Notes: Takes place after So the Drama. Kim Possible and all related characters belong to Disney. No copyright infringement on my part is intended.
Like the end of a John Wayne movie
by Lena Fryin
Did you ever notice that every single movie that has even the slightest hint of a gunslinger living in its pixilated midst ends with the cowboy in question (usually John Wayne) galloping off into a sunset that would be impressive where it not for its obvious two dimensional nature?
Did you ever notice how that never happens in the Real World?
I am no gunslinger. I am wearing a straw colored tank top and a pair of denim shorts whose hems are a snarled mess of white thread, not cowboy boots and hat roughly twice the size of my head. My noble steed is a Cadillac whose body was probably melded together when I was in the third grade. Most would call this 'vintage' and I think I might appreciate the car's relatively good condition considering its age if the air conditioning didn't keep cutting out on me. It's become a habit by now to blast the AC for fifteen minutes, shut it off and roll down the windows for another quarter of an hour followed by the ritualistic twisting of the knob that will fill the Cadillac with cool, refreshing air once more. Even so, I can still feel the heat of the desert blistering my face through the windshield. It must be a hundred, a hundred and ten outside but hell, who am I to complain?
We may not be in the best of shape but we're out and that's all that matters in the long run. No more cardboard squares masquerading as food, no more jumpsuits, no more dealing with the incarcerated scum bags of American who try to steal anything that isn't bolted to the floor, no more guards who think they are God's gift to the American justice system. And, best of all, no more having to listening to Dr. D whine about all of the above.
The dashboard is alight with shards of broken red light refracted off the lenses of the sunglasses dipped down over my eyes; I see the Universe through a haze of red and gold, the clarity sharp enough to keep me firmly grounded even in the dizzying heat. The Nevada desert is never ending; from the air it must look like an amber jewel planted between the craggy teeth of the Rocky Mountains and the lush shorelines of California. We pass an infrequent combination of roadside diners and Shell gas stations, but other than those two landmarks, this part of the state is utterly devoid of any recognizable features save the infinite stretch of red dust crawling off into distance. The desert air smells is clear and sterile. In its own way, our flight from prison is turning out to be pretty relaxing.
Dr. D is sprawled out across the back two seats sleeping above the whisper of the radio. He looks the same as ever despite our lovely prison experience if not a bit ridiculous in the oversized Hawaiian t-shirt we nabbed from the previous owner of the Caddy. We ditched the our oh-so-attractive prison gear because regardless of how attractive those flaming orange jumpsuits were, we have to blend in with the rest of well, the world if we want to avoid another two month stint in a federal penitentiary located smack dab in the middle of Nowhere, Utah.
We--or really, I--have put us at least one state away from anyone who could do any serious damage to us and the release of tension that brings is palpable. Talk about a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Being stuck in a prison with more than few walls between us and freedom sucked beyond all telling. I don't have any desire to go back there anytime soon no matter how pissed I am at the Princess. Escaping the cops? Easy. Confrontations with trained soldiers? No sweat. Fighting Kim Possible, teen hero? Very big deal.
I hear my head hit the car roof prior to feeling the jet of pain that races down my spine where it lodges near my tailbone. See, this is why I'm not introspective. Whenever I brood, I manage to do things like not avoiding the gigantic pot hole in the center of the road. I slow down slightly, listening for any irregular sounds or other signs of damage, but the Cadillac--unlike my head--seems to be perfectly fine.
This road? Sucks.
I flick my eyes up to the mirror and see that, lo and behold, Dr. D is still asleep. One of these days, he's going to nap through something important. Say, the Apocalypse.
A Subaru in not much better state than my hijacked car pulls up alongside me. A woman with corn colored hair and bags under her eyes is reading a paperback with a bent spine. The page she is skimming across it dog eared. I am set to notice everything, considering that Dr. D, even when awake, is entirely obvious. The driver is a middle aged man with a permanently disgruntled look plastered on his countenance. He motions vaguely towards something on the horizon and the woman reading the paperback nods. In the back seat, two kids--a boy and a girl--are playing tug of war with a Nintendo. I can hear their shouts and whimpers from here, each muffled by the space between our two vehicles. Paperback lady winces and the man, presumably her husband, snaps his head back and begins to add screams of his own to the chorus his children have already begun.
I pump the gas and go sailing by the Subaru, leaving the suburban family to quarrel behind me.
I feel bad for people like that. At their funerals, no one will ever be able to say they did anything but live. They were born, they grew up, they worked, they bit the dust in some ultimately humiliating way, eaten alive by bad habits or failed by their own organs. At my memorial service, at least people will be able to talk about the things I did. The foiled plans, the epic battles, the numerous Top Secret facilities infiltrated in the dead of night. It may not be a resume full of good deeds, but it will be solely mine; no one has even attempted the things Dr. D and I have done, even though our ultimate goal is still roughly light years away.
We've already reserved our place in the history books, if you ask me.
I see Dr. D sit up through the mirror and rub at his eyes. How is that dead silence can jolt him out of dreamland but enormous pot holes and arguing middle class citizens can't? The doc blinks at me sluggishly and glances out the window. "Where are we?" he says, voice still thick with sleep.
"Nevada," I say. "We crossed the state border about three hours ago."
Dr. D squints at the clock on the dashboard. "I slept for a long time, didn't I?"
"I can't imagine why. I mean, who doesn't love an exciting round of the license place when there's a whole three cars on the road?"
"I was just trying to kill time," the doc says, folding his arms across his chest, indignation contorting his face into a glower. "It's quite boring to be stuck in this car for long."
"In case you haven't noticed, I've been here the whole time as well," I say.
Dr. D decides to ignore my comment. "Where are we headed?" he says.
"Not sure," I say. I reach over and adjust the volume on the radio. The music that previously whispered throughout the Cadillac now verges on blaring. I have no idea who is singing, nor do I care; its noise and its drowning out any real argument Dr. D could offer about our lack of a destination. I know where he wants to go but like hell I'm going to spin the car around and head back to Middleton.
The doc opens his mouth to voice this desire but before he can so much as rasp out a syllable, I have pinned him with a glare that could shake stone foundations.
"Dr. D," I say tersely, "I'd like to avoid jail, and prison and Kimmie seem to go hand in freaking hand. At least come up with a better reason than 'revenge' before we drive or fly or teleport or whatever to go pay her a visit."
This seems to be an end to that particular train of conversation.
"Shouldn't you be um, staying under the speed limit?" Dr. D asks suddenly, pointing to the speedometer. The numbers depicted on it are rapidly accelerating.
I shrug, sagging back in my seat. "We're on Highway 95," I reply. "No one cares how fast you drive. Didn't you see Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?"
The doc raises a brow ingeniously. "Was that a musical?"
If we weren't driving, I would slam my head down on the steering wheel so help me God. When we set up shop at our new lair, I am going to have a serious conversation with Dr. D about embracing pop culture for the sake my sanity. But honestly, I cannot bicker right now. Not in this car, not in this heat.
"Yes," I say, glaring out the window. "It was a musical staring Nicole Kidman and the O'Boyz."
Drakken looks vaguely pleased that was able to identify this. "I knew it," he says, a superior grin spreading across his lips. Then: "Slow down," he commands abruptly. "I'm going to sit up there with you."
I can sense that his wanting to be closer can only mean one thing: more car games.
I try not to let him see my shudder of revulsion and lift my foot off the gas. The car relaxes in a gentle cruise and Dr. D scrambles around my seat and into the one beside it. Only with us does it make sense for the 'sidekick' to drive while the 'super villain' rides shotgun.
"The closest city to this geological frying pan is Las Vegas," I say, pushing a few wayward strands of hair out of my face. "After that, there's not much until we hit California."
"You've been to Nevada before?" Dr. D. questions.
"No," I say, rolling my eyes, "I can read a map." The thrust the fan shaped guide at the doctor and return my eyes to the road. The sun is going down and if last night was any indicator of desert climate post sundown, we're going to freezing for the next six hours.
Dr. D unfolds the map and peers at it for a moment before reassembling it in its former shape or at least his interpretation of it. Frustrated, he tosses the guide into the back seat. "I trust you know where we've going. How much money do we have?" he says.
"I don't know. Not a lot. Look in my backpack." The backpack did not begin its life as mine, to be honest. Up until two days ago, it belonged to Mr. Ralph Roberts, who was the owner of this fine vehicle in addition to the bag, but I since we took it upon ourselves to borrow his car for an extended period of time, I figured I might as well snag his wallet and whatever else he was carrying.
The doc snatches the pack off the floor by his feet and unzips the front pocket. He removes the wallet and opens it. After several minutes of riffling through it, he looks up mournfully. "Twenty five dollars and thirty seven cents."
"I think this is the closest thing we've ever come to being impoverished," I say, surveying the meager selection of bills crammed into the wallet. "How sad."
Dr. D replaces the wallet in the pocket and smiles winningly. "Not to worry Shego," he says. "We'll get new funds when we get to Las Vegas." He turns to me. "How good are you at robbing banks?"
I lift one hand off the steering wheel and a lime colored spiral of plasma shoots up from the center of my palm for an instant before I extinguish it. "I'm practically an expert," I say.
"Not worried about going to jail?" he says snidely.
"Oh please," I sneer. "Cops don't phase me. It's irritating teen superheroes that seem to mess everything up."
"Well then, it's settled!" Dr. D crows. "We'll set up shop in Lost Wages. It will be the first city we conquer in our quest to take our the world." I half expect this last sentence to be punctuated by the crash of thunder. Thankfully, the Universe decides not to inflate Dr. D's ego anymore and the desert remains still.
"We're going to take over Vegas?" I say, eyeing him doubtfully.
"One has to start somewhere," Dr. D says. He crosses his arms behind his hand, lacing small fingers together at the base of his skull.
"You do realize that the mob runs like, that entire place right?"
Dr. D gives me a flippant wave of his hand. ""Mob smob," he says. "We can take out a few common criminals any day of the week. With my brains and your powers, we'll have that city on its knees with a week." He resumes his smug posture, leaving me to gawk at him while I wait for my brain to produce a sneering response.
Weirdly enough, I can't think of anything caustic to say.
Ask a brief pause, I ask: "Want to take a turn driving?"
"I have very important plotting to do Shego," the doc says, prying one eye open to glare at me. "How are we ever going to take over Las Vegas if we don't have a proper plan?"
"So your demented ideas are 'plans' now?" I quip, grinning. He rewards my comment with a scowl.
He's scheming, off in his fantasy world where one day he'll be rule everything centimeter of this planet and I know now he'll never, ever give up. He'll die before he does and one day, one of his ridiculous ideas is going to do just that to him. Him and knowing Dr. D, he'll drag me down with him.
I change the radio station and find that I don't particularly mind.
And so we ride off into the sunset.
You know, like at the end of John Wayne movie.