Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Toxic

Personal Log - R. Kowalski, PI

Personal log of Kowalski, Roger

I put some of the money into patches and things from the drugstore, together with that medpack I found in the car it was enough and I considered her not hurt so much that I had her to take to a hospital, for which we would not have any money anyway.

I tried to concentrate on my P.I. exam the next day. She was down and out most of the time, looking like shit when the bruises turned from black to green and yellow. The cuts were not deep enough for scarring but I kept them disinfected and clean anyway. She wasn’t moving much the first day. I kept her warm and gave her water, but it might also have been that she crashed from her drugs. I am no expert. Anyway, I didn’t ask and took away what I found she had on her, put it in that locker.

“Ya got get my stuff”, she managed to slur in the moments she became conscious. “Busstop Locker 273”, her head swollen to a beat up bloody mess. “Got some crank? Anything?” But wasn’t asking the right person for that. I’m fucking not sticking a needle into that girl or patch her up with crank. I got her key and asked Sandy, the Orc chick next office to keep an eye on her. She asked anyway why she was crying, knocking at the door of my office. toxic I said. “Width-drawl from a couple of drugs.” “I had a sister that was on bliss”, she said. “But she didn’t made it. Died with sixteen. Overdose.” “Just keep her warm, okay?” “Get a plastic sheet”, she said, “and a bucket.” “Okay. Is there any chance for medical service taking care of her?” “She’s sinless, I guess. So: no.” “Great. And I thought it would be a nice day.”

Her stuff were in a sports bag in that locker. No drugs inside, a sticks of money a few clothes, most of them clean. I checked the drugs I found in her purse. “What did she take?” “I didn’t find anything special”, I said rifling through the stuff. “Some eX, those pills that make you horny like a prehistoric ape, Aisa, hallucinogenic party stuff, a bit of this”, and he was holding the rainbow iridescent packages up, “said that was ‘Tempo’, never heard of it.” “Needles?” “Packet of one-ways.” “Shit”, she said. “Hope she isn’t on bliss or any other heavy stuff. Or we get some nasty days.” “You’ll help me?” She was just looking at me. “Poor child. Of cause. Got some time to spare?” “Just learning for my exam. How long will we need?” “For the ugly part? Depends on how long she’s on and the stuff. Usually three days to a week.”

There are no words to describe the next days. Screaming bloody hell, let me go, next she tried to beg, tried to seduce, crying then just went catatonic. Sweating and barfing like one of those nice little waterfalls in Zen Gardens, just with vomit, screaming, cursing and fighting. Neighbors came to see, but nobody called the police. Virgil called me to ask what’s up, people telling there’s noise. “Width-drawl”, I said. “Keep it fucking silent”, he said. “Take her to the basement or fuck. Gag her or something. Neighbors are getting nervous.”

Charleen called to tell me she’s out of town to Vancouver for some days, maybe a week. “Family problems”, she said, “who’s so bloody screaming there?” “Streetgirl on width-drawl.” “Ah. Concentrate on your exam”, she said. “It’s your one chance.” “Aye, I’ll try.”

I once have seen that flick where this chick got obsessed by the devil. And she turned her head 180 and things. This was the real thing. No devil needed. Just a lot of shit in the veins of a girl.

“Did you beat her up so badly?”, Sandy asked at some point. “Nope. Girls on the street did. Got her out of there.” She looked at me to find out if I was lying, decided that it wasn’t her problem anyway. “Coffee?” “Lot’s of.”

Sitting at the window, watching the streets at night, sipping on a kaf. Sandy has lend me her machine for the time. “You owe me anyway. Big time”, she said.

“Hey! Asshole!” I turned. “Ah. Getting alive?” “What’s this shit?”, she asked, rattling on her handcuffs, which I closed around the heatpipe behind the bed. “Some sick game or what?” I turned around. “It’s better this way, until you are through.” “They hurt.” “Ah. You’re feeling something? That’s good. Coffee?”

After a while she nodded. “Yes, Please. With sugar. Lot’s of.” “Great.” I filled the machine for a new pot. “What happend? Did you do that?”, she asked, pointing to her bruised arm. “No. The girls in that backalley.” “Ah.” “Don’t you remember?” “Pictures.”

She lay back, put herself under the blanket, moaning. “I’m feeling like shit.” “Guess you’re nearly through it. Fourth day, really a mess.” “Through what?” “Cold width-drawl.” “Ah. I remember that. Asshole.” “My pleasure. Kowalski.” She had this skew smile on that one.

Some cups of coffee later, she asked for something to eat. “Dry cookies?” “Whatever.” She gagged and put it down. “Not my kind. Talk?” “Talk.” “So. What happened?” I told her in elaborately. “Hags caught you, beat you up. Just when one of them tried to get your face off with a knife, then I happened.” “And?” “They looked worse than you.” “Good.” She didn’t smile, just said it with a flat matter-of-fact voice. “Snuffed at least one?” “No.” “Shit.”

“They are no problem anymore, I think. Not yours anyway.” She looked up from her coffee. “Because?” I didn’t answer. She tried to think hard. “Ah”, she said after a while. “Virgil. Corner.” “Good. No brain damage. Not much at least. You start to remember?” “It hurts to try. Can I watch telly?” “Certain flick?” “Labyrith.” “What?” “It’s from the last century. 1986. Labyrinth. Got it on my commlink.” “What that film?” “Favorite.” “Never heard of it.” “Then sit here, watch. Good movie. Best.”

We started to watch it through the old Telecom unit on the desk, which put a flickering picture of it to the wall. “Everything’s hurting”, she complained, but fell silent when the film began. After while, when the film was going, she said: “Stop.” The film stopped. “See that? He’s an elf. A real fucking elf. Did you know that?” “Who?” “David Bowie. Look! Just look.” I wasn’t sure what she meant. “Ah. You’ll understand. She tried to sit in a way so the cuffs were not hurting. I had put a towel between them, but just one layer to prevent it to cause bruising. Not two so she could slip through.” “Are the fucking things really necessary?”, she asked. “You tell me.” She looked at me for a while. “Guess so. Better like that. I always wanted to get clean, ya know?” “No, I didn’t.” “But it’s true. I wasn’t that bad on the edge anyway.” “Did look kinda bad to me.” “Whatever. But you tell me, how I can get through that outside.” She pointed out the window. “That corner. How I get through that without?”

I said nothing for a while. “Start”, she said and the film was going on for a while. “Stop”, I said. “You are spoiling the film”, she protested. “It’s just, that I wanted to tell you, you don’t have to. You know?” “Ya?! Don’t have to? And how shall I get food and shelter and protection and that? By-by by what?!” “Working?” “Job?” She just let the air out in a snigger. “You tell me who would give a junkie a job.” “Ex-junkie.” “Okay. Ex-junkie. I mean, I have no social number nothing. Not one that I could use for anything anyway.” “You have one.” “Never tell.” “Criminal?” “System.” She crossed her arms. “They put me in that shitty system. You know what that means.” “I have an idea, but no – not exactly.” “You have to fuck your foster-daddy for everything you want to have. And get nothing in return.” I closed my eyes. “And if he’s nice and really has a good day, he’s going to ask you if you like before that. Start.”

The film was not making much sense to me. Not with her in it. But not a bad one. “Stop”, I said. “What?!” “You could work for me.” “Haha! Yeah. I actually do.” She rattled with her cuffs. “I don’t mean that Virgil thing. I mean here.” “Hahaha”, and she didn’t stop for while, her laughter a bit mean. “You actually are not a P.I. yet, you have no idea about the job, you don’t have a clue about the neighborhood, you will be dead faster than I am.” “Maybe”, I said. “Someone will crack your head or put a hole in you! Just like that. Ex-Cop.” “But that’s what you can do for me.” “What?” “Help me.” “How?” “With the streets. The life. People.” “And where does the money come from?” “This here? This shit-hole of an office?” “Were the place you crashed before better?” “No, not exactly. Worse.” “So? What’s the point?” “I don’t believe this would work. You just can go and fuck me if you get me my crank and we get over it. Less pain for everybody. You get money from me. More than Virgil. Virgil never would have helped me in that alley. You’re decent guy. You’re an asshole. I don’t want to talk about. START!”

STOP”, she said. “You are annoying. Really? You really think this could work?” “You believe in fairy-tales?” “Don’t shit me. It won’t work. You hardly will be able to live from that by yourself. Look around! You are squatting your own office. You have no idea. And now we watch that movie and I try to get over the crave.” “Shit”, I said and my voice turned flat, “I really try to help. But there’s no option for you as long as you are turned on stuff. That’s a one-way-ticket.” “And if I want it that way?” I shrugged. “Make up your mind. But never say I didn’t give you a chance.” “So. It’s just this fucking prince rescues junkie hooker thing? Is it that? That’s just sick! This is no fucking movie! START!” “STOP! Who said she wants to watch this fucking fairy-tale thing in the middle of her width-drawl?” “Yeah, okay. But it’s a good movie.” “Because maybe you still hope to get out. You’re in this labyrinth. Look at that! She’s also fifteen.” “I’m fucking eighteen.” “Okay. Eighteen. Whatever, I got your point with that age thing. Doesn’t change much for me.” “Are you a pervert?” “No. I hope not.” “But you get a boner, when I kiss you.” “But, hey, that’s not fair.” “So I’m no child at all?” “I will not fuck you.” “We’ll see to that. Wanna bet?” “Stop that. Why the hell do you try this shit on me? I just really try to help.” “I know. Somewhere.”

There was a while silence and we both didn’t know what to say. “Start”, she said. “Stop. You know what? You are right. You are no child anymore. And you are through more than most of the girls who call themselves a woman. And if that doesn’t count somehow, I don’t know. But I really have a bad feeling about this. So please stop it.” “But…” “Give me a chance, okay? You’re a fucking train-wreck and I try to help a bit. Not be your daddy or your lover or shit. Just help you up. Give you a chance. See, I’m not good at this shit. I… I never lived on the street. I even got a little problem to contain my alcohol thing under control, not to speak of coffee or cigarettes. I’m no judge at all. I just… I’m just a guy, you know? And I’ve seen a lot of shit too. Not the kind you have seen, but I have seen…”

And my words dripped away because my voice actually did break, which was fucking gay. She touched my hand. “Okay”, she said. “Let’s just watch that movie, okay? And I just want to lay my head down on your lap and your hand around me. Okay?” “I don’t know.” “Just fucking do it.” I put my hand around her, she started holding it. “This is not skin?”, she said. “Or are my senses messed up?” “Synthetic Limb.” “The whole arm?” She lifted her head, looking at me. “Yes.” “What?” “Shotgun. Liquor store. I messed up.” “It’s feeling strange”, she said, stroking carefully. “Do you feel?” “A bit strange, but yes. I feel that.” “What’s it like to touch with it?” “It’s feeling like it’s a part of me. After a while. I don’t know…” “Like?” “Like it’s a dream. Like in a SIM-flick, when you think you can feel the things. It’s not real and it’s real. It’s…” She kissed it with her lips and I closed my eyes. “Don’t mess with me. Really, I can feel that.” “That’s cool”, she said. “You feel this?” And she put the hand on her stomach. It was warm and soft. Skinny. She was shaking a bit. “You feel cold?” “That’s awesome!”, she said. “Just hold me, okay? Warm. Are there motors in it?” “No. Not in one like that, I think. Myomere fibres or something like that they call it.” “Strong?” “Very.” “It must be like I feel on my whole body now. I’m just a guest somehow. It’s not real.” I tried to get my hand away. “No. Stay. Just stay. START!”

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