TITLE: A Cowardly and Superstitious Lot
AUTHOR: Mike Pulgoni, Prince of Wales
NOTES: Believe it or not, this actually based on a dream I had a few nights ago. I made some changes to make it a little more cohesive (like removing myself as a character), but it's pretty much all there. Maybe I broke the reality of the show, but since I'm currently trying to write a Hellboy/Office/Veronica Mars crossover, I'd clearly be lying if I pretended that mattered to me.
Set sometime during Season Two; in an effort to keep the feel of the show, Veronica's story will be told from Veronica's point-of-view, other characters' will be told in a different tense to indicate Veronica is not yet aware of their story.
RATING: Call it a hard T
It's a typical day at Neptune High, which is to say that I'm barely through the door when I hear "Veronica! I need your help!"
"Ah, the traditional Neptune greeting," I say, turning too smile at today's unfortunate victim.
Hmm, definitely one of my more unusual clients.
Jai Patton... a state champion wrestler from my apartment complex... whose friends are all the geeky little brothers of the 09ers.
Yeah. It seems weird to me, too.
But he's basically a decent guy, so I guess I'm at least going to listen to what he has to say. "What seems to be the problem, Jai?"
He actually does the old look-left, look-right, which tells me right there that he's not used to having secrets, and certainly not potentially damaging ones. "I lost a DVD," he whispers when he's sure no one is listening in.
"Maybe you should just go to Blockbuster and admit the truth, because I guarantee their fees are lower than mine," I say, more jokingly then cutting. I hope.
"No, no," Jai shakes his head. "This is a DVD that I made."
And here we're closing in on the real problem. "You lost a sex tape?"
"What?" Jai starts.
"God," I shake my head, "why do people keep making those things? You know this is going to happen. Have you never been spammed?"
"It's not a sex tape," he insists. "God, if it were a sex tape there'd be no problem."
"Then what?" I ask, choosing to ignore his later musing.
Jai is stone silent.
"I can't help you if you don't give me all the facts," I demand, not budging.
"Okay," he capitulates. "But no one finds out about this."
Now, there were a lot of things I could have predicted... but this was nowhere on the list.
"You like to dress up as Batman?"
"I made some fan films," Jai says defensively.
A thousand different responses are going through my head, but I settle on just raising an eyebrow.
"Look, a bunch of rich kids asked me to dress up for them," he admits guiltily. "I guess when your mom's a movie star and your dad's a producer, no one looks twice when you 'borrow' a van full of equipment to make your own Batman movie."
"But none of them could really fill out the old cape and cowl," I supply.
Jai nods, and lets some genuine warmth show for the first time. "Yeah, nice guys, but..." And then his smile slumps again. "They came up to me at the comic shop... of course I said yes."
And here my expression changes completely. "So, you wanted to dress like Batman?"
"Yeah," Jai says as though it should be obvious. "Wouldn't you?"
I understandably brush this comment aside and go for a completely different line of questioning. "Okay... so I'm going to go back to the sex tape question: why did you make the tape if you didn't want anyone to see it?"
"I do want people to see it," Jai said simply.
"Okay," I reply, trying to take this all in stride. "So, you wanted to dress as Batman, you want people to see the video... how does this lead to you running up to my locker and begging for my help?"
"I want people to see the video at conventions, private websites... things where other Batman fans will be showing their movies," he explains.
He's silent for another moment before adding the obligatory "People I'm probably not going to see again."
I nod and smile, finally this is starting to make sense. "But it's not the kind of thing you want getting around the school."
Jai nodded. "Can you imagine the shit I'd be getting until graduation?"
"Oh, I can imagine," I agree.
"So, can you help me?" he finally asks. "I mean, I don't have much to pay you with, but..."
Why is it that I always end up helping more "I don't have much to pay you withs" when there are so many perfectly good "my parents have more money than any human being could possibly needs" just a few feet away?
Oh, right. Marshmallow.
"You haven't heard anything yet, right? No one claiming to have the DVD? Asking for money to get it back?" I begin.
"Then we're going to treat it as lost, not stolen, for now. We're to tear your house apart, your car... anywhere you could have left the DVD."
He nods, inexplicably finding this comforting. "And if someone does try to blackmail me?"
"Then we move to the next step," I assure him, which works surprisingly well considering the obvious difference in physical menace between the two of us.
He takes a deep breath. "God, I wish this were just a sex tape."
And here we are, finally on the same wavelength.