Jennifer finds her name.
I’ve never really had any, but here I was, my first dangerous and secret meeting of my life. This is so risky, Jennifer, I thought, fiddling with my hands in my lap as I sat in the folding metal chair at the front of the dimly lit room. What if we get caught by Better Livings Industries?
“Alright, Killjoys!” Ricky Crowe said from the front of the room, clapping his hands together and gathering everyone’s attention. There was about a hundred ‘Killjoys’ in the room, either sitting on a folding chair, like me, or standing in the back and along the sides of the room. “We’re all here because we hate BLI, aren’t we?” he asked, looking us over. Ricky shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose with his left hand. “I have so much work to do…” he mumbled, not loud enough for people to hear, but I still heard him, with strain. “Okay people, we have a lot to prepare for, so let’s start with names. You there.” Ricky pointed to a man on the side of the room, away from me.
The man looked up, a little surprised. “Wha—what?” he asked, seeming more nervous than I was.
Ricky rolled his eyes. “What’s your name?”
The man coughed, hiding behind his fawn-coloured hair for a moment. “Jim Hassen,” he said, looking at his feet.
Ricky shook his head. “No, that is not your name. Here, as Killjoys, we have our own names, not the ones known by BLI. Now, what’s your name?”
The man looked around for a moment. “Uhh… Melodic Riot,” he said, smiling when he said it out loud, as if it was the greatest thing he’s every said.
Ricky smiled and nodded, his top row of teeth exposed from the smile. “Good. You like music, don’t you?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at Melodic Riot.
Mel nodded. “Yes, I play the drums a lot, and occasionally the saxophone.”
Ricky nodded, suddenly looking serious. “BLI took music away, did they not?”
Mel’s eyes changed from shifty to angry. “They came to my house and took everything involving music, including my drums and my saxophone.”
Ricky nodded once, a short and stout nod, as if affirming. He pointed to the man after him, continuing the names. Only a few did I remember, just a handful that caught my eye. One man was named Tim Baxton, a man of medium build, with black hair that was combed back in a ducktail and piercing green eyes. He was wearing a band’s T-shirt, black jeans, and a leather jacket. His Killjoy name was Fire Tongue, and Tim liked to cheat; cheat BLI, that what he said. Another man I remembered was Gerard Way, a pale man with a small build, yet he was 5’9”. His onyx hair hung down, parting at his semi-thin face, fringe falling over warm hazel eyes. He wore a black jacket, black skinny jeans, and a black T-shirt, completing the look of seeming ‘emo’.
I sat back in my chair and shut my eyes, hoping BLI wouldn’t come storming through the metal door. What will you do if that happens? You’re an assistant of the S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W unit, and there’ll be hell when they find out about you.
“You. Sleeping Beauty,” I heard Ricky’s voice say, and I snapped back to attention, looking up to see him pointing at me, looking rather impatient. “Name.”
“Huh?” I said, trying to climb out of deep thought.
Ricky tapped his foot. “What’s your name?” he asked, a bite to his tone.
I raised my right eyebrow. “Excuse me? What if I have one I don’t want to share?” I asked him, getting a numbers of small gasps around the room.
Ricky smiled, looking amused. “Biting, are we? Good for a Killjoy. What’s your name, Killer?” he asked, looking at me with proud eyes, even though he hasn’t taught me anything.
I thought for a moment, thinking of a name for myself. I smiled as soon as it came to my head. “Violet Rage,” I said strongly, loving the sound of it on my tongue. Welcome to the Black Parade, Violet Rage, I thought, smiling wider at the My Chemical Romance mention. Even though music wasn’t allowed by Better Living, I still listened to it secretly, always keeping my iPod safely stowed away somewhere on my body at all times. More secrets, Jen. You’re becoming quite the secretive person.
Ricky beamed at me before turning towards the crowd. “You are all Killjoys already, just by taking your names. I have one more question for you all before we leave. Do you hate Better Living Industries?”
A chorus of yeahs and hell yeses erupted through the room, echoing off the walls and making me giggle in excitement. Jennifer, conspiracing against Better Living Industries, I could hear Korse’s voice say in my head, scolding me about going against BLI. Ooh, BLI. Like the ring.
Ricky nodded. “Then you’ll make it as a Killjoy. Dismissed until tomorrow.”
The people sitting down in the chairs stood up and began filing out of the room, some pulling on shades while others put scarves on, despite being in one of the hottest parts of Texas, even at night. I stood up and smoothed my grey business skirt, taking a deep breath in. To the outside, Jen, I thought, faintly noticing Tim Baxton make his way through the leaving crowd to me after talking to Gerard Way. I let the breath out and began walking out of the room, making my way towards the door.
“Hey,” I heard Tim say from behind me in a thick country accent, and I jumped, not expecting anyone to talk to me. I spun around to see him smiling at me, a huge smile that showed all teeth and made his eyes narrow. “I’m Tim Baxton.” He held out his hand for me to shake.
I nodded and took his hand, smiling slightly and noticing how intense his eyes were. “Jennifer Cosby,” I said, feeling his hot hand in mine.
Tim smiled bigger, if that was even possible, and I became intrigued at his eyes. They were twinkling like emeralds, even in the dimly lit room. “I know this isn’t allowed by BLI, but would you like to come and have a drink with my friends and I? I know a place just outside of the city, a bar that’s always busy, even during daylight hours.” Tim looked like he had won, even though I hadn’t said anything besides my name.
I chuckled breathlessly a little and looked down, tucking my rust-coloured hair behind my ear. “S—sure,” I said, knowing this was yet another secret of mine. “How are we going to get there though? I don’t have a car.”
Tim’s smile grew even bigger, covering up most of his face. “Don’t worry, I’ll take ya. Most of the time one of the guys use their car and take us all. What’s one more, anyway?” he asked, looking into my eyes, seeming like he was gazing into my soul.
I nodded and averted my eyes away from Tim’s. Jen, are you even sure this guy is a good guy? He could do some bad stuff, you know, a little part of my mind called ‘Safety’ said, but I shut it up. Safety, I’m going against BLI, becoming a Killjoy, AND going to an illegal bar outside of the city. Do you think I care anymore? “Yeah, what’s one more?” I repeated Tim’s words, walking out of the dimly lit room and putting my Ray Bans on, despite the night.
“Whoa, nice shades,” I heard Tim say beside me, and I turned to see him putting on his sunglasses, almost like Terminator sunglasses, the smile off his face replaced by feint amusement. Tim looked at me and smiled, his eyes still shining bright behind his glasses. “You saw Gerard Way, didn’t you?” he asked me, raising an eyebrow, still smiling.
I nodded, looking back in the direction I was walking, which happened to be the way to my flat. “Yes, I saw him. He really likes his black, doesn’t he?” I asked teasingly, remembering the black on black on black ensemble he had going.
Tim chuckled next to me; a deep, throaty chuckle. “Yes, he does. He doesn’t normally go out wearing all black though,” Tim said, and I looked up at him to see him smirking a little with his smile. “Yes, Jennifer, I do know him.”
“Oh,” I said, watching the shadows cast by the moon on the ground. “Where exactly are we going?” I asked, wondering if I was just walking home or going to the bar.
Tim chuckled. “My car’s this way, Jennifer. Did you know that, or are you just walking home?”
I blinked, still watching the shadows for anything moving. Nothing. “This is the direction to my flat, about a mile off that way,” I said, pointing ahead of me. I looked up at Tim, who had begun whistling. “Shh, pipe down. You know whistling a tune isn’t allowed by BLI.”
Tim smirked, showing his teeth. “I know. And I know that the drinking is illegal. But I still do it, don’t I?” he asked, turning and walking to a Chevrolet Nova, looking to be a 1962 or 1963 model, painted light blue. I began gawping at it, seeing as it looked in near perfect condition, aside from a little rust at the front bumper and the layer of dirt on the car.
“This is your car?” I asked quietly, taking in the dull chrome dusty wheels.
Tim turned to face me and smiled at my expression. “It was my dad’s. He used to always drive around town in it, getting complements from the ladies on the side of the road…” Tim smirked, chuckling a little. “Good thing not as many things were illegal then.”
I nodded, the little part of my mind saying there was some bad stuff that happened to those women. Shut it, Safety. He’s talking about music, and emotions, and being yourself, I thought back, trying to turn the safety part of my mind off. Grow a set, will ya? “Mmm,” I said in agreement. “BLI doesn’t allow anything.”
Tim walked around to the far side of the car and opened the passenger’s door, motioning for me to get in with his left arm. “You know what I heard?” he asked as I began to walk over to the passenger’s side.
“What did you hear, Tim?” I asked, watching his eyes dance in the moonlight.
Tim put his arms on the top ridge of the car’s opening for the door. “I heard Battery City was worse,” he said, standing up and shutting my door with a slam.