The two blonde haired, blue eyed woman sat outside "Wish It Was Friday?" and watched as their waitress brought them their luncheon. Carol Marshall had ordered a ranch chicken salad while her dining partner Jane Smith had ordered country-fried chicken with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Carol took a sip of her diet cola and smiled as the other woman took a bite of her chicken. She chewed it a few times before making a sour expression and taking a long swallow of her sweetened iced tea. Carol chuckled, her expression a bit astonished.
"What's the matter?" she asked, not picking up her fork until she heard what the answer was.
"This is not country-fried chicken." Jane stated flatly with a tinge of disappointment, "The Colonel's recipe is far superior as was our own family cook's."
"It's also top secret." Carol said winking, storing the fact that Jane grew up wealthy and privileged away in a recess of her brain, "Just order something else then when our waitress gets back, it's my treat. In the meantime enjoy the sides and tell me about where you're from."
Jane smiled politely and lifted a forkful of mashed potatoes to her lips. After chewing them down she grabbed both the salt and pepper, dashing it heavily with both. "What is it you'd like to know?"
"Oh well, how about this: Assuming that most things were the same I imagine you had the Andrews Sisters?" she asked, holding out a forkful of salad as she spoke.
"Of course we did," Jane replied in her Southern accent, "I listened to them growing up, but they broke up in 1950...or maybe 51. Either way my father always enjoyed their music and we listened to them on the radio when we could. Vera Lynn was one of my favorites as well."
Carol took a moment to mentally remind herself that she was a veteran of World War II and Jane was a Cold Warrior, growing up in the shadow of the great war. While she was only a teenager, Carol had been out trading blows with the likes of Die Todesengel and other Axis threats as the American Mom. Jane's father had been a career military man from what she had gathered listening to her and reading online and had been experimented on by the US government to become the first American Hero. Jane herself was then trained to become his successor and given an even more experimental treatment that transformed her into the muscular amazon sitting across the table from her. Some things about Jane troubled her of course. For one she was incredibly right wing. Apparently in her dimension, and that of the Soviet Superwoman, Sen. Joseph McCarthy had been elected President of the United States. Here in this dimension she had watched as the same man dragged her name through the mud and tried to pose her as a communist sympathizer, and worse, an outright traitor, simply because she disagreed with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Jane was also head-strong and overly aggressive. In the last few weeks she had almost killed a mob-boss that Carol had been building a case on for weeks and crushed the hands of the villainous Blastwave. Jane had been arrested for her brutal vigilantism and for her all-out assaults on the Soviet heroine who had also come to this world. Lately though, Jane had seemed to genuinely want to be a heroine. She had dropped the name of her father, the American Hero and was going by Prodigy now. The fact that she had accepted this lunch invitation showed Carol that perhaps she was sincere and all she really needed was guidance and perhaps a friend, someone who she could talk to about a time gone by.
"I was always partial to Glenn Miller myself and Al Bowlly myself."
"Midnight, The Stars and You was one of my favorites growing up." Jane piped up. The waitress soon returned and Jane changed her order to the "World's Greatest" chicken fingers, letting the woman take away the offending fried poultry. "I wanted to thank you for this lunch Carol and apologize for some of the hateful things I said when we first met."
Carol waived it away. "It's already forgotten hon, don't let it trouble you."
"Well it does...and to think I thought I could make it as a politician." Prodigy sighed taking a sip of her tea. "I always had the drive and ambition, but not the ability to hold my tongue. You would have thought growing up around so many lawyers and political figures would have rubbed off on me."
"Well you clearly have opinions on things, very strong ones at times." Carol nodded. Jane had attracted a political group known as the Patriots who had paid for her legal fees and even her run for governor. Since backing out of the campaign they had put a good deal of distance between themselves and her, without actually saying anything negative publicly. Part of her figured it was because they still held the same beliefs about America as Jane despite her change of heart about politics. The other part of her thought they might have been terrified of her hair trigger. "Can I ask what made you back out while you were winning?"
Jane's expression stiffened for a moment. "Carol...I did things that I am not proud of. Things that were unacceptable of a public figure if they came to light. Things I would rather remain in the past for now."
American Mom nodded before moving the conversation back to something more positive. Subconsciously she had been watching Jane the entire time. What her facial expressions were like, how she responded emotionally, if she had any hand gestures and the way she sat. She was a method actor and physically copying your mark was just as important as emotionally copying them and getting inside their head. She never knew who she might have to impersonate one day and so it was just something that she did, mentally taking notes. "So I've noticed when it comes to crime-fighting you tend to be more...direct." Carol smiled and winked as she said it.
Prodigy chuckled, her more severe expression evaporating. "Yeah, I do tend to hit first and ask questions later whereas you appear to enjoy sneaking around incognito before you strike."
"We make a good team then." American Mom stated eating another forkful of greens and reds. "I gather the intel, gain the bad guys' trust, then you swoop in and make the bust. If things go all pear-shaped, you already have your back-up, hiding in plain sight. We catch the bad guys in a pincer movement, you're the hammer, I'm the anvil." Another wink.
"I've always been a bit of a loner Carol, I don't know..." Jane replied. She was thinking back on Idol. The recent revelation that he had perhaps been tracking her, using her to get at her genetic material...playing on her emotions like she was just another tool in his box. It made her stand-offish to say the least. Carol seemed genuine and she really enjoyed her company, but she couldn't help shake the fact that she could be being used again. She still had yet to investigate the Congressman's claims about Idol. Part of the reason was because she had been spending time with American Mom and the other was because she was truly afraid of what she might find. Steven had come to her like Carol in a way, someone who seemed to want to help her and who had some shared personal similarity. She had found him charming, engaging and was even sexually attracted to him. Her decision to leave the Organization and try her hand at politics had seemed to her at the time to be a betrayal, but now it seemed like perhaps she had done the right thing with putting distance between them after all.
Carol on the other hand, had taken a big risk by revealing her secret identity to Jane. So was this what she really looked like, or who she preferred to be when she wasn't fighting crime? American Mom was more Amazonian in stature, taller, darker, with black hair. Carol on the other hand was...well, a MILF no doubt, but you wouldn't say no if she offered you a slice of home-made apple pie. She just had this comforting aura about her that made you welcome her presence. Jane definitely felt at ease around her, and could see why other heroes didn't mind being taken under her wing.
"My kids prefer me this way when I'm not punching alien dictators in the head." Carol said, almost reading Jane's thoughts. "I know you've probably heard this before, but I really do want to get to know you, and to help you, Jane. Because you and me, we represent the people and this great nation of ours. We need to be better than our enemies, and to not just be relentless and merciless in fighting them, but to be able to show compassion and mercy too." Carol thought about Freedom Star, how she'd failed to help Andrea. Now Andrea was running with the wrong crowd, and Carol blamed herself for it. Never again.
"No secret agendas." Jane was still hesitant.
"You have my word as American Mom the superhero, and as Carol, a mother."
"Look, we don't have to have matching uniforms or a secret headquarters like the Guardians. We can just look out for each other and do our best to make sure the city is safe."
"I would like that," Jane answered, "an unofficial duo of sorts. Just no hokey names."
"What? You don't like the idea of the 'American Made' or 'Stars and Stripes'?" Carol laughed.
"The libtard media will probably give us something worse." Prodigy groaned.
"Yeah, the Spandex Mafia, or something equally unsavory," Carol said, scrunching up her pretty face. Very conservative, but hopefully not a goner like the Crimson Conservative.
"Don't sit under the apple tree, with anyone else but me, anyone else but me, no-no-no, anyone else but me, nooo anyone else but me..." Carol started humming. It was a perfect copy of the tune made famous by the Andrews Sisters.
Jane smiled, stunned. "Where'd that come from?"
"Oh, it was a routine I did for USO performances. They had me go up on stage as part of an Andrews' Sisters lookalike group, and we sang all of their hits. In addition to fighting Axis super-soldiers and infiltration missions, I was a pin-up girl AND USO performer. I even impersonated Marlene Dietrich for some of her front-line shows. Seems Hitler still had a crush on her, and there were rumors that the Nazis were planning on kidnapping or assassinating her. Allied Command couldn't risk the effect it would have on troop morale if anything happened to her so close to the front lines, so they had me take her place. Sometimes. But most times there was nothing they could do to keep her away from putting herself in the line of fire for the sake of entertaining the troops and keeping their spirits up. She was one gutsy lady. She loved the troops..." Carol's voice dropped almost to a whisper, "just like me."
"You're joking." Jane said incredulously.
"Bugler tonight, don't play the call to arms
I want another evening with her charms
Then we will say goodbye and part
I'll always keep you in my heart
With me, Lili Marleen,
With me, Lili Marleen."
Jane just shook her head, laughing quietly.
"Darling, the legs aren't so beautiful, I just know what to do with them," Carol continued, perfectly imitating the German diva.
"Oh stop, that's just incredible!"
Prodigy/Jane Smith is my property and creation.
The original owner wanted to call it 'Wish It Were Monday' but for some reason the name never caught on...
Cute, fun little story of these two seemingly hitting it off and now having faith in Jane I believe they will.
I didn’t know that
a hatefully and ludicrously fictionalized version of McCarthy called Mrs. Marshall a Communist. In reality he was pretty darn accurate when he threw that charge around… gonna have to do more research into American Mom now.
“She was a method actor and physically copying your mark was just as important as emotionally copying them and getting inside their head. She never knew who she might have to impersonate one day and so it was just something that she did, mentally taking notes.” Yeah, I really need to do more research on this fascinating woman!
“Very conservative, but hopefully not a goner like the Crimson Conservative.” Huh… now I really, really have to get to know this
potential threat woman! (Seriously, thanks for including my girl in this segment.)
Interesting interaction between these two, which could lead to a complicated--though mostly positive, I think--relationship. Big to all involved.
Also, Glenn Miller FTW, as the youngsters say!