slaves and ingrates


slaves and ingrates

Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

08 Jul 2012, 11:10 #1

The man at the door had quirked a challenging brow at him as he inspected his ID, but it seemed after a moment that his only objective had been to get Mati to shift uneasily from one leg to the other, trying to maintain his composure, but being unable not to peer nervously from side to side. (Wouldn't it be the pinnacle of embarrassment, to be turned away from an establishment such as this for having presented a fake ID?) After a chuckle and a shake of his head, he'd handed the laminated piece of paper back, stepped aside and allowed the boy admission, which was how Mati found himself here, now, with a shot of the most wretched tequila he had ever tasted elevated high over his head, a smile on his face, and a certain degree of flourish to his words.

"To our health!" he exclaimed, and the small circle of interns from A-Line lifted their own glasses, cheering in agreement, "And may our superiors all pass quietly in their sleep tonight." Loud whooping and cheering came hand-in-hand with admonitions and complaints; too weak, they argued, and the discussion was afoot. 'Push them down the stairs!' one suggested, 'Poison!' another demanded, and by the time chainsaws had entered the discussion, Mati shook his head, chuckled, downed his shot and, with a look of repulsion on his face that faded as the taste in his mouth did, turned to walk to the bar.

"A beer, s'il vous plaît," he told the bartender with the dark curls and light eyes, and most exquisite face Mati had seen that day. (Which was saying something, since he'd come from a work event that contained more than a few models.) The man grinned, and as he found his beer, commented on how he liked Mati's 'French' accent. He smiled, thanked him - for the beer as much as the compliment - and didn't care, this time, to specify that while the language might be French, the accent was decidedly Belgian. No, it would have to do - when the words originated in a mouth like that, Mati would scarcely have argued if the man had insisted that his accent was Scottish.

When the man bustled on to see to other patrons, he leaned against the bar with an arm resting along its edge, and lifted the beer to his lips. It served to wash down most of the foul taste of cheap tequila - they barely paid them, after all, as one of his co-workers had had the presence of mind to point out, so they could hardly spring for the good stuff - but when he licked his lips, some of it still lingered there as a faint shadow, a sour reminder of the poison he'd poured down his throat minutes earlier. He shuddered lightly and lifted his beer to his lips again. He had no intention of getting as drunk as last time he was out, but with a taste like that lingering on his lips, it surely couldn't hurt to drink until he'd drowned it out.
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Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 22:35

30 Jul 2012, 23:37 #2

Cash had not intended to agree when the rest of the boys working security at the A-Line party tonight had asked him to come out for a few drinks after. The thought of alcohol was appealing, certainly, but he had half a bottle of whiskey at home that could get him drunk just as well, without having to engage in the obligatory rants about the stuck up snobs that had looked down their snooty noses at them - ‘the help’ - all evening. He agreed wholeheartedly with every single word of those rants, of course, but no amount of pissing and moaning about it would remedy the fact that they were working and would continue to work for rich assholes.

But the boys had been insistent, and in the end, he had agreed to come to the Lucky Ducky (What kind of name was that for a bar, anyway?), already concocting an exit strategy as he was nodding his head, though he had no doubt that the bottle of whiskey would come in handy at another occasion. Like after the birthday party Chuckie had assigned him to work next week. Cash could still see the smug grin on the bastard’s face when he told him that the guest of honor was six.

Cash was the last to enter the bar, which, despite its whimsical name, looked like the Lucky Ducky had run out of luck. Even so, more than a few patrons were scattered throughout the locale, talking over a low up of music.

Cash followed the rest of the guys to the bar; when he reached the counter, there was only one seat available, in between Harry and…

He slipped onto the stool next to Mati without looking at the boy. Instead, he signaled for the attention of the bartender, a young man with dark hair and striking eyes rimmed with thick, black lashes, who smiled at him as he sat down.

“Jameson’s,” Cash said, before the bartender could ask him what he wanted. “Neat.”

The bartender nodded, a little taken aback by the brusque reply, but he set about fixing the drink, which didn’t really take much fixing at all.

Cash nodded as the tumbler was pushed towards him, reaching out a hand and wrapping his fingers around the glass without lifting it to take a sip.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

04 Sep 2012, 22:01 #3

It was a turn of events that came out of nowhere, the sudden arrival of a familiar face. He noticed him by accident, glancing to the side to take in the man who sat down beside him, and the moment he caught a glimpse of his face, his eyes snapped back to the wall behind the bar, lined with bottled of all shapes and sizes. Wide-eyed and suddenly frozen in the kind of nervous paralysis that only seized him every so often, he stared at the wall with lips slightly parted, frantically searching his memory for the man's name. Mr. Givens. That was all he could recall, some faint strand of something-or-another, and the immediate awareness of slurred speech of the past, of a fist flying and sharing cigarettes in the dark. He'd made a fool of himself. An utter fool.

He steeled himself for impact, though there was no impact coming. No, he was simply glancing to the side, and steeling himself some more by lifting his beer and taking a long, deep swig from it, and was absolutely mortified when a great part of it ended up going down the wrong pipe. The risk of spraying half-consumed beer all over the bar was imminent, but he managed to ward off his reaction for just long enough to avoid it, before he burst into uncontrollable coughing.

His attempt to stop it by wrapping his entire arm around the lower half of his face was tragically ineffective; the bartender approached him with uncertainty, asking him with something akin to concern whether he was alright. He waved him off with his free hand, having neither the time nor the patience to attempt to be polite, even if the man was beautiful.

By the time the coughing subsided into the occasional clearing of his throat, he was red-faced and teary-eyed, trying to compose himself by running a hand through his hair and straightening his back, assuming a nonchalant air that seemed laughable when it stood out in such sharp contrast to the state of his face. He took another sip of his beer, small this time, and swallowed down the remnants of coughing with it, simply clearing his throat one last time.

The bartender walked by, elegantly sliding him a glass of water in the moment of passing, and Mati's jaw clenched firmly. The indignity of it all! All that trouble, all night, gone into being an upstanding member of society, commendable in every way, and it all fell to pieces just like that. It was ridiculous, preposterous, laughable! And in that moment, he could think of nothing else to do in reaction: The tension in his shoulder was suddenly released, his jaw slacked, and a sudden laugh of disbelief escaped him.

Closing his eyes, he leaned forward against the bar, elbows on its surface and hands propping his head up, fingers gracefully pressed to his skin, two at each temple, a thumb on each side of his jaw.

"Hello, Mr. Givens," he said quietly, only loudly enough that the man sitting next to him would hear it, adopting a casual tone that greatly conflicted with his body-language, "How are you?"
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Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 22:35

15 Oct 2012, 21:26 #4

Cash suppressed a sigh as he, in a quick sideways glance, saw the look of nervous recognition on Mati’s face. To the boy’s credit, however, he gave no verbal indication that the two of them had rubbed shoulders before. Maybe he would be able to drink his whiskey in peace, and then slip away before the rest of the boys could protest. Unlike Mati, Cash did not have the blissful blur of intoxication to dull the memory of their awkward almost-conversation, and avoiding a repeat performance was high on his to-do list right.

Considering who had been the bigger fool at their last encounter, surely the boy shared his desire to do no more than silently recognize the other, and then move on. Cash almost thought he was off the hook when Mati reached for his beer without addressing him, but seconds later, the boy eropted in a fit of coughs. Cash couldn’t help looking over at him, his hand leaving his whiskey tumbler as if to give Mati a slap on the back, but it only moved a few inches before it came to a rest again on the counter. The boy could drown in his own spit and beer, for all he cared, and this time, it would in no way be Cash’s responsibility.

Besides, the bartender was plenty concerned for both of them, Cash noted with another sidelong glance. A lopsided half-smile was quickly suppressed as Mati waved the attention away with the by-now familiar superiority. He did seem to have gotten his lungs under control though, and the coughing died down.

Cash reached out for his tumbler again, pulling it towards himself. Though his eyes were seemingly resting on the amber liquid in front of him, his attention was mostly on his neighbor. He almost laughed when his side vision caught the boy trying to regain his composure; even Mati appeared to have trouble with appearing dignified with glistening eyes and a complexion reminiscent of lobsters.

Unfortunately any resolve the boy might have had to avoid further embarrassment in front of Cash seemed to have vanished with the coughing fit. The boy sounded almost resigned as he addressed Cash, his voice barely audible over the general buzz that filled the place.

Cash didn’t reply right away, but lifted his drink to his lips and downed the contents in one go. “Another,” he said to the bartender, pushing his glass away from himself. Then, with a sigh, he looked directly at Mati.

“I’m good.”
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

30 Oct 2012, 20:21 #5

He could almost feel the moment when his formerly so righteous self-respect withered away and became a mere apparition of what had once been; it was simultaneously liberating and depressing, but when push came to shove, it was really as intact as it had ever been. His ego may have taken a dive, but it would fight its way to the surface again - just like it always did.

(It took more than embarrassment to break an ego as substantial as Mati's, after all.)

He turned his head to the side, resting it still in one hand, propped up with an elbow on the counter of the bar, and looked at the older man with a look of mild interest on his face, accompanied by a carefully sculpted polite smile. "Oh yes?" he answered, saving a glance and a friendly smile - much removed now from the Mati that had so insolently waved him off to save himself some of the face that he was unable to keep from losing - for the bartender who arrived to refill the other man's glass. He didn't continue until the man left again; he had a habit of becoming suddenly secretive when members of wait staff entered his near vicinity.

"Haven't had to take any punches for adolescents guilty of drunken misconduct?" His smile began to grow into genuine amusement, even though the topic of conversation he'd chosen threatened to make him blush with the hazy memory of past humiliation. "Or had your employment threatened by one?"

Straightening a bit, but still leaning against the bar, he lifted his head from its resting place in his hand. His arms rested one atop the other along the edge of the counter. "It would be a significant improvement, I'm sure." His smile receded again, becoming slight and secretive as he turned his attention back to his beer and took a sip.
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Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 22:35

27 Dec 2012, 17:01 #6

“Yes,” Cash replied, receiving his new drink from the bartender with a quick inclination of his head. The stock answer for the stock question that all sessions of incessant small talk opened with. He sighed, not returning the smile that Mati sent his way. Instead turned his head forwards again, swirling his whiskey gently.

He couldn’t keep the sides of his mouth from twitching ever so slightly though, when Mati willingly brought up their previous encounters. He wasn’t sure whether it was amusement or irritation. The boy at his side had a curious way of bringing up that kind of mixed emotions in him. Perhaps if Mati had been fifty and fat, Cash wouldn’t have…

He cut the train of thought immediately. “Night’s young.” His voice was gruff. “And you’re here.”
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

27 Dec 2012, 17:17 #7

Mr. Givens was, as Mati knew him to be, a man with a face of stone, and Mati seemed to lack the tools essential to making any sort of crack in that facade. He was on the verge of surrendering there and then; he'd met him by accident, he'd acknowledged him, he'd made a fool of himself, he'd acknowledged that too, and it seemed unlikely that his track record with the other man would improve tonight.

(Such a shame, too. He would have liked to leave him with something other than a negative impression for once.)

But then it happened, a ray of light somehow breaking through the dark and ominous clouds above. It was only the lightest twitch of the corners of the other man's mouth, hardly a smile by anyone's standards, but Mati still chose to interpret it as such.

(Rather than as an involuntary muscle movement, which it could just as easily have been. He might not have been drunk, but he was at least tipsy enough to be an optimist.)

He baffled him with his response, then. Even with his interpretation of the twitching smile, he hadn't expected a full sentence from the man. Immediately, it had him grinning from ear to ear with something akin to youthful excitement - something Mati was careful not to display too frequently. (Why, people might get the absurd notion that he was a youth!)

"Keenly observed," he responded, still grinning, with an added spring to his proverbial step as he took another sip from his beer - without a subsequent coughing fit, this time. "But with any luck, I won't accidentally set fire to anything." He looked at him again, smiling lopsidedly and almost apologetically. "Especially to you."
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Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 22:35

27 Dec 2012, 17:29 #8

Cash snorted. Accidentally set fire to him, indeed. That would have been a set-back in any relationship that he didn’t think it could recover from. Not that he had any sort of relationship with Mati, Cash was quick to correct himself. It wouldn’t do to slip up like that, not even in the privacy of his own mind. That’s how it all started, and the boy had already proved that he had the persistence of telemarketer without even the slightest bit of encouragement. The only solution was to hang up without a word, because Cash definitely didn’t want what he was selling.

“Better not loan you my lighter again,” Cash said, smirking as he took a sip of his new drink.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

27 Dec 2012, 17:44 #9

"Oh!" Propelled into motion by a prompt of his own imagining, Mati reached into his pocket and brought out exactly what would render Cash's decision inconsequential: his very own lighter. He held it up with something akin to pride, this sterling silver creation with some sort of insignia on the front - he could scarcely remember the last time he'd shown such pride while holding up a gift from his father.

"I have my own," he continued, grinning more broadly as he said it. The grin faded within seconds, and instead he furrowed his brow in a brief display of concern as he studied the lighter.

Smiling lopsidedly, and with a touch of playfulness in his eyes, he placed the lighter flat on the bar's surface and slid it ever-so-elegantly over to the other man. "Maybe you should just...hold on to that. Just in case."
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Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 22:35

30 Jan 2013, 22:21 #10

Cash couldn’t keep the amusement off his face as Mati lit up with the exclamation that he had his own. The boy fished out a small silver lighter from his pocket, much less scuffed and worn than the one that currently rested in the left pocket of Cash’s leather jacket.

He wore a crooked half-smile as he watched Mati realize what he was saying, which he, to his credit, did within seconds of starting the sentence. The proud grin was replaced by a frown, which was then replaced by another smile, though of a more abashed nature.

Cash snorted as the kid slid the lighter over to him, but he picked it up to study the marking on the side. He didn’t recognize it. Probably the family crest or some such snobbery.

Not quite sure what to do with the lighter now that he had it, he hesitated before finally dropping it into his pocket with his own. “You’ll get it back when I leave. Hopefully you can’t burn down the place in the thirty seconds it takes to get outta here.”
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

04 Feb 2013, 21:29 #11

It was easy to chuckle; his laughter now possessed a readiness to present that was usually associated with inebriation, but he hadn't had nearly enough to drink for that yet. Nor did he intend to get anywhere near that level of intoxication; he'd made quite enough of a fool of himself in front of the concise Mr. Givens already. Still, this beer in his hand, now lifted to his lips to conceal a smile that was a bit too wide to be, in Mati's own words, acceptable for the occasion, was awfully soothing going down. Surely, this one last beer couldn't hurt?

If it was, as it were, his final beer of the evening, that is.

He was at risk of spraying beer over the bar when the other man spoke again. Only his alerted sense of self-control and interest in not being preposterous in front of the older man (for once) stopped him from looking the fool yet again; he swallowed hard and set the beer down, taking another second to compose himself before he faced Mr. Givens.

He held up both hands, fingers crossed and face pulling a grimace of exaggerated hopefulness. The mask cracked after no more than a few seconds, and he chuckled lightly, letting his hands drop. "I'll try to keep my powers of destruction under control until you've cleared the area."

Smiling crookedly, he turned his attention back to his drink, lifting it halfway to his lips, where it remained suspended as something occurred to him. "You know, I still don't know your name." He took a sip from the bottle, then set it down and turned to the older man. "Your first name, that is. Is there a chance you might tell me what it is if I promise not to set fire to you?" He grinned broadly.
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Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 22:35

07 Feb 2013, 22:43 #12

Cash chuckled, but quickly took a sip of his whiskey to conceal it, and to suppress the pithy reply that immediately jumped into his head. This was not going according to plan at all. But he had to hand it to the kid: he’d made him smile, which Cash had not at all expected when he had slid onto the bar stool next to Mati.

Still, when Mati asked for his name, Cash was reluctant to give it. In a quid pro quo sort of way, perhaps Mati had a right to know, but being on a first name basis with one another implied familiarity, a lot more familiarity than Cash wanted with a kid that had, in quick succession, gotten him reprimanded at work and then punched in the face. Not to mention way too much familiarity with a boy who…

He shook his head softly, trying to concentrate on the dull ache from the bald man’s punch that should have met Mati’s face. “Cash,” he said, swirling the amber liquid around in his glass, pretending to be fascinated by the maelstrom he was creating.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

18 Feb 2013, 16:03 #13

"Cash?" He didn't know why he felt the need to repeat it. It seemed like one of those silly, pointless things that people do - people that he, in all his infinite (supposed) wisdom, would then proceed to mock for their affiliation with the silly and pointless - and he felt like a child for having made himself guilty of such an action. A child, or an old man, because he could clearly only be one or the other. A child who didn't understand, or an old man who didn't hear it right the first time around.

He cleared his throat quietly, only somewhat awkwardly (most of it was obscured behind the lopsided smile he wore), and shifted in his seat. "That's your name, I mean? It's Cash?" There didn't seem to be much alternative; unless the man was rendered so uncomfortable by the question that he used the word as a less-than-graceful segue into a lengthy discussion about the state of the nation's economy, it was undoubtedly the answer to his question.

(Or he was proposing an exchange; cash for name, a clean business transaction. Mati decided not to consider that option.)

Cash - or Mr. Givens; he wasn't sure if he was in a position yet to start using his first name - didn't seem like the type to discuss financial matters in bars with teens-in-denial, so Mati decided not to wait for his answer before he went on. "Is it short for something, or is it just Cash?" He lifted his bottle to take a sip, but before he carried the action through, he hastily added (just in case), "I like it, it's nice. Suits you."
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Joined: 01 Jun 2011, 22:35

18 Mar 2013, 13:06 #14

Cash snorted softly at the idea that his name somehow suited him more than any other name would have. He highly doubted that his parents had given much thought as to what to call the bundle of "joy" that had forever cemented them together in the chains of marriage. Still, convention deemed a name a necessity, and perhaps they had simply chosen what was at the forefront of their minds, always: cold, hard cash.

Deciding to ignore that line of thought by not responding to it, he instead took a deep swallow of his whiskey, emptying the glass once more. The amber liquid gave a pleasant sensation on its way down, somehow soothing despite the burn. He badly wanted another, but at this pace, he was likely to be sleeping in the gutter tonight. Or worse.

"Just Cash."
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010, 17:46

02 Apr 2013, 22:18 #15

He smiled a bit, directing most of it at the beer he now set down again on the surface of the bar. For a moment he stared quietly into its mouth, watching the contents that stilled inside it. A fair bit still remained. Too much for him to feel awfully courageous yet, but should he quicken his pace...

He had determined to stay as sober as possible on this post-work event, but now he lifted the bottle to his lips and gulped down all of what was left in it in one go. As he set the bottle down again and swallowed hard the last mouthful of the contents, he took great care to complete the action and gently and controlled as possible. The last thing he needed was to be seen as some urchin who couldn't handle his drink - again.

He clenched his teeth and waited for a second as he felt the rest of the beer go down, feeling the discomfort he always experienced when he attempted this. (One of the reasons why he preferred to sip his drink respectfully - "respectfully" would indicate the second reason.) It only took a few seconds before it settled exponentially, and he looked up, met the bartender's eyes, smiled and nodded for another.

Now he turned to face Cash again, his smile lopsided again, almost cheeky. "Should I call you Cash, then? Or am I still exiled in the lands of respectful propriety, Mr. Givens?" Where his smile may have been almost cheeky, the tone of his two final words took that cheek and increased it tenfold. He could have blushed, but thankfully the perfectly timed bartender saved him as he placed a fresh beer in front of him and plucked the empty bottle out of his hand's loose grip. He looked away from his neighbouring patron to thank the man with a smile and a nod, and decided to concentrate on his new drink when that was done.
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