Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 3: Rock Is Dead
Part 5: Your Next Trick (Final Revision)
Part 5: Your Next Trick (Final Revision)
ferry terminal. Shira, Jennifer, Polly, and Leila climb the stairway to the bus deck. Leila says, “How’d you get so good at fighting?”
Jennifer rolls her eyes at her. “Oh, you know, regular training, fanatical discipline, imitating kung fu movie stars—I mean, like, the obvious?”
Shira throws up her arms. “Why do those guys always have to barge in and ruin everything?”
“Gotta be their egos. They can’t be satisfied unless they ruin just one person’s day every day.”
“At least they didn’t ruin your magic show,” says Polly cheerfully.
Leila looks at Shira and Jennifer in astonishment. “You two do magic?”
“Yeah,” replies Shira. “Jen and I’ve got an act.”
Jennifer winks. “Kids adore magic tricks.”
Suddenly people flee screaming; the girls run to the center of the panic and spot the Caliphate militant with the long thick black beard and MS13 tattoos. Shira cries out, “Hey I know this guy!” The holy warrior recognizes his insolent interrogator as the demon princess emerging in adult form out of his nightmares straight for him; he girds himself with holy hatred and screams the Shahadah loud enough for Allah and His heavenly Mahdi Osama bin Laden to hear. “I got him!” She rushes off to fight.
Polly asks no one in particular, “Too much WcDonalds?”
“No,” Jennifer answers, “he just broke out of jail.” Polly gasps.
The jihadi feels his upraised arm get yanked out of its socket as Shira greets him, “Hiya, baka bomb!” She breaks the arm at the shoulder, bends his elbow backwards, breaks all the outstretched fingers that once formed a tight fist. He screams in pain. She slams him against the wall and kicks him hard in the groin. As an afterthought, she yanks the detonator out of his bomb jacket and smashes it with a stomp—all in under five seconds.
Jennifer unzips Polly’s backpack and reaches in. Polly squeaks. Jennifer kisses her on the cheek. “Gotta borrow this for a sec. Urgent.” She pulls out Polly’s iPad and zips the backpack back up. She taps the tablet gently on Shira’s head. Polly gasps when it syncs.
Shira backs away from the killer, takes the tablet from Jennifer, and holds it with both hands out in front of her face. Instead of the smirking Shira Thomas, he sees the girl of his nightmares—
“Rebel Styles—” the holy warrior screams in absolute horror.
With one voice, Shira and Rebel say, “Eat this, motherfucker.”
The picture on the screen speeds up: Rebel makes love to herself, her twin sister, Leila Shelley, several Yakuza at once, devours WcDonalds burger and fries, brings back Nazi snuff porn victims from the dead to sell cars that eat people—the picture shifts faster, faster, faster than the eye can handle, loli flesh Minty Fresh eat WcDonalds iPod dancers Budweiser frogs Old Spice dude Chuck Norris wave the Rebel Flag join the Army nuke the Wogs rock me Amadeus eat Rebel Rebel charco-broiled Toyota Madonna drive me crazy Chanel Revolution No9 Paris Hilton no Pocky for Hello Kitty rock me Rebel Rebel flag wave fag wave nuke WcDonalds eat Perez Hilton eat at Joe’s eat me Rebel Rebel beat me Chuck Norris so so minty fresh faster pussycat dolls kill kill overkill live fast die die my darling rape Rebel Rebel rape me rape me harder faster crash crash crash crash—suddenly the screen dies blue, holy warrior screams overloads convulses screams pain pain pain hallucinates Rebel Rebel twitches screams collapses, into a BlipVert-induced migraine hell—
Jennifer takes the iPad away, desyncs it, slips it into Polly’s backpack, sends her away running; Shira shouts at the top of her lungs, “Everybody outta here, on the buses, off the deck, now! He’s gonna splorch!”
Shira and Jennifer run onto the #29 Trenton Avenue bus and take the seat behind the back door. Civilians jam the bus entrances and run as fast as they can away from the twitching screaming terrorist. Cops swarm him, cut off his robe, cut away the bomb jacket. Leila takes a safe distance and stares fascinated. People pull passengers onto the buses; once everybody’s on, the buses pull away. The cops run away barely in time. The killer convulses contorts bloats—and with a loud sickening sound explodes, covering the area with gore and punching a hole into the terminal building.
On the #29, the guy in the back seat with a police scanner shouts in surprise, “Jesus Christ! The fucker exploded!” People cry out their revulsion; a few vomit.
Jennifer stares astonished at wickedly grinning Shira. Her expression changes to narrow-eyed suspicion. “Shira, you didn’t use one of those BlipVerts on him, did you.”
Shira grins. “You kidding? BlipVert plus Rebel Rebel equals splat.”
“I thought one dose of Rebel Rebel was already too much.”
“With their kind, too much is never enough. They’re all kill, so you gotta overkill.”
Jennifer stares forward, eyes wide open, stunned. “Shira darling, sometimes you scare even me.”
Shira shoots back an I-told-you-so smile, cocks an eyebrow, and shrugs. “Hey, I just hate serial killers,” she sighs.
From the deck above the boardwalk, Leila watches the #29 drive away from downtown, across the Manette Bridge.
bus. Shira and Jennifer sit together in the seat in front of the back door. Shira owns the window seat. Jennifer holds her hand firmly and smiles at her.
A small group of people get off at the first stop in Manette, the Eastside neighbourhood closest to downtown. Jennifer sees an opportunity; she gets out of her seat, kisses Shira, and walks up to the front of the bus to ask the driver a question and update her schedules. She does not see Charmian Fleer get on behind her and swipe her bus pass in front of the smartcard reader. Charmian is slightly shorter than Jennifer but almost as blond; marked by the harsh beauty of the Beckets, she has the bearing of a princess, with her hair aristocratically curled to match. Shira recognizes her by the Dragonite signet ring.
Charmian scans the bus to look for an empty seat. She finds three. But she ignores them once she spots Shira in the most visible seat on the bus. She gives her a big happy smile, rapidly walks up to her seat, and sits down.
Shira is puzzled to find Charmian Fleer, of all people, daughter of the local Navy commander and a Becket, sitting next to her, smiling sweetly and blushing. Wow, Shira thinks, she must actually like me. Charmian builds up her courage, then, in an aristocratic Texas Corporate accent, asks Shira exactly the wrong question:
“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?”
Cue game-show buzzers and loud gong.
Shira narrows her eyes and spies Charmian suspiciously. Charmian’s smile disappears; she blushes deeper, but sweats nervously. She realizes at that moment that she has innocently done the worst possible thing. Shira underscores her realization when she says:
“Is this a loyalty oath?”
Paralyzed by embarrassment, Charmian can’t get herself to get up until Jennifer leans close, loudly clears her throat, and flashes her a sweet, sweet smile that says Get away from my girlfriend, bitch. Charmian gets up, carefully tiptoes around Jennifer, and hastens to an empty seat up front, across the aisle from where an agitated man sporting caftan and long black beard bitterly complains, “What is wrong with your youth? They have no morality!”
An old man in Navy-veteran hat shouts, “We need to beat it back into ’em!” Other Patriots amen.
As if to claim her trophy, Jennifer kisses Shira firmly on the lips as soon as she sits down. The two girls ignore the tuts and “ews” from the prudish Conservatives. The bearded man pitches a rock at them. Shira catches it, stares at him hard—
He gasps in horror on seeing her—“You!” (Jennifer: “Uh-oh.”) He stands up, holds high a detonator, screams “Devil woman! You are Rebel Styles, murderess!” Several passengers scream. The driver slams on the brakes and opens the doors. Jennifer facepalms and shakes her head (“Number two...”).
Shira stands up and lets out a contemptuous laugh as the panicking passengers crowd out. “Yo! Jew-eatin’ devil dog!”
He screams in rage. “Infidel murderer! In the holy name of Allah, burn in Hell!”
Her face suddenly contorts into a hard evil glare, one eye narrow, the other wide open—
The Evil Eye?!— (Charmian gasps.)
The terrorist screams in mortal terror. Shira keeps her glare hard, fixing him with it, keeping him screaming till he drops below the seat in an attempt to hide. She leaps past Jennifer, whips out her phone, and jumps down to his seat. She glares down at him with the same uneven-eyed “evil” expression, paralyzing him with terror while she takes picture after picture with the phone’s camera and assaults him with flash flash flash flash; his screams get weaker and weaker until finally they are replaced by a hideous gargle sound and he is dead.
It takes the three girls’ combined effort to haul the corpse off the bus. They drop it on the sidewalk and together take a deep breath. The driver leads the relieved passengers in a standing ovation; they line up to get back on the bus.
Charmian crosses her arms and casts a hurt look at Shira. “Tell me what that was supposed to be.”
Shira flashes a mischievous cockeyed smile at her and winks. “Fight fire with BFGs.”
Jennifer points upward helpfully. “As Batman says, criminals are cowardly and superstitious.”
Suddenly Shira seizes Charmian into her arms and plants a surprise kiss on her lips.
library. In the meeting room inside the Kitsap Regional Library’s East Bremerton branch, Shira and Jennifer hold their magic show for an audience of children and parents. As the magician, Shira wears a Marlene Dietrich outfit of top hat, tails, dress shirt, bow tie with black leotard, fishnet stockings, and high-heeled lace-up leather boots. The boots make her look taller than Jennifer, who is in fact taller than her by an inch. Jennifer, acting as Shira’s assistant despite her greater knowledge of stage magic, wears a lacy white dress, flat-soled shoes, and her usual rimless round glasses.
Shira’s an excellent magician, and she’s just as good a comedian. But it isn’t just her magic skills that carry the show. With her Charmer’s charisma, she enthralls the audience and holds their full attention. Shira may have the charisma, but Jennifer makes up for it with her exotic Victoria accent.
Children cheer and parents clap when Shira makes her entrance onto the stage. She bows and tips her hat; a small flock of doves flies out. The children laugh; the adults who try not to laugh fail to suppress the urge.
She places the hat upside down, dead center on the table in the middle of the stage. Into the microphone she clears her throat. She smiles at her audience and holds out her arms as if to hug them all. “Thank you, thank you, everyone for coming to our magic show! We’ve got some really, really awesome tricks in store for you tonight.” She takes the hat by the brim with both hands, leans forward, and winks conspiratorially. “You’ll never guess what I’m gonna do. I might do the expected just because you don’t expect it!” The audience laughs. She stands back upright and smiles. “So let’s get it started!” Bigger cheers; her enthusiasm is catching.
She takes her wand, waves it a few times over the hat, taps it three times, and puts the wand back down. She reaches down into the hat and pulls out a rabbit. The children gasp in delight; the adults smile nostalgically. She cuddles the rabbit, climbs down from the stage, and gives the rabbit to a little girl in the front row of the audience. The girl gasps, her parents smile. “It’s adorable!” she squeals. “Thank you!”
Shira hugs her. “You’re welcome.” She winks. “By the way, you’ve got something in your ear.” She reaches behind the girl’s ear to pull out a quarter. The girl’s eyes and mouth open wider; her parents smile wider in amusement. Shira gives the quarter to the girl and rubs her head affectionately.
She hops back up onto the stage. She says to Jennifer, “I think you’ve got something in your ear, too.”
“What could it be?”
Shira reaches into Jennifer’s left ear and yanks out a scarf. She pulls the scarf out of her ear. She pulls and pulls and pulls as the scarf turns out to be a whole long string of scarves tied together. The audience laughs...
Once the show is over and the curtains close, the girls turn the stage into an impromptu dressing room illuminated by a small battery-powered portable lamp. Quickly they strip off their stage clothes and pack them up. They pause so they can stare at each other’s naked bodies. Jennifer puts her hands on Shira’s hips and caresses them gently. “God, Shira, you’re so beautiful,” she whispers. “If we had the time and we could get away with it, I’d make love to you right now.”
Their reverie is interrupted by a child’s gasp backstage. The girls look in that direction. Jennifer says, “Don’t worry. We won’t hurt you. It’s okay to come out.”
A tow-headed boy of about seven shyly emerges into the light, his sweet face blushing bright red. He whispers, “If you scream, I’ll tell.”
The girls smile at him. “Don’t worry,” says Jennifer. “We promise not to say a word.”
Shira leans down closer to the boy and puts her hands on her knees. “It’s your lucky day. You get to see us naked.” She winks.
“...and I’m Shira. What’s your name?”
“Hi, Billy,” the girls say together.
“I know how you did those tricks.”
Shira looks at Jennifer, open-mouthed in surprise. Jennifer laughs. “But of course! I know you’ll be a great magician, just like us.” She winks.
“I will?” Jennifer nods enthusiastically.
Shira goes down onto her knees and puts her hands on Billy’s shoulders. “Can you keep this a secret, just between us? Please?” He smiles and nods his head quickly. She gently pulls him into an embrace and kisses him on the lips. “It’s our special secret now.” She winks. Jennifer gets down onto her knees so she can hug him and give him a gentle kiss. They send him off, beaming brightly and blushing furiously.
The alarm song plays on Shira’s phone on the table. She takes a quick look at the time, then flashes Jennifer a look of urgency. After a pause, they put on their street clothes as fast as they can.
outside. Shira and Jennifer run out just as Rio pulls in with Karen at the wheel and Colette riding shotgun. They get in back. Karen asks, “How was the show?”
“Another roaring success,” answers Jennifer.
“The kids loved it as usual,” adds Shira.
“Great!” says Karen cheerfully. “I bet you’re as hungry as I am. Where do you wanna go for lunch?”
“WcDonalds is closest.”
“Wack D sucks,” says Colette. “Let’s do Winkie’s.”
“Winkie’s it is,” says Jennifer.
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.Back to Spanner’s World...
[Revision 2, 6/17/11: Bus scene originally from Chapter 4; library sequence from original Chapter 3; both modified to fit new continuity. Text errors corrected.]
[Revision 3, 9/28/11: One edit (of bus scene’s last sentence) to clarify Shira/Charmian relationship.]
[Revision 4 Final, 7/5/12: Ferry terminal scene from previous section added. Revised for style and to fit Revision 4 continuity. Chapter name changed from “The Whole Point of No Return”.]