25 December 2005 @ 02:33 am
"The Inside Man"  
Brad Chase finds his happiness in unexpected places

free hit counter"On the house."

"Why's that?" All other mornings, the barista made a point to eye his tip cup when handing Brad his change.

"In fact – "He pointed a finger to Brad's lapel as he switched to announcer mode, addressing his caffeine groupies in the small shop in the lobby of the firms building. " – you're not paying for another cup of coffee this year." A promotional smile tried to overshadow the fact there were only seven days remaining in his offer. "That kid you rescued. You're Charles Bronson, man. You're a hero. Hero's never pay. That'd be bad karma."

"Great. Thanks." Brad dropped the bills in the cup, unfazed, walked across the lobby and boarded the elevator.

Miss Hughes jumped in at the last minute, brushing at a significant wet spot on her coat. "I mean, this is ridiculous. Did he not see me on the corner? No, just go ahead and drive that stupid Mercedes through that huge puddle. Hello? Look at me!" Brad pursed his lips and looked at her coat. Silently.

"What? You think this is funny?"
"Nope. What d'ya want me to say?" She looked at him incredulously. Brad shrugged, matter-of-factly. "We live in Boston. It rains." He waited for her to get off the elevator first, then headed to his office, hearing Melissa sighing to no one in particular, “That man was busy writing mission statements when they were handing out the reaction gene."

He was hanging his trench coat when he heard Denny talking to a woman in the conference room.
"Brad’s the best."
"I want your assurance, Denny."
"The man served in the Gulf War. The one that turned out okay. He was top of his class at West Point and Harvard Law School. I’d put my own life in his hands."

Brad closed his office door and started going through the settlement documents in the Bridge divorce. It wasn’t that Denny’s words didn’t make him feel something. He nodded to himself, comfortably assured Denny was in his court when it came to partnership consideration. Denny’s loyalty was never in question. There’s no need to show emotions, though. What does it accomplish other than put a big fat target on you. Facts are facts. Simple as that. Brad wasn’t the most demonstrative litigator in practice. His crosses were more about reality than dramatics. The facts could not be in dispute and they served him well.

He did experience a sense of relief when the foreman read the verdict on his three felony counts. Denise had attempted to get him to express some kind of over-the-top alleviation. Her voice had an edge. "Are you always like this?" "Like what?" He’d gone back to work. Forward momentum. Next item of business.

There were times when he’d let someone in on his happiness. You couldn’t count out the occasional connection with the opposite sex, but those were hit and miss. Sally never got used to his stoicism. If the balance wasn’t right, if one had too much emotion, he’d take up residence to the opposite extreme. Not exactly the stuff erections are made of.

He'd been satisfied with the hand he'd had in Alan facing his clown aversion. It was less about happiness than about being squared. Not that anything needed to be squared with Alan. But if it did, then they were squared.

At the end of the day, Brad walked purposefully through the bitter cold, driving to his brownstone hours after dark. "Expect to see Father Time wearing his North Face Arctic Parka when he departs 2005. Boston's in for snow, with wind chill dipping temperatures to the low 20's..." Brad hated it when even the weatherman could be bought for product placement.

He climbed his steep icy steps, let himself in and dropped his briefcase next to the coat rack. He started a fire, twisted the top off a Sam Adams and picked up the Christmas gift Jamie Stringer had given him. For the first time that day, Brad felt happiness, the kind that took him back.

Brad slipped in the dvd and settled back on his couch in his sparse home. He drank half the Adams, a huge grin on his face, unseen by anyone but completely genuine, utterly Brad, as "The Inside Man", his favorite episode, began.

JOE: She's not the type to commit murder...
PEGGY: When it comes to love and murder there is no type.
JOE: Stop quoting some half-baked philosopher.
PEGGY: Joe, I'm quoting you.

Brad’s role model did a slow burn. He raised his bottle to the cliche-ridden dialogue that poked fun at itself. For the next hour, Brad lost himself in shootings, car chases, crashes, exploding Roadsters, fist fights and dead people, digging the adventures of the hard-boiled private eye - in the classical tradition - Joe Mannix. And he was unequivocally happy.

[Cross posted to Theatrical Muse: "What are you happy about right now?"]
 
 
 
( Read 153 commentsLeave a comment )
Alan Shore: is there even a word for this expressionalan_shore on January 4th, 2006 08:46 am (UTC)
"A pleasure," Alan murmurs to the woman before catching up with Brad.

"You're not going to tip him?" he asks, nodding in Garrett's direction.
Brad Chase: drinksbrad_chase on January 4th, 2006 01:00 pm (UTC)
"Garrett does it for the joy of service." Brad, having poured his coffee, was searching extensively through the cupboards, opening and closing every door. "You chose to follow me rather than swap obscure literary quips with the woman? Ah, bingo." Brad was crouched down, reaching to the back of the bottom drawer containing the dusty valentine hearts cookie cutters. He stands and fills the ceramic mug boldly marked ALAN with Melissa's uniquely strong coffee and hands it to his colleague.
Alan Shore: matters of grave importancealan_shore on January 4th, 2006 03:39 pm (UTC)
"Talking over your head is more fun when you're actually present," Alan says, setting the cup down and rummaging in the fridge for some half-and-half. He's not drinking the coffee until Brad's taken a sip.
Brad Chase: drinksbrad_chase on January 4th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
"You're hilarious," Brad deadpans. He leans against the counter and drinks his coffee, then watches Alan, racking his brain for a better comeback. Just as Alan starts to sip [Brad grins at the thought of Alan sipping, half-expecting to see his pinkie lift], Brad attempts to make Alan choke. "A priest, a rabbi and a monkey walk into a bar and the bartender asks - 'what is this - a joke?'"
Alan Shore: slut for authorityalan_shore on January 4th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
All Brad gets for his efforts is a pair of raised eyebrows as Alan continues to sip. The coffee is uncommonly strong, but the cream helps and it's better than anything Alan himself could've prepared.

"I'm asking myself the same question."
Brad Chase: drinksbrad_chase on January 4th, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC)
"I forgot. What you'd find funny is more along the lines of 'Brad walked into an elevator - and fell to his death.' Did I say funny? I meant life's mission."
Alan Shore: he looks happyalan_shore on January 4th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
"Now, now," Alan says. "My plans for your demise aren't nearly as extravagant as all that. They involve a comfortable chair, a preferred beverage, and some spectating more than anything else."
Brad Chase: drinksbrad_chase on January 4th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
If it's all the same to you, I suggest you rent "The Running Man", instead.
Alan Shore: is there even a word for this expressionalan_shore on January 4th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
"If it's all the same to you, the soon-to-be former Governor of California doesn't need my encouragement."
Brad Chase: consider it carefullybrad_chase on January 4th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Brad lowered his cup, furrowed his brow and looked like his dog was terminal. "These are bad times for the Right, what with Abramoff." He looks up at Alan. "Before you say anything, consider what Denny would think."
Alan Shore: profilealan_shore on January 4th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
Alan laughs. "I know what Denny thinks. Denny thinks I'm an anarchist rabble-rouser whose dangerous notions of equal justice are going to lead to some apocalyptic future where the poor are treated as though they're people."

He sips his coffee. "And he thinks I hog the sheets."
Brad Chase: drinksbrad_chase on January 4th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
*nods* "A pinko commie."

Brad drinks his black coffee and, upon hearing too much: "Haven't you ever heard of 'Don't ask, don't tell'?"
Alan Shore: outlinealan_shore on January 4th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
"That's not a recognized communist doctrine."
Brad Chase: drinksbrad_chase on January 4th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
"Gotcha. Saw on The History Channel that the punishment in communist countries for what you two are doing is seven years in prison with other men - and there is a three year waiting list."
Alan Shore: real men wear pinkalan_shore on January 5th, 2006 07:14 am (UTC)
"Has The History Channel ever aired a special on Ancient Greece?" Alan asks, raising his mug and taking a drink so as to hide his smirk.
Brad Chase: Bad answerbrad_chase on January 5th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
*Shuddering, involuntarily* "Key word is ancient. You enjoy floating this... ambiguity, don't you? Why is that?"
Alan Shore: fadedalan_shore on January 5th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Alan looks at him blankly. "Ambiguity, Brad? Would that be moral, sexual, or syntactic?"
Brad Chase: Confront your fearsbrad_chase on January 5th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
Considering your aversion to be straight with me - and yes, you can take that how you want to - I'd say all three. You've mastered the trifecta of ambiguity.

Answer, Alan?
Alan Shore: is there even a word for this expressionalan_shore on January 5th, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
Come now. Do you have to ask?
Brad Chase: drinksbrad_chase on January 5th, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
A) You do it to mess with me; b) You're a deeply troubled man; or C) Both. My bet's on C.

More coffee?
Alan Shore: is there even a word for this expressionalan_shore on January 6th, 2006 10:45 am (UTC)
I'm a deeply troublesome man. I strive to be, anyway.

*inspects the dwindling contents of his glass and holds it out* If you would.
Brad Chase: a favorbrad_chase on January 6th, 2006 11:15 am (UTC)
*fills the mug, then passes him the half-and-half* You know, gotta say, you've succeeded - like the flu. Speaking of which, I don't know how long your mug has been in that cupboard. When was it Serena worked here?
Alan Shore: is there even a word for this expressionalan_shore on January 6th, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
*looks up from pouring* A year ago?

Unless it sported a 'better if used by' stamp, I fear my health isn't in any danger.
Brad Chase: We hold these truthsbrad_chase on January 6th, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
Your health's probably safe. Apart from the scotch, the cigars, that Flores guy. Oh, and Judge Cooper

Wonder what she's - Have you heard from her?
Alan Shore: is there even a word for this expressionalan_shore on January 7th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
She's in Los Angeles. I've been told she's relatively content and has acquired a tan--I'm more inclined to believe the former than the latter.

Why? *raises an eyebrow* Thinking of rekindling buried feelings of resentment?
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