Categories > Cartoons > Jem
Scenes from Pizzazz's life, pre-series and up to The Talent Search. Sometimes what you really want is obvious, if only you let yourself notice.
Phyllis is too young to make much sense of the whisper, and the giggle that follows, but she already has an instinct for scandal, enough to put it together with her mother, breathless and laughing as she scrambles for the shower, the reek of machine oil drowning out the patchouli in her hair. She's obscurely angry; she doesn't know why, except that her mother never laughs when they play together, not like that, with shining eyes and flushed cheeks.
She goes to her father, pretending that she really wants to know what the term means, that the impulse to let him know what she heard is more than just, for the first time, the angry, itching need for vengeance... wanting Mommy to cry, wanting her gone. Wanting them all to hurt, until her confusion and the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach is gone.
No. Just her mother. Phyllis would never want to hurt Daddy.
She never forgets her father afterwards, the way the blood rushes from his cheekbones down his neck as if blood was being poured under his skin, the way his eyes distend like those of a frog in a cartoon. It should be funny, but it's not; not even to Phyllis, who is afraid of nothing, not even her Headmistress. In later life, she will try hard to make Daddy angry enough to repeat the effect, but it will never happen again, no matter what sins she commits. That rage, that intensity belongs to her mother, not herself. Phyllis doesn't matter enough to be that ugly over.
Phyllis hates her mother.
Later that night, her father comes in to kiss her goodnight and stroke the hair back from her forehead. He hasn't done that since the night he became confused about whether it was her birthday, and was hoping for her to give it away without him needing to commit to a mistake. Phyllis had drawn special pleasure from forcing him into stumbling and then flinging the error in his face, but not tonight. Tonight she's Daddy's special little girl, because she told him about Mommy.
He talks in a disjointed way, about school, if she's made nice friends, if she met any nice boys. Phyllis tosses her head against the pillow, freaky citrus hair too bright against the soppy pink pillows her mother chose for her. There's no boys good enough for Phyllis Gabor. They're all dumb. And their families stink. Not like Phyllis' daddy.
Her father laughs, stroking her hair back from her forehead.
"Picky little thing, aren't you? Well, that's good, angel." He kisses her again; Phyllis can't ever remember him kissing her twice in one day. "No one is too good for my little princess. Never settle for less than the best, in boys or anything else." He tucks the sheets around her, and leaves.
Phyllis is nothing like her mother.
Which is a good thing, because she never sees her again.
2. The night club is boring. No one famous has turned up, no one worth Phyllis' time or her designer miniskirt, a scrap of faux leopardskin that costs more than the collected worth of people in the club. She won't admit to herself that she came here because she's heard her mother used to turn up here, looking for... a bit of rough trade.
She's not a little girl anymore. Older and wiser, she's stitched the meaning of the term together with her father's rage, trying to loop it into her memories of her mother, patchouli perfume and floating scarves and wild laughter like Phyllis' own. Phyllis knows the meaning of the words now, but she still can't make sense of it. From her memories, from the pictures Harvey Gabor kept, Phyllis' mother was beautiful enough for movie stars, rock singers, princes... the kinds of boys Phyllis herself has always known, from early childhood, she deserves. Gail Gabor could have made herself drunk on the attentions of the rich and beautiful. Why would anyone who could marry Harvey Gabor want to soil herself with the man who changed the Porsche's oil?
Phyllis is looking for answers, but she's not finding any in the men in the disco. Sweat and beer and ugliness... She can do better. This is pointless.
She's about to leave when the music starts up.
She lingers for a while by the bar, watching the lead singer of the band, envying. Even in a lousy band like this, the lead singer is the centre of the room. There's always somehow hanging on every thrust of her hip, every curl of her lip. Phyllis wants that... wants more. No attention divided between herself and drinks, and not a grotty nightclub with uncertain lighting, but to be bathed in white light as a stadium screams her name...
"What a load of crap."
Phyllis turns in a fury, hair whipping against her neck, insanely wondering if the girl on the next stool is actually commenting on her own dreams. If she is, Phyllis will grind her stiletto heels into her eyes. But the girl is grinning in a confidential way, as if they're already friends, and shrugging a black leather shoulder at her. Not leather, cheap vinyl. No way in hell should the bouncers have let this girl into what is supposed to be an exclusive club, no matter how pretty the effect of the strobe lights on her masses of teased white-blonde hair, how attractive the curve of her body under the sheer nastiness of her outfit. Phyllis knows she should be repelled, but there's an odd tingling in the pit of her stomach. She arches an eyebrow, and the girl takes it as encouragement to speak further, sliding around on the chair so that her fishnet-clad knees touch Phyllis' bare skin.
"I could play better than that." Boasting. It should be obnoxious, but Phyllis is attracted.
"What do you play?" Phyllis has never been good at small talk, too unused to pretending interest in anyone but herself, but she wants to keep this girl talking, somehow. She wonders what colour the girl's eyes would be under natural light. Right now they seem brown one moment, an unnatural purple the next. Unnatural as Phyllis's hair.
Another shrug. The knee against her own presses so close that Phyllis wonders if the tights would leave impressions, little red hatches on her skin that belonged to this stranger. She doesn't move her own leg, and wonders why.
"Electric guitar. Bass guitar. Drums. Whatever. I'm hot with them all." She's still boasting, but somehow Pizzazz believes her. "I sing, too."
Phyllis comes to a decision. She's never thought over things much, and she's not going to start now. All she knows is that she feels... restless. "I sing. And play lead guitar. What d'ya say we go kick these losers off and show them what real playing is like?"
The girl's eyes light up, and Phyllis suddenly doesn't care what colour they are.
"Then let's kick ass."
The band is too shocked to offer much resistance, as their instruments are seized out of their hands and other claimed or tossed into the ground. The white-blonde girl puts a foot through the largest drum, and Phyllis shrieks with laughter. Only the keyboardist seems about to put up a fight, squaring up against them, torn between defiance and fear. She's a cute thing in a nerdy Hawaiian print sarong, but her playing is good, too good for this dump, and there's something about her Phylllis likes... On impulse, but then she always acts on impulse, Phyllis seizes her around the waist. It has nothing to do, she tells herself, with not wanting to be alone with her new... friend.
Besides, Phyllis feels... something. A spark of comradeship, or fate. It's supposed to be these three up here, she knows it. Her two new acquaintances are nothing like any girls in her social world, and that's exactly what she wants.
(What would you think, Mom? I bet these girls know what it's like to have grease under their fingernails. The blonde, especially. She probably has a boyfriend in a bikie gang, sits on the back of his hog and picks up a steel pipe to rumble with the rest when she feels the urge.)
"You're with us, honey,'" she tells the keyboardist. "What's your name?"
"Mary." She still seems unsure whether to fight or give in, eyes darting and wary and hostile, but that doesn't matter. Phyllis wants her in on this, and that's what will happen.
She makes a face. "That'll have to go. How about you?" she tosses at the other.
Phyllis smiles, the world falling into place around her as the lights stream in different colours and the crowd mills, deciding whether to boo and hiss this new diversion or scream in appreciation. Phyllis isn't worried. The three of them are hot as all hell before they even play a note, and Phyllis is about to sing -- they'll get their screams.
"Me?" She rakes her fingers through her neon hair. "I'm Pizzazz."
4. Pizzazz swirls the liquid around in her glass. Pretty bubbles... pretty. Enough to distract her from the fact that the best New Rock Act trophy is smashed in pieces. Stupid fucking Jem, spoils everything with her lousy orphans. Pizzazz doesn't have people who care about her, sappy hand-holding and singing. What does she care? She has her own bar, and two gorgeous girls to get well and truly plastered with. Don't love her, but they're fun. And a trophy. Broken trophy, but it doesn't matter.
Don't want love anyway. Awards. Awards are nice. And crowds screaming for her, and lots of drink.
"I like this." Stormer leans her head against the private bar. "Can party in private. No sleazes tryin to hit... to hit..." Her voice trails off sleepily, and her false eyelashes flutter closed.
Pizzazz giggles, hit by a sudden thought. "When we first met, thought Roxy was trying to, trying to hit on me."
"Hnh." Roxy drapes an arm across Pizzazz's shoulder. Her breath is warm in Pizzazz's ear, but she's still apparently addressing the oblivious Stormer, who is drooling quite prettily onto the bar. "Thought Pizzazzazz was rich girl lookin' for someone to pick up. Bit of rough." She cackles. "Knew she was a rich bitch. Got that right."
Pizzazz stares blearily at her, or rather turns her head to peer dully into a mass of white hair. Hairspray fumes, worse than the booze. There's something she needs to think about. Roxy thought she was trying to pick up. And Roxy had, Roxy had... the thought starts to slip away.
Roxy turns her own head, and looks her directly in the eye. Less than an inch apart. Roxy's lips are parted, mouth wet.
"I need to barf," Roxy says. And does.
Whatever moment might have been is gone for good.
5. It's finally going to happen... They're finally going to win. Pizzazz doesn't know or care why Jem won't perform without her precious earrings. Insane bimbo probably thinks they have magical powers of love or light, or something.
"Love is right," Roxy says. They're lolling in the hotel's private hot springs, while Stormer goes off like a good little girl with Eric to get duplicates of Jem's little stars made. Eric practically had to wrench them out of Roxy's fists. Pizzazz laughed hysterically at the time, but she understands. Let Roxy have her triumph - her malice accomplished great things, this time.
"What d'ya mean, love?" Pizzazz isn't used to hearing that word fall from Roxy's lips, painted sticky tangerine even while her bikini top is falling off her shoulders, straps dangling in the hot water while her shoulders and the top of her breasts rise slick and wet. Pizzazz isn't sure how she feels about it. There's something un-Misfit about it, that's for sure, but she likes the way Roxy's tongue flicks out as she forms the consonants.
She likes this, being alone with Roxy. It doesn't happen often anymore, not since Stormer's pathetic fondness for that little Starlight brat Ashley died out and they became a real threesome instead of two friends and a tagalong. It's not that Pizzazz doesn't like having Stormer around. She's a great kid, a pushover for Pizzazz and a destructive force for the Holograms, and comes in useful for brushing Pizzazz's hair and writing music and things. But it had been Phyllis and Roxy in that night club first of all, and the connection made there is something Stormer isn't quite a part of yet, or ever.
Roxy is grinning now, sly and amused, but there's something about the poise of her head, the way her eyes flicker sideways to Pizzazz, resplendent in a gold bikini, that isn't just playful. Watchful. "Haven't you noticed that the stuck-up Benton bitch wears the exact same earrings? And poor Jemmy is so upset that Jerrica can't wear hers without her."
It takes a second for Pizzazz to realize what she means. Then she shrieks with laughter, her head falling back against the side of the springs, barely registering the crack of skull against rock. Roxy's laughter joins her, deeper, nastier.
"Goody-goody Jem being eaten out by her little blonde manager? Oh, that's too good to be true." Through her laughter Pizzazz is aware that the tingle between her legs that has everything to do with the heat and nothing to do with the beading of moisture on Roxy's skin or the way her tongue moves has increased in intensity. (Jem's head flung back, pink hair damp and tangled with sweat, breasts arching... Jerrica slim and golden, her primness drowned in passion.) "But what about their precious Rio?"
Roxy shrugs, her breasts rising with the motion and one bikini cup falling away altogether to reveal the brown tip of her breast, swollen with heat. She doesn't attempt to adjust it. "Maybe the purity twins keep him around for a bit of rough. No wonder they ain't jealpus."
The expression closes down Pizzazz's amusement. "Never understood it myself," she says, with more truth than she likes.
Roxy is still laughing. "Sharing is for losers, right, Pizzazz? Or is it the rough trade? I thought you had a thing for Rio." Sly again. Roxy is only loyal to a point; she still likes to poke and tease and press her advantage... and Pizzazz's own choice of mental words disturbs her. She'd like to tell Roxy to put her bared breast back, but she's not a prissy prude Jem herself, for fuck's sake. She can deal with a bit of skin.
So can Jem, if Roxy's right. Pizzazz is more aroused than she wants to admit, half wishing Roxy would take off so she could do something with her mental images.
She recalls herself to the subject of Rio. "Only to mess that bitch Jem up. He's still too good and pure for me. Not my idea of good rough."
"Nah. Me, either."
And just like that, Pizzazz is pressed back, the stone edges of the hot spring like sandpaper against her back, her lips grated by sharp teeth and her tongue sucked from her mouth, deep into Roxy's own. Pizzazz has been kissed before of course, so many times, smooth and seductive or self-consciously macho, but never like this, without finesse or technique or even plain competence, just fierceness and hunger. Somehow she'd thought of girls kissing as something soft and gentle, lacking in passion, and this force and directness takes her by surprise.
At first she thinks it's a joke, Roxy's somewhat crude sense of humour coming to the fore, but she can feel a hand molding firmly the shape of her breast right above her thudding heart, and the other between her legs, rubbing hard through the water, rough squeezing strokes of her mound that would not penetrate anything even without her bikini, couldn't find the throbbing tiny place where the tingle is most unbearable, and it's so frustrating that she moans instead.
At the sound Roxy moves away. "Pizzazz," she breathes, softer than Pizzazz has heard her when they're not mid-scheming, and drops kisses on Pizzazz's jaw and neck, somehow hotter than the air and water.
This is a new Roxy, passionate and somehow soft despite the roughness of her caresses. Intriguing, which is why Pizzazz doesn't object as she feels her bikini top pulled aside, and the breast not already being fondled is bared to the air. She feels a soft touch that might be lips on her nipple for a moment, then the soft heat of tongue, and before she can protest the grate of teeth, catching and biting and pulling as the tongue lathes, sending sharp pain shooting through her breast, echoed in shooting sparks beneath that squeezing, rubbing hand. She thinks of her mother, pressed against the shed wall by the gardener, her head striking against the back of the wall as rough hands seek under her skirt...
"What the fuck are you doing?" She pushes Roxy off her, breathless, and they stare at each other for a long moment. Frozen.
Then Roxy snaps, quite abruptly, back to herself, scowl back on her damp face, prickly self back in focus, the girl who had whispered Pizzazz's name only moments ago dissolved in the steam.
"Guess I misunderstood," she spits out. "Sorry." She's is defiant and surly despite the apology, pushing herself in quick moments out of the spa, tucking herself back into her swimsuit as she strides off without a backward glance. Pizzazz, breathless and aching, is left feeling at a distinct disadvantage.
She hates being at a disadvantage. Hates being made to feel like a goody-goody prude. She's going to make that pervert bitch dyke of a Roxy pay for this sick joke.
So Pizzazz doesn't understand, herself, why, after the stolen concert the next day, instead of sulking like she'd intended, she slides an arm around Roxy's waist and walks offstage with her snuggled close. Affectionate and glowing, leaving Stormer to her own devices behind them. Maybe it's that the concert was a triumph, bought through Roxy's wiles. Maybe...
She doesn't think about it, or why she is suddenly exultant and joyous for reasons that have nothing to do with Jem's earrings.
After all, it's always pleasant to be lusted after. Crowds of thousands or a beautiful girl with apparent colour blindness and a stride like a truck driver, it's all the same. She doesn't have to put out, after all... Pizzazz's role is to be adored, not to be had. Letting Roxy fuck her would be too - dangerous, although she shies away any word so weak and pathetic, but she'd let Roxy pull her from the water and press her face between open legs, she'd be as stupid as her mother - much of a concession, but there's nothing wrong with playing, with enjoying the knowledge of Roxy's lust, the closeness of this fierce, lovely creature at her side. And things will never quite be the same now. She'll be aware that, no matter how sulky or snappish Roxy gets, she wants Pizzazz.
Pizzazz can enjoy that, without any fear of losing her position of power in the group.
6. "Fucking limey whore. I won't stand for it!"
Roxy is livid under the heavy makeup, pacing back and forwards as if she's punching the polished hardboard with her feet. Her sharp heels will mark permanent marks, Pizzazz is sure. Her fists are bunched by her sides, and Pizzazz thinks it won't be long until the punching is literal... and, Jetta having taken the ever-helpful Stormer back to the dump she was sleeping in to get her things and Eric having absented himself to have deep meaningful talks with his lawyers, it will be most likely Pizzazz's face in the way of the fists.
The thought sends little tingles into her own fingers. For a second she sees the two of them, rolling on the floor, scratching and biting. The corners of her lips rise in anticipation, leaning against the sideboard and watching Roxy turn to kick the pointed toe of her boots against the leg of a priceless antique.
"What makes you think you've a choice, Roxy?" Pizzazz grins, and her voice is carefully calculated, a lazy drawl with an edge to it. "You stand whatever I say you do, got it?"
Roxy's fist clenches the edge of the tablecloth, and Pizzazz waits for her to pull it free and throw the vases and flowers crashing onto the floor. She tenses herself for the fight, welcoming it. Roxy has been a rebellious little bitch ever since Eric first floated the idea of a new Misfit, and the sooner she swallows the fact that Pizzazz is set on having Jetta, the better.
Instead Roxy stands almost motionless, her fingers clenching and unclenching on fragile lace.
"You really like this Jetta, huh?"
Pizzazz thinks of clouds of black hair streaked with silver, like gasoline iridescent in the sun, a snarling smirk and attitude to spare. Talent and beauty and wicked mauve-grey eyes. "Yeah." And Jetta is royalty to boot... Pizzazz lets her mind dwell on lovely dreams of herself in Buckingham Palace, partying with the royals in Monte Carlo. "Hell, yeah."
Now Roxy yanks, a satisfying smashing sound heralding the end of thousands of dollars and a few hundred years of history. "I won't fucking stand for it!"
She whirls to face Pizzazz again. She's breathing heavily, breast rising and falling stormily, her weird plum eyes darkened almost to black. "Chase Jem's little boyfriends, hell yeah, I don't care. Screw that slut Kimber over with her boyfriends - I don't care, have your fun." She kicks a fragment of porcelain, it clattering harmlessly by Pizzazz's foot. "But don't turn me down and then pick up some worthless limey nobody in a bar right in fucking front of me!"
For one horrible moment Pizzazz thinks Roxy is going to burst into tears, which is a nightmare image, unthinkable. Instead she folds down onto the floor and shrieks, slamming her fist down regardless of shattered porcelain.
For a second Pizzazz worries about being interrupted, but the servants are used to various yells around the Misfit Mansion, and are beyond caring. She glares down at her friend.
"You think I need to let someone join the Misfits to fuck them?" She's outraged. Sure, she may flash her money around a little... okay, a lot... in a romantic situation. But for Roxy to think she'd sell out her beloved Misfits for a convenient lay...
"S'pose you want her around. Handy new toy." Roxy's voice is rising again, a note of hysteria in the shouting. "You don't fucking care how long I've been around, how many fucking stupid years I've been playing second best to you or how long I've been damn well in love with you." Roxy brings her fist down again, then curses and pulls a shard from it, sucking on the wound.
"Let me look at that, you dumb bitch." Pizzazz bends down and grasps Roxy's injured fist. She looks into stormy, mutinous eyes, and before she has time to realise what she's about to do she brings it up to her own mouth. The skin is damp from Roxy's sucking. Pizzazz drags her tongue across the wet skin to the small gash, finding the metallic taste of blood, then leans in and sucks.
Adrenaline. She can blame it on adrenaline, and not on how beautiful Roxy looks crouched there, a wounded and still dangerous animal.
Roxy watches her for a moment, then reaches up and touches Pizzazz's hair, thick with teasing and hairspray. "You're crazy, Pizzazz," she says, wearily.
"I'm not the one grinding a Ming vase into my guitar hand." She lowers the hand from her mouth just long enough to speak, then goes back to lathing it with her tongue.
"You use both hands to play a guitar, Pizzazz. Not that you'd know, you're goddamn awful. Whaddya think that thing is, a really big necklace?"
"Shut up." She abandons the fist and kisses Roxy instead, taking the side of her face in a tight grip and pushing her tongue hard and deep, triumph spasming as Roxy makes a sound between a sigh and a moan and presses back.
After all, she rationalizes through the haze of lust, Roxy is going to have to put up with Jetta whether she damn well likes it or not, and it's only fair to give her some payback.
They make it up the stairs somehow, more for fear of traumatising a returning Eric than anything. They roll on Pizzazz's bed -- she's not going near Roxy's room, she values her life too much, and servants who have attempted to clean that wasteland have never been heard of again - like children, kissing with lips and teeth and tongues all the while.
Roxy ends up on top, smirking down at her. "Like me better than the Jetta cow, then?"
"Don't count on it," Pizzazz snaps, not willing to give an inch on her fabulous new find even here and now, and Roxy's hand tweaks a nipple hard through her top. Pizzazz opens her mouth to shriek, and it comes out as a shuddering sigh.
"Like it rough, do you?" Roxy's smirk is positively insubordinate, now. "Figures."
Pizzazz feels a brief moment of panic... then lets it go. Roxy isn't any damn servant or chance acquaintance. She's Roxy, the nearest thing to a friend and equal Pizzazz has, and she's so, so damn attractive like this... Liquid heat rushes through Pizzazz.
"Yeah. What are you gonna do about it?"
Roxy has plenty of ideas about that, it seems. As they make their way through some of them, Pizzazz casts a glance... Well, there's not a photo of her mother by her bed, she's not as soppy as all that, but that cut-glass nineteenth century perfume bottle that has just been caught by Roxy's foot almost definitely belonged to Gail Gabor. Not that it would be much good to her now, of course... But Pizzazz spares a moment to hope that, wherever she is, Mommy has found whatever it is that will make her happy.
Pizzazz, she reflects, hasn't done too badly at that herself.