2008-02-16: Men Are Like Pine Cones


Joule_icon.gif McAlister_icon.gif Sierra_icon.gif

Summary: Three women meet in the dead of night and discuss relationship problems, music, and romantic philosophies.

Date It Happened: February 16, 2008 (the 15th, after Midnight)

Men Are Like Pine Cones

WARNING: Profanity

Battery Park

Tonight is a 'greatest hits of' night on WYRK - which, for you regular listeners out there, is an unusual thing. That's usually Sundays, give-the-DJ-a-night-off. But, tonight, prerecorded segments are de-jour, with a new tracklist to go with it.

In other words, Ali phoned it in. Call it hubris, though, as a cheap transistor radio next to the woman is playing some Floyd under an editorial piece about the garbage guy nobody cares about. (Hey. That one caused a jump in listenership! Don't judge!)

Now, why anybody's listening to that in the middle of Battery Park, sitting crosslegged on a February night, without a coat, down by the water looking over the harbor? Death wish, probably. But the blonde is fiddling with a cell, opening and closing it, staring at the display and the water in turn.

The swearing brings Joule's presence on the wind before the woman herself is visible. "Goddamn wankering boarfucking whoremonger!" And that's just before she takes a breath and gets herself going again. The profanity continues at length, and the hollow sound of heels clicks on the pavement in stacatto percussion to what would be musical if not for the offensive words.

You know how some girls are cute when they're angry? Joule's not that girl. She's hot when she's angry. But in the way of 'bright glowing ember of something that will give you third degree burns'.

Everyone has a right to be a bit crazy with their death wishes every now and again. And, like the blond, on the bench, she's seemingly got one too. But she doesn't care. Late nights at Battery Park are dangerous? No! Peaceful, except for a person walking down the path swearing every which way. Sierra tries not to like that bother her peaceful little walk, however, as she makes her way along.

A couple of things happen, all at once.. or. Well. Actually in a short progression.

The radio switches from tinny conversation about garbagemen to the prerecorded bit about 'saving a decent teacher' and a donation address, along with a youtube link. Then. yes. /it/ plays. THAT song. Number Two Pencil banging out, "Represent!" - it's not even a bad lift, though good ears would note it's the youtube arrangement.

Go DJs that have license to pick their setlist?

The blonde looks at the radio. Turns it up a bit. And she mutters to herself - those close enough to hear it would probably hear something akin to, "So. Think like a drunken gun nut irishman with a sex fixation… right." A pause. "Whiskey. Porn. Boobs."

"No more hardons, you hear me?! EVER! No matter how hard you pound your pud!" The wind is also sweeping in off the bay, and thus it is that the song is brought to Joule's ears. That song. The joke that has now tied her irrevocably to Lee Jones. The selfsame Lee Jones whose name she is cursing back five generations. "Oh, bloody lovely," she says, calming to laughter which still carries a bitter little edge. "Just what I needed to hear now. Fuckitall." She turns, trying to figure the source of the tune. It's the middle of the night. Who's out here playing that song?

Sierra slowly makes her way along the path as before. She catches a listen of that song that's been playing for a while now all around. "Hmmm." She does enjoy it somewhat. It's kinda catchy. Now she, too, is in search of it's source. She looks this way and that. Where is it coming from? She scurries upon the path looking for it.

That bench. There. With the blonde. Who .. waxes a bit rhapsodic - and. er. Forgets to whisper. "Ak-47s. Grenades. Boom. Uh. Strip clubs. IHOP?" She pauses. "… IHOP. No, he's /gotta/ be a waffle-house kind of guy. Beer. Uh. Bad music. Oasis, probably, or something." She frowns. "Why do I keep thinkin' of Trina's rack? Oh /come on/."

"You have any?" This from Joule, who is wearing a coat, a bemused expression, and a smirk. "Artillery, I mean. I'd love to buy some if I'm interrupting your weapons deal. Or are you working on a script for an action movie? IHOP, Beer, Oasis, and Boobs? Sounds like, at the least." She spots the itsy radio and nods. "Ah. Thought I heard that bloody noise." Just in time for Joule's drum solo to come out of the little speaker, yet.

Ah! There it is. And there's people there talking! To approach or not to approach, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of grave mis-lonliness or…something of the like. No, Sierra hasn't been one to be lonely for long. She approaches the pair. "Bonjour, I thought I heard some music playing from over here." She speaks with a bit of a French accent. "I hope I am not interrupting anything."

"Boobs and Porn.. Bo.." Ali blinks, looks up at Joule. "Uh. I know a guy? Mabye." She /might/ be serious, but that wry, abrupt grin doesn't seem to imply too much seriousness, nope. The phone is shut with a certain finality. "No.. just. Being stupid. Kinda lost track of a friend, you know?"

And then there are /two/. Another person wanders up on the other side of the bench, and Ali blinks again. "Uh. No? And .. yeah. It's not bad, huh? The song's pretty catchy, and it's for a good cause." That distinctive alto of hers is touched with sudden humor. "You guys should donate. Help him out, you know?" And with that, she reaches over to max the volume - not that it's /loud/. After all, if people are interested, share the musical love, yo.

"I did help him out," Joule says, with an icy edge on her voice. "I'm the drums. And the bloody dumbass bint." She turns away to stare out over the dark water. "And I've got footage of people singing along. Kids and adults alike. And Conjunction Junction as well." Her voice has quieted, at least, to conversational tones. "Damnitall. Fuckitall."

Sierra smiles. "I've heard it a few time. I quite enjoy it. Got a good message too." She says merrily. She looks up at Joule. "You played in the song? Well, it's very good of you to have done that. But…well, you don't sound all too happy about that right now. Why is that?" She doesn't quite know that she's probably striking on a nerve, if she is.
Ali points at Sierra. "What she said." She grins, then - "There's nothing dumbarse in helpin' a guy out, I figure. World's a better place and all that." The DJ adds - "Don't tell me you've got something newsworthy: teach sleeps with junior or something enquirer-esque? I've been pimping the song for a little while now."

Joule is so preoccupied and distracted she doesn't even realize it's Sierra, someone she knows. "Glad you like it," she allows. "It is for a good cause after all." She sighs. "And no — it's nothing newsworthy. He's just so busy freaking out over the whole "Represent!" sitch he's forgotten what day it was, most like. Twice in as many months. I'm trying to be patient, I am. But patient isn't my natural state."

Sierra hadn't realized, in her own right, that it was Joule who was there either, so it hasn't quite clicked in. "Cherie, men are like pine cones. Sometimes you must wait for them to fall before they can be picked up. And then…you'll have them in the palm of your hand. It can be hard, but it can be worth it. You've just got to let them do their own things."

Ali gives the woman and her continental accent the oddest look. "Men are like pine cones?" She blinks. "Seriously?" She shakes her head. "Look, I can't say anything - me and dating have this nodding relationship that basically acknowledges each other's existence and then tries small talk before giving up and going to opposite sides of a party." She grins. "So, sure. A pine cone."

But her eyes narrow, even as she prattles on - and she picks the /other/ woman - "So.. he skipped yesterday, and hasn't called you yet, and you're dating him?"

"What in the bloody hell are you talking about. Pine cones?" Joule turns to stare, and then smirks again, amused, as she realizes it's Sierra. "Pine cones. Really?" She shakes her head as if expecting better from the other woman. Then, she acknowledges Ali's question. "He gets thirty seconds to explain before I castrate him. Perhaps his twin sister's in the hospital. If all he's got is 'I told you I was daft', he's going to suffer. Slowly. Before being informed in no uncertain terms what he's lost."

Hey! No one said that being a writer for a newspaper made you good at making up relationship metaphors! Sierra smiles. "Oui. Just like a pine cone." She grins wider as she realizes who the woman is. "And please, give him forty-five seconds. I find men get flustered in only thirty seconds." She says with a small smirk.
"I figure most men don't last forty five.." Ali pauses. "yeah. I'm not goin' there." She scoots over on the bench, making room. "More power to you? Stupid doesn't really deserve a lot of effort, though."

"Represent" finishes up, and leaves. er. Ali talking on the radio, introducing 'five in a row starting with.." .. the DJ reaches over to turn the thing down. "I hear electricity doesn't really leave marks, if you're into the suffering thing, though?"

"He gets thirty," Joule says, firmly. "In my experience, you give a man forty-five, he has time to think of a lie to keep his balls out of the guillotine." She folds her arms. "He's stupid enough to try lying to me." She turns and raises a brow at Ali, smile a bit too wicked. "Yeah, I know. But he is a teacher. Can't have him all jitters-n-shakes, all a-puddle in class on Monday."

Sierra smiles a little bit. "Well, it's your man. You get to choose the time, not moi." She shrugs. She takes a deep breath in. "I'd probably be the same in your situation, though. But, I digress. I left a man in Canada to come here."

"… a-puddle." Ali laughs, then - wry and helpless, for just a moment. "Somehow, that just makes for a great mental image." She seems to notice the chill, idly rubbing at her arm. "Hey. You two live around here? There's a bar - over in brooklyn. You know the one on a hundred-and-forty-fifth? Jack's place."

"Don't live on this side of the bridge, live in Brooklyn," Joule says. "And a drink sounds like a bloody capital idea. First round on me, ladies. The sooner I'm blasted and distracted from what's currently on my mind, the better."

Sierra shakes her head. "I live in Queens. But a drink…I never pass up a drink. Especially, Joule, when someone offers to pay for the first round." She smiles. "Lead the way, girls, and I shall follow." She smiles softly. "And we shall leave the woes of men behind us."

"Yeah - well." Ali coughs. "I was askin' 'cause Jack's place is closed, and I can't /find/ the guy. And I was hoping maybe you two knew something." She stands, though, gathering that little radio, clicking it off. "but there's a couple of places around here that aren't closed for no reason, you know? If you're buying.." She grins, a bit lopsided.

"Sorry. Dunno a Jack. I spend too much time running around, not enough time standing still to meet people unless they catch me like this," Joule replies, somewhat apologetically. "Speaking of which — you got a name, radio? I ought to add you to the documentary for Lee's defense. The better to prove to the big girl's blouses at the school board that people think the song's actually doing something good, not corrupting the minds of the innocent."

Sierra smiles a little. "I'm sure we could find somewhere that works, non?" She grins. "I haven't had a good drink in a while, personally." She says with a nod. "There's bound to be after-hours places too, eh?" She looks over to Joule. "I could probably write something about how much good the song is doing, non?" She smiles softly.

Ali offers a hand - "Alyssa McAlister. Ali's fine - a lot easier to say." She shrugs. "If you think it'd help - but I don't figure a DJ's high on anybody's list of 'good child role models', but what the hell." Sophie gets another of those wry, lopsided grins. "Write about it? Okay. Spill."

Joule grins and takes the hand, shaking firmly. "Mebbe not," she allows. "But their parents may listen and hear. So you're still influential. As for me? Joule. Joule Dahanukar." She looks sidelong at Sierra. "We could always go to Therapy if you don't mind the tits."

Sierra smiles at Ali. "My name is Sierra LeBlanc. I'm a writer for the Queens Gazette." She explains with a little, wry grin. She looks over to Joule. "Therapy? Ah, what a wonderful place. Tits, men, and booze. The best mix around." She gives a little wink to Joule. "But I do not mind if our wonderful hostess here doesn't."

"… never been there." Ali points out - "It'll be an experience either way, and I'm sort of in a mood, so it all works out. Journalist, huh? Your field's in as much trouble as mine." She grins, blowing into her hands to warm them. "Can … we. Get inside one way or another? I'm turnin' into ice, here."

Joule shrugs out of her jacket. "Here, wear mine. We'll catch a cab. Shouldn't be a problem. Three unbelievably hot birds on a cold night." She tosses Ali the coat and heads for the edge of the park. "C'mon!"

Sierra smiles. If she could turn any of them into walking icicles to keep them warm, no doubt she would. She nods. "And once in the cab, we can keep each other warm in the back seat." She says with a grin.

Ali goes to protest the coat. Fails. Pulls the coat on anyway - and drifts after Joule. "Er. Why do I feel like one of the people I usually drag places, all of a sudden?" It's rhetorical - and comes with a wry smile - one perhaps a bit more genuine than what's come before. "Oh, screw it." She does, though, glance at Sierra. "Uh. Yeah. Turn up the heater, right?"

Joule puts two fingers in her mouth, and blasts a shrill whistle. Dogs in Chinatown may be barking. "Oi! Taxi!" And yes, one pulls up. "C'mon, ladies. Let's go get blotto!"

Sierra smiles a little bit, ducking into the back of the cab, going to the far side motioning for the other. "Well, this is going to be fun, isn't it?" She grins widely. "I haven't been there since…I went to write an article for it."

"I don't think I ever have." Ali hops in .. which puts her in the middle. Trusting soul, this one - but then, in the Aliverse, it's an adventure, not something requiring vast piles of trust. "First time for everythin', right?"

"You're not missing much, really. The girls are pre-med, pre-law, trying to raise their kids, that sort of thing. I don't have the temperament for it. I'd have broken somebody's fingers already," Joule comments, as the cab swings out into traffic and crosses the bridge.

Ali points out, mid-cab, as the trio drive up outside the bar - "… nothing wrong with dancin', right?" There's a pause. "At the risk of sounding really /wrong/ here - how come you two know about this place?"

"I'm a freelance photographer," Joule explains to Ali, glancing across Sierra at her, as she got in last. "Some of the girls want to try branching out. Into the exalted world of porn film." Joule casts skyward her eyes. "Money's better. So I did some shots. Plus, they see my work, and I can take the shots for Therapy's ads and webpage."

Sierra looks across Ali to Joule and then back to Ali, chuckling. "I was writing an article for the paper, trying to make it a less demonized place by the community. Some woman think it keeps men away from home, apparently." She shrugs. "That's the long and skinny of it for me." She smiles. "It's really not all that bad of a place."

"Hell, most of those women would probably appreciate their men being kept away from home." Ali rolls her eyes. "or at least the men are better off for it." She has /opinions/, apparently. She nods at the cab door - "I got the cab - " She's already reaching for a pocket. "So photographer who records music videos on the side, and a journalist who critiques skin-bars in Queens? See, this is right up there in chineese proverb territory."

"Well, I started trying to find a job with a paper, but hell, print is becoming an all but dead form of relaying news," Joule admits. "So, I had to get creative. And the freelancery is paying off. I started with bas mitzvahs and baby pictures, but believe me, although it is steady work and pays well, it gets bloody tedious. I was ready to leap off the 59th Street bridge after the last 13 year old tried to pop attitude with me."



Sierra nods a little bit. "Well, didn't the Chinese say 'May you live in interesting times'?" She smirks as they get out of the cab to go into the bar. "I'll say this much, it's a heck of a lot better than not having anything interesting happening." She shrugs. "One or two of these rounds will be on me." She has a plan to charge it to work.

Ali drops cash on the driver - and grins at the other two - "Hey, I'm in broadcasting - willingly. I know, believe me." She shucks the coat, offering it back to Joule - the small group is making its way to the door, actually. "I figured you'd be the sort that wanted to throw the thirteen year old off the bridge instead of jumping, though." She pauses. "So that makes me DD? I can live with that. And it's probably for the best anyway." She stuffs her hands in that ratty hoody's pocket.

"Yep, and I wonder which Chinese person I pissed the hell off," Joule complains enthusiastically. "I complimented the last Chinese person I met on the awesome dumplings, even." Is she serious? Hard to tell. "Well, okay, Radio, you got me. I really would've preferred that, but you know how mothers are."

Sophie seems a little, well, surprised by what she sees. She pauses, then she murmurs, 'I don't think this is where I meant to go.'

Sierra follows the other two in. "Well, did you ever turn down a Chinese guy who asked you on a date? That could do it, I'm sure." She grins a little. "For now, lets not worry about it. I'll say this once, and only once, it's time for beer and boobs. Not bothering thoughts." She nods firmly.

Sophie turns beet red, rushing off as she realizes what sort of place this is. Not quite that brave, at least by herself.

Ali snickers - "Oh, yeah - but I know a few that might have helped you, you know, depending." And the DJ blinks as she's passed by a relatively familiar face - "Uh." But gone. And she files that away for later.

Of course, she calls ahead to Sierra - "I don't get asked on dates. This isn't my fault. Just saying." And the wry grin returns.

"No. No Chinese bloke's asked lately," Joule says. Then she considers. "Oi. I probably have," she realizes belatedly. "I've got a lot of offers since the video hit the Jumbotron." She shakes her head. "I sure hope that's not what it was. In a city this big, I'd have a snowball's chance of finding him."

Sierra grins at the two, leading to the bar. "So, what're we all having?"

"Just water - " Ali is, admittely, a bit overwhelmed by the decor, but is in typical Jersey fashion doing her best not to /show/ it. nono. Weakness is bad. Being a tourist is worse. So she watches the dancers and ignores the few fellows that ignore the dancing to ogle the unusual double-x chromosomes moving in for the bar, and even manages to not stare overmuch at a bit of pole gymnastics that actually gets a cheer.

"you know- maybe the whole reason I don't end up hanging on to a guy is an inability to hang upside down from a brass coat rack. you think?"

"Aw, c'mon. Don't make me drink alone," Joule protests. "Slow comfortable screw up against the wall, all around," she tells the waitress. "Thanks."

Sierra smiles at the waitress. "Give me a Long Island Ice Tea, please? Merci." She looks at Ali with furrowed brow. "Not having anything but water?" She tilts her head. "But why?" Didn't they come here to drink alcoholic beverages? Perhaps she's not as phased by everything that's going on since she's been here once before already. "Acrobatics in the bedroom…it doesn't hurt."

SIGH. Well, just one isn't gonna cause problems. Not just one. Ali takes the glass when it comes, given that Joule's ordered for her already. "Fine. But just /one/, right?" There. She thought it. Said it. It's fact now. That's how this works.

That, though, does lead her for a table, and a seat to sprawl in. "I haven't been drunk since graduation. At least it makes me a lightweight - and it does if you fall off the coatrack, I bet. I read the story about the guy and the batman costume." She grins. "Snopes is my friend, thanks."

"Hey, I only promised you lot the first round," Joule assures the other woman, picking up her shot, rolling it across her knuckles and slamming it back. "And gymnastics in the bedroom isn't all it's cracked up to be, if your partner's not in as good shape as he wants you to believe he is." Joule grins. "Not this boyfriend, but the one before, swore he was fit as he was in college. He about died when i told the doctor how he'd thrown his back out." The shot gets placed upside-down on the bartop while she ponders what next to drink.

Sierra gets her drink and starts to slowly sip it. "Mmm, I don't know who you're doing that with, Joule, the man I've done bedroom gymnastics with, he was excellent. Mmmm, if only he were here now." She says with a soft smile on her face.

McAlister kills her own shot - practiced, 'yes, I've been to college', ease in that gesture. "So long as the explanation didn't include words like 'goat', 'spandex', and '110 volts' you're probably alright, one way or another." She glances between both women - and then shakes her head. "My roomate is never going to believe this. You realize, right?" She surreptitiously watches the nearest stage. "… damn. I need to hit the gym."

Joule nods approvingly as Ali kills her own shot. She orders up a double this time, of Glenlivet. Not cheap, but apparently she's in the mood to be abusive to her wallet as she is to her liver. "Believe me, Ali, if it had involved the word 'goat' he'd never have made it to the bedroom with me a'tall." She sighs. "I'm gonna miss that barmy Lee. He is quite gifted. I could've sworn at one point last week we were on the ceiling…" she shakes off the idea, though, and takes this shot as fast as its predecessor. She grimaces afterward, though, because it burns.

Sierra smiles as she listens to the other's conversation, still sipping on her own drink. She seems to take to watching one of the dancers for a little bit. Finally, she takes out her wallet. "I believe that cherie right there, the spinning upside down one deserve a good little tip…" She pulls out a five, walking over and slipping it into the girl's 'costume'.

Ali watches Sierra tip - blinking. But her words? Her words are aimed at Joule. "So. Do you love him?" She grins. "No bullshit, just yes or no." A drink has appeared at her table - apparently paid for by that large fellow, there - the bald one in the suit shirt sans-tie. Wall streeter suit, from the look of things.

Ali sighs, offers a smile and a wave of thanks. Probably a mistake.

Joule doesn't answer at first. She orders, this time, a shot of Bacardi 151. She pays for the first round, and the next drink, and the one she just ordered, plus a generous tip. She glances sidelong at Ali, then ponders the drink in her hand. "Yeah. I think I do." And before she can say anything to quantify her answer, she slams that shot as well. She apparently is part fish; because she isn't showing signs of being tipsy yet, even. "There's just something about him. He's…damned charming. And completely daft. He's not even my usual type."

Sierra returns to where the other two are, finishing off her own drink. "Tell ya ladies what, order anything you want and I shall pay for it. Sound like a deal?" And when she says she'll pay for it, she means she'll pass the bill onto her work.

Ali points out - "Then for your sake I hope he's got a good explanation." The second drink - some fruity, tequila thing - is sipped at, and the DJ grins over at Sierra. "Thanks. A /coke/. There."

She rolls her eyes. "I /really/ don't need anything else - bad things happen when I drink. Never pretty. So do you come here often?" Sierra gets a curious lift of an eyebrow.

"Thanks, love, truly." Joule's eyes are distant, on something only she can see. It's a look the new acquaintance and the old one may not know her well enough to be familiar with; she's looking vulnerable and hurt, now that the alcohol's lowered her inhibitions a little. She had inhibitions to lower? So it would appear. And as Ali says bad things happen when she drinks, Joule starts. "Fair point about that. I should only have another one or two myself." She glances to Sierra. "Swingin' by Therapy besides the visit for your article, then, Sierra?"

Sierra grins at Ali. "Mmm, me? Non. This is only, in all honesty, my second time here. First time to write the article and then now." She grins. "But we all have to make our money somehow, non? She happens to work here, and she needs to earn some cash, so I thought I'd help…not that she really needs it." She smirks. She orders herself a double rum and coke, allowing Ali to get the coke and Joule whatever she wants.

"Uh-huh." Ali isn't buying - but the grin's friendly anyway. "You enjoyed that. I'm just sayin'." She sips again at that fruity thing - then frowns. "Okay. they mix drinks strong here." Absently, the DJ rubs at her nose. "Well, I'll tell you what - if he apologizes and you like him, tomorrow or whenever? Let me know. If he wants to, he can come on the show and he can air his case. Politics is always good for ratings - my manager won't care."

"Regardless of what I think, he deserves that," Joule tells Ali. "His heart really was in the right place making the video. So provided I leave him able to speak a'tall…which I ought to, given he needs the job and to be able to defend his case…" she trails off, and orders a shot of Jose Cuervo this time. Tequila on top of what she's already been drinking? Yep. This is turning into self-abuse.

Sierra chuckles. "I enjoyed it, but it's entertainment. I'm not getting the same enjoyment as the men are. I thinks it's just light and fun. Nothing more." She smirks. As her drink arrives, she downs it in no time flat. Paying for the drinks, she says, "Ah, I should probably get home. I've got work at some point tomorrow." She says giggling. "But I do hope we can meet again, Ali. Perhaps we could do some work together." She looks to Joule. "By the way, my boss would like to meet you. So if you want to come by the office soon, you can have an interview."

"Sure." Ali nods to Sierra - "Call the station - I'll let 'em know you may be. I have a really crappy contract, but - I can usually work around it, depending. I have a couple of paragraphs that work for me, you know?" She sips again at that fruity thing - "It's good meeting you, one way or another."

She pauses, then adds to Joule - "I don't do favors for guys that blow off people. Maybe it's short sighted, or stupid, or whatever - but to me? That says a lot about character, and I haven't been proven wrong yet. So here's hoping, yeah, he's got a really good reason."

"Thanks, Sierra. Much appreciated. Truly." Joule dredges up a watery smile for Sierra, then turns to look solemnly at Joule. "I hope he does, but for the sake of his students, even if he doesn't, I wanna do right by them. That's what this whole thing was for. That's why I've spent the last week filming kids singing it while they jumped rope, and listening to people hum it on the underground platform. Because it's infectious. Contagious. People like it. He worked balls to the walls for it, and even if he screwed us up, his heart was in the right place with the song."

"So?" Ali looks down at her drink. "I'm not trying to be vicious or anything - and sure, maybe the kids deserve whatever. But they've already got the song, and it's already gonna help /them/. That's been done. Finished, right?" She sips, speculative. "look - it doesn't matter. I'll help him out if you say to help him out. Fair 'nuff - but drinking tonight isn't going to make it hurt less." She's not easy to hear over the music, but she's sincere. "Don't get me wrong - maybe you can hold that much alcohol, but I still gotta wonder."

"Yeah and no," Joule explains. "They're learning what they're supposed to learn off the song, but the whole thing was to draw attention to the fact that it's stupid to teach a test, and rote." She shrugs. "They're trying to take his job for teaching outside the box. For reaching the kids at their own bloody level. Speaking their language." The video is even more intense than the song, given it's full of hot women. "And yeah. I guess it's not." She smiles faintly and shakes her head at the waitress. "Just cranberry juice this time, huh?" She puts her head into her hands. "Men suck, Radio." It's officially a nickname for the other woman now.

"Maybe." Ali finally stands up, drifts to the bar - easier to talk that way. "But you love him, so he can't be that bad, right? Gotta be something there that's worth caring about." She settles in next to Joule. "So maybe it's not that men suck, but that right now, it sucks being in love with a guy who either hasn't noticed or is so busy doing other stuff he's takin' it for granted. If he doesn't figure it out, it's gonna suck to tell him to take a hike, too. But at least you got the first part - the being in love part - for a while, right?"

Joule is quiet, listening to Ali's words with a wry expression. Right up until that last part. "Oh, BOLLOCKS!" she explodes. "That 'better to have loved and lost' line is complete BOLLOCKS!" She sniffs once, twice, and then squeezes her eyes shut, fighting to keep the tears dammed up. "He's worried what he'll do if they don't give him his job back, that's all. At least, I hope it is. And I hope his sister's all right." Focusing on him perhaps having a good reason helps. "Thanks, though. I know you're tryin' to help. I'm just new to this whole experience. I used to be a love-em-and-leave-em type. Mebbe s'not that men suck. It's that growing up does."

"Somethin' like that probably." Ali finishes that glass, abruptly - two big gulps of something fruity and toxic. "Trust me, though? The fact that he wanted to be around you means something. So at least let him /try/ to explain." She grins over. "C'mon - I promised to be DD - that means you're sharing a cab as far as your place anyway."

"Yeah. Just hanging around here's not gonna do me any good, and the alcohol'll burn off by tomorrow morning." Joule claps a hand on Ali's shoulder. "You're good people. You used to tend bar? You listen like a bartender." That must be Joule for 'thanks'.

"Yeah, actually." Ali shoves her glass back. "A man saved my life once with that job. I guess I kinda took it to heart." She reaches up to pat that hand with her own. "Per valde vox …" She laughs, then. "God. No. None of that crap. Yeah. Let's get you home."

"Well, either way, I don't forget a kindness," Joule says, sincerely, making sure tab and tip are settled before she gets off the barstool. Only a slight wobble betrays how much she's put into her system. "You've made a friend t'night, and if there's anything I can do f'you — you just gotta put it in words." She does, however, reach for her coat back, now that they're about to hail another cab.

McAlister gives it back easily enough - "I'm pretty lucky. I got a roof, a great roommate who doesn't even mind that I tried to kill her - " That comes with a wry smile. "the job I always wanted - and a couple of good friends." The coat has an addition - a card in the pocket with a cell and office number. "next time you go drinking, though, give me a call. It was fun. New experience and stuff."

"You're on," Joule promises, and plucks one of her own cards free to offer Ali. "I'm not always a maudlin drunk, promise." She widens her eyes, slightly, and raises a brow. "that sounds like a fascinating story. One I'll have to hear you tell some other time. Let's get us both into our respective warm apartments." With any luck, her expression suggests, the aforementioned daft boyfriend will have showed up while she was away with candles, flowers, and apologies.

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