Monday, August 29, 2011

Chapter 2: Recovering the Opposable Thumbs (Killjoys)

Author Note: I refuse to let go of Bob. That is my disclaimer. Also, I’m sorry I had to make Gerard a bit of a dick for the scene to play out correctly. He isn’t always like this, I pinky promise.
They pulled up to an abandoned looking warehouse behind Jet and Kobra, who threw the pick up in to park and were out of the truck before Rhi had turned the El Camino off. Following the boys, they jumped out of the car and headed toward the warehouse.

“We have to go in through the back,” Jet said apologetically. “It’s kind of like company policy.”

Kobra snorted at this and lead the way around to the back of the warehouse. There was an open garage door that had likely been a loading dock at one point in the past. It now had a large ramp leading up to it that appeared to be retractable. Nodding for them to follow, Kobra began the ascent up the ramp.

Once inside, they found themselves in what looked like a mechanic’s garage. There were tools on a bench to their left and a large toolbox stood to the right with a brightly colored radio atop it, punk music blaring from the speakers. An old Trans-Am was parked in the center of the two with the hood popped. A blonde man came around the side of the car and nodded at them, turning to the toolbox as he did so.

“Hey,” he muttered, opening one of the drawers and beginning to dig through it.

“Hey Bob,” Kobra greeted.

“Who are your friends?” Bob asked, not actually seeming to care.

“Potential Killjoys,” Jet smiled. “We picked ‘em up on Route Guano in Zone 5.”

Nodding, the blonde man focused his attention on the tools as Kobra began telling him about the scouting they had just returned from. Though he didn’t seem overly involved in the conversation, it was obvious that he was listening, offering an occasional “Damn Dracs” as he continued to search the drawers.

“So,” Rhi quietly inquired, turning to Jet. “Why doesn’t he have a codename?”

“B.O.B is his codename,” Jet explained. “Well, it’s an acronym. His name is Bombs Over Brixton, but B.O.B is easier.”

Snickering, Al and Rhi nodded.

“Makes sense,” Rhi shrugged. “But I have to ask, why Brixton? Is it like-“

“The song Guns of Brixton,” B.O.B suddenly interjected.

He offered a smile as he dug through the drawer, obviously not finding what he was searching for.

“The Clash,” Rhi mused, a smile taking her lips. “My mom used to listen to them. I think I feel at home here already.”


The voice made Rhi and Al jump. A few moments later a rather short man with long dark hair came out from behind the car. A pair of aviator sunglasses held is hair out of his face and an unlit cigarette stuck out from between his teeth. Grabbing a rag off the toolbox, he wiped motor oil from his hands before turning to them.

“Oh, hey” he greeted a bit distractedly. “I didn’t hear you guys come in.”

Grabbing a lighter from his pocket, he lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply.

“That damn car,” he sighed, smoke billowing from his mouth. “I never know what the hell is wrong with it half the time. But somehow it magically decides to run again.”

“What’s wrong with it?” Rhi found herself asking.

It was a silly question, one that the answer to would be relatively meaningless, seeing as she had hardly any mechanical knowledge. It wasn’t that she thought she could help or offer any sort of useful insight; she simply wanted to hear him speak again. There was something about the man that stood in front of her that she found incredibly attractive. It was an awful realization and she wished that she could take it back. She couldn’t fuck this up again.

“It keeps stalling,” the dark haired man replied, scratching the back of his head as he took another drag from the cigarette.

Al shot Rhi a warning glance, telling her none too gently that she knew what was going on. Guiltily, Rhi bit her lips and shrugged.

“Maybe there’s air in the lines,” Al offered, trying to cover her friend’s tracks. “That’s what happened to the El Camino a while back.”

With a shrug, he went back behind the hood, taking the wrench that B.O.B had finally found with him.

“That’s Fun Ghoul,” Jet added after a moment. “He’s not usually so anti-social. I think he has been under a lot of stress lately. The car is becoming more trouble than it is worth sometimes.”

“And he’s the only mechanically savvy one?” Al guessed.

“Pretty much.”

“Sounds familiar.”

Giggling despite herself, Rhi glared over at Al, who simply stuck her tongue out in response. Jet laughed at this, though he tried not to do so noticeably, as if afraid the girls would be angry with him for laughing at their inside joke.

“I know a bit about cars,” Rhi defended. “Just not as much as you do.”

“Really?” Al challenged. “Prove it. Go help him.”

With a shrug, Rhi took a few cautious steps toward the car. Taking a deep breath, she mustered the courage to go around to where Ghoul was working behind the hood. In a few quick strides, she found herself standing next to the dark haired man, who was bent over the engine trying to unscrew something.

“Anything I can help with?” Rhi offered, doing her best to sound confident, despite feeling a bit lost as she stared into the mechanical mess that somehow made the Trans-Am run.

“Probably not,” he grumbled.

“Well, you said it kept stalling, right?” Rhi confirmed.

“Yeah. I think you’re right about air in the lines.”

“Well, that’s not how you fix it.”

For once, Rhi knew what she was talking about and that made her confident.

“Then how do I fix it?” Ghoul demanded.

He stood up and gazed at her rather smugly, as if confident she had no idea what she was talking about.

“Do you have any pure octane?” she patiently inquired, a smirk crossing her lips.


“Then mix that with some premium fuel. Rev the engine a bit to get it going and it should run alright until the lines get clear. It starts, right?”

“Yeah. It just stalls.”

“Get me the octane, then. We’ll put it in the tank so that the car runs with a higher-grade fuel, which should get everything flowing better. You may want to consider an oil change as well, if the car hasn’t had one in a while.  It really just takes a basic tune up, and then a bit of running to get everything flowing again.”

For a moment he stared at her, a smile beginning to creep onto his lips. After a moment he glanced over his shoulder at B.O.B.

“Hey, B.O.B,” he called. “Get me the octane.”

He looked her over in a mixture of bemusement and awe before smirking and outstretching his hand.

“I’m Fun Ghoul,” he smiled as she took his hand and shook it. “And you are-?”

“Radon Rhapsody,” Rhi replied. “My friend is Bullet Hail. We’re BL/Ind prison escapees looking for a new home.”

“Well, I think you may have found one,” he replied with a wink, making Rhi blush slightly.

B.O.B interrupted them, coming around the car with a yellow bottle of octane.

“Find the problem?” he inquired.

“I think so,” Ghoul replied, finally letting go of her hand. “Radon, here, is on top of things.”

Blushing, Rhi shrugged and watched him start the car’s tune-up.

Soon, the mechanical work was complete and Ghoul slid into the driver’s seat, glancing over at Rhi.

“Moment of truth,” he smirked.

“Trust me,” she nodded. “It will work.”

Rhi smirked over at Al and the others, who were watching intently.

The car roared to life and Ghoul revved the engine a bit, before backing the car out of the garage and into the parking lot below. Knowing the car would run fine; Rhi watched the car speed a few times around the lot and then back up the ramp.

“It runs,” Ghoul proudly stated as he emerged from the car. “I think there is still some air in the lines, but it didn’t stall when I backed out, so it’s better than it was.”

“Told you,” Rhi smirked. “So, are we Killjoys yet?”

“Not quite,” Kobra sighed. “Poison has to give the official word.”

A tense look passed between Ghoul and B.O.B and was quickly adopted by Kobra and Jet.

“Has he been in the office all day?” Kobra asked, obviously dreading confirmation of his question.

“New painting,” B.O.B confirmed. “It’s not going as well as he would have liked. I think he is hitting an artistic wall.”

“Bad mood?”


“He has to okay them,” Jet moaned.

“I’ll bring them,” Ghoul offered. “He usually trusts my judgment, even on his bad days.”

“Good luck,” Kobra snorted. “You girls better impress him.”

Rhi and Al exchanged nervous glances, not really sure what to expect of the Killjoy leader.

Motioning for them to follow, Ghoul led them to a door at the far end of the garage. For a moment, he paused before knocking lightly.

“What?” demanded a voice from inside.

Ghoul opened the office door a few inches.

“Poison? Can I talk to you for a minute?” he asked.

Through the door, Rhi and Al could see a small, shadowy room with papers tacked everywhere on the walls. At the largest of several desks in the room, they could see the figure of a man hunched over the desk with his back to them.

“What do you want?” the man muttered without turning around.

“Um… do you want to come out here for a minute?” said Ghoul, a touch nervously.

“Fine!” snapped the man, standing up and pushing his papers to the top of the desk.

As he walked into the brighter lights of the garage, it became evident that his hair was dyed a vivid, shocking fire truck red. When he reached the door, he noticed the two girls standing with Ghoul. He paused for a moment in the doorway with an incredulous look on his face before stepping out of the office and snapping the door shut. Regaining his composure, he looked at Ghoul rather coldly.

“I was going to ask you why you couldn’t just come in, but I suppose I understand now.”

Ghoul looked at him and nodded without saying anything.


“Radon, Bullet, this is Party Poison,” introduced Ghoul, gesturing to each of the girls in turn.

When Poison failed at shaking either hand that was outstretched to him, Ghoul continued.

“Poison, Radon and Bullet escaped from prison a few weeks ago and heard one of Dr. D’s transmissions while they were driving in the desert. They were… um… wondering if they could join us… become Killjoys.”

The silence after this announcement was not promising. Poison simply surveyed the two girls, dragging the silence out to the point of uncomfortable. Finally, when Rhi was about to check if she’d grown a third eye or something, he spoke.

“What makes you think you can be Killjoys?”

“Excuse me?” said Rhi, hoping she had heard this rude, blunt statement incorrectly, or at least misinterpreted it.

“You heard me. What makes you think you can just come in here and join us?”

Rhi was irritated by this stranger’s rudeness and obvious disregard for societal acceptability. Shaking Al’s restraining hand off her arm, she took a step toward Poison to answer.

“Who are YOU to even ask that question?” she snapped. “You have no idea what we’ve been through in the last few years. Who gave you the authority to question our abilities before you’ve even heard our story?”

“I am the leader of this group of Killjoys, and as such I have the right to monitor anyone who wants to join us,” Poison said coldly. “And honestly, I’m not impressed. A couple of prison breakouts, both girls, with no apparent skills except impressing Ghoul here, which isn’t terribly difficult.”

“Hey!” interjected Ghoul. “I have very high standards, thank you!”

“Regardless of Ghoul’s feelings,” continued Poison, “I don’t see why you don’t just go join the Crash Queens, and leave specialized groups like ours alone.”

“We’ve been with the Crash Queens, you idiot!” hissed Rhi. “We’ve been with all of the other groups! We just spent a year in death row, for supposed ‘crimes against the state.’ We spent years before that with different groups around the country, working toward the end of BL/Ind! Maybe if you weren’t such a complete asshole, you’d let us tell you our story before you judge, but as things stand—“

Rhi broke off as Poison grabbed her arm and spun her around.

“I think you should leave,” he said.

Rhi began to twist out of his iron grip, but before she could do anything, Poison had let go. Surprised, she turned around to see him lying on the ground, looking stunned, with Al’s booted foot on this chest and her ray gun in his face.

“Let me make a few things clear to you,” said Al, taking Rhi completely off guard. Usually, new people made her quiet, until she got a feel for their character, and this was no exception. Now, however, she was speaking as if to a slug she had found under her boot. “You will not ever give Radon or myself orders about what we are to do. We didn’t break out of prison to submit to the authority of someone like…” she sneered down at him, “…you. Moreover, you will never, ever touch Radon against her will, or I will personally tear your arms off. Last but not least, we are part of the Killjoy team, whether you like it or not, and we intend to be treated as such. Is that clear?”

Poison nodded cautiously. Al removed her boot from his chest and holstered her ray gun.

“Ghoul?” she asked.

“Yeah?” Ghoul said cautiously, looking nervous.

“Our stuff is still in the El Camino, but would you mind showing us where we can stay?”

Ghoul looked nervously at Poison, who gave him a curt nod, and, standing up, went back into the office without another word.

“Well, you may have pissed him off, but you sure as hell impressed him!"

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