1965-09-21 - Two Lies One Truth
Summary: Ambrose and Arlo hang out after another successful night on the job.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
ambrose arlo 

The team has been working out so far. Even when it means having to abort a job, there is success in that Arlo hasn't steered Ambrose wrong yet. Meanwhile, he's been slowly gathering a nest egg. God knows what he intends to do with it, but he's eating better, that much is clear. He's got more energy.

Tonight's job is over, and the pair are making their way to the pub. "That was close," he tells Ambrose. "I thought the cops were going to come down our street, but they turned at the light. Lucky, huh?"

"Lucky indeed," Ambrose agrees quietly as he walks alongside the young man. In the interior pockets of his dark jacket are the four ancient coins plucked with sneer-worthy ease from a pawn shop's glass casing. "Sometimes, a bit of good fortune is all that is necessary to beat out the chances. I presume you'll be wanting your usual?" he asks, giving Arlo a neutral side-glance. He means the stout that he himself orders regularly, dark and sweet on the back of the tongue, quick to fill the stomach and knock one's brain sideways with steel-toed boots.

There's a bounce in Arlo's step. Deep down, he wants to be good at something, and he wants to contribute. Is that so much to ask? To belong to something, and to help it flourish? Sure, that something is theft, but cut the kid some slack. He hasn't been spoiled for choice.

"Yeah, you know it," Arlo says. That stout tastes like a job well done. "I mean, sure, there's probably other kinds of beer I'd like, but why mess with a classic?"

"There's no reason to change unless you have a preference. No need to drink what I enjoy simply because it's what shows up before me. I am no person you need to be emulating, Mister Avery." Ambrose gives him a thin smile before he begins the descent down into the King Maker's shadowy entrance. As usual, the bouncer steps to one side and gives Arlo a look that's becoming less intense and more curious the more often he sees them. What on earth does this kid having going for him that the Jackal would wish to keep him nearby?

"The usual, Mac," says he to the bartender as he sits down upon his particular barstool and slouches into it. He turns his attention back to Arlo. "As always, you are owed your stipends for your efforts this evening. I suppose it's turning into quite the lump sum now. Are you still going to continue schooling then? Or have you changed your mind as most youth do on a whim?" He smirks the slightest to himself as he waits upon his stout.

Arlo smiles at Ambrose and says, "I think liking the same beer won't turn me down a bad path." He gives the bouncer an upnod. Whatever the kid's got. He's confident enough he's not nothing to prove. At least he's damn good at putting up that front. It's a side effect of learning minute tics of body language and emulating them.

He slides onto a stool beside Ambrose, cool as can be. "I'm going to get my GED," he says. "Then we'll see about taking some college courses. I don't think I'm going to go with accounting like my ma wanted. I'm more interested in psychology."

"Psychology. Hmm. I'd like to think that I'm a fair hand at the concepts of it, even though I'd be hard-pressed to tell you of any terminology or do a fair job explaining it. Ah, Mac, thank you." Their stouts arrive, the pints capped with creamy foam, and the bartender nods before disappearing off down the bar. Some of the regulars down the way want a refill on whiskey and vodka. "Life experience." Ambrose laughs drily at himself before taking a few large swallows of the dark beer. "So very much life experience." Rolling eyes at his own turn of melancholy, he glances back over at Arlo again. "Why psychology?"

This is where Arlo would shoulder-bump a friend companionably, but he's never so relaxed he forgets how numb touching Ambrose made him feel, nor the Jackal's warning about prolonged contact. So he keeps still save to take his pint in hand and nod to Mac. He takes a drink, then licks the mustache of foam from his lips with a satisfied sigh. Another job well done.

"With my senses, I've noticed that I notice people more. All the little things they do. Like the way their eyes look when they lie; their gaze pulls to the side because they're thinking about the bullshit they're spinning. The way a nervous person stands versus someone who doesn't have a care in the world. All these little things. And it makes me wonder about how the mind works. Why we do what we do."

"Hmm. That has the taste of mentalism to it," Ambrose comments. "The most qualified and expert of the field are able to do the same…the fine readings of the body's responses to its environment and during interactions. A good trick to have when dealing with questionable individuals. I learned very quickly which tells meant to continue discussions and which meant to leave…and which meant to leave quickly." A shake of his head and he adds before taking another huge gulp or two, "If you choose to continue in this line of work," — he means burglary, of course, " — understanding the science behind the workings of the lying brain."

A beat. "…I doubt, however, that you could catch me in a lie. I've had decades, after all, to perfect the art." He rotates in his chair a touch, which allows him to rest his drink and elbow on the bartop. "I'll tell you three facts about myself. Only one will be true. Do you think you can catch me out?"

Arlo holds up a hand and says, "I have no doubt you're good at lying. I grew up honest and on the straight and narrow, so all of this is new to me." He thinks over another drink of beer, then says, "If I continue doing this, I'll have to get good. It's not the kind of business the mediocre make it in."

He considers Ambrose. Two lies and a truth? Hmm. "All right, tell me three things about yourself." He watches Ambrose with a rather casual eye for someone allegedly studying him.

"No. No one survives long in my world being 'mediocre'." The master-thief smiles thinly as he watches Arlo watch him in turn. Ooh, this'll be fun. Just how talented is the young man with his astute senses? A settling in his chair, like a cat getting comfortable, and he doesn't break eye contact with Arlo as he says,

"Firstly, there is no one else like me in the world. Secondly, I collect the bullets shot into me. Thirdly, I once stole the Crown Jewels on a lark and returned them the next day, all without being seen once." He lifts dark brows as if to invite the volley back across the court. Which is the truth and which are the lies?

|ROLL| Arlo +rolls 1d20 for: 12

Arlo gives Ambrose some consideration. Sure, some of it is reading his body language, but the man does let very little slip by unchecked. Arlo therefore brings to bear all of his observations. Such as how Ambrose doesn't steal frivolously. Nor is he careless with what he supposes, and it would be accurate to say that he's not the only one like him that he knows of. It's a distinction he thinks Ambrose would make, meticulous as the man is.

"You absorb bullets," he says. Then he takes a drink of his beer, exuding confidence. Not that the stakes on this one are high, but yeah, he seems sure of himself.

The slip of his tongue up and over to polish a canine tooth can be seen beneath his closed lips. Ambrose releases the suction with a small sound and then lifts his glass.

"Took you long enough…and I hazard that you guessed at this, but yes. That is the truth. Well done indeed. You've a future in mentalism, I'd say, rather than my own profession. Perhaps take it on as a side-hobby. It could be fairly lucrative," he opines. "I am going to touch the Crown Jewels one day, believe you-me in this, young cockerel. Oh yes. Those shinies and me are going to have a little tete-a-tete before I give them back." His warm, quiet laughter is oh-so-pleased at the thought.

Arlo shakes his head and says, "Nah, I was pretty sure someone had to have shot you by now, yet here you sit." He flashes Ambrose a sweet, winning smile, and he raises his beer to his health. Unlikely as it is.

"I should learn sleight of hand," he says. "Then I can combine the two. I feel kind of bad suckering people if I don't have to, but it's a good skill to fall back on. You know, it's funny, I thought for awhile about becoming a detective. They'd never take a queer, though." He laughs, shoulders shaking, and he says, "Do I want to know what it is about the Crown Jewels that has you so excited?"

"It's the challenge of it, Mister Avery. The Jewels are heavily guarded. When mankind offers you a chance to remind them of their inadequacy, do take it. Not only do you better their efforts in the future, but you set yourself up for yet another challenge to conquer. Very few of the individuals known in my trade have placed a fingertip upon the Crown Jewels." Ambrose appears quite certain he'll be the next to join the echelon. He kills the rest of his stout and sets the pint glass down, letting out a small burp.

"You could solve riddles and crimes of your own accord. Nothing stops you in this. Sleight of hand, however, can be used to win bets at the bars." He tilts his head towards Mac, who's working on a mixed drink down the way. "I won my first drink here on a bet from him. He's admired me ever since. Haven't you, Mac?" The barkeep appears to ignore Ambrose entirely but for the smallest quirk of lips. The brunet looks back to Arlo with an unrepentant grin. "See? Completely floored at the time. Another round, please, Mac," he adds, lifting his empty glass. "And I have been shot over two dozen times, if you care to know." Someone's a chatty-Kathy this evening. Don't get used to it.

Arlo grins, watching the interplay between Ambrose and Mac. "He can barely contain himself," he says. He finishes off his pint so that he'll be ready for another round. "I've never been shot," he says. "Or shot at, come to think of it. If someone's packing heat, I walk the other way." He shakes his head. "No thanks."

With a low whistle, he remarks, "Man, you've lived such a unique life. You've got the best stories." He's feeling complimentary tonight. Don't get used to that, either.

"You have no idea…" murmurs the brunet in regards to potential stories to share. He looks over his shoulder towards Mac, who's working at filling the next round of pint glasses, and then back to Arlo. "Don't be an idiot. Keep doing as you've been thus far. Walk the other way if you see any sign of a firearm. You've not the same constitution as myself, after all." And let's hope the young man never is. Mac arrives with the drinks and Ambrose gives him a nod of thanks before sipping off the thick head of foam.

"I'm no hero," Arlo's quick to say. He offers Mac a smile as he takes his second pint. He waits til the barkeep moves on before he adds, "I've got nothing to prove, either. If someone's armed, I'm out. With this money, I'm starting to see a way out, you know? I could have some kind of future, not just scavenging for scraps. I'm not going to compromise that, not when it's so close."

"Wise man," and Ambrose salutes to it with a small lift of his glass. "I've been enjoying my nest egg for some time now. Your patience in allowing it to grow will be richly rewarded — perhaps literally, if that's where your predilections lie. You could…leave the city, if you liked. Travel the world. Or you could remain here and fritter it away, all the happier for the simplicity of having what you want when you want it."

Arlo's brows lift as he considers this. "I could visit Israel," he says. "I've got family there I've never met. They don't have to know I'm no longer part of the family, you know? I could look them up." Still attached to the idea of family, even after all he's been through. "But I want to get my education first. That's my number one priority. I need to get my documents in order so I can start school. I bet Levi would get them for me if I told him why I needed them."

Ambrose nods, looking far more relaxed now with one and a half pints in him. There would be the question of functional alcoholism, but the Bane doesn't permit it. Like as not, it's an old comfort, the buzz that isn't the curse beneath his skin.

"I don't doubt that he would. It might be good news to him to hear that you've found a compass point of alignment in the world instead of wandering the streets and attempting to seduce money from innocent people." He says this softly, still mindful of the bar around them.

Arlo nods as he says, "Yeah, he's a real drag, but he means well. Anything that makes it seem like I'm acting normal will make him happy." He takes a long drink. Then he sets down his glass and says, "I should become a lawyer who specializes in Mutant rights. That'll show them."

A pint and a half is relaxing him fairly well, too. What would otherwise be a bitter sentiment is delivered with a lazy smile. Maybe less bitter now that it's something he could actually feasibly do. Study, become a lawyer. Or something anyway. "What would you be doing, ideally, if you could. If there were no other considerations?"

Ambrose shifts his gaze off to some point beyond Arlo. It's to an old dart board hung on the wall, with all darts stuck in the center and not currently in use. The felt is well-worn and pocked through and through with holes.

"I have no idea." And he's entirely sincere when he meets the young man's eyes again. "I've been like this for nearly eighty-six years. It's not going to change. I don't waste my time on 'would have' or 'could have' as I used to. I am content as I am. As I mentioned before, I have my challenges to overcome and relative wealth to spend." He shrugs, going back to his drink. Down its volume goes further yet.

Arlo thinks about this, and he nods slowly. "I guess that's the best we can hope for, you know? Contentment. I'm still trying to find that thing I can do the rest of my life and be content. Believe it or not, I want to help people. That's why I don't think I'm going to go looking for more trouble than what we've got going. This is good, you and me. It's working. It doesn't have to get more complicated."

"I propose that it does not become any more complicated than it is." He says this with marked and impeccable British diction. Something about that accent makes him all the more serious somehow. He drains the rest of the stout and sets down the glass on the bartop. A nudge with extended fingers slides it father back and within easy reach of Mac next the barkeep swings by. "…and yes, contentment will always be good enough. Happiness is elusive. Contentment can be simply existing when one could be suffering all the more."

Arlo grins a little despite himself. That accent. It's so proper. "You know, I know it might not mean much to you, but you're saving my life. The way I was going, I couldn't keep that up. You talk about avoiding the guy with the gun, how much easier is that when I'm not out on the street scamming people?"

He drains his pint. Two pints is about all the thin fellow can take and still be on his feet. Speaking of which, he slides off the stool and says, "I'm done, I think. I'm going to try to get up early and turn in some paperwork for the GED program. Look at me moving up in the world."

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