Universe W-2020: Apex MERCs 3
March 5th, 2016
I Love You, Jennae
“Iah luvh yew, Jennae!
“Thean rhun, Jungle! Rhun!”
“But Jennae,” the actor paid to portray Jungle Drumpf drawls in that magical, deliberately slow-sounding voice, “I gots braces ons mai laygs, Jennae!”
“Well this pussy ain’t gon’ fuck isself, big boyh!”
Ah, to be young again; the one and only Jennifer Jinx, who brought home the illustrious WhammyBammyThankYaMammy awards for not only best performance, but also best acting, five years in a row during the prime of her prolific career, sits pantiless on a soggy flab of cardboard that lost everything which once made it a box. She has half a cigarette dangling from her jaws, and busying her arthritic hands? A plastic shopping bag from one of the many, many, many cornerstone convenience stores that keep the gears of Brick City’s seedy underbelly churning like the waves of the ocean. Drug dealers need fronts for their dealings too, you know – well, they did before fifty children became orphans when the sweaty Gruncle who had been neglecting to take care of them shot himself in the face whilst watching a feature-length documentary about found extraterrestrial technology. Some traditions are for the stupid, but some are carried solely for the betterment of the culture, like smoking tobacco… and crack.
Oh wait, those are both for the stupid.
Jenni tries to hold the half cigarette in her mouth as she digs through her bag for a book of matches. Her gums leak drool and the boge falls to the dirt with the dribble. She cleans it off with her dirty sweater and holds it with her lips this time; she found the thing in the garbage, it’s not getting any dirtier. Besides, she ran out of rocks a day ago, and if she doesn’t smoke something, she’s going to go on another killing spree.
Jenni, herself, could be considered a stupid. Clever, but a stupid nonetheless.
At long last the retired pornstar finds her book of matches. The front flap is a tad bit on the moist side and the strike is ruined, but the matches themselves are perfectly dehydrated. She removes one – ‘Fuckin’ piece a’shit.’ She rips off another one, this time gripping it from the base of its shaft rather than at the pink little head, and revels in her success. Lit off the longer and more jagged of her two remaining fingernails, Jenni brings the smokin’ match to the end of her ciggabutt and draws deep. Her throat quivers at the caress of the nicotine.
It’s safe to say that life ain’t easy in the streets of Brick City, New Jersey’s most clay-laden metropolis this side of the Delaware Water Gap. The nights are cold, the days are accompanied by the coldness inherent in all New Jersians, and ever since her career dried up with… uh… the pool of those willing to watch her make America great again, the lass has been constantly hard-pressed to score some rock around this urbanite jungle. Her head game is unmatched and always in high demand – having no teeth helps with that, as I’m sure some of you would never fuckin’ admit – but her clientele has been shrinking in more than one way ever since the cold front rolled in. Not that March has ever been fun month to exist during in this magical city of hers, but inclement weather or not, a girl’s gotta eat!
I mean… she has to swallow protein-rich foodstuffs.
Money. She needs money to go grocery shopping, okay? Money that she doesn’t have because her hands are callused, her orifi are arid, and no matter how sloppy she toppies, there’s nothing stopping the various Johns and Joanettes from backhanding her right off their genetalia and skipping out on the payment all together. Such is life in Brick City, and in the greater New Jersey area in general: if you’re useful then we’ll use you, but paying you? Off yourself.
But Jenni Jinx never will off herself; she enjoys life too much. She spent her best years feeling the highest degrees of pleasure than any physically oriented human could ever dream of feeling. Girl’s even got a few snuff films under her belt – there’s a reason ol’ JenJen’s as gummy as a geriatric grandfather with a sweet tooth to match Hitler’s passion for… huh, he came up again. Weird. But yes, Jenni Jinx’s one true love is the living of her jiggish life, a most wonderous energetic dance amongst the infinite cosmic backdrop of a Universe that, to some, is a cold, cruel beach during the winter; to others, She is kind, antikarmaic, and more than willing to look after those who were put through the wringer before She could be made to put them through it Herself.
You see, Universe W-2020, or perhaps that mysterious unseen force that interacts with Her and tries, not knowing how, to bend Her to his will, has no problem taking the life of a being and running it through a paper shredder at the lowest, slowest, and most grindy speed possible. By that same effect, She also enjoys the rejuvenating of a life that seems to be all washed up and spent and making it new again, bringing it back to the perky zeal it once championed before it was all grubbed up by hands which had no business transmitting their grubbiness.
And grubbiness transmits fast through bodily fluids.
So here Jenni sits, toking on a half a cigarette that was previously smoked by a homeless vagrant who has mouth cancer on account of all the tobacco he chews, sitting in her alleyway, pantiless but not sweatpantless, shirtless but not sweaterless, and rich although she’s moneyless. She’s livin’ a life, if not the life, a life that’s about to be turned backwards to a point of unrecognizability.
Well, unrecognizability to most. To one, she’s the North Star been guiding him home.
And boy is that one lost right now – he’s yet to find a date for the grand opening of his new aquarium! Sean Hymarc, the CEO of the Apex Corporation, as he will surely let you know, has spent the past hour and minutes of his life tearing through the streets of his high school stomping grounds in search for a woman to accompany him when he cuts the ribbon to the doors of the greatest exhibition of marine life inside the continental Untied States. His parents will be there to watch, he can’t bear to do it alone. It’ll make them so proud to see their little man with a woman, all grown up and the like.
Never mind the aquarium.
That tear started at his parents’ apartment, where he’ll be staying until the opening ceremonies are done and over with, and tore immediately to his old high school where he was surprised to find none of his peers working. That was his backup plan and his alone, it seems; if things all went to shit in his life, he would just get a job teaching business at the old Brick high school. That’s what he went to college for, after all; if you can’t use your degree to manage a business and get the experiential knowledge for yourself, you can always peddle your untested book-based pseudo-knowledge to the upcoming youth so they can make your mistakes for you.
But things didn’t go to shit at all, things went perfectly for Sean Hymarc. He graduated in the top five percent of his class, never got into any trouble, never got mixed up with anybody who certain parents may refer to as troublemakers, excelled in college where he lived alone, all the better for his studies. With financial help from his father, Sean founded the Apex Corporation as a sort of corporate, financial, and/or political advisement firm, and found quick success on the Eastern coast. It helps when your father is Don Hymarc, once a heroin addict flirting with the welcome mat on death’s door, now the leading marine biologist in the continental United States, but Sean did most of the work himself. He is by no means a pawn of his father; Don’s been very openly against New Manhattan ever since that since-vanished Durham fellow was packing all that plastic into bricks on the bottom of the ocean, but Sean’s been in the city for a few years now. He was hesitant at first, not wanting to put all his time and energy into a project with other humans that might not even pan out for anybody, but when the wall started going up, he knew he had to get inside. If there’s one thing Sean has learned from the process of getting this aquarium opened, it’s that the tides change, and hardly when you want them to.
All his life, Sean Hymarc’s wanted an aquarium for the sake of having an aquarium, and to expand the horizons of all his neighbors and their progeny; today, he remembers a specific scene from a movie, and realizes why he’s wanted the aquarium all along: to share his life with a woman.
That’s why he tears through Brick City this day, that’s why he’s bombed on the spot of his parents rather than getting a hotel room, that’s why he traumatized the children of Brick City High School by appearing in the hallways and talking to them as if they were adults: he’s looking for a woman, and he’s prepared to go to the furthest lengths fathomable in his search for this woman, whoever she is. Even if that means venturing down a dark alleyway where not even cave crickets dare tread.
Jenni’s laying against her wall, legs stretched out.
Sean’s shuffling through, eyes forward.
Great events trip over criss-crossed shins.
Hymarc tastes Brick. Jinx’s shin is bathed in warmth.
When his hand assumes a portion of the grime slathered on his business suit, “What the fuck have you done?! Look at my suit, my hand! I’ll have to return to the city to get this mess sorted out, I have no time for this! You rat, you downright vagrant, yo–”
And that’s when he looks at her. She doesn’t have to say a word.
“Do… do my eyes deceive me?” he thinks, or perhaps he says it out loud, just under his breath. “Are you… did… you played Jennae, the love of Jungle Drumpf, in a live action motion picture, is that a correct statement??”
Well, it was certainly a live kind of action, and the pictures were certainly liberal with their motion. “It… is… who are you, Mister?”
Hymarc’s face assumes a distorted grimace. “AH! I’m so sorry, many hundreds of thousands of numerous apologies, Miss Jennae; is it appropriate for me to call you Jennae?”
Jenni thinks she knows where this is going. She’s not exactly happy about it, but she wouldn’t mind the extra bag of groceries either. Although, by the look of the man, he might just need a talkin’ to. “Call me whatever you want, sugar.”
Hymarc glimmers with glee. “Very well, Miss Jennae! My name is Sean Hymarc, Esquire, I am the premier Cee-eEe-Oh of a large and successful NewMann firm called the Apex Corporation. I have a lot of money, and a lot of power, and my company owns a few companies that boast some pretty unique characteristics. Today, my latest venture is finally coming together: the Brick City Aquarium, in all its glory.”
“You own the new Aquarium, Mister??” Jenni shouts, actually surprised. Fate might be real after all.
“I sure do, and you know what else?” he asks, swinging his arm with one finger extended, “I need a date to accompany me to the ribbon-cutting ceremony! And, I’ll have you know, your dramatic work in Jungle Drumpf really blew my mind, I’ve been enamored with you ever since I was a child. In eighth grade, one of the teachers hung a poster from the movie with you and Jungle clenched in one another’s arms, except the teacher replaced Jungle’s face with his own, but still, I was lucky enough to be illuminated by your dazzling smile each and every day of my life, Jennae. It would be an honor, nay, a privilege, for you to accompany me to the ceremony today.”
Jenni’s taken aback; that cigarette she found in the trash must have been the last one from whoever smoked its pack, the first one removed only to be flipped and reinserted; the lucky boge. And its luck carried on. “Why, I wou–”
Hymarc’s communicator interrupts his date’s words. He gets the urge to rip it out of his pocket and throw it into the nearest wall, but jars it and saves it for later. No need to scare away his precious.
“What is it?” with the uPhone smushed against his ear. Then, “Excuse me, what? Very well… it just so happens we’re in a similar predicament. Yes, your four is actually our five. It seems the planets are aligning, Doctor, for I’m about to return to the city.” Listening, “Yes, I know, but a bit of a trip took place.” He gazes into Jennae’s eyes, “It was all meant to happen, I believe. See you soon.”
He hangs up, and before Jenni can question anything, “Miss Jennae, I see that you’ve fallen on hard times. You’re living here in this alley, and I presume you’re hard-pressed for money.
‘I suppose one could say that, yes,’ she thinks, then, “Mister Hymarc, are you about to ask me to come with you on some grand journey that will take little ol’ me out of this big ol’ city and expand my horizons to reaches I have never dreamed of?”
Sean almost passes out on the spot. “Take my hand, Jennae, and run to the helicopter with me.”
They join hands and take off for the street. A pickup truck honks its horn as they cross, nearly flattening them.