Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 7: Love Missile
Part 3: Caturday (Revision 3)
Part 3: Caturday (Revision 3)
hospital. A small COPCO army in armour and helicopters lob tear gas canisters into the rioting crowd of camera-wielding celebrity hunters spilling beyond Cherry Avenue and battling their way into Harrison Memorial Hospital. Rock star Taylor Brinkman has come to visit her daughter Leila Shelley’s hospital room, and all the tabloids in the Mainstream Media and Fashion-Industrial Complex have sent their paparazzi legions to hunt the notorious gothpunk singer and her distressed daughter, and bring back trophies for the rags’ jaded readers.
Across the street, the Bridgeview Professional Building is locked down, yet the acrid stench of tear gas still manages to find its way in. Shira and Sparks have a front row seat of the violence as they sip coffee next to the window at the Bridgeview Café. Shira says over the phone, “Better keep your distance, guys. The cops are having trouble enough keeping the vultures away from Taylor Brinkman. You don’t want ’em to open up a Willa Richter-Thomas front.”
Jennifer replies, “Don’t worry about us, Shira. We’re stuck on the bridge with an excellent view of the action. You see the fires starting up?”
“Sorry. Tear gas is so thick here we can’t see a thing.”
“You’d better stay safe.”
“I am. Can’t say the same thing for our predatory photog frenemies, though.” After the usual goodbyes, she hangs up.
Sparks sighs. “How can you get your calls through when I can’t?”
“I don’t use AT&T.”
“Even without AT&T, I doubt you’ll be able to use that thing for anything but calls.”
“Well, it’s ‘Caturday’ on the major social networks, and Echelon’s DDoSing every single LOLcat image and video uploaded to Google+, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, Cheezburger, and 4chan with long, complicated, and processor-intensive steganographic analysis. I logic bombed my pics with mutually contradictory Bible codes to redirect the Big Eye onto News Corp’s network so our shutterbug friends here can’t upload theirs. Mikan’s my cat. You ought to meet her sometime.” She winks.
“Does Murdoch suspect?”
“His goons constantly try to hack my phone, but I keep upping my security settings, so he only has a vague idea of my location or what I’ve got on him. But I’m sure he knows I’m onto him. Me and all the hackers in the whole Empire.”
“If they get blocked, they can still hand in their pictures in person.”
Shira grins. “Actually, no.”
“Those Bible codes encode not only redirection commands, but viruses which Echelon involuntarily uploads and NewsCorp downloads. Bye-bye phones and cameras, paparazzi pwned.”
“I have to warn you, Shira, somebody here might suspect you of being a dangerous radical.”
“Really?” Shira shrugs. “I just hate paparazzi.”
Outside, the tear gas slows down the rioters enough for the cops to round them up. Eventually it’s finally safe to go outside, and the building opens back up to the outside world.
inside hospital. Cops are still dragging paparazzi out and smashing their cameras as Shira, Willa, Jennifer, and Sparks enter. One paparazzo breaks free, picks up a dropped camera that looks intact, and attempts to take a picture of Willa. Sparks gets in his way and punches the lens out of the camera.
“You can’t stop us, copper,” the paparazzo gloats.
“Sure I can,” replies Sparks as he punches the paparazzo out.
When they reach Leila’s room, they find the door blocked by a crowd of security men all robotically repeating, “No admittance!” Two tattooed female arms reach through them to grab Shira and Jennifer. They grab Willa and Sparks, and the four muscle their way through. Taylor Brinkman is dressed unusually un-goth, but her relatively plain clothes cannot hide the tattoos that cover every single exposed surface of skin except her face, beautiful like her daughter’s. She hugs and kisses Shira, Jennifer, and Willa in that order. “You should’ve got here earlier.“
“We would have, too,” replies Willa, “but for that seven-nation army of tabloid predators all trying to get into your room.”
Rob lies atop Leila and holds her tight while sobbing Fiona puts her fingers gently through her hair. He kisses Leila, then gets up to embrace his classmates, revealing the residual tracks of tears. Shira runs over to kiss him. “How is she?”
“She’s recovering, at least,” he says.
“So what happened?”
Rob pauses and lowers his head. Quietly he says, “Ask her.”
She looks to the bed, where Leila lies listlessly while an affectionate calico cat ministers to her. “Oh my god—” She runs over to Leila, pets the cat, and bends down to look into Leila’s eyes. She gently strokes her smooth beautiful face. Leila notices the concern in her eyes. Shira gives her a sweet gentle kiss on her lips. The cat rubs her body against her and purrs. “Leila darling, can you tell me what happened?”
“I don’t know... This cute sailor said he had some E, but it turned out to be more like Rohypnol or something... Next thing I knew, I was being raped and humiliated, and I couldn’t do a thing about it...” Tears stream down her face.
Shira takes in a long gasp of horror. Jennifer and Willa rush over. “Are you all right?”
Sparks demands, “Who did this to you?”
“I don’t know...”
“I tried, I tried,” Leila sobs.
“Shira! Maybe you caught something on camera?”
“Oh yeah!” Shira whips out her phone, chooses the “Videos” icon, flips through the list. “Ah. There.” The others (except Leila, who sits up attentively) crowd around her to watch. The video shows a man in blue camo delivering helpless Leila to three younger men dressed Moral Enforcer. “Hey! That’s no sailor!”
“Then who is it?”
“That’s Oliver Thorwald!”
Leila gasps in horror. First suspicion confirmed. Her body goes cold.
“Who’s he?” asks Jennifer.
“Only the degenerate son of the corporate raider one of my special deliveries blew up. Better known as ‘Ollie Ollie Oxenfree,’ trust-fund gangster. Wait, now the’s a car coming, and the three MoFos are taking off, and — oh shit—”
“That’s Reno Corson?!” gasps Jennifer.
“Wasn’t he dead?”
“Apparently not anymore.”
Sparks says, “Clone resurrection. But of course.”
Second suspicion confirmed — Leila’s body convulses with humiliation quickly fermenting into hatred.
A wicked smile comes over Shira’s face. “Looks like Ollie and Reno just gave us the weapon to destroy ’em with.” She looks down at Leila, sees her torment, sits down beside her, leans down to wipe her tears. For an endless moment she gazes deeply into those beautiful sad violet eyes. Suddenly she presses her lips hard to hers. The kiss makes Leila’s body shudder. She tries to push Shira away, but Shira holds her so tight she cannot escape. Leila surrenders, lets her hungry hands caress her body, lets Shira’s hot desire burn her.
The others watch their passionate kiss. The realization hits Taylor that this dark young woman may be the one whose love can save Leila from self-destruction. She gazes upon the couple and smiles.
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2, 7/10/11: All new material.]
[Revision 3, 10/2/11: New ending added to final scene; corrected text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Edited to fit revised Third Revision continuity, corrected remaining text errors.]