AC: Bush43 Daily Week Four

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Wed Jun 28 06:17:36 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

So as those of you in the mid-Eastern seaboard are well aware, the
sky's been falling the last couple days.  Yes, last night I came home
to a living room that was soaked.  Yay, basement apartments.  What's
that got to do with this story?  Absolutely nothing.  Except that I'm
using it as an excuse for why my intro's not so creative.

Who needs an intro anyway?  Let's get on to the story!


BUSH43 #37
By Jason S. Kenney


I resisted the urge to find the nearest bar and drink.  It wouldn't
help, not in the long run.  Hell, it probably would make my problems
worse, someone seeing me go into a bar, get trashed, and stumble out,
news at eleven.

I didn't want to go home, though.  Home being Isiah's place.  And,
Cassandra's wasn't really sounding like a good idea.  City Hall sounded

No, I wanted to be on the rooftops.  But, for that I needed a mask.

Which I had left at Eldritch's.

Which was why I found myself standing in front of her apartment door.

Just get the mask and leave, Jeffery.

I knocked and waited.  No response.

I knocked again and waited more.


No mask meant no roof jumping.  Which was probably exactly what these
people had in mind.


Where the hell was Eldritch at nine on a Sunday night?

I walked toward the end of the hallway and the stairwell, opening the
door and pausing, looking up stairs as opposed down.

The roof.

It was worth a shot.

I went up the stairs and reached the top, opened the door to the roof,
a cool wind cutting across, as I stepped out.  There she was, straight
ahead, sitting on the edge of the roof.

But, she wasn't alone.

Johann Weisz must have heard me open the door because he turned and
looked over his shoulder at me, glared at me, and then shook his head.

"It's a regular ol' party out here," I said with a smile, Eldritch
quickly looking around to me, as I walked towards them.

Eldritch got to her feet, while Weisz just looked away from me and over
the edge of the building.

"What do you want, Jeffery?" Eldritch asked, trying to be angry with
me, but I could tell it was a front, a show, as if she were trying to
impress somebody.  Probably herself.

"I left my mask here," I said.  "Thought I'd come by and pick it up."

"Uh huh," said Eldritch, crossing her arms, as I stopped a few feet
from her.

"Uh huh," I said back with a smug look, hands in my pockets, not
bothering to let her get to me.  "How ya doin', Weisz?" I asked without
looking from Eldritch.

"Not sure yet," said Weisz, his voice light, like he was about to say
something smart, like he'd been waiting for me to ask.  "But, the
night's still young.  Maybe I'll get my ass kicked and go get some
apartments blown up before the night is over."

"You do that," I said, still staring Eldritch in the eyes.  "It'd be
nice to actually see you out and doing something, Weisz."

"Sorry if I don't live up to your expectations, hot shot," said Weisz,
as he knocked back whatever he was drinking.  "But, last I checked, you
didn't run this city or this team, so why don't you go fuck yourself?"

"Can I get my mask?" I asked Eldritch, and she glared at me for a
moment before sighing.

"Fine," she said, walking past me and toward the door.  I turned and

"Hey, Jeffy," shouted Weisz, and I stopped in the doorway and turned to
him.  He was looking over his shoulder at me, a smile on his face,
lifting his can in a mock toast.  "Next time you go heroing, try
actually saving some lives."

I didn't bother to respond, just turning and heading downstairs,
Weisz's laugh echoing behind me.


I followed Eldritch into her place without saying a word, waiting just
inside the door, as she walked across the room and into the bathroom,
coming out a moment later with my pants and shirt from the night
before, my latex Dubya mask laying on top.

"Thank you," I said, as I met her half way and then turned to the futon
where the gym bag my fresh clothes had come in earlier still sat.

"Are you going out tonight?" Eldritch asked, as I crammed my clothes in
the bag and hesitated before shoving the mask in there as well.

"Yeah, probably," I said, as I picked up the bag and slid the shoulder
strap up my arm.  "More to think than look for a fight, though."

"Did you go into City Hall?"

"Briefly, then right back out," I said, turning and going towards the
door.  "I'm gonna get going.  Don't want to keep ya from your friend
and all."

"Jeffery, don't be like that."

"Like what?" I asked, as I stopped in the doorway and turned back to

"Nevermind," she said after a moment, shaking her head.

"No, like what, Eldritch?"

"Why are you so threatened by Johann?"

"Wait, you think I'm threatened by him?"  I laughed and shook my head,
holding my hands up.  "Good night, Eldritch."

"Jeffery..." she said, as I turned to leave.

I spun back to face her.

"He's an asshole, Eldritch.  An outright asshole.  He's been nothing
but a pain in the ass since he got here, and I cannot think of a single
goddamn thing he has done to help anyone but himself.  The only reason
he's here, the only reason he's bothering with any of us, is because he
thinks it'll get him to Victoria's scarab.  It's all he wants.  And,
he's not above using you to get to it."

"And, how exactly does using me get him closer to the scarab?"

Again, I held up my hands and shook my head.

"And, for your information," she continued before I could say anything.
"I was the one that came onto him."

That got my attention.

"Really?" I asked, not sure if I should believe her or not.

"Just get the hell out, Jeffery."

It took a moment for me to register what she said, and I just nodded
once, turned, and left.

"Who kicked you in the balls?" asked Weisz, as we passed, while I was
walking down the hall.

I didn't reply, just going to the stairs and down.


All night diners litter downtown Pacific City.  Thankfully.  Not that
it was late, but I wanted a place that might be open all night just
incase I decided never to leave.

Coffee and my thoughts were the only company I wanted at that moment.

But, the girl at the counter so wanted to be friendly.

"Can I get you anything else?" she asked for the third or fourth time.

I looked up from my barely touched coffee, noticed that her nametag
called her Jenny, and smiled.

"I'm all right, Jenny," I said.  "Thanks."

"You aren't a regular here, are you?" she asked, leaning on the
counter, trying so hard to strike up a conversation.  I was one of only
three people in the joint, so she must have been bored.

"No, ma'am," I said, shaking my head slightly, as I picked up my
coffee, took a sip, set it back down, and returned to studying it.

"'Cause you look awfully familiar."

I couldn't help but smirk at that.

"I get that a lot," I said, hoping I could leave it at that.

"Really?" she said, smacking the gum in her mouth, chewing with her
mouth open, big, yawning chews.  "No, I've seen you before.  You go to
the Dominion much?"

"The what?"

"I guess that's a no," Jenny said, as she smiled and chewed.  "It's a
bar over on Tally, between Twine and Young.  I go there with some
friends almost every Friday night.  I mean, if I can get off and all

"Yeah," I said. "I don't believe I've ever been there."

"You should go sometime," she said.  "It's kinda small, but really
good.  No cover and stuff."

"I might check it out sometime," I said, taking another sip of my

"It's a date," Jenny said with a snap of her gum, and I looked to her
just in time to catch her wink and big grin, as she pushed herself off
the counter and went to help the two other people in the diner.

"Great," I muttered to myself and went back to studying my coffee.

Over one hundred people died because of me the night before, and I was
sitting in a goddamn diner trying to figure out what to do about my
personal life.

"Damn it, Jeffery," I hissed to myself.

I looked up and around the diner, noticing a TV in a corner to the
side, closed caption on the news.

Erlend Romanov.  Shaking the hand of a man laying in a hospital bed.

"Son of a bitch," I muttered.

"He sure as hell is taking advantage of this situation," I heard, and I
looked up to see the cook standing by the doorway to the kitchen,
shaking his head, as he stared at the television.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, hell, numbers are in the gutter one day, then, boom, a
convenient event happens where he can show how much he cares about the

"Wouldn't the attack hurt his numbers, though?" I asked, the cook
looking my way.  "I mean, he's a
pro-science-hero/strong-on-science-villain-crime mayor.  To have
something like this happen," I gestured to the television. "On his
watch says he's not as effective as he told the people he could be.

"Besides," I continued. "Now he's damned if he does, damned if he
doesn't with how to react to this.  He can go to the hospital and visit
people, tell them everything will be all right, make sure they have
what they need, and have people say he's capitalizing on the event, or
he can ignore them and their needs and have people screaming he doesn't

"Just too damn convenient if you ask me," said the cook, looking back
to the television.

"Maybe the attack was meant to capitalize on the mayor's numbers," I
said, looking back to my coffee.  "Poll results come out putting him in
the low double digits approval rating, someone figures he's on the
verge of having the city turn on him, and maybe an attack will push it
over the edge."

Hadn't really thought of that before I said it.


"Or, maybe it was just a random outburst by one of the many science
villains hiding throughout the city," I said, looking back up.  "Who

"Yeah," said the cook, as Jenny came back around the counter.

"Need a refill?" she asked, and I shook her off, standing up and
reaching for my wallet.

"You all have a good night," I said, tossing a ten spot on the counter.


"Evening," I said, as Cassandra opened her door.

"It's well past evening, Jeffery," she said with a smile, as she
stepped aside and let me in.

I stepped into her apartment and kissed her, as she closed the door.

"Sorry I didn't call ahead," I said.  "I think my cell's at work."

"That's okay," she said.

It was then I noticed she was in a robe.

"Did I get you out of bed?"

"Had you waited another ten minutes, you would have," she said, as she
walked into her living room, and I followed.  "So, are you just
stopping in, or are you looking to spend the night?"  I liked the
playful tone in her voice.

"Hadn't really thought about staying the night," I said, as she sat on
the couch, and I sat down too, on the opposite side, putting distance
between us for whatever reason.

"So, you're just stopping in," she said, as she propped her feet up in
my lap.

"And then playing it by ear," I said, and we shared a smile.

Nothing better to do, I started massaging her right foot.

"So, I'm curious," I said. "At the Globe, how soon after events like
Ferguson do you all run polls on approval ratings and all that?"

"Are you here to talk business, Jeffery?" Cass asked, sounding relaxed
more than upset.

"No, just, well, it came to mind, and I thought I'd ask."

"We'll probably start polling around Wednesday, let it run over the
weekend, and release the results middle of next week," she said matter
of factly.

I moved on to massaging her other foot.

"Had a talk with some guy in a diner thinking that the Mayor was taking
advantage of the situation," I said.  "Or caused it."

"You'll find people who think like that," Cass said. "But, they're far
and few between."

"With this Mayor, I'm sure there are more of them than usual."

"Possibly.  You're good at that," she said, and I assumed she was
talking about the foot massage.

"Thank you," I said.  "It's a secret ability that I only reveal to a
select few."

"So, I'm one of the lucky ones to be chosen?"

"You and every cute girl in Southern California," I said with a smile,
and she pulled her feet away real quick and sat up, smacking my arm.
"What can I say?  I was a player in college."

"Yeah, right," she said, and she leaned in and kissed me.  "So, are you
staying the night, Mister Carter?" she asked without pulling her face
too far from mine.

"Is that an invitation?"

"It's an inquiry," Cass said, tilting her head, leaning in, kissing my
neck, gently, softly, oh-so-nicely.

"Is there more of that involved?" I asked softly.

"Maybe," was her breathy response, followed by another kiss.

"Yeah," I said. "I think I can stick around for the night."


Goody, indeed.

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