Hinky Chicago Book 4
Inside the cavernous room, women in tights jogged around an oval track taped on the concrete. A set of cheap metal bleachers sat on one side. Jewel and Randy climbed to the top row.
More women trickled onto the floor and warmed up. Jewel saw that they wore uniform jerseys with their names printed on their backs: Irrita Belle, Stun Bunny, Rapture Snatch, Bichon Frizzy. They jogged, pranced, leapfrogged, and kicked their own butts with their heels.
Only a few had fashion-perfect bodies. They seemed to be all sizes, from tall down to shrimpy, from scrawny to fridge-shaped to spherical.
She glanced at Randy. His black eyes were bright. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. Of course the derby girls turned him on.
Jewel stifled a sigh.
After they jogged, the derby girls stretched. Then they did push-ups—man-style—and sit-ups and leg lifts. Good grief.
“What are we waiting for?” Randy said.
“Lena Sacker reported pink stuff,” she said out of the side of her mouth. “But we can’t flash our Consumer Services ID.”
He nodded intelligently. “Undercover.” Randy loved going undercover.
Finally they put on skates and about fifty-seven pads, helmets, and scary-looking tooth-guard things.
They were fast and strong, sexy in their tank tops and kneepads, totally focused, whizzing past one another with inches to spare, fearless. Jewel felt a stab of envy.
In that moment, she thought, I want that.
At a break, Randy stalked off to the men’s room. Jewel was stunned and charmed and fascinated, her butt going flat on the hard bench. She tingled all over. I’m not strong enough to do that, she thought. But I could be.
“Let me guess. Sometime in the past hour you said to yourself, ‘I want that.’”
Jewel turned. Lena Sacker, unrecognizable in a sport bra, bike shorts, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist pads, and big, clunky skates with wheels on all four corners, sat down beside her on the bench. The tooth guard, shiny with spit, was stuck into a hole in her helmet.
“How did you know?”
“Because it happened to me,” Lena said. “You work out?”
“I swim in Lake Michigan five months of the year.”
“My goodness. You’re tough enough, I guess.”
“Thanks a lot,” Jewel snapped. “Now, why are we here?”
“Besides so I can derby hit on you? Wait until scrimmage. You’ll see. I can’t talk about it here.”
“When can we talk?”
Lena slapped her helmet on her head. “Come down after practice and I’ll introduce you to coach. Get you started.”
“I didn’t say I wanted to do this.” Jewel’s heart hammered. But you know I do. Hell, you knew I would.
Lena smiled. “Then we go have a drink and talk about pink on the rink.”
The back of Lena’s black tank top read, Sacker Tart.
In a confusion of adrenaline, envy, and longing, Jewel’s one coherent thought was, I gotta get me a derby name.
Scrimmage scared the crap out of her.
Lena’s black-topped group scrimmaged against white. A whistle blew. Ten girls rumbled in a tight mosh. Their skates bumped and clattered. Jewel couldn’t follow the action. Everyone milled around, shoving, slipping ahead, slamming into the wall, sliding sideways, always moving forward.
“What are the rules?” she muttered.
Randy pointed. “The jammers—Sacker Tart and Bichon Frizzy—work their way through the pack. The first to achieve this becomes lead jammer. Thereafter, each time they pass a member of the opposing team, they score a point. The lead jammer may bring the jam to a premature conclusion, so as to prevent her opponent from scoring points.”
She sent him a funny look.
“Television. Roller derby was popular in the sixties.”
Right. Trapped in bed for two hundred years, he’d watched a lot of TV. “You know the weirdest things.”
Sacker Tart and Bichon Frizzy broke free of the pack together and raced neck-and-neck.
Sacker Tart leaped in front of Bichon Frizzy and went down, curling into a ball even as Bichon Frizzy fell on top of her, kicking her in the helmet on the way. The pack was thirty feet behind them and closing.
Fuck! Jewel thought, terrified for Sacker Tart.
But before the pack could roll over them, Sacker Tart was up again, racing ahead.
Half a second later, Bichon Frizzy was on her skates again.
Jewel blinked. She’d been watching the whole time. Bichon Frizzy hadn’t scrambled up. She just flickered, like a bit of film skipping over a break. And then she was rolling again.
A faint trail of pink glitter seemed to follow her, like a boat wake.
Jewel elbowed Randy and pointed to the pink stuff.
Soon, Sacker Tart and Bichon Frizzy were neck and neck again. Sacker crouched lower on her skates, angled her body, and clipped the other woman’s thigh with her butt, knocking her into another skater. Bichon Frizzy went down again. Sacker rolled on.
“Jeebus freakin’—did you see that?” Jewel exclaimed. She felt herself grinning madly.
Randy said repressively, “They lack decorum.”
“Excuse me?” Jewel caught one of his lordly frowns. She snapped, “You’re sporting the boner of the century. You have the nerve to criticize them?”
“I don’t criticize them. My response is appropriate,” he said primly. “Yours is not.”
“I sense all your desires.”
This was true. It was really annoying of him.
She widened her eyes. “Number one, I never said I wanted to do this. And number two, if you disapprove, this would be the first desire I’ve had where you haven’t been hairy-all-over to help.”
He stiffened. “We should leave.”
Jewel’s mouth fell open. “No.”
“You cannot participate in this—this exhibition.”
“Watch me.” Between him and Lena Sacker Tart, they were talking her into it. She probably couldn’t handle it anyway, damn them. But only because she’d let herself fall out of shape.
With training though….
Weak as her flesh felt, her spirit was willing. Hoo baby.
Jennifer Stevenson fell in love with roller derby in the nineteen-fifties, when it was on TV, and had to wait forty years for it to come back. She skated with roller derby as Flash Hottie in her early fifties and with Fleetwood Speed Team until she was sixty. She makes up new uses for old sex demons.