1965-10-05 - Friday Afternoon's Also Alright for Fighting
Summary: In which Jeb is arrested for being in contempt of cop.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
elmo jebediah 

Jeb has set up a booth at a local flea market, finally coming to terms with charging people for his artwork, he's trying it out officially with this little booth. He's set up pictures of Morbius, Adam, and a few of the other interesting mutants that he's come across and of course, Jay, plenty of Jay and plenty of feather designs burned into wood. There is even a couple sketches of Elmo's hands with the Jacob's Ladder of electricity surging through his fingers. No one would know they belong to Elmo but Jeb of course, but even he was there. In an actual frame, though, marked, to multiple people's frustration today, *Not For Sale* is a beautiful painting of Fjorskar, feathers, scales, fur, claws and all. The details are nearly impeccable. Jeb doesn't think about how this was perhaps, a stupid move, he just wants to showcase his best work. There's all kinds of little wooden coasters with burned designs into them across his table and even wooden charms on leather cords hanging on a stand that looks handmade as well.

Patrons of the flea market spring up almost as fast as it does, flocking to the various offerings; their expressions cover the gamut from passive disinterest to uncontained joy. Halloween enthusiasts love Jeb's art, because who doesn't like to decorate for that most American holiday with something ghoulish and unique to New York City? Others like the necklaces, a few eye the mutant art and then Jeb—some positively, some not.

"I thought it was supposed to be a bear," one young man comments to a friend who's eyeing the painting of Fjorskar, aka the Central Park cryptid. His friend shrugs, says, "Still looks cool—wish it was for sale. I could hang it on my door, with a big BEWARE OF DOG sign under it." They snicker and move on.

A young girl clutches a picture of Adam protectively while her mother tries to talk her out of it; she's ultimately unsuccessful, and hands over her dollar with a sigh. In a light Puerto Rican accent, the mother explains to a friend, "She loves Halloween," as they depart. Two excited boys buy a picture of Morbius and scamper away making what they probably believe are 'vampire faces' and 'vampire sounds'.

Hovering behind Jeb's ever-fluctuating batch of customers is a short, balding man with an olive-toned complexion and wide, bright blue eyes; he's jotting things down in a small, spiral bound notepad with a pencil. He seems particularly interested in the pictures of Adam, Morbius, and Fjorskar.

Jeb is thrilled with the outcome and when the young girl desperately wants that picture of Adam, Jeb even gives the mother a discount, and by a discount, he hands her the dollar back and pats the girl on the head. It just makes him happy that a little girl wanted a picture of Adam that badly. He can share this later with the *much* older man, if he isn't mad that Jeb is selling pictures of him in the first place. Jeb doesn't make any corrections on what Fjorskar is or isn't because he at least knows that doing that is dangerous. (As if having a picture of Fjorskar out in the first place isn't already dangerous, somewhere, Halgrim has a headache for sure). He merely tells them that this is just *his* interpretation. he hasn't quite noticed the man taking notes, been way to preoccupied with all the adorable children excitedly running off with pictures of his friends, friends that are usually under the impression that they are ugly.

A pair of teenaged girls buy some pictures, whispering to one another about where they can hang them that their parents won't see. (There's something odd about the nails on one of them, like her nail polish is hiding a less natural coloration to them, but they're gone as soon as Jeb has the money in hand.) A man guys a picture of Adam 'for his collection'.

The balding man with the notepad waits for a lull in customers to approach Jeb; he's polite enough to at least look at some of the art on the table, even picks up one of the necklaces. "This is really nice stuff," he comments. His accent is as New York Italian as it gets. He pulls out his wallet, gets out a dollar for the necklace, gestures at the painting of Fjorskar. "That supposed to be the cryptid? The bear everyone talks about?"

"Perhaps," Jeb says vaguely, watching the man warily. There was something that just didn't feel right about him. Jeb straightens up. "You seen the cryptid yourself that you're askin'?" He's being vague on purpose, clearly distrustful as he holds out his hand for the dollar. "Might be Ah just liked smashin' a lot of animals together." He's taking in the details of the man's face, just in case he needs to remember them.

The man gives Jeb a charming smile that somehow manages to not be too saccharine. "Look, full disclosure? I write for the Bugle. That section that's always talking about," he points at Adam, then Fjorskar, "our more colorful residents?" He hooks a thumb at himself, tucks the necklace into one pocket now that money has changed hands. "Everyone and no one says they've seen it for real, so the descriptions make no sense. This is just the first time I've seen any kind of attempt to, you know," he makes a circular gesture with his hand, "give it some sort of whollistic interpretation, using all those parts." He clears his throat. "If, of course, that's what this is, and not just something of your own." A tilt of his head to allow Jeb that plausible deniability.

Joining Jeb's trickle of business are a couple dudes his own age, flicking at the necklaces and poking around the table. One of them, a hot guy in a leather jacket, says to his pal, "Man, I heard Frankenstein killed some kids, dumped 'em in the East River." His buddy shakes his head regretfully, saying, "Whew. That's fucked up. Muties are bad enough, now we gotta live with that shit?" It's got the feel of a conversation overheard and repeated a thousand times by now.

"Well, Ah… Ah may or may not have seen the cryptid… this picture could be accurate or it might not be. Could have been in a fleeting glance. What happens if Ah tell you this is an accurate picture of such a thing? You goin' to ask me more questions in a room without a window? Because Ah apologize sir, but Ah really ain't got the time for any of that. Ah got school and a business to run, *so* Ah don't got the time to be in a windowless room talkin' about somethin' Ah may or may not know about." Jeb says and then he hears that conversation and stands up quick, holding a finger up to Bugle Man.

"Hey, can you kindly shut your big ugly mouth. There are kids around here for one, second, why you upset about mutants? Because they is genetically better than you in every way? That a problem for you?" Jeb snarls at the group of kids.

The man laughs, shakes his head. "Kid, really, I'm just a reporter, I don't do the whole windowless room th—" And then Jeb is up off his feet and talking large for someone so young and small. If there's one thing a reporter can smell, it's a fight brewing. He murmurs a thank you for the necklace and takes several hasty steps back, to watch the action from the sidelines.

Several people who'd been on the approach linger back now that there's finger pointing and a raised voice. One of them is a young woman who bears more than a passing resemblence to one of Jeb's newer bartenders at Club Atomic, Olivia (a sister, maybe?).

The guys look at each other and laugh disbelieving. "You fuckin' joking me, man?" the leather jacket one says. "Some ugly fuck got a squid for a head, that ain't better than me."

The other guy chimes in, "Hey, cool yer jets, short stuff, we ain't talkin' about you."

"Isn't it though? You on the other hand look like your mama took a rottin' potato to bed." Jeb hisses and he's starting to round his table already. "Ah ain't give a shit if you talkin' bout me or not, take your sewer mouths else where, no one needs to hear that here." He spins his finger in a circle and then points in the opposite direction. "Get."

People are starting to slow down as they pass Jeb's booth, murmuring to one another. Occasionally they stop. It's not a crowd, not just yet, but that's only a matter of time. The reporter keeps back. So does the young woman, though she's wringing her hands and looking around nervously. How long until the cops notice?

"What the fuck's your fucking problem?" says the second guy, kind of laughing.

The first guy steps right up to Jeb, looming over him, using his height. "I got as much right to be here as you do. It's a free country, shithead."

"You, you my fuckin' problem." Jeb hisses, getting up on his tip toes to contend with the guys height, clearly not letting it get to him, his fingers pull into tight fists. "No, you don't, actually. You runnin' your damn mouth and you ain't got any right to be here, so walk *the fuck* away. " He points again, "That way, by the way, since you not very bright, is *the fuck away*."

The hot guy in the leather jacket sneers and shoves Jeb, hard, right into his own display table. The other guy sighs and wades in, too, throwing a punch at Jeb's stomach.

Jeb is shoved, and knocks a whole bunch of necklaces off his own table in the process. He uses the distraction though to swing his leg at the big guy, trying to knock him over with a swift knee to his nuts, ducking down to do so, so he takes that punch to the shoulder instead, moving with it so it doesn't hurt near as bad. He doesn't pull punches when you're talking shit about mutants and Adam.

"Alright," a loud voice announces. The milling crowd parts to admit two beat cops, both with their sticks out. One is tall and hefty, with auburn curls, dark eyes, a round, cheery face, and olive skintone; the other is average in all ways, blond, pale, and blue eyed, like he came out a mold prefabricated. They don't need anyone to say anything, since Jeb and leather jacket's actions are illustrative, but several people are already shouting opinions about mutie lovers and freedom of artistic expression and Halloween isn't a crime.

"That's enough," the bigger cop shouts, not just meaning Jeb and his new friends; they advance on the fight with clear intent to grab people.

The second guy immediately steps away from Jeb, holding his hands out like he wasn't doing anything. "Kid's crazy," he announces. Leather jacket guy takes the knee, not quite dead on to the nuts, but close enough to have him staggering, bent over, yelling. "You little shit!"

Jeb puts his hands on Leather Jacket's shoulders and shoves him hard. "No, officer, it clearly ain't enough and this don't fuckin' concern you none. Ah got it handled just fine…. so you wanna just fuck off? Ah just politely told these two where 'the fuck away' was but since you wasn't here to hear it, it's that way." He points in the opposite direction while he goes to aim a kick at leather jacket.

The crowd has already begun to thin; New York's finest have that effect, especially when their nightsticks are ready for use. The reporter lingers, though, his notepad and pencil back out. So does the young woman, though at a much safer distance.

The blond cop snags leather jacket by his namesake before he can topple back, using it to haul him to his feet and clear of Jeb, which lets the big cop step in. He snags Jeb by the upper arm and yanks him clear of the booth; his arms look like he worked on the docks in a previous life, and his grip is like an iron vise. "That's enough outta you, kid."

Leather jacket guy is none to happy to be separated; he really wants to go back in swinging. But he submits, glaring daggers at Jeb, and resettles his jacket. "Fuckin' crazy punk. C'mon," and he starts walking off with his buddy.

Jeb, not the brightest crayon in the box, goes to yank his arm away from the cop despite the fact that there's no way he's getting out of that grip, all he likely does is make the cop squeeze harder. "No, it's enough outta you. You ain't here to help nobody, you just here for a fuckin' paycheck. You ain't protectin' no one, least of all mutants. Let me the hell go." He hisses and tugs *again*.

The blond cop makes no attempt to stop leather jacket or his friend; easier to just break up the fight than deal with extra arrest paperwork. Besides, Jeb is bucking to be arrested—one's plenty.

The big cop gives Jeb a good shake; it's like a shepherd shaking a rabbit. There's going to be bruises. "You got a smart mouth on you, kid, and I suggest you shut it before you make shit worse."

The blond cop, meanwhile, absently scans the table, double-takes at the picture of Fjorskar. "You're fucking kidding. Hey, Jack—look." He jerks his chin at the picture; 'Jack' half-turns, blinks at the drawing. "I'll be damned," he says, points at the picture. "You make that?" he asks Jeb; his tone demands an answer.

Jeb doesn't even whimper at being shook, and yeah, it fucking hurts, but damn it if Jeb doesn't dig his heels into the ground and try to resist it. "Police brutality! Do you see this man shakin' me?! Y'all watchin'? My mama will be proud, ain't no one ever said somethin' about me was smart." Jeb starts *yelling* when he's told to shut up.

"Did Ah make it?" Jeb asks, and the tone at first suggests he is just processing the question, not gearing up to be sassier. "Are you askin' me if Ah made the stuff at the table Ah was sellin' stuff from? Well, god, ossifer, Ah just don't know. That wouldn't make a lick of sense would it?"

Some of the remaining people murmur to another. The reporter has (wisely) stowed his notepad again, but he's still here, listening intently.

Jack's patience is spent; he swings Jeb around, yanking one arm behind Jeb's back and pulling out his handcuffs. "Have it your way, squirt," he says, and snaps the cuffs on one wrist, then pulls the other arm for the same treatment. He makes them nice and tight, enough to leave marks, later, but probably not cut off Jeb's circulation.

Blond cop picks up the picture and inspects it. "Just like that kid said, some kinda, wolf, with feathers." He holds it out to Jeb, and Jack turns Jeb so he can face the picture and the officer holding it.

"Last chance, kid. You've seen this thing yourself?" He taps the picture for emphasis.

Jeb puts up a gallant fight, so yeah, the officer was definitely forced to leave few more bruises on Jeb's skin and when he puts the cuffs on, Jeb has to bite his tongue to keep from yelping. "Hey! Easy, Hercudamnles, you tryin' to pull my arm straight outta my socket? Ah ain't even resistin'! Everyone sees Ah ain't resistin'." Only he is doing exactly that, resisting but he's yelling that he's not just in case any passers by don't know what's actually going on.

He's spun around to look at the picture and he rolls his eyes at the officer asking. "Last chance? That's the first time you asked me that question. You asked before if Ah made the stuff Ah was sellin' that was clearly handmade. How can it be my last chance to answer a question you just asked me?" Jeb continues to sass. "Would Ah be drawin' something Ah ain't never seen? Maybe your friend here is right, Ah sound like the smartest out of the three of us."

"Suit yourself you fucking Okie brat," Jack grumbles, and drags Jeb away from his booth. The blond cop looks down at the picture, shrugs, takes it with him.

Before anyone can sweep in to grab anything, Olivia's cousin — for that's indeed who the hovering young woman is — makes for the booth, immediately packing things up. She has to chase off more than one attempted thief, but is able to make sure Jeb's things are safely stowed and carried back to her apartment.

The officers' squad car isn't far from the flea market, so it's a not as bad of a trip as it could be. Still, Jack's none too gentle tossing Jeb into the back of the car. His partner, George, keeps the picture up front with them.

"Hey, put that the hell down. That ain't yours. Didn't you read the fuckin' sign that said 'ain't for sale'? What, y'all ain't gotta read to become pigs?" Jeb says and he *fights* Jack the whole way to dragging him to their car, likely earning himself some more finger shaped bruises. "This is a kidnappin', NO AH WILL NOT SUCK YOUR COCK OFFICER. AH WON'T." He yells just as Jack shoves Jeb into the back of the car.

He waits until they're both in the car, pressing his forehead against the wire keeping him from jumping into the front. "We going on a road trip? Ah really like trail mix when we stop for snacks." Once Jack has sat down though, Jeb works up a good wad of spit to launch it at the other man, before quickly slamming himself back against the chair.

"You little god-damned prick," Jack snarls. George, for all his blandness, is not slow or poor of aim; before Jeb can get clear, he expertly slides his nightstick through a gap in the cage to give Jeb a solid jab right at the center of his breastbone. It's the kind of blow meant to leave a nasty bruise and a big, breath-stealing impression. "Pipe down," he snaps.

Jeb gets the breath knocked right out of him and he slumps against the chair, trying to catch his breath, wheezing as tears bud at the edges of his eyes. He does indeed pipe down but *only because he got hit* and he would defend that to his dying breath. "Ah.. didn't… say.. anythin'." He defends through gritted teeth.

Jack shakes his head at Jeb. "No fucking sense of self preservation."

George snorts. "Well I was gonna suggest we drive him around the city a bit, let him cool off back there." He gives Jeb a disgusted look through the cage. "But if he's gonna sit back there and bitch like like that we oughta just get him booked."

"Yeah," Jack says, picks up the drawing. "So you think that thing's real? I always figured that guy was just drunk and high."

"Who knows, but, kid here said he drew it from what he saw—that's two accounts." George shrugs. "*Something* is out there, why not a, uh," he waves a hand at the image, "wolf with feathers, or whatever this is. Makes just as much sense as a bear."

Jack drops the picture on the console between them, grunts. "Too much weird shit these days. Muties, Frankenstein, now we got, *this*—"

George shakes his head. "Whole city's going to hell."

"That it fucking is," Jack agrees.

Their banter on the drive to the station follows this vein for some time, then diverges into a discussion of baseball teams. It's been seven years and Jack is still sore about the Dodgers moving. The ache in Jeb's breastbone eases over the course of the drive, so that when Jack pulls him from the car it's not the torture session it could have been otherwise.

The booking process is perfunctory; they're beat cops, not detectives, and don't have any right to the picture they took, so the less official business with questioning the better. And soon enough, Jeb is sitting with everyone else waiting to find out if he's going to be charged.

"It's a dragon with feathers, actually, fuckin' bozos. And Frankenstein is the *doctor*. Goddamn you all dumb as sin. Ah'm startin' to think it's a requirement to become a cop. Now, my mama thought Ah would never amount to nothin'." Jeb hisses when he's pulled from the car, once again, still fighting jack the whole way. He just wants to throw them off from finding out what Halgrim's alter really is. "Or it was an alligator with fur, Ah think. Ah don't know, didn't get a good look at it, was too busy pissin' myself. Would have told you that if you woulda asked nicely, Francis."

He snarls all of this before he is shoved into a chair to find out if he's going to be charged for, you know, viciously sassing a cop.

George and Jack take to ignoring Jeb's pronouncements, though occasionally one them tells him to shut up. Since he's being booked, there's no formal charge made, and the officers indicate they've arrested him for 'disturbing the peace'. He's fingerprinted and presented with an empty inventory to sign; it seems the picture is not being declared as evidence. And then he's tossed into the holding tank with everyone else.

"Hey, Hey ASSHOLES. You gonna take my shit and you ain't even gonna give me my phone call? Ah get one don't Ah? You think Ah ain't got no one who loves me? Look at my face, Ah'm gorgeous." Jeb shouts at them. He's racking his mind on who to call. Can't be Jay because Jay will tan his hide right here in front of god and everyone and that's not exactly something Jeb wants. Can't be Halgrim because, hell, he don't put it past Halgrim to do the same after Jeb has repeatedly promised him to stop getting into so much fucking trouble, plus, he don't want Halgrim anywhere near these cops. Can't be Doug… because.. well… Doug ain't Doug. It's gotta be Elmo.
When Jeb gets that phone call and no doubt with all his fussing, he's made to wait, that's precisely who he calls. And really, could be JP that answers and either way, Jeb marks that as a win but he's betting that JP doesn't want to get within spitting distance of a slammer so he's praying for Elmo to pick up, while he rubs his red and bruised arms.

The phone at the garage rings. Brring! It could even be Vitale who picks up, because he'll answer the phone when the mechanics can't, but as Jeb's luck has it, Elmo's the one who answers. "Gearhead's," comes that New York accent with the unique Yiddish cadence, sharp and brisk out of the receiver.

"Elmo, Elmo, thank fuck. Hey, so uh…. Ah'm gonna need you to do something you can't tell Jay about, alright? You can't tell Halgrim either, because at this point, Ah think even he might tan my hide." Jeb stammers. "So… Ah'm in jail and Ah need you to come bail me out. Ah got the money, hell, the key to my apartment in the top drawer in the office at Atomic, alright? My money is in a hole in my mattress, just bring it."

"What?" Elmo says, annoyed. "You're in JAIL?" JP's voice says something behind him, sounding pretty amused. Elmo says, "Yeah, yeah," back to him, impatiently, before addressing Jeb again. "Jeb, what'd you *do*?"

"Well, mostly, Ah kicked some asshole in the jewels for talkin' shit about mutants and then Ah wouldn't stop when the police showed up and then… Ah maybe sassed him a whole lot… and maybe Ah spit on him, after loudly yellin' that Ah didn't wanna suck his cock." Jeb stammers. "Again, don't tell Jay. *Please*. He *will* whoop my ass. Not Halgrim either."

Elmo does something neither Halgrim nor Jay would do. He laughs. He laughs *hard*. "He got in a fight and spit on a cop," he says, and JP whoops in the background, slurring something that's probably complimentary but to be honest JP is barely comprehensible as it is and secondhand over the phone is impossible. "Wants me to come bail him out." JP's voice again. "Yeah. Okay, Jeb. It'll have to be after business hours. So enjoy the ambience, huh? Come get ya around seven."

Elmo *laughs* and it startles Jeb because really he was all geared up for some Jewish guilt or some Yiddish cussing or maybe Elmo to just downright refuse to come and get him, to let him sit and think about what he did. Elmo *laughs* though and some of the tenseness seeps from Jebediah's shoulders and his pulse drops from the anxious beat it had. He breathes a sigh of relief that Elmo might even be able to hear over the phone. "Alright, Ah already informed everyone in here with me that my safe word is Cornbread." He says, laughing a little himself. "Bring my money, not your own, alright?"

"Yeah, I don't think you get to be choosy," Elmo says, an audible grin in his voice. "How do you think I'm gonna sneak into Atomic past Jay and rifle the desk for your key? I'll see ya at seven." And he hangs up.

At about a quarter past seven, which must feel like centuries instead of hours, he shows up in his electric blue suit, flying the full three-piece. His hair is long enough to pull back now, and he's done that, but not in a ponytail. Instead he's bundled it at the back of his neck in a way that won't be fashionable for another fifty years or so. Always ahead of his time in some ridiculous way or other. He looks like a lawyer with weird taste in suits.

"Here for Jebediah Guthrie," he tells the desk, and has to count out a handful of twenties before someone comes to let Jeb out of the holding tank.

Elmo arrives looking like a Jewish Mafia Don if they had such a thing and Jeb covers his face and presses himself back against the wall. He should have just called Jay and took the whooping even if Jay would have flown him right back to Kentucky. Then Elmo says his damn name, and Jeb has to get up to a series of giggles and one guy a lot bigger than Jeb pinches his backside on the way out. "Damn sugar, I didn't know you were that expensive!" He says as Jeb turns, looking like he's quite ready to start a brawl right here in this holding cell and make all the money Elmo just spent null and void. "Go on, boy, run on home to daddy."

Someone else from the back adds as Jeb gets another whack on the ass before he gets out calls out, "Hey Daddy, can you spot me too?" Jeb is crimson in the face when he finally comes to Elmo's side.

"Thanks." He grumbles, face hot enough to fry an egg on.

Elmo smirks unpleasantly at the guys in the tank. There's trouble in that sneer of his. But he doesn't say anything, merely turns his back to the lot of them to walk Jeb out. It's more effective than any verbal taunt could be. He's a free man, while they wait for someone to care enough to spring them.

Once they hit the sidewalk, he pauses to light up a cigarette, offers Jeb one. "So, yeah. S'why we try not to make fun of and spit on cops, generally." It's not even a scolding. It's advice from one troublemaker to another.

"Come back to my place with me so Ah can pay you back at least?" Jeb asks and smiles slightly when Elmo offers him a smoke and gives him… friendly advice? "Well, Ah wouldn't have spit on him if he didn't put me in cuffs. They took one of my pictures too. Jerks." He rubs at his arms which are showing signs of bruising.

"Ahhh, Jeb." Elmo sighs out smoke, tipping his head back. He lifts his eyebrows at Jeb, obviously thinking about refusing payback, but then shrugs. "Yeah, all right. C'mon, took the subway. Traffic's a bitch this hour."

While they walk, Elmo tells him, "Listen. Cop tells you to break it up, you break it the hell up. And ya don't give him trouble. That's how they conveniently lose your paperwork and throw ya in county general."

"They were talkin' shit about Adam and mutants and it was two on me and they tell me to pipe down. And then they was askin' me about…" he looks around to make sure no one is listening to them. "Halgrim's problem. Might have had a picture out of it. That's what they took."

Elmo grimaces. "You drew a picture of Grim's…" he hesitates, not sure how to put it without saying 'horrifying other self', and just goes with what Jeb used, "problem? Now the cops have it, huh?" He sighs again, shaking his head. "See, the thing is, they can do anything they want. NYPD, roughest gang in New York. If you'da broke it up and not given 'em any sass, you'd still have your picture and your hundred and twenty bucks." Then spreads a hand, like, whaddayagonnado. "Well, it's done. Let's think about how we get that picture back."

"Well, kids out here makin' masks of it and stuff, so Ah put one up to draw people over. Didn't intend to sell it neither." Jeb sighs and nods. "You right, Elmo. Ah know you is but Ah was mad as hell. Wasn't thinkin' straight. And then this cop grabs me and starts shakin' me and it hurt so Ah just got madder."

Jeb told Elmo he was right about something. The world must be ending. "Gotta be a mutant that can walk through walls or somethin'. Don't JP love to steal stuff?"

"Yeah. I resisted arrest, too. Was scared outta my mind." Elmo shrugs again, with shoulders and eyebrows. "Jeb, I ain't asking JP to break into a police station, and neither are you. Got it?" He looks up, serious. "Especially not to fix your fuckup. I…might know a guy. Who I am gonna owe. And you're gonna owe me." That's how things work on the grey side of the law. Jeb is getting a practical lesson.

"Ah ain't asking anybody for anything, not even you. Relax. They don't make a lot of money. Ah'll go buy the damn thing back or actually blow someone for it." Jeb insists, holding his hands up in a surrendering motion when Elmo turns his tone serious. "Ah already got a long list of debts to you, El."

Elmo groans. He stubs his smoke out in one of the public ashtrays they pass, stops, and turns to face Jeb, arms folded. "Jeb. I want you to look at me and explain to me exactly what you think Jay and Sam and Halgrim and that Adam guy you like would do to me if they knew I let you suck some guy off for a picture. Do you think Grim would tell you to do that on his behalf?" He waits, eyebrows up, for an answer. "Do ya?"

"First of all, Sam ain't here. Second of all, we ain't tellin' Jay, Halgrim or Adam *nothin'*. Third of all, no, he wouldn't but his opinion ain't *matter* because he ain't need to know." Jeb protests. He gestures back towards the jail that they're far away from now. "You know someone in there would go for it. If Ah gotta sleep with one of them to get it back then that's what Ah gotta do. The fuckers are corrupt. They'll bite."

He yanks on the sleeves of his shirt, anxiously. "Ah *have* to get it back and Ah have to stop owing you everythin' all the damn time." Jeb insists, quieter now.

Elmo lowers his voice, glancing to make sure nobody's listening to them. "Yeah, you're right, one of those pigs *would* go for it. You can't ask *me* to keep a secret like that from Jay. That's off the table. We'll bribe someone for it. A lot easier and I don't have to not tell Jay his brother's a rent boy."

"Why would you need to tell him? Who cares what Ah did to fix it? It's not like Ah got a whole lot of pride in myself Ah gotta defend." Jeb says, frustrated. He's already thinking about how he can just turn up there tomorrow and do just that. "Ah'm not a rent boy. Ah ain't gonna take money for it. Ah just.. *fine*."

Jeb's voice breaks a little when he speaks again. "Halgrim is going to hate me."

Elmo smacks the backs of his fingers against Jeb's chest, annoyed and frustrated. "Maybe *I* fucking care, ya yutz," he hisses, black eyes narrowing. "Maybe *I* don't wanna see ya on your knees!" He subsides when Jeb agrees, okay, he won't blow a cop. "Nah," he says, quieter. "He won't. Not that guy."

"Ah don't fucking *matter*, Elmo, cain't you see Ah'm just a screw up?" Jeb sighs heavily but doesn't bring up banging a cop to get the portrait back. "No. He will. How many damn chances has he already given me and Ah keep messin' up?" Jeb covers his face with both of his hands and groans.

"Don't you give me that bullshit." Elmo's back to hissing and prods Jeb sharply in the sternum. "You'd break your brother's heart, he heard you talking like that. With Sam on mission and Doug *ferkackt* you're the only family he has left. You're Grim's family too, that guy loves you. I am not gonna listen to you say you don't matter."

"Ow!" Jeb complains and he looks for all the world like he's thinking of shoving Elmo back for it but he catches glimpse of the bracelet on Elmo's wrist and swallows his frustration, rubbing at his chest. "Just… we can stand here all night and Ah ain't gonna take it back. Let's just.. c'mon. Tell me about this guy you know." It might distract Jeb from crying.

Elmo sighs, rubbing the bridge of his impressive nose. He hooks an arm around Jeb's neck and hugs him, rough and brotherly. "No wonder you give everyone *tsuris*. You gotta open the club tonight? If you don't, let's go get smashed, I got a couple joints." You know, without answering the question.

Jeb startles at first, expecting to get hit because that's probably what he thinks he has earned. "How can Ah give someone the circus?" He grumbles, wrapping arms around Elmo as well. "Ah got alcohol at the apartment and you can stay the night. Otherwise we gotta go to a bar by my apartment and you still stay the night."

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