THE St. Louis Speakeasy
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Egad!
 Post subject: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:35 am GMT 
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The city was cast in the dusky light of dawn, a few stars still shining in the sky, when Max trudged back to his apartment. His building was deserted. Not a soul noticed him lugging the semi-conscious victim of last night's joyride up the stairs. Max was an expert at gleaning information from any stranger on a good day. He had been having a very bad day, however. He knew that the man slung over his shoulder was a fancy Yankee with a strange fixation on clothes, but that was it.

He hardly looked forward to the man's full recovery, much less to Heinrich's obligatory briefing. The precariousness of his situation might have sunken in, had he possessed the energy or will to grasp it. But making it up the stairs was challenge enough. He managed to grab his keys out of his pocket by half supporting the man's limp body against the wall, a maneuver that miraculously failed to leave a blood print in its wake (testament to Verstraten's competence). By the time he'd deposited the lump of fashion photographer on the couch, Max was too tired to sleep and too hungover to think. He found himself stranded in the living room, sitting on the floor, a blank expression on his face. A flaky film had dried on his hands, leaving them grimy and more brown than dark red.

"Rock bottom" would have been an exaggeration. But in the bottom of the pit, the scale loses its relevance, and if Max had experienced rockier nights it hadn't been for a very long time.

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Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:43 am GMT 
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His companion, or charge, or liability, did little to comfort him. He'd been quite docile after he woke from the gas of Han Verstaten's operating table, and with the same sort of helpless ignorance had gladly let himself been pulled and directed this way and that by the amiable "other doctor" who had scraped him off the road. Were the bandages a little less tight and the concussion a little less severe, he would have put two and two together earlier.Although whether that would have done either of them any good remained to be seen.

In the mean time, he stayed where he was put. Slumping back against the cushions of the sofa, half-sprawled in his bloodied jacket he didn't make for an inspiring sight. There was a distinctly grey tinge to Tarquin's face. The unfocused eyes and plaintive frown didn't add much.

Had he not been so drugged, he would have probably been thinking something about rock bottom too.

"Thanks..." A thin, rather melancholy voice said. He rose a hand to gently ghost along the impression Max's bumper had made to his middle-class Yankee skull. "Thanks awfully Mr... You're too kind... Of course, I'm worth it but..."

He groaned and let his head flop back with a wince.

"... Who are you, again?"

The implication was however, that at this moment he'd prefer something of a sugar-coated lie than the arguably nasty truth about his arguably nasty saviour.

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Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:43 am GMT 
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Max could hear the man begin to speak, but his voice seemed to come from a distance. Possibly through a dense bank of fog. There was a question in there; he could tell by the inflection. But before he could answer, Max had to fight his way back to the surface.

A long moment passed before he glanced up.

"Avramescu," he said, almost grudgingly, as if by speaking the name he had shamed an ancient line. An infinite row of white-bearded Avramescus, it seemed, were peering out of the white mists, shaking their liver-spotted heads in dismay at the pathetic excuse for a great-grandson slumped on the living room floor.

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Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:42 pm GMT 
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"Avrawhatscu--"

The chances were that even without the various layers of injury, malaise and drugs, Tarquin would have struggled to get even half of the name out correctly. In the spirit of the already somewhat desperate evening he tried a couple more times to repeat it, and failed miserably.

He collapsed back down onto the settee with a pathetic groan. Max's forefathers would probably be relieved that the family name wasn't being mangled any further.

"No use. I'll just have to call you..." He seemed to cast around for a suitably alternative to his real name. "Ugh, let's just stick to Avra."

For a moment longer he was silent, forearm resting over his eyes and looking quite desolate.

"... Avra..." He added weakly after a long pause. "... Avra, what the Hell happened tonight?"

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Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:17 pm GMT 
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He was accustomed to hearing his name butchered. In fact, the familiar pattern of it gave him a leg up, and he found himself slightly more grounded in the world. The new name helped too. Avra--soft and foreign in his ears.

For a second he thought he recognized his own despair in the young man's eyes. As soon as this thought occurred to him, he brushed it aside. Sympathy was a trinket he could not afford. It was time to play the game.

"You were hit by a car." Unlike most lies, this was not an impassioned one. He sounded almost too weary to speak, and it came out as a kind of sigh. "Couldn't catch the license plate number. But I took you to a clinic. You're going to be fine."

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Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:05 am GMT 
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"I was hit by a car." The repitition as less that of confusion or even indignation, but more a quiet sort of attempt at rationale. Slowly he extended his arm to stretch it above him, wincing at the lukewarm light that sank between his outstretched fingers from the gaslights in the streets. He seemed almost to be almost confused as to how his body appeared so normal after that trauma. "A car."

A laugh, thin and hesitant.

"You know, one sometimes hears of these things happening to other people... That it should happen to me..." His arm slowly fell to hang by his side, dangling off the settee when it eventually slipped.

"Who would do that? Just leave someone in the road to..."

The silence lasted a long time. The man's face was turned away slightly, for the most part hidden in shadow. The bloodstains on his shirt and jacket were black in the grey light of the apartment.

Eventually he stirred again, turning to look down at his exhausted, demoralised companion. Despite his previous hysteria, he managed to summon something of a smile. Albiet not one of his finest.

"I say, Avra, you... You didn't pay any bills or anything so mundane, did you..?"

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Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:52 am GMT 
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At the sound of that weak laughter, he glanced over sharply at the other man's face. He studied the curiously long lashes, the now-grimy curls, the clean, competent bandage and somewhat desperate eyes. Then he averted his own. There was a long pause.

"My aunt's head was run over by a Model T once," he said at last, almost conversationally. "She survived with a broken nose."

The purpose of this statement was, apparently, to show Tarquin he was lucky. Either that, or just filling the silence. At the mention of bills, Max rallied himself and rose stiffly to his feet.

"God, no." He wrinkled his nose at this 'mundane' notion. "Your insurance covered it. Listen, I'm making coffee. You want anything?"

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Last edited by Fotecp on Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:28 am GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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Hey kid.
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:14 am GMT 
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Given any other time and place, Max's anecdote would have heralded something of a horrified gasp and aversion, hands rising to push back the very idea with a startled exclamation of-- "Good God, you have to give me time to fortify my nerves before you drop something like that on me. Sweet heavens, I could faint."

However, as he was now-- that was to say, bloodied, drugged and concussed, the only thing Tarquin could summon was awe. His eyes widened slightly, fingers half-riding to assess the bridge of his own nose. His voice was a little gasped.

"Your Aunt," he muttered, "had some pluck."

The brief mention of his insurance gave way to skittle more skepticism-- brain-damaged as if was. He started to lever himself unsteadily into his elbows. "Really? I managed to fill in the paperwork or...? How did they get the-- oh God--" He'd moved a little too abruptly, an elbow slipped and so with it his head's position in space. The resulting dizzy spell was cruel to behold. Defeated, he slumped back against the cushions, covering his eyes and too lost on self pity to pursue that train of thought.

As soon as he managed to rope back a little dignity, he spoke thinly from somewhere behind his arms.

"You're a darling Avra, but if I stomach anything I think I'll die right here. I've always dreamed of dying in France..." A wince, a hiss of breath drawn between gritted teeth. "... So... So that won't do."

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Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:18 pm GMT 
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Max just shrugged. He wasn't relieved, exactly, that Tarquin had dropped the topic of insurance. First of all, it would come up again, and secondly, he wasn't feeling overly invested in this facade. There were too many concrete clues that he was lying his ass off. It was only a matter of time before things fell apart; though he fully accepted this, Max was a compulsive procrastinator and couldn't muster the will to work through it just yet.

He watched the pathetic young man stir and slump back into the cushions. The twinge of pity he'd felt a few minutes before was utterly extinguished. In its stead was a creeping distaste at this inconvenient little person, as he had thrown himself into the Bentley's hood out of random maliciousness.

"Dying in France, eh?" Max shot him a look that, had he been a bit less tired, might have been wry. "I tried that once. Not all it's cracked up to be."

He shrugged off his coat (slightly stained with a dark patch of dried blood), tossed it over the back of a chair, and started for the kitchen. There he started some coffee, so he'd have something to pour into his whiskey.

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Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:18 am GMT 
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It was in the kitchen that Heinrich found him.

He appeared to materialize gradually, shuffling out of the dark hall at a snail's pace. A cloud of tobacco fumes preceded his arrival. He looked a little paler than usual, with dark circles under his eyes and hair sticking up at odd angles. He was wearing one of Max's bathrobes, and looked rather like the Ghost of All-nighters Past.

"<Good, the coffee's on.>" Heinrich's English, while far from bad, taxed his mental faculties, particularly around this time of night. He had almost immediately sniffed out Max's ability to understand Yiddish, and had been speaking it to him ever since. He cast an expressionless glance towards the living room. "<We're entertaining, I see. Should I change for a party?>"

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Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:25 am GMT 
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At the sound of his roommate’s voice, Max gave a guilty start, spilling a dollop of whiskey on the countertop. He’d just been pouring a shot into his mug, anticipating the coffee to come. As he capped the flask, he turned to face Heinrich, looking like death warmed over.

Max, it seemed, had not slept either. He still wore the blood-smudged remnants of last night’s suit.

“Ah, yes. Der gast,” he muttered. For the most part, Max had grown up speaking English, but his father still hit him when he failed to ‘talk Jewish’ on his rare visits home. He spoke the mother tongue with the accent of an American alrightnik and the grammar of a Rumanian crimelord. Though he understood Heinrich, he rarely replied in Yiddish. This morning was different.

The kettle, while not quite whistling, had at least begun to hiss. As he reached for it, distracted, the burning metal brushed his skin. Max gasped out a curse and stuck a knuckle in his mouth, wincing. “<I ran him over with my car.>”

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Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:44 am GMT 
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"<How exciting.>"

Heinrich did not sound overly excited. Then again, it was rare for Heinrich to sound overly anything. He took advantage of Max's distraction to slide the coffee mug over, drain a little over half the whiskey, and set it back approximately where he'd found it. Then he ran a finger through the whiskey Max had spilled on the countertop, and stuck it into his mouth. He mopped up the rest of the spill with the sleeve of his borrowed bathrobe.

Turning his attention to his roommate, he studied Max's pallor and the splotches of blood on his shirt front. He reached out with an extended finger and scratched a bit at one of the darker bloodstains. Some of it flaked away as coppery brown powder on his fingertips. "<Too bad, though. I was planning to borrow that suit.>"

It was only then that he turned his gaze back in the general direction of the living room, though it was not visible from where he stood. "<Still alive, is he?>"

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"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


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Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:33 pm GMT 
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As Max watched his roommate out-blasé him, he felt the itch of vexation crawling up his neck. Not that he cared about the bathrobe, or even about the whiskey, but Heinrich was still unemployed and living indefinitely off the accountant's good graces. Heinrich did pick up the groceries. In the moment, however, that did not feel like much. Irritably, Max slapped the man's hand away from the stain on his shirt.

"<He's alive. For now, anyway.>" He glanced down at his blotchy red knuckle and turned to run it under the sink, raising his voice so his crass Rumanian Yiddish could be heard above the flow. "<You might take an interest, Heinrich. If I go to jail, you'll have to find some other pisser to suck dry.>"

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Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:06 am GMT 
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"<You insult me. I'm extremely interested. You should put vinegar on that,>" he added, indicating the burn with a vaguely motherly inflection. "<Anyway, you're like a brother to me. I would never let you go to prison. When the cops come, inform me. I'll assume your identity.>"

He smiled then, one of his rare, close-lipped smiles that meant he was probably joking. At this juncture, Max was perhaps the only person this side of the Atlantic clued in to his sense of humor (such as it was). "<Who knows. It might make an interesting film.>"

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"On a side note, dvorak, looks like the Pope is recognising your authority in Sainting people. Can only be one person representing God on earth at a time" -TFP


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Egad!
 Post subject: Re: Game of Consequence (Nerf)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:55 pm GMT 
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All sarcasm aside, Heinrich was as close to a brother as Max had ever had. Heinrich's apathy had raised his hackles, but now the tone of voice, with that hint of an ironic smile, eased his anger. He turned off the faucet and rested his elbows on the edge of the sink, watching the water swirl down the drain. When Max mustered the will to push off from the counter, one eyebrow was slightly raised.

"<Careful what you say, Heinrich.>" He turned to grab a filter for the coffee, ignoring the advice about the vinegar. "<You're giving me ideas.>"

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