verites? C'est pourquoi vous etes aime." and nodded presumably in utter agreement of know your own damn language. JP looked up with furrowed brow and nodded slowly, "Lost a' oncle in tha' big one too. Got a lil medal sen' home. M'granpapa keep it up on his wall, but all the lil things don't make a person much."

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