Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 3: Rock Is Dead
Part 6: You Don’t Know What Is What (Final Revision)
Part 6: You Don’t Know What Is What (Final Revision)
winkie’s. The restaurant off Wheaton Way originally built as a Denny’s franchise is now the newest location of the California chain famous for its monster in back, now expanding north into Cascadia. Karen slips Rio into a parking spot next to the front door.
Shira, Karen, Jennifer, and Colette enter the front door and walk up to the front desk, where Jennifer’s cousin Samantha Blair waits for customers. She’s not Shira’s or Karen’s cousin, but she treats them as if they were anyway. “Hi, cousins!”
“Hi, Sam!” they answer in unison. Sam group-hugs the cousins and kisses all three of them. Karen says, “This is my best friend Colette.”
“Hi, Colette. I’m Samantha. Please call me Sam.”
“Hi, Sam. Nice to meet you.” Sam and Colette hug.
They take the closest window booth. Colette sits by Karen, Jennifer next to Shira across the table; Sam gives them their menus. Shira points at the nearest television and asks her, “Could you turn the channel to ESPNBC for a minute? Please?”
“Why, Shira?” replies Sam. “You know there’s nothing interesting on.”
Shira grins. “I just wanna crush on Amanda Currie.”
Sam rolls her eyes. “Okay, then, have it your way.” She goes to the control panel to change the channel.
The graphic over Amanda’s padded shoulder is the now famous Spanner tag sprayed on every New York subway car. She reports: “As people return to TrumpCity™ after the disaster at the United Corporations Revolution Day conference, Chairman Richard Becket has announced that the UC is increasing its reward for the capture of the masked terrorist known as Spanner to fifty million dollars.”
Shira smirks. “Before we know it, he’ll be the sixty-billion double-dollar man.”
Jennifer complains, “Shira darling, you know how much that stupid propaganda annoys me.”
“Well, you know how much I wanna fuck some sense back into Amanda.”
“So the man with the monkeywrench is getting to the Man already?” asks Sam.
“Signs point to hell yeah.” Shira winks.
Sam takes their order and flits back to the kitchen. Colette says, “I don’t see why we need another crazy terrorist. Don’t they realize we can’t stop violence using violence?”
“Terrorist? Our new friend wrenches monkeys, remember?”
When the other girls aren’t looking, the Princess Leia head pops up in a black picture-in-picture to smile at Shira while changing colors. Sam startles them with a sharp sudden “eep!” beside the table. “Jeez, Shira, what is that?” Shira shrugs. When the other girls look, the logo is gone.
Suddenly they wince at a man’s loud voice angrily roaring, “Where’s our service? We want it now, you worthless faggot traitors!”
Sam squeaks, “Oh no!” She hurries to the front to join the rest of the panicked wait staff cowering before a top-hatted man and his expensively dressed congregation of angry old men, stern elderly church ladies, and young Party militants in blue, green, and khaki camo.
Shira leans over the table to whisper to Karen and Jennifer, “Speaking of terrorists...”
“Is this what I think it is?” asks Karen.
Jennifer replies sourly, “I’m afraid signs point to hell yeah.”
Karen hustles Colette over her lap next to the window and slips under the table to take Shira’s seat; Shira moves over and pushes Jennifer, who spins around the table into Karen’s former place. They sit silently, guarding their table warily.
“Just think for a minute,” Jennifer whispers. “What’s the chances that an angry Church of America congregation would come here on Sunday at the exact time we’re ordering dinner?”
“If this has anything to do with Stepmommie Dearest,” Shira replies, “these people can only be here for a reason. If I’m wrong, I’ll eat my panties.”
Jennifer narrows her eyes and smirks. “I hear you almost got into Minty’s panties last night.”
Karen and Colette stare at her. “Did you really?” asks Colette.
Shira shrugs. “Hey, I saved her life. She needed a kiss.”
One of the church ladies spots Shira and Jennifer. She points and shouts “Oh, no! It’s them!” Soon the table is surrounded by militant old Patriots, with their fanatical young Shepherd at its head. He wears his top hat atop short black hair and sports round rimless eyeglasses like Jennifer’s. Squint and you can see a vague resemblance to a young Steve Jobs. “Well,” he says, “speak of the devil.”
Shira looks up at him, annoyed. “And who might you be, sir?”
He looks down on her, his sovereign pride wounded by her insolence. “I am Byron Herbert Scofield, Shepherd and Prophet by the grace of Jesus America. And you are the scandalous Shira Thomas. Her Holiness told me many things about you, and all of them are quite bad.“
Shira points at Scofield and slowly mock-gasps. “I so am pleased to hear that from a good-looking man like you.” The old ladies glare angrily at her. She is unfazed. “So you’re with my e—I mean the Great Holy One herself?”
“Were you about to mock her?” He leans intimidatingly toward Shira and raises his voice. “Were you about to belittle everything she has done, every sacrifice she has made, for the sake of Our Nation? Were you?”
Shira winks at a worried Jennifer. She stands up and yells at the top of her lungs, “Help! Emergency! We’re being held hostage by a maniac in a top hat!”
Scofield points at Shira and barks, “You fool! You can’t pull your tricks on me!”
Shira glares at him accusingly and points. “What about yours? Unfunny even. You’re moral socialists straight outta the Caliphate, Sharia and all!”
The old Patriots gasp at the insult. Scofield shrieks, “Are you mad? We are Americans!”
“America is Allah incarnate. The Book of America says so. Now will you people please go back to eating your lunch before we upchuck ours?”
Colette shakes Shira’s shoulder and points out the window, at the coffee shop across the parking lot. They see people hurrying out to hide behind cars and buildings, followed by Socialist Revolutionaries in camo and red (Shira gasps). Shortly afterward, a bomb goes off inside, blasting the windows, shaking the ground, setting the café building on fire.
Shira rises to face down Scofield. “That’s why you’re here.”
The mousy woman next to Scofield (his wife) protests, “We’d never do a thing like that!”
Shira fixes her with a hard look. “You people do it all the time overseas. I bet there were gay people in there. Infidels too, even. Right?”
Scofield pulls a gun on Shira. She goes dead calm and drills an unblinking stare into his eyes. He says through his teeth, “This is your fault... Rebel Styles.” The old Patriots gasp.
“You think that’s me? My fault you did it? Americans. Blaming the victim’s your tribal sport.”
Suddenly the SRs burst in with guns drawn. “Scofield!” screams Adam Gabriel. Patriot soldiers pick up their own rifles to confront the new invaders in a mass Mexican standoff. Talia inserts herself between Scofield’s gun and Shira. Gabriel points his own service Glock at Scofield. “You hired the Toymaker,” Talia accuses.
“Whatever is necessary,” says Scofield coldly.
Gabriel hisses, “The people shall never forgive.” The two men glare at each other.
Jennifer clears her throat. All the militants stare at her. “Great. Two gangs squabble in my face over who’s the vanguard.”
“Vanguardism is the hottest fad in Tournament. Teams of bullies compete over who gets to beat up the people. One team waves the red flag while the other’s is red-white-and-blue, but you’re all the same. Now shut up and listen.”
The sound of sirens grows louder. “The police are coming,” says Shira. “I suggest you boys take your little squabble outside.” Right- and left-wing militants slowly back away, warily lower their weapons, then dash out, Patriots out the front door, SRs out the back.
Jennifer stands up, clasps her hands together, and smiles. “Excuse me, ladies and gents, but this restaurant is now closed. Sorry!”
telesphere. Amanda Currie reports the breaking news on ESPNBC:
warren avenue bridge. Talia drives the getaway. “Shira was there.”Amanda: This just in! A bombing has just occurred in Bremerton! The SRO is behind it, according to COPCO officials.Gabriel: It is no coincidence that Byron Scofield was right there when the bomb went off. None!Scofield: They deserved it. America has no tolerance for terrorist traitors.Gabriel: We were the target!Scofield: You lie!
“Well,” snarls Adam, “your foolish sister hass not enough sense to keep her pretty ass out of trouble. One day she will get killed.”
“They even hurt her, they’re in for a world of pain.”
“Keep your sister out of our way if you want her to live. If the Beckets and their ‘vanguard’ want war, we will give it to them, good and hard.”
winkie’s. Bomb squad investigators sift through the rubble inside the bombed café. Kowalczyk brings a detonator fragment to Sparks. “Yo Jimmy! Lookee here!”
Sparks takes the fragment. Recognizing the disturbingly familiar complicated wiring, he is overcome with terrifying rage and hisses: “Toymaker.”
sylvan way. Karen drives Rio past the library, up the hill, toward the Penguindrome. Shira asks the car, “You suffer any damage?”
“Nothing more than a few nicks and scratches,” the Mustang answers. Shira sighs in relief.
“Shira,” asks Karen grimly, “did Scofield just try to kill you?”
“Blow up Tal, lynch me? Yeah.”
“Trouble’s come to us,” Jennifer says, “so we can’t back down now.”
Colette asks, “So what are you guys gonna do now?”
Shira flashes a cockeyed smirk. “Give ’em what they least expect.” She winks.
winkie’s. Behind the dumpster behind the strip mall behind the restaurant lives an elderly black man in long black coat and wraparound mirrorshades, one of the millions of American war veterans thrown out on the street by the contemptuous Corporatist régime. The street calls him The Buzz because the word always goes through him. By now Shockley has questioned him often and relentlessly enough to become a major nuisance. He faces away from Shockley and the COPCO agents to make clear his annoyance with them. “What do you want this time, Shockley?”
“I want to know about any suspicious goings-on leading up to the bombing.”
“Your auntie’s pet. Looks like he’s running with the Devil.”
Sparks and Kowalczyk stare at Shockley. She says coldly, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You’re jumping ahead of yourself again, Agent Shockley. Your friend Scofield. Toymaker bomb. You make the connection. Detective.”
She raises her voice. “I can have you put away for insubordination, Sergeant.”
“You the Army?”
“Private army,” Sparks adds sourly.
“You shut up!” commands Shockley. “We already know she did it.”
“Why always her? How you always know? God tell you?”
“Silence! She sneaked in—”
The Buzz laughs bitterly. “She.” He turns toward Shockley and Kowalczyk. “You think you know what’s what, but you ain’t got the damnedest clue what’s what.” He removes his sunglasses to reveal empty eye sockets. The three cops gasp in horror at the sight. He slowly approaches them. “You can’t see what’s right under your nose.” He points at his eyeless face. “Me, I can see just fine.”
shelley house. Leila lies on her bed, on her back, nude and not caring if anyone spies her, surrounded by reams of passionate love letters and nude pictures Shira sent her. The moment she has dreaded and longed for has come at last: Shira came to her, kissed her, claimed her for her own, and told her without words she belongs to her forever. Too much love in those eyes, too much passion in those lips. But evil is Leila’s fate; she cannot allow Shira to share her damnation. Once again, she longs for death. She surrenders to bitter tears; sobs rack her body; she cries herself to sleep...
She dreams of television. She is trapped by Law, contract, the tyranny of fashion, and the Corporate patriarchs in a designer straitjacket impossible to escape. Suddenly Shira bursts in through the screen, broadcasting the outside world on her shimmering skin; a werewolf a mutant and Drusilla try to stop her with words of death, Shira answers with monkeywrenches hitting their faces, shatters Leila’s prison like a fragile egg, takes her by the hand and carries her away...
seattle center. Meanwhile, on the east coast of the Salish Sea, Bumbershoot is about to end with a bang. A suicide bomber blows himself up during Patriot Metal superstar Tom E. Breydon’s show brought to you by America’s Heroic Armed Forces and Lockheed Northrop Boeing Dynamics, America’s Number One Defense Provider. Breydon survives unhurt, but several devoutly American fans become martyrs for Jesus America. The entire Seattle Center area is evacuated, cops swarm in to crowd the area, military helicopters swoop in like vultures, drones flock overhead...
Everybody assumes a jihadi did it. Not wanting credit stolen by some foreign cult, their sacred warrior honor at stake, the left-wing terrorists of the Socialist Revolutionary Organization flood the media channels to publicly claim full responsibility.
Elsewhere in the city, somewhere, anywhere, drumsticks pound out an apocalypse, guitars scream and roar, feedback wails, howling maniacs swings their microphones around, crowds of defiant Rockers continue the noise when the music finally comes to an end, instruments and voices united to shout down the news coming from the official media echo chamber that rock is dead.Bram Rodchenko: We are the Socialist Revolutionary Organization. We are America’s last true freedom fighters. And we will not cease our struggle until the terrorists of greed are fully vanquished and the people are free at last.
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Copyright © 2011, 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2.1, 6/23/11: Text errors corrected and a couple simplifications made.]
[Revision 3, 9/29/11: Character name highlighting removed to fit the new continuity (only Samantha and The Buzz are now introduced this section). Colette from 3.4 is new to the Third Edition.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Inserted references to the events of 3.1 and 3.4.]
[Revision 4 Final, 7/5/12: Expanded with new scenes and revised for style and to fit Revision 4 continuity. Chapter title changed from “The Whole Point of No Return”.]