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by David Caldwell
Black and White: Part 07.
'Funny thing to live in fear it heightens one's senses.' So she was told. By whom, she could not say. She never did get his name. 'It was probably a fake name, anyway.' She thought. His words, however, rang true. Her senses were already at an elevated level, far above the norm. But now, they were intensified, magnified to the point where her head throbbed, making her eyes water. All she wanted to do was to go to her shabby hotel room and sleep. She didn't require much sleep, but lately she felt run-down. She thought a shower and a nap would revitalize her. She knew she was only fooling herself, but she willed her mind to accept that those two simple actions would make her feel better. Now, she was on the run again. A shower and nap would have to wait for a while. A long while. She had spent the better part of the night and morning turning tricks, and when she got off the subway car and headed for the stairs she was interrupted by one of her 'regular' johns. He had followed her and called out to her.
"Hey, EZF, you busy? I need a little lovin' right about now."
Her street name, one of many, had been a silly acronym for Easy Fuck. If you paid, that is. She remembers refusing. Politely so, 'cause he was a 'regular' but that set him off. Why? She didn't know. Never will now. His face got ten different shades of red and then he spat at her, calling her a 'fucking cunty skin-job.' Her reaction was swift. Instinct, she supposed. Survival instinct, more than likely. The razor sharp doubled-edged blade she carried was out. Steel and blood flashed in an instant. She wiped it clean and sheathed it before he crumpled to the platform. His last words an unintelligible gurgling. She shouldn't have killed him for that. 'Skin-job' was street-slang for prostitute. In retrospect, she couldn't be sure if he meant whore or replicant. He knew her; she had even taken him to her hotel room. That was a mistake. He paid well and she broke one of the Cardinal rules of Prostitution: DON'T TAKE A JOHN TO WHERE YOU LIVE. All that didn't matter now.
She was running again. She ducked into the seedy back alley. The steam from the subway vents, the small cooking fires from the kiosks and rubbish barrels coupled with the misty rain that swirled around her afforded her protection from prying eyes. She didn't want the scummy denizens of this part of the city pawing at her. She was clad in a flimsy, waist-length jacket. Her micro skirt was pulled taut against her buttocks and her long, muscled legs were bare. An appetizing target, to be sure. She froze in mid-step when she saw what appeared to be a man leaning over another that was lying on the ground, legs splayed. She remained motionless, hoping the smoke and steam was providing adequate cover.
The trench coat clad man stood up. Looked to and fro, and quickly walked away. EZF waited till he was engulfed by the swirling vapors. When she was confident he was gone, she edged herself closer to the man lying on the ground. The street people who populated this area seemed to be on holiday, she thought as she came closer to the prostrate figure. She bent down, scanning the man before her. Except for a smoking hole in his overcoat, he appeared to be sleeping. With his eyes open. EZF thought she recognized the man's face. She thought she had seen him before, in the Flesh District. She did know who he was. A cop. 'A Goddamned fucking Blade Runner' she screamed in her head. She knew that a few replicant prostitutes had been retired recently and she saw this Blade Runner at the crime scene.
"Paybacks are indeed a bitch, huh, fella?" she said aloud.
She rifled through his pockets. Nothing. She supposed the guy leaning
over him took all his valuables. She searched his waistband for his gun.
It too was gone. 'Probably grew feet as it did the Brooklyn bounce
when he fell to the ground,' she thought. His coat was in remarkably
good condition. A tad big for her, but it would be warm. She was cold,
wet and tired. She quickly removed the dead rep-detect's coat. She paused,
then took his shoes too. They were a tad big as well, but she could stuff
them with newspaper. As she wrangled the shoes off his lifeless feet,
a wad of bills fell out of his left shoe. She picked up the tightly bundled
roll. It was mixed currency, but a large sum all told. Quite a large sum.
She would go to a respectable hotel tonight. Take a long, hot bath. Order
room service. Then sleep. Perhaps she would dream. And stop running.