And It's the End of the World!
Presenting the Rocky Horror Picture Show,
as performed by the cast of X
Part 2: "Madness Takes Its Toll"
By Shanti Fader
"I'm sorry," the older of the two judges said, striding back over to where Sorata stood. "But the Sponsor sees no problem with the situation."
The younger judge, who had been waiting beside Sorata, gaped. "What? But...the Sumeragi was on the side of the Dragons of *Heaven*! It's got to be cheating for the Earth Dragons to use him!"
The older judge fixed his partner with a look that caused both him and Sorata to shift nervously. "Look. We don't make The Rules here. If the Sponsor says something's okay, that's that."
Sorata glared at the judge from beneath the dripping red lobotomy mark that had been painted on his forehead. "Fine. But if anything happens to Subaru-san..."
The older judge glanced at the Angels' set. They were inside the church now, and extras were turning the flower arrangments around, switching them from wedding to funeral bouquets. Subaru, radiant beneath his fluffy blonde wig, waltzed in Seishirou's arms. His green eyes looked even huger than usual in the church's soft light.
[Do the asshole two-step!]
"He doesn't appear to be in any danger," the judge commented. "In fact, he seems to be having a great time.
"Even if he can't sing."
Sorata opened his mouth, then shut it. He did this about three times, then was rescued by Karen summoning him to get the rest of his costume on.
As Sorata stomped away, the judges turned to each other, shrugged, and headed back to their viewing box. They settled themselves comfortably into their seats just in time for the end of the "Dammit Janet" number.
"So what do you think?" the younger judge asked, brushing a wisp of dark hair out of his eyes as the Brads and Janets went into their clinch.
The older one shrugged again. "Too soon to tell. It's an interesting idea, though I still don't see why *we* got roped into judging it. As if we don't have enough of our own work to do."
"Well, this is sort of what we were sent for, isn't it?"
The older judge sighed and rolled his eyes. "I suppose..."
Just then both churches went black. After a moment, the lights came up again, illuminating a new set: a cluttered office with book-lined walls and two professorial-looking desks.
[Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum! I smell the blood of a neckless one!]
Behind the desks, two impressive leather chairs swiveled around, revealing Seiichirou and Kusanagi, both dressed in elegant smoking jackets, blinding white shirts, and silk cravats.
"New characters," the judges said. Neither of them knew who would be playing what character, though they'd been introduced to both casts beforehand so as to better determine the appropriateness of the casting choices. They pulled out their scorecards and leaned forward attentively.
"I would like..." the Criminologists began.
[A neck!] shouted the audience.
"To take you..."
The audience shouted something extremely rude. Seiichirou started, and turned faintly pink. Kusanagi didn't even blink.
"On a strange journey."
[How strange was it? It was so strange, they made a movie out of it!] the audience chorused, as the Criminologists each stood up and pulled a book off the shelf. [Not a book--a movie! But since you've got the book, turn three pages to an asshole and his statement.]
As the audience shouted and the Criminologists flipped pages, the older judge leaned over to the younger. "Take off points," he said. "That man *has* a neck."
The younger judge looked stricken. "But...I've seen the Dragons of Heaven. They've *all* got necks. The only burly neckless guy is on the other side. And look how uncomfortable *he* looks."
The older judge considered this for a moment, brushing thick blond hair off his forehead. Kusanagi *did* look out of his element in the fancy clothes, and kept tugging at his cravat and grimacing. Seiichirou, on the other hand, had recovered and was clearly having fun with his role as pompous professor.
"It was a night out," he intoned, pulling his glasses down his nose and staring intensely at the audience over their rims, "that they would remember..."
"...For a *very* long time," he concluded with a manic grin, and both sets vanished in a spectacular burst of thunder and lightning.
"You're right," the older judge conceded. "No points off either side."
The scene then shifted again to Brad and Janet driving through a nasty rainstorm. Some of the audience leaped up and began making windshield-wiper movements with their arms, then demonstrated windshield-wipers from cars on various sorts of drugs. This surprised the judges somewhat; apparently the audience was present in a more physical manner than they'd been led to believe. One of the Sponsor's whims, no doubt.
Suddenly, six motorcyclists--the CLAMP Campus Detectives on one side and three identical sunglasses- and suit-wearing men on the other--streaked past the cars.
[Hey, Janet!] the audience shouted. [How many motorcycles can you fit between your legs?]
"Gosh, that's the third motorcycle..."
[No, it's the SIXTH! Janet can't count!]
"Aren't those the same men in black from the wedding scene?" the younger judge queried.
"I think you're right. Nothing against that in The Rules, though."
The dark-haired youth sighed and settled back in his chair. He knew he had to be impartial in his scoring, but it was difficult when he wanted "his" side to win so desperately. It was just as well his partner was here, because the younger judge wasn't sure he alone would have given the Dragons of Earth a fair chance.
*A fair chance.* For what? To destroy the world, kill millions of innocent people? The younger judge sighed again. In the name of justice, it had to be permitted.
That didn't mean he had to like it.
Onstage, both cars lurched--did the Seal's car lurch a little more violently? The set designer was a Dragon of Earth after all...
"What was that bang?" both Janets cried.
[A gang bang! First bang of the evening, for those of you who're counting!]
Arashi hastily readjusted her blonde wig, which had come askew. The younger judge noticed that, and a worried frown crossed his face. Was Kakyou trying to sabotage the Seals' performance?
"Dammit!" Each Brad slammed a fist; Kamui managed to put his hand *through* the dashboard. "I knew I should have gotten that spare tire fixed!"
[Asshole!] the audience intoned. The Janets rolled their eyes--Arashi with disgust, Subaru with a sort of amused tolerance.
They climbed out of the car, and into a rainstorm thoughtfully provided not only by Kakyou but by dozens of audience members armed with Super Soakers.
[Hey, Brad! Show us how assholes change tires!]
The Brads gave their flat tires a violent kick. As Kamui kicked his tire, it came loose and rolled crazily away, nearly tripping Arashi as she left the car, a copy of Asuka's latest comic held over her head.
The older judge frowned. "That's the second time their car took damage--and Arashi-san could have gotten hurt. The set designer's supposed to be impartial." He bent over his scorecard and made a black mark. The younger judge hid a smile. Perhaps this would go better than he'd expected.
"Over at the Frankenstein Place" went uneventfully. Arashi's clear voice mercifully drowned out Subaru's wavery little one, and the lightning effects were amazing.
[Special effects by Kakyou -- I mean God -- Himself!]
Now the thoroughly soaked pairs stood hopefully in front of the doorways to Doctor Frank-n-furter's castle.
[Ding dong, asshole calling!]
"Wait a minute," the younger judge said. "Shouldn't they be on the other side of the stage?"
"Yeah," his partner nodded. "They must have gotten mixed up backstage. Too late now."
The doors creaked slowly open.
[You say goodbye...I say...]
"Hello," Black Fuuma drawled lazily, grinning down at Kamui with a look that positively oozed evil.
"MMMphhh!!!" Kamui replied as Arashi hastily clamped a hand over his mouth and wrapped her arm around his neck.
"Hi," the Hidden Shrine Maiden said sweetly. "I'm Janet Weiss, and this is my fiancé, Brad Majors. Our car broke down, and we were wondering if you had a phone we could use."
The judges glanced simultaneously at their scripts. "Wasn't that Brad's line?"
"Uh, yeah." The younger judge glanced over at the second set, where Seishirou was offering a hand to a stringy-haired Nokoru, and saying, "I'm Brad Majors, and this is my fiancée Janet Weiss..."
"You're wet," Fuuma observed, staring pointedly at Kamui's pants. Kamui's eyes narrowed and his hands clenched furiously.
"Stay on target!" Arashi hissed, tightening her grip around his neck. Kamui spluttered and thrashed, then abruptly relaxed, as if only then remembering that damaging Fuuma would cost *his* side.
Another bolt of lightning illuminated the stage, including a row of motorcycles.
[Oh, no! They've seen too much!]
"I think perhaps you'd better both..." Fuuma leered at them "...come inside."
[I don't care where you come as long as you clean it up!]
"You're too kind," Arashi said between clenched teeth as she stepped past Fuuma and inside, dragging Kamui with her.
The judges glanced at each other. The older judge raised a blond eyebrow, and without a word of protest, the younger judge marked several points off for the Dragons of Heaven.
Once inside, the two sets merged temporarily into one for a giant "Time Warp" scene. Once again, there were an inordinate number of men in black suits and sunglasses among the Transylvanians, dancing in perfect synch with crazed grins pasted across their faces. The rest of the crowd was made up of those members of both sides who didn't have a large role elsewhere. Akira and Satsuki vamped around the sets with varying success as Magenta, complete with black fright wigs and frilly French maid dresses.
"Those glasses kind of ruin the effect," the older judge observed, and took off a point.
Both Criminologists got into the spirit of the dance number, though Kusanagi looked more like a drill sergeant explaining a battle plan, and Seiichirou nearly fell off the desk in his enthusiasm.
The Dragons of Heaven gained more points for having a perkier Columbia--Yuzuriha, in sequins, glittery gold hat, and hair sprayed safety orange. Nataku tap-danced its way gamely through the routine, but the bioroid's graceful, flowing movements didn't quite fit Columbia's character.
Then the music wound down and everybody except the two Brads and Janets fell to the floor.
[Don't go all the way down -- you don't know why the floor's sticky!]
An excited murmur ran through the audience as the Brads and Janets began slowly backing away from the massed Transylvanians. Two aisles opened up in the audience, at the end of which two elevators slowly descended. The audience members began clapping along with the music, and chanting about alternative sexual practices, small rodents, and duct tape.
The Brads and Janets reached the back. Subaru and Arashi backed into the elevator doors, whirled around, and shrieked. The judges turned around in their seats as the audience burst into thunderous applause at the appearence of Dr. Frank-n-furter.
Out of the elevators strode two tall, statuesque figures in six-inch heels, each one swathed in a billowing black cloak with a silver standing collar. Both wore heavy blue and white makeup, hiding their real features behind a campy, drag-queen façade. One had long, streaming black hair, the other's was short and curly, with glitter streaked through it.
"How d'you do? I--" the Franks sang, both with voices that were dark and husky, and gave away their gender no more than their faces did. "--See you've met my...faithful...handyman."
They pushed past the dumbfounded Brads and Janets, swaggering down the aisles to the set proper.
"Don't get strung out...by the way I look..."
"Don't judge a book by it's co-o-over. I'm not much of a man..."
[That's for damn sure!]
"...by the light of the day..." They turned to face the audience, still wrapped in their cloaks.
"But by night I'm one hell of a lo-o-over!"
They flung away their cloaks.
The mouths of the judges fell open, even as the audience screamed their appreciation, some members running up to the stage and bowing frantically:
[We're not worthy! We're not worthy!]
"I'm just a Sweet Transvestite," Karen sang, grinning lasciviously and doing a hip swivel that would have made Elvis weep with envy.
"From Transexual Transylvania-a-a!" sang Kanoe, flinging her hair around and sliding her crimson-nailed fingers down her fishnet-covered thighs.
The judges stared at each other.
"They're both women!"
"I know." Now that the cloaks were off, it was extremely obvious.
"Isn't it...sort of defeating the purpose, having women play a transvestite?"
The younger judge blinked helplessly. "I don't know...you *know* this sort of thing confuses me."
"Everything confuses you." The older judge stared at the stage. "How is Kanoe holding that outfit up? Karen's at least has shoulder straps."
The younger judge pondered. "Superglue?"
"I've been making a man," Karen sang, running her fingers through Nokoru's stringy coiffure, "With...blue hair and a tan..."
"...with blond hair and a tan..." Kanoe purred, trailing a nail down Fuuma's cheek.
"*Blue* hair?" The older judge turned a perplexed glance to his partner. "I don't get it."
The younger judge shrugged. "I guess we'll find out when they do the Creation scene. C'mon -- we're missing the song!"
The Franks had strutted down their aisles and now posed dramatically across the elevator doorways.
"But maybe the rain--" they belted out.
[Thank you, Reverend James Brown!]
"Isn't really to blame"
[Thank you, Milli Vanilli!]
"So I'll remove *your clothes*..." Karen sang, grinning.
"Isn't the line 'I'll remove the *cause*, but not the symptoms'? " the younger judge asked.
"Yeah. But using audience participation lines is okay." The older judge glanced up at Karen. "And that was *definitely* not breaking character."
[But what about Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie?]
"But not," Karen shouted gleefully "The SIMPSONS!"
And she vanished in a blazing ball of flame, leaving Kanoe to make a slightly less dramatic exit via the elevator.
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