Be warned, this contains sex, swearing, insanity and traffic jams. The four, as we all know, do go together.
[Disclaimer: I own none of this.]
It was a beautiful, clear spring day when the beeping of Joes communicator woke him. Crawling over the blonde beside him in the tiny campers single bed, he pitched face first onto the floor, taking most of the covers with him, and dug through his clothes in search of the wristband while she complained.
"What is that noise?" she whined, rolling over to look at him.
Deciding that she looked a whole lot more attractive while he was drunk, Joe shrugged. "Just my work beeper."
"You have a beeper?"
"Yeah." He yawned. "Im on call twenty four hours a day."
"For what? I thought you said you were a racer."
Oops. "Yeah, well, um, races can come up kinda sudden. I have to be ready."
"Sure, whatever." She rolled over and seemed to go back to sleep.
Finally finding the communicator, which was now beeping incessantly, Joe grab his jeans and yanked them on while he stumbled out the door. His camper was parked in a mostly empty trailer park, with no neighbours within half a mile, and it was cold. He shivered as he clipped it on.
"What took you so long?" Ken groused.
"You dont wanna know," he yawned. "What is it?"
"Were being called in."
Joe frowned. "What the hell for?"
"Get this. For a group encounter session."
"Would I kid this early on a Monday? One of the directors ordered it."
"Which one? So I dont kill the wrong person."
"Youd have to be in line behind me, which is probably why they didnt tell me. Its at eight. Be there or well hunt you down."
"You should have heard Jun when I told her."
In the camper, the blonde was moving around, and Joe heard her cursing as she realized where she was. Shed been drinking a bit too much the night before too. Bucketloads, if Joe remembered correctly. Still, trying to convince a psychiatrist the whole lot of them werent nuts would get him away from her. "Fine. Ill be there."
"Good. And remember to be on your best behaviour. The higher-ups are interested in how we do. Its probably for the record. Ken out."
"Anal retentive bloody..." Joe yanked the door of the trailer open and stepped in, leaning against the jamb, looking at the blonde. "Did I ever remember to ask you what your name was?"
She looked up from digging for her clothes, messy blonde hair falling over her face and obscuring most of it. She looked like she was wearing a haystack. Joe shuddered. "No."
"Why ruin a good trend?" He muttered and stomped over to the stove. If he was going to be yacking with a quack, he wanted to do it on a full stomach. "I guess I should make you breakfast."
"You promised me the stars last night. You better."
He heard her rummaging around, searching. "Where the hell are my underwear?! Oh God, I think I remember flushing them. Why the hell did I do that? Ack, damn hair. Cant see a thing... good lord, how old are you?!"
Joe looked at her. She was standing in the middle of the trailer with a towel wrapped around her, holding her hair up from her face with one hand. "Excuse me?"
"I feel like I just molested a minor."
"Hey!" he blushed. "Im eighteen."
Her face twisted. "By how much?"
The blush deepened. "Uh, two months."
"Thats what I thought." She sighed. "Mind if I smoke?"
"Right." She lit up.
"Hey!" Joe protested angrily. "Put that thing out."
She just snorted, drawing herself up regally. "Look, kid. Last night was fun. At least what I remember of it. But Im sober now, and its obvious that the two of us are not going to work, so why try to be nice?"
Joe turned savagely back to the eggs. This was turning out to be one of his worse dates, and that included the ones where his girlfriend tried to kill him. "I guess not. You are old enough to be my mother, after all."
"Im going to take that in the spirit it was intended and ignore it anyway."
She went back to digging out her clothes and then vanished into his shower. "Hey!" Joe yelled. "Dont use all my hot water!"
No answer came back and he finished cooking breakfast for himself. Leaving hers in the pan, he sat down and shovelled in. The woman stepped out ten minutes later.
"I used up all your water," she told him evenly.
"Didnt you hear me say not to do that?"
"Nope." She looked at his plate. "Wheres mine?"
"In the pan."
She glanced in at the charred remains. "Lovely. Anyone would think weve been married for years."
Joe smirked. "Fat chance of that ever happening."
"True," she agreed. "Well, hurry up. I dont have all day."
He stared at her. "What?"
The expression on her face said she obviously thought he was a moron. "We came here in your car, remember? You have to drive me back into the city. Or did you just plan to leave me here?"
Actually, that sounded like a great idea.
"Dont even think about it," she warned.
"Are you ready yet?!"
"Im not going to kill her," Joe muttered. "Im not going to kill her..." He went outside.
The woman smirked, looking him up and down. "Very retro look there. I didnt know they still made polyester."
"I am going to kill her, I am going to kill her."
"What was that?"
Joe slammed the car door. "Nothing. Just wondering why all my dates end up the same."
"Must be your charm."
"Shut up and get in."
They left the trailer park silently, turning onto the little dirt road that led out two kilometres to the freeway. It was almost pleasant, the birds singing in the trees. Of course, blondie had to ruin it.
"You should have moved faster."
Joe frowned. "What?"
"Is that your favourite word?"
"No. Kso is."
"Why am I not surprised?" She glared at him. "You took too long getting ready."
"You try shaving without water."
"I told you to dip the razor in the toilet."
He shuddered. "Thats too gross even for me. Besides, your underwear was clogging it."
"So sue me."
"I intend to."
She rolled her eyes. "Look, its Monday. Its early. Were trying to use the freeway. Think about it."
"Only five seconds. Good boy."
They hit the freeway at five after seven and it was clear. Normally, it took fourty five minutes to get into Utoland, so Joe estimated hed be able to drop blondie off at her car and get to the base easily in time for the session. If he tossed her out while they were still moving, hed be able to have coffee first too.
"What are you smiling at?"
She leaned back in her seat, smoking again and knocking the ashes out the window. Joe was beginning to get the urge to stuff it up her nose. "Well, stop. Its too damn early to be so cheerful."
"Are you always this nasty?"
"Nope. Sometimes Im worse."
Joe growled, savagely swinging the car around a corner at high speed. "No wonder you have to pick up guys in bars."
"True. I do have a tendency to go home with complete scumbags."
Joe grinned viciously. "Loser."
She just puffed at her cigarette. "You said it, not me."
Wondering if hed just missed something in the conversation, Joe drove the car around another curve and started swearing.
"Impressive vocabulary. And I should know. Ive dated sailors."
"And probably have the social diseases to go with it," he growled.
"I guess youll find out, wont you?"
Joe decided to ignore that, and her as he slowed the car to a halt in the middle of the four lane freeway behind what seemed to be the entire world. All the northbound lanes were full with unmoving, honking cars, and more were pulling up behind them already.
"Kso! A traffic jam!"
"Just figured that out, huh?"
Joe turned on her viciously. "Do you have to keep treating me like an idiot?!"
"Well, stop acting like one then. For starters, dont point out the blindingly obvious." Tossing her spent cigarette out the window, she drew another one.
Joe decided right there that he was in hell, which was typical for a Monday.
"What time is it?"
"How long have we been in this jam?"
"How far have we moved?"
"About two hundred feet."
"What does the traffic report say?"
"Its a minor accident up ahead. Well be moving in just a few minutes."
"Havent they been saying that since eight thirty?"
"God, I need a cigarette."
"I hate you. I really cant express how much I truly hate you right now."
Joe just sat with his head on the steering wheel, wishing with all his being that there was some way he could just kill this bitch in some agonizingly painful way and get away with it. Perhaps he could stuff her body in a green goon suit, but goons were all male. Maybe he could say she got in front of the car and he accidently ran over her fifteen or sixteen times. Theyd buy that.
"Are you listening to me?!" she shrieked.
He lifted his head. "I hate you. I really cant express how much I truly hate you right now."
"Dont you dare repeat me!"
Joe groaned and went back to his death scenarios.
"Will somebody up there move!?" A man in a beat up old t-bird yelled, leaning on his horn as he had been for the last ten minutes. "Move!"
Joe leaned out the window. "SHUT UP!"
"YOU SHUT UP!"
"NO, YOU SHUT UP!"
"I WILL NOT! YOU SHUT UP!"
"Oh, joy," blondie muttered. "Intelligent men conversing. No wonder the worlds so fucked."
As usual, Joe ignored her. "MAKE ME!" he screamed.
"ALL RIGHT, I WILL!"
People everywhere began hollering and honking their horns as the two men climbed out of their cars, Joe cracking his knuckles in anticipation. His opponent was a big, burly man at least a head taller than him, with a beer gut and a long beard. He probably thought he could make mince meat out of him.
"You are dead," the man growled. "You are so fucking dead!"
He swung at him. He was fairly fast, but Joe ducked under his arm and slugged him in the stomach. The man whoofed, reeling back, and tried to kick him.
"Hey!" blondie yelled.
Joe leaped over the kick and delivered a hard right to the mans jaw. He spat a tooth.
"Will you listen to me?!"
Jumping up, Joe spun in midair and cracked the man in the side of the head with his foot. He went down, groaning while Joe cheered.
"HEY, MORON! THE LINES MOVING!!"
Joe spun to see her sitting in the driving seat. "Why didnt you tell me?"
She rolled her eyes. "God, youre such an idiot!"
"Get out of my seat!"
"Not now! Were moving!"
"DO IT NOW OR ILL BREAK YOUR SKINNY NECK!"
She looked at him. "O-kay." Quickly, she slid over and he climbed in. Grinning like a maniac, he grabbed the wheel and pushed his foot down on the gas to follow the car in front of him.
The line went fourty feet and stopped.
"Oh, this is just FINE!" blondie screeched.
Joe just buried his head in his arms and wished shed go away. Or burn in hell, whichever was quicker.
"Joe, where are you?"
Lying on the hood of his car in a sea of traffic, Joe stared up at the sky. Blondie was two cars back, buying a pack of cigarettes off someone whod taken the opportunity to set up a sudden business. He figured the line up would keep her busy long enough for him to talk to Ken.
"Im in Hell," he told him evenly.
"Oh, traffic again?"
Joe snorted. "Yeah. Can you send the God Phoenix out to get me? Im going nuts here." He guessed at the time from the sun. "Its almost noon."
"Sorry. Were still in the group session. They posted guards on the door to keep us from running after Jinpei got away."
Joe laughed. "How is that going, anyway? Is it helpful?"
"Im not sure," Ken said doubtfully. "Ryus lying in a corner in the fetal position sucking his thumb and Jun has decided that she wont be fulfilled unless she has children. Shes been looking at me strangely for the last hour."
Joe smirked. "I see."
"Dont tell anyone I said this, since Ill deny it, but if I were you, Id stay stuck in traffic until next Tuesday. Oops, gotta go. Weve got another exercise."
"Whats this one about?"
"Private time with another individual."
"Theyre going to lock me in a closet with Shiratori no Jun for an hour. No outside contact allowed. Maybe I can find out why she keeps staring at me."
"Im sure you will, Ken. Have fun. And remember to name the firstborn after me."
"Now whats THAT supposed to mean?"
Joe signed off before he started laughing. Poor Ken.
"Laughing at nothing is the first sign of madness, you know."
Joe looked up sullenly as blondie walked up and dropped a case of cigarettes on the hood of the car. "My paint job!"
"Oh, grow up." She looked around. "Looks like were going to be here for a long time yet."
"I dont suppose you bought anything to drink at all."
"I did. It was delicious. Fresh lemonade."
Joe sat up slowly. "Did you get any for me?"
"You didnt ask."
Swearing to himself, Joe got off the car and started stomping in the direction shed come.
"Dont bother," she yelled. "Theyre out."
Joe turned back at her. "I hate you. Dont ever say anything to me again. I dont want to have anything to do with you, you bitch!"
"Oh, you, uh - Oh, lordie... - Bastard!"
"Dont you... ever... shut up?"
"Your back seat - umph - its too small. Oh, woowwww...."
"So stick... your feet... out the window."
"Thats subtle. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes..."
"Umph... hey, were moving!"
"GET BACK HERE!!"
Joe dove over the seat into the front, blondie trying to hold him back so that he tripped and wound up face first next to the pedals. Realizing the line was in fact moving, blondie lunged for the steering wheel, leaning over the back seat with her hair falling over Joe.
"Hit the gas! Ill steer!"
"Are you nuts?!" he screamed, upside down and twisted.
"Hurry! Or well be cut off!"
Deciding that he was going to swear off women for the rest of his life, and that he was NEVER going to tell anyone about this, Joe pushed down on the gas. The car, which had been rocking gently from side to side, suddenly surged forward, blondie screaming at other drivers to get out of her way as she dodged through traffic, occasionally remembering to yell instructions at the thoroughly pinned Joe.
"Gas! No, I mean clutch!"
Joe winced at his gears ground and several million dollars worth of disguised war machine rocketted down the freeway, driven by a maniacally laughing blonde.
"Get your feet out of my face," she growled, slapping at him.
"Hey, stop tickling me!"
"Just keep... GAS! NOW!"
The car swung wildly.
"Were gonna die!" She shrieked, and Joes heart almost stopped. This was NOT the position he wanted his body found in. "Oh, wait, no were not. BRAKE!!!!! Oh, SHIT!"
Joes communicator started beeping.
"Joe,yougottagetmeouttahere!" Ken wailed.
"Huh?" Joe gasped.
"HEY, YOU CUT ME OFF!" blondie shrieked out the window. "YEAH, YOU!"
"He wants me to talk about my childhood!" Ken all but shrieked. "Jun wont let go of my leg! Ryus on the ledge outside the window! Hes threatening to jump! Save me!"
"DONT YOU MAKE THAT GESTURE AT ME, YOU ASSHOLE!" Blondie started digging through his glove compartment box.
"Uh, Ken, Im kinda busy right now..."
"Joe, I need you! And I dont mean in that repressed sexual way the doctor was talking about!"
"Hey," blondie cooed suddenly. "This is a nice piece of work... HEY, ASSHOLE! TAKE THIS!!" A hail of gunfire sounded out the window. "HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!" There was a crashing sound. "GOT YOU! Floor it, kid, somebody might have gotten your license plate number."
"JOE!" Ken wailed.
"KSOOO!!!!" Joe shrieked. He felt like his head was about to explode. Either that or it was the most fun on a date hed ever had.
Sometime after three in the afternoon, Joe pulled up in front of the bar hed picked blondie up in, a seedy little place in a rundown part of Utoland, trash in the streets and a completely stripped car right in front of the door. "Here you go," he said, trying to be nice. "Get out."
Blondie frowned. "I dont think so."
"Why the hell not?" Joe demanded in exasperation.
She pointed at the stripped hulk outside the bar. "See that?"
She looked at him. "Think about it."
He looked at it, looked at her, thought about his general trend of luck and banged his head against the steering wheel. "Yours?"
Desperately, Joe thought. He had to get to that group session, so he could kill the doctor. But he certainly couldnt just dump blondie out here. She was completely insane and impossible to deal with, but she was a good lay and his mother had taught him to help out a lady, even when he had to stretch the term widely to include her.
"Where are you going?" he groaned.
"Ooh, my knight in shining armour."
"Okay, my bitchy knight in shining armour." She gave him an address.
Joe blinked. That was only twelve blocks from the building the group session was being held in. "Okay, I can take you as far as the Shwartz Centre. Then youre on your own."
The drive to the centre was almost pleasently quiet. Of course, blondie had to ruin it.
"I just thought I should tell you I had a shitty time today," she told him. Shed lit up again and the inside of the car was filled with a faint cloud of smoke. "Except for the sex. The sex was good. Well have to do that again."
Joe thought of their time together and his oath to never touch a woman and shrugged. "Sure, whatever. Just so long as we dont have to spend any time together."
"A quickie in the alley behind the bar on Friday it is. Nine oclock good for you?"
"Ill be there," Joe replied, wondering if he were nuts. "As long as the world doesnt go to hell in a handbasket, that is," he amended.
"Nah. Thats my day off."
They rounded the last corner and Joe slammed to a halt, staring at the building in shock. Beside him, blondie was gaping in equal surprise.
Jinpei was obviously staging a breakout. His buggy hovered over the front lawn beside the building, Ryu hanging from the open mouth in birdstyle, singing at the top of his lungs. He was holding on one-handed, his other hand gripping a rope. It was wrapped securely around the ankles of a wide-eyed, gagged and bound man in a doctors white coat. Security guards stood below, trying to get a ladder into position, but Jinpei kept flying up, Ryu still singing away.
Then Ken bolted around the far corner of the building, his white wings streaming behind him as he ran. He was screaming hysterically, and Joe looked around desperately for enemies, ready to go to birdstyle right in front of blondie if he had to. Then Jun sprinted around the corner after Ken.
"COME BACK!" She screamed, arms wide. "I WANT TO GIVE YOU A BIG HUG!"
"NO! HELP!" Swinging wide around the guards, Ken saw Joes car and started for it.
Joe looked at the hysterically laughing blondie. "Twelve blocks east, was it?"
"Uh huh," she gasped, wheezing with laughter.
Joe floored it.
For those of your who were wondering.... yes, the blonde WAS who you thought it was. :)