Linda Danvers: Pretty Virgin Guardian

3

"Linda's Popularity Surge"

Written by Mark Moore

Author's note: I wrote this story from Friday, May 28, 2004, 12:00 AM to Saturday, July 18, 2004, 1:14 AM. I'm sorry that it's late. Feel free to send/leave me reviews, whether you love, like, dislike, or hate the story. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 1, 2004, 12:24 PM

Linda was sitting on the couch in the living room, watching TV.

She picked up the remote control and clicked off the power. She set the remote control back on the coffee table.

Linda heard the screen door unlock and open.

The front door unlocked and opened.

Lara, wearing her Power Girl costume, walked into the living room.

"Hi." Linda said.

"Hi." Lara closed and locked the screen door and the front door.

Lara walked over to the couch, sat on Linda's lap, curled her arms around Linda's neck, and kissed Linda's lips.

"Good patrol?" Linda asked.

"Yeah." Lara replied. "I caught some shoplifters at a Polish deli."

Linda stared at her. "You're kidding."

"No, I'm not." Lara told her. "Quite pathetic, huh?"

Linda laughed.

"Okay, your shows are over." Lara said. "Time for you to patrol, and I think it's time for the world debut of Supergirl's new costume."

"Really?" Linda asked.

"Yeah." Lara replied. "Come on."

Lara stood up and walked into their bedroom.

Linda stood up and followed her.

Lara got Linda's new Supergirl costume out of the closet. She set the boots on the floor and the rest of the items on the bed.

Linda took off her sleeveless shirt and her shorts and dropped them on the floor.

Lara smiled. "I got you a little something at the store."

She pulled a thong out of her shirt.

"A thong?" Linda asked.

"Yeah. You need something to keep your new shorts clean." Lara said.

"What's the problem with my regular underwear?" Linda asked.

"The problem with them is I don't have x-ray vision." Lara replied.

Linda smiled and took off her underwear, dropping it on the floor and leaving herself completely naked. She turned around and slowly put the thong on. Then she turned and faced Lara again.

Lara grinned. "Niiice."

Linda smiled and put on her blue shorts. She put on her blue shirt and tucked it into her shorts. She buttoned and zipped her shorts and fastened her golden belt. She opened a dresser drawer and took out two socks. She closed the drawer and put on the socks. She put on her boots. She put on her cape. Finally, she put on her blonde wig and red headband.

"Whoo-hoo!" Lara exclaimed.

Lara knelt in front of Linda and hugged her.

"What are you doing?" Linda asked.

Lara kissed Linda's bellybutton.

"Oh, you're silly." Linda told her.

Lara licked Linda's bellybutton and then kissed and licked the rest of Linda's waist.

Then Lara stood up, smiled, and kissed Linda's lips. "Go get 'em. I'll follow you."

Linda smiled and walked into the living room. Lara followed her. Linda unlocked and opened the front door, then she unlocked and opened the screen door.

Lara walked outside, and Linda followed her, locking and closing the front door behind her.

Linda waited until Lara had gotten in the car and backed out of the garage.

"It's recording!" Lara called. "Go!"

Linda jumped and flew into the air.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 6:22 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and placed the items on the counter.

"Excuse me; could we have two copies of 'Megazone 23, Part 1' with the series box and mouse pad and Volume 1 of 'Kaleido Star' with the series box?" Linda asked the cashier. "We're paying separately."

The cashier got the items from behind the counter.

Linda and Lara paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Thursday, May 13, 2004, 6:28 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a shelf. Each of them picked up a copy of the May, 2004, issue of "Newtype".

"'Kaleido Star'." Linda read. "Well, we've already got Volume 1, but I wanna check out the trailers for other series."

"Yeah, me, too." Lara said.

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the magazines and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Friday, May 14, 2004, 1:00 PM

Linda and Lara were sitting at their computers. Linda was listening to "Pretty Eyes" by Hitomi with the speakers.

"CrossGen has cancelled 'Sojourn'." Linda said.

"What?!" Lara asked.

"It was supposed to run until issue 41. It's cancelled with issue 34." Linda told her. "According to Barbara Kesel, it's due to low sales."

"That sucks." Lara said.

"No kidding." Linda said. "That's a pretty bad sign, if you think about it. If they cancel their top-selling title due to low sales, then their other titles will be axed soon, too. 'El Cazador' is done. Epting has left CrossGen. 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' is almost certainly done after about issue 6, when the artist jumps over to the announced 'Raven House' book, which might not even see print. It looks like the demise of CrossGen is near. I'm sad that 'Sojourn' is gone. It really deserved to finish its story."

"I guess we'll have a few less titles to collect every month." Lara said.

"Perhaps less than you think." Linda told her. "'Sojourn' was in the top 100 in April. CrossGen's not nearly as big as Marvel, but, when a company with a fair amount of success is about to go out of business, it's a major indication of the unhealthy state of the comic book industry. Also, '80s nostalgia is dying down. True, there are some titles still being published, but they probably won't be around for much longer."

"The Transformers titles are still pretty popular." Lara said.

"True." Linda agreed. "'80s nostalgia won't officially be over until the Transformers and G.I. Joe titles are cancelled. The other stuff like 'Masters of the Universe', 'Robotech', and 'ThunderCats' are getting annoying with their new miniseries every few months and lack of ongoing monthly titles. It's 'The Return'; no, it's 'Dogs of War'; no, it's 'Hammerhand's Revenge'. They should have just done ongoing titles from the start."

"Yeah." Lara said. "They did that to make the trade paperbacks easily recognizable."

"A lot of comic books series today suffer from trade paperbackitis." Linda said. "The stories are stretched out over 6 issues - and usually no more than 6 issues. As a result, individual issues don't make much sense on their own. There are fewer jumping-on points for new readers."

"And the backstories are convoluted enough as they are." Lara added.

"Definitely." Linda agreed. "Furthermore, in the early '90s, Marvel was able to sell 3,000,000 copies of Spider-Man #1 and 8,000,000 copies of X-Men #1. As the top-selling comic book in March, New X-Men #154 sold 117,253 copies. Granted, all of those figures are sales in the U.S. direct market only; they don't take into account bookstore sales, newsstand sales, supermarket sales, gas station sales, foreign sales, or anything else. However, the U.S. direct market is still Marvel's most profitable sales method, so it's worth noting that comic book sales have dropped over 98 in a little over a decade."

"But sales still do occasionally rise above 200,000 copies," Lara countered, "and those #1 sales were largely due to multiple covers."

"True." Linda said. "But remember that the sales figures reflect how many copies are sold to stores, not how many copies are bought by readers. While the numbers are usually pretty close to each other, mostly due to Marvel's no-credit-on-return policy, we have to assume that stores usually don't manage to sell every copy of an issue that they order."

"That's true." Lara said.

"And those #1s were sold at a time when 12 covers meant 12 times the normal sales." Linda said. "Readers don't put up with that shit today. Going down the March sales list, sales drop below 100,000 with #4, below 90,000 with #7, below 70,000 with #9, below 60,000 with #11, below 50,000 with #20. You see the problem?"

"Yeah." Lara replied. "How long do you give comic books before they completely die out?"

"I don't think that comic books will completely die out." Linda replied. "However, I believe that the monthly pamphlets' days are numbered. I think that the companies will switch over to graphic novels eventually. They'll offer more pages at a higher cost."

"Wouldn't that turn comic books into an even less mainstream product than it already is?" Lara asked.

"No, because they'll be sold primarily in bookstores." Linda replied. "Those companies that don't make the switch will lose money and go bankrupt. Marvel, even though it's making money off of trade paperback collections of previously published material, is still relying primarily on monthly pamphlets for revenue. If it wasn't making money off of the movies and merchandising, it'd be axing a lot more titles than it currently is. Look at Elektra. Emma Frost's sales have plunged. So have Mystique's. Granted, those aren't big name titles, but they're titles that I read. I predict that they won't be around very much longer. Will I replace them with something else? Sure. There are the upcoming 'Mary Jane' and 'Rogue' series and the 'Ultimate Elektra' miniseries that will guarantee a trade paperback of Elektra material in time for the movie early next year. When the '80s titles get axed, though, I doubt that I'll pick up new monthly series to take their place. I'll buy the occasional trade paperbacks and graphic novels, but otherwise I'll spend the money on anime DVDs and manga."

"What if Marvel goes bankrupt?" Lara asked.

"Marvel nearly did go bankrupt." Linda replied. "They filed for Chapter 11. If Marvel went out of business, it would be disastrous for the comic book industry. The best-selling title would be Dark Horse's 'Conan' at #1 with 52,157 copies. Every comic shop in the nation would be out of business within a year. They're already closing at a rapid pace. There aren't nearly as many comic shops around today as there were a decade ago. A lot of the shops that are still around deal in cards now, too, to make enough money to stay open. I've read stories about comic shop owners that were forced to live in their shops, because they couldn't afford the rent on their apartments."

"Damn." Lara said.

"It was that stupid variant cover craze of the early '90s that cost the comic book companies a lot of readers." Linda said. "It's starting up again now. The industry somewhat recovered from it, but this is gonna hurt it again."

"Maybe they'll learn this time." Lara said.

Linda chuckled. "Yeah; right. Another thing that's hurting the industry is price increases. A lot of readers were turned off when the price of a monthly pamphlet rose above $2.00. Marvel's books are now $2.99. With tax, it's over $3.00 for 22 pages. That's ridiculous. Even if you get a discount at the comic shop, it's still close to $3.00. There is no reason that companies need to charge that much. Kids aren't buying. What are they gonna do? Spend $3.00 on a comic book that they'll take home, read alone for five minutes, and throw away or add $1.00 more and buy a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards that they can use to play with friends for hours? The adult fans are what are keeping the comic book industry alive."

"Wow. That's sad." Lara said.

"We charge $2.00 plus tax for each issue of 'Supergirl'. Each issue is 22 pages long with no ads, so the pamphlets are thinner than, say, a Marvel, Image, or Dreamwave pamphlet." Linda said.

"Maybe we should get listed in 'Previews'." Lara suggested. "We'd sell a lot more copies through Diamond."

"Oh, no doubt." Linda said. "If we sell as many copies in the direct market as we do in Chicago and its suburbs and online, 'Supergirl' would be #1 on the charts every month. I wouldn't want to print over 300,000 copies every month, though. Would you?"

"Hell, no." Lara replied. "Do you think we should switch over to graphic novels?"

"No." Linda replied. "'Supergirl' is different than most comic book series: it's nonfictional. It also occurs in real time. That type of series demands monthly publication, not graphic novels 2 or 3 times per year. No one's gonna wanna read about May in October."

"Good point." Lara said.

"Let's just continue publishing the way we have been and hope for the best." Linda said.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 6:21 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 3 of "Kino's Journey" on DVD.

"'Kino's Journey' is good." Lara said.

"Yeah." Linda agreed. "After this, there's one more volume left to go."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004, 12:02 PM

Linda and Lara walked into 7th Inning Stretch. They were each carrying 40 copies of Supergirl #10 in plastic bags.

They walked over to the counter. Linda placed the bag on it.

"Hey, Jimmy." Linda greeted.

"Hey, Jimmy." Lara greeted.

"Hey, girls." Jimmy replied. "You got 80?"

"Yeah." Linda replied.

"Okay." Jimmy said.

Linda placed a sheet of paper on the counter. Jimmy picked up the list and read it.

He went, got the comic books and other items, and returned to the counter. He placed the items on the counter, got a calculator, and calculated the total price.

"Linda, $45.32. Lara, $25.64." he said.

Linda and Lara got out their cash and paid him.

He opened the cash register, put the money in, and put their items into brown paper bags.

"Okay." Jimmy took out money and closed the register. He counted as he placed the money on the counter, separating it into two piles. "$50, $100, $110, $120."

Linda picked up her $60. Lara picked up her $60. They each put their own money into their front right jeans pockets.

"Thanks." Linda and Lara said.

"No problem." Jimmy said. "Hey, I've received some more orders. Bring in 2,000 next time."

Linda and Lara smiled.

"Okay." Linda said.

Jimmy took the copies of Supergirl #10 out of the bag.

Linda picked up her bag. "Have a good day."

"You, too." Jimmy said.

Lara picked up her bag, and she and Linda turned and walked back over to the door.

Linda opened the door, and she and Lara left the shop.

Linda and Lara entered John's Books. Linda was holding a copy of Supergirl #10 in her right hand.

They walked over to the counter.

"Hey, Linda. Hey, Lara." John said.

"Hey." Linda said.

"Hey." Lara said.

Linda placed the comic book on the counter.

"Oh, 'Supergirl'. Neat." John picked up the comic book and flipped through it.

John put the comic book on the counter and took a wad of bills out of his shirt pocket. He took two $1 bills and handed them to Linda. Linda took the bills and gave one of them to Lara. The girls put the bills into their front right pants pockets. John put the wad of bills back into his shirt pocket.

"Thanks." Linda said.

"Not a problem." John said.

Chuck walked over to the counter. "Hey, girls."

"Hey, Chuck." Linda and Lara said.

John picked up the comic book and showed it to Chuck. "New 'Supergirl'."

Chuck took the comic book and looked at it. "Sweet."

"We should get home." Lara said. "I gotta make dinner."

"Okay." John said. "Take care, girls."

"See ya." Chuck said.

Linda and Lara waved and walked back over to the door. Linda opened the door. Lara walked outside, and Linda followed her.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 6:20 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 2 of "Comic Party", Volume 2 of "Galaxy Angel", and Volume 6 of "Final Fantasy Unlimited" on DVD.

"'Comic Party' is funny." Lara said.

"Yeah." Linda agreed. "Fan comics are interesting. 'Galaxy Angel' has some cute girls. 'Final Fantasy Unlimited' does, too."

They went over to another row. Each of them picked up a copy of the Unrated Extended Cut of "Underworld" on DVD.

"Why are we buying 'Underworld' again?" Lara asked.

"For the extra footage, new audio commentary, and new special features." Linda replied. "I think they're worth a second purchase."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 6:23 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and placed the items on the counter.

"Excuse me; could we have two copies of 'Cosplay Complex'?" Linda asked the cashier. "We're paying separately."

The cashier got the items from behind the counter.

Linda and Lara paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Friday, June 4, 2004, 8:22 PM

Linda unlocked and opened the front door to the house.

She and Lara walked into the living room.

Lara closed the door and locked it.

They went into the kitchen.

"Harry Potter was cool." Linda said.

"Definitely." Lara agreed. "It was a lot darker than I expected."

Linda opened the refrigerator. "Yeah; the commercial showed only the funny parts. I thought the dark tone suited the story, though, and I loved how all of the scenes were during nights, thunderstorms, or overcast days. No sun at all. Strawberry or Melon?"

"I hadn't noticed that." Lara said. "Melon."

Linda took out a bottle of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and a bottle of Sangaria Melon Soda. "The pre-destination paradox was stupid, though."

"Yeah." Lara agreed. "It's impossible for something like that to happen."

Linda closed the refrigerator and handed the bottle of Sangaria Melon Soda to Lara.

Lara opened her bottle and took a swig of the Sangaria Melon Soda.

Linda opened her own bottle and took a swig of the Sangaria Strawberry Soda.

Saturday, June 5, 2004, 3:22 PM

Linda and Lara were sitting at their computers, playing a Doom deathmatch.

The telephone rang.

Linda stood up and walked over to the night stand. She picked up the receiver. "Good afternoon. Supergirl Enterprises. This is Linda speaking. How many I help you?"

"Danvers, this is Mr. Wycliff. Get in here right away."

"Huh?" Linda asked. "I just got off work for the day."

"Well, you're back on the clock in a half-hour." Mr. Wycliff told her. "President Reagan just died. We gotta get some stories ready."

"I see." Linda said. "Okay. I'll be back there soon."

"Okay. See you soon." Mr. Wycliff said.

"Okay." Linda put down the receiver.

Linda took off her shorts and sleeveless shirt. "I gotta go back to work. President Reagan just died."

"Aw, man." Lara said. "I liked him."

"Yeah, he was okay for a Republican." Linda said, opening her sock drawer. "One thing that I really didn't like about him was that he stopped decades-long Republican support for the Equal Rights Amendment, which is now a long-dead issue. If I ever become President, I'm going to fight for that amendment to be passed."

"Cool." Lara said.

Linda entered the newsroom.

Telephones were ringing. People were typing on keyboards. People were talking over each other.

Linda walked over to her desk and sat in her chair.

She turned on her computer and monitor.

Mr. Wycliff walked over to her. "Danvers!"

"Yes, sir?" Linda asked.

"I need you to put together a timeline of the major events in Reagan's life."

"Yes, sir." Linda said.

"Did you bring dinner?" Mr. Wycliff asked.

"No, sir." Linda replied.

"Well, order something." he told her. "You'll be here a while."

"Yes, sir." Linda said.

Mr. Wycliff walked away.

Linda picked up the receiver of the telephone and dialed her home phone number.

The phone rang twice.

"Lara's Roadkill Cafe. We drive all night to get it right." Lara answered.

"Lara,...what the fuck?" Linda asked. "That is not how a business answers the phone."

"It is if it's Lara's Roadkill Cafe." Lara said.

"Whatever." Linda said. "I'm gonna be workin' late. Can you please bring me some beef sukiyaki and fried rice with soy sauce?"

"Sure. No problem." Lara replied.

"Thanks. See ya soon." Linda said.

"Okay." Lara said.

Linda put down the receiver.

Linda was typing her article.

Suddenly, Linda felt a slight breeze. She looked and saw Lara hovering in front of her desk. Lara was holding a plastic container, a fork, and a napkin in her hands.

Lara smiled. "Your order is ready, ma'am."

Linda smiled. "Show-off. Thank you."

Tuesday, June 8, 2004, 6:23 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 2 of "Azumanga Daioh!" and the "Happy Lesson" OAV on DVD.

"'Azumanga Daioh!' is so funny." Linda said. "It's interesting how it's a slice-of-life series with no real plot. It's just...stuff happens, then more stuff happens. It's neat."

"Yeah." Lara agreed. "I'm interested in seeing the new scenes and stories in 'Happy Lesson', too."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Saturday, June 12, 2004, 1:22 PM

Linda entered John's Books.

She walked over to the counter.

"Hey, Linda." John said. "Whatcha up to?"

"Hey." Linda said. "Just on my way home from grocery shopping."

"Oh." John said.

"I read online in the sales charts that the 'G.I. Joe' comic has been dropping a lot of readers." Linda said.

"Oh, that's too bad." John said. "I like it."

"Me, too." Linda said. "I'm waiting for Season 1, Part 2, to come out on DVD."

"What's Season 1, Part 2?" John asked.

"They split up the season over 2 boxed sets." Linda explained.

"But they already released the miniseries in a separate set." John said.

"Yeah, that's separate." Linda said.

"And they already released the movie." John said.

"Yeah." Linda said. "Now, they're doing the seasons."

"I'll get it eventually." John said. "It was dumb. When Serpentor was introduced, everyone thought that he'd be a more serious character, and he was in the beginning, but then, after he was around for a while, he was like 'Uh-hyuck, hyuck, hyuck.'"

Linda laughed.

Chuck walked over to the counter. "And then there's the time when the Joes found Cobra's base, but, in the next episode, they had no idea where it was. Did they forget? It's on the island with the fuckin' cobra statue carved out of a mountain."

"The island moves." John said.

Linda chuckled.

"They're stupid in the comic book, too." John said.

"Oh, you wanna talk about stupid comic book characters?" Chuck asked. "Look at everyone that's ever met both Peter Parker and Spider-Man."

"'Hmm, why's Parker getting all the pictures of Spider-Man? Same height, same build.'" John said.

"Yeah, but at least Spider-Man wears a mask. Don't complain about him, because there's the worst offended right there." Chuck pointed at Linda.

Linda was surprised and scared.

"She changes from one schoolgirl uniform to another schoolgirl uniform." Chuck said.

Linda was relieved when she realized that Chuck had pointed at her Sailor Moon shirt.

"All that changes are the colors, and the skirt is shorter." Chuck continued. "She also gets a tiara and balls in her hair. No one can recognize her. 'Well, Serena's clumsy, and,...well,...Sailor Moon's clumsy, too. Serena has long hair. Wait; Sailor Moon has long hair, too. Oh, Sailor Moon has balls in her hair, but Serena doesn't. No, Serena can't be Sailor Moon."

Linda laughed.

"And, one time, Serena did a trick with a wand in a talent show as Serena." Chuck continued. "It looked just like the moon wand, except it didn't have a moon on it. The bad guys were wondering, 'Oh, my God, where have we seen that before?!' I mean how fucking stupid can someone be?!"

Linda chuckled.

"And then there was that alien guy that played the flute. A new student shows up at school and plays the flute. Later, they see an alien guy play the exact same song on a flute. I know he looks different, but wouldn't they go...?" Chuck scratched his head.

Linda chuckled.

"Comic books are the same way." Chuck said.

"I gotta get home. The milk's gonna get warm." Linda said.

"Okay." John said. "Take care, buddy."

"See ya." Chuck said.

Linda waved and walked back over to the door. She opened the door and walked outside.

Sunday, June 13, 2004, 1:22 PM

Linda walked through the Jewel parking lot.

She noticed a display outside the store.

Linda was interested in it.

She walked into the store and picked up two 6-packs and two cold, 20-ounce bottles of regular Pepsi Edge.

Linda went and stood in the check-out lane. She placed the items on the conveyor belt.

The cashier scanned the items, and Linda paid. The packs, the bottles, and the receipt were bagged.

Linda picked up the bags and left the store.

Linda walked into the house and into the kitchen.

Lara was standing at the stove, cooking dinner. She turned to face Linda.

"Lara, check it out." Linda said. She put the bags on the table, opened one of them, and took out the bottles. "Pepsi Edge."

Lara looked at bottles. "Pepsi Edge? Something new?"

"Yeah." Linda replied. "I just saw it in Jewel. It's got half of the sugar of regular Pepsi, less sodium, and less calories."

"Cool." Lara said.

Linda offered a bottle to Lara. Lara took it.

Both girls opened their bottles and took swigs of the drink.

"Tastes just like regular Pepsi." Lara said.

"Yeah." Linda agreed. She looked at the nutritional information on her bottle. "Less carbohydrates, too, but who cares?"

Lara laughed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004, 6:02 PM

Linda and Lara were sitting at the kitchen table, eating dinner.

"Those stupid Southern Baptists want to remove their children from public schools, because they're secular." Linda said. "Well, duh! Public schools are supposed to be secular!"

"They're stupid." Lara said. "They're the kind of people that want to keep 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance."

"That's advocating a religion." Linda said. "It's wrong. The rights of polytheists, henotheists, animists, atheists, and agnostics must be protected."

"Another thing you can do as President." Lara suggested.

Linda thought about that in silence.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004, 12:06 PM

Linda and Lara walked into 7th Inning Stretch. They were each carrying 1,000 copies of Supergirl #11 in large plastic bags.

They walked over to the counter and placed the bags on it.

"Hey, Jimmy." Linda greeted.

"Hey, Jimmy." Lara greeted.

"Hey, girls." Jimmy replied.

Linda placed a sheet of paper on the counter. Jimmy picked up the list and read it.

He went, got the comic books and other items, and returned to the counter. He placed the items on the counter, got a calculator, and calculated the total price.

"Linda, $12.02. Lara, $9.31." he said.

Linda and Lara got out their cash and paid him.

He opened the cash register, put the money in, and put their items into brown paper bags.

"Okay." Jimmy took out money and closed the register. He counted as he placed the money on the counter, separating it into two piles. "$100, $200, $300, $400, $500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000, $1,100, $1,200, $1,300, $1,400, $1,500, $1,600, $1,700, $1,800, $1,900, $2,000, $2,100, $2,200, $2,300, $2,400, $2,500, $2,600, $2,700, $2,800, $2,900, $3,000."

Linda picked up her $1,500. Lara picked up her $1,500. They each put their own money into their front right jeans pockets.

"Thanks." Linda and Lara said.

"No problem." Jimmy said. "Bring in 2,000 next time."

Linda and Lara smiled.

"Okay." Linda said.

Jimmy took the copies of Supergirl #11 out of the bag.

Linda picked up her bag. "Have a good day."

"You, too." Jimmy said.

Lara picked up her bag, and she and Linda turned and walked back over to the door.

Linda opened the door, and she and Lara left the shop.

Linda and Lara entered John's Books. Linda was holding a copy of Supergirl #11 in her right hand and a copy of The Punisher #1 in her left hand. Lara was holding a NASCAR Monopoly set in her hands.

They walked over to the counter.

"Hey, Linda. Hey, Lara." John said.

"Hey." Linda said.

"Hey." Lara said.

Linda placed the Supergirl #11 comic book on the counter.

"Oh, neat." John picked up the comic book and flipped through it.

John put the comic book on the counter and took a wad of bills out of his shirt pocket. He took two $1 bills and handed them to Linda. Linda took the bills and gave one of them to Lara. The girls put the bills into their front right pants pockets. John put the wad of bills back into his shirt pocket.

"Thanks." Linda said.

"Not a problem." John said.

Chuck walked over to the counter. "Hey, girls."

"Hey, Chuck." Linda and Lara said.

John picked up the comic book and showed it to Chuck. "Check it out."

Chuck took the comic book and looked at it. "Sweet."

"I don't want this anymore." Linda placed the The Punisher #1 comic book on the counter.

John looked at it. "You're reading 'The Punisher' again?"

"I picked up the first issue of the MAX title to see what it's like." Linda explained.

John shook his head. "Same old, same old."

"Yeah, except there's swearing and gore now." Linda said.

"Oh, of course." John said.

John took the wad of bills out of his shirt pocket. He took three $1 bills and handed them to Linda. Linda took the bills and put them into her front right pants pocket. John put the wad of bills back into his shirt pocket.

"Thanks." Linda said.

"Thanks." John said. "I won't read it, but thanks anyway."

"Mary, one of my coworkers, gave me a copy of the NASCAR Monopoly set." Linda said.

"Yeah; it's a limited edition." John said. "They made it for a while."

"Well, I don't want it, and I'm looking for a place to sell it." Linda said. "She said I could get around $120 for it."

John shook his head. "I don't like NASCAR. I wouldn't give you $3.50 for it. I love Monopoly. Check ebay. See how much it's going for."

"Okay." Linda said.

"We should get home." Lara said. "I gotta make dinner."

"Okay." John said. "Take care, girls."

"See ya." Chuck said.

Linda and Lara waved and walked back over to the door. Linda opened the door. Lara walked outside, and Linda followed her.

Linda and Lara were sitting at the kitchen table, eating dinner.

"Well, the Southern Baptists decided to keep their children in public schools." Linda said. "Good. The whole idea of removing them was stupid to begin with."

"Amen." Lara said. "The Southern Baptists are too conservative for my liking."

"Mine, too." Linda said.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004, 6:23 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 2 of "Kaleido Star" and Volume 1 of "Miami Guns" on DVD.

"I really love 'Kaleido Star', even though I don't care to see real-life acrobatics." Linda said.

"Yeah, it's nice." Lara agreed. "This 'Miami Guns' thing looks interesting, too."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Friday, June 25, 2004, 8:56 PM

Linda unlocked and opened the front door to the house.

She and Lara walked into the living room.

Lara closed the door and locked it.

They went into the kitchen.

"'Fahrenheit 9/11' was awesome!" Linda exclaimed.

"Hell, yeah!" Lara agreed. "Bush is goin' down!"

Linda opened the refrigerator and took out two bottles of Pepsi Edge. "I hope so. For some reason, which I can't fathom, he remains popular, though. The nation is very polarized. I hope John Kerry wins in November."

"Me, too." Lara agreed.

Linda closed the refrigerator and handed one of the bottles to Lara.

Lara opened her bottle and took a swig of the Pepsi Edge.

Linda opened her own bottle and took a swig of the Pepsi Edge.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 6:24 PM

Linda and Lara walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 3 of "Comic Party" and Volume 4 of "Kino's Journey" on DVD.

"'Comic Party' makes me proud to be a comic book artist." Lara said.

"Yeah." Linda agreed. "'Kino's Journey' is interesting, too. Last one."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda and Lara walked out of Suncoast.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004, 8:31 PM

Linda unlocked and opened the front door to the house.

She and Lara walked into the living room.

Lara closed the door and locked it.

They went into the kitchen.

"'Spider-Man 2' was awesome!" Linda exclaimed.

"Hell, yeah!" Lara agreed. "It's even better than the first one."

Linda opened the refrigerator and took out two bottles of Pepsi Edge. "Yeah, definitely. Mary Jane found out Peter's secret, she didn't get married, and they got together at the end. I'm supremely happy with it. I can't wait for the third one."

"Me neither." Lara said.

Linda closed the refrigerator and handed one of the bottles to Lara.

Lara opened her bottle and took a swig of the Pepsi Edge.

Linda opened her own bottle and took a swig of the Pepsi Edge.

The End

Copyright 2004 by Mark Moore