by Girl Behind the Lens – Daiyu Tang
Location: the Hathian Theatre
Reader, it’s been a strange few weeks. You’ve probably seen me post a few business reviews and wondered what had happened to the feet-to-the-fire GBTL who had been attending Hopper weddings or hearing from the Kogarashi leaders. Well, there’s a lot on in terms of investigations and I don’t want to bring you that many stories that are half finished. Remember that corrupt cop? Well, he appears to be out of action for a while, so sometimes things resolve themselves – still, I usually like to have a conclusion and that’s why I felt comfortable publishing this today. Over a tragi-comic arc that has spanned over a month, the ballad of Landon & Asia Banu appears to be drawing to a close. So that’s the topic today reader, at least until they do something else crazy, read on and see how the beauty queen regained her crown as well as a few thoughts from Detective Fyre on Vegan week. But first, history of how Fyre was fanned by the Cold Wind.
Readers with good memories will recall that many moons ago, Hathian held a beauty pageant with the likes of Delphine Warpath, Emily Rose, Jennifer Boyer and Asia Banu competing across a number of rounds to be crowned.
So far, so unremarkably Hathian. Asia Banu won the overall competition and was duly crowned as Miss Hathian. Despite a few loose cannons in the audience the event passed by successfully and after filing my photographs, I thought nothing of it except that Asia’s face was surely likely to be plastered around town a bit as the winner.
That was until Detective Fyre got involved and demanded an interview along with Officer Della Pearl. An ugly interview where I did not challenge effectively readers allowed seed of racism to flourish for a while in Hathian and let me tell you, the visits from concerned citizens expressing their feelings that the Observer had allowed Detective Fyre to get his views so widely out there weren’t pretty. After time reflecting, I can understand that.
So, he took the crown from Asia and gave it to Della while also, let’s not beat around it, being racist. Asia, when interviewed in Hospital a few days later had had this to say at the time, which I had not previously reported:
GBTL Daiyu: “So actually I wanted to talk to you about the Miss Hathian contest… I mean, I wanted to say big congratulations by the way… uhh, earlier, anyway…. Could I just ask if you still have your crown at the moment?”
Asia: “Oh, no… Detective Fyre came and took it, said he wanted to have it repaired since HPD had damaged it. He even brought me muffins, why do you ask?”
GBTL Daiyu: “Umm, so yesterday, Officer Fyre asked me to do a street interview with him and an Officer Della. So they talked about a lot of things, but then, umm… Officer Fyre gave Della your crown and made her the new Miss Hathian… and said something about no umm, people like you could have it and only a woman like Della could…”
I had to moderate my language and I felt so bad. I’d not challenged Landon enough and now I was delivering, at his request, these questions. I felt used, but like a train on the tracks I could only go forward and ask more, probe more and try and find out where the destination was – and as you’ll see the destination was quite surprising.
Asia: “He can’t do that… She’s so ugly… what was her talent, blowing the racist on cam?” she tried to make a joke. “They can’t do that!”
Asia had cried a bit, sitting there regal in her hospital bed. Possibly slightly medicated and with some burly ((NPC)) officers around so perhaps unable to say as much as she wanted.
GBTL Daiyu: “I think I saw on Twitter than the Judges hadn’t agreed, so I don’t really know what he can or can’t do… but if they say you’re the winner, you don’t need a crown right. I don’t know Dellla, she’s not a regular HPD officer I’ve seen around… she just seemed to be attached to Officer Frye…. Fyre wanted me to get a quote from you… I’m so sorry, he had the crown, I mean… I kind of thought you were aware! Everyone on Twitter says you’re still the winner…”
Asia: “I heard he was a racist… I didn’t believe… “He embezzled that crown from me. Told me he was gonna have it fixed, it was missing a few stones and had some damage cuz the police shot it off my head!”
GBTL Daiyu: “I’m so sorry he did that, I feel used as well, but at the same time, getting them on paper being like this… maybe it’ll bite them later… We’ll get it back for you, I’m sure they can’t do all of what they’ve said… It sounded so likely at the time, but maybe it was all just a big… finger up at the protest movement… maybe they know they’re losing?”
I wanted her to feel better Reader – whatever her reputation, which at the time I knew relatively little (although I have since found out a whole truck load more…) she didn’t deserve having a fairly won crown stolen by Landon and Della. I wasn’t sure what was going on fully, but it was a bit crazy…
Asia: “He stole it from me… embezzled. Who is the criminal here? And… And… they’ve already lost!”
That concluded this hospital interview.. and at the time I thought nothing but ‘poor Asia’, ‘bad Landon’, yet the truth is always multi-faceted and this story had many more turns to give.
The First Attempt at Reconciliation and Some Foundation
It never really occurred to me that there might be some deeper connection between Asia and Landon. Some measure of each other that I hadn’t seen and perhaps the majority of the citizens hadn’t. It wasn’t obvious and it was only through wracking my mind after the two interviews that I thought that maybe I’d seen just a little, without realising it, like the tip of an iceberg.. Just a bit visible, but with a whole heap of mass beneath the surface…
Detective Fyre reached out again wanting to schedule another interview. He said he wanted to talk about the end of Vegan week and that Della had an announcement. I had misgivings, who wouldn’t? I was being used and was kidding myself that the access I was getting somehow benefited me more than him, but still I didn’t want to articulate those exact thoughts in my mind, so I agreed… turned and setup my equipment and waited. This time reader, I would challenge more. This time it would be different! Well, it was for sure different.
Detective Fyre: “Glad you could make it, Miss Tang… Firstly I’ll begin a debriefing towards Vegan week, then we’ll bring up Miss Pearl for an announcement.”
Della: “Good to see you again Miss Tang…”
It all started normally, I had the camera ready, the lighting good and I was ready to try and do my job as a reporter, for you Hathian. But then a cold wind blew the doors to the building open and in walked trouble, lots of trouble.
I thought this was something that Landon had arranged, perhaps he was going to make this right, be the better person. Maybe Della was going to return the crown… But did Asia really need to bring half of the Kogarashi family with her? Wasn’t peace possible?
Detective Fyre: “If y’all are here to watch the interview, you can take your seats.”
Asia: “They’re with me and they can stand wherever they want… Smile Koga, we on camera…”
And of course, they didn’t sit down. This almost seem predestined to turn violent, but I don’t really understand reader, what Landon was thinking. Why invite Asia out when she knows about the crown, about Della… I was just confused and all I could do was shoot pictures and film.
Heinrich: “How’s everything going? Heard we were hear to talking about bacon and such. Love bacon. Bacon is life.”
Detective Fyre: “This about your Braeden affair? I never sent you after him alone, you made that decision. Neither did I force you into a cell with him, that was your desire. Now it’s coming down to me to punish him.”
Landon began backing towards the door and yes he told Bella and I to run, but I didn’t really understand why. The Koga haven’t bothered me and hell some of them seem ok, although I am of course conscious of my research, likewise while Landon was warning me to flee reader, he also seemed to have no trouble putting me or others in danger. Therefore, I made my own mind to stay and film from the sides.
Detective Fyre: “First one on the stage eats a bullet.”
And guess what… Cali tried for the stage, leaping at the Detective before he could get the gun properly aimed. There didn’t seem to be a consideration that letting the detective flee would have protected everyone, it was just a case of charge, charge forward… I tried to tell them, but well.. no one would care.
GBTL Daiyu: “You guys really need to learn to settle your differences with words and not guns… Probably with the bill of rights session for you as well… C’mon Cali…. are we ever going to get a shift out of you at work?”
I had thought it was just some people giving Landon a message, but then Landon was talking about something involving Asia and the anger in the room just went through the roof, irrespective of Cali trying to get hands on with the Detective.
Jayden: “I thought this an interview fo’ Asia? We all here fo’ support, ya know. Make sho’ she git in the story but you, Fyre, you’re a damn muthafuckin’ liar n’racist. You threw ‘er in that cell with the man who raped her hopin’ that she die so she won’t be tellin’ ere’body you been the inside man in the HPD…..fo’ how long now? How long you been helpin’ out a certain gang? Oh yeah, months now isn’t you? See, we were all good lettin’ that go on until you fuck Asia over. You know, now, not so much”
Heinrich: “I’ve been good to you detective and you pull guns? Right off the rip? Maybe we just come to talk. But of course you are a man that would almost kill someone and threaten to rape said man’s sister in front of him. I heard about you before I met you and racist…ahh yeah I heard that one too. If you going for the neo nazi bullshit, please don’t it offends my home country. Landon, Landon, Landon. You’ve disappointed me. When you make a deal with someone you don’t break it.”
Heinrich had told me to leave the cameras rolling and it was good, because I could transcript this stuff here for you readers….
GBTL Daiyu: “I am not recording you beating them up. C’mon… are you really beating on her? This shit should be beneath you”
But it was no good readers, the gun went off, the bullet headed towards Cali and Landon was already backing out the door radioing for back-up! I stayed, to see what would happen and if I could help once the risk of being shot receded.
I texted for paramedic support for Cali and then as Asia chased Landon out of the back door and Jayden stayed hands on with Della, I made my way to the stage, mostly at this time forgetting to report and just concentrating on trying to mend the damage this foolish crown was causing.
Shit Has Gone South
It was clear at this point that this was just a fight, anger from Asia and the Koga at Landon with Della half caught in the cross-fire. With Cali shot, I tried to provide her first aid. Meanwhile the others, except for Hein continued their pursuit of Landon or Della. With some care, we identified that Cali had a glancing graze to her head from the bullet and we both shared a sigh of relief, but not before HPD reinforcements showed up. Meanwhile, Della appeared from the transcript to have realised that she had been potentially abused or played by Landon and his crown stealing ways…
Della: “Why..why did he?… Take her crown..I .. I didn’t know. I believed everything he said! He would say trust me Della.. and I would…”
Outside, the fight was continuing and it appeared that Landon had somehow knocked Asia down and this seemed to be a turning point in the fight. Jayden had been inside, scrabbling on the ground with Della:
Jayden: “Oh we takin’ the crown. Yeah, because it wasn’t Fyre’s ta give. Who the fuck appointed that racist bitch ta hand it off ain’t no one even know. That dood don’t really care ’bout nobuddy but his own damn self. I tried ta tell Asia that, but she ain’t listen neither. He corrupt, girl. Best listen ta me.”
As Della and Jayden talked, HPD reinforcements began to arrive and with no EMS in sight, I and Hein tried to escort the injured Cali out the back where somehow she tried to punch Landon again. Hein didn’t make it though, I didn’t see what happened to him. So after Cali tried to punch Landon she collapsed, seemingly exhausted and her and I skirted around the fight that was now between Asia, Jayden, who had seen what happened to Asia and tried to get into his face. Sam was providing some support to the prone Asia. Cali promised me she would go to the hospital and after some mishap with a curtain that might have impeded the attending officers, she disappeared towards HGH.
Landon seemingly concerned (as always) was trying to get his version out spat out..
Detective Fyre: “Don’t listen to him Della… he’s the boy who raped Xena, made her pregnant… stopped paying her child support.”
Jayden: “You a lyin’ sack of poh-lice shit. Ain’t no one ere’ gonna believe yo’ racist ass,”
That was the last thing I heard as I left, following behind Cali in the direction of HGH. Somewhere on the way we got separated, but I ended up back home… With this story and so many things I was confused about once I transcribed the camera’s contents:
- Who is Braeden?
- Did Landon put Asia at risk and why?
- What gang is Landon accused of supporting at HPD?
- What deal was Hein referred to with Landon?
So, is Landon a Koga plant turned rogue? A Jackal supporter (would seem unlikely to me)… A Reject supporter (could this be related to the Koga’s recent Reject bounty?)
So… lots of questions. I thought I’d be spending my time investigating this, but a few days later…
Let’s Try That Interview Again
Reader, the headline picture here showed the outcome of this three part series and the picture above gives you a better look; yes she has the crown back… This has been three part! He takes the crown, goes full on hate, then gets beaten and now I’m back being asked to interview again with the crown returning? This is crazy. I walked back into the Hathian Theatre, dejected and worried that this was going to go wrong again, but like a moth to the flame, I wanted to see it through. It was like some strange soap opera, the dance of Landon & Asia.
I setup on stage with the cameras again and once they were both ready and slightly surprised that Landon helped Asia up on stage as if she was his best friend…
GBTL Daiyu: “Question… from the reporter… role reversal… You’re the town’s most hated officer and dangerous and you Asia, I don’t know that much about you, but you’re part of the most dangerous gang in the town. Are you business partners? Fucking? Fucking with me?”
Asia ‘Pastry Artist Banu’: “Hated? Landon? Those are harsh words. I have nothing but love for the good detective oh and I’m the owner of Berther Street Bakery? Pastry artist if you prefer.”
Detective Fyre: “It’s like this Miss Tang, she finds me as intolerable as you do, yet also finds herself curious enough to see how much worse it’ll get, so here you both are.”
Asia ‘Cook me a home meal Banu’: “Oh stop that… I tolerate you most of the time. Probably the only one who does. That’s not true at all. I’m still waiting on a home cooked meal and tour of your compound.”
So, this was weird. Like Stockholm syndrome or something readers. Or a rollercoaster… or a pendulum. So hard to understand their relationship!
GBTL Daiyu: “Right… So ok… I guess, How did Vegan Week go and do you think the approach to semi-state it was a requirement vs. nudging better consumer choice was the right one?”
Detective Fyre: “As the old adage goes, you can bring a horse to water, but also the whip to make it drink. And that’s what I did by making vegan week compulsory for the citizens.
So let’s begin with the resounding success that was Hathian’s first Vegan Week. Even a storm couldn’t hold us back, infact the power cuts and flooding had resulted in spoiled meat stock around the town. Now vegetables are naturally preserved and don’t require refrigeration to last the night, and with every outlet supplied for Vegan Week, we saved this city and prevented a pandemic of starvation.
Once again Landon Fyre averted a catastrophe whilst the mayor was out on vacation. The people are asking me why I won’t stand as Mayor of Hathian and the fact is, I hold more influence over these streets than some Piña colada sippin’ scoundrel. As to what my future holds, we’ll return to that in a moment.
Before we go any further, I want to state I’m officially appalled by the meat-eating fanatics
who attacked our diners during Vegan Week, shame on you, we vegans will not be cowed by terrorism. We’ve also been hearing accusations the only eateries targeted were those who refused to support Vegan Week. I can state this is categorically false and any such correlation is purely coincidental.”
GBTL Daiyu: “That’s… that’s coincidence wrapped up as genius… You’re for sure smarter than some people give you credit… So, ok… the city owes you a debt in this telling and the mayor is running scared… Umm… ok, so the storm ended and Vegan week came to a conclusion with generally good reviews? Were there any complaints, other than these so-called ‘attacks’? So now what Detective? It sounds like there’s a big plan afoot for you?”
Detective Fyre: “Complaints? Miss Tang, the people loved Vegan Week and have been requesting the next time we go the whole distance to a month.
Now this second item is just as close to me. As your readers are painfully aware, when the judges of the Miss Hathian Pageant decided to strip the title from the winner, they did so on account of her heritage. And we all asked, can this still happen in 2022?
Apparently in Hathian it can. And what disgusts me the most is this travesty trailed along for months and not a single Hathian rose up against it. But Miss Asia Banu showed courage and perseverance and she held on to her hopes for justice.
I want to formally apologize to Miss Banu for taking this long to deliver, but I was busy saving this town from the storm and starvation. And then I committed myself to smiting institutional discrimination out of this town. And I found her tiara, and here we stand in the theatre
where it all began to award Asia Banu the title of Miss Hathian.
The three Pageant judges who did this town a disservice will be issued with warrants, each of them will serve time in prison.”
Asia ‘Scream Queen’ Banu: “Oh…my…God… Thank you so much!”
Then reader, we were back in Alice in wonderland territory. Asia hugged, properly hugged Landon, jumped up and kissed his cheek. They appeared to have reconciled, totally reconciled. Despite… everything. Landon told Asia that he took care of her and I was drawn back to the previous interview… Did he take care of her? Or her of him? Was he working for the Koga?
Detective Fyre: “Those Butcher shop boys, I heard they were eating sausages and wieners named in my honor. What can I say? My meat brings all the boys to the yard. I’m told Camden Fabers and his couldn’t get enough of the Landon Wiener stuffed into their greedy little mouths. But onto more serious matters, the people keep asking me where Louisiana’s Most Virile Man goes from here, after defeating cannibalism, racism, sexism, and bringing crime to its lowest levels in a century. There is only one place I can go. President Donald Trump has asked me to be his Press Secretary when we return to the White House. And who knows? Soon after I’ll be standing for President myself. That’s right, my first act as President of the United States will be bestowing upon Asia Banu the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our very own Rosa Parks who endured, and overcame. She is a beacon of justice for this town and our country. It means you’ll be seeing less of me as I’ll be residing in Washington now. And with that said, snap another photo Miss Tang and we’re done here.”
Reader, I’m done. This guy is a basket case… a totally… deluded one. Whether or not he has somehow flicked the light bulb of being racist off and whether or not he and Asia are a couple, it’s just too much. I think my leg is being well and truly pulled and I’m struggling to discern fact from fiction – so much so that for a moment I almost could see Landon heading towards the White House, attitude in hand… But then reality crashed in reader and my bet? You’ll see Landon stripped down into his underwear in due course, arresting people on the street and being back to his normal… image conscious, violent… law ‘upholding’ ways. Are the streets safer with him? My experience says so, three times. But is it a totally crazy experience around him – yes. So help me readers, do you know the answers to some of these questions? Answers on an e-mail to me at the Observer offices.
This is GBTL Daiyu Tang… signing off