Hard to stay pure
It’s hard to stay pure Who: Jay and Max What: Violence! Where:The Last Stop When: 2/25/17 1AM Rating: PG-13 for language and VIOLENCE :D. Also subtle racism. Tonight was not going to be a good night, Jayati knew that when she woke up hungry and with a headache, but it was only growing worse by the hour. Fifteen minutes ago a group of large, tattooed burly bikers came in taking up far too much space and breathing room in her hole-in-the-wall bar. Each of them bore ink on their arms or necks, but one was consistent on each and stuck out to her like it was glowing.
Goddamnit. This wasn’t going to end well, she had three other people working tonight, but they were all under orders--directions--to get the hell out of dodge if (when) trouble broke out so at least she didn’t have to worry overly about their safety. As long as they listened. Several of the men were eying the other two women as they walked through the tables bringing out drinks and bringing back empties, but there was one in particular watching AJ that she was worried about.
Max had been hustling unfortunate drunks all night at one of the pool tables, drinking beer like it was water and flirting with the cute ones. This guy looked vaguely like one of the Hemsworth brothers and she was doing her best to hustle him as well as the game. But as soon as she sunk the 8 ball he sighed and walked off, leaving their wager for her on the edge of the table. She picked it up and counted it, but pouted after him.
“Hey, come on...one more? I'll let you break. You can blindfold me,” she offered. He just grinned at her and shook his head and she sighed. Setting down her cue, she grabbed the cash and her empty pint glass and headed over to the bar, looking far too glum for someone who just won $80. She caught Jay's eye as she walked by.
“There goes the hottest guy in the bar,” she sighed, watching the guy leave. “I should learn by now; if I want to get laid, I gotta let them win once in a while.”
Jay took the glasses from Max with a practiced ease and an even more familiar eye roll, relieved to take the distraction that came with one of her less depressive regulars. There were some people that came to bars to drink away their sorrows and inevitably that meant telling them to the bartender and moping at the bar, but there were others who treated it more like she used to--a place to burn off energy and relax.
Max was one of the latter, that and similar professions (though Max didn’t know about that part and Jay kept it that way, thank you) meant that by default they got along fairly well, even if their dispositions tended to be quite a bit different.
“You gotta work on not looking at him like he’s a mouse you have trapped,” She said it as she reached for a refill for Max until out of the corner of her eye she saw one of the guys reach out to grab her employee by the waist and she turned back to Max. Jayati’s eyes roamed her speculatively, “If you’re armed, keep ‘em hidden for now, it’s more paperwork..”
With that she turned and shucked off her jacket before she stalked towards the man who was holding onto her girl, “This is your warning.”” She nearly had to shout it at the man with his rowdy friends around him but he obviously heard and gave her a smirk, pulled the distressed girl closer to him, “What are you going to do about it girlie?”
There was a time when Jayati regularly faced challenges in her line of work, where she sometimes feared for her life, where her blood sang and she felt more alive than anywhere else. This? This was not one of those times, but it did feel a little satisfying when she lashed out with an open palm to his jaw causing his head to slam backwards and blood to start coming from his mouth from where his teeth impacted his mouth. Her other hand reached for his wrist and twisted it around so the girl could dart away, “You bitch!” The brute stood, or tried to, but she hit him with a hard (possibly too much so) elbow hit to the temple, “Get your ass outta my bar.”
Behind her, someone else started to take a swing at her head.
At the bar, Max took a long drink from her new pint, listening to the drama behind her. Jay had it under control, but the longer it went on, she felt her hackles rise and annoyance start to needle her. With a sigh she put her beer down, glaring over her shoulder at the guys causing the trouble, watching Jay backhand one of them until he spat blood on the floor. She rolled her eyes and sighed. “And on my day off and everything,” she muttered, sliding off the bar stool.
She saw one of the guys coming at Jay from behind and she grabbed him by the wrist before he could touch her, bending it back at the elbow until she heard a pop, kneeing him in the groin and and then punching him in the face. He hit the floor, his arm out of its socket at an awkward angle, rolling onto his side and moaning in pain. She turned, another thug watching her with a bemused expression, giving her a once over that clearly said ‘but you’re just a girl’.
“You want a piece?” she taunted, fists up, ready to take him on. He glanced back at the guy at the table Jay was messing up and then ran at her. She almost laughed at his technique, or lack thereof. She easily dodged him and stuck a foot out to trip him, falling flat on his face and breaking his nose on the hardwood. He picked himself up and turned, attempting to lunge for her throat but she caught his arm with both hands and kicked him twice in his side, doubling him over onto his knees where she could use his arm as leverage to flip him over onto his back. His leg caught a nearby table, flipping the top and shattering glasses all over the floor.
“Sorry about the mess,” she called over to Jay.
Jayati shouldn’t be happy right now, not when her patrons were either filming with their cell phones or running out the doors, but it didn’t stop the giddy smile from pulling at her features that contradicted so with what was happening that her current opponent eyes widened and he stepped back from her with an alarmed expression.
It didn’t stop her from stepping forward with a swift kick aimed at his knees that had him yelling before she went for a hard punch to his kidneys. Another groan of pain that almost muffled the shout behind her as a man’s hairy arms wrapped around her neck. He stunk, and so would she now damnit.
Jay twisted, the man probably had at least a buck fifty on her but it almost made it easier to leverage his weight against him and flip him over her and--there goes another table. Goddamnit.
Max’s yell reached her through the hollering of their spectators, “Fuck it.” She shouted back as she slammed her boot into the back of the man’s head, driving it harder into her floor. When he didn’t move she turned back around and scanned the bar, her mind switching to tactical mode as she looked for other opponents. There was just one left, facing off against Max who also seemed to be enjoying herself.
In Max’s line of work, the most important goal of a fight was to subdue an attacker as quickly as possible, and with a minimum of effort. After all, if you're out at a club with a famous actor, an all out brawl would totally ruin the evening (and her makeup).
But this was different. A bar fight was not only more dangerous, but it was also way more fun. Most of the aggressors were on the floor, either out cold or nursing injuries. The last one was keeping his distance, trying to find an opening for attack through her guard. Unlike the others, this guy had some training, though he was far from a match from her. “Give up now, sweetheart,” he taunted. She wanted to roll her eyes at his stupidity, but she had to keep them on her opponent.
“Just bring it,” she said, sounding almost bored. He aimed a punch at her face, which she neatly dodged, deflecting the blow with one arm and stepping back. Another, with his other fist, and then his arm. Elbow. Leg. Each time she blocked him easily, frustrating him more with each deflected blow.
“Dammit, bitch…” He cursed in frustration. She just shifted her stance and laughed. “Just let me know when you get tired, sweetheart,” she taunted, her eyes dancing with excitement.
Jayati’s young bartender picked her way around the broken furniture and groaning men to stand at her side, looking up at her as if waiting for instructions. Luckily she wasn’t in tears or even looking particularly distressed about the events, she was one of Daniel’s recommendations and had done time. These was probably not the first fight she had seen, “It’s late enough we can get away with shutting down early, start tabbing people out whether they want it or not so we can start clean up, get the others to round up anyone in the parking lot and bathrooms to make sure they pay. I’ll make up for your lost tips.” The girl nodded and gave a mock salute before making her way back towards the bar.
She turned her attention back to the men and made her way back to the original man who had started this bullshit where he was leaning back against a wall and clutching a beer to his face, “You’re gonna haul your buddies out of here in the next fifteen minutes or I’ll call the cops, you show up in my bar again and I won’t call them.” His expression said he was about to be a smartass until she aimed stomp kick with her full weight behind her steel toed boot at his crotch, “Thirteen minutes.” She told his curled up, cursing form.
A sharp turn towards Max as she heard her taunting the last shithead and she sighed before reaching into her pocket to pull out her leatherman. Her steps were quiet, especially for the circumstances, as she stepped up behind him before slamming the knife handle as hard into his temple as she could, he went down to his knees with a sound like he suddenly had the air knocked out of him, “Don’t play with your food inside my bar, Max. It’s rude.” It was said casually over her shoulder she turned back towards the bar proper, “C’mon, shots on me.”
She was getting the guy nice and riled, but just as he was about to finally take a good swing at her, Jay had to come by and ruin everything. She watched as the guy slid bonelessly to the floor, a pout of disappointment creasing her features at the loss of her plaything. She sighed dramatically at Jay’s words with a slight eye-roll. “Fine, she said with mock disappointment, following her to the bar and sitting on one of the stools that were still standing. “You sure you don’t need help cleaning up? Garbage disposal is my specialty,” she smirked.
Jayati laughed at that, still riding off the high from the skirmish, though it wasn’t as fulfilling as the one she had been in last week out in the parking lot. Her employees were taking care of the remaining customers, and going the extra step of keeping them from approaching Max and her. Definitely giving them a bonus if she had enough money after closing early.
“I think your method of clean up would work better than mine this time, so if they aren’t gone in ten you can have at it.” She poured two shots of vodka and slid one towards Max before abruptly realized that her jacket was still off. Her fingers twitched towards it, though she hadn’t worn them as religiously back home as she did here it served a purpose and it had become a bit of a security blanket instead of just hiding identifying markings. The damage was done though, so she took the shot instead and reached for the bottle again.
Max took the shot, which burned its way down her throat and settled awkwardly in her stomach. She wasn’t much for hard liquor, more of a beer girl, but after a fight it was kind of satisfying. She set the glass down, glancing behind her at the cleanup effort going on in the rest of the bar. “Nice tats,” she said, still looking away, eyes following a couple of big guys heading to the door and looking disgruntled. She didn’t want to make Jay any more uncomfortable than she already seemed to be, so she didn’t say anything more than that. Max hadn’t really seen her with naked arms before, and she wasn’t really one for subtlety when there was something she wanted to know. But she also didn’t want to upset her friend.
Jayati swept back Max’s shot glass and pulled out one of her usual beers instead, tossing the shot back on her own instead and rolling her neck as the warmth seemed into her bones. In a way it helped ground her and give her something else to focus on instead of wanting to fight more, cause more pain without holding back. It creeped up on her sometimes, worse in her dreams where instead of streets and docks she was on fields soaked with blood, “Thanks, thought I should fit the stereotypical bartender you know?” It was a joke and a lie, but one she thought Max would understand the need for. At least a little, “You’re not bad you know, knew you could fight but was just guessin’ on how well before.” People like them had a way of finding each other, not that the callouses on either of their hands and way of watching the exits was hard to identify if you knew what you were looking for.
Max smiled at the evasion, recognising it for what it was and letting it go just as easily. She looked back at her with the complement, spotting the new pint and nodding to her in thanks, holding it up in a mock toast. “US Army, born and raised,” she grinned, though the smile was slightly soured. “They taught me everything, except how to be a decent human being. That’s all me.” She took a long drink of her beer, suddenly wishing she hadn’t said anything.
Ah, that explained some things Jayati remarked inwardly even as she kept an eye on the goings on of her employees. The patrons who paid were being ushered out the door with assurances that they would be open again tomorrow and the last of the troublemakers were also limping out, and her attention shifted back to Max, “It’s not the most useful quality in that line of work.” She conceded, in the defense of the Army, an organization she had thought to enter at one point before being recruited elsewhere. Max smirked a little, taking another long pull from her beer. “Don’t I know it,” she muttered. She watched the goings on in the bar behinder her by glancing in the mirror behind the counter, then focused back at Jay. “You did alright yourself...self-taught?” She purposely shot wide to give Jay an opportunity to avoid the question. Her technique definitely lacked the discipline of formal military training, but it wasn’t nearly as disorganized as untrained self-defence. She’d obviously learned it somewhere, and used it often.
There was a vibration under her skin, a buzz that the vodka wasn’t quelling but she poured herself one last shot anyway. It was largely in an effort to stop from challenging Max to another brawl, or anyone really, since coming to California and having to go long periods without properly fighting every little tiff felt like she was feeding scraps of meat to something vicious inside her--barely keeping it at bay.
Maybe that’s what made her answer so honestly, “At the beginning yeah, but I got taught pretty vigorously when I was doing,” Her mind caught up with her words before she had the chance to give a too obvious pause, “Security.” Sure. That would work, “Little things like though remind me of before I was doing anything professional. Those were good days.” Jayati smiled almost wistfully, an odd expression on her sharp features, and yeah maybe it was bad to say ‘I miss fighting in alleyways and bars for free just for shits and giggles’ but she was feeling very unguarded right now.
Max’s bullshit detector was going off, but she made no outward sign of it. ‘Security’. Sure, and she just tagged along at fancy parties for the caviar and champagne. She couldn’t help the smirk on her lips at the next comment though. “Nothing like a fight or a fuck to get your blood pumping,” she mused, suddenly eyeing one of the patrons who was taking a little too long to leave, her eyes taking a little too long inspecting his ass. She took another drink, tearing her eyes away and turning her head to remove temptation.
Jayati laughed as Max’s words followed by her distraction by a shiny thing walking by, a loud barking sort of sound that was naturally as abrasive as her hands and her drinks. The woman was refreshing, even more so when they were dancing around truths like this, something Jayati only did when she had to as she preferred to be direct when possible, “Yeah well, one has unexpected handcuffs and the other has a disappointing lack of bruises involved lately.” She grinned and left which was which to Max before looking at the object of her interest, “If you wanna go chasin’ I bet you’ve done all the work for yourself with your performance.”
Max laughed. “Only if you’re doin’ it wrong,” she commented on the two options, still not taking her eyes off Hot Boy across the room. “I do love to window shopping,” she commented with an appreciative little groan, “but you never know if you’re getting the good stuff or a cheap knockoff, know what I mean?” She bit her lip and watched the guy leave the bar, shaking her head with a slightly wistful sigh.
A shadow of an old grin crossed her features, a bit of the spark there that she hadn’t felt around someone she wasn’t pulverizing since she had to flee NY. There were only a few people so far in California who were able to even partially bring that to the surface, Max was turning out to be one of them on occasion, “Only way to find out is to put ‘em through rigorous testing.” She gave a challenging grin before putting the bottle and shot glass away, refilling her compatriots drink one more time, “I better go help shut down shit and start pulling out the extra furniture. Thanks again for the backup, I’ll remember it.”
She nodded to Max, an acknowledgement and a bit more respect in her eyes along with a playful grin, “See you around, same bat place, same bat time.”