Well, folks, here we are, another contest come and gone. The rules were simple- write the picture, and use the line "I wish you could remember this as much as I will" in the story.
We got a few entries, and once again, I found myself posting at the very last minute. It was great to see Delphic enter this time! A regular to the Fan-Fic forum, but new to the CCC, Delphic came in with a strong entry. He's going to give us all a run for our money!
I'm anxious to see how the vote goes, because win, lose or draw, someone else is hosting CCC #27! lol I'm excited! (And I'm ready for the break!)
So without further ado, please read over the four entries, and vote for the one you liked best. Deadline for votes is one week this time- June 9th @4pm GMT (so 12pm EST for my own reference). Two weeks really dragged out last time. One vote per voter. Remember: if you wrote, you should vote! But no voting for yourself. ;)
Here's the entries, in order posted:
Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe
Thaliana Broadcasting Studios, Los Angeles, California
“I wish you could remember this as much as I will…” The platinum blonde holding the revolver purred, “…but I'm afraid that you be doing all your thinking in Country for the next ten to life.” She stated as her sidekick, a short man with a fish hook through his lip handcuffed the blonde man lying unconscious on the floor.
“Turn that off will you.” A voice groaned as the credits rolled over the image of the blonde escorting the man outside to the waiting police car. Turning to look down the table, the scrawny man wearing aviators with purple lenses and a business suit removed a cigar from his jacket pocket, lit it and took a deep breath. “Danika darling I love the show but your ratings are down, people like when you're hunting down criminals but you make it look too easy.”
“What do you mean?” The blonde haired woman at the end of the table asked in a Ukrainian accent as she smoothed out the crop-top she wore, the front emblazoned with the logo ‘Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe’. “You told me ratings were good Mr. Mc Kellum yes?”
“They have been better, have you thought about appealing to the ‘Avengers Generation?” Mc Kellum suggested as he looked over the assorted people sitting at the table.
“I am not wearing anything more skimpy then I already do on air.” Danika hissed. “And I’m not going to start call myself something like Huntress or Blond Bombshell.”
“I don't know I like the sound of Fishook.” The man with the hook in his lip stated as he ran thick fingers over his bald head. “And Tabby could be Gimble while Maurice could be Chaser.”
“No Brian I will not be some kind of show pony for the teenage demographic. I started this show to reassure the public that somebody could reach the criminals the law couldn’t. You now have me chasing after bail jumpers and jaywalkers, I need a challenge.”
“Babe listen your big now, plus you're good looking. “ Mc Kellum told her. “We're not going to risk sending you after the bad guys, there is a certain profit we get from you looking like a supermodel.” As he finished his words were met by the scrape of chair legs as Danika and her film crew got to their feet. “Where are you going babe?”
“We've just decided to go independent.” Danika purred. “You remember my escape clause in the contract I signed for Thaliana Broadcasting, well I'm invoking it unless you can find me a better class of criminal to hunt.”
“Not going to happen babe. Without us your revenue dries up. I give it a week and you'll be crawling back to old Mckellum for your spotlight back.” Mckellum snorted as Danika left the office. “Dames all alike.” He said as he coughed on the cigar before turning the TV back on. “Nice rack though.” He commented as Danika turned and blew a kiss to the camera at the end of the credits.
Casa Sedova, Beverly Hills, California
Danika poured herself an iced tea as she sat by the side of the pool at her Beverly Hills estate. While she loved the house she hated what it represented, and while she had no idea what the rest of her crew felt about what had happened she was glad they had gone with her. Between Brian ‘the Hook’ Baldwin, her underworld contact, Tabitha Taylor, her camera woman, and Maurice Cartier, her expert getaway and pursuit driver, they were a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately Hollywood didn't see it that way.
“Hey Danika you've got a visitor.” Tabby yelled from the kitchen. “It’s the man from Texas we met a while back.” She added as a well built man wearing a pair of jeans and a leather jerkin walked in.
“Well if it isn't the little girl from the frontier.” The man sneered.
“Huh takes a walking scarecrow to know one.” Danika hissed as she got to her feet and met the man half way across the floor, the pair of them bumping fists. “You look awful Kenneth.”
“And you look like you've been enjoying the weather too much.” Ken replied as the pair sat at the ornate metal work table beside the pool. “Been catching up on the re-runs by the way. Don't tell me you're happy being eye candy for some studio executive.”
“I never was but up until recently I thought I was doing a public good.” Danika sighed. “Still what have you been up to? Still the nightmare of the cartels down on the border?”
“No, I’ve been in a chemically induced coma for the last few weeks.” Ken answered before removing a box and sliding it across the table to Danika. “Take a look at this; they pulled it out of me. Apparently everyone else died from the toxicity of the weapon but you know what they say.”
“You can't bulls**t a bulls****r.” Danika purred. “What does this have to do with me?”
“I need help; I'm man enough to admit it especially after being out of the game for a while.” Ken answered. “And you, despite what the jealous types are saying, are the best in the business.”
“What’s the profit margin?” Danika asked. “And what do we know about this guy?”
“Girl, the shooter is female.” Ken announced. “We don't know much, but from the E-Fit El Paso Police Department is circulating we know she’s Asian and in her mid to late twenties. As for the reward; the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Aviation Authority. EPPD, FBI and Homeland Security are offering a million each, either for her capture or corpse.”
“And you’re really chasing down this woman?” Danika asked as she removed a black crossbow bolt from the book Ken had given her. “This is crazy even for you Zimmermann.”
“I know what that means.” Ken said with a wide smile as he took
Remove his hip flask from his belt “To partnership.” He toasted as Danika broke the bolt in two.
“And to breaking the woman whose death is our next pay check.” Danika added as she clinked her glass against Ken’s flask. “Now let’s go hunting.”
Larry looked at the placard. His face said what words couldn’t express. “I don’t get it?”
“What’s not to get?” Darren crossed his arms defensively; face contracting like he’d just eaten a chilli lemon. “It’s pretty self explanatory.”
Larry’s eye shifted from the picture to his designer and back again as if it was a ping pong match. “You’ll need legal to clear it.”
“Because,” Larry rubbed his moustache “She looks like Jessica Rabbit. Either that or Betty Boo?”
“She does not?” Darren huffed.
“If I say she looks like Betty Rabbit, then she LOOKS LIKE BETTY RABBIT!”
Darren paused, step forward gingerly “It’s Jessica Rabbit, not…”
“I DON’T CARE!” roared Larry making the office shake. “Now explain it to me.”
Darren adjusted his tie and gestured for his boss to take a seat. He’d been working for Larry for eight years now and nearly every presentation had the same circus attached; it was like a game but one Darren had grown tired of very quickly. He grabbed the placard and set it back on the easel.
“This is for our client Hubel & Wiesel trying to increase market share in…”
“Neurotic plasticine” Larry added looking pleased with himself.
Darren groaned, if this was a sitcom the canned laughter would’ve erupted…but it wasn’t a sitcom. “Neuroplasticity.”
“That’s what I said, neuro-plastic-city.”
Darren often wondered how Larry was a partner in the firm with his name on the door, probably because McMann was a very hands off partner. “Neuroplasticity. They have invented a game that helps with brain training, like a workout.”
Larry smiled “And you have a woman with a gun because…”
“Sex sells. A desirable woman of mixed origin to catch the widest demographic of males but holding a gun showing women a capable of doing men things so hits a wide area on gender and ethnicity.”
“Okay, but the slogan?”
“I wish you remember this moment as much as I will.” Darren tapped the speech bubble “Written in red, like the dress to catch the eye inspires and signifies passion. A longer phrase than some of the snappier fast food phrases…”
“I’m loving it!” chuckled Larry.
“But market research indicates products with red in their logos sell better. Because it’s also an educational game you’ll notice the swirl in the bottom corner.” Darren pointed to it, “It’s actually a stylised QR Code that’ll launch smart phones directly to their website.”
“You’re a wizard!”
“You’re thinking of my wife,” Darren smiled cheekily “The woman, who is named Avabella, which were two of the top names in 08 mashed to create a new name which tested through the roof with focus groups of teens who will be naming their kids that especially in the African-American and Latino communities.”
Larry stood up applauding “Great job!”
“I haven’t finished,” said Darren as Larry slowly stopped his ovation before slinking back into his seat. Darren waited until he was seated and then a few seconds longer before continuing “We’re also working with Stella McCartney who’ll produce a range of Avabella dresses because smart girls need to dress smart and be sexy, a portion of sale going to some animal sanctuary she likes along with a sizeable donation to John Hopkins Neurology which raises their karma credit in the eyes of the public.”
“Good things,” said Larry not with any insight just because he felt he need to say something as Darren steamrolled along.
“We’ve started a Twitter account for Avabella run by the PR department of Hubel & Wiesel and she’s killing it and on target to being in the top 100 of most followed people by Christmas.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about but I LOVE IT!” Larry exclaimed as he got up from his chair. “I’ll bring them in. Do what you did just now for them.”
Larry bolted from the room. Darren rubbed his forehead and looked up to the corner of the room to see an old woman in flowing purple and green looking down on him.
“Derwood,” she sneered as she floated to the floor.
“What do you want, you old witch?” he snarled as his hand went to his pocket.
“To see my daughter and grandchildren!”
Darren sneered as he pulled out a locket from his jacket pocket and dangled it watching her recoil in horror. “You can see them when I say you can see them,” he sneered “Now get out of here before I do to you what I did to that idiot Bombay.”
In a puff of smoke accompanied by the sound of a kicked harp, she was gone. Darren smiled and put the locket back safely.
“You $%#^d with the wrong mortal Endora.”
Life was such a peculiar thing. No matter where you go people always seem to look at it differently. Some see life through rose colored glasses, where everything is made up of sunshine and rainbows. Others see life through the grime colored spyglass of cynicism, always itching for that next horrible thing to happen. What about about a man who saw life completely different from every other human being on the planet? A man who had always lived his life seeing things that others could not. Feeling what they could not. There was once such a man, and his name was Jack Spade.
It was a hot day, and despite all the open windows, and the electric fan blowing in the corner of the room it seemed like there was no rest from the hellish heat of the summer. Jack sat behind his desk, loosened his tie, and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. Sweat poured from his brow, so Jack took the already damp handkerchief he held in his hand and dabbed around his forehead. He sighed praying for some sort of relief to come soon, perhaps it was late in the day, and before long that damnable sun would set. He looked at his watch and groaned when he saw the hands seemingly forever perched on 1:45 PM. It was turning out to be a long day.
Jack looked up in time to see a silhouette appear on the other side of the window of his office door, and straightened his tie. His office was on the fourth floor of the building, and the only people who had any reason to be up here where potential clients, or at least that was what he hoped. It could be some fool that had managed to get themselves lost on the way to the accounting offices on the floor below him. When he heard a knock at the door he smiled.
“Come on in. It’s open.” Jack called out feeling almost as happy as a kid at christmas. It had been a slow month, and for a private eye to pay rent you needed clients. What Jack had expected from what he had seen through the window was someone’s old lady. Another poor dame that had suspected her husband of having a mistress. Work like that was usually boring, but a broad’s money was just as good as any other schnook that walked in his door, but what walked in caused Jack to sit up straight and lean forward, eyeing the spectacle before him like a dog that had just been presented to a prime rib.
The dame was a knockout from head to toe, and where most broads would cover themselves up to hide their purpose when visiting his little abode, this lady held no shame. The heels made a distinctive click as she took each step into his office, and the scarlet dress that came halfway down her thigh showed enough leg that would have made any school boy fall to his knees to beg for just a moment of her time.
“Is this Jack Spade’s office?” She asked with a voice that sent chills up his spine, and he couldn’t help but notice how her dress clung to her curves leaving little to his imagination. “Is everything all right?”
Suddenly Jack looked up realizing that he had just been gawking at the woman like a putz. He shook his head to bring himself back to his senses, and stood up quickly, nearly knocking everything on his desk over, causing the woman to chuckle. Damn, she was cute when she laughed too, this woman had already shaken him more than he liked, and his gut told him he better quit acting like schlub, and do his job.
“You’re in the right place ma’am. Please have a seat.” Jack smiled and motioned toward the chair in front of his desk. When she sat down and crossed her legs Jack had to force himself not to look down. Dresses like that didn’t like keep things to themselves, and it was obvious to him that this woman, whoever she was, was really trying him. Instead he did his best to keep eye contact, and conduct himself in a business-like manner.
“I’m Jack Spade, what can I do you for Mrs?” Jack asked reaching his hand across the desk to shake her hand.
“It’s Miss.” the woman replied as she returned the handshake, “Miss Cordelia Brown.”
“Well Ms. Brown. It’s nice to meet you, so what brings you to me?”
“I’m looking for a man.” She replied, looking down at her purse.
“You’ve got a name?”
“No, but I have a picture.” She said as she opened her purse and pulled out the photo. She looked up directly into Jack’s eyes, as she slid the photo across the table. Suddenly Jack started to get an uneasy feeling in his gut, and when he grabbed the photo he felt even more uneasy.
“This is Bob Peters. He was my partner back when I was a cop.” Jack said looking at a family photo of an overweight balding man, his wife, and two kids. “Where did you get this photo? It looks like the same one Bob’s wife keeps in his living room?”
“It is?” Cordelia replied followed by the sound of the hammer of a revolver being pulled back. Jack looked up to see Cordelia standing over him the gun aimed right at his head.
“Hey now wait a minute!?” Jack raised his hands up, “What’s the meaning of this?”
“Ten years ago, two little girls were victims to a kid raper. One of the girls was my sister, and I guess you can figure who the other was.” She said as she grimaced at him never once moving the gun. “You’re buddy Bob he took care of the sicko, but he saw me, and just couldn’t help himself. He had his way with me, and my she tried to stop him, but your partner put two in her chest, and you just watched.”
“What are you talking about!? I’ve never saw Bob hurt any kids.”
“No, you sat in the car, and watched the front door of the house. Even when the gunshots went off, you just sat there and watched, and now you get to watch again, as I do to you what I did to Bob Peters.”
“What did you do to Bob!?”
“You can ask him, when you see him in hell, though you might not recognize him.” Cordelia grinned. Jack sat there unable to move. Not sure of what to do. If he attempted to grab the gun he would die, and if he waited too long he would die.
“I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will.” Cordelia grinned as she pulled the trigger. Time seemed to slow down for Jack, as he heard the cylinder turned, and saw the bright light appear down the dark tunnel of the barrel. It was in that brief moment Jack went back to the time that he was looking out the window of a car. The world series was on, and it was the bottom of the ninth. When he heard a loud noise he looked up just long enough to see a girl’s face through the basement window of the house she had been crying, her face full of fear. How did he forget that? Why didn’t he get out of the car?
There was a loud bang. It was funny how dying never seemed to hurt.
Cordelia lowered the smoking gun, and breathed a sigh of relief. Years of long awaited revenge had finally been finished. Bob Peters and his whole family was dead. Including the kids. Nothing good could have came from that man, so she had done the world of favor by slicing little Jimmy and Susan’s throats. Also that joke of a wife, a belly full of buckshot had finished her off, but as for Bob she took her dear sweet time with him. She made him feel the pain he had been feeling for years.
Jack Spade had been the last part of the tale that she had so long desired to see to it’s conclusion, and now she looked at too lifeless eyes and a gaping hole right between the sicko’s eyes. Cordelia put the gun back in her purse and took one last look at the man who liked to watch. His eyes were still open, still watching her. She wanted nothing more than to just cut them out, but she didn’t have time. The cops would be here soon, and she had plans to be out of town before dark. She looked down at the corpse of Jack Spade one last time, and remembered how she had seen him out in the car that day. The day her sister died. The day that man raped her. The day Jack Spade had just sat by and watched.
Cordelia spit on Jack’s corpse before turning around, and heading toward the door. She took two steps when suddenly something grabbed her shoulder. She stood frozen to the spot, cold chills running all over her body. The only thing that was behind her was a dead man. Nothing should have been able to sneak up behind her. Then tears rolled down her cheeks as she heard the voice of Jack Spade saying:
“I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will.”
Benjamin "Benny" Factor is not a nice man. He's been a gangster since he was old enough to make his own bad decisions. He began as muscle for pushers, then started dealing himself, and eventually went into moving all kinds of merchandise- chiefly, guns. He was one of the originals to refer to himself as being in "import/ export." That soon became a legitimate claim, just to cover his illegal activities. Underlings wound up running the illegal stuff for him, so he couldn't be connected to anything, and before he knew it, he was a respected businessman, and the cops weren't able to prove jack.
That doesn't mean that his hands were clean. Far from it. His organization- the illegal one- started being harassed by a vigilante known as The Blue Crab. She broke up a handful of important deals with a blue spotlight of a crab claw and a lot of fighting. She dropped off the radar for awhile, but was finally caught by Horace and Harry Fly, when she tried to bust up a weapons deal. They called Mr. Factor in, and Benny put the cap in her himself.
Horace Crabb was shocked when the police showed up at his door, and devastated when they told him that Merilyn was dead. He knew that she was The Blue Crab, but a gunshot? After all the crime she had stopped over the years? After all the things she had seen with The Statesmen? He wondered numbly who they would get to represent Maryland now. Then the weight of realization crashed in on him, and he wondered what the hell he was going to tell the girls. They were only four and five. How do you tell children that their mommy is gone? What was she even doing back in costume? She had only been in remission a few months. He slumped into a chair and buried his face in his hands. The detectives made their condolences and departed.
Merilyn's death ate at Horace for a year. The police were no closer to answers than they were when she was killed, and the girls were only starting to approach normal again. He was fed up. He dragged a footlocker from the closet, fished a key from the top drawer of Merilyn's dresser, and opened it up. He couldn't fit into her costume of course, but he could make use of her spotlight and her mask. He pulled leather motorcycle pants from the closet, along with a bomber jacket with his Zodiac sign on it. A pair of steel toed boots, his riding gloves, and the gun from his nightstand drawer. It was time for some answers. And this is how Cancer was born.
Horace made more waves and did more damage than his wife had done, in a short amount of time, because he was willing to use more violent methods. He rattled Benny's crew. They knew Cancer was someone out for revenge, because he was using The Blue Crab's old spotlight, and he made it known he was looking for her killer. No one dared give Benny Factor up though.
Anger makes a person careless though. He hadn't been at it a year when Cancer was caught and taken to Benny Factor at one of his dockside warehouses. They got on a boat, motored out past the three mile limit, and unmasked the vigilante. Benny capped Horace with his own gun, and tossed both over the side. Police found him washed up on the beach a day later.
Later that night, police showed up at the door, and whisked Annie and Sandy Crabb off to Child Protective Services. A social worker named Terrie, appalled that the officers hadn't told the girls what was going on, found that she now had the unpleasant task of telling these children that their father was dead. Sandy cried, but Annie was numb. She called her sister a crybaby and became angry with the social worker. Terrie let them cry and scream for two hours before they were worn out, and then they were taken to a state orphanage while authorities tried to find next of kin.
The girls were made wards of the state when no relatives were found. This lasted for a couple of years, until a janitor named Jim yelled at Annie for walking across his wet floor with muddy shoes. She scuffed her shoes all over the floor, then kicked the janitor in the shin. He grabbed for her, but she pulled away and kicked him in the other shin. Jim lunged forward, but slipped on the wet floor and fell. On the way down, he hit his head on the corner of the metal wringer of the mop bucket. His neck twisted on the way to the floor, and he didn't move.
Annie grabbed Sandy's hand and ran, and they left the orphanage. Sandy protested, saying they could tell the headmistress that it was an accident, but Annie insisted they had to run. She said they would separate her and Sandy if they knew what happened. So they ran. When they couldn't run anymore, they hid in an alleyway, and at eight and nine years old, this was the beginning of them living on the streets.
They had been living on the streets for four years when Benny caught Sandy trying to lift his wallet. When she tossed Annie his watch he was surprised and impressed, because he hadn't felt it come off of his wrist. Harry caught Annie before she could get away. Benny took his watch and wallet back, but instead of getting angry with the girls, he offered them a meal. Figuring it was better than getting arrested, they nervously accepted.
Benny talked to them while they ate. Like any gangster worth his chops, he had cops on his payroll. He knew that Cancer and The Blue Crab were Horace and Merilyn Crabb. So when he learned Annie and Sandy's names, he connected them as the orphaned children immediately, and had an idea. He offered to take them in, promising they'd never have to live on the streets again, and that they could even learn his business if they wanted. Benny figured it would be sweet revenge to turn his enemies' kids into gangsters. When the girls accepted, he smiled to himself. They'd be turning over in their graves.
Annie knew who Benny was too though. And she also had an idea.
Benny was true to his word, as it served his revenge. He taught the girls everything about his illegal businesses, and they came up much the same way he did. They started as runners for various things, mostly drugs, and they reported to Horace Fly. Although Benny kept a close eye on what he considered his personal project of corrupting these girls.
Annie didn't like Horace Fly. He had the same name as her dad, but he was a jerk. She called him Horse Fly, which he didn't much care for. His brother, Harry, she liked. He was called Harry the House, because he was so big. Sandy pointed out that this would make him House Fly, and Harry thought that was funny. Harry taught the girls how to fight, and Horace taught them how to shoot.
Annie played Benny's game, and she and Sandy kept him close. All the while, Annie kept focused on the memory of her father talking about Benny Factor and his involvement in her mom's death. Sandy still woke up crying over it sometimes, and Annie had called her crybaby so much that the term had become affectionate between them. So much so that Crybaby had become her nickname. She cried at everything- happy moments, sad movies, and even when she was angry. So Annie kept her eyes and ears open, looking for any information she could to prove that her dad was right. She wanted to give her sister a reason to stop crying.
They were not completely unaffected though. Sandy kind of fell into a bodyguard role for Benny, and Annie became one of his most trusted enforcers. Benny considered their corruption complete when they started killing for him. Sandy only killed to defend Benny from attack, but Annie actually carried out hits for him. She became known as The Orphan.
They worked for Benny for ten years before Annie finally ran across the information she had been looking for. Actually, she didn't find it herself. One of Benny's enemies had sent an enforcer of their own named The Mute to steal the contents of his safe. Sandy was stalking her through the halls of the office when The Mute got the drop on her.
Before she could fire, Annie cocked a gun to her head and said, "I've been made an orphan once. I didn't care for it much. Drop the gun." Taking The Mute's weapon and taking back Benny's documents, Annie leafed through them, and found the proof she had been looking for- pictures. The sick son of a... he took pictures. She let The Mute go.
Benny was throwing a party- a charity function for his legitimate businesses. He had to keep up appearances, after all. This was a New Year's Eve party that he hosted every year in his penthouse. It was tradition that he personally set off the fireworks from the roof of the neighboring building. It was there that Annie and Sandy confronted him.
Annie cracked him across the jaw with her gun, and threw the pictures down in front of him. Sandy held him at gunpoint so he didn't try anything. He pleaded. He begged. He bargained. And when none of that worked he became angry. "I've been like a father to you!" he shouted.
Annie looked at him coldly and said, "A father, Benny? I'm an orphan, remember?"
The hope left Benny's face as Annie turned away. He looked up at Sandy again. With fat tears streaming down her face, she looked at him coldly and said, "I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will."
And that was when Benny Factor died.
Thanks for reading, and for voting! Don't forget: voting ends June 9th @4pm GMT (12pm EST). :)