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Got Any Twist? (standard:science fiction, 1185 words)
Author: Gavin J. CarrAdded: Apr 12 2005Views/Reads: 1747/1064Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Blake Shaw, degenerate dealer and drop-out, makes his last sale to a twelve year old kid.
 



In a grubby alleyway Blake Shaw was slowly killing himself. 

He shook another cigarette from the pack and lit it from the first,
inhaling the harsh smoke. 

“Goddamn cheap tokes,” he wheezed, picking a piece of tobacco from his
tongue.  “Nobody recognizes quality these days.” 

It was a common complaint.  He was old enough to remember the good days,
the days of democracy.  Back then you could get a decent cigarette; 
proper tobacco - not the crap they gave you now - machine rolled with a 
filter and everything.  But that was before the Coup, before the Junta 
and the Transition Government.  Now, they had rationing, nine p.m. 
curfew, spot searches and summary executions.  That's progress for you. 


Down the alley, past the trash cans and festering rubbish, a patrol car
passed.  He dropped the cigarette and dived behind a dumpster.  If 
they've got infra-red I'm fucked, he thought.  He didn't have anything 
on him, he'd carefully stashed his stuff behind a loose brick in the 
wall across from him, but the Junta didn't need an excuse to haul you 
in.  Being in an alley was enough, especially looking the way Shaw 
looked. 

He was a throwaway from the thirties, a dropout from the new Summer of
Love.  He wore his hair long and had a mountain man beard, a CND tattoo 
covering the skin of his right palm.  The other neo-beatniks – the ones 
that were still around – had cut their hair and shaved their beards.  
It just wasn't worth the trouble, they said, the Man had won and there 
was no use kidding themselves.  Better the quiet life, they didn't need 
the hassle. 

Fucking pussies. 

They might have given up, but Blake Shaw was a different breed.  He'd
never sell out, take a lower management job and beg for the Man's cash. 
 He wouldn't be carolled in some battery farm, a two hour commute, and 
home to a wife and two-point four kids, getting drunk and listening to 
old Jesus Juice albums, lamenting his lost youth.  No way, he was still 
living the dream – still opening the doors to perception. He peered 
round the dumpster and saw that the car had gone.  He allowed himself a 
sigh of relief and got back to his feet, retrieving the cigarette that 
still smouldered on the ground. 

From the apartment block across from him he could hear the muffled quack
of a TV.  Some block head was tuned in to the Patriot Channel - 
Sergeant Well's Healthy World Workout. 

“And stretch, two, three...come-on, people.  You're not trying!  A fit
body means a fit country!  Keep that heart rate up...” 

Government TV, another blow for the Man.  He could vaguely remember back
to his childhood, watching re-runs from Free TV.  They had that show 
with the dog...what was it?  Lassie, yeah, Lassie, Christ he'd loved 
that show.  And that other one, what was it now, the one in space...on 
the ship, the Enterprise – Oh, yeah, Space Trek, now that was quality.  
But now it was all propaganda – Sergeant Well, Cooking with the 
Commandant, Confession Time, Wheel of Fortune and that soap opera, The 
Informers – crap, all crap. 

He dropped his cigarette and crushed it with the heel of his boot.  It
was a slow day; if he didn't get any business soon then he'd move 
uptown to the park.  The park was always good for business. 

He heard a low whistle from the mouth of the alley and recognized the
signal – business coming his way.  He whistled back, three notes, one 
high and two low and watched as a blond head ducked into the gloom. 

It was a kid.  He couldn't be any older than twelve or thirteen, small
and skinny, blonde hair carefully combed back in the style they were 
wearing it now. 

Shaw felt a thrill as the boy approached.  God, he loved selling to
children.  A lot of dealers he knew wouldn't have anything to do with 
them.  The penalties were stiff for dealing to kids – twelve years hard 


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