Chapter Three: Washington DC
It was late in the afternoon by the time the two Misfits arrived in
capital, and by that time it seemed that the press had already gotten a
of the latest news scoop, for there were a flock of reporters buzzing
the scene, waiting for them to emerge from the arrivals lounge.
Pizzazz had spoken little all flight, her expression indicating that she was in one of her sulks and it was better not to attempt converdation. Indeed, Stormer had not dared to try and penetrate the wall of silence that the other girl had surrounded herself in.
The singer pushed through the eager quote hunters with an impatient 'outta my way', and hailed a taxi cab to take them to the DC Gabor estate.
"Aren't we going to see your father?" Stormer asked hesitantly. Pizzazz scowled.
"We're doing this my way." She snapped. "I wanna dump this junk, clean up, and then we're going to his office to find out exactly what happened and what hospital they got him in. Shut up and leave it to me, huh? Or I'll stick you on the next plane home."
"I'm sorry." Stormer bit her lip, falling silent.
Pizzazz did not answer, turning her attention to the window as she gazed out at the passing scenery. Quiet reigned once more, and this time Stormer could not find the courage to breach it.
The Gabor Mansion in Washington DC was not much different to it's Californian cousin in LA, and after a brief stop to dump luggage, Pizzazz ordered the taxi driver to take them to the big office building which was one of the nuclei of Harvey's international business empire.
Though Stormer had visited the Los Angeles office more than once in the past, she had never visited the Washington equivalent, and it took her breath away, for it was immense in every sense of the word. The name GABOR was emblazoned on the side in large red letters, and it seemed at least thirty-five storeys high, if not much higher still.
Pizzazz did not give it a second thought, merely pushing open the double doord and stalking across the lobby to the lift, snapping at Stormer to 'quit lagging' and 'keep up'.
Stormer quickened her pace, hardly wanting to antagonise her angry bandmate more.
"This place is amazing." She observed, as Pizzazz jabbed the floor number into the lift's control pad.
The singer shrugged.
"You reckon? I don't. Cold, horrible place." She pulled a face. "Needs a good designer and people with taste to fix it up. Reminds me of a prison."
"Oh!" Stormer looked startled at the feeling in her companion's observation. "Well, I guess it is kinda barren..."
"Can the small talk, will ya?" Pizzazz interrupted. "I got other things to worry about."
Stormer wisely shut her mouth, watching the big steel lift doors slide leisurely apart, and then following her companion along the clinically bare corridor to a room at the far end. As she walked, she glanced around her thoughtfully, remembering Pizzazz's remarks about it being prisonlike.
"I can see what she means now." She mused. "I guess size isn't everything. But I wonder what made her say it...it wasn't very like her at all."
Pizzazz, meanwhile, had seen no need to knock on the door of the office, which was adorned with a plate bearing the name 'Harvey Gabor' in black letters. She swung it open, casting her gaze around at the four occupants - three men and a woman - that awaited them.
The man closest to the door stood to greet them.
"Miss Gabor?" He addressed Pizzazz. "I'm Elliot Martescu. I'm..."
"I don't care who you are or what your job is." Pizzazz snapped back at him before he could finish. "I wanna know where my father is and what happened, okay? And don't dawdle about! I don't wanna spend longer in this hellhole than I gotta!"
"He's at the Theodore Roosevelt Hospital, off fifth avenue." Elliot looked a little startled at her brashness, but recovered himself quickly. "He suffered a heart attack at nine o' clock this morning, and was taken there as soon as help could be alerted. As far as we know he's stable, but it's still not certain how things will go inthe long run."
"You a doctor?" Pizzazz demanded abruptly.
"Of course not!" Elliot frowned.
"Then quit it with the pretend diagnosis." Pizzazz told him cuttingly. "I'm going to the hospital...Stormer, you stay here with these losers. I don't want you tagging on after me and getting in my way. If you need a car, call for one and have it put on the family tab, you got it?"
"Yes, Pizzazz." Stormer nodded, realising that obedience was the best way to deal with the singer in her present temper.
"Miss Gabor, one other thing. With your father...indisposed, we need some direction from you as his next of kin and heiress as to who should run his business affairs in the interim." One of the other men spoke up.
"Do I look like I care which of you stupid stiffs runs things?" Pizzazz snapped, and Stormer winced at her tone, although beneath the anger there were signs that, in her confusion the singer was verging on panic. "Daddy's business is Daddy's affair, not mine. I didn't come to DC to play minder to a bunch of losers in suits!"
"But Miss Gabor..."
"Listen. Whoever ranks highest in my father's administration should take over and maintain things till he's better." Pizzazz rolled her eyes. "Now can I go? Please?"
Her tone was mocking, and without waiting for an answer she was gone, door swinging shut behind her.
"She's just...worried..." Stormer faltered, as an awkward silence threatened to engulf the room.
"Don't worry, miss. I've known Harvey's daughter since she was a kid, and she never changes." the third businessman - the eldest of the group put in. "Always thinking of her own needs before anyone else. More spoiled brat you'll never meet."
"I suppose that her delegation leaves you in charge, Elliot." The woman smiled. "If you need a hand, just yell, okay?"
"I just hope Harvey recovers soon." Elliot frowned. "The business needs his guiding hand, and I only hope I can keep things ticking over. If anything should happen to him...I can't imagine his daughter stepping into his shoes."
"Not Miss Phyllis." His elder companion assured him. "Has her head in the clouds of some rock and roll band and couldn't give two hoots about proper business. She'll never make anything decent of herself down those lines. I feel for Harvey sometimes...he must have been disappointed in how she turned out."
Stormer frowned at this.
"That's not totally fair." She murmured. "Pizzazz...Phyllis has the right to choose what she wants to do with her life."
"I dare say she does, my dear." The man smiled at her. "But noone ever gained respectability prancing around on stage." He stood. "Well Lillian, Peter, we'd better get back to our desks and let Elliot work out how he wants things to proceed while we wait for news of Harvey. Let's leave him to it. Good luck, my boy!"
Once they were gone, Elliot cast Stormer a glance.
"You don't agree with Steven's ideas on careers, then?" He observed. Stormer blushed slightly.
"I...probably shouldn't have said anything." She faltered. "It' not my business."
"No, I'm interested." Elliot smiled at her. "By the way, I didn't catch your name?"
"Oh! Mary. Mary Phillips." Stormer returned the smile shyly. "And...well, I suppose I'm a bit biased in the matter."
"Am I to presume you're one of the rock and roll outfit that Steven likes to call airy fairy nonsense?" Elliot asked shrewdly. Stormer blushed again, nodding.
"Yes...I'm songwriter and synth player for the Misfits." She agreed. "And it's not airy fairy nonsense. Music is the most beautiful thing in the world and I wouldn't want to be a part of any other career. If you can make people happy by doing something that makes you happy, why should you stop?"
"Strong words." Elliot looked amused. "You don't seem like the kind of friend I'd have picked for the enterprising Miss Gabor, mind you. Pardon me for saying it, but you don't seem to have a lot in common."
"I'm not sure we're friends. I don't think she likes me much." Stormer admitted. "But our career requires us to work together, so we do."
"Oh, I see." Elliot replied. "What about you? Do you like her?"
"Yes." She said at length. "Though sometimes she scares me. I admire her...she's strong and independant and she does things I'd never dare try. I've often wished I could be more like her."
"I think you'd do better giving that one up." Elliot responded. "We all know a fair bit about Miss Gabor, and the hell she's put her father through over the years. In truth, it's a wonder he hasn't suffered some kind of heart attack before this...she's done enough to make his hair whiter than it already is." He smiled. "This is the first time I've had the dubious pleasure of meeting her...I must say that I admire Harvey all the more for his forbearance."
"Everyone is always so quick to judge everyone else." She murmured, moving over to the window.
"What do you mean?" Elliot looked startled.
"What I said." Stormer replied. "You've judged Pizzazz on one brief meeting, when her father is critically ill, and top of her priorities. I'm sorry, but it doesn't seem quite...fair."
"You never judge on first impressions, then?"
"I try not to." Stormer admitted. "And I don't like disliking people either, if I can help it." She smiled. "I live with Pizzazz and my other two bandmates, and it's probably true that I'm not very like any of them, but I feel that I know them well enough these days to understand them, and when you understand someone, it's easier to like them. Don't you think?"
"Well, I'll certainly keep that in mind next time I encounter Harvey's daughter!" Elliot laughed. "You're quite a speaker for someone so young - how old are you, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Just twenty two." Stormer replied.
"Young to be so perceptive." Elliot observed. Stormer blushed.
"I'm a writer." She murmured. "I guess I have to look for things more because of it."
She glanced down at the street below.
"We're awful high up here." She murmured. "I had no idea that Harvey Gabor's business empire stretched to buildings like this one."
"He's a very rich man." Elliot came to join her. "And a good employer too, most of the time. This place is no bigger than his company headquarters in, say, London, or Tokyo. As I'm sure you've realised, he's a big fan of international business."
"Yes. I know he travels a lot." Stormer nodded.
"Even so, he's usually only a phonecall away if we need his help." Elliot frowned. "And when it comes to the crunch, he tends to take on the heavy stuff himself. Sign of a good businessman, that."
"Yes, but at what cost?" Stormer sighed, turning away from the view.
"You think this was work related?" Elliot looked startled. Stormer shrugged.
"I don't know." She admitted. "All I know is that it could take Pizzazz's father away...I know what it's like to lose a parent."
"It was all very sudden." Elliot said gravely. "He's always been in good health before this. Perhaps he worked a little too hard, then, when he was in Los Angeles last week. He did seem preoccupied when he got back from California."
Stormer bit her lip, remembering Pizzazz's row with her father. Had that been the cause? Not for the first time, she began to wonder if maybe Harvey's family loyalties were not quite as misplaced as many people assumed them to be.
"To be honest, I'm a bit surprised his daughter bothered to make an appearance." Elliot admitted. "You know her better than me...I'd understood her to be entirely egocentric."
"I...guess she is." Stormer acknowledged slowly. "But she's not...oh, I don't know. I can't explain it. I guess I don't know why she came either. She hasn't cried...not that I'd expect it of her anyway. It's hard to know what she's thinking."
"Mark my words, she's going to get herself into trouble one of these days." Elliot rolled his eyes. "Harvey thinks the world of her, you know. Heaven knows why. Fatherly love is blind, I suppose. Or maybe it's because she's all he has. He has photos in his desk of her as a small girl, and even a couple with his ex-wife in. He's never had it easy where women are concerned. All after his money."
"What happened to Pizzazz's mother?" Stormer asked softly.
"You don't know the story?" Elliot looked surprised.
"No. Pizzazz never talks about her, I assumed she died."
"No. Liza Gabor, or whatever she calls herself these days is still very much alive, to my knowledge." Elliot replied. "She walked out on Harvey twenty years or more ago...ran off with another man and was never heard of again, from all accounts. Got a nice big divorce settlement out of him, and vanished. Tore him up, from what Steven's said. They're old friends, you know."
"That's horrible!" Stormer's eyes became big with horror and compassion for her bandmate. "Poor Mr Gabor...and poor Pizzazz! She must have been so young!"
"I guess she was. Four or five, anyway." Elliot agreed. "Not a nice business, in all. Steven says that Phyllis turned out a lot like her mother and it's been hard for Harvey to come to terms with."
"I see." Stormer looked thoughtful. "I never knew. But..."
"But?" Elliot looked surprised.
"Nothing." Stormer shook her head. "It just explains a few things, that's all."
Inwardly she recounted events over the two years she had known the singer, and things began to fall into place. Pizzazz's desperation for attention was not all her father's fault...but the fault of a runaway mother who had abandoned her daughter and forfeited the child's love.
"Poor Pizzazz." She murmured again. She glanced up, meeting Elliot's gaze, and offering him a shy smile.
"You must have a lot to do." She said softly. "And I could do with going back to the Gabor place and getting some rest while I can...so I won't keep you any longer."
"Really, it's been no trouble." Elliot returned the smile. "It's been nice to meet you, Miss Phillips."
"Oh! Mary, please." Stormer blushed.
"Mary, then." Elliot grinned. "You've given me a lot to think about. Can I call you a car?"
"That would be great, thanks." Stormer nodded. She sighed. "I wonder how Pizzazz is getting on at the hospital?"
"I doubt she'll spend much time there, once she's ascertained that her father is there and alive." Elliot replied. "She doesn't strike me as the sickroom type."
"Me either." Stormer replied. "But if he's all she's got..." She frowned. "I guess we'll see, won't we?"
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)