2007-04-07: The Lobotomy Market


Eliana_icon.gif Sydney_icon.gif Oliver_icon.gif

Summary: Eliana stops by the Back Alley in search of Sydney so she can ask her a few questions about Jack. After a short time, Oliver joins the girls and the three share a six pack of India Pale Ale.

Date It Happened: April 7th, 2007

The Lobotomy Market

The Back Alley

It was in one of those random sorts of conversations that Eliana heard that Sydney worked at The Back Alley. There are certainly better places to take your clothes off for money in New York, and Sydney might have what it takes to work there instead of here. But Eliana supposes that all types are needed - boobs for all, no matter what your lot in life.

As it is, Eliana is lucky to only work afternoons at The Pink Pony and to be able to come into Manhattan to visit Sydney. Why? Misery loves company, even if that misery is fading away as the days pass. It's not quite late enough for the usual crowds of 'regulars' to start blundering in from their nine to five, blue collar jobs, and so the Alley is somewhat empty. All the better. Eliana is dressed for her own type of work - jeans, a witty t-shirt, and sneakers under a light jacket. Her hair is pinned behind her head so it stays out of her face, and she smells like coffee and various lunch items all mixed together. As she enters, Eliana looks about curiously. Has she been here before? If she has, she can't really remember. Strip joints aren't really her thing.

It's been a long time since Sydney last saw Eliana; she's had no reason to keep in touch with the old crowd after parting ways with Jack, and by proxy, Hiro. The paintings are gone, her loft destroyed, and although she's struggling to make up for everything that she lost in the fire, she doesn't have to be looking over her shoulder all the time. She sits perched on the edge of the bar in a dark brown wig that matches the colour of her eyebrows, so it might take Eliana a moment or two to recognize her — a task that might be made easier by the perpetually sour expression on her face. There's really no mistaking it.

No, it doesn't take long for Eliana to spot Sydney, even with the wig. Still, it's with a careful, guarded smile that the pink-haired woman approaches her neighbor and…friend? Former friend? If Eli hasn't spoken to Sydney lately, it isn't because of Jack. Far from it. Though she knew about the argument they had, Eliana simply has simply had other things on her mind.

"Hey," she says as she slips onto a stool beside the Working Girl. It's simple, and it's easy, and it's primarily for lack of anything better to say.

Sydney's eyes dart from Eliana to the doorway and then back again, her features gradually softening as she realizes that the other woman has come alone. "Hey," she replies, voice tight, "does Jack know you're here?" May as well get that out of the way right now. If she doesn't, it's going to be nagging at her for the rest of their conversation. However long it ends up being. A clenched jaw, idly-tapping fingers and swinging legs — Sydney is displaying all the signs of a person who wants to get up and go, go, go.

Eliana 's jaw tightens at the name, and about a foot of gas starts to leak from her. As much as she tries, Eliana can't get a handle on, and with a light cough, moves one stool down, away from Sydney. "No," she finally answers, her voice choked. "No, he doesn't." Something is Wrong.

Sydney sucks in a sharp breath before she can stop herself and slowly, oh so slowly, begins to relax. Her jaw loosens, her fingers fall still, and her legs dangle limply into space. "You and Dr. Blut—" she starts, but whatever she was about to say is cut short by the fuzziness encroaching the edges of her being. This isn't the first time she's found herself under the influence of Eliana's happy gas, but it /is/ the first time she’s recognized what's happening to her. "God," she hisses. "The things you could do with that."

It's only after a few moments that Eliana is able to get her heart rate under control, and when she does, she sighs with relief. "Yeah, how about not? I swear…I need to become a fucking monk to get a handle on this shit." Yoga times a bazillion. "I can only screw stuff up with it. It's not like…well, it's not like…the others."

At the mention of the others, Sydney snorts. "So what if you can't pull a Dr. Who?" she asks. "You've got a talent — you should learn how to use it. Hell, Eli, if I could do what you can, I wouldn't be working here. I wouldn't be working at all."

When one is told to meet a dear cousin at a place called 'The Back Alley', one does not tend to ignore the summons for long. Oliver has the late shift tonight, however it's a few hours yet before he has to go in, so he's got plenty of time to respond to Eliana's text message. The small, wiry man steps into the strip club quietly, lapping up the atmosphere with a sweeping gaze and a tilt of his head. Not the best of places, but eh. It doesn't take too much effort to spot Eliana and the strange woman with whom she sits, and the Bohemian heads over without hesitation, hands tucked into the pockets of his corduroys. "A strip club?" he quips once he's in conversation range, smirking. "What's the occasion?"

"Oh?" is Eliana's response to Sydney's remark. "What would you be doing? Peddlin' drugs? I was already /falsely/ accused of /that,/ and I /certainly/ don't want to get put away for real." Shudder. Oliver provides a delightful distraction to the topic. "I just wanted to hang out, and I'm sick of staring at the same four walls to do so."

"Friend of yours?" Oliver is certainly no friend of Sydney's. She's never even met him before, which might be why she hasn't bolted yet; if it was Jack, or even Hiro, she'd be out the fire exit by now. Her eyes roam up and down his body, sizing him up the same way that a cat sizes up a mouse. He doesn't cut a very intimidating figure, unfortunately.

"Intimidating" is definitely not a word that could be used to describe Oliver, and neither is "impolite". When his identity comes into question, he immediately extends a hand and a warm smile toward Sydney. "Oliver Pasternack," he introduces. "I'm Eliana's cousin." The stripper's somewhat predatory expression unnerves him a bit, but he doesn't show it. He's never met her before; maybe it's just wariness.

Eliana smiles a little when Oliver introduces himself, ever the gentlemen. She sighs, the lays her head down on her arms, outstretched across the bar. Why can't more men be like Oli? Not that Jack was all bad. He certainly /wasn't/. Ugh.

Sydney has never understood this whole handshaking thing. She stares at Oliver's outstretched palm as though it was an alien appendage. There was a time when she might've taken it, but that was before her ability manifested — before she needed to wear gloves. Today, though, her hands are bare, and so they stay right where they are. "You didn't tell me you had a cousin. He's cute."

Eliana perks up a little, then frowns. "He is. He's also my cousin. That whole 'little sister' thing applies." Except…yeah. It's weird, but it /applies./ "We could clone him though. Switch enough of his DNA so we can each have one like him in all the right ways," she adds in a mumble.

When his offer of a handshake isn't accepted, the Bohemian's hand hovers in the air for a moment before he lets it drop to his side again, wiping the palm on the leg of his pants. Awkward. Still, Oliver grins broadly when he's complimented, laughing quietly. Aw, he's /cute/. "Thanks." He hops up onto the stool next to Eliana on the side opposite Sydney and settles there with elbows on the bar, hands clasped in front of him. He eyes Eliana with a sympathetic sort of frown. "I dunno about that. It'd be weird having more than one of me running around, and it'd be /really/ weird if one of those was schtupping my cousin."

"Maybe she's not really your cousin," Sydney suggests slyly. "Maybe one of you was adopted." She taps two fingers against the countertop to get the bartender's attention and mouths something at him. Unless either Eliana or Oliver can read lips, it's impossible for them to know what she said — but soon a six-pack of India Pale Ale is being slid across the counter to the trio. A bottle-opener follows.

Eliana laughs at that. "Yeah. That's rich." Snorf. "We look too much like our respective parents. I don't think any adoption agency is /that/ good at matching babies." When the beer arrives, Eliana sits up. "Thanks, Syd."

Ooh, beer. Not a brand Oliver's familiar with, but he's not about to pass it up. "Such generosity," he utters with a grin and a tip of a bottle he's taken up. "And yeah, I look too much like my parents, and she looks too much like Aunt Ilana. Except the hair." He waves a hand over his own short-cropped blonde head. "That'd be a good argument for her being adopted, for sure."

"So, /Oliver/." Sydney uses the opener to crack the top off her own bottle, then passes it to Eliana in place of a 'you're welcome.' "Are you a writer, too? I read somewhere that creativity is supposed to run in the family." Among other things. "Eli here, she's got a real special gift." Hopefully the underlying meaning of these words won't be lost on the subject of their conversation.

"He is," Eli answers for her cousin. "But he isn't as…talented as I am." Eliana takes her beer and gulps down a bit, determined to nurse the bottle so that she can still control her…output.

The subtext isn't lost on Oliver, who smirks a bit. "Yeah, Eli's definitely the gifted one in the family," he adds, glancing to the woman in question. "I'm a … multi-faceted artist. I draw, I sing, I write music and songs, I act — that sort of stuff." He gestures indicatively with one hand. "I only /pretend/ to be a sandwich grunty at Noodle Heaven."

"Noodle Heaven. Ouch. You have my sympathies." Sydney takes a sip from her beer, then sets the bottle back down on one of the many coasters that are scattered around the bar. "They make a pretty mean hoagie, though. And I'm sure it beats working at the Starbucks." Whether or not Oliver knows about Eliana's abilities, Sydney can only guess — she's had her fun, and won't unnecessarily risk exposing the other woman's secret.

Eliana hums as she takes another sip, and it's a minute or two before she speaks again. "Hey, Syd? Have you…you haven't seen Jack lately have you?" Regardless of the pain the breakup has caused Eli, there's that lingering curiosity of how her previous 'other half' has been handling it.

"It's not so bad, really. It pays the rent." And that's what counts, really. Oliver takes a swig from his bottle, swallowing with an expression that denotes faint surprise. Well, /that's/ different. "What is it you do … Syd?" He wasn't exactly formally introduced, so he's just going off the name Eliana's using. And speaking of Eliana, when she asks about Jack, the Bohemian's face tightens a little. Not a subject he's thrilled with.

"If I never see Jack again, it'll be too soon." Sydney shrugs. "Last I saw him, he was still on that whole Peter fucking Petrelli shtick. The man's an ass. Most self-righteous guys like him are." She trails the tip of her finger around the bottle's mouth, contemplative. "You can do a lot better." To Oliver, she offers a slight smile. "I work here," she says, and leaves it at that. He's smart; he can probably put two and two together.

"Better," Eliana says with a sigh, looking to her bottle of beer. Yeah. Sure. Better. "You know…before you guys, my social life ended at Shabbat dinner with Oliver over there." Her cousin gets a weak sort of smirk.

"Yeah?" Oliver gives a quick glance around the Back Alley before his face wrinkles in a somewhat pained expression. "You could probably do better than this place." This is addressed to Sydney, obviously. To Eliana, he casts a frown before intoning, "Eli, honestly, you could date a quadriplegic lobotomy patient with three teeth and you'd be doing better than Jackass. Maybe you don't think so right now, but you'll see." He tips over to the side a little to bump his shoulder against hers reassuringly.

Now Sydney is the one putting two and two together. Eliana and Jack broke off their relationship? Interesting. "He's right, you know," she tells her. "Hanging around Jack and them — it's a bad idea. Unless you're in the market for a free lobotomy, if you know what I mean." No response is offered to Oliver's comment about her being able to do better than the Back Alley, though he might detect a stiffness in her neck and shoulders that wasn't there before.

Eliana lifts a hand to rub her face. "I might have already gotten one, Sydney. I have…if…I have no idea what happened. I mean, not Jack. I /know/ what happened there." She sighs again and lifts the cool bottle to her face. Ahh. "How many Irishmen do you know?"

"One or two." Oliver's noted the stiffness on Sydney's part and furrows his brow curiously at her, but doesn't inquire about it just now. What'd he say? He thought it was a compliment. "Why?"

"Are they all horrible? I mean," Eliana lowers her bottle and takes a drink of it. "I mean, I know that they've got…well, tolerance. And I /need/ that." Looking to Sydney, the other young woman smiles a bit sheepishly. "When you get excited and knock out your date, well…"

"All of them? No, definitely not. Just like not all Blacks are ghetto punks, and not all gays are promiscuous deviants." Oliver smirks a little more, wryly, before he adds, "You just had a bad apple is all, Eli. A really bad one."

Eliana grunts and drinks again. "I fucked up too, Oli," she reminds her cousin. "I mean, it's not like didn't have his reasons." Still, the idea that they're not all bad is reassuring. Of course they're not all bad. That's generalizing, and that, well…that leads to misinformation, hate, distrust, and all sorts of horrors.

Plenty of horrors of which Oliver and Eliana ought to have a good idea. The Bohemian places a hand on Eliana's back reassuringly and gives it a warm pat. "You'll move on, Eli, promise. It just looks bad right now, but you'll get past it." In a less serious tone, he adds, "How about you and me go drop a bag of flaming dog shit on the doorstep of that Den place?"

With a soft groan, Eliana shakes her head. "No. God. I just… I just want to have nothing more to do with him." Which means little more to do with Jane, or Cass, or Lachlan…Eliana's once growing circle of friends has just gotten decidedly smaller. Ugh. "I think I might have to ask you to hit me with a kaiser roll every time I bring him up. OR you could read my mind and hit me whenever I think about him."

"I can't read minds." Oliver frowns a bit, rubbing at his chin thoughtfully after taking another pull from his bottle. "Maybe just install an LED on your forehead that flashes whenever you think about him. I'll go off that." The Bohemian grins, then slides back the sleeve of his shirt and glances at his watch. "Hell, I've gotta go. Work." He rises from his stool with a regretful sigh. "I'll see you for Passover, yeah, Eli?" To Sydney: "Definitely a pleasure meeting you, Syd. Any friend of Eli's is a friend of mine. Maybe see you around."

"Maybe," Sydney agrees. "Maybe." Her beer now finished, consumed during Eliana and Oliver's exchange, she sets the empty bottle aside and offers her friend's cousin a wave by way of farewell.

Eliana reaches up to give her cousin's arm a small squeeze. "See you, Oli. I think I might come by to grab something later. No promises though." She blows her cousin a kiss before she settles back into her seat with a small sigh.

When Oliver is gone, Sydney glances up at the clock that's mounted above the mirror behind the bar. What time /is/ it? "I hate to cut this short, babe, but I've gotta get dressed so I can get /un/dressed. Stick around though, yeah?" She reaches over and gives Eliana's knee a soft pat. "We'll talk some more on my break, and I'll give you my new number. You should come over sometime. Girl's night out."

"To watch you take your clothes off?" Eliana asks with a bemused sort of smile which is altogether awkward. But after swaying a little, Eliana shakes her head with a soft laugh. "Sure. Why not." It's not like she's got plans. "And yeah, that'd be nice." If the river gets dammed, the water will cut another way.

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