Saturday, January 4, 2014

Quantum Dissolve: Chapter Twenty One. (The woman behind the man behind the mask)


June 28th

Kimber Allison was born.


Harry Hembock was published.

Kimber couldn't have given two shits.


Kimber was rescued from a bully by Dusty Irwin.
She fell in love at first sight.
He was her superhero.


That school year, bit by bit, Dusty cleaned up all the playground bullies.
Either through direct confrontation, or by finding dirt.

Teachers not only didn't seem to give a shit about stopping bullies, but weirdly seemed to approve of bullies, and there was a blatant double standard going on in rule enforcement.
As Dusty quickly discovered in the detention room.

Kimber was always waiting for him.


Eight year old Dusty Irwin held as still as he could, and watched TV while his best friend's big sister applied green Halloween makeup to his face, and black circles around his eyes.

It was summertime.

They were going to play a little prank.

Dusty had spread, with Kimber's help, a legend, to put the spook into some of the kids.
Actually, Kimber came up with the myth.
The myth of The Green Monster.
Now, it was time to bring the legend to life.


Nine year old Dusty Irwin, kid detective, now had several adventures under his belt.
Pirate treasure, haunted houses, Dusty was your guy.

The other kids, especially Kimber, thought he was great.
The bullies didn't.


Eight year old Kimber Allison ran out of the Elisa Jack elementary school, covered in (someone else's) blood, tears and snot streaking her face.

"They're all dead!! They're aaaalll deeaaaadd!!", she kept screaming.

Dusty, without thinking, scowled, and ran right in.

Minutes later, Dusty was dragged off to a paddy-wagon.
Kimber bawled "noooo!! Dusty didn't do it!! Dusty didn't do iiiit!!"

Dusty never saw her again. Kimber Allison.


Bad things started to happen to Kimber's family.
some mysterious man came over to talk to her mother and father.
She couldn't make out what he was saying, but she did make out "...listen, you SHITS!", in a barking tone.
She didn't like him.
Her instincts would turn out to be right on this.

Her mother cried a lot.
Her father acted paranoid.
She was taken out of school.
It was a scary year.
Not as scary as what came next.


Kimber's parents were dead.
Apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Kimber knew better.

Her uncle got her the hell out of there.
She would later find out on the news that her house was burned to the ground, and she was recorded as being found in the rubble.
She would find out even later that her uncle arranged it.

Her uncle took her to get her name changed.
It was the first of many times.

She wouldn't see "Lentilville", again for 12 years.
She didn't miss it, it was a toilet.


One day, her uncle didn't come home.
She waited a week, wrote him off as dead, and moved along to the next town, the next identity.
Like he taught her.


Kimber learned of Dusty's unlawful conviction through the internet.
She wept all that day.

Then, she got ahold of herself, and signed up for martial arts and marksmanship courses.

Day one, her shooting instructor told her "love doesn't conquer all, bullets do".
That always stuck with her.


Kimber was a sophomore in high school.
Going through a little bit of a goth/punk phase.

She caught wind of one of the unpopular girls being picked on in the girl's locker room.

"I don't like that", she thought to herself.

So, she tracked down the ringleader, tore the payphone off the wall, and bludgeoned her with it.
She wouldn't be pretty anymore.

It was beautiful, and it felt right.
It. Felt. RIGHT.

It became school legend.
And the bullying stopped for good.
It got her expelled though.

"No matter", she thought.
"Time to move along to another school and identity anyway".


Ronald Stevens was racing home from his fake job in his rusty pickup truck.
It was a full day.
Taking photos of car accidents, pretending to be a cop, sucking up the unearned respect.
For an added bonus, on the way home, verbally bullying a child who had flipped him the bird.
Some incoherent gibberish about ruining another child's birthday party.
Projecting his self-hate and paranoia onto others made him feel like a big man.
Especially those who were smaller, and couldn't fight back.

He needed the boost, he'd been let go from his real job as shoe disinfector guy at the bowling alley five months ago (the owner's nephew needed the job, and no one really liked Ron anyway), and was going out afternoons to keep his family from finding out.
He wasn't fooling anyone.

He was drunk as hell, rubbing his pulsing boner while drooling over the photos of squashed brains, and mangled limbs, and barely keeping on the road, all hot and ready for some domestic abuse, and incest.
Domestic abuse and incestuous rape of course being proud homespun American traditions, and therefore "family values".

Ronald Stevens, insecure, self-loathing, drunken, laid-off, failed career-as-identity, moron, loser, dipshit.
"Salt of the Earth", they used to call it.
Citizen of an imaginary country called "the heartland".

Soon, he was knocking on his daughter Karen's bedroom door.
And then, he was knocking on her back door.
Whispering sweet nothings into her ear.
Like "give Daddy some sugar", and "did you take a shower and get nice and clean for Daddy?".

Now, understand, when it's legitimate rape, a woman's body has ways of shutting down that whole deal.

Karen Stevens's way, was whimpering "please Daddy, no", and then Kimber Allison, the future Chokecherry, bursting in like a Valkyrie from around the corner brandishing a field-hockey stick, and pulverizing Ron's tailbone in one outraged swing.

See, she'd been invited over to spend the night.
To watch movies, make cookies, and shoot the shit about girlie things.
Hairdos, boys, dreamy dreams of the future, and oh yeah, to be there in case "Daddy got weird".

The beating she proceeded to lay down dwarfed the incident with the payphone.
If camera phones had been more ubiquitous, and captured it, we'd still be talking about it.
It would have its own movie option.
After becoming the greatest feminist musical ever.
But alas, it happened in a rural shithole, and was buried under a steaming fly covered mountain of shame and denial.

Kimber/Irma/Chokecherry would always hold onto it as one of her top 10 memories though.
Indeed, one of the ones that decided her future destiny.

Just behind it, was when scant moments later, she hurled a barrage of sizzling hot venom at the enabling jelly-spined mother.

And just behind that, putting her hand on Karen's shoulder and whispering "never the damsel, never afraid".
It would become her personal mantra from that moment forward.
Replacing "what would Dusty do?".

She followed that with the less eloquent "oh, shit, I'd better get out of here!".

Once again, she had to move along, and get another name.
It would be Irma Donovan.
Based on an old secretary friend of her mother's, and a singer her mother listened to.


Irma Donovan checked on Karen Stevens from time to time.
Driving by and snooping, never making direct contact.

The very last time, she saw everything she needed to know.
Karen, married to a fat hairy drunkard loser, just like her father.
Irma sneered with disgust.
Until Karen started yelling at him, then he raised his hand as if to strike,...and then Karen went apeshit, picked up a baseball bat, and proceeded to devastate his shitty pickup truck.

"Attagirl", Irma said with a grin, as she drove off to the future.


Irma lay stark naked in the moonlight, on a blanket, on a hill, in the afterglow of sex.
Her first time.
At 18, she was a late bloomer by the reckoning of American society.

Of course, most teenagers weren't busy trying to stay ahead of hit-men from a dark cabal of corrupt politicians from the shittiest city in America.

So, "society be fucked", she figured.

Her partner was snoring next to her.
She hadn't bothered to learn his name.
Just as well, he'd turned out to be a tedious asshole.
A pseudo bad-boy whose dad owned a dealership.

"Chock him up as a dildo with legs", she told herself.

"So, this is post-virginity", she observed.
It didn't feel any different than she felt yesterday.
No magic time-warps, no fairy dust, no subatomic transformation of her being, no stepping through the fabric of reality into a higher plane of existence.
It was just a fuck.
And she did a better job with her own fingers.
What a meaningless milestone.

She reflected on all the girls she knew whose personalities changed afterward.
"Morons", she grumbled.

The way she saw it, two destiny paths lay before her.

Either with this asshole, or some other asshole just like him, marry, squeeze out kids, and wait for beer and disappointment to turn them both into Karen Stevens's parents.

And while that final decay approached, hang out with adult versions of the bitch she beat up with the phone.

OR...tell evolution, chemistry, and economics to go fuck themselves, and carve out her own destiny.
Which, was harder, and scarier, but the payout would at least be not having to sit on the bitch seat of someone else's bike.

She realized, she'd already decided at "society be fucked".

She pulled on her panties, and started to plan.
"Phase one, buy a vibrator. If I'm going to have one, may as well be one that doesn't eat my food, and fart", she resolved.
"I think I'll name it Dusty".


Irma had just finished loading the machine with this month's new DVD releases.
I was her own turn-key business she started with her friends, Amy and Alex.

They were Asian, lesbian, and Obama voters.
Everything someone like Ronald Stevens would have hated.
She took to them immediately.

Reloading Fireboxes sure beat being a Barista at Pea-quads, or her one miserable stint as a teacher's assistant.
Also, she'd been able to sack away enough for her first motorcycle.
Which helped her get from job to job.

Just then, it came on the news on the nearest TV.
Dusty Irwin had been released from jail.

Her heart leapt up in her throat.
Dare she go back to Lentilville?
Would he even recognize her anymore?

She spent the rest of that day in a daze, and finished her rout on auto pilot.

That night, she needed much comfort from "little Dusty".


August 6th.
Irma Donovan saw a GQ article on real superheroes.
She printed it out, and kept it on her.
It aroused her.
She didn't quite know why.


October 21st
Irma wandered through the grocery store, and then stopped dead in her tracks.

There was a display of Halloween masks, and one of them hypnotically grabbed her attention.

It was green, metallic, and...couldn't seem to decide if it was a ghost, an alien, or a skull, and had a black shroud on the back for covering up the wearer's hair.

It made her flash back to "The Green Monster", and Dusty Irwin.

Irma grinned wickedly, grabbed that sucker, and put it in her shopping basket.
A deep inner intuition told her it might be important.


Irma was lazily browsing the internet at a local web cafe.
She was motorcycle shopping, and hoping to be inspired.

She day-dreamily flashed back, as usual, to Dusty Irwin, and in particular, his love of comic books flickered across her mental landscape.

Almost subliminally, she keyed in "Harry Hembock", and got a zillion hits for something called "Shmegalamonga".

Poking around in the art section, she spotted a character simply known as "Harry's Ex-wife".

She dug the outfit.
Then, an idea bulb went off above her head.

"That's the colors I want for my next bike!", she thought.

And so it was.
Cough syrup red, with lime green trim.
What would later be called her "cherry-sicle".


Firebox was dead.
Killed by streaming service, Cinnygrid.

For now, Irma was living off her bank account, and crashing with Amy and Alex.

She was at her favorite deli, Piggah-Wiggah's, having a Thanksgiving sandwich, and a cherry soda, when she saw the news report.

A man in a green mask calling himself "The Jade Shade", was fighting crime, and had unraveled the conspiracy against Dusty.
Seemingly, half of all Lentilville went down over it.

She stifled a spit take, and choked on the soda.

It was Dusty. There was no doubt in her mind.
The pieces didn't just come together, they slammed together like a highway pileup.

Still choking, she looked down at the soda can, and glimpsed the logo.
It was a cherry with a mouth, sticking out its green tongue as if gagging, and sitting in a pool of red liquid. Blood? Drool? Juice? Didn't matter.

More pieces started to fly together.
She reigned in the coughing fit.

She pulled out the superhero article from her wallet.
She looked back up at the TV, still showing "The Jade Shade".
She looked at the can logo.
She looked at her motorcycle outside.
She flashed back to "Harry's Ex-Wife".
She looked at the can.
She looked up at JS.

She finally knew her destiny.

As if the cosmos was nodding in agreement, the news story ended by showing that Blackie Aaron, and the old mayor, architects of the conspiracy, were dead.
Murdered in prison.

"I should have killed those sons of bitches myself", she hissed inaudibly.
Then, a weight she'd carried her whole adult life lifted.
She got dizzy, she felt like she'd fly out of her chair, and stick to the ceiling.
She hung onto the table.

Then gravity re-asserted when she remembered, it wasn't over, Dusty was still masking up fighting these bastards.
The worst was over, but there was clearly more to do.

She looked at the can again.

"I'm coming, Dusty", she whispered.

It was finally time to head back to Lentilville.
But definitely not as Kimber Allison.
She was dead, as far as Lentilville knew.
Best to keep it that way.

A week later.
Irma admired the tattoo artist's handiwork.
The choking cherry from the soda can on her left hip.
It matched the ones she had stenciled onto her bike (now the Cherry-sicle), and her revolver (now painted red, and dubbed the cherry-popper), and her purse.

Two weeks later.
The costume arrived.
She'd special ordered it from a latex fetish website.
Amy and Alex helped add further modifications.
Mostly to help get in and out of the thing a little easier.

Three weeks later.
Lentilville, night, Irma was finally back home.
A woman's scream.
Irma, in full costume, went running towards it.
It was her trial run.
"Man, running in heels sucks!", she thought.

The whole incident took 4 minutes, and the would-be rapist was running away, shrieking, howling, and gurgling, the side of his mouth gashed all the way open like a Halloween pumpkin.
Irma had used a box cutter.

She screamed after him, echoing down the whole block, right fist pumping in the air, brandishing the bloodied knife.

During a mad cackle, she thought to herself "no wonder Dusty does this, this is such a fucking rush!!".
And it was. It easily topped the payphone and Ron Stevens incidents.

There was no doubt, the corner had turned, she was Chokecherry now.

The would-be rape victim stared at her aghast.
Chokecherry smirked, shrugged, and took off.

Four weeks later.
She found him.
Six foot four, muscular and broad shouldered, wearing black gloves, black jeans, black work-boots, a metallic green skull-like mask, a hooded sweatshirt to cover the back of his head, and a black duster that covered over that.
She'd been following him for some time, intending to be seen.

Round about one thirty in the AM was when JS finally found some muggers to play with.
That's when Chokecherry interceded, and proceeded to introduce herself in her own particular style.

45 minutes later...
JS was passed out.
Chokecherry lifted up his mask, kissed him on the forehead, and whispered.
"I missed you, Dusty".

She pulled his pants back up, fastened them up, refastened his utility belt, closed up his coat, and cleaned him up with a Piggah-Wiggah's moistened towelette from her purse.

And maced a creepy hobo that was lingering around.

"Well, how about that", she thought "it helps an awful lot if you actually LIKE the person you sleep with. Well, who knew?".

Then, as a gesture of commitment, she tossed "little Dusty", batteries and all, into the dumpster.
She wouldn't be needing his company anymore.

She waited awhile for Dusty/JS to show signs of waking up, then took off.
"Time for part two of the audition", she thought.

In another hour, they were a team.

The next day, after a trip to the Justice Of The Peace, Irma Donovan was Irma Irwin.

In the following weeks, they faced Mage-Shiv, a Transposer, Tomahawk Fuzz, and Funster.

In the aftermath of the Funster encounter, laying naked in both the moonlight, and the firelight of a burning warehouse, flashing back to killing Funster, she smiled wide, and thought "now THAT was a cherry-popping. THAT meant something".


"Are you ready for Chokecherry Mark 2?", she asked from behind the bathroom door.

"Let's see it", said Dusty, sitting at the end of the bed.

Dusty hit the button on his MP3 boombox, and fired up his "hits of the 80's", mix.

She strutted out of the bathroom doing a model walk.

The new getup was in separate pieces now, to make it easier to get in and out of.
The colors were virtually the same as the old catsuit.
The boots no longer had the heels, because those could break an ankle.
Pants, and a metallic belt.
A sports bra, a collar, a leather vest, and fingerless opera gloves replaced the whole top section.
The vest and boots were a slight shade darker than the rest, but overall, it was the same cranberry juice hue.

Her hair was now trimmed super short, because a bad guy could pull on it, or it could get caught.
Much the same reason capes were a no-no.
One forelock was dyed green, to symbolize a cherry stem.

And her face was now covered with a mask of punk rock warpaint.
Black rectangles around the eyes.
Black lines on her chin, and black hockey stick lines above her eyebrows.
All making the general pattern of the JS mask.
All topped off with the usual green lipstick.

Some of the old, some of the new.

"I love it!", he said lustily as he grabbed her around the waist.

He went to kiss her, but she held up a finger, and said "ah-ah, you'll mess up my makeup".

"I take that to mean you want to trial run it on patrol", he said with a smile.

She smiled back, and nodded.

Within minutes, they were both costumed and up on their favorite rooftop.

Dusty was rescued from loneliness by Irma Irwin.
He fell in love at first sight.
She was his superhero.

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