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Lock and Load: First Chapter (remember don't judge a book by its cover)
“Toss me the cherry lipstick tube,” Marisa called. Now this would usually be a very common sentence, if the tube wasn’t a stun dart gun that is.
From somewhere across the room bustling with teen girls, a shiny brass lipstick tube sailed through the air, with a spin that would have made a pro quarterback jealous.
Marisa deftly caught it in her outstretched right hand, while flawlessly applying eyeliner (the nonexplosive kind) with the left, in one of the huge mirrors ringing the room. None of the other girls even batted an eye at the exchange, probably a good thing since some of them were also handling eyeliner, though this time of the explosive persuasion.
“Thanks Lucy,” Marisa shouted, slipping the eyeliner along with the lipstick back into her makeup/weapons kit, and puckering her flagrantly glossed lips for one more cursory examination of her appearance.
“No prob,” came the muffled reply, since at the moment Lucy was jostling with Cindy for the best lighting cast by the bare bulbs lining the mirrors. They were both attempting to put on mascara without jabbing it into their wide eyes..
The room was packed with girls, all in different states of readiness. Some slipped into silky cocktail dresses, while others stuffed themselves into the skin tight black shirts and pants customary for missions. Ear coms, specifically designed to look invisible when inside the ear, were adjusted, while tights were covered in one last quick drying coat of Dr. Libinsiky’s extra strength fire proof spray.
“Lula give me back my compact pulley!” Minerva, lovingly nicknamed Minnie, in recognition of her diminutive size of 4 foot 9, growled, as she scuffled with the ever tall Lula, (5 foot ten and only sixteen). Luckily neither of the girls were as yet armed beyond electrically shocking floss, and the chances of getting that into one another’s mouth’s was pretty slim, so it was a relatively fair fight. Though Lula might have been at a slight disadvantage, since Minnie did have a one degree higher black belt. But since they both seemed more concerned with winning the compact and not smearing their already applied makeup, the chances of either of them getting seriously injured were very small. Well, probably.
“But I need it!” Lula wailed, rolling herself and Minnie out of the path of a recently spilled bottled of nail polish remover. It would have done a number on their dresses. But since it didn’t seem to be eating through the white tile floor, it probably wasn’t of the sulfuric acid persuasion. At least they were safe from any chemical burns. “You have an extra pulley, let me use this one!”
“What happened to yours?” Minnie grumbled, once again on top of Lula and trying to pry the palm sized pink compact out of Lula’s clenched hand. “This one can support up to 500 hundred pounds, the other one only holds 320.”
“You’re going to the water front ball. The most your going to have to hall is yourself and the stolen painting you’re retrieving. What the heck do you need five hundred pounds of pull for!” Lula exclaimed, wresting her fist from Minnie’s tight grip, and trying unsuccessfully to shove Minnie of herself.
“It’s just a precaution!” Minnie shouted, as she dove for the compact. There was a clunk, as they rolled into a table. Violet who was strapping on her black stiletto heels, quickly snapped out a hand to stop a poison nail polish bottle from crashing to the floor, and an entirely ordinary hair brush from clonking Minnie on the head. Then without a glance at the two of them Violet returned to buckling the many straps on her shoes, both six inch heels equipped with switch blades.
No one payed a second thought to Lula and Minnie’s scuffle, such dressing room skirmishes were not uncommon, especially when the atmosphere was so clouded with hair spray, girlish excitement, and everyone going on a mission, very few of them together. Excitement and adrenaline seemed to run like a communal hormone high through every one of the thirty, 16 year old girls who were part of the company. Being in the dressing room, was like standing in the middle of an emotionally stressed Niagra Falls.
“And you’re one to talk Lula! You’re heading to the pentagon ball to be part of the crowd and an undercover agent. You won’t be hauling anything unless something happens, and then you’d only be pulling yourself! Why do you need five hundred pounds of strength? Have you had one too many Mars Bars again? Now that I think about it, you have been looking kind of flabby,” Minnie said with a friendly mocking tone, as she gleefully yanked the compact out of Lula’s fist, and raised her arms above her head in triumph. “HA!”
Without pause she was elbowed in the stomach and the compact went flying, as the wind rushed out of her in a great, “Oof!”
“You little twit! Take that back!” Demanded Lula as they both scrambled for the compact, army crawling under Violet’s table where it had skittered.
Violet shook her head and stood up from her stool, carefully picking her way around the mass of flailing limbs that was Lula and Minnie. She didn’t particularly want to impale them on her black heels, even if the switch blades were on safety for the moment, it would still hurt. A lot.
Suddenly the metal door that was the entrance to this dressing room, and which you needed a security card, retinal scan, and finger print to get into creaked open and a a dainty burgundy pump, adorned with a delicate bow, stepped into the room. Immediately all the girls went silent.
Minnie and Lula swiftly stood up from their tangle, unsuccessfully trying to smooth down their disheveled appearance. Lula brushed thick locks of tangled blond hair out of her face hurriedly, with her fingers, as Minnie tried, to little avail, to flatten out the creases in her black short strapless cocktail dress, her large green eyes down cast. When they both looked up, their nervous expressions were mirrored by twenty eight other faces.
Then the pump was followed by a strapless slim hip hugging burgundy evening gown snaking through the entryway, a graceful long neck, and stunning face. Silky collar length copper hair fell gracefully over one pale shoulder enhancing her smooth features, big blue eyes decorated only by artfully applied mascara and a touch of light brown eyeliner, a petite nose, and full mouth, glossy with red lipstick.
“How are we doing girls? No problems, I hope?” Ms. Venna said every word with perfect diction and a smile that hinted at an intelligence far surpassing her beauty. Out of all the adults on the team, 25 year old Ellen Venna suffered the far fewest problems from the youngest members of the company. She had the looks of a super model and the mentality of a fox, a deadly combination that no one wanted to be faced with, not to mention her 10th degree black belt, and expert marksmanship.
Ms. Venna’s gaze swept the room, cosmetics (both explosive and nonexplosive) strewn across the counter tops and the floor indiscriminately, girls half dressed, Lula and Minnie’s disheveled appearance, two legitimate laser guns smoking in a pile of sulfuric acid, clothes and weapons everywhere, and quiet Violet prepared and ready for her mission stranded in the middle of a disaster zone. Ellen’s only reaction was to raise one artful eyebrow.
“I’m going to pretend I don’t see the mess this room is, and tell you that in ten minutes everyone will be dressed, prepared, and ready to leave on their mission, and this room will be in complete order.” Then Ellen and her perfect attire exited the room the metal door shutting quietly behind her.
Exactly on the dot, ten minutes later Ms. Venna appeared again, this time a small burgundy hand bag hooked around her wrist. This bit of cloth was more frightening to those who knew her than looking down the double barrel of a shot gun, since it probably contained a more deadly arsenal than the Pentagon’s armoire.
Every girl in the room was groomed and dressed, all the makeup and weapons had been put back into their appropriate spots, and the laser guns and sulfuric acid had mysteriously disappeared. You’ve got to shudder for who ever had that clean up job.
Ms. Venna reexamined the dressing room and the girls, Lula and Minnie stood next to each other, after all they were best friends. Minnie had safely stowed her compact, and given Lula her extra one, with only 320 pounds of pull, much to Lula’s disappointment.
Ellen smiled devilishly, “Lock and Load girls. Time to move out.”