Hey folks, remember those short stories I promised? Well, I was quite bored tonight, and got one done in a little more than an hour. I decided to flesh out Jay’s character a little more, and provide a bit more backstory to the events of Chapters 1.1 and 1.3.
A hundred. A hundred fucking dollars. Benjamin Franklin was staring up at Jessica, as disappointed in her as she was herself. That cocksucker Carlos, how did she let herself be bested by him? Now, for her inadequacy, she would have to survive on a hundred dollars for the month, and whatever scraps Mouse let her beg for at the table.
LaDarius glanced up briefly at this outburst, then went right back to counting off Carlos’ winnings. The gangster bore a wide grin, flashing his wad of bills in her direction.
“Yeah, you like that, bitch? We go hard in the barrio, go crawl back to the runaway lab rat, kid!”
She wished her glare was as corrosive as it looked. Her fist trembled futilely. After a minute, reason took hold, and with a groan she pocketed the Benjamin and shuffled into her Lancer. God, what am I going to do? She thought, removing her helmet and running her fingers through her orange locks. She was more used to busting drug runners than being one, and she was not going to start taking lives for cash.
Forget all that. Why was she even here? Her bloodright should have given her a seat in the Mavericks hall, not in a damn ricer. No, that was silly. She started the car. I hope you’re happy, mom.
She cruised out of Prometido, watching the stars twinkle on the slick pavement. Midtown was relatively quiet, especially at night. The underworld generally avoided Midtown and Downtown. There were too many prying eyes – yuppies, tourists and government officials – for crime to be worth it. But tonight, she was making an exception.
She rolled onto the curb in a street with low traffic, careful to avoid any potential cameras picking up her car, and hopped out. There was a small burger joint with no one in the parking lot about twenty yards away, a good city block from the main road. She popped her helmet back on, retrieved a handgun from the glove compartment, and headed inside.
The man running the cash register – or teen, rather – was dozing off against the wall. There were only faint murmurs coming from the back. Good, she didn’t need the commotion. She cocked her handgun for dramatic effect, aiming it upwards at the ceiling, and shouted.
“Let’s make this quick sweetheart. Empty the cash register and you get to walk away with your brain still intact, capiche?”
The cashier lazily blinked his eyes open. “Aw, come on, again? I told the boss we needed to install the glass…”
Three hundred dollars were retrieved without a fuss. Still unenviable, but she’d make do. She turned to the soda machine installed off to the side. Oh what the heck, why not? “And give me the largest container you’ve got, too.”
She stuck a massive plastic jug under the soda machine, filling it with grape soda. Even cloned super soldiers were allowed to have their vices, right? It was about halfway full when she heard a customer enter behind her.
“Hey, Javier, how’s your mom doing? She outta the hospital yet?” called a male voice. She turned around slowly and saw that it was a cop. Not good.
“Oh, hey Rand. The doctors say it isn’t cancer, thank you Jesus. But uh, can you help me out a bit?”
“Sure, after you give me a number two, extra pickles.”
“Number two, extra pickles! You see that lady in the helmet over there?” The cashier pointed at her, and the cop spun around. “She kinda robbed the place.”
“Um.” Jessica felt along the the drainage rack, grasping the handle of her gun. She could have shot the cop. Should have, if she wanted a clean getaway. But, something inside of her screamed at her to stop, and she did.
Sometimes, she really hated herself.
“Hey, stop right there!”
She a made a beeline for the door, but only got halfway there before her muscles seized up. Was she on fire? She let out a primal scream, slumping the ground. Any attempts to move were interrupted by further spasms. The cop yanked her upright, cuffing her as she realized that being tased really was a bitch.
“Thanks, Officer Brewer! I’m sure the boss won’t mind giving you this meal for free.”
“Sure thing.” The officer removed her helmet, putting a hand to his hip. “Got anything to say for yourself, young lady?
“Ugh… Go fuck yourself.”