Imagine: The List
Fic posted by members of Vo's Imaginings YahooGroup


Arthur is hugged by Mona when he walks into the house.


“Is everything okay?”


“It's just been a bad few weeks, some fool at Princeton got a wild hair up his ass about students not measuring up to his standards and went looking through files trying to find excuses to get them expelled.”


“And Kate's interrupted schooling meant she should be expelled?”


“Yes, he didn't realize she'd been blinded before she could start school and the tornado delayed her education even more. He just saw she had a single room and an assistant. He's the type of old fool who hates people having fun when they're not in class, he complained they changed their clothes and went out on the weekends.” Arthur rolls his eyes. “Miserable human being.”


“Yes, yes he is. Thankfully Kate wasn't bothered by any of this, her assistant and I kept the nonsense from her.” Mona sighs. “The old fool was very quickly told to mind his own damn business and leave the students alone. . .no matter how much he complains about the clothes they wear when they're not in class they're not giving the school a bad name.”


He's giving the school a bad name.”


“Exactly.” Mona snorts. “Miserable old fool ran wailing off when nobody took his side.”


The house is quiet when Arthur returns home a few weeks later, he looks around a few minutes. “Should I be running and hiding?” He asks Larry.


He just rolls his eyes and waves a hand. “It's a low pressure system coming in and everybody is tired.”


“Is this supposed to be another bad year for hurricanes?”


“Yes.” Larry sighs. “Not even the fool Republicans in office can say there's no such thing as global warming anymore. They're getting in stockpiles of the boxes for the expected storm outages.”


“For those people that still have houses.” Jessy snorts as she walks through. “Larry, expect wailing from a lawyer soon. That damn fool bitch who wanted me to move my business into her tiny ass store in town was just dragged away. . .she was stunned I wouldn't sell her my entire inventory of outfits at the pittance she was offering so she could get all the girls to come to her store in town and buy their prom dresses. She'd show me.” Jessy snorts and Larry rolls his eyes. “Oh yes, she ran off wailing when I told her that my biggest money comes from the outside orders, not from the prom and graduation outfits.”


“How can you do that to her?” Larry snorts.


“Oh yes, she'd show me.” Jessy rolls her eyes. “Useless miserable bitch. This is her last chance at being somebody in the area, her family's going to be moving unless she started making the oodles and gobs of money she was expecting. How's Kate doing/”


“Good, she's talking with her advisors about pre-applying for law school since the scholarship will pay for it. This way. . .”


“She's got an in before she graduates? That's the way to do it, then hope like hell there's still a spot since I know there's always more applicants than spots. Now. . .I hate to say it but. . .”


“DW's attack might give her an extra in.” Arthur sighs and nods. “Sad thing is that's probably will be the tipping point since her grades are good. And somebody who didn't get in will complain.”


Jessy pats him on the shoulder and walks over to the mail cubbies and sorts through her mail, dropping most of it in the recycling bin unopened. Arthur heads off to his apartment, sorting through the mail that Buster had been picking up for him.


“No, Ms. Michaels don't have to make dresses for that fool to sell in her store. . .the woman has been trying to get her to move her business to her building for years so she could make her increase the prices on her dresses a hundred dollars with the money going to her. I don't care if you don't believe me. . .ask yourself why a lawyer from Stanley is being asked to sue a woman nearly a hundred miles away. That's because she's been told to go away at every lawyer in town, they aaaaaalllllll know the woman and her little stunts.”


The young lawyer stares at the phone when the call ends and taking a deep breath goes to his boss. . .who's talking with a lawyer from Marley. He taps on the door and when he's told to come in takes a deep breath and says he's sorry for disturbing them but. . .


“Ohhh lord, yes. . .that's exactly what that miserable fool would try.” Ben Matlock snorts. “She tried suing to get Ms. Michaels to move her business to her building before and nobody would accept the case. At first she wanted the city council to get the extra money. .. they'd have to kiss her ass for giving them so much extra money to work with then she'd show them.. .they'd come begging with their hands out to get some of the money rolling in, moron doesn't realize that increasing the price that much means there won't be any business.” His friend laughs but nods. “Did the woman give you a retainer?”


“No, but she paid me twenty dollars to call.”


“And you did, they told you no. Case closed.” His boss snorts.


Xander taps on the doorframe of Larry's office. “Okay, I had a thought. We should start taking the kids to the playground in town to get them used to kids their own age.”


“Yes, Phillip mentioned that a couple days ago.” Larry chuckles. “There's no lack of parents that we can't take a shift sitting watching them tear around a playground.”


“Rupert, I'm going to be destroying that damn fool man from the department of education.” Wesley says as he walks past the two younger men. “The little bastard is threatening to take the children away from us if we don't send them to the school in Marley.”


“ARE YOU GODDAMN MOTHER FUCKING RETARDED YOU DAMN FOOL!!! Threatening to take their children away from them because they're not planning on sending the children to the local school?” His boss slams his way into the moron's office. He jumps and starts wailing. “I don't give a goddamn what your excuse is. . .you were told to leave them the fuck alone. That's doesn't mean continuing to harass them.”


“But the oldest ones are going to be three in July, they should be getting ready for their classes.”


“They are getting ready for their classes, they're working with homeschooling stores in two cities to make sure the children will have a good base of classes as they grow.”


“But they could go to the school in town.” he continues to whine.


“Why the hell would they?”


“But the school district needs the money. The state cut per pupil funding again.” He wails.


“Too damn bad.” His boss snorts. “Leave them the fuck alone. . .or you're fired.” He storms out of the office, slamming the door behind him. He wails louder. . .he'd been so sure that this would make them do what he wanted. Weeelllll yes, the school does need a good bit of work, they don't offer the same number of classes that the group plans to be giving their children. But still. . .they should be sending the kids to that school.


“SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THEM SENDING THEIR KIDS TO THE SCHOOL IN TOWN!!!!” His boss yells from down the hall. “They're out of the damn district, even if they go to the school in town the town won't be getting any extra money.”


“They. . .they wouldn't?” he wails.


“No moron, the damn school district line ends at the mall. .. .nowhere near where they live. The district would have to go to court to annex that area, they're not going to do that for a handful of kids.”


“But I thought the boundaries went out that far.” He wails. Scrabbling for his mouse he checks the district borders and puts in their address. . .finding as his boss had said that they're outside the district. That area is an area that's not been annexed by any school district.


“But they're only fifteen minutes from town.” he wails.


“Yes, but the damn area was all zoned commercial/agriculture when the borders were set up. The town grew up that way. Schools have had to annex areas as towns grow up. Or put a new school up to handle the students in the area.”


“So that's settled, the moron will be leaving us the hell alone or his boss will be scraping his shit off his boots when he kicks his ass to the curb.” Larry says a few days later. “Asshole thought the school would be kissing his feet for getting them more money from the kids going. Idiot didn't bother to see that we're out of the damn district since the town's grown so much since they were created.”


“Yes, that's one of the problems many school districts face.” Wesley sighs.


“That and not getting tax money from all the snowbirds who flock to Florida for the winter.” Jessy snorts as she walks through. Leaning against the wall she looks at the expo list. “I'm not going out this summer. .. the school's going to be doing a massive amount of segments for their show.” Adding her name to a handful of them she drops the pen back on Larry's desk. “I'm going into Miami next week.” She looks over her shoulder as she walks out the door. “Oh, and Rupert has an embryo in the chamber. You're the baby daddy.” Larry slumps in his chair. “I. . .I know you said that you planned on having more children but . . .”


Wesley pats Larry on the shoulder. “You are a good father to Amanda, you'll be a good father to this one too. Now, have you heard anything about your mother?”


“She got another six months in prison for that damn fight she had with my sister but once she's out she's going to be moving into an assisted living facility and holding down a job. The facility's going to be having control over her finances. . .no more sending most of her money to my father and sister in prison.”


Jessy brays with laughter in the other room. “Hey Rupert, that fool who destroyed my other car is making a dramatic 'you won't have me to kick around anymore' gesture.” She comes back up the hallway as Rupert comes out of his office.


“Really, what brought that on?”

“Ohhh, the stupid bitch tried suing to get the money back her family sent me for the judgment against her. . .tried claiming that the accident was my fault because I shouldn't have been parked there. . .I should have gone to another store. A better one. The lawyer threw her ass out of his office calling her a damn fool. Now she's wailing her life is over. . .she's going to kill herself in some dramatic fashion that will make everybody sorry.”


“Bullshite.” Rupert snorts genteely.


“Yeah, her own family bluntly told her to make her own funeral preparations and lay out what she wants to be buried in if she's going to be pulling this shit. Moron ran off wailing because nobody's begging her to reconsider. Not even the police and her counselor believe this bullshit. And they're bound by law to take threats seriously.” Jessy says as she hands over the letter she'd been reading.


“No, it's another attempt to stop having to pay her bills.” Wesley sighs. “Miserable creature.”


“Her, that stupid woman who's hobby it was to claim she was injured and get money from businesses, and that stupid bitch who caused the accidents.”


“How much time did she get?”


“Twenty-five to fifty years due to all the damages. She's got to go the whole twenty-five years before she's eligible for parole and she's got to keep her nose clean to get on the list.”


“And she already isn't?” Xander snorts.


“Yep.” Jessy rolls her eyes. “She never thought she'd be actually forced to take responsibility for her own actions. . .don't the courts know she's spe-shul.”


Kiara walks past and checks the mail. “Hey Jessy, can I get you to give me a hand this weekend?”


“What's up?”

“I want to draw a temporary tattoo on my arm. . .you've got a good hand.”


“Yeah, sure.”


“When is Madison's new book coming out?” Wesley asks as the hallway empties out.

“Next month.”


“Everybody, listen up.” Larry's voice says over the intercom as the three tone alert makes everybody look up. “We're in the bullseye for a bad thunderstorm that's going to be coming into the area tomorrow night, they're predicting wind and rain.. . .a lot of rain.”


Rupert hurries to the office, he'd been down the hall when the alert had sounded. Larry has the weather channel on and he knows the others will have the tv on in their rooms.


“How long?”


“Looks like all day day after tomorrow for the rain and wind for a couple days after that.” Joyce says over the intercom. “That's as far back as they're forecasting it now.”


“Yes, but they also said this is just the first wave of a bigger storm.” Illyana says from the doorway. “Unless they changed the local forecast since this morning.”


The local news is coming on and they turn the channel, the weather forecast coming on first. The fuller forecast is several minutes later and everybody sighs. Yup, the year is already starting out bad for weather.


The sound of thunder wakes Jessy the following night. Quickly checking on the babies and her cats she goes back to bed. Rupert had already said that it would be a free day because of the storm.





“Hey Rupert, you know that stupid little brat kid in town that tries to run into the street to cause accidents? She tried it again and the driver of the car about beat her to death for her stupidity.” Jessy yells as she comes into the main building from Marley.


“Little fool. About time somebody stopped her.” Larry mutters. “I hope her damn fool loving Mommy was beaten to death too.”

“Oh yes, the Russian guy was not happy at his new car being dented and ordered his driver to deal with her too. They're both in a Miami hospital and will be facing charges.” Ryan is in the office and looks at them. “Teenage girl who runs out into traffic repeatedly to cause accidents, the bitch and her mother have been doing it for years. They're renting a place in town because they keep running through the settlement money they get like toilet paper. Both of them were actually having to work.” Jessy drawls as she walks into the office.” Larry does the world's smallest violin gesture. “Oh yes, the stupid bitch deliberately ran into them because it was a new car and they'd get oodles and gobs of money. . .until the driver pulled out a tire iron and went to town on her.”


“Are they under arrest?” Ryan asks.


“Nope,” Jessy smirks. “Diplomatic plates on the car. Mommy comes screaming out with her nails out because her baby is actually hurt and got her ass handed to her for her stupidity.” Ryan looks at her. “The video footage is all over town. Most people are saying the stupid bitches got what they deserved.”


“Why did they move to Marley?”


“Moron blubbered she was sure Stark would be there one day and they could run in front of his car. . .they'd be rich. . .” Jessy snorts. “While they were waiting for their ship to come in they made numerous attempts to get money through causing accidents. But the police are getting suspicious of everything and are not finding the drivers at fault. . .insurance companies aren't coming through with settlements, and trying to sue them aren't getting them what they wanted anymore. They were miserable.” Jessy drawls the last three words and Larry snorts.


“They'll be miserable in prison from now on.”


“Yep.” Jessy snorts. “They're wailing nobody was going to be 'hurt', it's just a hobby they have.”


Eyes are rolled by everybody in earshot. “Yeah, their own lawyer called them a fucking useless waste of oxygen as they were indicted in their hospital beds. They're in the guarded wing on the hospital until they're well enough to exchange the hospital room for a jail cell.”

Illyana smiles as she finds a letter from her brother in her mail cubby. He'd escaped to the United States with her as a young girl, they'd settled in New York first before Illyana had moved to Miami after school. There had been nothing left for them in Russia, their parents killed in a farm accident on the collective while their brother had died in an accident in space as a cosmonaut.


“How's your brother?” Rupert asks.


“Good, he's got a number of requests for his art, the private school he lives and works at is doing well and he's . . .content. Life is much better here than it would have been back in Russia, both of us would have been old before our times working the farm.


Jake comes in and taps on Jessy's shoulder, handing her a printout. She grins evilly and follows him out into the hallway.


“No taking over the world Jessyca.” Rupert says dryly. “Jensen, don't make me call Clay.”


“Clay's the one who found it.” He calls from the hallway.


“Jessyca, Jensen what have I told you both about trying to take over the world?”


“Don't tell you what I'm doing so you can honestly say you have no idea what the hell's going on if the police show up?” Jessy asks, looking around the doorway. Jensen grins. “Because plausible deniability is our friend boys and girls.” Rupert looks at the ceiling silently counting to ten while everybody laughs.


Three weeks later the news that Donald Trump is being arrested on a series of charges that will have him behind bars for decades has Jessy and Jake being applauded when they walk into the cafeteria.


“Thenk you, thenk you.” Jessy drawls as she curtsies. “It was my pleasure. Bastard annoyed the hell out of me by trying to take over one of my businesses in a hostile takeover because the bastard didn't want to pay to use my services. Insufferable asshole thought he should control the world.”


“Jessy.” Rupert sighs. “What about his employees?”


“What about them? It's not like the old fool actually takes an interest in day to day operations. He hasn't been anything more than a figurehead since before he tried demanding the power boxes. The only reason his businesses aren't in bankruptcy is he's got people who know what the hell they're doing in charge instead of him. He's too damn busy flitting around the country making an ass out of himself. Bastard's been cheating people for years. . .including his creditors in his bankruptcies.”


“You don't take a day to day interest in most of your businesses either but that's because you're running other successful businesses.” Wesley says with a smile.


Jessy shakes her head as she reads a letter a few days later. “Rupert, the fool realized nobody's believing her bullshit that she's going to kill herself. She's pouting. . . again.”


“Bloody fool.” He snorts. “I hope her family told her that as soon as they get their money she move wherever she wants as long as it's not around here. Where she'll have to pay all her own bills, buy and cook her own food. . . she'll be in hell.”


“Hell wouldn't want the bitch.” Jessy snorts.


“Prom dresses?”


“We're cleaning the front room right now, they'll start arriving next week. And that bitch has been told if she comes on the grounds to bother us or the customers she'll be arrested. She huffed off to another lawyer and was told the same thing. . .she is trespassing and it is within our rights to have her removed.”


Monday they unlock the door and smile as they see cars already waiting in the parking lot. Girls start streaming into the building.


“No, you can't fucking sue the seamstress building for a hundred thousand dollars for not giving you money from every dress they make. Because you're a fucking useless fool.” The lawyer snaps as she opens her mouth to wail 'whyyyyyyy'. “Grow the fuck up you miserable bitch and leave them alone. I don't care what kind of money you think you should be making by taking over their business.. . .they don't want you or need you involved in their business.”


She runs off wailing.


“Goddamn fool.” His office manager snorts. “She's gone to every lawyer in Marley, tried getting somebody in Stanley to make them sell to her, now they're trying Miami.”


A rapid knocking on the door an hour later has them turning that direction.


“I'm sorry, was a woman wearing. . .”


“Black skirt, white shirt with a black sweater? Yes, she was here. Did something happen?”


“She ran into traffic and was hit.”


“Probably try to sue the person who hit her.” the office manager sighs.


“She. . .she didn't make it. Do you have . . .”


The office manager rummages through the papers on her desk and copies a name and phone number. “Her name is Monique Dupree, this is her daughter Sabrina's number as next of kin. They live in Marley.”


“If it's not. . .”


“Attorney-client privilege. . .no, she was never our client. She wanted us to sue a business for not jacking up their prices and give the extra money to her. She does not own the business and has never been involved in it. . .she just wants money from the business because it's successful. When we refused her case, she ran off.”


The officer shakes his head. “Got a contact name and number Sarge. Her name's Monique Dupree and lives in Marley.”


“What's she doing in Miami?”


“Trying to get a lawyer to sue a business to give her money, they're successful so they should jack up their prices and give her the extra. Even though she's never been involved in the business.”


The officer shake their heads. . .some people.


Jessy shakes her head when she gets the news from Ryan who had recognized the business when he heard the story at the precinct.


“Rupert, that fool woman who was trying to make me give her money because I was successful and she was miserable died today.” Rupert gets up from his desk quickly, she can hear the chair clattering. Larry and Rupert are at the door in a second. “Moron went to another lawyer, this time in Miami. She wanted to sue me for a hundred thousand dollars since I wouldn't jack up my prices and give the extra to her. The lawyer told her hell no and she ran into traffic, getting hit and killed.”


“Idiot woman.”


“Of course. . .she couldn't fucking handle not having everything the way she wanted. Moron didn't care that my business would be ruined with her stupidity.”


“Moron's probably trying to tell everybody what to do in Hell. And wailing that she didn't get in Heaven.” Larry snorts. His phone rings and he turns around to answer it.


“Did you have the CD roll over again?” Joyce asks. Jessy had been in Miami to deal with that and buy for the library.


“No, it's going to go into a different account once it matures. It's less interest but I can access it now in case something happens.”


She nods in satisfaction.


The prom dresses start being carried out the door of the seamstress shop and Jessy and the others look in the other room. “Two weeks should have everything done in here?”


“Yep.” Faith snorts as she grabs an outfit and looks over the pattern in the container. The others do the same and start to work.


“Are you stupid. . .no I'm not giving the family money.” Jessy snorts. “the stupid bitch never worked here, she's just a miserable human being who wanted to make money off my hard work. She inherited a small building in town and wanted me to move my business into it and increase the price of every outfit I make by a hundred dollars with the money going to her. Of course that was after the city council told her no for her fantastic plan to increase the budget by that extra money going to them. When she couldn't become somebody that way she figured she'd just keep the money herself.”


The man on the other end of the line gulps. Maybe he should have done a little digging into the story instead of jumping on 'the woman owes mucho dinero for her part in causing the woman's death' bandwagon. The rest of the story he hears makes him realize why the family had not immediately gone after the woman she'd been trying to sue after the court found the man who'd hit her not guilty in her death.


“Welllllll, do you have a fantastic story of wrongdoing?” His editor drawls sarcastically.


“No, the story turned out to be a bust. The lawsuit was meritless.”


“Which you'd have damn well known if you looked into the case instead of jumping to conclusions. Moron, go back to the work I gave you instead of dreaming about a big story that's going to make you somebody. The only way you're going to go up the ranks in the office is by hard work.”


The rush of graduation outfits soon start arriving and Jessy nods in satisfaction as the last outfit is walked out by the girl and her mother. The remaining containers are brought out of the back room and the door opened for air as they settle back down to work.


“Guys, the latest hurricane turned. . . .it's bearing straight down on us.” Larry calls as they start walking into the main building.


“Oh hell, but we knew this was going to be a bad year.” Jessy sighs. “When's it due?”


“End of the week.”


“Everybody's been stocking up on stuff to keep them occupied. . . right?” Wesley asks. Everybody nods.


The food is delivered to all the houses and apartments, Jessy sighing as she can hear the wind pick up even through the shield and the soundproofing on her house. The boys are busy trying to pet the cats and she picks them up, the cats giving her 'why did you have these monsters' looks. She just chuckles.





The beginning of June Max taps on the door and comes inside. He grins at Jessy who waves a hand from her spot drawing at the counter.


“Muse hit her again?”


“Yup, been dumping on her for damn near a week straight.” Faith sniggers as Jessy sighs and puts the pencil down.


“I understand you're staying home this summer except for expos or sales?” Max asks.


“Yes, the school's doing a summer's worth of work on episodes for their tv show.” Jessy sighs as she rubs muscle rub into her hands as Faith opens the door and they start going through the racks, moving everything to the trucks.


“Damn, this room looks empty now.” Jubilee whistles.


“Yes, but it will soon be full again.” Jessy sighs. “Okay, we'll clean today and tomorrow then start filling containers again Monday.” Everybody nods and starts grabbing cleaning supplies. Jessy mumbles something very rude if they could have understood it and goes back to the counter and sketchbooks.


“Is the sale on in Vegas over the 4th of July?”


“Yes, I'm staying out later since I'll be attending a hydroponics expo.”


“How is the construction coming on the new one outside Miami?”


“They're getting work done quickly, trying to get back on schedule.” Scott says as he walks into the building. “the government is holding their breath to see how much money they gotta pay in fines for that moron butting into stuff that wasn't any of his damn business.”


“Isn't that stock in trade for the government?” Faith snorts as she walks out into the outer room and across to the bathroom.


“Certainly seems that way.” Scott says. “You hear the State Department called Kiara?” Faith sticks her head around the door and looks at him. “Some damn fool wanting to know how she can be both sixth and eighth in line for the throne, Kiara told her to learn how to read. . .it said she was 68th in line to the throne. You could almost see the 'oh shit' look on her face over the phone..”


“Morons.” Faith mutters as she shuts the bathroom door to take a piss.


“Somebody getting a wild hair up their ass and causing problems because they think nobody else saw what was obviously somebody trying to get away with something.”


“Yep, and looking like the idiot they are when they slink off.”


“Max pick up the orders?” Larry asks when they all walk into the main building.


“Yeah, we'll clean again tomorrow and start filling containers next week.” Jessy stretches and yawns as she looks out the window at the darkening sky. “Are they just predicting rain?”


“No, now they're saying we'll get more wind than they'd predicted.” Andrew sighs as he walks into the building. “Everybody's listening to the weather channel at Stark.”


“And getting in supplies early I hope.” Rupert says.


“They should, but that would make sense.” Jesse snorts as he walks into the hallway. “Which people don't tend to have anymore.”


“Amen.” Paige snorts. “The empty shelves over the last couple of years really shook up the whole 'oh, we can just run to the store to get anything we need' mindset while back home everybody would have their gardens in and canning food for the winter.”


Kiara drops a letter into the recycling bin. “My idiot grandmother wailing what a horrible human being I am for not marrying that old bastard so she could live the life of luxury she wanted. Both of them are going to be behind bars for the rest of their lives.” She says at the others looks.


“He was convicted on all charges then?” Rupert asks.


“Yep, the families of his late wives are supposedly up in arms at the deaths of their beloved family members.”

“Bullshite,” Rupert says genteely. “The other families were like your grandmother, they wanted to be rid of them.”


“Oh yeah, they blubbered they didn't know what he was doing but it was common knowledge in those circles.”


“Of course.”


The following Monday everybody arrives at the seamstress shop for two solid weeks of filling containers. The stacks are looked at in satisfaction and the store door is shut.


“Are you done filling containers?”


“Yeah, until September, Max won't be coming out early this year..” she snorts. The others laugh and nod.


“Jessy?” Francine asks.


“Need me to help out at the soapmaking building?”


“Please, even with you being off in a couple weeks for the sale it will help.”


“Making extra to replace what will be sold the fourth?” Larry asks. Francine nods. “We've got boxes of stuff stacked to nearly the ceiling of stuff already made up but we need to keep the shelves full of soap curing.” The soapmaking building had picked up a good bit of business from people coming to the big sale in town the 4th. And in turn the other stores out there too.


Jessy slumps into a chair in the hotel, Mona from New York nodding. “Gods, what a racket. How's Marley?” The hallway had been full of people and objects.


“Hopping as they get ready for the big sale in a couple days.” Jessy yawns. “The soapmaking building has been stacking up boxes of stuff for the sale. ..basically everything that's not already been pre-ordered but that means the shelves are bare..” Mona nods. “It's usually only twice a year that we have the massive shelf filling events and it's damn good money.”


“How long were you sketching?” The scanned file had been huge. Everybody had just grabbed a few pages and started making notes.


“Damn near three weeks.” Jessy grumbles. “I felt like I'd been mauled when the damn muse finally spit me out.” Mona sniggers. “How is the filming coming?”


“Good.. We figure to have at least two years worth of material by the time we're done. We did a good bit of filming last fall after we got the boxes.”


A couple days later they pull up at the supplier complex, the woman at the gate grinning as the car pulls into the lot.


“Who the fuck do you think you are trying to grab me?” Jessy bellows as she kicks at somebody.


“You can't go in there, we're taping. How the hell did you get on this floor anyway?”


“This is our goddamn room you fucking moron, we've been staying here for a couple days now.”


A manager is quickly brought up and starts complaining. “We told you we had guests on this floor, what the hell do you think you're doing trying to grab people?”


“But we were supposed to have the entire floor to ourselves.”


“No you weren't, you were given a certain number of hours when you could film. . .and that's not supposed to be starting for another three hours. And you sure the hell weren't supposed to have all that shit in the hallway.”


“H . .How can I work under these conditions?” The director wails and runs off to complain to somebody. Who tries taking his head off at the waist from the way he's yelling at him.


“God damn effing moron, I'm sorry ladies.” the producer says in a phone call a couple hours after they've got back from a free dinner at the hotel. “I told the fool the rules for filming and he swore up, down, and sideways that he could work within those rules. . .and the first damn thing he tried to do is ignore the rules and do what he wanted.”


Jessy just rolls her eyes at the teasing she gets back at the House. “God damn effing idiot, always going to be some moron who thinks he's better than everybody else and should get whatever he wants for existing. He was told to follow the damn rules and decided that the rules shouldn't apply to him. They bothered his artistic creativity.”


Larry rolls his eyes. “Just as many damn drama queens behind the camera as there are in front of it.”


“Hollyweird draws those type of personalities.”


Jessy nods.


Xander comes rushing into the seamstress shop a couple days later. “Massive power outage on the other coast. Stretching from California through Idaho, Nevada. . .nearly as far as Texas.”


Jessy sighs. “We've been expecting it.”


“Yep. No matter what that good old boy Bush said, the damn power grids are in serious trouble.”


“Yes, we're all fine here.” Lady Heather says in her office. “Gilbert is talking with his former coworkers right now. The hotels and casinos must be up on arms though at the loss of business.”


“And in turn blaming the city council for not magically keeping their power grid unable to be touched by any of the bad stuff that's been happening the last few years. So people can continue to gamble and attend shows.” Rupert snorts.


“Oh yes,” Lady Heather chuckles. “I still say you could probably see the city lights from space.”


A couple nights later Jessy taps on Rupert's office door and finds him in a Skype conference call with the other houses.


“Sorry to bother you, Larry's got the news on and they finally just announced that this is another massive outage like last year's and the power won't be coming back on. They magnanimously announced that the National Guard will be coming out with supplies since I don't doubt the stores are all empty now. Out of the goodness of their money-grubbing, black cockled hearts. And eventually they'll allow the boxes to start being delivered. . .once enough people's complaints make them start looking again and realize. . .ohhh yeah, the grid's destroyed. . .the power can't come back on. . .you just need to wait won't cut it anymore.”


“You're too young to be so cynical.” Charles chuckles as he listens to Jessy muttering about the morons in the government.


“I'm nearly 43 Charles.”


“Still too young.”


Erik snorts beside him. “Hush you, you were born cynical.”


“How was sales over the 4th?” Jessy asks as she walks back into the outer office.


“Good, we didn't have very many boxes to bring back and we got a few orders for other stuff since we had bigwigs from the government and people from the other branches of Stark out for meetings.”


“Government whining or actually doing something?”


“A bit of both. . .some whining about did Stark really need a facility out here. . .?”


“Either fire the people working here or make them move to the other facilities? Figures.” Jessy snorts. “Calmer heads tell them to go sulk in a corner?”


“Basically.” Larry chuckles. The government wants Stark to work on some other stuff out here. Some moron was having a fit about Kiara being over here and not across the pond but was told to go sit in that same corner.”


“Because members of the very extended royal family can't have normal lives.” Jessy snorts. “Old Prince Charles might have been sitting in the wings for his mother to die but everybody else went out and had lives of their own. Because they knew they'd never get the throne..”


“Yep.” Larry chuckles.


Kiara walks into the lab she shares with Scott and Jesse, placing the cooler with their lunches in the corner. She stretches and sighs when her neck and back pop. “Okay guys, what are we working on today? Be warned, I didn't sleep worth shite last night.”


“So nothing that will blow us up?” Jesse snickers. “Reports.”


“Yeah, I can do that.”


“Finally need to break down and get a different mattress?” Scott asks.


“No, Rupert took care of that already. I need to break down and throttle my grandmother, the stupid woman had a weeping, wailing, whinging fit last night. . .seems she finally was able to get a cellular phone and card that included international calling. . .”


“And you were her first call.”


“Yes, miserable bitch. Her life is over. . .she devoted the best years of her life to raising me. . .” Kiara makes a rude noise. “Effing fool, I told her she was a lying miserable bitch. . .she didn't raise me, the nursemaid and housekeeper did, she doesn't know when I was born, how old I am, what my interests are, what my hobbies are., . .anything. I told her to rot in prison for the rest of her miserable life. She was wailing like a siren when I ended the call. Since she was told to leave me the hell alone and everybody at the prison loathes her, I'm sure she's already in trouble for that.” Kiara yawns again and takes the mug of herbal tea Scott had been brewing for her. “Thank you.”


The trucks with the supplies Jessy brought arrive at the seamstress building a couple weeks later, everybody gathers around and starts emptying them. The truckers are used to trips to the House and a couple hours later call to see if there's shipments going back the way they'd come.


“How long until the power boxes start being brought out?”


“I'd say September, the government is still insisting the power will be back on shortly though everybody with a damn brain knows it won't. By then the states that get real winter will be demanding something be done before snow falls.”


“Did that fool woman move like she wanted to?” Xander asks Jessy one night at dinner when he's helping feed the boys.


“No, she's got the money mostly paid down now but finally realized she'd need money for a house, she'd have to have money to move, she'd need to pay all her bills herself. . .buy her own food and cook her own meals. . ..” Jessy drawls.


“In other words be a damn grownup.” Paige snorts.


“Yes, now she's looking for a sugardaddy to take care of her. One that's rich enough to have a chauffeur for her.”


“Lotsa luck there.” Faith snorts from another table. “I've seen pictures of the bitch, she's too damn old. She's the age she'd have already burned through one or two and was desperately looking for another one.”


“Yep. And be sneering at us because we're old. But all of our girls will have common sense and be paying their own bills.” Harmony says from another table.




Joyce comes over with the assignments for the next couple of nights. Across the room Faith covers her mouth with a napkin and belches loudly. “Damn, did you guys sneak brussel sprouts in the lasagna again?”


“Yes, and in the salad mix too.”


“Hell, I'll be belching all damn night then.”


“Pepto?” Adam asks from another table.


“Antacids, I got a new bottle of the chewables in town yesterday.”


“Pepcid. . .I can prescribe it if you have that touchy a stomach. You're not the only one who takes it.” Adam looks over at Kiara and a few other people.


“Isn't that the stuff they were talking about causing kidney damage?”


“That's prilosec, that's something else entirely. One neutralizes acid, one shuts some of the pumps down that produces it.”


“Aren't you only supposed to use that for two weeks?”


“Unless you're under a doctor's supervision.”


“Jessy?” Rupert asks when she comes into the main building a couple weeks later. In Robert's arms. He puts her down on a couch and goes back outside.


“Yes, I'm having a damn flareup. And since I've been tempting fate for so long I'm sure the damn thing will last a while.” She sighs. “House is making up my prescriptions now, Faith just ran over to pick them up.” Almost as soon as the words are out of her mouth Faith walks in and drops a bag on Jessy's lap. Larry comes back from a closet with a wheelchair.


“Yes, you need it. You need to stay off that knee.” House says over the intercom. Jessy gives the ceiling a sour look. “Tough. Either stay in the chair, be carried everywhere, or get stuck in a hospital bed. And either stay in the house or in your house, the seamstress shop can work well on their own.”


“I gotta go through the notes the others sent me back on my drawings anyway.” Jessy sighs. “I'll be in the reading room.”


“Take your pills with food first.”


“Welllll yah,” Jessy snorts. “Otherwise I'll be hurling all over the place.”


Jessy maneuvers the chair up to a table and transfers to a chair since the wheelchair is too low to work from. Laying out the drawing pads she brings up the file of notes and finds the first drawing.


Larry comes in with more sketchpads and notebooks. “Want some of the meal replacement drinks? House said the meds would kill your appetite.”


“Hell no, those things are worse than the damn nausea.”


Arthur comes in. “Milkshake, easy on your stomach and empty calories.” He hands her a glass with a top and she starts to sip. “Awww, thank Denise for me. . . I know she's seen me through a few of these.”


“Jessy says thank you, Larry was asking her if she wanted a meal replacement drink when I walked in with the milkshake.” Arthur says as he walks into the cafeteria.


“Those things are worse than the drugs for making somebody hurl.” Denise snorts. The others snigger and nod. “You only drink those if you're one of the fools trying to lose weight by not exercising and eating decent meals or you're somewhere where you might not get decent food for a while.”


“Earthquakes, hurricanes. . .” the others nod. “Though I'd think the bars would be better then, take up less room.”


“And no chance of them tipping over.” Rupert nods. “Okay, it's been several years. . .do we need to stock up on dishes and utensils again?”


“Yes, especially with some rumors about the former asshat in chief trying to shut down the factories because he didn't think they were needed.” The head cook on this shift says. Rupert nods, he'd heard the same rumors.


They walk into the storeroom and start looking around. “Yes, we need to start stocking up again.” She sighs. They get on the computer in the office and start looking at stuff, putting together the order. A note that they're going to be putting in an order is put on the bulletin board for the other shifts, along with the news that Jessy's having a flareup and to push goodies on her to keep her weight up since the medicine makes her not want to eat.


The van and truck pull through the gates after the comic con in Stanley.


“Road work finally finished?” Robert chuckles when nobody oozes out of the vehicles.


“Yes, thank you god.” Jessy sighs as she finally gets out of the truck with Andrew's help. The wheelchair is pulled from the back of the van and a grumbling Jessy lowered into it.


She's wheeled into the main house by Xander, the door opening behind them a few minutes later.


“Guys, we're taking over a room on the fifth floor. . .stay out for a while.” Methos and Amanda say as they walk past. They have a big bag with them. . . that's moving.


“Don't wanna know, don't need to know.” Jessy sighs.


“Indeed,” Rupert says as they watch the pair walk past. “Larry?”


“I won't bother to watch the news tonight.” He sighs.


“Good idea.” Amanda smirks. “Oh Jessy, I need some of the bearer bonds. . .I got leads on some buildings in New York.” She says leaning down to whisper in Jessy's ear.


“Okay, let me know when you need them.”


In Miami a woman sighs as her daughters head off to buy books and supplies for university. “I hate the idea of the girls working and taking classes.” She says as her husband wraps his arms around her.


“Yes, that little bastard Adam throwing away all that money by thumbing his nose at rehab because he didn't think he has a problem. Little bastard's still wailing in prison about how he needed a drink after being in that horrible place.” Her husband drawls. “The others are beating the stupidity out of him daily but it's a deep well.”


“Is he having to repay us every cent we put out for him?”


“Oh yes, the courts were not happy with his stupidity. It will be decades but he's going to be paying us back every cent.”


“Fuck you, you stupid little sack of shit.” One of the girls says icily as she walks out of the school. “No, nobody's going to be telling the court to stop the payments to us. You owe Mom and Dad a hell of a lot of money.”


“But all that money is coming out of my pay. I'm only seeing a few pennies of it.”


“Too damn bad, you just had to have a new car after you got out of rehab. Which the money for came out of our college funds. But since you thought the state was paying for it and that you didn't have a problem you blew it off. And ran into the same damn mall . . .again.”


Her brother blubbers on the phone. “Bianca and I are having to work a full-time job and take classes here in Miami because Mom and Dad can't afford to pay for our schooling. Because they had to pay for your rehab. There's no way in Hell either of us would ever ask the courts to stop sending us money. I wanted to go to Harvard, Bianca wanted to go to Princeton. . .neither of us ever dreamed we'd have to settle for school here in Miami. You destroyed all our lives you miserable bastard, I hope you rot in hell.” Ending the call she buries her face in her hands and sobs, she's so damn tired of working forty to fifty hours a week and taking classes. Her sister drops their bags in the back seat and pushes her over, getting behind the wheel.


“You okay?”


“I'm just so damn tired of working and trying to get good grades. It's only by the grace of god that we got jobs in our areas. I keep waking up and having to remind ourselves this isn't all for nothing. Because in the middle of the night I have nightmares that by the time we get our degrees we won't be able to use them. All this. . .it was for nothing.”


“Maxy?” Her mother asks as she walks in and heads up to her room.


“Dumbass called, wailing that we had to tell the court to stop taking money out of his pay for us.”


“Oh hell no.” their father snarls. “Maxy's tired of working 40, 50 hours a week and taking classes. She has nightmares where by the time we finally get our degrees they're useless. And sometimes I feel the same way. . .gods I'm not even twenty-five yet but I feel ancient. We're less than halfway through our degrees and the only thing we can look forward to is more long hours at work and more classes. We're going to be thirty or thirty-one by the time we graduate. . .and they're talking about changing our programs. So it might be even longer than that. If we can even finish them.”


Her parents hug her before her father goes into his study and looks up a number.


In the prison Adam is being held against the wall as three of the biggest cons on the block cuss his fool ass out. “And leave your sisters alone. You're nothing more than a spoiled little brat who should have been drowned at birth. Even if the court wasn't making you repay the money for your rehab and everything else. . .you still wouldn't be getting all the money from your job, the state would be taking it to recoup the costs of keeping your useless ass in here.”


“T. . .they would?” He wails.


“Yes moron, they would. Nobody gets more than fifteen cents an hour from their jobs. You want more money, pick up more shifts. You damn near destroyed your sisters lives by driving drunk. Your parents had to dip into their money to pay for your damn rehab and the first thing you did when you got out was get riproaring drunk and drive into the same damn mall.”


“But I I I I I I I I I I didn't know my parents had paid for the rehab place. . .I thought the state would have paid for it. . .they made me go to that horrible place. I don't have a problem.”


“No, you're the damn problem.” Another prisoner snorts as he walks past. “You're a stupid little sack of shit who doesn't care who is hurt as long as he gets what he wants.”


“But I don't have a problem.” He continues to wail as he's dropped to the floor in disgust. He's dragged off by a guard and icily told to leave his family the hell alone by the warden.

Maxy is hugged by both her parents when she comes downstairs for dinner. “Are you okay sweetie?”


“I'm sorry for overreacting Mom.”


“Don't apologize, I know you and Bianca and tired of having to work full-time and take classes. Your brother is a worthless bastard.”

Maxy looks at her sister. “They're getting rid of our programs. I just got the call before I came down. This year is the last for them.”


“Noooooooo.” Bianca moans. “The other schools in Miami don't offer the degree. That's why we had to go there.”


“They're blubbering that they didn't realize any students would be affected.” Their father snorts. “Yes, James is already destroying the school in the media because we're not the only ones working and taking classes there who got the rug yanked out from under them.”


“But we don't have any students enrolled in the programs.” The school's chancellor whines. She grabs the papers and whines again when she sees names listed in the programs. “But . .but . . .but Hector told me that they didn't have any students in the programs.”


“Well he lied, we're the only school in town that offers the degrees. They stay. You will be apologizing to every student that would have been affected.”


“But we need to cut costs.” She wails. “Can't we still get rid of the programs?”


“No asshole, we can't. Didn't you hear me say we're the only school in Miami that offers the damn degrees?”


“But they aren't taking enough classes to make the degrees cost-effective. None of these students are taking more than three classes a semester.” she blusters, pulling up their records. “See?”


“Because they're all working you retarded whore.” The man slams his hand down on her desk and gets in her face. “You will leave the programs alone, you will apologize to every student affected, and you will be tendering your resignation. I expect it on my desk by the end of the week.”


“Noooooo, you can't.” She wails.


“Yes I can, your precious bullyboy Horace is being escorted off the grounds right now. I know damn good and well he was behind your stupidity.”


“But we need to cut costs.” She wails.


“Getting rid of yours and his outrageous salaries will take care of that.” he snorts. “After that calmer heads will be looking for areas where budgets can really be cut without hurting the students. That sure as shit doesn't mean cutting programs and leaving students in the lurch.”


“Thank god the bad publicity made them change their plans.” Maxy sighs a week later when they get the official apologies.


“That was just an old fool's attempt to take over the school. He'd have lied about more degrees and soon the school would have shut down. As long as he got the money he wanted it didn't matter what happened.” Their father snorts. “Adam would have turned out to be just like the miserable bastard. . .if he didn't manage to kill himself drinking and driving.”


Kiara leans back against the wall in their lab at Stark, taking off her protective glasses and giving Jesse a look. “Okay, not it for the report.”


Scott chuckles behind her. “I'll write the report out later, it's time for lunch.”


They settle at one of the smaller tables in Stark's cafeteria, Andrew joining them a few minutes later.


“Has anybody been listening to the nonsense about that school in Miami?”


“Yes, that's some old fool trying to make a name for himself at the school. Which is a damn joke.” Everybody around them nods. “Not the teachers, the administration. The only reason they have so many students is they offer a lot of degrees the other schools don't.” One of the other employees snorts. “My nieces were two of the students told their degrees would be being dropped next fall, they're working full-time and taking three classes a semester since their father dipped into their education funds to pay for their useless brother's rehab. The little shit was the one who drove into the mall.”


“Your nieces?”


“There wasn't enough money left to send them to the schools they wanted to attend. . .or rather one of the girls could have had her education fully paid for but it would have left the other girl with nothing. They're not even twenty-five now and instead of just getting out of grad school and starting their lives they're looking at years of work and classes and worry that by the time they have their degrees they'll be worthless. And worse of all my idiot nephew called them whining that they had to talk to the courts about stopping money coming to them. . .he was only getting a few cents an hour from his job.” Sounds of disgust and muttered 'poo baby' comments.


“Oh yes, the little bastard's miserable because all the cons treat him like shit. He keeps blubbering he didn't know his parents paid for the rehab. ..he thought the court did. He doesn't have a problem. . .”


“Idiot should have been drowned at birth. No school would give the girls scholarships?”

“It might have seemed bad.” he says sourly. “Somebody might have said something. Or that's what they said anyway when the schools that had pre-approved the girls for admittance said when they dropped them like hot potatoes.”


“Nice damn schools there.” The head of the facility snorts as he walks into the room.


“Oh yes, they're blubbering they didn't know they'd getting so much bad publicity. If. . .if . ..if they'd been able to pay their own way and grease the wheels a little they'd have been accepted.”


“Oh of course. . ..because schools shouldn't care about their students.” He snorts. “If you can't pay your own way, go away. We don't want you.”


“Some schools care more about their damn reputations. . .they don't realize their stupidity is hurting them.”


“And their students.”


Maxy snorts. “Yeah lady, drop dead. You're a goddamn idiot and I know a dozen lawyers who will love to destroy you to the molecular level.” She says as she reads a letter. Excusing herself she faxes the letter to somebody along with another letter from her records and returns to the table.


Her parents look at her. “Some fool at Harvard whining that me telling everybody I wasn't wanted by them was ruining the school. . .they were gonna sue.” She mock-rubs her eyes.


“At least Princeton is still saying it was my fault for being poor for kicking my ass to the curb after the money was gone.” Bianca snorts.


“Leave her the fuck alone you goddamn retarded whore.” A man bellows as he stands over her desk with the faxed papers. She's looking at the letter Maxy had got when Harvard had overturned her pre-admission and whines.


“But I thought she was trying to make Harvard look bad.” She wails.


“No, the damn school is making itself look bad. Why the hell wasn't she offered a scholarship. . .that's what the emergency fund is there for after all.”


“But she didn't ask for a scholarship from the fund.” She whines.


“Did she know about the fund? Did you offer her any options instead of saying 'so long, we don't want you anymore'?”


“Uuuuuuummmmmmm. . .nooooooooo.” She finally has to admit.


“The poor woman is working forty hours a week and taking three classes at a substandard school and you're sulking because somebody might look bad at Harvard. Grow the fuck up and send an apology letter to her. . .no wait, I'd better do that. You'd screw it up somehow.” He slams the door behind him and she wails.


Maxy sighs as she gets the other letter. “They're sorry that stupid woman accused me of making up stuff. The man who wrote me says that I should have been offered a full scholarship. . .they have an emergency fund for stuff like this. Dumbass whore whined that I hadn't asked for it. . .then had to finally admit she didn't tell me about that or any other schooling options.”


“Of course she didn't, that would be doing her damn job.” Her father snorts. Bianca's phone rings and she holds up a hand. “It's the school. Yes? Yes, this is her. What? I thought this nonsense had been fixed. The classes start next week.”


“Bianca?” Her mother asks. She waves a hand. “No, I don't fucking understand why my degree program has to be canceled.” Her father's face grows hard again. “No, I don't fucking care that you're sorry that I'm upset, what the hell am I supposed to do about my degree? No, no other schools in Miami offer the degree. Yeah I'm sure Lady, that's the only reason I applied to your loser school.” Maxy's phone rings and her face grows hard. “Well you can fucking kiss my ass Lady, and give me back my tuition. Ummm, because you canceled the fucking classes. No, I don't want to switch to a different degree. You know what, talk to my lawyer.” She angrily ends the call and holds up a hand as she dials another number. “James. . .oh, you already heard huh? Yeah, I just got off the phone with some absolute twat who's stunned that I could possibly be upset at having my degree program canceled a week before school's supposed to start. Ohhhh, the degree is offered elsewhere. . .isn't it? Or you can change your degree and still attend here?” She listens for a long second and nods as Maxy ends her call and curses. “You too?” She nods. “Yeah, Maxy got the news just now too. Really. . .well aren't we special then.” She snorts. “The others got letters a couple days ago. We were important enough to get phone calls.”


“Why are they canceling the degree programs?” Their mother sighs.


“Because they're miserable bastards.” Maxy snorts.


“True, the 'official' word is because that bitch and her crony are suing to get their jobs back. The school is covering their asses and canceling the degrees. Unofficially they're mad about all the bad publicity and are sticking it to those annoying students who dared complain. I expect the shit will be hitting the fan any day.”


“But I thought they were funning me about no other school in the area offering the programs.” the woman who'd ordered the degree programs cut wails as she looks at the other school options.


“Why the hell would they be 'funning' you about no other school offering the programs?” Her boss snorts. “Idiot, what the fuck do you think you were doing?”


“But. . .but. . . but Horace. . .”


“Is a goddamn stupid sack of shit who thinks he should control the whole damn world and was leading Lisa around by the nose. Our first thought should be about our students. . .you know the reason we're actually sitting here and not somewhere else? Now, how many students haven't had their tuition returned?” The woman turns white. “You have started reimbursing their tuition because they're not taking classes, haven't you?”


“But they can switch programs.” she wails.


“They don't want to switch programs you goddamn fool, they're going for these degrees for their jobs. They're already taking a hit about not being able to return their books, they're not losing their tuition too.”


“But our budget. . .” she wails as she looks at the list of money that's going to have to be returned.


“Too damn bad. Start cutting the checks and find out what books they need for their classes and pay half of it back.”


“But that will ruin our budget.” She continues to wail. “We'll be the laughing stock of the community.


“And tossing our students under the bus a week before classes are due to start won't? They're suing us moron.”


“They are?” She wails.


“Yeah, because not only did you cancel their degree programs a week before classes began you won't refund their tuition.”


“But they can switch to other programs.”

“They don't want to switch to other programs.”


“But why not?”


“Because they need the damn degrees for their jobs. Now you either start finding out what the books cost for their classes and start cutting the checks or you're fired. And pray to god we don't lose more students next semester.


“But why would we lose more students?” She wails.


“Because they don't trust the school not to yank the rug out from under them.” He snorts,. She wails. . .she'd never even thought about that.


“If the school doesn't shut down next year, it's going to be because the whole administration was replaced.” Maxy sighs as she sits down to dinner.


“Yep.” Bianca sighs. “At least thank whoever you will that no students lost their jobs thanks to dumbass and her 'no schooling for you' tantrum.”


“I heard rumors that Birmingham is going to be offering the degrees as part of their university program.” Their father says as he passes the lasagna. While it's nice not to have to hurry dinner so the girls can run to classes he wishes it hadn't turned out the way it had.


“Please god, your mouth to their ears.” Maxy says. “And please god let the classes we already took transfer.”


“Yes, that is the downside of changing schools.” Their father sighs. “I could kill your brother for putting you through all this.”


“I'm sure the other cons in prison are threatening to do just that.” Bianca snorts.


“But they could switch to another degree program.” The woman who'd been complaining about her budget wails at a arbitration meeting to force the school to hire her back and pay her damages. The men and women across the table give her disgusted looks. “They are in the program degrees they need for their jobs.” One of them says slowly. “Did you get a degree?”


“Of course, I have an associate degree in finance,” She huffs. The board rolls their eyes . . .an associate degree? Not even a bachelors. Useless fool.


“Then would you have switched to a degree for astrophysics?”


“Of course not. I'd been working in finance. . .why would I do something so fucking stupid?” she huffs. Then deflates. “Ohhhh, I never thought of it that way.”


“Of course you didn't, you just saw the school as your damn playground to do whatever you wanted and the students were just there to pay your check. Get the hell out of our sight, there is no way you will be getting your job back.” She runs off wailing.


“Do you see the school closing?”


“Yes, they're no longer getting any new students, the only students who will be remaining after this fall semester will be the students who have to stay there because no other school offers the program.”


“Or switching schools would cause them to lose years of work because the classes won't transfer.” A clerk who'd been cleaning up the table says. They look at him. “My sister wanted to transfer schools, the other school said they'd accept her but she'd have to start her program all over again since most of the classes didn't transfer. She ended up with a degree that's basically useless since no other school will accept it.”


The head of the group sighs. “I'd never thought about that.”


“The court has, they're going over all their degree programs with other schools.” The clerk says. “And the school will have to reimburse students their tuition for every class that doesn't transfer. It was just on the radio before I came in.” he says at their looks.”They also announced the school would be closing at the end of the year to give those students finishing degrees the chance to do so.”


“Those who can anyway, a double handful of students in the degree programs the school got rid of were close to finishing their degrees when the school pulled this dumbass stunt.”


“Christ, I knew the school was a goddamn joke but I never thought it would be this bad.” Maxy sighs later that night.


“You stupid bitch.” one of her former coworkers cusses her out as she's dragged out of the school. “Your goddamn little temper tantrum destroyed the school, now you think you can flounce back in here. No, the board didn't overturn our decision. You have no damn business being here, now get the fuck off the school grounds before we have you arrested for trespassing.”


“But I thought you would have changed your mind. . .” she wails as she's dragged off, every student in earshot hissing and booing at her. The teachers pull them back to their classes after the stupid woman has been dragged away by security.


Jessy looks over as Kiara drops onto a seat across from her at the mall with a tray of food.


“What was the call you got the other night?”


“Oh, my fool grandmother walked up to one of the other prisoner's boyfriends during a visit and tried to kiss him because she thinks she's all that. She can have any. ..”


“Man she wants anytime she wants, she was just proving it?”


“Yeah, the guy shoved her away then punched her when she tried kissing him again. Because he has to be gay not to have immediately dropped to his knees and kissing her feet. It can't possibly be because she's as plain as a board fence and a miserable human being.” Kiara snorts. “The girlfriend damn near took her head off for her stupidity before the guards dragged my grandmother away. She's whinging about the woman hitting her, it's not her fault she's so devastatingly beautiful.”


“I take it everybody there howled with laughter?” Xander asks as he comes over. Larry's with him and trying desperately not to say that old tagline from a shampoo commercial 'don't hate me because I'm beautiful'.


“Yes, now she's in a cold dark cell for ninety days and wailing about how it's not fair.”


“Miserable bitch. Sounds like she and my mother were both cut from the same miserable cloth.”


“Along with most our family members.” Larry snorts. “Okay, after here back home?”


Kiara gets behind the wheel of the van after folding the stroller into the back. The boys had been put back in the car seats for the trip back home and are sulking. Kiara takes a picture and sends it to the others.


Back at the house Jesse sniggers as he prints out the pictures and puts them up on the bulletin board. Joyce walks past and giggles. “Didn't want to be put in the car seats?”


“Nope, the boys came by their stubbornness honestly.” he drawls. “Look how long it took Rupert to get their parents to get their degrees.” Jenny sniggers as she looks at the pictures.


The truck pulls up behind the library and the boys hop out, the others coming over and starting to move boxes and bags until Larry holds up a hand. “Okay, the rest is Jessy's personal stuff.” That's moved to a golf cart and taken to her house.


“Have you heard anything about Birmingham offering the degrees dropped by that other school?” Jubilee asks a couple days later.


“They're working on it but it will be a couple years. Which sucks for the students who were close to finishing their degrees when the rug got pulled out from under them. Damn miserable school.” Paige says from across the room.


“Damn miserable people in charge of the school playing with students lives. They didn't care about them, they only cared about how much money they could make. Now they're whining because everybody's talking bad about them.”


“Well of course they're whining. . .the school's supposed to be about them, not the students.” Scott drawls from the doorway. “Jessy, you said the light needs replacing in your office?”


“Yeah, the damn thing won't stay on for more than three minutes. It's not the bulbs, they're good because you can turn it off and back on. . .and it goes off again.” He nods in satisfaction and goes into the office. “Ohhh yeah,” he sighs. “We'll replace it Sunday. Keep it off until then.”


“Can do.” Jessy says as he gets back on the golf cart. “Guys, we need to replace the light in Jessy's office, the damn thing flickers off after three minutes.”


“We can do it Sunday. We need to do inventory of what we have. . .”


“Did it last week.” Sam says. “It's on the clipboard.”


“Thank you.” He looks over the list and shakes his head. “We'd better stock up.”


“Next sheet.” The page is flipped over and he nods. “Not everything is low low but we'll be there in a bit.”


“Get it while we're thinking of it than before we run out.”


“Oh god, it feels good to be walking around on my own two feet again.” Jessy sighs as she leans against the doorway of Larry's office.


“I bet, did the doctors say anything?”


“Luck of the draw that it lasted so long. Keep taking my pills and stay off the leg until the flareup passed. Which is what I was already doing.”


“Are you going to make another trip to the mall for the library?”


“Depends on what books are due out in November. I'll probably wait until January for the library though and just go in for me.”


“Has anybody tried contacting you looking for money trying to claim they were family?” Jesse asks as he walks past. “Beyond the letters?”


“Yep, all the law offices around the area know I'm an only child of only children of. . .” Jessy makes a so on and so on hand gesture. “The threats to sue are quickly laughed at and the 'wellllll. . .she might not really be a relative of ours but. . . ' wheedling attempts to get money went nowhere. The people suing were stunned by the courts demanding proof of relationship and either loans or hardship when they tried to file the lawsuits themselves.”


“No, they think real life is one of those damn court shows.” Xander snorts.


Andrew comes past to check his mail and waves a hand. “Please, they only go on those type of shows for the damn publicity. Same with Maury and the other shows.”


“Scream, shout, throw chairs, act like the damn fools they are.” Joyce says as she walks past them. “Andrew, closet.”


“Ahhh I was expecting this to arrive soon.” He says, opening the closet and bringing out the box.



“Jessy, it's time.” Rupert calls over the intercom. Xander grabs the stroller's handle as Larry and Jessy head off.


“It's a girl. . .Marie Annabelle Travers.” is announced over the intercom a few minutes later. Cheering from the others.


“Do you have children?” The social worker who'd come out to the house asks the woman sitting on a couch.


“Yes, I have a pair of twins who are turning three in six weeks and a little girl who's a few days old.”


“Who takes care of them?”


“I do.” Jessy snorts.


“Do you have a job?”


“Of course.”


“Do you have your own home?”


“Yes, I made damn sure I could take care of my children before I started having them.”


“Do they all have the same father?”


“No, I used donated sperm and a surrogate with my eggs.”


“Are the fathers in the children's lives?” A man comes up and reaches for one of her bags and picks it up. He's got a baby seat in his hand.


“Yep.” Jessy smirks as Larry heads over to the changing area against a wall to change the baby.


Xander ducks into the room.


“Are you hiding from Cordy?” Jessy snorts.


“Heeeeellllll yes,” Xander says fervently. “She's doing her nails and smiling. Being stabbed with a nail file fucking hurts.”


“Another mother?”


“Yes, they have a little girl who's six months older than the boys. We want to make sure all the kids are close. Cordy's about eight and a half months pregnant and as she will tell you the Queen bitch all the time. It ain't just a mood swing.”


Larry's laughing as he changes the baby, nodding frantically. Two boys run over and latch onto Xander's legs, he makes monster noises as he walks around the room. . .picking up a girl and putting her on his shoulders. The social worker smiles. Especially when he trades off kids so everybody in the room has a ride.


“I understand you plan on homeschooling?”

“Yes, we want to offer more classes than the school in town does. They try their best for the students but the state keeps cutting school funding.” the woman sighs and nods. “A good number of us work for Stark in Marley and they offer schooling from kindergarten through doctorates. Not many people plan to take advantage of it here for their children but between the home-schooling stores and Stark's plans we'll be good.”


“What about stuff like field trips, proms, senior trips. . .?”


“We can come along on field trips, we plan on having our own as well. We've got a list of museums, galleries, and other places we plan on taking the kids to both in the area and on extended trips. The Smithsonian is a must.” The social worker smiles. “Proms the school has allowed other homeschooled students to attend, same with the senior trip. We just gotta know how much money to give the school. Most of us. .. .didn't have good high school experiences and we don't want that for our kids.”




“Sometimes for all that schools say they have a zero-tolerance policy.” the social workers sighs but nods. “Cordy had to live in a motel and work nights and weekends her last two years of school when her parents vanished, Larry left home because of his sexual preference. . .Xander was in the foster care system and they kicked him out at sixteen, I did my schooling online after I was diagnosed with RA when I was eleven.”


“You are a goddamn idiot, I spent the day at their home and there is no reason for their children to be in the system. They are wonderful parents. Leave.Them.ALONE!”


“Bu. . . but. . .but if I got her kids taken away from her, she'd have to give me back that money to get them back.” Dumbass wails over the phone. Then screams as her mother grabs her by the hair and slaps the hell out of her.


“Monica, don't kill her.” the social worker's voice says over the phone. “I wouldn't want to have to report you.”


“Oh, don't worry Maggie, that would be over too damn quick. This stupid little bitch will wish she was dead by the time I get done with her.” She ends the call and screams at her daughter for hours.


“And leave her the hell alone you goddamn retarded whore. Why are you so fucking stupid that you can't get it through your useless skull that she's not going to give you a damn dime.”


“But I gotta work.” she whines on the floor.


“Yeah, that's something a goddamn adult does you retarded sack of shit. You're as goddamn stupid as you are useless. Grow the fuck up you miserable sack of shit. And get the hell out of my house.”

“But. . .but where am I supposed to go?” She wails.


“I'd say Hell but they wouldn't want you. I don't give a shit where you go, you're not living under my roof anymore.”


“But Mommmmmmmmy. . .” she wails as her purse is handed to her and her ass kicked out the door. “It's not fair that she got that money from you.”


“It's not fair that you slammed into her car going eighty miles an hour.”


“But I lost my license.” she wails against the locked door. “She . . .she could have got out of my way.”


“The car was parked you retarded moron. In a lot. She was in the store.”


“Weeeeellllllll. . .yesssss. But. ..but . . .but you act like I killed somebody.”


“If you'd have killed somebody thanks to your damn driving you'd be in prison now asshole.”


“But it's not fair I have to work. . .” she continues to wail.


“What the the stupid little asshole do now?” Her father asks when he arrives home. His daughter is wailing and grabbing onto him and he pushes her away. She tries shoving her way into the door, Daddy will make Mommy let her come back home and she slaps her across the face again. Daddy grabs her away from the door and shoves her across the porch.


“Dumbass whore called Maggie to try to get Ms. Michaels kids taken away from her. Because she'd have to give her back the money to get her kids back. Needless to say, I tossed her ass out of the house.”


“Get the hell out of my sight before I kill you.” Her father says in an icy tone. She scurries off, wailing that it's not fair. . .she'd have given the kids back to her. It's not like she wanted them.


“Goddamn retarded whore.”


“Oh yes, she blubbered that it wasn't like she killed anybody slamming into a parked car going eighty miles an hour.


“Of course not, god forbid the bitch ever take responsibility for her own damn actions.” Her father snorts. The phone rings later that night and it's her counselor, who can be heard yelling at the fool in the background when he finds out what she'd done.


“But I deserve that money.” she wails.


“No, you deserve to get the stupidity beaten out of you for this stunt. You're a goddamn stupid little brat who can't leave Ms. Michaels the hell alone.”


“But she got my money.” she wails.


“You destroyed her car driving like a goddamn idiot.”


“Weeeelllllll.. . .I. . .I guess so.” She ducks her head and drags her toe in the carpet.


“You guess so.” He drawls sarcastically. She wails again. “Shut that crap up.” he snaps. “Dear god, how damn stupid are you that you can't leave her alone?”


“But I gotta work.” she wails.


“That's what a grown up does.”


“But she doesn't work . ..does she?”


“Yes, she owns a successful business. What, you thought she sat on her ass living off the money your parents sent her? Dear god woman, you are that damn stupid. Do the world a favor and kill yourself, you're too damn stupid to live.”


“But I didn't think she worked. . .why else be shopping in the middle of the day.”


“Because she needed a few things you damn fool.”

“But her car was old.” She hisses in scandalized tones. “If she had a job why wouldn't she have a new. . . .” She backpedals rapidly at the look of sheer hatred on his face.


“Not everybody in the goddamn world needs a new car asshole. Her car was paid for, which is more damn important. The money for a new car can go to better uses.” He continues to blister her ass verbally until she's curled against the wall blubbering.


“And leave her the hell alone you stupid little sack of shit.” He tosses her out of his office and goes home. “Sorry dear, I had a client call wailing about how miserable she was.” He kisses his wife on the temple.


His wife knows better to ask about his clients, she just smiles and leans back against him. He helps her get dinner on the table and she tells him about some of the people she'd seen at the library that day. He knows she's trying to get his mind off his patient, he knows she knows he knows, She smiles and he mentally replays her last words. “How could Elvis come down from the mothership? I thought he was in Polaris on a trade delegation?” She sniggers.


“They refused to trade when they heard Justin Bieber singing.”


“Don't blame them there.” He fills the dishwasher and starts it running before going to his office to send off a report. He knows once his boss gets this report she'll no longer be a client at the office.


“Oh dear fucking god.” He snorts as her father comes in the next day with a rambling letter saying she's going to end her life by walking into the ocean because everybody was being so mean to her. She had to work. “This was found tucked into her purse on the counter at one of the shops at the beach, I don't know if this is real or another damn attempt to get attention. Because she can swim.” He says at his look.


“She's no doubt looking for the press, people to be looking for her body in boats. . .and all that crap. She'll wail about how she was forced to do this. . . how Ms. Michaels won't return her money. . . ”


“Yep, and she's not getting it from me. The stupid woman burned her bridges with the family, she's fucking lucky she's not in jail for filing a false report. If Maggie didn't know what a miserable person she was and took her 'report' with the whole damn shaker of salt.”


“Did you alert the police?”


“Yes, but told them this was most likely another attempt to get attention on her. If she shows up with some wild tale she'll be arrested. Because I showed them the 'suicide' letter and this isn't the first time she's said she was going to kill herself because nobody was kissing her ass. Bitch will finally realize she was better off shutting her damn mouth, keeping her head down and working. Because the stupid bitch was nearly done paying off the money.”


“Is she still wailing about not being able to drive?”


“Oh yes, the bitch wanted to sue Ms. Michaels to stop driving. . .if she couldn't drive the other woman shouldn't be able to either. She got her ass kicked out of their office and wailed her life was over back then.”


“Oh dear god, I didn't hear that.”


“No, that was before we had her moved from that useless bitch who was wiping her ass and telling her it was everybody else's fault.”


“That useless fool, she was very quickly fired when the board found out she wasn't doing anything to help her clients. If the little fool didn't drive like a goddamn maniac and rack up a couple dozen tickets she might still be able to drive.”


“But that was being mean to her. “ Her father drawls. “The other cars can just get out of the way. . .that's what the bitch was blubbering when she caused the accident. . .that the parked car should have got out of her way. She didn't know it was a parking lot.”


“Your daughter was a fool.”


“Oh yes, if the twit shows up I'm selling her to one of the ships that go to Antarctica for years at a time.” He guffaws despite himself. “The bitch will be miserable.”


“No more than the idiot deserves.” Her father snorts. Her now former counselor makes a copy of the rambling suicide letter to close out her file and he goes into the office after an early lunch. The whole office is talking bad about his daughter and he knows she's probably wailing somewhere. In Hell hopefully.


At the house Jessy shakes her head at the sheer stupidity of that fool woman a couple hours after Thanksgiving dinner. “Dumb ass whore, she's just hurting herself. She's not hurting me. Though if the bitch tried getting in my face I'd be hurting her.”


“Some people never grew out of the me, me, me, don't you know it's all about me stage. She's one of them.” Phillip snorts as he looks at Marie. She's sleeping in her stroller while the boys are playing in their room with the others. Cordy comes through and puts Michael's stroller next to hers.


“You don't mind?”


“Pshea, I'm used to taking care of two babies at one time and the others are nearby.”


“Thanks, I finally stopped bleeding like a stuck pig and want to soak in the hot tub.”


“Did that a lot of times and I didn't actually push a watermelon out of a hole the size of an orange.”


“Don't remind me. . .please.” Cordy sighs as she heads off.


“Arthur, did Kate pre-apply for law school?” Rupert asks the next day.


“She's applying next summer. That way she'll be three years in.” Arthur says. “Her advisors think she'll get right in, cynic in me says because of the attack and tornado.”


“Indeed. . .or some fool who thinks they're all that will complain that that's why they weren't accepted into the school. No matter that other factors kept them from being admitted. . . it always has to be somebody else's fault.”


“Of course. . .just like it was my fault my car was destroyed.” Jessy snorts. “I should have got out of the moron's way. . .for all that my car was parked.” Adam looks at her and she tells him the story. “Damn fool.” He snorts.


“Yep, the moron is the one who called in that social worker.” Rupert looks at her. “If I get her children taken away, she'll have to give me the money to get them back.”


“Oh dear lord.” He sighs.


“Yep, the old family friend cussed her out and told her there was no damn reason for us to lose our children, her mother slapped the shit out of her. . .the social worker asked her not to kill her because she'd have to report her. Momma said she'd wish she was dead by the time she got through with her. Yelled at her for hours and tossed her out of the house, told her she wasn't living under her roof anymore. Moron went wailing to her counselor because Daddy wouldn't make Mommy let her back in and he told her off. She left a rambling 'I'm going to drown myself in the ocean' letter in her purse on the beach, her family thinks it's just another bid for attention. . .”


“She'd come rushing to the news cameras and policemen calling her name?” Cordy snorts.


“Yeah, there's not going to be any publicity, the police know she's missing so if a body shows up they should be able to identify her. If she does come out of hiding she's going to be arrested. Threatening suicide is still a crime. She'll no doubt wail about that in a 72 hour lockup, she just wanted some attention, nothing happened the last time she said she was going to kill herself. . .blah blah blah.” Jessy snorts. “Good riddance to her.”


“Is she still seeking counseling?”

“Nope, it was being shoved down her throat. Stupid cunt should have had a hose shoved in one ear so it can blow all the shit in her head out the other.” Jessy snorts. “Her stupidity trying to get the state to take the kids made the office cut her loose.”


“Yes, the fool has proven nothing short of a 2 by 4 upside the head will get through to her.” Xander snorts.


“Is Max picking up orders?”


“He's coming out tomorrow, Monday we'll start filling containers, we'll be done with everything by next August the way we're going.”


“Are you still working on your gowns?” Joyce asks, looking at Jessy. The others snigger.


“Yes, I'm on my third gown and have them in a room in the house. I've got cost write-ups for everything I'm working on.” She nods in satisfaction.


“Gowns?” Adam asks.


“Wedding gowns, I got hit with ideas a couple years ago, drew them out so they'd leave me alone. Joyce scanned the drawings and sent them to the teachers in New York, they insisted I make them.” Adam sniggers at her hangdog look and she makes a semi-rude gesture his direction.


The next morning Jessy swats Xander lightly upside the head as she walks to the trays. “Keep your damn twisted plots to control the world in your own head. . .Dr. Evil.” Everybody looks at Xander, who's stopped rubbing his head and is howling with laughter, then looks at Jessy who's muttering as she fills her tray, then back.


She puts her tray down and points at Larry. “Austin Powers.” Everybody cackles. She points at Jesse next. “Mini-me.”


“I'd have thought Andrew more Mini-Me.”


“Andrew was Scott.”


“Awwww, so were you Frau?” Xander cooes.


Jessy just looks at Joyce. Xander cackles again. “And Rupert was tooey.” Everybody laughs . . .especially at Rupert's sigh of 'at least I was able to wear decent clothes'.


“So, did you get back to your Uncle?” Jenny asks Willow.


“Yes, he was letting me know the upper brass tried taking the lab away from Catherine Willows to give it to some other guy. She wouldn't mind a demotion, would she? It doesn't seem right for a woman to be in charge.”


“I hope she destroyed the police department?” Rupert says sourly.


“Oh yes, the blubbering fool didn't know people would be upset at her losing her job to a man from another city. He didn't know she'd be losing her job, he thought the job was open. . .not because some bastard was taking her job. She's still in charge, he's working with her. The asshat lost his cushy position and is wailing that he didn't think she'd complain. . .let alone tell the media.”




“But no cop is going to willingly work with a woman.” Willow mock-whines.


“And there's no women cops Some of them even in charge of men?”


“Ohhhh, that's all for show. No real cop would willingly work with a woman.” Willow sneers. “Every officer talked to called him a woman hating fool. He ran off blubbering when the court kicked his ass up around his shoulders instead of giving him back his cushy job. He was going to walk out into the desert and kill himself.” Willow mock-blubbers the last sentence.


“Oh Lord, fools like that should have been beaten to death before they learned to speak.”


“Oh yes, so not only did she keep her position, she got a damn big judgment against the police department for trying that shit.”


“No doubt somebody was worried that having a competent person in the lab would ruin their plans.” Wesley snorts. Everybody nods.


After breakfast Jessy heads out to the seamstress shop, Max and a friend cooing at the boys playing in the pen and the baby in her stroller.




“Threatening to gut Xander. . .again.” The woman snickers. She's made the same threat against her husband with all three of their children.


“Are these the sketches you were working on earlier?” He nods at the notebooks.


“Yeah, the others looked them over and gave me notes on them.” They look through them and Max makes a note to call somebody before they open the other door and they look over the garments, the boys coming in with the racks from the trucks, moving everything to the racks and then the trucks. Max hands over an envelope and Jessy and the boys head back to the main house after the trucks are gone.


The next day Jessy and the others head to the seamstress shop after breakfast, Jessy handing out the bonus Max had given her yesterday before she grabs the notebooks and starts calling out outfits. By the time the seamstress building shuts down for Christmas they have nearly half the remaining outfits in containers.


“Jessy, that fool woman finally showed back up.” Larry says as she walks into the main building. She looks at him. “She walked into a police station with some fantastic story about how she'd been kidnapped but nobody believed her crap. She's currently in a 72 hour mental health watch. . .wailing that she thought Mommy and Daddy would have forgiven her by now.”


“She's not nuts, she's just stupid.” Xander snorts behind Jessy.


“Indeed.” Rupert drawls from the doorway of his office. “She is going to be facing some serious charges when she gets out of that room. Poor dear won't like prison, the other cons will knock the stupidity out of her. By taking off her head at the shoulders if necessary.”


“Couldn't happen to a nicer sack of shit.” Jessy snorts. “Especially if they find out she tried to have my kids taken away from me.”


“Oh yes, I understand 'somebody' has been dropping hints about that in various ears. Poor dear. . .a lot of the prisoners are mothers and won't appreciate her trying to take another woman's children away. ..especially for such a piddling amount of money,”


“Yes. . .dear god the woman acts like I was awarded millions of dollars, dear god it was only five thousand dollars.” Jessy rolls her eyes. “The other cases got more money than I did. But I caused the accident because my parked car wouldn't get out of her way.”


“Her car was parked you fucking little moron.”


“But I didn't know it was a parking lot.” she wails in the courtroom.


“Really, buildings materialize in the middle of the road where you live.?” The judge drawls. “Leave her the hell alone you stupid little sack of shit.”


“But she got all that money from me.” She wails.

“She got five thousand dollars in the judgment, you paid that off years ago.”


“No. . .no. . .no, she got more than that. . .didn't she?” The judgment is handed over and she wails. “All this. . .for nothing.” She continues to wail as she's dragged back to her cell before she can be transferred to prison, the guards and other prisoners telling her to shut the fuck up.


“But I thought she got five hundred thousand dollars from me.” she wails in her cell.


“You're a goddamn moron, no judge would give her that kind of money for her car. Goddamn fucking idiot. The owners of the other cars got a helluva lot more money than she did.”


“But I thought she got half a million dollars.” she continues to wail. Until her parents arrive and slap her across the face with the original judgment paperwork from her own room and a copy of the bank check. She drops onto the floor sobbing brokenheartedly as they walk away, telling her to grow the fuck up and get a life.


“Jessy, we just got a call from the court, that stupid bitch just left on the prison bus still wailing that she thought you got more money from her than you did.”


“Huh?” Jessy says, looking at Larry. Rupert is staring at him too.


“Oh yes, she was convinced you got five hundred thousand dollars in the judgment. . .not five thousand.” Brays of laughter from everybody in the cafeteria. At least among the younger adults, Wesley is sighing, Joyce and Jenny are rolling their eyes, and Rupert is 'oh dear lord'ing left and right. “When she was told you only got five thousand dollars and she paid that off years ago. . .well she started blubbering all this was for nothing.”


Jessy shakes her head.


Jessy nudges the stroller as Marie settles down to sleep. Harmony comes over with Laura and puts her in the playroom before settling on the couch across from Jessy.


“Cordy watching the babies?”


“Yep, she can't stand to be in her house anymore. We all know that feeling.”


“Oh yes,” Jessy yawns. “We'll have rain by dinner. Thankfully a regular storm and not a thunderstorm or hurricane.”


“Are all the boxes handed out now?”


“Yes, despite some asswipes in the local governments who wanted to lord it over the 'leeetle' people and make them kiss their asses for it. Morons were pouting when they found out they couldn't touch the boxes, the National Guard and others were in charge of distributing them.”

“Serves the assholes right.” Jubilee snorts as she walks past. She slumps onto Jessy's couch and closes her eyes. “But isn't that why people go into politics in the first place?”


“Certainly seems like it. For every person who helps somebody there's a couple dozen who are only in it to help themselves.”


“Only a couple dozen?” Jenny snorts as she walks past.


“I was trying to be nice.”


“Try harder dear.” She pats her on the shoulder as she walks over to a closet and brings out a box of paper. The cardboard goes on top of the full container and MacGyver chuckles as he takes it out to dump for pickup tomorrow.


“Gods, people are fucking idiots.” Andrew snorts as he walks in a few hours later. “Some asshole at the mall wanted cars to be parked by color, one row all red cars, one row black. . .” Everybody in earshot rolls their eyes. “Another moron wanted every car moved so he could have an entire row to himself. . .needless to say that didn't happen. One moron tried announcing she wanted everybody out of the mall so she could shop by herself . . .moron pouted when everybody ignored her.”


“As they should. You're never going to have a store by yourself unless you're special and made arrangements to shop after the store closes. And that's usually for charity groups, not an individual.” Rupert sighs.


“But millionaires and billionaires do it all the time.” Jubilee mock blubbers then laughs as she looks at all the millionaires and billionaires around her. Who all snort. “Yah, right. Either you shop like other people or you have 'people' who run out for stuff.” Jessy snorts. “And those fools are usually in entertainment and can't handle a real life where nobody's kissing their asses for existing.”


“Those type of personalities usually end up killing themselves with drug or alcohol.” Phillip sighs as he walks through.


“And sometimes their damn families are just as bad. . .Whitney Houston, Lindsay Lohan. . .”


“Anna Nicole Smith.” Jessy snorts. “You notice you never heard anything from her loving Mommy once she realized that little girl wasn't getting all that money?” Everybody snorts and nods.


“Whitney's family is a piece of work, blaming Bobby Brown for getting her into drugs when she was doing drugs before she met him.”


“Well yeah, they sued that boyfriend for oodles and gobs of money when that girl died, claiming he got her hooked. . .Hell, she grew up with two parents that did drugs.” Paige snorts. “Just like it wasn't any damn surprise that Anna Nicole would kill herself with an overdose, her son did the same damn thing.”


“Hell, she was halfplotzed all the damn time to begin with.” Andrew snorts. The others nod. “Losing her son just made it worse.”


Jessy straightens up a few days later, holding her back and swallowing two motrin dry before taking the final pictures on this latest gown. Sending everything off to the school in New York she looks at the time and sighs, four in the damn morning.


Rupert looks at her when she finally drags herself in the following day.


“I was up half the damn night finishing the latest gown.” She says around a yawn as she pours herself a cup of coffee. “I got a few hours sleep but don't expect too much of me today. My advanced age is catching up with me.” Larry's guffaw is muffled by his arm.


“Leave them ALONE you goddamn stupid sack of shit.” His own lawyer bellows in the face of the fool that drove into the mall.


“But they don't need that money, they're not in school anymore.” He wails.


“Because the school they had to settle for instead of 'good' schools canceled their degree programs you goddamn stupid sack of shit.” He says slowly. “Leave your sisters the hell alone before one of the others beats your stupid ass half to death.”


“But I can't live like this.”


“Then you should have thought about that before you got drunk and stupid and ran into the mall. You're not the damn victim here, your sisters are. And leave them the fuck ALONE.”


“But they're not in school anymore.” he continues to wail as his lawyer cusses his fool ass out. The door opens and his father walks in, the young man scrabbling against the wall at the look of sheer hatred on his face.


“You useless little sack of shit, your sisters were working and taking classes for their future and all you can do is whine they don't need that money anymore because their school screwed them over? Instead of having an ounce of guilt at keeping them from attending the schools they wanted because of your stupidity?” He continues to berate the young man as he advances on him and his stupid ass son is curled in a corner sobbing.


“If you ever get out of here, don't even think about coming back home. Cause I'll goddamn kill you for what you're putting your sisters through.”


“But Daddy. . . they're not taking classes.” If he says it enough. . .people will have to start listening to him . . .won't they?


“Because their school administration if full of immature assholes like you who play petty politics then whine like babies when they realize they didn't get what they wanted.”


“Have at him gentlemen,” one of the guards says as he's dragged out of the meeting room. “Little asshole is wailing his sisters shouldn't have the money being taken out of his pay, they're not taking classes anymore thanks to asswipes in the school administration canceling their degree courses. They're twenty-five and should have just got their masters instead of being less than halfway through their bachelors thanks to working 40, 50 hours a week and taking three classes a semester.”


The other prisoners begin advancing on him and he takes off running. Daddy might not have been able to beat the stupidity out of him, but the other convicts certainly can. The guard shakes his head. “Don't hurt the bastard bad enough to put him in the hospital ward.”


“Oh, we won't go that far. . .but the bastard will stop bothering his sisters and learn to keep him goddamn big fat mouth shut.” A con says as he strolls past, tripping the stupid kid as he runs back the way he'd come. Grabbing him by the hair he drags him to his feet. “Oh shut up you miserable little brat, what the hell is your maladjustment that you can't leave your sisters the hell alone?”


“But they're taking all my money.” he wails.


“It ain't your money asshole, it's the state's money and the state can send that money wherever the hell they want. You're a useless sack of shit that blew off rehab because you don't think you have a problem and left your family holding the bag for all that money.”


“But I thought the state would have paid for it.” He whines until he gets backhanded. “Shut your sniveling mouth. If you paid a bit of attention to anybody but yourself you'd have known the state wouldn't have paid for it. That's why so many people forcibly sober up in jail and then attend AA.”


“But I don't have. . .”


“Yes you do you goddamn retarded sack of shit.” The other cons proceed to let him know they don't approve of his rampant stupidity. Like the one convict had told the guard, they don't hurt him bad enough to be in the prison hospital but the lingering bruises and sore spots will remind him he's a goddamn fool.


Back home, his father finds Maxy and Bianca coming back from their last day of work for the year.


“Girls, your brother would tell you he's sorry for everything you're going through if he wasn't a miserable idiot who should have been drowned at birth.”


“Is that asshole trying to get the money stopped again?”


“Oh yes, you don't need it now since you're not taking classes anymore.” He mock-blubbers. “I cussed the little fool out and so did his own lawyer. The guards were giving him to the other prisoners for 'correction' when I left.


“There's days I wish Adam had died in that car accident instead of Lindsey.” Their mother says quietly. They look at the picture of the oldest girl who would have been twenty-nine today.


Jessy snorts as she reads a letter from the prison after Christmas dinner.


“Dumbass not settling in well?”


“No, this is a copy of the letter the prison's chaplain sent her parents. The bitch is whining about not being able to eat ten meals a day, the work is hard. . .much harder than a job outside would be and she's not getting all the money from her job there either, the other convicts are mean to her. . .” Joyce snorts and rolls her eyes as Xander plays the world's smallest violin. “Bitch spent days whining she thought I'd been awarded five hundred thousand dollars . . . not five thousand. Another convict damn near took her head off, yelling at her no court would award that kind of money for a car. . .”


“No, that's the kind of money an insurance company would offer up as a quick settlement for an injury case.” Rupert says as he walks past. “Hoping that the injured party doesn't get a lawyer and sue for what they really deserve. Jessy, how are you on the containers?”


“We got half the remaining garments in the containers to work on, we might have a few left over with the prom and graduation dresses but I doubt it the way everybody works on them. I already told Max to expect to pick the rest up September at the latest.” He nods in satisfaction. “He's already warned me to expect more orders since I got all that new stuff from last year.”


“I don't see the stupid bitch getting out of prison. . .” Jenny says quietly.


“Neither do I,. . .or her parents. Or the authorities at the prison. Same with that stupid little asswipe who ran into the mall twice. He's blubbering that he shouldn't have to give his sisters the money their father took from their education fund for his cars and rehab, they're not taking classes anymore thanks to the administration at their school playing mas machos with their students lives.”


“Is the school still going to be closing in May?”


“Yes, every student who can get their degree by then is doing so. Everybody else is hoping like hell that they don't have to lose too many classes when their degrees transfer. If the other schools pick up their degrees.”


“How old are his sisters?”


“Twenty-five, they'd have finished their masters if they'd been able to still attend the schools they wanted. . .but you know big league schools. . .if you can't grease the wheels, go away. They'd been approved but once the money ran out. . .screw you.” Rupert sighs as the others swear. “That's the only reason Kate got into Princeton. . .first the publicity from the attack and then the tornado. They're being seen as great big martyrs by taking in that poor blind girl.”


“And if she hadn't been attacked or her parents died it would be . . .screw you.”


“Yes, now you or Xander, both billionaires would have been in instantly.”


If we used the Travers and Austin names.” Xander says, holding up a finger. The others nod. “Because Harris and Michaels wouldn't have the same impact even though we've had ourselves successful under our own names.”


“Of course not, no 'real' school would ever want students who've made something of themselves.” Jenny drawls. “Because they're grown-up and won't screw around like the kids who never had to do anything for themselves before.”


“Yeah, they'll actually get their degrees. . .and I swear some schools can't have that.”


“Well no, don't you know we're just here to babysit your brats?” Jesse snorts as he walks past. “Xander, come give me a hand.”


Xander follows Jesse down the hall as Jessy stands up, stretches, and looks in the playroom where the boys are carousing while Marie and Michael nap under the eyes of a house elf.


“Did you hear anything about the school in town trying to be shut down by some Bertha better than you?”


“Yes, some fool was up in arms about the school offering a salad bar. The school was poisoning the children, haven't they been listening to the stories on the news about the e.coli outbreak? They were all 'ohhh' when the school told them their lettuce was grown in the commercial farm outside town.”




“Romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona. At first it was just shredded lettuce packages but it went on to include the stuff in prepackaged salads.” Larry says. “Since all our lettuce is grown by us it doesn't matter.” Rupert nods in satisfaction. “I think over thirty states had outbreaks the last time they said anything on the news.”


Jessy unlocks the door of the seamstress shop, everybody following her in and grabbing containers, lining up to use the layout tables as Jessy bundles up the mail and goes to her office to sort through it. Most of it goes in the recycling bin unopened. One letter from a lawyer has her leaving a blistering response in a voicemail and she faxes the letter to the house's lawyers.


“Are you fucking stupid?” His boss bellows a couple days later. “What the hell concern is it of yours if she uses a DBA? It's hers, she did the damn paperwork. She's been using the name for twenty-seven years.”


“B. . .but. . .but. . .but my client. . .”


“Was sued under her legal name. Your asswipe client is just sulking because her damn lies finally got her ass handed to her by the court.”


In prison the stupid bitch who'd destroyed Jessy's car gets a fist in the face. “And leave her alone you goddamn stupid miserable sack of shit.” The other prisoner says over her wailing body. “I don't care how goddamn miserable you are. . .she's the victim here, not you.”

“But she should have. . .”


“Kicked your stupid head off to get rid of the goddamn shit between your ears.” Another prisoner snorts as she comes over. “What did this stupid bitch do?”


“Tried to get a lawyer to bother the woman whose car she destroyed. . .because she's using a different name and that has to be illegal. Entertainers and authors do it all the time you goddamn retarded whore.”


“But why won't anybody believe me when I say she got half a million dollars from me?” she wails. The other prisoner drags her to her feet by the hair.


“Because it's not true you goddamn retarded sack of shit.” Each word is punctuated with a slap. “You are a lying cunt who needs the stupidity beaten out of her ten times a day.”


“Ladies?” A guard comes over.


“Stupid here tried to get the woman whose car she destroyed in trouble. . .because she uses a business name. Moron didn't realize she sued her under her legal name.”


“Either name would have been acceptable in a court of law moron.” He snorts. “Don't kill her.” he says, walking off to her renewed wailing.


Jessy leans against the doorway of the inner room, a couple weeks later. “We're going to have to work in here a couple weeks. The racks are getting full.”


Faith walks over to the door. “Yeah, they'll be full by next week. You hear from the prison?”


“Yeah, dumbass is wailing why won't anybody believe her when she says I got a half-million dollars from her.”


“Ummm, because she's too goddamn stupid to live?” Faith snorts. “No court would give anybody a half-million dollar judgment for a damn car, the verdict would have been overturned immediately.”


“Well we all knew the bitch and reality weren't BFFs.” Jessy snorts. Jubilee sniggers in the other room.


Jessy sighs at all the valentines day stuff going up in the stores when she goes to pick up her pills in February.


“Gaudy crap, isn't it?” One of the other women chuckles. “The sad thing is, this isn't even the stuff the kids would see in their classrooms or the little valentines they'd exchange there.”


“Oh, schools are doing away with that.” Somebody else snorts. “Because you know the little monsters, they wouldn't give out valentines to everybody, they'll make sure some kid they don't like doesn't get any while everybody else gets dozens.”


“They're doing away with parties too, too many kids with food allergies or other problems.”






Jessy answers her phone and her face turns white. “Is everybody okay? I don't give a shit about that goddamn retarded whore. Good.” Jessy drawls. “Damn bitch.” Everybody looks at her. “God damn retarded whore who tried claiming she owned designers shops in Miami and got shot by a man trying to get her off a pregnant employee. . .the dumb bitch showed up at the shop and tried to grab the outfits the others were working on. . .she didn't 'wike' them. What did they think they were doing working out outfits she hadn't authorized?”


“Oh dear god,” Somebody sighs. “Yeah, Faith about ripped her damn head off getting her away from them then kicked her ass up around her shoulders all over the parking lot before security drug her off.”


“Wasn't she in prison?”


“Just got out and already back to her usual nonsense. Dumbass doesn't seem to fucking realize that people know she doesn't own the damn business. . .why come back to places you've already been and think that you're going to get what you want this time?”


“Because she's a goddamn idiot.”


“Do you need to hurry off Jessy? We can deliver your pills”


“No, the police dragged her off and her own lawyer is yelling at her. He done told her to stop this nonsense.” She drawls.


“But she's so goddamn special she should be allowed to do whatever she wants?”


“Yes, just like that goddamn fool who destroyed my car at the dollar store.” Jessy snorts. “Moron is still bleating in prison that she 'thought' I got five hundred thousand dollars out of her, not five thousand when I sued her.”


Bullshit is the common consensus to that statement.


“Prison? Has the government made too fucking stupid to live a crime now?” Jessy sighs and shakes her head, telling everybody the whole sad tale. “Fucking fool deserves to rot in there then.” One of the matrons in town snorts. “Have you heard anything about Birmingham taking over the degrees from that other school?” She knows Jessy is friends with some of the teachers.


“Janice says they're still working on them, but she's afraid the students are going to be right back to where they started. . .that the classes they took won't transfer. Your husband is the uncle of that fool that ran into the mall, right?” She asks the clerk behind the counter.


“Yes, my husband and his mother are brother and sister. That miserable bastard is still trying to get the court to stop sending them money to replace everything their father took out of their education fund for him. First it was he couldn't live on the few cents he got an hour from his job. . .” 'Poo baby' is sarcastically said by everybody in earshot. “Then when the girls degree programs got canceled he should be able to keep the money because 'well, they're not taking classes now.” Ooh la la sounds.


“I hope that fool is beaten three times a day every day for the entire time he's in prison.”


“Oh yes, his father told him not to bother to come home when he gets out, he wouldn't be welcome. Jessy, you're done.”


“Is she mentally ill?” The prosecutor asks a couple days later as he listens to the fool wailing in her cell that her clothes are old.


“No, she's just a stupid little shit who needs to be beaten ten times a day for her stupidity. She can't have a whole new wardrobe every season because all her money is going to her bills. And the conservators over her wouldn't accept a new seasonal wardrobe a necessity.” The prosecutor's assistant hisses and boos. “Damn moron will not get it through her thick skull that going back to the place you were arrested before and trying to take over isn't going to work this time either.”


“She's going to be facing prison again.”


“That or somebody's going to shoot the fucking bitch this time.” Her own lawyer snorts. “Because she's too damn stupid to live.”




“And leave them alone you stupid bitch.” He yells at her a few hours later. “Nobody believes that you own those businesses. You have no damn right demanding they stop working on garments they've already been paid for because you didn't approve them.”


“But I want a whole new wardrobe.” she wails in the meeting room.


“Then get a goddamn second job and use that money for the clothes you want you fucking moronic bitch.” He screams in her face. “But leave designers and seamstresses the hell alone.”


“But aren't you getting me out of here?”


“Fuck no you goddamn moronic sack of shit, you don't get out of here except to go into a prison cell.”


She wails like a siren as she's dragged out of the meeting room and tossed back in a cell.


“Gods, she must think everybody is as stupid as she is.” Paige snorts as Jessy finishes updating them on the case. “Do we got a restraining order against her?”


“The judge is thinking about making it a part of her parole or probation. Of course if she does the full time . . .”


“We can shoot the bitch if she shows up again.” Faith smirks. The others nod.


“Shut up you retarded whore!” a voice bellows in the county jail. “You're too goddamn stupid to fucking live so just do the world a favor and die already. Nobody's going to drop everything and give you a new goddamn wardrobe because your clothes are old. Gods woman, you'd been to that damn shop before and they already knew you weren't the owner. .. what the hell did you think you were doing going back there.” The rant is picked up by other voices and the wailing woman sobs brokenheartedly in her cell about how everybody is being mean to her.


“Huh, really? I thought drowning in a toilet bowl was a damn urban myth.” Jessy can be heard saying the next morning at breakfast. Everybody in the cafeteria turns to look at her as she nods vigorously even though the person on the other end of the line can't see her. She says a few more words and ends the call.


“Dumbass bitch drowned herself in the toilet bowl in jail because everybody was being mean to her by yelling at her to stop her fucking whining and grow her dumb ass up. They couldn't believe she was goddamn stupid enough to come back to a place she'd been arrested at once already still trying to claim she owned the business and having a fit about everybody working on stuff she hadn't approved.”


“Well, nobody ever said the fool woman was smart.” Rupert says.


“Good riddance to bad rubbish as Mom would have said.” Jay snorts. “Because not even Mom would have had something good to say about that miserable woman.”


“No she wouldn't have.” Paige sighs. “But she would have said it takes all kinds to make the world turn round.” Her brothers nod.


“Are you sure you don't want to sue the jail?” An ambulance chaser wails as the man he'd been sure would make him a name in the legal community flatly refuses to sue.


“Yes, I'm goddamn sure I don't want to sue. Good riddance to the miserable woman.”


“But she was your wife.”


“Ex-wife, I divorced the bitch years ago.”


“But she claims she was still married to you.” he blusters.


“She also claimed she owned all those businesses. . .” He snorts.


“Weeeeeellllllll. . .yeeessssss. But . . .”


“But nothing.” He slams the phone down, the man wailing in his small office.


“Goddamn idiot.” One of the law clerks snorts as she walks past his door. “People like that give people who think the law profession is nothing more than a bunch of crooks more ammunition.”


“More proof they're right you mean.” One of the senior partners says as he walks past. “Do you have the work I assigned you done?” He asks, opening the door.




“Ummmmm, is not an answer. Yes or no.”


“Noooooo.” He wails. “Then do the damn job you were assigned and quit bothering people. Moron.”


“No, you can't have the commercial farm outside town shut down because it's not certified organic.” A lawyer snorts in Marley.


“But I have pesticide allergies.” she wails.


“Too damn bad.” He snorts again. “Take responsibility for your own health concerns, don't shove your damn problems down everybody else's throat.” she runs wailing from the office. Her sister-in-law is walking in the door and she tries to slap her, she ends up on the ground after being punched by the other woman.


“What the goddamn hell is your maladjustment?”


“You were coming in the building.” she howls.


“Yeah asswipe, I work here. . .remember?”


“I. . .I . . . I didn't realize this is where you work.” She blubbers as she hurries off.


“What the hell was that moron's problem this time?” She snorts as she comes into the office. “I know it's not attorney-client privilege. . .nobody here's stupid enough to take one of her cases.”


“She wanted the commercial farm outside town shut down because it's not certified organic. She has allergies.” One of her coworkers bleats.


“Bullshit, she's been using the allergy excuse for years. Everytime she didn't like a dish Mom made it was. . .ohhhh, I'm allergic. Because I'm a vegetarian. Dumb bitch has no problems eating the veggies Mom sneaks into dishes any time she eats at our house. And those are brought at the store in town.”


“Exactly. . .If you have a medical condition you need to take responsibility for your own actions, not force everybody else to change to suit you.” The head of the law firm snorts. “I don't know what your brother saw in that miserable fool.”


“Neither does the rest of the family.”


“Get the fuck out.” Her husband snorts as she walks into the house. “Not just out of my house but the hell out of my life. You made the biggest mistake of your life trying to hit my sister because the law office didn't believe your lies that you're 'allergic'.”


“But I didn't know she worked there, I thought she was there to cause problems. . .” she wails. Because I would have is left unsaid.


“Nope, not believing your bullshit anymore. You can pack a bag now, when you find somewhere else to live I'll send the rest of your stuff.” He slaps her with divorce papers. “And don't even think about trying to get the house, everybody knows I owned it before we were married.”


“But what am I supposed to do?”


“I don't fucking care. . .you don't ever try to hit a family member.” Wailing she packs a bag and continues to look over her shoulder, her husband will have to come saying he was just kidding. But he doesn't. She doesn't have a job anymore. .. her attitude problems got her fired. A few days later she gets on a greyhound bus and heads back to her hometown in Podunkville, Tennessee. Not even a wide spot in the road where she swore she'd never return.


Her loving family laughs at her when she returns home. They knew her oh so better than you attitude would have her come home with her tail between her legs.


The front room is cleaned for the prom dresses over one weekend and Jessy nods at the racks of finished and nearly finished garments and piles of remaining containers.


“We did good.” Faith says, looking over her shoulder.


“Yep, it won't be more than a week to finish all the outfits when we're done with the prom outfits.”


“Then we should be able to empty all the containers between then and graduation outfits.”


“If not it won't be but a couple weeks.”


Jessy unlocks the door the following Monday, grinning as she already sees cars in the parking lot. A lot of parents want to talk about the absolute stupidity of that women barging in and demanding they stop working on garments she hadn't authorized, they wouldn't know the woman wasn't the owner? Moron is the nicest thing they say about the fool woman, may she rot in hell.


“Nearly six hundred dresses.” Jessy says the end of the following week. “A little over a hundred is two outfits.” Rupert nods in satisfaction. “A lot of people were talking about that fool woman while the girls were looking over the drawings. Damn fool and moron were about the nicest things said about her.”


“I'm sure the bitch is wailing about not having a whole new wardrobe in Hell.” Joyce snorts.


“Hey, you hear anything about that fool woman who tried suing to get the commercial garden shut down because it's not certified organic?” Andrew asks.


“Yeah, the little bitch ran off back home to Tennessee with her tail between her legs when she tried slapping the hell out of her sister-in-law for actually walking into her workplace and her husband tosses her out of his house and slapped her with divorce papers. With her gone he got a quick divorce under desertion. . .the bitch whined that she didn't want a divorce but since she ran home to Mommy and Daddy. . .wellllll. . .”


“Too bad, so sad. . .” Xander drawls.




“Why?” Rupert sighs. This is the first he'd heard about that.


“She claimed she only ate organic because she had pesticide allergies but her now former sister-in-law snorted it was because she just didn't want to eat something she didn't like. She's a vegetarian but that wasn't good enough for that fool. She didn't have any problems eating the vegetables her mother-in-law snuck into her food every time she ate at the house.”


“Stupid bitch is well worth getting rid of then.” One of the cooks snorts. “Saying she's allergic is just hurting people with real allergies. Who actually take responsibility for their own problems instead of trying to get the rest of the world to change to suit them.”


Jessy snorts and waves a hand. “Oh please, that's called being a damn grownup. And we all know that won't happen with some people. The stupid bitch who wanted a whole new wardrobe, the stupid cunt who tried claiming I caused the accident. . .”


“That dumbass moron who ran into the mall twice and now his sisters are paying for his stupidity by their education being delayed. . .” Andrew snorts.


“and that miserable bitch who is still bleating that you had to have got five hundred thousand dollars from her for destroying you car, not five thousand.” Larry snorts. “The absurd fool tried having another lawyer's office try to scare you into returning the money and I not only blistered their asses I called the prison and filed another complaint. . .she's no doubt getting her ass handed to her by the other prisoners right now.”


“Damn it, how fucking stupid are you?” The warden sneers as he listens to the wailing of the woman in front of him. “Shut up.” He finally snaps. She wails as she bites her tongue. “Shut the fuck up and LEAVE her alone. That does not mean contacting any other lawyers trying to get her to give you back a fantastic amount of money. . .one, you destroyed her damn car and two, you know damn good and well she only got a five thousand dollar judgment, not no damn five hundred thousand dollar judgment. Shut the fuck up about her causing the accident, she was parked.”


“But. . .but. . .but I didn't know it was a parking lot.” She continues to wail as she's tossed out of the warden's office. A line of fellow convicts are waiting on her and they proceed to slap and beat the stupidity out of her. She's left wailing on the ground as they all scatter and the guard gives her a disgusted look before telling her to get up and grow the fuck up.


“She's not going to get out of here except in a pine box.”


“Yes, the stupid bitch will not leave the woman whose car she destroyed the hell alone. She also won't stop bleating that she got five hundred thousand dollars from her. . .everybody's lying and taking her side.”


“She's a fool. . .no court would authorize a five hundred thousand dollar judgment for a damn car.” Another guard snorts.


“She knows that, she just doesn't want to admit it. Because Mommy and Daddy hit her with a bag of hammers and she's had to work for the last several years. That's the fault of the woman she hit, it can't possibly be her fault for causing the damn accident. She lost her license. . .ignoring the fact she'd been driving on a suspended license anyway because of all the tickets she's racked up and the other woman is still allowed to drive. The woman she hit got another car, she has to use public transit. . .it's not fair.” The other guards mock-sob and rub crocodile tears from their eyes. “Miserable bitch.”




“What's her money going to?”


“To finish paying back what her parents had paid out for her judgments, paying off her burial costs. . .and the rest will be going to the woman whose car she destroyed as punishment for trying to get her kids taken away from her.”


“Worthless bitch.”


“Yep, I see her making it through until the day before she is due to be released and pulling something stupid.”


“Because 'I'm being released you can't do anything to stop me'? Yes, the woman is that damn stupid. Because even is she was walking out the door and did it, we'd still be able to stop her.”


“Well hell, she still believes that Mommy and Daddy were just 'funning' her when they tossed her out of the house when she tried getting that other woman's kids away from her because she got five thousand dollars from her in a judgment. And not five hundred thousand like the bitch has been bleating.”


Jessy smiles as the last of the graduation outfits are picked up. “How many outfits do we still have to sew?”


“Ten of one and eight of the other.” Faith calls from the door of the inner room as the containers start coming out and either placed against the walls or taken to the layout tables. The others had already been working on the garments in the other room and as Jessy looks another one is finished. Betty holds it up to look over and nods in satisfaction before putting it in a garment bag and taping a copy of the order to the plastic.


“Did we order more order forms?”


“Yes, I put in a triple order last week, it should be done in a couple weeks.”


“Have you heard anything about that fool woman in prison?”


“Getting her ass handed to her for her stupidity at least once a day by the other prisoners. She lost her privileges so she can't go whining to another law firm to cause trouble for me. . .not that the story that she's a lying brat hasn't already made the rounds of all the law offices in the area. Anything further out and they're. ..”


“Going to be suspicious. . .why are you talking to us about this and not a office in the area?” Paige asks. The others nod.


“But why won't you cancel that order?” A clerk whines at an office supply business. “How do we even know it's a legitimate order?”


The new store manager looks at the first employee


“Because they're usually in every few months with orders for the same document. Look the order history up if you don't believe me.” The second clerk huffs off to do that and lets out a wail.


“Go do something else and quit bothering her. You were told you could only use the printers if they weren't in use, they're obviously in use.” the store manager scowls as he looks over the history of the orders, clicking on the images and seeing they're all the same document being printed right now.


She runs off wailing and the sound of a punch a few seconds later.


“You hit me.” She wails.


“You tried pulling the damn plug on the machine. Damn right I hit you.”


“But I wanna use the machines to print up flyers for my fantastic party.” she stomps her foot and pouts. She makes a grab for the power cord again and gets smacked again. “Damn it you stupid whore, leave the goddamn machine alone.”


“But I wanna use it.” she whines.


“Monroe. . .you were told to go do something else. The machines are in use and will be in use for at least three more weeks.”


“But my party will be over then.” she wails.


“Then wait until after the store shuts tonight and use it then.” He snorts.


“I. . .I guess I can do that.” she blubbers.


“You guess you can do that.” Her boss drawls sarcastically. “Don't start your damn wailing.” He snaps. She shuts her mouth with a snap, yelping as she bites her tongue. “Get the hell over it and yourself and go start stocking the shelves. And no, I'm not going to make her do it. She's working on the order.”


She's reduced to snuffling as she starts filling a cart and goes down the aisles.


“Damn fool. I hope her damn precious party flops.”


“But I don't know how to run the machine.” She wails after the last order blank of the day comes out of the printer and is marked off the list.


“Then why the hell were you blubbering about not being able to use the machine?” Her boss snorts.


“But I thought you'd make her do it.” she wails. “Why are you being so mean to mmmmmmeeeeeee?”


The other employee sighs. “One page, glossy paper?”


She sniffles and nods. “Got the original?”


She hands over a thumb drive. It's plugged into the machine. “How many copies?”


“Fifty thousand?”


“For a party? Hell no.”


“Five thousand?” Her fellow employee and boss snort at that. “Five hundred?”


“That's more like it.” The machine soon starts spitting out the copies and she runs her card to pay for everything. The boxes are placed in the back of her car and the shop locked up. “Goddamn mother fucking moron, how the hell did she get the other manager moved instead of her being fired?”


“Don't you know who I am? Why's he being so mean to me?” the other employee mock-wails. “That's why he's suing the company. And I hope he bankrupts them for their stupidity.”


“Why the hell was he transferred when she was the cause of all the problems?” A man asks icily in corporate headquarters.


“We. . .we. . . we thought a different boss would. . .”


“Pat her on the head and tell her it's all somebody else's fault? Dear god, how fucking stupid are you?”


“But I didn't know he'd sue.”


“Well what the hell did you think he'd do? Dear god man, he'd been in charge of the store for years. That stupid fool had only worked there a few weeks.”


“Weeeeellllllll. . .yeeeeeessssssss, but. . .but. . .but. . .but.”


“But nothing, she's already causing problems under the new management.”


“But I didn't know he'd sue.”


“Well what the hell did you think would happen?”


“But. . .but. . .but wasn't that a promotion?”


“No moron, it wasn't a promotion.” He snorts. “He went from the manager to a big store to being the assistant manager of a smaller store and making only two-thirds of what he did before.”


“But I was told it would be a promotion.”


“Bullshit, nobody would have told you it was a promotion. Unless they meant it was a promotion for the other guy.”


“Can we give him his job back?”


“No moron, there's another manager in the store now. It's not a matter of no harm, no foul. . .everybody go back to what you'd been doing before we pulled this stupid stunt. There's no do-overs in real life. The only thing we can do is apologize and offer him a new store when we open one. And that means one less store for an assistant manager to take over.”


“But I didn't know he'd sue.” He whines again. If he says it enough, it will have to come true.


“What did you think would happen?”


“But I thought being around somebody else. . .”


“Wouldn't make the bitch even worse because 'oh my god, I can do anything I want now because they'll go away'. Idiot. The little bitch should have been told to go sit in the corner at the very least.”


Three weeks later the first clerk grins as a familiar figure walks into the office supply store. She taps on the door of the office. “Ms. Michaels is here to pick up that huge order. You said you wanted to meet her.”


“Thank you, where is that fool Monroe?”


“Still claiming to be on her deathbed because she didn't get the oodles and gobs of people showing up for her magnificent party. How can she hold her head up high now? Dumb bitch was expecting people to pay five hundred dollars a head for a party because she planned it. Daddy's being mean to her. . .we're being mean to her. . .if she could have printed the flyers she wanted. . . And yes, that's a direct quote. Daddy about ripped her head off for her stupidity. Too bad he didn't do it last year.” The last sentence is angrily muttered.


“I know you'd rather have your old boss back. . .” He says slowly.


“Who are you?” Jessy asks as she brings the purchases up to the counter and is confronted by somebody she doesn't know with a manager tag.


“This is our new manager James MacDaniels.”


“What happened to Mark?”


The whole story is told and Jessy sighs. “Too bad nobody thinks that stuff like this will happen when they kiss the ass of a spoiled shit brat.”


“Amen. Mark's living out of a single room in a town where he doesn't know anybody instead of living at home with his wife and kids. His kids had to leave the private school they attended and his wife is working two jobs to make ends meet.”


“James, nice to meet you. I just wish it were under different circumstances.”


“You goddamn stupid fucking retarded Bitch!” Jessy yells as the other employee tries to grab her outside the store. She knocks her to the ground and cusses her fool ass out long and loud, telling her her 'precious' party failed because she's a miserable sack of shit. . .not because she couldn't plaster the fucking town with posters. “Nobody will pay that kind of money for a goddamn party. . .”


“But charities. . .”


“Yes, charities. .. where the money can be taken off their taxes as a donation. Not a stupid idiotic spoiled goddamn useless sack of shit who got a good man punished because he was being 'mean' to you by not kissing your worthless ass. I hope the hell he destroys you in the courtroom.”

“You. . .you mean he'd sue me for what happened?”


“Damn right, and he's probably got lawyers lined up to destroy you. And if your precious Daddy has any damn sense, he'll make you pay the judgment yourself.” She runs off wailing.”Goddamn retarded whore.” She gets behind the wheel and drives off.


“I. . .I guess I never thought about what would happen to him or his family.” James says as he walks into the office as Margo starts filling a cart to shelve.


“But I didn't know he'd sue me.” She wails when her father slaps her across the chest with the paperwork from the lawsuit.


“What the hell did you think he'd do you goddamn little brat? You destroyed his damn life. . .his wife is working two jobs to make ends meet here while he lives in a small room in a town where he doesn't know anybody and his kids had to leave their private school.”


“But. . .he was mean to me.”


“Grow the hell up you miserable little shit. Me. . .me. . . me, don't you know it's all about me? He was mean to me. You're supposedly a grown woman, not a two year old. And weren't you supposed to be at work today?”


“I. . . I was there.” She whines.


“Yes, trying to blame the woman who gave the show a big order for your party flopping instead of pulling your big girl pants on and realizing you're not all that.”


“But if they'd been able to print all the flyers I wanted. . .”


“The damn party would still have been a flop. Because nobody knows who the hell you are and aren't going to be spending that kind of money to attend a party unless it's the place to be seen. You ain't that damn special you little shit.”


“But Daddy. . .” She whines.


“No, no but Daddy.” He sneers. “You're a goddamn stupid little sack of shit who's going to be toddling her ass down to the employment office and pick up a full-time factory job to repay me every damn dime I spent on that damn party and to put money away for destroying your former boss's life because you're a goddamn idiot. You don't have a job at the office supply store anymore, trying to blame the customer for your stupidity got your ass fired.”


“But they can't do that.” She wails.


“They hell they can't. . .and no, you're not going whining to your damn uncle Trey in corporate again. He's in so much trouble for his part in getting the other manager demoted. . .”


“I'd wondered how the hell that fool had been able to keep her job.” James snorts a couple days later as he gets a call from corporate.




“Yes?” She looks over her shoulder from where she's fixing the damn absolute mess that was the shelves that that other fool had 'filled' when she couldn't get the order for the seamstress building canceled.


“I just got a call from corporate. . . they've bit the bullet and authorized a twelve point eight five million dollar settlement for Mr. Jacobson. Monroe's godfather has been removed from his spot. . .”

“I'd wondered how the little bitch did it.”


“Yes, anybody with any sense would have looked at her record and fired her immediately. But she was

special.” he said in a sing-song voice. “And. . .” she looks at him. “He's being brought back to co-manage the store with me.”


“Boss. . .if it wasn't against store policy, I'd hug you right now.” She turns back to what she'd been doing and moans as she finds more stuff shoved behind the others.


“Is this all stuff you found shoved behind others?” He waves at the half-full cart.


“Yes, and this is just from this aisle, she was just opening boxes and shoving stuff . . .”


“Because she was sulking she didn't get to do what she wanted.” He sighs. “Have you got the other side yet?”


“No. Or any of the other aisles.”


He pulls a box off a spot and starts sorting through it. “Fucking idiot.” She snorts as she replaces the box and moves to the next one.


“Well. . .yah, she's the type of person who never had to work for anything she wanted. Now she's got to and she's miserable.”


“She's going to be more miserable if she has to pay Mark the judgment her own lawyer thinks he'll get.”

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