Chapter Fifteen: Repercussions and Rock & Roll
"I honestly didn't think we'd even be here." Roxy tuned up her bass
testing a chord or two and then tightening the strings one by one. "I
we were done for in this show, anyway. Why'd you have to be so dense,
You could've screwed the Misfits up for sure."
"Shut your face, Roxy." Pizzazz, now showered, shampooed and feeling a lot more herself snapped. "It wasn't the best fun I ever had. My throat's still sore from that damn fire, too...thank God we're only playing one set tonight! I hope my voice can hold out."
"I'm sure you'll be great when we're on stage." Stormer said diplomatically from where she had been programming her synth. "It's good to have you back, anyway. The Misfits aren't the same without you."
"That goes without saying." Pizzazz pointed out loftily, running her brush through her thick hair and checking her makeup in the mirror. "Yep, that'll do. I'm ready when you lot are."
"What are you goin' to do about Clash?" Jetta asked, reaching in her instrument case for the cloth to polish the saxophone's silvery keys. Pizzazz frowned.
"Nothin'." She admitted.
"You're letting her get away with this?" Roxy demanded.
"Bad publicity." Pizzazz shrugged. "She'd better damn well keep away from us in the future, mind you, else I'll deal with her personally and it won't be pretty."
"She's still holed up with Video. She won't cause us any trouble." Jetta observed. "Probably best we forget about it an' get on with what we do best, dontcha think?"
"Definitely." Pizzazz nodded her head.
There was a knock on the door of the dressing room at that moment, and Stormer got up to open the door, smiling as she saw Aja waiting there.
"Hi Aja, what's up?" She asked.
"Two small things." Aja grinned. "Can I come in?"
"Sure." Stormer moved aside to allow the guitarist into the room. Pizzazz glared at her.
"What do you want?" She demanded.
"I came to wish you guys luck with your performance." Aja said, unperturbed by the unfriendliness in the singer's voice. "And to return this to Roxy...since she probably needs it."
"My pick!" Roxy exclaimed. "I didn't know you still had it, Aja!" She took it, pocketing it.
"Wait a minute." Pizzazz held up her hands. "What's going on here? You lent Aja your pick, Roxy? A Hologram? Are you mad?"
"We were playin' last night and hers broke." Roxy shrugged. "I had a spare so I let her use it. No biggie."
"You were playing music with a Hologram?" Pizzazz seemed unable to believe her ears.
"Yeah...we were all kinda messin' with music over at the Starlight Mansion while we were waitin' for any news from ol' pink hair, when she finally turned up." Jetta nodded.
"I don't believe I'm hearing this." Pizzazz shook her head slowly. "I don't! You've all gone soft! I've been away a couple of days, and..."
"I suggest you rest your voice, Pizzazz." Aja told her playfully, a twinkle in her eye. "You need it for on stage."
"See, the thing is, Pizzazz, we've kinda gotten used to 'anging out with Aja an' the others." Jetta admitted sheepishly. "We teamed up to find you an' Jerrica, an it wasn't so bad as either of us thought it'd be. We...'ave things in common."
"And if we hadn't worked together, you and Jerrica might have burnt to death this morning." Aja said quietly. "Truth is, Pizzazz, we've all been fighting this rivalry without knowing why we're doing so. I've spent the last few days with Roxy and to be honest I'm glad I have, because I know her better for it. But now I know her and understand her better, I can't hate her any more."
"Guess I'm with that." Roxy admitted, her expression slightly sheepish.
"Shana an' I are the same...she saved me life this mornin', an' all." She agreed.
"So what are you saying? You want a truce with the Holograms now?" Pizzazz demanded.
"I dunno." Jetta admitted. "But it just seemed natural for tonight at least to be friendly."
"Well, for tonight, maybe." Pizzazz relented. "But only for tonight! I'm not being friends with the Holograms for anything or anyone, you hear me?" She got to her feet. "Come on, lets go warm up backstage. We're on to play soon...the Stingers will have done their set near enough."
"Okay, we're coming." Stormer exchanged looks with her bandmates and then shrugged at Aja, following the singer out of the room, Jetta and Roxy in tow. At the door, Roxy paused.
"We ain't fighting nothin' any more, whatever she says." She said frankly. "It's too much damn trouble, I'd rather pull pranks on the Stingers."
"And I'd rather be stuck on a cliff face with you than with Riot." She replied teasingly. "But I suppose we'll see what happens after tonight, huh? It might be business as usual tomorrow."
"Yeah, we'll see." Roxy nodded, then, "Oh, and good luck, I guess." She added awkwardly. Then she was gone, and Aja returned slowly to the Holograms' dressing room, deep in thought. She was truly fond of Roxy now, and she hoped that the better understanding between the two groups would be allowed to continue.
It was time, after all, to stop the fight.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Video pushed open the door of the bedroom, slipping inside and over to the window to pull back the curtains.
"What do you want?"
The voice was sullen, and husky from the smoke, but unmistakeable, and Video turned to see Clash sitting up in bed, her knees drawn up to her chest in a defensive position.
"Just to talk, and to make sure you're really all right." Video came to sit down beside the bed. "You weren't so responsive last night when Rio and I brought you here...I'm glad you're more awake this morning."
"What do you care?" Clash snapped. "You and I have nothing to talk about, Vivien."
"Oh, I think we do." Video said softly. "You do realise how much trouble you're in, don't you?"
"What's it to you?" Clash's tone was cold. "You don't care what happens to me."
"If that were true, Constance, I'd have left you to burn." Video said quietly.
"What?" Clash looked startled, then, "You rescued me from the fire?"
"Why is that so hard to believe?"
"You hate me!"
"Do I?" Video asked gently. Clash opened her mouth to retort, but paused, confused.
"Listen to me, Clash. We've been through some tough times and we've allowed ourselves to grow apart, but you're still my cousin and that still means something to me, even if it doesn't mean anything to you." Video continued. "Now, you can hate me if you want to, that's up to you. But I don't hate you."
"You...don't?" Clash paused, then, "Then why do you put me through so much grief?"
"Like what?" Video looked taken aback.
"Oh, don't play innocent, little miss perfect Vivien Montgomery." Clash spat out. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to grow up in the shadow of someone who can't do anything wrong? No matter what I do, Video, you always manage to go one better!"
She buried her head in her arms. "All I wanted was to come out on top for once. I just wanted to show everyone what I was capable of, that I'm not just Pizzazz's little puppet!"
"The only person who stops you from achieving is you, Clash." Video chided her gently. "I've never been better than you, I just applied myself to my dreams and got where I wanted to be. You want things immediately, and they don't come that fast, not the things that matter most. It takes hard work and commitment!"
"You saying I don't have commitment?" Clash flared up. "That I'm lazy? Listen to me, Vivien Montgomery..." but all else was lost in a vicious bout of coughing and instinctively Video put an arm out to support her cousin.
"Don't." She murmured. "You're not up to that yet."
"You always tell me what to do." Clash gasped out, as she slowly regained control of her breathing. "I'm n...not a kid any more, Vivien!"
"No. No you're not." Video agreed. "But you're not well at the moment, Constance, and I want you to rest, for your own sake."
"I'm all right!"
"You don't sound it." Video was matter-of-fact.
"Why don't you just call the police and have them take me off your hands, huh?" Clash snapped. "Anything's better than listening to you nag and gloat!"
"You're not going to jail." Video shook her head.
"I'm not? Hah, nice one." Clash raised an eyebrow. "I'm not that dumb, I know that kidnapping is a criminal offence."
"So is impersonation." Video agreed. "But Jerrica didn't want the police involved, and we managed to convince Pizzazz she didn't want the bad publicity. I want to help you, Clash...I just need you to tell me what you want."
"Jerrica wouldn't call the cops in." Clash remembered. "She knows I can destroy Jem's image with one word to the press. I know who she is, you know."
"Who cares?" Video shrugged. "It doesn't matter to me who she is or isn't, Clash. What matters to me is that she's my friend. Don't you realise that merely revealing Jem's real name to the press won't change her popularity one iota?" She paused. "And would you really feel good if you destroyed her...or anyone's career?"
"I...I guess...I guess I don't know." Clash faltered. "I guess I don't know anything any more, Video. Why doesn't Jerrica want me in jail, if it's not because she's afraid I'll ruin Jem?"
"Well, we had a long talk, and I asked her not to press charges on you." Video shrugged.
"You're young, you're unhappy and you need help." Video replied simply. "I don't want you turning into a hardened criminal, Clash. If I'd seen the signs earlier I might've gotten you out of this mess before it even began. I've let you brood and resent and hate and I've been a bad cousin to you because I didn't interfere. I'm sorry. I've let you down."
"What?" Her defences broken down by the sincerity of Video's words, Clash could only stare. Despite herself, the older girl grinned.
"You're speechless." She observed. "Oh Clash, don't you see? This is your chance to put the bad things behind you and find something you can be good at, something that you love doing. It's your chance to be a success in your own right...isnt that what you want?"
"I want people to know me as Clash Montgomery, not Video's cousin." Clash said slowly.
"Of course you do." Video agreed. She took Clash's hand in hers.
"Clash, you do know that you're never going to be a Misfit, don't you?" She asked quietly. "I never much liked them or their influence on you, but one thing I have learnt is that they operate as a team and they don't want anyone else interfering in that team."
"Guess Pizzazz was right all along." Clash observed absently, a note of resignation in her tone. "You're either born a Misfit, or you're not. And I'm not, am I?"
"No." Video agreed. "Just like I'm no Hologram. There's nothing wrong with being friends with people like that, so long as you know your own limits and don't push it too far. You're not a Misfit, you're Constance Montgomery, and that's worth plenty in its own right."
"Is it?" Clash was bitter. "I'm no good at anything, Video. Except causing trouble...only now it seems like I can't even get that right."
"That's nonsense." Video retorted. "You have talents, Clash, you just can't see them."
"Go on, excite me." Clash said darkly.
"You're real good with electronics, with makeup and with costume." Video responded. "And you're a good actress, Clash. You imitate like a pro."
"I can't even operate your dumb video camera."
"I didn't mean in that sense." Video shook her head. "But you know how to improvise with wires and circuitboards, and you make things out of them like noone else I ever met. What about that voice distorter of yours?"
"How'd you know about that?" Clash was startled.
"I know more than you think." Video replied. She grinned. "And it was in your pocket when we pulled you out yesterday. Rio said that's what it looked like."
"You really think I have talent?" Clash asked doubtfully.
"Yes. Plenty. All it takes is some commitment, that's all, and patience." Video nodded. "You're young, Clash, you've got ages to make a success of yourself in. Don't try and force fate."
"Maybe." Clash seemed to be considering. "I wouldn't have a clue how to go about it, though. I don't have a college degree like you do."
"Don't you want to make your Dad proud?"
"Daddy's always proud of me, whatever I do."
"Your mother, then?"
"Mother's dead, and you know it."
"Yes. But she's only gone if you let her go." Video replied softly. "Why not be what she'd always want you to be - healthy, happy, secure and successful?"
"How do you know what she'd want?" Clash demanded.
"Isn't it what any mother would want?" Video countered. "I know it's what Mom always wished for me."
"I guess so." Clash conceded. "I never thought about it. To be honest I...I don't like to think of her much. It's something else you have that I don't."
"A mother? Oh you silly thing!" Video hugged her cousin tightly. "We're gonna make the Montgomery family tree proud of us both, okay?"
"How're we gonna do that?"
"By working together and helping each other out." Video replied.
"You mean...you mean you'd take me on? I mean, you'd help me out? Find me work and help me...help me to be a success too?" Now there were tears in Clash's eyes as her resentment became replaced by a realisation that she wasn't alone in the world, after all.
"Of course." Video agreed. "I reckon we'd make pretty good partners, in fact. I film, and I have concepts to film, but wardrobe and makeup is beyond me and I can only give orders where and when I want lights. If we were to work together, Clash, we could generate some pretty amazing stuff. And we'd be equals - a team. What do you reckon? Are you game?"
Clash was silent for a moment, turning it over in her head. Then, slowly, she nodded.
"I'd love it." She whispered, her voice unsteady. "All I ever wanted was a chance to be something, you know?"
"I know." Video agreed. "So, we put this all behind you, huh? Forget everything you've done bad and turn over a new leaf?"
"You bet." Clash nodded. "But I...I want to talk to Jerrica first...and I guess Pizzazz too. I...want to apologise. Then I really can start over, can't I?" She clenched her fists. "Look out world! The real Constance Montgomery is coming through!"
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)