Chapter 7 - From Dreadscape to Dread (page 1 of 10)
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It had been fifteen flops since I’d last suffered through the drudgery of a municipal spaceport. It’s the sort of experience no one with a decent agent would ever permit, but these times were uncommon and so was my presence in such a place.
We were still outside where rushing hover-cabs and furiously sprinting rickshaws pulled up to get passengers with any number of heads and genders to departing flights on time, and it was our time to make our way back to the craft so we could do our due duty to save the known universe, even if by merely destroying a bunch of it.
While still on the curb, an old woman stepped up to me with a small piece of garbage in her hand, shouting, “Postcards mister, you want postcards?”
The first thought I had was that these weren’t postcards at all, but a fistful of warm trash she’d picked up, but as a citizen of all time and space, I was curious enough to entertain her.
“How much?” I asked, winking, hoping she’d take my real meaning.
From her stank-emitting sugar hole she said excitedly, “just nine thousand for you because I like you. My boss would fire me if he knew, but nine thousand for you, mister, I trust you, I like your face, I have a family to feed, these are top quality, you must have postcards, you can buy them, for you this very special price. Temporary sale price only.”
She’d have gone on with her pitiable outburst of tired sales falseisms had I not let out a sound of disgust and disinterest sufficient break an ironclad treaty. Nine thousand is enough to buy the entire moon three times over, what did she think I was, some kind of tourist? Sure, New Terran dollarenmbis spend a lot farther in a place like this, but there’s a saying about fools, their money, parting, and hideously ugly old women standing in tourist traps with fistfuls of discarded candy wrappers and oil rags.
She knew I was ready to buy it, even at that price, so I had to think quickly. I looked at the life-space-haggard features of her youthful, tired face. Her eyes were bloodshot from the life breathing air of this place, her hair so wispy thin you could count the polka-dotted pores all across her head, her terrible breasts looked like they’d been used for tetherball. She had me at “hey mister.” I had to get rid of her before things got serious.