Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spanner 7.5: The Birthday Party

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 7: Love Missile
Part 5: The Birthday Party (Revision 3)
LocaFantoma99 Mi quinceañera! Party’s right downtown! B there or b L7! /cc @PerezHilton @TMZ

Shira Thomas Birthday! Party! Downtown!
9 september 2014.
Mudlark House.
The men in pinstripe suits and black fedoras arrive in their trucks delivering mass amounts of mushroom burgers, mob chips, and the other secret weapons purveyed by Bremerton’s only late-night delivery joint. Mobster Mike’s normally deliver only on Fridays and weekends; but this is a special delivery requiring a military-level secret operation. The name they use on Facebook and Google+: Mudlark House. Only they and the residents know which house it means.

The huge main room has been rearranged to make room for the tables of food. Afterwards, it will be rearranged again for the party itself. For today is the fifteenth birthday of Shira Miranda Thomas. Her father Red Mercury and aunt Rebel Mudlark are bringing Seattle’s rock ’n’ roll élite to Mudlark House to celebrate. Paparazzi would kill to crash the party. Hence Shira’s need to misdirect.

In the basement, locked in the bedroom Shira once shared with Kira, the principal participants plot their plan of attack. Shira asks, “You guys got enough fireworks?”

“Double, in fact,” Alex replies. “Half for today, half for when the superpatriots invade on Thursday.”

“I think they’re worse than terrorists,” says Jennifer.

Shira throws her a wink. “But they’re more fun to fight.”

Once the Mobster Mike’s crew finish their operation and move out, the rockers move in, disguised to conceal their identities from the paparazzi. First the remaining No-Names arrive with their families. Lead guitarist Jonnii Angel and bassist Raven Shears come together. Their daughters, melancholy Shadow and snarky Sari, bring bandmate Taylor Brinkman. Raven’s blond younger sister, keyboardist Betty Shears, brings her and Ric’s daughter Ruby Shears and equally redheaded twelve-year-old granddaughter Elle. Charlie and Desiree come together, the two sisters holding hands romantically like the married couple they are, trying not to make out till they get out of their car. The hackers of the Wrecking Krewe arrive next at Alex’s invitation. Taylor puts Leila in a sexy strapless black minidress at the hospital; Rob puts her in the passenger seat and drives her to the party with Fiona, Cory, and Polly in the back seat. After them, the punkers, Stylers, and hip-hop horrorists swarm in, hiding the stars beneath the seats, in their trunks, and within the most ridiculous costumes. Last of all comes oldest sibling Arlo Thomas, his biracial Brazilian supermodel wife Ana, and their lovely children Angelina, Marlon, and Erika.

No, MxPxies, your favorite band aren’t coming. They still haven’t forgiven Willa Richter-Thomas for that godless 1986 solo album of hers, The Amazing Misadventures of Rebel Mudlark, Space Cowgirl, or the Band with No Name for their answer record “Get Outta Bremerton”. Besides, MxPx are the very archetype of Willa’s supreme pet peeve: Christian punk. Mudlark House is Willa’s own residence. They wisely stay away.

Meanwhile, an army of paparazzi invade the ferry terminal area downtown, expecting to crash the party but finding only an empty unbooked conference center. Immediately they are met by cops; they riot, and the tear gas and truncheons fly.

After all the Mobster Mike’s food has been devoured by hungry rockers, hackers, and Stylers, Ric and Willa wheel out the great big guitar carrot cake to thunderous cheers. Jennifer complains, “Why didn’t I get a cake like that?”

Willa puts her arm around her shoulder. “Darling, you got the German chocolate keyboard.”

“Oh yeah.”

Ric puts fifteen candles on the cake and lights them. Shira runs to take her father’s place in the seat of honor at the end of the table. Everybody starts singing “Happy Birthday to You,” until—

Angela stands up, flails her arms, and shouts in panic, “Stop it, stop it, stop it!

“Angie, what’s wrong with singing ‘Happy Birthday to You’?”

Angela says grimly, “That song is the Intellectual Property of Time Warner Corporation, an MIAA member of the Melodia Consortium, meaning we’re forbidden to sing it without paying the Melodia Consortium a license fee running to an arm, a leg, an extra pound of flesh, and your firstborn child.”

“I don’t see how they can sue us for singing it privately.”

“You don’t understand! Intellectual Property is the heart of the Law. Violating it is considered worse than murder! We sing the Melodia Consortium’s Intellectual Property without its highly confiscatory permission, we pirate its intellectual property. There’s many people the Consortium considers pirates sitting here at this table. If it even suspects that Rockers are singing its Intellectual Property, it’ll send its lawyers after us in a heartbeat! Shira, you’re extremely lucky you haven’t had to deal with Corporate lawyers with police power. If they catch you touching their masters’ sacred copyrights, they’ll arrest you, judge you, and maybe even execute you on the spot! This is America, after all. A republic is not a democracy, freedom is not free, and all that bullshit.”

Shira stands up. “I say we show our contempt for that evil corporate pirate called the Melodia Consortium and its bloodthirsty barbarian lawyers by singing ‘Happy Birthday’ anyway.” The crowd erupts with cheers. “Melodia, MIAA, Time Warner, and Roland Leggett, this middle finger salute’s for you!” Middle fingers waving high, all the assembled Rockers sing:
Happy birthday, fuck you,
Your brains are shit stew,
Your excuses are bullshit,
Your copyrights are too!
They cheer and howl together.

Shira gets a synthesizer keyboard from Charlie, a new high-definition video camera from Desiree, movies and books and jewelry and other interesting things from the others. From Dexter, she will get a special night of movies, dining, and love on Friday. From her parents, she will get a movie in the theatre, an expensive Native American salmon dinner in Tillicum Village on Blake Island, and a weekend on the town in downtown Seattle. From her cousin Alex de Lacey (Willa’s daughter from the 1980s) and her husband Nick Cyphers, she gets a Furby.

“Looks collectible,” says Shira.

Alex winks. “It is, but not the way you’d expect.” She picks it up and switches it on. &ldquo We cannibalized a bootleg two-gig smartphone with two cameras and 256 gigs flash storage and put it into a Furby we got cheap in surprisingly good condition at a swap meet. Next, we installed Python and gave him an AI. Then we gave him a personality we thought you might like.”

“What’s his name?”

“Freddy Freakbeak.”

Freddy’s first word to Shira is “Hi.”

“Oh my god, I’m in love.” Shira picks Freddy up and twirls it around. She throws herself at Alex and Nick, showers them with kisses, and squeals, “Thank you! I love you!” Shira and her fuzzy new robot friend become the hit of the party.

Suddenly Angelina rushes in wet, yelling “Oh my god they’re here!

Everybody goes silent. Then Willa commands, “To the garage!” The Team Bremelo fighters run out to the garage, don ski masks, and pick their weapons of choice from the huge pile of fireworks as the garage door opens. Their hearts sink as they find it’s dark and rainy outside.

“Oh boy,” says Shira, “it’s raining cats, dogs, and social media experts.”

One paparazzo appears to point a camera directly at them and start snapping pictures. Shira picks up a blowgun, lights a bottle rocket, and sticks it in. The bottle rocket zooms out the tube, hits the camera lens, and explodes. Camera parts fly like shrapnel; the paparazzo screams and holds his eye. Jennifer fires a Roman candle at him; he flees the barrage.

The advancing paparazzi find themselves bombarded by bottle rockets, flying firecrackers, spud guns, and screaming Roman candles. The masked and costumed fighters assault them relentlessly until they flee into their cars and peel out onto the street, some of them leaving their cameras behind in the panic of their retreat. The Bremeloes make their own retreat out of the rain, back to the garage, and strip off their now wet masks.

“That’ll show ’em,” says Shira.

“Then you don’t know paparazzi,” replies Rob.

“Oh yeah? I own ’em constantly. Sooner or later they’ll actually be afraid of me.”

Kio looks at Shira strangely. “Shira, do you have to deal with these people all the time?”

Shira grins. “Yep, and the poor bastards’ll just have to deal.”

Polly, cringing against the door, angrily protests, “Well, happy birthday then. You guys scared me half to death!”

The Furby in her hand taunts, “Chicken.” Everybody laughs.

Shira spots a forlorn Leila looking left out in a corner. She runs over to her and holds out her hand. Leila says sadly, “I didn’t bring you a present. I’m terribly sorry.”

She smiles. “Leila, you are my present.”


“Give me your heart and your body, and you’ll make me the happiest birthday girl ever.”

Leila stares at her, stunned. She turns away and cries, “But you don’t deserve me.”

“I don’ care. I want you more than anything. I’ll gladly give up everything else if only I can have you. Please give yourself to me.”

“Leila, she’s in love with you,” says Taylor. “Do it! Please?”

Leila finds herself surrounded by Rockers and Bremeloes begging her to give herself to Shira. Reluctantly, she slowly brings herself to her feet. She stares into Shira’s bright green eyes and sees total adoration. “You’re making a terrible mistake,” she says.

“I told you, I don’t care.”

“Okay. From now on, I belong to you.”

“Oh, thank you! You’re the best gift ever! May I please unwrap you?” Leila nods enthusiastically. Not caring who sees her, she lets Shira slip off her dress so that she stands before her completely nude, making several people gasp.

Shira puts her hands on Leila’s shoulders and drinks in the vision of the beautiful trembling body before her. Time stands still; everyone holds their breath. “Thank you,” she whispers. She takes her into her arms and kisses her as passionately as she can. Their classmates, and all the Rockers in Mudlark House, explode into cheers.

elsewhere. Todd Palin washes up dead on the shores of the Missouri River wearing large concrete footwear and showing signs of grievous injury. Someone (everyone has a good guess as to who she is) tries to spread rumors that he was assassinated by some mafia: the Russkies, maybe, or the Chinks, or the savage Spics from Mexico or Colombia or wherever. Their spokesmen deny any desire to murder him; he would have been too precious an asset against his ex-wife. Everybody knows only one mafia in the Confederacy has any reason to kill him, and that is the Honkies. Minuteman. But they answer to the one person with the motive. Nobody dares say who that is.

The Vice President cries huge crocodile tears over her ex-husband’s tragic death. She tells sugar-coated stories about their former married life. No one dares admit that she’s really that sad to see him dead, out of fear that such an admission could be considered treasonous.

Amanda Currie interviews Willa. “You went hunting with the Palins once before the Vice President was even governor of Alaska.”

Willa smiles. “Oh, yes, I do remember. They took me on one of their helicopter hunting trips over the Alaskan wilderness. Our future Vice President took several shots at a moose with an automatic rifle and missed. I said, ‘I could easily hit that thing from this height with just a bow and arrow.’ She never said another word to me the rest of the trip, and she’s never said one nice thing about me since.”

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

[Revision 2, 7/12/11: Expanded and heavily edited Shira’s Birthday scene, modified final scene.]
[Revision 2.1, 8/27/11: Changed the implied age in the tweet from 15 to 18. There are plot reasons for this.]
[Revision 3, 10/2/11: Changed implied age back, for the same plot reasons, and Shira’s handle (to the proper LocaFantoma99) along with it; added “fuck you” lyrics (unprotected by copyright) to “Happy Birthday,” gave Leila a more prominent role, corrected text errors.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/3/11: Revised end of Shira’s Birthday scene.]
[Revision 3.2, 10/22/11: Corrected text and continuity errors, added “unwrapping of Leila”.]

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