2008-02-29: These Points Of Data Make A Beautiful Line


Joule_icon.gif McAlister_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif

Summary: Karaoke, Artoo, dating-as-a-math-problem, and too much to drink…

February 29, 2008

These Points of Data Make a Beautiful Line

The Yellow Dog:

The Yellow Dog is a bar, in the depths of the wild suit section of NYC, just a couple of blocks off of Wall Street and hidden behind one of those trendy upscale mocha bars. Unlike most places in what is a fairly high-rent section of town, this one has more 'neighborhood bar' trappings than 'yuppie nightspot' (despite the predominantly yuppie crowd). There's a pretty awful painting up behind the bar, floors that definitely need redoing - battered leather seats as opposed to the squeaky new vinyl ones so common in the trendy club scene.

It even has a stage. Saturday night karaoke's in full swing, with one stockbroker up there right now (with loostened tie and a highball) crooning an attempt at Frankie's version of "Night and Day" to two members of the female version of his profession at a nearby table.

Coming in the door, the more hipster than yuppie Ali grins back over her shoulder. "Look - dollar beer and bad singing - what more could you ask for? Sure, it's not pole dancing, but c'mon."

Joule raises a brow and looks askanze at Ali. "Okay, what? Are you serious? Dollar beer? Can you get good beer for a dollar?" She looks dubious. But the karaoke, at least, is worth listening to. Well, until 'Frankie' gets down off the stage and a skinny kid in purple sweats starts belting out 'Beautiful Soul' off-key. "Oh…oh, that's painful, luv. I'll give it an hour. That's all." She winces and wrinkles her nose, making a beeline for the bar. "First round on me." As usual.

"No, you can't. But you can get /really drunk/ for cheap. You know the rules, right?" Ali grins, bounding along with her - "Cheap, good, or fast. Pick any two - works with alcohol, too. Either it's cheap and fast, but tastes like a dare. Good and cheap, but then doesn't have enough oomph to work fast enough, or it's good and fast, but then you pay through the nose. I'm thinkin' this is a dare kind of night. Besides, I like 'cheap'. Cheap is good." She stops short of the bar, though, and snags a table. "And I'm /so/ getting you up there for an "I Will Survive" marathon. You watch."

"'Cheap' and 'Good'," Joule ripostes, making a face. "The sort of drunk you get off 'cheap' and 'fast' is the sort that will hurt in the morning," she points out, shaking her head. Her first round is a pair of Baby Aspirin shots. "Here you go, luv." She offers the woman a toast. "At least start off with something good to line your stomach."

"Alright - but that means you'll end up singing sober." Ali grins, at that, reaching out for hers, raising her own glass. "To stupidity before midnight? Or. Hmm. no, I think I like that one."

"Babe, I don't need liquid courage to sing bloody karaoke," Joule rolls her eyes, and slams her shot off the back of her hand, slamming the glass back down upside down on the bartop. "To a night of adventure — how's that?" She looks relieved as the person butchering 'Beautiful Soul' finally finishes.

"Cheers!" Ali grins, tosses back her own - a little more relaxed, as apparently she does so without the slamming, just setting the glass back down. "Okay. That wasn't bad at all." After a moment, mind, curious - "That one I'm gonna have to remember."

The DJ glances up at the stage - "So let's see - maybe not "I Will Survive" - howabout something maybe Konks? I'm thinking we need to go after the catalog."

Apparently, the next 'act' is having a bit of a discussion. The woman of the pair seems eager enough, her date is red-faced and protesting. But.. giving in. The crowd offers applause as encouragement.

Joule folds her arms to see what the pair are going to sing. "I'm lucky," Joule says cryptically. "My misspent youth was filled with blokes buying me drinks. One picks up a memory for the good stuff."

"Mine wasn't. Go figure." Ali shrugs, watching the stage. "How'd the post-valentine's stuff turn out? You still haven't said."

The two eventually sort it out. And - surprisingly, "Dani California" from that pair isn't all that bad, especially when the guy gives up and starts belting. Good voice, there.

Joule was hoping the subject wouldn't come up, but she doesn't dodge. "He had a good reason. You heard on the news about a building that blew up way over on the east side on Valentine's night?" She shrugs, smiling wryly. "So — I'd call that a good reason, wouldn't you?"

"Maybe. Depends on why he was blowin' up a building on Valentine's night." Ali's teasing - but it's light, and easy. "But - he probably had a good one. Is he okay? I mean - I heard that was seriously bad." She leans forward, on the table - visibly a bit worried.

"Broke his arm, and got knocked around a little," Joule answers. "He's still a bit wobbly. But he's sworn to make it up to me as soon as he's on his feet." She looks …well, conflicted. She had spent a week coming to terms with the idea that Lee had just freaked out and left town, dumping her in the process.

"So I guess you get to see what happens next." Ali raises a hand - ordering, "Two .358 magnums? These are on my tab. Thanks - " And then she goes on - "That's the fun part, right? Seeing the next bit." She grins, then, resting her chin on her hand, watching the singers as they belt out the last verse. "So what are we singin'? Must be /worthy/."

"Yeah, that's about the size of it," Joule agrees, and then raises both brows approvingly as Ali orders. "Oh, nice," she nods, voice equally approvingly. "Hm. What song would be appropriate for two devastatingly hot women competing for phone numbers they don't plan to actually dial to sing first?"

"Oh, damnit. Seriously? That's the competition?" Ali gives Joule a wry grin. "I don't get phone numbers. But what the hell, I can try, right?" She leans back as the bartender works. "… Meredith Brooks?" That grin widens. "It's a little soft, but I figure it'd be a good warning, anyway."

"Unless you can come up with a better one," Joule shrugs. "I can drink you under the table, I assure you." She considers for a moment, though, and shakes her head to Meredith Brooks. "KT Tunstall," she counters.

"Suddenly I See?" Ali quirks a brow - reaching out for the glass as it's delivered. "I could go that way." She hmms, looking across to the currently empty stage. "I dunno if that bunch could handle that. It might cause brain melting."

Joule catches up her shot as well and drinks it, but not slamming it. This one's to savour. "We could do 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree', then, though some people are gonna take that wrong," Joule offers. "They may be in for brain damage either way."

Ali unashamedly slams, even coughing once, setting it aside. "No - I got it. 'Hold On'?" Her grin widens. "You get first verse." Bam, goes the shot - complete with a cough after and admittedly abruptly watering eyes. "Mmph." Down goes the glass, and Ali's already up to head for the stage, tossing her bag at the bartender (no, she doesn't ask first) - "Hold onto that for me, would ya?"

And then she's looking back, "Your call- whichever one suits. But you'd better drink that - I'll get ya another one after we're done."

"Oho," Joule grins, and slams the next shot. "You're on." She springs nimbly after Ali, shaking out her hair, and pausing to check her makeup in the reflection in somebody's yuppie glass of chardonnay. She gets onstage after Ali, and winks to the men in the front row already gawking at the pair of them. "Ready?"

Ali takes the time to select the song, whistling lightly - she's already finding the tune apparently. "Ready!" As the music starts. "You got the mics?"

This isn't a song with a long introduction, but it's long enough for the DJ to offer a grin at the front row, and a rather flagrantly exaggerated wink.

Joule falls easily into the rhythm off the Tunstall synth box, tapping her toes and swishing her hips, taking the mic to her lips and singing in a voice husky and sultry:

Say you to me
You're a bird with an eye for anything shiny
Searchin' the land
For a hero of a man
You say I need
More than my fair share of attention
But I think you know
That just isn't so!"

She leans forward, singing to the men in the front row — even the ones paired off, much to the annoyance of their dates. She doesn't even need the prompter screen.

The corner of the bar has had a guy that has settled into it, enjoying the booth seat and using his leg to guard from intruders, resting his black leather dress shoe at the end, which moves like the end of rattlesnake to wart off people. By the table is Gene's closest friend… A robot. At least R2-D2 doesn't run up a bill and is a perfect wingman (even if Gene would never think to use the droid in such a fashion).

The table clustered with glasses, a couple of them knocked over, but Gene doesn't seem to mind. He just sips his Roy Rogers with a nonchalance that comes from physical and emotional fatigue. He watches the women as they sing, putting down his glass to take a long drag from his (candy) cigerette.

Yes, Gene is getting into all the bad habits now.

"Underneath, I felt the fire of a burning question
Tearin' me apart
Right from the very start…

Who knew? Ali's got a voice! She picks up the next verse right on cue, adding that unique alto with the air of someone utterly used to a mic. She flashes Joule a grin, then picks out a couple of suits near Gene, singing their way -

And now I see
That it don't take a trick of the light to excite me
So strong
So long
You'll see

She gets into the lyrics, a simple groove there on the stage edge, unashamed and, quite frankly, enjoying the hell out of the song.

Joule spins back to the center of the stage with a motion of those long legs in spiked heels, flipping her hair back. She turns toward Ali and offers the mic, so the two women can sing the chorus together with great enthusiasm and probably more sex appeal than some folk might've been expecting from a pair of women who were only moments ago slamming shots competitively.

"Hold on
To what you
Been given lately!
Hold on
To what you
Know you got!
Hold on
To what you
Been given lately
'Cause the world will turn, if you're ready or not!

Ali resumes her own mic to pick up the next verse, choosing to sing it to the boys and their dates down front -

A heart of gold, an old head, and young shoulders
Quiet and lovely
Becomin' part of me
And now I see
From a handful of names and a thousand faces
One light, burnin', furiously

She shoots Joule a grin somewhere in there - but the majority's spent singing it to the dark-haired fellow down front, much to the admitted consternation of that fellow's obvious date.

"I was tired of January
I was tired of June
I felt a change a-comin'…"

Joule takes this occasion to sashay her way across the stage, all smiles, and shakin' what her mama gave her to the infectiously danceable beat under the song. She plays up the "oh-whoa-whoa" before resuming the lyric line:

"Oh, I was tired of January
Tired of June
I felt a change a-comin'…

Gene merely continues drink his (virgin) mixed drink along, using his Lucky Cigerette formed of sugar to stir it likely before putting it in his mouth. He seems contend to watch for right now, his droid just giving a beep or a blurb here and there.

Ali joins Joule there on her side, grinning and sharing her mic for the chorus, belting for the big finish - and yes, this time singing to Gene. Or Artoo, one - she even nudges Joule and points. Seems like he may /be/ a good wingman. Go figure.

"Hold on
To what you
Been given lately
Hold on
To what you
Know you got
Hold on
To what you
Been given lately
Hold on
Cause the world will turn if you're ready or not

Joule joins in with Ali on her own mike, coming across the room and repeating the fade line, "The world will turn if you're ready or not!" over and over as she joins Ali and wide-eyes at the Artoo replica.

As the women stare at R2-D2, Gene glances over toward his 'friend'. "You see that, Artoo? They like you. They always…" An important pause is given to give a burp. "…Like you. I dunno why. Maybe because you are all symmetrical. Women dig mates that are as symmetrical. No crooked nose for you!" With that wonderous fact given, Gene jugs the rest of his drink, some of the grenadine flavored coke spilling onto the business shirt and the tie that has Danger Mouse proudly displayed on the front.

When the song winds down, Ali hops off the front of the stage, setting her mic down… and grinning up at Joule. "We're going to go say hi, aren't we." More statement than question. "Another Magnum, or you want something else?"

Joule drops the mic as well, flouncing off the stage after Ali. There're murmurs. Joule's face has been seen around the city a good bit thanks to that video. "Of course we are. That's bloody adorable! That's bloody brilliant!" The drinks can wait, even. "Nice tie," she compliments Gene. "This beautiful bit of work yours, then?"

As the older but still very attractive ladies comes, Gene pulls up from his semi-slumped position to get into a proper seated position. "Yeah, yeah I did," the Geek God admits before he rubs the back of his head. "Um, you guys did a nice job singing, you come to a place like this often?"

Ali grins as she leans on a chair at Gene's table, not sitting - "Sometimes?" She laughingly, happily offers - "At least it's not 'what's your sign'. I've seen you around before, but it's been a while - I'm Ali - " She points across. "That's Joule."

Joule lifts a hand in greeting, smiling warmly. She had the same response to the opener from Gene, but she doesn't give it voice as it's redundant now. "Cheers," she says instead.

A small smile is offered to the two. "Gene. It's good to meet both of you. I'd offer you both a seat, but this isn't exactly the greatest place to get a good view." He pauses as he watches a middle aged construction worker sing 'I'm Too Sexy'. "…Of course, that might not be a bad thing sometimes," he offers, watching the performance with awe and horror. It's like watching a train wreck as it happens. He wants to turn away, but he can't.

Ali patently refuses to look. This song never ends well. No way. Not ever. The DJ glances up to Joule. "You should ask him. 'cause I ref.." She pauses. "Wait. Before you do.." She flashes a sunny smile at Gene. "Can I get your number?"

Joule, on the other hand, glances back, winces, and shakes her head. "Oh, gawd. My eyes." She doesn't look again. She smiles approvingly at Ali asking Gene for his number. The energy of the song had completely knocked the number-acquisition competition out of her head.

The question causes Gene to blink, turning toward Ali like she suddenly grew a second head. "Why?" Clearly someone is a little distrustful. Or not used to women coming up to him asking for numbers. Or used to women asking him for numbers, only to find the 'date' seems to be mostly Gene fixing their laptop and finding the woman has left him the bill when he returns from a potty break.

"Why not?" Ali quirks a brow. "S'okay if you don't - but I thought I'd ask. What's it hurt, right?" She offers a rueful smile - then a look at Joule. Almost a 'see, I told you so' look, actually.

Subject change! The DJ waves a hand at the robot. "So how's he know to follow you? He's pretty amazing - and I don't see a remote or anything. That, or you're really good at hiding it."

Joule looks surprised too, but shrugs, not speaking up for Ali, and giving her friend an apologetic smile. "Probably following a transmit signal he has in his pocket. Seen stuff like that on think geek," she suggests. "But that's only a guess. With the karaoke machines and the mics, you'd have a problem with a proper signal, too, I reckon."

"Yeah, it's the transmitter. You just have to program it to work with the motion sensors so that it follows, but doesn't bump the crap out of everything. Signal strength isn't a real problems as long as you choose the right wavelength and have it strong enough. If you use radio waves that can get easily picked up, you're just asking for trouble."

After his technobabble, Gene pauses for a moment, thinking about this. Why would TWO attractive girls be asking him for a number. Glancing toward Ali as she speaks to Joule, he hrms. A competition between the two perhaps? Or maybe some sort of college contest pitting sorority against sorority. This is different then your usual 'Fix my computer' thing. "Well, maybe I'll consider giving one of you ladies my number You'll just have to make it worth my while if it's that important to you. If not, that's fine too."

"Worth your while?" Ali blinks, straightens - though her hands stay on the chair back. "… are you serious?" Again, Joule gets an odd look, but the DJ just seems.. mildly shocked.

Joule has her hands behind her back, in too good a mood to take that as the insult some might. She didn't ask fo rhis number, actually. She shrugs. "You're cute," she tells Gene, honestly, "But you're not so cute that we don't have options." Apparently this doesn't phase her much at all. "Plus, ego? Not terribly attractive, even on someone cute."

"…You've got to be kidding me." Gene has commited another point-and-click error. How can this be? He didn't even poke a breast this time! Desmond could have poked a breast and they would have liked it. Even if Desmond is not around, Gene knows he is somewhere… Meeting random hot women and sleeping with them JUST to spite Gene. "I thought you were being all flirty, I thought I was being all flirty," Gene says, rubbing his face in his hand hand. He shoves the candy cigarette in his mouth, grinding it to wet powder in his molars for a second. "…Just don't worry about it. Surprise surprise, the guy that build robots in his free time is horrible in social interactions."

Ali cracks a grin, at that, leaning back on the chair. "I guess I deserved that. But telling a chick - " Yes, the girl from Jersey just referred to herself as a 'chick' "- that you can take or leave 'em isn't good for the ego, ya know? I'll trade you a drink, though - " And that easily, it's smoothed over, the DJ looking up to Joule. "I still owe you one - but this time it's your pick."

Joule looks to Ali as Gene has such a strong reaction to Joule's calling his bluff. She lets Ali smooth it over, though. "Combustible Edison," she tells her friend, "If the bartender's got the bollocks to serve 'em right. Otherwise, another Magnum'll do." She turns her attention back to Gene. "You were doin' fine up 'til that 'worth my while' thing, actually, mate," she tells him, with no pretense or guile. "Don't beat y'self up, hmm?"

"Well, I had to do something to show interest without appearing like I was using girlish tactics. After all, playing hard to get for women usually doesn't go over well unless they are willing to pursue. Considering that most girls are leaving by this…" Gene pauses in shock to what is going on. "Huh, you're still here and neither of you puked on me." He gives a big smile at that, clearly chaulking this up as a win. "Either way, I admit I have a lot on my plate. After I lost track of a friend, never even really thought about trying to be charming or anything… Right, Artoo?"

The droid turns and gives a couple chirps as it looks over toward Gene. Having said his 'piece' R2-D2 goes on looking about the room, though it likes facial expressions so its impossible to see if it has the ability to get bored.

Ali nods. Along with that. Looking mildly lost. "I don't think I'm drunk enough yet to go for the 'puke' route." She straightens, heads for the bar - "Be /right/ back - three of whatever he's brave enough to make." She even pats Artoo as she passes, on the bounce.

"Nor am I," Joule assures Gene with a grin. "Besides, you're hardly some pawing boor." She shrugs. She's met and had to fight off way worse than an earnest but unschooled Gene. "Prolly help, though if you try to avoid treating girls like data points. We're not all like the movies and magazines say we are, hmm?"

"There is a science to it just the same. Relationships are all about worth assigned to thing, internal values, and gratification. Two attractive people want to dance, but they don't want something serious, they go to a bar have a few drinks and find each other on the floor. As they dance, one guy decides he wants to make it more, the girl doesn't. The guy tries to hit on her but she's not interested so she leave. The equation was no longer balanced, so the relationship falls apart."

Gene pauses before he sips his drink. He has a slight vacent expression on his face, uncertain if he enjoys his arguement or not.


It doesn't take long for Ali to get her bag and three shots worth of something… clear. And on fire. It makes it something of an adventure to carry them back - but, those three shotglasses certainly make a bright enough addition to the table. "… I shouldn't have said 'brave' there, I think. This is not a word a bartender takes lightly."

Joule beams, approvingly, blows out the flame, and then tosses the shot back without letting the hot glass touch her lips. She licks her lips and turns her attention back to Gene. "True, but the science isn't all there is to it. Some of it is instinct. Some of it is the social stuff you said you're horrible at, yeah. It's also an art. So treating it like too much of any one thing is gonna get you in trouble."

"I'm 18," Gene states as he holds up the marker dot on the back of his hand. "One of you can enjoy it for me though." He sips the ice water from one of his emptied Roy Rogers, a poor subsitute for booze but he plays by the rules (most of the time). "When you aren't an artist, you aren't an animal, all you have the strength of the mind. As I said though, I shouldn't worry about that. I've got things that would make a relationship complicated, but I guess most people claim that as an excuse."

"Heh. You know somethin'? 'complicated' is just another way to avoid trying something." This from Ali - who blows out her own, tossing it back… and coughing for a moment. "Mmph. See, now - that's why you don't say 'brave'. That right there." She sets the glass down, coughs again - and goes right back to, "I use that one myself. A lot. Trust me, I know."

"Name me a relationship that isn't complicated in some way," Joule says, blowing out Gene's shot and tossing it back the same way. She grins at her friend. "Hey, I said it took bravery to make these." She glances at Gene. "Seriously, every relationship has its rough moments, its crazy spots, its completely what-the-bloody-fuck-was-that moments. So, you sayin' you just want a quick roll in the sheets, and nothin' more? If that's what you want, yeah. Good for you knowin' that's what you want."

Unsure if Joule is mentioning the last part in reference to him or just a general statement, Gene points out, "No, not really" before glancing over to McAlister. "I suppose so. Just enjoy the little things in life, I know I'm starting to, but I learned too late." An 18 year old saying that? Odd, but then again, he's been odd for most of this conversation.

Back to Joule, the 'Geek God' states, "Relationships are always complicated… However the situations they are in aren't always so. Two high school sweethearts that have a tradition Christian families and get married in a state of purity both families approve of? Simple. A woman that comes from a family filled with drugs and booze with a crap on-again-off-again boyfriend trying to have a healthy relationship with a guy that is an ex-con trying to turn his life around? A little different. Here's to you both having the simple, instead of the 'different'." Gene holds up the glass in a toast manner before drinking his water some more.

Ali shrugs - "Thanks. Here's hoping 'simple' exists, really." She blows out that last shot, slugging it back - the smile having faded, oddly enough. She glances to Joule - "I gotta go. We need to do this again, though." There's a slight sway - the DJ's not entirely sober, no. "It was a lot of fun."

She focuses on Gene a moment. "You're a pretty odd guy - but it's good, you know, talkin' anyway. Here's hoping you get your 'simple' somewhere down the way, right?"

Joule raises a brow. "The high school sweetheart scenario is way more complicated than you wanna describe it, luv," she tells him. If they can maintain that state of --" air quotes, "— purity? It's with a lot of self-denial, a lot of angst. A lot of questioning their beliefs and their feelings. Nobody makes it through their teenage years without questioning something or rebelling somewhere." She frowns as her pager goes off. "Bloody hell, what now?" She stares at it. "Hnngh. Oh, sure, now they want me to take pictures. It pays the bills." She sighs. "Sorry, Ali. gotta run. Nice meeting you, Machinist," Joule tells Gene, for not having picked up his name.

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