A Jewel Whodunnit...
Chapter Six: Answer to a Riddle

"Are you sure you're all right?"
Alan Garcia sat down beside his partner in the hospital waiting room, a concerned frown on his own face. His companion sent him a dark glower, taking a sip of black coffee from her cup, then setting it down on the unit.
"Alan, someone tried to blow me up." She snapped. "What do you want me to say, that everything's just great?"
"I meant, are you hurt?" Alan replied patiently. "When I got the call I was worried...they didn't say anything except that there'd been an explosion."
"Scratches." Phyllis shrugged her shoulders. "Nothing more. I was in the shower when the guy called with the parcel, he left it on the doorstep, since my mailbox was full, and rang the bell. When I got out I went to see what the deal was, I got to the end of the hall and bang! It exploded. Guess the journey upset whatever it was inside it, set it off. Sent me flying back the way I came, but I'm all right. Just scraped and bruised a little and damn angry anyone would dare attack me in my own home!"
"We're going to a hotel tonight." Alan told her gently. "The front of the house is a mess and you don't need more hassle there, anyway. It's safer...unless they keep you in here."
"I'm not stopping in this dump of a place." Phyllis pulled a face. "Sure, a hotel works for me. And then I'm going to give those damn agents a piece of my mind. They're s'posed to catch the people responsible, not let them take another shot at me!"
Her hand shook slightly as she reached for her coffee again, and Alan knew that despite her strong words she was afraid. Instinctively he hugged her.
"Don't worry." He murmured. "They won't get to try a third time."
"They'd better not." Phyllis muttered.
"I called Emily, let her know the deal." Alan told her. "She wanted to come up and see you but I said you weren't really...er...in the mood for company, and besides, she couldn't get anyone to watch Mike at such short notice. She was furious about the whole incident, almost as angry as you are...it'll probably be all over the evening news, so I thought it best she knew you were alive and pretty much in one piece."
Phyllis was silent for a moment. Then,
"Who hates me enough to want me dead?" She murmured. "I know I ain't always been nice to people, Alan, I've done my job and I've damn well gotten shot of anyone in my way...but have I done enough to...to provoke murder?"
"Whoever is behind this is warped." Alan told her soothingly. Phyllis sighed.
"I don't know anymore." She said numbly. "What's the use? The music company's falling to pieces...Jetta isn't there to help me pull it back up - what's the point?"
"This isn't you talking, it's the shock of tonight." Alan told her firmly. "There's a lot of point, and don't you give in to them, you hear me? You're stronger than that."
"I just wish I knew who I was up against, that's all. That'd help." Phyllis replied morosely. "I ain't even safe in my own home...dammit, Alan, where am I safe?"
"With me." Alan murmured. "Now listen. You're gonna get checked out, and do whatever the doctor tells you. You're gonna tell the FBI whatever you remember about tonight, and then I'm going to take you to a nice secluded hotel where noone can hurt you."
"Are you telling me what to do?" Phyllis raised green eyes to her companion's.
"Yes." Alan replied quietly. "For once, I am."
Phyllis stared at him, then she shrugged.
"I'm kind of glad." She murmured, leaning her head up against him. "I...don't know what to do myself."
Alan frowned. Such submissiveness was not a natural part of Phyllis' character, and it worried him.
"She's scared, more than she'll tell me." He decided. "Dammit, I'm scared too. She might not be the sweetest angel in the world but she's a human being too and I don't like her upset like this. They'd better get a grip on who's doing this soon!"
Out loud he said,
"Did you give the FBI those notes?"
"Yes." Phyllis looked impatient. "The first one I tossed, you know I did, but the one from the other day and the one this morning, I gave them both to Agent Nicholson. Stupid jerk...bet he thinks I wrote them myself." She sighed. "The last one said that all my dreams have gone up in smoke, and that now I should understand." She remembered. "I wish I knew what that meant. The rest was just idle death threat gibberish, but still."
"Aunt Phyllis?"
Nancy's voice interrupted the conversation and Phyllis, realising how vulnerable her position appeared blushed slightly, sitting up straight and meeting her protegee's gaze with a defiant glare.
"What do you want? I'm kind of busy!" She demanded.
"Yes, some policeman came by our place on Federal orders, asked us a bunch of questions." Nancy nodded. "I heard you were here so I came to talk to you...I know this is a rough time, but considering what's happened, I...I wanted to talk to you about it tonight, if you'll hear me out. It's about...something Mom said."
She lowered her voice, glancing nervously around her as she did so.
"Jetta?" Phyllis looked startled. "When did she start speaking again?"
"Shh, not so loud!" Nancy hissed. "Aunt Phyl, I'm really scared. Mom said she saw that Jake Barren guy here, disguised as a nurse...she couldn't tell me any more than that, but I know he can't be up to any good. She...also said something else." She bit her lip, glancing around her once again. "I asked her who she'd seen at Misfit Music that afternoon, and she tried to tell me, she tried so hard, but all she could manage was to whisper 'Zip' or something like it. Does that mean anything to you? Dad and I came up blank, but...Aunt Phyl?" For the executive's expression had transformed into one of pure rage.
"Zipper!" She muttered, clenching her fist in anger as her green eyes sparked. "Oooh, why didn't I guess! Why didn't I think of this, that jerk has no concept of anything worthwhile! Dammit, why didn't I think of him! Damn obvious now I think of it! Ooh, I'll rip his throat out when I get my hands on him..."
"Phyllis, take it easy." Alan put a hand on her arm. "You're creating a scene."
"I don't care." Phyllis' eyes flashed with fire, and she got to her feet. "Forget the doctor. I'm going to speak to Jetta, and I'm going to speak to her now! I want to get to the bottom of this, once and for all!"
Exchanging helpless, bewildered looks, Nancy and Alan followed the irate executive up to the next floor, where intensive care was situated. As they got there, however, it was clear that not all was well in Jetta's room. Someone else was there, and in a flash Nancy realised what was going on.
"Jake!" She exclaimed. The man swung round, one hand on Jetta's drip and the other reaching for his pocket but Phyllis was too quick for him. Angered already by Nancy's words she sprung forward, laying him out with one clean swipe of the fist, and glaring down at him, shaking with fury.
"You mess with me and you've another think coming." She muttered. "Someone get this loser taken out of here...is Jetta all right?"
"She's fine." Alan checked the executive's pulse, causing that woman to stir from her slumber as he did so. "I think we were just in time...the drip looks intact. I'll go find someone...I thought they were meant to be guarding this room!"
At the sound of his words, Jetta's eyes opened wide, and Nancy hurried to take her mother's hand, her own complexion white with fear.
"It's all right." She said quietly. "Aunt Phyl is here, noone's gonna mess with her in a temper. She wants to speak to you, about what you told me this afternoon. Remember?"
Jetta's eyes filled with comprehension, and she nodded.
"Jetta, you meant Zipper, didn't you?" Phyllis demanded. Jetta nodded again, and Pizzazz's eyes narrowed.
"I thought so." She muttered. "Jerk! Creep! Loser! How dare he! Ooh, I'll wring his scrawny neck! I'll rip his goddamn head off!"
"Who or what is Zipper?" Nancy asked softly.
"When we were Misfits, we were managed by that loser Eric Raymond...at least to begin with." Phyllis explained. "Eric had a lot of people who did...certain jobs for him, to try and make sure we came out on top. He'd feed us all kinds of lines and stuff, try and play to our egos, but eventually we saw what the real deal was. Eric was undermining our music by making us believe we needed these cretins to get rid of the competition. We never did...but so long as we thought we needed his help, he could keep skimming the profits at Misfit Music." She sighed, running her hands through her hair. "Zipper was one of Eric's key henchmen. Eric was a coward, would never do things for himself, but Zipper had no conscience at all. So long as there was a fee involved, he was safe to do the job. He'd been in jail, he went to jail from time to time whilst he was working for Eric...but it didn't seem to phase him. The last job he did for us..." She paused, wetting her lips. "It must've been not long after Jetta joined the group. Whole business was a mess, some sabotage gig went wrong...he got banged up, was the last we saw of him. Least...pretty much."
"So if he's the one doing all this, what's the motive?" Nancy wondered. "Or is he being paid to do it? Is that it?"
"I don't know." Phyllis snapped. "If I did, I wouldn't be here now, with the front hall of my house in smithereens and bits of concrete and glass ruining my complexion and my tights!"
"I'm sorry." Nancy bit her lip. "I didn't mean to be insensitive."
"Oh, hang it all." Phyllis groaned. "I hate this. The last time we saw Zipper, was in an old warehouse. There'd been some trouble, he'd been paid to kidnap Jerrica Benton and myself, only we staged our own getaway. In the midst of the confusion the building set on fire - faulty wiring, most likely - and none of us cared or thought whether he'd gotten out alive. That was the last we heard of him...I guess if he's angry enough about that to take revenge now, then that could be a motive. Or as you said, he's being paid. Probably both."
"Mom, what do you think?" Nancy asked. Jetta frowned, then she shook her head.
"You don't know either, huh?" Nancy sighed, as Alan returned to the hospital sideward, an officer in tow. Whilst Phyllis turned her attention to haranguing the unfortunate man about his whereabouts when the deed had taken place, Nancy ran her mind over everything that she had learnt. One obvious question still stood out.
"Who paid this Zipper guy to kidnap Aunt Phyl and Ms Pacheco?" She murmured, meeting her mother's gaze quizzically. Much to her surprise, Jetta shook her head.
"It's over." She mouthed.
"What's over?" Nancy looked startled. "The kidnap? Or this whole business? Mom, I don't follow."
"Let it go." Was the mouthed response, and Nancy gave up with a sigh.
"There's more to this somehow." She decided inwardly. "But someone somewhere has to speak up and explain it. I just hope it comes out before someone gets really hurt."


Chapter One: A Confession
Chapter Two: Jetta's Mind
Chapter Three: Alex and Sadie
Chapter Four: Jetta Speaks
Chapter Five: A Problem For Sadie
Chapter Six: Answer To A Riddle
Chapter Seven: Zoe Acts
Chapter Eight: A Shock For Stefana
Chapter Nine: Some Truths
Chapter Ten: Zoe Takes A Chance
Chapter Eleven: Truth Will Out

Chapter Twelve: A Close Shave
Chapter Thirteen: Zoe's Father


Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!