Friday, June 10, 2011

Spanner 2.5: The Rebel Sell

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 2: Sex Bomb
Part 5: The Rebel Sell (Final Revision)

27 august 2014.
shira’s apartment.
Hope sees Shira off at the door. “This is silly, Shira.”

“So? Way to earn a necessary buck on the way to Karen’s party.” Shira winks.

“Don’t let yourself get sucked in.”

She rolls her eyes. “By some corporation? Get real.” She kisses Hope, slings the tote over her shoulder, and skips away.

game palace. At Fourth and Park across from the arrogant Dictel Tower, a new Game Wars opens to trouble. Outside the entrance, spilling into the street, sailors, gangsters, and fat Game Boyz in military-FPS T-shirts shove each other and trade accusations of unmanliness. Armoured police surround them nervously in hopes of keeping these men from having the riot they want. A television wall alternates games in progress with scary logos called ‘scream gems.’ The men sneer at the dance music and girlish squeals emanating from inside, where the Karen Kubota Instant Fanclub celebrate their hero’s return with a party and dance game contest catered by Pizza Mafia next door.

One gangster points up the hill. “Yo brahz! Scope the hardbody!” All the men turn to look. Carrying a self-refrigerating beverage tote down Fourth, Shira wears black ankle-high ring boots, diagonal-striped black-and-white bicycle tights, chibi-pirate hat, and gangster-baroque red T-shirt emblazoned with the iconic portrait of Che Guevara. Deftly she maneuvers past the cops, through the crowd, toward the front door, only to find herself blocked by an arrogant wall of Game Boyz. She drops the tote in front of them, crosses her arms, shifts her weight to one hip, flashes them a cockeyed smirk. “Who the fuck are you?”

The Game Boyz leader sneers, “We’re America’s future Tech Knights, bitch!”

She pats his belly. “This is Kinect country, fat boys. Y’all ain’t jock enough to handle us. Here, have at. Now get the fuck outta my way.” She muscles her way between two fat male bodies and sashays through the entrance. The back of her T-shirt reads, in white capital letters:
Hands reach into the tote and extract 40-ounce cans bearing the equally iconic prison mugshot of Charles Manson: Lie™ brand amphetamine-boosted malt liquor, the gangster choice. The cries of men rise up: “Lie!” “Lie!” “My Lie!” “No, mine!” They fight over the cans of Lie™; the scene degenerates into chaos.

As Shira reaches the door, a video logo on the wall, a cheerful yet creepily disembodied Princess Ozma head, winks at her. Shira stops for a double-take, then looks over her shoulder to see if anybody noticed; they didn’t. She languidly removes her shirt to uncover her bare back, slowly swivels her hips, then turns around to see if her half-naked body distracts the crowd. Not even the cops notice her bare breasts. She bursts out laughing.

Once the tear gas flies, she rushes in, pulls the doors shut, locks the riot out, and throws herself into Karen’s waiting arms.

On your TV the riot video plays, a picture of the can appears, boldfaced words superimpose, a black male announcer eagerly echoes:
copco seattle. They watch the advert over and over. Shira makes it look too easy. Shockley shakes her head. “I still think she’s our monkeywrench.”

“Working freelance,” Kowalczyk observes.

“Spanner too, I bet,” says Sparks.

“Who would hire someone like that?” asks Shockley.

“The competition.”

“What competition?”

“You know. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yandex, Baidu. . .”

Kowalczyk pats Sparks on the shoulder. “I think the kid’s onto something here. So Jimmy, where’d you catch the buzz?”

“Security biz forums. The buzz is deafening.”

Shockley stares at Sparks unsmiling. “Then explain his manifestoes, Sparks.”

“He’s convinced the Revolution’s already dead, but our empty skulls need a monkeywrench upside the head to remind us, ergo.”

Kowalczyk cocks his head. “Heh. How well can you connect our villains?”

“Not so much. Spanner operates in the open, Rebel’s never been seen except on video. Different M.O., different targets.”

Shockley gestures at the Kinect so that a full-face image of Rebel Styles and a still from the Spanner post divide the screen. “Yet the patterns of Spanner’s and Styles’ reality distortion fields are nearly identical.”

“Sims, maybe? Maybe one’s got a generator.”

“We sent some Rebel Rebel videos to Quantico to have them compare it with the Spanner tapes. They sent me back the results yesterday. Spanner’s carrying a cloaking device, probably one stolen in the Flag Day raid on Dictel Research; but the results show his RDF’s not simulated. It’s his power, it’s the same as Styles’, and the cameras caught it. The Styles effect depends on it; Spanner just mixed it with his stolen cloak.” Shockley shakes her head sadly. “That power destroyed first Niemeyer, and then Ogden. . .”

“Not to mention several high muckymucks and all that’s left of Steve Jobs.”

Shockley points back at the commercial still playing on repeat. “I still think that’s our perp.”

“Logical enough. But with her you can never be certain of anything.”

“Well, whoever this Spanner bastard is, he’s still responsible for almost three hundred deaths.”

“Oh, them?” Kowalczyk laughs; Shockley looks at him in confusion. “Some of ’em got better already. The rest’ll be all fine in due time.”

“You mean they’re alive? That’s impossible, Kowalczyk, and you know it.”

“Clone. transplants. Hear?” Kowalczyk winks. “My dear Princess, you’re forgetting decades of Defense Department research dating all the way back to World War II. Every VIP in the Synarchy has his own personal clone bank. You might not know this, Miss formerly known as Becket, but you can bet your family business they whipped up a set for you too.”

“I’ll go ask Father, then.” Shockley sighs. “But let’s get back to the important question.”

“Who the fuck this Spanner guy is, right?” asks Sparks.

Kowalczyk corrects him. “Where the fuck this Spanner guy’s gonna strike next! But first we gotta know when. Jimmy! What’s the big high holy days after this?”

“Let’s see. . . there’s Restoration Day, Patriot Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Election Day—”

Kowalczyk points at him and snaps his fingers. “That’s it! Election day!”

“When only those who value their lives vote Conservative Revolutionary. Perfect!”

“But on the last two Revolution Days, Spanner didn’t attack the same place twice,” says Shockley.

Kowalczyk snaps his fingers. “That’s a pattern! We can guess where he’ll be when. Then he’s fuckin’ history!

penguindrome. A knock on the front door of the East Bremerton squat. Alex walks irritably over to peer through the peephole. Deth Pussy carries a stack of pizzas. She opens the door and takes the pizzas. He grins and waves a thumb drive in front of her. She grabs him by the wrist and pulls him in so she can shut the door. “How’d you get back so early?”

“Guided missile,” he says. “Pizza Mafia’s on the way. By the way, our new friend Debaser’s proving himself trustworthy so far. He even got us some leverage on cousin Stu.”

“How close are they to our trail?”

“J.T. says Shockley thinks Spanner’s the same person as that Rebel Styles who’s been driving the Party bigwigs axe-crazy since our monkeywrench op.”

“Figures the bitch would. Any idea who’s behind Rebel?”

Steve shrugs. “Beats me. What’s your plans for ‘Vote Conservative Or Eat Flaming Death’ Day?”

Alex laughs. “Well, there’s Plan A, and then there’s Plan B. Hope’s got Plan A worked out, but everybody knows the Man won’t stand for it ’cos he never does. As for Plan B, we’re still scoping out the Fearsome Foursome’s points of vulnerability.”

“Any progress on that?”

“Nothing fatal yet. So far, everything’s still fully deniable in Salem and Bangor.”

“Any word from our flamin’ redhead?”

“Hi, Steve!” Shira waves from the recliner, wearing her new black and silver sailor-suit school uniform with matching beret. She sits up and holds out her arms in show-me position. “Like it?”

Kawaiiii! Ross got a sailor schoolgirl fetish?”

Shira holds up her skirt to show it off and winks. “Banned in Japan, even, so why not. I already graduated homeschool, so I’m doing college half the day and tutoring at Bangor the rest of the day, thus the beret.”

“You know you gotta wear ‘absolute terror’ stockings with that.”

She grins. “There’s an idea!” The smile disappears. “Now why Bangor High ain’t actually a prison, I got no idea. Still, SPEC run it like one, only they cram useless information and politically correct memes down unwilling throats.”

“It’s called ‘schooling,’” Alex explains to Deth. “Scientifically proven to cause low grades and high dropout rates.”

“Hope’s out of the system, so it’s my job to organize.”

“Whoa, babe,” says Deth, “won’t they like kick you out like they did her?”

“Employees get fired. Me, I’m under binding company contract, which puts me in perfect position.”

“You got anything on the Foursome?”

“You already know who got Wayne Tremayne.” She winks. “But like Alex said, it’s all still deniable. They got an army of Highly Paid Professionals covering up their messes, y’know.”

“They always assume we’re stupid,” adds Alex. “They don’t expect us to catch ’em with their pants down, tweeting their johnson to the wrong girl, sleeping with the incompetent yet hunky assistant they just hired, talking to some foreign agent on some clandestine phoneline, or downloading Nazi child snuff porn off the Darknet. So far they’re keeping their weaknesses under plausible deniability. But sooner or later, one of ’em’s gonna slip up. That’s when we strike.”

“But now we can’t rely on Rebel Rebel. They’ve got her covered now, especially the new Chief Shepherd who’s taking over from the dearly departed Wayne Tremayne. Emerson, his name is? He’s even using her as a public display of overcoming temptation.”

Deth slaps his forehead in disbelief. “Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee! Jesus H. America exclamation point, I never figured they’d find a way to make pretty little Rebel serve the Man.”

“Didn’t help Luke Everson’s predecessor from Memphis, Tennessee, however,” replies Alex. “Ward Tremayne failed the Rebel Rebel test for all to see.”

“Yeah, caught it on TMZ,” says Shira. “But you gotta hand it to that Everson, yeah that’s his name, he’s too clever for his own good. Probably fall under Stepmommie Dearest’s thumb before he knows it, like her hot new boyfriend, I mean cash cow, uh, Prophet she just acquired.”

“That Byron Scofield who’s all over the tele these days. Can’t stand him.”

“Which only means we gotta dig deeper to get some real dirt on Everson and the rest of the Foursome, preferably something radioactive.”

Alex sighs in frustration. “There’s gotta be something we can find on ’em.”

“I’m tracking somebody right now. Old fiend of my father’s. Knowing him and his passion for the ’roids, I get the feeling he’ll lead us somewhere.”

“Well, praise ‘Bob’!” exults Deth. He picks up the dog-eared Civet paperback off the coffee table. “And you’ll find your radioactive dirt the way Dorinda finds her treasure?” He tosses the book to her.

Shira points back at him and grins. “Yeah! Like that!”

Someone knocks on the door. “Took her about time,” says Alex. She goes over to open it. Jennifer, wearing a uniform matching Shira’s, gives her a quick hug and kiss (“Hiya sis!”) and rushes over to Shira’s chair, sweeps her out of it into her arms, and kisses her passionately. “Sorry we gotta go so fast, but I promise I’ll be back for the pizza. [blows kiss] *mwah!” She takes Shira by the hand (she waves goodbye) and sweeps her out the door.

bridge. The Penguindrome is on the Eastside. Shira lives downtown. Jennifer drives her over the Warren Avenue Bridge that connects Eastside to Westside. She caresses Shira’s bare leg. “Hear about the murders at Bangor High?”

“Another Rebel victim?”

“Slasher. I’m amazed the place hasn’t burnt down already.”

“Gangbangers oughta torch it. With him in it. Then we can trash ’em.”

Jennifer’s smile disappears. “The Shelley twins are going there.”

Shira perks up immediately. “You don’t say.”

Jennifer caresses Shira’s breast. “I’m still amazed you survived the great Yakuza gaijin hunt.”

Shira kisses Jennifer’s hand. “I’m still shocked you survived Blake Island with hardly a scratch.”

“I couldn’t let Kira down.” They look into each other’s eyes wistfully, then redirect their attention to the road and sigh.

“I’m still amazed they’re letting us drive at our age.”

“Now that the Nanny State’s gone moral, any kid can now get a combat assault rifle without a license or drive a Hummer recklessly as long as they don’t commit fornication in the back seat.”

“Not that anything’s keeping us out of the back seat.” Jennifer laughs. Shira looks off the bridge. “Your fascist stepsister thinks it’s me.”

“I’m surprised she doesn’t assume it’s me. She always hated our family.”

“Not just Spanner. Rebel too.”

“Well, then. Let her assume.”

“Looks like we got the Foursome off balance for once.”

Jennifer smiles ironically. “Just in time for school. By the way, how’s it going with Karen?”

“She really, really wants you to join us.”

She winks. “Both ways, even?”

Shira winks back. “Damn right.” As soon as they stop at the Eleventh Street light, they kiss.

“You stay with her tonight.”

Jennifer peers at Shira suspiciously. “And why?”

“I got business.”


“A friend. You might know him.” Shira winks.

“You’d better promise you won’t let him get between us, my love.”

“Not even Leila Shelley can, sweet cousin. I totally love you forever.” Shira kisses her deeply.

Jennifer manages a wan smile. The light turns green, so she shifts her attention back to the road and drives. “Okay, Shira. Do your business. But don’t let yourself fall for any of these guys. And don’t forget our sacred vow.”

“The moment the Eugenics Institute is destroyed, we’re getting married.”

“You got it.” Jennifer passes by her usual left turn at Sixth Street and heads to the end of the street at Burwell.

Suddenly, two battle hotrods block the intersection. Behind them, two more race in to block any escape from behind. Burly gangsters with monster-clown tattoos and Road Warrior spiked leather battle gear, leap out of their vehicles and surround Jennifer’s car, slapping truncheons into their hands like riot police.

Shira goes deadly calm. “Well, well, well.”

“The Killen Jokerz. But of course.”

“I wonder what they want,” Shira says “blonde” fashion.

“Trouble’s what they want,” Jennifer says deadpan.

Shira grins wickedly. “Then let’s give ’em some.”

Two Klownz tap the door windows. Jennifer looks mock-innocently at her would-be assailant; Shira’s ironic smile tells hers, You don’t know what shit you just got yourselves into. Then the cousins look at each other.

Jennifer knees the bottom of the dashboard. Sonic disruptors emerge from small doors in the car doors to shoot ultrasonic pain into the Klownz’ groins; they fall to the pavement writhing and screaming. The cousins reach for their personal sound blasters and roll out the open doors.

Six Klownz attack. Blasts of solid infrasound hammer their surgically boosted man-weapons. All six go down hard. One Klown reaches for an Uzi. Shira stands over him and zaps his shoulder blade. He screams, twitches, tries to hold his shattered scapula.

A screaming COPCO squad car squeals into the intersection. The siren shuts off and two agents get out: Sparks and one other. They walk around moaning prostrate Klownz toward Shira and Jennifer. Sparks says, “These guys giving you lovely ladies any trouble?”

Shira winks. “No trouble for us, thanks. You wanna walk?”

Jennifer stares at them jealously. “You mean he’s—” Shira shuts her up with a sweet kiss, then smiles and nods.

Kowalczyk says, “I’ll do the report while you two do your, uh, business.” He winks at the girls.

“Okay,” says Sparks. “Let’s go, redhead.”

Shira winks at him. They walk arm-in-arm down Burwell Street while Jennifer tells Kowalczyk what happened.

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

[Revision 2.1, 6/23/11: Text errors corrected. Two lines of dialogue added to fit Jennifer’s backstory.]
[Revision 4 Final, 7/5/12: Original previous section “Mystery Man Theory” added to this section, now named after the new first scene added for the Final Revision. Heavily revised to fit Revision 4 continuity.]

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