Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 17: Power, Corruption, and Lies
Part 2: Sinister Secrets of Bangor High (Final Revision)
Part 2: Sinister Secrets of Bangor High (Final Revision)
shira’s apartment. Shira says, “Yesterday we spied on Ross, Robson, and Spiekerman in the john. They’re ready to make their move against the Student Union.”
“Ross says he has special plans for us,” the girl with the violet eyes adds.
Hope announces, “The time is coming.”
Shira smiles in recognition. “The time to go on strike.”
“Isn’t that suicidal?” asks the bright-eyed girl in alarm.
“Not if we kick the giant monsters when they’re down. Remember, love, the Conservative Revolution’s as corrupt as it is fanatical. It’s inherent in Egoism.” Shira winks.
Hope asks the violet-eyed girl, “Can we trust you?”
The girl holds Shira tight. “She’s so much a part of me now that if I hurt her, I hurt myself. I trust her absolutely.” She kisses her.
Everybody looks at the bright-eyed girl. She smiles nervously. “Amanda, no. Me, yes.”
penguindrome. An effective pirate radio station plans for backup. KCUF now operates from the basement of the Wrecking Krewe’s East Bremerton squat. Deth Pussy stares at the monitors in shock: it’s The Amanda Report. “What happened to our Amanda?”
A gentle touch on his shoulder. He jumps in his seat and spins around. She’s standing right next to him, brown-haired, with a huge and happy smile. “That’s Amanda over there. I’m right here.”
“What’re you talking about?”
Alex hugs her from behind. “Haven’t you heard? She finally got rid of her name.”
She grins. “I’m an anonymous beauty now.”
Deth gasps. “How in ‘Bob’s’ name did you pull that?”
“My number one fan wanted it, so I let her have it.” She winks.
“This calls for a celebration,” says Nick. A crowd of hackers and media pirates surround them. The nameless woman blushes. Champagne flies through the air before being poured into glasses. She downs her glass in one gulp and refuses a refill.
Simon hugs her and spins her around. “If you were to join our news department, what should we call you?”
She shoots him an offended look. “Your anonymous reporter, of course!”
“Well, we’ve got a story, if you choose to accept it...”
She perks up; her eyes twinkle. “Mm-hmmm?”
“Are you willing to risk your life for this?”
“I’d rather die than read press releases again.”
“There’s certain secrets behind Bangor High’s founding we’ve heard are connected to SPEC’s plans.”
“I’m on it right away!”
newsreel, 1949... Surrounded by Navy officers, sailors in dress whites, Kitsap County officials, and their wives, Roger Steele Becket and Gregory T. Mobley cut the ceremonial ribbon.ferry terminal. They wait for the #11 westbound: Shira, Jennifer, Connor, Polly, Cory, Mimi, and the Shelley twins to Bangor; Elle, Melody, and Ayla to their middle school. Willa is staying downtown for business (she says), but stays with them, holding her daughter-wife tight and sporting blue sleeveless coatdress, black knee-high flat boots which fail to make her look any less tall, sheer black pantyhose with a fashion-model stripe down the back, and geek-chic cat’s-eye glasses. Mimi caresses Shira’s cheek with concern. “Are you feeling okay?”
Announcer: The chairman of Dictel Corporation and the president of the Central Kitsap Development Authority officially open the new town of Bangor, Washington, designed to accommodate a fast-growing defense economy and provide the greatest comfort and security to the men who serve our country on the hostile sees, the workingmen who supply them, and their families.television, 1960... Surrounded by Navy officers, Dictel executives, City of Bangor and Central Kitsap School District officials, and faculty members, Bangor Mayor Gregory T. Mobley cuts the ceremonial ribbon.
Anchorman: Today was the official opening of the new Bangor High School which will serve the City of Bangor, the Naval submarine base, and surrounding areas.
Roger Becket: It is my dream that Bangor High be the best technology-oriented high school in the whole Northwest. To that end, I am personally donating to this school everything we need to educate the next generation of American engineers and scientists. If we mobilize the best American minds, we can lick the Communist menace!
Shira hugs her, kisses her on the cheek, and smiles. “You’re doing better than me right now.”
She rests her head on Shira’s shoulder. “I still miss Nancy.”
“We all do.” Polly gently takes Mimi out of Shira’s arms and hugs her. Ayla runs to join their embrace.
Closer to the Kitsap Conference Center building, a group of clean-looking kids wearing MxPx hoodies. Rob asks, “Who are those?”
“Those squares in the bunnyhugs,” Willa replies, “are Christian punks, a walking contradiction in terms. The band’s from here. They once put out a record called ‘Move to Bremerton.’ My band, of course, did an answer record called ‘Get Outta Bremerton.’”
“You were in a punk rock band?” asks Polly.
“Am. The Band with No Name. I play electric violin.”
“That’s not a punk rock instrument.”
“Unless I play it. Back in the day, before MxPx even existed, they called us glampunks. We was notorious for our outlandish costumes.”
Shira adds, “She was my first style coach.”
“How come you look more ‘librarian’ anymore?” asks the nameless girl.
“Blame the Riot Grrrls.” Willa winks.
“You look beautiful in anything, Willa,” says Mimi.
“Why thank you.” She hugs Mimi.
“What about those ‘MxPxies’?” asks Cory.
“Yeah!” adds Rob. “Isn’t Rock ’N’ Roll supposed to be about rebellion?”
“It started a revolution that destroyed Tin Pan Alley,” says Willa. “But then it sold its soul to the Fashion-Industrial Complex and became Tin Pan Alley. The result is subsidized lamestream crap like DisneyPop and Patriot Metal. Those of us who remain Rock ’N’ Roll rebels had to go underground.”
“And they sold out to Jesus.”
The #11 arrives and opens its doors; passengers stream out. Mimi asks, “Say, didn’t Vice President Palin invent the word ‘lamestream’?”
Willa puts her arm around her shoulder. “Mimi darling, I was using that word back when I was eleven. That woman stole it from me.” She winks.
student council room. Charmian presides over a particularly tense meeting. “Yesterday, the Student Union showed that it has only gained strength over the extended weekend. Rosewater has returned to conspire with Kubota again. Leila has not only left us, she’s abandoned her name altogether. The one she left us to live in sin with continues to mess with all our heads. Never forget that she’s Hope Reston’s daughter.”
“While we’re falling apart,” says Bob. He looks at Team Valiant’s corner.
Bart growls, “It’s your fault, ya wussies.”
Rachel stares at him unsmiling. “See?”
“Disunity is our weakness, Bart,“ says Charmian, ”and your ambition is its source.”
All the Valiants stand up and yell, “Hey!” Bart says, “Weakness is our weakness, Charmian. Authority is strength.”
“So the Head Boy should be dictator?”
“We fought our Revolution against democratic mob dictatorship! There ain’t no other way!”
“And Shira Thomas will never be able to resist the desire to knock you down.”
“She’s only a girl!”
“She owns your style, Bart,” Debbie snarls.
Bart pumps his fist. “I say we smash the bitch but good!” His team echo, “Yeah!”
“Your funeral.” Bart snorts and storms out; the Valiants follow. The girls and remaining boy of the Student Council watch them leave.
boardwalk. Sparks and the nameless woman with short brown hair stroll in the rain holding hands under an umbrella. “Let me guess,” he says, “you wrote one of those anonymous diaries.”
“Living a secret life without a name was the only thing that kept me sane.”
“How’d you manage to keep from getting discovered?”
“Every celebrity’s got psycho fans who wanna be you. I just pretended to be one of mine.”
“And now you’re hiding behind the one you gave away your identity to.”
“Do you realize what a crushing burden a social identity can be, O son of COPCO? Especially for a woman in this brutal patriarchal society? I didn’t just give away a name, Jim, but a job, a celebrity Ego, and at least fifty cards, each issued by some corporation with my name and their number on it, signifying that they owned me as much as any slave. She figures she can handle it, she can have it.”
“At least I’m not a celebrity.”
“You still have the identity of a private cop and a Corporate heir. Can you handle yours?”
He looks back at her, uncertain. She caresses his face. “And you don’t need a name at all.”
“What are names for?”
He shrugs. “To tell people apart?”
“Too many Jasons and Jennifers for that. Think: you know sorcerers. What do they use names for?”
She smiles knowingly. “Exactly.”
He puts his arm around her shoulder. “Okay, then, I won’t call you names unless I have to.”
“Thank you.” They walk slowly together down the long boardwalk, simply enjoying each other’s presence.
But then his phone rings. “Hello?... Not again. I’ll be right there.”
“It came from Dictel Park.”
“You with me?”
“Damn right I am!” They turn around and run back the half-mile to his waiting car.
cafeteria. A grotesque gang tattooed monster clown, led by a dwarf and a giant, stare Shira down. She stares back in open-mouthed wonder. “Oh emm gee doubleyou tee eff, what the eff-see-you-kay is this?” Two Klowns try to grab her; she slams their heads together so they bounce off each other and fall to the ground.
Little Badd, Napoleonic dwarf, boss of the Badd Boyyz Klown Syndicate, yells out, “You ain’t fuckin’ wit’ us no mo’!”
Shira pops in front of him and gleefully taps him on the head with her fighting-gloved fist. “Yo, shrimp, this a Challenge I smell?”
The Goliath-size gangster brusquely brushes Little Badd out of the way, stands a few feet away from Shira, glares down at her, and announces, “I’m Big Baddd! With three D’s!”
Shira grins. “I remember y’all. How’d I prick your Egos this time?”
“You fuckin’ wit’ da bidniss! You don’t stay out, we gonna take ya out!”
“Yo, bring it on!”
Big Baddd grins, slaps his fist, and growls, “I gonna rip ya head off ’n’ rape ya neck, pretty girl!” He swings his massive fist at her face. She dodges the blow easily and punches his wrist with her armoured knuckles. He flinches, then looks at his hand. He tries to make a fist again, but finds that he can’t.
“Need a tendon stapler, Bad-d-d-d?” mocks Shira. “You been boostin’ extra, ain’tcha.”
He responds with the irrational fury of steroid psychosis. He tries to punch her out with his other fist; she snaps its wrist tendon so he can’t close that hand either. He tries to slap her down, but she easily dodges the blows. She hits with both hands below his shoulder joints to sever the pectoral tendons. His arms swing behind him and stay there; he can no longer move them. He whimpers in panic.
Shira flits around him like a butterfly, he’s slow and awkward trying to swat her; he kicks at her, she flits out of the way; when the leg comes down, she kicks him under the knee and severs the patellar ligament. “Die young!” she taunts. His quadriceps contract all the way to the upper leg and take the kneecap with them; the leg flexes back, permanently. He hops on his remaining intact leg. She kicks under the other knee. “Die strong!” Unable to stand, he falls backward.
“Dianabol!” Students and Klownz stare on in horror as she brings her left fist down onto Big Baddd’s heart, force of muscle and gauntlet reinforced with force of chi — his heart explodes with a sickening wet pop — he holds his hands to his chest where his heart used to be, gurgles and struggles for breath, till he’s dead on his feet. The corpse takes its time falling backwards. On the floor, it twitches and gurgles before finally going limp.
Shira glares at the Badd Boyzz. Little Badd whimpers, backs up until he runs into them, slips through them and runs away. Shira thrusts her left fist out in front of her and yells, “Next victim!”
The three remaining Klownz stand paralyzed in terror and stare at her. Little Badd calls back at them, “What’ch’all waitin’ for, ya fuckin’ girls? Fuck the bitch up!” They stare at Shira. Her smile is itself a Challenge. Losing heart, they take their fallen comrade by the legs and straighten them; with all their might they drag the massive corpse backwards and out the door. The students erupt in cheers.
Sparks, Kowalczyk, and the bright-eyed girl pass the fleeing Klownz on their way in. Kowalczyk snaps his finger. “Damn! The cavalry’s late again.”
The anonymous beauty shares a kiss with Shira, then looks back at the defeated gangsters. “Does that have anything to do with these dark secrets I’m hearing about?”
Shira says, “Let Charlie tell you all about it.”
Bob and Rachel Brinkman come out of the crowd and look at her curiously. Bob towers over her. “Say, you remind me of that reporter on TV.”
“Oh, it’s just a resemblance,” the bright-eyed girl says. “You’d be surprised how many fangirls get Resculpted to look exactly like her.”
principal’s office. Seven Bremeloes barge in uninvited: Shira in front; Jennifer, Connor, Cory, Kio, and the Shelley twins lined up behind. Falconer roars, “What in Jesus America’s name are you doing here?”
“‘Da bidness,’ he said,” Shira replies. “Who sent ’em, Major, you or Mobley?”
“What the hell are you talking about, Thomas?”
“’Roids, Major. Illegal ones, the kind the Syndicates make for themselves. The Bangor Crusaders’ unfair advantage on the field. The reason why when I death-punched Big Bad-d-d-d out there, he keeled over dead. That.”
The vice principal storms into Shira’s face. Shira continues to smile and does not flinch. “This is none of your business, Thomas! Leave now and forget everything, or I’ll have you court-martialled forthwith!”
“It’s no secret, Major. You got secrets. Ones you don’t want Charmian to know.”
The other principals stare at Falconer; she gapes in horror at Shira. “Know what?”
“This.” Shira raises her phone: on it, the video Shira took the night before the first day of school, of Falconer meeting with Stan Green as if they were spies, buying his stash of steroids.
Falconer goes cold. “You. little. bitch!” She tries to swipe the phone, but Shira brings down her arm so she grabs only air. “You can’t blackmail me, Thomas! I’m a Real American and you’re nothing!”
“There’s more where this came from. Better yet...” Shira touches the screen: surveillance video of Falconer making out with — Admiral Fleer—
Falconer watches her own secret life unfold. She goes cold when she realizes who knows and how much. She remembers Ross’ warning. “You can’t do this,” she protests hoarsely. “It’s illegal. You’ll be punished.”
“Now do you realize the depth of the shit you’re in, Honey Bunny?”
“Don’t call me Honey Bunny...”
“Play with fire, expect to get burned.” Falconer and Spiekerman stare at her; the assistant principals stare at each other; Principal Principal goes into a cold sweat; Coach Mobley faints.
library. The first official Peace Committee meeting is now in session. Karen says, “Let’s welcome back Colette!” Karen gives Colette a big hug to ecstatic cheers. One male student yells, “Speak!” Others echo. Karen gives her the podium.
“I’ve heard about all the school invasions that have been going on since I got hurt. Now the company’s putting lots of armed guards in the halls. They’re dangerous themselves, but even they can’t stop the gangs from invading. I realize now we’re the only ones who can defend ourselves, and we can only do it together.”
Karen adds, “Nonviolent resistance is the right way.”
“That’s suicide!” protests Cory.
“Ultraviolence is their religion!” shouts Chuck.
Her girlfriend Lorine counters, “Aw, c’mon, nonviolent resistance defeated British imperialism in India, apartheid in South Africa, and racial segregation right here in America.”
“They were just as violent then,” Lorelei adds, “and we still beat ’em.”
“We can win nonviolently,” says Karen, “and we will.”
“You sound awful confident about it,” says Chuck in despair.
Jennifer says, “You know all those wimpy liberals? The coup wiped ’em out. We’re stronger than that, and nonviolent resistance is revolution-tested.”
“As long as we remain nonviolent,” says Karen, “we have the clear moral advantage.”
Brandi stands up. “It’s hard to be moral when you’re dead.” She stares at Karen; everybody else stares at her.
locker room. Charlie, Elsie, and the bright-eyed girl let the sounds of the showers and of Shira and the violet-eyed girl making love shield their conversation as they shower together where fourteen girls committed mass suicide. Elsie hugs her nameless sister again. “I can’t believe you finally managed to pull it off!”
“I found someone who wanted to be Amanda more, so I let her.” She gives Elsie a big kiss. “Now what’s this deep dark secret I’m hearing about?”
Charlie asks, “You know my late grandfather founded this school, don’t you?”
“I saw the old news footage.”
“You know about ‘newtypes,’ right?”
“When he spoke about ‘engineering,’ he wasn’t talking about training engineers. He meant engineering people.”
“Why don’t the Fleer sisters go to the Bainbridge Academy like rich kids are supposed to? That’s a red flag right there. Grandfather wanted to create a ‘new type’ of human. This is the school they go to.”
“Interesting. So how come outside gangs trash the school so often?”
“That’s by design.”
“To force our newtypes to — his word — ‘evolve.’”
The nameless woman takes a deep breath. “The Law of Social Darwinism...” She glances toward the two lovers. “Do they know?”
“Of course. That’s why they killed him.”
She gasps and looks at the lovers again. The three women finish their shower in silence.
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Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 2/13/13: Heavily revised for Fourth Revision continuity. Contains material from Parts 2-5 of this chapter and from Chapters 5, 7, and 17, plus a flashback originally intended as the opening of 14.2 and other new scenes for R4. The Big Baddd fight scene originated in the Project Notebook from 2000.]