(2018-09-17) Feeling Nothing At All
First Introduction.

Johnny Slim's Last Chance - Calaveras

A mix of neon beer signs and wood panelling, Johnny Slim's caters to its rural clientele. Or at least those with a rural nature in mind. The music is either from a live DJ or a juke box but definitely all has a country twang. Some contemporary and a few classics mixed in. Entering past a bouncer, to one side is a long bar with a low overhang making it feel more secluded than it is when sitting there. Opposite that are a few tables in a dark part of the room. It seems red solo cups are not for when they run out of glasses to draw pints, but an option made to remove all glass for beer and serve this way. They are scattered along the bar and among the tables. A few glasses remain for serving various liquors with higher alcohol contents.

Along the bar are several bull skulls and/or horns, catching the beer signs lightning beneath them. Straight ahead between tables and bar is a dance floor. Wooden and open for line dancing as needed, there is a small stage for the occasional live performance at Johnny Slim's. Opposite the bar, past the tables in the center, is a mechanical bull pit. It is near the restrooms, one can stop and watch a rider on the bull or stop on their way back from the restroom to add their name to the lineup to give it a chance.

It is hell in here; that is, it's karaoke night.

That's not to say that the old man trying to belt out Mustang Sally isn't good. He is. He's good for a place like this, which is to say that he won't cause eardrums to bleed. It's tolerable, especially if you've had enough to drink.

Pate looks he's had enough.

He is partially-slumped over the counter, bloodshot eyes blearily gazing at the tube. On it? Football: Seahawks vs. Bears. The sound's down, but that's all right; no doubt, the alcohol buzzing through his blood is causing him to hear shit other than what's poorly-blaring through the speakers. Wilson's getting run ragged by Mack and Da Bears D.

It's Monday Night in America, y'all.


There's something to be said for blondes having more fun. Becca was born to it and even a party at a country western bar is a place to get the party going. Or to continue it from a different venue. The group that bustles in are obviously coming from a different party and are somewhat in to their cups already. Breaking off from her girlfriends, Becca heads for the bar while they go secure themselves a place at the dance floor, tapping heels to the beat while a few go pencil their names in for karaoke. Heels that don't fit in so well as the cowboy boots the other patrons mostly wear.

Becca gets to the bar in her little club dress. A slinky little thing that is almost inappropriate. Glittery red sequins that shimmer in the light and comes to a flare at her hips. She leans her hands on the bar, leaning in. "We'd like to start a tab." A credit card is slid over to the bartender. "Start me with a sex on the beach." Not a surprise and pretty typical, probably, but she rolls her eyes at herself, recognizing the obviousness of it too.

While she waits, she gets a look at her bar companions, peering at the bleary gazed one. She'd been drinking but she wasn't that far gone. Yet. "Hey, who's winning?" A motion towards the television, probably not really caring.


The older man doesn't respond at first.

Instead, he grunts. It is a grunt of disorientation and surprise. Is someone talking to him? Is he actually just hearing the sports announcers? He blinks at the screen, and then looks over to see who or what is making noise in his direction. His look of astonishment is somewhat pleasant, although, as he makes a noise to acknowledge Becca's presence, he belches. And that emits the scent of alcohol into the air.

"Well, aren't you a sight for sore eyes!"

Please imply a bit of a drunken meandering when it comes to pronouncing some of the next words that come from Pate. "You, ah — you know, it's good to see such a bonny lass around a place like this." He waves his hand through the air next to him. "This, uh — " He gestures at the television. " — this? They said it'd be football." Frown. "This isn't fucking football, this is Yankball, it is, or whatever you people call it around here."

He snorts and rolls his eyes.


It might even be kind of gross if it wasn't kind of amusing when he burps in her direction. "Ah there now, you have room for another drink. I'll buy. Sounds like you're a visitor in this town and as a local, it's the least I can do. A hospitality gift, or something." A hip is leaned against the bar, turning more to face him than the rest of the party going on.

"I'm not sure I've ever been called a Bonny Lass before. But if you talk in that accent all the time, I'm sure I'd let you call me anything once." Another amused look as she flirts to the stranger she'd likely never see again.

A few guileless blinks towards the television and she waggles a finger at him. "You are looking for soccer. That's just kicking a ball around. This game is much harder. Getting slammed around a little on the field is a lot more manly, I'd think." A tuck of a corner of her lips between her teeth. "What brings you to Calaveras in the middle of our worst storm of the year so far?"

The Scotsman sputters loudly at some blasphemy Becca said.

"You call this harder than football? What, are you daft?" Snort. "I've been in this country for years actually, but, thankfully, I haven't forgotten where I'm from." Pate straightens a little, and frowns a bushy-bearded frown in the woman's direction in response to the flirting. "And since then, I'll tell you, my accent? Has gotten me nowhere with American women I can tell you. It's as if they're all — " He says something, but it's awfully garbled and it doesn't make any sense. For about half a minute.

" — so, anyhow, I'll tell you, I'm done, I swear, I'm done." Yeah, right.

He waves his hand through the air. "If you're buying, lass, I'll have another whiskey, I don't give a fuck what." Pate clicks his tongue in his mouth, and pats the stool next to him. "Aren't you out on the skite tonight with friends? I thought I saw you with others, didn't I?" Not that he looks around. A flirt's a flirt, and it's a good thing when you get to his age.

"Won't you chum with me?"


"Oh honey.." Becca keeps the flirting up for now, even going so far as to lean in slightly, "I have a feeling it's not the accent that keeps the American girls away. The accent really works for you." Lifting a hand she tugs on a lock of his hair. Not hard, just a gentle little tug, "I think it's more your big, bad, burly… attitude that does it."

Laughter reaches her eyes, dancing there a moment. Becca is definitely a happy drunk and when her drink is delivered she takes a deliberately long drink from the glass. "Order whatever you want then. I got you covered. Crown?" Unless he has a favorite of something else.

"I did come with friends, but I'm a big girl now, I know my way home." And effectively cutting off from her friends, she slides onto the stool that is next to him, turning it to face him better. "So," she begins conversationally, "Do you wear a kilt?"

"Crown?" He makes a face. "Fine." Not his first choice.

Truth is, yes, Pate's a bit of a brute. He has the kind of eyes that fit a villain in a comic book movie, with the brows and grimace to match, when his hair is tugged on. "Nah, I don't wear a kilt." Grunt. "People look at you funny when you do that. Think you're soft in the head, or a tad radge." And then Pate's eyes narrow at Becca for a moment, his shoulders flexing for a second, as if something occurred to him.

"Why do I get the feeling I should — oh."

His expression relaxes a little. "Oh, oh. Yes." Pate snaps his fingers. "I've seen you in the papers." Head-bob. "Yeah." Snicker. "Small town this is, yeah?" Pate flashes a vicious grin for a second. "An' I'll bet you're a big girl now. Living fast, living high, yeah? Yeah, I'll bet." His grin relaxes into a sly, languid sort of smirk.

"What, are you slumming it tonight, then?"


The face gets her and she outright laughs. "Like I said, order whatever your flavor for the night is. I've got mine." Becca's brows arch just a touch before she indicates her drink as if the drink was all she meant in that comment. Another drink is taken before it's placed back on the bar, along with draping an elbow on there to prop herself there as she faces him.

"I guess I don't have to wonder what you do or don't wear beneath a kilt then. Or however that song and dance goes. Something about winning first prize." His half sentences just bring a shake of her head, that blonde hair spilling over her shoulders.

"Don't believe everything you read in the papers. I've been living on my own for almost a decade now and.."

Closer she leans to counter that sly smirk of his. "I never have to slum it to get company."

The Scotsman rolls his eyes.

"Well, of course not, not when you look like that, lass." Pate gestures meaningfully at Becca and her curves. Maybe he moves his hand in an exaggerated way, just a little. "You probably cut through them like a knife through butter. No doubt. Me?" He gestures at himself. "I've to get myself reeking in order to get the coggles to blether with a fine lass. Otherwise — " He snorts. " — skedaddle off I go, and it's just — " He makes another vague gesticulations. " — you know, nothing goes on, nothing happens, which is fine, I suppose."

His laugh is shallow and a little uncertain.

"So it makes me think and wonder — maybe I shouldn't — what it could've been that brought you through this gin joint." Not that this place is known for gin, of course. "Like — I just wonder." Pate squints at Becca for a second. "You seem like the kind of woman that does what she wants, even if it means she's a bit of a bampot." Beat. "You're a bit of a right chancer, I think. Especially if you're talking with a rogue like me."

And then he belches again. "Excuse me." Charming.


The thing about Becca, she is not doubting in the self confidence department, but she's not so vain as to assume everyone thinks she's drop dead gorgeous. The half-assed compliment with the gestures manages to draw a wink from her above the rim of her glass. When the drinks are rung up and the card slid, it's given back. "Cover my friends," hitching a thumb towards the group she'd obviously come with.

That leaves everyone covered in drinks. Everyone that she meant to cover anyway. The card is slid back where she got it, somewhere in the top of her dress there. Safe and sound. "Oh I think you're blethering just fine. Maybe it's the drink after all because the accent still does it for me."

For a moment, she just finishes her drink and listens with a contemplative look. "You know.." The empty cup is replaced on the bar. "Sometimes wondering what could've been is equally exciting." Again, the belch doesn't bother her.

"As for you being a rogue, I think that's the wrong word. Dishonest and unprincipled man? You've done nothing but question my own motives when you could have been taking advantage of them. Since you saw me in the paper before, you know my name. Look me up and we'll see what might have been. You don't look the sort to be dissuaded by a challenge." And after another wink is given she turns towards the exit, sauntering with a deliberate sway of her hips as she departs.

Well, Becca's not wrong about Pate, that's for sure.

"Hey, honor among thieves, no?" The Scotsman leans against the bar's counter, and bobs his head. "Still, if you're inviting me to crash your world, lass — " Shrug. " — so be it. I won't argue, if I do it for you." Wink. "Just don't say I didn't warn you." About what? His is a non-specific threat.

Maybe he'll wear a kilt or something.

As the woman departs, Pate casually watches her hips go back and forth. He's not too proud or chivalrous not to take a nice long look. A sigh escapes his mouth, and he mutters something unintelligible to himself. The whiskey'll make him feel better, no doubt.

Or not feel anything at all.

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