[Fiction] Friday Challenge for May 29th, 2009:
Put this into your story – “Time out! Time out! We can call that, right?”
This week's story follows on from last week, where we had Detective Hartog investigating the murder of high class call girl Clarice and the mystery of a a strange metal capsule known as an InfoCap.
“Zero one hour and fifteen minutes … and holding.” The bass thundered and the retro nineties dance mash up began, pumping the crowd, who needed no additional priming. But it was tradition.
The semi final bout had brought out a capacity crowd of fanatics and another record bidding match for the broadcasting rights. Hartog had pulled in some big favours to secure the two tickets. He was hoping the gamble paid off.
The ref’s amplified whistle shot outward from the centre of the rink like a line of gun powder racing towards the keg. A cheer exploded from all sides of the stadium as the Jammers, skating ten feet behind the main pack accelerated forward to make their first jam.
The Scarlet Penetrator’s Jammer in her diamante encrusted red tutu and black leather bustier nudged ahead with two huge strides. A naughty peek of ruffled black lace knickers showed, as she bent down. Her fishnet clad legs criss crossed as she cut directly across the path of her rival, tacking for the outer most edge of the pack. Hartog caught a split second flash of the blades on the hubs of her wheels.
His guest beside him remained unnaturally still, in the seething maelstrom of Penetrators supporters, hands folded in his lap, knuckles white in the roaming strobe lights.
The Betty Buster’s Blockers at the centre of the pack, in skimpy lycra nurses get ups barely containing their iconic large breasts, drove at opposing points in the centre of the pack, forcing open a rush space. The Buster’s Jammer hurtled through but was caught at the last moment as the Penetrator’s pivot threw herself against the Buster’s block, forcing both of them into the Jammer’s path.
The Pivot and Block won the battle to stay upright and the pack sped past the fallen Jammer. First blood! It spilt out onto the pristine floor and splattered the white uniform. The howl of protest at the opposite end of the stadium was reflected and amplified on their side by cheers.
“This should be interesting,” Hartog said, leaning into his companion’s ear to ensure he was heard..
The injured Jammer clambered to her feet and after a few wobbling glides, gained her equilibrium. The blood flowing down her leg pooled at the top of her boot and then down the sides, leaving red tracks as she sped towards the pack. The blood slick made the bout even more interesting.
“The lame duck flies again.” Hartog got to his feet and rooted with his arms in faux animation, taking the piss more than finding solidarity among the Penetrator’s fans.
On the opposite side of the rink a Penetrator was down and from the huge real time screen above the score board it was obvious she wouldn’t get up. The tide of blood beneath her was spreading quickly.
The fans were on their feet screaming out in protest and outrage, then in encouragement. Her injuries had the potential to be fatal. The seat beside Hartog was suddenly empty.
“Time out. Time out. You can call that?” He looked hopefully down to Hartog who shrugged his shoulders. “Surely you can call time out. TIME OUT.”
“Shut up dickhead,” the guy two seats up yelled, shoving Dirk’s visitor back down in his chair. “Our girls ain’t pussies.”
Hartog smiled a wry smile which made his mouth look like it was affected by Bells Palsy. He could have chosen to have it repaired – just like the roller derby girls who would be fixed up after the bout and ready to skate the following weekend, but he’d chosen not to have the nerve damage repaired. Gene manipulation, stem cell mechanics, accelerated skin grafting. It was a quick fix society who didn’t tolerate sickness or disfigurement. It meant guys like him could literally wash away the scars – on the outside. He liked to be reminded. And it made others uncomfortable.
Anything and everything could be repaired. You just had to keep the heart pumping long enough. Sometimes the ref’s whistle came too late and all the blood had drained away, the heart stuttering to a heroic end. Or the girls were caught out in the Danger Zone.
“Never been to the blood derby?”
BenJin shook his head with a violence more emphatic than any words he could have mustered. His pale face stood out amid the red faced sea of fanatics surrounding him.
“Only if you go down in the first minute and your team mates can’t or don’t want to defend you before you make it to the Blood Zone.”
There had been two reasons to bring BenJin to the blood derby. Firstly he had a penchant for girls in short skirts, legs and big boobs. There was plenty of those here tonight. Secondly he was counting on the sight and smell of the blood to loosen BenJin’s tongue about his sister’s death.
Hartog kept smiling.
“You know they can fix that.” BenJin’s eyes strayed to the massive electronic bill boards encasing the inner fence of the rink, advertising the two major sponsors – leading biomechanical firms.
“I was going to say the same about our razorblade belles there. Just as long as you keep the heart pumping right?”
“I hear the fans show their loyalty in the number of pints they donate.”
Hartog was certain he heard BenJin snort.
The injured Penetrator inched her way across the rink, one hand pressed hard against the gash in her thigh, blood leaking from between her fingers and the other fist clenched, as she used her forearm to brace and drag herself towards the inner sanctum of the rink. The Blood Zone – where she would be able to bleed free of the fear of further injury. If she could make it before the pack returned.
Hartog imagined Clarice had employed the same manoeuvre trying to escape broken and cut up from her attacker. The finger tips on her right hand had been torn – down to the bone on one digit. Soft pink fingers scrambling to make purchase on the coarse grey concrete. Dragging herself away as she bled to a terrified death. Whoever had murdered her had meant her death to be a painful and undignified end.
BenJin shifted in his seat. Hartog was certain BenJin knew enough details of Clarice’s death to be disturbed. He had the technology and the expertise to find out if he wanted to. And Hartog knew BenJin wanted to know.
Hartog could not have shaped the bout more perfectly had he personally scripted it.
“She’s haemorraghing.” The Penetrator’s movements were slowing as the pack sped towards her, the pool of blood behind grew. “Why don’t her team mates do something? Shit.”
Hartog was pleased at how unsettled BenJin was – so early on in the bout too. Team mates, regardless of personality clashes and disparity in corporate sponsorships, kept each other safe in the finals series. The blood letting always happened in the opening rounds when scores were settled and sponsorships were still in flux.
Two Penetrators cut from the pack to run defensive sorties across their injured team mate’s path. There would be no sudden blood in the semi final.
“They both exposed themselves to an unwarranted attack to protect her.” BenJin’s eyes were fixed on the bleeding woman crossing into the blood zone. “You just don’t understand the intricacies BenJin.”
Hartog noted with satisfaction his guest flinched at the use of his name.
“It’s Benjamin. I’m not here in a professional capacity.”
“I thought this was the sort of thing you scum of the earth feedos got off on.”
Hartog put his hand into the inner sanctum of his trademark overcoat and wrapped his fingers around the InfoCap.
“That’s where you braindead coppers don’t understand the different between hype, voyeurism and integrity. Look at any of my news feeds and you’ll know I’m not interested in this -” waving his hands about at the rink “ propaganda of the irrelevant. It’s just another fucking Coliseum.”
Without shifting his eyes from BenJin’s Hartog lay his hand in the feedo’s crotch and allowed his fingers to open like a defiled lotus blossom.
“What the … Shit!” BenJin’s voice softened. “I told her not to.”
Hartog’s fingers closed around the InfoCap.
“Shall we go somewhere quieter to talk.”
BenJin nodded and was on his feet, forcing his way through the baying crowd.
Author's Note: all constructive criticism welcome!
Friday, May 29, 2009
[Fiction] Friday Challenge for May 29th, 2009: