Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dancing in Non-Euclidian Space

Sarah was rarely that scared.

There was very little of the everyday that could hurt her *physically*. Seeing no weak-spot her mentality had altered such that very little could *emotionally* hurt her either. It wasn't that she didn't feel pain - being a superhero hurt, sometimes an awful lot - and it wasn't that she didn't feel emotions - she did that too. But her coping mechanisms in both senses were very well developed, and even if she got shot at or dumped or knifed, or lost her job - well there was life.

And she was totally immune to fire.

So knowing this meant that fear had little purchase. Yes, when other people were in danger, or in particular circumstances, she could be afraid, but mostly not. She remembered reading that the definition of heroism wasn't that one wasn't scared, heroism was overcoming it - but yeah, for her to do this on a daily basis, she was mostly pretty much fear-proof.

But not now.

This was scary.

This was terrifying.

This was ballroom dancing...


It had started only yesterday. 

She was having a group meeting with the rest of the art department, with a director talking about the episode they were shooting - three weeks from now.

"So I want darkness here...real darkness...that goes up and down the line."

The director was named Mary Whickman - which is important to shout out as there wasn't many female directors, especially in television, and they should be celebrated. She was also very good, though she could be very vague sometimes in the meetings. Film was a media where one was either very specific as a director and matched every detail, or vague and let the talented staff fill it out. Whickman went for the vague - and it worked. To the extent that Seventh District was a quality show - and it was a formulaic cop drama, was in the margins in the asides where kind of generic dialogue and situations where filled out. At these moments it could be legitimately funny, or tense, have a well constructed sot, or even occasionally dramatic.  

But Sarah heard her phone beep and saw that she had an email from Lana.

She should check it - she was learning a lot about lighting, when...


Curious if your free tomorrow night. I have come into possession through means of two tickets to the Fifth Annual Tompkins Charity Ball. It’s at the Avalon Room in West Hollywood. It’s an event that benefits muscular dystrophy. It’s a formal event and very dressy but thought it might be enjoyable for us to attend.

Hope your day is proceeding well


Sarah considered. She should do something for muscular dystrophy - a doctor once told her that a good way of describing her powers was that she kind of had the opposite of that.

Wait a second...a ball? Like when she got into a pumpkin or something?

How did that work?

Sarah had been to her high school prom, where she did not put out. She had been dancing as an adult at various music clubs in the south land. She thought perhaps that this was somewhere between A and B but where?

She suspected closer to A.


She could live there.  That could be fun.

But did she have a good dress - something to wear - her shoes? Her prop master brain was going through the permutations of her closet Red - no . She (she had very, very little clothing that was red – because, come on, her costume was red) had a nice black dress with green trim that looked good and elegant, which she wore to industry events where it was nice to look good for. Nice pumps, no flats if she wanted to do any dancing...and...

Oh my god...she was going with a chick.

Sarah sighed.

She really needed to stop doing that. That wasn't useful at all.

"So third act we get to the scene in the distillery...I mean talking to location found a great place in the valley...but lighting-tight ceilings lots of shadows want more of them.”

Sarah realized she was in an important meeting.

Okay that may have been a stretch, to use the word important, but she was in a meeting and she owed it to them to give them her attention.


After the meeting, she and Lana talked on the phone. It was odd talking on the phone with her sometimes. Lana was never quite clear of what she was doing in any particular moment - and Sarah had the strong suspicion it wasn't good. Or safe. The flame was an extremely active hero. She had pieced together dozens of investigations at any one time, had claws into numerous law enforcement bodies on several levels, and well...just lots of shit. When she was at her house there were rooms she didn't want to go into. They frightened her – well, frightened was the wrong word, as Sarah didn't easily frighten, but wanted to avoid these places. Sarah didn't want to date the Flame. She didn't want to mix their magics.

But as she and Lana had a pleasant chat about it - the ball would start around 8. Lana would be happy to pick Sarah up and drive (which made sense as Sarah drank while Lana did not) around 6. They would have dinner first. Lana knew of a Thai Restaurant she had read good reviews about but never actually been to, and...it was an organized conversation. She asked about Sarah’s day, and listened to a few of her petty concerns, even offering some of her own. Lana didn't say what she had did. Sarah didn't ask. It was a pleasant conversation.

Too pleasant, perhaps.

Was she roasting someone alive on an open fire like chestnuts?

Performing tests on a sample of fibre to see if it had been near nitrous?

Standing in an alley watching a single child play with a teddy bear?

Listen to 1000 phone conversations at once of everyone in the city? And yawning?

(That last bit would have been difficult, as she was keeping up a convesation with Sarah.)

Sarah sighed. The banality of...well not evil perse, but something in relation to it.

But a ball?

Sarah had to load up a large calibre shotgun with blanks - which was tricky and messy. typically a couple of times a month she had to deal with them, and while the average person might think they were just normal bullets, except not, in reality they were temperamental little buggers with blackpowder that tended to get loose and jam the gun up, in ways that were often hard to clean. Shotguns with their pellets were theoretically easier and safer (despite the reputation if you shot someone with a gun loaded with blanks that’s it was really dangerous - but if you shot someone was a blank shotgun, yeah, you would probably be drummed out of the union...but yeah). However, they were a fucking pain to deal with.

And somehow a little of the powder caught on fire, and she was covered in soot –and...

A beautiful ball sounded divine.


Sarah smiled. She did look pretty. She always did when she wore something sleeveless. Her arms were her best feature. Large masses of muscle on large shoulders - but somehow graceful. Sarah could be described as a large woman - but the more flesh one saw of her the more one saw if her proportions were not some mathematic idea, they had power, and beauty. She smiled. She had a little opera coat to put over it - but no. She was just there.

And was going to a ball!!

Apparently you could do that in LA, if you paid, like, 75 dollars.

You learn things every day.

She put on black flat shoes, and got out that nice purse that matched her dress - and felt...happy.

She wasn't in love. She knew that, even though she never really had been in love. But she felt glad for this, this strange thing. She had been a real superhero for, like, 5 years. She’d fought monsters, and robots, and ninjas; and ninjas that looked like Klingons. But she had never gone to an elegant ball. This was a strange and tentative thing, but special and magical. Lana took her places that she never expected, to do things she never had done. And that wasn't a metaphor for lesbian sex.

Well. At least mostly that wasn't a metaphor for lesbian sex. 

There was a knock on the door.

And Sarah opened it to see Lana also wearing a dress. A long orange silk number that had puffed sleeves, and almost draped to the ground. It was beautiful. She was beautiful, with delicate makeup and her brown hair down in a renaissance ponytail.

And she had a corsage in her hand of a single rose.

This wasn't a friend who was picking her up, this wasn't someone who was there to look at her dress - this was...her date. Her companion, who intended to pin her, a term that she knew somehow.

And she felt terrified.

Lana smiled. Her smile.

"You look gorgeous. You really can dress up a prop master and make them look elegant. Better then a software engineer, anyway."

Sarah smiled. She had to, but the fear... "I didn't get you a flower."

"It’s just a silly tradition," said Lana. And then she kissed her gently.

Sarah was 50 percent sure this evening would end with sex. But that didn't frighten her. That was just sex. Girls have sex with other girls. But go to balls with them? Dance with them?

Oh God - they would have to dance together.


But first they had dinner. Women did eat dinner together all the time. She could handle it.

Dinner was at a Thai Restaurant - a fairly good Thai Restaurant. Thai was one of those cuisines that Sarah was aware existed - but well, other then a boba milk shake once or twice, never dipped into. She remembered banana peels were important - her dish contained vegetables wrapped in them. It was good. She had a vegetarian dish so she could share with Lana, as often Lana would give her large portions of whatever she was ordering. So she wanted to return the favour.

Lana was so very thin, but her peanut sauce covered rice was quite tasty.

They got odd looks. Sarah had expected an elegant local something with fine china and attentive staff for a night at the ball. However, this was semi-divey. Formica and paper napkin holders – chopsticks, but it was well, a lot like an Asian food restraint in central LA. The patrons were a mix of Thai and non Thai - the sight of two women wearing ball gowns and obviously a couple - who occasionally fed each other - was curious.

It wasn't a hostile curiosity - but it was unwelcome. Even the waiter, an older man looked slightly tentative toward them, as if any moment something would happen: they would make out or call the fire department.

Instead they only talked. Sarah wasn't quite sure about what, but they talked. And it was pleasant, easy - it may have been about her early jobs in the industry, encounters with actors, Lana’s travels in the world...it may have been something else. But Sarah smiled, and she was happy and her fears were washed away. Lana’s hand held her and she felt firmly held.

Then she looked around the room, and felt so alone...and afraid.

And back again.

About five times over the course of the meal.


They parked the car outside the Avalon, which was a dance club. Sarah had been there a couple of times - in various guises and at various stages. Trip hop night, a performance by Sleepy-time Gorilla Factory, just a night. But this was different.

But it was almost comforting that parking was a bitch. It made it real. LA was a city built around plentiful and free parking. Except in Hollywood. There it was outrageously expensive and horrible. And Sarah didn't have to deal with it!

She smiled and relaxed. Pointedly not into Lana, giving her space.

Not that Lana looked in the least bothered or alarmed, or taxed, by the experience. Her Vulcan-like expression rarely changed, as they saw a lot full and then a second...spaces. It wasn't really a story. She didn't regard it as such. Just parked the car and they got out, Leaving their carriage that looked suspiciously like a Lexus, a car that looked especially like a tarted up Toyota.

They walked together. Sarah looked down. She had to - Lana was shorter then her, though Sarah herself was reasonably short.  As she did this, she saw her own boobs. Damm. They were good. She realized that for Lana, her eyes were near there level - not quite but...

She wondered what Lana saw in her. Did she look at her boobs? She knew Lana liked her boobs. Was she like a guy, and all she saw was a pair of boobs and a cup holder? Lana thought about her.

That didn't quite make her scared, but it was there.

They reached the door. It was a plain, ordinary building - most night clubs were.  Actually, one could even describe it as ugly. Normally from outside you could hear music.

Tonight there were a couple of men in Tuxedos. And not those bouncer tuxedos you sometimes saw in LA, but actual tuxedos. And not much hair. Not from being black and bald, but from being, like, 60 and grey haired.

Men and women where gathering out in front - all well dressed. Some obviously better dressed then others.  Some of them where greeting each other, and it all looked very cheery.

And in walked two girls. Who were ‘together’. At some point Lana had put her arm in Sarah’s. It must be her damm magic. Lana reached into her purse and pulled out two tickets.

 No one outside seemed to recognize them.

And they entered.

The space was plain and boring - however it had been tarted up with too many flowers. Not steamers, but flowers, some rows of them azaleas, posies, and roses - so many roses. It looked like a Kevin Spacey movie.

The room had been setup with tables, like you might see at a wedding, in a couple of spots. The chairs looked nicer. The bar (which was of course paid) still looked divey.

There was a dance floor that was mostly empty, but the night was just beginning.

And on the stage was...a string quartet. With a piano. And...oh god...a flute

Someone had let in a flautist!

Sarah’s eyes glimmered. When she had expected a dance, she had expected - well dancing: do whatever you want dancing.

These. People. Were. Waltzing!!

My god



Sarah went into the bathroom. Closed up the stall. Fear.

It wasn't pretty.

She hated not being brave.

Hated it.

She heard a noise as someone entered. It was lana from the sound of her shoe.

"It’s not hard dancing," said Lana. "You’ve seen one of those television shows...what is it? I saw like five minutes of it once.”

"Dancing with the stars?"

"That sounds about right," said Lana. She was clearly leaning agianst the bathroom stall.

"Glider was on it."

"That sounds about right," said Lana. "It’s easy.”

Sarah paused and relaxed ever so slightly. She realized something. The Flame –Lana - she was the only one who had, recently, really scared her. Even the villains mostly just annoyed her, but The Flame - she could make her feel real fear. If one is poetic, make her feel.

And she realized something.

"How come you’re in this bathroom?" Asked Sarah.

"I'm...a girl."

Oh yeah. Funny that.

And Sarah went out to face her fear, taking Lana’s hand in hold.

And found that outside the bathroom the universe had been replaced with a non eclidian space.


"Huh?" said Sarah. "Are we dreaming"

"it’s not quite dreaming - it uses the same part of the brain, but that’s not the word," said Lana - who had instantly turned into The Flame. Not her dress, but how she spoke and acted. It wasn't as if they were night and day - but well, dusk and night, or something stupid like that. She was The Flame.

"Right, Jarmin, as always. You were always right...always so sure of yourself." The voice Sarah vaguely recalled from an unpleasant encounter at her gynaecologist. He was also the only one who used the term Jarmin. Sarah had meant to look it up but had forgotten - you know how it is- and she forgot his name. She hoped Lana would say it, as it could be awkward.

"shalk," said Flame. "aah."

She was a catch wasn't she?

"Did you think a western prison could hold me?"

Sarah realized that they were in an empty void with no left or right, no up or down - it could be said to be empty or completely full, endless void or 1 inch in front of her face. The only thing she had for a constant was that next to her was  the Flame. That was the constant. But she couldn't see Shalk, or be sure where or how his voice was coming. This didn't phase Flame in the slightest.

"well then, I won't use a western prison next time
," observed Lana. "i was with her and used mercy. my mistake."

"I made several in our most recent encounter. I won't again. And I do see you are with her. Are you *with* her?"

"yes, no reason to deny it," said Flame.

"Revenge on both of you at once. How sweet."

"So how are we going to do this?" interjected Sarah. "’Cause we were kinda on a date. We’re going to do a little dancing, I just built up the courage, really, and I want to ride that."

"I'm not going to do anything," said Shalk. "That was my mistake the first time. I am just going to keep you trapped."

There was a dramatic pause.

"For all time."

Well, if it was going to be all time, no reason not to put in a dramatic pause.

Flame considered.

"I am not present on the psychic plane,” Shalk gloated, “So you can't destroy me. There is no space to do so either. You are trapped."

"No, we’re probably in a bathroom at a nightclub," said Sarah. "Knocked out or something. I mean even if you lock the door at closing time someone will let us out.”

"by forever" Flame said, "He is actually referring to maybe 5 seconds. a brain can process an awful lot...like dreaming we can spend forever in here.  it’s just an illusion, like time with my own private hell. Just a different type really."

"Well, that’s good. It’s then...”

"awareness of an illusion doesn't make it any less real. knowing a mirage doesn't exist doesn’t makes it any less tangible. it’s not like we can wait it out. it’s forever."

"So what do we do?"

Lana considered.

"And what happens after forever?" demanded Sarah.

"ask a priest" said Lana "i read a little thomas aquinas in college and he had some interesting ideas on the subject."

Sarah paused for a moment.

Again, she had time for it.

"So Shalk," she asked, "What’s the story?"

"I am not going to be baited by you," said Shalk.

"Well, if we’re living in a space of infinite time...if you’re putting it together...you must also exist in the same dimensional construct. You talked with us. So there’s an exit.”

"There is no escape."

"So your trapped here too," said Sarah. "Interesting.”

"Words can't help you," said Shalk.

"That’s a shame. I’ve watched a lot of Dr Who, and since I usually, well, just punch the villains, it’s a waste.”

"Ahh. You’re ‘Mazing Girl, right? I did read about you," Shalk said. “That explains how you so easily beat me. Again, then I was not prepared."

"And you’re not prepared now."

"How’s that?"

"Well, if you constructed two universes with no conceivable entrance between the two, one for us and one for you," said Sarah, "However you gave us an infinite amount of time to conceive it...this is a monkeys and Shakespeare method...there has to exist a method of breaching it, just we haven’t thought of it and ergo it must exists.”

"Well you can try."

"Sure Shalk, it may take a 1000 years but ... you know what. This is how dreams work. When you really spend forever in a dream you have a few minutes of something interesting then skip over the boring parts. Let’s do that.”


Sarah found herself next to Shalk.

She punched him into unconsciousness with one blow.


Sarah woke up, her head next to the bathroom stall.

She opened the door and saw Lana lying on the floor, still asleep.

She wondered...had she really spent forever?

And Sarah realized this could have been her chance to spend forever with her.

That would have been romantic...

Insane, in a Lovecraftian sense.

But romantic nonetheless.

Sarah leaned down to kiss her, to wake her up as a way to repay...

"you’re what happens after forever," declared Lana, looking up at Sarah tenderly. as her eyes flittered.

There were moments. There were moments after sex, now waking, when Sarah thought she saw a flicker of something through Lana, a flicker of emotion - maybe even.... - across her eyes. But it was only ever a moment. And then it past. And then she was Lana again.

Which was good. Because when she turned she saw Shalk’s dead body on the ground behind her. She also noticed that the door to the bathroom was locked.

Lana got up.

"they say you can't really die in a dream." Lana got up and walked towards the body. She smelled the remnants of his breath.

"laudanum. massive does. Its’ a drug that creates odd dreams, maybe gave him his power or worked with it. he probably intended to die. Not wanting to see after forever, as you put it."

"Who was he?" asked Sarah. "Come on.”

"my old teacher" said Lana. "one day I offended him and he could not stand it...so... a waste, but so i often i encounter it, i am numb to it."

"Like an evening, I guess."

"and it was a sealed room mystery. So many pieces...figure them out. i had worked out 23 solutions in my head, but wanted to see if you could find one first." Lana shrugged and unlocked the door. She walked out. "well, a dead body can put a damper on a ball."

Sarah followed her, stoped and grabbed her hand with hers and locked the door handle with another.

"What ae you doing?" demanded Flame.

"Well, the story is going to be an old man committed suicide in a girls bathroom at a nightclub. It’s a fucking horrible story," said Sarah. "But that story can wait. I was promised a waltz.”

Lana looked at her.

And it was Lana. Not The Flame but Lana. Sarah could tell the difference. Kinda. It wasn't the voice so much, but the eyes.

And Lana took Sarah’s hand...and they started to dance.

A beautiful dance.

An awkward dance, yes, but a wonderful one.

Sarah, being the taller one, lead Lana across the floor in a dance that, yeah, was pretty easy. If people noticed that it was two women, Sarah didn't see.

And it lasted forever.

Until they heard a very loud scream.

Well nothing lasts forever...

But Sarah had had her ball, and she was satisfied.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blood, Guts, and Cake

'Mazing Girl's day started with walking away slowly from an exploding car. Now, mostly days ended like that, but you know...vary it up.

Technically speaking it may not be day. Sarah had woken up at 3:00am, as one occasionally does in the movie game. They had shot some crazy hours yesterday, despite the fact that they were doing it all on set, which often approached 9 to 5 - however when you start the week with crazy night shoots you end the week with crazy night shoots. It was a union thing.

But it was Saturday, when Sarah should sleep in or something like that, but ehh...she was feeling wired. Sarah had learned a while back, sadly, that Saturday morning cartoons were no longer a thing, which is why she decided after a small breakfast and kitten time to go out and make some cartoons.

Except when she got a weird sensation and went to Mariachi Square at around 4am. She was surprised when a car she was 10 feet away from exploded. You didn’t see that in cartoons a lot. More banks. Thankfully, no one was in the car when it exploded, and as it rained debris around the area it didn’t look too powerful or damaging.

Sarah walked away cooly. Though, in fact, her costume didn’t feature sunglasses, and she didn’t do it at slow motion. She needed to work on her sauntering.

Mariachi Square was a smallish public space in the east of the city - it looked a bit like something in Mexico, which was cute - mariachi bands came here during the day to be hired for performances and stuff, or when you needed drive-by mariachi music. This was the best way to hire them, apparently, as opposed to Craigslist, but she wasn’t going to judge.

Of course this was 4:30, and there was only one guy who seemed to be approaching something mariachi related - wearing a comical costume, and stretching.

She waved to him.

Okay, her weird "something's wrong" power was working. That suggested something was still wrong - which suggested that the car bomb was a distraction.


She jumped to the top of a 2 storey building and closed her eyes and tried to figure something out.

“'Mazing girl,” said a voice behind her. She was startled.

It was, of course, the Flame.

Who was of course Lana Maclaine.

Who was… well not course, but maybe...her girlfriend. They had spent a lot of time together. And had sex. And they were kind of dating. And it was… well, it’s complicated.

Lana was looking particularly creepy and scary in the predawn light - there was just something slightly unwholesome about the prepubescent girl look - particularly in someone you're fucking. Who knew? Sara knew that it was an act, and that if you looked carefully at her you could see the fact that lana really was 32. However: still creepy. It was maybe the first time she had seen her in full costume since they had started their relationship.

And it was a moment.

“Flame,” said Sarah. It was probably bad manners to call each other by real names - or even pet names. Not that they had pet names, as they were probably not really girlfriends.

something's up,” said Flame. “three blocks down. two gentlemen rented a small storefront next to a cake store last month, and they haven’t done anything really useful.

“Cake store?” pressed Sarah.

“it’s a mob front.”

“And how do you know that it’s a mob front, if two people rented it and haven’t done anything?”

don’t talk to me about my methods.”

'Mazing girl looked at her. Was it Tuesday when she was up during the day that they went to arboretum? There were ducks there. And peacocks. They had held hands. Sarah had briefly wrapped her arms around her when they sat on the lawn.

And then it struck her agian. Sarah wasn't exactly Lois Lane here, either. If She wasn't trying to scare her, it shouldn't. She was the more powerful of the superheroic pair by a good margin. Who was she trying to impress? You could ask 'Mazing Girl the same question, but really you couldn't say she was putting on that much of an air.

"Well...how should we handle this?"
"You can get there fast. Take point. I'll sweep the back."

"I could carry you," offered 'Mazing Girl.

"No," said the flame. And with that walked not bothering for an answer, in a cloud of fog.

Sarah was very mad at this...person.

Sarah sighed.
Then she jumped...

...and landed, and jumped again. It took her a couple of seconds to find the place Flame was refering to.

There was a sign above the door that said cake. That was as much as she could tell about a building that otherwise looked fairly empty. This wasn't a bakery. The cake was (wait for it) a lie. This pissed her off.

The door, however, was open. Walking out of it was a very dumb-looking hispanic man.

Sarah looked at him. he looked at her. He was carrying a cardboard box.

Now, in the absolute sense there was nothing about him that suggested he was doing anything illegal. He was a man walking out of a fake bakery at 5am. Nothing inherently wrong or illegal about that. Suspicious...yes. But 'Mazing Girl couldn't really do anything about that. Maybe he worked there, or owned the building. Maybe he was living there, which was probabbly a zoning violation but well...

They looked at each other. It was an awkward moment that lasted a second longer then it should have.

Then he turned to run away.

Now he was doing something she could stop him for. She felt kind of bad for him, despite it, even as he droped the box revealing a gun as it hit the ground. When she grabbed him - it took her less time to run and catch up to him then it took you to read this sentence (which is understandable as this a rather long sentence), she made a point to make it fairly light, and pushed him up against a wall to intimidate him - her heart wasn't in it, even as she lifted him up with one hand as his legs kicked out.

"Whats going on?" she asked.

"Um," he said.

Just then a second man walked out from the store as well. Now, the word thug can mean two things. It can refer to a large hulking figure typically employed in organized crime as enforcers, soldiers - large men who where professionally frightening. It could also refer to people who affected the kind of look as a means of fashion, typically associated with west coast Hip Hop. This man was clearly both. And he had a Glock. Which was another stereotype.

He aimed to shoot, and it took 'Mazing Girl a second to realise that he wasn't aiming at her, but at the guy in her hand. She moved quickly to put her body between them.

And the guy shot. After a career as a professional armorer, she often reflected how damm loud guns were in real life. Glocks in particular were a kind of loud weapon, that even after being shot by dozens of them she took time to adjust. They were loud but - this was fun part - were not quite powerful enough for her to worry too much about. The guy kept shooting them and she kept taking it - and this was also the fun part. It took him about 5 seconds. Semi-automatic handguns were a real waste, as the time it takes you to expend a clip was to damn fast to be useful. He kept shooting and shooting.

And then he was out of ammo.

Before he could begin to reload, she bull tackled him to the ground, grabbed his gun in mid air as he droped it, and crushed it in her hand in seconds, using fairly light pressure for her.

The thug was knocked out cold. The guy she had been holding ran away into the night. She could have followed dumb face, but instead she let him go, hoping he had many dumb faced adventures that The Skalds whould someday sing the tale of.

But she went into the storefront.

It's often said that Los Angeles was built last year in a hurry - but there was a lot of it - more then you might think that came from the turn of the twentieth century - it was typically in the poorer areas. A lot of South Central was legitimately Victorian. This made it look a little bit rundown, but it also gave it character. It would be a great place for a cake shop.

But...well fuck.

Instead, there were a couple of chairs, a folding table, and a scale. Everything else looked removed - it looked...let's say a place were one would negoiate a very large drug deal. Like in the millions. A crime was constructed in Sarah's mind - as she noted one wall had a hole cut out of it going to the store front next door - it was like something out of a sixties caper movie...except for the drug part.

As she reflected she heard machine gun fire, which was also something you wouldn't have in the 60s movie she was creating in her head - in which a group of lovable scamps create a fake cupcakes store in order to steal diamonds. Which was a shame, as she was mentally casting Alex Guinness.

She, on the other hand, adjusted her head a bit. The gunfire was coming from the basement. Or so it seemed.

'Mazing Girl lifted a foot up and kicked down into the ground, creating a hole of her own in the floor, a large hole, to investigate. The powerful impact rippled through the wood, splintering it into a massive hole in the floor, which perhaps was a shame. This was an historic building. Sarah tried to be careful about the amount of peripheral damage she caused. Someplace like this, maybe it would never get fixed at all. Which was a shame.

But there was no time for those kinds of thoughts. Instead she looked down to see what appeared to be a gun battle. Two groups of people where at opposite ends of a large basement - one group was in the back, the second at the entrance. The second appeared to have the upper hand, except for the fact that the first group was around a lot of carpets, crates, and other objects that appeared a sensible setup to form a defensive position - perhaps prepared in case this exact situation started up. Huh? Not unclever. Except for the part with the exit being covered with what looked to be 20 dudes.

Things appeared to be in a stalemate. When they saw her, everyone started shooting at either her or the person oposite them. But no one - not even Sarah - was hit.

She paused.

This required some thought.

"Okay, everyone!"

Her words were drowned out by gunfire.


No one could hear her.

Sarah paused and considered...

...when dumb faced raced into the store

"No no.....no! I won't! Can't! Please please please...please!"

He ran right into the giant hole.

Well. Fuck.

About a thousand bullets hit him before he even hit the ground.

Sarah winced.

She had seen people die. Hell, she'd seen a lot of people die...incocent people, children, the guilty - it didn't matter really. Death was death, and all life was precious to her. But there was something particularly bad about loosing someone she had mixed feelings about. It was easy to watch people you hate die. It was sad to watch those you loved. But it was another to see someone you kind of disliked, but who you sort of knew didn't deserve it...even in a punisher comic.

Or perhaps the Shadow.

The Flame walked in.

"okay everyone...lets just end this"

Then all the furniture, the carpets, everything in the room bellow, was suddenly on fire...

...and there was much screaming.

Sarah watched as people started to shoot at each other and hit. She saw the door to the exit lock and burn. She saw...

The Flame walked calmly to the hole, and with a controled jump, landed on the ground.

A man raced at her. She grabbed him, and used him as a human shield as another gunman shot him. Then Flame tossed him toward it the first gunman, just as the gunman was shot by someone in the back. Then his gun exploded.

She turned and watched someone's hair catch on fire - which caused him to leave cover and he was shot at he ran to the Flame, who comforted him on the back even as he bled out all over her body.

Sarah closed her eyes, then she heard screams. Horror. Just utter horror and destruction, as the stand off turned into a massacre. The Flame didn't kill anyone. That wasn't her thing thing...but Sarah watched as she let the two sides kill each other, fighting at their worst, like demons, as if attacking and fighting over little powders would end the horror. Sarah watched as more blood and guts splattered over the Flame, who could seem to walk through the bullet filled room with aplomb, just ignoring it, passing it, feeling it...as Sarah was left to imagine it. She wanted to end it, to stop it, to do...something.

And so she jumped down and grabbed someone's gun, bending it upwards hoping it would end the chaos.

Just before he got shot in the back by someone who looked to be from his own side.

The horror...


After the fight was over, firetrucks came. There were fires. And 'Mazing Girl.

She looked at the store window. Again the sadness. She wondered...how hard would it be to get some cake for breakfast? When a shadow came behind her. It was a particuarly bloody version of the Flame, looking a tad like the girl at the end of Carrie.

would you like to go out tonight to the movies” Flame asked. “its been a long time since I just went to a movie theatre and had some popcorn.


the remake of robocop is coming out. i remember seeing the original when I was a kid. That could be fun. get some popcorn and...what do they call those raisin candies?

“This is fucking werid” noted Sarah.


“You're covered in blood.”

'Mazing Girl watched her face. It changed. There was a subtle pain, a hurting, in it.

And 'Mazing Girl leaned in and kissed it instantly, because that was the one thing she didn’t want to see. It was a cliché that superheroines were physically invulnerable but emotionally... That was bullshit. Especially because she had seen her get shot, like, just 2 months ago. Regardless of how she was and what she was to her - she didn’t want to see her like that. So she kissed her and held her in her arms until the look in her eyes became something closer to delight.

“How's the shoulder?” she asked after the moment was over.

it's fine,” said Flame. “it did’t hit bone or anything, but it's fine.”

'Mazing Girl held her in her arms and nuzzled into her.

i’ll take a shower first.”

'Mazing Girl looked down and realized that she had blood on her too. She giggled.

“I’ll do that, too.”

And a mariachi came over.

“Wait...are you, like, girlfriends?”

The answer, Sarah realised, was yes. But she let it go, not giving the mariachi the satisfaction of an answer.

“No seriously...is this like a lesbian thing?”

And so this day that started with a car explosion, ended with an okay-ish action sci fi movie - a movie that wasn’t half as good as the original but was good with her girlfriend. Also Micheal Keaton: He is always charming and should be in a lot more movies. He was great as the corporate executive who was kind of doing Steve Jobs with a tad of evil warmth. Yeah, now that he was getting older in years he could totally do that in movies, and 'Mazing Girl would pay to see it.

She and Lana held hands.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In Which Utter Glory is Achieved

Sarah read a lot of comics - tons really. And there was a stock scene: A master jewel thief breaks through a huge high ceiling, into a laser beam full museum, to steal a gigantic gem.

And Sarah in her 'Mazing girl outfit, who was at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum's gem exhibit realised they left out something. Education! Sarah could see tons and tons interesting things about rocks and gemstones - how they formed, where they were found, and what they where made of.

(Mini triva Quiz: The plot of the Movie Star Trek 4 involved inventing Transparent aluminium - but what stone really is transparent aluminium? The answer at the end of this story...)

The musuem was just opening a major new expansion, and she had been invited to take a tour of the place by the police, in case something happened.

However, Sarah was slightly disapointed.

For one thing - relatively small ceilings. Second -  the gems weren't that big. Abstractly yes - big, but more in the demonstrate this is what an opal was, or this is what gold looked like in its natural state kind of way. The only really big thing was jade, which Sarah learned actually got pretty gigantic in the real world-but wasn't that expensive. It was disappointing.

It was perhaps a flaw of being a nerd. There was a certain kind of girlishness that was foreign to her. If any of these stones were to be put on a ring she would have oohed, ahhed, and sworn feality to whatever billionaire gave it to her. As if she had any idea of what a big rock actually looked like. These were, ahh, pretty stones. Stones that were worth more probabbly more then her condminiou-building, sure...but just pretty stones.

Then she saw a spectacular gem in the case she checking out. It shimmered in the light.

"Wow," said Sarah.  "I like this one. It's so big!"

"Its quartz," the museum director informed her.

"Is it expensive?" asked Sarah. The stone was about the size of a...a breadbasket, actually. Yes, Sarah mused, she'd had a breadbasket when she was a kid, and that was exactly the proper dimension for it.

"One this big? A couple of hundred bucks."


"Gems are all about rarity - quartz is something like 1/4 of the Earth's mass."

Sarah didn't know that. Again: Education.

And then they left and went to see the dinosaurs. Sarah saw a Plateosaurus for the first time ever. The 8 year old in her was pretty pysched.


That was about four months ago. Now sarah was back in the museum - as Sarah. On the big central palladium (was that the right word?). Normally, she recalled, was a giant tyrannosaurus menacing a stegosaurus. Now...now was....

A gem case.

She was there to film an episode of the seventh district, where there is a jewel robbery. The plot line veered somehow into something to do with white slavery . The plots of the seventh district could do that.

But now...they where in the museum, which she learned could be rented for film shoots pretty cheap.

And she had the obligation of finding a really big looking stone.

Sarah of course had the mental problem with gems of - she was a super strong woman. She thought she could have taken a lump of coal and squeeze it into a diamond. Well that was the theory. In reality (which she would have learned if she paid more attention to the graphics and helpful logos) it would take a much bigger a piece of coal in order to produce a diamond she could see with a microscope - and just squeezing it with her hands wouldn't have been even enough pressure. She would have to use the more traditional method of having someone spend 3 months salary.

So, remembering some good advice, she went to a jewellery store got a quartz and glazed it dark purple. She figured it would look better than glass as it had slight imperfection in it. It was clever.

"Sure! This looks good, Jennings!" Todd Nelson, the director for this episode, praised her.

"I think it will photograph well," Sarah told him.

"This light..."

"It;s got a mysterious quality," said Sarah.

Todd shook his head.

He often shook his head. Nelson was a very head shakey director as the things he had to deal with were just okay.

Sarah didn't like him much, but the bueaty of dramatic television was that she she had to work with him maybe three times a year for a week. The way he kept shaking his head, made it worse.

The next problem with the gem case was itself - it was easy to make brakeaway glass. It's a delicious desert of sugar, that Sarah being Sarah sometimes ate after they used it. Don't judge her. She went to a freak show when she was a kid. It fascinated her...it...well, don't judge her.

But sugar glass didn't cut well with normal tools, which meant they had to use real glass and a real glass cutter, and a real guy suspended above it in a harness, which was a tricky stunt...but well, she wasn't a stunt woman. Actually, that whould have been a good career option now that she thought about it. She remembered reading a superman book where he went into that, but she never really thought about it.

So as they lowered a very nice actor down on a wire, Sarah sat off camera working on the stunts. she thought about going into the next hall to look at the Plateosaurus agian - but technically speaking she was working.

Until she felt something on the back of her neck.

It was, by her standards, light. Very light. No one was in danger. That was okay. But something was wrong...

Wrong, of course, was a touchy feely word. Sarah's ability to predict stuff was something she had trouble categorising. For a woman who in someway perhaps overdid her humanity it was something alien. The gift of man, the bible said, is the ability to know good from evil. She did. But one couldn't quite put it into words. It was a feeling - to explain would be like trying to describe blue.To translate it into thought, something her conscious mind could process, was not something even she could do very well. Sarah's power to know when something bad was happening, she thought in her more abstract moments, was probably greater then all her other powers put together. At some level, if she really tried, in her darkest moments...it may have been something similar to omnipotence, to know all and see all - to have the power of God himself.

Or perhaps she was sensing someone stealing a buck from a tip jar. It was hard to say.

Because as she organised materials for the next scene, she couldn't quite say.

But like say a pebble in her shoe, she couldn't ignore it eith.

She closed her eyes and to walked off. Whatever it was, it was close...maybe 50 feet.

And then she realized something was happening in the jewelery room.

Sarah always kept her costume bag nearby - which, in a world where the police pretty much no longer cared about things like search and seizure laws, she realised was going to be a problem someday. But she would cross that bridge when she came to it. Perhaps by jumping very high in the air to clear the river entirely.

She ran into a bathroom - which was very nicely kept by the way. Good thing about being a superheroine: You got see a lot of quality bathrooms. This one looked, like most of the museum, to have been built in 50s, and they really didn't make 'em like they used to. This one was built in the 50s and had quality tiles, fixtures - class act.

However, 20 seconds later - which was very fast for her - she was out of her clothes and into her costume, even counting a brief little panty dance she did.

And then she raced down the hallway to the jewlery room.

She knew abstractly that there was a very sophisticated security system in there - the kind that didn't include those flashy lasers that you see in movies, but real motion detectors, video surveillance, pressure plates on the floor, and the whole shebang. All that and a very thick vault door. In short, it was as an impressive bit of security.

Of course, Sarah could have stolen everything in the place in like two or three minutes, going through the vault like it was tissue paper and the like. But she wouldn't ever do something like that...good and evil and all that jazz. Superhuman ethics - stealing money required an economic system, stuff with the federal reserve, continuing resolutions of congress. That sort of thing. She focused instead on the what.

And so she entered into a now dark hall. Huh? She remembered the lighting being good here. Which was something that the movies (And TV show such as the one she was in effect working on) left out. They turned off the lights in real life.

However they should be on.

No windows or anything either.

And Sarah, who was incredibly strong, unspeakably tough, and uncannily fast, was suprisingly bad in darkness. Her actual senses where no better then anyone else's - worse really, as she was nearsighted.  At night she could get around well enough by moonlight - and streetlight. Los Angeles was a well lit city. But in here...with literally no light source...

It was times like this when she wished she had a utility belt with a flashlight. But whenever she thought of a utility belt the couple of times she needed it a year, she always forgot about it - and it was just more stuff to traipse around in the bag and...


Long term planning was never 'Mazing Girl's strong suit. Or Sarah's, really. But that was a longer issue - to be agonised over when drunk.

She did know something. There was only doorway out of this room, with not even an emergency exit, and she was standing in it.

she wandered in as far as the opening would allow to see.

And then the large bank door closed behind her, and she was in total darkness.

Which, in truth, she found kind of freaky.

She shook her head for a second.

She resisted the urge to walk in one direction until she saw light. That would damage something, and probably more than the value of whatever jewellery was being stolen, which was insured. But the museum probably hadn't upped it to include the "Scared Supergirl" clause, though.

Fear was useful.

However, being punchy wasn't. If she punched, say, a glass display or something, something would be badly hurt.

She closed her eyes. No real reason, she just did.

She extended her senses. This was a techniques she sometimes used. Her hearing, her sense of smell...but mostly her hearing.

There was a light brushing of something....

And she was hit - a punch to mid chest.

No real pain, but...

She reached forward and connected with something.

She didn't actually grab it, but felt something.

she wasn't alone.

Okay, this was something...

Someone, or thing, was in this room with her. It processed available information. It viewed her as a threat. It viewed her as a threat it could reasonably deal with - which given the amount of force to her sternum, was incorrect. It had control over the security system in the room.

These were good thoughts to have in the dark with something she could hear breathing.

The she heard a shriek. The sound of a bird, a hawk, in the night.


She recognised that sound.

iI punched her agian, connecting hard with her stomach, a flurry of blows that did knock her back  tossed down less so from her lack of strengh more so then her lack of balance. She screamed almost despite herself at the fear, and the terror at the sence...

Wait a fucking second she had super powers

She got up he hit her.

She didn't sell it



he extended his arm she could tell and she grabed it and flipped around so hard  he flew across the room into a sighn explaining with sedimentary rock was he crashed with a loud singe.

"Whats going on, Knighthawk?"

And the lights came on.

There, standing in front of her, was knighthawk, who was, after Sarah - and maybe the Flame, the number 2 hero in the city. Really, 'Mazing Girl was number one and two...

"The musuem asked me to test the security system" Knighthawk explained. "To see if there are risks...any holes."

Sarah nodded. Wasn't that a plot of a movie she saw when she was a kid? With a famous actor?

(What movie is sarah thinking about: See the end of the story to find out. Also was it any good? Spoiler: No)

 Sarah reached in and grabbed the hand of Knighthawk


Sarah looked, pulling off the glove, or gauntlet - or what ever you would call the kind of built armour thing he had. Gauntlet would be perhaps a little too comicbook-like.

"What are you doing?" Knighthawk demanded.

"I remember your hand," said Sarah, as she looked over the well manicured fingers of Knighthawk.

"Well, your good for something," said Knighthawk. "You ruined my little excersie. I managed to take over the front of their security system, but I wasn't able to see if I could successfully escape through the manned exit of the building"

"Well, I think we successfully proved you couldn't," Sarah observed. "Because 'Mazing Girl is here!"

Knighthawk put his glove back on.

"This is expensive, and ruined. Corundum, lots of delicate mechanisms...not that someone like you would know anything about craft."

"'Mazing girl!!"

Just then, the vault door opened and a dozen guards rushed in.

"What's going on?" demanded the guard as he raised his gun.

"Check with the museum director," said Knighthawk. "Protocol 34."

"No need officer. Mazing girl is here!"

This was the moment that all her blood and sweat and tears made worthwhile. The moment when she realized she could be a comicbook superhero, a creature of a Saturday morning cartoon. It was a surpisingly rare moment, but a glorious one. Utterly glorious.  She looked not quite straight ahead.

"Check with your procedure," Knighthawk instructed. "You know how I hate having to deal with rent-a-cops."

One of the officers protested with hurt sounding "Hey!"

"No offence,," said Knighthawk.

"While you sort this out," said Sarah, hands on her hips, "'Mazing girl has a city to protect!" She jumped up  a couple of feet then troted out of the room as superheroically as she could.

As she left, Knighthawk turned to the guards.

"I really hate her," confessed Knighthawk. "I really, really, do. It's just like this thing now. This thing that eats my soul and..."

"She makes you look like an idiot in a bird mask."

"I just really, really, hate her."


Sarah made her way back to the set - or in this case, the central plaza of the museum - quietl, though in fact they weren't recording sound so it didn't matter. Which was good, as despite whatever commotion had happened they were still filming.

Sarah watched an actor, carefully lowered down, use a glass tube on a case and pull out the gem -  another actor playing a security guard came at him with a gun.. and there followed a brief kind of wire-fu fight. It was a fun scene, though it took about three hours to shoot for maybe 45 seconds of screen time...but it was fun.

As she watched the guards push Knighthawk roughly out walk up the stairs to the office of the museum director, Sarah tried not to laugh - not as glorious as that.

She was a stinker wasn't she?


Answer to trivia question 1: Rubies!! Rubies are transparent aluminum. Also Saphires, and rare padparadscha, which are all forms of corundum.

Answer to trivia Question 2: Sneakers!!! with Robert Redford!! and Dan Akryoid

Answer to trivia Question 2 pt 2: While the kind of look at early 90s computer security has some fun elements, and it does create a cinematic view of hacker culture(though dated), the thriller plotline isn't very good and Redford kind of sleepwalks through his performance.

Answer to trivia question 3: Yes she was a stinker.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Well Riverside..

This was supposed to be a great comment in a young superhero's life. A crowning achievement, a moment of pride...of excitement!.

'Mazing girl was fighting her first evil clown.

But this was just very...disappointing. This wasn't the Joker. This was a guy who was wearing a very old, very ratty, clown costume. And he was very clearly on meth.

Well, "supposed to's" in real life...

Yet he had a gun - it was just was a .22, handgun which was no danger for 'Mazing Girl (she would probably not notice it if she got shot bellow the neck) - and several hostages. Kids. However, they were really ugly kids. These were the kind of grubby white-trash monsters who were dirty and kind of malformed. Two boys and a girl, all of whom just looked horrible. Sarah knew that she did not conform to Californian society's beauty norms, but there they had some unrealistic standards. They were in a store that could charitably be called a convenience store...if one were feeling very charitable.

Why did she come to Riverside? It was just hell.

But...and this was a big but...Sarah prided herself on caring about people even in bad situations, on wanting to help by using her powers for good - what ever that meant. Which, in this case, meant dealing with this guy before he shot people...without killing him, or hurting him too bad. Despite the fact that she really wanted to be home, maybe watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which had come up a little before her time but she had heard really good things about) or even watching Tru Calling, which she had heard mixed things about. Or Medium, which everyone she had ever met said was stupid.

Yes. She would rather be watching Medium. She would rather be watching a shitty Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle than doing this.

But it mattered to the kids. And 'Mazing Girl was all for the children.

Which was a really stupid thing to say.

The generic evil clown (trademark-him, I guess) waved his gun around in a manner that suggested agitation. A less discerning, less experienced, superheroine would have said "Crazy", but that wasn't quite true. He was mean, pissed, and extremely agitated - "mad" would have been a good word, and she went with it. He wasn't taking any of her shit...or her logic. Okay...maybe crazy.

Riverside, for those who don't know, was...well, suburb was a little hard word, but city? That was kind in the LA metropolitan are. LA was like that. She had several times been told that Downtown Riverside was very nice. You frequently hear that: "Sure Fullerton is a hell-hole, but the downtown is really nice", or: "Culver city has a fun little downtown". This may very well be the case, but Sarah invariably found herself in the shit part of any given city.

She had come here an hour earlier. She had got the sense that there was a major accident about to happen - something big on the highway - and her inbuilt alert had been right. Something did happen. Four people had died. The thing about her power was that it didn't always factor in her ability to travel a 100 miles into things. She didn't feel particularly guilty about it, either - well not really. But she decided to spend the rest of the night giving some love to Riverside.

But love was not coming her way tonight. The guy was shaking and screaming.

"Fuck off, fucker! Fuck you"

Well, there went this evenings PG-13 rating. You could get away with two fucks in America - but not three. Sigh.

And she would have to deal with this quickly, too. She doubted this siutation could last three minutes...

"Just walk away," she suggested. "I am not going to chase you if you walk away."

"Fuck you. Fucker I'ma not going to fuck for that!"

A very sweary evil clown. Cesar Romero should be rolling in his grave. Think of the children...which she was all for.

Sarah raised her hands. "Okay!"

"I'm going to fucking kill them!"

Sarah walked slightly to the left, she adjusted her position to walk to the children. She walked right between them and not quite perfectly before the clown . She really hoped he forgot something important about her.

"Stay where you fucking..."

This was the moment to act, the moment to...

Just then a Mack truck broke through the side of the building.

Wow...this was like the Dark Knight.

Except the truck hit the clown, and smashed him dead in about 2 seconds.

Sarah jumped back instantly and shielded the kids with her body as best she could, and the truck hit her a half second later. Her back was hit considerably harder then a 22 bullet, but well...

What the fuck was happening?

"Get the fuck out of here, you fuckers!"

Some equally impolite people where talking to her in Riverside. Who knew?

She looked at the kids. They were okay.

Wait...why was an evil clown and three kids in a convenience store at 10:30 at night? This made no sense. Well, in her line of work causation was often hard to follow.

She turned and saw five guys with machine guns comming at her.

"Why are you fucking asshole?" demanded the leader.

"That's not a question," 'Mazing Girl pointed out.

"Why?" the leader insisted.

Yep. A word was missing there.

Sarah sighed. "Are you going to go after the kids?"

"Do we look like..."

Sarah stood up. Two seconds later the first man was down. She never knew his name - she never even got a great look at him - because she defeated him swiftly, slamming him to the ground.

It had been the man on the far right. That was intentional. The other four men all turned and started shooting - away from the children. That was important, no matter how ugly they were. She stood for a second, and felt the bullets pelt her. It felt better then the truck, which wasn't much but...well: Riverside.

She noted that her cape was in tatters, as was most of her costume. Yeah, this was hurting. She felt like a character in one of those modern ultra-realistic first person shooters: When they keep shooting you with machine gun fire you may want to think about getting out of the game.

She grabbed her now ruined cape with a hard grip and tossed it at a shooter - it covered his face. He lifted his gun. She moved forward and punched his face, grabbed the gun of one of his fellows and pulled it out, and kicked the guys in the shin...which was a surprisingly fun little move. It caused him to fly backwards upside down and complete a loop. Silly.

There were two more men left. One of them stopped shooting at her for some reason - not to give up, but his bullets stopped. She looked up and, for a half a second, processed. These looked to be meth cookers. They had the ragged cliche you see on popular TV shows. Fit the MO, say. She thought they were after her - well, they were on meth. There was logic there. Anyway, she gave him a quick punch to the stomach then an elbow to the head. No real problem so far.

That left the leader. He turned his gun back towards the children.

"I'll shoot!" he vowed.

"You just said..." Sarah complained.

"Do I fucking care?" the leader asked as he watched her.

But Sarah looked confused.

"Um...the kids aren't there anymore."

The leader turned. The kids, very sensibly, had run away. And as he came to grips with that, Sarah kicked him in the head with a well executed roundhouse. Yes, she did know Kung Fu. She had learned it at the mall in Tallahassee. A good investment.

Sarah sighed.

Cops: She would have to call the cops.

She looked over to the body of the evil clown - what a sad bastard he had been...how pathetic...

What!?! Like the Joker, his body was gone - it had just vanished, with nary a messy blood trail from where she had seen the guy appear to loose his entrails. What happened? Had a she met a new arch enemy that on every issue would bedevil her? Would he one day have a nine issue series in the 1970s that was poorly received? Would the actor who one day portrays him win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar?

Probably not. But, well...who knows.