>I27[last_ride]

Focusing on the bike rumbling beneath me, the sound of heavy traffic was all around. I put out of my mind my newfound joblessness, the gun, and soon to be my homelessness. This focus thing was something I had to get used to.

Now, what I needed were tranqs.

But not for me this time.

I followed the offramp and from there took an opening into the next structure below. Hidden beneath an overpass, a jungle of rickety metal formed the tall canopy of an open market. Easily thirty feet above, the arch of my entrance hung with Christmas lights.

Inside, the drug bazaar was heavily guarded. As I rolled through I saw it. The open market, pills like candy in big glass boxes all around. Men clad in black stood with rifles hanging off the strap on every corner. A private security force.

Petering to a stop, I set my feet down, beginning to waddle my bike forward. The area wasn’t so crowded that I couldn’t ride between stalls.

Night had fallen some time ago. Overhead the red-hot engines of a police cruiser drifted forward through the tight interior of the high ceiling space, its sleek exterior skimming the haphazard light works above. Its figure left a shadow and wake of wind which warmed the cold slog. Blue and red flashes quickly faded with the hovercraft moving on, and the chill resettled.

I held my dismembered head tight. Jerry garbled some talk about coordinates, lost beneath the ambiance. With my other hand, I steered for where they had what I needed.

We parked.

The man with the goods was pale, his upper face masked by a glowing blue material. A cybernetic third eye shown dimly. He leaned by the edge of the wall where it met the hall, his shop filled with boxes and jars on shelves and counters behind him.

“Whatever it is,” he immediately spoke, cigarette on his lips, “cash will make it right, my friend. What can I do for you?” Continue reading