Chapter 48:

Venge City


In the city below, Frankie kept her view to the ground as Katie led her around.

“FREE ISSUES! FREE ISSUES!” A salesman cried at them from outside his shop door. “JUST PAY $299.99 FOR THE SUPERBOZO SUPER SUBSCRIPTION!”

“Sorry, miss! Watch out for any villains!” A cosplayer said as he seemed to almost purposely bump into Frankie.

“COME RIDE RATGUY’S RAMPAGE! NOW FEATURING A BRAND-NEW IMPROVED SAFETY BELT SYSTEM FOR THOSE PESKY SLIP-UPS!” Called out a well-dressed ride operator from above, standing next to a cardboard standee of an ugly-looking rodent man with a spear tail.

“Get me outta here…” Frankie groaned, resolution already waning. 

“It’s gonna be alright, Katie! If we can land a job, then we get to be the ones yelling at people!”

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy…”

The first place the girls checked was a crowded gift shop focusing on exclusively hyper-rare antique action figures. Waiting in line behind a lady with a shopping bag of seventeen one-of-a-kind collector’s toys, they eventually found their way up to the counter, the only place where any employees seemed to be available to talk to.

“Are ya buyin’, kiddo?” The nasty old woman behind the desk asked Katie, who had clearly stepped to the front as her sister almost hid behind her back.

“Not today, ma’am. Me and my sister here were just wondering if you’d be interested in a couple young helping hands being added to your team for a while. We’re looking for a job, you see.”

The comic-collecting hag cackled. “A job? I can’t afford to pay any more workers! Between all these vintage figures and the four sidekicks I pay to ring them up, I can hardly eat three meals a day at this stinkin’ park!”

“But you have so many customers!”

She wheezed like a dying skeleton. “There’s a lot of people in the world, missy! You should’ve seen what this place used to be like… but now? Hardly anyone comes here compared to then! But no, Bozo says, we just can’t downsize… what a joke! Any day now, this whole park’ll be crushed flat!”

“I’m… sorry. That’s awful.” Katie gripped her dress. “Do you think there’s… any way we could help? Even if you can’t pay us, my sister and I would be happy to-“

Frankie grabbed Katie’s shoulder.

“What?” Katie asked. But she didn’t respond until her sister was turned close to face her.

“We need money, Katie. For our dreams. We aren’t wasting our time here.”

Katie could see the intensity in Frankie’s eyes.

She turned back to the counter with an absent-minded smile.

“Onnn second thought, me and my little sis here are pretty busy. I won’t hold you up any longer.”

“Heh. Good riddance, kid. I respect the hustle, though.”

“Thanks! Bye!” Katie shouted as she ran out, her being dragged by Frankie this time.

Frankie panted, happy to be free of that suffocating place.

“Well, that was nice.” Katie noted, already looking back on the place with nostalgia.

“We gotta find this gig fast.” Frankie shuddered. “I’m not afraid… but I still want the hell outta here.”

“Well… it looks like the shop economy is pretty busted. Do you think there’s anywhere else that we could-“

“COME RIDE RATGUY’S RAMPAGE! NOW FEATURING A BRAND-NEW IMPROVED SAFETY BELT SYSTEM FOR THOSE PESKY SLIP-UPS!” Recited the ride operator from his podium above. Frankie leered at him with ire, until the pieces clicked.

She grabbed Katie’s hand and hurried towards the man to make him an offer he hopefully wouldn’t refuse.

Steward McOy