The NOMO Cabal
by Greg Blanchette, Tofino
Mocamp and Frank Island Frankie bustle in through the door of L&R's apartment, out of breath and giggling. Mocamp yanks off the red-green-yellow tam that bulges with her dreads and everybody stares. "Your hair," says Brad dryly, "it's green, heh?"
It's true. A big spot on the front of Mocamp's bulky dreadlocks is green -- not fluorescent, funky hair-dye green but leafy, car-paint green. Frankie's killing himself laughing.
"Is it bad?" Mocamp says, looking about for a mirror.
Pure Hel moves close, picks at a spot of paint on Mocamp's forehead. "So you did it?" she says, her voice taut with hope. Mocamp bobs her head, the grin glowing.
"Two feet high across the middle of the sign," Frankie says, sweeping a marquee with both arms.
"That's it?" says Pure Hel after a beat. "Just n-o-m-o? You were supposed to write 'no more'."
"We did," says Frankie defensively. "We wrote no mo'."
"Oh Frankie, I told you," Mocamp wails. She just hates getting things wrong.
Pure Hel stares at the pair. Was Che ever saddled with such a crew, she wonders. Was Simon? But as she opens her mouth to speak she's already shifting plans, adapting. "O-kay," she says, tapping her chin. "Nomo. It's short, it's catchy -- we'll run with it." Her small arms gather Frankie and Mocamp in a hug. "Super job. But what's with the hair, Mo?"
"It's hard to tell in the dark which way that nipple thing is pointing," Mocamp says, bubbling again with giggles.
"It's shaped to fit your finger, heh?" drawls Brad from the sofa.
"Yah, well, ten feet up in the air on Frankie's toked-up shoulders, there are other things to think about," Mocamp says.
Frank Island Frankie makes a special effort to look offended. "No dice. I'm steady as the Rock of Gabriel after a spliff."
"That's not what it feels like up there trying to aim a spray can," says Mocamp, and gives him an affectionate kiss on the cheek.
"Awright," says Brad, grabbing for Pure Hel. "We getting' down to it now, heh?"
Helen expertly pries his arms from around her waist. "We're just getting started, lover. Long night ahead." Helen moves to the table and her marked-up tourist map.
It shows half a dozen x's, scattered from downtown to as far out as Chesterman Beach. She circles the one already done, waves her red pen over the others. "It'll take about two hours to walk it."
"Why don't we drive?" says Brad, ever practical.
"Or skate. Quicker."
"It's a clandestine operation," l&r cuts in. "We wouldn't fit in Helen's mg. Your falling-apart woody wagon is too conspicuous. Five of us skating round town at three a.m. ... a bit obvious, not to mention noisy. Besides, apart from you we don't even own--"
"Okay, okay," says Brad. "So how 'bout a little quickie first then, heh?" He leans back innocently on the sofa, sticks his long legs out and folds his hands behind his head, exposing his brown, washboard belly.
Mocamp frowns and says, "You're basically here for one thing, aren't you, Mr. Studly?"
"It's the cosmic point of existence, heh? Besides, we're crazy revolutionaries," Brad reasons, "living on the dangerous edge and all. We're s'posed to have wild bonobo sex all the time. It's the lifestyle, heh?"
Pure Hel, despite herself, blushes with an unmistakable twinge of lust. He's so raw, Brad is, even when he's deliberately being a redskin fool, and she's probably the only one who knows. "It is the lifestyle," she says, with a sharp-eyed glance meaning later, baby, oh yes. "But only after the work is done, tonight."
Brad stares up at the ceiling, smiling to himself.
"How's the moon?" says Pure Hel, back to business.
l&r peers out between the curtains. "None yet. Rises at four."
"'Cause we can't spray if it's raining."
"No rain. It'll hold off,
Everybody got a dark jacket? Everybody got a hat?
Frankie pulls Mocamp's
"Because whether you think so or not, people," Pure Hel says as grimly as she can, "this is serious stuff."
Her tone of voice brings everybody sort of to attention, except Brad, who flows off the sofa, slaps on his black ball cap backwards and flips his skateboard up into his hand. But even he gives a low, involuntary whistle of admiration as Pure Hel pulls a new, tight black balaclava over her blonde bob. She looks exactly like some chick in a heist movie, until she rolls it up into a toque.
It's early enough they could still be taken as celebrants, staggering home from the devil bar. Only a couple of cars straggle by, with no sign of cops. Walking fast, they detour along Main Street, past the first test sign, and pause to check it out. There it is, in big green dribbly letters -- nomo!, highly visible in the streetlight's glow.
Frankie and Mocamp hadn't mentioned the exclamation mark.
Pure Hel gets a catch in her breath as her heart seems to expand in her chest. The disfigured sign is the first tangible mark in what has been a long, personal journey for her -- a slow struggle of awakening, of coming into her own, of recognizing both her own power and what she must do with it. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul, Edward Abbey once said, and that had stuck to her like an annoying burr from the time she first read it, eight years ago.
Until now. Until the nomo'd sign. At long last, action: the first shot fired in what will become, if Pure Hel has anything to say about it (and she believes she does), the revolution.
This is the beginning of a short story that will appear in some form (possibly as a chapbook) later this spring. Though Greg Blanchette regards the "to be continued" story as a cheap, despicable tease, he's willing to compromise his principles just this once. You can berate him at email@example.com.