Six Cylinder Sunset
Vagabond tumbler and all around misfit
“Eddie, get your ass over here and quit that nonsense,” says the Old Man, angrily.
I sigh, stop stretching, and look up at him. “But I was going to practice my performance for a while, Chief.”
The Old Man scowls, “The Big Man says he has enough tumblers for now, and you’d stick out like a hermit in a whorehouse with all those Chinese, anyhow. You have other talents he’s more interested in, and told me to bring you up to snuff, kid.” He puts on the Coat with a flourish and smiles a wolfish grin, “Now, we have some choice pieces and a bit of cash on this Mark, see what you can swipe.” The Old Man turns and starts sauntering between the tents and cages like a man half his age.
I sit down and start unlacing my shoes when we whips around and scowls again, “You best be wearing your shoes around the marks, you damn urchin!” and turns around like nothing happend. I quickly retie my shoe and swing around where I think he’s headed. On my way I pick up my satchel, and swing it around my shoulder. I do my best to blend in with the meager crowd that the workers provide, and get annoyed how unfair this feels. “This place should be packed, if he’s wants this shit to be at all realistic,” I mumble to myself. Marks worth the time never come on slow days.
I spot him again and plan a bumb and grab, the gravel of the current camp makes it too difficult to be silent. I swing my satchel off my shoulder and start jogging and looking around wildly.
I bump and grab in his right coat pocket when he grips my arm with a hand like cold steel. “You think they aren’t watching you, boy?” I feel something warm running down my arm as he grabs my chin and forces my gaze up at him. “They know you, they’re watching you, never forget that, you’re nothing to them but a vagrant.” The hand on my arm is pale and stronger than I remember; the hand on my face burns with cold. As I meet his gaze, I freeze under those cold black shark eyes. “Look them in the eye, show fear and you’re lost. They are looking for it, they want it.”
I wake up, back in the Waste, dirtier than I have ever been in my, compared to most, dirty life. I wish for a shower as the nightmare fades, trying to push out the end while remembering the stern Old Man from the life I wish for every day.