“Okay, so it’s finalised? Good…about time.” Pizzazz twisted the cord of the telephone around her finger idly as she spoke, her tone one of decided irritation. “Eric, you were meant to have this settled up last Friday! Are you sure you haven’t messed up again? We want to be staying in a hotel, you got it? Not a horsebox!”
“Calm down, Pizzazz, it’s seen to.” Eric’s voice came down the line loud and clear. He was frustrated himself – in many ways returning to work for the enterprising Miss Gabor had not been a primo career move, but she had given him little option. Pizzazz’s malicious streak where vengeance was concerned meant that she was enjoying every minute of making him squirm, and there was nothing he could do about it. “I do know something about this job, you know.”
“Well, we’ll see who knows what when we get to the east coast.” Pizzazz said smoothly. “Bye, Eric. See you tomorrow morning…and don’t forget the car!”
With that she returned the receiver to it’s holder, leaving the executive still fuming on the other end of the line, and sauntering into the lounge where the other Misfits were waiting for her. It was a typical Misfit afternoon in the Gabor house – Stormer was stretched out on the floor, flicking idly through the latest edition of Music USA magazine, and looking for any tips and tidbits she could find. Roxy and Jetta were sprawled over various pieces of furniture, squabbling over which channel to watch, and fighting over the handset. Sometimes it ended in a cushion fight, through which Stormer would always calmly remain focused on her reading, unperturbed by the chaos around her, but today Pizzazz had more important things to discuss with them. Snatching the handset from Roxy’s grip, she switched the set off, dropping the offending article down onto the coffee table.
“Hey!” Jetta protested.
“We were watching that!” Roxy agreed.
“Listen up.” Pizzazz wasn’t paying attention. “Stormer! You too!”
“Huh?” Drawn from her concentration, Stormer glanced absently up from her reading.
Pizzazz was at her side in an instant, clapping her hands loudly behind the girl’s head and making her jump.
“You listenin’ now?” she demanded as Stormer closed her magazine, trying to regain her composure.
“I’m listening.” She agreed hurriedly. “What is it, Pizzazz? What did Eric say?”
“He was finalising our accommodation for the tour, and everything’s all set for us leaving tomorrow.” Pizzazz sat down in a vacant seat. “He told me the tour dates as well. We’re doing a week or so in Pennsylvania, then Connecticut and then New Jersey…that’s it for this tour.” She grimaced. “Eric left it so long to do this stuff that places were booked out, he’s hopeless.”
“Well, maybe we could go and offer our services anyway.” Jetta’s eyes twinkled with a wicked gleam. “You never know. Acts do get stage fright.”
“True.” Pizzazz smirked. “We might just have to pay them a visit, then.”
“Where in Pennsylvania are we going? I thought it was Maryland we were starting in.” Stormer put in.
“Eric and his screwed arrangements.” Pizzazz rolled her eyes. “The jerk…but no. We start in Pittsburgh then we move on to Philadelphia, if he actually told me the truth this time.” Her eyes narrowed. “He’ll be in it if he hasn’t!”
“We’re goin’ to Philadelphia?” Roxy’s eyes widened with surprise. “Nobody told me that!”
“Just did.” Pizzazz shrugged. “What’s the big deal, Roxy? So we’re playin’ your hometown, so what? We play San Diego all the time, and we’ve played London…not to mention that we play Los Angeles practically every concert we do in Cali! None of us get worked up about playing back home!”
“I was just surprised, is all.” Roxy snapped back. “It’s not a big deal to me. Anyway, Philadelphia is history now…who cares if I grew up there?” She made herself more comfortable in the chair. “How long we there for anyway?”
“Three or four days, I think…we have four concerts there anyhow.” Pizzazz shrugged. “Why?”
“Just curious.” Roxy seemed unconcerned. “Be kinda nice to check the place out again.”
“We flying then?” Stormer asked.
“Sure we are, less you wanna walk.” Pizzazz snapped back. “I saw to that part of it myself.”
“What you gonna do with the Stingers whilst we’re gone?” Jetta looked interested.
“I got them signed up to be Jem’s support act at this sissy benefit they’re having for Haven House. That should keep them occupied, with all those runaway brats to deal with.”
Jetta laughed appreciatively.
“Oh, I bet Riot loved that one.” She observed. “Brilliant, Pizzazz.”
“I thought so.” Pizzazz nodded. “He wasn’t so sure when I told him, mind you. But who cares? Bout time he and his girlies realised who the boss is round here these days.”
Stormer cast Roxy a thoughtful look. The guitarist’s expression had not changed, but somehow Stormer knew she was thinking of her own days as a runaway. Whether she believed it or not, Roxy had been one of the lucky ones, who had carved herself out a future, and it had been down to her own gritty determination that she had gotten so far. Haven House cut a bit too close to home, however, with its population of children not so fortunate. Now she spoke up.
“Jem’s always doing a benefit for someone. Why doesn’t she just stop performing? That’d be a benefit for us.”
Pizzazz looked amused.
“Guess she’s too dumb to think of that one.” She observed. “Giving all that money to those charity brats. Normal people just don’t act like that.”
“There’s nothing normal about Jem.” Jetta put in dryly. She stood. “Well, if we leave tomorrow, I’m going to pack. Then I’ve time to swim later, when it ain’t quite so ‘ot out there.”
“What’s up, Jetta? California sun too much for you?” Roxy asked.
“Some of us don’t want to look like lobsters for our concert, that’s all.” Jetta retorted, though in truth sometimes the sun was overpowering for someone who had grown up in the clouds and rain of London. She enjoyed both swimming and sunbathing, but never to the extent of her bandmates, for she was not so accustomed to the heat, despite her year on the west coast. In any case, pale skin was part of her look, for it contrasted well with her black hair, so sometimes a tan wasn’t welcome anyway.
Without waiting for Roxy to reply, she sauntered out of the room and upstairs to locate her case.
Roxy looked pensive for a moment, then reached for the handset once more.
“If you’re done, Pizzazz, I wanna watch TV.” She said, switching the set back on. Pizzazz’s eyes narrowed, but she shrugged.
“Whatever.” She replied airily. “Just be ready to go tomorrow, okay? We ain’t waiting for stragglers.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Roxy was only half paying attention. Stormer glanced at her once more, then got to her feet herself.
“I think I’ll go pack too.” She decided. “Anything special we gotta take, Pizzazz?”
“Well, your synth might be helpful.” Pizzazz rolled her eyes. “Otherwise, no.”
“Okay.” Stormer knew better than to retort to Pizzazz’s sarcasm. She headed out of the room and upstairs to the bedroom which had been hers for some time now, for most of the time she lived at the Gabor mansion. Her own Los Angeles home had been shut up and it’s furniture in storage for some months now, for she had no desire to pay bills on a house she was not using.
As she hunted through her wardrobe for her favourite stage outfits, she found her thoughts returning to Roxy and the almost haunted expression on the girl’s face. Remembering their conversation a few days earlier, she wondered if maybe Roxy was not as happy about going ‘home’ as she had pretended.
“Last time she was there, things went wrong for her and she wound up coming back to the Misfits because she saw no other way to go.” She mused as she carefully extracted a dark indigo jumpsuit and purple mesh skirt, hunting for the matching headscarf and belt that accompanied the ensemble. “I wonder if she’s remembering that and wondering how people will react to her there. Ah well, time will tell. It’ll be cool to play in Philly…we didn’t get to do it last time.”
“I don’t suppose you’ve seen me black boots, ‘ave ya?” Jetta appeared in the doorway at that moment, with typical disregard for knocking, leaning up against the door post. “I can’t find the blighters anywhere…if Pizzazz ‘as borrowed them again…”
“I haven’t seen them, but if Pizzazz has them they’ll probably be in her closet.” Stormer replied with a smile. Sometimes it was like living with three delinquent sisters, she decided, but it could be fun all the same. It was odd how, despite all their plays of independence and their scorn of affection, the Misfits lived together quite happily and had bonded so readily with each other.
"Think she'd like me going rootin' through 'er cupboards?" Jetta demanded. "I'll ask her later, when she's cooled down some. She's wound up as heck about this blinkin' tour of ours - so much for free and easy livin'!"
"I think she takes Misfit Music more seriously these days." Stormer shrugged.
"Well, I wish she wouldn't. Sometimes she can be a real drag." Jetta frowned. Stormer eyed her keenly. Jetta and Pizzazz were very close, as Misfits went, but Stormer wondered exactly how much Jetta had accepted the wild and irrational changes that had occured in Pizzazz's temperament and behaviour over the previous few turbulent months. Pizzazz's wild crush on Riot had made the singer a stranger to those she knew best, and it had driven a rift between her and the band's sax player that had taken a crisis to mend. They had rowed violently, and Jetta had actually gone as far as walking out on the group, but somehow things had settled down and, much to Stormer's own relief, there were still four Misfits. Since then, ties had been renewed, but sometimes Jetta resented the fact that these days Pizzazz, though still the petulant, spoiled, vindictive leader of the Misfits, took a serious interest in seeing that her company was running on all cylinders. Usually this only consisted of yelling at Eric to do some work, but occasionally it ran deeper, and Jetta had found it hard to reconcile any sense of responsibility with the girl who had been her partner in crime almost since the day they had met.
Despite this, though, they were still closer than either of them would publically own to, for neither of them believed in 'friends'.
"I have no doubt she'll be as game for mischief as anyone when we get to the East coast." Stormer replied now. "It wouldn't be a Misfit tour without some chaos."
"That sounded like something Roxy would say." Jetta smirked. "Okay, I'll leave you to pack. God knows that it's going to be a real bore if all we get to do is what's on the schedule. I 'ope we 'ave time for some fun."
"I'd count on it." Stormer said dryly. "Bye, Jetta. See you later."
Once Jetta had gone, Stormer sat down on her bed, thinking. It was odd, she mused, how that had changed too. When Jetta had first joined the Misfits, she had inspired terror into the heart of the youngest member of the group. With her strongly independant outlook and her clear intelligence and gift for deception and manipulation, she had been a foreboding and elusive adversary, and Stormer's own meekness had made her a prime target for Jetta's sarcastic tongue. Within a few days of joining the group, Jetta had made her mark, her influence already such where Pizzazz was concerned that she was able to make sly suggestions and then sit back and watch in satisfaction as they were carried out. It did not seem like the London born musician had either any compassion, or any weaknesses.
But Stormer had been wrong.
It had taken some time for the chinks in Jetta's determined armour to make themselves apparent. A charade that had begun as a joke, to claim that she had noble heritage had become more of a desperate desire to keep pace with Pizzazz and her wealth, to make them equals and, most importantly in Jetta's eyes, to erase the ignominy of her childhood. She was, after all, intelligent enough to realise that her parents had not wanted her, and relished the fact she was no longer a burden to them. She had borne years of teasing as a child about their gambling habits, their dishonest ways and then, to cap it all off, her only brother Jeremy had been incarcerated for armed theft. Jetta had naively followed Jeremy into behaviour that skimmed the very perimeters of the law, though she had barely crossed it in any serious way, but her brother had shattered all her illusions of him by trying to claim that she was his accomplice, in order to get a lighter sentence.
It had had a marked effect on Jetta. She had been interrogated - at the time she had been but nineteen years old, and had been terrified by the solemnity of the police officers who had come and arrested her at her workplace in a cafe in one of the busy London suburbs. She had been subjected to a night in the station cells, a night which had induced such terror of being held captive into her young heart that she had not slept a wink or been able to eat any of what meagre provisions they had given her. Her fear of being imprisoned had stayed with her since...she hated the thought of not being able to get out.
Of course, they had found no evidence to prove her involvement, and she had been set free. But she had never forgotten any of it, and the Jetta who had emerged from the one night ordeal was not the same girl who had gone in. She had always prided herself on her independance of mind and lack of dependancy on human emotion or affection, now she took it further, allowing Jeremy's betrayal to sever almost all of her ties with the people around her. Though she would use them for what she wanted, she would never again trust in them, afraid as she was that next time she might not wind up so lucky.
The rift had grown between her and her parents then, also. Though they had never relished kids, Jeremy had been their pride, since he was always good at finding money and was not averse to gambling some of it himself. Jetta's sole, faintly nurtured love in life had been the appeal of her grandfather's saxophone, but on the old man's death the instrument had been gotten rid of, and she had been told by her mother to get back to the real world and make some money. Though she had saved diligently for an instrument of her own, there had been violent rows over her keeping it, and not long after Jeremy's trial, she had moved out of the cramped council flat to share one of her own with two childhood aquaintances, Laura and Stuart.
It was, in all truth, only these two people whom Jetta had any faith in whatsoever back home in London. Laura had always been the closest thing she would allow herself to a best friend growing up, and deep down Jetta felt comfortable with the other girl. As for Stuart, well, he was harmless enough, if not the most intelligent, and he didn't threaten her in any way.
Jetta's arrival in the Misfits, therefore, had sparked inside of her a need to be someone new, to move away from her chequered past into a whole different identity. She had long since adopted her stage name, and to begin with had refused to even give her birth name. Now, of course, the whole truth of her past and her background was out, and in Stormer's mind it was a good thing. The pretence had gotten out of control, the strain of maintaining it had begun to take it's toll on the sax player.
But the manner in which it had had humiliated Jetta's pride and self-belief so badly, that it had driven her to shed tears over it all. She had dropped her defences in her confusion and had allowed Stormer to see into the bewildered, neglected heart that so often allowed itself to quell human emotions when dealing with the world outside. Since then there had been this friendship between them, an odd one, admittedly, but a companionship which meant that they very rarely bickered or sniped at each other these days.
"If Roxy, Pizzazz and Jetta knew each other the way I'm beginning to know them, maybe they'd realise how much they have in common after all." Stormer concluded now as she neatly folded her clothes into her case. "But they've all too much stubborn pride to let their guard down. I wish I could convince them that it's not being wimpy, to say how you really feel, but they already think I'm a wimp and soft." She shrugged. "Oh well. I chose to stay with the Misfits, and that's how it is - I guess I have to take them as they are and hope that maybe one day I'll mellow them!"
(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). Background image was drawn and edited by me and therefore is copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley). Roxy is copyright of Hasbro Inc.