Two Pump Chump of the Speedster World

December 19, 2017:

Luke and Owen have a talk about a certain drunken voicemail.

Luke's Bar

It's a bar. It belongs to Luke. For now.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Bart Allen, Red Robin, Emery & Kennis Papsworth


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

During the week Luke's bar closes at a very reasonable 11PM. With the winter winds blowing as cold as they have been some nights they get to lock up a little early. It's one of those nights and Owen has finished cleaning up the front, putting up stools and what not and he's just officially locked the front and flipped the sign closed at the lovely hour of 10:46. Sure it's not great for business but it's rare that the last hour really rakes in the sales on any weeknight anyway.

He comes into the back office and slumps in the chair opposite Luke's desk. "I am toast." Dressed in his usual black collared shirt, reasonably clean dark jeans and boots he puddles over the chair, his head hanging back and staring up at the ceiling.

"I feel like slow nights hit me waaaay harder than crazy ones." Yea, he says that, but just wait until something like New Years Eve hits. He'll be begging for a night like this. Yes, it could be the slow night or it could be the fact that he's galavanting off at night on his nights off and not taking any type of break. But sure, we can go with slow night.


Luke's dressed in his gifted shirt with a zippered hoodie thrown over it for good measure. Sure it obscures the 'Strong Black Coffee' moniker, but no one needs to read it in the back office. He's currently staring off into some middle space when Owen flops down, a pen idly twiddling between his fingers from where he was writing out a Christmas card which is still…blank. Brown eyes slowly blink back into the here and now as he focuses on Owen, life coming back to his expression with just a vague amused expression. "It's all the hurrying up and doing nothing. Gets me every time." He chucks over the night deposit bag, already zipped and locked from the final count. "Can you zoom by and drop that off on your way home? Every pun intended."


Catching the bag more out of instinct than any real reason, Owen gives him a quizzical look until he explains. "Yea yea." He then rolls his eyes a bit and says "Well. My speed doesn't work like that." Mentally he thinks, but I bet Bart's does. He hasn't quite discussed the young bar back with Luke even though Bart has worked a couple shifts now. But he feels like he should let Bart have that talk with Luke, at least unless he has to divulge it for some reason.

Continuing on with the explanation of his powers though he clarifies "It's just a few seconds at a time. Not enough to book it home or speed across the city." He actually has to think about it after he says that outloud. Maybe he could make it home? He hasn't tested that out in a while actually. Hmm. Maybe tonight a little late night workout?

"Writing the great American novel there boss?" Changing the subject to the pointedly blank card in front of him, Owen tries to shift the conversation.


"I bought a gift for Jessica." Luke admits of the card, making it verbally sound about as horrible an idea as it is in his head. Maybe that's why something as simple as 'Seasons Greetings' or 'Merry Christmas!' hasn't even been jotted on the card. "So, speaking of verbal diarrhea, I have this really awesome voicemail I was thinking of playing at our next party. Or, it would be more entertaining, if I could figure out what all the slurring was. I think one point there is 'I love you, man'. Wanna hear it?"


Now that Owen has at least some of the background between Luke and Jessica, he gets some of way this might be awkward. Sure he only knows one of the bigger points of the story, but still it's a pretty big doozy of a point that at least starts to fill in some of how fraught a simple card might be. He hemms and lets out a 'hooooo' noise at the thought of what you write in that card. Not coming up with anything serious, and not being prone to thoughtful notions in general he ventures "Merry Christmas. I want to rock you like a hurricane?" When in doubt, go for the easy joke. And he keeps it surprisingly PG.

When Luke brings up the voicemail, he quirks an eyebrow. "From who?" Yea. He has not idea he left that voicemail. Or the other ones for other people. At the offer to hear it, he shrugs "Sure?" Nope, not understanding at all what Luke is hinting at there.


"I'm trying /not/ to freak the woman out. The fact that I bought her something at all might make her run for the hills and we're just now in a comfortable place in our friendship that I'm not really keen on screwing up /quite/ so soon." Luke digs out his phone from the kangaroo pocket of his hoodie, unlocking it with his thumb as he starts to navigate through the Stark Phone and taps on his voicemail. A familiar voice comes from the speaker, even if it is slightly slurred. "Luke! Luuuuuuke. It's me. *something unintelligible* You're great. But we should talk. *something else unintelligible, possibly about a pineapple* Jess and I talked. You should know about *something else unintelligible* Because Bart."


Again, Owen is aware that this is not your average situation now so he's not quick to offer advice. Plus he is terrible at advice. And women. Well, being in healthy, respectful relationships with women anyway. He shrugs and says "I think you’re fine. She seemed into you at the Christmas party." He doesn't bring up anything from his talk with Jess though, not yet.

When Luke gets out his phone, Owen is smiling, expecting a funny voicemail. When it starts though his face starts to fall. "Wait? What?" He tries to listen but also can't make out his own words. "When was that?!" He doesn't wait for Luke to answer. He is pulling out his phone to check his own sent calls. Why didn't he do that after the other night? Oh crap. That sounded like tequilla. So… Saturday?

"Shit! Shitty shit shit shit." He realizes exactly what day it was. It was the day he talked with Jessica and booked it. And yup. "I called Jess too. Fuck." His head falls back against the chair.


Luke just rumbles out an 'mmmmhmmmm', but other than that he doesn't seem to have any judgment regarding the voicemail or the state that Owen must have been in when he made it. His thumb hovers above the button, "Do you want me to replay it?" He asks, just in case Owen needs the refresher. "My favorite part was something about a pineapple, but I really hope you weren't telling me where to shove one." Eyebrows creep up with the question that really isn't one, obviously expecting elaboration.


Shaking his head, at Luke Owen says "Yea, if it were beer or whiskey, I'd expect that to have like ten more 'I love you man's in it." He does not in fact elaborate what would cause this one. He just sighs and says "No. Nothing bad. Probably something about blowing up a pineapple. Or making one into a grenade." Is that an explanation? Not really, but it's at least nothing against Luke.

"I had a good talk with Jess. Something went down with Emery, I ended watching his daughter. Cute kid. Surprisingly not as fucked up as you'd think his kid might be." Yes, one might assume a sword wielding, bear biting, soul… something, possible angel might have a less well adjusted kid, or Owen just assumes everyone screws up their kids. "Anyway. Jess had to talk me down off a ledge and she brought up some of your past." He waits to see how pained Luke is by that statement, but not being able to read much he just lets the other shoe drop. "She told me what happened with your wife. I'm sorry… uhm … for everyone. That is awful."


Luke just lets out a long exhale, folding his hands together on top of his bald head and tilting back to look at the ceiling. His chair groans with the motions, protesting the shift of weight but the thing's held this long. One more long stare at the cracks above won't hurt it. "It's just as much as her story as it is mine to tell." He throws out there, just in case it makes Owen uncomfortable having heard about Reva from Jess. He's still seemingly processing some other feelings when it comes to his 'wife', because he's silent for a time.

"It is what it is." He finally declares, rocking back to look at Owen again. "I met her when I was doing some time down in Georgia. After I got out, she brought me up here to start a new life." Sugar coating things much? Probably, but Luke isn't known for outright lying either.


The last thing Owen is going to do is have a 'correct' or 'expected' reaction for Luke to have about this. If he gets pissed, totally understandable. If he wants to roll with it, that's fine too. Owen just lets him reacts. He nods at the statement about it being what it is.

When Luke mentions doing some time. Owen can't help but react a little more than he means to. His eyebrows lift and he nods to Luke. "So that half explains why you're willing to give me a shot." Might as well acknowledge that getting out of prison and starting a new life isn't far from Owen's story, minus a lot of messy details on both sides.

"We don't have to talk about this. I mean Jess didn't have to tell me. I feel like both of you have been way better to me than I deserve." But in reality it does help. Knowing how screwed up their past is, and even Luke's jail stint, helps ease his imposter syndrome. That haunting fear that they are going to one day wake up and wonder why the hell they let a mostly reformed villain into their lives.


Luke makes that sucking noise against his teeth, an admonishing 'tsch' about giving Owen half a chance. "Everyone deserves a second chance, Owen. Whether they're escaped convicts or mind controlled metas. Even mouthy bartenders from the wrong side of the tracks who are the two-pump chumps of the Speedster world." Joking aside, something occurs to Luke, "Wait, did she talk you down from an actual ledge or a metaphorical one?"


Owen blinks and laughs after a minute. As if he wasn't expecting such a solid burn from Luke. "Wow. That was an excellent burn. I would have saved that one." Yes, he will admit when he's been verbally bested. He is still chuckling when Luke asks his follow up question. Looking a little hurt or at least disdainful of the question he clarifies, "No. Nothing like that. I was just freaking out. She was uhhh " he tries think of something else but can only come up with " great. She listened to my sob story. Let me chain smoke in her apartment and babble like an idiot. And then when she gets real with me. Tells me this obviously painful thing. I think I just up and left?" It's not exactly the chain of events, but it's close.

"I didn't even say thanks, or bye or.. " He rolls his eyes. "I booked it out of there like waking up after a bad one night stand realizin' you just hit a solid 3." He laughs and clarifies, "Not that Jess is a.. or that we… yea. You know what I'm saying." Hopefully.


There's only the slightest narrowing of his eyes as he compares Jess to a Coyote Ugly type situation, which will be the second reference to that movie this month, but Luke doesn't dwell there as he slides the card and pen in Owen's direction. "Maybe you should send one of these to her too. Dear Jess, sorry I ugly cried on your couch about people giving a damn about me."


"Dear Jess. Luke wants to do unspeakable things to you, half of which involve handcuffs and chocolate syrup." Owen pretends to write that in the card, keeping an eye out for Luke to hit him or stop him. He's not actually writing mind you.

"And A, I was on the window sill. And two, I didn't cry." Yes it should have been B, and he has to ammend. "Okay fine, like one or two manly tears. I was very stoic." He can't keep a straight face at that. "No. I totally wasn't I was blabbing like a drunk chick who's friends ditched her for fake italian royalty. I was all:" He does his best sad wasted drunk chick voice, which is scary accurate after all of his time in the bar scene. "I have feeeeelings! Jessica!"


"Right." Luke pitches forward, moving to pluck the pen out of Owen's hand. Not like the other guy couldn't just twitch his hand and, faster than Luke can blink, have it out of his reach. "You're banned from any card writing before you tell the Devil of Hell's Kitchen I want clean his pipes with my kielbasa or our land lady that I want to motorboat her twin yabas." He settles back in his chair. "So what does any of this have to do with Bart, exactly?"


Owen let's the pen be taken. After all that was the point of taunting Luke about it. He slides the card back over and says "Yea, probably best I don't write cards to anyone. Way to much sex for Christmas. But come Valentines, I got your back boss." Yea, probably not then either, but kind of funny to think about.

"Bart. Yea." Owen hems and haws a bit with his head going back and forth. Debating how much to share or where to start. "So. The kid put down Titan's tower as his address. Which, I can't even imagine being that … naive?" That's the kindest possible term that Owen can get to. "Fuckin' stupid." See, he couldn't even stick to being nice for that long.

"So I cleaned it up. I replaced his address on the application with a PO Box I opened up for him." Is that it? Owen's face betrays nothing, but internally he's deciding whether to continue.

"I have some history with Robin, the Titans leader. It's ugly. And I may have threatened Bart in costume once. But in my defense, it was for his own good. And I was drunk. And, I'm a dick to everyone." Two of those things are not really in his defense, honest as they may be.


Luke makes a motion by flattening out his paw of a hand flatly and bouncing it up and down in a 'slow your roll' movement. "You have a costume?" Important things first.


"Uhm. Now?" Owen isn't sure how to take the question. He half shrugs and says "I have gear. I don't know if I call it a costume. What are you asking?" He sits up a little straighter as this conversation seems to have possibly turne from haha joke time to something a little more serious.

"Sorry, I was just trying to picture you in lycra." Luke's fingers flick away that notion. "So did he recognize you? Are we going to have an issue now? And wait, did you recognize him while we were interviewing him?"
Letting out a breath of air as apparently it isn't something more serious. He scowls at Luke "Nice. I thought you were…" He shakes his head and says "No. It's not lycra. It's badass." Kind of. No, not really. But it's better than the spandex set for sure.

"He recognized me. I didn't piece it together until I saw the application. From there it was a hop, skip to who he was. It's why I pulled him aside at the Christmas party."

Glancing at the window, he indicates it with a tilt of his head. "Can I pop that open and smoke?" He doesn't normally hang out much after his shifts so this is his first time actually spending more than a few minutes in Luke's office.


"You don't think that's why he came around, looking for a job, is it? Are you two cool now?" Because otherwise that might come dangerously close to violating one of the House Rules. As Owen asks about smoking in the office, Luke just gives a little up nod of his head. It's against New York State law to smoke in a business, but apparently Cage isn't really about the letter of the law, but the meaning behind it. There aren't any customers around to expose to the second hand of it, and he himself pushes back from the desk like he's going to join Owen. "Only if I can bum one."


"Yea. I was.. until I realized he's not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. I mean unless he's running a good long game on Robin's behalf, but .. honestly? I don't think the kid has it in him. And why give the Titans address? It doesn't line up." Owen stands by his assessment of Bart as being harmless and well intentioned, to a fault.

Owen gladly slips one out of the pack for Luke and heads to the window to open it. He lights up and passes the lighter before continuing on.

"We're good. I think. I still owe him some explanations, but I think it's at least not gonna blow up into anything. If Robin shows up…" Owen narrows his eyes as he tries to envision it "He'd be discrete. He wouldn't broadcast anything or want to rope you in. His issues is with me. I doubt Bart even knows. If he's anything like the Bat, there's probably not much chatty gossip in Titanville."

"But it's up to Robin. I ain't gonna force anything, he wants to settle up or whatever, I'm not exactly hiding."


Luke mutters a thanks for the cigarette, bending into the flame to light an angry cherry and then passes the lighter back. "So are we gonna talk about these issues," He blows a stream of grey out the gap in the window, partly turning into vapor from his breath when it hits the chill outside, "Or do I get to act all surprised when it inevitably does become a problem I can't help with at that point?"


"No" is said in a puff of smoke. "We are not going to talk about these issues. You didn't rope me in when you went and did whatever it was that scared you enough to leave me the bar." It's not an accusation, just a setting of the playing field. "I have history. I will keep it out of the bar." He says it flatly at least. He's not pissed. He's just isn't going to be opening up about this. Again.

"And I thought we agreed I don't need your help?" He is at least more friendly with that line. "Unless you have a spandex costume in which case, I desperately need your help. All the time. Especially in front of cameras or video equipment." There is no way Owen is lucky enough for Luke to have a spandex costume. The elf sweater was good enough, he will have to be content with that.


Luke scratches the side of his nose with the stub of nail from his thumb. "Nah, no costume. Though admittedly I really should be a little bit more careful about getting myself into scrapes where I don't at least try to conceal my identity. Now that there are people that would actually benefit from being left out of my messes. So, in that regard, fine. I won't press. No spandex though. I…can't even imagine the giant sausage I'd resemble in something form fitting." The grimace tells it all.


"Yea. I uhh, had the same thought. I mean, when you asked about costumes. I hadn't, really cared before? My life was such a shit storm that it never mattered. But I would care now." Aww, see? Bonding over the fact that they haven't been wearing masks, but there is some valid reasons for them.

"Wait? Do you have a code name?!"

Owen's eyes pop open. He stares at Luke "Is it Black Lighting?! Please tell me it's Chocolate Thunder. Or uh, Unbreakable! Or wait… " He sticks his tongue out for a second. "Strong Guy?" No, that's not quite right.

When Luke tries to describe himself in spandex Owen pulls a grimaced face and says "Eew. Let's leave talk of your giant sausage to Jess okay? I'm gonna give a hard pass on hearing that again." And yet, they do seem to talk about such things far too often. Boys.


"Gigantic sausage." Luke says one more time, just for effect, but when asked about his 'super hero name' he sort of makes another face. "Pops over at the barber shop started calling me Power Man, which isn't very far off from saying 'Strong Guy'. It's the 'hey you' equivalent of metas, I think, but damned if it didn't catch on a little more than I like around Harlem. It wasn't until Jess that I even took my powers outside of this borough really."


Making a classic WTF face and shaking his head as Luke repeats the phrase. Owen blows smoke out of the side of his mouth in protest.

"Eh, well. I can't really talk. I inherited Captain Boomerang. Which, I think we've discussed how doofy that is. But whatever. I'm not really in the game anymore. I don't know that I really need an identity for that." Well, he uses Boomerang as a call sign for missions, but that's way different.

"Anyway. I will drop the cash off for ya. And see you tomorrow?" With superhuman speed he twists out the end of his cigarette without being burnt and then he flicks the cigarette butt out the open window, it ricochets off a wall and lands in a dumpster in the alley.

"Just write that you're glad things between you and Jess are good." He picks up the bag of cash and tries to beat a hasty retreat before Luke can call him out for having a soft, sensitive side.


Watching him make that sort of shot, it begs the question how Owen got that name in the first place, even if originally it came from his dad. He'd probably ask, but Owen is putting the kabash on the conversation. Luke isn't known for finishing his own cigarettes, though he likes a puff now and then socially, he's snuffed out his own on his palm because: hey, he can, "Yeah, see you…" He turns back and the damn man is gone. "Tomorrow."

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