Chapter Eleven: Some Outside Help
"Well, well, if it isn't the British Misfit."
The man in overalls paused in his paintwork, sending Jetta a smile as he did so and putting the brush in his hand safely back in it's paint pot. "Long time no see, Jetta...what can I do for you?"
Jetta exchanged looks with Shana, then returned the man's smile. They had tried to raise Clash at her apartment but had gotten no answer, so in despair Jetta had decided it was as well to ask Steven, the odd jobs man about the building whether he knew anything about her whereabouts. Now convinced Clash was involved, she was determined to get to the bottom of it. She had been to Clash's apartment only once or twice with the other Misfits, but Steven remembered her from her dramatic features and her accent which, much to her chagrin he had decided was 'cute'. Now, however, irritation had to be put aside. Time was running out.
"I was lookin' for Cl...Constance." she said in her most genial tones. "She ain't in - do you know when she'll be back?"
"Just the handyman, me." Steven shrugged. "But I'll tell you this I do know. She's gone outta town to visit family or something, I think...I overheard her talking to someone on the phone about it when I was fixing the shot wiring of the apartment across the hall. Couldn't tell you when she'd be back."
"Outta town, huh?" Shana looked thoughtful. "Convenient."
"Indeed." Jetta nodded. "You don't 'ave any clue where she might 'ave headed?"
"Well, she has family in Malberry, don't she?" Steven asked. "She goes back there each year for the Father's Day celebrations."
"It ain't father's day, or even close." Jetta pointed out dryly. "But I suppose she could be in Malberry...guess we gotta check it out."
"Do you want to leave a message for her?" Steven asked. "I'll see it gets to her when she comes back."
"No...in fact, best you don't mention we were here." Jetta thought fast. "See, we...'ave a little surprise for 'er, and we wouldn't want it spoiled now."
"You're the boss." Steven winked at her. "Nice seeing you, Jetta."
Jetta rolled her eyes to the skies, but maintained her geniality.
"Much obliged to you for your help." She said with an amiable smile. "Guess Shana and I will go look someplace else. Bye!"
"You know, now I know why you have such a reputation for manipulation." Shana murmured as they headed back out to the car. "If I hadn't known you were feeding him lines I would never have guessed."
"I'm a quick thinker." Jetta shrugged. "But we're no closer to findin' Clash...what now? Malberry?"
"Well, we could call her family." Shana looked doubtful. "But if you ask me it would make more sense if we focused on her family here in LA, at least to begin with."
"Family?" Now it was Jetta's turn to look blank. Then she smiled. "Oh! Video!"
"Right." Shana nodded.
"But Clash 'ates Video...and vice versa." Jetta pointed out. "What would she know?"
"Maybe nothing, but she might know how Clash thinks better than we do." Shana suggested.
"Well, it's worth a try." Jetta shrugged. "And we better call Clash's Pa, also...see if he's 'eard from her. He's a dope, I can get him to tell me anything he might know."
"Okay, so we have something to go on, at last." Shana grinned. "Finally, some progress!"
"Maybe. If we find her." Jetta reminded her. "Still, it's a start an' that's something. Come on. I say we drop by Starlight Mansion or wherever Stormer and Kimber are today and tell them our theory, see what they think...then we go tackle Video an' Mr Montgomery. We'll get her yet!"
"I hope so. Time is getting short." Shana looked troubled.
In their desire to track down who they now suspected as the culprit, the girls had forgotten that they were meant to be rivals, and the bickering had been replaced all too naturally by a strange kind of mutual respect. Events were driving them to work as a team, but they were also beginning to function as a team, though neither girl had yet realised it.
Across town, oblivious to Jetta's sudden flash of inspiration, Clash was carefully checking that everything was going according to plan. It had all been so easy, she mused, to take them off guard and establish a new mode of command over proceedings. Zipper had been a pain but he had done his job and so long as she kept him solvent he was fairly obedient. Jerrica and Pizzazz were well out of the way, in the back bedroom of the rundown apartment she had hired solely for the purpose, and time was running out before the big night.
A slow smile crossed her face.
"They'll never live it down." she mused with a chuckle. "And even when I set them free, I've covered my back. Jerrica knows that one wrong word will bring Jem's real identity out of the closet, and Pizzazz's pride will never allow herself to publically admit that she was out-thought and out-manouevred by little old me. I'll take my perfect vengeance, teach them all a lesson...and then..." she paused, a frown crossing her face.
Her plans had not stretched any further ahead than the ultimate humiliation of the two bands she had set her sights on - but what about after the whole affair was at an end? What then?
"I'll think of that when it comes to it." She shrugged, pushing the idea to the back of her mind. "Something to directly get at Video, perhaps. This will be a blow to her, because I know she's due to film Jem's performance at the Rock Festival for some television show or the other, but it's not specifically brutal enough to wreck her career. Perhaps that'll be my next line of thought, when all of this is over. For now, it doesn't matter. For now I'm just going to bask in my victory...they'll never work it all out, not in a million years, and even if they do, by that time it'll be too late...I'll have won." She chuckled. "That's a nice feeling, coming out on top. Maybe I don't need to be a Misfit, when it comes down to it. They can't function without each other, can't cope. Me, I can manage a scheme all by myself, and I don't need anyone at all...perhaps I'm too good for the Misfits after all!"
But Clash had overlooked something important when glossing over the Misfits and their reliance on each other. The strange bond of loyalty that had grown between them meant more now than simply fighting for themselves - it meant that they would defend each other against outside interference. It had happened before, that they had banded together to come to the aid of one of their kind, and if she had stopped to think about it she would have realised that it would happen again. Similarly, the Holograms were hardly likely to sit back and let her dictate rules, not when someone so important to them was missing.
She had failed to pay attention to the actions of either group, failed to notice them banding together and failed to realise what this kind of teamwork meant.
Individually they were formidable as rivals...but on the same side they were close to unstoppable.
And they had their sights set firmly on Clash...
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Shana!" Video opened the door of her apartment, a look of confusion
her face as she registered who was with her friend. "Jetta?
What...what's all this about?"
"We need to talk to you for a while, Video." Shana said. "Can we come in? It's kinda important."
"Sure...I suppose so." Video shot Jetta another odd glance, but opened up her door to allow them in. "I'd better warn you, though, that if this is something top secret I'm not here alone. I've a comittee meeting of sorts going on here for the Rock Festival in a couple of days, and..."
"That's kind of what this is about." Shana interrupted. "There isn't going to be any Rock Festival, at least not for the Holograms or the Misfits, not as things stand."
"What's happened?" Video's eyes widened.
"Jerrica an' Pizzazz 'ave gone AWOL and we're pretty damn sure we know who's behind it." Jetta spoke now as they entered the living room. "Which is why we came to you."
"They've been kidnapped?" Video demanded. Shana nodded.
"Yes. We've had...notes about Jerrica, anyway, and Pizzazz went out one night and just vanished off the face of the earth. We're pretty sure that the two disappearances are connected."
A fresh voice entered the conversation at that moment, for the lounge, as Video had said, was not empty. Anthony Julian, Shana's long term boyfriend, and a young up-and-coming video artist, Suzanne Mayor were seated, drinking coffee and it had been Suzanne, or 'Chimera' who had spoken. "What's the scoop?"
"Chimera!" Jetta exclaimed. "I didn't expect to see you here."
"It's business." Chimera shrugged, moving up on the couch to make room for the British girl. "So what's the deal, then? And why are you here with Shana?"
"What's wrong, honey?" Anthony sent Shana a concerned look. Shana sank down into a chair with a sigh.
"It's all gotten messy." she said, slowly outlining all that had happened. "We came here to speak to Video really, but I suppose you ought to know about it too. What the Holograms are going to do without...um...Jerrica's help I don't know. We all agreed that no Jerrica, no performance, and the Misfits have a similar dilemma...they've lost Pizzazz."
"I can think of worse tragedies." Chimera looked amused. Young and impulsive, she and the Misfits had often worked together on music videos over the past few months, and necessity for both parties had forced her and Pizzazz to work amicably together, but it was not a situation either relished. Though Chimera was fairly amiable with Jetta, and had no axe to grind with Roxy or Stormer, she had never really clicked with Pizzazz, who had developed an immediate resentment of the young artist as soon as they had met, a resentment which had only grown when the truth of Chimera's identity had come out.
"Well, we kinda need her to sing." Jetta responded, taking a seat herself. "And like Shana said, time is running out for both groups. This festival is a big deal and if neither group show it could cost us both dear career-wise. Bad publicity, an' all that. So, for the time bein' at least, weird as it seems...we've a truce."
"You said you had an idea who was behind it." Video remarked, closing the door and coming to join the group. "I'm intrigued...what can I...or any of us do to help?"
"Jetta's pretty sure it's Clash." Shana admitted uncomfortably. Video gaped.
"Constance?" She demanded. "Are you sure? I know she's reckless and impetuous and spoiled...but...kidnapping? Shana, are you sure? She's hardly more than a kid, and she's never behaved her age...I don't believe she could dream up something like this!"
"I do." Jetta put in grimly. "I've never liked that girl...but more I think about it, more it seems to me that it 'as to be her. Pizzazz was kinda cruel to 'er about the whole Last Laugh business, and we've 'ardly seen her in months...then suddenly both the 'Olograms and the Misfits are treated to impersonations...Oh, I don't think there's any doubt that it's Clash behind it. Who else do you know who's so good at disguising herself?"
"I suppose...you have a point." Video sighed. "Oh, brother...if it is her...she's gonna wind up in so much trouble...what on earth possessed her?"
"If it is her, she needs help." Anthony put in. Shana nodded.
"That's what I said." she agreed. "But...well, if she really has dared to cross Pizzazz like that, I...wouldn't like to be her when Pizzazz gets the upper hand."
"She 'as a memory like an elephant, never forgets a grievance." Jetta nodded. "And this one I wouldn't blame 'er on. I'd like to get me 'ands on Clash meself, teach 'er a thing or two about messin' with the Misfits."
"Seems to me like Clash has nothing to gain by coming into the open." Chimera mused. "If all that's going to do is incur the wrath of my sister, not to mention the rest of the Misfits and the Holograms...I can see she'd want to lie low someplace, hide out somewhere new where she's not so easily traced. If you ask me, you're gonna have a job finding her."
"Your sister?" Video shot Chimera a confused look. Chimera laughed.
"Yeah. Didn't you know? Pizzazz is my half-sister."
"I had no idea." Video admitted. "You don't seem a bit alike."
"There's no blood tie. We hate each other." Chimera shrugged. "I don't mind working with the Misfits, actually I quite enjoy it most of the time, but sometimes I could happily strangle Pizzazz."
"I think we all feel that way sometimes." Shana said dryly. "But right now we gotta get her out of wherever she is...that's more important."
"Shana's right." Jetta nodded. "And then things can get back to normal." she glanced around her. "I feel odd as heck, sittin' in your flat like this, Video...we've always been on opposin' sides."
"We have, but if Clash is involved then you were right to tell me." Video replied. She looked troubled. "Oh, Constance, what have you done?"
"So what can we do to help out?" Anthony asked. Shana shrugged.
"I wish I knew." she said with a sigh. "It's all such a mess, Anthony...and we've so little time."
"Have you spoken to her father?" Video asked. Jetta shook her head.
"No. That was next on the list after we left 'ere. We wanted to know if you'd seen or 'eard anything of Clash in the last few days - she ain't at 'ome, conveniently."
"We don't talk most of the time...that's as good as our relationship gets." Video glanced at her hands. "I've no idea. But talk to Uncle Buzz. He's more likely to know if anyone in the family is. He and Clash are close."
"If they're close, won't he protect her?" Chimera asked. Video shrugged.
"Probably, but in all honesty he doesn't have as much perception as he should and he can probably be coerced into telling. My worry is more what's going to come out of all this."
"It feels surreal enough as it is." Jetta said solemnly, casting Shana a glance, then frowning. "The more time I spend with Shana, the less defined this whole rivalry thing gets in my 'ead. I'm gettin' confused as to why we 'ate the Holograms so much...guess it's somethin' I absorbed when I joined the Misfits and I jus' didn't question it."
"Pizzazz resents Jem." Shana said succinctly. "And she's never liked coming up second."
"But we ain't second best these days, duckie." Jetta responded. "In the United States you girls might 'ave the upper 'and, and all that, but across the atlantic we outsell you, especially in England, cos that's me 'ome turf and they identify with that. You're all a bunch of foreigners to them over there...yet another foreign group tryin' to make a name abroad. I'm born an' bred British...makes the difference. And the Misfits were a band before the 'Olograms even came into view...f you ask me it wasn't the Misfits who were jumpin' onto someone else's publicity train!"
"So the Misfits' success in England is entirely down to you?" Shana raised an eyebrow.
"Course not." Jetta winked, looking amused. "We 'ave better music, is all."
"Are you girls going to have an all out debate here and now or are you going to let us try and help you find Pizzazz?" Chimera interrupted at that moment.
"You want to help?" Jetta looked surprised. Chimera pulled a graphic face.
"She's my sister. I guess I gotta." she said with a sigh.
"Well, far as I'm concerned we can't have enough people on the hunt." Shana shrugged. "So by all means, help. Not that we've done much good so far. We need a lead..."
"And maybe Clash's Pa is the one to give it to us." Jetta stood. "C'mon, Shana. We ain't got time to be sociable...we got a phone call to make!"
Chapter Two: Deception
Chapter Three: On Tour With The Holograms
Chapter Four: The Next Stage
Chapter Five: Jem?
Chapter Six: Trapped!
Chapter Seven: An Unlikely Team
Chapter Eight: Laying Plans
Chapter Nine: Letter From The Desert
Chapter Ten: Jetta's Hunch
Chapter Eleven: Some Outside Help
Chapter Twelve: Kimber's Dilemma
Chapter Thirteen: The Great Escape
Chapter Fourteen: Fire!
Chapter Fifteen: Repercussions and Rock and Roll
Chapter Sixteen: The End Of An Era
(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)