2019-11-24 - The Best Burger EVAR.


Gwen visits Hod at Luke's Bar. There's a burger, art is discussed, Hod is grumpy, and it's a great time.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Nov 24 07:00:38 2019
Location: Luke's

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Theme Song




Lukes is open once more, having finally shed the 'closed' sign that's been up the last week or so. It's staff is back in business, and everything appears to be all well and good. Yup. Nothing to see here. Nothing at all happened. No bloody handprints or smears on the floors. No sea of empty liqour bottles. No broken door latch. No dented in industrial steel kitchen prep table in the back. Nope. Not a single sign of anything haveing been… janky. Because magic happened. Literal magic even, not the metaphorical kind!

For his part, Hod is sitting at the bar, elbows propped up on the wood, his fingers gripping the edge of a glass and slowly swirling it's contents as the ice cubes inside clink softly in an even quiet rhythm. The bruises are gone, as are the minor cuts and lacerations. On his face, just over his cheek, peeks the pink silver edge of what is clearly new scar tissue. If one were /super/ observant, and had a /fantastic/ memory. They might not remember said scar being there before, and would not that unless that scar was months old, it shouldn't be that sort of silvery pink. But that's only if one were both of those things at once. Mostly because there's a larger distraction his face that's /far/ more likely to draw attention, and that is the black silken cloth tied over his face like a Zorros mask without eye holes. Though, if the divots in said cloth were any indication, there's likely a good reason there are no eye slots. Looking at the deformity of the cloth just hints at the sort of thing that makes a lot of people uncomfortable just to think about. Prolly a good reason for the covering. Though, where his shades went might be a better question. When the door opens he pauses, tilts his head to the side, then returns to swirling his glass, "Heya girl." he says, his voice a growlier growl then it was when last they crossed paths.

What does one do when they're feeling run down? Overworked? Maybe emotionally on the fritz after almost getting killed and almost watching several of her friends die in the process? Well, you go eat out, because who the hell wants to cook their own food while they're feeling backed into a psychological corner. After hiding in a back alley long enough to throw her street clothes on overtop of her spider outfit, Gwen has made her way into Luke's (though by now she thinks it's really Hod's, having yet to actually encounter this mysterious Luke entity) in search of exactly that.

"Hey, Hod," she replies, letting the door swing shut behind her. She tugs on the boring looking grey backpack slung over one shoulder, as she trudges up to the bar and hops up on one of the stools. If she's in any way aware of the calamity that occured here, in particular, she shows no indication of it; there's no sense of marvel in her voice that the place is fixed, anyway. So she just dumps her backpack unceremoniously on the floor in front of her stool, and leans forwards, resting her elbows on the countertop.

"Slow night, I'm guessing?" She clasps her hands, and looks around, maybe — just maybe — cluing in that things are, actually, a lot cleaner than they were before. She perks an eyebrow upwards, noting Hod's change of fashion, and the… indents, without saying anything about that, either. Afterall, that would be quite rude, not to mention insensitive.

"Been a while since I was last here," she comments. "Any excitement I miss?"

Hod pauses in mid swirl of his glass, considers his sprint for his life along the roots of Yggdrasil, the narrow miss with Nidhog the Dragon, his conversation with Surtr Lord of Muspelhiem and Fire, "Nope." he says evenly as he raises the glass to his lips, "Quiet as a church." he polishes off the glasses contents and then picks up the bottle that's resting on the counter next to it to refill the glass, "Broke my glasses." he says as if just remembering, "That's about it." the delivery is pricelessly dry.

Gwen hunhs softly. "Well. I'm sorry to hear that," she replies. "That's a bummer, they were cool glasses." She sounds like she doesn't entirely believe Hod's answer, but what're you gonna do? "Been a rough couple of weeks for me," she admits. "Y'know… school and stuff. But I'll be okay." She shrugs her shoulders lightly, and shifts her hands, holding them up in front of her and tapping her fingertips against each other. "Hey," she muses, "You still owe me a 'creative burger', remember? You had a kitchen emergency or something last time." She smiles pleasantly. "I'm—" she almost said 'dieing'. "I'm really keen to find out what one of those is."

Hod seems to consider this as well, then shrugs, "Yeah, I can do that." he says as he slides off of the stool and wobbles slightly on his feet, "You don't have any weird deitary issues do you?" he asks, "Alergic to peanuts or something?" cause if so, she can go make her own burger! Cause old curmudgeon is old curmudgeon. He starts to head towards the swinging door that leads to the back, and he's mostly not swaying as he does it.

Briefly, Gwen considers wether or not she may have just asked a drunk person to make her a burger. …Well, as long as it's cooked all the way through. Creative hopefully doesn't mean still mooing.

"No, nothing dietary," she replies. "I'm just… not super big on caffeine these days, but I can't imagine there's any way that would make it into a burger. …And I'm still under twenty-one!!" With those bases covered, Gwen rests her chin on her hands for a moment; then she pulls out her cellphone, and gives a quick scan of her social media, just to see what's going on and who it's going on with. "Boring… boring… boring," she mutters to herself. Funny how social media gets that way sometimes.

Hod is indeed drunk, and he is a person. Sorta. Like 2/3's of one anyway. It doesn't take long before there's cooking noises coming from the back as pots and pans bang, and with a distinct lack of music and peopel today, it's very easy to hear. Luckily, it only takes a minute or three before there's the smell of something cooking in a pan, onions maybe, and … bacon? The door to the back swings open and Hod appears, cramming his cane into the door's frame, proping it open before returning to his kitchen, "Why no caffine? Coffee is proof of the love of the gods." he points out, speaking up over the sizzle of onions in butter.

Because I have heightened senses after being bitten by a radioactive spider and Caffeine makes it all go totally out of whack, and you have no idea how much I miss coffee, is Gwen's immediate thought. "Just… been having some headaches lately. Kinda wondering if it's associated somehow, so I'm giving caffeine a rest to see if that's what it is. I dunno, can you get an allergy to caffeine? Because that would suck." Yes, yes it would. "Meanwhile, I miss coffee — and decaf does not count, I don't care what anyone says. Decaf coffee is like a corndog without the 'dog' part." She humphs. That's that. "Also, that smells incredible already. …So where is everyone? Usually this place is overflowing with people."

Garlic joins the onions, and there's the sound of meat smacking meat, someone's forming a patty, "It's a Monday." he says evenly, "And we've been closed for a week, word hasn't gotten out that we're back open yet." he hazards a guess. His dour attitude surely has nothing to do with it, "Headaches are what you get when you stop drinking caffine." he points out, or at least, that's what he heard is what happens. He doesn't have the problem, his headaches come when he stops drinking-oh yeah. He lifts his glass to his lips and smacsk them as the burn travels down his throat.

"Well, I didn't stop drinking Caffeine," Gwen points out. "Or at least, not until after I started getting headaches. …Of course, it could also be too much schoolwork, or something I boiled during a lab experiment, or… a host of other things." She's not even having headaches. On the upside, telling people a load of nonsense about why this or why that is gradually becoming easier, which she's not certain is a good sign. "Anyway, it's just an experiment, we'll see how it goes. if the headaches go away I guess I'll know. …And, I'll tell people Luke's is open again, renovations or… whatever, complete, yeah?"

Hod pffts from where he works, "Naw. Closed down for a friend. Lady who works here was having issues and Luke shut us down to help her out. Was well timed. We all could have used the vacation truth be told." he says evenly. Sizzling beef fills the air with it's delicious scent now too. Maybe it's not such a 'creative' burger after all, so much as just a good one?

Well, I hope the lady who works here is okay," Gwen replies, doing her best to keep her tone neutral, and almost managing to not sound bummed out. Almost. Mostly. "So, there is a Luke, then? He's literally never been around any time I've been in here, so I was starting to wonder if the place was called 'Luke's' but was owned Brian or Steve or something." She grins mischievously, to go along with her sass. At least she's just teasing. "Smells awesome, by the way."

Hod snorts, "Oh you'll know Luke when you see him. Big fella, shoulders like an ox, bald head, deep voice, prolly black though honestly that's gotten harder and harder to tell over time for me. Never really mattered so much so my kind as the rest of you." he /is/ blind after all. Literally cannot see color, but he can hear accents and they're telling in one way or another. "Could be a big ol' Asian boy though, far as I know, but seems unlikely." there's the smell of something heavy with umami flavor in the air, but it's origin is unknown, an earthy sort of uncuiousness that's almost cloying but fades to pleasent as it sizzles in oil. "I know." he adds as he cooks, confident in his skills in this regard at the very least. "So what about you kiddo? This is the second time you've come here, and it's a bar. In Harlem. I'm blind but I'm not fucking stupid or deaf. What's a white underage girl doing braving a less then high end establishment north of 128th? It's just you and me in here, and I'm curious. /I'm/ here cause no one fucks with a blind guy, not seriously anyway." also most people don't notice him if he doesn't want them to, no matter how out of place he is. But lets not mention that.

Well, now there's a question. What're you doing here, Gwen? Aside from the fact that it's a great place to get something to eat when you're out webslinging. She actually hasn't given any consideration to that at all, really, aside from the fact that since gaining super-powers she's kind of been all over. Quick, Gwen, make something up, and make it good, yeah?

"The first time I came, I was just checking out bars in general. Just wanted to see which ones might be good for my bandmates and I to try and get gigs at. We've been doing all sorts of practicing, so it'd be cool to actually perform sometime." She pauses, and shrugs lightly. "Tonight, honestly, I was just hungry. And I happened to know a place where the chef is amazing and can carry on an engaging conversation to boot, so I thought what the heck, it's not that far out of my way." She shrugs, glancing over her shoulder and out the window. "And yeah, I know, it's harlem, and I'm a white girl. But I try every day to keep a lid on my privilege, y'know? I don't want to assume that another neighborhood is gonna be scary just 'cause the people there look different." She shrugs lightly. "And I don't."

Hod barks a laugh, "Privledge." he says with a sort of amussed tone, but leaves it at that, "Sure, sure. Let's pretend that the nieghtborhood's scary cause the people are different, not because poverty running rampent has driven the crime rates through the roof. One of the great benefits of being blind is that I get to be as politically incorrect as I like without real repercussion. I mean, not a lot of perks so I have to take them as they come." there's the sound of plates and silverware clanking about, things being plates, stove flames being blinked out with little poof noises as gas is turned off. "That being said, inelegantly as it was, I /am/ an amazing chef, so really you prolly shoulda just stuck with that. People do all kinds of stupid shit for good food. Like go to Staten Island." which is an actual shit hole, and not just a rumored one.

The blind man comes out from the back with his head scarf wrapping and a plate laden with food. The burger isn't… reasonably sized. It's at least 2 patties, each easily 1/3 lbs a peice, there's bacon and oninons and some sort of mushroom, sauted and hanging out the side with some kind of sauce dripping along the edges. The fries are double fried, skins still on, and seasoned heavily enough she can see the orange tint to them from where she sits as the one time Prince makes his way down the bar, the fingertips of his free hand trailing along the bartop, gauging his walk subtely. Eventually the plate is set down none to gently atop the bar, about a foot to the right of Gwen, and Hod starts to root about, looking for a bottle and a glass, "Pork and beef mix, high fat, medium cooked caust I'm a fucking adult, portabello mushrooms, sweet onions, with a bacon and bleu cheese filled stuffed in the patties. Briouche bun, toasted over an open flame, and hand sliced twice fried potatoes with my own seasoning mix. It's what I make Luke when I'm feeling grateful to him for the … place." he almost said home but had to cut his words short. "And a rum and coke to match." he says, mixing said drink in a tall glass with big ice cubes and setting it out in front of Gwen. "Or maybe just the coke." and he deftly swaps her drink for a simple dewy can of soda before he takes a heavy pull from the cocktail himself.

"Yeah, well," Gwen replies, without missing a beat, "People like to blame the world's problems on all kinds of things, sometimes, if it means that that way they won't have to address the real problems — like poverty and inadequate minimum wage to name a couple — which it might actually affect them to fix." She shrugs her shoulders lightly, about to open her mouth and say something about the coke, when it mercifully gets swapped for one with no rum in it. "But what do I know, I'm just a nineteen year old girl. I haven't been a voter long enough to actually vote and it's not like any of the candidates ever give a damn what my generation thinks anyway."

Gwen sighs softly. "Sorry, didn't mean to get all… opinionated. Well, I did, but I shouldn't have." She picks up the burger and somehow manages to get her mouth around it, so she can take a bite. It's a big bite — vertically — and it takes her a moment to chew it, but she goes right back for another one as soon as she's swallowed. "…I gotta ask you for the creative burger more often," she states at last, "This is awesome, Hod."

Hod drinks from the cocktail like it was a soda, heavily and without obvious reaction. Dude must be a legit alcoholic for him to just ignore such things stoicly, "Be opinionated. Power never listens to the masses until they're numerous or loud enough to be worth making note of, and even then historically it's more likely to result in instant murder then change. But," he shrugs as he downs a third of the glass' contents, "murder's been a pretty big force for change too. Who knows, maybe you too can grow up to be a martyr." he says in a tone that might be encouraging if the message wasn't horrifying. "Yeah. I do okay in the kitchen." he admits before reaching to up rub the back of his neck, "What's this about you and a band?"

Gwen mmmmms, "Well, maybe I can be opinionated without the murder," she replies. "Particularly not me getting murdered, but I'm here for other people, too." She stuffs a few fries in her mouth, and makes that 'mmmph' sound that indicates that they are delicios, too. "I dunno. It feels like nothing ever changes no matter what those of us who aren't politiciants do. …But I will admit, I have only been here for nineteen years, and for the first sixteen of them I didn't know about politics and didn't wanna know about politics, so I don't have a lot of experience." She has another bite of the burger, and a gulp from the coke. "Oh! Band. Three of my friends and I, we've been practicing in a garage for years. Rebecca sings, we've got a guitar and a base guitar, and I'm on the drums. We do our own music and cover other bands." She pauses, "Well… the latter mostly because it's how you get paid, honestly. We've done the research, cover bends make ten times original bands. …It just feels like an artistic failure, somehow."

Hod is silent for a long moment, "Don't worry girl. The more things change, the more they stay the same." he sounds weary at the commentary, but it's easily an observation tossed to the teeth of 'to much rum', which is likely to make anyone a little bit maudlin, much less a fella like Hod. He does that thing where he appears to look off into nowhere as if seeing something, despite the obvious flaw in that idea, and then he reaches beneath the bar and drags out from behind it an old beaten metal resonator guitar, it's surface pock marked with bits of rust and wear, a few dents and dings in it's surface give the instrument a look that couldn't fit the odd barman/chef/hipster more if he'd hand crafted the damned thing himself. It's old, and not. Beaten, and not. New, and not. All at one time. "I play blues. Jazz. Some classical if I get drunk enough and sit behind the ivories or a horn. Mostly the first two though." he admits.

Gwen is quiet for a moment, as she busies herself with eating; Hod might have served her up an absolutely massive meal, but that doesn't seem to be slowing her done. Girl has an appetite, that much is certain, even if she is skinny. "That's what I'm afraid of," she replies, "But there it is."

When the guitar comes out, her eyes widen; not that Hod can see that, of course, but he can definitely hear the reverence in her voice. "That— that's cool," she declares. "That guitar looks like it walked the Earth long enough to get a soul and sing its pain back to the world that it's seen every corner of." Okay Gwen, sure thing; don't get weird or anything. "It's not like any guitar I've seen before, but I bet our girl on base guitar would be able to identify it. She's a total nerd for that sort of stuff." She nods, "Maybe my band and I could open for you sometime?" She chuckles softly. "This seems like it'd be a cool bar to play in." She pauses, long enough to devour a couple fries. "How'd you come by that guitar, if you don't mind my asking? It looks like it must have some other story than 'bought it in a music store'."

Hod has honestly never been asked that question, at least, not since such a time that the question would have been easily and honestly answered. He pauses for a moment to consider, then just sort of rolls with it, "It was made for my by a friend." he says after a pause, "He was a tremendous player, but couldn't carry a tune in a bucket with his voice. Just horrid set of pipes, but such /fingers/." he makes a motion with his own dexterous digits, like spider's legs writhing in the air, as if he could reach out and touch someone clearly passed by now. "War did for him, does for many honestly. He-" Hod stops reaching down to let his fingers run along the edge of the instrument, "He'd be disappointed to see what I'd let become of his Lady. But he'd understand anyway." small wry grin and the blind man polishes off the glass of rum in two heavy swallows before making the guitar disappear beneath the bartop again, and he immediately pats about, seeking more rum and another coke. Coke optional. "I play here a lot. No schedule, just when the mood strikes. Often after a few more of these." he holds the glass up and shakes it so the ice inside tinckles. "I'm a cliche in that way."

Gwen shrugs, "Pretty sure we're all entitled to be clitche if we want to," she replies. Fortunately, she doesn't ask which war Hod's friend lost his life in; it might be an awkward question, afterall, but Gwen is much too polite for that. "Honestly… when the day comes that I depart this life, which I hope won't be for a long time yet but you never know… whoever gets my drums, I just hope they play them. I'd rather they get played and maybe end up getting worn right out, then sit in a garage somewhere in pristine condition and an accumulation of dust."

She takes another bite; she's really getting through that burger, and not showing and signs of slowing down either. "I don't think music should ever be on a schedule. …I mean, we do it all the time, you buy a ticket to go see the Black Eyed Peas at a stadium at 10 o'clock at night, and lo and behold, at ten pm the Black Eyed Peas are on stage and they play. But real art happens spontaneously." She pauses, waggling a fry around in the air. "Along with some hard work, some blood, a lot of tears, and a few arguments with your bandmates." The fry is eaten.

Hod smirks slightly at Gwen's words, "You're not half stupid for a kid." he says after a moment, "It's the way of my folk to think along the same lines. A thing left to rot is of little use, but a thing of much use is unlikely left to rot." he shrugs as if repeating a thing he's heard a thousand times before and somehow it's been made a part of him, "One day the guitar will fail me, but so far it's held up admirably despite the abuse I heap upon it. It's a fairer friend then most." he admits, finishing mixing up a new drink with a minimum of patting about and seeking tools or ingrediants.

He shakes his head at her words, "You're adorable." he says after a long moment, "Youth will tell you that art is pure and beautiful, that it bucks every trend, fights all the power, but the truth is that no, of course it doesn't. Because that which fights with power almost always loses, and when it doesn't only becomes a representation of a new power in it's stead. Nothing is seperate, nothing is pure, nothing is dirty. It is what it is. Art," he leans on the bar a bit, "isn't any one thing. It's all things. It's beautiful lies and cruel truths, it's sound of geese migrating overhead, and the pounding surf against the shore every bit as much as it's the melodious hum of a harp string or the complicated tones of Bach's cello concertos. It's the adrenaline fuled drive of rock's call to arms, and the cool dulcet tones of jazz's soothing touch upon a firey temper. Art is scheduled, and spontaneous, rythym and chaos, loud and quiet, discordant and harmonious. The real art to art Gwendolyn," it may be the first time he's ever used her name, and he chooses the full version of it, "is that it is all things. Finding the art in everything you do, now /that/ is the hard part." he takes a full two heavy swallows, "I may have had a bit to drink before you got here." he adds unnecessarily.

Gwen gets most of the way through the burger while Hod is talking, and she smiles at the notion that the guitar will die eventually. "Nothing lasts forever," she murmurs. "I won't, and my drums won't, but someday I'm going to leave behind a bunch of recordings and a custom set of drums with no other set anywhere in the world like mine, and I just like to think… they'll live past me, y'know? Not that drums are alive, but… the sounds they make. No other set can do what mine can." She pauses, "Of course, nobody'll play them like me, but hey."

She pauses, listening while Hod talks about art; her breath catches as her full name is used — usually, it's just her Dad who does that, and only when he's really angry with Gwen, but this is palpably different — and she listens so intently that for a moment, she forgets about the dwindling plate of food.

"…You're right," she says, after a long moment of thought. "Alright, opinions about what art is are hereby revised and expanded." She polishes off the last couple bites of burger — yes she did finish it — and works on the remaining fries, including one renegade that fell off the plate but what the heck, the place is clean. "And I have a bit more to think about," she adds. "I wish more people would think about it the way you do. Too many people just treat our band like a curiosity or ask when we're going to get real jobs — as if we don't have jobs — and stuff like that."

Hod makes a face, "I've done a lot of jobs in my time, more then I likely have any right to, and I will tell you what I've learned from all of them. Jobs suck." he makes a sour face, "Even if it's something you love, eventually you will grow to hate it, because it's a leash, a control around you neck that pulls you this way and that. Make money from your love if you will, nothing wrong with that, but never seek to make it your goal, the reason for being. It's better to work a shitty job in a kitchen somewhere and still love music, then it is to mak a hundred million dollars from a tune and realize you'd rather be washing dishes somewhere and keep your soul intact." he grins a bit over the rim of his glass, "Seriously. Maybe a bit more then a bit before you got here." he says, same lopsided grin in place. "Or, and you should take this to heart more then anything else, don't listen to old broken men who make burgers in dive bars in Harlem. It's every bit as likely that they're not as wise as they sound, if they were, they would have a better job."

Gwen shrugs, "Maybe," she replies, "But who knows. Wisdom is't like math, you can't point at it and say correct or incorrect. What works for you might not work for me. …Or maybe it will. Who knows? The only way I can find out is to keep living my life and see what I think about it all in in twenty or forty or sixty years time." She polishes off a couple fries, which doesn't leave many sitting on the plate. "What I can tell you is that I appreciate the guy in the dive bar in Harlem who makes the best burgers I've ever eaten and sounds like he knows what he's talking about, and is willing to share his wisdom with an underage chick who thinks she's smarter than she is, because that's an experience that I value having." She chuckles softly, "And hey, maybe if this elusive Luke and his employees are cool with it, we might come play a gig here sometime. And then you can find out what a bunch of teenage girls playing music sounds like."

Hod snickers a bit, "A band of little girls playing in this part of town? Shit." he sets the empty Tom Collins glass aside, "I'd pay to see that." he admits freely, "And thanks. But you should be careful who you take your truths from. Some of us wise old dottering old broken men are really just sad sacks of shit who've learned to polish up a turn until it shines like a gem. In fact," he considers, "Most of us are that. Like. Almost all." he admits freely.

"Ahh, but I have one advantage," Gwen replies. "I'm an only child to a single parent, and my Dad is pretty much the definition of grumpy old man at least some of the time." She smiles, picking up the last fry on the plate and waving it around (yes she ate all that). "I've got lots of experience with men, old or not, who want to give advice and also with a bunch of men, old or not, who think they know better than me simply because they've got a Y chromosome and I don't." She pops the fry in her mouth and enjoys the last bite of her meal. "But what you said about art makes sense, and I liked it, so I changed my mind. …Don't worry, I'm not making a life-changing paradigm shift or anything." She chuckles softly, "Just opening my mind to things I might not have before."

Hod is quiet for a long moment before speaking again, "You remind me a bit of my wife." he says suddenly before lifting the glass of rum and coke and giving it a 'look' as if it had betrayed him. "Sorry. That was a bit… uh… yeah." he lets that lay and moves on in a hurry, "Smart kid that can make up her own mind and alter it readily. Keep that. It'll serve you better then all the other things you may learn in your lifetime."

"I'll try!" Gwen replies, her smile (and a bit of a blush) evident in her voice. She decides to be merviful, and leave the wife comment unadressed — even though it was really just received as flattering. "You keep being you, too, Hod. Grumpy old man who takes nonsense from nobody, can cook like you've got a few hundred years experience at it, knows things about music and art that some professors haven't got figured out, and isn't pretentious about a word of it and doesn't pontificate. That's rare to find these days, usually when people talk to someone my age they just expect that we'll automatically see the truth of what they're saying and are offended if we don't change our minds. So." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I oughta run along, but… Maybe I'll pop back tomorrow, or the day after?" She grins, maybe even meet Luke and arrange a gig, yeah?"

Hod snorts, "There was a time when a girl of your age was considered a woman grown and on the boarder of being a spinster. Who am I to question your wisdom or strength of character? Okay." he admits, "Maybe your wisdom, but the rest?" he makes a rude noise like a fart with his lips, "I'll talk to the big man, about a gig I mean. see what he says. Can't promise shit you realize. And being honest? You'll have a better shot I can tell him you play jazz or blues or R and B or some such. This /is/ Harlem after all." he points out. "Now, pay me and get out. You shouldn't spend all day in a place like this."

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