Hello there, mates. It took me more than long enough, but I've finally sat down and finished this fourth chapter of "Never mind the Acorns…". Hopefully you'll all feel it was worth the admittedly long, long wait. Prepare for a bit more exposition, as this is the final bit of what's become a rather lengthy prologue, but the stage is set for a lot more "action" in the next chapter (which I'll try to bring to you lot much, much sooner than I did this one). So, without further adu, here's chapter four!

Chapter 04: Back in the B.E.C.K.Y.

The Killer Bambies had no alternative but to stand in the center of the hallway as the tryingly-toity twinklic triune bounded towards them, a perpetual pep in their steps, or rather their near-skipping strides.

The leader of the peppy pack came to an acumentable stop in front of Candy Cane. The redhead's leer traversed the cheerleader head-to-toe, starting with her blonde, pig-tailed locks, the pigtails tied into form with blue bows and further accented into ringlets by way of smaller white ribbons. Her outfit was regrettably familiar to Candy. In fact, she was fairly certain it used to be hers, barring the new name that had been rhinestoned onto the top.

"Cindy," Candy mustered a mock smile. "Are you guys already done getting 'drilled' by the football team?"

Cindy and her two secondaries gave the remark a seemingly automated laugh entirely devoid of mirth.

"Actually, Becky," Cindy's smile widened as Candy's eyes narrowed, "we were just on our way to practice for the pep-rally tomorrow."

"Oh, so you haven't even started sucking jock dick, then?" Candy cocked an eyebrow, her smile returning.

"Cute, Becky," Cindy huffed, her hands attaching to her hips haughtily. "Real cute."

Cindy's eyes authoritatively went to the girl to her right.

"Ya know, Welsh," Windy stepped-over, hands also at her hips, "Someone wit' hair as bad as yours shouldn' be talkin', alright?"

"'Because that blue-tipped weave of yours is just terrific…," Sandy placidly quipped.

Windy broke into a dutious stride, her athletic brown legs, muscular and base-fit, engaged in a slow trod towards Sandy, who's piercing eyes were suddenly met with a halting gloved hand that nearly touched her red bang.

"Girl, I don' even know where to begin wi'chu," Her hand returned to her hips as she went about dressing down the bassist as to how she was dressed-up. "I mean, that 'all black' stuff went-out three years ago…," Windy's gaze eased to the left, stopping on Mandy. "Not that you the most out-of-date of you girls' group."

"What's your deal?" Mandy crossed her arms. She already knew the answer.

"Girl, you just all kindza messed-up!" Windy was forced into a fit of laughter, her neon-blue eye-shadow on full display as her eyes closed on this particular fit of cachinnation at Mandy's expense. She went-on. "I mean, damn! Jus' what decade are you from, the 50s?"

"Yeah," the rockabilly coldly smiled with a nod. "I'm from '1950-fuck off', papershaker."

"Do you girls think you're clever?" Cindy spoke-up from behind the black cheerleader.

"I don't know," the makings of a smile slightly curved Sandy's lips. "Does Windy there think she's fashionable?"

"I'm mo' fashionable dan you, girl!" Cindy zipped forward to restrain Windy on her outburst, reducing her attempted charge for Sandy to a bit of ruffling against Cindy's grasp. Her temper cooled slightly, allowing her to switch-up her verbal approach as her eyes loomed past the goth girl. "I know I be lookin' better than that drummer of yours."

Brandy's eyes perked-up.

"Piss off, Windy," Candy Cane placed a curbing hand on her bassist's arm. "It's not like we all have rich fashion-designer moms…"

Windy clicked her lips.

"Shoo'. I should let you have her fo' a day; My momma would be makin' you girls look good," she returned to her post at Cindy's right, turning in. Cindy's hard eyes blinked to the girl at her left.

"You ladies really should consider taking Windy up on her offer," Mindy slid the ever-present pocket bible out from behind her back as she stepped closer to the punkers, her voice at its familiar softness. "I've always thought most of you had it rough." She paused, assumably for emphasis. "You know, without parents and all…"

"I think you should leave 'em alone, Mindy," Mandy barked, "but I guess her mom's help would be better than any 'help' you've got t-"

"Oh, relax," Mindy gently cut-in, pausing to give a smile to Sandy and Brandy. "That was all so long ago…"

"Four years," Sandy fumed.

The holy-rolling flyer's head dipped on a bemoanful noise.

"You girls have to realize that we meant well…," Mindy persisted, her car-salesman smile returning. "We were only trying to do what we thought He would want us to do."

"So being pelted with eggs in the camp showers while people shouted Leviticus at us was 'well-meaning'?" Sandy, though inabsolvely acidic in annunciation, did her best to appear unshaken in the face of such memories.

"You all told us we were going to burn in hell!" Brandy, on the other hand, was stammering, almost shouting. Sandy's arm was tense around her.

"Now girls…," Mindy couldn't help a soft laugh, pausing to get her words together. "You see, we weren't doing those things out of hate; We were trying to save you from-"

"Save us from what, ourselves!" Sandy cut her off through gritted teeth, leaning forward.

"Fr-from your sinful life-choices," Mindy was audibly disnerved, though her familiarity with such statements slightly lessened the obviousness of her frayed state.

"Oh, so it's a choice then?" the bassist's speech was still slow, but unsettlingly sharp, gradually rising in her throat as her words progressed.

"It's His word," Mindy firmly replied, clutching her small Bible more tightly. "He believes it to be a choice, therefore I believe it."

"For real?" Candy decided to interject. "I always thought you wacko fundies weren't big on 'choice'."

"That's because infanticide doesn't fit into His plan," Mindy and Candy had had this argument before.

"Well, he's always seemed like shit to me anyway," Sandy stated plainly.

This lead to an uneasy silence for a moment. Even Mandy and Brandy were forced to give Sandy a worrying look.

"Oh my…," Mindy soon broke the silence, the tips of her fingers covering her lips as her tremulous blue eyes fluttered fawningly to the tiny tome pressed against her bare midriff. As she raised her eyes, something caught them mid-ascent. "What is that book under your arm, Sandy?"

Sandy grinned darkly.

"Oh, this? Here, take a look."

"G'ah!" Mindy recoiled at being faced with the cover of Anton LeVay's beelzebible, unthinkingly thrusting-out her own bible protectively and sinking behind it. Sandy's fiendish grin was all the more reinforced.

After a disbelieving roll of her eyes, Cindy quickly strongarmed the incapacitated brunette off to the side as she returned to an engageful position before Candy Cane.

"What's that in your hand, Rebecca?" the spotter cocked a hard eye.

"It's taffy," Candy had almost forgotten she had purchased it. She held it up against her middle finger.

"Cute, cute," Cindy laughingly scoffed, again forced into a disdainful twirl of her eyes. "Honestly, I can't believe you're still chewing that crap."

Candy could only be bothered to retort with little more than a mockingly-neanderthalic reiteration of Cindy's last few syllables as she went about peeling-off the wrapping of her Ichigo-Go brand Taffy. The head cheerleader was unable to restrain a knowing smile as she watched Candy Cane pop the orange taffy into her mouth. The redhead made it through three or so chews before a look of shock flashed over her face. Green eyes abulge and lips contorted, the schoolgirl violently spat out the taffy onto the floor.

"Ew!" Mandy jerked a foot away from the orange gob that splattered just short of her boot-tip. "Shit, Candy! What the-!"

"What the fuck was that!" Candy whirled to face Cindy.

Cindy was thrown into a haughty laugh. Windy and Mindy cuedly joined-in.

"What do you mean, Becky?" her smile was cemented by Candy's intense scowl. "You haven't had the new Acorn flavored taffy?"

"'Acorn flavored taffy'?" even Mandy found that perturbingly odd sounding. It rested as well on her tongue as did the taffy itself on Candy's.

Candy Cane feverently smoothed-together the disemboweled wrapper until its gaudy labels and texts were legible.

"ICHIGO-GO TAFFY - *NEW* Acorn Avalanche!"

It was confirmed. It was real, and yet it just couldn't be.

"No…," Rebecca Welsh's voice was far away. Her eyes were stonedly fixed onto every crumply word.

"Mhm!" Cindy squeaked with a nod, quite abeam. "It's part of the Healthy Minds section of the providence's new Effortless Education Act." She couldn't help but proudly add, "Daddy helped."

"Ah, yeah. I forgot that passed," Mandy laughed, adding, "and it's 'the Effective Education Act'."

Mandy sounded as though she had more to say, but stopped to give Candy a concerned glance.

"Who really cares?" Cindy laughed, throwing her hands up.

"So what kinda accountin' tricks did 'daddy' pull for them to pay for lobbyists this time?" Mandy's face tightened gloweringly.

"Oh, please," Cindy shook her head. "You know they don't have to front the entire bill anymore."

"Nah, 'course not," Mandy gestured towards Mindy. "Her mommy and her church help 'em out now. Typical Republican stuff."

"I thought he was a democrat," Cindy absentmindedly mused to herself.

"Mother and the rest of the congregation thought it was a worthy cause," Mindy happily explained. "It's just another way we try to better the community."

"Geez," Mandy smirked. "Ya'know, why don't you guys just go full-circle with it and have Windy's mom make some robes for Mindy's mom's churchies?"

"Yeah," Sandy shrugged, "They might look nicer the next time they come to picket one of our shows."

Cindy's eyes suddenly lit-up.

"Oh, that's right!" she glowed snottishly. "You girls have a show tonight, don't you?"

Windy acted as if overcome with thought, stepping closer to Cindy as she tapped a finger to her chin.

"Yeah, you're right, Cindy," her bemused tone was no less ingenuous. "Ain't it at the same place that they started that real' big riot?"

Windy watched the band's expressions instantaneously sour.

"Aw shit!" she was cackling. "I think I made 'em mad! Hahaha!"

Cindy patted her on the shoulder, both as a means of curbiture and acknowledgment.

"It was fun talking to you girls again," Cindy gave them an exaggerated smile, absent-mindedly twirling a hand through her ringlets, "but we really should get going. Kay?"

With that and an agreeing giggle from Windy and Mindy, Cindy turned on a heel and began her departure with her fellow cheerleaders in-toe, giggling all the way down the hall until they rounded a corner out of sight of the Bambies.

"Cunts," Sandy spat.

"Tell me about it," Mandy concurred.

With a temperative breath, the bassist flopped-open her Satanic Bible again, taking a moment to smile at the recent memory of its affects on Mindy, and thumbed back to the page she last left the book on. Before she could put eyes to text however, she caught Brandy approaching her, sunken and needy. Sandy lowered the tome to her side and wrapped an arm around Brandy, letting her hand rest atop the emotional drummer's head as it laid upon her chest. Brandy's arms lightly clutched themselves around the taller woman's form in a soft embrace.

As her eyes followed her fingers nimbling through Brandy's thin blonde hair, a thought occurred to Sandy.

"So when do we have to be at the club for load-in, Candy?" she hadn't bothered to take her purring eyes off of Brandy until realizing the singer never responded. "Candy?"

The other three Bambies' turned to see their vocalist standing before the hallway's vending machine. Her face practically plastered against the glass as her eyes solemnly dredged the machine's rows for any sign of her adored taffy product. Her findings were unfortunately sobering.

"It's really gone…," the singer sunkenly crooned. "They really took it away…"

The rest of the band met eyes with each other. The unverbalized question hung in the air until Mandy opted to begin a delicate approachment of their distraught frontwoman.

"Ah, don't worry about it, Candy," she stopped just short of patting a hand against the redhead's shoulder, noticing that she was transfixed on the acorn taffy wrapper she still held in her fingers. Mandy softly added, "I mean, it was jus' taffy, right?"

Candy Cane raised her head, her now firey green eyes reflected clearly in the glass.

"Just taffy?" she turned to Mandy, who nodded at the question. "Just taffy?"

Sandy felt Brandy's grip around the arm her fuller embrace had been mutually relegated to tighten, moving the bassist to eye the other half of the band's current exchange warily.

"Yeah," the guitarist laughed crossly. "It's 'just' candy, Candy."

A beat of tension hung between the two for a moment, but Candy Cane ultimately reserved herself to a spatting groan and a heavy roll of her eyes, dismissing her volatilic level of indignance with a fling of the offending taffy's wrapper, leaving it to slowly flutter to the tiles below as she parted from the vending machine's vicinity.

"Let's see how you'd deal without that stupid comb of yours," her level of indignity hadn't lowered enough to spare a grumbling remark as she went to pick-up her schoolbag from the floor, however.

"Whaddya say to me!" Mandy stomped a heel.

Candy took a moment to scoop-up and sling a single strap of her backpack up and over her shoulder before responding. The placement of her bag effectively positioned her before the rest of the band rather plinthly.

"Look, we all have our own little ways to get through the damn day," she huffed upon standing. "You have your stupid hair maintenance, Brandy's got schoolwork, and right now Sandy's got that… that stupid Warlock Book, or whatever!"

"'Satanic Bible'," Sandy humouredly corrected.

"Look, whatever!" Candy flung her arms up with the dismissal, abruptly continuing. "It's not even the freakin' taffy that's pissing me off. It's that those prissy bimbos were able to just get it taken-away from me by the damn government!"

The respective looks of the rhythm section suddenly mutualized into an exasperated grimace upon hearing the last word of Candy's outburst, for they both knew what type of conversation it would undoubtedly lead to.

As if on cue, Mandy crossed her arms, regarding their vocalist with a coarse look.

"Y'ah, forget about all those corporations that are really runnin' things," she said with hot-blooded sarcasm.

"Because the government just wants to nanny all of us," Candy returned the sarcasm in-kind.

"It probably would without all the private interests n' shit," Mandy retorted.

"Well, maybe I don't wantit to!" Candy yelled. "It just tried to nanny my damn snacks and it took my freakin' taffy away!"

By this point, Sandy's focus had retreated to a chapter on the nineteen Echonian Keys. Brandy even found herself passively reading from the side of the grimly-garbed girl's shoulder, being too short to read over it, not that Sandy's mane of hair would allow that anyway.

"Why is everything the government does bad to you, Candy?" Mandy sneered.

"Because it is!" Candy exclaimed. "I mean, Hello! What do you think I've been complaining about! They took my taffy! That's like a grown-up taking candy from a baby, or a freakin' pedophile taking aw-"

"Aren't you taking this a little hard, Candy?" Sandy decided to interpolate.

"For real!" Mandy concurred. "Just 'cause this is bad for you doesn't mean it's 'bad'."

Candy started to argue, but had to stop and cock an eyebrow at the guitarist's statement.

"Yeah, yeah," the psychobilly went-on, now moving towards the candy dispenser, "you lost your taffy, but the obesity rates and stuff like that's been going-up around here lately, ya know? It's like, it ain't our problem, but this healthy stuff their packin' into the machines is probably good fo' the rest of the community. Get me?"

Candy shrugged.

"Pfff. Whatevah," Mandy spat, turning to the machine. "I was jus' tryin' to make you feel better…" She began eyeing a few of the new choices in the vending machine's circular talons that hadn't been there before this afternoon. "Ya know, some of this stuff might not be too bad."

"Maybe you should try it then," Candy Cane shot-down another attempt at assuaging her pessimistic air.

"Maybe I should!" Mandy snapped. "And maybe you should quit gettin' all jazzed-up about dumb little shit!"

The guitarist went about giving the dispenser's contents a closer eye, finding that many of them were largely similar to those of the post-Healthy Minds selection, sans the "low-fat" and "less sugar" labels most everything now boasted. She decided upon some sort of chocolate bar, feeding a dollar into the Americanized $1 slot that always reminded her of home in-spite of her Incantonality. After keying-in her choice's brief numeric code, she watched as the metal loop slowly began to relinquish her candy bar, only to see it fall against the glass, wedged between it and the row at an angle.

"What?" Mandy winced, slapping the machine on the side in an attempt to dislodge the chocolate bar. She had no such luck. "Come on!"

The others watched as Mandy rapped a balled fist against the machine another two times, each smack thudding throughout the hallway.

"You stupid piece'a Bourgeois shit!" the Brooklynian took to violently shaking the machine to the best of her ability, though it did little more than create a great metallic rumbling until she gave-up.

"Godddamit!" Mandy stomped a foot, staring daggers at the chocolate bar that remained in its diagonal bondage.

"Maybe you shouldn't be so loud, Mandy," Brandy hesitantly suggested, looking as if she were about to retreat behind Sandy.

"Ay, do you see this!" Mandy whirled around to face the rest of the group, pointing wildly back at the candy machine. "This piece of shit took my money, that I earned, that I worked for, and I get jack in-return! Take, take, take! Just like all those fuckin' businessmen!"

"Calm down, Mandy," Sandy mordantly advised.

"You calm down, Sandy!" Mandy shouted.

"Seriously, Mandy!" Candy rapidly whispered through gritted teeth. "We were supposed to be out of here, like, fifteen minutes ago, so shut the fuck up before someone hears you already!"

Mandy turned back and struck the machine with a pointed kick, a loud "pang" blasting about the hall, followed by a series of cusses,

"Stupid capitalist junk-heap! Bourgeoisie shit! Whacked-out money-grubbing-"

"Ms. Luxivy!"

Mandy's inconsolable ravings ended at the sound of an authoritative, patricianic voice.

"Oh, shit," Candy verbalized the mood of the group as they all turned to see Ms. Spencer pointedly stomping in their direction, the backs of her red high-heels nearly angled off the ground in the exacerbality of her stride.

"Just what do you believe requires so much vulgar shouting, young lady?" Muriel came to a stop before Mandy, whom backed-away to stand with the rest of the band, "and just what business do the four of you ladies have still being in the school halls after hours?" None of the Bambies responded. "Well, girls?"

"We were just leaving, Ms. Spencer," Sandy's cheeks reddened as her eyes snuck-off to the side.

"M-Mandy was just upset at the vending machine," Brandy explained, taking hold of Sandy's left arm for support.

"Clearly," the teacher remarked, "but that still fails to enlighten me as to why you four are loitering about the hallways some twenty minutes after classes have ended, much less as to why you four felt the need to harass our lead cheerleaders."

A wave of hot anger washed-over the Killer Bambies, though it went unnoticed by Muriel, who's eyes instead trained particularly on Brandy.

"Ms. Woore?" she asked, her voice becoming slightly less dictatorial in accommodation of her addressee's well-known fragility.

"Yes, m'am?" Brandy asked, a slight worry shining in her eyes.

"I'd recommend you cease holding onto Ms. Onzig's arm," Ms. Spencer explained. "Such could be misconstrued as a PDA, and…," the teacher couldn't help a nervous laugh in the face of the notion her words were about to suggest. "Well, we wouldn't want your fellow students to get the wrong idea, as it were."

"No, of course we wouldn't," Sandy's eyes became very dark.

Brandy slowly relinquished her light grip on Sandy's arm, clearly uncomfortable. "Right…"

"Do you ladies realize that your bullying made the poor girls late for pep-rally practice?" Muriel went-on. "I realize you four girls aren't ones to pay any mind towards politics, but Ms. Cindy Elthatcher's father's company had quite the hand in attaching the Healthy Minds section to the Effective Education bill that recently passed, so the last thing her stressed father needs to hear is that his poor daughter is being subjected to brutish treatment here at school. Do I make myself clear?"

"We're sorry, Ms. Spencer," Mandy could hardly bring herself to utter such a statement.

Muriel could only shake her head.

"I'm afraid an apology will not suffice in this instance," she explained. "The only course of action that strikes me as an appropriate one is to have you ladies attend what's left of after-school detention this afternoon."

The Killer Bambies' earlier wave of shared anger was swept-away by another of shock as the ramifications of Ms. Spencer's sentence dawned upon them.

"But Ms. Spencer!" Candy Cane began her fevered plea. "We have to be at the club for our show tonight by eight!"

"Detention ends at six, Ms. Welsh," Ms. Spencer flippantly explained.

"But the club's across town," Sandy picked things up with a less stammerous tone. "We'd have to be at the bus station by six to get there on-time."

"Perhaps you should have thought of that before you girls decided to go about causing trouble," Ms. Spencer emphasized the fact that she was quite done bargaining and arguing by turning around to begin walking. "Come along, ladies."

The band hesitated, staying behind to watch Ms. Spencer march-off towards the detention area. They all leaned towards one another in a sort of huddle.

"What are we gonna do?" Mandy asked, whispering.

"We've gotta think of something!" Brandy helplessly stressed.

"I know, I know!" Candy replied. "Alright, maybe we can-"

"Ladies?" Ms. Spencer called.

The Bambies started on their unenthusiastic trek, following Ms. Spencer to detention, worriment towards their scheduled show later that night aburn in their minds.

"We'll think of something," Candy assuredly whispered. "Nothing's stopping us from getting to that show."

I do hope this chapter was an enjoyable read. I feel I should mention that if you found the politics touched-on in this chapter to be rather… "Americanized", it's because, well, I'm an American, and thus have a largely American perspective on such matters. I did my best to appropriate said politics to the setting, but I'm far from an authority on Canadian politics or current events, so forgive me if things still seem a bit off.