Bad: A Memoir of Good & Evil
Couldn't Call It Unexpected
Cyn & Tangents
Lead Paint Double Date Set Diaries
Moving to Mars
New Roman Times
Saint Red
Suspension of Disbelief
What Fools


Saint Red: This Year's Model
Chapter 5 - Little Triggers

By Jordan D. White

Chelsea's foot was jammed to the floor as she swerved through traffic after the flying metal person. She'd sideswiped a few cars already and had been incredibly lucky at the first red light she ran to have merely caused a horrible accident behind her rather than being a part of one. The unlucky part being that the sound of the crash alerted the fleeing flyer that it was being pursued. It turned around and flew backwards, aiming its arm behind itself.

"Shit," Chelsea murmured.

Chelsea watched as a small rocket flew quietly in her direction. She swerved as a new and rather large pothole came into being. She took out her gun. Blasting out the windshield of the Accord, she fired at the thing. Her safety was on- she couldn't really spare the concentration to turn it off, and anyway, she still didn't know if the stupid thing was a robot or a person.

It began evasive maneuvers. It was flying much more serpentine, dodging bullets and such, and also began flying over buildings and in directions Chelsea could not drive. Well, not without breaking the law, which she did, of course, knocking down chain link fences, driving across grass. Not having to worry about running out of bullets came in handy, as she just kept firing nonstop. This seemed to take the flyer by some surprise, he, presumably, having assumed a handgun would be empty after a few quick evasions. After about fifty shots, one finally clipped it in the head.

The shiny metal covering broke off and began falling, revealing a brown-haired human head beneath. The man in the flying suit, as he apparently was, threw one hand over his face and dove down after the helmet. This gave Chelsea the chance she needed. She aimed down where the helmet headed and fired. Sure enough, the bullet whizzed right through the back of the man's armor and popped out the front, disabling his flight pack. He fell after his headgear and they both smashed to the pavement a fraction of a second apart.

Chelsea screeched to a stop and hopped out of the Honda. The man was struggling to his feet. He quickly shot off another rocket in Chelsea's direction, but she dodged, leaving her borrowed car to absorb the explosive impact.

"Stop right there!" Chelsea shouted, still barreling forward.

With a muttered expletive, the man took off in the opposite direction. Chelsea scooped up the helmet with as she passed, carrying it under her left arm, just in case. The man was running through the back alleys and parking lots of the area, a sort of halfway point between downtown and the surrounding suburbs. He was moving quickly, Chelsea had to give him that, a natural sprinter. Unfortunately, his armor seemed to be taking its toll on his endurance.

She chased him down the alley between Barnes and Noble and Staples. At the end, he rounded the corner, ducking out of sight, and when Chelsea turned the corner, he was gone. The parking lot had a fair number of cars in it- a number of stores shared the plaza, including a Wal-Mart.

Chelsea ran out among the cars, looking for any sign of movement accompanied by battle gear rather than plastic shopping bags. It got her nowhere but frustrated. She climbed up on top of the nearest car and scanned the area. Other than odd looks from the passersby, she saw nothing. She came very close to smashing the helmet against the car she stood upon before she realized that might be a bad idea. Exasperated, she peered into the metallic headgear. She saw movement within- some sort of screen.

She put the helmet on. She almost fell off the roof of the car at first out of disorientation. She wasn't seeing the same things with the helmet on as she had with it off. She was looking at someone wobbling… on top of a car.

It was then she realized that the armor came with the ridiculously stupid feature of having the visual sensors attached not to the helmet, but the main mass of the suit. She quickly found that it also had the added feature of being able to look all around the armor's wearer 360 degrees by merely moving her eyes around, as well as some sort or control menu she didn't have time to explore just then, but made a mental note to investigate later.

The hiding man was peaking at her through car windows as he crept slowly away from her. She began to turn her body, attempting to face herself towards him, so when she took the helmet off, she could tell where he was. Suddenly, the man's arm lifted in her direction and green text appeared at the bottom of her field of view, reading "Armed," and then, "Launching."

Chelsea leapt to one side, which was incredibly disconcerting, since her view remained the same. She saw the rocket miss her by less than a foot and continue across the street where it impacted dramatically with a church.

"Oh, that is it," Chelsea said and tore off the helmet.

"Hail Mary, full of grace," she said, leaping back onto the top of the car and looking out towards the Wal-Mart, scanning the crowd for a dark green Mazda. She saw it. "The Lord is with you." He must have seen her see it, because all of sudden he wasn't so concerned with hiding. He broke out running again.

"Blessed are you among women," Chelsea continued as she sprang from the roof of the car onto the next one, and from that, to the next. "And blessed is the fruit of your womb." Her prey was weaving between the vehicles, looking over his shoulder nervously as she pursued. "Holy Mary, mother of God…" Chelsea, burning with righteous fury, finally caught up to him, launching off the final rooftop and knocking him face down into the pavement. "Pray for us sinners, now…" She smashed her gun into the back of his head three times, each time pressing his face more forcibly into the blacktop. The first blow broke his nose. He wasn't moving around much by the third. "And in the hour of our death."

She snapped off her safety and took aim at his left hand. She fired five times at his palm. His hand was obliterated when she was through. She grabbed one of the fingers, still inside its armored fingershell. She tried to pull the finger out but it was stuck. She put the end to her mouth and sucked gently until she felt the severed end touch her lips. She spat onto the ground and grabbed the exposed end, shoving the finger into her pocket and throwing away the useless husk.

"Amen," she said.

She jogged off in the direction she had come from and scooped up the helmet from where she had tossed it off. She slipped it back onto her head. It was a bit disconcerting getting such a good view of the blood pooling on the ground below the former flying man's head. Chelsea quickly glanced down at the command menu in the corner of the field of her vision, bringing up the display screen. From the menu she chose "Comm Link" and blinked.

Static jumped to her ears for a moment, then words came through.

"-Hear from Mobile C yet?"

"Nothing yet, sir. B and D have both returned to base successfully."

"Is the situation at CCI under control?"

"Well, sir… I think you'd better see for yourself."

"Just tell me."

"I… think you need to see this, sir."

"I'm on my way. Just tell me."

"Sir, I don't-"

"Don't be an idiot! If something important is going on, just tell me what it is!"

"Well, sir, we've initiated Phase II with an assortment of subjects there, but one of them is… unusual."

"Unusual how?"

"I… can't explain it, sir… things we've never seen before, not indicated in any of the files we'd made…"

Chelsea wasn't finding anything they said particularly illuminating.

"Forget it, I'll be there in a minute. Prepare the hangar."

"Where are you, sir?" Chelsea asked.

The Comm went silent.

"Who was that?"


"I don't know, sir. It's no one here."

"Who is on this channel?"

"Worth a shot," said Chelsea and blinked the Comm back off. She noticed a bubbling in the pool of blood in her screen. She glanced back at the menu and selected the 'Self-Destruct' option from the 'Suit Function'. The screen began a ten-second countdown. She pulled the helmet off and hurled it back in her downed opponent's direction. As the explosion rang out behind her, she pondered her next move.

She wanted to get in touch with Argento, give him the finger, see what he'd make of it. She chuckled. Give him the finger she'd taken from this bastard, she'd meant. But she thought she might play a hunch.

She went into movie theatre in the plaza and asked if she could borrow their phone book for a moment. Sure enough, she found what she was looking for.



Argento paid Alison's bail from the wad of money he took from her and Red's suitcase full. He waited somewhat impatiently in the police station lobby as they went to get her. When they brought her around, he could tell she was upset- understandable, considering. He just hoped she wouldn't push too hard into his invasion of her home.

"Alison, are you ok?" he said, squeezing her forearm.

"I'm… I'm fine, I guess. I'm just lucky you heard my call," she glanced around warily. She seemed to notice someone or something, then she said, "Let's get out of here."

"Of course," Argento said, ushering her towards the door.

"Miss Innes?" a voice called. "Miss Inness?" Argento saw Alison fight not to turn around as they walked towards the door.

"Miss Ames?" the voice said, finally.

Alison turned to face a scruffy-haired detective she seemed to recognize. "Tim," she said.

"Miss Ames," said the detective, "I'm glad I caught you."

"I can't really talk," she said.

"I'll try to be quick," the detective continued. "When I first met you, I had thought you looked somewhat familiar, but I couldn't place it. The thing is, we ran your prints. They seem to match those of a Miss Alison Innes who grew up in this town. Who I went to High School with."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Alison bluffed.

"Miss Innes was brought in for underage drinking during her senior year, shortly before she moved to Long Island. The prints we took that night are identical to yours. Of course, that makes no sense, since your records show that you were born in Michigan. Any thoughts on how that's possible?"

"I assure you, I have no idea," said Alison. "Perhaps you should call Miss Innes in Long Island and ask her."

"We may do just that," Tim said.

"Please do. May we go?"

"Of course," said Tim. "Just don't go too far." He gave Argento a sideways glance before turning back where he came from.

Alison lead them out of the building and made it all the way to Argento's new rental car before collapsing into the passenger seat and throwing her face in her hands, an enormous sigh bursting from her lungs.

"What's going on?" Argento asked.

"Tim," Alison said, "Tim is my ex, except he doesn't remember that. He remembers me as some mental Goth girl, just like everyone else on the planet. Which is why he didn't recognize me. Until now."

"How did you get arrested?" Argento asked.

"I had a vision."

"That's not illegal."

"Very funny. I don't know what happened. I had a vision, and then I started smashing things."

"What kind of vision was it?" Argento asked.

"It's… it's hard to remember…" she said. "I was… it was sort of like this vision I had before- I was in some sort of… storage room or something. There's a room through a door, and coming through the door, I hear… 'thump-thump, thump, thump, thump-thump, thump-thump-thump, thump, thump, tha-thump-thump,' over and over again. I kept going closer and it was getting louder and louder… then I wake up and I 'm clawing at someone's car stereo through a broken passenger-side window. I don't know what happened. People saw me do it, I couldn't pretend it was an accident… I guess I could have run, but… the police showed up in a moment and took me in."

"It's alright," said Argento. "You were scared, understandably."

"But now all this- they're going to find out about who I am!" she said. "If they check into 'Alison Ames' enough, they'll realize she's not real."

"But there still is an Alison Innes- how can they believe you're her?"

"I know, I know… that may be the only thing that saves me," she said. "Maybe they'll think we're… twins, separated at birth."

"Well," said Argento, "twins don't actually have identical prints- just similar ones."

"Does the other 'Alison' even have my prints at all? Or is she still going to print as some missing 18 year old Michigander?"

"I can't be certain- it's never come up before," said Argento. "I would guess as long as she keeps the mask on, the prints will appear as yours, just like her face, hands, voice, body… Once it comes off, all the other things revert, so I suppose her prints would, too."

"Well, I don't think we're in any danger of that," said Alison. "They sure did a number on Kimmy, completely replacing her memory with mine… or what they wanted me to be. She's more the Alison Innes Tim here remembers than I am. Hell, I don't remember being busted for drinking- I didn't drink till college. I spent most of my time with Red- a guy who didn't even exist here."

Suddenly, a number of police cars came rocketing out of the lot.

"I wonder what that's about," said Argento, and then, "Ah, yes!"

He quickly grabbed his satchel and began digging through it until he found his police band radio. "We can find out," he said.

"You're a handy guy," said Alison.

"Tell that to Red."

"Repeat-" said the Radio, crackling to life at the touch of a button, "All units proceed to CCI, all units proceed to CCI, 1500 434 south, we have a Code 3 for all available units, possible 404 and 417, proceed with caution, multiple suspects may be armed…"

"CCI?" said Alison.

"Isn't that where…?" said Argento.

"Where Red works," Alison confirmed. "Credit Collections Incorporated."

They jammed on the gas and sped off after the police cars as quickly as they could. They were far enough behind that they felt the could get away with minor traffic infractions like speeding, but weren't ready to run reds at busy intersections, hence they pulled into the lot a minute or two behind the cops, at the exact right time to collide with a station wagon.

The wagon had made a left turn on red into the plaza without even stopping. It smashed into the back seat door of the driver's side, spinning the vehicle just enough to turn it sideways, jamming it tight between the guard rails on both sides of the plaza entrance ramp. Alison and Argento both had their seatbelts on, and as such were severely jostled but unharmed.

From the groaning of metal and the way the vehicle seemed to still be attempting movement, it seemed the wagon's driver seemed to be trying to continue driving through them. Argento looked over at the maniac to find that he recognized her. He leaned on his horn. Chelsea flipped him off before realizing who he was, then leapt out of her car. Argento opened his door and hopped out to meet her.

"You heard the police?" he asked her.

"Police?" said Chelsea. "Man, what a pain in the ass. I didn't know they were going be here getting in my way. No, I had to deal with this stupid flying asshole who blew up a video store. His helmet said something about this place, so I-"

Chelsea cut off.

"What?" asked Argento, looking over his shoulder at whatever was distracting her. He didn't see anything but another destroyed rental car and… "Oh, dear."

"What the Hell is she doing here?" screamed Chelsea, taking out both weapons.

"Chelsea, let's not be hasty," he said.

"Screw that," Chelsea said. He felt the sleeve come off his shirt as Chelsea began swinging her blade, tearing away the exterior of the car.


Red idled out of his auto-dialer for his fifteen-minute break. The morning had been an unusual one. Since his second call of the morning, no incoming calls had come in with anything other than screams or sounds of breakage. The calls kept coming in, though- that was the odd part. People seemed like they were calling in just to let the operators hear them destroy their stereos and televisions for some reason.

Outbound calls were going much better. Sure, people were never happy to be called about owing money for their telephone bills, but they didn't typically get violent about it. Most of the representatives had been put on outbound while a few were left to sift through the inbound for signs of intelligent life. Red had been on outbound, collecting on the delinquent accounts, but from the look on the faces of the inbound reps, they hadn't had any luck.

Red headed into the break room. He pulled out his wallet and took two bucks from its folds. He got a bag of Bugles from the snack machine for seventy-five cents and spent the other dollar twenty-five on a bottle of Coke. Usually he'd bring a book or something, but he'd forgotten today, distracted by last night's nonsense. He sat down at a table near the television. Like the ones above the collection floor, it was tuned to Headline News. The difference being that this one had the sound on.

The news story was something about the World Series, which was apparently happening, or would be. Red wasn't sure- he didn't follow sports. He, instead, watched the bar at the bottom of the screen, where they would put up little interesting news-bites that you could read, acknowledge, and forget a minute later.

Except that one of them set him off thinking.

It was an unusual thing for CNN to care about… it read "Sixth Time's the Charm; Film Army of Darkness to get new, sixth DVD release." Now, Army of Darkness was something of a cult film, not the sort of thing you'd expect to see mentioned on National Television. Granted, its director, Sam Raimi, had just become a superstar by directing Spider-Man, but still… Once Red got over the shock of seeing something he enjoyed mentioned, the news itself got through to him.

Army of Darkness had been one of the first DVDs Red had bought, back in his old life. It was a hilarious movie- he'd seen it tons of times and doubted he'd ever get tired of it. About a year after he bought it, they put out a new version. This was a two-disc set- the first disc was the same as the one he already had, the second had the 'Directors Cut' of the film, with an alternate ending, among other things. Red bought it, of course. The original ending was completely different, after all. He heard about it many times, but had never seen it. He was quite excited, even if it did leave him with a duplicate version to hock used.

In the years since then, there had been three more DVDs. The 'Special Edition', the 'Bootleg' edition, the 'Limited Edition Directors Cut'… each version with slightly different extra features- some with the original ending in the film, some with it as a bonus feature, some with different documentaries, some with additional cut scenes not in either version of the film, multiple different commentaries by the director and star… Rather than put all these things on one disc, or in one set, even, there just kept popping up new releases of the film, with one or two things added, and missing other things. So a real fan of the film, like Red, for example, had to buy all six editions. Which he did.

Now fortunately, Red had a large suitcase full of money. But what, he wondered, about the average fans. Are they expected to shell out their twenty bucks five times? No, Six times now. An all new version. Of course, there is the chance that it will be that definitive release that collects all the odds and ends that came before, but somehow, Red doubted it.

It made him so angry. He loved the film, he loved Sam Raimi, he loved Bruce Campbell… why did they have to rip people off like this? How could they do that to people? To their fans especially, the people who made these movies successful in the first place?

Money, of course. They were paid by the DVD companies to let them release the film, and the DVD companies go for broke, put out as many versions as you can, Hell! As long as some shmuck buys it, put out another one. Which, of course, made Red a part of the problem- he had bought all five DVDs, making him part of the disease that lead to this sixth edition. It made him sick.

It was this 'system'. This system of greed begetting greed. Just like it is here at work- the individual doesn't matter, the system is what makes us money. Steal one penny from every customer and you've stolen a million dollars. It's all math. Screw people, we're talking money, we're talking equations. Determine mathematically how hideously greedy you can become without the entire country realizing it and ditching you. Factor in the fact that every other business in the market is trying this same equation for themselves, and let the consumer milking commence.

"You know what?" said the guy next to Red. "This job bullshit!"

"You said it," Red said.

"Let's go on strike!" a woman yelled.

"Screw that," said another, "Let's just walk!"

"They'd just find some other suckers to take our place," Red said.

"You're right," said the first guy. "We've got to take this place out!"

"Put a stop to them once and for all!" said another.

"Yeah!" said the guy closest to the TV. He got up, picked up the chair he'd been sitting on, and smashed into the screen.

The crowd cheered.

"The vending machines!" someone yelled.

"Dollar Twenty-Five for a Coke, my ass!" someone called as a group pulled the machine over and started pounding on its face.

"Guy, guys!" Red shouted, as loud as he could. "This is stupid! Stop it! Hey, hey! Listen to me!"

After a moment, the crown stopped to listen to him.

"This isn't going to get us anywhere!" he said. "This is the break room. Let's hit them where it hurts-" Red whipped out his sword. "Let's take out the collection center!"

The crowd roared in agreement. Sword raised high, he led the mob out onto the collection floor. Red slashed his blade through the first computer monitor he saw. Then he took out his gun and began blasting away at anything that could help the company collect money in any way.

Go to Chapter 6