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2045-08-19 Pink Squirrel

From X-Factor

Pink Squirrel
Date Posted 2015/08/19
Location Brass Monkey Karaoke Bar - Greenwich Village
Participants Vega, Finn
Summary In which alcohol makes good social lubrication.
 
The Brass Monkey is impossible to miss; its thirty-foot high yellow neon monkey, a drink in one hand and a microphone in the other, has become something of a landmark in west Greenwich Village, and it's a popular place to unwind after a long day of work or study.

The bright, brash decor continues inside, with copious neon decorating the walls in the shapes of various singing animals. The same lines the mirror-backed bar, and a discoball hung overhead reflects the light in a thousand different directions. The stage near the front provides music and lyrics for nearly any song you can imagine (in several languages, too), and for a small fee, it also offers holographic back-up dancers. It's not uncommon for particularly good karaoke acts to earn a few dollars tossed their way, which means that the quality at the Brass Monkey is generally good. The drinks here are reasonably priced, and specialty cocktails carry themed names like 'the pink squirrel' and 'the flaming giraffe'.

It is a summer night. The weather is hot and fair.


The Brass Monkey /is/ impossible to miss. It's occasionally difficult to see when one is inside, when the disco ball is spinning and a Singer and the Holograms are gyrating cheerfully (and only slightly off-key) to a Cyndi Lauper Track. Leaning up against the bar, Vega squints at the themed cocktails - trying to make them out. She perches half-on and half-off a stool at the bar.

It doesn't matter how good the karaoke singers sound or how great the reputation of the bar, one fact still remains: to get up and belt your lungs out to some famous person's song in front of a room of strangers requires generous liquid fortification. At a table, a cluster of university students are working their way up to it, and one young man laughingly breaks away from the ranks to head over to the bar and seek out a refill. He doesn't so much lean as flop next to Vega, elbows thumping onto the bar as he considers the same drink menu. "I dunno," he sighs, "I'm not sure drinks named after monkeys was really the best way to go, whatever the theme."

Pink hair falling over her shoulder in a wave, Vega could easily be one of the university students, with a sharp bit of metal clipped to her ear. Arching a brow at the fellow flopping down next to her, the edge of her mouth quirks at the corner. "That's not really fair to the rest of the animals on the menu," she counters. "Who is in your glass? You look like a pink squirrel kind of guy."

"Do I?" Finn asks, looking over at Vega and smiling widely. "Is that good? I mean, you've got pink hair, so you must at least approve of the pink part. But, squirrel? Hmm. Not sure about the squirrel."

"I generally approve of pink. Yeah," Vega agrees slowly, a hint of humor in her voice. "Just in the way you hopped up. Dropping into place. It's not very giraffe of you and monkey would just be insulting."

"I was thinking gazelle, myself. Y'know. Cuz it's a watering hole." Finn's lifts his brows and offers an open-mouth smile, and even if it's not audible, the rimshot is surely implied.

God help her. Vega laughs while swinging her Doc Marten clad feet up, seating herself properly onto the chair. Touche. "Fair enough."

Finn's goofy smile turns into something more genuine and delighted as he settles into the seat beside the pink-haired girl. "I'm Finn," he greets. "Can I buy you your Pink Squirrel?"

"Vega," she offers in turn, dark eyes still dancing with amusement. She offers him a hand. "Absolutely not, Finn. That'll put me on my ass. But I wouldn't say no to a beer?" Vega flashes him a broader smile, all teeth and good humor.

Finn curls his fingers around Vega's hand, though instead of shaking, he lifts it to lightly kiss her knuckles before his touch retreats. Then he leads forward and raises his hand to catch the bartender's attention. "Two stouts!" he orders, his thumb, fourth finger and fifth finger curling against his palm, the index and third finger remaining upwards to reiterate the number of beers he wants.

Caught by surprise at the navigation of her hand, Vega does squeeze Finn's briefly to shake it, before talling. The brush of his lips against her knuckles leaving her quietly stunned. Hi. Dipping her head, as if her short bangs can hide her eyes, she flusters and scratches the back of her neck. "Good choice." The stouts. As Finn raises his hand to order, her gaze is drawn there swiftly. "Former rocker?" She observes, leaning an elbow on the bar. "Current rocker?"

Finn laughs, shaking his head. "Future chef," he replies, resting his weight on his elbow as he follows Vega's lead and settles it on the bar. "I'm gonna have a restaurant one day. You? Wait, lemme guess..." he squints thoughtfully as he considers. "Artist?"

"Those two up is a chef gesture? Interesting..." Tipping her head inquisitively, Vega tries to fold her fingers the same way. She gets it after a try, long fingers bending delicately. "A chef, huh? Must be good with a knife. What kind of restaurant?" That same sharp gaze that landed on his hands shifts back to Finn's features, paired with a smile. Then, she laughs. "Definitely not an artist. Do I look it?"

"Mmm?" Finn asks, looking from Vega to his fingers. "No, those two up is 'two beers'," he explains with a laugh, wiggling said fingers before letting his hand fall. "I don't know yet what kind. I like so many different styles, hard to settle on just one. So, probably a rotating menu." He purses his lips as he considers. "You do kinda look it. Definitely some kind've creative. You're a maker of something, if not art."

"I usually see this one," Vega admits, gesturing with the index and the third up. The peace sign of beers. Beers for international peace. Then, she frowns at her hand and laughs. "...Which is what you made. Holograms are not great for my eyes." Letting her hands fall to rest on the counter, her fingers run a scale as a new musician takes the stage. The holograms blinking out as she blinks over at them for a moment. Her mouth curves in a smile. "Guess you could say I make things. Not much." She pauses and shakes her head. "It's not my career though. I'm a cop." Simple. Straight forward.

"Ha, really? A cop?" Finn asks. "I'm not, like, interrupting a sting, am I? Blowing a cover?" A pair of stouts are set down before Finn and Vega, and he picks his up for a sip. "What do you make?"

Vega lifts her hands, shaking her head with a laugh. "Nope. No stings tonight. Just a beer - thank you," pausing, she looks up at the bartender with a smile. There is no hesitation as she slides a tip onto the counter. Cheers. Turning back to Finn, she takes a tentative sip of her drink. "Dabble in some mechanics, mostly. Little things." She gestures with her hand, wiggling her fingers as if that will indicate the kinds of things.

"A mechanical cop," Finn muses, lifting his beer in a toast towards Vega. "Don't hear of many of those. What kinds of little things?"

"Not really all in the same breath," Vega clarifies, lifting her beer and taking a sip. "All sorts. Old phones, tablets, little wind-up toys. Whatever strikes my fancy to poke at." Her fingers follow the scale of the song along the line of the counter. "How about you - part time culinary student and part time...?"

"That's so cool," Finn replies. "Man, I'd love to see some of the things you've made." As for himself, Finn shrugs. 'Full time culinary student, though I have a part time job to make ends meet."

Vega's boots scrape on the bottom of her barstool as she shifts up in her seat. "I have a feeling I'd rather eat what you made than look at it," she counters lightly, a hint of a wry grin touching the corners of her mouth. "I feel like spent most of my college days training and grinding when I wasn't in class. Enjoyable job?"

"Then invite me over," Finn replies, "You can show me your mechanics and I'll cook for you." He considers Vega's question before he nods. "Yeah, I like it."

After sitting stunned (again) for a moment, Vega's mouth quirks up in a smile. Lifting a hand, she tucks a stray lock of pink hair back behind her ear. "Ah... but would you pass the background check? I don't even know your last name." She attempts to get back to form, taking a sip of her beer. "Besides. I don't have a kitchen in the shop. It's a take-out only sort of environment."

“I’m sure I would,” Finn answers with a background-check-winning smile, “I’ve led a very plain and dreary life before coming to the city. But it’s McLowry. My last name. If you want to run me through your database, check for prints.” He holds a hand up, wiggling his finger(prints) before taking a sip of his own beer. “Anyhow, I accept the challenge. You get me a microwave, a hot plate and an electric kettle, and I can make you a dinner that tastes like it was made in a proper, high-end, culinary kitchen. Hand to god.”

"That's Irish? McLowry?" Vega notes, keeping her fingers on her own glass, even if she glances at his with a crooked smile. "I don't tend to run prints unless I think someone has done something illegeal." So he's free and clear there. She laughs a little, the tips of her ears almost as pink as her hair. "Do you always offer to make dinner for girls you meet at bars?" She wonders, before adding. "It's Zhang." Because quid pro quo.

"Only the ones with pink hair," Finn replies, taking another swallow of his beer. "Zhang," he repeats. "So, you must be Irish, too."

Vega grins, fingers strumming along the sides of her beer, tips of her ears still pink. "Deeply," she deapans, placing her hand over her heart.

"Ach, a bonnie lass after me own heart," Finn replies, considering before he adds, "or me Lucky Charms."

Vega says, "God, I hope it's not all marshmallows," Vega says with a laugh. Lifting her beer, she takes a swig of it. "Seems dangerous for a chef.""

"God, I hope it's not all marshmallows," Vega says with a laugh. Lifting her beer, she takes a swig of it. "Seems dangerous for a chef."

"Only if he's also diabetic," Finn answers, "which, thankfully, I am not. Are you? Or, well, any other dietary restrictions or credos?"

She's got to give him that. Pink hair falls with a tip of her head, spilling over Vega's shoulder as she lifts it in a shrug. "That's specific. Credos." A smile hooked onto her lips, she sets her beer down on the counter. "Largely vegetarian, by habit. Not a fan of carrots? How about you? I can't imagine you love all food."

"I love a lot of it," Finn replies. "Tends to come with the territory. There's nothing I won't try once. Most of the time, I'm glad I did. But, okay, vegetarian. Cool. No steaks, then."

"There's got to be something. No one loves everything," Vega counters with a lift of her brows, like two dark lines into her hair. "I will cheat with the occaisional bit of fish or something. Hamburger." Because America. "What got you into cooking?"

"Well, I struggle with lima beans," Finn admits with a small sigh, "and I never really acquired a taste for haggis, either." He taps his fingers against his glass before taking another swallow, nearly finishing it. "I guess I always kinda like it, the way to look at these different things and put them together to make something greater than its component parts. Like a magic trick. And I like the way it makes people feel, getting good food, enjoying it."

"Haggis is the..." A gesture is made with her hand, sketching out the shape of intestines in the air. "Guts." Really. Vega sips at her beer more slowly, still only a little over half-way done her beer. "There is a similarity - cooking is all building things, your componants are just organic. Pieces layered to the best result."

"Stomach," Finn corrects. "You make a pudding from the heart, liver and lungs, mixed with onions, suet, oatmeal and seasonings. And you encase it int he stomach and cook it. People who like it really like it. I'm just... not one of those people." He smiles softly. "I guess there is, though what you make won't go bad after a week in the fridge."

Vega blinks at the /very/ on point description. "That sounds less like dinner and more like an odd crime." This why she is a vegetarian. "I will not hold a lack of latently cannibalistic tendencies against you," she promises, briefly touching his arm before retracting her hand. "Sometimes. Although any degree of sustained temperature will cause wear if it isn't idle." It happens. "You could always put it in the freezer." Then it won't go bad in the fridge.

"Oh, huh. Is it still haggis if it's made from a human?" Finn muses with raised brows. "Usually it's sheep, though I guess... well, that's a thought that never lived in my brain until now." He glances down at his arm, where Vega's fingers rest briefly, and smiles. "I could, but it'll get freezer burn eventually, in there. Food's for being eaten, in the end. It doesn't wait very well."

"I should apologize for that," Vega says with a wince. It's a job harzard that comes with being a cop. "Although, I think you'd have to ask a cannibal and then never tell me the answer to that." Smiling briefly, she removes her hand from his arm and finishes her beer in a few quick draughts. "Some things don't." Fishing around in her pocket, she pulls out a stub of a pen and scrawls something on it. It looks like a number. "I need to get going. Give me a call sometime if you'd pass that background check," she quips, hopping off her stool with a solid /thunk/ against the floor. Must be some weak flooring.

Finn accepts the bit of paper, carefully tucking it into his pocket. He polishes off his own beer and offers Vega a parting smile. "Have a good night. Talk to you, soon." Once the pink-haired cop heads out, he flags down another stout, pays his tab, and heads back to his passel of friends.

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