The story of my life. I fish in my coat and take a S shaped cigarette from my crushed pack of Farbolos. I hurl smoke rings in the bare room. The phone silently accuses me from my beat desk. Maybe I forgot to pay the bill? My feet are on the desk and I gaze at the raggedy clouds that pull themselves across the small rectangle of visibility my window (income) affords me.
It’s a grey day, and it’s a great day to drink. I take my feet off the desk and daub the cigarette in the ashtray, pour myself a Clown’s Smile Rum. I knock back a slug and grimace. Clown’s smile, indeed. I pour myself another couple fingers. Days like this rum is the best medicine, I muse. From the pack I take a Y shaped—how the hell did that happen?—cigarette and as I light it, a knock thuds on the door.
There is a shatter of glass, and I find my plate glass window—I had just stenciled in my name—resting in pieces on the grimy floor. A dame, in a tight black skirt, with legs all the way to her chin, wearing an expression of astonishment.
Quite literally, in fact.
A mechanoid DAME-X003, a model especially prone to the extremes of human emotion. There is an apologetic whir of optics, the clank of badly greased bearings. I sigh. These were an especially kvetchy sort, if you could believe it. The majority of business down my way, it’s them… Say, I can’t seem to tell whether it’s the always the same robot or a series of ’em. Either way, business is business.
I wave the robot in.