Chapter One: The Magazine
"For the last time, Phyllis, the answer is no!"
Harvey Gabor eyed his only child in irritation, pushing one pile of papers aside and reaching for another. "It's out of the question."
"But Daddy..." Phyllis Gabor, better known as Pizzazz, leader of the rock group the Misfits, perched on her father's desk, her expression one of her most beseeching. "Please, Daddy...it means so much to me!"
"Listen, Phyllis, your recklessness has cost me dear plenty of times in the past." Harvey was unmoved. "I don't trust that man Raymond one little bit, he's only going to get you and your friends into trouble one of these days and I have no plans of helping him line his pockets with a fat little commission. In any case, a venture like this would be a poor investment. I have too much to see to to organise paperwork, after all. It's about time you grew up - you're always telling me that you have your own money."
Pizzazz's green eyes widened in hurt surprise. Rare was the time that her father refused her whims, and she didn't like it. Her request had not been anything out of the ordinary, after all. Music Biz magazine had gone bankrupt and Pizzazz had seen immediately that owning her own magazine could not fail but do wonders for the publicity of her band,
But Harvey had said no, particularly when he had discovered that Eric Raymond, the Misfits' errant manager was involved in finding a buyer for the company. He disliked Eric, and distrusted them - they had clashed in business before, and he had little desire to repeat the experience.
Pizzazz herself had little time for Eric these days. In her eyes he had pushed the Misfits aside in favour of a new sensation, the Stingers, and she found that hard to forgive. She was, if truth were told, a difficult character to figure out. Friends one minute and bitterest foes the next, her relationship with Eric had never been one based upon trust. More it had been founded around his desire for money and her desire to further her musical career. And of course, where she went, the other Misfits generally found they had little option but to follow.
Pizzazz was a born leader and a natural performer. She adored the attention from the press and the fans, fickle as it all was, for she had received little affection in her life and craved recognition as a result. She had always been strong-willed, wilful and petulant, but the gentler, more generous side of her nature had been firmly quelled by the years of financial spoiling and emotional neglect sent her way by her busy father. They shared few interests these days - Pizzazz's lack of business ambition had disappointed Harvey, and Pizzazz herself was too bright and sensitive not to both notice and feel it, though she had shrugged it off with a pretence of not caring. She knew that she was a success, and that was what mattered. But sometimes it hurt her even to know that her father did not seem at all proud of her musical achievements, and that he felt she'd failed him somehow.
Things had been decided, of course, many years before. Three days after Pizzazz' fourth birthday her mother Liza had walked out on them, taking off with another man and leaving Harvey and the young, impressionable Phyllis to manage alone. Liza had been young, spoiled and beautiful, her head turned easily from her maternal duties - it had not occured to her at the time that her sudden departure might taint her only child forever.
But taint her it had. Phyllis had always been spoiled, but until that fateful day it had been spoiling with love and her situation had been secure. But Liza's departure had broken Pizzazz's trust in the world, and she had pulled herself away, angry, bewildered and resentful. Harvey had hidden his grief in his work, and the rift had been allowed to grow. Though both cared about each other, the close bonds that they had once shared lay in ruins. Harvey was Pizzazz's source of money, whilst to Harvey Pizzazz was often an inconvenience to be dealt with in the most painless way possible. She was wild and beyond his control - he had long since stopped trying to either tame or understand her.
"Daddy, this is a good investment, I promise." Now she was trying her most wheedling tone. "And I can make sure that Eric stays on the level. Ple-e-ease, Daddy? For me?"
"I'm not discussing this any more, Phyllis. I have a flight to Washington DC this afternoon and I don't have time for this nonsense." Harvey stood, putting his papers into his briefcase. "The answer is still no. I've no more time to spend on it, so if you don't mind..."
Pizzazz let out a shriek of rage, slamming her fist down on his desk.
"You won't do it?" She demanded. "Not even for me, your own daughter?"
"Phyllis, you're almost twenty-five. It's time you stopped running to me every time you need money for something." Harvey responded quietly. "Now, I'm quite happy for you and your friends to use the mansion, and to cope with those expenses, you know that. But buying a magazine with a poor credit history is not an option."
Pizzazz swiped her hand across the table, knocking a tray of papers marked 'Important' onto the floor.
"That's what I think of you and your help!" She seethed. "I hate you for this, Daddy...I'll never forgive you! Not ever!"
And with that she stalked out of the room, slamming the door hard behind her. Harvey frowned, bending to rescue his papers. She'd cool down...at least, he hoped she would.
"Well?" Outside the office, the other Misfits were waiting impatiently for their singer's return.
"What did 'e say?" Sheila Burns, or 'Jetta', the band's sax player demanded.
"Yeah, are we on or not?" Roxanne Pelligrini, the bass guitarist added.
"Pizzazz, what's wrong?" The youngest member of the group, Mary Phillips, better known as 'Stormer' eyed the singer in concern. "Is everything okay?"
"No, everything isn't okay." Pizzazz muttered. "He said no. To me! How dare he? How dare he refuse me?"
"Your father said no to you?" Roxy stared. "Is he sick? He never refuses!"
"Well, he has." Pizzazz clenched her fist. "I hate him so much I could scream. Come on, lets get out of this place. He's flying to DC this afternoon anyway, so he'll be out of our hair. Maybe he'll change his mind, when he's thought about it. I don't give up that easily!"
There was a moment's silence, then,
"So what we gonna do in the meantime?" Roxy demanded. "The magazine could be sold tomorrow - Pizzazz, don't you got control of any of your Dad's money?"
"That'd be stealing!" Stormer exclaimed.
"Well, not really." Roxy shrugged. "Mr Gabor has the money, an' we need to invest it. Pizzazz is his family, after all, and he'd be thanking us when we turned in the profits."
"Roxy's right, but I can't." Pizzazz scowled. "He controls all of the accounts except the one which I put my Misfit earnings into. And that hardly totals enough to buy a magazine." She growled. "I can't believe he'd do this to me! I'm so mad I could scream!"
She led the way to the door, flinging it open and stalking down the stairs, leaving her bandmates to follow in her wake. The three girls exchanged looks, but none ventured a comment. It was never safe to mess with Pizzazz when she was in this frame of mind.
Back in Harvey's office, the middle aged businessman sighed, rubbing his temples. Noone meant more to him than his headstrong, impetuous daughter, but commuting those sentiments had proven more than a little impossible in recent years. He had never really known how to reach out to her, not since Liza's departure. With a frown he pulled open his desk drawer, extracting a photograph and setting it before him, a sad smile touching his face as he looked at the happy expressions.
Himself, his daughter and his ex-wife, taken a good many years ago now, but still fresh enough in his memory for him to hear the baby laughter of the happy young toddler as she'd tripped and crawled her way into everything she could find.
Things had been different back then. Harvey sighed again. She had loved him then, he was sure of that. As he sat there, he found himself regressing into memory...
The tiny girl ran helter skelter down the path of the big estate, a look of excitement on her face. "Daddy, you took so long! Can we go play now? Can we, Daddy? Please?"
With a laugh the businessman dropped his briefcase, swinging the youngster up onto his shoulder.
"Of course we can play." He agreed. "What've you been up to today, sweetheart?"
"Painting." The child told him importantly. There was a pause, then, "Daddy, Matilda yelled at me."
"Oh?" Harvey raised an eyebrow, scooping up his case once more and carrying his daughter in through the front doorway. "And what did you do, precious, to make her yell?"
"Was only painting." The girl pouted.
"All over the walls." Matilda, head of the household staff appeared in the doorway, looking decidedly unamused. "All up the playroom walls, Mr Gabor. I told her to find paper if she was going to paint."
"I was bored." The child folded her baby arms, poking a tongue out at the housekeeper.
"You shouldn't paint the walls, Phyllis. It's a lot of hard work for Matilda and the rest of the house staff to clean up." Harvey scolded her. "Don't do it again, huh?"
"I jus' wanted someone to play with me an' Matilda wouldn't play." Phyllis said sulkily.
"Your mother isn't here?" Harvey looked surprised. "Matilda, where is Mrs Gabor?"
"She had a phone call, sir, about half an hour ago, from a friend, she said. She went over to their house. Told me to keep an eye to Miss Phyllis and that she'd be back by ten, she thought."
"Oh, I see." Harvey frowned, then. "Well, okay. Matilda, I'll take Phyllis out to play a while, all right? Then she'll be out from under your feet."
"Yes, Mr Gabor." Matilda nodded her head.
"Yay, we're gonna play!" Phyllis clapped her paint-spattered hands together. "Wanna play on my trike, Daddy! Please?"
"Whatever you want to do, sweetheart." Harvey set her down gently, planting a kiss on her forehead. "Let's go, huh?"
Matilda watched them go, a troubled frown on her face.
"That kid just wanted some attention from her mother, and how do I tell Mr Gabor that his wife doesn't seem to know the first thing about caring for a child? Phyllis is a bright girl and is going to get out of hand unless someone sits the mistress down and tells her that she has to put her daughter first now she's a mother. Phyllis adores both of them too much to understand why her mother keeps pushing her aside in favour of her social life...it can only end in tears if this goes on."
Out in the spacious grounds of the San Diego estate, Harvey watched his small daughter pedalling her trike up and down the path at speed, swerving to avoid rocks and the household's aging cat, Alexandra, who yelped and spat at the contraption from her hiding place beneath the bushes.
"Phyllis, you're going to fall if you keep going so fast!" He cautioned her, settling himself on the grass and removing his heavy jacket, placing it down beside him.
"I can go fast, Daddy!" Phyllis exclaimed. "I'm okay, I'm a big girl! I can pedal fast, watch me!"
"I'm watching." Harvey grinned.
If the truth were to be told, he had never quite got over the little miracle that had been placed in his arms a few years earlier. He had been in business a long time, and had been an established bachelor of forty when he had met the young and alluring Liza Montague. She had been barely twenty, flighty, flirtatious and beautiful, and he had fallen for her in a second. Within a year they had been married, and a year further along the line Phyllis had arrived in the world. Harvey had never imagined himself to be the paternal type, but all that had changed when Phyllis had been born. He adored her from the bottom of his heart, and she made him feel young again.
Money was never an issue, for Harvey had made plenty of it over the years, and Phyllis' world was perfect in every way, for she did not want for either love or playthings. A bright, highspirited child, she clamoured for attention, and usually she got it.
At that moment the young girl drove her trike into a rock and it jarred her off the saddle and onto the cement. Tears began to well up in her green eyes and instinctively Harvey scooped her up, holding her close to comfort her.
"Are you all right, pet?" He murmured.
"I hurt my knee, Daddy." Phyllis' voice wavered. "I felled off the stupid trike an' it hurt!"
"Shh-shh, don't cry." Harvey soothed. "Come on. We'll go clean up your knee and I'll have Matilda make some lemonade for you, huh?"
"Okay." Phyllis agreed, cautiously drying her eyes in light of this new promised treat. "Can I have ice in my lemonade?"
"Of course." Harvey nodded. "So long as you promise not to try and eat the cubes whole again."
"All right." Phyllis nodded. Then, "Daddy, when's Mommy comin' home? I painted pictures an' I want to show them to her."
"Later, sweetie." Harvey replied. "I don't know if she'll be back before your bedtime."
"But I wanna show her my pictures!" She exclaimed.
"Well, you can show them to me, and then she can see them tomorrow." Harvey suggested.
Phyllis considered this. Then,
"I don't like that man, you know." She said.
"What man?" Harvey looked confused.
"Mommy's friend. We were in the garden this morning an' I wanted to swim in the pool but her friend came to the house an' she talked to him and ignored me. I don't like him! He's a bad man."
"Oh?" Cold dread gripped Harvey's heart. It had long since been among his nightmares that his beautiful, flighty wife might stray from her marriage vows, and things had not been quite as solid between them in recent weeks. Now it seemed that his suspicions and fears were being played out in the words of the youngest and most innocent member of the family.
But though Phyllis was innocent, she wasn't stupid. She eyed her father's expression thoughtfully.
"You think he's a bad man too, don't you, Daddy?" She asked.
"I don't know, love. I haven't met him."
"Mommy said I was to run away and play when he came, but I didn't." Phyllis announced proudly. "I watched them, cos I thought he might do something bad to Mommy. And do you know what happened?"
"No, sweetheart, I don't." Harvey's eyes had lost all of their happy sparkle and he looked his full forty-five years.
"He kissed her."
"Did he?" Somehow Harvey kept his tone light.
"It was disgustin' an' I wanted to tell Mommy he was a bad man an' that his bike smelled funny, but then Matilda wanted to make brownies an' I like scraping the bowl so I went. I wish he'd go away. Mommy's no fun when he comes to play."
Harvey did not respond, merely carrying his daughter indoors and setting her down on the couch, calling for Matilda.
"Could you see to some lemon for Phyllis? She's hurt her knee on the path." He said quietly.
"An' don't forget the ice." Phyllis added importantly. "Lots of ice!"
Harvey frowned, forcing the memories away. He had never gotten over
breakdown of his marriage. The violent row Phyllis' innocent
observations had caused, and Liza's subsequent departure still hurt
him, even now. He hadn't
seen or heard from her since, but the final thing she'd said to him had
him forever - it had cut through him like a knife. She was pregnant,
told him. Pregnant with another man's child. She wanted a divorce...she
out. He had protested - what about Phyllis? And she had shrugged and
in that carefree way that he had once found so endearing.
"She has you, you have money, she doesn't need me too." She had said airily. "Really, Harvey, she's just a little kid, she won't even notice that I've gone. It's you she chases after every evening, anyway. And to be honest with you she's getting very independant - she doesn't need a mother."
He had been stunned into silence by this, and had been able to do nothing but watch her as she breezed out of the room to pack her belongings.
It was then that he had heard the sniff, the smothered baby attempt to conceal tears that, nonetheless were determined to fall and give her away. And, as he looked around the darkened room, he caught sight of Phyllis in the doorway, dressed in her nightgown, her teddybear clutched protectively to her chest, and her wispy hair flying loose and messy around her face.
There was the unmistakeable sign of tears in her baby green eyes.
"Phyllis!" He exclaimed. "What are you doing up?"
"I wanted to show M...M...Mommy my p...pictures." Phyllis sniffled. Harvey hurried to scoop her up, holding her tightly.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart." He murmured. "Your Mommy has...has to go away."
"Why doesn't she want to stay with me?" Phyllis' childish bewilderment almost broke Harvey's heart a second time over.
"Oh, Phyllis..." He sighed, closing his eyes. "I wish I could answer that. I wish I knew how. All I know is that she just doesn't feel she can stay here any more."
"You had a big row." Phyllis sounded reproachful. "You yelled a lot...you told me yellin' was bad."
"And so it is, pet." Harvey sounded pained. "Look, I...I don't think now is a good time to talk, do you? You should be in bed, and I have a lot to think about. We'll talk in the morning before I go to work, okay?"
"No!" Phyllis wriggled away from his grasp. "I wanna talk to my Mommy, I wanna tell her to stay, I wanna..."
"No, Phyllis!" Harvey's raised voice came as a shock to both of them. "You're not to disturb your mother. You go straight to bed, you hear me? It's naughty of you being down so late and you shouldn't have been listening, it was a private talk between your mother and I."
"Don't shout at me." She said, her eyes hurt and angry and her expression unlike anything he had ever seen before. "You don't want me either!"
"Teddy an' me are goin' to bed." Resolutely Phyllis gathered up her bear, who had fallen when her father had hugged her. "Night night, Daddy."
"Goodnight, Phyllis." Harvey replied softly, his heart aching doubly hard. He had never raised his voice to his only child before, and he knew that he had hurt her.
But with Liza's shock announcement on his mind, he could barely focus on his daughter's needs. Slowly he got to his feet, walking across into his study and closing the door behind him.
Above his head he could hear the padding of tiny feet as Phyllis headed back to her bedroom, and somehow he knew things were never going to be the same again. That night had changed them all...and there was no going back.
Harvey pushed the photograph back into the desk drawer. Losing Liza
never quite been something he'd gotten accustomed to. He had loved her,
fact, sometimes he wondered if he still did love her, and it pained him
see not only her likeness but her flighty exhuberance of character so
shadowed in their only daughter. Everything Pizzazz did reminded him of
these days. Heck, even her choice in career. He had been adamantly
his daughter entering showbusiness, the memory was still fresh of
ambitions to sing, and of her eventual indiscretion with a wild rock
roller of the age. But she had done it anyway, and it had been a
wedge between them. Pizzazz was every bit as wild and dramatic as her
with all the makings of the social butterfly temperament that had so
and burned him. In truth he was afraid for her, but there was nothing
could do. He had left it too late to interfere in her life...perhaps he
left it too late to even hope to repair any part of their broken
"And if she hates me now, it's noone's fault but my own for allowing my own hurt and fears to take control and for getting too immersed in my work." He realised sadly. "I wish I knew what I could do..if there is anything I can still do to make it up to her." He sighed again. "Ah well. A few days in DC might just clear my head. I've felt none too clever this last week, if I'm honest, and I need to get some routine going again. Hopefully things will be better when I get back..."
Chapter One: The Magazine
Chapter Two: A Phone Call
Chapter Three: Washington DC
Chapter Four: Harvey Gabor
Chapter Five: Answering To Eric
Chapter Six: Breaking Down
Chapter Seven: Riot
Chapter Eight: A Change Of Luck
Chapter Nine: Harvey's Proposal
Chapter Ten: A Cunning Plan
Chapter Eleven: As It Should Be
(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)