PART THREE: TO HELL AND BEYOND
Chapter Seven: New Recruit
"Raymond Flees State In Light Of
Impending Civil Suit."
Jetta dropped the newspaper down onto the breakfast table, narrowly
missing the stack of pancakes Stormer had just placed there. "Looks
like someone's gettin' the 'eebie-jeebies about this whole deal,
Pizzazz...with the court case looming, public enemy number one 'as done
"Let me see that." Pizzazz leant across to grab up the discarded paper,
setting down her spoon as she skimmed over the article. It was three
weeks on and, thanks to Harvey's legal contacts, the court date had
been firmly set for the end of the month. Since then, things had moved
quickly as both sides hurried to get their cases in shape for the
opening day as the local press had begun to go to town on the whole
business, quickly realising that backing a Gabor was the only way to go.
"Eric Raymond, the former chief
executive of Misfits Music was reportedly seen leaving California on a
plane bound for Toronto late last night, after the final attempt to
bring an out of court settlement was rejected by the company's lawyers."
She read. "Raymond was fired from the
music label's administration after allegations of mass embezzlement
were levelled. Court proceedings are set to begin at the end of the
month, amid rumours of a rift between Raymond and his legal team over
the case. "Raymond's departure for Toronto seems almost an admission of
guilt before the fact." said Humphrey Rourke, attorney for the
Gabor-owned music enterprise."
She dropped it back down onto the table.
"Not even a mention of me or any of us." She said, dissatisfied. "This
isn't a Gabor enterprise. It's a Misfit enterprise. And it's my Misfit
enterprise - a fact the court will get a clue about when I'm done with
"Toronto?" Stormer stared. "That's not even state-skipping. That's out
of country hopping! What's he going to do, claim political asylum?"
"I doubt the Canucks would want him." Roxy observed bluntly, helping
herself to a second serving of pancakes. "Who would?"
"He must know we're going to nail him." Pizzazz sat back in her seat.
"Which is the first time he's seen sense since this began. He has to
know that he's not going to win against Gabors...I guess it finally
"Or not." Jetta pursed her lips. "Maybe he's not fleeing out of the
country. Maybe he's moving his assets north. Out of Federal
"Accounting in Canada?" Pizzazz knitted her brows. "You mean that even
if we sue him, he'll have resources outside the US?"
"Well, I don't think there's anythin' Canadian about Eric, but I dare
say someone on 'is legal team 'as found a way to create a loophole."
Jetta agreed. "Seems fishy to me. An' considerin' we've no criminal
case goin' on, he's free to go where he wants to. He's not under
arrest. No charges 'ave been placed. It's a civil suit. There's no
guarantee he'll even be in court to 'ear all of this evidence we 'ave.
It's almost like he's startin' his new life while we're demolishin' his
old one...do you get that feelin' too?"
"Jerk." Roxy dropped her fork down onto her plate, pulling a face. "I
say we go north and smash him up."
"No." Pizzazz shook her head. "I'm done with him. If he wants to go to
Canada, well, let him. I'm not going after him. I want him out of my
hair and my line of vision, and even if he is moving his assets, we're
going to get a big settlement out of this. I guarantee it. He'll have
to find the money from somewhere. So what if he has it in Canadian
banks? He'll still have to pay up. Right?"
"Guess we'll see." Jetta shrugged. "But I think it's a given that 'e
won't try an' work in America again, after this. Crossin' the Gabors is
basic blacklistin' - he's too smart for that."
"And that suits me." Pizzazz got to her feet, scooping up her glass and
filling it with water from the filter. She leant up against the sink
unit, taking a sip. "I'm bored with all this legal stalling, anyway. I
just want to do it, now. Take it in there and get down to business,
Misfit style. Once it's over and done with, then we can move on. Right?
Justice done and all that crap."
"Are you going to drag us back to the music company again this
morning?" Roxy eyed her bandmate apprehensively. "I really hate the
office, Pizzazz. If we ain't playing music - and we ain't at the moment
- I'd rather not be there."
"I want Jetta." Pizzazz shrugged. "You and Stormer can do what you
"Me?" Jetta looked dismayed. "Pizzazz, it's Saturday!"
"So?" Pizzazz raised an eyebrow. "Misfits work weekends too, you know."
"But..." Jetta began, then faltered. She frowned.
"Whatever." She said at length. "Though if I didn't know better, I'd
have a pretty damn good idea why you wanted me today. Were you
eavesdroppin' on my phone calls again last night?"
"It's purely business." Pizzazz said briefly, emptying her glass and
setting it down on the drainer. "Now, quit whining and finish eating. I
want to leave soon and I can't sit around with you taking forever
"You've not eaten much." Stormer frowned. "Pizzazz, don't you want any
pancakes? You've barely touched your cereal."
"I've too much to do to worry about breakfast." Pizzazz snapped.
"Jetta, will you hurry up?"
"All right, already. I'm done." Jetta grimaced, finishing the last of
her breakfast and getting to her feet. "Though I don't know what all
the 'urry is about. It's only 'alf past nine an' most of the company
staff aren't goin' to be there on a weekend."
"That's why we're going there now. Today." Pizzazz responded. "Stop
complaining and get a move on."
Jetta sighed, rolling her eyes, but to Pizzazz's relief she made no
further demur, trailing out of the kitchen and into the hallway,
pulling on her favourite boots. Pizzazz grabbed her own jacket from the
peg, unlocking the front door and leading the way out to her waiting
vehicle. She unlocked it, climbing into the driver's seat and
indicating for Jetta to get in beside her.
The other girl hesitated, a doubtful look on her face, and Pizzazz
muttered a curse.
"Oh, for God's sake!" She exclaimed. "Get in the damn car, Jetta! I'm
not drunk, I've not even been drinking and noone is going to die,
already! Are you that chicken?"
"You drive like a maniac." Jetta retorted, nevertheless getting into
the vehicle and pulling the door shut behind her. "Just take it steady,
all right? You were lucky last time, but I don't trust you any more
behind the wheel now as I did before you drove us off the road."
"Blah, blah." Pizzazz rolled her eyes, reversing onto the main road and
glancing in the wing - mirror, pulling out onto the main road without
flashing her indicator. "I'm fine. It was a fluke accident. I don't
crash my car often, you know. It's not exactly a hobby."
"An' you should indicate before you do that." Jetta muttered. "Okay,
fine. So this business we're talking this morning. What the hell 'as it
to do with an empty music company an' me not 'angin' out at the beach
with Justin, huh?"
"You'll see." Was all Pizzazz vouchsafed, however, her gaze on the road
ahead. "Not here. Not till we get to the office."
"Fine." Jetta sat back in her seat with a sigh, watching the landscape
zip by. "You know, you don't have to...bloody hell, what are you
doin'!" As the car veered across the middle of the road, almost pulling
headlong into the path of an oncoming service bus. Jetta grabbed for
the wheel, but Pizzazz knocked her hand away, drawing the car back onto
the right hand side and safety. She glared at her friend.
"Don't do that! You almost got us killed!"
"I almost got us killed?"
Jetta demanded. "You're the one swerving."
Pizzazz closed her eyes briefly, fighting against the sudden spots
dancing in front of her eyes. She swallowed the bitter taste in her
mouth, setting her teeth as she focused her attention back on her
"You distracted me." She lied angrily, inwardly shaken by the sudden
dizzy spell. "So shut up and let me get there, all right? I don't want
to turn over two cars in a year."
Jetta looked mutinous, but she fell silent, and with some relief
Pizzazz was able to put her full concentration back on the road ahead.
By the time she reached the end of the road, the fuzziness in her head
had cleared, and she pulled neatly into the company parking lot,
stopping the car perfectly within her labelled bay. She shot Jetta a
"See, I told you I can drive this thing." She said, but there was more
relief in her voice than pride. She threw open the door, getting out
and gesturing towards the music company building. "Come on. Inside."
"I'm coming. But if you think I'm gettin' back in that car with you,
you're delusional." Jetta muttered, trailing up the steps and into the
building behind her friend. "Whatever you say about it, you're a maniac
in that damn car. I'm drivin' home, all right? Or I'm gettin' a damn
cab. I'm not goin' to wind up killed because you don't know which side
of the road you're drivin' down."
"Mutter mutter mutter." Pizzazz shot back at her with a glower. "Stop
it, will you? I have something else to talk to you about than my
driving, and it's a lot more important."
"Okay." Jetta held up her hands, grimacing. "Whatever. Where are we
going, anyhow? Eric's office?"
"It ain't Eric's office. Not any more."
"You know what I mean. The main office."
"If this is another opportunity for you to shove me in a room with
Elliot Martescu while you gallivant around the city..."
"Elliot isn't here. That's why we're here today - I'm going to speak to
him seperately." Pizzazz shook her head. "Will you stop questioning me
and just come upstairs? I want to talk somewhere where noone is going
to disturb us. There'll be noone up there today, and that's why we came
here. Okay? It's private. And quiet."
"Private and quiet?" Jetta looked wary. "All right. Now I'm worried.
But okay. I'll play along."
"Good choice." Pizzazz said grimly. She pressed the lift button,
watching the silver doors slide open, and then pulling her friend
inside, jabbing the button for the top floor. "Because with the court
case pretty much upon us, I want to make sure as much else is settled
As they reached the main office, Pizzazz reached into her pocket,
pulling out the key and unlocking the room, indicating for Jetta to
enter. The British girl did so, taking a seat hesitantly as her
companion shut the door behind them, leaning up against it.
"So what's this about?" Jetta asked. "Why the cloak and dagger, why the
need for peace an' quiet? What are we up to, plottin' in the office?
What's goin' on?"
"Nothing and everything." Pizzazz said cryptically, coming to sit down
behind the desk. She toyed idly with the paper tray, fixing her
companion with a thoughtful look. "I want your appraisal of Elliot,
first. What he's doing...company wise. How things are. You know you've
been my spy where he's concerned - or if you don't, you've been slow.
Now I want a report. Do you think he's got everything as under control
as he seems to?"
"Oh." Jetta's face cleared, and she shrugged her shoulders. "Guess so.
I mean, he 'as sorted out a lot of things an' he 'as at least asked my
opinion a few times in the last few weeks. He's a stiff in a suit but
I'd say he was doin' what 'Arvey sent 'im here to do. Why? Don't tell
me you're going to ask him to stay beyond this temporary spell?"
"God no." Pizzazz shuddered. "He's what you said - a stiff in a suit -
and we need to stop running this company that way."
"Well, I did tell 'im he needs to listen to us an' understand that we
do things a touch differently in the Misfit world." Jetta looked
amused. "I don't know if 'e took it on board."
She eyed her companion keenly.
"If you ask me, he's paid some attention to Stormer of late, actually."
She realised. "Have you noticed it? He's always hunting her down
whenever he kicks me out of the office. Do you think there's somethin'
going on there?"
"Damn sure of it, but I'll handle that." Pizzazz nodded grimly. "Let's
just say it's a good part of the reason why Elliot isn't staying
permanently in Los Angeles. You and Justin are bad enough. I'm not
going to give myself another headache. At least I can rely on you to be
pragmatic. Stormer's a damn romantic and has some silly ideas. It's a
disaster waiting to happen and I'm not going to give it the chance."
"So aside from my opinion on Elliot, why have you dragged me here?"
Jetta rested her chin in her hands, meeting her friend's gaze
quizzically. "I'm not interested in who Stormer is or isn't sleepin'
with an' if you want me to help you intervene, you won't get it. That
stuff is not my style or my business."
"Nope, I told you. I will deal with that." Pizzazz replied simply.
"This is something else. Something more important."
"I can't run this company on my own and be a Misfit." Pizzazz said
frankly. "Not only that, but I damn well don't want to, either. It's a
drag. I hate math. I hate business, period. I want to be out there
singing, not stuck here filing papers. I don't get it and I never will.
Why should I have to? I'm rich. I can pay other people to do that."
"People like Eric." Jetta looked thoughtful. "Go on."
"Not people like Eric." Pizzazz shook her head. "Not any more. I told
you - no more suits, no more men. No more people telling us what to do."
"But then you have to run the company. No other option left."
"There is another option." Pizzazz's piercing green eyes bored into
Jetta's grey ones. "I go into partnership. With someone who couldn't
possibly screw over the company, because their interests are tied up in
it. One hundred percent."
Jetta blanched, and she muttered a curse.
"Me?" She managed at length.
"Bloody hell, Pizzazz, have you lost all of your senses?"
"I think it makes perfect sense." Pizzazz folded her arms across her
chest. "One, you're a Misfit. Two, your work permit relies on this
company, so if anything happened to Misfits Music, you'd lose out too.
Three, you've spent more time with Elliot in the office over the last
few weeks, so you do know something of what you're doing. Four..."
"Something of what I'm doing?" Jetta interrupted, her incredulation
growing. "What do I know about running a business? I've spent a few
sessions being bored to death by Elliot, that's all. And who says I
want to do this, huh? I'm not a businesswoman! I didn't go to college
any more than you did! I'm a musician, Pizzazz. I didn't want the study
bug life. I ain't got trainin' or qualifications or...and what about
the Misfits? I play with the band too, you know! Are you goin' to hoof
me out of that, expectin' me to run round your little office instead?"
"Shut up, will you?" Pizzazz held up her hands. "You're giving me a
headache and besides, this isn't a negotiation. I told you. This
company and your contract - all of that is tied up together. One thing
fails and so does the other. I'm telling you what's going to happen.
Not asking your opinion."
"I thought this was a free country!" Jetta bristled. "What's to stop me
going back to England by choice?"
"Fine, do that." Pizzazz shrugged. "No more Misfits, no more fame...no
more precious photographer Justin. That can happen, if you want it to."
Jetta swore, shaking her head.
"You're mad." She whispered. "If you want this company to succeed, you
need someone who knows what they're doing! Someone with experience and
all of those things...things I don't 'ave! I got A Level Maths an'
that's about it - I don't know the first thing about runnin' a company!"
"So Elliot will use the rest of his time here training you." Pizzazz
said comfortably. "See, I don't care about qualifications or
experience. What I care about is having someone in this office who I
know ain't going to stab me in the back. You have way too much resting
on the Misfits to do that, so I know that you're a safe bet. Besides,
you sorted out the sponsorship stuff, without Elliot's prompting or
help. You came up with the idea for new investments, if Elliot's to be
believed. You're smart. We both know that. You might as well learn to
use your brain to our benefit. And I'm not saying you're going to carry
the whole shebang. This is my show. But I can't do it on my own. So I
need you. We'll both do it. Together."
Jetta glanced at her hands.
"And what if I screw it up?" She murmured. "I'm not that smart,
Pizzazz. Not that clever. Not that capable. What if I wreck it all?"
"Well, you'd better learn how not to." Pizzazz said acerbically. She
paused, eying Jetta for a moment. Then,
"I need someone in here that I can trust. And someone who understands
what the Misfits are about." She said quietly. "There ain't noone else.
I'm not bringing in another Eric. I won't have a man rule my company
again, not ever. I want someone I know, and someone who gets it. All of
it. You do. Elliot's told me as much about you as I've gleaned from you
about him. He doesn't know it yet, but he's been spying for me, too. So
stop whining, and face up, huh? This is how it's going to be. I
wouldn't say it if it wasn't the only - and best - idea."
Jetta raised her gaze to Pizzazz's, a troubled look on her face.
"I bloody hope you're right." She said at length.
"I'm always right."
"No, you're not." Jetta shook her head. "Sometimes you're bloody
insane. An' this might be one of those times, you know. One of those
moments when you're out of your bleedin' head an' you don't 'ave a clue
what kind of mess you're gettin' into."
"So are you chicken, then?" There was a challenge in Pizzazz's tone.
"Have I underestimated you?"
Jetta sighed. Slowly she shook her head.
"No." She said finally. "If that's the deal, I guess I'm in. But
dammit, this could be the worst idea you've ever had. An' I hope you
can live with it, if this decision brings your company down to it's
knees yet again!"