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It's Just A Game Mods ([personal profile] itsjustthemads) wrote in [community profile] itsjustagamerp2013-01-11 07:13 pm

Experiment #34 - Modelland - Chapter 7

Modelland - Chapters 7
By Tyra Banks



Liz: *flops into a chair* Well, it’s better than listening to Windbag the Dinosaur out there.
Squall: I wouldn’t count on it.
Isa: *sitting in chair, looking rather grumpy*
Liz: *looks over at Isa* Weren’t you on experiment duty LAST week?
Isa: Yeah. *Hence the grumpiness*

“Damn it, woman! Where were you?”

Tookie’s head jerked up from her pillow with a start. She’d been exhausted after the shopping trip and had gone straight to bed. How long have I been sleeping?

“You came home an hour later than you said you would!” Mr. De La Crème

Isa: De La Creme? Does this take place in Sugar Rush, or something?
Squall: ...Sugar Rush?
Liz: I wish I was playing Sugar Rush right now. ...hell, I wish I was playing BATTLETOADS right now.
Isa: I wish I was watching Lea play Battletoads, at least it’d be funny.

continued with an acidic rage Tookie had never heard before.

Liz: And never would again after the rage seeped through her eardrums and corroded it all to nothing.

Then there was a sound of liquid sloshing from a jug, followed by the sharp, sour smell of TaterMash.

Squall: (I wouldn’t think potatoes smelled that bad.)
Isa: If your potatoes smell like that, they have probably gone bad.
Liz: Who would be so desperate they distill potatoes as an alcohol, anyway?

Mrs. De La Crème sighed. “You’re drunk, Christopher. For the last time, we were at the mall buying a dress for your daughter and stopped to watch the 7Seven ceremony!”

Liz: At least it wasn’t the Se7en ceremony.
Isa: Se-Seven-en?
Liz: ...It’s a slasher flick thing.
Squall: ...Right.

“Woman, whether you disappear for an hour or days at a time,” Mr. De La Crème scoffed, “you always have some clever excuse!”

Tookie peeked around the corner into her mother’s office, which was next to the kitchen. Mrs. De La Crème was dressed in an ivory satin nightgown with a matching robe that cinched her waist so tightly, Tookie thought it might leave permanent indentations. Creamy

Liz: ...”Creamy De La Crème?” Really?!
Isa: So this is Sugar Rush....
Liz: And I thought MY puns were bad. *rubs temples*

sat in a lambskin chair at her massive desk. Brand-new books with shiny covers lined the shelves. Sitting on the long backless couch

Isa: You mean a...chaise lounge?
Liz: Well, this book IS The Worst Possible Thing.

and the windowsills and in custom displays all around the room was her doll collection, which she’d started years before Tookie had been born.

There were swaddled babies. Dolls with eyes that opened and closed. Dolls that wet themselves and digested food and spoke.

Squall: ...Fancy dolls.

Each was positioned just so, an arm curled here, a leg crossed there.

Isa: Do baby dolls even have that sort of flexibility?
Liz: Do dolls even have a digestive tract?
Isa: If we take digestive tract to mean tube that goes from the mouth to the... um...
Liz: You know what, let’s just move on and get out of creeperville population: dolls.

Their heads pointed straight at Tookie’s mother, as though she were conducting a meeting with all of them.

Liz: Everybody always ran screaming from the room for some reason.

Tookie wished she could close every single pair of glassy eyes.

Isa: At least they have eyes! It could be worse, they could be creepy faceless dolls.
Liz: Or Gooby.
Squall: ...(I don’t think I want to know.)

Maybe if they didn’t stare so adoringly at her mother, Mrs. De La Crème could resist their charms and would share some of her love with Tookie.

Isa: Somehow I think there’s more going on here than just creepy dolls.

Mr. De La Crème stood in front of his wife, his hands balled into fists on his hips. “Oh, I know you stopped to watch the 7Sevens. But I also know you can see that damn show from anywhere in the world. Hell, I saw it right here from our front porch.

Liz: Why would ANYONE want to see a show up close? THIS IS IMMEDIATELY SUSPICIOUS.

You could have watched it here with me. But no, you wanted to watch it with your man friend, didn’t you? I know people, Creamy! And I trust what they tell me!”

Squall: Even when they lie?
Liz: Which is why he’s spewing vitriol and distrust at her right now.

Mrs. De La Crème tossed her hair.

Isa: Because she’s worth it.

“So now your desperate flabby behind is spying on me?”

Squall: I’d be worried if his behind was spying on people.
Liz: Why not, everybody in this book is already talking out of their ass.

She laughed cruelly. “Oh, Christopher, you have reached an all-time low. I pity you.”

“Spare me,” Mr. De La Crème growled. “The only thing you should pity is that disastrous, petrifying mug of yours.”

Mrs. De La Crème instinctively touched her face. “Oh, so the one-eyed unemployed monster

Liz: *suddenly snickers*

has the nerve to talk about my face? Have you looked in a mirror lately, dear?”

Liz: Petty insults, the ultimate weapon in a family squabble! Best countered with a “yo mama” retort.

Mr. De La Crème slammed his jug of TaterMash

Isa: Is he... drinking mashed potatoes?

onto his wife’s desk. “That’s what all this is about, isn’t it? You think I’m damaged goods.” He grabbed Bellissima from Mrs. De La Crème’s arms.

Tookie’s mother groped for the doll. “Christopher, don’t you dare hurt her!”

Squall: Don’t hurt... the doll.
Isa: Did they have to use “groped”?

“Her?” He waved the doll in the air. “You say that like she’s a human being. Like she’s more important than me! Where do I fit in your life? Sometimes I think you wish that sword had killed me. So that you could continue your life with her father!”

“What?” Mrs. De La Crème asked, her eyes focused on Bellissima. “Whose father?”

“Your daughter’s father, Creamy! Don’t play dumb.”

Mrs. De La Crème blinked confusedly. “Myrracle’s father?”

Liz: I swear these names are going to give me a migraine.
Isa: How do you even pronounce that? Myur-acle?
Liz: I think it’s “miracle”. Subtlety? What’s that?
Isa: My school has people named “Cloud” and-- *glances at Squall* Well, a person named “Cloud”, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone with a name like that. At least they could spell it right.
Squall: It probably wasn’t outrageous enough.
Liz: *cues Linkara’s “BECAUSE POOR LITERACY IS KEWL”*

Mr. De La Crème laughed heartily. “Oh, you wish I was talking about Myrracle! You wish it were Myrracle I had doubts about—that would make her all yours! But no, Creamy, she belongs to both of us, and we will both reap her rewards. You can’t push me out that easily!” He pointed at her. “You know who I mean. The other one.”

Tookie widened her eyes.

Mr. De La Crème prowled around the room. “Every time I look into that child’s mismatched eyes, I see—or shall I say, I don’t see it.”

Liz: She’s related to that fuzzy guy who popped in last week?

Mrs. De la Crème paled. “But Christopher, you have one green eye! Just like hers!”

Squall: That’s easy when you only have one eye.

Mr. De La Crème glowered at her. “There is nothing about me that lives within that girl. That circus freak.

Liz: Gee, something seems oddly hypocritical about that statement. I can’t seem to put my finger on it...

She is uncoordinated, unattractive, and unmemorable.”

Isa: *Not gonna say it, not gonna say it, not gonna say it*
Liz: So...he don’t got her memorized.
Isa: *face...palm*
Liz: *grins*

“You don’t know what you’re talking about! You are the only man I have ever been with!”

Tookie waited for her to say more, to deny that she thought Tookie was uncoordinated, unattractive, and unmemorable. But she didn’t. It was the equivalent of saying she didn’t love her. Tookie bit down hard on her inner cheek.

“I do too know what I’m talking about,” Mr. De la Crème said calmly. “She’s not mine, Creamy. I haven’t felt like she was mine from the second she hit puberty. She went from adorable to atrocious almost overnight.”

Liz: And this is abnormal how...?


“What?” Tookie whispered, pressing her spine against the back wall. She felt dizzy. Was this a nightmare?

“Creamy, let’s be real,” Mr. De La Crème continued. “As soon as you got pregnant with her, you had to go off to some special medical facility to deal with all the complications you said you were having, scary things that could’ve made you lose the baby.

Squall: That’s enough to cause doubt?

I was on the road and couldn’t go with you. Remember? I had to keep working to make sure we could put food on the table for our growing family. Then, nine months later, you had her—thousands of miles away from here. You refused to let me be with you to see her take her first breath. My first child, Creamy! You denied me that right. How come you never let me talk to the doctors who delivered her? Was there another man in the room while you gave birth? Her real father? Was that why you called me only after it was over?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Mrs. De La Crème spat.

But Mr. De La Crème barreled on. “You told me they didn’t know if you or the baby would live. And after that, you said you couldn’t have any more children—your insides were ruined. But two years later, Myrracle came. Thank God. A real miracle.

Liz: See? Called it.
Isa: How... tacky.

The spitting image of her father …”

Tookie’s mouth dropped open. Did he really believe that? Was a child’s life worth more the more they resembled their parents?

Squall: No. It’s not.
Isa: Unless the parents are more shallow than a puddle.

Mrs. De La Crème scoffed. “You have lost your mind! That sword must have sliced your sanity!”

Liz: Two inches of steel going straight through your skull does tend to have that side effect.

But she sounded less resolute than usual. Her face was pale. Her wrinkled lips pursed.

Mr. De La Crème shut his one good eye. “Woman, I cannot take your lies anymore! Just stop it!” He turned and faced the wall. And suddenly … crack! He pummeled his fist through the flimsy plaster. A cloud of dust billowed everywhere. Tookie shot back and ducked behind the curtain across the hall.

Tookie’s mother whirled around. “Christopher, you have gone crazy!”

Mr. De La Crème’s skin flushed puce. “Well, Creamy, if I’m crazy, you sure are breaking your number one rule, because you’re making a hell of a lot of eye contact with a crazy person right now, aren’t you?”

Isa: Her number one rule is...never make eye contact with a crazy person? Why?

Tookie’s mother shot to her feet, grabbing Bellissima from her husband. “I’ll say it again: not one bit of your ridiculous accusation is remotely true.”

“Oh, but it is, Creamy. And you know it. And I’m going to tell everyone I know after I prove my gut instinct to be a scientific fact.”

Squall: Just... let it go.

He removed a yellow toothbrush, its bristles worn and bent, from his pocket and waved it in front of his wife’s face. Tookie squinted and realized it was hers. She had brushed her teeth with it earlier that night.

Mrs. De La Crème lunged for her husband and pinned him against the ruined wall. “Oh no you won’t!”

“Oh yes I will!” Mr. De La Crème cried, trying to push her aside. “Right after Myrracle gets chosen tomorrow, I have an appointment at the DNA paternity lab. This very toothbrush of your daughter’s will prove she’s not mine. And once I find that out, I’m sending Tookie away. I don’t want her in this house anymore. I’m sending her to the factories.”

Isa: What the hell....?
Squall: He’s awfully certain he’s right.
Liz: *drives her fist in the air like she’s stamping a document* DOUCHE!

Tookie’s eyes goggled. But that would mean she’d become … a Factory Dependent. She closed her eyes and thought of the shaved-headed, dull-eyed, miserable, penniless children trudging through the factory doors. That would be her life—forever. Did her father really want that for her?

Squall: Apparently.
Isa: Doesn’t this story take place in... modern times?
Liz: I don’t think this story takes place in any semblance of reality, and I’ve seen guys in gold vests!

Mrs. De La Crème shook her head slowly, but she said nothing. Once again, she didn’t defend Tookie. Nor did she debate his decision to send Tookie away.

Liz: Even if she did it’d just be “You’re crazy! You’re drunk! Oh Christopher you’re crazy!”

Maybe she wants to get rid of me too.

Tookie couldn’t help it. She let out a squeak. Her mother didn’t hear her, but her father—or whoever he was—turned in the direction of the sound and locked eyes with Tookie. At first, he looked surprised—even panicked. And then he stood up to his full height, possibly relieved. “Just go,” he said gruffly, staring at her with his good eye. “For all of us.”

Tookie gripped the rough curtain fabric. She wheeled backward out of the house, leaving the front door wide open. The words vibrated in her brain like a clapper in a bell. There is nothing about me that lives within that girl. That circus freak.… I’m sending her to the factories.… Just go. For all of us.

Liz: In case you forgot everything you just read.

Her chest seared. It felt like her father’s hands were squeezing all the air out of her body. She staggered down the porch stairs into the evening’s heat. Her bare feet skidded over the dead grass. The pain was so deep, tears did not even streak her face. I have to get out of here. To somewhere far away. But where?

And then she realized. Of course she knew where.

Exodus.

Squall: Where?

The zipper of Tookie’s bag made a loud scrittttch as she tried to pull it closed. She winced, looked around to make sure no one heard, slipped her T-Mail Jail into the left pocket of her cargo pants and the T O OKE button into her right, and tiptoed out of the clothes-strewn bedroom. She paused in the doorway to glance at Myrracle, who was sleeping soundly, letting out a giggle-snore here and there.

Isa: Giggle...snore...
Liz: I think I hear Pinkie doing that sometimes.

This might be the last time Tookie would see her sister. Ever. Tookie wondered how she’d be able to fall asleep once she was separated from Myrracle. Myrracle’s signature giggle-snore had sort of become Tookie’s sound machine, lulling her to sleep every night.

Squall: So make a recording of it.

“I know you’ll get in,” Tookie whispered. “I hope Modelland is everything you and Creamy always wanted

Liz: *sings* Eeeeeverything you ever...

… and more.”

Dawn was breaking as she crept down the stairs. Tookie had stayed awake all night, plotting and planning. She now knew for certain that this was her only option. This was what Wingtip was talking about—this was her “dreaming big.”

Last night, after hearing her parents’ conversation, she’d painted X-O-2 on the front door of her home, her secret signal to Lizzie.

Liz: *twitch*

Less than two hours later, Tookie had heard a soft shriek outside her bedroom window. She looked out and saw a barren tree trunk bearing the same symbol: X-O-2. It was accompanied by a smiley face and the number seven, the time in the morning when they would meet.

Tookie was escaping Peppertown forever. Escaping her parents. Escaping with Lizzie to the place of their dreams and being in total control of their destinies.

She could start her whole life over … and become a Rememba-Girl.

Squall: ...I’m not even going to ask.
Liz: If that’s how the kids talk these days, I’ll just go back to the mirror universe now and let them shoot me.
Squall: Or you could let the dinosaurs do it.
Liz: Shhh!

Two more steps. One. Tookie curled her finger around the doorknob.

Isa: Just the one...

She could taste the freedom.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

Tookie jumped and spun around. Her mother stood behind her.

Liz: Uh...run?

She wore tight-fitting, iridescent bone-colored jeans with a matching one-shouldered top made of silk jersey that read MODELLAND NEEDS A MYRRACLE! Her cheeks shone with Wrinkle Redux. Bellissima, whom she’d tucked under her arm, wore the exact same ensemble, minus the face cream.
For a moment, Tookie couldn’t move. This was the first time she’d faced her mother since overhearing the dreadful conversation the night before. Instantly, all the feelings of shame and betrayal and rejection rushed back to her.

Liz: Run?!

“Well?” Mrs. De La Crème repeated, her gaze shifting from Tookie to the bag. Her face brightened. “Oh, Tookie … what a good sister you are! You’ve already packed the extra supplies for Myrracle for today. That’s very thoughtful of you.”

Liz: Now would be the time to run if you really want to get out of there, kid!
Squall: Somehow I don’t think she will.

Tookie’s heart pounded. How could her mother act like last night hadn’t happened?

Isa: Because she didn’t know you overheard?

Creamy had all but agreed that Tookie should be sent off to work in one of Metopia’s horrible factories.
Tookie swiveled her head back to the narrow window at the side of the front door. The sun was over the tree line. “I j-just wanted to go outside for a m-minute.”

“There’s no time for anybody but The Myrracle today, Tookie.” Mrs. De La Crème turned to the stairs. “And here she is now.”

Liz: RUN YOU VAPID LITTLE TWERP, RUN! THEY’LL BREAK THEIR NAILS BEFORE THEY CAN CATCH YOU! I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO GET OUT OF THERE YOU STUPID--
Squall: Not enough, apparently...
Liz: *pulls at her hair* Nnnggh it’s like watching a bad horror movie!

Myrracle bounded down the stairs and did a full body wave

Squall: ...Full body?

when she reached the last step. The SMIZE

Liz: Uh, were we supposed to get additional reading with this?

rested gently in her palm. It glittered and hummed. A small case was in her other hand. “Da-tahh!” she cried.

“Time to go.” Mrs. De La Crème walked to the front door.

“No.” Tookie dug in her heels. “I’m not going.”

Mrs. De La Crème stopped short in the foyer, swung around, and stared at Tookie. “Have you lost your mind? Of course you’re going.”

The door gaped open. Mr. De La Crème stood by the car, Brian Quincy at his side. Mr. De La Crème wore his old Chris-Crème-Crobat costume, the exact costume he’d lost his eye in; he’d cut out the MODELLAND NEEDS A MYRRACLE! portion of his T-shirt and sewn it to the abdomen. There were even old brown spots on the fabric, evidence of the bright red blood that had stained the costume on the day his life had changed forever.

Liz: No, that’s just from where he sewed the emblem into his body.
Squall: I think it’s supposed to be sewn to the body of his costume.
Isa: And he called his daughter a circus freak?

“We gotta go and we gotta go now!” Mr. De La Crème yelled. “I am not missing the countdown and the opportunity to change our sad excuses for lives.

Squall: You could just leave her behind.
Liz: And she could just RUN ALREADY THE LITTLE--ok ok, I’m not gonna get angry. Much.

Plus,” he added, “I have an important appointment to get to after Myrracle is chosen.” He tapped his hip. Tookie could see the outline of her toothbrush underneath the pocket of his costume.

Isa: I doubt it.
Liz: Oh, I doubt that’s all we see outlined in his costume.

Mrs. De La Crème seized Tookie hard by the neck and walked toward the car.

Liz: Yes, casually abuse the child in public after she’s already been threatened to be sent to the factories.
Isa: Isn’t this a book for kids?
Squall: The kids probably stopped reading already.

“No!” Tookie cried desperately, trying to wrench free. She swung her neck to the side of the house and saw the X-O-2 written on the tree. All she could think about was how desperate and scared Lizzie had seemed in LaDorno the day before. They’re going to kill me, she had said. What if Lizzie was telling the truth? Tookie’s gut told her that if they didn’t escape today, something dreadful would happen to her one and only friend.

Mr. De La Crème bounded over. “Look, girl,” he growled, grabbing Tookie roughly by the shoulders. “You need to get in the car and help your sister with the most important day of our lives.”

Liz: She’s so ungraceful and unmemorable, but their livelihood depends on her being there. Yeah, there’s nothing fucked up about this family whatsoever.

He walked Tookie toward the vehicle and shoved her into the back of the car as one might shove a pan of bread into the oven. “In you go.”

Tookie was surrounded by garment bags, shoe boxes, makeup cases, hair sprays, and hair-straightening apparatuses. “Hold this,” Myrracle said bossily, shoving the SMIZE into Tookie’s lap while she buckled her seat belt. The SMIZE rattled inside its case, as if it were trying to escape. It was a feeling that Tookie understood far too well.

Liz: Yes look how desperately she’s trying to escape.

Tookie pressed her hands to the back window. As Mr. De La Crème started the car, Tookie’s ache for Lizzie cut so deep, she envisioned Lizzie standing just beyond the tree line, her flame-red hair wild around her face.

Liz: ...aaaaand suddenly we’re in an entirely different book.

Then she sat up straighter. That wasn’t a vision. “Oh my God!” she screamed. “Lizzie!”
Myrracle swiveled around and followed Tookie’s gaze. “Creamy, there’s a dirty girl in our yard.”

Squall: She calls her mother “Creamy”?

“Ugh.” Brian looked too. “She looks like roadkill.”

Lizzie took a few steps toward the car, as if she was considering chasing after it. Her shoulders drooped. Her mouth hung open. Her arms were heavy at her sides. She looked so small standing there. So helpless. If Peppertown ever had even the tiniest wisp of a breeze, it could have blown her away.

“Roadkill?” Mrs. De La Crème’s eyebrows arched. “Where?” She swiveled around to look at Lizzie too. Her eyes narrowed darkly.

Lizzie’s eyes popped wide, as if she’d just seen something that terrified her. She took a couple of wheeling backward steps, her hands trembling. And then Lizzie let out a shrill, window-shattering, eardrum-piercing scream, a sound that sent tremors through Tookie’s limbs. A sound Tookie would never forget as long as she lived.

Liz: GEEZ kid!

“I’m so so so sorry!” Tookie called. Lizzie’s screaming was intensifying as Tookie moved away from her. “Lizzie, I’ll be back for you tonight! I promise!”

Squall: Good luck with that.

The car made a sweeping left turn onto the street, moving farther and farther away from the small red-headed girl. Lizzie’s screams persisted. Tookie could hear those loud, shrill, betrayed wails

Liz: Betrayed? She was forced into the car, kid. Even if of course SHE COULD HAVE FUCKING RUN.

for blocks and blocks, reverberating over and over as the De La Crèmes drove down the wide avenue full of cars, all on their way to The Day of Discovery.

Isa: *stunned silence* What did I just read?
Squall: ...*shrugs*
Liz: A stupid book about stupid kids and their stupid parents who all make stupid decisions. All this stupidity makes me want a drink. *starts to make her way out of the theater*
Isa: *Leaves, while grumbling: I better not get riff duty a third time in a row*
Squall: *follows in silence*

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