Chapter 3




What got me interested, of course, was the fact that they were whores! I was going to be carrying a boatload of horny whores! It was like Christmas in June, what a Christmas present two hundred whores were going to be! What a party I was going to have! Ho, ho, ho!
See, I'm not good with women. Not good at all, not the least little bit. What I mean by that is women use me and I'm too damned stupid to see it. And I was too damned stupid to realize that whores are women.
What happened earlier, you know, led to my stupidity. Well, except the stupidity of not realizing whores are women, that was incredibly stupid.
Did I tell you about women? They've made my life hell. Look at the week on Earth before they handed me that Mars assignment, for instance. Hell, look what my ex-wife put me through. No, never mind, you don't want to hear it. Sorry. I'll try to stay on topic.
Anyway, being stupid, I was happy. I guess that's the secret to happiness – be stupid. But stupid pays later, I found out. Almost as bad as stupid is ignorant, but at least you can cure ignorant.
I went home, took a shower, and checked out Ol' Miss real good before I went out single party partying. I had to make sure the old gal was doing well, she's home, after all. They had just raised her to the top of the tube earlier in the day and I wanted to make sure they hadn't damaged her. After checking her out I decided to hit a bar
I called a cab, and a large black Checker rolled up shortly. I told it to take me to the nearest bar, that my fone said was five miles away. Why in the hell are all the bars so far away from spaceports? I swear, I'm going to open a bar right outside a spaceport. I'll clean up!
I should have had it take me to the cheapest bar. Live and learn, I guess. Or maybe not, I forgot and went back to the same damned bar the next night. Like I said, you can't cure stupid.
I got to the bar. It had a big sign out front, “Suzie's Sports Bar”. Not a bad bar, except it was almost empty, and I found out when I paid the bar tab it was expensive as hell. Two guys were shooting pool, three more guys in business suits going over some paper. Real paper like they make from hemp, not a tablet. Paper... how quaint. A couple at another table and two old women at the bar. And it was a big place, had a whole bunch of holographic video screens, five pool tables, ten dart boards, a bunch of video games and twenty kinds of beer on tap. Really nice bar, but damn but their beer cost a lot.
Beer. I reminded myself to stop on the way back to Ol' Miss and get a lot of beer, 'cause this was going to be a long trip. Oh, hell, I'll just order it on my fone and have it shipped to Ol' Miss, I can get a lot more that way. Better too much than not enough.
I pulled out the fone and ordered the beer, it'll be there waiting for me inside the gantry lift when I get home.
Uh, you guys really need to know about the bars I went to before I left? Well, okay, even though I can't understand why. I ordered a draft. Huh? You want that much detail? Okay, it was a Newcastle. What? I don't know, I ain't no beer snob. I can't tell a lager from a pilsner. Really? Lager comes in green bottles, pilsner in brown and ale in clear bottles? Well, that's interesting but it didn't come from a bottle, it was a draft and it came in a mug.
Whoever was playing the jukebox was playing that crap twelve year olds listen to, so I put a dime in, played some classical music from way back in the twentieth century and hit “yes” when it asked me if I wanted the song to play next. That cost a nickle, but Rhapsody in Blue was half a cent and it's a really long song. Stupid kids pay a nickle to hear that crappy new music that's under copyright and the songs are only two or three minutes long. I had it play Rap City in Blues from the first half of the twenty second century after Rhapsody In Blue, then some stuff they played in the middle of the twentieth century. The greats; Cash, Hooker, King, Vaughn, Nelson, Clapton, Page, Hendrix... I love classical guitar!
After Rhapsody played, more bubble gum music came on. I got another beer. The three guys playing pool left and a couple of college kids came in.
Rap City started playing. Good! I hate bubble gum music, and Chartov was a fantastic guitarist. It's too bad they executed him for sedition when he was only thirty. Too bad half the world's governments outlawed all his music for sixty years, too. He's still reviled in Russia to this day.
It's sad. Politics is nuts.
A lot of the guys I was playing died young, but most of them died from being young, wild, and stupid. Well, maybe Chartov died from being stupid, too, especially since the change he was singing about wanting didn't happen until half a century after he was dead. His music didn't do anything to change things, but change was ready when it was ready.
Huh? No, I ain't went to college but I like music.
Anyway, I drank three more beers and called a cab home. What? They were Newcastle, I told you, ain't you guys paying attention? I got home, took the lift to Ol' Miss and carried all the beer in. It hadn't all fit in the gantry, they'd left more than two thirds of it outside. After the five trips up the lift carrying all that beer to my boat I sat on the couch and opened one of them.
Huh? Another Newcastle, and no, I don't know what kind, the beer didn't come in bottles, it came in cans. It's funny, that's not the brand I usually drink but I was thinking about the hookers I was going to be hauling and an old classical song had popped into my head; it goes “Newcastle brown, it'll really smack you down, take a greasy whore and a rollin' dance floor...”
I woke up sitting on the couch with the doorbell screaming at me and a full warm flat beer on the table next to me. What damned time is it? Five? In the God damned morning? What the hell? I picked up my tablet. “Who is it and what in the hell do you want at this ungodly hour?” I growled.
“Tamatha Winters, who are you?” the woman pictured on the tablet said.
“I'm the captain of this damned boat. What in the hell do you want?”
“I'm part of your cargo.”
“Christ, woman,” I said, still irritated but noting that she wasn't bad looking. “We don't leave until Monday and it's only Saturday. At five o'clock in the God damned morning! Damn it, woman, I wanted to sleep late!”
“I'm sorry, but I don't have anywhere else to go,” she said.
So I'm perplexed again. Or still. Or something. No place to go? A decent looking hooker? She's planning to sleep in her harness? “So why not?” I asked.
“Shit, an addict?”
“Yeah,” the picture of the woman on the tablet said. “I heard there ain't no drops on Mars and I'm sick of the life. You think I like sucking dicks for... well, it ain't a living. More like a dying. I can't seem to stop on Earth, and they want women on Mars so I'm going.”
“They don't want women, they want whores. You're still going to be a whore.”
“Maybe,” she said. “We'll see. Are you going to let me in?”
“I have to check the roster to see if you're authorized.”
“Why? Isn't it your ship?”
“Look, lady,” I said, “it's the company's ship. I just live here and drive it where they tell me to. I can't let you on unless I have you on the manifest. Let me look.” I looked, there wasn't any Tamatha Winters or record of her face. “Sorry, lady, you ain't on the list.”
“What?!” She said. “Of course I am! Here's my papers,” she said, holding out a fone at the gantry camera.
“Sorry, lady,” I said. “You'll have to straighten it out with the company. Bye.”
“Wait!” the tablet exclaimed. “I can't go home! There's drops there and I won't make the liftoff!”
“Sorry, lady, I ain't gonna screw up a good job. I can actually buy shit instead of having crappy printed out shit and I ain't gonna mess it up. Good BYE!” I said, disconnected, and went to bed. At least the cunt had me in more comfortable sleep, my couch sucks to sleep on.
I didn't know she was lying. About everything.


Chapter 2
Chapter 4

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