Saturday, 7 May 2011

A Curious Tale... 18.

If I’m to be completely honest then I must say it was the most amazing kiss I’d ever had. Even though I felt like I was cheating on Dante, I couldn’t help enjoying the feel of her body as she pressed against me. Dante had always had a slight aloofness to her that made love feel like a privilege – but here was an alien princess kissing me as if I was all she ever wanted in a lover. My mind went blank as I revelled in her aura, kissing her back like nothing else mattered but us two.
I felt the bounds loosen about my wrists and started touching her frantically, trying to fit as much intimacy into as little time as possible. She sensed my urgency and pulled away. I felt like I’d very suddenly dropped into a ten-foot hole during a sprint – knocked out, completely drained of energy.
“Relax,” she said, with a smile that both scared and exhilarated me. “We have all the time in the world.”
I considered that “the world” might be coming to an untimely end and felt the urge return even stronger.
“Why do you continue to toy with me?” I asked.
“You misunderstand me.”
She didn’t answer, and I didn’t need an answer to be honest. I was bound again and she had turned away, so that was that I supposed. I looked at her wistfully for a while, and then stared up at the white ceiling, which had no visible illumination, and prepared for whatever tests they had left to run. I was resigned to my fate, but in a strange way that kiss had made it all seem so worthwhile.
I realised I wasn’t alone with my thoughts when Alizé told me she’d be watching all the tests and she’d want to talk to me as soon as they were through. I smiled and nodded, as I was now completely bound to whatever it was I was on. I was suddenly enclosed in what I could only think of as a coffin, even though it was a tube not a box. I was petrified. I’ve always been mildly claustrophobic, and this sudden entrapment threatened to push me over the edge. I heard Alizé mutter something, and suddenly the top of my coffin was clear, and I could see it wasn’t too bad.
It was really rather comfortable when my heart stopped pounding. The material I was lying on wasn’t hard like a table, yet it wasn’t so soft that I sank into it. It was supportive, and aligned itself to the curves of my body so I didn’t need a pillow – the head was elevated slightly, just as it should be. We humans could learn a thing or two from these aliens, I thought as I reposed.
I allowed myself to relax and thought again of that kiss. I wondered if that was the alien’s true form, or if she looked something far more sinister than she made herself appear. What I couldn’t get my head round was the fact that she genuinely seemed to like me. She’d only known me for a few hours plus whatever amount of time I’d been here. (I had lost all sense of time at this point.) It didn’t make any sense to me that an alien female could fall in love at first sight as it were.
I tried to think of what Dante would say to me if we were in this box together. She’d probably spend time convincing me I’d be okay while she figured out a plan for our escape. She was both calm and smart, and I missed her more than I could say. So why had Alizé got such a hold on me?
It occurred to me that the tests were already running, and it might be a good idea to look around and try to figure out what they were doing. I realised I was naked, even though I had no memories of taking my clothes off. I was skinny, and felt incredibly small in the enclosure. The enclosure. That probably describes my coffin best. I was sure it was a plastic of some kind, but worked so that it had no visible seams – even where the opaque base met the clear top.
The clear top! They could see me through it.  I tried to roll over and found that I couldn’t. The weird bounds that had held me when my enclosure had been a table were back, and they were really irritating me. I felt awfully exposed; and weak as there was nothing I could do. I tried to relax again and thought once again of Alizé. That magnificent kiss. Her perfect form.
Suddenly I was really exposed. The enclosure had turned back into a table and I was lying naked on top of it. I tried to roll over and found that I could. I felt much more comfortable exposing my rear to them – I couldn’t really feel self-conscious over something I’d never spared much thought for.
Alizé came and sat at my head. She looked at me, and I loved her.

Friday, 8 April 2011

A Curious Tale... 17.

She stared at me.  Long and hard. If I were white I would have blushed furiously. As it was, I couldn’t meet her gaze, at least not until she said my name.
She said it gently, soothingly. She intoned it perfectly, something most people struggled to do. I instantly relaxed and looked at her. She looked as if she was struggling with something, and I wondered what it was. There was a furrow to her brow, and she still looked absolutely amazing.  
She wasn’t beautiful in the way a movie star is beautiful. She looked like the only make up she had on was the violent blue of her lips, to match the navy of her hair. I was still trying to figure out if her hair really grew that colour – even her eyelashes were blue. I had no idea if eyelashes could be dyed – but I supposed they could.
She had a perfect figure – at least in my opinion. There were no bones sticking out anywhere, yet there didn’t seem to be an extra bit of flesh anywhere.
She didn’t quite shout, but it wasn’t quite the soothing tone she’d used earlier. I realised I hadn’t responded the first time she called my name.
“Yes,” I said. I wanted to call her something else, something to show how much I’d fallen for her – for someone I hardly knew, but I realised it wouldn’t be smart. Or maybe it’s just my fear of rejection that held me back. Either way I didn’t say the words that were forming at the back of my mind – or was that in my heart?
 “I want you to realise I’ve known you far longer than you’ve known me.” She still looked like there was more she wanted me to know, so I waited for her to speak again.
“I can’t tell you everything now, but I want you to know that my feelings for you confuse me. They make me want to do things I wouldn’t usually do.”
I wanted to tell her that I felt exactly the same way, but somehow I realised she hadn’t finished talking and stopped myself in time.
“You must understand that we are here for a purpose, and my feelings have no real bearing on what happens to your planet.”
I had to ask.
“What are you people?”
“We are what your people would call an alien race. Our technology is roughly at the same level as yours, but because we are a nomadic race, we’ve developed faster in certain ways – space travel for instance.”
I was intrigued. Especially by the ‘roughly at the same level’ part.
“If we’re roughly at the same level of technological advancement and you’re years ahead of us in travel, we must have something we’ve developed that you haven’t.”
“Several. Entertainment. Food. Economies.”
“Oh… ” The food thing had got to me, but I didn’t know how to continue this train of conversation so I asked, “But why me?”
She laughed. It was the first laugh I’d heard for a while. “You were chosen completely at random. Which makes it even stranger that I find I like you. You see I am a princess.”
I wondered why she told me that. Then I remembered her collapsing in my arms
“Then how come he dared sedate…”
“He’s my father.”
She was quickly developing a knack for shutting me up whenever I didn’t completely think my statements through before uttering them. I decided to just let her talk. After I asked her one question.
“What do you really want from me?”
I was surprised when she burst out laughing.
“We’re here to take over your planet,” she said, in a voice right out of the most corny science fiction movie ever made. She laughed some more, then she kissed me.

Monday, 4 April 2011

A Curious Tale... 16.

I was left alone for the rest of the day, and thought about my situation. I wasn't scared anymore, as it was obvious they weren't out to hurt me. They gave me good food, gourmet to be honest. Three course meals that came in through a hole in the wall I had thought was seamless. When it closed I still couldn't see the lines that had to be there. These beings were weird, to say the least.
The next day the questions began. And there were so many of them. It was as if they were trying to understand humanity itself. I answered as truthfully as I could, still motivated by a forlorn hope that I'd see Alizé again. I didn't believe I would, as she had died in my arms. Or had she? She definitely wasn't breathing when I held her. I stopped thinking about her and concentrated on the questions. After an indeterminate amount of time and what felt like a hundred meal breaks, I was on question 3951 (What part of their anatomy do you think humans are most attached to?), and I was tired. I fell asleep with my head on the desk, my fingers still on the touch screen.
A few hours later (or maybe more - time had warped itself into unimaginable shapes) and I awoke on the bed. I got up and after God knows how long I eventually finished off the questionnaire, but they weren't through yet. I'd answered 5004 questions (the last one being "Which is worse - dying or living in pain?"), and now they wanted to run tests.
That scared me. I've always been terrified of needles, and that was all I could think of as the chair I has been sitting on strapped me tight and straightened out into an operating table. I lifted my head up a bit to see if there was any way of escaping, but I couldn't even see the straps round my limbs. I seemed to be held in place by nothing at all, but try as I might I couldn't get loose.
A white trench coat walked up and assured me I wouldn't be killed, and that the testing procedure would be painless. Then he put a dark gloved finger on my forehead, and when he took it away I realised he was a she. I was staring at Alizé.
If I could've jumped I would have. As it was my heart started to beat very fast. Too fast, I thought.
"Hi," she said.
"You're... You're dead!" I said.
She walked closer and kissed me lightly. I have never had such a sensory overload.
"Does that feel dead to you?" she asked. I lay there silent, unable to take in what was happening. She gave me a moment to think about it, and I calmed down. I mean, I didn't actually know if she had been dead when she'd collapsed in my arms... It had just been so sudden and had felt so final. She finally tore me from my reverie.
"Does everyone that collapses die?" she asked.
"No," I said, beginning to feel tremendously stupid.
"So why should you think me dead? I was just sedated."
Now I felt stupid. Utterly and completely stupid. I'd been had by my own mind, and it didn't seem fair. Worse still I  had practically been told she was still alive but I'd gone on believing she was dead. Dante wouldn't have been conned so easily. Way to go Einstein.
"Look at it this way." Alizé said. "At least now I know for sure you like me."
True that. I only just realized it myself. Before now I kept telling myself I only reacted out of my sense of right and wrong, nothing more. What a delusional loser.
"Now you have to take these last tests for us," Alizé's voice broke through my thoughts.
"I've already answered all the questions you people asked," more irritated at the confession that she was one of them than the thought of the tests themselves.
"These are medical tests, to find out more about your species."
"I'm far from a perfect specimen," I said. It was true. I'm razor blade thin and have a propensity to illnesses that are more annoying than debilitating.
Alright I was stalling. But who the hell were these aliens to demand that I subject myself to God knows what? It just didn't make any sense. Not to me anyway. At the back of my mind I knew I would take the tests anyway. I knew of no way to escape and frankly it hadn't even crossed my mind. I just hadn't thought of myself as a prisoner. I couldn't. That kind of thought pattern is just foreign to me when I'm getting good food and my mind is kept busy. And anyway I'm used to spending long periods indoors, so it didn't really bother me.
Alizé'd been watching me, trying to gauge my thoughts by the expression on my face. Noticing her I kept a worried mask on.
"Will you take the tests?" she asked finally.
"Yes. It's not like I really have a choice. Why did they send you down here? They would've conducted the tests anyway."
Alizé frowned slightly.
"They didn't," she said. "I thought you'd realise that."
That kept me quiet.

Monday, 28 March 2011

A Curious Tale... 15

I was surprised. Not that she'd brought me here. No, I've read enough paperbacks to know the femme fatale is always fatal. Or nearly fatal anyway. I should have expected something bad to happen to me from the start of this stupid adventure. It had been such an absurd request I should have known better. But of course without Dante by my side my decision making hadn't been that great - I was just lucky I hadn't had that many decisions to make. I'd messed this one up though. 
But I was surprised nonetheless. I was surprised that she told me so quickly. She leaned in close.
"I had to, because they'd have killed us both if I hadn't." I don't know how or why I believed her. I know I shouldn't have but I did. She was still very close to me when a trench coat walked in.
"Quarantalizé, no talking to the prisoner."
Quarantalizé. I wondered for a moment what exotic clime that name had emerged from. He didn't shout, he just said it. His voice was strangely soft, yet extremely commanding. He didn't sound threatening, just like someone accustomed to being obeyed. Alizé didn't move.
"I like him." She said.
"What you do or do not like is not important."
"I want to stay with him."
I didn't see him move, but I heard a soft puff of air, and Alizé crumpled in my arms. I gasped involuntary. I'd expected anything but that.
"You've killed her!" I screamed, rapidly reaching new heights of panic.
"That is none of your concern." Right now his voice was just infuriating. How could he expect me to just accept that? I'd formed a bond with her I couldn't explain, and I wasn't ready to let it go just yet. I watched as two other trench coats came in to carry Alizé out. I tried to stop them, but they paid me no heed, shrugging me off like an mildly irritating insect.
"How could you kill her?" I asked. "She was..."
I stopped because I realised I still had no idea who or what she was.
"She was what?" the trench coat asked. He knew exactly what I was thinking, and that unnerved me. I could swear he was smiling, though I couldn't read any expression on his face.
He was a good six feet tall, with widely spaced golden brown eyes. And he had an afro I had to be jealous of. That's all I took in anyway. I'm not a Mills & Boon writer so I can't describe him in detail, because I sure didn't like him.
"What was she?" He asked me.
"I don't know." I admitted.
"If you do as I say, you may be able to see her again."
Now he was giving me conditions. After he'd killed her. My only link with this morning. The last time I'd done anything normal. It was absolutely crazy.
"I don't need you to do much, I just have a few questions to ask you, and you will answer."
"Really," I said. I was growing irritated by his self-assurance by now.
"You will answer whether you like it or not. You like Quarantalizé, and you will do everything and anything to see her again."
I thought about it. I really didn't have a choice. I was their prisoner, and if they wanted to they could torture me or even worse - and I'd seen first hand they weren't that fussed about taking lives either. That brought another thought to my head.
"You said I may be able to see Alizé again. How?"
"She isn't dead - merely being punished."
"For talking to me? That's hardly fair."
"Fairness, you'll discover, is highly overrated." His voice was grating, infuriating me in ways I'd never thought possible. But I was powerless.
"So will you answer my questions?" he asked. 
I nodded. 
"She liked me," I said lamely.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A Curious Tale... 14

I cannot say how, why or when I woke up, and at the time I didn't even know where I was. It was dark, that place, very dark. It took several minutes for my eyes to adjust to it, and even when they did I couldn't see anything. I didn't mind it much though; I was still too disoriented to care. At that moment it wasn't that a flood of questions was overwhelming me. I was just extremely blank. I didn't even have any questions to ask myself.
After sitting up staring at the dark for several minutes, the first questions popped into my head – a flood of them actually, all triggered by the recollection of just one name.
Alizé! Where was she? Who was she? Why hadn't she been disturbed when the (by now my mind was full of memories) trench coats had mobbed us? Did she know them? Now the questions were threatening to tear apart my recently resumed mental processes. Not for the last time I wished Dante was with me. She would be able to make some sort of sense of it all. I just wasn't any good at any of this.
I started to grow smarter bit by bit. I mean, I usually am a pretty smart guy (though nowhere near as smart as dear but nowhere near Dante), so it goes without saying that my smarts would want to rush to my defence when the rest of me was clueless. So I started, slowly, to reason.
I had been brought to this place after being knocked out. By who? The trench coats? I tried to believe that but couldn't help remembering that the last touch I'd felt before passing out had been Alizé's. What exactly did she have to do with all of this? And why in the world had Martin put me up to this?
Right on cue, she walked in, intruding into my thoughts. I was inexplicably glad to see her. At least hers was a face I could recognise. That she was looking absolutely fabulous made it so much easier for me to just shut down and be happy to be in her presence. After we'd spent a few moments looking at one another, I realised a light had been switched on in my cell. It was a room actually, and it looked quite comfortable, even though it was sparsely furnished.
She spoke, and I immediately forgot the room.
"I'm so sorry", she said, and my world heaved once again.
"What for"
"For not being able to warn you"
"So you did know about this", I stated.
Then why was she sorry? What did she know? Or was she just lying? 
"I didn't just know, I planned it." She said.
"Ah," I said, my mind reeling.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A Curious Tale... 13

There was strange movement in Argos. Men in long, dark brown, Colombo-style trench coats prowled the aisles, apparently looking for someone or something. They moved as one, as if they were all parts of one body, working under the command of a single brain. I wondered if they were military, and wondered why they would be. War was quite unheard of these days - people with odd ideas were simply taken away and neutralised.
"I wonder what they're doing here", I asked.
Alizé looked at me and gave me a sad smile. That should have set the alarm bells clanging, but it didn't. I asked her what exactly we were waiting for.
"I like you", she said suddenly, the sadness in her voice more pronounced than it had been in her smile. I wondered what had gotten into her to make her say that to someone she met less than an hour ago. 
This train of thought made me unaware of how quiet it gradually became. I only noticed when one of the trench coats was right beside me. I looked up and was horribly discomfited by his stare. His eyes were bright pink, like lingerie on Girls of the Playboy Mansion. I was still trying to register that when I heard him say "that's him" to another.
He was referring to me of course, and I was instantly terrified. It was then I realized they'd been waiting for me, for us, and had lulled us into a false sense of security by appearing to take no interest in our movement (or lack of it) whatsoever. Alizé! I suddenly thought. I must keep her safe! The thought rushed through me in bullet time. It was an instant, but in that instant I took in every facet of her beauty I'd seen in the past hour or so that I'd spent with her, every expression I'd seen on her face. and I remembered her saying she liked me.
"Let's get out of here", I whispered, and held her hand, looking for a direction to run.
Trench coats were all around us now, not doing anything yet, but making sure there'd be no way we'd escape. Or... Yes, I saw a gap where one trench coat should have been, and saw him further off, talking to a child - or at least standing near one. The boy seemed lost, and over my fear I thought he must be a nice man to take time out from whatever it was they were going to do to me just so he could do whatever he was doing for the kid. Then I realised how ridiculous that thought was and concentrated on the gap again.
If I can get us through there then make a sharp turn towards the door and run for it, I thought, would we make it? I had no idea, but I had to try something to keep Alizé safe.
I started out through the gap. I'd only gone a couple of paces when I felt Alizé's hand leave my grasp. It came up to my shoulder, pulling me back. I turned, and saw the sad smile once more. Realization struck in the instant a million stars lit up in my head.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A Curious Tale... 12

It doesn't make any sense saying she wasn't what I expected, because I can't say for sure what it is that I did expect. All the same, I'll do the unreasonable and say she wasn't what I expected. No matter what, I'm sure I hadn't expected a girl with dark blue hair. Navy. I only noticed when we were out of the store under the warm July sun. I mentioned it, probably the first coherent thing I said to her.
"Your hair is blue."
That's a measure of how struck I was with this beautiful creature.
"Yes it is", she said. "It doesn't bother you, does it?"
"No, it's just unusual"
She raised a bushy blue eyebrow and I shut up. Was it possible that her hair really grew that colour? I kept my thoughts to myself and led the way to the car. At least it was as black as it was supposed to be. Alizé didn't react to seeing it though. I'd have at least appreciated a 'nice craft' or something like that.
We got in and I drove off through the slowly gathering Saturday traffic. We wound our way through streets that looked cleaner than they should have, which I judged to be a trick of the light. The sun was that bright. Alizé didn't speak for the entire trip, so I didn't either. She didn't seem preoccupied, so I guess I just wasn't impressive enough to make her want to talk to me. I've always been used to not getting the attention of females, so I wasn't really bothered. I just plugged my iPod into the car's Bose stereo and played some Michael Jackson. Everyone likes Michael Jackson, I figured. Or at least everyone did a few centuries ago. If she did, she didn't show it.
In a few minutes we were in Lewisham. I didn't want to go to the shopping centre car park, so I drove past and looked for a street that didn't have a double yellow line. I found one that had just one and parked there. Martin would get a parking ticket but we were both used to that. We walked to the high street, crossed it, and went into the shopping centre. We went into Argos directly. Martin had said to drop her off, and since she was so uninterested in me I felt no compulsion to assist her any further, no matter how beautiful she was. All the same I felt rather uneasy. Some ancient fight or flight reflex was kicking into gear for no apparent reason. I hoped to God that dropping her off would be all I'd have to do.
It wasn't.

Monday, 7 March 2011

A Curious Tale... 11

She was beautiful. She was dark, curved in all the right places, and had a monster of a smile. She just promised a treat. I wondered what the girl would think when she was picked up in it.
Yes, the reason (or at least one of the reasons - he was also paying me a really neat packet) I’d agreed to Martin’s proposal was parked outside his ridiculously small house on Arbuthnot Road. She was a custom MG XPower SV. We’d always called her the MXT. She looked a bit like a Batmobile, especially with the aerodynamic side grills. And she drove even better. She didn't have a choice really, seeing as she'd cost Martin a quarter of a million credits. I got green just thinking about it. Damn he was rich.
I went down into Martin’s den and saw him painting. He was a really talented painter, but even Da Vinci would have thought twice before buying a C250,000 overcraft on a whim. Martin had simply thought he needed something nicer than his Saab and had somehow gotten in touch with MG, drawn a redesigned XPower, and gotten them to make it somehow.
Maybe I should tell you what Martin did for a real living. He painted incredible forgeries and sold them to less scrupulous art collectors, mostly deposed dictators who Interpol had allowed to keep their assets in return for their abdication when the entire world had gone strangely democratic. Those African and Arab bastards kept Martin well paid and in the lap of luxury. My job so far had been to move the paintings to the international carriers, and that's how I'd become reasonably wealthy in my own right. I still wasn't the tiniest scratch on Martin though.
Enough of my envy. It won't tell the story anyway. So in short, I got the keys from Martin, hopped into the MXT and started driving. New Cross to Peckham. The plan was to pick Alizé, the girl, up from Argos in Peckham and take her to Argos in Lewisham. Which to me was just the silliest idea I'd ever heard. Brilliant for a kidnap, because no one would ever think to take a hostage INTO Argos if they hadn't been there before, but silly because there's always a ton of people in Argos, anyone of whom could become a hero. Whatever. That wasn't my concern. I was going to pick her up at Argos and take her to Argos. Simple.
I was thinking all this as I was driving, and by the time I focused on the mission again I was already in Peckham. I stopped and looked for an unobtrusive place to park the eye-popping car. I decided on a side road opposite a shop selling brandless ancient Italian shoes. I walked into Argos and looked around. The normal queues, some people buzzing around catalogues wondering what on earth brought them into the store but determined not to leave until they'd bought something utterly useless.
Then I heard someone call my name and turned around and stared into the very composed stare of a girl in her late teens. She asked me if I was ready to leave because she was tired of waiting in the store. I didn't say a word and I'll tell you why.
She was beautiful. She was dark, curved in all the right places, and had a monster of a smile.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A Curious Tale... 10

It’s weird how criminals can spot one another. We both knew the other had done something crooked in the past, it just kind of showed.   
Anyway as you might have guessed I soon started driving for him. I told him it would only be a short term thing, and I meant it in the beginning, but I'm not that smart. I'm not being self-deprecating or humble or anything silly like that. I just am not as smart as a lot of people think I am. I've always been good at getting people to believe what I tell them. I don't know what it is, they just do. Most of the time anyway. And I had Dante around for far too long. I miss her. Awesome, amazing Dante.
Anyway when Martin told me he had something legal he wanted me to do I took it with several pinches of salt; a whole cruet in fact. I’d been driving for a couple of years and I hadn’t made a single completely honest taxi run yet. There was always something or another that someone or another would pay massively to obtain. He started off by assuring me that it wasn't criminal, just had to be kept intensely secret. That raised an eyebrow. He also said it was vitally important.
He said he needed me to help him pick up a young girl somewhere in Peckham, and get her to Lewisham.
"But that's hardly worth my time!" I said, incredulous. "She could just hop on the bus!"
I didn't work for him any more. I now had my own fleet of taxicraft. I wasn't rich, nowhere near as wealthy as Martin, but I was doing well on my own, and he didn't begrudge me my independence. He was a good friend. The only one I had really, now I didn't have Dante any more.
"I know," he said, his voice smooth. Too smooth if you ask me. But you won't and he didn't, so my opinion counted for nix right then. Unless I said I wasn't gonna do it. But he knew I eventually would.
I did make him sweat for it though.
"I ain't doing it." That's what I said next.
"Why not," he said, pretending to be taken aback even though he knew I wouldn't be fooled, just like he knew I couldn't refuse him.
"Because if it were that simple, you bloody well do it yourself, wouldn't you?"
"Yes I would," he said.
I shut up. I hadn't been expecting that. I thought he would make up all kinds of excuses and give reasons why he 'honest to God' couldn't go. But he'd admitted without much fuss that I was probably getting myself into something more than it seemed or just downright dangerous or worse. I paused, waiting to hear what he'd say next.
"You can take my car."
"The Rolls?"
"No, not the Rolls. The MXT."
"For real!?"
"Yes for real."
So I agreed.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

A Curious Tale... 9

I landed at the shuttle port with a gym sack. I’d arranged for a courier to transport the rest of my things. I realised I would never get them because the transaction would never be carried out. I was far too poor to pay the freight costs, and I’d hired the most expensive dudes possible. Daft as a cucumber. Depression started to set in again.
I walked through the arrivals section and frowned as the many cameras, biometric scanners, x-ray machines and good old fashioned customs officers deciphered exactly who I was and what I was carrying. It was boring, but at least it didn’t take up much time.
As I walked into the arrivals lounge I realised I had no idea where to go. I’d hustled my way into school, and crimed my way through it. The friends I’d made in school were quite frankly the only friends I had. I was lost, and the guy that walked up seemed to realise it.
“Hi” he said.
“Hi” I replied.
“You look like you could use some help.”
“No thanks. I’m fine.” Damn your foolish pride Tosoye! You’re not fine.
“I was only gonna ask if you needed a cab lad.” And he started to leave.  I was in England by the way. That’s where I’m from, I think. Anyway the little reason I still had left kicked in.
“Excuse me!” The man turned.
“I don’t have any money…” The man turned to walk away muttering something about him not getting enough to live on anyway without people looking for free rides.
I went to a row of seats and my phone buzzed just before I sat down. It was a message from Silas.
I’ve instructed that 2000 credits be paid into your account. I felt it wouldn’t be fair if you didn’t get a head start. Good luck.
I had to smile at the nerve of the man. Stupid cocky bastard. I went out and hailed a real taxi, not a crummy overcraft, but one of them old fashioned taxis that run on wheels. It was a stupid thing to do as it cost triple what a cab would, but I couldn’t care less. I had a little leeway.
The taxi driver was incredibly loquacious, and had told me about his entire family before asking me where I wanted to go. His name was Martin. He was probably in his late thirties, extremely fit, and if I was a girl or gay I’d be screwing a taxi driver, to state it succinctly. He looked very well to do though, and I had to ask him how come he wore a Hublot chronogram.
“I’m rich,” he said simply. “I only drive a taxi when I feel like.”
He looked in the mirror and saw how deeply I was concentrating.
“You want to know how I got rich enough to make taxi driving a hobby, don’t you?”
“Well that’s one thing I can’t tell you. What do you do, by the way.”
“I just graduated,” I said honestly.
“Oh, new to the job market. Have you ever worked… erm… what did you say your name was?”
“Tosoye. Hmmm. African origin I’d say.”
“How would I know?”
“Oh I wouldn’t expect you to. So back to the question. Have you ever worked lad?”
I was getting rather peeved, but he was obviously as rich as I was broke so I had to keep listening.
“Could you do deliveries?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“Got a driving licence?”
“Yep.  All craft.”
Good. Come over to see me.