As if driving a rig wasn’t cool enough, I’ve got my best bitches in the cab with me, packing three guns a piece and making sure anyone who tries to take our cargo ends up being a fresh coat of paint on the trailer.
There’s Cinn, face painted with the cinnabar that earned her the moniker, sitting shotgun as she cradles one in her lap. Dag, flying her arm out the window so the dagger tattooed on her bicep catches a breeze. And Stitch, threading a piece of fishing line through the latest ear she’s claimed as a trophy. This one has a ratty fringe earring dangling from it, clumpy with blood.
“Hey, Gears,” Cinn shouts. “On the left.”
I flip the rear view mirror and see one of the Flora’s distinct bikes coming up close. The thing about their little buzzbombs is that they’re fast and small, but easy to push off the road if you’ve got a big enough rig.
Which I do.
“Nice!” Cinn affirms as we watch the Flora take a sharp detour down an alley to avoid being smeared along the brick walls of Lower Wacker. “Wacker? I hardly know her!” my dad would joke. I still don’t get it.
“They’ll be back,” Dag says, pulling her arm in and checking her rifle one more time. “We should get up top.”
I pull up a street that used to be called Garland, going the wrong way according to the faded signs, and emerge onto a street roofed by elevated train tracks.
“Well that’s new,” I say, nodding to the hole blasted into the building in front of us. “Floras?”
“Nah, probably Sparklers,” Dag says. “That’s got glitter bomb written all over it.”
“Fucking Sparklers,” Stitch spats as she ties the ear around her neck and adjusts it so it hangs in the middle of her chest tattoo spelling out “Lacer.”
That’s what we are in this post-apocalyptic world: Fucking Sparklers. Lacers. Floras. Fuck Mel Gibson in his desert wasteland. After Armageddon hits, the buildings are still here. Kids between the ages of 14 and 19 are still here. And with the patriarchy-pushers now just ashes in the wind, we girls have risen to the top while the boys are too busy doing dick-measuring contests in their underground Boys Only clubs because society tucked them in each night with a kiss and promise that they would inherit the Earth without having to do much to earn it.
Well move over, because we might run like girls, but we also run this world. We’re driving the gas rigs. We’re trading protein packs and solar lamps. And we’re not sacrificing our feminine sensibilities to fit some patriarchal bullshit that fits the narrative Hollywood decided would be most profitable to share in sequels upon sequels of special effects movies.
That doesn’t mean we don’t feel the need to bitch slap each other once in a while. There’s no love between us Lacers and the Sparklers, Floras or Prom Queens, but we also have our allies. The GCs — Gold Crowns — provide surveillance in exchange for a share of the loot we bring back from our runs, and there’s tight history between our leader, Golightly, and the chief navigator for the Chanels.
The boys wish they could be us.
“Flora is back,” Dag announces. “On the right, about forty feet behind.”
“We don’t even have the cargo yet,” Stitch says.
“Yeah, but she doesn’t know that, and she’s not going to wait to ask,” I say, cutting the wheel to cut her off as I hit the breaks. I wait for the telltale thump of her body hitting the back of the trailer, but instead I hear metal dragging on pavement.
The bike slides out from under the front of the truck, slamming into the light post ahead. There’s no sign of its rider as I put us back into gear and pull back out onto the road.
“If she’s back there, she’ll be long gone by the time we get to the pickup point.”
“Unless she’s Indiana Jonesing this thing,” Dag says.
Cinn twists around to look at her.
“Come on, Raiders of the Lost Ark?” Dag says. “Indiana grabs on to the bottom of the Nazi’s truck with his whip so he can keep up with it. No one?”
“I lost interest when my brother forced us to watch Church of Doom or whatever,” Cinn says, looking forward again.
“Temple of Doom,” Dag and I say in unison. Cinn looks at me incredulously.
“Harrison Ford was hot in those,” I say. “Much hotter than he was in Star Wars. Definitely fuck material.”
“Nah, I’d much rather do Han than Indy,” Dag says. “Imagine how Indiana Jones smelled.”
“Yeah, but the stubble. And that open shirt, hat and whip combo.” It’s been forever since I saw them, but I remember realizing I liked boys thanks to Harrison Ford easing his shirt off with Karen Allen’s help.
“OK, you might have a point.”
Cinn gags melodramatically and keeps looking into the side mirror for a sign of our potential tail.
This is the beginning of an undetermined project (book? graphic novel? film starring Amandla Stenberg and Millie Bobby Brown?) that crosses Mad Max: Fury Road with Mean Girls.