Rain is pouring down heavily as thunder and lightning dance across the sky.
The masked man carries the unconscious woman back to the car and lays her down in the back seat. He drives into an old junkyard, removes the vehicle’s license plate, and cuts it into several smaller pieces. He uses a forklift to carry the stolen car to the crusher, where he smashes the vehicle down. He carries the woman off through the rain.
Tish is on her computer, drawing some composite sketches for what she hopes will become her dream video game. “This looks perfect,” she says as she mentally pats herself on the back. “Super Duper Tish with Super Duper Fists of Steel!” she says. “It’s a perfect marketing plan for my game.”
Her phone rings.
“Hello?” she answers.
“Are you sleeping at your boss’s house again?” Jake asks.
“I’m at home.”
“I just wanted to be sure you were safe.”
“My brother is here.”
Jake says, “I just want you to be careful. The suspect saw your face. See if you can change some of your appearance just to be safe.”
“You don’t need to worry about me,” Tish says.
“Tell your brother I said thanks for helping Sarah today.”
Tish sticks her tongue out at the phone. “Tell him yourself.”
“Did I do something to piss you off?”
Tish begins to get annoyed, “I have feelings too, you know! I’m very capable of having my feelings hurt and being insulted.”
“As your friend, Tish, I am just trying to keep you safe. I may come across as harsh, but it’s for your protection,” Jake tells her.
“Stop! Just stop!” Tish yells into the phone. “I’m hanging up!” She disconnects the call as Jake looks at his phone, very confused.
Tish sets her phone on her desk, “It’s the first time I ever hung up on Jake,” she thinks to herself. “My super strength isn’t the only thing I’m having a hard time controlling these days.”
A tear rolls down her cheek as she sits there at her desk when her phone lights up again. This time the Caller ID says “Asshole Boss.”
She lets out a heavy sigh. This is not what she needs right now.
“Is your headache okay?” Eric asks.
“It was okay, but it’s coming back now that you’ve called me,” Tish says.
“Really now?” Eric says.
“What do you need?” Tish asks.
Eric sits on his couch, “I am curious. Just how strong are you?”
Tish loses it. “Is this why you’re calling me at this hour of the night, intruding into my private time?”
“I’m just curious!” says Eric in his defense.
Tish clenches her fist, “How’s your toe?”
Eric looks down at his foot, “Not good at all. I think it hurts worse at night. I can only imagine how poor Rob feels if this tiny fracture hurts this much.”
Tish grits her teeth, “You want to know how strong I am? I have no idea what I’d do if I got pissed off! If you continue to call me at this hour of the night with your petty nonsense, you may find out for real! I don’t know which part of your body I’ll stomp on next!”
“Are you threatening me?” asks Eric.
“Of course not!” shouts Tish. “How could someone as lowly as me ever dare to threaten you, SIR?!”
Jake gets to his feet, “Can you crush a giant boulder open with your head?”
Tish is beyond exasperated. “I guess you’ll find out when I give you a headbutt tomorrow!” She puts the phone in front of her as her voice gets even louder, “Let’s both find out if your head shatters into pieces! GOODBYE!” She hangs up the phone.
At the same time, they both say, “What a psycho!”
Jake and Sarah are at their desks the next morning, going over camera footage when the Chief comes in. “There was another kidnapping last night. I need everyone on this now. I’ve requested all of the CCTV footage from that neighborhood.
“That same neighborhood,” asks Jake.
“The same one. I don’t like this one bit.”
Sarah shakes her head, “We have a murder and two kidnappings. Why start with a murder?”
Jake shakes his head, “The murder could have been an accident, or worse yet, he could already have murdered the other two, and we just haven’t found them.”
“Let’s not think like that. Let’s assume we have two living females that have been kidnapped. In episode 13 of Season 7 of Law and Order: SVU called ‘Blast,’ a young woman is kidnapped.”
Sarah looks up, “Wasn’t that girl a teenager?”
The chief points at her, “Let’s not get drawn in by semantics. Get on that footage, and let’s find this asshole! Any word from forensics?”
Jake shakes his head, “They said they’d have something for us this afternoon.
Tish walks into Eric’s home with her tablet, “On your schedule, there’s an entry that just has the letter “P” on it. What exactly does that mean?” she asks him.
Eric is sitting on his couch. He waves her over, “Come here.”
She points to the doorway, “Aren’t you going back to the hospital?”
“I said, come here.”
“Okay,” she says, starting to get a little annoyed. She walks over.
Eric leans up, “The “P” on my schedule stands for pri-v-ate.” He annunciates the word very annoyingly.
Tish just stares at him, unamused.
Eric scratches his head, “I see. That may be too big of a word for you.”
“I know what ‘private’ means. What I’m asking is why over seventy-five percent of your schedule is private time?”
“Simple,” Eric says, “I prefer to enjoy my days. I work when I need to, and the rest of the time, I’m enjoying myself. I am living my dream. It’s that awesome?”
Tish nods her head, “Awesome,” she says with a touch of sarcasm.
“Regarding the motorcycle, I made a couple of phone calls and used the universal language,” he says to her.
Eric holds up his hand and rubs his fingers together, “Money. Everyone understands money.”
“So, you found it?”
“No. Not yet.”
Changing the subject, Eric says, “I’m hungry. Make me something to eat, okay?”
“Am I your maid now?”
Eric leans over and points to his foot, “Do you know how much it hurts between my metatarsal and phalanges because you fractured my foot?”
Tish grits her teeth together.
Surprised, Eric looks at her, “Are you getting annoyed with me? I’m the victim here.” He rises from his seat and then puts on quite the show of being in pain.”
Tish rolls her eyes, “Fine. Just sit down before you sprain something else. I’ll go make you some food.”
Tish walks into the kitchen. That metal straw is still stuck through the counter where she jammed it the day prior. She reaches for it to pull it out when Eric screams, “Leave that there!” he demands! “Don’t touch it! Back off!”
Tish slowly eases away from it, turns to the fridge, and starts pulling out some food, including some apples. She digs through a cupboard and pulls out a pitcher. She washes each apple and then holds the apple over the pitcher, and squeezes the juice with her bare hands right out of the apple.
She fills a couple of glasses and walks into the other room, “Here. Drink this,” she says.
He sits up, and takes the glass, then looks around. “I said I wanted food.”
Tish holds up a finger, “An apple for breakfast is as good as medicine,” she says. “Drink it.”
Jake takes a drink. He seems to enjoy it as he takes a second drink. “Very nice. Now bring me food.”
Tish looks at him.
“Bring me food! Food!” he demands!
A little while later, he walks into the dining room, and Tish has made quite a spread. Fried eggs and sausage, waffles, cut fruit, a glass of milk. Eric watches it as he slowly takes a seat and says under his breath, “Just like mom used to make.”
He dishes his plate and begins to eat as his eyes start to tear up.
“This is really good.”
Meanwhile, Tish is out in the car on the phone, “No. That’s why I came outside! I don’t even want to see his face!” she complains. “I mean, he hired me as a bodyguard, so I should just be a bodyguard, right? But he just makes me do whatever!”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Calm down, Tish!” says Jessie on the other end. “To be fair, you did break his foot, so you shouldn’t complain.”
“Don’t you take his side!” Tish says, “He believes the world revolves completely around him! No. No. He thinks the universe revolves around him! He gave me this walkie talkie for whatever reason!” She says, waving the gadget around. “I didn’t agree to work at this company to cook meals!”
Suddenly, said walkie talking squawks, “Tish! I’m done eating. It was perfect. I had two servings. I need to go. Come help me walk.”
Tish makes an angry face, “Yes, boss. I’ll be right there.”
As we go inside, it seems that Eric has a camera installed in his car. We see Tish having that same conversation with Jessie on his computer screen.
Tish squeals when she walks in and sees herself talking shit about Eric on the phone. She rushes over and tries to turn it all off, “Don’t watch this! How do I turn it off? Tell me you didn’t hear all of that!”
Eric stands up, “So this is what humans are like, hm?”
Tish looks at him, “What is all of this?”
Eric turns and faces her, “If you’re going to talk shit about me, at least do it where I can’t hear it.” He points his finger at her, “I believe you’ve breached your contract.”
Tish shakes her head, “I did not.” She starts to back away from him.
Eric follows, “And I quote, ‘the contractee shall not do anything slanderous against the contractor’ end quote.”
Tish stops walking, “I didn’t say anything defamatory. I didn’t call you a jackass, bastard, pervert, or a psycho. Everything I said was the truth.”
Eric points his finger at her, “It was your tone that was slanderous!”
Tish blinks, “A tone isn’t slanderous.”
“We shall see about that. I have plenty planned for today. I hope you are prepared.”
“Let’s go,” she says and starts walking on.
“Hey!” Tish stops and turns to him as he yells, “Aren’t you going to help me walk?”
Tish smirks at him, “You were walking just fine a minute ago,” but she walks over and assists him anyway.
A little later, Eric is riding his little motorboard, while Tish runs to keep up with him. She appears to be out of breath. Eric spins around to face her, “I guess running isn’t one of your powers.”
“It sure is inconvenient to have fractured my toe,” he says, spinning back around and moving forward.
Tish tries to follow but then just flops on the ground, “I’m so tired. I can’t run anymore.”
Eric turns around, “Hey…”
“I can barely breathe,” she says. She leans over like she might hurl, “I’m gonna be sick…”
Eric scoffs at her, “Ridiculous.”
Suddenly, someone begins shooting at them. Eric hops off his motorboard and grabs Tish by the hand, and they hide behind a tree, “He has a gun,” Eric screams.
We see someone on a nearby rooftop, dressed all in black, taking shots at them with a rifle. The shooter takes one final shot, and this time it’s all in slow motion. We see it’s not a bullet, but a pellet that flies through the air and goes right into Eric’s upper arm. Eric falls to the ground, and Tish moves over him, “Are you alright?” she asks. She looks back and sees the shooter fled.
She scoops Eric up with ease in her arms and carries him along the sidewalk. Everyone watches and gets out of her way, but mostly they are in shock that she can carry him. She throws him unceremoniously into the back seat of the car, and he bumps his head on the car door. “Ow!” he screams. “You did that on purpose!”
“I did not!” she cries out. “Is your arm okay?” she asks.
He grabs his head in his hands, “My head hurts more. I feel like I’m going to die. Am I alive?”
Tish gives him a comforting pat, “You’re alive and well. Don’t worry. I’m taking you right now to the hospital!”
“Let’s just go home.”
“I can’t do that! You got shot!” she screams out.
Jake just lies there, “It was a pellet.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re bleeding. I’m taking you to the hospital.”
Jake finally sits up, “It’s not like people go to the hospital every time they bleed. My arm doesn’t even hurt. I think you split my head in two.”
“Your head?” Tish asks. She holds two fingers and waves them around in front of his eyes, “How many fingers am I holding up?”
Jake says, “Two.”
Tish nods, “In my experience, people don’t break their skulls so easily.”
She slams the door, and gets in the car, and drives off in a hurry.
At Eric’s house, Tish is opening a bottle of water. “In my opinion, you need some fluids–”
“Don’t talk to me,” Eric sulks.
She hands him the bottle, “Replenish your fluids.”
He gives her a look, then reluctantly takes the bottle and drinks from it. Tish grabs some stuff and begins to disinfect the wound on his arm, and we can now see that the pellet just grazed the skin.
When she applies the disinfectant, he sucks in his breath.
“Just bear it,” she says.
He starts to watch her as she touches the medicine to the cut and blows on it. She lifts her eyes to look at him, and he turns away.
“This makes no sense,” he suddenly says.
She finishes and puts the medicine on the table, “Of course not. Why would someone shoot someone with pellets?”
Eric looks at her, “That’s not what I mean. It makes no sense that a woman carries a man in her arms when he weighs almost 200 pounds and ran all the way. Right? Just how strong are you?”
She glares at him as he brings this up again.
“Now that I think about it,” he continues, “There are a lot of peculiar things about you. When I first met you, you sent those thugs flying with a single punch. You broke Assistant Rob’s tailbone, and he’s a former marine, I might add. He’s so embarrassed. But the strangest thing of all was you picking me up and running.”
Tish may or may not be listening as she bandages the wound.
Eric eyeballs her, “What in the world are you?”
“Well,” she starts to answer.
“Do you take some sort of drug?” he asks. “Or is it crazier than that?”
Tish looks at him as if daring her to ask that question.
Eric asks it anyway, “Are you an alien?”
“Or some product of scientific experimentation?”
“Just stop,” Tish says. “That’s not the important thing right now. You’re lucky he was shooting pellets. What if he shot actual bullets at you?”
Eric grins, “Aww. Looks at you worrying about me.”
“I am your bodyguard, am I not? I should worry about you. It’s part of my job,” she says. She starts picking up all the stuff she used to clean his wounds when he snaps at her.
“That’s why I told you to protect me! You didn’t do a very good job considering I got shot.” His phone rings, and he grabs it and limps away from her to answer while she glances up at him with a glare.
“How does it feel to have been shot?” says the distorted voice on the phone. “Next time, I won’t use pellets.”
“Who are you?” Eric asks. “Just tell me what you want, you son of a bitch!”
“It’s simple. Tell your father you won’t accept his company as an inheritance. Do this, or I will destroy your company, and I will continue to torment you.”
Jake spits into the phone, “You must think you’re awful scary, threatening to destroy the company I built. Do your best.”
The person on the other end hangs up.
Tish watches him and then rises onto her feet and walks over, “Is everything alright?”
Eric looks pretty shaken up as he turns to her, “Let’s talk about this later. I’m done with you for today. Go on home.”
Tish shakes her head, “I can stay and protect you.”
“No need,” says Eric. “I want to be alone right now.”
Tish hasn’t seen him like this before, “Will you be okay by yourself?”
Eric waves her off, “You don’t need to worry about it. I have something I need to take care of.” Eric walks off.
She watches him leave and asks herself, “What’s with him?” She walks out of the home, talking to herself, “He’s so inconsistent. Doing whatever he damn well pleases. Before he was all ‘I don’t want to be alone,’ and told me to stay with him!”
Sarah is waiting at a diner when Parish walks in. She lifts her hand to get his attention, and he walks to her table.
“Jake’s not here?” he asks as he takes a seat across from her.
Sarah shakes her head, “It’s just me today,” she says.
Parish nods, “I see.”
“Thanks to you, I have my surgery scheduled for my kidney,” she says.
Parish nods, “Well, you’re in good hands. My boss will do a good job for you.” He gets the attention of a waiter who brings a couple of menus. He looks at Sarah, “Let me order. I know what’s best at this place.”
She smiles and nods, “Sure.”
After he places the order, the waiter walks off, and Sarah says to him, “I’ve heard so much about you. Jake said the two of you were rivals in high school.”
Parish chuckles, looking a little embarrassed since it was so long ago. “He said that, did he? I am sure I shouldn’t say too much about this, considering he’s your boyfriend.”
Sarah laughs, “No, please. Tell me everything!”
Parish considers for a moment, then says, “Rivals is a bit strong of a word. I’ve known him since grade school. If you want the truth, I pretty much raised him into who he is now. To be fair, he was way below me in school. How dare he say that he was my rival!” He said in jest.
“You’re funny, Parish,” Sarah laughs at him.
He looks at her with straight eyes, “You must think I’m joking. I’m not.”
Tish walks out of a clothing shop with a bag of clothing when her phone rings.
“Hello?” she asks. “Where are you punks now?”
Soon, she is standing in front of Mikey and his crew. “Hey!”
They all shout, “Yes, ma’am!”
“Did you pick up all the garbage?” she asks.
They all drop to their knees in respect. “Please accept us as your disciples!” yells Mikey. “Be our true leader, and we will do whatever you ask of us!”
Tish rolls her eyes, unamused.
“We see that we have chosen the wrong path and want you to teach us your ways!”
Tish is starting to realize they are serious when a soccer ball hits the back of her legs. This does not amuse her either.
Someone yells, “Hey! Ball!”
Mikey and his crew get to their feet, “You little–”
“Give us back the ball!”
Tish holds up her hand to Mikey, and they step back. She turns to face the teenager trying to give her orders, and she points down to the ball. “This one?”
She gives him a fake smile and nods, “Sure.” She pulls back her leg and kicks that ball, which soars out of the park and out of sight as Mikey, and his crew all freak out at this.
Tish starts to walk off as the crew of teenagers begin to bow before her.
Jessie is visiting again, laying down on Tish’s bed as Tish walks into the room just as her phone begins to ring. She sees it’s Jake and is still annoyed at the conversation from last night. “Hello?”
“It’s me. Where are you?” asks Jake.
“Come outside. I’ll be right there,” he says.
Jessie turns from her book, “Who was that?”
“Jake. He said he’s coming over.”
Sitting out on the porch, Jake is playing a recording of a suspect to her since she said she heard his voice.
“Is this the voice you heard?”
She thinks about it for a moment, then shakes her head. “It’s not the person.”
Jake nods, “It’s the victim’s fiance, but I wanted to be sure.”
“I hope you can catch that guy,” says Tish.
Jake looks over at her, “You just be careful out there. There are so many guys out there who’ll target a weak girl like you.”
Tish has to bite her tongue, but she nods. “I will. You go catch that guy.”
Tish asks, “How are things going with you and Sarah?”
“Good. She’s going to have to have surgery soon because of her kidney, but things are well.”
“I see,” she says.
“How are you? Are things going well?” Jake asks.
“Hm?” Tish seems surprised by the question. “What do you mean?”
“With your new job.”
“Oh, well, it’s whatever,” Tish responds.
Jake stands up, “I’ll head out. You should go inside.”
Tish stands too, “Are you going back to work?”
Jake nods, “Yeah. We gotta catch this guy before someone else gets hurt.” Jake starts walking down the stairs back to his car.
“Jake,” Tish stops him. “Be careful out there. I would hate it if something happened to my friend.”
“You just go inside where it’s safe,” he says as he gets into his car. Tish waves as he drives off.
Tish lingers on the porch, slowly realizing that Jake will probably never be hers. She turns and heads inside, moping a little.
Jessie is in the kitchen and sees her, “God, you’re always so moody after seeing Jake.”
Tish changes the subject, “Want to go see a movie? I’m depressed.”
“Sure! It’ll be the last showing, so it’ll probably be almost empty inside. Let’s do it!” says Jessie.
Parish walks into the house, just coming home from work. “I’m home,” he says as he walks into the kitchen.
Tish looks up at him, “Parish. Did you meet with Sarah today?”
Parish nods as he grabs a bottle of water from the fridge, “Yeah, this afternoon.”
Tish nods. Jessie looks up at Parish, “Hey, Parish! Tish and I are going to a late movie. Wanna come?”
“What’s the movie?”
Eric is sitting at home, deep in thought as he drinks a beer. He slams the beer down on the coffee table and grabs his phone, leaping up from his couch.
“Hey, Eric,” asks Feather as she picks up her phone. “What’s up?”
“I need your help,” he says to her.
“Did something happen?” she asks.
Eric walks over to stare out the window, “I’ve been receiving some threats for a while now. Someone tried to shoot me with a pellet gun earlier. It’s crazy. It doesn’t seem like a joke either.”
Feather is quiet for a moment, “What sort of crazy person would do that?”
“I’m trying to find that out. I have a feeling it’s one of the brothers.”
“Are you sure?” asks Feather.
“He demanded that I refuse to take over the company from father. It has to be one of them.”
Feather asks, “Is there anything I can do?”
Eric responds with, “Help me find out who’s behind this.”
“What do you need?”
Eric is deadly serious when he answers, “Tell them that when I catch them, I’ll kill them. I’m not the same man they used to bully as children.”
Jessie is looking over the movie schedule on her phone, “So, 9:40, 10:40, or 11. Which one?”
Tish is eating some chips, still looking sad. “Whatever you want. Just pick something.”
“Fine,” says Jessie.
Tish gets a text from Eric, “What are you doing?” he asks.
“We’re going to a movie,” she types back.
“Who’s we?” he asks.
“Me, and a friend,” she responds.
“Let me come too!”
“Sheesh, this guy,” Tish says aloud. “He’s just gonna invite himself?”
“Who is it?” asks Jessie.
“What did he say,” Jessie asks.
Tish smirks, “He wants to come to see the movie with us.”
Jessie looks at her, “Really? Tell him to come!”
“No!” whines Tish.
“Why not?” asks Jessie.
Tish glares at her, “He’s a crazy bastard.”
Jessie shrugs, “So? Invite him to come.”
Tish looks at her phone and goes, “Oh, wow.”
Tish tilts her phone down so Jessie can read Eric’s next text.
“I’ll pay for everything. How many are coming?”
“Come on, Tish! Just tell him to come,” Jessie seems to get excited about seeing a movie for free.
Tish is also tempted as she bites her tongue and then types a response.
A few moments later, Tish, Jessie, and Parish walk down the steps from their home to the sidewalk, not realizing that sitting in a car not too far, watching them is Kal and his sidekick.
“I think they’re going somewhere,” says the sidekick.
Kal can see that. “Where do you think they’re going?”
The sidekick starts to answer, then realizes, “I’m not sure, sir.”
Kal already knew that as he gives his man a sideways glance, “Follow them. Don’t let them see us following them.” Kal reaches to pull his seatbelt on as the sidekick slowly drives.
At the movies, Tish seems to be in tears as she watches the screen. This would be strange, considering the film appears to be an action movie with lots of fighting. Jessie sits next to her with her mouth wide open as she watches the screen. Suddenly, Tish begins to sob as Jessie slowly turns her head to her friend.
Eric is looking over at her like she’s crazy.
Several rows behind them, Kal and his sidekick are watching. The sidekick leans over, “Is this scene supposed to be sad?” Kal just looks at him, so the sidekick leans back in his chair.
Jessie is trying to console her friend as Kal nudges the sidekick to check out what’s going on. The sidekick creeps out of his chair and slowly heads towards Tish.
Tish sobs, “Superhero movies are the saddest type of movies in the whole world! I wish they’d stop making them,” she thinks to herself.
Tish is drying her eyes in the restroom, having somewhat composed herself while the others wait in the lobby for her. “Oh, you’re back,” says Parish. Eric looks at Tish like she’s crazy. Tish just glares back at him.
“Oh, my sister always cries during superhero movies,” he explains. Jessie nods, having gone through this before with Tish. Parish continued, “She cried during “The Hulk,” “The Avengers,” and “Spider-man.”
Eric stands there for a moment before asking, “Um, why? Is it sad that the Hulk rips his pants? Or perhaps that Spider-man can’t breathe through his mask?”
Tish glares at him, biting her tongue.
“You’re sure strange,” Eric says. “Sometimes amazing, but mostly strange.”
Jessie pipes in, “Let’s go to the club!”
Eric snaps his fingers, “Let’s go! I’ll pay!”
That cheers up Tish as she grins, and they all walk off.
A little while later, they walk into a club as Kal and his sidekick watch from their car.
The sidekick decides to mention, “Now they’re going into a club,” even though Kal just watched them go into a club.
“Looks like she’s having a blast if you ask me,” says Kal. “She seems to have a cheerful disposition.”
“Except when she cried during the movie.”
Kal nods his head slowly, deep in thought, “Yes, she seems to have an emotional side to her as well. Let’s go. I need to eat,” says Kal.
The sidekick looks over, “Where to? The club?”
Kal looks at him like he’s stupid, “Do you go to a club to eat?”
“But I think one of the guys she was with was Eric Aames of Aamessoft.”
After getting a few drinks in her, Tish is all about the party, encouraging everyone else to drink with her as they are up high above the dance floor at a table. Jessie and Tish are pouring drinks for everyone. They all clink their glasses and down the liquor in short fashion.
“Tish,” warns Parish, “Don’t drink too much.”
Jessie chimes in with, “Let’s go dance!”
Tish raises her arms in the air, “I’m in. Let’s go!”
Parish tries to stop her, but the two head down to the dance floor. The two grab a stage with a pole and begin to dance to the electronic music as it plays in the background, and those on the floor cheer them on as Eric and Parish watch from the upper level.
“I think your sister is completely hammered,” says Eric.
Parish nods, “She a lightweight, for sure. She’s not supposed to drink.”
Eric nods, “She’s weird enough when she’s sober.”
Parish looks at Eric. That wasn’t quite what he was going for.
As the girls dance, Eric finds himself watching Tish now as she moves against the post with Jessie. She’s having the time of her life, which is something Eric hasn’t seen from her before. Suddenly, Tish points off in one direction, hops down from the stage, and starts walking.
The boys perk up. “Where’s she going?” asks Eric.
Tish approaches one of the poles on the floor. She brushes her hair back and grabs onto the bar. However, she uses too much force, and the pole breaks away from the floor and the ceiling.
The music stops.
“What’s going on?” she asks as she walks around with the pole, and everyone scatters out of her way. The pole falls back a little, and she’s carrying it over her shoulder, and everyone ducks as she swings it around.
Eric watches, eyes wide.
Someone starts to record it on their phone as Parish jumps out of his seat and rushes down.
Tish is still trying to figure out what’s wrong as she spins around in a circle, causing those around her to have to duck. Parish finally reaches her, and Tish looks at him with drunken eyes, “This pole came loose. Can you fix it?”
Eric just watches in astonishment.
The next morning, Tish wakes up. Jessie’s leg is draped over her, so Tish pushes her off and climbs out of bed, rubbing her throat. She stumbles into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water from the fridge as she makes a few unintelligible sounds.
Parish walks in, “Now, you’ve done it.”
Tish groans, “Why are you talking so loud?”
“Do you even remember last night?”
Tish scratches her head, “What did I do last night? I watched a movie. I went to a club.” Her words are coming slower as she speaks, and things start to become more apparent to her. “I danced at the club.”
Suddenly, like a movie, the scenes from the night before flash across her brain.
“Your boss brought us home last night. Do you remember what you did then?” Parish asks.
Tish’s mouth drops open, “What did I do? Did I throw up?”
Parish smirks, “It would have been better if you had.”
Tish’s eyes go wide, “Did I hit him?”
Parish looks at her, “It would have been better if you beat him to a pulp!”
Tish pleads, “What did I do?”
The night before.
Everyone helps Tish into the house as she can barely stand. “Why is the ground shaking?” she asks.
Tish plops down onto a couch, but when she looks up, she sees Eric. “You!” she slurs. She gets up and walks to him. “Everyone. This guy is a total jerk.” She reaches up and grabs each cheek in hand and gives them a stretch. She lets go as Parish and Jessie run over to stop her.
Jessie apologizes, “She’s a little feisty when she’s drunk.”
“Hey!” shouts Tish. She walks up to him and grabs him by the jacket, “If you don’t stop being a jerk,” she says, making a fist. “I’ll have to kill you.”
The others pull her back again, “Whoa! No talk of killing,” says Parish. “Jessie, help me get her to her room.”
Tish pushes her brother down and turns back to Eric, “Stop being an asshole, you hear me? If you don’t, I’ll make your butt disappear off your body!” Eric reaches behind him to shield his butt.
“Tish, we should get you upstairs,” Parish says.
“But, he’s such a damn jerk!” she screams. “One of these days, he’s going to go too far, and I’m just going to get rid of him. This guy. This guy right here! And heroically return to the life of unemployment!” She spreads her arms wide at the end and falls back into Jessie’s arms.
“Let’s get her upstairs.”
Eric looks very uncomfortable.
Tish whines as it all starts to come back to her.
Parish nods. “You might have to beg him not to fire you.”
Tish plops down into a kitchen chair and lays her head on the table.
Jake rushes into the squad room, “Chief! There’s another missing persons report. A 32-year-old woman who runs a ballet school is missing.”
Sarah rushes in after him, “Forensics is back. The shoe print we found at the scene comes from a limited edition shoe.”
The chief rises from his chair, “Fits the pattern—skinny young woman, which seems to be his type. We have no evidence. Go look into it.”
Down in the masked man’s hideout, the newly snatched woman is lying on the bed in the center. She is handcuffed as the woman before her was, hands overhead, and feet at the foot of the bed.
The man walks to the foot of the bed and stares down at her. As she slowly comes to, she sees the man in the mask, and she begins to scream.
The first woman has been put into a cage, and she rushes to the bars when she hears the scream. She brings her hand to her mouth.
The woman on the bed screams for her life as the masked man just stalks around her.
“Somebody help me!” she screams as the man picks up a syringe and bends over her.
She sees the needle and begs him, but he goes ahead and injects her with whatever the yellow substance is in the syringe. She quickly falls asleep.
“My second bride,” he says to her, “You have to get well quickly.”
Sometime later, the second woman is in a cage next to the first. The first woman is shoveling food into her mouth, while the second woman screams to be released.
Tish is brushing her teeth, having this inner monologue in her brain.
“One, I could bring him a note from a psychiatrist and tell him I go crazy once in a while because I have mental issues. Perhaps, I’ll get some sympathy points, and I won’t get fired. Or, I could just go in as if nothing at all happened. Third, tell him he remembers everything wrong because he was also drunk.”
Eric is in his bathroom, brushing his teeth. He recalls the events of the previous night and chuckles to himself. “Oh, Tish.” He reaches for his phone and dials her number.
Tish hears the phone and starts to panic as she picks it up. She takes a deep breath. “You got this,” she says to herself as she answers, putting a big smile on her face, “Hello, boss,” she says. “Did you sleep well?”
“I did,” Eric says. “And you?”
“Who cares how someone as insignificant as I slept?”
Eric smirks, “What are you talking about?”
Tish decides to resort to begging, “Please give me one more chance…”
“Did you have breakfast?” Eric interrupts.
“I’m going into work late today.”
“Oh,” she says, “Okay.”
“I’ll see you there,” Eric says. “Have some breakfast, and take your time coming in. I’ll be in after I’m finished at the gym, so there’s no need for you to come in early.”
Tish looks like she’s in shock. “Um. Okay.”
As she hangs up, she thinks to herself, “Is this what it feels like when you didn’t do your homework, but your teacher is out sick? And why does his voice sound so pleasant and sweet this morning? He’s not too bad of a boss.”
Eric chuckles, “She’s cute. She’s gonna make my butt disappear from my body. She’s something else. Bizarre but sexy.”
Jessie is checking her face in the mirror, “Tish. I don’t think your boss is that bad of a guy.”
Tish, still beaming, turns to her friend, “How dare you say rude things about my boss. He’s an amazing guy with a tremendous personality.”
Jessie looks at her through the mirror, “Last night, you were calling him all sorts of names and threatening to kill him. What happened?”
Tish explains, “When a person is in charge of running such a large company, they can go off the deep end sometimes.”
Jessie finally turns to face Tish, “You told him he was full of shit.” Tish’s mouth pops open as Jessie continues. “You also said he dresses like some courtesan’s brother who’s gone insane.”
Tish waves a finger back and forth, “No, no, my friend. He has an exceptional fashion sense., and now, I’m off to work. I’ll see you tonight!”
Jessie watches her leave. “That girl is out of her mind.”
Tish leaves a convenience store with some stuff to eat for breakfast, and she bumps into a man. He doesn’t look her in the face but says, “I’m sorry.”
Tish takes two steps and stops walking as a look comes over her face.
She remembers when she bumped into the doctor at the hospital, and he said he was sorry.
It was the same voice.
She quickly turns around and starts back the way she came. But now she had one more piece of information about him.
His smell. He smells of rusted metal and gasoline.
Not seeing him, she gets on the bus, and as it moves down the road, she spots a guy harassing a young lady.
Tish glares at him, and he gives her a look. One that says, ‘what are you gonna do about it?’
Tish thinks to herself, “What kind of place would this be if I used my powers properly?”
When she gets off the subway, she pauses and looks back. Then she walks on.
Inside the subway car, folks are gathered around the man who’s thrashing around on the floor, screaming his head off. We see his finger has been bent all the way back as he holds onto his hand and wails.
Tish walks into Aamessoft and pauses in front of a tapestry of the female hero in “Cross To Bear.” Her name is Athena.
Tish thinks to herself, “If a female hero like her existed in real life…” she stands there gawking at the warrior on the wall.
Eric sees her and walks over behind her, leaning down and whispering in her ear. “Make sure a bug doesn’t fly into your mouth.”
Tish jumps at the sound of his voice.
“Did you eat?” he asks.
She shakes her head.
“Come with me.”
Soon they are eating a meal in the cafeteria. He notices her tracker on her arm, “What’s that?”
Tish looks at it and smiles wide, “Oh, this? It’s a “wear-robo?”
Eric just looks at her, not having a clue what she means, but it eventually figures out, “Wearable?”
Tish laughs, “That’s right. Wearable. Jake gave it to me.” She rubs it against her cheek. “All that’s matters is that it was a gift from Jake.”
Eric doesn’t look amused.
“I can use it to call him if I’m ever in danger,” Tish continues.
“Considering you’re supposed to be my bodyguard, I hope there’s never a reason for you to use that,” Eric says.
Tish looks at him, “What?”
Eric doesn’t answer.
“But you know, I almost pressed the button on this today,” she explains. “I was walking in and bumped into a guy who had the same voice as the guy in the hospital.”
This gets Eric’s attention, “Where?”
“In my neighborhood,” says Tish. “Near the subway station.”
Eric looks concerned, “What about their face?”
Tish shakes her head, “I didn’t see their face. By the time I realized it may have been the same voice, they were gone.”
Eric leans back in his booth, “I wonder if we should even be sticking together if we both have a target on our backs. Perhaps, I need to hire someone to protect us both!”
Tish wags a finger in the air, “Don’t you worry about a thing. I’ll protect you no matter what, boss.”
Eric tries not to smile as Tish is so very sweet to him. He takes a drink of water and then asks, “You say that you’ll protect me, but then you spoke to me in such a harsh manner last night.”
Tish is about to take a bite of food but freezes.
“Do you remember all those terrible things you said about me?”
Eric points a finger, “Don’t you ever drink alcohol again.”
Tish purses her lips together.
Eric continues, “Assistant Rob is being discharged today, and he’s coming right back to work.”
Tish seems happy about that. “So, where will I sit if he’s coming back to his office?”
Eric seems confused, “You realize you were never my secretary, right? Just my bodyguard.”
Tish looks embarrassed to have forgotten, “Oh, right.”
Eric grins, “I have prepared the perfect spot for you. Considering how magnanimous I am.”
“Ta-da!” Eric points to a small child’s desk in the corner of his office. “You can do all your work from here.” He reaches for a book, “I bought you an English book so you can study some English terms like ‘stock-options’ and ‘wearable.’”
Tish’s happiness has dropped to a new low as she just stares at him, straight-faced, but that changes when Eric adds, “We are working on the second to “Cross to Bear.” Tish’s eyes light up. “I have to come to work every day until we launch,” he says.
“So, about the new game. I would love to work on it.” she starts to ask.
“You would?” he grins as she nods her head several times. “Not a chance,” he disappoints her. “A promise is a promise. First, we catch the guy tormenting me.” He points over to her desk, “Go sit over there, and guard me while I work. I even got you a computer.”
Tish glares at him before turning on her heels and slowly walking to her new desk.
Parish is at the hospital, taking a break on his phone, when his eyes go wide.
On his phone is a video of Tish at the club, pulling the pole down, and swinging it around drunkenly.
Eric is having a meeting in his office when Tish’s phone rings. She ducks underneath her desk to answer. “I’m at work right now. What do you want?” she whispers into the phone.
“Well, now you’ve done it,” he exclaims.
“What are you talking about?” she whispers.
“You haven’t seen the video?”
She looks confused, “What video?”
Parish says, “Search ‘pole-dancing drunk girl,’ and you’ll see it for yourself.” He hangs up.
Tish looks at her phone, “What’s his problem?” She pulls up a search browser and types it in. When the video pops up on her phone, she gasps loudly, and her hand goes up to cover her mouth as she stares at the phone. Tish drops her phone on the carpet and covers her head with her hands, “Why me?”
Eric’s meeting is wrapping up. As everyone leaves, he looks up and sees her desk empty. “Where did she go?” He stands up, “Tish? Are you here?” He walks around his desk and towards the door, thinking she had left, “I asked her to sit quietly, and guard me, and she couldn’t…” he stops as he sees her crouched under her desk.
Tish has picked up her phone, and she’s looking at it. “What are you doing there?” Eric asks. She whips her head towards him then looks away, trying to hide behind her phone.
“Excuse me?” he asks as he walks over to her. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing,” she whines from behind her phone. He takes it from her and sees the video on the phone. “Don’t look at it. It’s embarrassing!”
He bends down, “Looks like you’ve become quite a celebrity,” he says, teasing her. “Can I get your autograph?”
She ignores his jab, “What am I going to do?”
“This video will be around the world by the end of the day.”
She snatches her phone back and pulls her chair in front of her, blocking her under the desk, “Just leave me alone,” she whines.
“You look familiar,” Eric teases her some more. “Aren’t you the swinging pole girl?”
Parish and Eric aren’t the only locals to have seen her video, as Mikey and his crew are having a good time watching it as well. Someone says, “Isn’t that our new boss?”
Mikey looks again, “What? It is!! Oh my god, I hit like by accident!”
At the hospital, one of Edgar’s boys also finds the video.
“Boss! Boss!” he runs over and puts the phone in front of Edgar’s face. “She took the pole straight off!”
Edgar looks at it, “She did this to all of us, and she’s out there having a grand time! I’ll get her!” he begins to scream.
Eric is back over at his desk, while Tish is still under hers, talking to her brother. “I didn’t know they’d be recording!”
There’s a knock on the door, and Assistant Rob gingerly walks into the office, “I’m back!”
“Rob!” Eric says as he stands up. “How are you feeling?”
“I’ll be fine before too long,” Rob says as he has to bend down to walk.
“You’ve been through the wringer,” says Eric. He walks over and hugs Rob, patting him on the back, which causes Rob to scream out in pain.
“Oh, sorry!” says Eric. “But you’re back at work. You should have taken some more time off.”
Rob hasn’t seen Tish yet. “I couldn’t do that with the new game coming out. Did you know, there’s a guy in the hospital who got almost all of his teeth knocked out by Tish Weatherspere?”
Tish looks up.
“She hits him twice, and now he can’t even speak properly,” Rob continues. “That whole gang got wrecked by her. She broke arms, ankles, and ribs! How is that even possible? How could a woman be so stupidly strong, and, well, what I mean to say is how could she have such incredible strength?” Rob is on a roll now, “Did you know there are a ton of crazy rumors going around about her? I heard that she’s a CIA agent, trained to kill. Or that she’s an alien.”
Eric tries to point to where Tish is hiding, but Rob isn’t paying any attention. “You should keep your distance from her if you ask me…”
Tish rises up from under her desk, and Rob turns his head to see her. He stops speaking entirely. In fact, he freezes in that position as he stares at her. Tish, on the other hand, is just looking very sad as she stands there.
Rob slowly turns his head to Eric with a look on his face that says, “What have I done? What do I do now? Don’t let her kill me.”
Eric apparently doesn’t catch that look as he turns to Tish, “How about you transfer all of Rob’s work back to him now that he’s back. You two go on out and take care of that. Right.”
Rob’s look changes to, “How can you betray me like that?” while Tish just sadly says, “Okay.”
Rob looks from Tish to Eric, looking scared to death. “Yes, sir,” he whimpers out.
Tish slowly rises from her chair and walks towards Rob. She goes to help him, but the moment she even touches him, he begins to freak out, so she pulls back her hands. She just sadly motions to the door, “Let’s go then,” and walks out.
Rob looks like a sad little puppy at Eric. Eric just nods for him to leave. Rob begins to whimper as he turns to follow Tish, perhaps to his own demise.
Eric watches them leave and then picks up his cell phone. “It’s Eric Aames. I’m good., and you? The reason I called is there’s an issue with your portal site. I need you to remove a video from your site for me.”
Jake is quietly scanning through CCTV video recordings of the areas surrounding the kidnappings. Jake’s phone rings. “Hello?”
“It’s Eric Aames.”
“Did Tish tell you about how she ran into the kidnapper on the way to work this morning?”
Jake asks, “Where is Tish now?”
“At my company headquarters. I’ll make sure nothing happens to her here. I’m more concerned about when she leaves the building after work. Isn’t there some sort of witness protection program you can enroll her in? I don’t think a smartwatch is going to cut it. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this, so I’ll hang up.”
He does hang up, and Jake sighs in frustration, “Why would she keep something like that from me?”
He gets up out of his chair and starts to head out when he bumps into Sarah, just returning to the station. “Where are you going?” she asks, “I thought we’d do lunch?”
“I have to go protect a witness,” he says shortly to her and storms out of the office.
Sarah watches him go and walks over to the chief’s desk, “The phone the kidnapper used for his Uber was a burner. It looks like he ditched it. Also, her car has completely disappeared.”
The chief nods, “Find out where it was last seen. We can go from there.”
“Right,” she says.
Rob is trying to get settled back at his desk but having a hard time sitting down.
“You’re in a lot of pain, aren’t you?” Tish asks.
Rob looks at her, “Well, except the pain I feel when I cough…”
“The thing about your tailbone is that it’s truly hell if you hurt it twice,” Tish interrupts as she shakes a fist, which causes Rob to cower away from her. She smiles at him, “So, you be careful not to injure it again, okay?” She leans in real close, which makes him very uncomfortable, “Watch your tongue too,” she says, recalling all those things he said about her in the other room.
He mimics locking his lips with a key.
“You can’t spend your whole life lying down like that on your stomach. Remember what you said about your ‘masculine sense of pride’?” she snaps at him. Then she puts on a smile, “I’d like to apologize once more for injuring you.”
Rob waves her off, “It’s fine. You didn’t do it on purpose. Also, about what I said a few minutes ago, it was just me letting off a little steam. I hope you understand.”
Tish shakes her head, “Don’t you worry about that anymore. It’s totally fine.” However, the look on her face seems to suggest it’s anything but fine. It’s not like you would have said those things to my face, right?”
Rob gulps. “I mean, talking behind someone’s back is a pretty petty thing to do.”
Tish smiles sweetly, “After all, I was there to hear every single word.”
There’s an awkward pause as Rob takes in that statement. “I see. Well, again, I am very sorry.”
“As far as catching you up on things, you know he doesn’t work much, so there’s much to tell you about. He’s probably the least busy person in the world,” Tish explains about Eric. “So, I really didn’t do anything. You’ve been briefed,” she says. She starts to walk away, then turns around, and Rob winces. “There was one thing. He went to his father’s house for dinner. His father announced that he would be passing the company down to Eric, which didn’t appear to go over well with everyone else. So, that’s what happened.”
Rob asks, “Was there anything else?”
Tish shakes her head, “Nope. He really doesn’t do much, you know.”
Rob’s phone beeps and he presses the intercom button, “Yes, sir?”
“Schedule an emergency meeting with Development and Planning tomorrow at 11 AM.”
“Yes, sir,” Rob responds.
“Hey, Tish! What are you still doing there? Hurry back! Are you talking about me behind my back?”
Tish looks wide-eyed at Rob, “Is your office bugged?”
“I don’t think so…” Rob responds.
Tish starts patting herself down, “Did he put a bugging device on me?”
A while later, Eric is typing an email when he glances over and notices Tish, asleep at her desk. He scoffs and then stands up, walking over to her. He sits on the edge of her desk and watches her sleep, her head leaning against her hand. He recalls what happened at the club after she pulled down the pole.
Eric walks over, moving through the crowd that has gathered around Tish.
“It’s not my fault I have super strength,” a drunken Tish says as she clings to the pole.
“Let’s me have this,” Eric says to her as he tries to take it.
“Why are you taking this? It came to me. It’s mine,” whines Tish as she clings to the pole. “You can’t have it.”
He’s about to reach over and brush some hair from in front of her face when Jake bursts into the room. Eric puts up his finger to shh him, but Jake ignores him, “Tish!” which wakes Tish up as she first glances up at Eric, then turns around to see Jake.
“Oh,” she gets up and walks over to Jake, “It’s you, Jake.”
Eric doesn’t seem impressed as he leans back, “Jake. You just storm into my home without a warrant, and now you just barge into my office without knocking.”
Jake ignores him, “I just came to confirm something,” he says, looking at Tish. “Did you really run into the suspect this morning?” Tish doesn’t respond, so he asks, “Why didn’t you tell me right away?”
“I was going to…”
Jake is angry, “You were ‘going to,’ but you didn’t!” he snaps. He nods towards Eric, “I had to find out from your boss, and not you!”
This comes as a surprise to Tish, who turns to glare at Eric, who puts his hands in his pockets, and looks away like he’s not paying attention to any of this.
Jake takes a moment to calm himself, “I’m just hoping you’ll cooperate with this investigation.”
Tish nods, “I will.”
Eric chimes in, “Did you request witness protection like I asked?”
Jake steers his look to Eric, “I’ll be escorting her home today. When does she get off work?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take her home today,” says Eric.
“I said, I’ll pick her up.”
Tish is looking back and forth between the two.
Eric shrugs, “Suit yourself. I couldn’t possibly tell you when she’ll get off work. I may need her to work late.”
Jake shakes his head, “You are her boss. Set a time, and I will be here. Stop playing games.”
Eric scoffs, “I’m not the one playing games. I said I’d drop her off when she’s finished for the day.” He rises from the desk and walks towards Jake.
Jake shakes his head, “I said I’ll pick her up.”
“I said I’ll drop her off.”
“I said I’ll pick her up.”
Tish finally interjects herself between the two, “You don’t need to fight over me,” she says, looking a little flattered by all this attention. “Having you two fight over me is really unpleasant for me.” She doesn’t look at all unpleasant about any of this with a big grin on her face.
The two men just look at her like she’s lost her mind.
“Okay?” she asks.
Eric looks at Jake, “You can pick her up.”
Jake shakes his head, “You can drop her off.”
Eric shakes his head, “Nah. You.”
“You’re the cop. You pick her up,” says Eric.
Jake raises his voice, “You’re her boss. Take responsibility for your employee.”
“She’s your witness.”
They begin to yell back and forth now, and Tish’s cocky expression slowly fades into one of sadness as they try to pawn her off to each other.
“After all that, he couldn’t take you home,” mutters Eric under his breath as he drives Tish. “Is he the busiest cop in the city? It’s not like he’s actually out there catching kidnappers!”
Tish is biting her tongue and not looking happy at all. “Stop already.”
“I guess it’ll be up to me to protect you now,” says Eric.
Tish gives him a sideways glance that probably says, “Yeah, right.”
Then Eric turns to look at her, “Wait a minute. You’re supposed to be my bodyguard. Why am I suddenly protecting you?”
“I’m just going home. What can happen?” Tish asks. “I did just say that I’d take the subway, but you insisted, so stop acting like I’m putting you out.”
Eric ignores her, “I think I have to make a U-turn here,” he says.
Back at the station, Jake leaps up. “MJF 3342!”
“What are you yelling about?” asks the chief.
“It’s right here. MJF 3342! It’s the victim’s car!” he says, pointing to the video on his screen. Everyone leaps up and rushes around to see.
“Go! Go! Go!” yells the chief.
Jake and Sarah are on their way. “It’s the same guy,” Jake mutters.
“No kidding,” says Sarah.
“The bastard just picks on weak women. I’m gonna make sure he suffers,” says Jake.
“Calm down, Kojak,” Sarah says as she watches him get all worked up. She suddenly points, “Here! Right here!”
Jake pulls up next to a junkyard, the last location they saw the car on the video. They get out of the car and walk across the street. As they look around, Sarah notes, “There’s no more camera from this point.”
Jake nods, “Let’s look around.” Jake’s eyes fall on the junkyard behind them. Sarah sees his attention is diverted and walks over to stand next to him.
They walk onto the junkyard property and start looking around. They find a garage and walk up to where someone is working. Sarah walks up, “Hello, sir.”
The mechanic looks over, “Looking for anything in particular? We’ve got plenty of parts.”
Sarah pulls out her badge, “We’re police officers. We are looking for a particular car.” She pulls out a picture of the car and shows it to him. “Have you seen it recently?”
The mechanic takes a look, “Define recently.”
Jake walks up, “She means in the last two or three days.”
The mechanic shakes his head, “I haven’t seen any cars like that in the last couple of days.” He begins to work on the car again.
Jake asks, “Do you own this place?”
The mechanic shakes his head. “No. I just work here. The owner doesn’t really run this place. His son does.”
Sarah pulls out a card and hands it over, “If you see this car, please give us a call.”
The mechanic takes the card and puts it into his jacket pocket, “Sure. Will do.”
Something about this encounter bugs Jake as he watches the man for a moment while Sarah walks off. Jake slowly turns and follows her.
As they leave, the mechanic turns to look at them before returning to his work.
Sarah left Jake to head to the hospital to pick up some papers. She asks the nurse, “Is Doctor Weathersphere in today?”
“He’s in with a patient,” the nurse explains.
“Do you know how long he’ll be?”
The nurse consults the schedule, “Probably another hour, at least.”
Sarah nods, “Thanks.”
Parish is actually examining Edgar while the crew watches a soap opera on the television.
One of the hoodlums asks Edgar, “What are we gonna do after we’re discharged?”
Edgar is a menacing voice, says, “I have to settle things with her.”
“We can go put her down today, boss.”
Parish is looking between the gang members as they talk.
The hoodlum continues, “I’m not sure if it’s a rumor or not, but I heard she has a brother who’s a doctor at this hospital.”
Edgar slams his fists down on the edge of the bed, “That bitch. I’ll take care of her myself.”
“If you go by yourself, you’ll probably die.”
Edgar reaches up and grabs the hoodlum by the hospital gown, “You dumb prick. I have to restore my place with the boss. My pride is at stake. I will destroy her!” he says, motioning that he would break her in half.
Parish begins to rewrap Edgar’s head faster now, even going over his eyes.
“What– what are you doing?” asks Edgar.
Parish wraps around his mouth, only leaving Edgar’s nose sticking out. “We have to cover his mouth to prevent infection.”
Edgar can’t see or really speak, but the other hoodlums begin to question this technique.
“He can’t even eat now.”
“Why are his eyes covered?”
Parish shakes his head, “Trust me. I’m a doctor. If you don’t have all this covered, your face will rot away.” He grabs his cart and hurries out of the room.
“Wait! Rotting?” someone asks, but Parish has gone.
Parish pushes the cart through the hallway and notices Sarah sitting there.
“Oh hey!” he says.
Sarah rises to meet him.
“Did you have another appointment?” he asks.
“I did, but I wanted to say hello,” she says. “If I may ask, what time do you get off work?”
Parish nods, “I have to work all night. I’m on duty.”
Sarah seems disappointed, “Tomorrow?”
Parish thinks for a moment, “Well since I’m on duty tonight, I’ll be done early tomorrow morning.”
“Can we meet for coffee in the evening then?” asks Sarah.
Parish nods, “Sure. I would probably need coffee.”
“My surgery is in a few weeks, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around,” she says to him.
Parish is starting to feel some kind of way, “Just make sure to come to all your appointments until it’s time for your surgery.”
Sarah smiles at him, “I’ll do that.” Her phone chirps at her, so she grabs it from her pocket to see a text from Jake asking if she’s done at the hospital yet. She looks up at Parish, “I should get going, but I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Parish watches her leave, perhaps wondering if he’s doing the right thing.
That night, Tish is looking on the web and realizing that her viral video has been deleted. She searches, and every result tells her the video has been removed.
Jessie walks into Tish’s room, “Hey, Ms. Pole Dancer,” she teases.
Tish glares at her, “Just stop with that already.”
“Strong woman at club!”
“Cut that out!”
Jessie sees that Tish is looking up the videos, “I noticed they were all gone earlier. It’s weird. Did someone get them taken down for you?”
Tish shrugs as she continues to click the links, “Who could have done that?”
Jessie says, “Typically, they only remove them if the person in the video requests it.”
Tish stares at her computer, “I didn’t, so then who?”
“It could have been anyone in the video.” Jessie ahs! “Maybe it was your boss!”
Tish smirks, “Why the hell would he do that for me? He’d probably make it go even more viral.”
“There you go again,” says Jessie. “You were just talking this morning about what a nice guy he is. So much for that.”
“Hey!” Tish says, “He’s got the worst manners. The way he talks, the way he acts…” Tish just makes a face.
“Hey, Tish,” Jessie says, “Let’s go get some food. I’m hungry! Some fried chicken from the diner would be amazing right now,” Jessie is almost drooling thinking about it. “You can cook that chili you make so well.”
Tish snaps her fingers, “I’m down.”
Tish stayed home to prepare the chili. “What’s taking her so long with the chicken?” She picks up her phone and dials Jessie.
Jessie is walking back from the diner with a bag of food, just noticing the man who is following her. She begins to run now as the man, carrying a steel pipe, follows her.
When Jessie doesn’t pick up, Tish starts to worry.
Jessie keeps looking behind her. She heads up some stairs but doesn’t see the man veer off down an alley. Jessie reaches for her phone and calls Tish, but as she rounds the corner, the man is standing there. Jessie falls backward onto the ground, dropping her bag as she looks up at him, and starts to scoot back, away from him.
The man swings the pipe and hits her with a glancing blow to the top of the head.
He drags the end of the pipe along the pavement as he moves closer to her. Jessie starts to push herself off the ground, crawling to reach for her phone as he kicks her in the side. Then he kicks her in the face, and she rolls over, clutching at her face as blood begins to pour from her head and mouth.
He steps on her side, pushing down with his weight. He finally takes a step back, lifts the pipe, and swings, but it doesn’t go anywhere as Tish grabs the pipe in her hand.
The masked man raises the pipe to hit Jessie once more, and as he swings, Tish’s hand grabs the pipe, and he cannot budge it. Her face has a look of sheer anger on it as she looks at him. He looks back and sees Tish.
He struggles to take the pipe from her, but she holds fast, and he can’t even so much as budge it.
Tish reaches up and begins to bend the pipe around his hand as he falls to his knees, screaming out in pain.
“You dare to attack my friend, you asshole?” She kicks him in the side, and he slides across the ground until he crashes into the wall of a building.
She turns to her friend, “Jessie! Jessie!” she screams as she kneels down next to her.
Jessie begins to sob.
“Oh no,” says Tish as she tries to comfort her friend, “I’m here now. I’m so sorry for letting you go out alone,” Tish begins to sob as well. “What did he do to you?” she asks as she helps Jessie up.
At the emergency room, Parish runs around the corner and stops when he sees Tish, still crying. Tish sees him, “Is she okay?” she weeps.
Parish hugs her, “She’ll be okay. Her ribs took a beating, but she’s going to be okay. She’s awake now. ”
Tish can’t help but sob uncontrollably, “What a relief,” she says between sobs.
Parish pulls back, “We’ve put her in a room. You can go see her. She’s going to be fine.”
“Okay,” cries Tish, still bawling.
Kal and his sidekick are watching nearby as the man in the mask gets up and limps away, holding his ribs where he got kicked.
Kal caresses his chin, deep in thought, “You know what I’m thinking?”
The sidekick turns to look at him, “That guy’s mask is creepy?”
Kal slowly turns to look at him, unamused. “No. Perhaps this neighborhood needs our type of protection.”
The sidekick ahs and nods his head, “The kind that pays.”
Kal nods his head, “Right. Though, that guy’s mask is very creepy.”
Tish sits by Jessie’s bed as Jessie slowly opens her eyes.
“I’m so sorry, Jessie!” cries Tish. “I should have gone to get the chicken.”
Jessie, looking pretty beat up, asks, “Did you finish making the chili? Don’t you dare eat it all by yourself!”
Tish isn’t in the mood for the joke and just nods her head as tears run down her face.
Tish grabs Jessie’s hand, “Just rest here. Get well.”
The following morning, Jessie is looking at her face to see how bad it was damaged.
Tish wrings out a washcloth, “Move your hands for a second.” She begins to clean up Jessie’s face, “How could he do this to your pretty face?” Tish asks, still in anguish over what happened the night before. “Just wait until I catch that bastard. I’ll break every damned bone in his body.”
Jessie shakes her head, “Stop. Don’t summon the demon.” She lifts the mirror back up, “I think he broke my nose.” She reaches up and touches it.
“They said your nose was fine,” says Tish.
Jessie looks up at her, “I’m sure the bridge of my nose was much higher before. It looks all flat now.”
Tish makes a face, “That’s because your face is swollen.”
“I know my nose better than anyone else. I’m sure it was much higher.”
Tish ahs, “Looks who’s returning back to her normal self. I guess I can go back to work now.”
Jessie whines, “I’m still in pain. Don’t go. Ow.”
“Don’t move,” scolds Tish.
“You know what, Tish?” says Jessie. “I was so scared yesterday. I thought I was going to die by his hands. I only survived because of you, but I feel so badly for those other women. I can’t even imagine what has happened to them,” tears begin to roll down her cheek.
“What I don’t understand is why he just ran off like that,” says the chief of police.
Jake doesn’t understand either, “Since I know Jessie, let me go question her, and at least get a statement, and perhaps she can tell us what happened.”
The chief nods, “She’s familiar with you, so go ahead and take her statement.”
Eric looks over at Tish’s empty desk. He reaches over and taps a button on his office phone.
Rob comes hobbling in, “Sir?”
Eric gets up to greet him, “Look, I know this is a weird request, but I want you to sit over there at Tish’s desk. It looks way too empty in here.”
Rob is actually touched, “Was it that empty without me here, sir?” he says, shuffling over to take a seat.
Eric shoves his hands in his pocket, “Speaking of which, when is that girl coming back to work?” He walks over, and grabs his keys, and walks out of the office, leaving Rob sitting at Tish’s small desk wondering what the hell happened.
“How long will I have to say?” Jessie asks Parish.
“Probably a few weeks. Broken ribs take some time to heal,” he says.
Jake bursts into the room, “Are you okay, Jessie?” he asks.
Jessie chuckles, “Everyone’s fussing over me today. It’s like a damn high school reunion in here today,” she says, looking from Jake, to Tish, to Parish.
“You’re okay, right?’ asks Jake.
Jessie nods. “Yeah.”
Tish asks, “What about that bastard? Any clues?”
Jake shakes his head, “No. That’s why I’m here. I have a few questions for Jessie,” he says, turning back to Jessie. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“I was picking up some chicken for dinner from the diner, and I had this weird feeling of being followed. I turned around, and this guy was following me. I started running when all of a sudden, he was right in front of me.” Jessie gets the chills as she tells the story, “It freaks me out to talk about it.”
“So scary,” whispers Tish.
“Something terrible would’ve happened to me if it hadn’t been for Tish,” Jessie says.
Tish’s eyes go wide, and she shakes her head a little to Jessie.
“So, the guy ran off when Tish showed up?” asks Jake.
“You should have seen her, she,” Jessie started when Tish gives her hand a squeeze. Jessie looks at her, then turns back to Jake, “She screamed really, really loud! You know how loud and annoying she can get. She screamed her damn head off.”
“I screamed really loud,” agrees Tish.
“She’s got a loud voice for sure,” says Parish.
Jake seems confused, “So, just because she screamed, he ran off?”
Jessie nods, “That’s right.”
Jake leans in, “Did you get a look at his face?”
Jessie thinks about it, “Come to think about it, he didn’t really have a face.”
“What?” asks Jake, confused.
Down in his little prison, the masked man pulls up his shirt. His entire side is completely bruised where Tish kicked him.
The two victims are watching from their cells as he begins to wrap himself up around the waist.
One of the victims weeps out loud. He turns to her, “Shut up.” She doesn’t.
He reaches down, picks up the bent piece of pipe that Tish had wrapped around his hand, and looks at it. The woman continues to weep, so angrily he throws the bar at her cell door, “I told you to shut up!”
“Damn it,” he says, holding his side.
Outside of Jessie’s door, Jake is upset with Tish.
“Why didn’t you press the button on the bracelet? That’s why I gave it to you,” he lectures her.
“I didn’t have it on when I rushed out the door,” she says softly, looking down at her feet.
Jake snaps, “That’s the problem with you. How could you not wear that?” He places his hands on his hips and turns his back to her as he tries to calm himself. He finally turns around to ask, “Did you get hurt?”
Tish looks up at him now.
“I’m going crazy because of you, seriously,” he tells her. “How many times has that bastard seen your face, now? It’s too dangerous in that neighborhood for you. You need to find someplace to lay low.”
“It’s not like I can just skip work.”
“Then perhaps it’s better if you stayed at your boss’s,” he starts to say, as much as he doesn’t like this idea. “You should stay at his house. At least the son of a bitch won’t be able to find you there.”
Tish looks up at him, “You don’t need to worry about me so much, you know? I know you don’t know this, but there’s this thing I’m good at.”
“What thing?” Jake asks, “Being able to scream loudly? Stay at your boss’s place until I can catch this asshole, you hear me?”
Tish finally concedes, “Okay.”
Jake storms off.
Tish leans against the wall and sighs.
There’s a knock on Eric’s office door.
“Come in,” he says.
Jake opens the door and walks in.
Eric looks up, and as the two men stare at each other, he scoffs.
“I came to ask you a favor,” says Jake, as much as each and every word he says to the other man hurts him.
Eric waits for the punchline.
“You heard what happened to Tish’s friend Jessie, right?”
“I need you to keep Tish at your place until we catch this guy,” says Jake. “This is the third time that the suspect has seen Tish’s face. If we let her stay in that neighborhood, she’ll continue to be in danger.”
Eric watches Jake for a moment, “You really don’t know her all that well, do you?”
Jake looks at him.
Eric shrugs, “I get what you’re saying.”
“Just keep her at your place until we wrap this up,” says Jake. “But if I find out you’ve laid so much as a finger on her, you’ll be sorry.”
Eric tilts his head, “She’s just your friend, right? I mean, you are just worried about the well-being of your friend, right?”
Jake is not amused, “I don’t need to answer your questions. Just keep an eye on her, and make sure Tish stays safe.”
Eric watches as Jake leaves his office, then he mutters, “Perhaps her one-sided love is not so one-sided after all.”
The next morning, Tish steps out of her home after getting ready for work, and Jake is there waiting for her. She grins to herself as she walks up the stairs and meets him.
“Why is your skirt so short?” he asks. Tish looks down.
“And why are you wearing so much makeup?” he asks.
“Do I look weird?” she asks?
“Just, stop going around looking so pretty,” he demands as he gets into his car.
Once the words come out of his mouth, she stops everything. She starts to blush as she brings her hand to her mouth and thinks, “He said I looked pretty,” she can’t stop smiling.
“Hurry up, and get it,” Jake says, rolling down the passenger side window.
As they arrive at the Aamessoft building, Jake escorts her towards the entrance. “You have to be careful, understand? You know what to do if anything happens, right?”
Tish holds up her wrist, “I press this button right away.”
As they reach the entrances, Jake says, “I’ll call you later. Go inside now.”
At that moment, Eric is also walking towards the entrance, and he stops to watch the exchange between the two.
“You go ahead and go, Jake,” says Tish.
“Just go inside,” demands Jake.
They go back and forth for a little while about who will leave first, and Eric scoffs at how ridiculous it is. Jake finally turns and walks back to his car as Tish waves at him, watching him the entire time. When Jake faces her again to get back in his car, she waves even more animated.
“Wow. Just wow,” says Eric to himself. He finally walks towards her, “He told you to go inside already. Just go.”
Tish practically bounces as she walks into the building and uses her key card to get past the security gate. Eric follows her through.
“Tish!” he says to her, and she spins around.
“How’s your friend?” he asks.
Tish is all smiles today, “Thank you for letting me have the day off yesterday,” she says as she begins to brush some lint from his jacket, still smiling widely. “I won’t even be upset if you take it out of my paycheck.” She spins around and walks off.
Eric watches her walk off and just shakes his head.
Tish plops down in her chair and swings back and forth, still blushing from Jake’s earlier exchange.
“Yes?” she answers.
“Get it together,” he says.
“Whatever do you mean?” Tish asks.
Eric just stares at her, “What’s wrong with you today?”
Tish just can’t stop smiling, “What do you mean? Nothing is going on with me?”
“Don’t go around looking all pretty.” Jakes’s words echo back in her head.
She leaps up from her chair with a giggle and skips out of the room as Eric just looks on in confusion. “What the hell?”
Tish is washing her hands at the restroom sink. She looks at herself in the mirror and says to herself, “Don’t go around looking so pretty.” She covers her mouth and giggles to herself. Suddenly in the mirror, Jake appears behind her.
“Don’t go around looking pretty, I mean,” Jake starts, “What I mean to say is, you’re pretty.”
Tish covers her face with both hands and squeals in glee as we see that Jake really isn’t in the lady’s restroom at Aamessoft. Tish bounces around a bit like a schoolgirl with a crush.
“You’re making me so embarrassed, Jake,” she says to herself in the mirror.
Just then, someone steps out of the stall and looks at her like she’s lost her mind.
Tish walks back into Eric’s office with that smile still on her face. While she was gone, Rob entered the office and is standing over by Eric’s desk talking to his boss. They both watch as Tish skips like a five-year-old back to her desk, sits down, and lets out a dreamy sigh.
“Hey!” yells Eric.
Tish looks up at him. Her day will not be ruined by him.
“You need to stay at my place for the time being. That cop you are crushing over has asked me to keep you, and I’m trying to cooperate,” he says.
Tish smiles at him, “Thank you for your hospitality, boss.”
Eric nods, “Sure,” and turns back to Rob.
“But, I’m fine,” says Tish. “Jake just worries about me so much. Oh, so much. It’s heartwarming how much he cares for my well being. I mean, a suspect is out to get me after all. That would certainly make him worried. That scary man goes after people with a steel club.”
Eric looks at her like she’s lost her mind, “Why are you saying that scary stuff with a smile on your face? Are you mental?”
Tish looks at him, “Was I smiling?”
“I just barely get used to you, and then you do something totally different that completely baffles me,” Eric says. “You have something up your sleeve, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Tish giggles.
Eric and Rob watch her for a moment, then Eric finally turns to Rob, “What time is the meeting?”
“In 30 minutes.”
Tish is humming over at her desk as Rob tries to go over the itinerary of the meeting, but Eric turns to look at her, “Damn it. I can’t focus on this because of her.”
Sarah walks up to the chief’s desk and hands him a folder, “There’s no sign of the car past the point where we last tracked it. They must have gone down a path to avoid the cameras.”
Chief flips through the folder, “This guy must be very familiar with the neighborhood to be this prepared.”
Jake steps in, “I think he’s targeting my friend. He wears a mask that covers his entire head.”
Chief points to Jake, “Investigate that angle. Check around for a shop that sells that type of mask. Everyone else, not a word about this tidbit of information to anyone. This may be the tip we’ve been looking for. If the media leaks it out, then this case is hopeless. Any leads on that limited edition shoe?”
It’s dark. Tish has long gone to bed, but Eric is tossing and turning in his bed. He finally sits up with a sigh. “Damn it, I can’t sleep.” He climbs out of bed and walks to his window, “I wonder if Tish is asleep.”
Tish, in fact, is not asleep. She’s on the phone, “So, you’re at your boss’s house?” asks Jessie.
“Yeah,” says Tish. “How are you feeling?”
Jessie grins, “I’m healing at the speed of light. I feel like a celebrity with the cops guarding my door.”
“Make sure you stay in your room. Don’t try to go anywhere,” warns Tish.
Jessie sighs, “All right, I get it. You told me already.”
“Listen, that guy took someone from the hospital already one time, so be on your guard, okay?” says Tish.
Tish hangs up and lies down.
Kal and a couple of his goons are walking around the neighborhood with flashlights, ‘patrolling.’
A cat leaps out, hissing, and it scares all three as they scramble away from it before realizing what it was.
Pretending to be calm, Kal adjusts his ballcap and just shakes his head at the other two, even though he was just as scared. “Let’s keep going. Stop being scared of everything.”
One of the goons shines a flashlight in his face, and he knocks it out of their hands, “I told you to stop flashing that in my face.” The goon scrambles to pick it up.
They walk down alleys, streets, and the like. A patrol car comes by, flashing its lights as it also patrols the neighborhood.
Tish is having a hard time sleeping as she keeps remembering the night that Jessie got attacked.
She finally sits up and crawls out of bed.
Sometime later, she’s also walking through her neighborhood, hoping to find this guy. She arrives at the scene where Jessie was attacked, and she looks around nervously. She cuts through an alley, and we see someone following her.
Perhaps she also senses someone behind her as she slightly looks behind her, but she doesn’t run.
She wants the guy to find her.
Jake is not having a good night as he paces back and forth at the police station. Sarah walks up to him, “Are we sure he’s only targeting weak, skinny women?”
Tish walks down another alley, the figure still behind her.
Jake turns to Sarah, “I need to check something. I’ll be back!” and he runs out of the station.
Sarah yells after him, “Where are you going?”
Tish walks down some stairs when someone places a hand on her shoulder, and she spins around, ready to beat this guy to a pulp when she sees that it’s just Eric.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
“Why are you here?” she asks.
“I thought you were sleepwalking,” he says. “Why did you come here?”
Tish looks at him, “I’m going to catch that bastard with my own hands,” she retorts.
Eric nods understandingly, “We should go home,” he says. “We can talk about it there.” He starts to walk back up the steps.
Tish doesn’t move, “I’ve kept my powers hidden for all of my life.”
Eric stops to turn around.
“Now, I want to use them for this. I need to stop this man before he hurts anyone else.”
Eric and Tish arrive back at the house and haven’t even removed their coats when the doorbell rings.
Eric walks over and looks at the screen to see who it is, and Jake’s face fills the tiny screen, “Why is this guy here?” he asks himself before hitting the button to let him in.
Jake runs in, out of breath. He turns to Eric, “I’m going to stay here too.”
Eric is annoyed. “If you were gonna pull this crap, why tell me to have her stay here?”
Jake and Eric are face to face, “Maybe I just don’t trust you as much as I thought I would. It might be best if I take her someplace safer.”
Tish is just standing there watching these two men fight over her, and slowly steps towards them, “Jake,” she says.
Jake looks at her, “Are you okay?”
Tish just stares at him all dreamy-eyed. Eric waves his hand in front of her face with no response and then just scoffs. “Figures.”
“Why did he rush over there?” asks the Chief.
Someone else pipes in, “She’s a witness, and the kidnapper has already seen her face several times, he said.”
Chief shakes his head, “We need him here. Is he dating her or something? I thought he had a girlfriend?”
Sarah perks up at this conversation but doesn’t add to it.
“Anyone heard anything back from the two we sent over to question the victim?”
A couple of officers are at Jessie’s hospital room. They have an assortment of masks they ask her about to see if any are the ones the suspect was wearing.
One cop puts on a mask, like you would see at a masquerade ball. Jessie shakes her head, “No.”
Another puts on a mask, the one from V is for Vendetta. “No.”
The first one holds up a clown mask and a robot mask, “Any of these?”
“No,” Jessie says. “Look, it covered his entire head to make him look bald. It wasn’t plastic. It may have been rubber or something like that.”
One cop looks at the other, “Maybe he’s ugly.”
Jessie and the other cop look at him.
“If he were handsome, he wouldn’t have to cover up his face, right?”
The cop shakes his head, “Just stop talking,” he says to the other. “Let’s go find some more masks.”
“You’ve got a big place,” Jake says as he looks around. “Let me stay here for the night.” He walks over to the couch, “This looks comfortable. I’ll just sleep here.”
Tish shakes her head, “That couch is uncomfortable.”
“You going to let him sleep in your room then?’ asks Eric.
“No!” protests Tish, “That’s not what I meant.”
“Then it’s settled,” says Jake as he sits down on the couch.
Eric shakes his head, “Nah. Go right ahead,” though it’s apparent that he minds. “In fact, how about if we just stay up all night and make a night of it?”
A while later, they are in an empty bar, they play pool. Eric is cleaning up, actually, as he scores one point after another.
In fact, Jake and Eric seem to be getting along just fine, which annoys Tish for some reason. Eric is giving Jake some pool playing tips when he missed a shot.
Eric makes the game-winning point, and they rack them up again.
Tish stretches and yawns.
Jake knocks the wrong ball into the pocket.
Tish looks bored.
Eric knocks in three in a row. Then performs a trick shot that puts in a ball and then drops the eight ball to win the game again. “Game over,” he says and grins as Jake looks on in disgust.
Tish lays her head on the table as the men line up to play darts next.
Eric throws the first one that barely hits the board. Jake hits a bullseye.
Eric throws the next dart that doesn’t even connect with the board. Jake scores another bullseye and gives Eric a grin. Eric is starting to look frustrated.
Eric takes aim, pauses to kiss the dart, and then throws. It goes into the wall.
Jake makes a third bullseye. He reaches over and pats Eric on the back, “Don’t be disappointed.”
“How about a tie-breaking round,” Eric asks.
Jake looks him in the eye, “What do you have in mind?”
We see glasses lined up along the bar. Each glass is filled with beer. Then on top of that row, a set of shot glasses, each one filled. Eric hits one, and like dominoes, the shot glasses fall neatly into the beer glasses.
Eric is on one side of the bar, Jake on the other. Eric looks at Jake, “I’ll go first.”
He picks up a glass, and swallows the contents straight down, and sets the glass back on the bar.
“I’m off duty, so drinking is not a problem for me,” he says. He picks up a glass and drinks it down.
Tish is watching them, “How is this a competition? Let me drink too!”
They both turn to her, remember the last time she got drunk. “No!” they say.
She looks from one to the other, “How dare you team up against me,” she whines under her breath.
They each pick up the next drink and down them. Then the next., and the next.
When they finish the first round, Eric fills them up again. They continue to drink. Tish tries to get them to stop, but they ignore her and continue to drink.
It’s evident that continuing to drink is starting to get difficult for them after a while, but they force it down anyway. Tish sips her soda through a straw and gives them the evil eye.
A little while later, she waves her hand in front of Jake’s face. His eyes are open, but he doesn’t really seem to be there. “Are you okay, Jake?”
Drunken Eric grins, “It’s too much for you,” as he sloppily reaches for a bottle of vodka, and refills the glasses, kinda. He misses most of the glasses and pours it onto the table. He slides a glass over, “Drink,” and picks up one for himself.
“You guys need to stop.”
They ignore her, and drink the contents of one glass, and then reach for another.
Eric begins to heave a little. Jake grins at it.
The scene changes, and Tish looks at something, though we can’t tell what it is until the camera pans back to reveal Jake and Eric passed out on top of the pool table.
Tish sighs and looks around. The bartender seems to be falling asleep at the bar. She reaches out and grabs each one by a hand, and pulls them onto her shoulders, and carries them out of the bar. They grunt and groan as she walks through the door. “The both of you shut the hell up,” she snaps at them.
She carries them around the corner of the bar and asks herself, “What am I doing right now?” She drops Eric but gently sets Jake down. “Jake! Jake!” she says to him. “I’m going to get you guys something to drink to help you sober up. I’ll be right back.”
Two guys stroll up and notice the two guys passed out on the sidewalk as she walks off. “You shouldn’t sleep here,” one of them says as they bend down and start going through Eric’s pockets, pulling out a large sum of cash as the other checks Jake’s pockets.
“What are you doing?” asks Tish as she returns.
When they realize she’s a female, the guys ignore her and go back to what they are doing. Meanwhile, spying on Tish is Kal and his sidekick. The sidekick is watching with a pair of binoculars, “What’s this?”
Tish walks up and asks, “Did you take his money?”
“So, what if we did?” the guy asks.
The second guy looks up, taking what he wants from Jake, “You’re so scary, little girl. Did your mom send you out on an errand?”
Tish looks annoyed.
The first guy says, “I dunno. She’s kinda cute. How about you and I go somewhere a little warmer and get to know one another.”
The second guy finds Jake’s police badge, “Damn it. He’s a cop. We should get out of here.”
Tish says, “I told you to put their stuff back.”
The first guy sticks his finger on her forehead and pushes, “You’re just disappointed that we’re not going to get acquainted.” Then he slaps her across the face. “I was gonna just let you walk away, but you can come with me, honey.”
Tish takes his hand, “Honey. Let’s go.”
She flings him across the air, and he lands in a dumpster.
The sidekick watching from the car goes, ‘Whoa! She’s totally destroying those guys.”
The second guy picks up a board and runs to hit her when she grabs his wrist and twists. The sounds of bone popping are heard as he screams out.
Kal grabs the binoculars and looks.
Tish breaks the board over her knee, kicks him square in the balls, hits him with an uppercut, and sends him up flying. “How dare you!” He crashes through a stack of pallets.
Kal goes wide-eyed as he watches her work.
Tish is super annoyed, “Seriously! How come no one ever listens to me?” She dusts herself off, turns to Jake and Eric, and sighs, “This has been a hard day,” she says as she walks towards them.
Kal just stares, “Who in the hell is she?” he asks out loud.
The sidekick turns to him, “A vampire?”
A little bit later, Tish is driving them home. She tosses the two into the back seat, and she glances back there and just scoffs. “Men.”
She reaches down and turns on some music on the radio, “What did they say? They’d protect me? Protect me, my foot.”
She carries them into the house, one on each shoulder, and dumps them on the couch. Tish pushes Eric over to get him out of the way, then gently helps Jake lie down on the couch. She lifts his legs and places them on top of Eric, “Get comfortable,” she says to him, patting Jake gently on the head.
Meanwhile, Kal’s hoodlums are walking through Tish’s neighborhood. However, they are causing more of a scare than comfort as folks cross the street to avoid them when they see them coming.
They’re kinda creepy about the “protection” they’re supposed to provide, hitting on the female as they walk by and threatening the males.
In another part of the neighborhood, police cars patrol with their lights flashing.
However, a white car that no one pays attention to drives slowly past the pharmacy where the pharmacist is closing shop and starts to walk home. The vehicle slowly follows her. The car drives past a few of Kal’s men, and they don’t pay him any mind.
Eric wakes up on the hard floor, while Jake has been covered with a blanket as he sleeps on the couch. Eric struggles to get to his feet. When he first sees Jake on his couch, it scares him, and then drunkenly, he nods, “Oh right. I know you.”
He finally notices that Jake’s covered all nice and neat, “Well, that figures she’d put a blanket on him and leave me to sleep on the floor. Discrimination, I tell you.” He snatches the blanket up off Jake, “That’s my blanket.” Then he grabs the pillows from under his head, “And my pillows.”
Jake remains asleep through it all.
Eric drags the blanket as he walks down the hall and opens Tish’s door to check in on her. “Goodnight,” he slurs as he shuts her door.
Parked outside Eric’s house, Kal has fallen asleep in the passenger seat while his sidekick keeps watch.
The sidekick finally turns and says, “I think they’re staying there the rest of the night.”
Kal opens his eyes and nods, “Let’s go.”
Kal just glances at him sideways, “Home, you numbskull.”
“Right!” and the sidekicks drives off.
The next morning, Eric, Jake, and Tish are sitting at the table.
In front of Eric is a bowl of oatmeal.
In front of Jake is a feast of eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, pancake, and coffee.
Eric looks at his meal, then looks at Jake’s meal. “Discrimination,” he mutters under his breath.
That metal straw that Tish stuck in the counter a while ago, it has the American flag attached to it. Jake is looking at it, “What is this?”
Eric nods, “I’m such a patriot. I have to have the flag nearby when I eat.”
Tish scoffs at him.
“How did we get home?” asks Jake.
“You don’t remember?” asks Tish. “We walked.” She has some toast in front of her, so she reaches for the jelly and makes a show of not being able to open it as Eric looks on.
Jake reaches for it, “Let me help you.” He opens the jar for her and hands it back as Eric just scoffs at that. Tish smiles sweetly at him, “Thank you, Jake.”
Eric finally asks, “Who won last night, anyway?”
Jake crosses his arms across his chest, “The last thing I remember was you passing out and lying on the floor.”
“That’s weird,” says Eric. “I remember you passing out as well.”
Tish clears her throat, “I wasn’t going to bring this up, but do you remember what you did last night?”
The two men look at Tish and then at each other, and she begins to explain.
Eric begins to heave as he takes his next drink, and Tish covers her mouth, hoping he doesn’t spew. Jake is laughing, knowing that Eric is gonna hurl, so much so he nearly falls off his stool.
“Jake, are you alright? Where are you going?” asks Tish.
Jake stumbles one way, then realizes that’s not how he wants to go, turns around, and sees Eric. “You jerk,” he says. Jake grabs his jacket and puts it on, and says, “I have to go before midnight before my carriage turns into a pumpkin.”
“What?” says Tish, her eyes wide.
He takes two steps towards the pool table and falls onto it, curling up.
Eric staggers to his feet, and grabs his jacket, and puts it on. He walks to the pool table and swats at Jake, “You didn’t lock the door. It’s dangerous!” he whines. As he tries to get his arm through the sleeve, he stumbles and lands next to Jake on the pool table.
Tish just watches the entire thing, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
The two men look at each other when she finishes, and then look away, and begin to quietly eat their food. Eric takes a bite of his oatmeal and begins to cough, “What did you put in here?”
Tish just grins and takes a bite of her toast.
Suddenly, Eric’s phone begins to ring, and he looks at it and sees Restricted Caller. He gets off his seat and wanders away from the others to answer.
“You can’t ever inherit your father’s business. Give it up.”
“You piece of sh–” Eric starts to say as Jake and Tish look his way. “How about you take your sorry ass and come say this to my face.”
“Announce at the board meeting tomorrow that you refuse to inherit the company. This is your final warning.”
“I won’t,” says Eric.
“Then I will destroy you and your company. This time, the gun will be real.”
Eric laughs into the phone, “You’re pathetic. I’ll catch you long before you get to fire another shot at me. I’ll find you, asshole.” Eric hangs up and walks back to the table.
“Another blackmail call?” asks Tish.
Eric blows it off, “Nah. Let’s eat.”
Jake looks at him, “You should report this to the police.”
Eric shakes his head, “I’ll pass. I don’t trust the cops.”
Jake’s phone rings this time as he answers, “Yes?”
“We have a lead on that burner phone. Come in now. We’re sending another officer to protect Weathersphere.”
Jake says, “Roger,” and hangs up the phone. He turns to Tish, “Another officer will be coming to look after you at your office today. Just let him do his job.”
Tish nods, “Okay. Are you leaving?”
Jake looks at Eric, “I’m asking you, man to man, to take care of her.”
Jake grabs his jacket and walks out, as Tish waves after him, “Bye, Jake.”
Eric mockingly waves after him as well.
Tish sits next to him and taps his shoulder, playfully, “Don’t worry, boss. I’ll protect you.”
Eric shakes his head, “He asked me to protect you.”
Tish smirks, “I’ll protect myself,” she fistbumps her chest a couple of times.
Eric taps his spoon on his bowl, “You ruined my food on purpose, didn’t you? Are you trying to kill me? You shouldn’t mess with someone’s food.”
Tish leans over to smell the contents of the bowl, “Smells alright to me!”
Jake crosses the street and opens the side door of the van his squad is using to stakeout someone.
Sarah is in the front seat, the chief is in the first back seat, and Jake slides in next to him. The chief leans over and points, “It’s that one there, third apartment on the left.” He hands a box to Jake, “Put this on.”
Wearing a UPS uniform, Jake rings the doorbell.
“Who is it?”
“UPS delivery. I have a package,” says Jake
The door opens, and a man says, “I didn’t order anything.”
“Are you Charlie Newman?” asks Jake.
The man nods his head. “That’s right.”
Jake hands him the box, and as soon as the man takes it, Jake grabs him by the shirt and jerks him into the hallway where several police officers seize him and start to lead him away.
“You are under arrest for suspicion of kidnapping,” the chief reads.
“Wait? What kidnapping?” asks the man being led away.
Tish and Eric walk into Eric’s office, and Rob is right on their heels, “Sir, we have a problem.”
Eric turns around, “What?”
Rob says, “The stock for your father’s company just tanked.”
Eric is confused, “Why would that happen?”
“There’s a rumor spreading that you’re not going to take over your father’s company,” says Rob. “I’m not sure where it started, but it’s gaining traction.”
A little while later, Rob is sitting at his desk, reading the rumors being reported on the Internet.
Tish walks over, “Don’t worry, boss. When I had my video out there, it disappeared within a day.”
Eric, knowing he was responsible for getting that video removed, ignores her and makes a call.
“Mr. Park,” Eric says into the phone. “I would appreciate it if you could delete the negative rumors about me on your site.” He pauses as the other man speaks, “Well, just know if our business tanks because of these rumors, it won’t be good for your business either. and thank you for deleting the drunk girl video for me last time.”
Tish’s head snaps over to look at him.
“I’d appreciate it if you’d delete them as soon as possible.” Eric hangs up.
Tish rushes over, “Wait, it was you who got my video deleted?”
Eric nods. “Yes.”
Tish smiles at him, “Thank you.”
Eric nods, “You should be thankful.” His phone chirps and he picks it up to read the message. “Oh, hey! They found the motorcycle. It’s only a matter of time before we catch my stalker.”
“Did you really find it?”
“Of course. The guy is trying to sell the bike for parts now to get rid of it.”
Tish seems amazed. “How did you find it so quickly?”
Eric scoffs smugly, “Why do you think I distrust the police? I’m much smarter than they are.” He pulls up the site where the bike is listed, “Here, this is it right here. That punk didn’t even change the license plate.”
Tish leans over to look, “Did you get his phone number?”
“That’s not all,” says Eric. “I’ve got his name, age, height, and weight, and where he works. Tank Squad.”
Tish thinks about it, “Tank Squad? Where have I heard that before?”
“It’s a company in name alone that is run by some gangsters. They do anything for money. It’s run by this shady character named Kal. Used to hang out at my school and try and recruit kids into his little gang.”
Tish gets a determined look on her face, “Fine. I’ll be the one to catch this gang.”
“You don’t trust the police, so we’re going to have to do this ourselves,” she says. “Get your jacket, and let’s go!” she storms out of the office.
Eric watches her leave and then says, “Hey! Wait up!” and rushes out after her.
A little while later, they are driving down the road when Tish suddenly slams on the brakes.
“Hey!” yells Eric! “Drive safely!”
Tish points to the two cars in front of her, “It’s not my fault. There seems to be an accident.”
There are two cars parked in front, and it looks like the second car rear-ended the first. The door opens in the front car, and a man gets out, obviously annoyed. He walks back to the second car and knocks on the window, “Lower the window, you.”
The woman lowers the window, and the man begins to yell, “What were you looking at? You should learn to drive properly!”
The woman seems terrified as she says, “You stopped suddenly, and I didn’t have time to brake!”
“If you’d keep a proper distance, you wouldn’t have to slam on your brakes.”
Tish is watching the exchange, “He’s a little harsh.”
The woman is trying to reason with him, “I have insurance. They’ll cover this.”
“Insurance! Are you kidding me?” He begins to kick at the car, “Get out.”
“Okay, okay!” says the woman.
The man pulls open the door, and Eric shakes his head, “What an ass.” Eric has had enough and undoes his seat belt, but Tish has already left when he looks to the driver’s side. He looks up and sees Tish walking towards the two.
The man tries to grab the woman’s purse, and Tish gets in between them. “She said she had insurance. So, exchange information so we can get out of here. Stop bullying her.”
“You two know each other?” the man asks. “You probably should since you’re both ugly as sin.” Eric walks up and pushes the guy back.
“What are you doing?”
The man now seems to back off, seeing a male approach. He looks at Eric, “What’s it to you?”
Eric looks at the back of the man’s car, “It looks fine to me. In fact,” he says, “It looks like her car took most of the damage. She apologized and said she’d pay for any damages, so what the hell is your problem?”
Eric jabs his finger hard into the man’s chest, “It happened because you braked all of a sudden.” He gets him several times with that finger. “It’s not even her fault. Let’s do this. We’ll call the police. They can settle this.”
The man suddenly realizes she’s probably in over his head here and turns to walk back to his car, “Wasting my time here,” he says.
“Where are you going?” asks Eric.
“To turn off my car. I’m wasting gas sitting here.”
The man gets into his car and starts to drive.
“Next time, lock your car and call the police. There are some trustworthy cops around here,” he tells the woman.
The man in the car stops and rolls down his window, “You running some kind of scam here? Bunch of assholes!”
The woman thanks him, gets into her car as he walks back to his, and starts to get inside when he notices that Tish isn’t there.
“Where’d she go?”
The man is driving down the road, awfully proud of himself, “They’re a bunch of crazy jerks! They’re lucky I went easy on them.”
Suddenly, Tish rises up from the back seat. Angry.
“I should have used my martial arts on them.”
Tish leans into the front seat, “Mister.”
He turns, and sees her, and swerves on the road. “What are you doing?” he asks.
“You’re awful petty,” she says. “Pull over somewhere quiet. I have something I need to say to you.”
The man chuckles, “You have something to say to me? That’s funny.” He considers her request and nods, “You know what? Somewhere quiet seems to be a great idea. Somewhere there is no one around.”
Eric is following them.
“Let me turn in here,” says the man. “Then, I’ll stop.”
Eric is trying to figure out what the heck is going on.
The man pulls onto a frontage road and then parks on the side of the road. Tish gets out of the car, and the man is asking, “Where are you going?”
She walks to his side of the car and asks him to roll down the window. “What is it?”
She smiles, “Stay here while I check something out.”
The man nods, “Sure thing, doll. How about a kiss first?” He says, puckering up for her.
She looks disgusted. “I was going to let this go, but I just can’t do it.” She walks towards the front of the car, “I was going to just keep it all bottled inside, but…”
“Where are you going?”
Tish places both of her hands on the hood of the car. “I just won’t do it,” she finishes. “Is your seatbelt on?”
She pushes the car to the right, and it spins around and around like a top.
The guy is screaming, the force of the spin causing his cheeks to inflate as he holds on tight to the steering wheel, “Stoooooooooooop!” he squeals.
Eric’s eyes go wide, “What?”
As the car spins around, leaving donuts on the pavement, Tish continues her lecture, “You have nothing to say when a man comes around, but when it’s a weaker woman, you got plenty to say, don’t you?”
The man looks like he’s gonna hurl as the car keeps spinning, looking to stop no time soon.
“You’re a foul-mouthed jerk. You should learn to be more generous to those weaker than you. You knew that accident was your fault, but you wanted to blame that poor woman,” Tish continues.
“Should I do something?” Eric asks himself, looking around.
The car finally stops, and the man opens the door. He starts to stagger around, dizzy and has to crawl a bit away from the car to puke his guts out on the street as Tish cringes a little.
“That’s disgusting,” she says, covering her nose with her sleeve. She finally sees Eric standing there watching, “Oh, hey boss. Um, how long have you been standing there?”
Eric is speechless as she approaches.
“Let’s go ahead and go. I didn’t mean to make you late.” She walks over and gets into the driver’s seat.”
Eric is still speechless as he looks back at the car, and then to his own car, and goes to get inside.
“I have records that showed you called her three times,” says the chief to the suspect in an interrogation room. “So, don’t pretend that you didn’t.”
The man seems flabbergasted as he nods, “Of course I did! I called because I didn’t know where she was parked! Then I called again to say that I was at the bar to pick her up, and then, I called her again when she didn’t show up.”
The chief pulls a phone from his pocket, “Is this your phone?”
The man nods.
“Why do you need a burner phone?”
The man sighs. “It’s not a burner phone. It’s the phone I use for my business. I have a business phone and a personal phone. It’s not that uncommon,” he pleads his case.
“According to the call log, you left to go pick her up as soon as you received the call.”
The suspect is exasperated, “I just told you. I went to pick her up, but I couldn’t find where she parked. I called three times. Once to find the parking lot, once to tell her I was there, and once more when she didn’t show up.”
Behind the mirror, Jake shakes his head, “It’s not him,” he says to Sarah as they both watch the interrogation.
Sarah nods, “I think our kidnapper was at the bar already and heard her call for a ride. So, he slipped outside to wait and claimed to be the driver.”
One of the officers storm into the booth, “We found footage of a man driving into and leaving the parking lot.”
Jake and Sarah turn to him, “Are you certain?”
The officer must have run all the way to where they were because he’s out of breath, “We’re still trying to ID him, but we’re pretty certain he’s the same guy who was the fake doctor at the hospital. Height, weight, the way he walks, it’s all the same.”
Sarah sighs, “So, now we know he has another victim.”
Eric and Tish are near the sea. Eric is leaning against a railing while Tish is enjoying the view. “Have you ever seen King Kong?” he asks randomly.
“Huh?” she asks.
“While watching the sunset, King Kong and the heroine say, “Beautiful.”
Tish looks at him and nods, “The view here is beautiful,” she admits.
“I feel like I’m that heroine,” Eric says.
Tish narrows her eyes at him, “Are you trying to say that I’m King Kong?”
Eric chuckles, “You’re a very special King Kong. Like a tiny version of King Kong,” he teases. He watches her for a moment, then asks, “How can such a small person like you have so much power inside of her?”
Tish turns back to the view and shrugs, “I really don’t know. I was just born this way. I’ve only been told that it runs down the female line of our family.”
“So, if you get married,” Eric says, then adds, “Not to me, of course, but to someone, and you have a daughter, she’ll have these powers too?”
Tish thinks about it, then nods. “More than likely, yes.” It seems to be something that really bothers her.
“Whoa,” says Eric, astounded. “This can’t be true. So, you were born with it, kind of how I was born with these good looks. So, don’t be down. Being born strong isn’t your fault.”
She turns her head to look at him, “How come every conversation I have with you ends up with you bragging about yourself in some way?”
“Anyway,” Eric moves on, “You told me you want to use your power to do good., and since this is the way you were born, let’s use it to the fullest. I will help you. Let’s do some training.”
Tish tilts her head, “What exactly do you mean by training?”
“Think about it like a video game. Relying on your original power, you won’t get to the higher levels. You have to train your characters to get stronger, right? It’s like that. I will help you evolve.”
The man from the traffic accident is walking down the street, weeping.
“My car,” he says.
First, he walks by a tire, then a couple more, and then the fourth. As he approaches his car, we see it’s turned upside down. “My car,” he weeps. The trunk in the back is open, and he walks around and tries to close it, but it keeps falling open.
He runs, and picks up a tire, and tries to put it back on, but it just falls back off as he wails in his misfortune. He finally falls to his knees and just sobs.
Jake and Sarah pull into a parking lot. As Jake starts to get out, Sarah reaches for his hand, “Wait. There’s something we need to talk about.”
Jake seems confused and clueless.
A little while later, Jake walks back into the police station and into the room behind the interrogation room and takes a seat with a heavy sigh as he recalls the conversation from a little bit ago.
Sarah seems unsure of where to start, but she nods, perhaps trying to bolster the courage to tell him. “My heart has been wavering as of late.”
Jake looks at her innocently, not sure what she’s trying to say.
“I’ve been selfish,” she admits, “and I’m sorry to tell you about this now during everything that’s going on, and I realize that I’m only telling you this to make myself feel better, but I feel you should know.”
Jake is totally unaware of where this is going, and it’s written all over his face.
Sarah takes a deep breath, “I don’t like hiding our relationship. I mean, that’s just part of it. I think I’ve fallen for someone else.”
His phone rings, and he pulls it out of his pocket and answers, “Hello?”
“It’s me,” says Tish. Eric is driving. “I just called to tell you not to worry about me.”
Jake shakes his head, “I have to work tonight, so I can’t look over you. But I’ll always worry about you.”
“I’ll be okay tonight,” she says to him. “I promise.”
“Lock the doors before you sleep,” Jake says to her.
“I will. Bye.”
“Bye,” Jake says as he hangs up. His breakup with Sarah is eating away at him right now.
Tish turns to Eric, “Where are we going?”
Eric pulls into the driveway of his father’s home and parks. As they get out of the car and walk towards the door, Tish asks, “Did your father summon you again?”
“In return for my helping you train, I need your help here,” he tells her.
“Let’s go,” he tells her, and grabs her hand, and heads to the door.
As the family is eating, everyone seems to be very quiet. Finally, Eric’s father speaks up, “Get married,” he says to Eric. The brothers, Feather, Eric, and Tish, all look up at the head of the household.
“I need you to find someone of stature, from a wealthy family, and get married,” he reiterates. “If you don’t know anyone, then I have already reached out to someone on your behalf.”
All eyes turn to Eric as he announces, “I already have a girlfriend.”
Tish is clueless as she eats her meal in silence until Eric reaches over and grabs her hand. Tish’s eyes go wide.
Eric turns to his father, showing the interlocked hands, “We live together now.”
Feather almost smiles, “Eric…”
“Is this true?” Eric’s father interrupts, but it’s apparent he’s asking Tish.
Tish clears her throat, “Well, sir, it is true we are living together at the moment.”
“Her parents disapprove. They’re very strict,” Eric says.
“What does your mother do?” asks Eric’s father.
What does Tish say to that? Her mother has been dead for quite some time. She reaches for a glass of water and takes a healthy drink, “My mother works with the afterlife,” she finally says.
That takes everyone off guard, including Eric’s father. “Like an undertaker?”
Tish winces, then responds, “It’s something like that, yes.”
Eric jumps in, “Anyway, I have a girlfriend, so don’t try to marry me off to someone else. I’m quite happy. One day, I will marry her.”
Tish’s eyes go wide again.
“Isn’t she pretty?” Eric asks.
Tish leans over and whispers, “What the hell are you doing?”
Eric just can’t let it drop there, “We’re going to have a son soon,” he says as Tish nearly chokes on water.
Eric gently pats her back as she chokes, “Are you okay, honey?”
“I don’t know how you think of me,” Tish says as they drive home from Eric’s father’s house. “This is a violation of my human rights and the contract we signed!” She is yelling at him now. Angry. “You have abused your power, which I will not accept!”
Since they left, Eric has been listening to this since “I already apologized, but you saw what it was like in there.”
“But why me?” Tish asks. “Why should I marry you?”
Eric looks at her, “Hey! I don’t like it any more than you do.”
“My father wants to force me into a marriage contract!”
“Why is that my problem? You intentionally brought me in there to lie to your father! What if my brother finds out? What if Jake finds out?”
“That guy again?”
The sun is barely peeking into Tish’s room as she sleeps peacefully.
Eric walks into the room, wearing a hoodie and sweatpants. He walks up to her bed and looks down at her with a smile. Then he brings that sports whistle to his mouth and blows as hard as he can into it.
Tish’s head snaps up from her pillow in surprise.
“Wake up! Today, we begin our special training!” Eric announces. “We will start by building basic strength.”
Tish puts her head underneath the pillow and groans.
“Get up,” Eric demands.
When she doesn’t comply, he begins blowing that whistle again and again.
Not too long later, they are standing near a tall rock climbing wall. It appears to go up several stories, and there are already some folks on it, heading to the top.
Tish is hooked up to the cable. She spits on her hands and rubs them together, making a show of it. She begins to climb.
Eric has to take off his sunglasses as he watches her climb up with no trouble at all. Even those who’ve already been at it are shocked at the speed at which she’s able to climb.
Tish gets to the very top and waves down. “Do I climb all the way?”
The next event sees Eric in shock again as she drags a tire behind her. But that one tire is attached to twelve other tires behind her, and she walks around like she’s not weighed down at all.
He runs to catch up with her, “Where are you going?” he asks.
She points ahead, “You told me to go.”
“But, I mean, so,” he stammers, “Who are you, really?”
At the police station, Sarah walks up to the chief with a sketch, “This is based on Jessie’s statement. She confirmed this looked like the mask the suspect was wearing. We are asking around about masks that look like this now and hoping to get a match soon.”
Jake is watching Sarah from where he still looks through video footage. The chief asks, “Anything on the video?”
Jake snaps out of his funk, “No. Not yet.” He turns his attention back to the screen.
The chief leans over and nudges Sarah, “He looks like he got dumped.”
Sarah excuses herself, “I’m going to go see if there’s any luck finding where he bought that limited-edition shoe,” as she walks out, though she glances over at Jake as she leaves.
The chief looks over at Jake, “You get a statement from Tish yet?”
Jake glances up and shakes his head, “She’s on her way now.”
“When Jessie took a long time to come back from getting food, I tried to call her. She didn’t answer the first time but answered the second, and I think she dropped her phone when he hit her. I could hear her in the background, so I ran out to go find her,” Tish says as she sits across from Jake in an interrogation room. “When I got there, I saw the man was about to hit her with a steel pipe.”
Jake is taking notes, and when he finishes, he looks up. “I know it must have been terrifying for you. Was he wearing a mask?”
Tish nods her head, “It covered his whole head, but I saw his eyes.”
“Your eyes met?” asks Jake.
“When he turned around and saw me, our eyes met. It was horrifying.”
Jake nods, “So when he saw you, he ran away?”
“What?” asks Tish, knowing she can’t tell him what really happened that night. “You see, I screamed, very loudly.”
“So, he ran away because you screamed?”
“Well, it wasn’t just any scream. I was a really really loud scream,” she tries to explain. “I screamed loudly for help. It was the loudest scream of my entire life. I can demonstrate if you want me to…”
Jake puts his hand up, “That won’t be necessary.”
“There was one other thing,” Tish adds. “He had a unique smell to him.”
Tish nods, “The smell came from him. It was like oil.”
Jake leans forward, “What kind of oil?”
Tish is trying to think of the word that describes the exact smell, “Kind of like gasoline,” she starts, then shakes her head, “Not like from a gas station. I’ve smelled it before.” She closes her eyes to think for a moment, “Where did I smell that before?” Suddenly her eyes light up, “I know! It’s the smell when the roads are being paved!”
Tish nods, “Yes, that’s it. Asphalt. He smelled like asphalt.”
After he finishes questioning her, he walks her to the entrance of the station. “Good work, Tish.”
Tish looks at him, “Are you okay? You don’t seem like yourself.”
Jake considers not telling her but figures she’ll find out eventually, “Sarah broke up with me.”
Tish makes a face, “I didn’t like her much anyway,” she mutters.
Jake shrugs, “I was sad at first, but I’m actually doing okay. Maybe it’s for the best.”
“If she’s smart, she’ll come crawling back to you,” says Tish.
“Make sure you lock your door at night, understand?” Jake says.
Eric is waiting for Tish, and he hears what Jake just said and gives a mock salute.
“I’ll be going,” Tish says as she turns and walks out the door.
Tish looks up and is surprised to see Eric waiting, “I don’t like police in general, but I am starting to hate this particular station even more.” He walks on ahead, and Tish makes a face behind his back before walking after him.
“Do you need an escort?” a group of Kal’s men asks, but they get a slight scream in response as the women run away from them. Can’t really fault them with how creepy they look. The women run off in fear.
“Where are you going? We’re just trying to help!”
Mikey’s gang picks up some more trash for Tish when Kal’s men wander onto the scene. One of them spits some gum onto the street.
“Dammit!” yells Mikey. He points to the gum on the ground, “Why’d you just spit your gum there? Can’t you see us decent citizens are cleaning up the neighborhood? Who are you people anyway? You’re not from around here.” The rest of Mikey’s gang fall in behind him.
The man who spat the gum steps up, “You punks.” He raises a stick, and Mikey and the gang cower for a moment.
Mikey laughs, “You scared me for a second.”
Another one of Kal’s men shakes his head, “I guess high school punks have two lives these days, taking back to us like that.”
“You won’t lay a finger on us,” says Mikey. “If our boss finds out, all of you are as good as dead meat.” Mikey turns to the others, “Let’s go.” Mikey and his crew walk away to go find more trash to pick up.
Another woman is walking by when Kal’s guys run over to her, “Let us walk you home. We’re here to protect women like you,” and he grabs her hand, and she screams.
Suddenly, a trash can flies through the air and smashes one of the gangster’s in the head, knocking him out.
“Who did that?”
The other two gangsters charge towards the grey-haired woman, but she tosses one high in the air who gets stuck in a tree. The second gets punched right in the chest, and he goes skidding down the street.
Striking a pose, we see an elderly woman. Then we hear a couple of popping sounds as she mutters, “Gosh. My back.”
She glances around at the three fallen thugs, picks up her suitcase, and walks on her way.
Jackson walks into a pharmacy, and the clerk recognizes him immediately, “How’s your headache?” she asks.
“I still have it every now and then. I came to get something for it, and some sleeping pills,” he tells her.
She walks back to get what he requested, “Be careful taking too many of these sleeping pills. If you continue to have insomnia, please see your doctor.”
“I have trouble falling asleep,” he says to her.
“You should try coming to my church. “
“Church?” he asks.
“I got over my insomnia by going to church. I’ve been going for 20 days now. Tomorrow is my last day. Just like Daniel, who prayed for 21 days,” she tells him.
“Isn’t it dangerous in this neighborhood, though?” he asks.
She brings his items over, “God protects me,” she says.
“How much do I owe you?”
The elderly lady is still walking through the neighborhood. A cop car is driving by, and she flags them down.
“Can we help you? You shouldn’t be out here by yourself, ma’am.”
The lady blows them off, “I just wanted to tell you some punks were picking on a woman back there. Someone came along and roughed them up a little. You might go see if they’re okay.”
“We will check it out. Do you need a ride?”
But the lady has always walked off, heading up the hill.
The masked man is getting agitated. That bent pipe is still lying on the floor, and he gets out of his chair and looks at his picture wall, still with two photos of the two women he has locked up.
He turns and walks towards the cells, getting up close to the second victim, who begins to whimper as she sees him come towards her. He begins to unlock the cage.
“Please don’t come in here,” she begs him.
He opens the door and walks in as she begins to cry, “Please don’t.”
He kneels in front of her, reaches up, and brushes some of her bangs from her face, “Aren’t you lonely?”
She doesn’t answer—just whimpers.
“It won’t be long. Just a little while longer. You’ll have some new friends.”
She cries at him, “Please just let me go home.”
He raises his hand to strike her, and she cowers back, though the strike never comes.
“This is your home now,” he tells her.
He removes his mask as she trembles and cries, and we see that underneath the cover is Jackson. He moves in on her, and she begins to scream.
Tish walks into her room at Eric’s house and locks the door before walking over and crawling into bed.
She pulls back the sleeve to her nightgown and sees the smartwatch Jake had put on her wrist. She smiles at it.
The pharmacist from before is walking home after her shift.
Jackson, wearing a cap and face mask on, follows behind her.
As she turns to walk up some stairs, Jackson grabs her from behind.
Tish is fast asleep, even lightly snoring when someone tries to turn her door handle, but the door won’t open since she locked it.
Another door handle opens, and someone pushes open the door and walks in. We see them pull out a knife and approach Eric’s bed. They place the knife at his throat when Eric suddenly wakes up, eyes wide.