|Cristobal Rodriguez ♦ Coyote (coyoti) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-10-17 10:24:00
|Entry tags:||baron samedi, coyote|
And I am, whatever you say I am
Who: Chris & Nate.
What: Two Pax dwellers find themselves on opposing sides of a soccer match.
Where: Classic Q.
When: Afternoon of Oct. 11.
The bartender slid a brimming, golden glass in his direction, one Chris caught with his right hand. He brought the froth to his lips, sipping at foam as his eyes rose toward one of several television screens plastered around the bar. He put the glass down, his other hand reaching for a chili fry from the basket in front of him as he watched Javier Hernandez drive the ball up the field, only to be forced to pass to Giovani dos Santos.
"Drive it back," he muttered, his gaze riveted to the screen. He completely missed the other seats filling up around him, but his fellow bar compatriots were equally occupied by various other sports that were being broadcast. Mexico was playing Honduras, more a point of pride than anything else after having qualified for the next World Cup, but the fact that his team had lost to their rivals in the not too distant past had him aching for another win. "Give it to Vela, already!"
He cursed in his native language as a pass went foul, turning the ball over to Honduras, who immediately made a run for their opponent's goal. Glancing down, he popped another fry in his mouth and then reached for a napkin.
"Vela can't do much if Alanís keeps forgetting how to do his job." The man beside him flashed a bright, toothy smile. "I'd read good things about him, but man… he's just not been there lately." He raised his bottle to his lips, grinning against its rim. He shrugged, as though his needling of a stranger was all in lighthearted jest.
"I'm Nate." He raised his beer bottle in mock toast. "You really wanting a Mexico win, or just hoping the U.S. team gets a leg up from 'em?"
Chris eyed the newcomer before raising his own beer. "Chris, and no, I'm in this for Mexico. The U.S. could certainly use that leg up, though, couldn't it?" He took a sip, tongue wiping froth from his upper lip.
"And I think one Alanís makes up for the lack of talent in the USMNT for..." Chris blew out a breath, straightening in his seat. "Years, now? Granted, Mexico needed that helping hand four years ago, but I think the U.S. team has more problems than anyone could help out with. Arena needs to admit that Tim Howard is past his prime already."
"Ouch. Well, Arena needs to admit a lot of things," Nate agreed. "I hope he's polishing that resume. I think he's gonna need it."
Nate nursed his beer as he watched the screen, decidedly less enthusiastic in his support than his new barmate. It was not surprising, really; Nate had chosen them almost at random, latching on to the team he thought was most likely an underdog. Now that a seemingly friendly rivalry had sprung up, though, it was out of the question for Nate to change his allegiance.
"They need to stop making your boy Ochoa work so hard," he said, unable to resist a bit more needling. "Gonna tire him out, and then what?"
"Tell me about it," Chris grumbled, his eyes having swung back to the television. He took another sip of his beer. Honduras stole the ball again and made another pass in front of the goal, which Ochoa narrowly caught, turning the game back in Mexico's favor for however long it might last. "Osorio isn't taking Honduras seriously, which... Beat them last game, sure, but one to zero is nothing to write home about." He frowned, shaking his head, and wet his lips once more with his beer. He glanced in Nate's direction.
"You seem like you follow this stuff pretty closely, you know, for an American."
"I could say the same about you." Nate flashed a teasing grin, then shrugged off his own comment. "Nah, I know a little. Just enough to be dangerous, my dad said. And I definitely know you don't win games by underestimating your competition." He studied Chris' expression, the intensity his gaze held as he took in the action. His grin only grew. "So what's all this passion about, man? You got money riding on this, or just a personal interest?" He leaned in, his voice a stage whisper. Needling, once again. "You really think Mexico's got a chance?"
Chris frowned, shaking his head. He sighed. "They might qualify, but unless they get a hell of a lot better between now and when the Cup actually starts, no. The European teams have the American teams beat, and for awhile now." He lifted his mug to his lips, eyes darting toward the screen for a moment. He winced as Honduras stole the ball again, and continued to hold it for another long, few minutes.
"How'd you get interested?" He asked, glancing at Nate. Chris knew his own backstory—since Nate seemed chatty, he decided to let the man continue to talk.
Nate, who had finished his own beer, pushed aside the empty and waved to the bartender, who promptly procured another for him. He turned in his seat to better face his newfound friend. "Played some pickup games when I was little, like every kid I guess, so it was always kind of interesting to me. Got into football more as I got older, but between the Kap shit and CTE and everything else the NFL has going on, I started looking for something else to watch. And this… I like this. It's quick. And I can actually talk my sister into watching it with me. The drama and the guys and all that, I guess."
A smile flickered quick, on and off, over Chris's face. "Probably why my mother and my abuela were so into it," he agreed, picking up one of the last chili fries in the basket before him. Nate chuckled, nodding understanding. "NFL, just... no. Every actually American sport is... Boring's the only word for it. American football is just slamming heads against each other, baseball is incredibly slow.
"It's amazing that they have such contempt for anything created outside their borders, but that's probably more due to the fact that they can't come up with anything interesting." He popped the fry into his mouth, chewing and swallowing before speaking again. He pushed the mostly empty basket away from himself, finished with it.
"Guessing you don't have many friends to watch it with, then, if you have to rely on your sister?"
Nate shrugged. "Not yet. Just moved here from Inglewood. It's not that far, but you know how it is. I could've moved ten minutes down the road and they'd still be telling me it's too far for them to drive." He pointed at the picked-over basket. "You mind?" Chris shook his head, waving at the basket.
Nate plucked a puny fry from within it. Only a thin coating of chili covered it, and a few small shreds of cheese, but he popped it into his mouth with sincere appreciation all the same. "So yeah. If you're offering, or you just know a good place to watch some games, I'm down."
Chris tensed at the idea of inviting a complete stranger over to his apartment; for one, considering how long Daniel had worked to get into not only Chris's head but also his living quarters, he wondered if his boyfriend might take offense to someone getting to come over for a simple game. On the other, he had no idea if he was going to receive more guns or whatever else in the mail. He quickly glossed over the tightness in his shoulders with a smile.
"I don't have a TV," he lied, "so I usually go to my...girlfriend's place. But this bar is pretty good, and I think there's a handful of others. I have...a few friends who could join us." Immediately, Chris was mentally kicking himself. If the whole denying he had a boyfriend in public was bad enough, this was far worse. Maybe Nate would forget the invitation in time, or logistics would make it impossible for them to actually meet. He polished off his own beer, immediately waving at the bartender for another.
Nate was nodding, nursing his own dwindling drink. Nothing in his demeanor indicated he had noticed Chris' hesitations; he only latched onto the offer, more than a little grateful to have it. "That'd be great. I don't live far from here, and it'd be nice to meet some folks in the area. Or y'all could always come to my place. It's not huge, but it's big enough for some drinks and playing armchair quarterback with a couple guys. Or whatever the soccer version of that is."
After another sip, he tipped the lip of his bottle toward Chris. "Bring your girlfriend, too," he said. "Give my sister somebody else to talk to about all those players. God knows I get tired of hearin' it..."
Chris laughed, the sound strangled as it emerged from his throat. How he was going to find himself out of this one, he had no idea. He quickly changed the topic.
"So, you from around here?"
"Mm." Nate lowered his beer, picking at the label with one short thumbnail. "Yeah I'm staying pretty close by, actually. I don't know how my sister found the one place in this town with a great view and decent rent, but she gets lucky sometimes." He blinked, grinning. "Oh, did you mean like originally? New Orleans. You?"
"Ah, no," Chris replied, wrapping his hand around his fresh beer. "But that's cool too. Born and raised in this city, haven't been outside of it much. New Orleans is high on the list. I live pretty close to here, too; in Newport, itself? Which apartment complex are you?" He had a sinking feeling he already knew which one, but he managed to keep a neutrally interested expression on his face.
Nate had nodded through Chris' talk of New Orleans; he heard it often, and missed the Crescent City more than a little, himself. But it was difficult to talk about, to linger on overlong, so he latched onto the last question with more vigor than it truly called for. "Pax Letale," he answered, "ever heard of it? Kind of a weird name, which I guess is fitting, 'cause I guess weird shit goes down there pretty often, if you believe the stories."
Chris would've congratulated himself on not going stark pale at how deep of a shithole he'd dug himself; instead he merely nodded, and remembered saying something about living there himself. Whether or not his nonexistent girlfriend did too he made no mention of; there was always a point when the lies overcame the teller, and that was where the trouble started.
With some deft wordsmithing, Chris turned both of their attentions back to the game, where Mexico was being readily handed its ass by Honduras. Chris winced, sympathizing, feeling almost like he had a preview of his own future when Daniel found out what he'd done now.