Duster

glink-clink
clink-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 her heel turned. Kali grimaced as she knelt beside her fallen pursuer. Clean in the head, she shot him. A real mess all over the place, but nothing a good rain wouldn’t make easy. Still, there was a body she had to drag back now, and nothing really worth taking from it.

“What a waste . . .” Of bullets. Of her time—both their time, when you thought about it. Those capitalists from the domes got under her 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 her in so many days. Kali was gonna be late for her appointment with Sofi, and that kid needed crucial work done, before their damn leg fell off at the knee.

Kali stood up, pocketing the yup’s wristwatch. Exclusive stuff, brand new intuitive interface. She looked down at it quickly, still cupped in her hand, then tossed a cursory glance at the sky overhead. She really hoped they’d stop sending these entrepreneurs after her, soon. It was starting to pull at her conscience. This would be the third person she’d shot in forty-two days, and she wasn’t the killing type. It just happened that she 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.’

She couldn’t remember what drove her to pull out her 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. She 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 think they got all your data right and know who you are. Intriguing offers, sure (what was their ‘latest technology?’), but all total bullshit.

Kali was a-ok where she was now. Bad weather and good weather, weather at all. Everything self-made. Everything dirty. Everything real. The hellish aftermath of the eastern fallout offered a clean break from state violence known as convenience. Life was now a struggle season after unpredictable season, but they had plenty ‘technology’ to work with what was left, 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 her 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 her prosthetic 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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