Title: Caged Heat 5
RATING: PG-15ish; language & -*implied sexual contact*-
PAIRING: Sam/Nicole-of course (& a few dalliances en route) So far Harrison/Mr Grant see more action than our girls :o(
SUMMARY: Building off of the early Season 1 eps where Sam explores her developing love of both journalism and her journalism instructor/editor...
SPOILERS: Minor blurbs from S2's "Coup"; Finer points from ~every~ Grade B exploitative entry in the "Babes behind Bars/ Little Girls in the Big House" film genre...
DISCLAIMER: Ryan Murphy/Touchstone created a wondrous playground-The WB treated it like a toxic waste dump...I am merely perpetuating their memory
A/N: OK, so as this is the second instalment of the ~Sam McPherson: Investigate Journalist!~ series, perhaps now would be an opportune moment to clarify/reiterate/review some items perhaps "breezed over" on our maiden excursion (unfortunately I'm not talking about cohesive plot-lines, conventional character development, pacing, grammatical and/or puncuational errors etc.--besides how important are those things anyway?)
All we really need to know is--
a) Who's who--
Obviously if one were to write a series of speculative fiction entitled ~Sam McPherson: Investigative Journalist!~ it would behoove one to include a character with a similar moniker who's actively pursuing a career at least comparable to the proclaimed profession. By an amazing coincidence we have a character in mind who matches both criteria...Our girl Sammy--a sweet, naive, (somewhat stubborn) 16 year old; ace cub reporter for "The Kennedy High Zapruder" (Think Bullwinkle/Sweet Polly Purebred/Nell...)
And of course, we'll need a love interest--in this case two--one unrequited; the other undeclared. We experience our first plot twist when we realize our Sammy's first school-girl crush on her beloved Mr. Grant can never be reciprocated (a--because she's jailbait, and b--because he "just doesn't swing that way..."). But do not loose heart, gentle reader, for Sam's ~One True Love~ does await--in the form of her seemingly arch-nemesis Nicole Julian (who most assuredly ~does~ "swing that way..."). Think cynical, reluctant behind-the-scenes heroine (with the patience of Job) keeping a watchful, protective, ever-vigilant eye over our girl Sammy until that day she comes to her senses and they can finally unite and consummate their ~One True Love~ (Think Rocket J. Squirrel/Underdog/Dudley Do-Right...)
Next up, we'll need a villain...Some sinister force to place our girl Sammy in constant peril; to test the virtue of our heroine, and the strength of their ~One True Love~. To which we've added another plot twist--said villain being the same Mr. Grant that our cub reporter has her adolescent crush on (Ah, cruel, cruel fate!). OK so maybe he's not out-and-out diabolical, but he honestly doesn't seem to care to much about putting her in harm's way...And of course there are the lesser villains, working both in unison, and according to their own agendas--Ms. Bobbi (Bio) Glass; her sister Nurse Jesse (and any other relative/incarnate as needed) and finally, Godfrey in any of his numerous personas...(Think Boris and Natasha/Snidely Whiplash and Muttley...)
b) What's what--
Mr. Grant insists on sending our girl Sammy out on one whacked assignment after another with total disregard for her safety and well-being. For no apparent reason other than the reader's (and writer's) amusement...He doesn't care about "the story" or "the truth"; and despite what one might think he's not doing it just to exert his control over a naive, impressionable teenage girl...It's not a mind-game; it's not a power-trip...in fact, now that I think about it, "what's what" isn't all that important either...merely serving as a lead-in to our story...
Sam stood outside Mr. Grant's office, nervously bouncing on her heels as she attempted to muster her courage. "Today's the day!", she tried to convince herself, "I'm just going to march right in there and tell him how I feel. I am ready to embark on the road to womanhood, and I have chosen him to be my guide. We'll be like erotic Lewis and Clarks'! Exploring every peak and valley! Boldly trekking thru uncharted, unfamiliar territories! Laying claim to all we discover as rightfully ours; As our destinies manifested! We shall--"
"Ow! Damn it! I think my zipper's stuck!" a muffled, agitated voice interrupted Sammy's inner monologue. (There's a story we should be investigating, she thought; how long it'll take the workers to finish removing the asbestos from the school ceiling...with half the acoustical ceiling tiles removed one could almost think that voice had come from ~within~ Mr. Grant's office!) She took a deep breath, attempting to steady her nerves, and walked right in...
Sam caught a flurry of activity in her peripheral vision as she closed the door behind her. Even with her inquisitive, hyper alert Investigate Journalist mind, most of the events transpired too quickly for her to process--She registered some details: Mr. Grant's hairy thighs/shirt tail/quickly sitting down/accidentally spilling his coffee; But she failed to assimilate several other key factoids: Harrison diving under the desk, banging his head in the process...
Both feeling awkward and embarrassed, Sam and Mr. Grant attempt to converse as though nothing unusual is (has) occur(ing/red)...
"Mr Grant... I, um..."
"Sorry Sam--I, er, um, spilled my coffee! Yea! And I...uh, didn't want it to stain my pants..." Mr Grant managed to sound almost partially convincing...Meanwhile, Harrison decided to take advantage of his new position, further increasing Mr. Grant's nervous, preoccupied demeanor. Of course, our girl Sammy has convinced herself that his agitated, excited state is the result of ~her~presence...Her hypothesis verified to her satisfaction by the foot protruding out from under the desk, and rubbing against her leg. (Odd, Sam thought, I don't recall Mr. Grant wearing green high-top sneakers--and he must be double-jointed or something with his foot at ~that~ angle--but never the less, she delighted, here he is attempting to play "footsy" w/ me!!!)
Sam did a quick mental survey of all the magazine articles she's read, and the conversations w/ her friends in an effort to decide the best course of action. Somehow through the overload of "information" today's teens are affronted with she decided to (play it like a cool and sophisticated, liberal, new-millenium woman--she'd play "footsy" right back at him! They'd be all ~sauve~ with each other--like Hepburn and Grant (Appropo, no?) in those old movies--trying to deny their overwhelming attraction to each other and--)
"I-I-I..." (God! Surely he's feeling the same way I do!)
"You, um, you looked like you're going to get ill or something..."
"No...I-I'm fine..." Sam countered, though she really didn't look it. She's slid way down in her seat now, pinning "Mr. Grant's" foot down w/ one of hers. She's kicked off her other shoe and is kneading and caressing "Mr. Grant's" leg with her limber, agile toes attempting to convey her every longing and desire thru their touch... and...Yes! It seems to be working! His face is getting flushed and he's starting to stammer a bit now...(Woo Hoo Sammy!) Sam congratulated herself (I got my Mojo working! Un-huh! Who's da man?!!)
"S-Sam, as you've no doubt heard, ex-student council president April Tuna was framed for embezzlement and sentenced to two years in a juvenile detention center--history will show, of course, that she appears in next week's episode so all we can do for now is build our story into this brief window of opportunity. So to further that goal, let me just say something like--'I received a frantic collect call from April alluding to sadistic, inhumane and intolerable conditions at the youth correctional institute; she was on the verge of providing names and details when we were disconnected and I've been unable to re-establish contact with her since. Her records seem to have disappeared and the directors deny any knowledge of her admittance to the facility.'" Mr. Grant eloquated, getting more and more agitated as his speech (among other things) neared it's climax...
"Oh my god, Chief, that's horrible! What can we at the Zapruder do to expose this heinous injustice?!?" Sam managed to turn her focus back to the matter at hand, rather than to keep mentally high-fiveing herself for her apparently irresistible sex appeal...
"Samantha, I-I need you to infiltrate the seedy world of juvenile correctional facilities..." Mr. Grant barely managed to growl thru clenched teeth before unleashing a low guttural, incoherent groan...
"Gulp", Sam gulped, at the prospect of the new assignment.
"Gulp". Harrison gulped, for other reasons...
Our girl Nicole was promenading down the center of the crowded hallway, with one arm extended, allowing the full effects of the florescent lighting to play on her new iridescent dark blue nail polish. Mary Cherry bouncing at her side like a large, irritating poodle salivating praises at Nicole's "amazing fashion sense".
Nic stopped dead in her tracks as she saw Sam emerging from her manipulative mentor's office. (This of course caused a chain-reaction pile-up in her wake, as everyone involved realized it would be less painful walking into a plate glass window than Nicole Julian)*. She could read Sam like a book, even at this distance she could tell--that defiant, determined, self-absorbed air that always proceeded her girl before she fell face-first into whatever twisted little trap Mr. Grant had set for her this week. (And why was she carrying one of her shoes...?)
"What is that dweeb's malfunction?" Nic muttered to herself, as she absent-mindedly walked a few steps to allow her eyes to follow Sam around the corner. "If I had a love as pure and innocent as that laid out for me I'd...well, I'm the exception...but that man must be seriously deranged not to appreciate such a wondrous gift..." She turned back to the open doorway just in time to catch a glimpse of Harrison crawling out from beneath Mr. Grant's desk.
"Well, that explains...everything," she smirked.
Jane was forming the opinion that her firstborn was attempting to drive her slowly insane; little by little to prolong her agony. Listening as Sam described her latest assignment was all the proof she needed--
"...so don't expect me back any time soon," Sam concluded. "I'm looking at either next Friday; or being down for a hard dime..."
Jane downshifts to mother-mode and launches into that same old tired tirade about "another pointless mission of questionable integrity and foresight". Of course she has all her argumentative ducks in a row, dredging up "the time he sold you into white slavery" or "the time he had you working as a mule for that South American drug cartel"--honestly the woman has a mind like a steel trap! And of course the trump card she always threatens to play--"This man should be reported to the school board for abusing his position and exposing her daughter to circumstances and events which could leave her emotionally and/or physically scarred for life!"
Sam does her best to convince Jane she is fully aware of the risks--"Relax, Mom. Lily and I watched "Stir Crazy" 3 times this weekend..." When she realized that her mother was still a tad skeptical, Sam decided she could take the hard line too--muttering for the first time, a variation of her snappy new trademark catch-phrase--"I'm an Investigative Journalist ma'am--er, mom,--it's what I do!"
Jane was still fuming when Brooke and Nicole arrive at the Palace after Glamazon practice. Nic gathered what info she could from the ranting 'rental, then called Harrison to shake him down for the details. Tact was never her forte, even when she wasn't pressed for time, so she dominated the conversation from the onslaught by threatening to "out" his little tutorial session to the public debate forum. Harrison claimed he only heard parts of the conversation (due to Mr. Grant's relentless tugging on his ears) but from what he did glean, Sam was to be introduced to the cell-block as disciplinary hard-case transfer; a complete rap-sheet had been prepared and entered into the facility's data-bank. Last he heard Sam was en route to a costume shop on Le Brea for a convincing "convict ensemble"...
"Let me get this straight," Nicole bellowed into the phone, "You just let your sweet, innocent best friend walk into a roomful of hardened criminals dressed as the Hamburgler!?!" If only she'd had the foresight to confront Harrison in person--this would have been a perfect camera-opportunity for one of her patented slo-mo wind-ups as she prepared to bitch-slap him into next week...ah, but that would have to wait, she knew what she had to do first...
Our girl Nicole deserves her own new snappy catch-phrase as well; right now I'm leaning towards-"Aw Jeez! Once more into the abyss..."
Biagra GlaSS was the black sheep of the Glass family; that in it self should tell you something...The fact that she has based her entire life on the trilogy of '60's sleaze/gore movies "Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S.", should tell you something else...She quite as easily could have pursued a career as a dental hygienist, or a greens grocer, but instead followed her "calling" and is today the warden/director of the "Hopewell Center for Wayward and Incorrigible Teens". "Hopewell" was of course just a fancy-shmancy front to bilk state tax revenue, when in fact it was one of those all-too-common black holes where society dumps it's unwanted and wanton teenage tramps...Forgotten by everyone (including their all-too-eager families) these poor, wretched, uniformly attractive (in an MTV-hair-band-video-slut sort of way...) girls find themselves at the mercy of a cruel, sadistic task-mistress...yep, Life has been good to Biagra GlaSS...
She was just relishing this fact, as she watched a video surveillance of her hench-women shaking down the unwed pregnancy ward when she was interrupted by her second-in-command, Godfrey. He had in his charge (OK, actually she was strapped to a Hannibal Lector gurney...) an unwashed, terrified and agitated "Wanda Rickets: Teen Trash"...no stranger to "Hopewell", rest assured! Biagra soothed the violently thrashing teen with promises of a preferential stay in the "Presidential Daughter's Suite" until she extracted the desired information, then instructed Godfrey "throw her in the pit w/ the other psycho-chicks". "So", she thought to herself, "we're being infiltrated... again! Probably that damn Diane Sawyer from 60 minutes--she was a persistent pain-in-the-ass; hopefully she wouldn't be coming herself this time--she looked hideous in a leather mini and ripped fishnets..." (Biagra herself could barely pull off the look anymore...)
Godfrey aleived her fears by bringing in the transfer transcript of only one "habitant" ("prisoner" was sooo counter productive...). Biagra examined the paper-work--"Hmm, sentenced to "20 with-out" for armed bank robbery, another 10 added for inciting repeated riots at 3 previous facilities...Damn!", Biagra mused, "This babe'll look fine in some Daisy Duke cut-offs and maybe a little fringed halter...(sigh); and she's already got the make-up down!"
Godfrey snapped her out of her reverie--"For some strange reason she's been assigned to the minimum security ward basically giving her free access to the entire facility..."
"F**k that!" Biagra fumed, "throw her in the 'special needs' unit!--I've got plans for our little informant...Oh yes, missy... etc." Biagra dissolves into a mumbling puddle of drool.
"It's Showtime!" Sam thought to herself as the guards led her up to the wards double-doored-vestibule entrance. She checked her reflection in the glass window of the guard's station. Looking resplendent in her navy & white stripped denim ensemble. The sales-clerk at La Brea Costumers assured her that this was Charles Manson's actual prison number stencilled on her back and left breast pocket. She'd shown her own dedication and commitment to her role by using two entire sheets of "rub-on" tattoos (giving her that "2 full-sleeves" effect)--pretty impressive from a distance; only close-up examination revealed the "Care Bears" and "Rainbow Brite" motifs (it was all they'd had...) As the inner door opened Sam launched into her Gene Wilder/Stir Crazy bad-ass strut; nodding her head, doing that rolling-her-tongue-around-in-her-bottom-lip-number she does when she wants people to know she's being all contemplative/defiant...Might've even worked, if she'd actually been incarcerated in the "minimum-security/truant-school-girl" wing, but wasn't really cutting it here in the "violent-of-fenders / next-stop-death-row" section...And yet her new room-mates formed a little "welcome wagon" circle around her as the door slammed and bolted behind her. Her resolve lasted all of 3 seconds, as she turned, clawing and beating frantically at the door-- "Help! Please! There's been a heinous mix-up!...Mommy!"
As her cell-mates backed-off (deciding it'd be more fun to jump her in her sleep...) our girl Sam's cockiness returns. She struts over to the nearest bunk and throws down her designer bag. "Apparently, this bunk is already taken", Sam realizes, as a rather muscular, spike-haired girl kicks it over--no small feat in that it ~was~ bolted down...Sam moves down past stares and jutted jaws until she reaches the only apparently vacant cot. The ward returns to it's normal routine of bull-dyke-arm-wrestling and chain-smoking as Sam struggles to avoid eye-contact with anyone.
"Hey, You're Spam-er, Sam McPherson? From Kennedy High, right?"
"Huh?--Popita? Popita Fresh? Season One's token 'Glamazon of Color'? What are you doing here!?! We heard you left after Sophomore year because you got knocked up by a walk-on casting extra..."
"Hey, it was Harrison OK? And he got like third or fourth billing after Leslie Grossman--so don't give me that "bit-playa" sh*t... But for the sake of this story, what happened is almost as repulsive--I stabbed my pimp/grandfather in the throat with pruning shears, but let's not go there..."
"Deal..." Sam said queasily..."Look, I'm here for the Zapruder. April Tuna's disappeared somewhere inside the system --I'm here to get the story--and possibly get her out..."
"Don't tell me--Mr. Grant right? You ever think maybe he's just trying to get you out of his obviously high-lighted hair?"
"I-I-I never thought of it that way--" Sam reasoned, "He could be trying to distance himself from the object of his forbidden, yet all-consuming desire..."
"Whatever..." Popita acknowledged, "Look, the Fire-Pie was here, she got 'ferred out after a couple of weeks. Word has it she's living large over in minimum."
"...living large over in minimum..." Sam concluded scribbling in her journal. "Great, so how do ~I~ get transferred out?"
Popita just rolled her eyes and fell back on her bunk...
Sam was barely in lock-down for a whole day, when she already made her first new friend--
"Yo Sweetpea! Big Bertha needs a new muff-maven!" Big Bertha informed Sam. Of course, our girl had no idea what Big Bertha was talking about, she just thought it would make a good character study side-bar for her eventual Pulitzer-grade report...
OK. Let's imagine one of those video montages where they lap one scene over another to indicate some vague period of time has gone by...Thru this somewhat blurred imagery, we notice our girl Sam is not conforming well to life in the Big House. We get a glimpse of her pulling the same number she tried with Brooke-- usurping another girl's sink space with various tolietries etc. Said girl reacts marginally different than Brooke, by instead breaking Sam's "body splash" bottle and threatening to remove one or more of her eyes for her w/ the jagged edge...She is also seen repeatedly waving away at the thick cloud of cigarette smoke that is an ever-present halo at her roomies card-games and craps- shoots all the while making this disgusted, wheezy, hacking noise and spraying air-freshner like some demented Felix Unger. She managed to flush the entire batch of "gin" they were fermenting in the back toilet...and most depremental: she managed to piss off her only protector, Big Bertha when she dropped a wieght on her in the exercise yard because she broke a nail...These scenes and more, rapidly converge, bringing us to the present, 2 days after her arrival, where we find our girl Sammy cowering wet and naked in the community shower; her "Rainbow Brite" rub-on tatoos swirling down the drain, and the entire cell-block converging on her with the obligatory broken broom-handles...
The cell-door slams shut and bolts loudly enough to momentarily break the mob's bloodlust. A few heads at the back of the crowd turn, they nudge others until all but a few up front have noticed the new arrival. Several "lifers" silently mouthing the word "Julian!" in slow-mo for our benefit. Nicole strafes the room with her cold hard stare; as one by one, the inmates scurry quickly to the "safety" of their own bunks. Only the malicious and menacing Big Bertha remains oblivious as she encroaches on our terrified brunette. Sam is curled into a tight ball, covering her face with her arms. Nicole grabs Big B by one of her ham-sized fists and twists the arm behind her until we "hear" an excruciating ~snap~ and Bertha is brought to her knees wincing in pain. Sam, also oblivious to Nicole's valiant rescue, makes one final, desperate plea--extending her press credentials (in their handy waterproof laminate...)
"Stop! Please! I'm an Investigative Journalist for the Kennedy High Zapruder!"--Slowly she lowers her defensive posture and braves a quick scan of her tormentors--now consisting only of a blubbering Big Bertha, who has collapsed in the cold shower spray beside Sam, and is clutching her oddly-angled fore-arm...
Nicole returns, turns off the shower, hands Sam a big fluffy bathrobe and helps her to her feet...
"Never under-estimate the power of the press, eh? She must've slipped--Let that be a lesson to you: Soap and Prison Showers are never a good combination..."
"N-Nicole...what are you doing here?!? Did Mr. Grant send you to follow me?!? It wasn't my mom, was it?! God, how embarrassing! Doesn't anyone have any faith in my ability!?!"
Nic sighed; the poor kid's never going to develop any confidence at this rate--
"Um, yeah...Actually a slight Parole Violation there, Spam... Seems some wayward substances--which I maintain are appetite suppressants!--found their way into my latest U.A...hence, hello bunkie for the next 30 days..."
Our girl Nicole didn't realize how truly shaken her girl Sam was, until she felt the brunette give her a quick, tight hug--
"Well, for once in my life Satan, I'm actually glad to see you!"
Nic could handle that for now--the greatest journeys...one small step and all that.
"So, Lois Lame...what have you discovered so far...?"
Popita and Nicole had an aloof and distant "reunion" as Sam sat them both down at breakfast to review the facts she'd managed to glean so far. Nicole pulled up a soggy cigarette that was stuck to the bottom of her food tray, and before she could make an effort to toss it out, 3 inmates and 2 guards rushed over and offered to light it for her. She shooed them away self-consciously and glanced at Sam. "Wow" Sam thought, "she had to hand it to Nicole--she'd been here less than 8 hours, and already people were acting like old friends--even the "screws"-- maybe they all saw something she'd missed in the blonde; maybe she did warrant her popularity..."
Our girl Sam took a deep breath and--
"OK, so from what I gather the warden pits one inmate against another in a clandestine sort of caged-sparring-match which she opens to select, prominent and perverted members of the community for gambling and entertainment purposes. If a certain girl is a successful combatant, or a crowd favorite, she's given preferential treatment here--minimum security, extra privileges---conjugal visits! etc. One girl is pitted against another until they run the entire gambit; unfortunately it doesn't stop there! She then moves on to compete with inmates from other institutions until a state champion is determined. Apparently the entire state penal system is corrupt and involved! I don't think it extends beyond state lines...for now, but I've heard rumors that a nationwide circuit is in the works...And for the really twisted part--the victorious girl at state level gets a full pardon!--But--"
"But," Nicole finished, "It's a fight...to the death..." Sam and Popita stare at Nicole's far away, glassed-over stare until she manages to shake it off. "I mean c'mon guys... it's like every Jean-Claude Van Damme movie ever made--except it's like, you know, teenage girls...Probably all dressed like sluts to further enhance the audience's objectifying disrespect and blood-lust...Trust me Spam, this sounds like something you want to stay as far away from as possible!" Nic stressed.
"I would," Sam whispered, "But April's advancing to the state finals!"
Nicole sprayed the inhabitants of the next table with the mouthful of milk she'd just sipped; Popita slapping her on the back to help her stop choking, while Sam daubed at her face with a napkin...
"Oh my God!", Popita gasped, "if April makes it to the state level she'll be killed!"
"It might not get that far," Sam offered, "after all, she's still got to go thru me!"
Right on cue, Nicole falls back in a dead faint...
Nicole takes her sweet-ass time regaining consciousness only to find herself back in the cell-block with Popita...
"Ugh, my head...Where's Spam?'
"Gone," Popita nervously offered, "transferred out; probably enjoying the good life of the gladiator..."
"Damn, " Nicole muttered groggily, "that girl's a better investigate journalist than I gave her credit for..."
"Yea," Popita agreed, "I only had to tell her the whole story like 3 times! You should've seen her face when I told her what a 'conjugal visit' was!"
"Yea, but you didn't tell her the ~entire~ story though--the part where the parolee has to return to the death-cage the next year in order to keep her pardoned status---"
"So you're saying--"
"Spam and I will be fighting--to the death--in Biagra GlaSS's Dome of Destruction..."
Even tho they were speaking in hushed tones, the sheer weight of their conversation was enough to block out all the background static.
"Oh my God, Nic--" Popita hesitantly began, first looking at the blonde, then away. "If you're the reigning victor from last year's "Cage of Carnage", then...then that means that you actually...(gulp)...~killed~ a girl..."
Looking past the fingernails she continued preening, Nicole began, "I didn't actually...finish her..."
Then looking inward, "something at the last minute...I just-just couldn't..."
Then looking nowhere at all, "I heard she came out of the coma about six weeks later, she's getting the last of the full body cast removed this week...of course she's still looking at years of facial reconstruction and physical therapy, but..."
"But you didn't kill her Nic!"
"Yea," the older-than-her-tender-years blonde smirked, "Yea, big karma points for yours truly..."
"I'm just saying girl, there might be hope if...when you face-off against McFearsome..."
"Popita, I thrashed that girl w/i an inch of her life--took her to the brink, let her up, and then started all over again--the only reason they stopped us--the only reason that girl is alive is because I out ~sado'ed~ the audience...They were begging me to put her out of her misery--even Biagra GlaSS got all pale and queasy looking..."
"Well!?!" as if Popita actually considered this an option..."Just do the same with Spam! All those times you wanted to, and now you're given free reign! It's -what's that line?- f**king kismet!'
"Heh!" Nic shook her head wearily, "Things change chiquita, If it wasn't for the fact that Sam would have to face next year's challenge, I'd just...let her win..."
Popita had seen some broken spirits in her short, hard life; Nic's "might not be broken, but it's sure as hell bent"...All she could do is rub the distant and forlorn blonde's shoulders...
"If there's one thing I do know for fact--Nicole Julian ~always~ comes out on top! You'll figure something out...you bet..."
We'll momentarily leave them, both staring sadly into space.
Meanwhile: in minimum...
More "video montage imagery" if you will--numerous scenes of our girl Sam getting her sweet little ass kissed by all her new cell-mates. Attempting to ply her with everything that passes for currency in the Big House; cigarettes, drugs, sexual favors. Sam politely taking a rain-check, barely able to maintain her non-repulsed facade. (A/N: Actually Sam did take advantage of a couple of the perks bestowed upon her--an endless supply of Hagen-Daas; and she got her temporary tattoos replaced by a real Rainbow Brite unicorn, but I'm sworn to secrecy about ~where~...)
April Tuna's taking full advantage of her equal treatment in a corresponding wing of the correctional facility. She's tasted the good life; the power, and has decided it suits her. We "see" numerous scenes of guards plying her with her beloved (albeit contraband) Fruitopia as she strolls among the parting masses of "general population" with an endless/interchangeable line of "bitches" trailing her submissively, fingers hooked in her belt loop, acknowledging themselves as her "property"...
One would think several months have passed, as these various changes in our plot align themselves to this fateful day; But thus is the power of the modern word-processor...(Yes, I've also heard they can help with my spelling and grammatical errors... I've beeen meaning to check that out...) We now find our girls April and Sam pitted for the preliminary elimination round, with the victor advancing to the big, no-holds-barred "Pit of Perdition" with the state's reigning champion, Nicole Julian... Sure, this author seems to be breezing over the long, painful process of fight by fight coverage building up to the climactic final confrontation; but as any ~true fan~ of "Popular" can attest, I'm acting well with-in the confines of the program's shooting budget and appallingly inconsistent story-arc continuity...
That afternoon, Biagra personally sees to the fitting of the girls "attack attire"--
April chooses gold lame hot-pants, black mesh stockings, a pair of black, "streetwalker" shoes with 4" high cork soles' and a 4 sizes-too-small black 3/4 sleeve, bare midriff sweater...Biagra alters the ensemble w/ a few strategically placed rips and April's off to the hair-dresser to have her sparse red strands puffed into a frizzed out "Bride of Frankenstein" coif.
Sam, actually wishing Brooke were here to help her select and accessorize, finally acquiesced to Biagra's initial vision of Daisy Duke cut-off jeans & black fish-nets; they spontaneously altered the original concept though when they opted for red cowboy boots and a little black leather vest...Both Biagra and Jose Proton (internationally renowned Hollywood Stylist) agreed: Sam's own, overzealous make-up was sufficiently gaudy enough as is (luminous blue eye shadow overkill...) he would however "mat and tangle her hair even further" until it added an additional 5 inches to her height...Yep, Sam was looking pretty damn tasty, in that skank-biker-slut sort of way that's always been a perennial favorite among other female inmates and fan-fic authors...
The guards in the Violent Offenders Wing let Nicole and the other girls watch the bout on their closed-circuit monitors. They were hoping the excitement and violence would carry over and equate into a little live entertainment in the V.O. unit. Things had been pretty quiet lately w/ Big Bertha spending half her time in the medical ward, the other half in chapel...
Probably a good thing it wasn't a "pay-per-view spectacular", or there'd be a serious line demanding refunds...Not to say our girls Sam and April didn't try to provide some top-flight, blood-crazed pummelling...unfortunately one would be tempted to rename their pugilistic prowess more as "Crouching Kitten; Hidden Gecko" Don't get me wrong--April had the snarl, the crouch, the shuffle; Sam had the arrogant "bring it on" little finger waves--as they circled each other initially in the "Box of Brutality" but after 30 minutes of posturing and procrastinating, the crowd was getting antsy. The guests pelting the gladiators with popcorn and beer bottles, as the guards and fellow inmates poked at them thru the bars with the obligatory broken broom-handles (I think they are issued these at induction...) Finally prodded into action, the two girls begin swatting at each other w/ quick little overhand slapping gestures like a drowning person attempt a desperate, panicked swim to shore.
Everything comes flooding back to our girl Nicole as the agitated inmates around her begin booing and screaming at the TV monitor, and by extension the combatants. All the crowd's rage, hatred and bloodlust...Nicole realised in an instant she would never allow herself to be subjected, to be victimized by it again. And the dawning realization that she ~was~ a victim, as sure as the girl she had battered. But the question remained--what could she do about it?
"God," a burly guard next to Nic critiqued, "They fight like girls!"
"She's right," Popita sighed to Nicole, "wake me when it's over."
And like that (snaps fingers) inspiration struck; Nicole moved to the vacant bank of phones and placed a collect call...
She tried returning to the "Arena of Annihilation" but like everyone else, guard and inmate alike, was soon snoring in front of the TV screen. Even this writer has to admit a certain boredom, and it's as much news to me as it is to Nic and the rest of the population, when we discover the next day, that Sam has been declared the winner not thru any physical superiority, but merely because she'd managed to loose the most clothes and frankly, was the hotter looking of the two contestants.
Unfortunately, our girl Sammy lets the fact that she barely won a minor slap-fest with a 80 lbs. science geek go to her head. She actually believes she's prepared and equal to meet Nicole in a bare-handed fight to the death in the dreaded "Cube of Crucifixion" We'll leave off w/ Biagra fitting her for her new outfit; Knowing Nicole'll "out-smoulder Sammy in any hot attire", they opt for the ever-popular innocent "school-girl" ensemble...
"God, Snarlsnout," Carla began, in an effort to get her mind off of the long ride I'd bummed from her to the juvenile correctional facility. "Don't you just hate it when fan-fic authors insert themselves and their friends into their stories?"
"Indeed Carla," I replied, preparing to make the ride ~even longer~ for her w/ another of my long-winded diatribes. "I believe the late, great danspector said it best in his speech at last year's Josmousapalooza..."
Carla looked like she was getting a headache, when she finally dropped me off by that "Prison Area; No Hitch-hiking" road-sign. As my back was turned towards it, I assured her I'd be able to bum a ride home from someone...She smirked, and left me standing by the road in a spray of gravel, probably in a hurry to get home for some aspirin...
I make this pilgrimage once, maybe twice a week to visit a fellow author--we all have to stick together!--Like many others, the pressure of producing quality fan-fic for the masses led my friend Hope to her deplorable dependency on crack. You reach a point where you "just can't create w/o it..." She was one of the lucky ones; many other authors aren't fortunate enough to be admitted to a gruelling, dehumanizing re-hab, until you're declared "cured" enough to be sentenced to a treacherous, dehumanizing chain-gang...
So, after explaining the metal plate in my head for the umpteenth time, the "screws" finally allowed me around the detector, and into the visitor's unit. I was sitting there waiting, when I ~*first saw beauty, personified*~ talking to this blonde sitting next to me. I mean, yeah, the blonde was OK...but if you've seen one gorgeous, high-cheeked, elegantly attired, model-thin blonde, you've pretty much seen them all...but this brunette behind the steel-mesh-reinforced glass was incredible! From her little red, plaid school-girl skirt to her frizzed/matted/lopsided pig-tails; from her tight, white blouse knotted at bare-midriff to the huge luminous blue semi-circles of eye-shadow extending even beyond her amazing delicate, arched eyebrows...And then! And then--she looked at me! Actually, everyone was looking at me...since Hope had been standing there beating on the window partition for the last 20 minutes trying to get my attention...My elbow slipped in a large puddle of drool (presumably my own...), my chin slipping off it's prop, I nearly bonked my face on the counter...Of course, when Hope noticed what had transfixed me so tho, the tables were turned. It took her friend, standing behind her, administering "a little love-slap" to the back of her head to re-focus Hope's attention to the present...
"Faith, this is Snarlsnout. 'Snout, my ~friend~ Faith..."
I started slipping vial after vial of "rock" under the gap in the glass partition; the same gap I'd slipped that $50 thru to the guard earlier. Hope's eyes glazed over as she realized she now had enough "inspiration" to write a "Peaches" trilogy.
This left Faith to explain to me the current buzz; the agitated, excited state of panic that was spreading among both the general inmate population, and their keepers. I nodded a lot, but mostly I just stared at her white tank-top and added to my drool puddle...
"...so this frickin' Tuna chick comes back a loser; everyone's dissin' her; she's on this total sugar-jag from all that Fruitopia; starts tunnelling like some rabid groundhog; the entire compound's undermined with this web of catacomb tunnels; all the loonies come up out of the psycho-pit including this one chick that's saying something about Diane Sawyer getting ready to bust this place wide open or some sh*t; meanwhile the whole pop's threatening a riot/breakout during the big "pay-per-view spectacular" heavy-weight bout tomorrow; Nicole-THEE Nicole Julian- is supposedly squaring off with some clueless cute-toid in the "Room of Ruin"; so what I'm saying is--"
"--dude, we're gonna need way more crack!"
Actually, I cross paths with Brooke McQueen several times that afternoon; the next instance is when we are waiting for the elevator that I don't remember being there on the way in. The doors open and Brooke is nearly trampled--
"Ms. Glass? Bobbi Glass? What are you doing here, sir--and why are you dressed like a Gestapo officer?!"
"Excuse me missy, Bobbi Glass does me the extreme disservice of being my sibling--I am Commandant Biagra GlaSS; She-wolf--er, um, Warden of this facility."
Of course all of this transpired on the very fringe of my peripheral consciousness as I stood mesmerized by the petite, spike-haired Nicole (now sporting Sam's earlier striped convict ensemble and some serious wrist and ankle irons) Of course that still didn't stop her from getting all up in my face--
"Um Hello! Dead Teen Walking Here, Spaz!"
And I just stood there transfixed, my life forever altered, as she hobbled simultaneously down the hall, and into my heart (...'tis the east; and Julian is the sun...). Brooke stopped the elevator doors about a foot from closing--
"Hey, are you coming or what?"
The doors could not close fast enough in Brooke's opinion...
"Argh," Sam groaned to herself, as she studied her reflection in the glass at the visitor's guard station, "I look like fricking Britney Spears in this get-up..."
Our girl Sammy was beginning to regret this entire assignment. She'd located April, played out the little drama-rama, gathered what facts she could to present to ~sigh~ Mr. Grant, and was now more than ready to leave! She had just been trying to explain it all to Brooke in the visiting area, when those psychos in the next cubicle started coming unhinged...Sure, the guy on the outside looked ~fine~, but those two chicks on her side of the screen needed some serious therapy... But in the end, Sam was lead back to the cell-block and Brooke left as confused and clueless as she'd arrived...
"Damn, there's ~that guy~ hitch-hiking..." Brooke observed, as she accelerated past him; smiling smugly as she watched a police cruiser approach him in the rear-view...
Biagra GlaSS, resplendent in her highly-decorated, dress-black uniform, approached Sam later that afternoon with an invitation to join her for dinner that evening in the palatial Warden's office. As she slipped her arm around Sam's bare midriff, and pulled her towards her, she assured her that it was traditional on the contestant's final evening. Sam squirmed free, questioning both the tradition, and the appropriateness of Commandant GlaSS' undue attentions...(clueless cute-toid indeed!)
DISCLAIMER: This author does not have a metal plate in his head and apologizes to any readers who do, that might take offence. Hope has "kicked" and is now living a substance-abuse free life. We applaud her efforts; the fourteenth time is the charm...
The next morning, one of the more humane guards woke Nicole an hour before the rest of the cell-block--
"Julian--you've got a visitor."
"Huh? Thanks Mabel, but it's not regularly scheduled visiting hours--I don't want to get anyone in trouble..."
"Hey, I take care of you now; you take care of me tonight. I got $20 that says you'll mop the floor with that Bambi. I know it's against regulations but I figured with what you're facing tonight a little conjugal visit might boost your spirits. Just don't wear yourself out on her, eh?"
"I have a conjugal visit? With a female?"
"Yep, big ole blonde gal; nice rack...ass that rocks; down the hall in room 314."
Two guards escorted Nicole to room 314; undid her wrist and ankle bracelets, and made no effort to leave until the fur-draped blonde ran up and bear-hugged Nicole. She planted a loud, slobbery kiss on her for good measure, engulfing a good 3/4s of her face. The guards nudged each other, grinned and left as Nicole struggled to come up for air.
"Mary Cherry! What in the Hell are you doing!?!"
"It's the only way ah could git in ta see you; Warden GlaSS has this place locked down tighter than a tick on a terrier!"
"I suppose your right," Nic concurred as she mopped the excess saliva off her cheeks with her shirt-sleeve, "I'm sure most of the audience wouldn't want their attendance broadcast back home to the constituents...and board-members...and parishioners..."
Fearing the room was bugged, Nicole leaned in to whisper--
"So? Were you able to get it?--and get it in?"
"Yep, but y'all'll (sp?) have turn yer back. Ah mean, even tho we're fixin' ta con-ju-gate an' all (hee hee) a gurl's got ta have some modesty..."
Nic rolled her eyes in exasperation, but still turned her back; sometimes you just had to let Mary Cherry run at her own speed... She was standing there, tapping her foot; arms folded across her chest, fingers drumming...when MC hit her with a full-body slam sprawling Nic face-down on the bed and was attempting to crawl up on her back. Nicole finally managed to wiggle loose and noticed MC frantically hooking her head in the direction of the window.
Sure enough, both guards had completed one round of the hall, and were enjoying a little ~voyeur break~...Nic winked and flipped them a thumbs-up sign behind MC's back; they mimicked it, grinning, and moved on.
Nic deliberately positioned the two of them so that ~she~ could keep an eye on the window, thus avoiding any more surprise attacks as Mary Cherry held up a small syringe half-full of a greenish/gold liquid (Nicole did not want to know where it'd been concealed...)
"You sure that's it? You're sure it'll be enough?"
"Relax thar, my lil con-i-vin cony! This is the exact same formula of exotic New Guinea herbs that Nurse Jesse used to put down her sistah Bobbi in the season one finale...It'll slow lil Spammie's metabolism rate down to a crawl...for all intents and purposes, she'll appeah as dead as her 1980's Bangles hairstyle!"
Nicole had to nod in agreement there...Suddenly she reached out and grabbed one of Mary Cherry's full firm breasts in each hand and started tweaking them like she was honking bicycle horns.
Mary Cherry gasped, then whispered--
"Oh my gawd, iz it the guards agin!?"
"Nah, I just always wanted to do that..."
"Wh-ale, ya know Nicky," MC began, batting her eyes coyly, "seein' az how this could be yer last day on earth 'n' all..."
Nicole figured "what the hell", it's a couple of hours till breakfast, and she could always exploit this little indiscretion to her advantage later...if she had a later, that is...
Neither girl seemed to notice the guards as they completed a third round and lingered at the window for the whole show...
Meanwhile; in minimum...
Sam was getting more and more agitated as the morning wore on; the reality of what was to transpire twisting her inherent anxiety to a fever-pitch. We find her pacing and ranting at Popita--
"I mean, god, Nicole Julian!", Sam screeched, "I once saw her throw Freddie Gong off the third floor stairwell just for accidentally stepping on her new shoes..."
"Well, they were calf-skin Jose Protono slingbacks..."
"If they just want to see a cat-fight, why don't they pick some bulldozer-dyke like that chick!" Sam bellowed, all the while poking her finger in mid-air at a rough looking brunette across the room.
"Um, Sammy, you saw 'Girl, Interrupted' right?" Popita hinted. "You really don't want to point your finger at crazy people..."
The warning was lost on Sam tho, as she continued her tirade--
"I mean she's a brunette--probably be totally unbelievable in this school girl ensemble--just deck her out in leather; she could strut around all bad-ass like--Actually, she's probably the only girl up here who ~could~ take Nicole!"
"Faith wait!" Hope pleaded.
"No, that chick's really bugging me--"
Sam was still in mid-rant, stabbing her finger repeatedly in Faith's direction. The slayer walked right into it, just standing there as the realization slowly dawned on Sam that her fingers were now making solid contact with Faith's very solid solar plexus. Sam's nervous "I-I-I..." stammer soon deteriorated into "Ow-Ow-Ow..."s as, in the blink of an eye, Faith grabs 2 of Sam's fingers, pauses to savor and smile, and we hear a quick, loud ~snap~.
Our girl Sammy is rushed to the infirmary, where she is given enough pain-killers to tranquilize an elephant, and has her fingers shoddily taped together. The entire staff knew the importance of tonight's event, and the show must go on!
Meanwhile; at Kennedy High...
We'll assume KHS has a basketball team, as we zoom in on Brooke McQueen leading a pre-game cheer in mid-court. We also realize that for a scrawny blonde girl, she can look pretty damn fine in the right circumstances *g*.
"Goooooooo Team! Gimme a T!" Brooke ends her jump with her arms outstretched in semblance of the letter. She grins, blindly looking at the crowd in the bleachers waiting for the rest of the Glamazons to kick in..."C'mon guys, we worked on this!" she thought to herself exasperated, as she turned and noticed she was the only one there..."E! A! M! Yeaaaaaa Team!" she covered (quite nicely if she says so herself) and then scurried off the court confused...
Yesterday's events replay in her head, and she realizes that every other member of the Glamazons is incarcerated (or visiting those who are...) Brooke plops down in the front row of the bleachers next to an obviously "fired-up" faculty member--
"Ms. Glass? Do you have a sister at the Hopewell Correctional Facility?"
Bobbi does a double-take, at first thinking Brooke meant Nurse Jesse the sister who poisoned her, then realizing she meant her other sister--scorn of the Glass clan; the black sheep--Biagra!
Sam has been fading in and out of consciousness all day, so she wasn't too surprised when she found herself surfacing to awareness bathed in a bright light. Slowly, details came into focus-- She was sprawled on a chair, Popita behind her rubbing her shoulders, shaking her. As her head stopped bobbing, she noticed she was in a huge cell completely surrounded by bleachers filled with a vibrant, murmuring crowd veiled by a thick cloud of smoke. Obviously underground, the artificial lights creating an eerie mist-like shroud to the world beyond the bars, as it reflected and refracted off the lingering clouds of tobacco/pot smoke. Dazed and confused, she looked down at herself-still clad in that hideous Britney outfit...Her right hand felt funny and when she held it up to her face, she noticed all her fingers had melted together...OMG! This is real! This crowd is here for blood (gulp) MY blood! She staggered to the bars, and screamed incoherently--"Let me out of here, you psychos! I'm an Investigative Journalist!"-- The crowd whooped and hollered as the contestant actually displayed the first sign of life since the guards drug her in; of course all they heard was a pained, guttural wail...As Popita pulled her back to her corner, she caught her first glimpse of Biagra Glass center-ring. The house lights dimmed as a baby spotlight fell (well, not literally, but you know like, shined down on...) on the Warden/Commandant--
"Ladies and gentlemen, presenting last years reigning champion, competing for a full pardon---Nicole Julian!"
As the majority of the crowd broke into hoots and applause, a second spotlight hit the back doors to illuminate Nicole and her path to the cage. A guard on either side, just out of the cir- cle of light, steering Nic with two long baton devices most commonly used to lasso alligators. Nicole remained stoic and reserved; determined not to give the crowd an ounce of satisfaction. She was clad in a full-length dark blue velvet cape, but the spotlight bathed her in an ethereal-looking silver-blue glow. Sam was struggling to both hold her head up right, and make sense of the imagery she was witnessing--
"L-l-look! It's an angel! No...It's Satan!" Then after momentarily phasing out, returned with "Poppy--it's the Ice Princess!"
Popita (giggling) had to concur with Sam's last declaration...
Finally Nicole was positioned in the opposite corner and as Biagra and the guards exited the cage, her restraints were removed and pulled thru the bars. Nicole turn a slow, full circle burning a hole into everyone she could with her hate-filled, defiant glare. She undid the clasp at her neck, and let the cape fall. She'd chosen a basic baby-blue silk teddy that was about half lace, and at least another quarter sequins. White mules and some gaudy, dangly, sapphire blue and silver earrings. Sam was mesmerized watching the shimmering, statuesque figure. Watching it float towards her. Watching it reach out to her. Watching it jerk her up by her blouse and hurl her across the cage. The ring lights came up in unison with the crowd's chants and cheers. Nicole snatched Sam up and into a clinch in the center of the cage. She danced them around in slow circles so hopefully no one had a clear view as she roughly jammed the needle into Sam's thigh and pressed the plunger. The crowd was beginning to "boo" and demand action. Nic held Sam out at arm's length and shook the dazed brunette until she registered the faintest hint of consciousness--
"OK, Spam?...I sure hope you don't remember this..." Nicole connected her famed right hook hard enough with the brunette's jaw to send her flying back perpendicular to the ground. Sam sailed 10 feet or so, before loosing altitude and landing flat on her back; A few residual impact ripples; the odd twitching and spasming of limbs, and it was over before it started...
Popita rushed over, made an exaggerated show of feeling for a pulse--and finding none--then pantomiming for the doctor. The crowd had barely started the obligatory pelting of food and beverages when the public address system broke with following announcement--
"All guards to your stations please. There's been an...incident in the minimum security wing. We advise all visitors and non-essential personnel to vacate in a calm and orderly manner."
As if! For various reasons, a huge percentage of the audience would rather not have their presence detected by anyone, and so, ruled solely by self-preservation, the stampede begins...
Nicole and Popita both had the same initial fear; they could be abandoned and trapped in here! "Hmmm, I could eat McPherson" floated thru Nic's mind; she giggled. "All the other times I had that thought, it seemed a little more...appetizing." Popita interrupted what would probably have gone on to be an entire paragraph of double-entendre cannibal jokes by pointing behind Nicole and shuddering violently. Nic slowly turned...
Three feet behind Nicole the floor surface of the cage began to crack and buckle. Nic and Popita watched in awe as small sections of the floor broke away and a mound of dirt and rocks pushed up and spread over the floor. Suddenly a head and shoulders popped into view. It was wearing one of those miner hats with the built-in light. Nic grabbed the metal chair from the corner and raised it above her head in order to bring it down with maximum impact.
"Nicole wait!", Popita shouted, "It's April Tuna!"
Nic smirked, and brought the chair down with maximum impact.
As avid readers recall from Episode 6's exciting cliff-hanger:
Chaos is running rampant--an "incident" in minimum security has forced a panicked evacuation of the crowd gathered for the annual clandestine "Pit of Peril" death-match. Nicole, Popita and the unconscious Sam are trapped in the "Cage of Carnage" when April Tuna tunnels up through the floor like a rabid gopher...
We will up the chaos status to full-blown pandemonium by revealing that the "incident" above is actually a full-scale prison riot; We will mix the crowd of prisoners with nothing to loose, with the crowd of prominent (and perverted) pillars of the community who have everything to loose should their taste in "live entertainment" be made public--everyone is rushing for the nearest exit (not unlike this author...). Everyone except Warden Biagra Glass, who is even now, unlocking the death-cage to take her rage out on the pent-up teenagers--
"Oh no you don't!" Nicole hissed as she reached down in the hole where April Tuna collapsed. She pulled up a mangled miner's hardhat with a huge dent in it, revealing how hard she'd actually hit her.
Nicole was in up to her shoulder, her eyes at ground-level, when 20 feet in front of her another tunnel opened. This time a confused Wanda Rickets popping up and spinning 360 degrees to survey her location. Nic rushed over and yanked her up by her lapels--
"Rickets! Do any of these tunnels actually ~lead~ anywhere?!"
"Huh? Sure, April's got a couple of them go halfway out to Santa Monica Blvd., the question is finding them...they're all twisted like those mazes they build for us down in the psycho-ward."
"Um, Nic--" Popita tugged at the blonde's arm, then pointed out the rather irate Biagra Glass who was now working the final lock; ranting incoherently about making "you little bitches pay!"
"Poppy, help me get Sam in the tunnel," Nic ordered, displaying her unique grace under pressure. "I want you promise me you'll get her out, I don't trust either of these two" indicating Wanda and the dizzy, but revived April.
"But Nic--" Popita pleaded, indicating the approaching Biagra.
"Promise me Poppy!" Nicole demanded as they lowered the limp, unconscious brunette down to April and Wanda. "I-I've got some unfinished business to attend to."
Popita recognized the sacrifice Nicole was volunteering to make by staying behind to confront Biagra, she'd be buying the others time to escape. She gave Nic a quick, heartfelt hug.
Sam was only protruding head and shoulders out of the hole, when she momentarily regained consciousness. Groggily recognizing Nicole she grabbed her arm--
"Nicole, please...My journals...th-they're my life's work! If I don't make it, promise me you'll take care of them! Please?"
Sam passed out again as they finished lowering her into the tunnel; Nic cried out in sheer exasperation (that word again!...)
"Walter H. Cronkite, Sam! Jeez! Who'd've thought Spam McFearsome would be so high maintenance!"
Popita gave her a bittersweet smile as she dove into the tunnel. She realized the seriousness, the finality of the situation--
"Poppy, when you're clear...collapse these entrances!"
"Well missy," Biagra hissed as she slammed the cage-door behind her, "are you ready to rumble?" Rumble was the operative word, as Nicole felt the ground beneath them doing just that, she knew her friends had gotten away...
"Oops! Looks like a tag-team match there sis!" came a familiar voice from behind them as Bobbi Glass let herself into the "Dome of Devastation". She held the door for Nicole, indicating for her to exit. "If you don't mind Miss Julian, this is a family matter!"
Nic slipped by the two of them and looked questioningly at her precarious new ally--
"Miss McQueen gave me some details--altho I doubt she knows the half of it!--I thought now would be a perfect opportunity to discuss some old wounds with big sis here--all those baby-sitting atrocities! The pilfering/squandering of Uncle Tippy's inheritance! The list is quite endless I assure you..."
Biagra just stood there fuming, as Nicole exited and Bobbi locked the cage-door behind her. Nicole stood transfixed a moment, amazed at the turn of events and her unexpected saviour. She was just turning to flee, when Bobbi tossed her a shiny silver object, which upon catching it, revealed itself to be a single key on a ring. Bobbi graced her with the parting phrase--
"You have the strongest will of any one I've ever known, Miss Julian...Use the force!"
"Great!" Nicole muttered as she replayed the events in her head, "The vague and cryptic Yoda-Glass!"
As Nicole made her way up the stairwells and into the minimum security cell-block to retrieve Sam's journal, she was confronted by the sheer devastation the riot had left in it's wake. Every cell trashed, many mattresses dragged from their bunks and set afire which accounted for some of the thick cloying smoke clouds. The other half, being the residual tear-gas fired by the rapidly retreating security staff. She finally arrived at Sam's cell, to find clothes strung everywhere; partially eaten trays of food trampled into the floor; bedding in a tangled, knotted mess; pictures of Sam's heroes (Mr. Grant and Barbara Walters) hanging precariously on the walls...
"Thank God no one's touched Spam's cell!" Nicole delighted as she reached under the pillow and retrieved the leather-bound "My Little Journal"..."Now, to get the hell out of here!"
Nicole had managed to climb through, over and around the rubble and finally made it to the ground floor. She saw a vague shaft of sunlight, only partially obscured by the clinging smoke. She knew the tunnels were out of the question, even if she could find an entrance; above ground was the only option; Head up and proud -the Julian way! She was actually making good progress, nearing the sunlight and sirens, when she was smacked in the head with a piece of drain-pipe--
"Jeez Faith! Are you crazy? That's Nicole Julian!" Hope screamed as they stood over the dazed, spasming blonde.
"I-I didn't know..." the dark slayer babbled horrified.
"You know, you really have some anger issues that you need to address," Hope chastised, "Let's get the hell out of here before she comes to..."
Nicole wasn't sure how much time had passed. She could still hear the sirens and shouts of distant crowds. She could still see the sunlit doorway at the end of the hall (even though it kept wanting to rotate 90 degrees in either direction...).She felt her forehead, realized she was bleeding profusely, but was more concerned about a residual scar than a concussion, so she'd figured she'd live (g). She still had the key from Yoda-Glass, and most importantly, she still had her beloved Sam's beloved journal. After all, she'd promised the girl she'd take care of it! She began a slow, painful crawl into the light...
Let's pan to the outside of the Hopewell Institute for Wayward and Incorrigible Teens. We see the non-descript tan brick building, smoke billowing out of most of it's broken, barred windows. A pair of red metal doors propped open onto a sidewalk. We see a gorgeous young blonde emerge, barefoot, clad only in a tattered blue silk teddy. She stands shakily, and takes her first unsure steps into the sunlight. She clutches a book tightly to her; it seems to give her strength. She tilts her wounded head to bask in the sun's warmth, oblivious to the chaos surrounding her...
"Use the force Miss Julian!" the Yoda-Glass reiterated (like a bad acid flashback) "Think! What would McQueen do?"
"She'd probably bitch and whine until Mike made like Warren Zevon and sent the Lawyers, Guns and Money!" Nic replied aloud to the figure in her head...
"Not Brooke..." the Yoda-Glass in Nicole's head pointed to a 1950's Triumph motorcycle leaning against the wall "...Steve!"
"Gotcha!" Nicole slipped the journal down the front of her teddy, inserted the key, and kick-started the old bike into life.
She managed to get to the perimeter fence without drawing attention and started riding parallel to it in hopes of finding the gate. She crested a "grassy knoll" and saw a platoon of guards. They spotted her, and as they commenced the chase, she whipped the bike around in the opposite direction. She'd only gone a few hundred yards that way when she encountered another, larger patrol. Zoom in for the "poster-quality" close-up, as she realizes there's only one way out; Nicole revs the bike, hits the "grassy knoll" at top speed and sails air-borne over all but the very top strand of barb-wire. The wire snags the bike and brings it crashing back to earth. She skids to a painful, abrupt halt and as the guards surround her, she holds her hands up in surrender. The barb-wire tangling and scratching her arms; ripping what was left of her blue, silk teddy to shreds...
Even Nicole Julian has her limits (did I say that?), and she'd just about reached them. She was teetering in a blind stupor when a large black Mercedes staff car pulled along side the fence.
Biagra Glass emerged, resplendent in her dress-black uniform and ordered the guards to place the battered Nicole in the car. Had our girl been in a more coherent state she would've have realized sooner than the readers, that of course, it was really Bobbi Glass in disguise...
"I'll drive Sparky" she said, dismissing the chauffer (this would have been our first clue...) Of course the Warden's staff car had no trouble clearing the guard station and was well on the highway before it passed the National Guard trucks heading in the direction from which they'd just came. Bobbi turned on the radio to reports of the riot/emergency lock-down and smiled at the unconscious blonde; passed-out against the passenger door, clutching Sam's journal...
Nicole had no idea how long she had remained unconscious; for all she knew she could have just been revived a second ago...All she knew, was that she was sitting in a room back at Kennedy listening to her best friend Brooke. Apparently, she'd been out long enough for most of the story to surface--at least Bobbi, Popita and Mary Cherry's versions of it--which bore little or no resemblance to either Nic's version, or the truth...Sam was even more unaware of the past week's events than Nicole, so she was no help either...We pick up (like Nicole) in the middle of Brooke's siliquoy--
"...and Bobbi and Popita both said that you helped them in your own small way. So I guess I just want to thank you for whatever little effort you might've provided to help bring Sam home..."
"She's OK?!," Nic stammered, "I mean, the antidote..."
"God Nic, you should've seen it; it's like a miracle! The doctors had no idea what was wrong with her, they were all prepared to announce her D.O.A. when Mary Cherry leans over her and gives her this kiss just like in the fairy tales! Sam emerges from her coma--confused but alive! Actually I think Mary Cherry and Sam might have a little something going on now as a result--You ought to see them Nic; they're adorable! MC calls Sammy her "Lil Sleeping Cutey" and Sam's all like "My Princess Charming!" It's hilarious!"
One could almost think Nicole was having a "coma relapse" as she sat there, trance-like, trying to comprehend what she was hearing...
"...and the PTA awarded Ms. Glass with this prestigious Teacher of the Year award. Mr. Grant getting an honorary one as well for his work in first uncovering the scandal. Sam of course, got that 4 year scholarship to Columbia...Oops! 3 o'clock, I got to scoot, with Poppy back, the Glamazons are moving in a whole new direction--of course, um, we still miss you..."
Brooke got up and headed out of the room; dazed, Nicole started to follow. Vice Principal Krupps was waiting in the doorway however, to remind her that she was currently serving 3 years of in-school suspension for last week's unexcused absences... He slammed the iron barred door in her face and the last sound we hear is Nicole "adjusting" to the new world she's woken up to--
Hey gang! Be sure to join Sam, her girl Mary Cherry, and the rest...and Nicole, in the next exciting adventure of Sam McPherson: Investigative Journalist! What Sam believes to be a behind-the-scenes look at the new SMG movie "Scooby Doo" is in reality a descent into the ruthless, deadly world of pit-bull fighting. Nicole would like to go on record, with her opinions on the new story--
*hey, did someone else use this imagery? Trying not to plagiarize here! or at least not get caught at it...