by Bruce A. Sim-Booyens
She was unusual in her carriage, buoyant and light, her white hot hair and smouldering eyes a signal to all that she was unlikely to take a hint of drek from anybody. She wore black. Tight black jeans and platform boots, a vinyl cupped top and shades. A designer vinyl jacket clung to her shoulders and dropped to her waist. she was athletic and tall, with a rounded swing to her hips and a salacious bounce to her bust.
She walked into my life and into the ZeroZone one bland Friday night. The club was as packed as usual but I saw her instantly as she lifted her shades onto her head. She looked stunning and dangerous and desirable. Perfect.
She approached the bar and ran a long razor-red nailed finger along the chrome, bringing the fingertip up to her blackened lips. A pink tongue ran around the fingertip and 20 000 volts ran around the room. I couldn't hear what she ordered from the smiling barman, but before her drink had arrived the first smoothie was on her tail.
He swanned in from the interior of the club, more suit than man, his pretty dental work ablaze. It was like she knew he was there. Before he got within sliming distance she turned and leaning against the bar, the flickering light of a struck match throwing subtle shadows on her face, fixed him with an upturned stare, half warning, half invitation. That kind of "You haven't a prayer but try me anyway" look. He faltered in mid-step, you could see him weigh up his moves and sure as drek he headed for the nearest available looking joygirl.
Sitting at a table nearby, I caught the whole episode like it was a trideo show and I was a good subscription-paying channel hopper. I collapsed in waves of barely restrained chuckles and wiped a tear or two from my cheeks in case they landed on my brand new Sony DataMate. I was wearing black too, a nice coincidence. In case you give a damn, I am an elf, about as tall as the biologists say I should be and pretty handsome in that chiselled, highbrowed way that the ladies just fall over. No complaints from me. When I had regained my composure, I looked back toward the bar only to see her headed toward my table, an orange double glass in one hand and a burning cigarette in the other.
I swallowed and thought fast. "Better be charming here Adam." She strolled right on up to the vacant chair and placed a hand on the backrest. I rose to my full height and smiled.
"May I join you?," she asked softly, "even if just to find out what you find so funny"
I dashed around the table and pulled back the high backed chair for her. That close she smelled like bruised flowers and gasoline. I was so attracted and aroused by the smell of her that I immediately suspected something was amiss.
"Please, take a seat," I said as smoothly as possible. "The way you blew off that suit was worth an Oscar, I just wish I had a camera. No offence intended"
"He looked just like the kind of guy that was going to bore me with the usual lines and try to prove he was as impotent as that suit made him look." she smiled as she leant over the table to get at the ashtray flush mounted in the gloss black surface of the table. The view was to be admired and age restricted too. "You don't seem like the type that hangs out here," she said, suddenly curious looking "what's the story, you looking to pick up some input too?"
I looked her over carefully the effect of her smell slowly wearing off. She was obviously enhanced, a slick articulation job, probably pheromones too from the hard on I was experiencing for her. She looked about 22, tough and with the alert eye you see in street hardened operatives. She had a datajack behind her left ear, pretty normal except that it was nameless and thus either really low end or a custom high bandwidth job. There was an empty holster under her right armpit and her hands seemed accustomed to any task, no frailty or softness in evidence. The economy of her movement was astounding, not a kilo joule wasted, except for her face, as ever-changing as the current of hopers and gropers that circulated in the ZeroZone.
"Not really my mission" I admitted, looking a little sad. "Just taking a few notes and having a drink, relaxing you know?" I perked up a little when she smiled approvingly and continued. "I must say that I wouldn't mind meeting a lady or two while I'm doing all this relaxing, but I'm sure not gonna go out of my way to do it. Seems to me that most of the girls that come here are most likely to go for the suits with the nuyen anyway."
At this she seemed a little taken aback, like she expected me to be pulling input every night. I would hate to say she looked disappointed, but that was the closest I could figure out. I was wondering what exactly she wanted in a place like this, where most operators, if that's what she was, only came for meets or exchanges.
"Well I've got my own money and I don't need trendy nobodies trying to get their fingers in my pants. I'm just looking for a bit of local talent, you know? The kind of man who knows the way things really work?" She smiled and leant over toward the ashtray again, giving me a whiff of her pheromones and a glance at the kitten tongue pink of her pert nipples, "You know someone like that?"
"Well, I haven't ever felt the need to tell anyone who could be a cop, like you could, but hey, I'll go to jail for another look down your cleavage" I said as smooth as can be. "I'm Adam, I do enforcement and data collection and collation, and I've been in the shadow business for about two years. That good enough, Miss....?"
"I'm Desdemona, but my friends call me Mona...." she breathed as she leant over again, this time purely for effect. She smiled up at me as if to say "They're awesome, hmmm"
"Pleased to make your acquaintance Mona, you have a truly beautiful body, you must be in the modelling or acting biz, right?"
"Actually," she said leaning back and lighting up another cigarette, "I'm an independent journalist, I took some pictures of the frag-up at the Channel 25 tower a couple of weeks ago that you may be familiar with."
I was impressed and told her so. A girl like this was a rare find, not to be passed up by someone in a line of work as lonely as ours. The chances of us actually seeing each other again by accident was so slim that I was going to do everything in my power to make sure she and I were going to get it on before we both disapeared into this good night.
"So, tonight I would like to ask you to come for a ride with me, so I can show you a few things about this town you may not know." I said hoping she would work other meanings into my words.
"Sure, Adam," she smiled, rising like white hot fluid from her chair, "show me something I don't know while you ride me."
©1998, Bruce A. Sim-Booyens - used with permission