Goddamnit, we were in too deep.
The alley stretched on uneven and leaning like every other patch of this too-tight pill-stack of a nieghborhood. I reached into my pocket for the hundredth time. The pharm-cards were still there. I ran my soft fingers across the pass-codes, carefully cut into ‘em. That’s solid currency.
The neon fogs drifted from blue-green to mauve; I was nearly to the green-yellow glow of the Rusty Bucket. I was nearly to my partner.
I drew hard on my vapor stick, fed the hunger in them angry lungs. Night’s not good under the dome, too wet, too heavy. ‘Course it’s poison outside it, so...
Finally, I spotted the tilted doorway with the namesake nailed to it. The old, tin can wept crocodile tears in the saturated nighttime air.
Heavy’s early, no surprise; he was chatting up some one-up looker at the bar. I shook my head and dropped my synth-berry ticket at the bar. Moments later, Heavy’s coming on like his name, and I’m sipping bucket-vin with some kinda stim kicker. Fucking machines won’t make ya hooch, but they’ll give synth-fruit and bread to go mold. Time and bucket’ll do ya the rest.
Crowd’s too quiet. Everybody seems too clean.
A few minutes later and the supplier’s late. Fuck.
Harry Hard don’t take money back. He gets the units or your ass. Fuck.
I took a longer look at Heavy’s heavy-pet. She had too much meat on her bones to be on the level.
The long twisted light above the bar kept humming, hissing, and spitting out a bad rhythm to match my mood. Fucking stim-vin wasn’t helping either.
Fuck. Supplier must’ve seen Heavy and Too-much-meat. The walls were closing in. There wasn’t much time, now.