1965-10-08 - Getting Down to Brass Tacks
Summary: Elmo runs into Doug and Kevin shooting pool at Eight Ball. It gets hairy pretty fast but the peace is kept and many truths come out and surprisingly no one gets set on fire.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
douglas elmo wither 

Wither was back in Eight Ball, wiating. The truth was gloves were painful to wear and both arms were still pretty burned up to the elbow. Still the drinks were cold and in a glass and that he could actually drink funny enough. He slouched back in the vinyl booth with a sigh watching. Waiting. For what he did not really know. hey when you get smacked with a bat and a healer can't touch you to fix you? That gets rough a little fast.

Elmo wanders in, looking like he could really use a drink or five. He's just off work, but has already changed into a brilliant yellow button-down and a blue tie because of course he did. His tie bar is a lightning bolt. Extra little guy. "Boilermaker," he asks the bartender, and slumps on the bar while waiting for it.

Which is when Doug walks in out of the restroom, drying his hands on his trousers. He pauses, and then says, "Moonlighting as a traffic cop, are we?" He walks to the pool table and grabs his cue, and when he speaks, it's got all the intonations of a blizzard. "Hello, Elmo."

It was on Doug's return that Kevin walked over to the pool table slowly and gingerly took up an aluminum queue. Drink was set aside but those green eyes focused on Doug, curiously at the brightly frocked guy at the bar and back, "No way y'all know one 'nother?"

Elmo's lip curls into a sneer, shoulders tightening. When he's brought the shot, he downs it. "Don't start nothin', Doug," he says, looking around with eyes narrowed. Seeing Kevin, he looks him over, gauging him. "You a friend of his?" he asks, jerking his head towards Doug. "You helped with those normies burnin' up the garden."

Doug rolls his eyes, and then says, "Or *what*, Elmo. Or what. I will do what I want. I will say *what I please* and right now what I please," He puts some money down on the bar, "Is a beer." Then he glances back, and says, "Kevin? Yeah, he's working with me. Turns out everybody forgot about him, and left him starving to death in the sewer. It's pretty typical, really—"

Wither warmed a proud smile to Elmo, "Well yeah. He saved my life a couple times. Christmas too." He offered to Cypher, "You wanna grab first round, I'll rack?" His jaw tightened and he looked down and to the side. Ooh look, a bug! Yeah he was avoiding looking up at that. The Georgia boy answered Elmo quiet, bitter, "Yeah that jerk hit me with a bat." He did a double take to Dougand then looked back to Elmo and then Doug and fell silent defering to his buddy's call on both the beer and the table trying not to let his resentment get the better of him.

Elmo goes tight all over. Shoulders, face, knuckles on the bar. There's a faint hiss of static. "Or," he says to Doug, voice tight too, "you're gonna get us both kicked outta here and neither of us get our beer." He raises a finger for another shot. While it's poured he shifts around to look at Kev more seriously. "He's a good guy," he says, apparently sincerely about the man he's bristling at. "Sorry about the sewer." An eyebrow goes up and Elmo grins a little. "Yeah, you turned that bat to ash. Helped contain the fire. You're handy in a scrap, huh? Nice to meet ya, Kevin."

Doug considers this and then lapses into silence. He's just looking at Elmo. Looking at him… looking. Yeah, can't say anything about me looking at you can you, Elmo. Bet this makes you feel real uncomfortable. Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaare.

Wither looked at his blistered armsfinally diminishing to be only one hell of a nasty sunburn. He blinked to Elmo and shrugged, "Ah didn't ash the bat. Man was dumb enough t'hit me with it. That's… jes what happens." He looked to Doug; body language trying to match his stance. Kevin Ford was not one of those guys that had innate confidence, but the fight in him could be stoked, and sometimes too easily. Little bit of a psychofant in that regard; all zeal and a yearning for approval. Now Doug's. More evident when teh beer landed and Doug was staring Elmo down. "Doug your beer's um… I'll… I'll rack the table." He had his gloves hanging in his back pocket. and for now he was jsut careful not to touch the felt cloth and he was golden. Everything else was plastic or acrylic and he was glad of that. Informing Doug he added quieter, "Smome guys, normies? Bunch of em came up into Mutant Town last night. Burned the whole community garden down. They came in armed and stuff. Awful."

Elmo meets Doug's eyes for a split second, before looking away. Yeah, everything about his body language says in fact that makes him real uncomfortable. "Doug, people gonna think you're in love with me, you keep doin' that," he says with a smirk he plainly doesn't feel. Fronting hard. "Jay got some feathers ripped out," he adds, quieter. "He'd probably like to see ya."

He tips back the next shot and grimaces, the liquor burning its way down. Picking up his beer, he walks over to Kevin. "That why you got them gloves?" he asks, interested. "And that metal cue?" Ugh, he's observant.

"Yeah, and it's only going to get worse." Doug says. "But some people want to sit with their fingers in their ears and pretend that it's all going to turn out for the best. Then he says, "Why would he want to see me, Elmo, when he has *you*."

Wither shrugged. "Eh that guy's jaw didn' do that to itself. Now Ah won't be the only one on a liquid diet." Kev sniffed and quietly racked the set… just… so. There. He removed the triangle and asked Elmo drily, "You seen the news in teh last year?" OoooOoOoh he's that kid. He flinched faintly at the mention of Jay getting feathers pulled out. That's gonna suck lot. And then there was that very terse you. Kevin looked up and looked very confused a long moment. "Aww dang this the guy Doug?" Huh. Objectivly he asked Doug, "If y'all like Jay an Jay wanna see you why… don't y'all just talk to em? Hell if Laurie tol me she wanted t'talk right now, I mean… well yeah Ah'm sure mad but Ah'd be on that phone man. How you know he don' wanna talk?" he was curious here and looked from Doug to Elmo but back to Doug.

"Don't talk like you're stupid, it don't flatter you," Elmo answers Doug, with…a not insignificant amount of compassion, actually, underneath the assholery. He doesn't look at him, but he doesn't have to. He knows Doug can read it off him. "You know damn well why Jay wants to see you." Elmo hikes his eyebrows at Kevin, like, ohhh. You're that kid. Then he does glance at Doug, darkly amused. He shrugs and takes a swallow of beer. "Yeah. It's gonna get worse. It's just like my folks told me about in Germany. Ten, twelve guys? Ain't gonna be nothin'."

"Then it's a hundred. Then they're passing laws that strip you of your citizenship." He looks toward Kevin, and says, "You're the voice of reason, Kev," He says, before he pats him on one clothed shoulder, "I really appreciate that about you." Then he glances back at Elmo, and says, "You still don't get it. And I don't see any reason to explain it to you."

Wither warmed a smile to Doug. One thing that was reliable was that Kevin wore his heart on his sleeve. It'll likely be in the running for his downfall someday. He admitted, "Hey, Ah appreciate that Doug. Means alot to me. Seriously though they offerin what ya want. Ah mean… if they ain't seen what you and I seen how they gonna understand?" Voice. of. reason. "We wanna help our people. well… they our people." He paused and wobbled his head. Okay reasoning that out he was still pretty pissed at the School. "We can show em. Give em a way t' help." Recruitment! Marketing! They help get teh goal achieved.

"Then they make ya wear somethin' to say you are what you are. Then they take your property. Then they get your neighbors to narc ya out. Then they put you on a train." Elmo stares at nothing, intense as a cat hunting a ghost. He gives Doug one sharp look—'explain WHAT to me?' comes across clear as a bell, before he takes a deep drink.

Doug says, "That when all of you and your idiot head-in-the-sand friends get killed, Jay goes not long after. So I have a choice." Doug says. "Make him able to live without you… or just watch him die." He shrugs. "I'm like to fail, but I have to try."

He glances back to Kevin, and then says, "Bad things are going to happen."

|ROLL| Wither +rolls 1d20 for: 13

Wither spun his cue slowly in his fingers flinching slightly. Jaw tightened and he…breathed. He had a lot of feelings on the issue. Most of which he spent the last year seeing first hand. Finally he spoke, to Elmo, "It already started. It was… other mutants that gave me up for something that ain't even my fault. They sent me to some underground government facility that ain' on no map to live inside a plastic and metal box. Wouldn't even use my name. Gave me a number t'go by. By the time I got t'the courtroom them politicians and the press decided for me what I done or didn' do. Ain't nary a wone of em talk t'me neither, Elmo. Ah was studied like a bug." He looked to Doug who he knew already knew this and then to Elmo, the gentle hand on this perspective imploring, "That name they put in the paper and the court tryin t'say why we need t' be registered? It's mine. They usin us against our own. Doug wants t'stop it. We want to stop it." #TeamDoug He shrugged and asked the hard question gentle as he could as frank and honest as his daddy raised him, "You gonna care about it when it happens to ya own, or jes t' you? Y'all's people didn't survive cause they only lookin out f'number one. They had t'make things change. Doug knows how to fix it. It ain' pretty, but it'll work."

Elmo draws in a horrified breath, muttering, "Jesus," though it's not clear whether at Doug or Kevin. Probably both. He sets the beer down so he can scrub his hands over his face. "Buddy." That's to Kev. "That's. Christ. That ain't right. None of that. 'm sorry it happened to ya. You didn't deserve it none." Elmo glances at Doug, still talking to Kev. "I know Doug wants to stop it. So do I. Just…look, not every German was a Nazi. We needed people who weren't, who couldn't fight but did what they could. We couldn't afford to write 'em all off. We sure as hell couldn't blame them for not throwing themselves into the meat grinder."

"For every one of the people who tried to do some small thing there were ten people who were complicit in their silence or who profited by doing nothing." Doug says, "I don't care. If they get hurt while mutantkind saves itself, I don't care. I refuse to fight for my own survival with one hand tied behind my back. Don't like it? Tough." Doug pinned his stare on Elmo again. "All of you just want to live this bohemian lifestyle in the ghetto hoping it'll all blow over your heads, and you sold Jay on it too. But it *won't*."

|ROLL| Wither +rolls 1d20 for: 15

Wither really was the voice of reason. God this would likely give his old team heart palpetations. Green eyes looked to Elmo. He wanted him to get it. He was scared, and he was angry, but he wanted something like he's been starved of a justice that wasn't coming. "Elmo? You saw what they did t'the garden. T'me. What if I tol' you there was other mutants where I was already? What's it gonna take t' make y'all live outside a that forty square feet of concrete? When enough gonna be enough?" He took a deep breath nd a wry grin turned up on his face. Calm. We were calm. Not starting a damn fight in a crowd. "I appreciate y'all agreein what they did t'me, what they doin t'us ain' right, but I don' want sympathy. I wan' t' stop fightin this thing alone with people watchin goin Aww well that's a dang shame. If waitin for people t'do the right thing worked that last war wouldn't a been necessary. no one is comin t'help us, Elmo. We're it."

Elmo looks away from Doug's stare; can't hold the other man's eyes. He just can't, it's physically impossible. "Yeah. You don't care." He scoffs. "I dunno why you think I sold Jay on a single goddamn thing. That virus cooked ya brain, all right. You're wrong about Jay, he don't think that and he never has. What else are you wrong about, Ramsey?" But he grins wryly at Kevin. "Buddy, don't mistake me for a pacifist. I woulda let you ash off that normie's hand. Give him somethin' to remember ya by. Jay's a better man than me." Elmo folds his arms, thinking. "If you told me there's other mutants where you were, I'd tell you we gotta get 'em out. Get 'em out and burn the place to the ground."

"You talk a big game but inside you're just a fuckin' creme puff, waiting for them to round you up, Elmo." Doug says. "You talk tough and then you go home and you cry. You don't have what it takes." Doug said, before he gets up.

Wither looked to Doug and had to give Elmo that one, "Eeeeh Jay is stubborn as hell. I mean it's kinda in your favor. Ya do own a lot of ABBA, but he still likes ya." Looking back to Elmo he sighed and shookhis hand in a circle, "Yes! Yes you woulda! An there one way inta' that place. it's an underground military bunker. I dunno where the hell it is. It was dark when they moved me."

That was truth for those reading his body language. Truth and shame there. Silently chiding himself that he should have found a way to do more and trying hard not to just get bent out of shape about it. He looked back to Doug and sighed. His poor friend. SO misunderstood. That's a burden. Calm, reasonable tone retruning he told Elmo, "Doug cares about us. He's… angry and ain' communicating great. It's an opportunity t'change things that need changin. That garden? That's jsut part of it an you were brilliant. We can use ya, Elmo. Our people needs us t'stand up. Change is gonna come over the next year. You wanna be locked in a rubber grounded room with a neutral static field on it or you want to, I dunno, sleep in ya own bed?What about the next guy like me that got no one? Think of that guy. Doug's just tryin t' point out man, We cna be that hero our people need, man. Think about it."

He shrugged and looked to Doug with a sigha nd back to Elmo. "Good fight." At the end he fell back putting his gloves on and breaking the pool cue down to fit into the nylon case. "Doug, c'mon, grab your beer. Let's walk it off. Let em think it over."

Elmo gives Doug a hell of a nasty look. Doesn't reply to him in words, but his body language is one big bright neon blinking fuck you. In yellow and electric blue. He listens to Kevin, then, seriously, his arms folded. The image of a rubber room with a neutral static field makes him twitch, jaw clenching. He nods at Kev. "I hear ya. Thanks."

"Right back atcha, Elmo." Doug says, before he looks up to Kevin, and nods. "Thanks for being the voice of moderation. Let's go, Kev. Before I lose my temper again." He drains his beer, and walks out, casually.

Wither patted Doug's shoulder with the gloved hand. It hurt to wear the gloves, but Kevin's loyalties were hard won by the one friend that didn't forget him and others in holidays, and sat up all night building a toy train to cheer up the other orphans. Same Doug that was his only friend to activly seek him out when he got out of federal custody and talked to him like a person. Kev wasn't insane, he was loyal to he who was loyal to him. He had no personal malice on Elmo for this and waved to him offering in earnest, "Rubber room man. Think about it." He didn't want that for anyone and was quickly becoming scattered trying not to think about it himself. Doug's shoulder got another squeeze before heading out and turning that conversation to music, because it was still something a little agreeable in the world."

Elmo watches them go. A lot of thought is churning behind his eyes, connections firing in fractally complicated webs. He pulls a face, unhappy, flinching. Picking up his beer, he goes back to the bar.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License