2012 02 11 Oasis And A Schmear

Log Title:
Oasis and a Schmear

Characters:
The Thing and Topaz

IC Date:
2/11/12

Location:
The Voodoo Lounge

Brief log summary::
Ben stops into the Voodoo Lounge and gets more than a bagel and coffee from its owner.

Rating:
g

There is no TS in this log::
Yes

Post your log::
It's a lovely morning — well, for mid-winter in New York. The Voodoo Lounge is open for its early hours, serving breakfasty things. The staff has opened up this morning, having received a note from the proprietress.

Said owner slept in, for once, and miracle of miracles, peacefully. So she's practically floating when she makes her way out to the bar proper to greet her patrons.

Truth be told? The Voodoo Lounge is hardly Ben's scene. As a former astronaught and as matter of course, he considers himself more or less a man of science. Clobbery science though it may be. Oh he's heard Doctor's Strange and Richards banter enough that he realizes that Magic is just another kind of science after a fashion, but still. Not his back. In fact he'd never have come here if not for the instance of Aunt Petunia, when her friend Ruth, who is /way/ into Kabbalah recommended it.

Ben found he likes it. Sure he doesn't have anything to say to the regulars really, but noone looks at him like he's a freak or a monster here. Here he can belly up to the bar and get a drink (or in the morning get coffee and a bagel) and enjoy it in peace. And as the big orange behemoth enters the lounge and heads for one of the reinforced stools, it's clear that's probably his intent.

Topaz emerges from the back, all serene smiles. She makes a small round of the lounge, making a personal greeting to everyone. She shares a smile, a nod, or a handshake with everyone, before finally returning to the bar. "Benjamin Grimm, I presume," Topaz greets him with a smile, reaching for a hot carafe to top off his coffee. "How nice of you to grace my little lounge."

Also another perk of joints like this? Big-ass latte mugs. Perfect for Thing-sized coffee consumption. "I wouldn't nessecarily call it grace, but thanks for having a nice quiet place fer people to go from time to time…." Ben says as he picks up his big mug o' Joe, which looks like a dainty teacup in his big hands. "I just came for some good joe, an' perhaps a bagel."

"You do not give yourself enough credit," is Topaz' summation of Ben's modest reaction. "And bagels and — joe — I have. What sort of bagel would you like? And butter, or schmear?" She apparently has been in the city long enough to pick up a little of the jargon, even if her accent is diluted New Delhi.

"Oh I'll take the schmear." Ben says with a bemused little smile. You probably don't have to be an empath to know that the word 'schmear' colored by a slight New Dehli accent probably sounds cute as hell. Ben looks around at the sparse, few other customers, all of whom are either reading old looking bound books, or Jim Butcher 'Dresden Files' paper backs. Figuring it's ok to make conversation with the hostess then he says, "I've never been down here before I came for coffee over lunch a few days ago." A rare time that Topaz was elsewhere probably, "How long you been here?"

"Schmear it is, then, my friend," Topaz keys in the order at a screen behind the bar. "In only a moment."

She pours herself a cup of fragrant herbal tea, and allows herself a moment of blissfully inhaling the steam, then turns her eyes back to Ben as he asks her a question. "This is the second incarnation of the Voodoo Lounge," she explains to him. "I had it in this very spot some years ago, but — the urge to travel — required I close. But I am feeling the need to stay in one spot for a while. How fortunate that the same building was waiting for me when I returned." She shrugs, as if that isn't just the darnedest thing. More likely with the wards in place, even after years of disuse, people couldn't find a buyer who'd use the place with the intent Topaz placed upon it. "I'm so pleased you enjoy it here. I mean my lounge to be an oasis from the rest of the city's frenzied pace." Which would explain why the crowd seems so at ease, although it's a small crowd for the moment.

Well it's way to early for the Goth/Emo crowd to emerge from their lairs yet. So it bears to reason that this place is indeed quiet, "Well ya done good that's for sure." He lifts up his coffeee but then his eyes buldge, as if he's reached some sort of an epiphany mid sip, "Oh where are my manners, I'm bein' rude as can be, my Aunt Petunia woulda scolded me seneseless." He extends a big rocky hand, "Yes I am indeed Benjamin J. Grimm, it's nice ta meetcha Miss."

Topaz vanishes in the back just long enough to bring out a pair of toasted bagels with the afore requested schmear.

"Topaz," replies the owner, placing his repast before him on a black plate. There's a bandage over her right wrist noticeable as she extends her arm. "Just Topaz," she adds, to forestall the inevitable questions of 'Topaz what?' "The pleasure is mine." In response to his compliment, she simply shakes her head slowly and offers, "There are enough rowdy sports bars in this city already. And far too many 'let us showcase the bodies of our waitresses' bars. I thought a change of pace might be needed." Indeed, her staff seems comfortable and happy in whatever they feel like wearing with a Voodoo Lounge shirt on top.

"I just like that noone looks at me like a freak." Ben says, his voice lowering a bit not enough to be hard to hear. "I mean. Being part of the FF is great. Being famous for helpin' people ain't a bad gigg at all. People my love you when they get to watch you on TV, or from the saftey of an arena seat while you clobber some birghtly costumed goons from another planet, but man, that loves goes away if you have to stand next to me on the subway."

Topaz could sense the relief on Ben, of course, when he came in and sat down. "People can be funny," she agrees. "What thrills them intellectually — or from a safe distance — is a little too much for them when faced with it directly. I have seen it — many times." She places a hand on his when he sets it still long enough. By comparison, hers is tiny. But a warmth seems to radiate from her touch as she makes a seemingly natural talking-with-the-hands gesture with her other hand. "You are welcome here, any time, day or night should you need a respite from people who are not enlightened enough to love all the time. No one should be subjected to such a constant swing between appreciation and — some of the other emotions New Yorkers are capable of summoning up." Her arched brows and half wince implies she is putting it mildly.

The Thing sighs and nods his head, "I Mean.. It's not that I blame em for being a bit scared when seeing me up close. Really it's probably kinda sensible on their part. I mean it's like if there's trouble I'm exactly built to handle it quietly and neatly." He gives a shrug, "Still.. it sucks." And then he shakes his head and drinks down the rest of his coffee, "But woulda listen to me. I'm sorry it ain't right of me to just dump on yah. There's just something 'bout someone serving drinks that makes them easy to talk to. I don't mean to put you out." And there's a moments pause, "I've always wondered who Barbacks go to when they needta talk to someone."

"Benjamin," Topaz says gently, patting his hand one more time before withdrawing it. "As much as we would like to believe otherwise, life is not quiet or neat all the time. Anyone who insists otherwise has their eyes closed. You know this." She takes a sip of her tea, and listens to him describe the pain of his existence.

"I am a bartender, Benjamin," she reminds him with a winsome little smile. "It is part of the job description. And I am glad to do it. I may be no doctor, but I like to think talking can be therapeutic." She chuckles at his last remark. "We have people of our own to go to, or places."

His coffee finished, Ben's attention turns to the bagel. Ahhhh tasty kosher foods that do not tempt him as does bacon. He halfs his first.. um… half of his bagel in one large bite and says, "That's that some good schmear." Ben says with a smile. "So when you're not tending bar here Topaz, what do you do round 'abouts the big apple?"

Now that is a interesting and difficult question. Topaz ponders it for a moment over her own cup of tea. "I do a lot of volunteer work," is the answer she decides upon. "For a great city in a great country, there are so many people who need help. And not just of the sort that you and yours can provide."

Three chomps bring an end to Ben's bagel and he holds up his coffee cup in a bit of a toast. "Amen to that, Topaz. Keep fightin' the good fight."

"It is my calling," Topaz shrugs, clinking her own tea mug with his large size coffee cup. She makes a mental note to get him Ben-sized dishes and utensils. "And you — surely you are not a recluse in between galaxy-spanning and world-saving? That would get very tiresome, very quickly, I imagine."

"Well when you do that kinda thing often, you learn to really enjoy and covet the quiet times in life." Ben says with a chuckle, "But I still love an ice cold brew, a Sunday football game. Dinner with the family, poker with the friends." He pausues and looks around conspiratorily, "Ok and I still love a good brawl, so I guess that's why I work with the schnooks that run UCWF."

"It sounds like you know what things matter most to you," Topaz says, accepting a bowl of cut fruit from one of her waitresses. "We should all be so lucky." She pops a grape into her mouth. "You are wiser than you let on."

"Well Being the brains is kinda Reed and Sue's thing, so I figure I gotta let them have that." He smiles, "And being pretty is really all poor Johnny's got going for him, so I figure I need to be an ugly mug just ta make it fair."

Topaz laughs, genuinely and warmly. "I suppose you have a point," she agrees. "Although I do not find you ugly at all," she says. And there's a sincerity about her words. She meets his eyes, unflinching. "Too many people are not inclined to look past surface apearances. Besides which, you are —" she pauses, trying to find the word she wants. "Like the very embodiment of strength. Rock solid, as they say, yes? This very trait of your spirit shows on your skin."

Ok… Ben can't help but preen a little bit at that. Especially after that going to that Grade school presentation to find out he was only /9th/ on their list of 'Strongest Heroes.' "Well thank you fer sayin' Topaz." Ben says as he finishes his coffee and slides off his stool and then fishes his wallet out of a hip pocket to settle his tab. "I think I need to be getting back to the Baxter Building. Reed's working on helping a friend and I told him I'd be there to help." Or well.. tos tand there and worry. "Thanks for the best cup of joe and schmear I've had in a while."

Topaz' smile brightens, seeing that her words found a way through to him. "I am told my gift for cutting to the point can be annoying," she admits. "It's good you did not find it so." She waves off his payment. "No, no, it's on me."

The crowd, although laid back, has glanced up from time to time, wide-eyed to see the world famous Blue-Eyed Thing in the lounge. But no one has had even so much as an unkind whisper to say about it. "The least I can do, really. Your presence alone will improve the reputation of my humble little lounge."

The Thing frowns a bit when you won't take his money, but he puts his wallet away. Old School enough that he doesn't risk insult when someone offers a hospitality. "Well ok this time, but don't expect me to stop trying to pay fer my meals here." He says with slight crook to his smile. "Thanks for makin' a little oasis for the less than normal here darlin' I'll see you again soon, I'm sure."

Topaz gives him The Disney Princess eyes for a second when he frowns, but her expression clears when he puts away his wallet. "We shall see," she replies, playful challenge in her voice. "I look forward to your next visit. Be well. Namaste."

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