Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 10: Fashion Meltdown
Part 2: Exploding Youth (Final Revision)
Part 2: Exploding Youth (Final Revision)
ferry terminal. Beneath the main platform, near the elevator, where the foot-ferry pier meets the boardwalk, there is an espresso cart with three nearby tables. Two high-school-age college students wearing Bremerton High uniforms, a boy and a girl, sit at one table. Shira, Leila, and Brandi take another while Jennifer orders their coffee at the cart. The Bremerton girl joins them. The barista is another college student, age 20. She makes their drinks efficiently, but she is not in a good mood. “You hear the Party wants to shut down all the community colleges and restrict university to the rich?”
The Bremerton girl gasps. “What’ll we do for skills then?”
“Robots can do ’em,” Jennifer says. “The only skills the Party recognizes are fascist management and conjuring money out of pure whim. They consider human resources cheap and disposable.”
There’s a slight panic on the deck. Tutors and commuters look toward the stairway and see four angry musclebound Klownz in Badd Boyzz gangster gear descending rapidly. The tutors stand up. Shira says, “Speaking of cheap disposable resources...”
Brandi asks the barista and Bremerton tutors, “Can you fight?” They shake their heads. “Then take cover.” They hide behind the cart. The four Bremeloes run to the nearest wide-open patch of boardwalk. The four Badd Boyzz quickly surround them. Any nearby commuters and tourists scatter.
The biggest of them says, “We been fuckin’ lookin’ fa y’all, fuckin’ bitchizzzz!”
Another Badd Boyyy says, “Fuck yeah! Li’l Badd want’ch’all fuckin’ daid!”
“We gonna fuckin’ rape y’all, then we fuckin’ keell y’all, then we rape ya pretty carcasses, then we cut’ch’all, eat’ch’all, an’ take ya fuckin’ haidz ta Li’l Badd as a present!”
“Sucks ta be pretty, beeeyotchizzz!”
“Get ready to die!”
Shira flashes them a mocking shitface grin. “Bad, d-d-d.”
Brandi reaches into her backpack to extract a wide-nozzle spray can. The klownz laugh. The one behind her says, “She gonna fuckin’ tag us?”
The big one says, “Fuck that. Let’s fuckin’ fuck ’em up.”
Shira sighs. “Oh, well. Your funeral.”
The Klownz unsheathe their evil-looking Special Forces survival knives and rush the Bremeloes. Brandi tosses the can to Jennifer, takes out another, dodges Klownz, smokebombs two in the face; Jennifer sprays the others right up the nose. They cough and flail and cut each other. “Fuckin’ hoez!” roars the big Klown. “We gonna fuck y’all up!”
“An’ eat’ch’all!” shrieks his second. They attack again. Leila takes Jennifer’s kubotan and flicks it out to full length; Shira flings out her Go-Yo; they “ninja” the bloated gangsters’ joints and tendons. Jennifer and Brandi spray a cloud of pure pain around the Klownz; one blindly charges Shira and gets thrown over the railing.
The Klownz’ muscles start to twitch violently. They start to panic. The big leader blurts, “Aw, fuck—”
Brandi shoos away screaming commuters; the tutors form a quick wall out of the cart and tables. The Klownz try to give chase, but their muscles spasm so violently they can no longer move. She slips around the corner and disappears. Their muscles start to burst open. One by one, the Badd Boyzz on the boardwalk gruesomely explode.
The carnage flies several dozen meters, splatters walls and cars; the barista, the Bremerton tutors, and several commuters scream and vomit at the horror. Shira holds the AntiMeth spray can in front of her and stares at it in disbelief. “Oh — my — what the hell is that shit?”
“Anti-Meth,” says Brandi.
A wave of sirens approaches. Sparks skips down the stairs. The tutors stand up to meet him. He surveys the carnage. “How in burning blazes did this happen?”
Shira says calmly, “Apparently super steroids and Anti-Meth don’t mix.” The water off the boardwalk bursts red: the last Badd Boyyy exploded. “See?”
principal’s office. Shira, Leila, Jennifer, and Brandi face the principals. “You’re late,” says the smirking Principal Principal.
“We came by cop car,” replies Shira.
“And what would be your excuse this time, Miss Thomas?”
“If you kept track of the news, Principal Principal, you’d know that four gangsters from Dictel Park attacked us and then exploded. Went splorch in the middle of a crowd of commuters. It was gross.”
“Our cop’s on the same case,” Jennifer adds. “We’re having a strategy session after school.”
Spiekerman says, “I don’t believe you.”
“Check the news. We’re in it.”
“Speaking of news,” says Principal, “did you know, Miss Thomas, that Minty Fresh has issued you a Challenge?”
Shira’s mouth falls open. She stares at Jennifer, then Leila. “Well, well, well! I thought she’d never ask.”
“Her management has scheduled your song duel for five o’clock sharp on Thursday. You may skip classes and soccer practice if you like, but do not miss this. Our sponsors depend on it.”
“I am so there!”
homeroom. Shira, Leila, and Jennifer enter halfway through class to find students enthusiastically gossiping. Shira comes up to Dave and whispers something into his ear. He looks at he quizzically. She nods seriously. He lets her get close and speak. No sooner does she open her mouth than Debbie interrupts her. “How come you’re so late?” Several students echo, “Yeah!”
“I was just about to tell you,” Shira replies flirtatiously, “so listen.” She winks at Debbie to make her blush. “Earlier this morning one of the Dictel Park gangs attacked us at the Bremerton ferry terminal. When we sprayed AntiMeth, something in their boost drugs made ’em explode. Not bang. Splorch. Right in the middle of the morning commute.”
Several students gasp. Trishie breathlessly blurts, “That’s been happening in the news lately!”
“Well, we need to be wary, ’cuz that gang’s based right across the street.”
But for the rest of the period the students forget the gang threat and talk only about Minty’s Challenge.
homeroom office. Elsie joins them carrying a tote before the period ends. “You wanted to ask me something?”
Dave says, “We were wondering if you had any idea whether the incident downtown had any connection with that football game.”
She takes a bottle of steroid pills out and sets it on his desk. “I took this from Mobley’s stash.” Next to it, she sets a small plastic bag full of similar pills. “This I found in the cafeteria shortly after the gang invasion.”
Jennifer picks them up. “Let’s go check ’em out.”
hallway. Dorian stands between Debbie and Leila to make sure they do not escalate their mutual glares into fisticuffs as they walk with Shira and Jennifer to their cluster of lockers. “Say, I heard you guys had some trouble at your campus.”
Shira casually shrugs. “Well, it’s not like some public-school CEO who doesn’t like education tried to jump-start a police riot in the name of the Revolution. So, no. No trouble at all.”
Debbie jumps in front of her and stares at her suspiciously. “You mean... Chairman Ross started that riot?”
“He doesn’t think much of us young whippersnappers. Not cynical enough to be old.”
“The party are a bit infatuated with terrorists,” Jennifer helpfully adds. “Makes ’em feel vicariously manly.”
Dorian says, “Our family doesn’t support terrorists.”
“That’s ’cos they can get away with doing their own terrorism at their age. You see, they’re superheroes.” Dorian and Debbie move in close to Jennifer and stare up at her. She smiles. “Superheroes and terrorists do the same thing: substitute individual heroism for mass popular action. It’s the whole spirit of the Conservative Revolution.”
Shira adds, “Superheroes think terrorists are muggle posers. I should know.”
Dorian gives her a narrow-eyed skeptical look. “You don’t know my family.”
Shira and Jennifer look at each other, then at Dorian and Debbie. Jennifer says, “Ladies, your grandfather just happens to be my stepfather.”
“The new school nurse happes to be both my sister and your cousin. Go have a talk with her. As for your grandfather, you don’t have to deal with him all the time. My lawyer and I do.”
“Not only do we know your family all too well, my stepnieces, our two families are hopelessly entangled.” The two sets of cousins stare each other down. Debbie opens her locker and stares at Leila.
Leila breaks the tense silence. “Shira, I heard Minty Fresh Challenged you.”
Shira hugs her. “And that’s why we’re not working today.”
“C’mon,” says Jennifer, “let’s get some evidence processed.” She takes Leila by one arm, Shira by the other, and they walk away as Dorian and Debbie stare.
science lab. Jennifer frowns at the results of the drug analysis. Shira and Leila look at it over her shoulder. But Dave and Elsie stare warily at the round glass cage where three of Mobley’s pet rats fight to the death. Dave asks, “So what is it?”
She turns to Dave and Elsie. “Looks like it ain’t just Falconer and Mobley who are buying these drugs. Turns out they’re same drugs that are all the rage in gangland. Those are no mere performance drugs. They’re military grade, intended for super soldiers. We now know what happens when Anti-Meth meets super steroids in a user’s bloodstream.”
Elsie puts her hands to her mouth and gives her a horrified look. Dave says grimly, “Splorch.”
“Now watch.” The winning rat ravages its dead rivals like a furry piranha. Jennifer inserts a fresh can of Anti-Meth into the slot at the top of the cage. It releases a cloud of whitish mist inside. The rat lets out a demon’s scream and tries to bash its way out. It goes into violent seizures. Finally, with a loud splat, it explodes, covering the entire inside of the cage with gore. Elsie gasps in horror and flees to fin the nearest girls’ room.
“Oh, my,” Dave sighs.
Shira says, “That should give you an idea of just how far any Corporate leader will go for even the slightest advantage.”
boys’ restroom. Scotty unzips his slacks, extracts his penis, and starts to piss when he finds himself surrounded by girls. Shira and Jennifer take the urinals to either side of him. “Hey! You’re not supposed to be here! Y’all got your own pisser!”
They smile ironically at him. They raise their skirts, open their naked nether lips, tilt their pelvises to aim, and piss standing up. Scotty’s eyes go wide open in shock. Nobody says anything; the girls just smile unnervingly. Their business done, they lower their skirts, wash and dry their hands, and leave. But Scotty keeps looking in their direction long after they’re gone, his penis still sticking out.
library. While Jennifer and Brandi make love in the back office, Leila languidly reclines in Shira’s lap in the bean bag chair by the desk. Sally peeks around a bookshelf at them. “Be careful, girls,” she whispers, “y’all don’t wanna cause too much of a scene.”
“Just friends,” Shira replies. “That’s all you need to say.” She winks; Sally winks back.
Chris strolls idly by reading a book. “I looked into this ‘mad love’ thing,” she says. “Did you know the Surrealists believed romance could cause revolutions?”
Leila spins in Shira’s lap to look at her. “You don’t say...”
“Turns out the Surrealists had actual radical connections. Some joined the Communist Party. Their leader even cowrote a manifesto with Trotsky. Their newsletter? La Révolution Surréaliste.”
“Huh. I never knew that.”
Shira holds her close. “Sweetheart,” she purrs, “you’re a bit sheltered for a national security threat.” Leila throws her a hurt look.
Kitty joins them. “Y’all better hope they don’t see us together. They might think we’re liberal or something.”
“We’re talking radical, as in, what if love were terrorism.”
“Hmph!” Kitty crosses her arms. “Our so-called betters talk about love like they’re being raped by terrorists.”
Shira grins with malicious glee. “That’s what we’re doing to Ollie Thorwald.”
The librarians stare at the girls. “You don’t say.”
Leila sighs. “It’s not just Oliver. It’s the whole System.”
“Arranged marriage is the Corporate fad,” Shira adds, “so much they even created a Eugenics Institute so they can feel purer-than-thou.”
“So what’s new,” says Sally.
“So we’ve decided, screw our sacred egos, we’re gonna live for each other. People get hurt, so be it.”
Leila smiles at Shira. “I want Oliver to die at the sight of us making love.”
“Now there’s an idea.” Shira winks.
Rachel enters at that moment. She stares at the girls cuddling in the bag chair, then the librarians now staring at her, then back. “What’s that supposed to be?”
“She needs a hug. You wouldn’t understand.”
“Hmph!” Rachel walks toward the book storage room.
Jennifer and Brandi emerge from the office. They look at Rachel and shrug. Shira and Leila get up to join them out the door waving goodbye. The librarians wink back and return to shelving books.
hallway. Steve, Ken, and Akane find themselves trapped in a circle of mean kids from Team Valiant, the Student Council, and their groupies. In Scientology fashion they shout over and over: “Hey gay fags, go cut your wrists!” Steve and Ken expect fists to fly any second. Akane sneers back defiantly.
Shira blows a mock fart on Lucy’s neck. She shrieks; Akane laughs. “Yo bullies,” Shira Challenges, “wanna fight?”
Beck screams in her face, “Are you supporting the liberal fag agenda?!“
She laughs at him. “Whatever that is. But I know y’all’re pro-rape!“
Student Union members run in behind her and chant, “Rape! Rape! Rape!” The Valiants back down and run away. Rex yells, “We’ll get you next time, bitch!”
“I’ll be waiting!” The students disperse.
Brandi says, “I thought they were supposed to be individualists.”
Shira puts a hand on her shoulder. “They’re Radical Individualists, so individualist they arrive at total conformity through the back door.”
cafeteria. The stage has a pit for the stands and two purposes: 1) public announcements and the occasional performance; 2) public punishment and humiliation. One does not publicly speak of the latter.
Charmian’s aristocratic presence graces the stage as she prepares to speak. Shira sneaks onto the stage by the right-side stairway hiding the light and fluffy lemon meringue pie in her left hand. Charmian notices the giggles and the “oh my god” expressions, but doesn’t notice someone there until it’s already too late and Shira is grinning right behind her. She turns to confront her too late: Shira slams the pie into her face. In the audience: screams, giggles, howls of laughter. Shira hops to the front of the stage and bows to her cheering and booing audience. Mischievously she proclaims, “Thank you, thank you! No applause, just money!”
After lunch, Charmian and her yes girls block Shira from leaving. Traces of lemon meringue still stick to the Student Council President’s uniform despite multiple applications of moist towels. “I hope you know that was gross insubordination, which is quite the punishable offense.”
Shira pretends to whimper like a whipped slave. “Yez, mizza.” The yes girls giggle.
“Oooh! I am serious, Miss Thomas! I could have you expelled for this! I’ve got connections like you’ll never have!”
Shira dips down knock-kneed, throws her head back, puts the back of her left hand on her forehead, and gasps. “Why, I am pale, Charmian!”
The laughs reveal a growing crowd of students gathered to watch. Charmian does not want to entertain them yet again, so she storms off, shouting, “You are so busted again, Thomas!”
Shira yells back, “And I’m so getting away with it!”
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Copyright © 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 9/15/12: Some scenes moved here from 10.3 and 10.4; new scenes added. Original title “She’s Got the Look” now belongs to 10.3 R4.]