Chapter Eight: Shawn Harrison
“How much longer is this going to take, Eric?”
It was six in the afternoon and the Misfits had been posing for pictures for a good two hours by the time Pizzazz made her feelings heard, tossing her hat down onto the floor to emphasise her point. “I’m bored with standing around, I wanna do something!”
“Yeah. What’s the point in being done up like this if noone’s seeing us?” Roxy added her bit, examining her reflection in one of the big full length mirrors, and adjusting the strap of her green dress.
“The point is, my dear Roxy, that you’ll have a portfolio of very impressive pictures which will be used for posters and other publicity to spread your faces all over the United States.” Eric responded wearily from his seat. “You’re fortunate enough to have the best in the business taking your photographs, so for once would you stop your complaining? And stop fiddling with your clothes, you look fine.”
“You watch your mouth, Eric.” Roxy warned. Eric rolled his eyes. Much more of this he wasn’t sure he could stand, but the thought of the money he would recoup from this fiery trio (if only he could learn to keep them under control!) kept his mouth shut. The Misfits were the hottest new thing onstage – he just wished that he didn’t have to deal with their personalities off-stage.
His gaze fell on Stormer, who was carefully re-fastening her pink hairtie into her curly hair. At least she had been fairly cooperative, though it had not escaped his notice that when Pizzazz had dared her to move his chair from under him as he sat down, she had done it without a second’s hesitation. Mindful of all he knew about Stormer’s naivety and gullibility, he realised that the influence Pizzazz and Roxy had over her was far greater than he himself had. They were bit by bit teaching her to be like them, and he wasn’t sure he liked it. Two troublemakers were more than enough for one manager to deal with.
Pizzazz pouted, scooping up her hat and replacing it on her head with a sulky frown.
“I’m bored!” she repeated.
“Well, the more you complain, the longer it’ll take.” Eric snapped. “It’s been a long day for all of us.”
“Miss Gabor, if you could come this way.” The photographer’s assistant appeared at that moment, clipboard in hand, and, rolling her eyes, Pizzazz stalked off after her, tossing her head to signify her displeasure.
Stormer sank down into an empty chair with a sigh. The others were right – this was getting tedious and she was still tired from the flight. Mindful of the fact they’d be flying back the next day she groaned inwardly. What a life! And she’d not yet managed to find time to call her brother, either.
“I need an early night.” She murmured to herself. “But somehow I can’t see me getting one. I’d lay odds that Pizzazz’ll find us some action tonight, since Eric has no plans for us after dinner. I just hope she remembers to drive on the right side of the road this time…if only she hadn’t insisted on driving the car to the studio after lunch, I seriously thought she’d be arrested! I wonder if there’s any chance she’ll let me drive? Or even Roxy...” She glanced idly at her reflection. She liked this outfit and she also liked the fact Starlight Music was footing the bill, for the prices had not been cheap. All to do with promoting their image, she supposed. A slight smile crossed her face. Somehow she had never imagined Roxy to be the dress-wearing type, but somehow the green outfit, with its spaghetti straps and jagged hem, suited her brashness. And Pizzazz…well, Pizzazz almost always found a way to look glamorous and the outfit she was wearing now was no exception to that rule.
“Least we get some new threads out of this waste of time.” Roxy dropped down into the chair next to her, rolling her eyes. “What a drag this trip is!”
“Well, we’ll have some time to ourselves tonight.” Stormer told her. Roxy nodded.
“True.” She admitted. “Guess we’ll have to see what mischief we can make then, huh? Need something to kill the boredom.”
“Um, right.” Stormer nodded slowly, resigning herself to the fact that she wouldn’t see her brother that trip after all. “What do you have in mind?”
“Ah, I dunno.” Roxy shrugged. “Let’s see how the mood takes us.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
“Pizzazz, are you sure we should be here?”
Stormer jumped down from the backseat of the car, eying her surroundings with a doubtful look. Pizzazz had decided that, once they’d gotten Eric out of their hair, they should explore the London club scene, and as a result they had wound up outside what could only be described as a ‘crummy’ joint. Roxy grabbed her by the arm.
“Come on, Stormer, don’t wimp out on us now.” She warned. “We’re just soaking up the nightlife, all right? No law against it. You wanna go back to the States without having any fun?”
“No.” Stormer sighed. “I’m with you. I just thought…”
“Well, don’t think.” Pizzazz instructed, locking the car. “We’re gonna add some spice to this seedy place, all right?”
“All right.” Stormer gave up, following her band-mates into the club. It wasn’t as creepy on the inside as the outside suggested, with the one end set up as a pseudo-diner, and up-tempo music was being provided by a band set up on a stage at the far side. They were just finishing their number as the Misfits entered and the lead singer, a stocky man with dark hair and a good-looking face announced that the band was going to take a break. A lot of the girls in the club were eagerly swarming around the stage in the hope of getting a proper look at him, and Roxy rolled her eyes.
“Dweebs.” She decided. “C’mon, Stormer. Let’s find out where they serve the food in this joint.”
“Food?” Stormer swallowed hard. Eating and Pizzazz’s driving did not go together.
Pizzazz sauntered across to the stage, shoving people out of the way and making her way up the steps. A security guard tried to bar her way but she dispatched with him neatly, her eye on the band’s leading man. Casual flirting was one of her hobbies, particularly with men that other women seemed so keen to fawn over. She liked a challenge.
“You have a lot of style, handsome.” She purred up to him, and he turned, registering her presence with some surprise.
“How did you get up here?” he demanded.
“Never mind that.” Pizzazz dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “How about a drink, huh?”
“Sure, why not.” The singer offered her a grin. “Gonna tell me your name, little lady, or do I have to guess?”
“They call me Pizzazz.” Pizzazz cooed. “And you’ll soon find out why. I’m no little lady…not for anyone.” She linked arms with him, pulling him off the stage. “What do they call you?”
“My name’s Shawn, Shawn Harrison.” The singer replied. “What brings you to a place like this? Don’t get many American birds down here, as a rule.”
“I’m here, you could say, on business.” Pizzazz perched herself on a bar stool, allowing him to buy her a drink.
“Oh? And what business would that be?” Shawn was intrigued.
“Much the same as your own.” Pizzazz replied carelessly. “I’m leader of a band called the Misfits – and we’re the hottest thing to ever step out of America.”
“You sing then?” Shawn asked. “What kind of songs?”
“If you’re good, maybe I’ll show you.” Pizzazz winked.
“Hey, lady, you’re sitting in my place.” A bulky guy in his thirties complained at that moment.
“Got a problem, smart mouth?” Pizzazz demanded, glaring at the intruder. Shawn got to his feet.
“Best find somewhere else to sit, friend.” He said in dangerously low tones. “Go on, scarper, before you find my fist in your face.”
“But…” the man protested. Shawn glowered at him, waving the aforementioned fist.
“I mean it. Go on, get lost!”
The man slunk away, giving it up as a bad job, and Pizzazz took a sip of her drink, her expression thoughtful. Well, tonight’s catch was no wimp – that was a good sign. Perhaps the night would be fun, after all. If nothing else it would make up for the boredom of earlier in the day.
Across the club Roxy had demanded food of the bewildered staff, settling herself down in a corner to eat and telling them to charge anything she ordered to ‘a jerk called Eric Raymond’. Stormer was with her, doing her best not to look at her companion’s food, since she was still feeling decidedly queasy. It was something of a surprise when Pizzazz descended on them, Shawn in tow, and told them to get up on stage.
“What, right now?” Stormer stared. Pizzazz looked impatient.
“Yes, right now!” she responded. “Come on! We’re going to give this crummy little club a taste of how we do things. Roxy, quit stuffing your face! There’s time enough for that later!”
Roxy flipped her forkful in the direction of her lead singer, who deftly ducked out of the way, but after a few more coaxes and threats Pizzazz got them both onstage, taking the microphone in her hand and shrieking for quiet.
She got it. All eyes turned towards the stage and Shawn leant up against the bar to listen.
“Hello, London!” Pizzazz was clearly enjoying herself and she sent Shawn a wink. “We’re the Misfits and we’re gonna show you how we rock and roll in America! Hit it, girls!”
With a shrug at Roxy, Stormer did as she was bidden on the synthesiser Shawn’s band-mate had left on the stage, and Roxy followed suit on guitar.
In the crowd, a girl with wild dark hair paused in her conversation to glance up at the band, and a look of approval crossed her features.
“Finally, some decent music in this dump.” She observed. “Sure makes a change.”
“They’re just some American band.” One of her companions, the guy shrugged his shoulders. “What did they call themselves? The Misfits? Never ‘eard of them.”
“You’ve never heard of anyone.” The other member of the trio, a girl with wavy red hair who went by the name of Laura put in dryly. “You hadn’t heard of Shawn ‘Arrison till we practically shoved his name down your throat.”
“Well, I’m a bloke – I’m hardly going to make a fuss about whoever you birds are fawning over.” The guy, Stuart retorted. The girl with the dark hair rolled her eyes.
“Oh, give it a rest, you two.” She scolded. “An’ not all of us ‘fawn’, Stuart.”
“Well, true.” Stuart admitted, sending his companion a grin. “I ‘ave to admit I can’t imagine you fawning over anyone.”
“They do have a good beat, these Misfits.” Laura glanced up at the stage. “Wild look, too. And great to dance to. I wonder if they’ve released any records here?”
“Doubt it. They’re yanks.” The dark-haired girl fingered a lock of her ebony hair absently. “And we ain’t heard their name before tonight. This is all probably some publicity venture.”
“There must be a lot of opportunity in the States to make it big, then.” Stuart put in. “Imagine coming all the way to England just to play a sleazy London club! They must be loaded!”
“Sounds like a bit of all right to me.” The dark girl remarked, a thoughtful look on her face. Laura glanced at her.
“What are you planning now, Sheila?” she asked.
“I don’t know…yet.” Her black-haired friend responded. “But…it just occurred to me that I wouldn’t mind a shot at the big time over in the good old US of A. Especially if there’s a bunch of dosh to be made there.”
“How are you going to do that?” Stuart demanded. “Grow wings and fly across the atlantic? Plane tickets don’t come cheap.”
“Like I don’t know that.” Sheila snapped. “Took me blinkin’ well long enough to save enough money for my ruddy saxophone. Don’t talk to me about plane tickets.”
“He has a point, though.” Laura observed. “You can’t walk to America.”
“No…but there are other ways.” Sheila responded, and a look her companions recognised all too well as her planning look entered her dark eyes. “Look ‘ere, you two. You remember that group of weirdos that were calling round our place the day before yesterday?”
“What group?” Stuart frowned.
“Those creeps with the long hair and bad taste in music?” Laura pulled a face. “Yeah, I remember. What about them?”
“Well, they came asking after me sax playing, and I was going to turn ‘em down. Not the kind of gig I was looking for, if you catch my drift.” Sheila rested her chin on her hands, considering. “But I remember that leader – what’s his name? Sayin’ that they had plans to get to America and play the club scene there. It ain’t ideal, but it’d be a start.”
“You’re going to take them up on their offer?” Laura looked taken aback.
“What group?” Stuart repeated.
“Oh, get in the real world, Stuart. The Tinkerbillys.” Laura rolled her eyes. “What a name…Sheila, you’re seriously thinking about joining a group with a name like that?”
“Like I said, it’s not ideal.” Sheila shrugged. “But they ‘ave quite a followin’ down our end and I reckon I could make more cash than I do now. If I play me cards right I could be quids in, and on the way to something bigger and better.” She grinned. “It’ll take a bit of work to get things in place, but then, if it works out ‘ow I want it, it’ll be worth it.”
“Well, good luck to you. It’s not a career move I’d make.” Laura grimaced.
“Since when is tootling a sax on street corners an’ waiting tables in a nothing café a career?” Sheila retorted. “Far as I can tell, love, the only way is up!”
“She’s got a point.” Stuart nodded, clearly not following the girls’ conversation but feeling he ought to make a contribution. Sheila glanced at him and rolled her eyes.
“It wasn’t quite ‘ow I planned my life to turn out, shall we say.” She said. “If bein’ a Tinkerbilly is the way to get out of it, then I’m all for it. I’m sick to death of London, of my parents and of all of this. I want to do things with my life, whatever you two have planned for yourselves. I need to be…to be a new me. Recreate meself. And at least I’d get to play me sax regular, like.”
“You gonna let ‘em give you one of their naff stage names, then?” Laura demanded. “I couldn’t believe it when that drummer guy introduced himself as Bongo. I mean, what was ‘e thinking when he chose that?”
“The lot of them are insane.” Sheila grinned. “Nah. I’ll choose me own stage name. Been wantin’ to drop Sheila anyway – it ain’t a pretty name, however you look at it. And who gives a damn about a nobody called Sheila Burns? Don’t exactly shout stardom or success, does it?” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “I’d been givin’ it some thought anyway. Since I have so much of the black thing goin’ on, I thought I’d go along with the theme. Black hair, black sax, black clothes, black name.”
“I’m lost.” Stuart looked confused.
“So what’s new, duckie?” Sheila smirked. “What I mean is that I oughta ‘ave a name that matches me whole image.”
“What do you have in mind?” Laura looked interested.
“Well…” Sheila paused for effect, then, “How about…Jetta?”
* * * * * * * * * * *
"Well, so what did you think?"
Pizzazz stepped gracefully down from the stage, winking at Shawn coquettishly. "Do you think we got what it takes, Shawn?"
"I don't see why not, love." Shawn returned the smile with one of his own. "Say, I don't suppose you 'ave some time free on your 'ands, 'eh? Since we're both in the same business we might be able to swap a few names, give each other a helpin' hand, if you get my drift...but it's noisy here and crowded too. The boys and me have one more set to do, then I'm free...what say we go take a spin about town and chat, hm?"
"Sounds interesting." Pizzazz smiled, "All right. But don't keep me waiting long...I'm not a patient girl."
"Don't worry, sweets, it won't take a second." Shawn responded with a grin of his own.
"Well, someone hit lucky." Roxy came up behind Pizzazz as Shawn returned to the stage for the last part of his band's set. Pizzazz turned, eying Roxy in irritation.
"So what? What's it to you? Not my fault if he has good taste in music!"
"Hah." Roxy snorted. "Yeah, I'm sure it's your music he's attracted to, and all."
Pizzazz raised an eyebrow.
"You better be careful what you're saying." she warned. "I can get nasty here and now, you know, no matter whether we're in the same band or not. You and I, we don't come from the same world and you better get used to how things move around me."
"Yeah, yeah." Roxy rolled her eyes, adding silently to herself 'fast and in the other direction.' Well, when you're done flirtin', Stormer and I will be checking the joint out to see if we can make a little mischief before we get outta here. Okay?"
"Whatever." Pizzazz gave a dismissive gesture. "Shawn and I have plans when he's done playing...so I might be late back here. You kiddies can wait up if you want...but I wouldn't count on what time I'll return."
"We'll see." Roxy looked thoughtfully at Pizzazz, then shrugged. "Anyway, I'm bored with this. See you, Pizzazz...don't stay out too late now, will you?" This last in a decidedly impudent tone of voice which left the singer inwardly fuming. But Roxy was gone and there was nothing she could do about it.
"Stormer?" Roxy called out, pushing her way through the crowds of people. "Oh, where the heck are you now, you stupid..."
"Hey, watch where you're goin', will ya?" Sheila glared at the guitarist. "You can't walk through us, you know."
"Oh, get outta my way." Roxy snapped, shoving Sheila roughly aside as she spotted Stormer by the far wall.
"Ruddy yanks." Sheila muttered as she watched Roxy disappear into the milling people. "Do one song an' they think they own the whole blinkin' club!"
"You okay?" Laura asked. Sheila nodded, brushing herself down.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Come on, let's get out of this hole, huh? I got some serious thinking to do!"
* * ** * * * * * * *
“I’m beat.” Roxy groaned, pushing open the door of
hotel. “It’s two o clock in the morning. Two o clock! And we’ve got to
ready to leave this place by eleven!”
“Quit moaning, it was fun.” Pizzazz snapped. “And we shut the crowd up all right. Now come on! If we play our cards right darling Eric need never know a thing.”
"I'm sure darling Eric would go outta his head if he knew what kinda fun you've been having, taking off across London with some guy." Roxy shot Pizzazz a glance. Pizzazz snorted.
"If you got it, flaunt it." She snapped back. "You're just jealous, Roxy...you don't have it."
"Well, I don't want it, to be honest." Roxy rolled her eyes. "Anyway, relax...Eric's too dumb to think we've been out causing trouble when we got a flight tomorrow!"
“I hope you’re right.” Stormer murmured as they reached their floor. She didn’t fancy another scolding from an irate manager, and like Roxy, she was exhausted. Nor was she looking forward to the flight home…it meant another ten hours trapped with a bored Roxy and sulky Pizzazz. Not to mention the fact that she’d not managed to get any time to talk to her brother.
“Why, he doesn’t even know about the Misfits yet.” She realised as she let herself into her room. “I guess I’ll have to try and call him when we get back tomorrow, if he’s about. But for now, I gotta crash.” She fastened the door, slipping into her nightgown and sliding beneath the covers. “That’s better. I hope things aren’t always as hectic as this!”
Chapter One: Mary Phillips
Chapter Two: Enter Roxy
Chapter Three: Developments
Chapter Four: Birth Of A Star
Chapter Five: Eric Raymond
Chapter Six: Outta My Way!
Chapter Seven: London
Chapter Eight: Shawn Harrison
Chapter Nine: The Tinkerbillys
Chapter Ten: Jerrica
Chapter Eleven: Only The Beginning
(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem
characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. All characters who do not
appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted
to E.A Woolley (2001). Background image was drawn and edited by me and
therefore is copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley).
Stormer is copyright of Hasbro Inc.
Please note that for the sake of continuity this story includes sections of dialogue which feature in the first Jem episode, The Beginning.