Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spanner 26.3: The High Price of Freedom

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 26: Youthcrime
Part 3: The High Price of Freedom

12 november 2014.
Shira’s apartment.
While Ayla and Lucie make passionate love in the guest room, Shira and Leila take a long bubble bath together. “This place is already empty without... your mother,” says Leila.

Shira laughs. “‘Without Hope’ would be a cruel pun. The Foundation had to put her and Charlie up somewhere in downtown Seattle while they’re busy riding that alien invader Scofield out of town on a rail, hopefully tarred and feathered.”

“That man is a complete psycho. What’s that catchphrase he keeps throwing around?”
Freedom is not free!
“That’s your standard conservative boilerplate. What it means is, to be free, you gotta sacrifice all your freedom to the Nation. Which sounds a lot to me like Soviet Democracy, where everybody had the right to vote, but they all had to vote for Stalin if they wanted to live. That’s the spirit of Conservative Freedom in a nutshell right there.”

Leila languidly lies down on top of Shira. “We won’t let ’em be conservative with our freedom. They know what’ll happen to ’em if they get in the way of our love.” She kisses her.

“Funny, it was only a couple months ago you were trying to die.”

“But you wouldn’t let me. Now I’ve never felt more alive in my life. I can never thank you enough...” Tears begin to well up in Leila’s eyes. “...and I’ll love you forever.” They share a long deep kiss.

hospital. Karen and Colette make sure to visit the gangster Shira and Jennifer beat up, and the girlfriend Shira put into the bed beside him. The girl cries, “Why did she have to be so cruel? I thought she was this hero!” Karen holds her and tries to comfort her.

The Punk himself is being interrogated by COPCO antiterror agents. “Don’t be so hard on the guy,” says Sparks. “We don’t want him to clam up.”

Agents Johnson and Thompson barge into his face. He does not flinch. Johnson says, “You think he’s such a good guy, don’t you, kid. Well, think again. He’s wearing colors, which makes him a psycho killer by definition.”

“He wouldn’t be wearing gang colors if he wasn’t already a psycho killer,” adds Thompson.

“Like I said. We gotta be tough on these tough guys.”

“Or being nice to him will unman you? If he’s the real psycho you say he is, stroking his ego’s the way to go. Stroke him enough, and you won’t be able to stop him from bragging about his crimes.”

“Who did you hear this from?”

“John Douglas. The Mindhunter himself. I’ve read all his books.”

“Books don’t mean nothing, Jimmy boy.”

“Well, I tried it on Johnny-Johnny himself, and it worked like a charm. Too bad his daddy was high enough up in the Party hierarchy to buy him sovereign immunity, or he’d be sitting pretty on the electric chair by now. Not that it helped him anyway.”

Thompson chuckles. “Yeah, your hot girlfriend smothered him with her pretty ass. I don’t know about him, but that’s the way I’d like to go.”

Shira says, “You wanna try it now?” Everybody in the hospital room jumps in surprise. Right then, Leila and Jennifer enter the room, Peck and Lansky behind them.

The gangster panics. “Oh no! It’s her!”

Sparks crosses his arms and flashes her a betrayed look. “What in the hell were you thinking, girl?”

Shira sighs. “Well, on the one side, there’s the gang, which says join or die. On the other, there’s the Law, which says leave the gang or die.” She looks to the crippled gangster. “If you aren’t pulling my leg, if you really are serious about leaving the gang, you’re going to have to renounce your gang membership publicly. That includes burning your gang uniform, shaving off your hair, and having all your tattoos removed. Problem is, Anticristo considers you his personal property, and your girlfriend too. In fact, you’re really just a gun to him. A weapon, and not a man. His weapon gives him shit, he throws it away, meaning your corpses fed to the sharks. But you have to do it, or you’ll end up in a suicide squad fighting screaming fanatics to the death on the North African front. Some of those might even be your former Cartel comrades. You know you’re in deep shit. Both of you.”

Karen walks up to Shira. Shira tries to wave, but Karen angrily attempts to slap her. Peck catches her hand before it can hit Shira’s cheek. “Why did you have to hurt her, Shira?” she yells.

Peck answers, “Either she must renounce her boyfriend, or her boyfriend must renounce terrorism. As long as he remains part of the Cartel, he is automatically guilty of aggravated first-degree murder. If she remains with him while he’s still wearing colors, she’s automatically an accessory to serial murder. The Law is utterly inflexible on the matter of terrorism. So your cousins had no choice but to beat them both mercilessly. They earned their reward on behalf of the Slasher Hunters.”

Shira says to the gangster and his girlfriend, “Whether or not we pay off your medical bills with our reward money depends entirely on you.”

“Please do it, Carlos!” the girlfriend begs. “We can finally have our life together!”

“I’m scared, Maria,” sobs Carlos, “more for you than me. I don’t want you getting hurt, and they’ll hurt you.”

Shira says, “I’ll protect you this time. In fact, I think I’ll pay Anticristo a personal call.”

Everyone gasps. “You can’t be serious, Shira,” says Sparks.

“He’ll kill you!” warns Carlos.

Shira grins. “You wanna know the truth? Fact is, he’s afraid of me.”

Several people cry out, “What?!

“Consider his choice of handle. The boy’s superstitious. He absolutely believes in the Devil and all those evil voodoo gods. I can kill him using his own faith as my weapon. Someone that superstitious stands no chance against a Charmer.”

Agents Johnson and Thompson crowd Shira. Johnson says, “You musclin’ in on our jurisdiction?”

“Maybe I should let him humiliate you cop types yet again? He’s got a strategy that works against what he considers that rival gang called COPCO. He can hold his own against any gang. But against someone who can kill him with his own faith? He’s helpless. But if you guys wanna get owned again, I won’t get in your way.”

“Make sure you don’t,” says Thompson. The two agents leave.

Sparks says to the Slasher Hunters, “You guys can go now. Karen and Colette have the fort, and I’ve got their back.”

Shira says, “Just make sure to make it worth forgoing our reward, Jim.” She kisses him.

Peck looks at her. “What did you say?”

“We aren’t that mercenary. At least if we have a conscience, we aren’t.”

Lansky laughs. “She’s right!” He backslaps her. “Shira, I like you.” She winks.

mayor’s office. “You can’t win, Reston,” Brinkman threatens.

Acting Mayor Hope Reston tells the man on the monitor, “You’re just telling yourself you’re not a coward.”

Charlie purrs contemptuously, “You’re in denial, cousin. Admit to yourself and the world that you’re afraid of muggles.”

“You haven’t been informed of my mandate? My job here is to get the government out of the way of the people. The Peter Principle has a corollary you probably haven’t learned about: the longer you stay at or near the top of any hierarchy, with all those layers of bureaucracy insulating you from reality, the greater your incompetence. It’s a form of entropy, and one cause of the notorious phenomenon of groupthink that leads to disastrous collisions with reality, as you should have realized just last week.”

“I. am. the leader,” grunts an increasingly frustrated Brinkman. “Don’t you forget that!” He breaks the call abruptly.

Charlie slaps her forehead and shakes her head. “What a git.”

Suddenly the door shatters into splinters. A psycho killer with chainsaws for arms bursts in.

“Hey! That’s Chainsaw Eddie!”

“Stand back,” says Hope. “I got him.” She whips open her desk drawer, takes out her Colt .45 semiauto, and points it at him. He freezes. “Gun beats saw.”

She shoots him between the eyes. He falls backwards onto the floor. The corpse twitches, the chainsaws spin and flail erratically, before it finally falls still.

The mayoral staff run in accompanied by security guards. Hope says, “That was a gift from Governor Brinkman. Never, ever underestimate him, or Scofield. They will go to any length to take back the power that properly belongs to the people alone. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Now let’s return this unwanted gift and get back to work.”

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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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[Revision 1, 12/15/11.]

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