Beauty, brains and brawn. The traditional makeup for any team. Have fun.
There’s hundreds of ways to be a hero. And more than one way to be a heroic team…
Munashe finished the delivery forms for her auction winnings. An entire library of childrens’ books from a now-defunct school. Purchased for a dollar from a government auction because nobody was interested in buying things from a school.
The story books were going to a children’s hospital. The educational stuff was going straight to an indie school in the same area that was doing weekend tutoring for donations.
“Excuse me, miss Castell?” said the clerk. She was a rangy teenager type, still growing into her full dimensions. Gangly, awkward, and probably feeling out of place wherever she went. “How do you do it?”
“How do I do what?” she asked.
“Um. Well. You look so… amazing. But you got everything wrong. I mean. According to all the beauty tips? You’ve gotta straighten, dye, bleach, pluck and lose weight? And you’re not even close to fashionable? But you look… adorable…” She was lost, and terrified, and she knew what she was saying was coming out wrong, and the blush that dominated her face and neck was now threatening to set her ears on fire. “How do you do it?“
“Beauty is more than what the magazines tell us it is.” Munashe tucked a stray Egyptian Twist behind her ear. “Most of it is confidence. Some of it is doing what’s right and the determination to do so. And you need a healthy dollop of ‘fuck the magazines, I do what I want’.”
The “Oh,” that came out of the kid was laden with relief. “But… I don’t even know where to start…”
“Start by finding what makes you feel good. Then move on to what suits you. And if you’re like me and you like clothes that both fit and last? Learn to sew.” She brought out one of the many contact cards in her purse. “Here’s a local place that does lessons for cheap.”
The kid was re-ordering the world inside her head as she took the card. Her narrow world was opening. Good.
Munashe loaded up her minivan with the extras she currently didn’t have a place for and headed for her U-Store shed.
It was looking like a beautiful morning.
Corinna was holding Mimi’s hand as they walked through the shadier side of town. Constantly on guard, even though her wariness was hidden.
“Somewhere here,” murmured Mimi. She had her eyes riveted on her tablet, and only let go of Corinna to tap an interface.
The tinny, find-me jingle of Guy’s phone sounded from an alleyway.
“Hey, ladies,” smoothed one of the local menacers. He was the athletic type who could do no wrong because he had a promising sporting career. “I could convince you to give up the lesbo life if you just give me some of your time.”
And of course Mimi had to open her mouth. “I’m not a lesbian, I’m asexual and I’m autistic. I’m trying to find my friend, leave me alone.”
Corinna winced. “Look. You probably have a busy day of yelling at women ahead of you. How about you pretend that you didn’t see us and then nobody gets hurt.”
“You threatening me, pocket rocket? I could make four of you.”
“You’d better listen to her,” monotoned Mimi, walking into the alley to find the jingling phone. “She can bench-press you.”
“…god damnit, mimi,” Corinna muttered.
The menace laughed, “Shyeah right,” and threw the world’s sloppiest punch.
It probably worked to ‘show’ hundreds of women ‘their place’, but it didn’t work on Corinna. She used her low centre of gravity and knowledge of the collected defensive arts to toss him casually towards the nearest trash pile.
“Listen,” she said. “I’d really hate to give you a broken limb, but if you insist on fighting me, I’m gonna have to do that. Tell you what. You leave now, and I won’t bench you for three months, how’s that?”
He picked himself up from the trash in a roaring rage.
“Try to be nice,” she sighed. She was in a good mood, so the breaks she gave him would not impede his ‘promising career’ for longer than it took to heal. Then she called him an ambulance.
He was still cursing when she ended the call.
“We did warn you,“ said Corinna. “You go ahead and tell your friends that you fell down the stairs. It’ll be our little secret.”
Mimi was down the alley. Rocking herself where angels would fear to tread.
“Jemima Wirth… what now?”
“Phone,” she said, busily oscillating. She was crying.
“I know he promised to keep it with him. Maybe he didn’t have a choice.”
Corinna Dalca dialled up Munashe. “Yeah hi. We got a problem. Some asshole’s kidnapped Guy again.”
“That’s it. I’m getting him tagged,” said Munashe. “Okay. Get Mimi to play Sherlock until I get there. You’re gonna have to play Dolly and Watson.”
Right. Mimi liked alliterative adventure titles. Got it. Corinna worked her way into Mimi’s iron grip. Let the taller girl rock with her until their breathing matched.
“Okay. Sherlock… This is the case of the Purloined Pal. All Sherlock has is this mobile phone and the surroundings it was found in. Extrapolate as much as you can.“
One of the EMT’s came to investigate just as Mimi went into vacant, staring Static Mode.
“She’s okay,” said Corinna. “She’s autistic. This is a meltdown. I’ve got her. She’s going to come back out in five… four… three…”
Mimi snapped aware again. She wasn’t quite Mimi, any more. She was Sherlock. “The trash surrounding this phone has been here for several days, as evidenced by the mould growths. Therefore the phone was tossed down this alley at a vector indicating that our perpetrator was standing in or near the mouth of the alley. If I were to hazard a guess, there were many assailants who took the victim into a van and fled eastwards.”
Mimi stood, Corinna still absently under one arm as she brought up a map on her tablet. “Felons tend to flee in a diagonal pattern, and given the plethora of one-way streets in this neighbourhood, combined with the need for relative privacy and isolation, I would hazard that our best options are here, here, and here.”
The ambulance left, revealing Munashe and the mini van. “I got Vincent, just in case.”
Vincent was the ridiculously purple plush lion that Corinna had won at a carnival some subjective eons ago. Mimi almost literally dropped Corinna and dived into the sanctuary of Munashe’s minivan. In the absence of Guy, Vincent was the next-best security prop.
Corinna took the next seat in the back. At 4′10″, she was frequently cause for pull-overs because officers thought she was too young to ride shotgun. Not that Munashe didn’t get enough trouble for Driving While Black.
It was the most careful chase in the history of crime fighting. Munashe took deliberate pains to obey every single traffic rule, just in case. And even then, there were still three pull-overs because her minivan or herself managed to ‘match a description’ on their blotters.
Yeah. Like many perps used rainbow-painted vans with “FAIRY GODMOTHER FOR HIRE” blaring across the sides.
But it was okay. Munashe always carried a small stash of carrot cake muffins and diet-buster brownies to ensure the good feeling of every policeman she met. The resultant nostalgia was usually enough to allow them on their way.
Mimi, in Sherlock Mode, could pick out signs of use on any abandoned building in short order. Thus accelerating the locating of Guy.
Then they had to get her to be Miles Vorkosigan to come up with a genius strategy for trashing the bad guys.
The local criminal element was eventually going to learn that capturing Guy on the eve of their cunning plans was not going to cripple their team. They had hundreds of work-arounds for Mimi. And thousands of ways to use the city to their advantage.
It was why Mimi kept calling them The Unexpectables. Nobody ever did what the bad guys expected of them.
In short order, the meth ring was foiled and Guy was temporarily freed so that Mimi quickly wrapped around him.
“Now will you say okay to the locator jewellery?“ Mimi pleaded into his chest. Listening to his heartbeat and feeling his chest fuzz always grounded her. “I made it look and act like a sports watch. It’s pretty and everything.”
“I’m sorry,” Guy soothed. Petting her hair. “I thought I had a lead on those gum pops you like.”
“Not important,” said Mimi. “Next time, no surprises. We go together. Rule one: stay close. You promised.”