Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spanner 5.6: Cool Teachers, Mean Kids

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 5: I Lerned Alot in Skool
Part 6: Cool Teachers, Mean Kids (Revision 3)

2 september 2014.
period 4.
Algebra class. Mr Whitmer, fiftysomething and graying, started the high-school tutor program here and serves as the tutors’ advisor and homeroom teacher. College classes don’t begin till the 21st, so till then Shira assists his teacher’s assistant during his fourth-period algebra class.

Bart Green, who is supposed to be in history class, barges in to protest the very existence of math on behalf of the Civil Religion, accompanied by his lieutenants Beck Skeever and Rex Corson. “This is nonsense!” he barks. “This has nothing to do with the will of Jesus America!”

Shira laughs and strolls idly toward Bart. “Sorry to burst your bubble, massa, but you can’t make heads nor tails of those all-important codes that God and Bacon slipped into the Bible, the Constitution, and Shakespeare unless you know some serious math.” She sings, “Just sayin’.”

A light goes on in Rex’s head. “By God, she’s right! Bacon did write Shakespeare!”

Bart grabs Beck and Rex by their collars and drags them out of the class in a huff.

period 5. History class. Most of the guys and half the girls can’t take their eyes off new teacher Sylvia Plame, twenty-four and beautiful, a stubborn idealist who has volunteered to be the new Student Union’s faculty advisor. She is one of Hope’s most promising (and adoring) protégées, so Shira and Jennifer greet her with hugs and kisses like a close family friend.

As soon as the bell rings, Sylvia takes roll call, and class gets under way. She barely gets halfway through roll call before Kelly storms up to the front of the classroom and pushes Sylvia around to disrupt the class. “History is bunk!” she yells.

Jennifer gets in front of her to stop her. “As a philosopher once warned, you’d better learn history, or you’re doomed to repeat it.”

“Bull pucky! There ain’t no such thing as history! Only Jesus America and Satan Satan Satan!”

Please cut the Jack-Chicky cliché storm, will you, Kelly?”

Shira stands up and laughs at Kelly. Embarrassed at Kelly’s outburst, the other students start to fidget and moan. Shira covers her ears and yells, “I can’t hear you, Kelly! La la la la la!” The other students giggle uncontrollably.

“Stop that, you idiot! Take those hands off your ears and listen to me!” Some students laugh at her misaimed insult.

Shira willfully ignores her and comically shrieks, “LA LA LA LA LA LA...” The whole class falls over laughing. Kelly storms out and slams the door.

period 6. P.E. class. Elspeth Currie, the youngest, best, prettiest, and most popular physical education teacher, is a magnificent athlete with short blond hair who towers over even Jennifer. Elsie was once a professional athlete; but shortly after the coup, whereas her older sister Amanda saved her job by selling out, she was blacklisted for refusing to take the loyalty oath. She’s the girls’ soccer coach, and half her players have a crush on her. Shira is the most ardent of them.

Shira worries that this class will go as badly as Polly’s first-period class. It goes perfectly smoothly, to her great relief. Even so, some of the students stumble off winded to the sides even before the light warmup ends. Shira notices that most of them are pampered rich kids.

Charmian asks her, “How come none of your kids are tired?”

“You wanna eat, you gotta work, and if you wanna work, you gotta work out.” Shira sweeps her hand in the exhausted rich kids’ direction. “Says volumes about your kids’ chances in a fight, O Pretty Team.”

In the locker room, half the girls cover themselves in their towels and try to sneak to the showers, terrified of showing their bodies. Some of them refuse to shower at all; they change from their gym clothes into their school uniforms as fast as they can and pray that no one can see their underwear. Shira strips naked and strides nonchalantly into the showers. The hidden girls are horrified to see her smooth shaved body; they assault her with cries of “slut,” “whore,”, and “EWWW!” Shira snaps, “Shut the hell up, you prissy prudes! What do you think this is, a madrassa?” Shocked at her accusation of Islam, the other girls fall silent. Out in the hall, they shun her like some grotesque.

Polly asks, “What’s gotten into them?”

Shira chuckles. “Seems nakedness got attached to their incest taboo.” Polly rolls her eyes and groans.

downtown. After school, Shira, Jennifer, Connor, Cory, and Polly reassemble in the back of a coffee shop on Fourth Street and order espresso drinks and Italian sodas. Connor reports, “So far, the Student Union proposal’s getting a good response.”

Good response, Connor?” replies Shira. “I’d say ‘enthusiastic’ would be the understatement of the year.”

“But you know the Student Council’s gonna send all their Tournament fighters to crack down on us,” says a worried Polly.

“They can try. But we’re fighters too, and we already own ’em. They want war, we can hold our own.”

Cory points at Shira and winks at Polly. “I’m only the second best fighter in our capoeira class.”

Jennifer smiles sideways at Shira. “If we’re all such great fighters, why don’t we form our own fight club to take them on.”

“That’s a no-brainer. They’ll be crashing our party for sure, so we’d better be ready to take ’em on when they do.”

The alarm sounds on Connor’s phone. He takes it out to check the time. “Uh-oh, Karen’s waiting for us at the library, and we don’t wanna be late.”

Shira gets up for the door and winks. “So what’s keeping us? Let’s book!”

school. Colette decided to stay after class to assist Mr Whitmer with the week’s coming homework. She leaves him back in his office to pick up and prepare to go home.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Kio had said before he left.

“Why are you worrying about me?” she asked.

“You’re not a fighter. Those Valiant thugs don’t listen to reason. They get to you, you won’t stand a chance.”

She laughed. “Nonsense. They won’t risk their precious reputation over a mere girl.”

Kio looked into her eyes with a strange intensity. “If I were Jennifer, I’d have dragged you home with me.”

That look in his eyes still bugs her. But still she feels safe enough.

As soon as she exits the front door, a black-clad man in a ski mask punches her out. He and his maniacally giggling partner pick her up and throw her into the back of the rickety white van puttering along the curb.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 5 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 6/30/11: Added character and final scene of Nicole, edited story to fit Second Edition continuity, corrected text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 2.1, 9/29/11: Changed Nicole’s name to Colette to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3, 10/1/11: Corrected text and continuity errors.]

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spanner 5.5: The Battle of Dictel Park

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 5: I Lerned Alot in Skool
Part 5: The Battle of Dictel Park (Final Revision)

2 september 2014.
kitsap kouriers.
Shira walks in with her hoverboard slung over her shoulder, not in a good mood. Kei looks curiously at Shira’s face. “You don’t look your usual cheerful self today.”

“I have never been so fucking appalled in my life.”

“What’s wrong?”

Shira throws out her arms. “It’s a scam, not a school system! I’ll have to spend the whole school year there...”

Kei gasps. “Oh my god, is it really that horrible?” She holds Shira tight and gives her a long sweet kiss.

“Thanks, Kei, I love you,” Shira sighs. She kisses Kei back. “Got anything for me?”

Kei gives her the job card for the night. “Just a pizza delivery thing. Godfather Renzo likes us.” She winks.

“As long as Mr. Ferrari keeps payin’, that’s fine by me.” Shira winks back.

teacher’s office. Into his mouth he pops a pair of raw bull testicles he stole from Mobley’s refrigerator. As he chews them he inserts the steel straw into his nose and carefully snorts up the two lines of powdered crystal meth he has laid out on his desk.

He takes the duster coat off the rack and puts it on dramatically. He fastens the mask to his face. He crowns himself with his floppy hat.

He picks the photograph off the desk. The target: Karen Kubota. The charge: treason. Ross’ directive: terminate with extreme prejudice. He studies the photograph to memorize the face, then lights a match and burns it.

For all their use of the police as personal mercenaries, Corporates have never liked them. They remind them of government bureaucracy. Extrajudicial means are the true Corporate style.

Master Sergeant Mark Bernkastel, Blade Knight, is ready for war.

bremerton. Shira flies three Pizza Mafia pizzas up the Eastside and out toward the county fairgrounds. Pizza delivery means easy money, but she also likes it because, unlike the big deliveries that force her to watch her back, flying pizzas gives her time to think. This time, though, she cannot calm herself with her thoughts. Her cargo compartment might as well contain stolen uranium. She keeps her senses high-keyed. She expects the Flyen Monkeez to collect on her at any time.

AEGIS’ owl head pops up in the bottom right corner of her goggles to interrupt her train of thought. “Shira, you’re keeping something from me.”

“That’s why I shut you off this morning,” Shira audiomessages in reply, “in case you got hacked.”

“What exactly are you up to?”

“You don’t have the necessary security clearance. Not now.”

“Is this as dangerous as your delivery to Thorwald?”

“I didn’t know till it was over. This one I don’t want them to know about.”

“Don’t get yourself in trouble.”

“Trouble is the reason I’m at school.”

“Very well, then. Please be extra careful.”

“When you’re dealing with paranoids, that’s a no-brainer.”

She flies across the water to meet her next client in Silverdale.

downtown bangor. In a half-abandoned out-of-the-way strip mall covered in the polychrome territorial pissings of gangland graffiti vandals equally fond of pissing directly on each other to stoke their eternal feuds, the metropolitan Westside’s anti-Caliphate exiles meet at the Beit al-Qahwah (Arabic for “coffee house”). But all true revolution is one. So its operating collective gather together the unofficial student clubs of Bangor High, to fuse them into one Student Union.

Sana prepares a triple latte. “Lemon-lime, please,” says Schuyler.

“You really thing they’ll let us get away with it?”

“Shira says if they don’t, they’ll be helping the Caliphate.”

“Sounds crazy to me.”

“If Shira can convince Karen to risk it, it’s definitely worth the risk.”

south bangor. Delivering pizza to the Bangor subdivisions is never pleasant. Shira has served enough gangs here that she has learned to expect getting stiffed by customers or robbed by rival gangs.

She flies her hoverboard in to a smooth landing in front of her customer’s porch. She gets off, walks onto the porch, and knocks. An aging Asian beauty opens the door. Her long blue-black hair is cut in the hime style Leila had before she bobbed it. She is a bit drunk. Shira smells wine, looks down at the bottle in her hand: Mad Housewife. Probably fits. She puts the bottle down so she can pay for the pizza and take it.

“You look like just the kind of person who would order a Decadent Supreme,” says Shira.

“Say, you look familiar.” The client’s accent is weak, but just strong enough for Shira to recognize it as Japanese.

A golden butterfly seemingly made of light flits out. Shira pretends not to notice it. “There’s this character I look like.” She takes the woman’s check and gives her the Decadent Supreme. The name on the check: Eri Ejimoto. Suddenly she feels one of her Companion Cube earrings jerk. She isolates it from her PAN.

“You’re a courier?”

“The place is new.” A hunch tells her this woman knows more than she lets on.

“Oh. Thank you.”

“Thank you.” Shira winks. The woman closes the door. Shira gets back on her hoverboard and flies off.

coffee house. They carpool in. Bangor High’s school clubs send their representatives: the unofficial Science, Computer, Art, Music, and Ping-Pong Clubs; the banned Gay-Straight Alliance and Peace Committee; five Instant Fanclubs: all overlapping.

Ostensibly the back room is a casino styled after Rick’s Café Américain, part of their cover. When the owners wheel the roulette wheel and slot machines away, rearrange the tables into square formation, and surround it with chairs, they reveal its true function as a meeting room where the exiles wail their usual despair over their inability to break a cult’s power over their homelands.

The room fills with eager teenagers in school uniforms, fired by hope and a cause. The usual despair vanishes. Today even the exiles will be able to make a difference.

hallway. Through the windows the outside sun is bright, though the late-afternoon shadows grow longer. Karen and Colette take their backpacks out of their lockers, put their schoolbooks in, and close and lock the lockers as Zac Finney watches. He raises his thumb. “Good luck, girls.”

Karen smiles. “Thanks! I think we got—”

From out of nowhere the Blade Knight throws Colette against the lockers across the hall; with inhuman speed he beats her unconscious in under five seconds.

Karen has no time to scream. He rushes her, knife drawn, immune to reason. Her thought shifts from brain to body; she executes a complex throw that spins him onto his mask. Shira’s voice says, Hurt him enough and he’ll come after you. She glances at Colette and Zac; she stomps Bernkastel’s knife hand, kicks him in the groin as hard as she can, and runs. The enraged super soldier wills himself to his feet, roars like a rabid beast, and runs after her.

Zac takes out his phone and calls 911. Karen leads Bernkastel out of the building and makes a call of her own.

coffee house. Courtney is talking with GSA club president Lorelei when her phone plays Karen’s ringtone. When she answers, Karen is panting and in a panic. “Sorry, Courtney, I’m gonna be a bit late.”

“Karen! What’s wrong?”

“Bernkastel’s the killer, and he’s chasing me.”

“Oh my god, call the cops now!

“They won’t help. Call Jen. I’ll lead him into the park. ’Bye!”

Courtney stands paralyzed by horror. Lorelei demands, “Tell me what’s going on.” Courtney hesitates, then calls Jennifer.

seabeck highway. Jennifer approaches Northwest Eightieth Street driving Shira’s Mustang when she hears Courtney’s ringtone on her phone. She syncs it to the car. “Hey, Courtney.”

“Mr. Bernkastel’s after Karen with a knife.”


“Into the park.”

“I’m so there!” When she reaches Eightieth, she makes a full U-turn.

south bangor. Shira hears Jennifer’s ringtone. She switches to audio. “What’s up, Jen?”

“Big trouble, and it’s after Karen.”

“Oh shit. What happened?”

“Mr. Bernkastel’s chasing Karen into the park. Renzo says he’ll eat the cost. Meet me there.”

“Gotcha.” She turns north, ignores POTaTOS’ complaints, and flies turbo toward Dictel Park.

dictel tower. Richard Becket sits up in the fortieth-story penthouse bed, being copulated by a moaning clone of Shira plumped and aged to twenty-three in the vat when the Soviet-style wired phone he installed out of Cold War nostalgia interrupts his sexual meditation. He checks the caller ID, then snaps up the receiver. “Bernkastel! What do you want?”

“General!” reports Bernkastel breathlessly. “I’ve penetrated to the heart of the ‘Student Union’ conspiracy! I’m pursuing the traitor Kubota right now, but I need backup!”

“Have you notified Mobley?”

“Anson Mobley is a corrupt fool!”

“Don’t tell me you didn’t plan your strategy.”

“General, it was too—”

“Are you a cocksman, Bernkastel?”

Bernkastel blurts in shock: “What?”

“If you were a cocksman, Bernkastel, you would be conquering women instead of butchering them like animals. Shira Thomas would be your slave, there would be no Student Union, and you would not be in this mess. Understood?”


“You are already dead.” He slams the phone receiver onto its base. As the Shira clone bounces on his cock uninterrupted, he returns to his meditation.

eightieth street. Karen weaves through the cars speeding down the main thoroughfare. Bernkastel pursues her madly, bounces off cars, sends them spinning out to avoid him, gets hit to the pavement by one, leaps back up, and returns to the chase. Karen is already in the park with a head start.

Further down the street, Brandi arrives from the coffee shop and waits for a break in the traffic, then crosses. Once in the park, she hides in the trees.

coffee house. Courtney announces to the worried crowd, “Mr. Bernkastel just attacked Karen and Colette. Karen got away, but Colette’s been badly hurt.” They respond with gasps and screams. She holds up her hand to signal silence. “He clearly intended to suicide-bomb this meeting, but Karen got him away from us and Jen and Shira are joining her.”

Lorelei gasps. “How’d he find out?”


Cory demands, “Who told him?”


“He planned it beforehand,” Connor explains. “Shira planned against him.”

“He’s not here, which means so far Shira’s counterplan’s working.”

Fiona looks around in near panic. “Where’s Leila?” Rob takes out his phone.

dictel park. Jennifer opens Rio’s trunk in the parking lot. “I don’t know how long I can hold him off,” says Karen.

“Notice anything about him?”

Karen looks carefully. “He’s using his phone?”

“He’s using GPS to Trace you.”

“Oh no...”

When Shira arrives she switches her hoverboard off in mid-air and does a quick dismount next to her car, then puts it in the trunk, strips off her tights to throw it in, takes her fighting skirt out, and shuts it. Rio autolocks itself. She puts on the skirt. Jennifer glances into the park, Shira nods, and they run in.

A lone and smugly arrogant Klown strides down the path swinging a nunchuck. Karen steals it from him and hits him in the temple to knock him out.

Oliver Thorwald’s van screeches into the parking lot beside the Mustang. Oliver takes out his shovel, slams the door and continues to complain. “The wife ain’t getting away from me that easy.” Johnny-Johnny merely giggles and sneaks toward the Mustang like a stalker.

Sneaking through the trees, using darkness as her cover, Brandi reaches the edge of the big lawn. On the other side, the Dictel Towers look like fantasy castles in the distance. She notices a figure sitting on one of the benches around the dead fountain. When she sees the hairstyle, she knows at once it is Leila.

Rio warns, “No touchy.” Johnny-Johnny tries to key it anyway; it zaps him hard enough to slam him against the van. Thorwald grabs him and pulls him into the park.

dictel tower. The clone screams in climax. then collapses beside the Chairman into a stupor. He rolls over, bites his neck, and drinks the blood gushing from the punctured veins. She struggles helplessly against him. Slowly, she grows weak until, her blood drained at last, she dies.

He rolls off her onto the pillow. Off the endtable he takes a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, extracts a cigarette, and lights it. He breathes in the nicotinic fumes deeply; he is blowing it out when his assistants arrive. “Not the original, but at least it’s refreshing.”

“What should we do with it, my lord?” asks the chief assistant.

“The President of the President is coming. Let’s prepare him a special treat, shall we?”

“Yes, sir!” The assistants pick up the dead clone and carry her out of the bedroom.

dictel park. Tears stream down Leila’s face. “This is my choice. I love you, Rob. Goodbye.” She ends the call and puts her phone down.

Shira and Jennifer find their way blocked by two shirtless gangsters in baggy pants. One says, “Shit outta luck, bitches.” He reaches into his pants to get his pistol, but Shira hammers his hand so hard he shoots his own groin. The girls yank down the other’s pants and run for it.

Bernkastel’s attention turns toward the shot. Karen takes advantage of his distraction to knock the phone out of his hand. She runs deeper into the park. He picks up the phone; enraged, he chases her. But when he reaches the clearing, he spots Leila, stops cold, and forgets about Karen.

Reno Corson and Bunny Strakeljahn park his yellow Hummer next to Thorwald’s van. Reno says, “Leila really here?”

“Ollie says so.” They cock their pistols and run into the park in pursuit of Oliver and Johnny.

Brandi watches Leila from a distance.

coffee house. Fiona cries, “Leila’s trying to get him to kill her?” She throws herself into Rob’s arms and wails helplessly.

Schuyler puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, Fi. My cousins won’t let him.”

“Easy for you to say!”

Courtney announces, “Colette’s hurt and Karen’s busy, so it’s all up to us!”

“Clubs, represent!” calls Lorelei. “LGBTQ, banned!”

Connor stands up. “Humanists, banned!”

Sana: “Anti-Caliphate Resistance, blanked out!”

Schuyler: “Peace Committee, banned!”

Lyssa from Shira’s Love Slaves: “Artists, unofficial!”

Harumi: “Science, unofficial!”

Akane: “Computer, unofficial!”

Lyssa’s girlfriend Chuck: “Music not the Glee Club, unofficial!”

Courtney asks, “Everybody here, mostly?” All the students stand up and cheer. “From now on, we can’t depend on any vulnerable leaders. We’re all in this together. We make all our decisions collectively.”

“Whose idea was that?” asks Rob.

“Mine and Jen’s,” Connor replies. “Karen just has too many enemies.”

“So we’re going to do this together,” says Akane, “right?”

Chuck stands on her chair. “We do it together, or we don’t do it at all!” The students roar their approval.

dictel park. Three bootleg Deads follow Shira and Jennifer. Jennifer gives Shira a worried look, but Shira looks at the cannibal corpses. POTaTOS warns the mon, “Stop torturing me with those delicate butterfly wings, you monster.” Shira and Jennifer stare at each other in surprise; then Shira slowly turns a mischievous look at the Deads. Out of her earring, through her phone, into the Deads’ control units: POTaTOS redirects them back toward Bernkastel.

Leila stares at him. “Aren’t you going to kill me, Sergeant?”

“Fool!” he yells. “Go back to Lady Drusilla and prepare for your Ceremony!” Shira and Jennifer gasp; he turns to see them stare at each other in shock.

Oliver holds his shovel in Bernkastel’s back. “Get away from my wife, motherfucker.”

“You haven’t married her yet, Thorwald.”

“I will, if you don’t fuck her up like an idiot.”

Three Deads attack. With amazing speed, the three killers decapitate them with their blades as Leila watches.

And Brandi watches them all. The butterfly mon flits away.

coffee house. Connor puts his phone down. “Shira’s analytical just called. They’re close to catching Bernkastel, so it’s only a matter of time before the cops get here.”

Courtney proclaims, “Meeting adjourned! Let’s all get out of here before the cops do.”

The students leave in surprisingly organized fashion, directing each other out. The exile owners of the Beit al-Qahwah quickly rearrange the meeting room back into a casino, then shut off the lights and walk calmly to their cars. The last cars pull out, leaving the place as dark and deserted as the rest of downtown Bangor.

dictel park. Shira and Jennifer reach Leila, and Karen joins them. Jennifer taunts, “Did I hear someone mention a ceremony?”

Bernkastel spins to face her. “Blair! That’s none of your business!”

Shira says, “That business is mine, Bernkastel.”

Bunny sneers at him. “You call yourself American? Just kill the bitches!” Oliver slams the shovel in Bunny’s face and knocks her down.

Shira gets in Johnny-Johnny’s face and stares hypnotically into his eyes. “Go eat shit.” He runs away, finds a dog taking a dump, and eats the poop.

Karen yells, “Thesis!”

Jennifer replies, “Human sacrifice?”


Shira says, “Shotgun wedding?”


The cousins triangulate Bernkastel: loaded yo-yo spinning in Shira’s left hand, stolen nunchucks held out in Karen’s left hand, token right-hander Jennifer holding fully extended kubotan. Oliver, Johnny-Johnny, Bunny, and Reno surround them in turn. The Blade Knight spins and looks at each in panic, knowing if he strikes one the others will attack. The butterfly flits around them-but suddenly it charges into Bernkastel’s phone.

He stands in shock. The ringtone. He puts the phone to his ear. “Eri!”

Eri Ejimoto replies: “Mark?”

The phone explodes. The super soldier bursts into flame.

Bunny screams. Reno shrieks, “Jesus H. fuck, that was a mon!” Oliver gasps, “Fucking shit!” The burning man writhes and flails and screams in pain and terror of death.

The cousins converge on Leila. “C’mon,” says Shira, “we gotta go.” Leila takes her hand. The four girls run toward the car as fast as they can.

Sirens approach. Oliver, Bunny, and Reno pull Johnny away from another turd. In the girls’ direction they run.

Shira has Leila get in the back seat with her; Jennifer takes the wheel; Karen takes the remaining seat, and they shut their doors together. Rio backs up, peels out, and leaves. By the time Police Chief Mobley’s COPCO force arrives, all the vehicles are gone.

Brandi smiles and disappears into the darkness.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 5 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 6/29/11: Added character of Nicole, expanded dialogue, edited story to fit Second Edition continuity, corrected text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 2.1, 9/29/11: Changed Nicole’s name to Colette to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3, 10/1/11: Edited descriptions of the Fearsome Foursome and the librarians to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Edited description of the Fearsome Foursome to match Interlude 12 in Book 2.]
[Revision 4 Final, 8/2/12: Now merged with the original 5.6 and massively revised to fit Fourth Revision continuity. New "Battle of Dictel Park" sequence added, and title changed accordingly. Scene "Pizza Mission" moved here from the original 5.7, expanded, and integrated into new sequence.]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spanner 5.4: You Think You're All That

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 5: I Lerned Alot in Skool
Part 4: You Think You’re All That (Final Revision)

2 september 2014.
After the rallies, before lunch, the one class being held today. The school has assigned the tutors to the homeroom of one Mark Bernkastel, now entering the room. The Terror War veteran looks every bit the war hero; girls stare at him with instant love, boys with envy — but when he spots Shira and Jennifer on the other side of his desk, he shudders in shock. Jennifer lowers her glasses to peer at him; she looks away from him in revulsion, then at Shira with concern. Shira crosses her arms and flashes him a contemptuous smirk: “Well!” A girl lets out a short scream. Mimi recognizes the man who almost murdered her. He glares at her. The cute Asian boy with pencil-thin moustache sitting behind her leans forward protectively. Shira slips into Bernkastel’s face. “Don’t I know you?”

Jennifer slides in next to her. “He should know me.”

“Don’t make her mad.” Shira smiles at him ironically; Jennifer smiles sweetly.

“Get back in your seats,” Bernkastel growls, “before I report you.”

“Yes, sir,” they say together. They hurry back to their seats. Surveying the class, they notice one empty seat. They look at each other, silently nod, then stare at Bernkastel. He starts to sweat.

He speaks in a perfect Imperial accent. “You may think you’re here to learn things. You’re not. You’re here to learn how to be good Americans.” Several students and tutors, including all those not white, roll their eyes and sigh. He glares at them. “Now what was that about?”

Jennifer (a Canadian before the coup) stands up. “Some of us are born insufficiently American to join the Party, eh.”

Shira stands up. “You gotta have the politically correct skin color to be American.”

“Is your blood made of money or poop? Ask a Becket.”

Debbie rises to protest. “Hey!”

Bernkastel slams his fist on the podium. “Silence! I will have none of this!” He turns his attention to Leila. “Leela Shelley.”


“That’s not the American way—”

“That’s how it’s pronounced. And I’m Irish.”

Several students gasp and stare at her, mouths wide open in terror. Bernkastel glares at her with wide eyes and mouth shut tight, shocked at her interruption. His face contorts with rage and barely restrained hysteria. “Are your parents... Muslim?

“My mother is a Goth Rocker and my father is... European.”

“Fool! America saved your continent from the Satanic evil of Islam!” The gasp comes from one of the Ibrahim sisters — Saida, the eldest, a Muslim.

Leila looks at him coldly. “Satanic. I see.” She stands up. “And no, I will not change my name.” She walks up the aisle, trying to leave.

He gets in her face. “Stop this instant!” His face twitches.

She leans into his ear and whispers, “I know.” She stares at him unsmiling.

He looks back at her as if he has just been slapped. For a seeming eternity they look at each other, and everybody else stares at them. Then he relents and lets her leave.

Jennifer walks up to him, looks at Leila as she leaves, and then looks at him. She lowers her glasses to take a good look at him, then raises them again. She smiles knowingly. He turns pale. She walks around him and leaves. Saida hurries after her. Connor and Rob stand up, look at him, and walk out.

Bernkastel withdraws to the classroom office and shuts the door. The gossip resumes with a vengeance as the students file out into the hall. The Asian boy behind Mimi keeps his eyes on Shira; she winks at him, and he winks back.

teacher’s office. Bernkastel works on what seems to be class papers when Shira casually enters, closes the door behind her, and pours herself a cup of coffee. “You were just that close to disaster.”

He does not look at her. “I can’t see how such a celebrated hedonist would resist the greatest adventure in history.”

Shira shrugs. “I always ask what’s in it for me.”

He spins his chair to face her. “Power. Glory. Excitement.”

She paces. “Betrayal, loneliness, paranoia. I don’t see myself wanting to constantly have to look over my shoulder. Do you like expecting to get stabbed in the back by everybody you know and some you don’t?”

“Your friend Amanda doesn’t think so.”

Shira spins to stare wide-eyed at him.

hallway. Jennifer arrives with Saida’s unreligious younger sister Sana just as Leila slams her locker. She turns to them with her arms crossed. “I can’t believe that man found a conspiracy in my name.”

Sana asks Jennifer, “Does SPEC actually have a policy of hiring barbarians?”

Jennifer shrugs. “I’m afraid they do. It’s an official Party policy called Tough Love.” She puts her arm around Leila and pulls her close. “Dear Leila, you shouldn’t be surprised some Patriot hates your name as much as your grandpa does. That’s what Wally thinks of it.” Leila sputters and giggles at the mention of Brinkman’s unwanted nickname.

The girls hear crying. Saida and Catholic middle sister Sharifa walk in their direction; Sharifa holds her and tries to console her, but Saida cannot be consoled and cries. Spotting Sana, she runs into her arms and wails, “Why does everybody here hate Muslims so much?”

Jennifer replies calmly, “They think you’re a crusader from an enemy cult.”

I’m not a crusader!”

“Bernkastel is. The Church of America, you see, is a cult.”

another hallway. Rob and Connor walk together toward their own lockers. Rob says, “If he figured somebody was gay, he’d have ripped him into pieces.”

“He’s a Patriot. Patriots confuse meanness and stubborn ignorance with courage and integrity.”

Rob casts him a flirtatious glance. “If I told you I loved you, would you hate me?”

Connor stops and smiles mischievously at Rob. “Let me put it this way... if you were Leila and I were Jennifer and you told me that, I would have kissed you in front of everybody.”

Rob grins and blushes. “Connor, I like you.”

The smile disappears. “But remember we’re guys. Keep it discreet.”

Rob frowns in disappointment. “Oh, all right.” They turn in the direction of their lockers and resume walking side by side.

teacher’s office. “Amanda.” Shira crosses her arms and stares hard at him. “She the one you shank every night? Between the legs, I mean.”

“You’re not getting it, Miss Thomas,” he says impatiently. “She and I willingly chose the ultimate pleasure.”


He freezes. “What—”

“The most advanced mind control makes coercion feel like free will. Once they perfected it with Fox News, they used it on extreme sports, reality shows, and Internet porn, and several million homicidal new Breitbarts and Coulters were born.”

He begins to panic. “It was Amanda’s free choice! My—”

She stares into his eyes and smiles ironically. “VCS. Visual Control System. Artificial Charm.”

He stares at her in shock.

hallway. Jennifer calmly puts away her textbooks. “Which brings up the point: in the broader sense, religion means giving away control of your life to any outside authority: god, guru, government.”

Saida tries to protest, “But—”

She puts her hands on Saida’s shoulders and smiles. “You’re a sweet girl and I really like you.” Her smile disappears. “But in the wrong hands, religion is the deadliest weapon in the world.” She pulls Saida into a tight hug and kisses her on the cheek. “I swear I’ll protect you and your sisters no matter what.” She looks at Leila. Leila hesitates, then hugs Saida from behind. Sharifa and Sana sigh in relief.

Suddenly Debbie arrives, offended. “Blair!”

“Case in point.”

teacher’s office. Bernkastel stands up and points at Shira. “This nation has grown weak! America needs to be purified of its degeneration before it can achieve its eternal destiny!”

“So.” Shira frowns. “Conscience is weakness, cruelty is virtue.”

“Why are you and your cousins so foolish as to weaken Our Nation by helping the weak?”

“Freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”

Are you trying to destroy our Revolution?

“Sorry, Sarge, if I can’t dance to it, it ain’t my revolution.”

He swipes a letter opener off his desk and holds it at her threateningly. “You know too much.” His eye twitches.

She switches her coffee cup to her right hand, picks up the pot, pops off the lid. “You think too little.” She takes a sip from her cup.

Suddenly his wife Cherry, another teacher, opens the door. “Am I interrupting something?”

Shira smiles at her. “No, we were just getting finished.”

“I was explaining something to Miss Thomas here,” says Bernkastel. He takes Cherry’s arm, but stares at Shira with barely controlled rage. “I’ve had enough. Let’s go.” They leave together. As soon as she hears the classroom door shut, Shira follows them out.

hallway. Debbie stares angrily at Jennifer. “Are you consorting with the enemy, Blair?”

“Why don’t you address her by rank, Lieutenant,” says Jennifer coldly. She gently pushes the Ibrahim sisters; “Go!” she whispers. They hurry away.

“I’m surprised your lack of loyalty dragged you this low.”

Jennifer stands uncomfortably close and says flirtatiously, “If I were loyal, I’d be the infinitely cruel Student Council President whose every whim you would worship.” She lowers her glasses and caresses Debbie’s cheek. “Right... Debbie?”

Debbie shrinks back and blushes bright red. When Jennifer’s lips approach hers, she panics and runs away. Jennifer puts her glasses back, then sweeps Leila into her arms.

Leila stares with wide eyes into Jennifer’s. “How do you know?”

Jennifer lowers her glasses and smiles. She can see... Leila turns pale. Jennifer holds her tight and plants a long gentle kiss on her cheek.

Some time later, they’re gone when Shira arrives, but she finds the cute Asian boy waiting. “I think I know you,” he tells her. “Have we met?”

She smiles cockeyed. Japanese. He might. “Maybe. Or you might just have read the news.” She holds out her hand. “Shira Thomas.”

He shakes it. “Akane Ejimoto.”

“The monfighting champion.”

“Nenene still hasn’t forgiven you for handing her ass back to her in the National Dance Challenge.”

Shira chuckles. “She hasn’t forgiven me for stealing her loli.”

The girls around them gasp and gossip. Akane says, “I’m glad I have the opportunity to meet you at last... Shira.”

“Pleased to meet you... Akane-kun.” They smile at each other like prizefighters. She reaches for her locker—

—then someone slams her against it from behind. She backfists the attacker in the mouth, then turns to face her: fat, mean, gaudily made up, smelling of stale sweat and cigarette smoke. “You Shira Thomas?” this girl sneers. “You think you’re hot shit. Well, guess what? You ain’t so hot.”

Shira frowns. “And you’re God’s gift to men, right?”

“Fuckin’ A. You better not go stealin’ my men, or I’m gonna fuck you up.”

Shira gets in front of Akane. “Don’t mess with my friends or I’ll pop your ego.”

“You ain’t got no friends, ugly-ass bitch.”

“Broken egos really, really hurt.”

Suddenly Kelly hits her from behind with a book. “Lopez, you filthy whore!”

“Ohhh, so that’s your name.”

Christina tries to punch both girls. “That’s Tina to you, fuckin’ lezzies!”

Kelly goes red with rage. “What did you call me, whore?”

“I seen you with Charmian, you lesbo!”

Kelly punches Christina in the jaw. Christina bounces a punch off Kelly’s head. Kelly puts her in a painful headlock. Shira pushes the fight away from her. “Being a unique and special snowflake is such a bitch... Christina.”

“You shut the fuck—” Kelly interrupts Christina’s outburst with her fist.

“Let’s go,” says Shira. Akane nods. They leave Kelly and Christina behind to fight. “So,” he says, “I hear you’re good with mons.”

She gives him a cockeyed smirk. “Whatcha willing to bet?”

“Fuck bets.” He flashes a small set of datacards in front of her. “Let’s fight!”

another hallway. Rob and Connor pass Zac Finney sweeping. Zac asks, “Y’all notice your Patriot homeroom teacher’s been makin’ creepy eyes at Leila?”

“Jen’s been on him all day,” Connor replies, “and Shira even fought him last night. He’s our Slasher.”

“So when’d SPEC start hiring Slashers?”

“When management decided it was a cool idea to use ’em against the Student Union.”

Rob looks at Connor funny. “Management?”

“Yeah. Management get these ideas they think are cool.”


Connor asks Zac, “By the way, you going to Jen’s new club?”

Rob winks. “That’s where we’re headed.”

Zac empties the dust pan into the bin. “After this. See y’all there!” The boys wave and leave.

lobby. The commercials temporarily vanish. The monitors are now the battlefield for Shira Thomas and Akane Ejimoto, monfighters, in front of a fascinated crowd. Against his three Legendary Dragons, she plays four random commons and her Glitch. He laughs. His dragons attack.

One of her commons turns out to be an energy eater. She uses the dragons’ energy to fuse the commons and link them to the Glitch.

He triangulates her mons and attacks. She throws in another common — the Glitch eats it, her fused mon eats the Glitch in turn — and a Sekaimon appears in their place, to everyone’s shock including Akane’s. Now she plays her card—

“Danmaku Jigoku — Musou Tensei!

—the one she stole from Reimu. The Sekaimon bursts into a cloud of bullets that takes out the Legendary Dragons. The students cheer; Akane screams—

girls’ restroom. Charmian searches her phone’s call list hoping to call her father the Admiral, her mother, or her uncle Jack Becket. She’s surprised to see that Richard Becket, her great-uncle, is in Bremerton and available to call. She calls him.

“Why hello, Charmian. I am much pleased to hear from you so soon. Is anything wrong?”


“What happened?”

“Karen Kubota is following through with her plan to start a Student Union.”

“Kubota...” For an endless moment he says nothing. “Is Shira Thomas involved?”


“As I feared.”

“You mean it’s even worse?”

“Your great-grandmother gazed into the soul of Shira Thomas and found nothing but pure chaos.”

“Oh my—”

“You must keep Leila Shelley away from her at all costs,” he commands. “Understood?”

“Yes, Uncle.” The line goes dead. Eyes wide, mouth open, all but paralyzed, Charmian slowly lowers the phone to her heart.

hallway. On their way to the lounge, the Bernkastels see Jennifer and Leila coming toward them, holding hands. About four meters from each other, they stop. Bernkastel stares at Jennifer with undisguised hatred; she stares back with unnerving calm.

“Get away from her, Blair,” Bernkastel warns.

Jennifer smiles ironically. “No.”

“You’re only a girl.”

“You’re only one man... Sergeant.”

They stare each other down for a seemingly eternity until a terrified Cherry grabs her husband and hastens him away.

library. Shira meets the eleven girls and three boys of her new instant fanclub, sitting together around two tables combined into one. She recognizes the familar faces of Polly, Mimi, Nancy, Harumi, Fuyumi, and cousin Schuyler, who brought her friends Trishie and Ruthie, who brought their friends Stephie and Lorine, who brought their neighbour Lyssa. Seika came with his cousins; Cory brought a diva-obsessed gay New African refugee his family shelters, named Eddie. Fuyumi gushes, “We had so much fun back in Japan that we gathered for you a new group of Shira Thomas Love Slaves.”

She looks at Fuyumi incredulously. “You mean you restarted that ‘instant fanclub’ thing here?

The girls stand up and cry out in unison, “We love you, Shira!”

Shira surveys the crowd of adoring, adorable female faces. Their love touches her deeply. “Oh my... I think I just fell totally in love with every single one of you. I wanna marry you all right now. From now on, you’re all officially my wives.” Her eleven new maiwaifu run over to crowd her; she hugs and kisses every single one.

lecture room. In the theatre-like classroom where science classes normally meet, Jennifer calls the Science Club into existence, holding out her arms as if to embrace the twelve girls and five boys in the seats plus advisors Yasmin and Zac. “Welcome to our new Science Club, where we think too much, invent cool stuff, and do crazy things we’re not supposed to!” The new club members cheer, whoop, and whistle.

Kelly bursts in with three yes-girls. “Science? Ew!”

“Thinking makes you sick? No wonder you’re so dumb, Kelly.”

“Thinking’s bad for your immortal soul and you know it, Blair!”

“If you wanna get to Heaven so bad, go do stupid things and die.”

“You’re going to Hell!” Kelly storms out with her yes-girls close behind.

“Okay!” yells Jennifer to regain their attention. “So I was thinking, if you wanna know the kinds of things the scientific way of thinking can do, maybe I shouldn’t brag about science fairs and all that geeky stuff you’re probably too familiar with, so how ’bout this. There was this time when I had to face down an entire army.” Everybody in the room leans forward to listen carefully to every word. “I was naked, unarmed, and alone. They were probably in contact with multiple corporate headquarters and Patriot militias, and they had this helicopter they bought surplus from the United States Police Force and sent back and forth over my head to track me down and blow me up with rockets like I was Mothra or something. I wanted to live, but I had to survive all these heavily armed men with no conscience and a fetish for snuffing out lives who wanted only for me to die.

“So I improvised. I observed the copter pilot’s patterns and discovered his blind spot. I spied on the killers and found out they would get together for a combined strike. I waited for the sun to go down. And when the time was right, I stole some of their signal beacons and used them to lure the pilot into one particular tree. The helicopter flipped upside down and landed right on the strike force. And just like that, thirty-one professional serial killers were dead.”

Ten girls and two boys stand up and loudly scream their hero worship. Brandi smiles and gestures thumbs-up, but Jennifer’s attention is on the look of wonder in Leila’s face.

faculty lounge. Once the last teacher not named Bernkastel leaves, Mark tells Cherry, “This is need-to-know.”

“Hmph!” She resentfully slinks out the door.

Bernkastel picks up the room’s old-fashioned wired phone receiver that remains due to budget cuts and calls his old commander from the first Iraq war, Richard Becket. “Who is this?” the Chairman asks.

“Sergeant Bernkastel, General.”

“Ah, Bernkastel. Mr. Ross was eager to inform me of your mission. How well is it going, Sergeant?”

“Have you heard of Jennifer Blair?”

“A nuisance like her mother.”

“She killed fifty-two professionals in one night.”

What about her!

“Blair is here. And she knows.”

Chairman Becket takes a few seconds to let the realization sink in. “Very well, Bernkastel. Find a way to deal with her while you still can.”

“Yes, sir!”

Bernkastel hangs up and leans on the receiver. Cherry walks in, sees the disturbed look on his face, and looks at him with concern. He only looks away. “Blair...”

On the other end of the disconnected line, Becket obsesses over the likelihood of a meticulous plan about to fall apart. “Ross, you fool.” He picks up the framed photograph of Willa, his longtime obsession, and stares at it. “Just like her mother...”

locker rooms. No gym class today, but the students get the option to shower. In the boys’ locker room, Connor and Rob find themselves alone, so they strip off their clothes without a second thought, walk into the showers, and turn them on. Rob muses, “I wish we could get away with being naked all the time.”

“The girls would eat you alive, Rob.”

“At least they’d want me to die happy.” Rob winks.

Connor fails to suppress a chuckle.

They hear girls scream outside. Mimi, Nancy, Trishie, and Ruthie have just been chased into the hall. In the girls’ locker room, five mean girls gloat. Charmian, Christian, Debbie, Kelly, and Lucy surround Shira, who is already nude and walking to the showers. “Try that shit on me and I’ll strip you naked all at once.”

Shira, Jennifer, Leila, and Polly shower in the open front stalls, unashamed of their nudity, admiring each other’s beauty. The mean girls shower in the sheltered back stalls and peek over only to cast hateful looks. Charmian snarls, “Figures you’d be a bunch of whores.”

Shira flicks her hands out at the mean girls and goes “boo!” to startle them; when they open their eyes, she’s gone.

Suddenly Charmian feels someone yank out her tampon. “Ow!” Unaware of her nudity, furious Charmian chases the elusive thief all the way to the nearest toilet stall, where she finds Shira, still naked and wet, holding it by the string over the toilet. Staring at her with an ironic smile, she drops it into the toilet. She looks down to gaze at Charmian’s body lasciviously. Charmian covers herself with her arms in shame, shoots a hateful glare at Shira, and scurries away.

Mimi and her friends hide in the boys’ locker room, not just from the mean girls, but from the sight of two beautiful male bodies in the showers. Connor blushes in embarrassment when he finds Rob looking at him. “Uh, Rob, I’m not a girl.”

“So? You’re still beautiful.”

They hear a chorus of four female gasps. They look in that direction, then at each other. They resume showering.

Rob whispers, “You should look at me like I’m a girl, Connor.”

“That’s something a former model would say.”

He looks at Connor flirtatiously. “Connor, I’m disappointed in you. You gotta learn to appreciate male beauty. I’m not just a pretty face, y’know. Look at my body.”

Connor reluctantly shifts his gaze down toward Rob’s body. Rob turns in the shower to show himself off. Connor blushes furiously; Rob winks.

They turn off the showers, dry themselves off, walk to their lockers. Rob attempts to kiss Connor on the cheek, but Connor stops him; he shakes his head and points toward the girls. Rob rolls his eyes and nods in acknowledgement. They get dressed and try to avoid the girls on their way out.

principal’s office. After the final bell sounds, as the students hurry home before the Dictel Park gangs claim the campus, Bernkastel reports to the principals arranged in pyramid formation. Principal Principal sits below with his oily smirk and unnerving stare, flanked by his assistants Robson and Benson; above him the assistant principals, JROTC commander Falconer and football coach Terry Mobley; in capstone position, the fascist-uniformed Conservative Revolutionary Party commissar, Morton Spiekerman. Principal, speaking for SPEC, speaks first. “Sergeant, you say you have detected a threat to this school. Report.”

“It’s your precious tutors,” Bernkastel says. “They’re spies.”

“State your reason.”

“Three. Shira Thomas is Reston’s agent, and daughter. Karen Kubota is the threat that it is my mission to destroy. And Jennifer Blair has made it her mission to put an end to mine.”

“Everybody says you a run-in with Miss Thomas last night,” says Spiekerman.

“She kept you from having your fun on another pretty girl, didn’t you,” says Mobley.

I’m serious!” shrieks Bernkastel.

Spiekerman commands, “Tell me about Blair.”

“She made a threat. ‘You’re only one man,’ she said.”

“The news said it was fifty-two,” says Robson.

“All in one night,” says Benson.

Principal warns, “Then you had better be careful around her, Sergeant.”

“I will concern myself with Blair and Thomas when the time comes,” says Bernkastel. “Kubota is already dead.”

middle school. They meet after school, Lillian with Belle, Melody with Elle, to face a crowd.

Lillian smugly smirks. “Now let’s see who’s superior.” Melody nods.

The signal is given. Lillian gets into fighting position, then charges — but a blur slams into her, and she finds herself on the ground, pinned, helpless to escape the count of three. The crowd is silent, shocked.

Melody gets off Lillian and climbs to her feet. She says nothing, only takes Elle’s hand and leaves.

Belle rushes to Lillian’s side. “Are you—” Lillian silences her with a scornful look.

The crowd disperses.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 5 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011, 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 6/28/11: Added characters of Nicole and Sharifa, edited plot to fit Second Edition continuity, corrected text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 2.1, 9/29/11: Changed Nicole’s name to Colette to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3, 10/1/11: added “Leela/Layla” argument from Project Notebooks, added Sharifa’s sisters Sultana and Sana, researched article “School: It’s Way More Boring Than When You Were There” (Salon, 9/14/11), edited plot to fit Third Edition continuity, corrected text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Changed one of Jennifer’s lines for greater clarity (and to show more of her contempt toward religious fundamentalists).]
[Revision 4, 8/2/12: The hallway-lockers scene now heavily revised and expanded; everything else now part of 6.2 Revision 4. All new scenes created for the Fourth Revision. Section title changed accordingly.]
[Revision 4 Final, 10/3/12: Corrected a characterization error: in all previous versions of the scene with Jennifer and the Ibrahim sisters, Jennifer said uncomforting things about religion itself. Now she says the exact words needed to comfort Saida while still warning her, especially about Bernkastel.]

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spanner 5.3: The Grand Introduction

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 5: I Lerned Alot in Skool
Part 3: The Grand Introduction (Final Revision)

2 september 2014.
dictel stadium.
The Bangor High band march around the field playing the school fight song as the drill team run their flags intersecting them in intricate patterns. Colette stakes out her position above the outcasts along with Kio, the Tachibanas, and French exchange student (and Jennifer’s lab assistant) Sana Ibrahim in the upper deck, where they can hear themselves over the din and bombast below. Shira and the Blair and Shelley siblings join them; the three girls pack themselves close together. Seika asks, “Why does this school have to have a ’grand introduction’?”

“Normally this would be time for homeroom,” Colette explains, “but on the first day of school the administration announces the top of the school hierarchy.”

A huge half-naked and muscular male athlete strains to carry a huge flag bearing the Dictel logo to the center of the field. The announcer gushes, “Now let’s honor our Sponsor: Dictel Corporation, America’s Defense Leader™! Dictel Is America™!” The stadium crowd cheer, but the outcasts and dissidents remain stonily silent. The flag bearers, band, and drill team run to the sidelines; eight mobile platforms, each bearing one of the students in epaulets, autodrive in and assemble in the middle of the field. Cranes bearing spotlights and PA speakers surround the platform.

The tutors are appalled. Sana exclaims, “All this just for the student council?”

“But of course!” replies Jennifer bitterly. “They have to prove they’re superior enough to be the student council!”

“They pay for it themselves,” Colette adds. “Even the council positions are by auction.”

Jennifer puts her arm around Sana. “That’s how elections are done in America, by auction or bribe. It’s not like this country’s democratic or anything.” Sana shakes her head sadly.

The announcer booms: “Introducing! Representing the best of America’s youth! The Bangor High School Student Council! Give your heartfelt standing ovation to your leaders!” The students below them obey; they stand and cheer as loud as they can — but there’s something strained in their acclaim...

The exchange students stare at the scene in undisguised horror. Fuyumi says, “This is like North Korea!”

Jennifer says grimly, “Welcome to the United Corporate Socialist States of America.”

The introductions begin. “First! the class presidents!” Four figures move to the center of the platform; the others surround them near the edges. “Freshman Class! Lady Bird Penner!” She looks like a Southern belle. She waves an aristocratic fan.

“Sophomore Class! Michael Rodchenko!” He is stocky, smug, slightly brutish-looking, typical of his clan.

“Junior Class! Christian Fleer!” Unlike her older sister, her hair is short and black with the bangs fashionably dyed pink. Rumor says she is as cruel as her father, the Admiral.

“Senior Class! Robert Marshall Brinkman!” He is tall like Connor, but his hair is black like Rob’s. They notice Leila directing a hateful killing glare at him; he might even have noticed.

As the sustained applause resumes, the class presidents make way for the others. “Treasurer! Rachel Brinkman!” Bob’s sister, almost as languid as Leila but with long hair and librarian glasses.

“Secretary! Lucy Wilkinson!” Her long blond hair tied up crownlike, she waves to her audience like an adored pop idol.

“Junior Patriot Representative! Kelly McLendon!” A small girl sporting Junior ROTC female officer’s uniform, red scarf, long brown braid, and a fanatical expression waves two flags high: the Star-and-Stripes of the American Empire and the Stars-and-Bars Party banner.

“Vice President! and Student Body Liaison! Deborah Becket!” A girl with short blond hair, as small as Kelly but with the fierce arrogant aura of a warrior princess, swings around her lacrosse stick like a Holy Crusader’s broadsword.

Kio comments, “That’s two Fleers, two Brinkmans, and Jack Becket’s kid. So where’s the Everson?”

Leila snaps, “Don’t ask.”


“And finally! President of the Student Council! Charmian Fleer!” At last Charmian is front and center, princess-monarch of this school, looking more like a queen than a mere student councillor. A flag bearer runs the Crusader-mascot flag to her; she slings it over her shoulder to strike a heroic pose. This time the cheering is sincere; she is spectacular.

Six small personal helicopters launch from the sidelines and fly toward the platform. “And! introducing! the fighting defenders of our school! Team! Valiant!” They land in a circle surrounding Charmian; one comes up to her: Bart. “Led by Team Captain! Tournament Champion! and Head Boy of this school! Barton! Green!” He takes the flag from her and waves it heroically; she embraces him from the side. They are the center of all attention by design, one of the two official couples, and they bask in the spotlight — yet there is a tension between them that everyone notices.

A calmer and more authoritative announcer takes over. “You will now leave in orderly fashion to the Nike Sports Arena for a rally to honor Nike’s contributions to our company’s sports program.”

campus walkway. Connor and Rob scare away all challengers with a glare. But Shira and Jennifer get harassed all the way from the football stadium to the basketball arena. Team Valiant’s Scotty Walker growls at Jennifer, “You were trying to turn me into a fag when you hit me with my girlfriend, weren’t you, Blair.”

“You could do that all by yourself, Scotty,” Jennifer blithely replies. “I think you’d be bottom.”

She dodges his punch and stops her fist just short of his broken nose. He stands paralyzed for a split second. “Eep...” Then he scurries away.

Rex Corson, ranked third on the team, sneers at Shira, “You don’t look American. I bet you’re down with the evil Fag Agenda.”

She gives him a scornful sideways look. “So black babies come only from fags? How mighty white you are, massa.” He looks at her like she’s crazy, then dashes away.

Lucy Wilkinson sweetly condescends to Jennifer, “You think you’re a hero, Blair. But you’re no hero. Heroes don’t lower themselves to help the undeserving.”

“Or maybe I’m an evil hero who takes on all Challenges because — horror of horrors — I like people? I must have killed fifty-two Slashers out of hatred of the Good.” Shocked at Jennifer’s scorn, Lucy scampers away.

Deborah Becket snarls at Shira, “Charmian tells me you’ve been messing with her. Now don’t go messing with my cousin, you hear?” Infuriated that Shira is blithely ignoring her, she grabs her by the shoulder and spins her around. “Are you messing with Charmian?

Shira fixes her eyes with a seductive look and leans uncomfortably close. “Debbie darling,” she purrs, “if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.” She smiles.

Debbie shrinks back, blushes furiously, giggles nervously, and flees.

The cousins stare at each other. Shira rolls her eyes. Jennifer shrugs. They resume walking to the arena.

gymnasium. All SPEC sports teams and facilities are run by Nike under contract in perpetuity (read: until the companies have a falling out over compensation). The spectacle in Bangor’s Nike Arena contrasts with the solemn procession that preceded it. Swooshes adorn the walls and stands like crucifixes in a Catholic church looking over the festivities ominously, the price Nike extracted for upgrading the gym and fields to professional quality. The marching band plays the Nike Corporate Anthem behind a large platform bearing what looks like the altar of a church dwarfed by a giant Bangor Crusaders team flag.

Appalled by the spectacle, Sana says, “It almost feels like we’re in China.”

Jennifer grins. “If they were speaking Chinese instead of English, I’d have to pinch myself or I’d think I died and went to the Bees’ Nest.”

“Hey you guys,” says Shira, “everybody knows America refuses to be outdone in Corporatist tastelessness even by the Chinese.”

“If Mad Ave can out-propagandize Goebbels,” says Colette coldly, "Speer’s a walking target.”

Shira pats her on the shoulder and grins wickedly. “Stick around, girl, and you’ll see the whole street suffer a heart attack.”

The deafeningly bombastic standard announcer booms, “You in the stands! The time for mocking is over! Let’s raise our voices for America’s corporations, number one in the world! Let’s scream our throats raw for the greatest name in sports™, NIIIII-KEEEEEE!!!!!" Shira and Jennifer join their voices to Connor, Cory, Rob, and several of their friends letting loose long loud “ows” quickly answered by the Junior Patriots’ “yee-haws.”

The video on the walls flash the giant word “quiet.” The cheerleaders rush onto the stage before the altar to stage a complicated routine that ends with the head cheerleader tossed into a somersault from the top of a human pyramid into the interlocked arms of four in front: Karen Kubota earns the most heartfelt cheers, boys howling, girls squeeing. Charmian glares at her with open resentment. The varsity team captains are rushed on as the announcer calls their names with highly trained overenthusiasm: football: Bart Green (linebacker); wrestling: Beck Skeever (Bart’s second); baseball: Rex Corson (Bart’s third: Seika: “I bet he’s the catcher.” Jennifer: “Ding ding ding! He wins the Cheezy Prize™!”); girls’ lacrosse, Dorian Fleer (with her cousin and team enforcer Deborah Becket); soccer: Russell Longmuir (forward) and Lindy Corson (goalkeeper); basketball: Jamal Robinson (center) and Marlette Walker (point guard); softball: Courtney Richter-Thomas; track and field: Marcus Creel (decathlon) and Ciera Walker (sprinter). Bangor High has other sports, such as gymnastics and swimming, but they are not prestigious enough in the eyes of the prestige-obsessed School Administration for their captains to earn a presence here even at sports-hungry Nike’s request.

Now it’s time for the altar call. Evangelical pietism may be imploding in America, but its spiritual spectacle has still left such powerful traces that millions of lapsed Evangelicals put the energy not thrown into spreading the gospel of the Nation by force into turning corporations into cults and meetings into holy-rolling revivals. The six principals and the Nike and Dictel corporate reps shoo the captains to the side; the principals take their positions before the altar as the corporate reps climb the platform behind it overlooking them; all raise their arms in a victory V.

And then the school-emblem backdrop falls to reveal — a terrifying twisted tangle forged from Reebok stripes and Sony “S From Hell” in idol gold and sickly pink light, somehow coming closer growing larger; the thing opens its crocodile jaw to unleash a loud harsh Godzilla roar —

Panic on and around the desecrated altar, panic on the floor below, screams fill the arena; while in the upper reaches of the stands the students howl with laughter. Shira and the fellow perpetrators around her roll in the aisles laughing so helplessly the guards find it easy to scoop them up —

detention. Several armoured guards throw Shira, Jennifer, Colette, Polly, Sana, and Leila into a cell in the girls’ wing of Bangor High’s Student Detention Center or miniature jail, nicknamed the “Doghouse.” Once the cell door is locked, the security goons storm out, leaving John Nike and John Nike to keep watch. “You’re in the Doghouse now,” the brand evangelists sing badly.

Angry and hurt, Leila slaps Shira. “What the hell did you do that for?”

Shira shocks Leila by taking her hand, kissing it, resting it on the cheek she slapped, and holding her close. “My dear Dorothy, you forget reality went bye-bye two years ago.” Leila struggles away and flees to a dark corner.

Colette struggles to catch her breath. “Shira, that was genius! Where’d you get the idea?”

Jennifer winks. “We used to collect scary logos on YouTube. We call ’em ‘Scream Gems.’”

Sana sighs. “I thought America was supposed to be this free country.”

“More like land of the freak and home of the knave,” says Jennifer scornfully. “Freedom’s so yesterday’s fishwrap.”

“Instead,” says Shira, “we’ve got...” She points at the John Nikes. “...that.”

John Nike the elder yells, “It was bad enough you Mento-bombed our Cokes. But did you have to desecrate our brand? Do you realize what the brand is to a corporation?”

John Nike the younger echoes, “The brand is the life!”

“That was unforgivable!”

“Way uncool, babes.”

“Forget it, John Nikes, we’re not drinking your corporate Kool-Aid.”

They gasp at the insult. An uncomprehending John Nike the younger says to the elder, “Is this chick for real?”

The elder scornfully replies, “Nooooo.”

From the cell’s darkest corner, a male voice says, “You’re as reckless as ever, aren’t you... Shira.”

Recognizing Dave Whitmer’s voice, Shira gasps. Colette asks, “You know him?”

“Yeah,” Shira replies. She gestures for the man to join them. “Interesting place for a reunion. So how’d you get ’em to throw you in the girls’ wing?”

“Vice Principle Falconer’s a tad oversensitive,” says Dave. “She doesn’t like being blackmailed.” He looks at the John Nikes and sighs. “You know, it must be an easy and pleasant life living at second hand, thinking someone else’s thoughts, carrying out someone else’s will, liberated from individuality, conscience, and the burden of freedom. To live, die, and kill without guilt because one is not oneself but a vessel for something greater: a hero, an idea, a god, an organization... a brand.”

The elder John Nike sneers, “Oooh, I think we have a ‘cultural critic’ here.”

Shira smirks at the John Nikes scornfully. To the girls she says, “Most of you don’t know about the dark side lurking behind every brand.”

The John Nikes squeak. Dave says, “I see you’re still heedlessly destroying everything in your wake, Shira.”

“Hey, if you don’t live dangerously, you don’t live at all.” Shira winks.

“I may have to stop you.”

Shira’s smile disappears. “I’ll destroy you too if you try.” She stares at the John Nikes. “That goes for you too. Try anything stupid, and my lawyer’s gonna have tons o’ fun with your company.”

The John Nikes petulantly storm off. “Hmph!” The elder declares, “That’s it! We’re telling!”

She waves. “See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya!” She goes back to pull Leila out of her dark corner into a tight embrace. She gazes deeply into her beautiful violet eyes. Seductively she purrs, “Leila darling, would you like to live dangerously?”

Leila struggles out of Shira’s embrace, then stares at her wide-eyed. Tormenting emotions battle in her eyes and trembling body. Everybody stares at Leila, then at Shira.

“Oh boy,” says Polly grimly, “this is gonna be an awesome school year indeed.”

Zac Finney, the janitor, comes by with they key and unlocks the door. “So what did they throw you girls in here for?”

“Laughing,” says Jennifer.

“At what we did to their logo,” Shira adds.

Zac nods his head. “Don’t you girls let ’em know about it, ’kay?” They nod. He opens the door, and they follow him out.

hallway. Leila’s locker is next to Shira’s. Debbie’s is on the other side, Jennifer’s underneath. Shira and Jennifer are already attending their open lockers when Debbie arrives. She crosses her arms and stares down at them. Annoyed by Jennifer’s strong North Cascadian accent, she complains about it in her blunt Imperial accent. “The ket is in the beg. It is such a dreg. Here there be dregons. Can’t you people speak proper American?”

Jennifer giggles. “Oh no. We’re just the civilized natives you barbarians so gloriously subjugated.”

“Not. funny.”

Shira stares back at her. “I thought ‘funny’ wasn’t in the royal Becket vocabulary, Debbie.”

“You’re nuts, Thomas. totally crazy.”

“Like a fox.” She winks.

“We hope you’re not in our homeroom, Debbie,” says Jennifer. “One Kelly is disruption enough.”

“The two of you together would cause a lot of heart attacks in the teachers.”

Debbie storms off. “Hmph!”

Leila arrives, staring back at Debbie. “What’s with her?”

Shira smirks. “Somebody needs to knock that chip off her shoulder.”

Leila rolls her eyes and sighs.

Shira and Jennifer slam their locker doors and shrug. They walk with Leila to homeroom.

middle school. Lillian and her mean-girl posse surround a disturbed-looking Melody. “We gotta teach you who’s boss, freak.”

Elle runs as fast as she can. “Don’t do it! She’ll kill you!”

“This is none of your business, Shears.”

“She can pull a whole Blake Island in under a minute! She’s that dangerous!”

Melody says, “She’s right.” Lillian and her posse stare at her. She takes another deep breath to calm herself down.

Lillian says, “Okay, Thomas. I’ll Challenge you one-on-one after school. Okay?”

“Okay.” Melody stands up.

Elle says “Don’t—” Melody silences her with a hard glance.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 5 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011, 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 6/27/11: Added character of Nicole, replaced Polly and Shira’s “narration” with hers, removed HTML lists, edited plot to fit Second Edition continuity, corrected text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 3.0, 9/29/11: changed Nicole’s name to Colette to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/13/11: Expanded Jennifer’s first lines.]
[Revision 3.2, 10/22/11: Corrected continuity errors in the Shira/Leila relationship line and text errors. The “yandere” thread foregrounded in Book 2 starts here.]
[Revision 4 Final, 8/2/12: Original Revision 2/3 "introduction" scene massively revised and split in two with separate new sports-arena settings. New transitional and final scenes added.]

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spanner 5.2: Meet Your Friends While You Still Can

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 5: I Lerned Alot in Skool
Part 2: Meet Your Friends While You Still Can (Final Revision)

2 september 2014.
principal’s office.
Seven unwilling tutors face their employers: Shira, Jennifer, Connor, Colette, Cory Belmont, and, now being forced in, the Shelley twins. The door slams behind them. Shira meets Leila’s eyes; the bitterness drains out of Leila’s body and her skin turns red at Shira’s smile. Colette, nursing her resentment so she can blast it at their captor, does not notice them.

The principal is a nondescript middle-aged bureaucrat who exudes bureaucratic arrogance and always smirks. His assistants sit to either side. He clears his throat to catch their attention. “Ah, you must be the celebrity kids.”

Jennifer steps in front of Colette before she can unleash her j’accuse. “And you must be Principal Dean Principal,” she says calmly. “Your name is unforgettable.”

“That’s the only thing not forgettable about him,” says Shira. The tutors laugh.

“You think you’re so special. Well, we think you’re not so special. You are not Snooki and The Situation, and this is not a reality show. This is my show, and my word is the Law. Am I understood?”

Shira stares at Principal Principal strangely. “No.” The assistant principals stare at her.

He stands up. “And you must be Miss Shira Thomas, spawn of our company’s enemy. You will not get between us and our profit.”

“Hey, your company doesn’t need me or my mother to help you ruin education or your profits.”

“Don’t you make fun of me, Miss Shira Thomas. And don’t you so-called celebrity kids think you’re special here, because you’re not. We don’t believe in celebrity here, and we certainly don’t believe in the humanistic liberal communism that nearly destroyed Our Nation. We believe in God, Capitalism, Egoism, and Hierarchy. You just earn your college money properly by doing precisely what you’re told, and there will be no trouble. You hear?”

“We’re here to do our job and earn our tuition, not kowtow, and preferably without arbitrary interference. The legal liability is yours.”

“Then explain this.” Principal holds out a photograph. Shira swipes it from him. All eyes focus on her. Hope stands out from the pigeon-clouded Westlake Square crowd in olive-striped bright yellow tennis dress and half-height black boots that make her look like a third Williams sister; in matching outfit with the dress colors reversed, Shira cuddles her confidently with a satisfied smile, looking where she is looking, heedless of people looking at them. Principal smirks triumphantly. “Well?”

“A devoted daughter in a side hug with the mother she adores.”

“And sleeps with. Right?”

Shira laughs at him. “Get real, yo!” She waves the print in front of his nose. “You’re looking at real family values here, based on love, not dreary duty.” She spins on her heel and walks toward the door. With one hand on the doorknob, she shoots back a triumphant contemptuous smirk of her own. “Nice try, lion food.” Her Parthian shot smacks the smug smirk off his face; his assistants stare at him. She grins, then leaves with the print.

lobby. The Shelley twins hurry out of the office. Jennifer says, “I didn’t expect he’d be in a mood to throw a Challenge at us.”

“Hey, the new boss just gotta throw his weight around to show the slobs who’s boss,” says Shira. “Me, I just happen to have the chief union rep for a mother, so that probably makes me Principal Principal’s designated whipping girl for the whole year.”

Colette gasps. “Your mother’s the union rep?”

“’Fraid so,” Shira sighs. “It’s gonna be a fun year.”

“So what’s this ‘lion food?’”

Shira shushes Jennifer before she can speak. “One day two lions escaped from the zoo. They split up to increase their chances and avoid capture, but agreed to meet up after two months. When they met again, one was skinny and the other fat. The skinny lion said, ‘How did you do it? I ate a human once, and they sent a whole army after me — guns, nets, tasers, helicopters, you name it — it was horrible! Since then I’ve been reduced to eating mice, bugs, even grass!’ The fat lion said, ‘Well, I hid outside a government contract office and ate a fat juicy bureaucrat a day. And nobody even noticed!’”

Everybody laughs, including students overhearing nearby, except Jennifer and Connor, who told her the joke. “C’mon, you guys,” Connor warns. “We don’t have much time left till the guards pull us off to the rallies, so let’s go.” Jennifer pulls Shira’s arm, then pulls her into a hug. A chorus of girls answer with a squee.

Leila asks, “What was that?”

“The ‘Shiffer’ ’shippers,” Jennifer caustically replies. Into Shira’s ear she whispers, “That picture was a low blow.”

“Now you know how low they’re ready to stoop.”


Shira turns to look at Leila, and their eyes meet — for the first time, they look deep into each other’s eyes — the moment Leila has dreaded and longed for has now arrived at last — Shira walking toward her, smiling at her, coming into her life — the vision blurs sparkles bubbles bursts with light through disordered tears—

—and she throws herself into Shira’s arms and holds her tight as Jennifer’s heart drops from a distance and onlookers gasp and catch their breaths. She softly sobs, “I hate you, Shira.”

“I love you too, Leila.” Shira gently kisses her on the cheek. Smitten girls squee; others groan and wail in protest; soon two cliques form, fighting and shouting. Shira, Leila, and Jennifer stare at the fangirl fracas, appalled. “Uh, Jen, would that be ’Shayla’ or ‘Lira’?”

“Go with ‘Lira,’” Jennifer says.

Shira puts an arm around each of them and directs them inside with a glance, and together they walk into the crowd.

cafeteria. Away from the monitors, past students frantic or lost in conversation, into the big lunchroom, the three girls walk together as friends. Across the room, a hard-faced man stares at them coldly. “She was supposed to be alone.”

Bart tells him, “Those are Kubota’s cousins.”

The man grimaces. “The ginger ruined my mission last night.”

“The blonde is Jennifer Blair.” At the shock of the name, the man whips his head around to stare at Bart. “Be careful, Mr. Bernkastel, or your next mission might be your last.” Bart walks away. Bernkastel is not pleased to see Mimi alive and approaching the cousins and Leila with two friends.

Polly holds her hand and that of another girl. “Have you met Mimi?”

Mimi gives her a huge smile. “She saved my life last night.”

Jennifer’s eyes and mouth go wide. Suddenly she hugs Mimi. “You were the one!”

Shira leans over to Mimi’s ear. “Jennifer Blair’s my cousin.”

Mimi gasps. Jennifer smiles sweetly. “Can I protect you too?”

“Oh thank you!” Mimi giggles as Jennifer kisses her on the cheek. Enraged at the sight of his nemesis kissing his escaped victim, Bernkastel storms away.

Polly puts her arm around her dark-haired friend. “Oh, and this is Nancy.” Nancy shyly waves.

“Hi, Nancy!” says Shira. Jennifer smiles and waves.

Karen and Colette hold their own against Charmian and her mean-girl posse. Rob baits Bart by openly flirting with Connor; fearing that Connor is as dangerous as his sister, Bart backs away. Handsome and sweet black star runningback Dexter Conway knows Connor and joins them. Shira glomps him from behind and plants a kiss on his neck. “Hey, beautiful,” he says.

She spins him around and purrs, “Hiya, gorgeous.” Boldly she kisses him. His female fans glare at her jealously. Leila looks her strangely; Jennifer nudges Leila and winks.

A pretty redheaded girl grabs Leila’s arm and tries to pull her away. She has Leila and Rob’s Irish accent. “Hey, Leila, let’s go, we got — ” She looks at who Leila’s looking at and gasps when she recognizes her. “You’re Shira Thomas!”

“Oh,” says Leila apologetically, “this is my sister Fiona.”

Fiona Shelley smiles at Shira and blushes. “Hi, Shira.”

Shira takes Fiona’s hands and smiles back. “I’m overjoyed to meet you at last, Fiona.”

Leila tells her sister, “Shira saved my life the other day.”

Fiona gasps, her eyes and mouth go wide — then she launches herself into Shira’s arms. “It was you! Thank you!” She kisses Shira on the cheek; Shira kisses her back and gives her a beautiful smile.

“Dear sisters,” says Rob, “we should deposit our stuff before it’s too late.” Shira hugs and kisses him, then gives Leila an extra long hug and a kiss on the cheek, then waves at all three. They wave back; Rob takes his sisters by the hand and leaves.

Cory joins the remaining group, followed by Colette and big Kio arm-in-arm. Off to the side, Fuyumi and Harumi are talking to their shy cousin Seika, who looks like a cute girl in his boy’s uniform. Cory asks conspiratorially, “You guys hear the rumor about the Slasher?”

Shira looks at him sideways. “Like what happened last night?”

“Rumor says SPEC hired him and he’s here.”

Polly lets out a bitter sigh. “Fig-ures.”

“Probably no rumor at all,” says Colette. “After all, they use military terrorists against peaceful protests, don’t they?”

“Corporates are known for being paranoid,” Connor replies. “But we can’t let ’em intimidate us.”

Jennifer frowns. “Looks like we’re gonna have to cover Karen’s back.”

Connor puts his arms around Jennifer’s and Shira’s shoulders. “Don’t forget we’re all in this together.”

Another girl drapes herself over Connor from behind. “Hey, cousins.”

“Oh, hi, Courtney!”

“Ready for trouble?”

Shira replies, “Still gathering up the troops.”

“Sky here?” asks Jennifer.

Courtney winks. “She says she’ll be at your club meeting no matter what.”

Shira?” Shira looks back to see Seika tugging on her sleeve.

Sei-chan!” The two hug each other and jump with joy.

“You two know each other?” asks Cory.

“We became friends when I was an exchange student in Japan,” says Shira. “His name is Seika Tachibana.”

“She’s a boy?” gasps Polly.

“Shira has a notorious weakness for pretty boys,” says Colette. “Pleased to meet you, Seika. I’m Colette.”

Shira puts one arm around Seika’s shoulders and gestures toward her friends with the other. “Seika, these are our friends Cory Belmont, Polly Parker, Kio Marques, and Colette Rosewater, and cousin Courtney.”

Harumi glomps her violently from behind and screams, “Iyaaaaaaaa!!!

Haru-chan!” scolds Seika. “Yamete yo!” Harumi sticks out her tongue mischievously at him (“bleeeeeh”).

Shira says, “And this is his cousin Harumi.”

Harumi lets go of Shira, bows to her new classmates, and says, “Yoroshikuuu!

The bell rings and the advertising goes silent, the signal for everyone to stampede out of the building to the stadium.

storage room. Past the open door the students flee toward Dictel Stadium, afraid of Spiekerman’s faithful Party militants herding them, fanatical and itching for trouble, all unconscious of the man watching them from the little desk inside. He is not the Head Custodian lording it over the janitorial office like a personal fiefdom. The channels on his non-brand smartphone: vanilla Darknet, NinjaTel, the Wilder Foundation intranet. Zac Finney, tall lanky and goateed, refugee from the Imperial Confederate Homeland, robotics engineer on strike against the all-devouring American war machine.

The call arrives on the Foundation channel. Hope Reston. “Hyel-lo.”

“Any trouble yet?”

“Principal Snarky dragged all the tutors into his office to tell ’em who’s boss. Other than that, nothing serious. Yet.”

“You know about Shira’s run-in with a Slasher last night?”

“SPEC hired this non-Guild guy as a teacher. Looks like a merc. May be our Slasher.”

“Keep a close eye on him, then.”

“Thurston told me keep an eye on Leila Shelley too. Between her and the merc, something big’s goin’ down.”

He sees two girls in berets stop in front of the open door. Shira and Jennifer turn to wink at Zac. And then they’re gone.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 5 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011, 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 6/26/11: New characters Nicole and Nancy introduced. Edited to fit Second Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3, 9/29/11: Nicole’s name changed to Colette (both short for Nicolette), now first introduced in 3.4. Edited to fit Third Edition continuity; text and continuity errors corrected.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Corrected continuity errors in the Shira/Leila relationship line and text errors.]
[Revision 4 Final, 8/2/12: Heavily revised to fit Fourth Revision continuity. Second scene expanded to strengthen the Shira/Leila relationship line. New final scene added.]