DISCLAIMER: The Facts of Life and its characters are the property of Columbia Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Television, no infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Second season.

By Della Street


A Recognizer! Jo skillfully maneuvered the tank around and pressed the fire button. Ha - dust!

"Hey, Jo, someone's messing with your bike!" a voice called out.

Nice try. Jo slammed the joystick to the left. "I hope he's fillin' the tank," she yelled over her shoulder. She kept her attention on the blue-lit screen.

"Hey, Jo, isn't that your roommate?"

"Yeah, right," Jo smirked. Tootie and Nat were at a play with Mrs. G, and Princess Grace wouldn't be caught dead in this place. "And the place is on fire, and my shoelaces are untied." Another lame attempt to distract her, but this one wouldn't work either. Peekskill was going to crown a new Tron champ tonight. "You're going down, Guy – deal with it."

Crap – spiders! Okay, if she could just get to the circle, she could teleport out and–

"I want to be taken home."

Wha–? Jo dodged a spider at the last second. "Blair?" she scowled. "What are you doing here?"

"I want to be taken home," Blair repeated firmly.

"Forget it," Jo said. "I'm eight hundred points away from blowin' Guy here off his throne."

"But I want to go home!"

Oh, great; they were multiplying. Now a dozen arachnids were after her. "What happened to Marcus Welby?" Jo grunted.

"Do not speak that name to me!"

Great. "Okay, Blair," Jo sighed. "What happened?"

"I told him!" Blair said. "I told him what happened when I took you to Jacque's last month."

Not that again.

"The utter humiliation–"

"Oh, for cryin' out loud, Blair, alls I did was ask for catsup," Jo groused. "It needed it."

Ignoring the interruption, Blair continued, "And after all that trouble Daddy went to getting me back on the approved list – are you listening to me?"

"Do I have a choice?" Jo swung the joystick again. "Let me guess. You went to Jock's, and Marc . . . ?"

"Asked for salt."

Jo rolled her eyes. "I don't blame him."

"So now I've been banned for life," Blair said. "I want to go home."

"Well, you'll have to wait til I'm ready."

Blair persisted, "When will that be? I can't sit down in here."

"It'll be when I'm ready."

From beside the blonde a deep voice said, "Hey, Gorgeous, I'll give you a ride."

Jo swung her head around to see who was offering her roommate a lift. Thought so. Carl Loomis, that jerk. Jo had made his acquaintance the hard way the first time she came to play here, practically having to break a finger to pry his hands off her–crap! Jo remembered the game just as her man smashed head first into a Light Cycle wall. Damn it – one left now.

"A fine looking specimen like you shouldn't be riding around on a motorcycle anyway," Loomis said. "You'll get dirt on that pretty white dress. You'd look much better cruising around in my nine eleven."

Yeah, in the back seat.

Excitedly, Blair asked, "Are you going near Eastland?"

What was she doing? Surely Miss Clairol wouldn't hitch a ride with a total stranger just because he owned a Porsche.

"I'm going wherever you're going," Loomis said smoothly.

Gag me.

"Nevermind, Jo," Blair said, "I have a ride." She slipped her arm through his and turned away from the machine.

Jo let go of the joystick and snaked an arm around Blair's waist. "No, you don't," she said, the warning directed at Carl.

"What are you doing?" Blair asked.

From behind her, Jo heard the sound of another explosion, followed by triumphant hoots from Guy and his buddies. With a sigh, she replied, "Takin' you home."

Blair pulled off the helmet and ran a hand through her hair. "I could have been riding in a Porsche," she whimpered.

"And you could have had Carl Loomis's pawprints all over that dress of yours," Jo retorted.

"Why did we stop?"

"I need gas."

"Oh, for Heaven's sake," Blair said. "Why didn't you do that on the way into town?"

"Get off my back, Blair," Jo said. "Next time you can walk!"

Whatever her roommate's response would have been was interrupted by a wolf whistle from outside the entrance to the gas station. "Hey, Blondie, I'll fill your tank!"

Blair pressed a hand to her chest in dismay when the whistler illustrated his offer by grabbing the crotch of his jeans.

Glancing at the row of bikers parked in front of the nearly empty station, each of them chugging a beer and eying her attractive roommate, Jo released the pump. The tank wasn't full, but it would get them home. Discretion was the better part of valor, she had read, and Jo was about to exercise her discretion to get the heck out of here. She walked quickly into the station, tossed five bucks on the counter, and headed back outside.

Uh oh. The look on her roommate's face didn't bode well. "Let's go, Blair," she urged.

"Are you going to let him get away with this?"

"With what?" Jo asked distractedly. "Put the helmet on."

"While you were in there, he said he wanted to–" With some difficulty, Blair repeated the rest of the vulgarity, with a few discrete blanks inserted.

What was this, Night of the Creeps? "Sorry about that," Jo said. "Let's go."

"Hey, Blondie, you like your friend's instead?" Another jerk held up a middle finger.

Jo cringed. She hoped Blair didn't understand the reference.

"Did you see that, Jo? That other one just gave us the finger!" Blair exclaimed. "They need a lesson in manners!"

"You can't teach scum like that anything," Jo said. She hopped on the bike. "They don't have half a brain among 'em. Now come on."

"My friend says that you're scum and there isn't half a brain among the lot of you," Blair called over. "So you can all just turn blue!"

Horrified, Jo looked over to see the biggest one climb off his motorcycle and start toward them.

"What did you say?" he growled.

Oh, shit! "Get on the damn bike, Blair!" Jo demanded.

In a huff, Blair straddled the motorcycle as delicately as she could in her mid-length dress. "Of all the–aaaaah!" Her head shot back and the helmet flew from her hand as Jo revved the engine and peeled out.

In her side mirror, Jo could see three Harleys tearing out of the station after them. "Shit! Hang on, Blair!"

These guys were just passing through Peekskill, Jo was pretty sure; they wouldn't know the town. If she'd been by herself, she might have tried to outrun them on the straightaway. She would put her bike up against anything on wheels. But she couldn't risk a spill with Blair on the back.

Zooming down the street, she leaned into a turn and sped up again. Blair's arms squeezed tightly around her ribs.

Jo's hope that their pursuers would lose interest in the chase began to fade as the four motorcycles careened through the outskirts of Peekskill. Of course, with that flaming white beacon that Blair was wearing, it wasn't like anyone would have trouble spotting them.

She recognized this curve. Rounding the corner, Jo slammed on the brakes and switched off the engine. In the ensuing silence, she rolled the bike off the pavement and into the field beside the road. "Come on!" she ordered. She dragged Blair into the tall grass and threw her to the ground, dropping down on top of her to cover as much of the blonde's light dress as possible.

When the last engine faded into the distance, Jo breathed a sigh of relief into Blair's neck.

The familiar sound from outside signaled that Jo was home. In the lounge, two young girls and Mrs. Garrett looked up from their card game, ready to greet their lively house mate. Instead, a disheveled Blair Warner hobbled through the door on one shoe, blades of grass sticking out of her badly mussed hair and the back of her dress covered with mud. Behind her was Jo Polniaczek, for once looking more dignified than her heiress roommate.

Tootie gasped. "Blair, what happened?"

"This was the worst night of my life," Blair declared. "I start out dining with Marcus D'Angelo at Jacque's and end up under Jo Polniaczek in a cow pasture."

Mrs. Garrett blinked at her.

"You dragged me into it!" Jo said testily.

"Drag is right," Blair said. "Thanks to you, my new Lacroix is ruined!"

"Well, thanks to you, we almost got our asses kicked by those Hell's Angels rejects!"

The blonde drew off her remaining heel and waived it in front of Jo's face. "Thanks to you, one half of a very nice pair of Anne Kleins is buried in the middle of a field!"

Closing what little space remained between her and the annoying creature, Jo said, "And thanks to you, I'm gonna eat Guy Marecini's crap for the rest of my life!"

"Until you came along, my life was completely under control," Blair raged. She turned to the other females in the lounge. "She's a barbarian!"

"And she is an air brain with the common sense of a cow!" Angrily, Jo spun around and stormed off to the bedroom.

Blair looked down at her dress. "I'm disgusting!" she cried.

When Jo wandered lazily into the lounge after making some extra bucks helping Miss Muldoon move books in the library, a shiny black motorcycle helmet that hadn't been there when she left sat in the middle of the table. She stopped to pick it up.

Blair strolled into the room with both hands in her front pockets. Jo couldn't help but notice the blonde's unusual attire. No fancy gown tonight, just killer dark jeans, white cotton shirt with three buttons undone, and a yellow scarf tied loosely around her neck. Wow. If Jo had been a guy, she would have thought that outfit was incredibly sexy.

"Tommy from the bike shop said you'd like it," Blair said. "I'm sorry that I lost yours."

Surprised by the sincere words, Jo said hesitantly, "'s okay." She ran a hand across the smooth surface. "This is real nice. Thanks." Unsure whether she should say anything else, she added, "You look real nice, too."

Blair beamed with pleasure.

"You goin' out tonight?"

"As a matter of fact, I am," Blair said. She walked over to the closet and brought out a second helmet, this one with yellow slashes on the sides. "I'm going to go watch Guy Marecini get his lunch eaten in Tron."

Jo shook her head. "I almost had him," she said. "I don't think he's gonna go for a rematch."

"Unless someone called him this afternoon and talked him into it with her wit and charm," Blair said. "You've got to win, though. Otherwise, I have to go out with him next weekend."

Guy Merecini and Blair Warner? No way! Neither one of them deserved that.

"And afterward, I'll take the new champion to a movie of her choice," Blair said. "As long as it's one of the ones on this list." She handed Jo a sheet of note paper.

What was Blair up to? "I thought you were mad at me," Jo said.

"After I got the mud out of my ears, it occurred to me that I might have overreacted just a little," Blair said. "I suspect those men would have been quite rude if they had caught up with us."

Rude? Try beatin' the crap out of me and doin' worse to you. Jo didn't elaborate. Sometimes she kind of liked the fact that the princess was unspoiled by the real world. Still, her naive roommate needed to learn not to be so impulsive. "You know, Blair, you've gotta be careful when you're as pretty as you are," Jo said.

Blair reached out to touch Jo's forearm. "I am irresistible, aren't I?" While Jo debated how to respond to that outrageous remark, Blair slapped her helmet with a happy, "Shall we go?"

Eh, what the heck; she'd let it go this time. "Okay," Jo said. She picked up the dark helmet.

"You know," Blair said, "I've never seen you ride your motorcycle like that before."

Of course not. On the rare occasion when Blair lowered herself to ride on 'that loud thing,' pressing her buffed fingernails primly against Jo's waist, Jo had to putt down the damn street like Grandma Polniaczek on her way to bingo. One curve at highway speed and Blair would have been in New Jersey.

"Yeah, well, if you can manage not to piss anyone off tonight, we won't have to do it again."

Blair sashayed out the door in front of her. "I didn't say I minded," she said.

Oh, yeah? Princess Warner liked a little buzz, did she? "Well, maybe I'll take a few curves a little too fast on the way home tonight," Jo said. "But you might end up eatin' pavement."

"Well, I'll just have to hold on extra tight, then, won't I?" Blair said.

Jo smiled to herself. One curvy road coming up . . . .

The End

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