Sunday, January 23, 2011

Favourite Son: A Cliffhanger

[Scene: A steamy, clean, but messy bathroom.]

Twilight (Anita Guzman): "And that's it, everything's good. Blonde no longer. Even the highlights came through! It's all in the vectors!"
Snakes-on-a-Plane (Jenny Wong): Oh, thank you, 'Nita!"
Anita: "Why didn't you just get it done professionally?"
Jenny: "I used up my allowance on my new outfit and costume."
Anita: "Princess haz money?"
Jenny: "Seriously."
Anita: "Good thing your BFF is the best gadgeteer on Earth under 19!"
Jenny: .....
Anita: "Except Gadget Boy."
Jenny: "You're an awesome gadgeteer. And I was never ...I'm over Gadget Boy."
Anita: "But why tonight? It's just dinner with the guys. Unless, y'know, Eurostar attacks Philadelphia."
Jenny: "May's got the Rugrats. I get to go out with you tonight."
Anita: "Poor kid. Wait. If she's skating tonight, how's she looking after ...I mean, those two figure skating?"
Jenny: "They're in afternoon classes at the Centre Wednesdays. Then, they're supposed to go watch May 'til she's finished. And tonight, the Parental Excursion Module will drop them at the movies on the way to the Hall instead of bringing them home."
Anita: "Nice. Wait. What did the Centre ever do to you guys?"
Jenny: "Ever heard that some of those robocallers are set not to work before 5?"
Anita: "No?"
Jenny: "They said that they were worried that the Centre's wouldn't, and supervillains might attack early. 'Cuz they're evil. So they tested it. By setting it to dial the whole membership database. At 4AM."
Anita: "Aren't there schools you can send those kids?"
Jenny: "It was the Centre that let everybody write their passwords on the keyboards, so Mom and Dad said they deserved it. Mom's totally paranoid about that now."
Jenny: "Anyway, don't tell Mom, but May does double cardio intervals on Wednesdays, gets out of practice an hour early, and takes the twins over to the park."
Anita: "The park? What's up with that?"
Jenny: "May won't say. 'Fraid I'll rat her out to Mom."
Anita: "Boy?"
Jenny: "Whatever. Dad's okay with it, but Mom's got a list..."
[Jenny cocks her head, squints, and holds up a finger as though she were reading from a list posted on a refrigerator door. She looks cute as she does it. Anita, as always, feels gawky and awkward. Though not as much as she would have Monday morning. In all Anita's eighteen years, she would never have expected that she would be the first to have a steady boyfriend.]
Jenny [pretending to tick off her list]: "Jock? Out. Band? Out. Long hair? Out. Skaterboy? So out. Oh yeah. May's gonna keep any boy she likes on the q.t."
Anita: "Piercings?"
Jenny: "Off the 'May kant haz list.' May takes after Mom, which, you've seen the movie they made about Mom, she's too desperate worried to contradict her Preapproval List."
Anita: "Who's got piercings that your Mom's preapproved?"
Jenny: "You, silly."
Anita: "Me?"
Jenny: "You honestly don't know how long Mom's been trying to get you together with Junior?"
Anita: "Why didn't you tell me?"
Jenny: "Figured you knew. 'Henry, Anita's here!'"
[It's been three years since Henry or David could come to this house, but Jenny's impersonation brings it back. Still, Anita sees that Jenny was lying. Jenny had wanted it, too, and been afraid of messing it up. Well, fine. Anita had her secrets, too.]
Jenny: "So you still haven't told me how it happened. Oh my God! You're blushing! You hooked up!"
[Yes. No. Damn Jenny's Sherlock Holmes thing. Could Anita explain her own deduction, her leap from Brad's desperate crush to figuring out why Henry was avoiding her? Not without giving her cousin's secret away. Brad had long since blown any chance he ever had with Jenny with his sharp tongue, but Anita was not going to be the one to break his heart. And, anyway, Henry was...]
Jenny: "Anita, when you're not talking, it's like things falling up. It sure doesn't work as denial."
Anita: "What, you want I should dish about your brother? Eww."
Jenny: "Of course not. Henry takes after Dad like May takes after Mom. I know... I mean, I can... I saw Dad sweep the leg of a T-Rex on his 61st birthday?"
Anita: "Like, a dinosaur?"
Jenny: "Not a very good dinosaur."
Doctor Dao [David Wong]: {Pardon me ladies, but you need to get down to the front yard now.}
Jenny: "David! You don't call in three months, and now this? What did we agree about telepathy in the bathroom?"
David: {Not the time, little sis. Not when you've got a big enough emergency to set me off from Columbus.}

 [Scene: The Wongs' front garden. Billy Washington is sprawled on the lawn beside the walk. Groceries are scattered on the concrete, and it looks like some eggs and black bean sauce aren't going to make it.]

Anita: "Oh God. What's wrong with Billy?"
Wolverine Boy [Billy Tatum]: "He was having headaches since the fight. He was okay bringing the groceries in, then, the minute your Mom pulled away, he just went down."
Amazing Spleen [Brad Neilson]: Hi Anita! Hi Jenny. What fight?"
Billy Tatum: "Never mind right now. What's wrong?"
Brad: "Acute subdural hematoma."
Anita: "Where's your Mom, Jenny? Call your Mom, Jenny!"
Billy Tatum: "Acute what now? How the heck do you come up with that?"
Brad: "The words I know from working Ski Patrol. But right now, powers. I taste it. We need Mrs. Wong's chi'i mojo, like now."
Captain Super Ultra [Billy Washington]: "What's everyone doing? Wow. Jenny. I didn't know you could glow green like that! Whoof, girl, lay off the donuts!"
Anita: "Okay then. Crisis over, and we can add "life energy" to the list of Jenny's schticks. Billy, could you get Jenny up and carry her upstairs? We're not done her hair yet. Billy Tatum? Brad? If I catch either of you trying for an upskirt..."
Brad: "Yeah. Unh, no.  We're going to the den now. Billy?"
Billy Tatum: "What?"

[Scene: The Wong's basement.]

Princess Ma Tian [Mrs. Wong]: "You can start with the rice, William. Bill,  crab. Jenny, if you could please take the tofu? Anita, you're in charge of the chow mein. Bradley, sweet and sour. Bill, you will call us if you..."
Billy Washington: "I'm okay, I'm okay. I've been okay for four hours now. Please don't let a little bump ruin your evening!" 
Mrs. Wong: "Jenny, you have the Hall's number, right? You are to call the instant ...Remember, Mr. Wong says that you can take the cover off the pool table when dinner is finished. I'll just clear these up and be back in a moment."
Billy Tatum: "Oh boy! That's more like it."
Anita: "Watch it, Billy. Mr. Wong didn't cook that, and it's nothing like takeout. Mrs. Wong is sneaking sheep tail in again."

Jenny: "It's good luck to serve sheep tail to guests in my grandfather's culture!"
Billy T.: "Gross! Brad, so, it's, like, deep fried sheep bum?"
Anita: "No. Besides. Brad knows what it is. He just likes it."
Brad: "Well, it's different from how it usually is. Like, last time, it was kinda gross. But this time, it's even better than usual."

Jenny: "I... think that's because my Mom put some balsamic vinegar in the sauce, and last time there was too much."
Billy Washington: "Did anyone else notice a cold draft there for a..."
Brad: "But what I'd really like to try again is that lamb stroganoff from Lunar New Years."
Mrs. Wong [coming down the stairs]: "I'm sorry, Bradley. It's very hard to get mare's milk right now. And it looks like we're not going to have a foal next year. No more koumiss 'till Christmas."
Jenny: "But, Mom, weren't we bringing the Lion Stallion out?"
Mrs. Wong: "Honey, your Dad only has a week before the Chestnut Street job starts, and a week after, it's school already. The Mechanic says that we can't be crossing an international border with people out looking for  your Dad, and there's no way that we can make arrangements through Wenatchee in time."
Jenny: "That sucks."
Mrs. Wong: "Language, dear."
Mrs. Wong: "And that's everything. The banquet will probably be over by 10, but Mr. Wong and I will be catching the late show with May and the twins. So you all have fun tonight, and be back by 12:30, Jenny. Remember that you have that campus visit with Henry on Friday. I don't want either of you to be tired out."

[Mrs. Wong leaves.]
Anita: "Too tired? What the heck does that mean?"

Jenny: "That her darling daughter is to make sure that between summer school and a wild night hanging out until midnight, she's not too tired a week later. Or maybe it's some kind of subtle suggestion that you shouldn't, you know, Henry all night every night while he's in town."
Anita: "Hey! Who spilled? Jenny? Brad? And I'm eighteen! It's my business!" 
Billy W. : "Calm down, 'Nita. Mrs. Wong figured it out all on her own. She doesn't disapprove. Just worries." 
Jenny: "And on a slightly more important matter, Billy, what went down with the Blue Flame, yesterday?"
Billy Tatum: "Oh, it was so cool! The police let him interrogate Dr. Dekkar, and they let me watch from behind one of those one-way mirror things. Like, an actual one-way mirror. And there was this speaker thing...Epic!"
"Meh. The Blue Flame's probably a detective or a lawyer in his secret ID. So?"

Billy Tatum: "Nita's right. Someone sent the book to Dekkar. Even creased it to fall open to the bit about Mr. W. But the book...It's a presentation copy that they traced to the UNTIL base at Vancouver, Canada. And you'll never guess where the UNTIL agent who screwed up and let Armento into Philadelphia is assigned..."
Anita: "So, Jenny. The reason that half the lame supervillains on Earth are suddenly on your family is that for some reason, a renegade UNTIL agent from out west knows all about your Dad."
[Anita stared at her friend, who, not surprisingly, was looking pretty shaken. No wonder Jenny was so embarrassed about being rooked  by Agent Byrne. Tough! Jenny had endangered her parents for a schoolgirl crush on an UNTIL agent. Now she could bloody well come clean. And shatter Brad's fantasy world while she was doing it. The team might be able to fix the John thing, but Brad's poor, shlubby, over-sized heart was something else.] 


This is the tenth in a series of fan fictions set in the Champions Universe (a property of the Cryptic Games Studio licensed to DOJ, Inc. for the pen-and-paper Hero Games RPG line). It features the adventures of the teenaged descendants of Philadelphia's superheroic defenders of the "Gold" and "Silver" Age, the Liberty Legion. The new Liberty Legion has been operating for several years now as a mostly self-described auxiliary of Philadelphia's real superteam, the Liberty League. 

UNTIL, Gadget Boy, and the Blue Flame are more Cryptic Games intellectual property. UNTIL is a United Nations crimefighting organisation based on UNCLE, while the Blue Flame is another member of the Liberty League. Gadget Boy is a Japanese gadgeteer who works closely with Japanese authorities to contain the giant monsters of Monster Island, but Anita hasn't been keeping up. He's actually 22. Although Lord knows what that means in comic book time. My notion here is that there would be an anime series featuring Gadget Boy, and well, giant monsters, and that Jenny is, or used to be, a fan. His theme song was probably cool, like "Squarepants Spongebob!" (Am I ironic for getting that reversed, or uncool for thinking that it's cool? Never mind. I write comic book fanfic.)

Disclaimers: Clearly Wang Dulu and Ang Lee have taken some minor liberties with Mrs. Wong's early life. Vectoral formalisations have not been shown to offer any improvement in results from home hair dye kits. Even with highlights.

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