Tecaluska Mishane strode into the Ballistic Bookstore on the corner of Jolo and Kennedy. His black cape billowed and swooshed with every step – he made sure of it. He wanted his entrance to be as dramatic as possible.
Women stared at him with opened-mouth wonder. Men glared at him with the certainty that he was no one good.
Tecaluska scoffed at their interest. I am not here for them. he thought. I have come for her.
He followed her clouded aura trail past the romance section, through the whole Anime/Manga section, and towards the café.
He stopped walking.
There she is. Ildra Vernon. She has wronged me, but I will set things right.
She stood at a podium before a well-seated group of families. She smiled at them all. “Why, hello. I am Ildra Vernon, author of the Ill-Gotten Goods trilogy.”
The families went nuts with applause. A father of two shouted, “I love you! Wooo!”
She smiled bigger and brighter. “Sooo, who wants to hear an excerpt of my latest literary confection?”
More going nuts.
Tecaluska folded his arms across his chest. I will not waste applause on someone like her. Not even polite applause. But I will wait and listen. Perhaps she has mended her erroneous ways.
“Mm-hmm. Sounds like you all want to hear it. Well then, my prized darlings. Have a seat and listen well.” She cleared her throat and pulled out a packet of papers from somewhere inside the podium. “Geoffrey Johannes picked up the Grinner.”
Deep silence fell on the expectant crowd. It was almost like magic.
“At last, he had found the joy that had been stolen from him so many years ago. He reveled in its beauty and let the joy seep deep into his fingertips.
“But his reveling was cut short by an old familiar voice. ‘Geoffrrrrey Johannes.’ The boy wonder gasped. ‘Tecaluska Mishane! What are you doing here?’ ‘I am herrrrre to collect what is rrrrrightfully mine.”
Tecaluska’s rage rose to unhealthy heights. “I don’t roll my r’s like that.” he muttered.
“You are wrong and you always will be wrong. This is my joy. It never was yours.”
“Yourrrrrs. Mine. Pfft. What does it matterrrrr? I am Tecaluska Mishane the Grrrrrreat! You arrrrre nothing but a puny little nothing. I can do whateverrrrr I want and you can do nothing to stop me.” Having said that, Tecaluska did the unforgivable. He gave Geoffrey raspberries.”
He just couldn’t take it anymore. “THIS IS ALL A LIE!”
The throng of Geoffrey Johannes fans, young and old, looked back at him as one big group of shock.
He paid them no heed. He marched up to her podium.
Fifty-five bodyguards popped out of nowhere and tried to tackle him.
Tecaluska made a sweeping gesture with his hands. The guards tumbled out of his way.
The crowd chorused, “Oooo.” Except for one baby, who burst into hiccupping tears.
Tecaluska approached the podium.
“Well, hello! I always knew my dear Teca had fans.” She gave him a cursory look over. “But my my! You went all out, didn’t you, dear?”
“Do not speak so condescendingly to me! I AM Tecaluska Mishane and I am sick to the point of contagion about your depiction of me.”
Tecaluska had always thought of smiles as lovely, charming things. Her smile was neither lovely nor charming. It was rude and obnoxious.
“Yes. You are quite the fan boy, aren’t you, dear?” She gestured to the audience. “Come come, everyone. Let’s give this fine chap a good round of applause.”
The crowd obeyed, but there were a lot of uncertain looks exchanged out there. And that baby kept on crying. The dad looked like he wanted to stay, but he carried the baby out.
“Fan boy, pah! I don’t know what a fan boy is, but still! Pah!” He reached into the lining of his cape, pulled out his own stack of papers, and slapped it down on her podium. “Read that and weep yourself blind.”
“I’m sooo sorry, dear, but I am a tremendously busy woman. I haven’t time to critique one of your darling stories. If you want, I could recommend—”
“This is not a story. This is real life. My real life. And I am sick of you portraying me as a fool. I am no one’s fool.”
“I’m sure that is true, but…” She caught a glance at his cover page. “What? What? What? You’re suing me?”
All of the teenaged girls in the audience pulled out their cellphones and pressed record.
“I, Tecaluska Mishane, am suing you for defamation of character. Read through the documents here. It details all of the injustices you have committed against me and all of the moral and psychological damage that I have incurred because of your lies.”
She picked up the papers and slowly read through them. “Oh, my.” She looked up at him. “Are you serious about this?”
“But this is most bizarre.”
“Too bad. If you have any further questions, you may contact my lawyer.” He slapped his lawyer’s business card on the podium and strode away.