Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 9: The Girl You Want
Part 3: New School of Hard Knocks (Final Revision)
Part 3: New School of Hard Knocks (Final Revision)
classroom. In the dusty unused room, Jennifer and Brandi share a passionate goodbye kiss as Shira and Leila watch on. Jennifer asks, “Can you keep the wild beasts under control while we’re gone?”
“I don’t know if anybody can,” Brandi replies
Shira says, “Ask Karen. She can get the Student Union on your side.”
“Nobody’s told you about that yet? Jen, tell her.”
“Now that the coup made it illegal for employees to protest abuses,” Jennifer explains, “only customers can do it. So we started a Student Union. Once we get enough students and especially parents to join, we’ll be able to force changes by threatening to demand our money back.”
“It’s the only way it’ll work.”
Leila says, “It won’t work against Grandfather.”
“Yet.” Shira kisses her.
olympic college. The Bangor High tutors arrive on the Bremerton campus in their black and silver high school uniforms and their military-looking black berets and join the other high-school tutors in the Bremer Student Center to the standing ovation of the older college students. A corporate grant from the technology companies of the Consortium that is the official owner of the Metropolitan City of Seattle allows high-school-age college students to work as tutors in the high schools in exchange for free tuition. Naturally, the banking, military, media, and resource-extraction companies that own the Imperial American government oppose this program because it helps the allegedly unhelpable. A gang of terrorists smashes windows and throws smoke bombs to reinforce their point. Over the screams of the panicked crowd and the enraged howls of the Moral Enforcers, Shira grabs the microphone to declare, “Hey! It’s that supervillain, the Terrorist!”
Team Bremelo spring into action, throwing silverware, flinging heavy textbooks, using the smoke and fleeing bodies to their advantage against the Enforcers. Shira spins the mic around like a yo-yo. Stan Green screams, “You bitch, I’m no fucking supervillain!”
“I know you are, but what am I?” She hits him in several places with the mic, creating a series of loud pops on the PA system. Green tries to strangle her with the cord, but she slips away like a hyperactive snake.
Vince Corson barges into Leila’s way. “You’re that poz Lady Dru—” Leila kicks him in the groin to double him over, then unleashes a vicious back kick to knock him out.
Bizarre sounds blare over the PA. After beating up several Enforcers, Rob, Connor, and Cory run over to Shira and see Green trying to pull the microphone out of his nose. Shira isn’t there; she’s declaring to a line of agitated COPCO agents ordered by Everson to support the terrorists, “I want this registered as an official Challenge with the victory going to Team Bremelo!”
student council room. The entire Council, all of Team Valiant, and nearly two dozen of their hangers on are crammed into a surprisingly small room. Bart heroically proclaims, “The tutors have gone back to their college! The enemy team is weak! The traitorous muggles and mudbloods are defenseless! Now is the time to strike!” Raised fists and a deafening roar fill the room.
Standing above him, surveying them all from above, Charmian smiles with malicious pleasure.
hallways. Beck Skeever screams, “Riot against the liberal traitor fag agenda!”
Rex Corson roars, “Riot against communist socialism!”
Team Valiant and their fans riot throughout the school. Wherever they see any gathering of any kind, they smash it and beat up everybody they can. Soon the campus fills with screaming rage and screaming panic. Bully boys and mean girls attack fleeing students, teachers trying to regain control, and even security guards just to indulge the pleasure of violent rage.
Marina jumps Brandi, only for Brandi to throw her into Christina. They get up for another round; Brandi punches out Christina and roundhouse-kicks Marina. Bart jumps Kio, gets rammed into a bank of lockers, and falls off. Scotty jumps Charlie; she zaps him so he falls off and twitches on the ground for several seconds. Lance and Johnny overconfidently attack a too-large group of students and soon find themselves at the bottom of a dogpile.
Suddenly Bart finds himself flying backwards onto his head. He gets up to find Karen staring down at him. She says calmly, “Stop acting like a gangster, Bart, or I’m calling Gang Rules.”
“Fucking traitor bitch!” He rushes her in irrational rage. The aikido black belt tosses him around the hallway like a ragdoll with testosterone poisoning.
college. COPCO interrupt classes to herd the students outside to the center of the campus. One scared student complains, “They think we’re revolutionary terrorists or something.”
Shira tells him, “Ha! They’re the revolutionary élite, remember? We puny humans are the counterrevolutionary traitors.” Once the students are all trapped on their own campus, she’s shocked to find that the voice of the revolutionary leader she hears belongs to — Peter Ross? The SPEC chairman? She stares open-mouthed in his direction and slaps her forehead. She slips out of sight and sneaks in Ross’ direction.
Ross stands at the head of the local Party committee. “You mewling brats think you’re such idealists! Well, guess what? You’re not idealists at all! You’re collectivists, the opposite of idealism! Your so-called idealism leads only to murder and genocide! From now on--”
Shira laughs at him.
“What in the—”
“Yo, boss! I just called my lawyer! You are so sued!”
hallways. Charmian easily kicks away a hotheaded boy attacker. Debbie, Mikey, and Scotty join her. They run off to find Bart.
He stands with the Brinkmans, the other Valiants, and several Valiant fans, eerily surrounded by a crowd of students, many of them injured, staring defiantly at them, hands linked together. Scotty attacks a random point; several students knot together in defense and push him down.
Charmian spins around in shock and suddenly finds Karen in her face. “Riot’s over, mean kids,” the head cheerleader declares. “We’ve decided we won’t take your abuse anymore. Give up now.”
The Councillors and Tournament fighters stare at the crowd of students staring them down. Charmian raises her hand and says, “That’s enough. Let’s go.”
Bart gasps. “You mean you’re giving up?”
“You wanna be a news story, Bart?”
Bart twitches. He stares at the students assembled against him. Then he turns to the team. “Let’s go!” The defeated rioters disperse.
college. Shira goes to her first classroom and finds it empty. She asks the crestfallen teacher, “How come nobody’s here?”
“Everybody skipped class,” he says. “After all this trouble, people decided they were in no mood for school today, so they’re shutting down the campus early.”
She goes out onto the campus. The central plaza, where Ross had herded the students earlier today, is deserted. It feels like a ghost town. She goes into the student center for one last coffee before she returns to Bangor.
principal’s office. Rubbing the bump on his head, Bart stands heroically before the principals under the skeptical eyes of Karen, Courtney, Fuyumi, and Brandi. He heroically declares, “America cannot tolerate this socialism!”
Karen replies, “You’re the one who started the riot, cowboy.”
He heroically screams in her face, “We gotta heroically defend the New American Revolution by any means necessary!”
Fuyumi says, “Including terrorism, Bart? Like that cult in Japan?”
Courtney pats Bart on the back. “Human nature itself is socialist, Tex, and you’re no superman.”
“Y’all’re outta line!”
The girls sing together, “♪ Billy Hickman! ♫”
“Why you little—” Bart heroically tries to strangle all four girls at once.
college. Karen and Dexter meet Shira and Leila at the student center. Karen sighs. “How bad was it for you?”
“We had Ross himself come and scream at us and threaten to beat us all up,” says Shira. “Did the Dictel Park gangs invade again?”
“No, but the Valiant boys decided to riot.”
Shira laughs and slaps her forehead. “No way!”
“Way. The Council and them thought they’d take advantage of your absense to try and make life hell for the students. But the kids stuck together and said no. I’m so proud of ’em!”
“I thought making life hell for puny humans was what the Conservative Revolution’s all about.”
Dexter laughs and shakes his head. “I still can’t believe these guys think they’re such revolutionary heroes.”
“You won’t believe how superstitious those guys are,” Shira says. “They’re crazy utopians who think they’re gonna totally remake the world with their whims and their armies. They’re actually reality denialists, did you know that? One of these days reality’s gonna have its revenge.”
Jennifer mock-warns, “Watch out, guys. Half the people here are probably Party spies. For all we know, they might just arrest us for heretical belief in reality.” They laugh.
Leila approches their table. “Hi, Leila!” says Karen. “You going back to Bangor with us?”
“No, I’m gonna go visit my aunt for a while.”
“Well, I’ll meet you there, then,” says Shira. She stands up to kiss her.
The five of them look around the cafeteria, silently and warily, looking to see if any Party spies will leap up with zap guns blazing. None do. They look at each other. Still no zap guns. Together they let out a huge collective sigh of relief. Jennifer says to Leila, “I guess we’ll see you later.”
“’Bye.” Leila waves, they wave back, and they leave.
gymnasium. Just as cheerleading practice is about to begin, Kelly accosts Charmian and takes her to a hiding place just behind the folded-up bleachers. She whispers, “Charmian, Shira knows about us.”
“Why is that something to panic about, Kelly?”
“She’s threatening to blackmail us if we don’t let her have her way with Leila.”
“She can only ruin herself by associating herself in such a way with Frank’s little Eurotrash whore. Besides, our love is pure and chaste. Those two would only live in sin and vile lust.”
“You don’t know what that creature’s capable of, especially with that scary lawyer of hers!”
“That creature is a suspected subversive. Leila has disgraced herself totally. We can use their sick infatuation to destroy them.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Trust me.” Charmian takes Kelly in her arms, dries her tears, and kisses her sweetly on the lips. “Now I have to get back to class before the teacher starts to worry. Okay?” Kelly nods.
Karen calls out, “Charmian! Where are you?” They look at each other, nod, then dash back onto the gym floor.
lecture room. The seats are so crowded with cheering students, chairs had to be imported from the lab, the office, and other classrooms. Officially this is a joint meeting of the Jennifer Blair, Shira Thomas, and Karen Kubota instant fanclubs plus Team Bremelo. It’s really a meeting of the Student Union. Jennifer marvels, “Wow, it’s got so big...” Karen winks.
Jennifer picks up the blackboard pointer and leans against the desk. Shira and Karen signal for quiet. Jennifer surveys the crowd. So many idealists... I was right to have hope for humanity after all. “There was this idea Karl Marx had. Engels and Lenin dismissed it. It took Darwin to prove it. Modern biologists call it ‘instrumentalism.’ Unity of perception and action: the two can’t be separated. In fact, perception exists only to serve action. Marx’s example was a cat.” Shira’s Necomimi™ tiger ears perk up; the students laugh. “When a cat sees a mouse, it immediately starts hunting it. That’s its evolutionary purpose. Perception serves action.
“But what about us highly social talking monkeys?” The students laugh. She takes Karen’s hand, guides her to in front of the desk, and hugs her. “When we see each other, we have a social response. But further up in the social hierarchy, there are people who insist on driving us apart.” To the students’ amusement, Shira puts on a mean-kitty face, lowers her tiger ears, and drives her arm between her cousins. She tries to pry them apart; they struggle against her to hold onto each other. “Their goal is to break all normal social bonds and force on us a one-way bond focused on them.” The three cousins break apart and stand side-by-side with Jennifer in the center. “Our strength is only in solidarity. They get their strength from breaking us apart. This is the secret behind class struggle. That’s why Marx insisted, ‘Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.’ Unity of theory and practice. If we want to survive the System, it’s not enough to know. We need to act.”
locker room. Charmian decides to let the other cheerleaders shower, or choose not to shower and leave for home early, so she can take off her clothes and shower alone without having to worry about any possibility of lesbians leering at her like men and making her feel uncomfortable, and especially Shira. She told their coach, so the coach leaves her alone and leaves for home without looking at her. But what neither of them know is that Shira has sneaked back in. Shira hides in the darkest spaces in the locker room where she can see Charmian. If necessary, she will hide right in front of her, where normal people would be fully visible.
When her body is liberated at last from all the pretentious regalia she burdens it with, Charmian is a sleek pale beauty. She is relieved that no one can see that her body is as hairless as Shira’s; true, she followed the athletes’ example, but today’s stricter post-revolutionary moral standards associate body shaving with whores. Confident that she is safe, she walks casually to the shower, picks the closest one (the one Shira normally uses), and turns it on. Warm water feels good on hot skin. She soaps her skin with her hands (the same way Shira does) to wash the drying sweat off her skin. She turns around, back and forth, to wash the soap off her body. She takes her time washing the long waves of her blond hair. At last, she shuts off the shower nozzle, moves her hair away from her face, and searches for a towel.
She feels for the softest clean towel she can find. Once she finds it and takes it out of the towel bin, she dries herself while she walks back toward her locker. When she gets there, she dries her skin off thoroughly, then puts it around her hair and takes as long as she feels she needs to dry it. She puts the towel on the bench, takes her brush off it, and brushes her long hair until it takes the shape she wants. She reaches into the locker, takes out her clothes, and places them neatly on the bench beside the towel and hair brush. She doesn’t notice Shira sneak in behind her.
Suddenly, Shira grabs Charmian from behind, holds her against her own naked body, grasps her breasts firmly with her hands. Charmian gasps and stiffens up in sudden terror. “Hey girl,” Shira seductively purrs, “do you realize just how beautiful you are?”
Charmian screams. She struggles to escape Shira’s embrace. When Shira lets go, Charmian spins to slap her hard on the cheek. She dresses as fast as she can and flees the locker room in haste. Shira dresses herself casually, then takes her time leaving.
Mimi meets her at the door. Noticing the red slap mark on Shira’s face, she touches her cheek. “Shira, what happened to you?”
Shira grins mischievously. “Love tap.”
“Did you do anything to Charmian?”
Shira gently puts her finger to Mimi’s lips and purrs, “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.” She winks.
Down the hall, Shira hears Polly scream. She looks in the direction of the scream to find Debbie carrying her over her shoulder. Polly desperately screams and sobs and struggles to escape. Shira races after them.
When Debbie hears Shira’s footsteps, she quickly turns around to face her and then bodyslams Polly onto the hall’s hard floor. Fortunately, Polly knows from her judo training to keep her head off the floor and breathe. Debbie snarls, “That one’s for Charmian!” Then she points at Shira. “Fight me, you bitch, or I’ll beat up your witch!”
Shira grabs Polly by the hand, lifts her up, pulls her behind her, and gestures her to run. As Polly runs toward the front door, Shira turns back to Debbie, crosses her arms, flashes a mischievous smirk, and says, “No.”
“What? You a coward?”
Shira laughs. “Debbie darling, I’m not in the mood for Challenges — unless you touch my girl again.”
Debbie stares at her, eyes wide open in shock. “You won’t even deny you’re defiling her?”
“Why? She needs a Special Friend.”
Debbie stares at this freak who stole her girl. She wonders why she can’t get herself to fight Shira, until she realizes that right now Shira completely lacks fighting aura. Enraged and confused, she turns and runs away.
downtown bremerton. As soon as Shira gets off the #24 bus, she walks up Pacific Avenue to the Sky Dancer Metaphysical Bookstore that Ariel Shield owns on Pacific Avenue. Leila is her niece and wants Shira to meet her there. The store is closed, but the lights are still on. The merchandise and their arrangement are unworldly and exotic. As soon as she reaches the door, Ariel opens it. Shira marvels at the sight of her: the long wavy black hair with its inch-wide white stripe; the almost sad-looking eyes as violet as Leila’s; the long frilly black skirt of satin and lace; the slim barefoot and bare-breasted figure. Her breath catches. Ariel smiles at her, holds out her hand, and says in a soft Irish-accented voice, “Come in. We’ve been expecting you.” She takes Ariel’s hand and enters a portal to another world.
Glowing crystals, the smell of sandalwood incense, and music of sitar, tablas, Tibetan bells, and Mongolian Buddhist chants put Shira into a near trance. The shop is deliberately designed to give the feeling that genuine magic lives here, concentrated in the dazzling form of Ariel Shield herself. Ariel’s cats, black Isis and white Artemis, greet Shira with hope for affection and treats; she pets them. She spots Leila in front of the counter, also bare-breasted, staring at her. Leila is overcome by the sight of the woman she adores. “Shira!” She runs to Shira, throws herself in her arms, and gives her a hard passionate kiss.
Ariel gazes on the young lovers with pleasure. “I’ve prayed so long for you to find someone who could make you happy.”
“So you don’t mind if your beautiful niece is lesbian?”
“As long as you two are in love. Come.” She leads them by the hand to the niche beside the counter in the back of the store. She points toward several large tapestries of dancing Indian and Tibetan goddesses hanging on the walls.
“You got these in Tibet?” asks Shira.
“No. Boulder.” Ariel winks.
“Get outta here.”
“Seriously. After the clans pulled their coup, they smashed all the churches and temples that refused to convert to their new cult, and among them was the Buddhist temple in Boulder. Some of the monks moved up here and set up a new temple up in Port Townsend, and they painted these tapestries specially for me. These are the Buddhist goddesses I named this store after, called dākinīs, and this is my shrine to them.”
“Back in Japan I heard of this goddess called Dakini-ten who controls the fox spirits. There was this one miko who said I was a youko...” Ariel points at one particular tapestry depicting a fierce bronze-skinned goddess with flaming hair dancing nude on a corpse, carrying various implements in her four arms. Shira stares at the tapestry in astonishment, eyes and mouth wide open, as if looking into an ancient mirror. “She looks like me...”
Ariel smiles. “Her name is Kurukulla. She is a love goddess who lost her homeland to the warrior monks of Islam and was transformed by the Buddha into a dākinī. She dances naked because she is free from the masks that make up the false self. She bears the flowery bow and arrow of Eros and Cupid. Her blade cuts away delusions; the blood she drinks from her cup is menstrual. As a daughter of Kali she wears the necklace of severed heads representing the 108 desires. Her magic is Vashya Karma, red magic, the power of the Charmer who seduces people and brings them under her control. She uses their desire to bring them to enlightenment.”
“Are you saying I could be her?”
“If you choose to become her,” Ariel replies. “She is, in a sense, your enlightened potential.”
“So what kind of goddess am I?” asks Leila petulantly.
Ariel smiles and hugs the girls. “We are goddesses who chose to become human. There are gods who choose to possess institutions such as, say, corporations and governments, and humans who choose to betray humanity in order to become gods. These are the ones we must defeat before humanity can reach their next level of evolution.”
“How do you know humanity’s even worth saving?”
“The clan leaders are putting into action a plan that could destroy the whole universe. Only humanity united can stop them. Shira, your purpose is to call them to action. Are you willing to do it?”
Shira says, “But they’re superheroes...”
“That is why all humanity must come together. That way, they stand a chance. So are you willing to do it?”
Ariel smiles. “You’ll know when you’re ready.” She kisses her, then lets her kiss Leila as long as she wants.
student council room. Charmian makes a call to Oliver Thorwald. A worried Debbie clings to her. “You sure this is the right thing to do?”
“Trust me, dear cousin, it may be the only way to get back at that creature.”
“If you say so, Charms.” She runs to a corner so Thorwald can’t see her.
Thorwald appears on the phone’s screen. “Who is this?” he asks suspiciously.
“This is Charmian Fleer, Student Council President at Leila Shelley’s school, the daughter of Admiral Fleer and granddaughter of Homeland Security Secretary Prince Henry Becket. You are Oliver Thorwald, correct?”
“That’s my name, Miss Fleer.”
“Leila Shelley is your Intended, by arrangement and by Law.”
“That’s two for two.”
“Did you know Leila tried to escape your upcoming marriage to her by killing herself?”
“No. She survived the attempt. Now here’s where it gets interesting. You won’t believe who saved her life.”
He grins. “Well! Tell me.”
Thorwald gasps in horror, makes a noise like a death rattle. He squeaks, “Oh. fucking. shit—”
Charmian smiles involuntarily. “And that’s not the worst of it, Mr. Thorwald. From what I have seen with my own eyes, Shira has successfully stolen your Leila’s heart. Your precious Intended, I regret to say, has fallen in love with that creature. Hard.”
“I take it that Shira is a personal enemy of yours?” Thorwald nods. “Well, then. Your personal enemy, out of sheer contempt for you and perverted lust for her, has stolen your rightful property. Now do you want revenge?”
Thorwald’s face twists into pure hate. He growls through his teeth, “Damn fucking right I want revenge.”
“Now try getting it against Shira Thomas. Goodbye, Mr. Thorwald.” She cuts off the call. Debbie laughs. Charmian gives her a self-satisfied smile. Suddenly the smile disappears.
“What? That wasn’t enough?”
“It’ll work if he’s sufficiently irrational to murder Thomas himself. Once we have him arrested, Leila shall once again be yours.”
Debbie throws herself into Charmian’s arms. “Oh thank you cousin, I don’t know what I’d do without you!”
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Copyright © 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 9/8/12: Heavily revised for Fourth Revision continuity. Many Revision 3 scenes moved to Chapters 7 and 8. New scenes added. Shira/Leila scene at Ariel’s shop taken from the late-1990s Project Notebooks.]