O Captain! My Captain!

Grisly Bar

Worn wooden floors stained with ages of spilled drinks (and worse), creak under the feet of patrons as they enter the dark, disordered room. Though dust has settled over a lot of the establishment, making it appear abandoned, the flow of customers would speak differently. Dirty glasses, some with sticky yellow patches in the bottom where beer or scotch has been allowed to dry, stand on one end of the bar.
Several of the windows have been bricked up to prevent vandalism, but create a great fire-hazard. There is a tarnished mirror on the wall behind the bar with a chipped and fading Art Nouveau nymph painted across the bottom.

joaquim_icon.jpg steve_icon.jpg

The problem with pub-crawling is that you can't be dressed absolutely appropriately with every location, if you go to different types. So Steve's button-down shirt and creased slacks are a little out of place in this blue-collar haven. Still, he seems to come in here enough that nobody's hassling him. At least so far. He's got a Crown and Coke sitting in front of him, and he's hunching over it. His cane stands unobtrusively next to his stool at the bar.

Joao is dressed as he always does: casual all the way. The clothes are neat, but only because his grandmother fusses over his laundry, and that neatness has degraded somewhat as the day has worn into night, adding a flavorful rumple to the dark blue t-shirt atop faded black jeans. Out of place is the striking gold watch that rounds a wrist, but otherwise he looks to be like every other man that frequents this dive, other than the fact that he is clearly underage. Slipping through the crowd, Joaquim is set on passing on by Steve without much thought until his vivid green eyes catch onto the face, and that causes him to stop cold. "I know you."

Steve turns to look over his shoulder, grunting a "Huh?" in response. He looks the guy over for a little while before he realizes what he means. "Oh," he murmurs. "Yeah, I guess so," he says. "What's up?" It's hardly a question, just a minimal pleasantry.

A grin slowly bleeds onto Joao's lips until the glare of yellowed teeth burn through to eclipse even the depth of dimples. "Dude, you're famous. A regular hero! Way fucking better than Pee Wee Herman." Ensconcing himself directly before Steve, the delighted youth continues to beam at him. "What're you doin in this dump? You gotta be loaded." A certain hungry glint sharpens the light in his eyes.

"Not that famous," Steve mutters in return. "Not a hero. Definitely not loaded." He glances over again, frowning. "Take a seat, you're making me nervous," he advises. "I like this dump."

Joao slips onto the stool next to Steve, still holding onto the grin. "Yea, sure, I like it too, but it's still a dump." An expressive head-jerk points out a guy passed out in a bowl of peanut shards at a nearby table. "Not rich, huh? That sucks, you should be. Pee Wee Herman is and he sucked - literally apparently." This cracks the kid up. "Anyway, you are a hero amongst my crowd." Delight remains glazed upon youthful features as he reaches for a cigarette from the pack in his shirt pocket and holds it out towards The Captain. "Smoke?"

"I quit," Steve says, reaching out to take the cigarette he's been offered. "What's your 'crowd,' anyway?" he asks, glancing in the young man's direction. "Steve, by the way. But I guess you know that."

The juxtaposition of the statement and the act of taking the cigarette refreshes the grin. "There you go." Another is slipped out for Joao and quick as a whip a lighter is out and flicked to ignite Steve's should he actually want it lit. "I'm Joao. My crowd? Well… it's a pretty wide spread. I'm the youngest, but by far not the dumbest," and that is saying something. "Mostly natives, mexican'ts, and wannabes." The old joke is drug out into the light for the other. "I'd be a mix of both the first two."

"What, are you in a gang or something?" Steve guesses half-heartedly. He puts his hand out for the lighter and sparks up, dragging on it. "Lot of people tell me they liked my show 'cuz it's fun to get high and watch kids' shows. I don't know."

"That too." Joao retrieves the lighter and ignites his own, taking a couple drags before continuing. "Mostly because you didn't turn out to be a wimp on top of it all. The video of your graceful fall from middle class motherly adoration was epic and we applaud." An ashtray is drug between them from down a ways on the bar. "I bet you get laid way more now that you're out of the closet - sorta say." A memory of a question dribbles in and triggers a belated response, "Nah, no gang. We just hang out."

Steve scratches his jaw. "That's awesome, I'm glad you enjoyed watching me ruin my life." Apparently he's being surly drunk tonight. He gives Joaquim a dubious look at the 'out of the closet' remark, but seems to decide not to start a fight over it. "Not really," he admits. "It's hard to get laid in a hospital. It's /not/ hard to get laid in LA." He drags on the cigarette.

Joao's mirth dims a bit as he watches Steve, the intensity of his eyes ramping up as thoughts troll about. "Ruined your life? That should have gotten a special star on the walk of fame!" The boy is a bit of an idiot, but not totally clueless and so when the cane is glanced, he shares, "That, my friend, is a chic magnet if I ever saw one. I'm sorry you got broke up, but it should have fired up your career, not decimated it. You couldn't be Captain Sunshine /forever/." Then the humor comes trotting back. "You're better than Russell Crow!"

Steve makes a bit of a bewildered face. "Russel Crowe?" he asks, apparently not seeing the connection. "He's a huge movie star. I'm a clown for kids." He takes a deep drink of the alcohol. "Anyway, falling on your ass and yelling swears in front of a bunch of kids doesn't exactly make people jump to hire you," he says, shugging. "Especially when…you know, you aren't going to do any jumping any time soon. …How do you say your name, again?"

Joao seems perplexed and slow to respond because of it. "Russell Crowe is an asshole, but he still gets work. He's freaken annoying to look at too - but you, you're cool and good looking taboot." A shrug tosses the conversation in whatever receptacle Steve might want it in. "My name? You know Zsa Zsa Gabor? Put a 'Zha' with an 'ow'. Joao." Fire eats away at the paper as smoke is sucked through the filter to flood the lad's lungs.

"Okay," Steve says after a drag on the cigarette. Apparently he's not going to try saying it, he just wanted to ask. "Yeah," he finally agrees with a sigh, "I don't understand the point of Russell Crowe, either. He totally sucks. But, I mean, he doesn't limp, so he's got that going for him."

The tussled head of semi-curls shakes vigorously in disagreement. "No way, buddy, Russell Crowe walks like he has a stick up his ass. Your limp? Makes you monumentally cool. Throw a cool cane on top of that? You're flatout epic." Then the conversation shifts as a thought occurs to Joao, "You enjoy the flying while it lasted?"

Steve reaches a hand up to rub the back of his head. He can't help smiling a little at Joao's unique brand of conversation. Helps that it's mixed with a healthy dose of flattery, probably. "I mean, I guess like any job, there were parts that I liked and parts that I didn't. What do you do?"

"As little as possible." Joao's grin returns in the form of a smirk. For the first time in a long time a cigarette is forgotten in lieu of conversation, but as the curling smoke trails up to tickle the sharp nose, it's remembered and drawn from at length to make up for lost time.

"Not bad work, if you can afford it," Steve agrees, bobbing his head. He drags on his cigarette. "I'm still trying to get work sometimes. I just made a stupid Lifetime movie." He rolls his eyes.
<Public> The AVL Rocks! Desiree says, "Likewise. Welcome!"

A chuckle echoes up Joao's throat, but it isn't in the slightest mocking - more in accordance with the eyeroll. "Hey, it's work. In no time you'll build up to a cheesy HBO series!" The bartender walks by and the boy calls out, "Beer!" only to have the man turn back and stare long and hard at him, eventually spouting, "You know better than that. I let you in, but no drinking. It's easy enough to say you snuck in, but no alcohol or your lazy ass is out!" Then he's away and Joao is left rolling his own eyes.

"Man, those are getting to be as bad as Cinemax movies," he says. "I'd have to get a full-body tan again," he complains. A sympathetic smirk is afforded to the youth at being denied a beer. "Yeah, drinking underage might be easy, but not at bars. Good try, though."

The Cinemax comment cracks Joao up and this carries right on through to the next. "Yea, well, you won't get it if you don't try." The bartender passes by again and plunks a can of Coke down in front of the kid. "On me, now shuddup!" Then he turns to Steve, "Want another?" Joaquim forefinger-points at the crusty man behind the bar, "My uncle," and then lopes on back to the former topic. "I hear they're doing another Mission Impossible. That's slightly a step above an HBO series. You should get on as the villain!"

Steve drains the drink down and then passes the glass across the bar. "Yeah, thanks," he says, dragging on the cigarette until it's a stub, which he manages to extinguish in the ashtray. "Yeah?" he asks Joaquim, smiling. "That's cool, family that owns a bar. When you hit twenty-one, that'll be awesome, right?" A smile comes up, spreading slowly. "Mission Impossible, though…no way. I heard any movie Cruise works on, he tries to trick everybody into joining Scientology."

"Nah, he doesn't own it. Just a slave to the grind." The coke is glared at as it is begrudgingly picked up for a sip that is followed by the last drag on the butt that is crushed into the bottom of the ashtray. The name of the religion rolls about in Joao's head until it clicks into place. "Oh, that 'Alien' religion. Based on suicidal aliens, and not of the 'south of the border' sort. Fuckers are nuttier than I am." The grin goes crooked.

"Oh, right," Steve says. "I thought maybe if I can't be an anchorman, I could figure out how to be a bartender. Probably pretty interesting. I used to wait tables all the time." He smiles about Scientology. "Well, anyway, how damn old is Tom Cruise? Way too," he concludes, nodding. He's probably a little drunk, given his conversational leaping.

"Way too old to have a girlfriend my age," Joao jokes, fingers constricting on the can to make it pop as it contorts. This becomes a repeated event that he doesn't even notice is happening, so distracted he is by the conversation. "Anchorman? Then you'd have to get all cheeseball. I know!" Excitement thrums through the young man, "You can get a job for MTV or Fuse! Now /that/ would be worth cheesin up for."

"Yeah, that's true," Steve agrees about Tom Cruise's age. He rolls his shoulders. "I dunno, I want to read the news," he says, looking a little sheepish. "You can do that until you're a hundred and you make good money. I'm not cool enough for MTV or whatever that other thing is, probably."

Joao snorts, "Yea you are," but it's the idea of Captain Sunshine becoming a Fox anchor that bugs him enough to pass by the opening to layer on more compliments. "You wouldn't go try and be Unfair and Lopsided would you? Because then I'd have toss out my Captain Sunshine boxers." The annoying tinny constriction of the can halts so a sip can be taken.

"What do you mean?" Steve asks, looking a little puzzled. "I don't want to decide the news, I just want to read it," he says. "You can't read lopsided…" Steve heaves a sigh. "I don't even /watch/ the news," he admits.

Joao starts laughing again. "Well that explains it! I don't either, but I hear my grandparents yelling at the TV all the time about how angry Fox news makes them. Personally, I just think the anchors there are cheesier looking than normal anchors." Then the admission comes, "In truth, I listen to music and watch movies more than TV. I got a couple excellent DVD players last week. Looking for a new one? I'll sell it to you cheap."

"Do they even /have/ real anchors?" Steve wonders. He looks confused by the offer. "Is it hot?" he asks frankly, brows lifting. He doesn't look shocked by the idea that it could be, nor is his tone accusing.

"Slightly warm." A towel is smacked across the back of Joao's head, causing his grin to widen exponentially. "It's a (insert top of the line 2005 DVD player info here). I'll sell it to you for $75 and… " he scouts around in his head for something unique to add on top, which is the real reason for selling items, "a plug in the next interview you do. Just a little, "Hey Joao"." The coke is sat aside and the rag is pulled off from a shoulder where it hung up. It's bundled and tossed back at his uncle, bouncing it off his bald scull.

Steve laughs and shakes his head. "I've never done an interview in my life," he says quietly, drinking from his fresh beverage. He sighs. "I can't afford it, kid. I'm unemployed."

Joao doesn't even stumble as the banana peal is tossed in front of his plan. Right way the terms change, "Alright, free and if you get on one of those DVD extras for that Lifetime movie, or another, give me a shout out." It's the closest to fame as he'll ever get.

Steve looks suspiciously at Joao. "Free?" he asks. "You sure there isn't some other kind of catch?" Apparently he's not accustomed to favors without some severe catches.

Joao sparks a grin that quickly rises to inflame his eyes. "Yea, the catch is you get to try and mangle my name on camera!" Obviously this idea amuses him, and is a common malady of white folks attempting his name. Leaning into Steve, he whispers, "I got two free, so why not?" The shrug that sets him back upright is absolutely carefree.

Steve rolls his lips together. "Well…you better write your name down or whatever," he says. "Do you, like…deliver, or what?" he asks. Apparently, he can't turn down the offer of free stuff, even if he is a little suspicious that he's going to end up on TMZ. "You seem all right."

"I am alright. Perrrrfectly harmless," and he is too, mostly. Joao leaps at the chance to see where Steve lives and lobs an enthusiastic, "I'll deliver for you. I'll even throw in a DVD of my favorite movie… " a sly cant infuses the ever present grin, "since I have 53 copies of it."

Steve smirks and nods. "Okay," he says. "Okay. Now, listen, I'm gonna give you my address, but please don't put it on the internet or come and kill me because you're crazy, right?"

An amused snicker is followed up with, "I don't even have a computer." Odd considering Joao obviously has access to quite a lot. "As for killing? There's no way I'm going to off the guy who will one day butcher my name on camera. Besides, I'm mild mannered." A nod, much like the one he made earlier to indicate the passed out drunk, points out another fellow across the room. "Now that guy? He'd have you as an after dinner snack." A bottle of True Blood is half empty in front of him.

"Okay," Steve says. "I'm just trying not to end up as one of those totally sad washup celebrity murder stories you didn't even know about until you stayed home sick and watched a random episode of "Where Are They Now?' or whatever." That was certainly extended. Therefore, Steve takes a long drink to recuperate. He looks across the room, eyeing the vampire with suspicion. "Why do they have to serve that stuff in regular bars?"

Another cigarette is taken out and dropped in front of Steve before Joao pulls one out for himself and lights it, setting the lighter down next to the smoke on the bar. "Money. It's expensive. That and the vampires draw fangbangers." The burning cigarette is waved toward a table full of girls eyeing up the vampire.

Steve picks up the cigarette, putting it between his lips. He looks at the girls. "I don't get that," he says. "I mean, what's the attraction in getting hurt by some pasty old son of a bitch?"

Joao adds in, "Moldy too. I guess it's the thrill. Everyone's got to get a thrill some way, huh?" Another glance at the vampire sets his nose to crinkling. "Whatever; to each their own." Attention swerves back to Steve. "What do you do for kicks? And I don't mean the kinky sort." A drag taken, he plays at making lazy rings, watching them drift toward the ceiling.

Steve rubs his face briefly, then drags on his cigarette. "I've had enough thrills," he claims. "Getting out of the hospital was a pretty big thrill. Haven't really had a good one since then." He exhales smoke. "I'm smoking again, apparently. That's thrilling."

Joao's nose twitches at the idea of Steve lacking thrills. "That's the reason to live, ya know? Thrills and chills? That's the whole point of adrenaline." What is said triggers deeper digging, "When did you get out? And why the hell did you come to Dallas? Dallas is a black hole in the universe - it'll suck your life right away into oblivion." An absent flick of the thumb knocks ash off the tip of the cigarette to fall in a crumbled heap into the glass tray.

"Like a couple months ago," Steve says, picking up his drink again. "I came back because I'm from Texas originally. So…I mean, where better to go in Texas? Dallas is okay, I guess." He keeps his eyes on his glass for the time being.

An extended bout of slow nodding relays Joao's understanding. "Well, welcome home then." The coke is picked up, "Welcome to the second leg of your career. May it be full of thrills and all your groupies giving you chills." This idea 'thrills' the grinning boy who finishes off the toast by guzzling the contents and thunking the empty hard on the top of the bar.

Steve laughs and shakes his head. "I haven't seen a groupie in a while. And mom groupies are a kind of creep nobody wants to deal with," He smiles, drinking down more booze. "But I was totally more into thrills when I was younger. I get where you're coming from."

Joao flinches, "Yea, that's what I meant earlier. You banished that set from your life, and now you can get groupies like that." An exaggerated and pointed glance towards a hot chic wandering across the room bringw about an onset of eyebrow wiggling. "You just wait. Get into one of those Lifetime movies like you said, and all the drippy dippy females who watch that crap with a box of Kleenex will be knocking down your door with no panties under their skirts in no time. You'll see."

Steve stubs out his cigarette in the ashtray, but he smiles at the prospect of pretty young groupies going for him instead of weirdo old bloodsucker. "So…Lifetime's for the hot young things, now, and not chubby housewives?" he asks, lifting a brow. But he seems in a better mood. He looks at his watch and pounds down the rest of his drink. "Listen, nice meeting you and everything. Let me just…" He grabs a cocktail napkin and writes his cell number on it. "Call me about that DVD player so I can make sure it still sounds like a good idea when I'm sober." He smiles and gets up, leaning on the cane. "Peace, man."

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