Barefoot Cowgirl: The Cycle of Death and Rebirth
Session 2: Mr. Blue Sky
Disclaimer: This is work of fan fiction, not for profit, and not intended to infringe upon the owner's copyright. Cowboy Bebop © 1998 Sunrise, Inc.
"Are you sure you wanna go digging in the dirt, kid? You might find more than you bargained for. Might not be the only one looking, either."
"Oh yes! This is definitely the clue Ed's been searching for."
The man on the screen shook his scruffy salt-and-peppered hair. "If you say so." He coughed and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand. "You got my money?"
"Yessss… Five-thousand woolongs, transferred over a secure channel. Untraceable."
He checked his screen to verify the transaction. "Okay, I'm sending you the coordinates now. But if anybody asks, you didn't get 'em from me, you understand? I mean it, kid! I don't need a bunch of cops and bounty hunters sniffing around here."
"Secret! Ed understands."
"Alright then. The current owner is getting ready to scrap it for parts, so you'd better hurry. That's all l can tell you." The man paused before terminating the communication. "Good luck, kiddo. Watch your back."
Edward's golden eyes sparkled with excitement. "We found it, Ein!" She picked up the tan Welsh corgi with both hands and bobbed him up and down to the melody of her singsong rhyme. "Lost and found and lying around; in scraps and hunks, and heaps of junk!" Then she set him down and lifted a finger to tap her cheek. "Now, how are we going to get there?"
Ein barked and pointed his nose at a blinking symbol on the monitor.
"Oh là là, a ship going to Europa! That'll get us close enough. We can hitch a ride from there." Her fingers blurred over the keyboard while she accessed the vessel's flight schedule. "Uh-oh. It's leaving Earth too soon. Unless they have a little computer trouble." She grinned maniacally as she pounded away at the keys. "That should do it. Come on, Ein, we have to run!"
"Why in the eight great hells would you want this ancient piece of crap? Thing's gotta be twenty years old! It's fallin' apart at the seams!" The pudgy old man kicked one of the starship's red steel plates. Its rusted hinges squealed in protest before it self-destructed into the garbage pile below. "Literally!"
A toothy smile spread across Edward's face. "Ed wants it!"
"Huh? Who the hell is Ed?"
"Ed is Ed."
He narrowed his eyes at the lanky red-headed teenager. She had rosy cheeks and a mop of messy chin-length hair, but with a body that was only just beginning to show a few curves, she could easily pass for a boy or an under-developed girl. "So you're a...? Or...?" He examined her for a few seconds longer before giving up and shaking his head. "Eh, what do I care? Just pick out the parts you need and scram outta here."
"Ed wants it all. How much?"
"For the whole thing? Hmm, let's see... I'll give it to you for..." He rubbed his chin and squinted at the aging mono racer in a long moment of appraisal, then he waved his hand dismissively. "Aw, just take it. I was gonna scrap it anyway. Gotta make room for more valuable inventory, you know. Besides, I'm tired of gettin' interrogated by every crooked cop and nosy syndicate mook in the solar system."
She tilted her head to one side and played ignorant. "What do you mean?"
"You don't know? I figured since you came all the way to Io lookin' for it, that... well... seems this thing's got a history. Even got a name! They call it 'Swordfish.' A few years ago, a group of thugs came here lookin' for the previous owner. One of them worked me over real good, the dirty bastard. About six months later, a bounty hunter held me at gunpoint! Can you believe that? They keep comin' back around, tryin' to find this guy. Evidently he pissed off a lot of people and then disappeared. Say, you don't know him, do you? Guy with bushy hair? Eyes two different colors? At least, that's what they tell me. Name's uh... oh, what was it? Skip? No... Steve? Nah, that's not it either. Oh! Spike! Yeah, that's it. Spike. You know him?"
"Nope!" She answered a little too quickly. "Never heard of him."
"Huh." The man eyed her with suspicion for a moment, then he shrugged. "Well anyway, I'll be glad to get rid of this old hunk of trash. But you're responsible for movin' it outta here. I'm not a charity and a delivery service!"
"Um..." Edward sheepishly rubbed the back of her neck. "Will you call a tow truck for Ed?"
The man's round belly shook with laughter beneath his oil-stained overalls. "A tow truck? You've gotta be kiddin' me!"
Edward's lower lip jutted out and her eyebrows peaked in the middle. Next to her, Ein's lowered his nose with a whimper.
"Oh, brother! Fine. I'll get a cargo transport to pick it up, but you're payin' for it! And you're gonna promise me, once this thing is in your possession, neither it nor you are ever comin' back here! I never wanna see this piece of garbage again!"
The junkyard keeper hobbled down a small mountain of parts and scrap metal and made his way to the makeshift shack he called an office. Meanwhile, Edward climbed up onto the red wing of the ship and peered through the broken cockpit glass.
"What's this?" She reached for a crumpled piece of paper discreetly wedged behind the controls. On first glance, it appeared to be an old receipt from a trip through the Martian hyperspace gate, dated more than four years earlier. On the back side were a few lines of scribbled writing. "Hmm... it could be a message, but it's all jumbled up. Gibberish, hogwash, balderdash." She gracefully backflipped off the ship with two aerial somersaults and landed on her bare feet. "Wanna smell, Ein?"
She bent down to hold the paper in front of the dog's nose, and he sniffed at it eagerly. His ears perked up and his stubby tail waggled back and forth.
"Is it from Spike?"
She craned her neck to read the paper sideways. "What does it say?" She turned it upside down, over and back, and right side up again. "It is a message! It's a code! Let's see..." She cocked an eyebrow and pursed her lips while she worked through the puzzle. "Got it!"
Edward: If you're reading this, it means you found the Swordfish. Nice work, kid. I knew you could do it. Now I need you to find Jet and Faye, and bring them to me. I don't know where I'll be by the time you read this, so you'll have to figure it out on your own. I'm counting on you. Just be careful. Spike.
Edward grinned and lifted her index finger in the air. "Challenge accepted!"
"Yeah, that's right. She got here about 40 minutes ago. Says she doesn't know the guy."
At the sound of the old man's voice, Edward slowed her approach and tip-toed towards the shack.
"Nah, she's just a kid. Can't be more than seventeen. You want me to let her go? Alright, whatever, but after this, I'm free and clear, right? Yeah. I got it. I said I got it!"
The girl poked her head through the slanted doorway. "Mister Junkyard Person?"
He jumped with a start and swiveled around on his heel to face her. "You scared me, kid! Shouldn't go sneakin' up on an old geezer like that." He quickly cut the power to the monitor on the desk next to him. "I, uh... got a cargo transport on the way. Be here tomorrow. You'll have to come back then."
She nodded in silence and lingered uncomfortably.
"Go on now, get outta here! I've got other business to take care of." He averted his eyes and stared, unfocused, at the floor.
Without a word, she turned and walked away.
As she ambled between the mounds of garbage that lined the pathway leaving the dump, she glanced down at her canine friend and frowned. "Aye yai yai. I think Junkyard Man sold us out." She thought for a moment, then smiled. "But that's okay, right Ein? It wouldn't be fun if it wasn't dangerous, huh?" She began skipping to her own rhythm and swinging her long arms back and forth. "Once we fix the ship, it'll be easy to find Jet and Faye. Then I guess we'll start at the astral gate." Her mouth grew wide and she danced on her toes while Ein trotted along next to her. She sang out with gleeful exuberance, "Woo-hoooo! Ed's a cowgirl!"
To be continued...
Thank you for reading. Reviews appreciated but never expected.
A/N: When the junkyard keeper is trying to remember Spike's name, the first names he comes up with are Skip and Steve. Skip Stellrecht and Steve Blum are the voice actors who played Vicious and Spike in the English dub.
Session 2 Title Song
Mr. Blue Sky is a song by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), featured on the 1977 album Out of the Blue, and released as a single in 1978. Jeff Lynne re-recorded the song in 2012.
For those of you who know and love the Saturday Night Live sketch, Mr. Blue Sky features prominent use of the cowbell. (I gotta have more cowbell baby!)
I dedicate this song to Edward for her cheerful personality as she embarks on her new mission. I imagine her skipping to the beat of this song, and maybe even singing it while she leaves the junkyard.
Sun is shinin' in the sky
There ain't a cloud in sight
It's stopped rainin' everybody's in a play
And don't you know
It's a beautiful new day, hey hey
Listen to the song and view the full lyrics on my Tumblr (username Drealyn22, #BarefootCowgirl), or find the song on YouTube.
Thanks again for reading!