Random Sh*t Flying Through the Air
Check out our episode here! Random Sh*t Flying Through the Air by Jackson Ford
A police officer stops a mother and son driving through California. She wasn't speeding, but the law is, in California, kids have to sit in the backseat. The officer asks Amber Leigh to move her son to the backseat before walking back to his cruiser. He doesn't make it there. The ground swallows him up. "I didn't want to sit in the backseat." the four year old with the slightly large head says. Sheesh. Meanwhile, in her apartment in LA, Teagan Frost is superbly failing at cooking paella. She desperately wants to be an awesome chef, but she's ruined the fuck out of this paella. Then her crush Nic arrives and she is not ready. The apartment is full of smoke, her music’s up way too loud, she’s not dressed well and she’s lost her spatula. Probably not a good date.
Back to this kid in the car. His name is Matthew and he is a brat. A terrifying brat. A terrifying super genius brat. A terrifying super genius brat with the power to move the earth. And he wants Amber, his mom, to get him a tuna sandwich. Now. She can't because they're driving in the middle of nowhere so he throws rocks at the side of the car to scare her. They pull over at a gas station and he feels something in the earth. He wants to try something...
Teagan and Nic, who she embarrassingly professed her love to at the end of the first book, have a surprisingly nice date with surprisingly not terrible paella. Then there's a huge earthquake. Everything in her apartment is trashed. Outside, everything is in shambles. There's a crushed car nearby with people inside. Nic asks for Teagan's "help" to get the people out but she freezes. Awkward. There’s chaos all around. They check their phones and realize San Bernardino is gone. Harry the homeless man, aka Teagan's crazy brother that she doesn't realize is her brother because she thought he died, is shambling around, still fine. Nic wants to go help in San Bernardino, but Teagan can't. Literally can’t. If her bosses find out she's using her powers in front of people, then she goes to a government black site and disappears. Nic leaves, disgusted.
Teagan helps clean up at Paul's Boutique, aka China Shop, their moving company, aka the front for their secret government organization that she works at with Annie, Paul and Reggie. And now Africa, her friend that used to live on the streets! He's the new Chuy Carlos! Teagan suggested hiring him as a joke, but that joke stuck. Teagan wants to butter Reggie up and ask her for permission to go to cooking school but she keeps getting interrupted. When she finally gets into Reggie's office, Reggie talks about that cop that disappeared and wants them to look into it after they complete their next mission: stealing a list of names from a wealthy German guy, Jonas Schmidt, who is up to no good. But first, dinner with Annie's mom. It's weird, but nice. The mission with the German guy… uh… it didn’t go quite according to plan. There’s some door hovering in which Paul hums A Whole New World and we forever refer to him as Jasmine, then Teagan sneaks onto the plane but can’t get out in time because Reggie didn’t realize that Schmidt was on his way back. Africa tries to stop him, but that doesn’t work, now Teagan is stuck in a tiny hole in the airplane and she’ll probably freeze to death when the plane takes off. Also, there’s a sex swing. It’s not as terrible as it could be, I suppose. Not as terrible as Matthew anyway.
Matthew is super excited about the power he's discovered in fault lines because yeah, that quake? All him. Amber is terrified. Matthew wants Amber to take him to a museum the next day and to get a burger right now. She's wary of him. But she shouldn't be. She's his mother! He's four! It's not his fault he's super smart. Not hers either. But that school's... Matthew finds the museum boring and everyone around him stupid. He talks to an employee about tectonic plates, pretending sometimes that he's not a complete psychopath. He learns a lot and they head to do more damage. Amber thinks about when Matthew was born. She was running her favorite con job, the one where she purposefully accidentally gets hit by a car. She shouldn’t have done it because she was pregnant, but it was easy money and she was in trouble. She wakes up in The School, not a hospital, because this facility is the only place that could save her baby. Sure... As he grows, he gets smarter and smarter. By two, he was carrying on full conversations. By three, he was reading. Then he started moving soil with his mind. Amber confronted the director of the school about it, but they saved him. If she had issues with his abilities, she could just leave him at The School. But no way, she couldn’t do that. He’s hers. She snaps out of thinking of this story when she realizes that Matthew is about to cause another earthquake. She tries to stop him, but he pelts her with dirt, throws it at her like a tornado. He’s going to kill her. But... he doesn't. You shouldn't try to stop me. Why? Why are you doing this? Why not? Matthew is giddy. Amber is terrified.
In the airplane, Teagan is discovered. She and Schmidt talk about the list. Not the list that he had. That he just bought. Uh oh. That’s not right. The information that China Shop had was wrong. The list contains government secrets, like about the facility in Waco. Where Teagan was. He could know about her. But does he? Just then, there’s a massive earthquake. The big one. And the plane turns. They go to help. Oh man.
Teagan meets up with the rest of her crew after the plane lands. Reggie found out just as the quake started that someONE is causing them. And they've got to stop them. First they've got to get to the China Shop office and to Reggie to figure out what to do. But how are they going to get there? Bicycles! Paul has a broken arm and concussion so he stays behind and hopefully finds help. Riding through broken the streets is not pretty. They get stopped by a street gang. Stupid. Teagan unleashes her powers, but not before Africa throws his bicycle at them and gets hit in the face, knocking out a tooth. Teagan takes their guns and pistol whips them in a "goddamed festival of ouch," Do not fuck with Teagan's friends. If Tanner finds out... It won't be good. There's a bunch of shit happening though, so surely it'll be fine. They get to China Shop/Paul's Boutique to find it has sunk into the ground, the upper floor imploded. REGGIE! Teagan uses more powers to find Reggie and thankfully she's fine. She shows them video she found at the gas station where Matthew set off the first earthquake. It's true. SomeONE caused it and he's just a kid. Teagan can't kill a kid. She had to kill Jake in the first book, but he's the same age. It wasn't as bad as killing a kid. Wait. Weren't these tests supposed to have stopped? Weren't they supposed to have stopped trying to make supersoldiers? What's going on?
Amber and Matthew are in a helicopter. Matthew freaks out, wanting to see the ground. He has a tantrum and punches Amber in the face. He's little, but that still hurts. She realizes that he doesn't want to reveal his abilities in a military helicopter so she holds him tight while he bites and spits and kicks. (Just throw him out of the helicopter and be done with it!) The helicopter starts to land in Dodger Stadium. That's where everyone is headed for help. Teagan, Reggie, Annie and Africa are, too. On the way, Reggie tells Teagan that she thinks Tanner is going to fire her. That's why she's been so distracted lately. Tanner wants tighter control of Teagan. A lot of people that work with Tanner want Teagan back in Waco. No way. Teagan tells Reggie that she wants to go to cooking school. Reggie says it'll be an uphill battle but they'll try to make it work. Then they arrive at the stadium. There are so many people there. FEMA is using it as a central location to help as many people as possible. They find Paul, thank goodness, and he's fine, thank goodness. They show him the footage of Matthew causing the quakes and he decides they need to tell Tanner and they need to help the boy. Teagan almost thinks that if Tanner does fire Reggie that Paul would make a good, maybe even better, boss. Except for the fact that he wants to help the little brat. The team breaks up to get supplies and get Reggie to a doctor. As Teagan walks through the stadium to find food and water, she thinks about all the places that she loved that are probably gone. And about the kid. And about Chewy Carlos and Jake. And then she runs smack into Nic.
He calls her out for not helping and says he's looked into all the China Shop people and they're bad. He's being a general shitbag. You know who would probably understand? Schmidt. He's a bad guy, doing terrible stuff, but he also wants to help. He's got secrets he's got to keep just like she does. Why did she ever like Nic? While Nic blathers on, Teagan sees the boy. She leaves Nic to follow him. She alerts the crew and they follow him outside. Paul gets to him first. Says he wants to help, they’re the good guys. Amber begs him to leave, but he doesn't, and Matthew makes the ground swallow him. Teagan and Annie are just a short way away. Teagan tries to pull him out of the ground with her PK but he's too far down with not enough of anything she can grab onto. She rips the doors off a Lamborghini and uses them to dig, but she doesn't get to him in time. Eventually she gets Annie back inside the stadium and they find Reggie and Africa. Teagan hears a weird hum and her PK flickers, but she's probably just exhausted, right?
Amber and Matthew find a helicopter owned by a news station. They convince them they were kicked out of the stadium after they saw someone get shot there. All lies. They promise an interview if the crew will take them north. For some reason, they agree and they're on the chopper. Meanwhile, Reggie tries to make a plan but all Teagan wants to do is find the kid. Reggie asks her again what the kid and the mom looked like. She remembers the kid is wearing a shirt from that earthquake exhibit they went to, so she and Africa will start there. Annie wants to go, to kill the kid, but Reggie won't let her. Teagan decides she won't kill the kid even if he's the Antichrist. She and Africa travel on foot toward the museum but keep getting blocked by downed buildings and other debris. Africa abruptly leaves to go find his girlfriend because he's been worried about her this entire time because she's a meth addict and is probably in trouble. He and Teagan have a fight because she never wants to help anyone even though she has these amazing powers. All Africa wants to do is be respected and help, but Teagan has treated him like crap from the beginning because whenever she looks at him, all she can see is Carlos. Her best friend who betrayed her. Who is dead. Teagan apologizes and they hash things out and continue on to the museum. At the same time, the helicopter drops Amber and Matthew off near a busy interstate about 100 miles north of LA. They find a trucker who will give them a ride farther north.
At the museum, well, there is no museum. There are a lot of scientists working at improvised stations with maps and computers, trying to figure out about the earthquakes. Teagan and Africa try to find anyone who saw the kid and they finally find Mia, the intern who was so enamored with Matthew. Teagan decides she has to reveal her powers and tell Mia what Matthew can do before Mia will tell them anything. What she tells them is... Not good. She told Matthew about the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Overlapping tectonic plates that have been building pressure for years and years. There are four locations inside this area that runs from northern California through Oregon and Washington and into British Columbia where Matthew could go to set off the Cascadia and get the most bang for his buck. The entire western seaboard will be gone. There will be Tsunamis that spread to Japan. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! Teagan and Africa decide they need to get to Reggie as soon as possible to get her to get Tanner to send people to these four zones. Mia says she's going with them and because she has access to an ATV, they have to agree. Plus, she feels really bad. She kind of told Matthew pretty much everything he needed to know to kill millions of people.
They take two ATVs and drive back to the stadium. No one else is allowed in so they freak out for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do to get in. Then they realize they have earpieces. Reggie and Annie come outside with bad news. They couldn't get in touch with Tanner. But they desperately need to. What are they going to do now?! Find Schmidt, that's what. He's got everything they'll need on his fancy jet. And he owes Teagan for not snitching about the list that she told China Shop he didn't have but that he definitely does have. They call Tanner who, after learning all the info, decides that Annie and Teagan will go to the spot where Matthew will most likely go to set off the fault line to identify him, hopefully in person. Tanner's team will take care of the rest. Guess who is on the team with Teagan and Annie. Fucking Burr. Remember that asshole?
Jocelyn the truck driver stops for a rest in Oregon and they all get out of the truck. Matthew thinks he might be close enough that he can set off the Cascadia and there's no one sound to see him do it. But wait. There is. Although Amber tries to talk him out of it, he kills the trucker with a dirt tentacle. Something inside Amber snaps. It seems she's just … given up. Now that there's no one around but his stupid mom, Matthew tries to set off the Cascadia. Tries, but can't. He's so frustrated and just wants to do this one last thing then he and Amber can go live somewhere and he won't even have to hurt anyone anymore. Sure kid. They hitch a ride with a young family then steal a car to make it the rest of the way into the Olympic National Forest. They end up at the campground where Teagan and Annie are waiting with Burr and the snipers.
Annie confirms his identity immediately. After some thought and hesitation, Teagan does too, but not before ever so slightly shifting the sniper's gun off its mark. Bad idea. Matthew goes crazy and throws tentacles through the cabin and kills the sharpshooter. Teagan finds metal roofing sheets and builds a shield so she can go talk to Matthew and has an almost halfway decent conversation with him, gets on his level even! She takes everyone's guns away so they can talk. He says he doesn't recognize her from his school. Asks what can she do? How strong is she? When she doesn't answer but tries to talk him down, he gets bored and buries Teagan under 10 feet of dirt. Shit. Amber sneaks away during this burial to find a gun.
Teagan reaches all around with her PK trying desperately to find anything to dig herself out of the ground. Her ears are ringing again like after Paul. What does that mean? She thinks of all her friends and resigns herself to die. But wait. What if that ringing wasn't ringing. What if she was picking up on organic molecules, even just a little bit? Yeah, she can't move organic things but... What if she actually CAN? Holy shit. She can move the dirt away from her face to breathe. She begins to tunnel out, grabs some more digging doors with her PK and drags herself out of the ground. The dirt collapses again and she has no energy left. But then hands reach in and pull her out. Annie. Teagan doesn't celebrate being exhumed for long. She rises up out of the ground, hoverboarding on a car door with the metal roofing sheets flying around behind her. YES!!! She midair battles Matthew who is in a giant dirt Kaiju, throwing metal sheets at him, trying to distract him so Annie or Burr or anyone can get a shot at him. That plan stops when he hits her with a tree and disappears in a dust storm.
Matthew sneaks off into the forest, so sure that he's more clever than anyone, basically just being a smug little bastard. Then Amber shows up looking really haggard. With a gun. Pointed at Matthew. Remember earlier when something snapped inside her? Yeah, it wasn't that she'd given up, it was that she was fucking tired of this kid. He killed that trucker who helped them for no reason. She realized then that she would have to be the one to kill him because she's the only one that could get close enough to do it. But he smashes her ribcage with dirt balls before she gets a chance to shoot. As she's dying, she pulls the trigger. Matthew falls.
Teagan wakes up with Matthew nowhere to be seen. She hears Burr and some others talking about where he went, planning to follow. She and Annie are forced to stay behind, but she's kind of okay with that. She's done a lot today. Matthew wants to kill them all. Amber tried to shoot him! Good thing he tripped and fell. Now he wants to kill everyone. But it would be better if he could set off the Cascadia. He hears soldiers nearby and buries himself to hide. He gets out and goes looking for the area of the forest where he can feel the fault line. But... Which way is it? He runs, trips, looks all around. Rises above the trees on a column of dirt. Can't see anything. He is lost in the forest. (Please be eaten by a sasquatch, please be eaten by a sasquatch.)
Back at Annie's mom's house, they have a memorial for Paul. China Shop is gone. Teagan’s apartment is pretty much gone. They haven't found Matthew, but it seems he hasn't found the fault line. He might still be out there, but Teagan thinks the forest swallowed him up. LA is recovering, mostly with the help of the Japanese government. Outside of the memorial, Reggie and Teagan talk. Reggie has realized that Teagan can move organic materials now. They talk about Professor X and MODOK and Teagan digging herself out of the ground when Moira Tanner shows up. Teagan goes off on her, telling her she can't fire Reggie because without Reggie, they never would have known about Matthew. And how didn't she know about him? Or Jake? So if she fires Reggie, then Teagan will quit. Tanner concedes. Reggie leaves then, giving them time to talk. Or Tanner time to scold Teagan. Tanner tells her that she does not have the mental capacity to gather the sorts of information she gathers. None of them do. But Teagan is important. Especially now that she can move organic materials. Yeah, she knows. She knew even before Teagan. But no one else will. She also tells her that she can't go to culinary school because she would go at it full force and China Shop would suffer. Ughhhhhhhh. She also talks a little about Schmidt and how they're going to have to debrief and talk about all these things in depth, but then Reggie comes back and sends Teagan inside. A short while later, Africa shows up with his lady friend. He disappeared after she and Annie flew off for Washington, but now he's back, thank goodness! Teagan checks her phone, reads several texts from Nic. It seems he is trying to be less of a dickbag. But Teagan's pretty much done with him. Good riddance. She likes a few instagram posts by @jonasschmidtceo. Even though nothing is probably going to happen there, it doesn't mean she doesn't want it to. Annie's mom comes out and offers her the couch and makes her promise to take care of Annie. Of course she will. And she'll also cook breakfast.
You'd think that was a nice ending, but you'd be wrong. Just like with the first effing book ending with a chapter from Harry the Homeless Guy, aka Adam, aka Teagan's brother, this one ends with The Director, aka Chloe, aka Teagan's sister, aka the reason all this shit happened in this book. She is the director of a facility with more kids like Matthew. One she has with her now is Olivia, who knows everything about probability. Olivia has decided that there's a high probability that The Director will find Matthew if she walks out a few miles into the forest. And of course she will because she can see in infrared. Olivia also helped the director figure out where she should invest her money to get a high return if, say, there were a bunch of earthquakes. She needs money to develop her school so people like her and her siblings and all these little students can be out in the open and safe while using their abilities. The director finds Matthew, just like Olivia predicted she would. As she's walking out of the forest with Matthew in her arms, she calls Adam and tells him he doesn't need to watch Teagan anymore. Shit.