Old Dog, Older Tricks

Squealing Hog 
The worn down boots he wore scuffed at both ground and and soon flooring as he pushed open the door, the lights overhead dim and unnatural. He had been living in Red Rock for as long as he could remember but only now. Only now was the animal inside straining. Longing for something to call home. He had a home though but this pull was different. A fierce want for a connection. A band of his own. He had tried to shrug it off as long as he could. He wasn't made to be a people person. His father hadn't raised him that way and his mother barely said a word when his father was around.

He slid himself into a booth, signaling for the waitress to bring him a drink. Pretty young thing. Barely out of her mid twenties. Likely she'd be stuck working here for the rest of her life. Landing herself as used up as the seats and boots that roamed here. "Budweiser." The full toothed smile he got was answer enough. She was used to this and he should have been too.

A few minutes later the bottle was set in front of him, droplets falling down the side as he leaned back, raising the drink to his lips as he glanced over the menu situated in front of him. There was a gruff hum, fingertips tapping against the almost soggy pamphlet before he pushed it forward. "Rack of ribs. Smother the damned thing in sauce." She never even wrote down his order but the coyote behind his eyes was pacing. Watching her walk away. Thankfully at the hour he was here, there wasn't a lot of traffic or need for crowd control which suited him just fine.

He leaned back into the booth once more, content for the time being to merely exist.

His nose had twitched the moment the man had entered the Squealing Hog. It was a smell he both recognized and did not. Coyote, but none of the ones he had met, which made him curious to know if this fellow followed Alex or was a rogue he ought to let her know about.

"Kansas-style sauce is mighty fine," Remy commented from his seat two stools down. There was an empty plate in front of him that barely contained even a lick of said sauce from his own rack of ribs. In his hand was a glass of whiskey on the rocks that had been ordered with a beer back, which he slid down the counter as he shuffled over and extended his right hand toward the older man.

"Name's Remy. Live around here do you?"

He had hoped to avoid conversation tonight and yet it seemed to have found him in the form of a rat. Quite literally. The scent of fur and another animal had his own yapping against his skull. With a grimace, he pushed it down with a large swig of his beer. They were made to be hunted. A chase. Not here though. Not now. The yote within quieted some yet he could feel the pacing. He could feel the way it's ears would perk forward and narrow back.

Eyes followed the hand down before he grunted, not taking it. Not yet, anyway. "Suppose it is." His body leaned forward some, giving the air a quick sniff before he spotted his waitress, carrying out a large plate. The feast was set before him and he dug in. Chewing, swallowing and finally responding. "There gonna be a problem if I say yes?" The other, Remy, was being nice. Too nice and he didn't like it. No one was that friendly. Never had been, never would be unless they had an angle.

The proffered hand was drawn back with total nonchalance and found a comfortable rest on the bar. This feller was not the first to leave his hand hanging; a well-meaning gesture looked down upon. Remington was reminded of Levka, the most recent offender, but this man did not have the same presence that Levka had. Not by far.

He swirled the whiskey in his glass. "You going to be disappointed if I say I ain't looking for one?" Remy winked with an accompanying click of his tongue, and had a generous swig of his drink. "When a man won't shake another man's hand..." He shook his head. Once. Had another drink. "Makes a feller think he's come across a hard ticket." It was too bad he had sunflower seeds in his pocket instead of peanuts. He would offered the guy some nuts just to test a theory. "So, what's your name, friend?" Maybe he'd try the seeds, later, once the guy had eaten his dinner.

Chewing an ice cube, Remy angled himself to face the old dog, leaning back on an arm on the counter and grinning broadly as Remy does.

He just wouldn't go away, would he? He wouldn't let Ivo enjoy his meal in silence. No, he had to be after a conversation.. No. No, he was digging for information and he had to wonder to what angle. He sighed, taking another bite. Maybe he could simply tune him out. Pretend he wasn't there, finish his meal and leave. "Nope." More chewing, swallowing and finally, almost half the rack was gone. He sure ate fast. Another swig of beer to wash the sauce down.

He finally looked up and across to the man called Remy, leveling his gaze. He still wasn't leaving. Jesus H. Christ. "Ivo. You done digging for information now? Because it seems mighty suspicious that you'd talk to me out of all the other folks you got in here. Now it may just be due to nature. You being what you are.. Or maybe you're sniffing things out for someone else."

He leaned forward some, keeping a tight grip on the dog within. "But I don't fuckin' like all the questions from someone I don't know."

It was perhaps a case of PMS; Pre-Moon Snarlies. Or perhaps the man had an infestation of crotch fleas. Whatever it was, bad nature or bad timing, he would afford the grump the benefit of the doubt.

Unflappable as ever, Remington made no change in his relaxed stance and grin to the man's hostility, neither to his words nor to the forward pitch of his hagga4d frame. However, the rat was stirring in his mind in its usual fashion, urging its counterpart to heed caution around the predator, and preferring that he would just scuttle off to less threatening company to find some more to nibble on. Some fruit perhaps.

"Aye," Remy nodded, taking another drink. "It's mighty suspicious when a feller offers up his name and hand and asks a friendly thing like 'do you live around here'?" He had collected another ice cube in his mouth and crunched this one too. "How else you going to get to know anyone without a bit of small talk and basic questions, eh? Look, b'y, I'm as simple as they comes. I saw a like-minded sort and thought I'd say hi, maybe make a friend, invite you over for drinks and a scoff sometime."

Remy stood. Tipped his head. "Excuse me. Nature calls." Off to the men's bathroom he went. Standing in front of the urinal, he thumbed a quick one-handed text to Alex, and waited, having a leisurely piss as it were.

Ivo didn't move. He was going to sit here and damn well finish the food he paid for. He went back to his food. "Don't wanna drink." His calloused and rough hand moved to the bottle of Bud he had, dirty fingertip 'tinking' against the glass before he lifted his head and focused in on the man now. "Not when I got one here." The closest thing to a sense of humor he would get tonight.

As Remy excused himself, Ivo said nothing but focused down on his ribs once more. Each bit serving to move him a bit further away from Remy and the conversation. He raised his hand some in a slight wave before finishing off his ribs and leaning back. He studied where Remy had gone, ordering himself another beer in the process. The coyote in him was itching to track and lay chase but now wasn't the time. So he reigned it in and merely finished off his first beer just as the second was set down in front of him.

He wondered if Remy would actually come back. Part of him hoped he wouldn't, so he could go back to having a silent evening.

Remy returned from the bathroom and his seat. Fortunately for Ivo however, chatty ratty's attention was on the barkeep, from whom he ordered two slices of homestyle apple pie à la mode. Then he finished the whiskey in one gulp and reached for his beer back; some local craft variety it was. Reminded him of the night Fletch and him had sat around the fire and tried all sorts with quirky names.

The pie came on separate plates. Hot and full of cinnamon and spices. The vanilla ice cream was melting over the top crust. Using the back of his hand he nudged one plate across to Ivo with a wink and without a word. Then he set into his pie, gathering a large portion of the tip onto his fork and stuffing it into his mouth with an mm-mm-mmmm. Several more bites went down in relaxed quietude.

Alex was on her way; Remy was trying not to cause any trouble. But alas, he just couldn't resist trying to feed the old dog.

He smelled Remy before he ever saw him and inwardly, he groaned. He should have left while he had the chance but it wasn't often he got out to enjoy a good meal so he had stuck around. Maybe a mistake. Thankfully the younger man said nothing but merely winked and pushed a piece of pie towards him. He hadn't wanted dessert. He hadn't wanted a lot of things in life and yet he took them all without a complaint.. For the most part. So as the sweet smell reached his sharp nose, Ivo glanced down at it before a grunt was all that was heard, followed by the smallest nod of his head. It was the best he would get tonight.

He picked at the pie some with his fork before he began to eat. Lord, how long had it been since he'd had homemade apple pie? Far too long. So there he sat, eating slowly this time and thanking whoever the hell was above that he could at least have this in silence.

 It would be a bit longer before she got her keys and hit the road, not as long as it would have been if her tank was near empty as she had expected it to be (small favors). Squealing Hog was one of those sorts of places where she just had to be in a certain type of mood to enjoy it. Somewhat dim inside, noisy, violent, warm, cramped, and not to mention filthy in comparison to how it should have been. Her boots stuck to the floor once she started making her way between rows of seating. Old barbecue sauce or maybe spilled soda, the leading theories.

 It took a little bit to orient herself and pinpoint the source, but Remy's vague description did a good bit to help. She moseyed up, pulled her hands from the pockets of her jacket and favored her left side as she tilted her head and looked at the plate in front of him. "I never think to fuck with their dessert menu, any good?"

The scent and feel of power hit him first, followed by his own beast perking up. As if he could feel it's larger ears twitching, trying to pinpoint the source. She came into view and stood and he let himself look up, his eyes never straying. Merely traveling up until they reached her face. His face was haggard looking, wrinkles and creases from so many hot and hard days out in the sun that Colorado provided in ample earnest. He gave a scoff, eyes darting towards the plate. "Blame the rat over there." There was a bit less venom in his words, a strange sense of comfort settling down around him.

"Ain't bad. Like my old lady used to make, years ago." He offered her an invitation to sit with his eyes, lingering on her face and than moving towards the empty seat. "So, what do I owe the honor of the big bad herself wanderin' in?" He wasn't stupid. Perhaps the rat had done something. Leave it to such creatures to be a bit underhanded in their ways. He leaned back a bit more, hands coming up to rest across his thinning stomach. Barely there, even under the grimy white shirt he wore, covered in various stains. At least it smelled clean.

 Heh. The big bad. It felt good on her ego even if it didn't really read too well accompanied by Remy's warning that he was a cranky old bastard. Well, Kai was a cranky younger bastard and they managed just fine - so she wasn't ready to lock and condemn that property just yet. Instead, she shrugged out of her jacket, set it over her lap as she took up the bench space beside him. "I don't think I'm so bad, really."

 She exhaled all the same, elbows on the table as she smirked with a glance towards the bar before looking back to the other coyote. Human and beast tried to keep things civil, no teeth or bristle of fur. "Remy uh, ratted you out if you'll mind the bad humor. Thought I'd check-in, see if you're as cranky as he says you are."

Ivo said nothing at that but the corners of his lips did tug upwards just a fraction. He watched as she sat before his eyes moved to where Remy was positioned. He took another bite of the pie in front of him, chewing slow and deliberate. "Bad when you need to be. Why else would you be running the show if you didn't get your hackles up every now an' again."

Now one eyebrow lifted and.. Good Lord, was that the hint of a smile. It faded just as quickly as it tried to surface. "He interrupted my meal." His shoulders moved into a half shrug, as if that explained away everything. "You come out here often? Lookin' to chat at rogues that you haven't claimed yet?" He seemed to want to get right to the point of all this. "Nah. People like you.. Beasts like you an' me. Even the Rat over there.. We all got something we want." Still looking as casual as ever.

A silent question in the form of body language. What exactly are you looking for?

 "When I need to be, maybe - but I try to keep that to a minimum." No doubt, she had a little in the way of excitement at the idea of having to wrestle with him or whatever hard-ass cliche he was imagining. "I'm not here to give you an ultimatum, just here to make sure you're not going to be a pain in my ass." She looked to his food, glanced back at him just as quick.

"But that door's opened to you, of course - if you get sick of cool loner bullshit."

He finally leaned forward. Slow. Almost tired, if that word could be used to describe him. Nothing about the man seemed tired but his eyes were old yet still just as sharp. "Not lookin' to be a pain in anyone's ass." He finished the last bite of the pie, pushing the plate forward and off to the side. "I'm not a people person. Never have been. Always preferred being alone. Helped me keep my own thoughts straight. When the dog took over, I figured it was just easier in the long run to stay away. Less to get in trouble with. Less to fight over. Whole hell of a lot less of just about everything."

He curled his fingers some, rapping against the old table as he looked down at his hands. His age was catching up with him. No matter how hard he tried to deny it, it was. "Dog in me wants it. Craves companionship. Human side? Not so much. Hell of a fight and one I'm finding myself losing too more often now." A huff of air passed through his lips.

"If I say yes, there anything I should know before walkin' in?"

 She watched him, looked about when he started talking about dogs and their feelings to make positive he didn't draw any extra attention their way. "Well, I can't say I don't know that feeling." She'd unload the rest one article at a time, not wanting to bite off more than she could chew. "There are some rules, yeah. But it really isn't dinner table conversation and I don't really think you should agree to anything sight unseen, Mister ...?"

This time, he extended a hand. Maybe the Rat wasn't so bad after all either. His eyes slid over towards him once more before back to the woman in front of him. "Never said I was agreeing to anything. Just wanted a rundown beforehand. But you're right. This isn't the place." There was a pause before he spoke again, a critical eye on her. "Wickens. Ivo Wickens."

 "Alexandra Davidson." Ivo Wickens. They were, it seemed, on opposite ends of the naming scale. "Just Alex is fine though, really." She would give his hand a quick shake, firm but not longer than it needed to be to count (in her mind).

"Nice to meet you, Ivo."

Introductions fell in line and he nodded, retracting his hand only after a moment and seemingly at the same time she did her own. "Likewise, I suppose.. Alex." He tested her name against his tongue, pleased that she hadn't wished to go by Alexandra. Hell of a mouthful on a good day and he wasn't keen on having any mouthfuls of anything, unless it was edible.

He fell into silent thought, clearly either not much of a talker or not easygoing with his thoughts. "You been in charge long?" He wanted to know just how new or not she was and potentially what he should expect if he decided to say yes.

 "Oh, just the whole time we've been around these parts." Which, for the record, did not even remotely constitute as a lie. She was the leading coyote authority, and she had, in fact, been just that since they came to call Red Rock home. As such, she knew she could have just left it at that, but it felt like ... well, cheating. "We've been here about three months of so, run a car shop not all that far from here."

Much to his amusement, Ivo took the pie and even offered him a nod in exchange. If that was the best Remy would get tonight, he would take it as though it were the greatest return he could have expected.

He ate his pie slowly, intermittently sipping his beer as he awaited the arrival of the head coyote. She was timely, he both felt and smelled her as soon as she stepped across the threshold to the Squealing Hog. Remy smiled to himself as he lifted another forkful of apple pie to his mouth.

Remy listened but kept himself out of their business, happy to have helped the rogue connect with a solid leader of a band and hopeful that it would turn good for the two of them. To Alex' bad humor however, he could not help but turn his head and gesture toward them with an upright thumb and an extended index finger, handgun-style, as he winked and clicked his tongue.

Once the pie was done he finished his beer and signalled for his bill. Ivo had received Alex with far more willingness than he had received Remy, but they were kin in this strange and unexpected life, and Remy was but a snack in the eyes of their beasts. He held no grudge toward the man. Rather, he was pleased that the meetup seemed to be progressing well. Figuring he would not be needed as any sort of backup, Remy paid his bill and got up to go.

On his way out, he grinned wide and tipped his head to them both.

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