Is it that it's parody? Or is it that it's Silence of the Lambs? Or some type of odd formulation of both? Anyhoo... Previous chapters and character list under the cut. The first chapter contains the main header and disclaimer.
Silence of the Hams
[SETTING: Outside the High School where The Mayor is bring housed. A small press conference is underway on the front steps where Snyder is holding court.]
Journalist: Do you think The Mayor knows who the JC Penny’s killer is? Why is it that you sweat so profusely, and have you seen your doctor about that?
Snyder: Tuck in that shirt. The Mayor says he knows who the guy is, but that is none of your business until we make it your business. Spit out that gum.
(Buffy Summers walks past quickly and unnoticed, then goes into the school, approaching the sign-in sheet. She signs her name, marveling at the lax security, and enters the gymnasium where The Mayor is being kept.)
Finch: You’ll have to take off those dark-heeled shoes. They’ll scuff the floor. We can’t have the basketball team playing on a scuffed floor.
(Mr. Trick, who is standing behind the smaller white man, rolls his eyes and holds his hand out with a “gimmie” gesture.)
Trick: You got any weapons on you? Knife? Gun?
Buffy: Guns? Never helpful. Weapons? Just my overwhelming need for love and acceptance coupled with my individuality and Messiah complex. Oh, and this clicky-pen. (Hands it over)
Trick: Uh, yeah. You gonna be alright? He’s a talker.
Buffy: (rolling her eyes) I know. Me? I like to get to the chase. Throw out a quip here and there then boom. Thanks. (Buffy walks over to the hastily fashioned cage, pulling a concealed packet out of her coat pocket.)
(The cage is about 10 feet square, has a floral-print sofa, blonde oak table with an eagle claw-foot chair, and a "Successories" poster taped over one wooden bar. The picture is of a golf course -serene, peaceful. A small tape-deck rests on the table playing Neil Diamond’s “Hello, My Friend.” The Mayor is sitting in the chair, back to Buffy as she tentatively approaches the bars.)
The Mayor: (singing) Hello, Buffy... Hello! Ha. America’s poet. Oh, I could listen to him for hours. Have, in fact. Just gets ya right here. (taps chest)
Buffy: I thought you might like some Ovaltine. (Sets package down on the edge of the rug, slides it through the bars carefully)
The Mayor: Aren’t you thoughtful! You know, it has vitamins and nutrients - not like chocolate syrup. And still tastes great, isn’t that a marvel! So! No TiVo, huh?
Buffy: Heh. Um, no.
The Mayor: (snapping his fingers in an “aw, shucks” manner and grinning) That was a nice touch. Well, that and the History Channel. Nice thought. Yours?
Buffy: (nods) I figured you’d get a kick out of the hours and hours of Nazi/SS Unit specials they always seem to be showing.
The Mayor: (swivels around to face her, hands steepled under his chin, eyes skyward) So! Well. Did you come because Rupert Giles sent you? One last chance to get at me?
Buffy: Yea-NO. No, I came because I wanted to. (Nods vigorously)
The Mayor: People will say we’re in love.
Buffy: Ewwwwww! No, they will NOT. I don’t even think that has crossed ANYONE’S mind until right this very second, EWW. Oh, and your epidermis is showing.
The Mayor: Oh, this? (Rubs his bare upper arm, then touches the shirt he’s wearing) Yeah, I gotta say, I’m much more comfortable with the old standard of business casual. This “golf shirt and khakis” look just isn’t me.
Buffy: (pacing, becoming more and more agitated, eyes on the clock) “Sentaur?” You’ve been surfing the web, haven’t you? Playing with photoshop? MESSING WITH POWERS YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTA- (coughs)
The Mayor: Oh, Princess, the problem is you need to get more fun out of life! Shake things up a bit! All work and no play makes Buffy a complete witch that starts with B. (Holds his hands out) I’m just saying... Come on. Who doesn’t like putting a man’s face on a horse’s body?
Buffy: You were telling me the truth back in the asylum. Let’s go back to that, because this whole man-horse thing is totally freaking me out.
The Mayor: Have you studied your case file? Because the answer’s right in there.
Buffy: Yes, but-
The Mayor: I mean, I wrote it out in full detail next to the Beetle Bailey doodle on page four. Kidding! I’m kidding. Where’s the fun in that? Besides, never liked Beetle Bailey. Had that tart of a secretary, and the General was a married man! We have to have SOME morals, right?
Buffy: (waits a beat, mouth open) You killed and ate people.
The Mayor: Well, sure, but no one that didn’t deserve it. Fine, fine, by your standards I’m immoral, and I just wonder how many people will live up to the high standards you’ve set for morality.
Buffy: (waits a beat, mouth open) Again. You killed and ate people.
The Mayor: (waving his hand as if to dismiss the conversation) Get down to basics. Get down to the real issue: what need does he serve?
Buffy: He likes to humiliate women.
The Mayor: NO, that is incidental. Incidentally, I think you’re right. But to the point: why?
Buffy: (clearly getting frustrated - research is not her strong point) He- UGH. Can’t you just tell me where or who he is?
The Mayor: Now, now, if I just told you, you wouldn’t have the satisfaction of having figured this all out on your own. What does he want from these girls?
Buffy: Satisfaction, um, he’s into cross-dressing?
The Mayor: He covets. Okay, not really, because I think he likes being male, but there’s something about these girls that angers him. And now I want to hear something from you.
Buffy: Sir, we don’t have time, I need you to listen to me!
The Mayor: No, you are going to take a deep breath, turn that frown upside down, and then tell me something this time. You wanted your father’s attention. He was focused on “Wheel of Fortune” and sent you away brokenhearted. What did you do?
Buffy: I just ran to my room.
The Mayor: No, not “just,” Buffy. Was it a long hallway? Were there family pictures on the wall?
Buffy: Yes, but-
The Mayor: Were they those “conscience” photo sessions? You know, where you’re looking right into the camera, but in the corner they have superimposed a second shot of you looking off in the distance? Did you have a cute little over-bite? Tell me.
Buffy: (slipping back into the memory, pain etched into every inch of her face) Yes... there were pictures. My parents had me in awful parachute pants and a top with the collar turned up. My hair was... feathered.
The Mayor: But you didn’t go to your room, did you?
The Mayor: You went back for one last try, didn’t you?
Buffy: (face filled with pain) Yes.
The Mayor: What did you see, Buffy?
Buffy: (swallows hard, talks as if detached entirely from herself) He had the volume turned up. The clue was food. The letters c, a, e, d, h, and m were all chosen: "c a _ _ e d ham.: All that was left was one letter. He kept calling out to the television- (stops)
The Mayor: But he was calling out the wrong letter, wasn’t he?
Buffy: (nods) Yes, he kept saying “l,” “l” he was...
The Mayor: What was he doing?
Buffy: (hoarsely) He was screaming. I could hear him screaming. “L!” “L!”
The Mayor: And what did you do?
Buffy: I... I yelled out, “It’s N, for god's sake! Are you stupid?” And he was so angry... He sent me to my room without supper.
The Mayor: And what became of your suggestion?
Buffy: It was correct.
The Mayor: You knew the answer? That must have been difficult for him to have his little girl be smarter than he was.
Buffy: (turns, arms swinging out with the force of it) I mean, what the hell is “Called Ham?” CANNED. Hello!
The Mayor: And sometimes you wake up, calling out the letter “n,” don’t you?
Buffy: Seriously. CALLED ham? What the hell is that?
The Mayor: Language!
Buffy: PLEASE. You ate people.
The Mayor: Do you think if you can find this killer, if you can solve this puzzle, that you’ll prove to your father that you are better at it than he?
The Mayor: (leans back in chair, eyes closed for a moment) Thank you. Thank you. (Blinks, sniffs the air and makes a face.) Mr. Snyder! I believe you know our little spitfire here, Buffy.
(Snyder is storming over towards the cage, arms pumping his jacket up into bunches around his paunch)
Snyder: (snapping fingers and pointing) You. Summers. OUT.
Buffy: What? I-
Snyder: (grabbing her elbow and marching her away) Come on, you little troublemaker.
Trick: (taking her other elbow) Sorry, kid, I got orders to put you on a plane out of here.
Buffy: A plane? But my office is, like, down the street.
Trick: Plane, cab, I don’t really care. You just aren’t supposed to be here, savvy?
Finch: (puffing up his chest and jumping in front of them for a moment) Yeah!
(Trick looks over at the ass-kiss Finch and rolls his eyes)
The Mayor: (raising his voice to cover the distance) Buffy? Don’t forget your case file!
(Buffy breaks out of the men’s hold, races back to reach through the bars when The Mayor bends his knees slightly, and lobs the file up and over the bars into Buffy’s hands with a nice “swoosh” noise, not a fluttering paper in the bunch. The Mayor, licks his finger, makes an imaginary mark in the air, smiles, sticks his hands in his pockets and turns his back to the crew, whistling.)
~TBC (Next up... the escape! Buffy does a little digging! Two more chapters to go! This is just for my own satisfaction at this point!)
In completely unrelated news... We've added both Vince Vaughn and John Travolta to our cast of celebs at a_list_celebs. Which means that the normal Sunday night news that Ron Burgundy (Anchorman) does is now affected by one, Wes Mantooth. Here's a link to their first battle. Hee! That link picks up at the conflict - scroll up to read the news, which recaps the week's events for our readers. And if you like what you read, plz fed the animlz here, kthx.