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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tales of the Cypherpunk 19


They stumbled into his apartment holding each other and laughing. Shilo dropped the key into a pile of shoes. Betty swung the door closed, blocking out the morning sun and the gaping stares of neighbors. They made it three meters across the room to a musty bed before collapsing.

Betty stood and wiped her hands. "Saying you could walk!"
" I could walk. The heat killed me, though."
"Nezu, nezu. So much as a snore I want to hear not!"
"You're -ahnn- tired too. I'll sleep on the floor."
"No you won't. Is your box passworded?"

But Shilo was already asleep. The room was three meters by four meters, containing
(1) twin bed made by a company 10 years gone
(1) modern black couch with a semicircle melted into the nylon
(3) humming server cases
(3) large screens
(2) keyboards
(2) mice
(9) shoes, including the ones that Shilo and Betty were still wearing
(1) desk
(1) chair
(1) refrigerator.

The room was bare, and the less said about the contents of the fridge, the better. Its only point of interest was a pair of copper tubes jutting from one side, clamped into clear hoses, circulating cold water to the servers.

Betty opened the fridge, took out a dusty soda, and quickly closed it. She glanced at Shilo, so pale and darkeyed, sprawled in an obscene position on his covers. She pulled off his shoes and threw them onto the pile by the door.

Betty sat, after a moment of deliberation, on the ergonomic blue chair in front of the desk. She stuck her hands into the keyboard and poked around, but so many odd processes were running that she decided it would be better to levant.

She levanted. Shy won't get up, she reasoned. "Eki ni iku, iku," she sang, earning the gaping stares of the neighbors. Around the Cyan Line, downtown to Mechacenter. She stood in a canyon of white boxes and MSDSs. Fluorescent lights fluoresced. She passed the bargain bin on the south side, filled a cart on the north side.

Next stop, the mechanic. Betty traipsed prettily into a dim alley and rapped a pattern on steel. Darkness appeared, and the girl vanished.

"Kon'asa wa, ji-san!"

The mechanic reclined in what seemed to be a clockwork barber's chair. Empty tables and desks of clutter filled a long concrete room. The far end was clean, save a hospital bed and equipment. The mechanic, a stout bearded fellow, ignored Betty's idiotic and pretentious prattle.

"Ello Betty. Got work?"
She set down the 30 kilo bag of goodies. "I need this put in. Can you do it now?"
"... Rush order fee, but yeah, I can fit you in, if it's COTS."
"COTS, duh, but good. What's with the rush fee? you aren't busy."
"More to business than customer service, Bet. Things."
"Oh, I'm paying in cash."
"Bloody- cash? where the ell did you get cash? You mean paper?"
"Yeah, O C, I got it from somebody from somebody. It's metal backed."
"Fine, I'll run the numbers. You strip and lie down. Bloody cash. Does your Bro know about this, then?"

She spoke with a grey t-shirt veiling her face- "Won't say no, but don't bother reminding him."

Bah. Well, cash is money too.


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