I hate Anne Hathaway.

The thought came like a pebble bouncing down an embankment along the side of a highway. A small and unnoticed thing changing little and offering no challenge to anyone or anything. But then other thoughts come and join the first to descend down the slope followed by another and then another until a wave of destruction sweeps forth threatening all in its path with complete and utter devastation. Fortunately for the world at large the only thing threatened by this landslide was Tara’s good mood.

The real kick in the ass was that the day had been going well and Tara had a strange sense of accomplishment after a successful run through one of the cities trendier districts. With her pockets mostly full she had begun asking around for a spot to unload her “acquisitions” and everyone had directed her to Gideon’s Pawn.

So with one eye to her backside in case anyone had an ambush in mind she had ridden her good mood all the way across town and had expected to see it carry her right through the front door. Then all of a sudden there she was Anne fucking Hathaway right in front of her. Not the actual actress mind you but a scene from one of her films specifically the Princess Diaries. Someone inside the shop had set the movie to play on a massive flat screen you could see from the street. Tara had a deep well of loathing for the films and had fixated her hate on their lead actress and there she was right in front of her, sort of.

Tara was a princess herself, or so her mother had told her each and every day. Her first memory in the lab was of her mother’s wide smile greeting her in the morning as she explained the days coming experiments. Tara hated the poking and the prodding but she also loved her mother and could always be brave for her except for the last day. The last day began with sirens and fire and screams, a man had come and he had come for the only people she had ever known. Her family.

Reaching inside her leather jackets coat pocket and fumbling past the assorted rings and borrowed phones Tara pulled out a single battle worn cigarette. It was likely the last one she had on her. Another expedition into her coat produced a lighter with which she lit the cigarette that shortly found its way to her lips.

Taking a long and slow drag she stepped inside the shop a sing song alarm sounded as the door swung closed behind her. A moment passed before a ratty and stained curtain that might have once been red or maybe green parted and a fat hot mess of a man emerged. He glanced to Tara and then to her cigarette a finger taps a No Smoking sign on the counter.

“It’s my last…damn it…fine.”

Stamping out the cigarette on the counter she leaves it laying and instead riches back into her jacket. Fishing out a handful of items she lays them next to the still smoking cigarette and looks to Gideon.

“So can we talk business or what?”

A squinted eye remained on the cigarette for a moment before the man shrugs and slides one of the offered rings across the counter for closer inspection lifting one and rubbing at it with his finger he holds the stained digit to Tara.

”That blood? Gideon’s Pawn is a respected establishment here in Metropolis. Wait…

Grimacing as he licks the finger that isn’t blood but for all he knows could be he again shrugs and smiles.

”Ketchup. What else you got here hmmmm?”

The next twenty minutes were torture as he picked through her haul piece by piece trying to take a penny off for every little thing. Finally he finished and slid a far to thin amount of cash across the counter to her. In no mood to argue or continue to listen to Anne Hathaway she picks up her extinguised cigarette and relights it as she exits.

”I’m a princess….damn it.”