Author: Othello Gooden Jr.

Chapter 3
The Crazy Lady

It was 9 o’clock AM.  Kayla awakened to someone playing the piano in a song on her satellite radio. She opened one eye and looked at the radio sitting on a dresser near her bed. The song was very familiar to her. Consequently, the groovy beat moved her to get up. With that song still in Kayla’s head, she grabbed her flute on its stand near her bed and played along with it.


Kayla glanced at the song and artist name infinitely scrolling vertically in blue bold letters on her radio’s LCD screen, “Come on Up ~ Brian Culbertson.”  She grinned, recalling that she had every album of his on her mp3 player. A few seconds before Culbertson’s piano solo, Kayla turned off the radio and tailored the solo to her style—bluesy runs with triplets.


Meanwhile, Kira was walking past Kayla’s room across from the girl’s vending area.  She heard a flute playing.


“Who’s that playing the flute?” Kira stopped, trying to find where the sound was coming from.


“Forget about it.” She waved her hand, not caring.  However, she stopped again as the flautist played the melody a second time, tailoring it to the style of those who play the flute.


“She’s good.” The British-speaking girl said in a tone of admiration. Kira started to walk on by.


That’s when Kayla changed the song to one of her originals.  Kira stopped and moved back to Kayla’s door.  The girl was playing over a drum and bass track on her computer.


“She must be a ZCOM major.”  Kira thought aloud.  “Wait, ZCOM students don’t live in RIAS dorms.  So I see…”


The girls in the dorm room started gathering around Kayla’s door, enjoying the tune. That’s when they saw Kira and started to back away from her.


“Don’t you know she’s breaking the rules?” Kira asked the other girls, thumbing back to Kayla’s room.


“Kira,” One girl started.  She stuttered in her words trying to defend Kayla.


“I SAID…” Kira repeated, stopping the girl from finishing her sentence.  She took out her phone.


“You jerk.” Another girl growled from the back at seeing what Kira was about to do.


Kira suddenly stormed toward the girl, gazing meanly at her. Her opponent started to shiver in fear as Kira came toward her. The girls opened a way for Kira, leaving space between her and the other girl.


“You dare stand up for a rule-breaker?” Kira asked, leaning forward at the girl.

“It’s just jazz, Kira, lighten up!” the girl tried swallowing her fear.

“Oh really?” Kira retorted.  “That’s how it starts!”


“You’re the only one, Kira.” said a girl from behind the two, disappointed at Kira’s actions.


Kira snapped in that moment, turning to the instigator with an angry gaze.


“I THINK YOU NEED TO STEP OFF!” Kira turned her head at them and yelled, shaking her phone in her fist at the girl.


The girl stood her ground.  Kira took the intimidating stance as if this girl wanted to fight.  The girls in the hallway started chanting, “FIGHT!”


Kayla stopped playing her music after hearing all the commotion outside her door.  She peaked outside but quickly closed the door as she saw Kira angrily screaming at the other girl while rushing at her.  The battle was over in a matter of minutes as two guard bots came in.  They detained Kira and the other girl, putting both in a headlock. They took them downstairs into an office room labeled, “Student Affairs”.



There were other students in the Student Affairs Office, but they were there for different reasons.  When one of them saw Kira and the other girl being hauled into the place by two guard robots, he just laughed.


“SHUT IT OR I’LL—AAAHHH!”  Kira stopped in mid sentence, screaming in pain as she felt an electric shock coming from the body of the guard who had her in its grasp.


“What,” Kira’s tone changed after she was shocked.  She looked around in confusion as she asked, “Where am I?”


“How soon do you forget?” the other girl laughed sadly.


“Crud—not again.”  The British-speaking girl sighed at knowing what had happened. That’s when Ms. Vernon showed up in military uniform.  She had three stars pinned on one shoulder.


“You again?”  Ms. Vernon sighed, and then shook her head.


“But she picked a fight with me!” Kira yelled, pointing to the other girl.


“And you weren’t woman enough to walk away from it?”  Vernon challenged, sounding uninterested in Kira’s plea.


Kira was silent in her reply.


“At this point, I don’t know whose worse, you or Gordon Mellis.”  Vernon shook her head in her comparison, almost jokingly. Yet the students on Zyra knew Vernon to have that serious tone in her voice, even when she was joking. You could never tell if Vernon was unless she told you.


“He got his temper from me.”  Kira cackled with a grin. After all, Gordon was one of her best friends.


The other girl rolled her eyes, knowing Kira’s statement went deeper than that. Both of them were in with the wrong crowd and that girl so happened to pick a fight with someone in it. That’s when she bowed her head low, shaking her head. She was almost ashamed at the situation.


“But he also has a lot less reprimands and suspensions than you in a six month time period!” Vernon retorted, followed by a sarcastic laugh and then paused. She continued after a fake cough, “This is no laughing matter, Kira, if it’s not being late for class—it’s picking a fight with other students.”



“Shut yo dog face up!” the other girl yelled.

“Da frak did you just say, mutha—”


“ENOUGH FROM BOTH OF YOU!”  Vernon interrupted loud, booming voice.  Kira and the other girl suddenly gave their school’s disciplinary office their undivided attention.




“Ma’am, yes, Ma’am!” The other girl answered respectfully.


Vernon then turned to Kira who stayed silent.  She looked at Vernon in defiance, dimming her eyes at the woman.


“DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR, MS. MANCINI?” Vernon repeated, getting in Kira’s face after a few moments of silence.


“Dunno,” Kira started cynically, “maybe if—AAAAAAHHHH!!!!  WHAT THE—I WASN’T THREATENING HER!!!”




“OKAY, I GET IT!” Kira finally said, annoyed at the situation.

“Seriously, You need help.” the other girl said solemnly to Kira

“Why da frak would you care?” Kira growled.


The other girl quickly looked away from Kira. She looked at her again—a look of extreme sadness. She pitied Kira.


“Guard bots,” Vernon looked toward the robotic giants.  They still had a firm grip around the two delinquents.  “Escort them to their rooms.  If it happens again, take them to Sector B’s jail downtown.”


“Affirmative.” The guards nod at her and returned to two girls to their separate rooms.



The guard threw Kira into her room.  Kira fell to the ground and turned around as the guard slammed the door in her face.  She stayed there on the ground and started crying.


It’s so not fair.” Kira thought to herself as she started remembering the things use to be.


Kira went back to recalling her life on Earth, growing up as a child in little Italy.  However, most her childhood was a blur.  The only enjoyable memory she had of it was her mom, Marta Van Wundt-Schneider, a traveling evangelist. Italy worshipped her like a saint. Yet all she did was work with the banks in Rome to help youths find jobs. The spiritual aspect of it was helping them to rely more on God than man. What was remarkable, Marta Schneider united most of the religious leaders around the world to help her. Kira remembered spending her summers traveling with her mom. They believed that one day Kira would follow in her footsteps. That was Marta’s goal. That’s why she had Kira travel with her. In Kira’s childhood, she met many big names in the “religious world” of Mankind, including the late Naira Hill-Adega I. It was her that helped Kira escape from her father’s mafia.


Kira’s father was a memory Kira wished she never had.  Though she rarely saw him and when she did, it was always on her birthday, and during the holiday season. Between graduating in school from grade to grade, he just showered her with graduation presents. Most of the time he sent someone to do the honors but on occasion he did so himself. Her uncles, Keith and Kerry were the ones who actually raised Kira during her preteen and teenage years.  Remembering those dreaded times sent chills down her spine.


The woman closed her eyes trying not to remember those memories as sat up against the bed and rubbed the back of her neck with one hand.  Kira stopped at the top of her tattoo.  It was a calligraphic pair of angel wings.  She opened her eyes and visualized them while looking at the ceiling. Kira got this tattooed in a tattoo shop in south Sector C several years ago. Sector B and A didn’t have tattoo shops because Madam Zyra had outlawed them. Kira was mad at first but then reasoned these businesses didn’t attract the “right” type of crowds and those who hung around them were delinquents.


The symbol reminded her of what Marta always told Kira every night before the girl went to bed.


“Goodnight my angel.” Those words brought comfort to her. Over the years, Kira believed she was one, just like her mom.


“I’m much prettier than all of them.”  Kira laughed, remembering the first time she met him. He called her an angel. She adored that title.


“No, it was my personality.”  Kira backed up, shaking her head at remembering the stereotypical ‘boy meets girl’ situation.  “But I DID help him pass a class once.”


Kira stopped at that last thought.


“Big whoop!”  Kira rolled her eyes.  “I’ve lost him—thanks to you…”


Kira cursed herself after remembering her past relationship with Durk, believing it was all her fault. She felt her life spinning more and more out of control without him.  One day, things were fine—just an ordinary girl gifted in computers.  Then she felt the change—she became meaner and meaner—failed relationships after failed relationships.  For a time she thought it was the men she dated, blaming them for the breakup. But it was always the same problem—Kira just lost interest in them and went to the next man.


Kira dropped her hand down from her neck abruptly and came across a wine bottle lying on the ground next to her.  She quickly picked up the bottle out and looked at its label.


“Domaine Romanée-Conti.” Kira said aloud in a French accent. She paused and then continued in an American accent, “Expensive but not as rare as it use to be.”


Kira knew there were vineyards on Zyra that perfected the art of making special and rare wine brands—Domaine Romanée-Conti being one of them.  As she recalled, those at Zyran La Rochelle Academy (ZLRA) had to take a class in learning how to make different types of wines—beginning with the “Fundamentals of Wine Making”. Kira graduated with a ZLRA certificate and thus knew the basics of winemaking. She then believed it was worst mistake in her life—she couldn’t stop drinking—which led to more problems.  That’s how she met Gordon—at a drinking party following their graduation. Gordon challenged her to a winemaking contest—who could make the best wine? Kira won.  From then on, Kira couldn’t get rid of him.  Gordon followed her like a helpless little child where ever she went.


At first Kira felt annoyed at Gordon’s constant wooing but then she grew to admire the attention.  More or less it was because she was a pioneer in making that special brand of Burgundy and Bordeaux he loved so much. He first tasted it at that party and bugged Kira almost every day about making him a steady supply of it.


Kira shortly laughed at that memory and then ripped the label off the bottle.  The acronym ‘DRC’ was written in black ink on a large white label covering the original.


Remembering this, Kira read the label on the bottle aloud in her native Italian accent, “Romanée Mancini.”


Kira pulled the cork out the quarter full bottle of RM and took a sip of it.  She remembered that many described RM’s taste by using the names of old classical musicians like Brahms and Chopin in their comparison.  In her opinion, the comparisons were inferior.  RM was Oscar Peterson improvising on a jazz arrangement of a classical music piece.  That being said, RM tasted far better than DRC or any of its contemporaries.  Kira had thousands of wine tasters on Zyra to prove her case.


As an entrepreneur thanks to RM, materially, Kira stayed afloat.  However, at school and in her personal life, Kira believed she wasn’t.  That was until the day she ran into Durk.  She put the bottle down for a moment to remember how she met him.

Kira had awakened in a hospital bed with Durk by her side.  He found her outside on the streets of Sector B unconscious.  Doctors found a trace of every deadly illegal drug in her system.  It was obvious to them that Kira tried to commit suicide but how she obtained those items was beyond them.  They had every right to have her put in jail after using Zyran advance technology to detoxify her.  Yet it was Durk that persuaded Madam Zyra to give Kira a second chance. That was his aunt and people knew on Zyra that the Mellis’ or anyone who was related to a politician on the space station looked out for each other. That included granting requests for friends or relatives of those in power.


Kira rose from the ground with her bottle of RM in her hand, looking at herself in the mirror. She walked toward the tall rectangular mirror next to her sofa.  She took another sip after remembering how Durk reminded the girl of her first love.


“No, he was much more than that.” The British-speaking girl mumbled to himself.


The woman grinned at the thought while holding her stomach, dancing a little bit. Then she remembered her child. The dismal state that brought horror to her back when she first moved to Zyra with Queen Saul’s help.  The queen’s skepticism of the situation surounding Kira’s pregnancy almost had the young woman put in jail.  Naira Hill-Adega I heavily enforced moral law on Zyra.  If you had a child out of wedlock, you were a criminal because common law marriage was a misdemeanor.  It was an eye for an eye if you had an abortion.


Yet Kira’s pregnancy wasn’t illegal but her marriage certificate was hard to find. The Italian courts took a long while to get Zyra Kira’s marriage certificate. After the inevitable happened, Kira knew that the ones who were after her on Earth would try and destroy her, knowing Zyra was the next place she would go. Naira’s skepticism was much to be feared from those who didn’t have immunity.  The descendants of space station Zyra’s founders all had it.


From Kira’s standpoint, if Naira suspected something, you were thrown in jail unless Zyra fought against it—which wasn’t often.  In most cases, Naira’s ruling was favored in the court system against a wayward individual.


Kira wanted immunity but was denied plenty of times thanks to Madam Zyra but before her, the late General Mellis Sr. She started to believe she was asking the wrong person and didn’t bother asking the Queen. Kira hated her ever since the woman had LIA take custody of her son right after she had him. It all happened shortly after her 18th birthday.  Naira unexpectedly came to her with her men and forcefully took the only family Kira’s had left. A few months later, things seemed to change for the better. Kira remembered Naira calling her up on video conferencing. 


“Ms. Mancini, there’s been a misunderstanding.” Naira’s tone was apologetic.


“I’m sure there was.” Kira said, resentful.


“You’re registered as being married under Rome, Italy’s government.”  Naira informed her, ignoring Kira’s agitation.


Kira was relieved that Naira returned her son to his rightful mother but going to school was more important.  The woman believed that she really couldn’t raise a child by herself.  Most men on the space station stayed away from Kira just because she had a baby.  Why?  One reason was because of Hill-Adega family, the so called, “spiritual protectors” of Zyra.  They had a special group of people that looked into each household on the space station electronically.  If a couple was living together without a marriage license and had kids, both parents would be taken to jail.  Their children would be turned over to the state.  The latter in fact was what happened to Kira’s son, David.  Yet Naira didn’t know that Kira was once married.  Naira was skeptic of the situation. A young woman like Kira marrying shortly after turning 18? The Queen believed she was too young to marry but her opinion didn’t matter to Kira.


“Who is she to judge me? I was ready!” Kira grumbled to herself.


However, the second reason to why Kira stayed single weeded out those ‘wannabe playas’, as what they were known today.  Those men only wanted to deal with the woman.  If she had a child, it was a no go.  The woman would give the child more attention than the guy.  In effect, the child was ‘competition’.  So, Kira did the best thing she could possibly do in efforts to hide David from any future engagements—have him live with another family member until she got married again.


“If he was here today, He would’ve seen how fine Davy had become!” the British-speaking girl said, calling her son by his nickname. Her son was named her after her late husband David Mancini Sr.


Kira continued in her reminiscence, thinking back to when she first stated going to school—two years ago and with the habit of jumping from major to major.  Rather, it was her tardiness and troublemaking that forced her to do so.  It often got her kicked out Sector B’s schools. There were only a handful of them not connected to Main Campus or owned by the Mellis Foundation and Kira was expelled from every last one of them.


Consequently, Kira never got passed earning a certificate. Kira knew this setup was how Zyra’s schools were formed. After a year in college, you graduated with a certificate. If you continued in your education, the degree was next.


The only certificate Kira ever received was from ZLRA. She was dangerous as a cook—in some ways good but in most cases, bad.  God forbid if Kira had a knife or other sharp cooking utensil in her possession when she got upset.  Unfortunately, the opportunity most often presented itself.  The consequences lead to her being kicked out of school if not put in jail. The latter was how she got expelled from ZLRA. She picked a fight with a student who seemed to be bullying her. Yet pulling a knife out on them was a big mistake. The administration always jumped on the side of the bully in a heartbeat when their lives were threatened. Kira remembered that Zyra had put her in holographic solitary confinement for a year following her trial.


After she was released, Kira didn’t feel worthy enough to go back to school. With nothing else better to do, she lead a life of crime. Stealing was her sin. This in turn led to many incarcerations. While in jail, Kira thought of Davy.  She didn’t want him to grow up knowing his mother was a criminal.  This moved Kira not to visit him even when his nanny begged her.


“I don’t want my bad influence to rub off on him.”  Kira remembered explaining to Alene over the phone.


“But he’s quite behaved for an average ten year old!” Alene reasoned, trying to sway Kira into rethinking her ultimatum.


“You don’t understand, do you?” Kira paused to compose herself from her sudden grief. “Under no circumstance do you tell him about who I am beyond being his mother.”


“But he’ll want to know. Davy’s the kind of boy who likes asking questions!”


“Then don’t answer all of them, got that? The truth might devastate him—like it did me when I learned the truth about mine.”


“But that was regarding your father.”  Alene interjected.


“THAT’S BESIDE THE POINT!”  Kira yelled at her on the defensive.  She paused to clear her voice after a sigh and then apologized, “Sorry, just tell him that I work for the government and is a busy woman.”


“Okay then.” Alene answered, she still had a hint of disbelief in her tone.


Kira reasoned that her absence from her son was for the better.  On that thought, she took another sip of RM.  The woman started feeling sorry for herself knowing that one day Davy would know—Zyra is a small world.  The pity turned to rage as Kira looked herself in the mirror again. Intense hatred for herself raged further in her heart. She threw the bottle at her reflection in the mirror, cracking it along with the bottle shattering into many pieces on the ground. Kira yelled at her image through the shattered mirror and started whimpering, bereaved.


He’d grow hate me if he knew.”  Kira cupped her hand over her mouth and started crying.


Kira continued to look in the mirror, centering her attention on the crack’s focal point—In the middle of it.  The strong smell of wine mixtures rose from the spilled wine on carpet.  Kira sniffed the smell and closed her eyes.  The aroma soothed her, almost making her forget her troubles. Then something started vibrating loudly nearby, breaking the woman from her silent contemplation.


Kira quickly opened her eyes and looked around, trying to locate where the sound was coming from.  It was her cell phone.  She rushed over her nightstand, almost tripping over her bed to grab the electronic.  On the third ring, Kira reached the phone.

“Yeah, what?”  Kira answered, sounding annoyed.


“Good to hear from you again, Mrs. Zyrc.” A young male voice on other line said mysteriously.


“Who is this?”  Kira looked around before whispering into the receiver.

You know…” the guy replied, almost disappointed in her not remembering.

“Oh,” Kira paused after remembering.  “What do you want?”

“Might want to turn on the news.”  The guy suggested.

“You know I don’t like watching the—”

“It’s regarding the Casino.” He interrupted.

“Okay, just tell me.” ” Kira sounded uninterested.

“Alright,” The young man paused with a hopeless sigh. “The mission was a failure.”

“WHAT?”  Kira yelled, not believing him.


“The explosives destroyed the generators and messed up the sewer lines. But that’s about all that happened.” He explained.


“Then why you call me for?”  Kira sounded more annoyed, but with certain innocence.  That’s when she got this strange urge.  She felt angrier about the situation as she added in a heavy Italian accent, “They dare carry on with their wicked deeds?”

“Z.I. is having a meeting soon.” The young man informed.

“Z.I. shall finish what they started!”  the lady growled in her thick Italian accent.

“Alene would be proud of you.”  The young man said with optimism before hung up.


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