Music: Misfits – Return of the Fly
As Roman and his thugs cross the parking lot to meet Penny, Angel, and Anthony hanging out next to the blood-filled ambulance, Anthony steps forward to take point. He quickly introduces himself to Roman, who sidesteps him and calls, “Penny Scholtz! Who is this jerk?” Anthony tries to re-explain, but doesn’t get too far before Roman and Angel lock eyes, and recognition dawns. Roman cracks, “Hello kiddo,” but Angel shoots forward screaming curses in Spanish as he sprints past first Penny and then Anthony, intending to kick the shit out of mother-fucker who did this to him. Anthony gets in his way, tries to hold him back, but he’s no match for Angel’s snarling, bestial rage. Penny pulls a gun from her purse and yells, “Angel, don’t make me shoot you!” but Angel pays no attention to anything other than his white-hot rage.
Angel, now shrieking incoherently and snapping his jaws as saliva pours over his lips, barrels into Roman, trying to slam him to the ground. But after a moment or two of struggle, Angel is on the ground and Roman is staggering backwards. He’s got his hands out, “Hey, kid, ha ha, you keep it up if you want, good luck!” In a split-second Angel is on his feet again, powered by the stolen blood pumping in his veins, his face distorting and stretching in a parody of canine form, and scary fuck-off claws sliding out of his finger as he steps toward Roman again. “Come on, son, let’s see what you’re capable of,” Roman taunts. But before Angel can dive into him again, Anthony tackles him to the ground, and holds Angel down before his frenzied ass can get them in any more trouble.
About fifteen minutes later, Angel is strapped down inside the ambulance to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself or someone else. The others stand tensely outside, discussing the deal at hand. “I’m sorry for that,” Anthony explains primly, “Let me reintroduce myself?” Roman cocks his head, “Seriously, Penny, who is this jerkoff?” Penny replies, “He’s… an associate, I guess?” Anthony just plows on ahead, nonetheless, and before the deal is done, he asks for Roman to let Jo and Tiff be his problem inside of letting them meet the dawn. “Why the hell would you want that? What’s your angle?” Roman asks incredulously. “I’m looking for friends, you could say,” Anthony replies. “Well, okay, let me give you a little bit of free advice,” says Roman, “Around people like us, you want to be very careful of the kind of friends you make, because make the wrong ones and you will end up dead, or worse. And I can think of few things that fit the description of ‘wrong friends’ more than junkie trash. But yeah, sure, you want them, you got it. Have fun.”
Their conversation is interrupted, though, when Anthony emerges from the ambulance, having calmed down and unstrapped himself. Roman fixes him with a smile, “Feeling better, kiddo?” Angel just grimaces, his teeth still jagged and fanged, “Fuck you.” Roman laughs, “What? Nothing more than that? We aren’t going to have any father-son moments? But I’ve got so much wisdom to share!” Angel just stares for a moment, before very quietly replying, “No. I don’t want anything from you. All I want you to know is that someday, no matter how long it takes, I will destroy you for what you’ve done to me.” Roman rolls his eyes, “Oh, okay, I see it. You’ve gone all Louis – you’re so weepy about your terrible fate, oh poor woe is me, on and on. Well, let me ask you a question. If you’re such a monster, if you’re so cursed, why are you still here? You could have checked out at any moment before now. Suicide is painless, and all that. Yes, you can say it’s to get revenge on me, but keep in mind every day you’re still walking, you’re hurting people. Probably killing them! So save me your moral righteousness shit, because it smells rotten.” They stare at each other for a long moment, before Angel mutters and just walks away, followed shortly by Anthony and Penny.
The next night, the trio heads over to the scummy punk bar where Jo and Tiff play shows, and wind their way throw the crowd into the back to find the pair. Knocking on the door of their back room, the door is thrown open by a hard-looking woman with very short black hair and a wad of 20s in her hand. Behind her a waifish blond girl lies half-dozing on a couch. “Do you have our shit,” the woman at the door asks, but steps back and raises her voice when Anthony steps immediately into the room. Penny steps in after him, and Angel remains leaning against (and blocking) the door. “Who the fuck are you?” the woman asks angrily. Anthony raises a hand, “Hey, listen, we need to talk. Jo?” Anthony tries to introduce himself as a friend, but the woman who does seem to be Jo just gets angrier. “Listen, asshole, I’ve got a knife, and I will cut you.” Anthony grins, “You know, I’ve got a knife too. And I won’t cut you.” She does not react well to this and they go back and forth for a while with Anthony trying to explain how Roman has cast them out and he is their best friend right now, and Jo trying to get them the hell out. At the least, Anthony gets across to Jo that everyone here is kindred, but this just seems to make her angrier.
As they argue, the waifish Tiff calls over from the couch, “Jo, is this them? Do they have the stuff you said we could get?” She pauses, “Could I, you know, bite them?” It’s clear she’s high out of her mind, and while Jo and Anthony snipe back and forth and Angel smolders, Penny walks over to the girl and begins speaking softly, very softly, very close to her ear. After a few moments, Tiff sits up on the couch and begins to sob quietly but powerfully. Jo notices and immediately walks to her, sitting on the couch and putting her arm around the girl protectively. “What in the Jesus Christing Fuck is wrong with you people? You come in here, trying to tell me what that Roman has basically given us to you, acting like I should be thanking you for god knows what, and now you make my fucking girlfriend cry? What. The. Fuck.” Penny looks at Tiff, “I was, um, helping her. She’s a junkie, and now she probably won’t be. One way or the other.” Anthony jumps in with, “Yeah, that’s really not very healthy for her, and you’re buying drugs for her?” Jo explodes again: “You bastard. You absolute bastard. She has a problem, I know it’s a shitty situation, but what do you want me to do? We’re working on it.” Penny says softly, “Yes, now you are.” And Jo begins to get worked up again, yelling at the three.
At this point, Angel has had enough. He stops smoldering and stalks to the center of the room, and matches Jo in volume and anger. “Okay, now it’s time for you to listen. You can sit there with your righteous anger all you want, fine, you do whatever the hell you want. But, and I have no idea why he did this for a couple of strays, especially a junkie like her, but Anthony here literally just saved your ass and no, we’re not asking anything in return for it. So you can sit here and get staked tomorrow night, or you could stop being such an idiot and trust the three people in this city who have actually tried to help you.” At this, Jo grows quiet, and after a moment or two she agrees to go to the address Anthony gives them, the abandoned flophouse he and Angel inhabit.
Having handled that problem, the trio leaves Jo to comfort Tiff and they remove themselves to the bar proper. As they pretend to drink, Anthony turns to Penny: “So, I have to ask, what did you do to her in there?” Penny gives him a side-eyed look, “You’re not the only one who can make people do things, like when you go all sparkly. Or feel things, for that matter.” Anthony mulls this over for a second and says, “Yeah, I’m sure, it just seemed very different from what I did to those guards the other night. More… painful.” Penny looks irritated, “Of course not. We’re not the same, Anthony. Not in any sense.” Angel throws in with an edge of bitterness, “Yeah. Don’t compare us to you, because we’re not like you. We don’t pick up strays, for example.” Anthony shoots back, “What? Uh, I don’t know what you mean? We’re helping those people.” “Yeah,” Penny says, “you’re helping them by taking a junkie into your house. Angel is right, that is fucking stupid.” Angel nods, “Exactly. You don’t understand, Anthony, you did grow up in this world. Junkies are poison, and she will fuck is. Christ.” They argue back and forth over this for a while, with Anthony being well-intentioned or naïve (depending on which side you believe), until Angel finally storms off in a fit of frustration. “Damn,” Anthony says to Penny, “What got into his kibbles this morning?” Penny sighs, and also stalks out of the room annoyed.
Later that evening, Penny is sitting in her apartment, staring at the plastic food taking up all the room in her fridge now. (It was more convenient than replacing groceries of real food, which inevitably rotted when not eaten.) She picks up her phone, and dials Tyrone’s number. After a few rings he answers, “Yeah, Penny.” “Hey, Tyrone,” Penny says, “I just did this thing for Roman. And I gotta say, I think I’m confused about a few things. Specifically, I thought that by working for you guys, you were going to look out for me. I thought you guys looked out for each other. Instead I did this thing for Roman, and now I feel worse off than I started.” There is a long pause on the line. “Hm. Yeah. Penny, you have to believe me, I want to help you. I want to make you one of us, have your back, I really do. I think you’re smart, and you’re right not to trust Roman. He says he’s an anarch, sure, but what he really wants us is for us to shack up with the Sabbat. Between him and that Sabbat collaborator bitch of a Prince we have, this city is fucked seven ways to Sunday, and I’d like to have you on our side. But, see, here’s the thing. You’re too attached to your old life, Penny. I know you still see your sister. And her kid. If you want to be one of us, Penny, you’ve got to let that go. It’s over. You get this?” There is another long pause as Penny stares into space. “Um… I’ll call you back,” and she hangs out.
Meanwhile, Angel speaks to Marcel via phone as well. Marcel assures him he’ll get his money soon, and that Viktor is pleased with all three of them for what went down. “Although,” Marcel comments, “steer clear of the Prince right now, and the Sheriff to boot. Seems something happened in their territory to the hospital, and they’re fucking pissed. Oh well. Hey, could you get me Anthony’s number?” And thus, a few short minutes later, Anthony’s phone buzzes. Picking it up, he sees a text from Marcel: an address and a name, “Arianne.”