2010-01-21: More Power (Phantasm)



Posting Date: January 21st, 2010


A man who thinks he's one of the oppressed is no friend at all to a woman who really is. This log is not endorsed by Binford Tools.

"More Power"

Pawn shop, New York

The pawn shop has five windows, one in each of its six walls. This is the first sign that something is deeply wrong, but it would take some sort of 360-degree vision ability to cotton to it right away.

The people at the shop, on the other hand, seem normal enough. A few customers, a few space-wasting browsers, a couple protestors with nothing better to do than loiter outside and make nuisances of themselves - and Randall manning the register. Jade isn't here right now, a wall-mounted magnetic dartboard the only immediate sign of her recent presence.

Normal is relative in New York City, these days. The door opens, the bell jingles and there is Lena, looking every inch the homeless waif in cast-off clothing and wild hair. That is, if homeless waifs had access to eyeliner pencils and glitter gloss. Derelique: it isn't just fashion, it's a lifestyle.

"Randy!" The door is kicked shut and an aimlessly wandering little old lady pushed aside so that Lena can make her way to the counter. Her tone of voice suggests that something might be wrong with his head other than that hair. "What the hell, man? You're open? What are you…oh hey, can I? Thanks, I need this." A green plastic lighter is plucked from the cardboard box of them beside the register. "Okay, where's Jade?"

"Those are a quarter apiece," he replies automatically, pulling a lever to open the coin drawer. "They're mint-flavored."

Randall's expression is calm as he meets Lena's gaze, even as he leans heavily against the counter. "Jade's not… here right now," he murmurs, just a little bit too slowly. "She took off on her scooter. Or it might've been a lawn flamingo, but I think it was a scooter. So it's all down to me again, you understand?"

"Mint? Awww, I like the strawberry banana ones." The lighter's end is tested against Lena's tongue and still judged satisfactory to be slipped into her pocket. The coin taken out in exchanged is too big to be a quarter but it's shoved across the counter anyway. "I understand she's got shitty taste in lawn accessories. And…are you cheating on me?"

The girl squints at him, leaning closer to get a better look at Randall's face. "You find another dealer, dude?"

At that, his eyes go wide, and he shakes his head. "I would never dream of cheating on you, Lena. Come in the back and let me express my… appreciation." Pocketing the oversize coin, he lifts the partition and motions her to step through and follow him, heedless of the other customers. Or the old lady, currently scrabbling for breath as her withered fingers struggle and fail to reach her Life Alert panic button.

"Better not be, 'cause I'd totally kick a bitch to the curb," Lena says amiably enough. Grinning that lopsided grin, she steps behind the counter and pads along behind the man. There's only a brief pause when Randall's back is turned, and that's in order to slip a pack of Bazooka Joe gum into her pocket.

Because every good junk store doubles as a convenience store.

"So when's Jade gonna be back, Randy? She said she'd be working. I know I shouldn'tve gotten her that scooter."

Randall doesn't say anything right away, waiting till Lena is out of sight of the others. At that point, he leans in close… was she alluding to a more, ahem, traditional sense of cheating? If so, then isn't it a little soon after Chi's departure?

There's a squishy *KA-CHUNK* as he grabs a staple gun and nails her hand down to an empty stretch of particle-board shelving.

"See, that's the thing," he says, "she's not coming back. She's gone. I have to find her. And you… have to tell me how."

This is what Lena gets for trusting a man who perms his hair. Bam, industrial staple through the hand. And when she screams, does anyone come running to save her? Maybe if she hadn't pushed that old lady. Karma is not a kind thing. Nor are angry nerds with staple guns.

Clutching her wrist in her good hand, Lena tugs, cringes and tears up and bleeds; all of the expected things when one has been assaulted in such a fashion. But the fiesty obscenities are never far away. "What the fuck! How am I supposed to do that when you nailed me to a board? Are you crazy? I'm one of the good guys!"

Setting the staple gun aside, offering no outward reaction to Lena's plight, Randall picks up a retractable razor and thumbs the blade into view. "Oh, I have my ways. You know what a curious soul I am… but my vision isn't always what it should be."

The tip of the blade is brought up to one of Lena's temples, catching against a lock of her hair. "This would be so much easier if I could just open you up by waving my hand…" Like a certain other psychopath who made the news a couple years back. "Oh, wait, I can!" With a sudden gleeful shove of his arm, he whips the razor across her forehead.

"Oh you bastard!"

Lena's swipe to prevent the slash is too slow, leaving her clutching her forehead. Blood wells up between her fingers, dark against the pale skin. Less slow is the leg that lashes out, toe aimed to connected with one skinny shin.

"I'd have given you visions if you asked! Randy! Stop it!" But somehow those anguished squeals just don't carry the necessary commanding weight. And her hand, when it flicks out at him again to send a spray of blood at the man's face…just doesn't have the oomph. The drugs, like Jade, have gone on vacation.

Randall tosses the razor aside - blinks to clear the spatter away from his eyes - then pries open the wound with his fingers. "Hmm. Hmm. Oh yes, this is exactly what I was looking for. I understand now…"

Leaving Lena's body to slump back against the wall, he fishes out the coin and tosses it into her lap. "On the house," he calls out, heading for the front door and not looking back.

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