2020-03-26 - Pin Feathers and Golly Fluff.


A nightclub turns soup kitchen by day. Betty goes to get the scoop.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: March 26th, 2020
Location: New York, NYC

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The complimentary breakfast service at Oliver Queen's club continues to grow in popularity. Today there was a small crowd waiting at the doors when they opened and steady string of patrons have made their way in and out since then. Word has spread that between 8AM and 2PM, this is a safe place where all are welcomed and no one is charged for anything.

Though this project is largely funded by Queen himself, some local businesses have chosen to show support by way of donations. Today's menu reflects that, as cases of mushrooms from a small grocery store have been turned into biscuits and gravy. There are platters of sausages, decanters of various beverages, and an abundance of fresh fruit as well, all laid out on long tables. More tables, normally used by night club clientele, are available for seating. An area at the rear is unofficially dedicated to children, and Disney's 'The Sword In The Stone' is playing on a projection screen for their entertainment. Line cooks and service staff ensure that there's plenty of food to go around and beverages remain refilled. The atmosphere is bustling, but pleasant. Cozy, even.

Behind one of the bars, Oliver is taking a break to make himself a drink and catch a few minutes of the movie. The young CEO looks tired, as usual, and seems to be combating that with a strong bloody mary. He's dressed casually for a billionaire, in crisp jeans, a navy blue sweater, and boots that manage to look comfortable and expensive at the same time.

As long as people were doing their best to provide for others, Betty was happy to spread the word. In truth, it'd been some time since she wrote anything for the Bugle, falling more so on her assistant position as the rest of her life was in a spot of crazy at this point in time. Word travelled down and she decides to get out there, do something. Take the recorder.

Slipping into the building, she takes a moment to take it all in. Smiling, tenderly, she dirty-blonde nods and digs into her side bag. Brushing down her skirt, she heads in the direction of Queen, a brilliant, ruby smile on her features. "Excuse me," she begins as she draws closer, a hand out and at the ready. "Mr. Queen? Betty Brant from the Daily Bugle. Do you have a moment for a few questions? A comment or a statement perhaps? I understand you're busy."

The cocktail Ollie is working on is a labor of love, nothing less. Fresh horseradish, tomato juice made in the kitchen, limes squeezed to order, and a bevy of other ingredients, along with more than a little vodka. Once it's mixed and poured over ice, he glances around like a child about to sneak a cookie, then pours in another splash of alcohol.

"Hey," he greets. Rather than abashed to be found drinking in the morning, he skewers a slice of chorizo, a small wedge of blue cheese, and couple of olives, drops it all into the glass, then hands it to Betty rather than shaking right away. "Sure, give me a sec to make another one and then wash up. My hands are little messy."

Not a lot of mystique there, but he's smiling while he puts together the second drink. Once he's finished, he rinses off, dries his hands, then tosses the towel across his shoulder so he can properly greet Betty. His handshake is practiced. Firm, but not overbearing. Eye contact, but not too much. "Nice to meet you," he says. "I always have time for the press."

"Oh! Um, thank you." She looks at the drink and studies it for a moment. Not that she was against drinking whenever it suited someone, but it was odd to be offered one right off the bat. Nothing says 'nice' than alcoholic soup. Pulling it closer, she sniffs lightly before taking a sip. "Damn, that's nice." She comments before clearing her throat and allowing her hand back out to meet his own.

"Nice to meet you, too, Mr. Queen. I won't take up too much of your time, I just wanted to get the word out about what you're doing here. Would you mind if I recordered our conversation?" Another sip of her drink, she looks the glass over. "I also have to say that this is impressive."

The scruffy socialite chuckles and salutes Betty with his own glass, then takes a sip. "Record away, I've got nothing to hide. And thanks. It's nice to get noticed for something besides crashing a Bugatti or what I did on my weekend with what's-her-name when we went to that-expensive-place and got thrown out of that-one-hotel."

There's a self-deprecating ease to his mannerisms and the way he talks. He even shrugs, almost sheepishly, before gesturing around himself. "Opening this place for lunch has always been my time to play. We never really do any business that matters before the sun goes down. This seems like a better way to spend the time and money."

"I know what the Bugle usually runs, but I like getting a truth out there that actually matters. Didn't think you had anything to hide, Mr. Queen. What you do in your own time is up to you, y'know? Everyone has their own life, doesn't matter what your station in society is." Another sip, she sets the glass down and digs into her side bag. Pulling out a simple recorder, she makes sure its set up befor setting it down between them.

Pressing the button, she clears her throat and begins. "Alright, Mr. Queen. This will be very casual. Feel free to say anything you'd like." She explains, reclaiming her drink. "Can you tell me about this place, Mr. Queen? In your own words, that is. What made you want to do something like this for the people of the city?"

Oliver stirs his drink and takes another sip while he considers his response. "Mari McCabe," he answers after a moment's thought. "I heard about her work in the DZ and I came by to see what it was all about. I'd signed off on a donation truck and forgotten about it, I was running late, I overcompensated to try and make up for it. She's was great, though. She's the one who made me realize that as much as this city gets pounded by attacks and disasters, we don't give enough attention to the people who have to live with the aftermath."

He clears his throat and pauses again, this time to watch the first meeting between Arthur and Merlin in The Sword In The Stone. "I love this movie," he confides. "Used to watch it with my father on Saturday mornings. I've probably seen it a hundred times."

There's a sigh as he considers the people filling his establishment. An establishment, than in hours, will cater to the city's most wealthy and elite. "I throw parties. That's what I'm good at. This is just a different kind of party."

"If you don't mind me saying, Mr. Queen, I think you're selling yourself short. What you're doing isn't a party, it's a necessity. You shouldn't shrug off a good deed simply because of what you do on the regular." Another drink, she looks around, glancing toward the projector and then settles back to Oliver. "I've met Mrs. McCabe at the DZ myself. I was attempting to get a story out about its condition. I'd like to promote what you're doing if you feel comfortable with that." Pause. "Thank you for helping where you can, Mr. Queen. You taking time to do something about what's happening in our city is appreciated. All the more so that you have a personal hand in it. We're all New Yorkers, right?" She muses with a soft smirk.

"Do you think you'll do more work around the city? Perhaps other, more full time establishments like this one?"

For just a second, Oliver's mask slips. He nods, looks Betty in the eye, and quietly says, "Thank you."

And then the moment passes. He clears his throat and waves a hand, pleasantly dismissing the kind words. "Of course, I'd be honored if you wanted to bring us some attention. I hadn't given it much thought, truth be told. One morning the fridge was full, no one was coming in, and we needed to use up a bunch of things. A couple weeks later, we have all this. It's nice. Crime has actually gone down in the area. Sort of feels like people are little nicer to each other. We got a couple of threats, but there's always someone out there who wants to get in the way of a good thing."

"Always. But where one angry head turns, we need others to turn back and face it. However this place came to be, for whatever reason or by whatever inspiration, it's needed. More of it is needed and perhaps you can become an inspiration for someone else, Mr. Queen." Downing half of her drink, she sets it aside for the time being and glances toward her recorder.

"I hope you will consider perhaps setting up more support for our citizens, Mr. Queen. Everyone needs a hero now and then, even if we're not all blessed with god like abilities." Beat. "One step at a time, hmm? May I ask if you're putting funding toward any other community projects, Mr. Queen?"

The young man shakes his head and plucks an olive out of his glass. "Oliver. You can call me Oliver. Anyway, I enjoy what's happening here, but I don't have any plans for hands-on projects in the near future. I'm always open to new ideas, though. And Queen still sends out a weekly relief truck to the DZ."

He tilts his head to the side and glances at Betty through half-lidded eyes. There's a shrug and a smile. "You flatter me, Ms. Brant. I'm just an alcoholic who likes good food and needed a daytime hobby. Really, my executive chef and my floor manager are responsible for all the hard work."

"Oliver then." She corrects herself and nods. Listening, she smirks and reaches over to flick off the recorder. "Enough fluff there for a number of pillows, Oliver. Thank you. Allowing people to be happy about something and restoring their faith is always a good thing. Especially in this city." Reclaiming her glass, she sips from it for a moment more. "Don't sell yourself short. Like I said, others may try to do that, but don't fall into the trap of doing that yourself. You're more than what you push out for people to see. Most people are. It's ok to like that other side of yourself, the one that remembers they're just human."

Betty Brant says, "Oh, and please. Call me Betty."

Oliver laughs and holds both hands out in an agreeable, disarming gesture. "Slow down. I need at least three drinks before I start thinking good things about myself this early in the day."

On that note, he drains his own cocktail and sets the empty glass aside, though he does snag out the blue cheese to nibble on. "Come back anytime, Betty. I'll make you a drink, you can make me feel good about myself."

Betty Brant smirks and slips up from her chair. "If you're kicking me out already, sure." Chuckling, she claims her recorder and puts it away. "Thank you, though, for speaking with me. I'll write you an amazing light. Honestly, thank you for what you're doing. Anything helps and it's nice to see those who can actually doing." Another smile, she moves to wiggle her fingers before turning to exit.

"Consider yourself lucky. I normally wait until the morning to kick a lady out, and I'm usually not so polite about it." Ollie shrugs helplessly, but he's smiling at his own quip.

The movie has caught his eye again, now with Merlin using magic and song to shrink down an entire household's worth of belongings until they fit in a suitcase. The scene makes him smile a little wider. "Sorry, I'm used to you media types running out to meet deadlines. Stay, it's nice to have someone around who treats me like a human being."

Betty Brant pauses and turns to face him once more. "Well we do have deadlines, but I meet them." She explains, but lingers. Returning to the bar, she glances off toward the movie for a moment longer. "Who doesn't treat you like a human?" She inquires, turning to face him directly once more, the bar counter seperating them.

"Jesus, nobody does," Oliver admits. "Everyone has an opinion, though. They hate me. They love me. They think I'm a capitalist pig, or a womanizer, or a party boy. Which is true, to be fair. But you're the first person I've met in a while who didn't already have an opinion about me." There's a scritching rub of his hand through the stubble on his cheeks and chin. "It's refreshing."

"Information spreads like wildfire. Sadly, most of it is bullshit. I never want to post bullshit." Back to her seat, she brushes her skirt down and sets her bag aside. Another glance about, the woman dressed in navy and gold with beads in her braided hair drinks the setting in anew. "I think you should own what you are, sure. But I don't usually like to judge without meeting someone first. Actions matter."

"Well, that's a charming and antiquated perspective. I like it." Ollie's tone is light, taking any sting out of the words. He pauses to give Betty a thorough looking-over while he pops another olive into his mouth. "Yeah, you don't strike me as the type who has much time for bullshit," he says after swallowing. "I can get behind that. Probably comes in handy in your line of work."

"Y'know, it is. But it was a learning experience. Even now, some still slips through the cracks." She smiles and shrugs gently. "It's all progression, really." Beat. "No recorder or anything, you do like what you're doing for the city, right? You're doing it because you want to and not because someone in the PR camp told you it'd be nice and shiney?"

There's a much longer pause, then a slow chuckle from Oliver. "No, I'm the PR equivalent of a dumpster fire. I only get away with it because I'm a halfway decent CEO. None of this is about any of that."

Discreetly, he indicates a man who's in a far corner of the space. "That's Stan, my first customer. He's a veteran. Nice guy. His apartment got destroyed and housing hasn't found anything for him yet. But he comes here every day, he eats some bacon, he watches a movie, and for a couple hours he seems happy. That's why I do it. Because people like him deserve it."

"Fires can be put out." She counters, finger up as if to make a point of it. Following his direction, she looks at the one known as Stan. "Hmm, maybe I should ask a few people how they feel about everything while I'm here." Smiling, she faces Oliver once more. "Good. I think they deserve it, too. I think a number of our citizens needs and deserve so much more."

"I'm having to come to terms with the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can't save everyone. Sometimes it really is about quality over quantity." Queen fiddles with his glass while he thinks about his own statement. "You should. Talk to them, I mean. Some of the staff, too. They're the real heart and soul of all this."

"That's true, too. But the fact that you're doing something means the world to a number of people. I hope you know that." Turning, she looks at the collection gathered there. "Look at them. Look what you've helped to do." Nodding, she accepts his suggestion. "I will. Once I'm done enjoying your company, Oliver."

"You're not bad, Betty. Not bad at all." Oliver measures his next few words carefully, then apparently decides to throw caution to the wind, because he's laughing and shaking his head when he continues. "In the interest of skipping the bullshit, I'll tone down the song and dance I normally throw at people. Don't think poorly of me for laying it on thick, I just find people expect a lot less from me if they think I'm just a dumb, rich frat boy who likes to day drink. I mean, I am, but not /only/. That's our secret, though."

"You're use to the song and dance, I get that. You feed people what they want and that makes them leave you alone." Shifting on her seat, she rests against the bar and eyes her half empty glass. She doesn't go back to it. Day drinking was something nice once in awhile, but she was on the clock. Coffee would be in order no doubt.

"Our secret. I'll keep it close to my heart." Comes her kind promise.

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