Chapter Ten: Misfits To Arms

"The Stingers are out on a photoshoot this morning."

Jetta glanced out of the window of the music studio, a dark look on her face as she surveyed the street below. "I 'eard Rapture talking to Minx about it as I came in this morning, and I know they were talking about it deliberately loudly to annoy me, as well. The Misfits are out of action, so Eric 'as switched band loyalties, at least for the time being. After Riot's little sojourn to the Gabor place the other night, it seems a touch fishy."

"Not really." Roxy glanced up from where she was rewiring her guitar with new strings. "Riot's a smarmy jerk. He probably scared that wimp Eric into doing things for his group. Besides, Eric's all about the money. If we can't bring in the money, they will."

"Roxy's probably right." Stormer agreed. "I heard from Magique that the Stingers are filling in for us at several tour dates we can't now do because of the accident. It wouldn't surprise me if Riot decided to go right for the jugular after he failed to get to Pizzazz through us. He's definitely had words with Eric on some level, because the Stingers have been in a buzz for the last few days, and that's not altogether normal."

"No, it ain't." Jetta sighed. "But what can we do? We're one Misfit down, an' she's not really someone we can replace. We can all play an' we could sing if we wanted to, but we ain't the Misfits without Pizzazz an' Riot knows it as well as anyone. He's takin' advantage."

"Did you think that he wouldn't?" Stormer snorted, shaking her head. "It's just like him. Like I said, he and Eric don't care that she's hurt. Only about power and money."

"I care about us getting squashed by those two plottin' together." Jetta said blackly. "Though there's not much that can be done about it right now. Dr Garcia might 'ave let you spend ten minutes with 'er the other day, Stormer, but he flat refused to let me in yesterday, because the last time 'e did she developed a temp the next day. It wasn't even my fault - I told 'er to quit talkin' so much."

"If we can't get to see Pizzazz, we certainly can't get her to do anything about them." Roxy grimaced. "She's such a doofus anyhow, getting smashed up in an accident right at the moment, when we need to be on top. We've had the biggest success wave of our careers up until lately. Why did she have to go mess it all up?"
"I'm fairly sure it weren't on purpose." Jetta snapped.

"Well, you were in the car. Why did you let her drive?" Roxy shot back. "Any idiot knows that Pizzazz is the world's worst driver even when she hasn't had a drink!"
"She's not easy to persuade and what was I gonna do, let her go off alone?" Jetta put her hands on her hips. "If I'd driven I woulda wound up getting stopped or something because I know I was over the legal limit and I know my luck! She has a better way with cops than I do and besides, she said she wasn't drunk. Not to mention the fact that the hospital agree with that - it was an accident! I ain't a bleedin' psychic - I didn't know we were going to crash!"

"Time out, you two." Stormer held up her hands. "I'm trying to work out the outline of this song, but I can't if you are going to argue."

"What's the bleedin' point in writing? We may never get to record it." Jetta sighed, dropping down onto the unit in defeat. "We don't even know 'ow she is, not really. Just that we've been banned from seein' 'er in case we make 'er worse. It's gonna be ages before we can lay down a track again, an' we all know it. IF we can lay down a track again. Her lung might be fixed but who's to say she can sing like she did before? Eric might be smart, goin' all out for the Stingers. It might be that the Misfits are as finished as Jem an' the 'Olograms are since Jem quit on them an' disappeared off to wherever."

"The Holograms are still recording." Stormer pointed out. Jetta snorted.

"Yeah, an' very successful they are too." She said derisively. "Oh, we all know that they're good musicians, but the world was in love with Jem an' that stupid secret identity thing she 'ad goin' on. Without 'er, they're just another act. Sure, they're an act with damn fine stage effects, but that's about it. They ain't different from any other group in American rock these days."

"Which is precisely why Pizzazz has to get fixed up." Roxy added. "Because I ain't gonna be in a second rate band. We're Misfits. We rock, and we need her."
"Yes, I know we do." Stormer sighed, pushing her manuscript aside. "I hoped that by trying to write it would take my mind off everything, but it hasn't. I guess we just have to be as patient as we can, and hope the world doesn't forget about us in the meantime."

"They'd better not forget." Roxy cracked her knuckles contemplatively. "Else we'll have to give them a wake-up call."

"I thought that you girls might be here."

A voice from the doorway interrupted the conversation and the girls turned their attention to their visitor, confusion mixed with consternation registering on their faces as they recognised the speaker.

"Mr Gabor!" Jetta slipped down off the unit, casting him an uncertain look. "Why are you here?"

"I was looking for you three. You're not easy girls to track down." Harvey spoke quietly, his grey eyes serious. "I expected you back at my estate - since you usually spend far too much time there."

"Have you news on P...Phyllis?" Stormer's blue eyes became big with anxiety. "Is she all right?"

"Phyllis is a lot better this morning, though still healing." Harvey nodded. "I understand that you were banished from seeing her the other night, but I wanted to ask you to come pay her a visit again, now that her chest is stronger and she's less prone to taking fever. I'm worried that she's getting bored and I don't want her to fret about her situation more than is necessary." He frowned. "She's been upsetting nurses and there's only so much that I can do to convince them to keep her on, even where money is concerned. Dr Garcia is the best in his field and I want her to continue being treated by him until she is ready and well enough to leave the hospital. I hoped that you might be able to relieve her frustration."

"Pizzazz is always frustrated about something." Roxy observed off-handedly.

"Well, it concerns me that one nurse has handed in her notice since Phyllis's accident. I don't want the hospital getting a bad idea of my family." Harvey said tiredly. "She's my daughter but sometimes I don't think she has much time for my advice or opinions. She seems to listen to you girls a lot more, and to be honest, I don't think she has any other friends to pay her a visit. I've spoken to Dr Garcia and he's agreeable now that you girls could go and see her, if you wanted to do so."
"We need to talk to her anyway." Jetta said slowly. "So I guess since there's nothin' we can do 'ere, we're 'eadin' to the 'ospital. Come on, girls. Let's go relieve our fearless leader from 'er 'ospital frustration!"

"Yes, that's more like it."

Alan nodded his head, casting his patient a smile. "Your stitches are healing nicely, Miss Gabor, and I'm glad you've been following my advice a little more. You'll soon be well enough to be discharged."

"I've told you already not to call me that." Pizzazz spoke in hoarse, petulant tones. "And I've not had much choice but to do what you tell me to do! You've stopped anyone interesting from coming to see me, you've changed my nurses so I have a psycho bitch from hell who comes to give me my medicine and check things, and you're always flitting in and out to gawk at my stitches. Anyone would think you'd never seen a woman's chest before, the way you behave."

Alan stared at her for a moment, then he laughed.

"Your father doesn't number among the interesting, then?" He asked playfully. Pizzazz shrugged.

"He fusses." She said wearily. "He tells me what I should be doing and I get sick of it. I should go out clubbing less, I should spend more time at my company, I should learn to drive in a responsible manner, I should grow up and take some responsibility now I have a business to run..." She rolled her eyes. "There's nothing like being nagged by your Dad."

"Wouldn't know." Alan slung his stethoscope around his neck. "Never had one."

"I thought you were a doctor. Don't doctors do biology these days? Of course you have one." Pizzazz looked scornful. Alan grimaced back at her.
"Yes, in the biological sense. Not in the actual sense. My parents split up when I was a baby. My mother raised my brother and me on her own. I never met my father."

Pizzazz opened her mouth to retort, then paused.

"He walked out on you?" She asked, surprised. "What was he, some no good criminal or something?"

"No. Actually he was a doctor." Alan looked rueful.

"So why become a doctor, then?" Pizzazz was confused. Alan shrugged.

"Maybe it's in my blood. It's all I wanted to do." He admitted. He smiled. "And your father hopes you'll be like him, that's all. It wouldn't be a bad path to follow, you know. He's been very successful."

"I'm not a businesswoman. I woulda failed math only he bribed the school not to flunk me." Pizzazz dismissed this with a careless gesture. "In a manner of speaking. He was on the school governers and there was an understanding about a new varsity pool and funding when the final exam results came out for my grade. I'm a singer. That's what's in my blood. Daddy's business is so boring." She stifled a yawn.

"But I thought you owned Misfit Music."

"I do." Pizzazz nodded. "But I don't do all the boring paperwork stuff. I employ someone else to do that." She smirked. "I told you. I'm a singer. That's what I do. I perform."

"Your father didn't strike me as the musical type." Alan looked interested, scooping up her chart and making a note on it. "Did you inherit that from your mother?"
A black scowl crossed Pizzazz's face.

"We don't talk about her." She said darkly. "Not ever."

Alan pursed his lips, then shrugged.

"I'm sorry." He responded. "I didn't realise it was a sore subject."

"As far as I'm concerned she might as well be dead. That's what she is to me." Pizzazz spoke coldly. "You should understand. She left when I was four to run off with some rock-star boyfriend and live the high life. She was fickle, stupid and unfaithful to my father. Like I said - we don't talk about her."

Alan eyed her keenly, noting the hurt in the green eyes. He nodded.

"Okay. I won't mention her again." He agreed. "I didn't mean to upset you. Guess I don't have much feeling either way for my Dad - he just wasn't there. But then I don't remember him. I guess it makes a difference."

He shrugged, glancing at his watch. "I have to go and see how Mr Randall is doing now. I told your father that your friends can come see you today, so long as they don't excite you too much. You're doing well - healing quicker than I anticipated - but I don't want to set you back."

"Gabors are tough." Pizzazz eyed him with a steely smile.

"So I realise." Alan smiled. "All right, Miss Gabor..."

"Dammit, what's wrong with my name!" Despite herself, Pizzazz could not keep the petulance out of her tone, and her outburst was followed by a coughing fit that left her breathless. Alan cursed, hurrying back to the bedside.

"I told you you can't try and do anything fancy with your voice yet!" He scolded. "Stop it! You'll upset everything!"

"I...I told you to call Phyllis." Pizzazz managed. "Why should I listen to you if...if won't listen to"

Alan frowned.

"I'm not sure it's the same thing." He said gently. "My instructions are for the good of your health, and..."

"And maybe m...mine are for the g...good of yours." Pizzazz raised challenging eyes to his. "I'm a Gabor. You don't cross Gabors. Trust me."

Alan held up his hands.

"All right." He conceded. "I'll cut a deal. You rest now until your friends arrive - providing they can come today - and you adhere to my instructions about taxing your poor lung. In return I'll call you Phyllis and not Miss Gabor, and I won't mention your mother. Fair enough?"

"Not really, but it'll do." Pizzazz nodded grudgingly. "Miss Gabor sounds old, staid, boring and mouldy. And I am not any of those!"

"No, you certainly are not." Alan agreed. "Then it's agreed. And now I must go and see Mr Randall. I need to speak to his wife and they'll wonder where I am."

Pizzazz watched him leave, settling herself back on her pillows. Her breathing had calmed now, and inwardly she berated herself for allowing the moment of weakness.

"If he doesn't think I'm getting better, he won't send me home." She mused. "And I'm sick of the staff in this place."

She toyed with her covers.

"Mind you, I suppose I could do worse for a doctor. At least he's decent scenery. Not like that ugly old bitch who woke me up at six this morning to force feed me some vile medicine."

She grimaced. "It's just so boring being here. I like doing things, not lying about waiting for things to happen. Hell, I'm at the stage when I'd even go over a tax form if it meant I could go out to the Red Rock for lunch after and not eat hospital slop. The promise of coming off the drip was way overrated. They don't serve healthy people this crap in the real world - how on earth do they suppose it's gonna help the sick? Bah. Hospitals suck!"

"So how are we goin' to address this with 'er?"

Downstairs in the hospital lobby, the three remaining Misfits had shaken off the inquisitive attentions of a group of stray reporters, gathering together near the lift and blocking everyone else's passage as they debated their next move. "Do we jus' breeze in there an' tell 'er it straight or what?"

"Works for me." Roxy pursed her lips. "She can't miss the message then."

"What exactly are we supposed to be telling her, though? That Eric's promoting the Stingers to keep Misfit Music going and that she has to stop him?" Stormer sighed. "I don't like Riot and his girls getting the attention any more than you two, but you can see why, when you think about it. Eric cares about the dollars and about his paycheque. He doesn't care which band he's promoting so long as he gets his cut."

"But he's promoting the wrong band." Roxy protested. Stormer spread her hands.

"I know that." She replied. "But we don't exactly have a band right at the moment."

"Then I vote we tell Pizzazz exactly what you said, an' see what she says about it." Jetta decided, banging the lift buttons impatiently. "If this bloody thing is ever going to get to our floor!"

"Excuse me, are you ladies waiting for the elevator?" A middle aged man asked them. Roxy turned, glaring at him.

"Yeah we are, and we were here first, so wait your turn." She snapped. "We're here on important business."

"I'm sure there will be room in the elevator for everyone." Stormer said hurriedly, as the man stared. "Roxy, we don't want to be kicked out before we get to her floor."

"Well, it's not my fault that the thing's taking forever to get down to us." Roxy shrugged, folding her arms and fixing the gentleman with an unnerving glower. The man took a couple of steps backwards.

"It's fine, I...I'll take the stairs." He gabbled. "I need the exercise anyway!"

"Wimp." Jetta chuckled.

"Roxy, you scared him." Stormer reproached. Roxy shrugged, unconcerned.

"Do I look bothered?" She demanded. "Our entire career is at stake here, and you're worried about some pushy old gent? I don't know if you realise it, Stormer, but no more Misfits means no more performing, no more of your precious more Gabor mansion, no more touring..."

"No more work permit." Jetta added darkly. Roxy pursed her lips.

"So there are some fringe benefits." She conceded at length. Jetta glared at her.

"I thought we were in this together." She snapped. "At least until Pizzazz is back to full 'ealth. Who's side would you rather be on, huh? Mine or Riot and 'is stupid Stingers'?"

"Yours, I guess, if that's the choice." Roxy grimaced. "But only because Riot stinks of cheap aftershave and walks around Misfits Music like he owns the joint."

"He did, once, and that's what we have to prevent happening again." Stormer said softly, as the doors of the lift slid open at last, allowing them inside. "That's why we're really here, girls. The other night Riot was all for ousting Eric and getting control of the music company. Today they're bosom buddies. Somewhere an agreement has been struck and it's one which edges the Misfits out of everything. The Stingers get our shows, our publicity and our appearances. They'll be releasing some new single which will be hyped with all of Misfits Music's backing. Pizzazz might not be able to sing, but she has got the clout to control what the Stingers do. Eric too. We don't have that."

"When you put it like that, I guess the direct approach probably is the best." Jetta frowned. "Otherwise, well, what does this mean for the Misfits?"


Part One: Summer, 1989
Chapter One: Alone
Chapter Two: A Night Out
Chapter Three: Tragedy
Chapter Four: Aftermath
Chapter Five:  Alan Garcia

Chapter Six: Fire vs Fire
Chapter Seven: Eric

Chapter Eight: Ambition
Chapter Nine: Eric's Offer
Chapter Ten: Misfits To Arms