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.


Okay.


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.


"Okay."


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.


“Huh?”


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.


What?”


“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.