Chapter One Hundred and Four: The Powder Keg

 It took a week to get
the centre ready for the big night.

Belle and Charlie had
spent the whole day before the meeting making sure everything was
planned to near perfection. The air-conditioning was heavily
advertised, as was the rather large open bar with plenty of food and
non-alcoholic drink available, in the hopes of securing as many
people as possible while keeping the urge to fight down.

“Ahem. AHEM!”
Giggles tapped the microphone in front of her. “Testing! One, two,
one, two!”

JUST GET ON WITH IT!” Someone from the PCC side of the room yelled.

“Oh boy.” Giggles
sighed to herself.

“We've got this
buddy. Chill.” Chuckles grinned at her. He took the microphone and
began to speak.

“We thank you all for
attending this evening. I know it's been a hot, muggy month and you'd
all rather be at home trying to cool down.” He began.

THE AIR-CONDITIONING!” Someone from the PRO side yelled, getting a
few laughs from both sides of the room. Chuckles grinned. Giggles
breathed a sigh of relief. She might be the one with the knowledge,
but Chuckles had charisma to burn.

“We're here tonight
because we honestly believe that our city should be united, and that
all voices should be heard. I understand that there are some out
there who are unhappy with how things are, and then there are people
who want things left as they are. Both of these are understandable,
and hopefully with a bit of teamwork we can all come together and
make this city a better place.”

There was a murmur
throughout the room. Chuckles felt a drop of sweat run down his face,
even with the air-conditioning.

“First up, we will
have nominated leaders from both the Pleasantville Revolution
Organisation and the Pleasantville Community Committee up on stage to
talk about their views and discuss viable options that encompass the
needs of all both parties. Afterwards, we will open the floor to
discussion.” Giggles quickly stepped in.

Chuckles breathed a
sigh of relief. Of course Giggles knew the programme like the back of
her hand.

Meanwhile, the two
nominated representatives from both factions walked up to the stage.
Neither of them looked particularly friendly, but both of them looked

“The Pleasantville
Revolution Organisation only wants the best for our city, and what is
currently happening is NOT what is best for our city.” The PRO
representative said.

“This is also the
will of the Pleasantville Community Committee, however, we believe
that it's in the best interests of the city for things to remain as
they are. We could very well be opening our doors to much worse if we
fight it.” The PCC representative pointed out.

yelled, gaining jeers and cheers. Giggles frowned.

“I pay my protection
money, same as you all, and to this day my business, that I try to
operate in the most ethical way I can, has not been hurt!” The PCC
rep protested. “If we stand up and fight, the retaliation will be

“COWARD!” Another
yell. Giggles began to tense up. Chuckles squeezed her hand. This was
NOT going well.

“I understand where
you're coming from mate, but wouldn't you prefer not to have to pay
protection money at all? You earned that money, you shouldn't have to
part with it. What if we could have something better?” The PRO
representative said.

PAYING YOU INSTEAD?” Another yell. Chuckles winced, nearly crushing
Giggles hand.

“We can do better, we
just have to work together on this!” The PRO rep tried. The crowd
was getting restless.

That's when Giggles saw

“Chuckles! Someone at
the bar is selling alcohol!” She groaned as she watched the
barkeeper pour beer into a cup.

“Crap. I guess you
can't get good help around here.” Chuckles sighed.

Giggles looked closer.
Her breath stopped.

“It's…the Haunted
Maze Troupe…” She choked. “HOW did they get in here past

“They could have come
in with their masks in their pockets.” Chuckles suggested. Giggles
shook her head.

“Everyone was checked
at the door. We would have busted them.” She groaned. “And
there's Demon looking all smug like he knows what's going on.”

It was Chuckles turn to

“He DOES know what's
going on. He wasn't checked, his security guards wouldn't allow it!”
Chuckles spluttered. “He's working with the Haunted Maze Troupe!”

“We have to try and
mitigate the damage, but I don't see how.” Giggles felt her stomach
sinking through the floor. “Anything we say or do is under the
microscope, we HAVE to be impartial!”

More people were
calling out as the debate started getting heated. Suddenly, Chuckles
had an idea. He pushed in the face of his watch and waited until Lady
Luck appeared.

“Get Lady Silent to
set off the fire sprinklers. We need to cool off.” He whispered.

ONLY!” Giggles hissed.

“Wouldn't know it
from how many times you fall into the lake.”

“I'll get Lady Silent
onto it!” Lady Luck bolted as Giggles growled angrily at Chuckles,
who smirked.

“Why Lady Silent
anyway?” Giggles grumbled.

“Because of her power
to not be noticed.” Chuckles replied.

Suddenly the whole room
erupted in wails and water streamed onto everyone in attendance.





“This wasn't such a
good idea.” Chuckles groaned as Giggles wept for her cape.

Suddenly there was a
loud “CRACK!” as someone slammed their fist into another persons

victim jumped up in fury, putting their attacker in a headlock.

“Darn it!” Giggles
immediately flew to break up the fight before it got bad.

“Stay out of it you
witch!” Someone grabbed her foot and threw her against a wall.

“OOF!” Giggles
landed on top of the bar, which collapsed under her weight. “This
is YOUR fault.” She snapped at the Trouper manning the bar, who
shrugged and offered her a drink.

The brawl spilled
outside, where a few other citizens who weren't intoxicated managed
to break it up. Shouts and threats were heard throughout the night as
the crowd dispersed.

“You've only delayed
the inevitable, you know that right?” Someone walked up behind

“Demon.” Chuckles
growled. “You did this. You're the one who got the Troupe to poison
the well. People would have seen the light if you hadn't interfered!”

“Oh please. I just
made them be honest with themselves.” Demon smiled. “Your
grandfather was honest with himself, wasn't he?”

Chuckles swallowed back
his anger, before jumping off the stage to help Giggles up. Demon
chuckled to himself, before heading back to City Hall.

“Things look a little
rough in Pleasantville right now.” Crusader Roger poured a glass of
wine for himself. “I don't know if you're still talking to Daddy or
not, but I'd like to get an accurate picture of the situation before
we act.”

“I speak to my
Mother, and she gives me enough information to go on.” Crusader
Daryl snapped. “Besides, no matter the situation there's no way we
can get into Pleasantville right now.”

“We'd have PCC
support.” Roger pointed out.

“You don't think the
Mob knows that? Besides, Demon is in charge of the Haunted Maze
Troupe now, and they'll stop us or the Mob if we try to interfere.”
Daryl eyed off the glass of wine in disgust. “Face it, we're done
in the Pleasantville.”

“I wouldn't say that
just yet.” Roger sipped the wine. “Pop the telly on mate, see how
the Leos are doing.”

“You KNOW I'm a
Mynahs fan.” Daryl snapped.

“FINE, I'll turn the
telly on.” Roger sighed. Daryl was the worst partner in the world.
He been raised to believe he was the centre of the universe and that
the world owed him. Roger knew he had a sister that he had enjoyed
abusing as a child, and he sent a small prayer out for her as he
walked over to the television set. He guessed he shouldn't be too
hard on the boy, it wasn't his fault that he wasn't Mark, but

He reached over and
turned the television on. After enjoying the first quarter of the
game (Leos 4.1.25 to the Caryard Kitties 1.2.8) he was about the mute
the ads when the news bulletin started.

“News just in!
Pleasantville is descending into chaos! Reporters on site report that
the first brawl started at a meeting between the Pleasantville
Revolution Organisation and the Pleasantville Community Committee
that was organised by local vigilantes Chuckles and Giggles. Police
struggling to contain the violence that is breaking out in spots
around the city. Further updates at 10.”

“DARYL! Get up! We
have to get to Pleasantville NOW!” Roger grabbed his shotgun and
hauled Daryl to his feet. “Rally the troops!”

“What the -?” Daryl

“We have to get there
ASAP, before the Mob or the Troupe take over!” Roger yelled at him
as he ran out into the hall. “OI! YOU LOT! Get mobilised, we're
going to war!”

Daryl groaned again.
Then he thought of getting some much-desired revenge on Lady Courage
and grinned.

“What's that noise?”
Sammy stirred from his rest on the rickety old cot in the cell.

“Sounds like the boys
are moving out.” TJ didn't stir from his mattress on the floor.
“Probably to go and pretend to arrest the DVM or something.”

Then they heard a loud
bang. Both of them shot up, ready to strike if needed.

Someone then came
running through the gaol, jangling keys loudly.

pair cried as Lady Silent began the process of figuring out which key
unlocked them.

“It's a long story,
I'll explain it once we get out of here.” Lady Silent shushed them
as she finally unlocked the cell door. “Basically, Pleasantville is
at war, and everyone is blaming Chuckles and Giggles for it. There's
no one in the cop shop at the moment, so I took the liberty of
releasing you two.”

“Is it really that
bad?” Sammy hugged his sister before they made their way out of the

“It's worse. It's so
much worse.” Lady Silent told them.

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