"You have to believe me!" Techrat whined. "It's
true. Minx saw it to."
"I don't know what I saw," she said, looking away.
"Well, something made you scream."
"Alright!" she snapped. "So we saw something weird. There has to be an explanation!"
"It took off it's head!"
Eric Raymond held up his hand. "You expect me to believe this? Monsters? Come on. You've done good work for me, Techrat. You're a technological mastermind. You understand animatronics. It was a puppet."
Techrat wasn't buying it yet, but Minx grabbed on to that idea
like a life raft. "Yes, it could have been," she said
"I know all about animatronics," Techrat replied hotly, "and those were no puppets."
"They were so!" cried Minx.
Eric nodded. "More than likely."
Techrat threw up his hands. "Believe whatever you want," he said. "I'm outta here."
Minx looked at him. "Wait!"
But he was already out the door.
"Don't worry," Eric reassured her. "He'll be back."
But Minx didn't think so.
"Another," Minx ordered, banging her glass down on
"You've had too many," the bartender behind the counter told her, shaking her head. "Honey, why don't you just go on home? I'll get you a cab."
"I said," she reiterated, "Another. I am paying you, right?"
The bartender sighed and poured another drink for Minx.
"But that's it."
In the club, the music beat on steadily, and lights flashed, and people danced. But Minx stayed at the bar, deftly deflating any would-be suitors with her cutting comments and sharpest, haughtiest accent. Of course, there was one guy that wouldn't go away.
"You're Minx, aren't you?"
"Do I know you?"
"I did not think so. You don't look like the sort of person I'd talk to." And she turned back to her drink.
"Who do you talk to, then?"
She sighed, obviously drunk, her hard talking worn down by the slur in her voice. "No one you'd know."
"Oh, come on, you can tell me."
She stirred her drink absently. "Techrat. He's...a genius."
"Techrat? Doesn't he work for Eric Raymond?"
"Ha. Eric Raymond should be working for him." Her German was coming on strong in her voice, and it decidedly came out heem.
"You really think so?"
"Let me tell you what I think. I think he knows those were no puppets in Underground Music. I think I should have stood by him."
She leaned back on the bar stool and smiled, softly singing. "Stand by your man...."
"So, are you and Techrat romantically involved?"
"You could say that..."
"And what were you doing in Underground Music? What's this about puppets?"
Minx began by telling him about how Techrat opened the sliding door. She finished with, "And then, the monster took OFF his head. And I was very disturbed by this, of course, and I screamed. So Techrat took me out of there. You really should be warned. Something is not right in that place."
She was far too drunk to notice the tape recorder. The usually very sharp Minx even missed the "Cool Trash" insignia on the lighter he used to light his cigarette. She was going to live to regret it.
Sarah Williams arrived in the Los Angeles airport around midnight. Her mother, who was finishing up her latest film in that city, greeted her daughter with arms that were open...and filled with presents. A beautiful dress, a new book, a Jem and the Holograms album, her favorite, and a new cd...Labyrinth, by Jareth Trevale. Sarah was looking at the cds, the Holograms in one hand and Labyrinth in the other. Her eyes flicked over the cover art of Labyrinth. She saw herself, in the long white ballgown, and all her familiar friends on the cover...it was too much. She felt her world go gray and dropped the cds as she fell to the ground, the plastic case of Labyrinth cracking as it slammed into the floor.
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