Outrun Stories #36

Machine Made

Outrun Stories #36

“Some shopping list you got there, Ms. Hammer,” the jerkoff behind the weapons dispensary counter says to me, licking his palm and slicking his thinning hair back over his big bald head.

“Can you make it or what?” I say, lighting a cigarette and flicking my hair back.

“Listen, we can make it, just all depends on whether or not you can handle it?” he says with a big shit eating grin.

“Now, you listen you little fuck,” I lean over the counter and grab him by the collar. “I can fucking handle it, we got a deal here or what?” I push him back and flick my cigarette at him.

“Calm down, calm down Ms. Hammer, we’ve got you covered. Here at good ol' Bob’s Weapons ‘n’ Bones we’ve got all the latest wares and the facility to install on site. You know the score, now let’s see, what have we got here.” He’s licking his lips looking me up and down. “RazorBack Panpsychic Terror inducers, these puppies will make you shit yourself across all known planes of existence. Quantum cookiecutters, shit, didn’t think anyone was still into these things? These will sublimate matter and faster than you can say, ‘Mama’s apple pie,’” he laughs and looks at me with a wobble of his gut. “Yeah, right, well, that’s the main ingredients, and then we’ve got a load of other things, that we can shoot you up with as standard, and of course, with our usual Bob’s Weapons ‘n’ Bones 30 day money back guarantee.” There’s that shit eating grin again.

“Just fucking load me up, Bob,” I say flatly.

“Sure, sure thing Ms. Hammer,” he says as he comes around and I sit in the induction chair. Its claws come around me and bed deep into my forearms, and he’s pushing some buttons on an old computer at the side. The whole shop is lit up with pink and blue neon, reflecting off the white tiling, highlighting the flicks of blood from previous clients. You only come here if you’re desperate, and it’s not the first time I’ve had to do this shit, I just hope that it’s worth it this time.

“What’s got you in a mess this time, Ms. Hammer?” Bob’s trying to make small talk.

“Same as usual,” I say as I can feel the feeds of the weapon systems digging their way into my nerves.

“Ah, he worth it this time?”

My jaw is pulsing and my teeth grinding against the pain. “Are they ever?”

“I’d say probably not, Ms. Hammer,” he chuckles. “But what would I know!”

“Yeah, right, Bob.” I close my eyes and see his face in my mind, the bastard, the crook, the lover. After so many years of the same shit coming around and around, why do I keep making the same mistake? One comes along and I just can’t help myself, comes with the territory. Shithole of an underworld and not much in-between to keep a person going other than trying to make it better, together. That image of us side-by-side, I can’t live without the love. I’m getting old and the fear’s got me, but then, they always fuck up.

“Do you always have to kill them, though?” Bob asks, stepping back, clapping his hands and admiring his handy work.

“No choice, Bob. No choice.”

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Outrun Stories

Short sci-fi stories in 500 words or less deriving from the Outrun, tech-noir and NewWave aesthetic.

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