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Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
Author's note: The inspiration for this piece sparked when I listened to the album fully through. I heard an underlying story within the confusing lyrics of each song. I hope the reader is entertained by the story and sees that life may be tough, but if you stick by the side of people you trust, you can get through it and maybe even enjoy it. There are many references to the lyrics of the songs of My Chemical Romance. The original lyrics can all be found here:
It was always quiet in Oregon. Nothing ever happened simply because there was nothing to do, especially in Fossil. The teenagers had to make their own “fun”. On a quiet Wednesday, in the almost barren basement of Dr. Deathdefy, a clan of teenage boys birthed The Killjoys. The Killjoys were the untouchables of their harsh high school alone, but together they were the most feared and appreciated boys to ever reach the town. As time progressed, other clans tried to challenge The Killjoys in battles. Unfortunately, none could ever come close to reaching their level of skill. Except for The Pigs.
The Pigs were more than rivals to The Killjoys, they were a challenge. They came from the next town over and had talked about destroying The Killjoys for months. The boys decided they would go to the only man they could for help; Dr. D.
Dr. D was the local radio host, but he also knew a thing or two about how to handle a laser gun. The boys spent hours in Dr. D’s basement practicing aiming their laser guns at black and red targets. The basement was gray, as was most of Fossil, but it had a certain homey feel for the boys. Dr. D taught them everything he knew and they built up their skill in the craft until the day came to fight The Pigs. Dr. D handed each of them masks with different names printed on the back.
“These are your identities now,” He said in the strictest voice the boys had ever heard, “wear them proud, and die with your masks on if you’ve got to. Go on, read your names.”
The first boy had bright red long, curly hair. He looked at the back of what appeared to be a simple blue and yellow masquerade mask, “Party Poison?” he read questioning Dr. D’s sanity, “Are you sure about this? It’s kind of…well…not threatening.” Dr. D looked in disgust.
“Am I sure? Listen to me, boy, this is one of the greatest honors you could ever have. Am I sure? You don’t need to be threatening to be tough, boy, you better learn that.” The newly named Party Poison nodded.
Next was a chubby boy with long, slick black hair that hung loosely around his face. Hands shaking, he picked up the neon green Halloween mask. Before reading he looked in horror at Dr. D, then weakly at Party. “F-F-Fun Ghoul.”
“Yes my boy, keep your head on track. If you lose your way, I will know. Fun Ghoul is my favorite.” Dr. D said with a devious wink. Fun Ghoul looked away in fear.
A bushy haired, unruly looking boy anxiously took his mask.
“Ah, Jet Star,” Dr. D said proudly, “You will do great things with this mask, boy. I’m not sure if it can contain your mane, though.” He chuckled and ruffled the boy’s hair.
Finally, the last misfit picked up his helmet. He pushed his bleach blonde hair away from his face to read the bold white lettering on the face protector. “Good luck?” He shot Dr. D a confused look.
Dr. D shook his head “Boy, look on the inside.”
“Oh! Kobra Kid.”
“Some things aren’t always as they appear. Keep that in mind.”
Kobra nodded. The boys all put their masks on and continued to aim at the red targets.
The first battle had gone well. The Killjoys won, though The Pigs put up quite the fight. Laser beams flew, set at a level to stun, but not enough to kill. The boys did as Dr. D said and kept their masks on for the entire fight. They didn’t see why, but Party knew they would find out soon enough.
A week or so after the first fight, the boys were having a usual practice in the chilly basement when Kobra Kid came running down the stairs. Panting like a dog, he tried to explain what he had to say by flailing his arms in the direction of the door located above the stairs.
“Take a breath, man, calm down”
“There’s…..there’s a girl up there.” Kobra tried calming himself down, but something about the word “girl” made him more nervous.
“…Have you never seen one before?” Party asked jokingly. Kobra gave him a shove and the door opened a crack.
“Hello?” A scratchy female voice rang like a church bell down the vacant staircase. The boys all looked at the stairs, at each other, then at various places to sit. They tried to position themselves in the coolest way possible.
“Come,” Party cleared his throat, “Come in” Down the stairs walked a beautiful girl with long, deep purple hair that draped over her shoulder. She was dressed in all black with neon purple shoes. When she reached the last step she looked around with a confused look on her face.
Party and Jet stood up at the same time, exchanged worried glances, and then both sat down. Kobra, somehow pulling himself together, got up and gracefully walked over. Unfortunately, he did not see the rolled up sheet of target paper, slipped, and fell to the hard concrete ground. The girl reached her hand out to help him up and he took it with as much pride as he had left.
“My name is Destroya, pleasure to meet you all.” She gave Kobra a wink.
Fun Ghoul opened his mouth to talk, but the only thing that came out was a squeak quieter than a mouse. Jet Star ended up introducing everyone.
“I’m Star, Jet Star” he said almost laughing at his own reference.
“This is Party Poison, he’s our ‘leader’ and this is Fun Ghoul. He doesn’t talk much” Destroya got an awkward wave from both.
“And this boy here,” Jet gave Kobra a pat on the back, “is Kobra Kid.”
“As I said, nice to meet you all. I see you guys know your way around a laser gun.” She picked one up off the floor and shot the center of the smallest target on the wall. “So do I.”
The boys watched in awe as she took a seat between Kobra Kid and Party on the old couch. They had never been able to reach that target themselves and surely didn’t expect a girl too. This was something new to them. They silently practiced for a few hours until Destroya spoke up.
“Dr. D sent me down if you were wondering. He’s seen what I can do with a laser.”
The boys looked at her intently, wordlessly implying to continue her story.
“I used to fight in a gang like you do. Until I got too attached. My gang turned on me, and I swore I’d never join a group again. I thought that fighting alone would be better than fighting in a pack. That there was no trusting anyone. Then I met Dr. D and he told me about you. He gave me my mask and my name and sent me down here.”
There was a long pause then Party Poison spoke.
“Welcome aboard Destroya.”
From the air vent there was a rustling noise, and a bang.
Laser guns in hand, the five teenagers jumped to their feet and gradually moved toward the vent surrounding it. Party, being the designated leader, was closest to the opening.
“Show yourself!” He screamed. Out fell a small boy around the age of 9. Party rolled his eyes as the rest of the crew looked at the child confused and a bit worried. The child had brown, curly, bushy hair that seemed to add four inches to his height. He was dressed in what looked like a superman costume gone wrong and had a plastic water gun in his hand.
“Go home, Bill, this isn’t a place for you.”
“C’mon Jimmy, you know what I can do with a water gun, lemme try a laser!”
“Jimmy?” Destroya giggled. Party looked in flushed rage at the small boy who just looked back with his big brown eyes. His innocence amused Party and it always has.
“Bill, you really wanna do this don’t you?” Bill nodded swiftly, “Well when you’re 10 years old, I’ll let you join us. Killjoy’s honor.” Party made an ex over his heart. The child sprang up off the floor, ran up the stairs and out the front door out of excitement. Party shrugged. “He’ll forget.”
Well one year went by and as much as Party had hoped Bill forgot, Bill hoped that Party had remembered. On Bill’s tenth birthday, down the stairs of Dr. D’s house he ran, shiny new laser gun in hand. The Killjoys looked at him in awe. They had never seen such a nice gun before. It had the settings clearly written in white on a dial against the pitch black paint.
“Isn’t it great? It’s all I asked for, and it’s all I got. It’ll be an honor to learn how to use it from people as skilled as you.” Bill shook the boys’ hands, and bowed in front of Destroya. She giggled and Kobra shot Bill a deathly glare.
Party sighed, “Welcome aboard little buddy.” He ruffled Bill’s ridiculous curls.
Many months went by for The Killjoys and they hadn’t heard from The Pigs. They thought this meant they were planning something truly devious, so practice times were extended from the usual three to five, to three to seven. They planned attacks, created scenarios, and ate an insane amount of pizza in the chilly basement of Dr. D.
Kobra and Destroya had developed quite the relationship through the practices. The two seemed inseparable which caused jealousy and tension among the rest of the boys. Except Bill of course, since the only woman he claimed he would ever love was his mother. Sometimes Party envied Bill’s innocence.
All was calm, until one snowy day, another female appeared in the doorway of the staircase. She was as pale as a ghost with long, black hair, and black eye liner smudged around her eyes. She was pretty, but not anywhere near the gorgeousness of Destroya, who’s newly pink hair whipped around when this teenager walked in. A silent battle of the minds between the two had begun.
The girl said nothing when she reached the bottom of the stairs. She looked blankly at the crew waiting for someone to approach her. In order to throw her off, Destroya got up first.
“Nice to see another…female in this basement,” She said with a devious grin, “My name is Destroya, and you are?”
“H-He-Helena.” The phantom girl whispered.
“Well, what brings you to our territory?” Destroya had her gun ready behind her back.
The girl said nothing. All she did was reach into her black bag and pull out an old, rusty gun. Helena stared vacantly at Destroya and began to pull the trigger. Kobra jumped up and pushed Helena down. He stood over her, gun in hand, pointed toward her face; the rest of the boys were staring, jaws wide open. Helena had no intention of shooting Destroya, but as she was pushed down she pulled the trigger. There was a smoking hole in the center of the target on the wall behind Destroya.
Helena stood up, smiling widely. She moved the black hair from over her eye and introduced herself to the rest of the boys, winking at Fun Ghoul.
Party took note of the wink. It wasn’t the same kind that Destroya gave Kobra on the first day, it was one that held secrets. One that meant to keep quiet.
Dr. D watched from the crack in the door, and chuckled a little, “Finally, a challenge for them.” He whispered to nobody but himself, “Better start running.”
Helena never talked about her family, her friends, or herself. All she talked about were guns, and The Pigs; plans they were making against The Pigs, where she suspected they would be, and how they should start something on their own this time. The Killjoys agreed with slight suspicion, but at the same time knew they were prepared for anything The Pigs could throw at them.
They decided to run away, and leave the town of Fossil behind to lead The Pigs to new land. They believed it would be more fair than entering The Pigs territory, that way they didn’t have home field advantage.
Jet Star went out and bought a wall-sized map of the US. The Killjoys planned to lead The Pigs to the arid deserts of Arizona. They drew in red marker a path from Fossil to Battery City. They created checkpoints every night where they assumed fights would happen.
Dr. D took the news the hardest.
“You better all come back alive, you hear? That or you die with your masks on. I don’t wanna see em’ unless you’re inside em’ you got it?” They all nodded.
Party was the first to break the awkward silence that followed Dr. D’s statement. “We want you to help us actually. Do you think you could track us and The Pigs?”
Dr. D laughed “Boys…and girls, I’ve been trackin’ you since y’all got those masks. They all have chips in em’, I’ll know where you are. Unfortunately for the ladies, I have no masks for em’. Mind if I put chips in your guns?” They handed him the lasers. Dr. D pulled out what looked like nail polish from his pocket. He unscrewed the top and painted over the side of each gun. “There you go, ladies.” The girls thanked him and allowed Party to continue his speech.
“Could you tell us through the radio where The Pigs are? And let everyone back here know how we are? Our families will already be worried, but we know we can’t bring any valuables besides what we can carry. Jet is bringing a radio.”
Dr. D looked at him with a bit of pride. “Of course boy, I’ll make a code for you to use in case The Pigs are listening. Now go back down for a bit and practice your shooting.”
Down they went, with their bags packed and ready. Each had brought whatever money they could with them for food and other expenses. Each had also brought one valuable thing with them, except Helena. She said there was nothing for her here.
Dr. D slowly crept down the stairs with seven pieces of paper.
“Use this to decode what I say on the radio. I’ve already made sure I can tap into your system so you can hear me no matter where you are. Good luck you fabulous Killjoys”
Out the door they went.
“Look alive, sunshine! 109 in the sky and the pigs won’t quit.” Dr. D’s voice blared through the tiny battery powered radio that Jet Star brought with him. Bill was already awake, but the voice had startled him enough to scream, waking Helena. She left her tent, gun in hand, prepared to defend the camp.
“Stop your screaming you don’t want Ji…Party waking up to that. You know he’ll assume the worst” All Bill could do was nod. It wasn’t easy for him, leaving home at the young age of 10 to fight with The Killjoys, but in his little mind he had to do it. It was what he was born for.
Bill had worshiped The Killjoys since they started back in middle school as the simple neighborhood trouble-makers. He knew that one day, he would play with the big boys. Through careful searching and sneaking, Bill managed to escape his so-called “boring” life to run away with them on their first mission; destroying The Pigs.
Soon everyone was awake and trying to figure out what to do with the day. Bill just sat, waiting for a command from Party or Jet to go get water or something of that nature when something pulled him back. Three men in white suits and masks were on the other side looking at him with guns pointing at the middle of his head. The last thing Bill saw was a green line shooting toward his brain. He had been stunned.
Helena was the first to notice Bill’s disappearance since she was the one sitting next to him. The Killjoys immediately split up. Helena and Fun Ghoul were to stay at camp, in case The Pigs came back. Kobra and Destroya walked around to collect information and footprints if they left any. Jet and Party took the car to try to find Bill. Party got a message from Destroya. It read Footprints into the back, lead to a laser burn in the sand, more footprints, and tire marks. Go down Highway 64 to follow them.
“Drive, Jet, Drive!”Party screamed. “The Pigs won’t quit!”
When they reached the end of the highway, a slick white car was turned horizontally in the road. The three men in masks were there, holding Bill in a chokehold. One man took off his mask as Jet and Party approached. Party quickly hit a red button on his phone, sending Dr. D and the rest of The Killjoys their location.
“The Exterminator.” Jet whispered. The man’s bald head reflected the light from the strong sun.
Party looked up at him. The Exterminator was about to speak when Party held up his gun. “No, no. Let’s do our talking with the laser beams.”
“Have it your way, Poison,” The Exterminator spoke, “but it’s three on two. Aren’t you all about keeping it even?”
As he said that, Destroya, Kobra, Helena, and Fun appeared from behind the car, arms extended, guns pointed toward them.
“Where’d you hear that, Pig?”
“Ha! Two ladies? Oh boy, am I scared.” Exterminator laughed, “Hey pinky, what’s your name? You look too fine to be working in a field like this eh? Why don’t you take a walk on the dark side and put your little gun down. I don’t wanna hurt a beauty like you.”
“Her name is my girlfriend, Pig.” Kobra stepped forward.
“Aw, aint that cute? Baby girl can’t fight for herself.”
Destroya stepped in front of Kobra, whipped her gun behind her head, and shot him right in the chest, stunning him. She walked over and stepped on his stomach.
“Baby boy, I can fight for everyone. And I can do it in heels.” She stepped down harder. The Killjoys watched in awe as she walked back in line with the rest of them. That’s when the real fighting began.
The Killjoys thought Helena shot the man holding Bill to death, but she merely stunned him. Bill was about to get back into Party’s car when The Exterminator, who looked like a zombie just awoken from the dead, grabbed Bill even harder.
“Keep…Running…” The Exterminator said in a raspy tone.
The ride back to the checkpoint was a hard one for The Killjoys. They knew they shouldn’t have just left Bill in the hands of The Pigs, but they also knew they needed to plan a way to get him back in secret. Sitting around a raging fire made by Fun Ghoul they tried to come up with a plan.
“Can’t we just drive in and attack?” Destroya asked after collecting more sticks.
“They know what our car looks like. Besides that’d be too predictable. We need the element of surprise.” Party’s voice was muffled by his hands that were covering his face out of frustration. Suddenly, he jolted his head up, “Someone needs to go alone.”
Confused, The Killjoys exchanged selfish glances, letting Party know he would most-likely be the one to go and save Bill.
“They know we travel in pairs-“
“The buddy system!” Jet took Kobra’s hand and raised it high above their heads. Destroya giggled while Helena rolled her eyes.
“…Right. So, they’re expecting either the buddy system or a group attack. Since you were all so eager to go, I guess I’m going alone.” Party waited for a response, but all he got back were vacant stares.
“We’ll have to disguise the car.” Fun Ghoul spoke for what seemed like the first time.
“Right, can you at least help me with that?” They nodded.
“We’ll help with more than that, I’ll wire you so if you need help we can come as fast as possible. Just make sure you send Dr. D your location right away.” Destroya added.
“Sounds good. Suit me up boys…and girls, I’ve gotta blow a hole in this town.”
“Are you sure this disguise will work?” Helena whined to the rest of The Killjoys.
“It’s all we got, Helena. Now stop being so pessimistic.” Jet gave her a light shove and got a glare in return.
The black and stickered Killjoy car was now covered in sand and desert plants. It was the best they could do considering their current checkpoint and situation. It’s a good thing it was dark.
Party had a backup mask on now; it was a big blue fuzzy bunny with a tube leading from the mouth to the ear like a scuba mask. The crew suspected it was to make breathing easier.
“Are we ready?”
“Ready as we will be” sighed Helena.
Party slid into the car and started the engine. A big puff of sand flew out of the tail pipe right into Jet’s face. A little comic relief was good for Party considering he was extremely nervous to go at this alone. He backed up and pulled out onto the highway and began following the path that Destroya and Kobra drew up while following The Pigs’ tire tracks. This gave Party a little while to think. He thought about the crew and how little he knew about what some of them left behind. He thought about his own home life and his sister and mother at home. He thought about how young Bill is and how he shouldn’t have been put in this situation. Before he could finish contemplating his choices, he was cut off by the stark white car belonging to The Pigs. This time only The Taxman and The Gasman stood outside. He saw two bodies inside the car, one who was clearly The Exterminator and one he couldn’t really make out.
“Back to play, boy?” The Gasman said under his latex clown mask.
“I don’t play, Gas Man, I only win.”
The Pigs laughed as one of the two figures exited the car. The Exterminator laughed even harder when he saw Party standing alone in front of his car, gun pointed forward.
“One on three? With one to dodge? You make me laugh, Poison, you really do.”
“One on one, Pig. You and me, for Bill.”
“None of your little friends gonna come out from the shadows again?”
“Nope. Killjoy’s honor.” Party made an x over his heart with his right hand.
“Alright, boy, I’ll take your word.” The Exterminator replied and shooed The Gasman and The Taxman away with a devious look.
“Line up, Pig.”
And there they stood. The road was empty except for the two men and their cars. The battle started out as a battle of wit. Who would go in which direction? Would they pull the trigger? Are they faking their techniques? These are the questions they had to ask themselves.
The Exterminator was first to fire, and Party was first to dodge. He dodged and dodged each shot until a hit to the chest rendered him discombobulated for a moment.
I’ll tire him out before I start shooting, Party thought. Around and around they went, until The Exterminator was huffing and puffing from exhaustion and frustration. That’s when Party fired. The blow hit The Pig in the left arm, making him drop his gun and fumble a bit. Party grabbed the gun, did some kind of ridiculous flip, and shot The Exterminator in the chest and head, stunning him.
Before he had the chance to move, Party grabbed Bill and threw him in the sand covered car. Party quickly turned the car around leaving The Pigs in the dust. While they were speeding down the highway headed back to the checkpoint Bill turned to Party and asked, “How did you live through that blow? It was directly on your heart and you didn’t drop your gun or anything!”
Party shrugged and replied, “I got a bulletproof heart.”
They were greeted with hugs and cheers when they reached the checkpoint. Helena was the only one who didn’t congratulate them on their victory simply because she had disappeared.
“She said she was going to go get more fire fuel around when you guys left, but she hasn’t come back.” Destroya shrugged with a little bit of happiness.
“Does she have her pager on her?” Party asked with a concerned face.
“Think so. I tracked her footprints though; she’s still alive and moving. No big deal.”
“Alright, well I guess she’ll miss what I wanted to say. I want to talk with you guys. Fun Ghoul, get the fire going again and everyone have a seat around it.” Fun Ghoul nodded and lit the dried plants with a lighter from his back pocket.
“When I was driving alone I had time to think. I don’t know what you all left behind and you don’t know what I did. I was thinking maybe we could build our trust with each other and talk about it.”
“Sharing time?!” Jet said sarcastically.
“I think he has a point,” Kobra admitted, “When you left to go save Bill I was thinking, I don’t know who I would call if you...ya know, didn’t come back. Same with you Bill.”
“I wanna know why each of you left your homes to fight.” Destroya cut in.
Jet rolled his eyes, “It’s none of your business.”
“I guess you won’t be going first then, huh?” Kobra finally gave Jet a shove back.
“…I’ll go.” A small voice said from somewhere over by Party. It was Bill. Party was personally curious as to why a ten year old would leave, as were the rest of the group. “Where I was livin’, my dad wasn’t around. I had to protect my mom, ya know? So I bought a water gun when I was five. I thought it was the best I could do bein’ so small. Then I saw you guys when you were in the seventh grade, runnin’ around, shootin’ things with those lasers. I decided I wanted to be like you, to protect her, my mom that is. So I watched you practice, Dr. D used to let me watch from the vent or the crack in the door, or this hole I made in the wall by one of your targets. I learned from ya. Then on my tenth birthday I went out and got my first laser gun. You all said it was better than yours, but I didn’t believe that. So I guess you could say I left to learn how to use this thing,” He said fumbling around with the gun, “And to prove that I can protect someone. ‘Cause if I can protect one person, I can protect my mom.”
Destroya got up from the comfort of Kobra’s arms and gave Bill the biggest hug she could, “You’re gonna make her proud, boy.” Bill smiled and gave her a hug in return. She went back to her original seat. She was the only one to comment on Bill’s story, the rest of the boys were just staring at the ground. Even Jet had shut up long enough to let it effect him.
“I guess I’ll go next.” Destroya said, breaking the silence, “I left behind a loving family. They were all brought up the way they raised me…or at least that’s what they said. My dad used to tell me that I was exactly like my mom when she was younger. She fought in groups and shot better than most of the boys around. Only thing with that is, she was just as aggressive. Even with my brother and I. We learned quick that if we ever did anything wrong, she’d get us. And she’d get us good,” Destroya laughed nervously, “She said that if we ever did anything wrong, we couldn’t be trusted and that was the greatest sin. My brother went a separate route than the rest of us and decided to join the army. He told me that it was the only way mom would keep him around. I was little, so I didn’t really understand, but now I do. I never realized that the way my mom treated me was wrong, because I grew up with it I guess. I don’t know. It hit me not too long before I met you all. I needed to get out of there before I turned into what she was; someone who was tough. Too tough. Someone who couldn’t trust anyone; and I didn’t want to end up like that. I’ve had groups turn on me, yeah, but I never even thought about not trusting everyone. So I guess you could say I left behind what I didn’t want to become.”
She looked up at Kobra. He looked down and smiled, “You can trust me, Killjoy’s honor.” And he made an x over his heart with his right hand.
“Awwwwww.” Jet cut in to their moment and everyone erupted with laughter. “Kobra, why don’t you go, try to follow your girlfriend.” Jet said with a wink.
“Alright. I didn’t leave anything behind though, that’s why I left. There was nothing there for me back in Fossil. All I was good at was being in The Killjoys. My family probably didn’t even notice I left, and all my friends are here. Everything that mattered was leaving so, why stay? Plus I wanna take down those dirty Pigs.” Kobra looked down at Destroya, “No reason to stay when all you need is leaving.”
“I’m going to throw up on the two of you.” Jet said yet again, cutting into Kobra and Destroya’s moment and again, everyone laughed.
“Jet why don’t you go.” Kobra said with a push.
“Alright, alright, I know all of you are just dying to hear my mushy gushy story.” He cleared his throat, “Well, kind of the same reason Kobra left. This is what I’m good at. School isn’t my thing, I don’t like authority that much, and I know how to shoot a gun. Plus it’d make my dad proud. He told me to learn from him before he passed,” Party looked down yet again. He remembered when Jet’s dad died. He remembered how torn up Jet was about it and how he started snapping at people and getting into fights. Jet interrupted Party’s memories, “He was in the army for a while when I was younger. He taught me everything I know about my gun. He said that I can bomb school and drop out as long as I do something productive and to him that meant working with a gun. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot.” The Killjoys started applauding and cheering for Jet as he stood up and took a bow.
“Hey Fun, what’d you leave for?” Bill asked.
“I-I-I left,” Fun nervously began, “I left because I had to. I’m…quiet and rather awkward. I kind of want to get out of that. I thought maybe leaving the discomfort of our high school would help. I left my mom behind, that’s all. I hope she knows I’m alright, that’s all. I want to come back and tell her, ‘Mother, I’ve grown up. It’s time I do things my way’, but I guess you could say as of now, I don’t have the guts.” The Killjoys were silent. They knew that Fun Ghoul was a mama’s boy and that he was quiet, but they always thought that was just his way. They never thought he wanted to change.
“Uh, Party I guess it’s your turn.” Fun Ghoul said quickly, breaking the silence.
“I guess so. Well, when I was a young boy, my father took me into the city to see a marching band. He said, ‘Son when you grow up, will you be the savior of the broken, the beaten, and the damned?’”Party took a deep breath, “He said, ‘Will you defeat them, your demons and all the non-believers, the plans that they have made? Because one day I'll leave you a phantom to lead you in the summer, to join The Black Parade.’ Then my mom died from cancer. He told me she was my phantom and that she would lead me to join this Black Parade. The Black Parade was to my dad what The Killjoys are to me. They were his group of ‘unsung heroes’ who would fight for what they believed was right. He told me that we’d carry on. Though she was gone, we’d carry on. That’s why I left, to carry on my parents’ memories.” Party sighed, “Sometimes I get the feeling she’s watching over me. That she’s looking down going, ‘good job, now try this challenge.’ And seeing if I can succeed. I know my dad’s back at home, watching TV or something, hopefully silently wishing me luck when we fight. I left to do what my dad told me to, for my mom.” They Killjoys silently waited while Party sniffled a bit. Then Destroya got up and hugged him, followed by Bill and the rest of the Killjoys. They now knew that they could trust each other. They understood each other better now, and they knew it would make their fighting stronger.
After the crying and hugging ended, Party declared that they would enter town tomorrow and try to convince the people of Battery City that the only way to survive was to stay away from The Pigs and join the Killjoys.
“Tomorrow, we sing for the ones who hate our guts.” Party said.
“Are you sure about this?” Destroya’s voice was muffled from inside the tent.
“I’m sure. We need something to get the people’s attention.” Party yelled back. The rest of The Killjoys were waiting outside for Destroya to emerge from the safety of her tent.
“Then have Helena do it!”
“You know nobody’s seen her, just come on! Kobra’s okay with it.”
“I’m sure he is!”
Kobra walked over and knocked on the tent. Destroya screamed, thinking someone was unzipping it from the outside. He jumped and went back to wait with the rest of the guys.
“Okay, I’m coming out now, nobody laugh at me!” The guys chuckled. Laughing at her would not be an option, and that humored them. Out walked Destroya, dressed in tight black jeans and a black corset. Her now blue hair matched perfectly with her high blue boots. “..Well?”
All she got in response were open mouthed stares and a few mumbles.
“Clean up the drool from your shoes so we can get this over with.”
She stomped her way over to the car. The boys rotated, but stayed in the same general position.
“Move!” She screamed. They ran around in circles, bumping into each other until they awkwardly reached the car. Destroya rolled her eyes and jumped in. Party pulled out of the checkpoint, leaving nothing behind beside a note written in code in case Helena returned and wondered where they went. They stopped in the center of Battery City.
The Killjoys got out and began to set up. There was a general hum of excitement and nerves running through every one of them. Destroya sat in the car waiting to make her entrance. Even before Party began speaking they had a decent sized crowd. Kobra had his guitar plugged into an amp and Party was testing the mic. Out of the corner of her eye Destroya saw someone, something, move behind the closest building. She stared the corner down until she convinced herself it was her imagination, and continued to get ready.
“Ladies and gentlemen may I have your attention please!” Party’s voice rang through the battery powered amp Jet brought with him, “Tonight, for your entertainment and information, we have the great, the wonderful, the fabulous Killjoys!” The crowd cheered. The knot in Destroya’s stomach tightened. Kobra began playing the introduction to her favorite song. That was her cue.
BANG! “Ladies and gentlemen, truth is now acceptable. Fame is now inject able, process the progress!” The smoke cleared and revealed Destroya singing on the roof of the car. Her heels were leaving dents in the roof, but she didn’t care. She was off in her own world, singing and dancing, taking the energy from the crowd and giving it right back.
“I'm unbelievable, yeah, I'm undefeatable, yeah. Let’s ruin everything, blast it to the back ro-“ Suddenly her natural high ended. She collapsed off the car. The last thing she could hear was the screaming of innocent partygoers and the pounding of feet, some running towards her and some running away. Then, she blacked out.
“Wha-Whe-Where am I?”
“You’re safe now, you’re with me.”
“Who…Who are you?”
“It’s Kobra. You remember me right, baby?”
“Nu-No. Why are you calling me baby?”
Kobra looked down at Destroya with tear filled eyes, “Because…” He looked up at Party for help. Party just shook his head, signaling that jogging her memory would not take effect right away.
“Well, it’s a long story. Let’s start with where you are, yeah? You’re in Battery City with The Killjoys. We fight against The Pigs. You were up on that car over there,” Kobra pointed to the laser burned car with the hand that wasn’t supporting Destroya’s head, “You were singing and dancing and trying to get people to help us and give us money. One of The Pigs snuck into the crowd and shot you in the head. It obviously wasn’t enough to kill you, but it was enough to rid you of your memory for a while. “ Destroya looked at him, puzzled.
“I know you’re not gonna remember right away, but I’ll answer all the questions you have.”
“Good, I have one.”
“Who’s he?” She pointed to Party.
“That’s Party. He’s the leader of our misfit set.”
“Well his hair is weird.”
“Darling, you have blue hair. I wouldn’t talk too much about weird hair.”
She sat up and took her hair in her hands. She looked at it in horror then broke down in a mess of hysteria. Kobra took her in his arms. He was sad himself. Partially because she couldn’t remember who he was, but mostly because he couldn’t do anything to help her.
“Don’t worry, everything’s going to be okay. You’ll remember soon enough. Until then, we’ll make them pay. We’ll fight for you.”
Party didn’t sleep at all that night. Jet and Kobra went out to go track The Pigs down and they hadn’t returned yet. The digital clock on the radio read 5:59 which meant Dr. D would be giving the morning report soon. Party hoped there would be good news, that they found The Pigs and were fighting all night or that they were on their way home. Anything but bad news.
“Bad news from the zones tumbleweeds,” of course, Party thought, “it looks like Jet Star and the Kobra Kid had a clash with an Exterminator that went all Costa Rica and uh, got themselves ghosted, dusted out on Route Guano.” Party turned the radio off. He didn’t want to hear any more.
Luckily nobody was awake yet, giving him some time to think. How would he tell everyone? How would he explain to Destroya who everyone was? How would she take it when…or if she got her memory back? How would Bill react? Where was Helena during all of this?
Before he had a chance to work out any answers, he heard the swift zip of a tent zipper and the rustling of nylon fabric. Out came Destroya, hair a mess, looking like she hadn’t slept a wink. She stretched and sat next to Party.
“You look upset,” she said in an observant voice, “what’s wrong?”
“We uh, lost some of the crew. They’ve been dusted,” Party paused and looked at Destroya, “It means they’ve been taken to The Pigs.”
“I know, you probably don’t understand. It was Jet Star and Kobra Kid. I’m not sure what will happen to them. They could be tortured, brainwashed, stunned, or even…Let’s not go there. You would’ve liked Kobra. He was always nice to you. You guys set the bar on what a teenage couple should be. Who knows what will happen to him now. We’ll plan our attack once everyone’s awake.” Party had been staring at the dirty, sandy floor too long to realize Destroya was crying.
When he looked up, he looked in shock.
“Party, I remember.”
The rest of that day was a waste. Trying to comfort Destroya was near impossible, with getting her memory back and realizing one of the reasons she left was taken. She went through the three stages: Sadness, Denial, and Anger.
“We have to fight for them. Now.” She screamed.
“We will. You are in no condition to fight. Dr. D said to sit the next move out.”
“I’m not sitting anything out. I’m fighting and you can’t stop me.”
“Oh yes I can.” Party tried to grab her gun away. They began a game of tug-of-war when Destroya let go, sending Party flying into the dirt.
“Don’t make me fight you on it.” She said quietly. That’s when he knew she was serious. Destroya was a lot of things, but quiet wasn’t one of them. He could remember how she waltzed down the stairs and introduced herself. She was nothing like Helena, who still hadn’t been seen since they moved checkpoints.
There was a long awkward pause and then Bill spoke, “You really shouldn’t fight. I don’t want you to forget us again.”
Destroya looked at him in shock. She hadn’t expected him to care that much. She smiled and gave him a hug, “I won’t ever forget you guys. No matter how many times I get stunned.”
Party smiled and they began to plan their attack.
They knew they had to move quickly and quietly if they wanted to pounce on The Pigs. Destroya would be their distraction yet again, only this time she would be disguised. Her hair was up and her makeup was off. She planned to knock on their door and ask them if they had a phone she could use. If she walked in, it was safe for Party, Bill, and Fun Ghoul to enter. Then they would climb through the windows of their hideout and hide in the closet, shower, and under the bed. When The Pigs came in to discuss the girl at the door, they would attack. Destroya was to stay downstairs and keep The Exterminator busy.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. The sound of Destroya’s boney fist hitting the door startled The Pigs. She heard a bit of mumbling and shuffling and a tall man answered the door.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes, actually, do you have a phone? My car just broke down like three miles back and you were the first place with lights on.” She twirled her hair like an unintelligent school girl.
“Sure, sweetheart, let me just tell the guys we have a visitor.” If his raspy voice didn’t make him sleazy enough, the wink at the end of that statement did.
When Destroya walked in she was surprised to see another female sitting on the couch. She had short blonde hair that outlined her face. There was something familiar about her, but Destroya assumed she had seen her through the mask in one of the battles. She waved sweetly to the other two men sitting, drinks in hand, focused on the television. They looked up at her and their eyes widened. The girl rolled her eyes and Destroya realized where she had seen her from.
Meanwhile, upstairs the remaining Killjoys were scaling the side of the building and climbing through the window. Gun in hand, Party checked the surroundings. All he found were the masks and a few dollars that he put in his pocket. He turned to Bill and said, “Don’t always follow this example, but that was to add insult to injury.” Bill laughed and assumed his position under the bed. Party went into the closet. Fun Ghoul cautiously went into the shower and closed the curtain.
It seemed like they were waiting for hours until someone opened the main door. Everyone jolted up. There were two men in the room. They waited to hear what they were saying.
“Dude, did you see the chick that came in?”
“Aw yeah, maybe we can get her to fight. Kelly might want some company.”
They have a girl too? Party thought. He assumed she was for their entertainment and backup if they needed it.
“You know Kelly hates other girls. We should just keep her as a hostage instead right” The men started laughing. Party send around the green pager signal meaning now and they busted out of their hiding spots.
“Wha-What?!” The two men were confused as anything.
“Where are Jet and Kobra?” Party had the gun set on a much higher setting this time and it was pointed straight at one of the men’s chest.
“We don’t know, we don’t know!” The man shook his head in fright, “The Exterminator knows that.”
“And where is The Exterminator?”
“Downstairs.” The man said with a bit of a smirk. Party tilted his head toward the door, signaling Fun Ghoul to go. Party stayed pointing the gun at the man’s chest. Bill took Fun Ghoul’s position and did the same.
One of the men moved a bit.
“You know both of us aren’t afraid to pull this trigger back. You also know what setting we have the guns on. I don’t suggest moving” The men put their hands up and moved against the nearest wall.
Panting and running, Fun Ghoul reached the bottom of the stairs. In the kitchen stood Destroya and The Exterminator. He had her pinned to a wall with his arm. She was trying to reach for her gun, but that only resulted in him pushing harder. He had the gun set to stun at her head yet again. Without thought Fun Ghoul aimed and fired. The Exterminator fell to the floor and Destroya tried to get her breath back.
“You…Stunned him…Good” She breathed.
Fun Ghoul shook his head.
“He’s ghosted now.” Destroya looked at Fun Ghoul with her mouth open wide.
At the ZAP of the laser gun, Party and Bill left the two frightened men and ran downstairs. When they saw what happened, they began to praise Fun Ghoul. He smiled proudly and thanked them all. It was the most Destroya had ever heard him talk.
“Wait-“Bill cut in, “Did he say where Kobra and Jet were?”
Party smacked himself in the head. He thought he was stupid for not telling Fun to make sure he got the information.
Destroya looked up, “I asked him before he choked me. He said something about a Scarecrow?”
“Did he write in anywhere?” Party asked.
“Maybe, I think it’s on the table there, but I couldn’t see.”
Party ran over to the dingy white plastic table.
“Exactly what I thought. Everyone get in the car.”
Bill looked at the paper. It said S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W/ across the top and had a picture of a field. It looked like it was in the middle of nowhere, but Bill assumed Party knew where he was going. Just in case, Bill put the paper in his pocket as they made their way to the car.
They all piled in and Party began driving faster than any of them had ever seen.
“Where exactly are we going?” Destroya screamed over the loud noise of the wind.
“It’s an empty field. Nothing anywhere near it. It’s basically hidden. I assume The Pigs brought them there to let them starve to death or kill each other out of starvation. It’s said to make people go crazy, lose their mind and their morals. That’s why we need to move fast and get them out of there.”
Destroya nodded her head in a conflicted manner. She was excited to see Kobra after what seemed like forever, but she was worried he had lost his mind.
“He better remember me.” She whispered to herself, and they drove on the highway into the sunrise.
When they finally reached the field, it looked completely deserted. Destroya was worried that they were too late.
“JET. KOOOOOBRA. JEEEEEEEEET.” The Killjoys screamed. They walked around screaming until they heard a muffled response.
Destroya had a sudden burst of energy, “KOBRA? JET?” a louder muffled mumbling. “GUYS? HELLO?” even louder. They were walking and shouting through the high grass when SPLAT. Destroya tripped over Jet’s unconscious body and into Kobra’s lap.
“Hello.” He said smiling. She hugged him so tight Bill had to ask if his eyes were going to pop out. They were all too focused on Jet Star to laugh at Bill’s innocence.
“Jet? You there buddy?” Party was slapping his face around.
“I’ve been trying that for hours, nothing.” Said Kobra.
“Let me at it, I have an idea.” Destroya said. She stood up and played around with her gun’s dial. She aimed it, and fired straight in the center of his head. He jolted up.
“What was that for?” Jet said rubbing his forehead.
“For making me trip over your unconscious body, idiot.” Destroya replied, kicking him.
“What happened, Jet?” Party asked.
“Well, me and Kobra here decided to go hunt down The Pigs, but on the way we noticed a car following us. We turned around ready to fight, but some chick came out and stunned us pretty bad. Kobra woke up first and well, you guys know what happened from there.”
“A chick?” Party asked.
As if on cue, Helena emerged from the shadows of the grass. She looked like her usual self, except much more tired.
“Where did you go for so long?” Party asked immediately.
“I was doing more tracking.” She replied in her usual monotone voice.
“Tell someone next ti-“
“I know who that girl was.” She cut in
“Oh? Who then?”
She silently lifted up her finger and pointed at Destroya.
“Wha-How?” Party asked.
“While you were all asleep. She didn’t remember who you were and she thought you were enemies getting away. She brought you to The Pigs, which if you ask me means she has some kind of relationship with them. I saw her with The Exterminator too. They were quite….friendly.”
Kobra stared at her. Destroya stood up and grabbed Kobra’s hand. She pulled him over to the side silently, away from everyone else, while Helena told the rest of her story.
“You know she’s lying right?”
“I-I’m not sure. What she’s saying seems very possible.” He said without any emotion.
“It’s not. I was in the tent. Party was there; ask him.”
“Party was in your tent?”
“No, no he was awake the entire night, though….I think…”
“Get your story straight.”
“I wouldn’t do that Kobra, you know that. I saw the girl she’s talking about when I was with The Exterminator-“
“So you were with him? Where were you with him, huh? His house?”
Destroya looked down.
Kobra raised his voice, “I guess there’s some for the enemy, huh?”
“No, ask Party, ask Fun Ghoul, and anybody! Anybody but Helena. She wasn’t even here!” Destroya’s eyes were pouring tears as she screamed. Everyone else came over, and they didn’t look happy.
“From what Helena’s saying, we have a traitor on our hands.”
Destroya put her hood up and faced Helena who had a devious smile hidden by her hair.
“Why would you do that to us? What about Kobra? What about being loyal? All that stuff you said about your past was a lie then? Everything you said was a lie? How could you?” Everyone was screaming at her. Hurtful words, questions she could not answer, and under it all a light cackle from Helena.
“What were you thinking?”
Destroya reached into her pocket.
“What were you thinking, Destroya?”
She grabbed her gun.
“Huh Destroya? Destroya? Destroya? Destroya?”
All sound stopped.
Destroya stood like a statue for a while, staring at Helena’s body.
“So long and goodnight.” She whispered to the lifeless being.
The Killjoys had never been so shocked.
“She was a Pig. The blonde haired girl.”
“What proof do you have?” Party asked.
Destroya walked over to Helena and ripped the black hair off her head revealing a short blonde bob. “There’s my proof.” Destroya said.
“Why kill her though?”
“Because she was the one who shot me and who took Jet and Kobra. I had a bad feeling about her from day one so I asked Dr. D to send me her location using the tracking paint from her gun. When she was ‘tracking’ The Pigs she was telling them our location. She was always there, in the bushes, in the alleys, behind everything so she knew our every move. She thought that when she shot me, I’d forget everything and become useless. So she went after Jet and Kobra. I got my memory back while she took you, so I knew how to fight by the time we got to her. She was the unidentifiable figure Party couldn’t see in the car. The Exterminator and she had a relationship, and they set out to ruin mine,” Destroya turned to Kobra, “I hope they didn’t succeed.” He shook his head wordlessly letting her know everything was okay. “Anyway, she was on the couch when I walked in to The Pig’s checkpoint. I wasn’t sure it was her at first, but she rolled her eyes in the same way she does, well…did when Jet made a joke. I knew I had to kill her, but I had to play dumb first.”
“I-I-I’m sorry I doubted you, Destroya” Party said, still a little shocked.
“Me too.” “Yeah, same here” Bill and Jet said.
Kobra stood up and kissed her right in front of everyone.
“Aw c’mon guys, I just got woken up by a laser beam, didn’t need anything else bugging me.” Jet stated, ruining the moment yet again. They all laughed.
The Killjoys put red flowers they found in the forest in Helena’s hands.
“So long and goodnight,” They said, “So long and goodnight.”
Fun Ghoul stood silently staring at the body. He pressed a pink button in his phone, then ran to catch up with the group.
“That’ll be the last of em’!” Jet shouted.
“Yup, after this, there will be no more Pigs.”
“…What will we do then?” Bill asked sadly
Party shrugged, “We’ll find something.”
“Alright, this is the last time I’m dressing up as the distraction.” Destroya said from inside the tent.
“Better make it count then, huh?” Jet said jokingly. Destroya kicked the side of the tent she thought Jet was closest to. She laughed, then strutted out of the tent. Her hair was now bright green and she was dressed in a tight black and green body suit. Her boots matched her hair yet again. The boys whistled and whooped at her, but she didn’t care. She was comfortable with them now. They were her family.
She did a catwalk around them a few times then casually slid into the car. The boys had their masks ready, just as they had every other time, but this time they put them on with pride. They would be heroes after today.
“Are you ready, Bill?”
“How about you, Kobra?”
“Aw I’m there baby.”
“How ‘bout you, Party?”
“Well I think I’m alright…..1 2 3 4!”
The Killjoys ran out of the car into the center of town. Kobra, Jet and Destroya were playing yet again, but the crowd was even bigger. There was a collection bucket in front of them for those who wanted to tip them.
Party, Bill, and Fun Ghoul were out searching for the remainder of The Pigs. Sure enough, at the end of the road there they were. Their car was parked horizontal, as usual, and The Gasman and The Taxman were waiting in front, guns ready.
“The kids don't care if you're all right honey, pills don't help but it sure is funny. Gimmie, gimmie some of that Vampire Money c'mon!”
Destroya was singing in the background.
Party didn’t know if The Gasman or The Taxman begged for mercy. He and Bill shot them point blank in the head. Both fell dead in less than a minute. Pretty sure of themselves, they began to walk back to the concert when Fun Ghoul grabbed Party’s shoulder.
“What is it?” Party screamed over the music.
Fun Ghoul picked up his gun and aimed it right between Party’s eyes.
“What are you doing?!” Party was frozen in shock.
“Ain’t it always the quiet ones?” Fun Ghoul said with a smirk.
“I don’t understand, you killed The Exterminator. Why would you do that if you’re a Pig?”
“He was holding me back. A lot like you do, Party. Time for that to end.”
Bill walked out from behind the car. Fun Ghoul’s body fell face first onto the dirty ground.
“Did you just-“
“Nope. I did just stun him like he and Helena stunned Destroya though. He won’t remember anything. He won’t wake up until we’re home either. We’ll bring him to Dr. D.”
Party nodded. He picked up Fun Ghoul’s body and plopped it in the back of the car. Destroya finished her song and took a bow. The crowd roared in happiness and she thanked them. She took the collection bucket and brought it to the car. Kobra and Jet threw their amps, drums, and guitars, into the trunk and hopped in. Once everyone was safely inside they turned on the radio.
The familiar voice of Dr. D blared through the speakers, “Alright, children, the lights are out and the party's over. It's time for me, Doctor D to start running and say goodbye for a little while. And I know you're gonna miss me so I'll leave you with this; you know that big ball of radiation we call the sun? Well it'll burst you into flames if you stay in one place too long. That is, if the static don't get you first. So remember even if you're dusted, you may be gone, but out here in the desert your shadow lives on without you. This is Dr. Deathdefy, signing off.”
The Killjoys smiled. They won. The Pigs were gone and the nation was safe from their terror. The next question was, what would they do now? They’d all grown so close to each other. If they split up, it’d be like splitting up a family. Most of the drive home was spent singing, laughing, eating, or sleeping, but a small portion was spent thinking.
At a rest stop, Bill sat on the hood of the car with Party. Everyone else was asleep in the back.
“Are you glad I came, Party?”
“Of course I am.”
“I remember when you didn’t want me here.”
“I was afraid, Bill.”
“Afraid of what?”
“You losing yourself out here, but you stayed true, little buddy. You and I are a lot alike.”
Party messed up Bill’s unruly curls.
“What’s gonna happen to The Killjoys when we get home, Party?”
“Well, we are the kids from yesterday, no matter what.”
Bill smiled. He didn’t understand what that meant, but he figured it was something good.
“Get to sleep. Tomorrow we take the last of all the rides we take from this mission.”
“Alright, Goodnight Party!”
Party looked up at the sky, “Went through it all, the rise and fall, the bodies in the streets. And since you're gone we want you all to know; we'll carry on, we'll carry on. And though you're dead and gone, believe me, your memory will carry on, will carry on.” He whispered to nobody, but himself.
When Dr. D asked Party how it felt to be a hero he replied simply with this: “I'm just a man, I'm not a hero. Just a boy who wants to sing his song, Just a man….I'm not a hero.” He had done what he wanted to do, he let his family memory carry on.
When Dr. D asked Destroya what it was like to find people she could trust she said “I don't believe in luck, they don't believe in us, but I believe we're the enemy” She meant she doesn’t believe she was lucky, and that others don’t believe in the trust they have, but she believes that there is always an enemy. She’s done what she wanted to do though, she learned how to love. She loved Kobra and the rest of The Killjoys in a way her mother could never have taught her.
When Dr. D asked Bill how he would protect his mom he replied with “For my security. to every enemy. We're on your property, standing in a V-formation.” By this he means for the security of him and everyone he loves, and as a warning to every enemy he has, he’s one step ahead. He already knows what kind of protection to use and what he’s up against. He’s grown up.
When Dr. D finally asked Jet about what he was going to say to his family when he got home, he said he’s going to sit them down and tell them this: “Well if you wanted honesty, that's all you had to say. I never want to let you down or have you go, ‘It's better off this way.’ For all the dirty looks, the photographs your boyfriend took, remember when you broke your foot from jumping out the second floor? I'm okay, now. But you really need to listen to me because I'm telling you the truth, I mean this, I'm okay! Trust me, I'm not okay.” He wants his family to realize that letting him go off on his own isn’t a good idea. When Jet’s dad died his mom started dating again and that left him even more alone than before. He wants them to notice he’s not okay anymore.
When Dr. D asked Kobra how he and Destroya were he said: “I've got a bulletproof heart. She’s got a hollow point smile. Me and her runaway scars, got a photograph dream on the getaway mile.” He explained that nothing effected him about the rumors Helena started, his heart was against it. He can tell by her face if she’s lying. When Helena told him, he didn’t allow himself to truly believe it and from that, they have a memory of it scared into them. A good memory though, with a perfect dream that was fulfilled for both of them.
Fun Ghoul didn’t remember a thing about The Pigs. He only remembered The Killjoys. Dr. D had done his job. Dr. D was getting him back to health for a while after they returned.
When The Killjoys asked Dr. D how things were while they were gone, he told them everything was different. There was less excitement in the already lifeless town of Fossil, Oregon. He said the families tuned in every night and figured out the codes. The only time anyone ever worried was when Kobra and Jet got dusted. As much as they denied it, The Killjoys were heroes and without them, The Pigs would have taken over. They truly were the fabulous Killjoys.