Gangrene Queen

Captured

Back at the shack at the dump, the Gangrene Gang and Angela were trying to decide what they should do that night after the infamous Wal-Mart adventure. But first, Lil Arturo decided that he needed to borrow money from Angela.

“Can I borrow a hundred dollars, Angie?” Arturo asked.

“Aww, of course you can!” Angela said as she handed him the money. “What for?”

“I can’t tell you yet, and I probably won’t ever be able to pay you back,” Arturo admitted. “But I promise you guys are really gonna like it!”

“Good enough for me,” Angela said as she handed Lil Arturo a crisp hundred dollar bill. “Have fun!” Angela was easily suckered in by Lil’ Arturo’s small stature and heavy accent and thought he was just the most adorable thing ever.

“Yeah, Angie, I need twenty bucks,” Ace said.

Angela, much to Ace’s extreme irritation, only had this response:

“Get a job, you bum! Money don’t grow on trees!”

“What?!” He asked furiously. “Come on! You gave Arturo money!”

“Fine,” Angela giggled as Ace groaned in annoyance. God, Angela loved how cute he was when he was annoyed with her. “How much do you want?”

“I need twenty dollars,” Ace said. “I wanna turn it into quarters so we can go to the arcade.”

“All right,” Angela said laughing as she handed over the money. “You wanna go right now?”

“We can’tssss,” Snake hissed in disappointment. “It’ssss closssssed for the night.”

“That’s right,” Angela said. “I forgot how much this town sucks and how nothing stays open all night except for the pizza place. Where I used to live, there was all sorts of good stuff to do late at night.” She stopped and realized what she just said.

“Where did you live?” Arturo asked.

“Nowhere that would be of interest to any of you, but still better than this lame-ass place,” Angela said. They didn’t ask her any more questions, which was good enough for her.

“Billy wanna dance!” Big Billy bellowed happily. He waddled over to the speaker system and turned the radio to an 80’s music station where “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey began playing. Big Billy began swaying from side to side and stomping his feet in a lively manner as the floor began to shake.

The others stared at him as though he’d lost it until Grubber got up and started waving his noodle-like arms about. Finally, Angela said, “Why not? It’s not like there’s anything else to do here.” She got up and began dancing alongside Big Billy as the others eventually joined in. Snake got on the floor and began doing the worm and Ace started playing a mean air-guitar solo.

They danced for several more songs and Angela even convinced everyone to do a conga line with her when “Conga” by Miami Sound Machine blasted through the speakers. The track changed a few moments later to “Africa” by Toto. Everyone stopped for a moment.

“Aw, come on, this song’s too slow! We can’t dance to this!”Ace protested.

“You can’t,”Angela said coyly. “But I can!”

In the last few days, Angela was very thankful that she had to learn ballet and ballroom dance when she went to charm school. She stuck out like a sore thumb in her bright purple leotard while all the other girls wore pastel pink or blue and she had to listen to her crazy German ballet teacher tell her how much her form sucked. Sometimes she’d get smacked with a cane if she didn’t execute a move in just the precise way. Even though she wasn’t the best dancer in the class, she could still easily make up a routine to just about any song. Angela moved quickly and gracefully to the beat of the music, just the way her speed and finesse allowed her to shoplift and pick pockets without getting caught. The entire time she danced, she never took her eyes off of Ace.

And although she’d never know it because his eyes hid behind his shades, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her either.

Afterwards, all the guys applauded.

“Where’d youssss learn to move like that?” Asked Snake in amazement.

“No particular place that would interest you,” Angela said discreetly.

Ace was at a loss for words, but he couldn’t take the grin off his face. Angie might’ve annoyed him to no end, but one thing was for sure, she knew how to use her body and use it well. He was beginning to feel strangely uncomfortable when he realized that this was Angie, and of course he quickly snapped out of it.

“I’m bored,” Angela declared. “We should go do something else now.”

“Billy wanna dance,” Big Billy protested long after the speakers were turned off. He began to sway from side to side even though there was no music playing. But he went ignored.

“Like what?” Arturo wanted to know.

“The radio in the convertible Grubber sssstole yesterday doesn’t have a radio,” Snake pointed out. “We should get that fixed soon.”

“How’s about tonight?” Ace suggested deviously.

“To the Gangrene Mobile! Away!” Angela cried.

They piled into the convertible. Ace decided to drive that time despite Grubber blowing raspberries in protest. Maybe he should’ve let Grubber drive because Ace kept swerving off the road and onto the sidewalks, barely missing the lampposts, and knocking over trashcans. Finally, he stopped on a dark street corner where someone left their car parked under a lonely streetlight.

“What do we do here?” Big Billy asked slowly.

“Arturo’s the master at this kinda thing,” Ace said. “We let him do it.”

“Do what?” Angela asked.

“Shh!” Ace hissed. “Not so loud!”

“Sorry,” Angela said, lowering her voice.

“Arturo’s the best at jacking car radios,” Ace told her. “We wait here while he does all the work. Sometimes Grubber goes with him to keep an eye out for anyone who might catch us while we hide in the alley.”

“Can I go with Arturo?” Angela asked. “I wanna learn how to do it.”

Ace looked at Angie and the eagerness in her wide, brown eyes.

“You sure?” Ace asked. “It’s a pretty big deal.”

“Psh, I just wanna watch is all, just this once,” Angela assured him.

“All right, it’s all on yous guys,” Ace said as he turned Angela, Arturo, and Grubber loose while he, Snake, and Big Billy hid in the alley. They watched everything unfold carefully.

Grubber quietly got on top of the car. He took out a baseball bat and shattered the windshield, creating a hole just big enough for Arturo to crawl through. Arturo took a quick second to thank his maker for his small stature before sliding over to the passenger’s side and unlocking the front door.

“Angie, get in,” he whispered as he motioned for her to come over.

Angela climbed into the car quietly as Arturo took out a pair of pliers. He tried detaching the radio until it came loose, only attached to the rest of the car by bunches of wires. Angela watched with wide eyes as Arturo began carefully cutting the wires.

“I wanna try that,” Angela whispered in amusement.

Arturo looked at her as though she were crazy. This was always his job and to give it to someone he’d only known for a few days? Angie was a pretty good thief, but could she steal a car radio and do it right?

“Watch me do this wire and I’ll let you cut the last one,” he said. “Be careful though. If you hit it in the wrong spot, the radio won’t work.”

He reluctantly handed over the pliers to Angela. She carefully clamped down on the last wire and that’s the last thing she remembered when everything went black.

Arturo immediately began to panic. He jumped out of the car with the radio as Grubber blew a concerned raspberry.

“Oh man, this is bad,” Arturo panicked, trying to keep his voice down. “I dunno what happened, she just cut the wire and it shocked her. How does that even happen?” Grubber blew a raspberry as though agreeing with Arturo.

Arturo looked up and noticed a familiar streak of pastel pink, blue and green. He panicked even more.

“We gotta get outta here, Grubber!” Arturo cried. Grubber blew another agreement raspberry. They raced off with the radio, leaving Angela lying in a crumpled heap in the car.

Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup landed near the car with the smashed windshield, disappointed to find anyone at the scene at the crime.

“There’s nothing here,” Bubbles pointed out.

“Maybe there’s a clue inside the car,” Blossom suggested. She threw the door of the car open and found a scraggly-looking teenager in flashy clothes lying there unconscious. She gasped.

“What is it?” Bubbles asked.

“It looks like someone tried to steal a car radio,” Blossom said.

“I didn’t know people did that anymore!” Buttercup cried.

“And something tells me this girl knows a thing or two about what happened here,” Blossom said, raising her brows inquisitively as she eyed the strange girl.

“You think she did it?” Buttercup asked suspiciously.

“I'm not sure,” Blossom said. “Maybe she was with someone who did do it.” She tried getting the girl to respond. “Hello?” She went into the car and took the girl’s pulse. “She’s unconscious, but her pulse seems normal, so there’s no reason to just rush her over to the emergency room.”

“What do we do?” Bubbles asked.

“I say she’s faking it,” Buttercup suggested accusingly. “She probably broke into this car and is probably playing dead so that we won’t think she did it.”

“Innocent until proven guilty, Buttercup,” Blossom reminded her. “Luckily, I know some first aid. Let’s take her back home and see if her condition improves overnight. And then she can tell us her side of the story.”

“Blossom, I know everyone says you’re the smart one, but this is an incredibly stupid idea,” Buttercup said. “What will the professor say?”

“Maybe he can help us figure out what happened to her!” Bubbles cried. “Besides, she’ll be our new best friend and we can ask the professor if she can stay and play with us!”

“Bubbles, this isn’t like one of your stray pets,” Blossom said sternly. “As soon as she recovers and tells us what happened here, we have to let her go.”

“What if she has nowhere to go?” Bubbles asked sadly, thinking of the horror of what it would be like if this girl had no family.

“We don’t know that yet,” Blossom said. “Now come on, let’s get her home.”

They carefully lifted the teenage girl out of the car and flew off with her into the night. The Gangrene Gang cautiously crept out of the alley. They were shocked with what just happened and just stood there in silence.

“Angie gone,” was all Big Billy would say.

“What was that?” Ace asked Arturo.

“Angie said she wanted to cut the last wire!” Arturo said defensively before explaining, “so I let her do it and she got shocked!”

“How the hell does that even happen?! You couldn’t have just taken her with you?” Ace asked furiously.

“There wasn’t any time! Grubber and I saw the Powerpuff Girls coming!” Arturo cried. Grubber blew a raspberry as though trying to beg Ace for forgiveness. Ace merely smacked the both of them.

“If she wakesssss up,” Snake said, “Do you think she’ll rat ussss out?”

Ace didn’t answer. Instead, he said, “Come on guys. Let’s go home.”

They piled into the car. This time, Grubber drove the gang back to the dump. The entire time, Arturo and Snake were arguing over whether or not the radio they stole would work in this car or if they should just sell the radio to make some quick cash, but Ace was too furious to care.


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