Chapter Three: Tragedy

"Pizzazz, I don't think this is a good idea."

Jetta eyed her friend with a frown, folding her arms and leaning up against the car door. It was four o' clock in the morning, the sun had begun to lighten the sky and Pizzazz and Jetta were just beginning to call it a night. Jetta had suggested calling a taxi but Pizzazz was in an obstinate mood, and that was never a good sign.
"Why not?" The singer turned now, putting her hands on her hips and glaring at her friend. "Why can't I drive? Huh? You telling me I'm drunk or something? I'm fine!"

"I know you're not drunk." Jetta retorted. "But I'm also damn sure lettin' you take the wheel under any circumstances is bloody stupid, Pizzazz! Lettin' you take it when you 'ave 'ad a couple of drinks is just damn suicidal!"

"Look, are you coming or not?" It was clear Pizzazz was losing patience fast. "This is my car and I'm fine to drive! I can see straight, walk straight...I'm not slurring my words and I don't feel sleepy. I'm fine! You're just turning into a worry wart like Stormer and it's a major drag, Jetta!"

Jetta scowled.

"Get some sense." She snapped. "You're a shoo in for worst driver in California as it expect me to trust you at the wheel?"

"Fine. You drive then!" Pizzazz exclaimed, tossing the keys at the saxophonist, who only just caught them.

"Not a chance." She shook her head firmly. "I know when I've 'ad too much to drive, thank you, an' I ain't gonna take responsibility for no car after a night out like tonight! I ain't spendin' no time in a prison cell for drunk drivin'!"

"Then quit complaining and get in the car, unless you plan to walk." Pizzazz snapped, snatching back the keys and getting into the driver's seat before her companion could stop her. "Well? Make up your mind, and do it fast, else I'm goin' without you!"

"Oh, for heaven's sake." Jetta rolled her eyes, nevertheless opening the car door and getting inside. "There. But I'm only gettin' in because I think if we're both watchin' the road maybe we'll be less likely to screw up somehow!"

"You worry too much!" Pizzazz put the key in the ignition, revving the engine. "Right, let's go! Back to the mansion to shower and change then we'll wake those sleepyheads and be on set right in time for them to take pretty pictures." She cast Jetta a sidelong glance. "Maybe we'll be early and you'll get a moment or two alone with loverboy."

"Shut your face." Jetta snapped back, riled by this. She glanced out of the window. "I still don't think you should be drivin'. 'Ell, I don't think you should ever have been allowed to drive. Who gave you a licence anyhow?"

"Daddy was on the board of the school governers." Pizzazz told her sweetly, putting the car in gear and screeching out of the parking lot at three times the recommended speed. "They didn't dare fail me. I passed driver's ed no problem and Daddy bought me a jaguar to celebrate."

"Might've known." Jetta groaned. "No way you'd be damn legal otherwise!"

"I've never yet lost my licence." Pizzazz objected. "I don't often get a ticket, either, which is more'n can be said for you when you're hightailing it down the interstate trying to race the slowcoaches in the snail lane!"

"That's different." Jetta protested. "You can do that kinda speed on those roads an' 'alf the time they don't even blink." She smirked. "Or if they do, they miss you."
"Well, don't tell me about driving safe then!"

"Pizzazz, you only get out of speeding tickets, fines and suspensions because everyone knows you and knows you ain't to be tangled with, with the lawyers your Pa 'as." Jetta responded dryly, then, as the singer swerved to avoid a drunken pedestrian, she cursed.

"Hell, don't do that!"

"Well, I don't fancy a count of manslaughter." Pizzazz snapped. "Do you? What's up, can't stand the pace?"

"You're gonna make me bloody throw up if you carry on like this." Jetta retorted. "Do you even know how fast we're going?"

"Not a clue. I blew the speedometer." Pizzazz shrugged. "Chill, Jetta, it's not like we have far to go and I know this area like the back of my hand."

"Mmhm." Jetta raised an eyebrow. "Then why did you jus' take the first left instead of the second right?"

"Short cut." Pizzazz lied, inwardly berating herself for not paying better attention. "You'll see."

"Fine." Jetta shrugged resignedly. "We 'ave a couple of hours, it ain't like we're in an 'urry. We can take the scenic route."

Pizzazz muttered a curse, pulling onto the ringroad and screeching into top gear.

"Shut it with the wisecracks." She snapped. "We'll get there."

"Yeah, yeah." Jetta snorted. "I...Pizzazz, look out, for 'eaven's sake, what are you playin' at!" As a lorry pulled right out in front of them, cutting them off. Pizzazz stamped her foot down on the brake, swerving the car into an unmarked sideroad and cursed vehemently as she regained some control of the vehicle.
"Moron." She muttered. "What in hell was he doing?"

"You were on the wrong side of the road!" Jetta protested.

"What in Hell does a Brit know about which side to drive on?" Pizzazz snapped, putting the car fully in reverse and driving back up the road at top speed. "He should've signalled!"

"So should you be." Jetta pointed out. Pizzazz just sent her the vilest look she could muster, pulling back onto the main road and putting her foot down hard on the accelerator till sparks came from beneath the car.

"We'll get there." She snapped. "With or without your Little Miss British Knowall act!"

"Pizzazz, stop fooling and pay attention!" Jetta shrieked, waving her arm wildly in the direction of the windscreen, for the car had veered off the road and onto the pavement, heading directly for a derelict apartment block due to be pulled down. "For 'eaven's sake slow down!"

"I'm trying, I'm trying!" Pizzazz snapped back as she flung her foot down onto the brake pedal, but to no avail. The car screeched into the vacant lot behind the building, missing the rubble and brick by mere inches, but the tire caught on a shard of glass and, under the pressures of Pizzazz's driving technique it blew out, sending the vehicle careening into a full somersault. Jetta shrieked, reaching out to grab something - anything! - to steady herself and Pizzazz tried valiently to prevent the car from turning another full circle, in her desperation flinging open the driver's door and attempting to jerk it to a stop.

"Pizzazz, what are you doing!" Jetta exclaimed, grabbing for her friend's arm but in the juddering, crashing movement of the car Pizzazz's grip on the steering wheel slipped and she tumbled fully out of the door as the vehicle finally came to a standstill, dust and exhaust fumes everywhere.

Jetta tentatively pushed open her door, thanking her guardian angel that she had not been more than scratched and shaken by the violence of the accident. She clambered slowly out, placing her feet one by one onto the chalky ground below. She could see no sign of her companion.

"Pizzazz, where in 'ell are you! Answer me, dammit!"

Feeling sick and giddy with shock, Jetta made her way cautiously around the vehicle to the driver's side, glancing around her as she did so for any sign of her friend.
What she saw almost made her heart stop, and she had to take a deep breath to stop herself from fainting.

Pizzazz lay on the hard floor, the door of the car fully across her chest, trapping her beneath the vehicle. It was only, Jetta realised, thanks to a stray piece of rubble that the vehicle had not simply crushed her flat in the process, and the very thought turned her stomach. Hurrying down by her companion's side and wishing that she knew how to do CPR, Jetta felt feverishly for a pulse, finally finding one, weak, but reassuring. The singer's breaths were coming in short, erratic gasps, however, and it did not take a medical degree for the Briton to know that her friend was badly injured. Her eyes were closed and absently Jetta found herself thankful for this small mercy. Whatever Pizzazz's injuries were, it could do no good for the girl to be consciously aware of them.

"But what now?" She asked herself outloud, glancing around her in hopes of spotting a telephone box, or even a landmark she knew. "I can't just leave 'er 'ere, dammit, and I don't know what to do! Why in 'ell did I never pay attention when we did first aid trainin' at work? Why did I never let Laura bribe me into joinin' St John's Ambulance with 'er? I can't just do nothing, she'll die!

But Oh God...what am I gonna do!"


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