June Chapter 3 : Dealer
I filled her in, what I could anyway.
Aleph was a smart cookie but like everyone she had her own problems, the fact that Malcolm and her used to play ‘Where’s the sausage’ was the least of them.
So How’d some two bit street rat hacker-cum-pusher know a hot shot hooker and club owner?
I’m a Dealer. All dealers need clients. That’s where Aleph came in.
Fresh out of ireland trying to get away from the devastation there, new to the scene. down on her luck but with the smarts to make it. Same deal as most anyone who comes to Chiba really.
It went that over a few months she managed to hustle enough cash to start ‘Burn Ward’ out of a corner office in an abandoned red-light metro station.
5 years later it was the best ‘alt scene’ brothel in the whole of Japan. Or at least thats the story. There’s more to it, but really it comes down to Aleph knowing a whole lot about business and me knowing a whole lot about software. We met through Mal, and after that things were smooth for a long time.
We’d shifted enough psedo-drugs and ICE together over the years that I’d come to owe her a lot of favours. This whole deal with Malcolm, I was freaking about having to collect on them. If things went south, I needed to shift all my goods double-quick and Aleph was the only person who could help me.
It was nearly daylight I could feel the dawn coming, sneaking up on me like a predator.
A nameless late night cafe, red LED’s behind the bar lighting dark warm booths, the coffee in my hand gone cold.
Here in the dark Aleph looked more like I remembered, her hair tied back, dark leathers, silver buttons.
I wonder if she likes her job. I wonder if it’s my business to even ask.
We’ve only ever been business partners. Though I guess part of me wished for more, but Malcolm…
‘June, I know why you came to see me.’
A statement not a question. Cordial.
‘I need to move some stuff, I’ve been holding back a lot of goods lately. And i’m thinking I might just need some extra cash soon.’
‘fine, I’ll make calls we can talk more next week.’
‘no, I need this soon. tonight. tomorrow at the latest.’
‘you’re asking a too much June, we’ve all got contracts to fill, obligations.’
too much, too stress, stop blank, Overwhelm.
Eyes turning hard, mind on one track. Instinct.
‘I Don’t give a living fuck what your obligations are, I need this tonight!’
She recoiled hard. This wasn’t me and she knew it.
The truth is that sometimes it actually is. She just never had seen it.
‘oh hell June you don’t need to get like that. We haven’t worked together sine Mal left.’
‘..yeah I know, well can you just gimme a chance here’
‘no can do June, I’m contracting out with a new pusher now.’
‘fuck you, I’m done.’
All the time I tried being friends with Aleph, we never did hit it off. Business to some people really is just business.
‘wait, June listen. I’ll give you somebody to call his name is Crow, he aint Gaijin and he’s got hustle. Big time stuff, I don’t know what, he’s corp. always got goons.’
‘why the hell would I deal with some fuck I don’t even know, plus he’s corp those guys don’t fuck around.’
‘June mate, listen he’s got contacts can move stuff fast, he’s a client well was once or twice.’
‘fine..well okay sure. where do I find this guy?’
Downtown. I fucking hate downtown. Corp land. Concrete and marble, steel ‘art’ and worker drones.
Acrologies rising high over the rest of us. Beyond red-light, beyond the chiba dockland, beyond home.
Company hyms, uniforms. Work a schedule, make a bundle. But you never leave. Yakuza too. At least they got good digs.
Dangerous, you don’t come here without a permit, and certainly not without protection.
Like I told June.
These guys don’t fuck around.
The barrier gate swings wide, the other side white light and steel.
Gateguard with a fancy plastic carbine waves me through, my permit already flashed, scanned and logged.
Towers rise to further than I can bend back.
Small utility eco-plugin-microbullshit cars.
Peds in uniforms.
So clean. This aint my world. I can’t smell the biz and the hustle.
Crow was 40 storeys up some corp tower, freelancer agent to the corp based there.
Clean glass door, subdued lighting.
Dark carpet flowed over a wood panelled room.
The room was empty except for a black metal bench.
A door on the far side of the room beckoned.
I had the overwhelming feeling I was being watched, my hands twitched against my thighs, my fingers clenching.
Somewhere out of the darkness a voice came. A computer voice reproduced from sound bites.
‘Please place any weapons on the bench. Have your indent card ready for inspection.’
I didn’t like this, In the inner pocket of my jacket I kept a small ceramic flechette pistol.
I removed it and placed it down on the bench.
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
The door was made of a dark wood, steel studs embedded around.
Small sensor in the middle.
Walking to the door I noticed the cameras.
Lining the room every few metres. And I bet they were rigged for sound and movement.
Whoever this guy was, he certainly wanted nothing to do with visitors.
I slid my ID out of my pants and held it up to the door.