After a moment of enigmatic silence, Alison looked up from the pages of Jen.
"A good magazine is like a good friend," she said, as if addressing a group of acquaintances. "You look forward to hanging out with her very month. You can't wait to find out what she's wearing, see what she's done with her hair and catch up with all the latest gossip."
The circle of brutal henchmen regarded Alison with confusion. They were a pretty fearsome bunch of hombres, but she didn't seem the slightest bit scared. Even more bizarrely, she seemed to assume they would be interested in listening to her babble about her magazine.
"But that makes her sound superficial and there's so much more to her than that," Alison continued. "She's the kind of friend who wants to see you shine. And she really wants you to have every opportunity to be as awesome as she is." To illustrate the point, Alison brandished the cover of Jen. Treasure Spinney, beloved star of the long-running TV drama Signal Hill, smiled her dazzling multimillion-dollar smile and pointed a finger directly at the readers of America. The headline asked, "Are You America's No.1 Jen Girl?"
"Every year we choose from a pool of smart, talented girls to come and intern for us," recited Alison from memory. "But this year, we're holding an extra-special place for an extra-special girl. This year, we're looking for the reader who sums up everything Jen is about. Send us an essay or a video that lets us see exactly why you're America's No.1 Jen girl and you can spend the spring interning at Jen!"
Alison stared at the henchmen, willing them to share her excitement. "Come on! Working for Jen? Total dream job!"
They remained mute and scowling with no more life to them than the rusted metal girders that framed the empty, dust-filled warehouse. She would't accept their lack of response.
"You're telling me you don't think that new editor's a genius? She's fifteen, for God's sake! Okay, when I heard the editor's daughter was taking charge, I was septical."
A couple of the brutal henchmen swapped baffled glances. Did the babbling girl mean skeptical? Was she deliberately mangling the language?
Alison continued, her enthusiasm growing. "But she's totally turned Jen around. I'm obsessed with the What's Hot & What's Not List. It's always so right on about what's in and what's out. The minute she's done with a celeb or a trend-bang: career ovah! It's the first thing I turn to every month. Don't tell me you don't do the same when the new issue of Henchman Monthly comes out!"
Alison glanced around the warehouse. For the first time, the visible portion of her face appeared to show signs of consternation. "Oh, no!" she gasped. "I'm not the first one here, am I?" Her voice grew shrill. "Tell me I didn't show up to the entire wrong place? Tell me this is where they're holding the America's No.1 Jen Girl launch party?"
The henchmen began to grin at her distress. Little girl lost.
As rapidly as she seemed to fall apart, Alison began to brighten. "I'm so stupid. The party's
downstairs. Where you're holding Treasure Spinney hostage."
With that, she pointed both of her Chanel Vendetta-tipped index fingers at the ground and began to spin in a graceful pirouette. As she whirled, flames shot out of her fingers and quickly burned a hole in the ground.
More to come...