Duster



(glink-clink glink-clink)

Shells empty, falling muted on the ground. The bastard, dropped in a clownish heap on himself. The gun, hot, half back in its holster. A crunch in the gravel as his heel turned. Colin grimaced as he knelt beside his fallen pursuer. Clean in the head, he shot him. A real mess all over the place, but nothing a good rain wouldn’t make easy. Still, there was a body he had to drag back now, and nothing really worth taking from it.

“What a waste . . .” Of bullets. Of his time—both their time, when you thought about it. Those capitalists from the domes got under his skin. Never took you seriously out here; that all the guns and gears and greasy drugs weren’t much besides a few exciting words in the frontier magazines they bought. Now there was another dumb yup in the sand. More weight to pull back on the haul, and no doubt, they’d have another one after him in so many days. Colin was gonna be late for his appointment with Sofi, and that girl needed crucial work done, before her damn leg fell off at the knee.

Colin stood up, pocketing the yup’s wristwatch. Exclusive stuff, brand new intuitive interface. He looked down at it quickly, still cupped in his hand, then tossed a cursory glance at the sky overhead. He really hoped they’d stop sending these entrepreneurs after him, soon. It was starting to pull at his conscience. This would be the third person he’d shot in forty-two days, and he wasn’t the killing type. It just happened that he hated capitalists. You could spot them from so far away, in their extruded nano-make clothing, with their artificially whitened teeth. After all this time, after they’d erected their climate-controlled domes and violently exiled whoever didn’t fit in, they were still trying to come out here for “resources.”

He couldn’t remember what drove him to pull out his revolver and gun the man down. Anger? You could argue that the yup didn’t really look like a man, per say, but that was arbitrary. He felt pretty bad, regardless, for taking another life, for killing some guy that could’ve been a hapless cog in a machine. But you know what, fuck it. Him or you. They come out here in their crazy suits, sweating like hogs cause they’re not used to weather, and try to talk to you about “paying you for you time.” “Earning a real wage.” Offering you access to the “latest technologies,” cause they read your file and know who you are. Intriguing offers, sure (what was their ‘latest technology?’), but all total bullshit.

Colin was a-ok where he was now. Bad weather and good weather, weather at all. Everything self-made. Everything dirty. Everything real. The eastern Fallout was the best thing that could’ve happened in his lifetime, even if it was a struggle to get by. They had plenty ‘technology’ to work with in the aftermath, and the sharpest folks working with it. Which is why the assholes in the domes kept trying to survey what was going on out here. They still managed to get their working satellite pictures and figure out that his bionic arm wasn’t like how they make theirs, and then there you have it – another guy dead.

It was hard to get over the initial shock of seeing a human head explode into brain and bone bits, even though it felt good. In his robot hand, the gun felt pleasantly heavy.

First Online: March 16, 2007
Tagged for themes of: , , , , ,
Filed Under: all that's left, easy listening, fiction

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