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 a runner."

"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 this case."

"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 sank in."

"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 jurisdiction."

"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 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 like."

"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 gorging yourself."

"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 driving.

"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 triumphant glance.

"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 possible."

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 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."

"Then what?"

"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 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!"

Part Three: To Hell And Beyond
Chapter One:  Confrontations
Chapter Two: Harvey Gabor
Chapter Three:  Aftershock
Chapter Four:  Enter The Cavalry
Chapter Five:  Executive Meeting

Chapter Six:  Legal Wrangles
Chapter Seven:  New Recruits

The Boring Disclaimer:
Pizzazz is not my character - she and the Misfits were created by Hasbro and given life by Christy Marx and the writers of the Jem series. However, the events, concepts and plotline contained in this story is my own and may not be duplicated. Justin, Alan and any character not featured in the Jem cartoon are entirely my creation and are also not to be duplicated anywhere else.