Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 10: Fashion Meltdown
Part 6: Vengeance and Fashion (Revision 3)
Part 6: Vengeance and Fashion (Revision 3)
25 september 2014.
hallway. After the disaster in the performing arts center, Shira and Karen emerge dressed once again in their sailor yellows. Charmian storms up into Shira’s face and screams, “What in God’s name were you thinking?”
Shira grins. “I was thinking, ‘Take that, Minty Fresh.’” She flashes Kelly and Charmian a wicked wink.
“But I love Minty Fresh! I’m her number one fan of all time!” protests Kelly. She wags her finger at Shira. “You won, you know. You destroyed the bestest pop idol ever, and that was with just the song. Minty would have died a horrible death at the very sight of that horrid costume! That was the closest thing to Rebel Styles live that I have ever seen in my life. I hate you, Shira Thomas!”
“You sound like I used to around Miley Cyrus. She was the Bestest Singer Ever, and I was totally in love with her. I even stalked her. I was eight. Come on, girls, if you can’t handle the heat, don’t get in the oven.” Kelly and Charmian stare at Shira funny, then sigh angrily and flounce away together in a huff, leaving Shira and Karen alone. The two cousins sigh in unison.
Shira notices that the Cool Kids are not mobbing her. Something is distracting them. Karen points at the eager crowd down the hall. “Over there.”
They meet Jennifer a few meters away from the hopping and squeeing crowd. They look at each other, then in annoyance at the Cool Kids surrounding a young woman. They can hear the words “Pretty City” squealed by girls in the crowd. Jennifer peers into the crowd to see who the woman is. When she recognizes her by the curls of her long dark brown hair, she goes cold. “Oh, no.”
Shira turns to her and says, “What is it?”
Jennifer whispers the name into Shira’s ear. Shira’s eyes go wide and her mouth twists. She rolls her eyes and says, “Oh great.” She turns to Karen, puts her finger to her mouth, and nods. Karen’s mouth falls open; she turns toward the scene and stands back to watch.
Jennifer and Shira march toward the young woman and the crowd surrounding her. When they get close enough, Shira yells, “Oh; emm; gee; doubleyou tee eff—”
The woman turns to see where the voice is coming from. “Shira?” Girls move out of their way so they can get a clear look at each other.
Lala Sun-Microsoft possesses the anonymous beauty of the surgically Resculpted. She was born plain, but she longed to be beautiful as long as she can remember. Her tekcorp executive father, Elliott Sun-Microsoft, bought the services of the best plastic surgeon in Los Angeles to Resculpt her. He transformed her into closest thing to the perfect average of every pop idol in Asia possible with the most modern technology and plastic surgery techniques. She is rich, eccentric, and two years older than Shira or Jennifer. She’s surrounded by Cool Kids eager to follow their strange pied piper to Pretty City. Surprised at the reunion, Lala opens her arms wide for a hug. “Jennifer! Shira! How are you?”
The two cousins accept Lala’s embrace; Shira kisses her. “It’s goin’,” says Shira.
Mimi comes up next to Shira and asks, “You two know her?”
Shira winks. “We’ve met.”
Polly peers into the nondescript prettiness of Lala’s doll-like face. She asks Shira, “Is she real?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“She looks so ‘uncanny valley,’ it creeps me out.”
Lala gasps. “How can you say that?” Shira shoos Polly and Mimi away. Lala stands back from Shira and Jennifer and takes a good look at them. She has always admired their Natural good looks.
“So what brings you back here to Bummertown, Lala?”
Lala whips out a brochure and winks. “I’ve got your ticket to Pretty City.”
Shira smiles. “Don’t you remember? I already burned my ticket to Pretty City.”
Shira holds out her fingers to count. “One, I’m already famous and/or infamous in my own right. Two, I have no intention of becoming a slave of the Fashion-Industrial Complex. Three, the Fashion-Industrial Complex are itchin’ to cut my nose, and I won’t let their scalpels come close to my nose. Four, I’m such a notorious Styler that no self-respecting New Pretty would accept me no matter how Resculpted I get. So, thanks but no thanks.”
Lala slumps, crestfallen. “Aww...” She stands back up, holds the brochure out to Jennifer, and smiles at her cheerily. “So... How about you, Jennifer?”
Jennifer does not smile. She sighs. “No, Lala. You should know me well enough to realize that I am what the fashion-industrial complex like to call ‘a great mind trapped in a great body.’ Smarts just don’t cut it in Pretty City. You know what they call me there?”
“Trouble. They’re even more scared of me than they are of Shira.”
Lala’s eager smile returns. “You’ll have no problem with them as long as I’m there for you!” Shira and Jennifer look at each other and sigh in unison; the eagerness drains from Lala’s smile. Shira shrugs.
Suddenly Lala screams in pain. Shira and Jennifer look behind her to see an angry Leila pinching Lala’s collarbone hard.
“Leila!” cries out Shira. “Stop that!” Leila lets go.
Lala turns to face Leila and stumbles back a pace. “Well! I never expected you’d be here!”
Unsmiling, Leila says, “Hello, Princess FrankenBarbie. What the fuck are you doing here?” Lala gasps in horror at the slur: “FrankenBarbie” is the evil word Stylers like to throw at the Resculpted.
“Three guesses,” says Shira, “and the first two don’t count.”
“Well. Trying to trick more suckers into selling their faces and souls to the fashion-industrial complex, aren’t you.”
Lala breathes in deep, crosses her arms, and lets out a hard angry sigh.
Shira sneaks up behind Lala and says, “You probably haven’t heard about this yet, but Leila’s now my girlfriend.”
Lala turns around toward Shira. “What? Her?!” Shira smiles triumphantly and nods. Lala spins to stare at Leila. The black-haired beauty’s sweet ironic smile says: Shira’s mine now, bitch. Deal.
Polly returns. “Your drama here’s been entertaining enough. If you like that, you’ll just love what’s coming up next. Especially you, Leila.”
“Me?” says Leila scornfully. “What could be worse than this?”
“Brandi just texted me. Looks like your gangster uncle’s here to drag you kicking and screaming back to Pretty City.”
“Tell him I’d rather die than go back.”
“I guess you’ll be telling him yourself.” Polly stares fearfully down the hall.
Toward the door, girls scream and squeal. The commotion comes closer. Shira and her friends notice that people are moving out of the way of whoever’s coming.
When she sees him, she catches her breath. He’s beautiful: tall and elegant, with long silky black hair and a delicate face which looks a whole lot like Rob’s. He wears MIB suit, black trenchcoat, fashion mirrorshades, and the signet ring of the House of Brinkman. He’s flanked by two huge and dangerous looking men in MIB suits and mirrorshades, but he looks more dangerous than either of them. He looks as dangerous as Leila. And he’s heading straight for her. When he gets in range of her, he yells: “Leila!”
“I have no idea!”
Arvid grabs Leila’s slender wrist in a death grip. She cries out in pain. “Well, we’d better find him, ’cos you two are coming back with me to Pretty City before you two get killed!”
Shira clears her throat loudly in his ear. He turns to face her. “Excuse me, but Leila’s staying here with me.”
Arvid stares down at her threateningly. “And who do you think you are to say such a thing to me?”
“I’m Shira Thomas, and I’m her lover.”
Shira pulls Leila out of Arvid’s grasp, holds her tight, and gives her a long passionate kiss right in front of him. She lowers her hands until they caress and squeeze Leila’s soft buttocks. Leila moans in pleasure. Arvid crosses his arms. “I see,” he says. “Maybe I should take you with her?”
“You weren’t here when I told Lala I already burned my invitation, right in front of the Molotov Twins’ butt-ugly mugs. You can always go ask her, or them. And the answer, of course, is no. I’m staying right here, she’s staying with me, and Ollie-Ollie can go fuck himself.”
Arvid sneers, “You know I never take no for an answer.” He and Shira stare each other down as if locked in a Mexican standoff.
Meanwhile, another chorus of squeals moves in a wave from the direction of the auditorium. Out of the dressing room, Charlie approaches in full blue sailor-girl school uniform with its sailor cap and wields a weaponized custom Les Paul clone strapped over her shoulder like a broadsword. The Gibson Les Paul and especially its cheaper non-brand clones are the most easily weaponized of the popular electric guitars because they are so solid and heavy; small women tend to find it difficult to carry one, so Charlie plays the checkerboard-pattern Strat she has left backstage for the roadies to pack up.
Arvid Shield is still facing down Shira when Charlie swings her guitar and hits the side of his head with it with such impact that she knocks him down. She raises it up like an ax and brings it down, intending to crush his head; but he catches it in time.
“Charlie!” cry Shira and Jennifer in unison. Shira grabs her from behind. Charlie kicks the guitar up out of Arvid’s hands and slings it onto her back as she spins in her tall younger sister’s embrace to kiss her hard on the lips.
Arvid climbs back up to his feet and scowls at the spectacle. He moves toward them threateningly. “What the fuck are you doing, Charlotte?”
Charlie breaks the kiss and flits her way in front of Leila. “Just protecting my sister’s girlfriend and her brother from, well, you.”
“Damn it, woman, I’m trying to protect these two! Do you want that rabid old dog and his pet psycho to eat them alive?”
Charlie shrugs. “You win some, you lose some.”
Arvid leans into her face. “You know what happens when you cross me, don’t you?”
Charlie stands on her tiptoes to get even closer and smirks. “Why, yes, come to think of it, I do. You get yourself in trouble you can’t get out of, and you drag down as many people with you as you can get in your clutch on your way to the bottom. That’s where I come in, Artie, and you know it.”
“Damn it, Charlotte, I’m their uncle!”
“And right now, cousin, I’m their best friend. So why don’t you be a friend to them and buzz off?”
Arvid Shield reaches into his blazer, whips his Glock out of his shoulder holster, and holds it on Charlie. She laughs at him. “What’s so funny, Charlotte?”
“Why, Arthur, I so didn’t realize how little you care about hurting bystanders.”
Suddenly two shots go off. Arvid spasms backward and lets out a cry of pain. Students and parents run away from them screaming. Lala hides behind Shira and whimpers. Desiree threads her way through panicking people toward the sound of the shots. Rob and Fiona rush over to protect their sister. Taylor Brinkman shoots two more bullets into the flak jacket under her brother’s suit to hurt him. “Get away from my kids, you cur!” she shrieks.
He rolls over and looks back at Taylor, stunned. “But sister—”
“Sister my arse! Do you know what they did to ’em at Pretty City? Do you realize what horrors they put ’em through? It’s all your fault!” Taylor shoots Arvid in the right pectoral. His hand involuntarily holds his chest at the point of impact; he lets out a strained cry of pain.
Desiree grabs Taylor from behind to hold her arms down and cries out, “Stop it! Stop it!”
“You too, Artie,” says Charlie calmly.
Shira casually walks between Taylor and Arvid. “Excuse me, but school ain’t the place for violent sibling rivalry. We have more than enough trouble dealing with gangsters and fight clubs.”
“She’s right,” Arvid says. “If you want to continue this, let’s take it elsewhere.” He puts his pistol back into his shoulder holster and painfully struggles to his feet. He glares at Taylor and Desiree; then Charlie; then Shira, Jennifer, and Lala; then Leila, Rob, and Fiona; and finally at Taylor again. Everyone’s stare remains fixed on him. He concedes with a smile, then leaves for the front door, followed by his two bodyguards. Taylor holsters her gun.
Desiree lets go of her. The two women glare at each other. Then Taylor shoots an angry look at Charlie. Charlie smiles sweetly at her. Taylor head-gestures for Leila, Rob, and Fiona to leave with her. Leila drops her head and sighs. They follow her as she storms away. Leila turns back to look at Shira. Shira gives her a beautiful smile and winks.
“Leila!” snaps Taylor.
Leila looks at Taylor, then Shira, then back at Taylor. She smiles — then she runs into Shira’s arms and gives her a passionate deep kiss. She looks back at her mother and smiles.
Shira says, “She gave herself to me for my birthday. Remember?”
Taylor glares at Shira for a time. A smile grows on her face. “Keep her.” She takes Rob and Fiona by the hand; they turn and walk toward the entrance.
Everybody else remaining in the hallway outside the auditorium lets out a huge sigh of relief.
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2, 8/4/11.]
[Revision 3, 10/15/11: Corrected text and continuity errors; edited to fit Third Revision continuity.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/19/11: Added correct date.]
[Revision 3.2, 10/25/11: Edited to fit new Third Revision continuity, corrected text errors.]