An evening in the Bear and Staff Pub turns a little more exciting than usual when some disgruntled workers decide to get into a fight...
Bear and Staff Pub - San Francisco
It is a busy night in the 'Bear and Staff' pub.
Most of the seats at the bar itself are taken, but there is standing space. Some of the tables are vacant and patrons come and go. Most of them are winding down after a long day's work - or play, as the case may be. In some corners of the pub tensions run high - workers recently laid off from a local construction company - but no fights or serious arguments have broken out yet.
From the Men's Room, a toilet flushes - then the sound of running water can be heard by those near the corridor leading to the restrooms - until finally a burly man in a russet beard emerges from within, and makes his way toward the bar.
He is in his work clothes, but in the backpack slung over his shoulder... the flap of a white cloak is sticking out.
One eye is being kept on the construction workers, and then the man behind the bar murmurs to a young woman and she drifts over there, perhaps to defuse the argument or distract them from it. Tad doesn't like fights in his bar, and this is supposed to be a place to get rid of those tensions. Then he slides a bottle of good, English cider towards a man who looks and sounds like he is, indeed, from the old country. "Probably not as good as you can get at home, but it's the closest I have," he informs him, cheerfully. Then he glances at Michael. And that backpack.
Ahern slips in from outside, frowning at the crowd jamming up all the comfy seats. "Jesus, worse than Halloween," he mutters. Not that he's with anyone to appreciate the complaint. But he doesn't turn back, he wades in to see about getting a drink. He passes Michael, and can't really miss the imposing figure with...fabric trailing out of his bag. "Hey buddy, what are ya, French?" he asks, reaching out to pinch the corner of the hanging flap. "Your white flag's showing." A couple of words make it sound like he might be from the South, but the accent's faint if it's really there.
Lt. Karrin Murphy is known to stop by every once in awhile. She doesn't have a beat and even if she did, it wouldn't be around here, but she does certainly like a nice place with good food and good beer. She and Harry are similar in that, though she's also far more health conscious than the giant wizard. Pushing into the pub, she's wearing a long jacket and her business clothes: a pantsuit and a collared shirt. Her badge, however, is not tucked into the belt of her pants. It's, instead, in her bag. Moving toward the bar, she stops for a moment when she spots Michael.
"Mr. Carpenter," she greets the taller man with a nod of her head. At the comment from Ahern, she raises an eyebrow. "Just coming from work?" she asks, though that could be a double edged question for him.
"Show some respect," Michael chastises the Irishman lightly. He does, however, stop and remove the backpack from his shoulder so that he can tuck the white cloth back safely inside once more. The man is the process of doing then when he hears Murphy's voice.
There is a pause, a very tiny pause.
Rising to his full height again, the carpenter - both his name and job description! Sort of - smiles, eyes gleaming. "Detective Murphy. It's good to see you - and yes. I am. How are you?" He says nothing to indicate what that 'work' might have been, but the ever-so-faint traces of 'knowingness' in his tone might at least offer a hint.
Over by the construction workers, one of them - a large African American fellow with a deep voice - starts spouting off a variety of injustices allegedly inflicted upon the laid off workers by their former boss. None of his companions seems to have any trouble agreeing with him.
"Join me for a drink?" Michael adds, speaking to Murphy - giving the Irishman, Ahern, an arch look.
The Englishman snorts, "Hey. Only English people are allowed to insult French people like that." he then takes his cider and heads to a table. Tad flickers a grin after him, and then glances at Michael. "He's right. You've got something hanging out there. And hello, Detective Murphy." He knows his regulars...at least the ones that really matter. Cops are people you want on your side.
Ahern lifts an eyebrow at Tad. "I was born in Dublin, does that count? Or are the Irish right out?" He sounds perfectly American. He smiles at Michael, who is of course significantly bigger than he is. He lets go of the fabric as soon as Michael moves to tuck it away, so at least he's not being full-tilt obnoxious. He steps up to ask Tad for a Jameson.
"Evening," Murphy greets Michael and Thaddeus as she enters, smile quirking she makes her way toward the bar, nodding at the larger man - though, really, most people are taller than Murphy. "It's always good to be done and headed home safely," she offers him as she climbs onto a bar stool. "Regular," she orders from Thaddeus - a pint of their seasonal lager - "Hope all's been well? No Halloween hooligans?" she asks the owner, true police concern evident in her voice. To Ahern, she gives him a quick once over, as she waits to be joined by Michael.
Michael takes up a standing position at the bar next to the detective. Turning to Tad, he gives the larger man a smile and remarks:
"Good evening, Tad. Hmm... surprise me."
The carpenter then glances over at Ahern, and from him back to Murphy and the barkeeper. "I was going to ask the same thing," he admits after a moment. The man frowns. "Minor vandalism, littering, among other things. The volunteers at church have been kept busy."
He puts just the tiniest bit of emphasis on the word 'volunteers'. Turning his head toward Ahern, the man introduces himself. "I'm Michael. Are you a friend of Tad's?"
A Jameson is slid across to Ahearn even as Tad answers Michael. "Nothing too major. And some very cool costumes. An absolutely amazing Captain America." The man shrugs slightly as he moves over to the beer pumps, contemplating them for a moment before pulling a pint for Michael. This is one barkeep you can always ask to surprise you and know you'll get something good, given Tad has been known to know what people want better than they do.
"Nope," Ahern answers Michael. "I'm Ahern. Who the hell is Tad?" He doesn't seem completely bewildered, he just seems like the type to pepper his conversation with casual swearing. He picks up his drinks. "I was here for a little on Halloween, though. Bunch of girls told me they didn't like my costume." He glances at Murphy, but apparently he doesn't have anything rude to say right off.
Now that she's sitting on a stool, Murphy's actually at a better height to converse with the others. Being five foot even comes with its own problems, though you would never hear Murphy complain about them. "Gotta love a man in red, white and blue," Karrin smirks. "I'll what he's having," she gestures toward Michael since they're both getting a drink. As Ahern looks over back to her, she frowns. She is more than capable of handling herself and will certainly not take any guff from Ahern. That's not her style.
Michael tastes the pint of whatever it was that Tad gave him, frowns for a moment, then smiles broadly. His eyes sparkle as he glances sidelong at Murphy, and he gives the barkeep a nod of his head. "Thank you, Tad," he tells the larger man, and reaches into his pocket to withdraw enough money to pay for his drinks and Murphy's as well.
"Better make that my usual from now on..."
Motioning with his free hand between Ahern and the owner of the Bear and Staff, Michael adds: "This is Tad. He's the owner." A moment passes and the carpenter gives Tad and Murphy a puzzled look.
"Who's Captain America?"
Over by the construction workers, the noise increases. By now the 'leader' amongst them has worked several of them up into the beginnings of a rage. Fortunately they have not had too many drinks - yet - and matters seem to be fairly under control...
Until one of them decides to play 'devil's advocate' and questions the accusations made by the rest of the group. The mood of that corner of the room turns a little darker.
"Oh, I remember you now. That costume was asking for it." He grins, assuming that Ahern had done it on purpose. "Got to love a man in red, white, and blue spandex with...well, never mind." Tad doesn't hide his sexuality, but there's no sense flaunting too much in front of the customers. "Comic book and movie character. Total boy scout, but also kind of tough and ex mil."
The young woman Tad sent over there smiles. "Do any of you want something?" Hopefully she can distract them with the offer and her appearance.
Ahern sips on his Jameson. He doesn't seem like he's preparing to send any guff in Murphy's direction. Not for now, at least. He turns his head to look at Tad, brows lifting. "Oh," he says. "Hi." He gives Tad a tilted smile, apparently considering the comment about his Christmas costume inviting irritation to be a compliment. He glances into Construction Corner. "Might be trouble," he mutters. Sip.
"Next round's on me," Karrin tells Michael, brokering no argument. She may be tiny, but she's fierce. She can't help but grin when he doesn't get the reference to Captain America. "Oh, don't let Dresden know you don't know who Captain America is, I think he has a whole speech on the subject." The wizard and his nerd culture.
At the confirmation from Thaddeus as to the man's costume, she gives the bartender a fierce grin, nodding and raising a glass. "I'll drink to that." Then, she takes a generous sip. "That's a great beer," she nods in agreement with Michael. At the mention from Ahern, her eyes glance in that direction. Her grin fades into a more serious expression. Glancing over toward Tad, she jerks her head in that direction. "Want me to handle that?" She's off duty, but she's still an officer of the law. Plus, it's always polite to ask the owner before wading in to something that looks like trouble.
Over in the 'construction corner', one of the other - more riled up - workers grabs the 'devil's advocate' by the front of his shirt and holds him back against the wall, spitting accusations and criticisms at his 'prey'... seemingly on behalf of the leader of the group.
Patrons nearby are already leaving.
Just in case.
Michael only dimly hears Tad's explanation re the identity of a certain comic-book hero (and Murphy's comments); his attention is on the workers, and then Murphy as well. "I'm here if you need me," he tells the detective. This IS her field of expertise after all... unless of course any of the workers turn into werewolves, vampires, gruffs or God-knows-what.
The worker pressed up against the wall lets out a wince of pain, and the leader takes a step forward - putting a hand on the aggressive one's shoulder. "Hey. That's not how we do things, Bud." As the waitress heads over there to take orders - and hopefully calm matters down - the leader of the workers glances at her and replies:
"I think we're fine. Had enough, yeah?" That question is asked of his friends, not that the more angry ones listen.
Thaddeus Bailey narrows his eyes. "I was going to see if Lorraine could defuse it, but...doesn't seem likely." He glances at Murphy. "If they continue, I'll go over and ask them to take it outside. If that doesn't work, then feel free to help." But he's hoping his rather large size will do what being nice, so far, hasn't.
Ahern doesn't fail to notice that the small woman is offering to handle a big situation, but he doesn't look dubious about it. Rather, he gives Karrin an appraising look, maybe trying to guess exactly what compels her to make that offer. He clears his throat. "Look, uh...why don't I buy 'em dinner?" he offers quietly. "Soak up the booze a little." He looks between Karrin and Tad, apparently ready to defer to either of them despite his generally brash manner.
Michael gets a simple nod at his offer for help. Karrin takes it in the spirit as it was offered: a back up. That's something she can understand and won't take offense to. People trying to get in her way because they think she can't handle it? Then she'll throw down. It seems all their attention are on the construction workers and what is about to happen. Setting her beer down, she steps off the stool. While it makes her shorter, that doesn't bely her authority.
At the request from Tad, she just nods her head again. It's his bar, she'll respect his request. She's just prepared for anything. "That's a good offer," she tells Ahern, glancing his way as if re-evaluating her ideas on him.
Michael merely nods his head.
The situation in the corner has him mildly concerned, but he is surrounded with people who have more right to intervene than he, and he is content with that. Instead of voicing any response just now, he nods to Ahern for the man's suggestion - it's a good one! - and instead murmurs a prayer very faintly under his breath.
His eyes don't leave the construction workers at all.
And he appears to have forgotten his new favourite beer.
The workers do not appear to have noticed Murphy yet, nor are they concerned about any outside interference. None of them has even glanced at TAD, the bartender, except for the poor guy with his back pushed up against the wall. He is scared - that much is plain to see.
Thaddeus Bailey sighs. "Jane, handle things here." And then he steps out from behind the bar, walking over towards the workers. He doesn't seem in a hurry. As Lorraine hears him, she moves quickly out of the way. Nope, not getting between the boss and people he's going to ultimatum, if not just straight out bounce. He even actually cracks his knuckles. "Gentlemen. Is there a...problem?"
Ahern drinks down the rest of his Jameson, puts down the glass, and he looks ready to head over there, but since Thaddeus is taking the lead, he hangs back. Not his bar. He asks Jane for another Jameson, paying cash again.
As Jane switches out with Tad, Karrin merely follows him. She does not interfere, nor does she say anything just yet. Instead, she puts her weight on her back foot, dropping into a hard to notice defensive position, ready for something to happen should the worst happen. This is Tad's bar, she won't interfere until they don't listen to reason.
"...this little SNITCH was probably workin' for him! Probably still IS!"
"Put him down, Bud," the leader tells the angry one. "This ain' how we do - eh?"
Tad's question draws the other burly man's attention, and he turns about just enough to look the bartender in the eye. He holds up his hand. "I got this. Bud's just angry - we all are. Let me handle it." And the man starts to turn away from Tad again.
He spots Murphy and hesitates. Both she and the bartender exude power - authority - and the foreman knows it, even if he does not yet know who or what the diminutive woman is. Meanwhile, Bud jams his forearm up under the poor worker's chin, putting pressure on the younger guy's throat.
"I was just sayin' - " the younger one tries to explain, but his words are cut off.
"Put him down now. This is *not* happening here." Tad's Oregon accent becomes very slightly broader, but his voice is deep. He doesn't glance at Karrin - he knows the cop can handle herself if these guys try to rush them, but he's focusing on intimidation for right now.
Ahern drinks from his Jameson, only glancing at the corner situation. "So," he says to Michael. "You know that girl? Bartender too?"
From her spot behind Tad, Karrin can still see what is going on. While some may not see her behind the bulk that is Tad, she doesn't mind. "You heard the man," she says. While she doesn't raise her voice, she does have the typical 'cop tone' that helps quell arguments most of the time. She may not have a uniform on and she has yet to reach for her badge, but it may be easy to tell that she's a cop. "Put him down."
Michael turns to look at Ahern and stops praying. He nods, reaching for his beer and has another drink. "I do. Tad's a... new friend. His pub reminds me of a favourite, back in Chicago... As for Detective Murphy - we have a mutual friend. It's complicated. What about you? Do you have family, friends in San Francisco?"
The angry worker turns his head to spit Tad and Murphy with a glare - and hesitates. It's one thing to stand up to a single, weedy guy when almost everyone around him is on the angry fellow's 'side'. It's a whole other thing to stand up to the bear of a man that owns the place...
And this tiny woman with eyes that could melt titanium at a glance.
"I, I... We were jus' talkin'!" he protests, glancing at the foreman for some kind of support. The foreman appears reluctant to offer any. "WE were jus' talking, Bud. YOU were...just put Simon down, okay? For cryin' out loud."
Bud... releases Simon, and the younger, reedy looking worker sinks into a chair, coughing.
"So, are we going to keep things civilized now? Because I'd hate to start throwing people out." Tad relaxes very slightly. It's so good to be a big guy at times like this. He doesn't have to actually DO anything to get most people to back down - helped by the faint aura he tends to carry of 'don't mess with me'.
"Ahhh," Ahern says, lifting a brow and nodding as though Michael had just unlocked a mystery for him. "So it's /Detective/ Murphy, huh." He looks back over at the cop, nodding a few times. Seems to clear things up. "Do I have family? Friends? Nah. Got a business here." Which...might make it weird that he doesn't have any family or friends around. He keeps an occasional eye on the situation in the corner, but the tension is certainly lightening up.
Seeing that the man is lowered, Karrin gives a singular nod. She glances toward Tad, letting him take care of the rest of it. It's his bar and there's no charges being filed. She takes a step back, though still within a pace to make sure that should they decide to try a sucker punch. She doesn't trust many people to be their best selves in this situation. However, she glances over at Michael and Ahern, then turns her attention back.
Michael is smiling.
It IS good, after all, to see things NOT come to violence - well, MORE violence - for a change, and he murmurs a soft prayer of thanks as the workers appear to calm down. The foreman leaves money on the counter to cover their drinks, and starts ushering his friends out the pub, occasionally barking orders at them.
Michael watches them go, his smile turning into a frown.
"It sounds like there's a history there," he mentions to Ahern - giving the departing workers a muted wave of his hand. "I wonder what happened to them - why they were laid off. So much anger..." He goes to say something else, but the cellphone in his pocket buzzes and the man withdraws it.
The name on the screen - 'Charity' - makes him smile again as he takes some steps away from the bar.
"Excuse me, I should take this. Pleasure meeting you, Ahern."
Thaddeus Bailey heads back to his place behind the bar, offering Michael a slight smile as he returns to serving drinks. "Now...where was I?" Karrin gets a slightly different smile.
"Sure, likewise," Ahern tells Michael, but he's a man of casual goodbyes. That's all Michael's getting, Ahern doesn't look his way. He finishes up his second drink. "Bomb diffused, huh. Good work."
While Karrin may know Michael, she certainly has heard about Charity. Of course, that's from Harry so it may be tinged with the woman's incredible dislike of the tall wizard. "Of course," she gives a grin, picking up her beer and climbing back onto a bar stool. "Yes, reason prevailed for once," she nods to Ahern. Reclaiming her beer, she grins at Tad as Michael goes to speak to Charity. "I believe we were at boy scouts and former military," she smirks, answering the bartender's question.