“The Pleasantville Community Committee are a group that believes in Pleasantville.” Peter Masters read from the pamphlet. “We stand behind our Council and our Mayor, and we entrust them to protect us and make Pleasantville the best city it can be.”
“That's a no from me!” Belle gasped. “I bet this is Demons response to the PRO!”
“I don't think so.” Charlie looked at the pamphlet. “I think this is purely on the people of Pleasantville who are on the side of the Council.”
“I really don't get what people think they're going to achieve by keeping the status quo. Do they think Chuckles and Giggles are going to turn into monsters or something?” Belle groaned.
“I don't know what we're going to do.” Peter sighed, sitting down at the Masters table. “The city is almost completely split in half. This is going to get really messy, really fast.”
“We have to get Sammy out of gaol first.” Belle said.
“If we can.” Lara pointed out.
Belle scowled at her. “We WILL get Sammy out of gaol. I swear it.”
Sammy wasn't having the worst time of it, but it definitely wasn't a top ten moment of his life either. He was at least in his own cell, whereas other cells had three or four inmates.
There was a small window that looked out to the prison grounds, and Sammy could see the street beyond. Apart from that, there was nothing to do. He got let out for an hour to walk around the yard no matter the weather, but the other 23 hours of the day were in his cell.
“SAM! Hey SAMMY!” Two days into his incarceration, he woke up to see TJ tapping on the cell door.
“TJ!” Sammy jumped up and met his friend at the cell bars.
“Are you okay? Have you got plenty of food? Is the toilet and sink functioning?” TJ asked, feeling relieved that his best friend was okay for now.
“I'm fine.” Sammy grinned.
“Thank goodness. Petunia and Tammy are having a fit. Belle is trying to look up your case and get you out.” TJ told him.
A loud “Hmph!” sounded from another cell, so TJ looked for it. That's when he noticed it.
Every person in those cells had the same dark skin as Sammy did.
“Um…Sammy…” TJ's mouth felt like sawdust.
Sammy looked confused, before he followed TJ's eye-line. He shrugged when he realised what TJ was referring to. “Oh, that? I thought you knew.”
“That the police force is racist? Of course, but I didn't think it was THIS racist.” TJ felt sick.
“Yeah, you never notice until it's your buddy do ya mate?!” Someone nearby yelled. TJ flinched.
“Don't worry about it.” Sammy tried to console his friend.
“Yeah, don't worry about us! Just make sure you get your buddy out, he's the only one who matters!” Yelled someone else.
“Look, just go back and do your job. See if you can't figure things out with the others.” Sammy pushed TJ away. “I'll be fine!”
TJ swallowed. “I'll get you out mate. I swear it.” He said quietly before scampering away through scoffs and sneers.
“Every one of them?” Belle asked.
“Every. Last. One.” TJ replied, pale.
They were sitting at the tip in one of the Knights of the Last Order hidey-holes as the humidity and temperature were on the rise in Pleasantville.
“I have to look this up.” Belle pulled out her laptop and began to type frantically. Daniel cleared his throat.
“It's not your fault mate.” He began.
“I never even NOTICED. Ignorance is just as bad as racism!” TJ cried.
“It gets worse. They shouldn't even BE there. Everyone in that cell block committed the most minor of offences.” Belle scrolled through the list.
Tammy sat quietly, fiddling with her hair.
“We've got him. If this gets out, Dingbat is THROUGH.” Belle grinned gleefully.
“I'm happy for you.” Tammy said quietly.
“He's a big supporter of Demon as well, so that will be a blow!” Charlie high-fived his best friend.
“What about the people in the gaol?” Tammy asked.
“And once the supporters of Demon start to fall, it's only a matter of time until we can get Dad in there!” Belle looked rapt.
Tammy sighed, and walked away.
“Tammy?” TJ asked.
Tammy pretended she hadn't heard and continued to walk.
“TAMMY!” Petunia ran after her.
“I'm glad you're going to get rid of Demon, but what about those people in the gaol?” Tammy said, eyes shining with tears.
“Of course we're going to get them out!” Belle looked horrified. “And we're gonna make it so no one goes back into gaol based purely on the colour of their skin!”
She flew (figuratively) into the den and with a bit of huffing and puffing flew back out again (literally) as Giggles.
“I'll be back, I'm taking this straight to City Hall and get these people cleared!” She flew towards the city. Charlie made to follow her, but then he remembered how easy it was for Demon to manipulate him. He sighed, and sat down, feeling utterly useless.
And yes, the Backpack gave out along the way.
“THE PRO HAS TWISTED THE NARRATIVE OF OUR GREAT CITY. IT HAS WORKED WELL FOR TWO HUNDRED YEARS, AND WILL CONTINUE TO PROSPER FOR MANY HUNDRED YEARS MORE. DON'T BE FOOLED BY FALSE PROMISES OF A “BETTER FUTURE”, INSTEAD SUPPORT OUR MAYOR IN HIS QUEST AGAINST VIGILANTISM!” A man stood out the front of City Hall with a megaphone. The crowd in front of him cheered.
Another person took the microphone and continued. “WE WILL NOT BE THREATENED INTO SILENCE. WE WILL DEFEND OUR CITY TO THE BITTER END!”
The cheers grew louder and louder, until Giggles flew overhead. Then the jeers and the boos started.
“Well that's just plain rude.” Giggles frowned as she landed on the steps of City Hall. “Looks like the PCC wasted no time in getting their rally on – HEY, NO!”
If you guessed that the Haunted Maze Troupe would make another random appearance, congratulations. They were busy giving out “lollies” and “drinks” to the rally, and Giggles knew exactly what was going down.
“Naughty! NO! Go on, shoo!” Giggles flew over and started to shoo the Troupe away. Almost immediately she was assaulted with:
“They're allowed to ply their trade!”
“Stop harassing them!”
“Leave hard-working citizens alone!”
“THEY ARE TRYING TO PLY YOU WITH DRUGS SO THEY CAN ROB YOU!” Giggles groaned very loudly.
Suddenly a bottle flew towards her head, followed by an apple core, a chip packet and another bottle. Giggles sighed, before taking off again and heading into City Hall to talk to Demon. If this was the Pleasantville Community Committee then they could shove their community spirit!
She walked in, thankful that there was air conditioning in the office at least. It crossed her mind that the hot, muggy weather wasn't going to do much to help tensions within the city. She groaned, and walked towards Demons office.
“Excuse me – oh, it's you. What do you want NOW?” Demon Jones looked up from his desk, annoyed.
“Why does the colour of a persons skin decide their punishment in this city?” Giggles snapped.
Demon groaned, with a roll of his eyes.
“It's not just “this city”, it's every city in Ostraya.” He returned to his paperwork.
“Release them. Now. None of their crimes deserve a gaol sentence.” Giggles snapped. “Especially when THEY HAVE ALREADY PAID THEIR PARKING TICKET.”
“Fine.” Demon grumbled. “Just give me a list of names and they'll be released.”
“Also I want Wallace Dingbat stood down.” Giggles pressed.
Demon looked back up at her. “You want me to stand down my number one supporter? Giggles, really.”
“Dingbat is the head of the police force, and thus is the one answerable for these crimes against people of colour.” Giggles snapped. “He needs to be brought into line.”
“Giggles. Giggles, Giggles, Giggles.” Demon shook his head. “I'll give him a warning, but that's it. I'm not firing my best employee.”
“He's clearly NOT your best employee if he's exceedingly racist! What about REAL crime?!” Giggles snapped.
“Well, I thought you had a good handle on that.” Demon replied with a smirk. “Now, out of my office please. And don't try and pull one of your guns on me, we both know you won't fire.”
Giggles seethed. So she did the next best thing, and pulled out the Lucky Seven Gun. She fired it at the light above Demons head, showering him in glass and leaving the room too dark to work in.
Pettiness has its place.