Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spanner 13.6: Fight Club Picnic

As this is the most important scene in this chapter, I felt the need to make significant changes for the second edition. First, of course, removing continuity errors and any remaining text errors, plus replacing awkward-sounding first-draft prose with something that reads much better. Second, Shira can’t hog all the fights, and Leila must try to kill somebody important the way she tried to kill Stan Green back in Part 3.4. Third, one minor revision intended to intensify the culture clash: the church ladies invariably go by “Mrs Husband’s Name” in the traditional manner. Team Bremelo and the Church of America may as well be hostile alien species from different planets. Otherwise, the main events remain the same, particularly the twist dénouement that’s still pretty much the way I first wrote it in my Project Notebooks a over decade ago.

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 13: The Battle of Evergreen Park
Part 6: Fight Club Picnic (Revision 2)

1 october 2014.
Evergreen Park.
Bremerton’s oldest large public park is in the center of town north of downtown. Usually, the park is crowded and all the gazebos are taken for picnics and meetings. Because Wednesday is a slow day when most of the usual church groups go to their church buildings for Wednesday night Nation worship, Willa managed to snag the use of one of the larger ones for their own on the last day of the year before the wet season officially begins.

Officially, this picnic is being held by Team Bremelo. The team members and their two faculty advisors reserved the gazebo in the team’s name. The picnic flies the team flag, with a yellow buffalo on a blue field. All team members are present, along with their advisors, Dave Whitmer and Elsie Currie. But they have brought along with them the nineteen active members of the Gay-Straight Alliance and their advisor, Sylvia Plame. They can get away with this because the memberships of Team Bremelo and the GSA overlap, and high school clubs are permitted to bring friends to off-campus meetings. Shira, Karen, Jennifer, Connor, Cory, and all three Shelley siblings belong to both clubs. The remaining eleven consist of two lesbian couples, one gay couple, three unattached boys and one girl, and Lorelei Straight, who doubles as Team Bremelo’s senior class advisor. Karen and Dexter, now an official couple, come together; Kio and Mimi, still officially friends, come as an unofficial couple.

Lorelei steps behind the podium Willa loaned the team, to applause and cheers. She gestures them to quiet down. “Thank you, everybody, for coming to our first annual team potluck!” Louder cheers; it takes Lorelei a bit longer to convince the crowd to quiet down. “As your senior class advisor, I say we get right down to business, I’m going to call up our team secretary, Polly, to start with roll call.”

As the picnickers cheer, Polly scampers up beside Lorelei and starts pointing. “Hmmm... Don’t say anything yet. I see four scrumptious boys...” Everybody laughs. “Cory, Connor, Rob, Kio, and I see Karen, and here’s our prettiest members, Leila, Fiona, and Jennifer, and there’s our cutest members, Sei-chan and Haru-chan, and our token evil member skipped out on us to go and do evil yet again, and oh, I’m Polly, the token witch. Did I miss anybody” Oh yeah, there’s our new Team Auxiliary and their senior advisor Courtney, with, there’s Sky, and Lyssa and Chuck, who’ll be our game announcer tonight, and there’s Ken and Steve and Don and Lorine, and there’s Mimi and Kio, and Karen’s finally taken delicious Dexter for herself, and there’s Eddie comparing moves with Cory, and there’s everybody else. Shira’s big sisters brought the meat and the fake burgers, so they’re doing all the cooking. I think we’ve got a big enough picnic for the biggest gazebo in the park, don’tcha think?” The whole crowd roars “Yeah!” in unison. “And it wouldn’t be a fight club picnic without a Team Challenge, so if anybody wants to prove themselves worthy to be a full member of our team, then join Shira as she unleashes her Official Go-Yo on the brittle ligaments of any ‘moral’ muscleboys who dare to interfere with us. So everybody eat!” Everybody neglects to cheer as they rush the food tables instead. No big fights ensue.

Shira, idly playing with her weighted yellow branded yo-yo that matches her school uniform, ambles up to Charlie and Desiree to watch them cook. Charlie kisses her and says, “So where’s Moms?”

“I convinced her that your Uncle Charlie had special plans for her, so she decided to attend a weekend education conference down in San Fran, all paid for by the Wilder Foundation. It’s all completely official, so she’s got perfect deniability. Me, I’ll be staying with Alex and playing with her toys. I hear Stan’s dropping by with some toys of his own that I’ve got to play with.”


“Automated Security Personnel.”

“You mean copbots?

“Running Windows, no less.”

Charlie crosses her arms and stares at Shira. “I hope you know what you’re doing.” The spatula she’s holding drips burger grease.

“Just watch.” Shira winks.

“Hey, everybody! The game’s starting!” yells Chuck. Her name is Charlene, but everybody calls her Chuck to distinguish her from Charlie, who’s a Charlotte.

Desiree interrupts. “Hey, how’s the martial arts coming?”

“Oh, me?” replies Shira. “You know me. As for the others, Brandi, Eddie, and Ken are all really taken with our capoeira class, while Chuck and Lyssa are going for the Brazilian jujitsu ’cuz they’re huge MMA fans and that’s the style all their favorite fighters use. They’re bringing Marina with ’em. As for Steve, he’s starting to really like Schuyler, so when she explained to him that combat sambo is basically Soviet jujitsu with some ninjutsu thrown in, he started going with her to classes. They stick to it long enough, we may let ’em join the team. Why do you ask?”

“I’m hearing from hush-hush official channels that Grandpa’s thinking of adding martial arts to his gun-ban mania.”

“Like I’m surprised. An armed citizenry’s likely to hang the old fiend by his own entrails.”

“Speaking of which,” says Charlie, “I’m hearing rumors that Grandpa’s about to pay us a visit.”

“Rumors, Charlie” The Party’s already leaking the official announcement to the lamestream news as we speak. Unofficially, of course, everybody knows he’s really coming as enabler so his grandsons Wally and One-Eye Jack can throw a monster city-smashing snit. That’s why we sent Mom off on official business.”

Charlie and Desiree look at each other. Charlie says, “Well then, we’d better prepare us a welcoming party for Grandpa.”

“I’m already hard at work on it.” Shira winks.

Elsewhere, Eddie can’t keep his eyes off beautiful Robert. Slightly disturbed, Dexter says, “What are you looking that way at him for?”

“Hey,” Eddie says in his soft Jamaican accent, “you’ve got your taste in pretty girls, and I’ve got mine in pretty boys. I was just born that way. I let the pretty girls have you, but Rob Shelley needs to be naked.”

“I’ll second that,” says Shira, wandering by. “Let’s make it an official team resolution.” The straight and bi girls around them squee. Leila embraces him from behind and starts unbuttoning the jacket of his uniform.

“Hey, stop that!”

Leila grins wickedly. “No. Take that jacket off, or I’ll take it off for you.”

Eddie, Dexter, and Cory look at each other, then hastily remove their jackets and undershirts. Soon, all the boys are shirtless, even Rob. He decides to give Eddie a hug. Eddie holds him tight and gives him a big kiss on the cheek. “Damn, boy, I love you,” he says to the blushing young Irishman.

Eight people can sit at one table. Don, Lorine, Connor, and Jennifer are sitting on one side of a half-empty table, so Eddie, Rob, Leila, and Shira sit on the other. Eddie, Cory, Dexter, and Kio are at the next table. Marina stops by Jennifer and Shira’s end of the table and asks, “Do you guys think I’m a spy?”

Shira feels the small bump in her neck. “A spy? Why would anybody think you’re a spy?”

“W-well, Bart and his boys are saying all Mexicans are working for the drug gangs...”

“Actually, the lamestream’s been spinning that all brown people are terrorists working for the Caliphate and all black people are New African spies and all Asians are Chinese spies, just because we’re eugenically incorrect. That’s the Eugenics Institute talkin’, girlfriend. Don’t believe a word of what they spin, but always watch your back.”

“Shira,” says Eddie, “they’re saying all black people are New Africa. Problem is, I’m gay and they’re a cult.”

“That’s merely how government works, Eddie. Every tribe’s the Master Race by definition, so every big chief’s gotta have his tribe rule everybody else. That goes double for the Great White Father which art in Holy City.”

“And that reminds me of one other thing. Jen, how come you get to marry your own mother when us gay guys get punished for just looking at each other?”

“Well,” says Jennifer, “Willa and I just happen to possess some very dangerous secrets about some very powerful men. Their desire to keep their secrets helped us fund the Exception we needed to marry. The Eugenics Institute has recently been opening up to the new technologies that will make same-sex reproduction possible. We managed to convince them to accept incestuous same-sex couples because they always share sperm donors. And that’s how I was able to marry my mother, change eugenics policy, and start a trend that so far all the religious morality crusaders have been unable to stop. As for my cousins...” Everybody looks over at Charlie and Desiree, who hug and kiss each other openly now that the food is cooked. “As princesses of the ruling House of Cromwell Becket, they get sovereign immunity. The Holy Prophet Drusilla’s holy blood puts them above the law, so they can get away with murder. It just so happens that they chose to defy their clan by getting married.”

“Come to think of it,” Shira adds, “I think they’ve gotten away with murder a few times already.” Lyssa runs over and nervously taps her on the shoulder, then points at a group of angry elderly and middle-aged women, led by Mrs Braddock Green, wife of the Colonel and mother of Stan and Bart, stomping toward the picnickers.

“Well, well, well,” Leila purrs. “Speak of the devil.”

“But that also means Dru can get away with killing us, too. She’s sending her assassins as we speak.” Shira stands up and yells, “Hey, Bremeloes! It’s a church lady rock party! Let’s go play catch!” She runs out to meet the intruders, followed by four shirtless boys and five more sailor-suited girls; they form a line to stop them as her sisters stroll casually in their direction, Desiree taking her kubotan and Charlie a meat tenderizing mallet. She takes out her Go-Yo™ to play with it and says to their leader, “Hiya, ladies! I see you’re delivering a few hard gifts from your Holy Prophet. Thing is, you can’t throw ’em fast enough or hard enough.”

The church ladies gasp in horror at hearing the insult thrown at their object of worship by one of her worst enemies. Mrs Green shrieks, “The nerve you children have! Such blasphemy shall not be tolerated, especially from half-naked mudblood whores!”

Shira laughs. “Blasphemy? I thought God was a man!” She puts her Go-Yo away, turns around, holds her hands to her mouth like a megaphone, and shouts at the gazebo, “Everybody! Sharia alert! The dress code nazis are here, and they’re here to kill!”

Charlie and Desiree pass through the line to face their mother’s devotees. The church ladies gasp in horror at their near nakedness. “Well, well, well,” mocks Charlie. “Look what Mommie Dearest decided to feed us.”

Desiree waves cheerily. “Hi, Mrs Green, Mrs Wilkinson, Mrs Lawless, and the rest of you old hags!” She turns to the others. “Do you see what they’re carrying” I think they brought us a Challenge!”

Shira steps in front of her sisters and holds out her arms to stop them. “I’ll take ’em this time. We don’t want any more deaths Mommie Dearest can sue us over.”

“All right,” Charlie sighs.

“Have it your way,” adds Desiree. They slip back behind the line of Bremelo fighters.

“Back me up!” shouts Shira to her fighters. She turns to face the pious intruders and holds her left arm outstretched, Go-Yo in hand. “Get out of here, you hideous old prudes, and go tell that evil woman we ain’t taking no shit from your cult!”

Speechless with rage, Mrs Green answers with a stone from her bag, thrown as hard as she can. Shira flicks her Go-Yo to ricochet the rock into Mrs Lawless’ exposed knee. Mrs Lawless clutches her injured knee and falls to the ground screaming in pain. Shira brings the Go-Yo back into her outstretched hand, grins, and says, “As a matter of fact, I’m ten times faster than the six of you combined. So why don’t you old ladies just go home and leave us in peace to let us eat our greasy picnic food that’s bad for us. Okay?” She lets her arm drop to her side.

Mrs. Green turns around and yells, “Stanley!” Sure enough, Stan Green and his Moral Enforcer unit are getting out of their evil-looking Hummer H1, ready to take on Team Bremelo. They rush over to the disturbed old ladies and quickly take away the fallen woman. Mother lets son take her place, and the church ladies hasten to their cars. Stan points at Shira and howls, “How dare you try and hurt my mother and the elder ladies of my church!”

Shira answers him with a wide-eyed grin. “So those were your church ladies, whose belovèd pastor is my Evil Stepmother?”

“Don’t you dare speak ill of our Shepherd! We’ll punish you for that!”

“Try all you want, Stan baby. Hell, let all your ’roid-ragin’ friends join in. I’m ready.”

The bullyboys return and pick up the bags of stones the ladies dropped, then start throwing a hailstorm of rocks at Shira. She spins her Go-Yo around and deflects rocks in every direction. The other Bremeloes fall back halfway to the gazebo. Jennifer yells, “Incoming!”

When the bags are empty, they rush Shira. She swings the Go-Yo upward into Stan’s jaw, sending him stumbling into the fighter next to him and knocking down them and another. She spins it almost invisibly as they get up and reassemble. “Did you know you just crashed a fight club picnic?” she taunts.

The Moral Enforcers turn around to find ten fighters staring down the six of them. The Bremeloes let out a loud kiai and shift together into their fighting stances. Team Bremelo and the New Wine Power Pushers are about to fight a Team Challenge when suddenly the pain-inducing sound of a sonic disruptor array sends everybody to the ground writhing, their hands held tightly to their ears in vain. When the sound stops and they’re able to hear again, they climb to their feet to see the mad Prophet Byron Scofield, holding Oliver Thorwald’s shovel like a sword and flanked by five security androids wielding automatic rifles. The sound blasters are their vocal mechanism. Along with protective goggles, smoking jacket, “Spiritual Warrior” T-shirt, and jeans, Scofield wears his trademark top hat.

Rebel Styles!” he screams.

Shira looks at him funny and says, “What the hell you talkin’ ’bout, massa?”

“Devil woman! Thou hast corrupted these people and led them on the path to Hell! Repent or burn forever! But you, Rebel Styles—you have to die!

She knocks off his top hat with her Go-Yo, then puts it away and quick-draws her Droid Mega. “I’m calling my lawyer, and then I’m calling a psychiatrist.” She thumbs the address book icon on the screen and then Angela’s entry.

The security androids drop their rifles to the ground.

Surprised at the sound, Scofield turns around and shrieks, “What are you doing? Pick those guns back up and shoot that woman! I command you!”

The robots put their hands to their heads and push upwards. With a sickening sound of ripping flesh, followed by the snapping of steel endoskeletons and electrical circuits, they pull their heads right off their bodies until they hold them high in their fully outstretched arms, dripping red lubricant and blue coolant. The now dead machines stand motionless and useless. Shira turns off the phone’s camera and holds it to her ear. “Did you catch that?”

The entire Team Bremelo group explodes in wild cheering. Stan’s gang stand paralyzed in shock, staring at the robot suicides. But Byron Scofield glares at Shira with an undisguised hatred and bloodlust. “Are you pleased with yourself, Rebel Styles? Your evil voodoo magic destroyed God’s property! Now you’re damned!

Shira stares him in the eye. As Leila quietly swipes Charlie’s knife behind her, she throws her enemy a Challenge: “Haven’t you heard, massa? There is no God. And the Devil is his dick!

Scofield runs screaming at her and tries to brain her with the shovel. She dodges the shovel and hits his knee with the Go-Yo. Seemingly oblivious to the pain, he spins the shovel around in an attempt to cut her head off with it. She ducks and flings the Go-Yo up into his jaw, sending him flying backward. When he lands, the shovel escapes his control. He struggles to get back to his feet, but Shira runs to stand over him and knock his head with a downward blow from the Go-Yo. He falls face first onto the ground, unconscious. Leila runs out to stick the knife into his heart, but the boys catch her and hold her back. She drops the knife, drops to her knees, and sighs in despair.

A horrified Polly runs up to Shira. “Oh, no! Now we’re all in trouble!”

Shira laughs. “Angie already took care of that. There’s been a police report filed on the theft of five police robots by a certain deranged religious nut. Since he’s responsible for the robots, we won’t even be charged. If you don’t believe me, just ask my lawyer.” She winks.

Five Moral Enforcers run as fast as they can back to their Hummer. Stan Green stares at Shira and does not move. He tries to wrap his mind around what he just saw, but cannot. He tries to speak, but cannot.

Shira stares back at him with a look that says he’s an idiot. “What are you looking at?”

He looks at Leila. She picks up the knife again and walks slowly toward him, radiating murder. He decides he’s had enough of her, so he runs to join his comrades and slips into the driver’s seat. He turns the massive vehicle on, and in a cloud of exhaust and burning rubber they are gone.

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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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