Title: The Dismantling
“So here’s a funny story for you on our grand re-opening evening; some friends and I recently took a trip to my home dimension, Pylea. Random road trip sort of thing. You all know Angel, our very own king of soul and the luscious convertible he drives. Well, said convertible became our mode de transport and planted us right in the middle of a Pylean uprising, now that’s not the funny part. We fought the evil, saved some rebels, and even brought home a new friend.” The Host paused his story to tip his glass towards Fred, who was literally on the edge of her seat as the Host told his tale.
“Now, I know what you're thinking, Angel Inc. saves the day. What else is new? Well, the end of the story always gets a bit mangled in the retelling. Cordelia rescued, Buffy dead. Not much in the middle, so let me tell you what really happened in the in between...”
Angel took the wheel of the GTX, Wesley and Cordelia jumped in front, while Gunn, Fred, and Lorne sandwiched in the back. Fred read from the three books the Pylean priests had held sacred, the portal opened and voila the gang was back in L.A., or more precisely inside Caritas. The car squealed to a stop in the midst of tables and chairs after completely crushing what had once been the karaoke stage.
“Hmm, I've been thinking of remodeling the place.” Lorne said as he looked to the ruins around him.
“Glad we could help.” Angel said with a smile he hoped the Host would take as apologetic.
“Uh huh.” Lorne returned. “Anyone up for a night cap?”
“Or an early afternoon cap?” Gunn asked from the door of the club. “Even if there was a way to get the car outta here, it’s a bit past Angel’s bedtime.”
“Don't suppose there’s a back door?” Wesley asked.
“There’s a loading door in the back where my room is, but I'm not really comfortable with you guys tearing my room apart to get to it.” Lorne said as he poured himself a sea breeze.
“I guess we could call someone.” Cordelia said.
“A contractor maybe?” Wesley suggested.
“Or a chop shop to take the car apart instead of the club.” Gunn said. “I know a couple a guys that could do it in under an hour.”
“No one is tearing my car apart.” Angel said in a firm yet still whiny whine.
“And no one is tearing my club apart. I mean anymore than it is.” Lorne chimed in.
“Not a lot of options.” Wesley said.
“You could flip a coin.” Fred said quietly. “Although it’s not as fair a shot as most people think, the extra raised metal on the heads side actually weights it down more making tails more likely to come up.”
“Right.” Angel said with a grin. “So let’s just assume I called tails, which I always do, and Lorne can call a contractor.”
“Listen Bunnykins, the only way that behemoth is getting out of here is in pieces small enough to go up those stairs.” Lorne poured himself another drink and a third, which he offered to Cordelia, which he then drank when she declined.
Angel joined Lorne at the bar and leaned against what remained of a stool and gave the Host his most casual smile. “Lorne, buddy, can't we work something out. Look at this beautiful car.” Angel tilted Lorne’s shoulders towards the car. “That sleek body, the perfect black leather interior, flawless tail fins, not so large as to be gaudy, just the right amount of white on the tires. It’s a gorgeous machine, now I know you being an appreciator of such things could not possibly think of having it dismantled.” Angel stopped just short of batting his eyelashes.
“Uh Huh.” The Host said in return. “Come with me.” He led Angel into the back room of the club that he called home. “Look at the wallpaper in here, see that flawless honey damask that is draped over the walls. Notice the art, free form hung to such perfection that nothing short of an 8.0 could shake them. See the headboard of silk bolted to the wall, you could hold a mambo marathon on that bed and never hear a spring squeak. See where I'm going with this?”
“Not really, but I'm thinking we should get to know each other better first.”
“Cute, really sugar buns. Angel, you and I have just returned from a place where this...” He motioned to the thick trousers of dull brown material that would have been suitable for little other than potato sacks in L.A. “is considered high fashion and they store bodies on lice heaps to hide them from the dismembering crews. My room is the sacred cow to coin a phrase and I do not want to see it destroyed.”
“And my car is the same to me. I grew up in a time and place where a brood mare and buggy were considered high society.”
“Aren't you the one who told me it was just a car? Remember the trip to the shaman...”
“Evil phony guru guy? I remember.”
“Right, well he told you that the car had symbolism and you said he was wrong, it’s just a car, have Gunn make the call.” Lorne threw back the rest of his drink and started out of the room.
“But he was wrong.” Angel ran to catch up with the Host and with a hand on the shoulder halted him just short of the door. “The guru showed me that my car is a metaphor for me, it’s a symbol of all...” Angel stopped. “Okay, please Lorne. I love my car, don't make me chop her up into little bits.”
Lorne looked unimpressed by the vampire’s pleas.
“I'll pay for the remodeling.” Angel said with a shudder. “I'll even help you move everything out so it doesn't get damaged.” The Host raised an eyebrow.
“How are you going to pay for it?”
“I'll find a way. I'll work the night shift at work. Haha. Get it?” Angel continued to laugh at his own joke for a moment then put his serious negotiating face back on. “Come on, we've already been arguing about this for twenty minutes, if we call someone right now they can have the wall down by sunset and I'll be out of your hair.”
“I want a new stereo system and velvet curtains. The ones out there are ruined now with all the exhaust that beast puts out.”
“And I want a new suit since it was your fault, okay it wasn't your fault but French Viscose ain't cheap and I liked that suit.”
“Okay, a new suit. One new suit.”
“Deal.” Lorne shook Angel’s hand and they both went back into the main part of the club, where they were stopped dead in their tracks as the scent of blowtorch fumes caught their noses.
Angel crumpled onto the rubble that had once been the stage and watched in horror as three men picked up half of the GTX’s frame, leaving the remaining piece on the floor with an assortment of bolts, a couple of tires and one of the seats.
“Told you.” Gunn smiled. “Under an hour.”
“Um, uh, my...um.” Angel stuttered.
“Don't worry, they'll have it back together by sundown.”
“Guess the sanctuary spell doesn't apply to Demon’s cars.” Lorne said through a barely contained guffaw.
“Aahhckk.” Angel moaned as he dropped his head into his hands.
“Angel, honey.” Cordelia said softly joining him on the stage. “We found some change in the seat cushions. Want it?” She held out her hand and slid several quarters and pennies into his limply outstretched palm.
Angel picked one coin out of the bunch and tossed it in the air.
It landed heads up.
Copyright Tania 2003-2004
Violators will be forced to ride in the trunk.