Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bruce - Short Story II

Capitol City, Industrial Sector

Bruce woke up yet again, every time it was a different nightmare but it all began the same way.

He had to wake up, that was his recurrent nightmare, always had high hopes of dying in a dream, not happening today. He began his daily routine.

He ate some sausages and eggs from the machine, tasted like plastic, hadn't had a real meal in years now, specially after the crisis in the west had hit hard on the farm land and wiped almost all, if not all, the available farms. A quick bath was next in order, he examined the news feeds, bombed with gonzo material worthy of the early twenty first century, he had stopped caring for all of that, he only checked them for key patches he needed from his contacts, nothing else.

Time for a dress up, black sneakers, jeans, white long sleeved shirt, black hoodie and a blue cap. He knew nothing about fashion, he was looking for comfort, not trying to setup the next five minute trend. Inside that closet was a thirty eight Gianolli revolver, easy to stash, made from materials that could not be picked up easily by detectors or the police.

Next stop, the relays downstairs, he needed to be near so he could pick up a line with his contacts.

He waited for the magical hour, eight in the morning, when his contact would pick up with him and set him up for the next assignment. It was all killing and dicing and slicing, not his cup of tea but it helped him live and pass his idle time, other reasons were there though.

He also did it for the people in the apartment complex in which he lived, horrible conditions, not worthy of any living being no matter who or what it was. It was all for Doña Maria and his kids, who had been left alone by an abusive husband with a debt in blood to some gangs his husband had gotten in trouble with; for Joey the mechanic, who worked day and night to make a miserable living, without the opportunity to get anywhere else in life as it was either school or food; for Lola the porn actress, diagnosed with bone cancer, her career paid for her meds and all the junk she set herself up with, she lived for her vices and her vices lived for her as no medical service would provide her assistance without her having a steady job or a class one citizenship; for Pepe the shoeshiner, who had done this for the last thirty five years of his life, just as his dad, and his dad did until they died, with two kids on the street also trying to pick up any sort of living, no education, nothing.

They were the important figures of his life, the underdogs, the ones without a voice.

The feed picked up on him, he linked up and spoke mentally.

"Bruce, just in time"

"What you got for me man?" Asked Bruce, he was still half asleep but more than ready to do his work.

"Check under the second relay. You have thirty minutes" Said the voice and the connection ended. Bruce checked the nearby physical relays, antennas setup to spread communications freely throughout the city network, and found a piece of paper with some information written on it. "Fourth and twelve. Black Lieutenant. Driver"

Bruce took out a cigarette and lit it, he used the lighter to burn out the piece of paper and quickly walked to the intersection. It was crowded, people crossing streets like herds of sheep, cars going around senselessly and food stands on every corner. It was a curious type of Industrial Sector, not much industry to be seen as commerce and residences had taken over and displaced it somewhere else, mostly third world countries.

He stood on the intersection of Fourth and Twelfth waiting for a Black Lieutenant to pass, it wouldn't be hard to recognize it between all the trucks, cars and bikes flowing through. He waited patiently.

He took some time to look around, more poor people, but at least they had values, not like the rich people on top of them. He was disgusted by all the higher strains of society, living in the highest zones of the towers, spending their money like if there was no tomorrow, burning it in useless and senseless things that keep the capitalist machinery running at disturbing speeds, fast cars, fast women, fast money, fast food, fast families, fast everything, it was all dirty, it had all died, broken dreams and hopes of an ever crumbling society.

He saw the car coming up from the north. He knew the drill. He would ask the man for directions and when he least expected it he would plant three bullets into his chest or face.

The light went green and the car advanced, slowly like if it knew what was coming. Bruce had a trick under his sleeve, the relays in the city were connected to the main network which in turn led him with ways to either close or stop certain intersections from working, in this case he would switch the red light once the car had gotten close enough.

He did so at two cars of distance from the light, nothing suspicious about it, everything was in order. Bruce approached the car, he knocked on the dark tinted window a couple of times before getting it to roll down a little, the sight of a woman in black surprised him.

"What can I do for you?" Asked the woman with a nice tone of voice. Bruce had seen and been there many times before, people talking nice to him, trying to escape their inevitable faith, trying to backstab him when he wasn't looking, they were all the same, all of them.

"I'm looking for directions to Avalon street. You know where that is?" Asked Bruce with a rural accent.

"Just go down this street until you reach the Chinese laundromat and turn left. Are you looking for something in specific?" Asked the woman.

"Yeah. See that over there?" Bruce pointed at the other side of the street and the woman looked.

"What?" Asked the woman, she looked back and saw Bruce with the revolver on hand.

"It's the place where your brain will be left after I finish with you" Then he pulled the trigger three times. First on the head, second on the chest and last one on the thorax. He was making sure she was really dead, really, really dead.

He walked away from the scene, no one seemed to notice him or really care about it, too common for anyone to bother anymore, to usual for anyone to be surprised, it was just a matter of walking out of there and blending with the crowds.

When he returned to the apartment complex he found a small aluminum can lying next to the door. He picked it up and took out a wad of bills. As he counted it down he walked down the hallway, knocked at every door and gave a portion to each one of them.

When he reached Doña Maria she stopped him

"Bruce they came looking for you again" Said the old woman in her late forties or fifties wearing a green apron over an old dotted dress, slippers dirty and worn out.

"The police won't find me, they can keep trying but I'm not going down, believe me" Said Bruce

"Be careful mijo. I don't want anything to happen to you. You are the best thing that ever happened to us" Said Maria

"Don't worry. Take this for juliancito. I know he's sick" Said Bruce and gave an extra to Maria

"Thanks Bruce. God bless you" Said Maria and gave him the sign of the cross over his forehead, Bruce walked back to his apartment and closed down, sat down and placed everything on a small table. He stared at the gun, the money and the pack of cigarettes. He took out another cigarette, lit it up, took the gun back to the closet and hid the money in a hole being covered by his clothing properly lined up.

Back on the small living room he sat on the couch and connected to the relay to see the news feed and some programming, anything to keep him distracted until two and then at seven, keeping up with his tasks and his partners in business, every day, same place.

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