Ying Fong never see it coming, eh? She be a north raider-like, yeah-yeah. Ying Fong maybe stiff, maybe arch spine, maybe Chuòhào’s blaster slice Ying Fong’s crew ‘stead of Ying Fong—Ying Fong get a chance, right-right? But no-no. Too bloody wasted on beauty shots an’ Aussie boywhore bangin’ take her edge, eh? Ying Fong caught the pulse from Chuòhào blaster an’ now there cold scramble egg everywhere—big bone an’ blood. All over floor, all over damn bar.
If Koko no tell me CPB order jungle holiday be open to raiders, sure, it be much worse. Much worse. Koko true, right? Koko upright Alphamama, own the bar an’ me’s her slaveboy. We both know too late to ex-out batwings. Carnival now in the Sixty. Lose busta-like we ex-out new tourists. Got ready instead. We always ready.
I kneeled for luck but Kongerpussy like Ying Fong an’ Chuòhào an’ northern female raider gangs through Sixty Islands, they super bad news. Kneel do zero for Koko an’ me. Bad ladies, northern Kongerpussy raider gangs.
But Koko take care of them. Bloody right.
Sop up some goo with a coral sponge. Smoke a clove blunt an’ I ash in a crooked piece Ying Fong’s skull restin’ on a barstool. Clove ash hiss. Go an’ carry bucket out batwings an’ splash dirtywaterblood in street for Kamodos. Dragons hiss too. Big-big pile of bodies for dragons. Funny buggers.
Koko pours herself shot of beauty an’ toss back.
“See, Archimedes? Large laser cannon was worth all those extra credits. I mean, wow. It’s like the great equalizer. Did you see that Kongerpussy burst apart?”
“Like fat wax gourds, one after the other. Freakin’ beautiful. I think we won’t have any more trouble, rest of carnival.”
I goes an’ push back through bar’s batwings an’ throw her a lover sign. Koko laughs, smoky an’ scary an’ true, throw me one back. So sweet. I run hot hose in bucket by bar drain closest an’ start dipping bottles of beauty in hot water, one by one. Blood very sticky in S.I. hot.
“You’s always right, Koko,” I go.
“Amen on that,” she go back at me.
“Yes-yes. Amen-amen,” I go again, like.
“Guess we’re lucky I was up top, too, getting me a lick from a couple of those new boy whore Aussies. Soon as you screamed I kicked out those doors upstairs, armed the cannon on the landing, and took those cat-bitches down.”
I shake my bean. “Bad for customer,” I whisper.
Koko’s leather crinkles. Feel her cold, jade, Asian eyes on me, like. She flips her black curtain hair, all velvet.
“What’d you just say to me, hump-pole?”
Wring sponge. Lots of blood.
Good answer. Koko spit.
“Right that, boy-o. Zero-zero.”
Maybe I get beat later a bunch. Maybe she get wasted-wet on beauty shots an’ pokeyweed, not so much.
THE SIXTY ISLANDS PROMO - 1:00
CLIENT: Custom Pleasure Bureau
CAMERA DRAWS IN FROM SATELLITE GEO VIEW, FLIES OVER THE WALLED TROPICAL SIXTY ISLANDS.
CONTINUES UNTIL CAMERA DIVES INTO A BRILLIANT BEACH WHERE A LOIN-CLOTHED MAN STANDS PROVACTIVELY. EXTREME CLOSE UP.
HE PURSES HIS LIPS WHILE LOOKING DEEPLY INTO CAMERA LENS AND SAVAGELY RIPS INTO A HUNK OF RAW MEAT. CHEWS.
FOOTAGE OF ISLAND EXPLOSIONS. ISLAND ORGY MASSACRES. LASER FIRE. CRUMBLING BUILDINGS. GENERAL ISLAND MAYHEM.
KOMODO DRAGON SPRINGS ON A CRYING BABY.
MAN UNFASTENS HIS LOIN CLOTH REVEALING A MASSIVE ERECTION.
( MUSIC AND FADE FOR VARYING ATRACTIONS OF THE SIXTY ISLANDS)
>If there's true adventure in what’s left of your soul, THE SIXTY ISLANDS are the place to indulge your Free-Geo holiday junket passions!
>A tectonically manufactured, walled and highly armed archipelago, the S.I. is teeming with blistering opportunities found no where else on the Free-Geo!
>Whether you seek Romance, Relaxation, Prefrontal Cortex Obliteration, Death Consumption, or the Ultimate Eco-Destruction escapade, you'll find yours in the Sixty, yes-yes, here-here!
>A nature lover's delight, the S.I., has taken great pains to hyper-grow protected, unspoiled environments of extreme beauty and abject hostility. And you can destroy them! Experience firsthand what the Free-Geo’s ancestors had and lost.
>Renewable-spirals of corporatism’s progressive destruction await. Riot with dangerous animals, relax with wholesale slaughter, indulge lawlessness and pestilent disease fantasies…yes-yes, you can have it all! Regenerating schedules allow for maximum pleasure.
>The Sixty Islands awaits you!
HEAVILY ARMED WOMAN LASHES A COLLAR AND LEASH ON NOW NAKED MAN. SHE WINKS AT CAMERA. COUPLE WALKS OFF DOWN THE BEACH, WOMAN CUPS THE MAN’S BUTTOCKS.
SUNSET. WHOLE JUNGLE FORESTS DETONATE.
LOGO ZOOM: THE SIXTY ISLANDS
KEY OF SMALL, UNREADABLE DISCLAIMER. TEXT.
(READ VERY RAPIDLY) >This message is from Custom Pleasure Bureau. To travel to the Sixty Islands you must be over 16 or have signed parental, guardian or warden’s consent. Not accessible from Prague, the African Colonies, any of the lower orbit barges in the Second Free-Zone, or New Orange County, California. All re-access laws apply. Member Free-Geo-TC 34-AOP.
Koko locks up the bar and watches her slaveboy lover suck his thumb beneath the ceiling fan shadows. Archimedes is so gorgeous. Sleek and brown in the crumpled landscape of the white, silk sheets. Like a young, wet panther. Ribs up and down as if he swallowed the slow, undulating pulse of waves.
Win some lose some, Koko thinks. Yeah. So I took me out those Kongerpussy interloper slags, what of it? I’m all for a little craziness in the Sixty, but go have it out in the villages, in the temples, not my bar. My bar is for binge drinking beauty, gambling, and fucking the Aussie boy-talent fresh off the shuttle. Not for going all loco with laser blasters to settle some old score.
Knew something was bound to happen. I mean, I know all of us S.I. operators are hurting for credits these days, what with the gut flux in the trade markets, but what is the Custom Pleasure Bureau brass thinking? CPB opening the Sixty Islands to northern raiders just because of a negotiated ceasefire? Just because of a financial down cycle? Surprised I’m still alive.
Koko thanks her lucky stars she bought that laser cannon. Just before retiring she checked the barrel and it was still skillet hot. Burned the tips of her fingers.
After all the blood was mopped clean and the dragons outside had their fill, Koko torched the corpses. Truth be known, all in all it wasn’t a bad night’s haul. Forty-seven point five thousand credits. Almost better than World Day.
Carnival. Koko sneers. Friggin’ marketing joke.
Koko uses a pocket laser to scorch a blunt of pokeyweed to life and scratches at her damp inner thigh. Boy, Archimedes was nuking tonight. She beat him a little just so he’d keep that mouth in line, but man…loverboy hopped to and pounded her like a piston. Came like a hot river of molten sugar.
Koko swears she saw a small gleam of jealousy in Archimedes’ blue eyes when she mentioned she got a lick from a couple of the new blond Aussies. Whatever, Arch. What? You suddenly going to leave me? All this? Please.
Soon Koko is baked higher than high on pokeyweed. She tramps downstairs and checks the incoming dispatches near the register. Well, well. Custom Pleasure Bureau was sending someone around tomorrow morning to assess the situation. Word travels fast in the islands. Big deal. Some fines.
Koko plays the piano for a while. Just before sunrise she takes another drink of beauty on some shaved iced and goes back to bed.
ARCHIMEDES’ DREAM: Deep REM Cycle; 0420 hours, Free-Geo Time
Koko glides her hands over Archimedes’ back. They are laying on a blanket, high in the mountains, a meadow of tall daisy flowers. Archimedes nibbles on a piece of hard cheese and sits up. Koko wears a yellow dress Archimedes has never seen in real life before, something exotic and humble and beautiful, like pictures of ballroom gowns from centuries past. Koko cradles and nurses a squirming infant to her breast. Archimedes reaches for the blue blanket covering the infant’s head but Koko resists. Finally she allows him to peek. It is his face.
Archimedes wakes, mewing like a squeezed kitten in fear. Koko rolls over.
A fart and a grunt.
Five wonks from the Custom Pleasure Bureau. Each bandy-legged, black bikini-clad, red jack boots. Heavily sidearmed.
Koko tucks her sleeveless blouse into her short-shorts. She then picks up her blaster belt and fastens it nonchalantly, not bothering to look up. Outside the bar through the open shutters above the piano, a pair of Gibbons monkeys hang upside down in a Banyan tree urinating freely.
Archimedes roused Koko ten minutes ago with a triple shot of Jakartan espresso on a saucer and a toot of marching powder on a blade, babbling that CPB were downstairs-downstairs and angry-angry.
Koko bolted to her feet. What time was it? Fuck me, eight? EIGHT? Since when do CPB deadwood get their collective acts together before noon?
Archimedes trailed behind Koko as she quickly dressed and headed downstairs. The new Aussie talent huddled on the upstairs landing like a herd of nervous deer and gazed down over the railing. At the foot of the stairs Koko shot the Aussie whores a look over her shoulder and they quickly scattered back to their rooms.
“I’m Koko Martstellar, can I help you?”
The tall CPB wonk, the blonde one with the red sash tattoo across her pert breasts, cocks a gartered hip forward and holds out a pink data card.
“You are hereby charged with the following violations of Decree Measures of The Sixty Island Custom Pleasure Bureau. Article One-Chapter One; Article Six-Chapter Two; and Article 21-Chapter Three. Are you familiar with all points of the Decree Measures?”
Koko sniffs back a tingle, “Been a while.”
“As a business operator within the S.I. you should have one posted for everyone to see.” Blondie looks around and tsks. “Where’s yours, Martstellar, hmm?”
Koko looks around herself. “Uh. Knick-knacks and decorations kind of clutter the place. You know, bar décor and such. Part of our island style.” Koko jerks her head toward Archimedes and gives him a wide-eyed look. Find it, boy-o. Like NOW.
Archimedes frantically starts searching the walls.
“Can we just boil it down, ladies?”
Blondie settles back, “Fine. Short story? You cut down, by last count, sixteen S.I. tourists last night in cold blood in direct violation of CPB policy overtures.”
“I don’t recall reading that protecting one’s business was against the Decree.”
“Didn’t you read last month’s ceasefire amendments to the Decree regarding northern tourists?”
Koko didn’t, not fully. Most of what she knew she got from rumors, but she’s not going to give ground. “Those ladies last night were Kongerpussy raiders, y’all.”
“Tut-tut. All visitors are referred to as paying customers in the S.I.. Maybe you should have let them have their fun.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“Your actions may have not only jeopardized all of the free enterprise operations on the Sixty Islands but the tenuous stability of the global ceasefire with the northern raider gangs. This is some major doo-doo, Martstellar.”
“But they were ready to butcher each other in my bar. There were other customers present, paying customers too. I’m sorry, but the world doesn’t revolve around newly approved gang raiders with an axe to grind.”
Koko rides the crystallizing speed of her caffeine and cocaine boost. She shakes her head in disbelief, turns, and saunters behind the bar. From the speed rack she hoists a green bottle of cut rate beauty and pours a long shot into her mouth. Koko swallows hard and curls her outstretched palm like the claw of a bird.
“Give me the fine, and then please fuck on off out of here. What is it? How much this time? Fifty credits cover it?”
“No. No fine. You are hereby ordered to close. Permanently.”
Koko raises the bottle for another slug and freezes when this news finally sinks in.
Blondie sighs, “You have twenty-four hours to file an appeal, but I will tell you right now fat chance on that front. Compliance is encouraged. You may also want to seek protective counsel as I believe a bounty is now out on your head outside the Sixty Islands. Both sides, I’m afraid. Not just the government.”
“What the hell? You can’t do that.”
Another one of the five in the CPB squad, the twitchy moon-faced one on the end with the plump arms, pipes up, “Oh, yes we can.”
Koko points the bottle, “I’m not talking to you, frank-sucker. I’m talking to your boss-babe, blondie here.”
“Everything is laid out here on this pink data feed.” Blondie steps forward and wags the card at Koko. Koko breaks off her glare with the twitchy moon-faced one and snatches the card. She looks down and reviews the readout of the charges. Twice.
It’s unreal. Unbelievable, indefensible CPB bullshit of the most bureaucratic order. Said she was finished as a bar owner. If not, she was dead anyway.
Blondie continues, “There is one ray of hope, if you can call it that. It’s more like a muddy flicker of compassion, if you will. You and all of your staff can take positions in the solid waste department. I know, it would be like being born all over and clawing your way up to eat a cold bowl of runny shit, but the Sixty Island scupper units always have a need for extra hands. Your fresh shipment of Aussie whores would be deported, naturally.”
Scupper work? Koko would sooner lock her lips on a blaster slit. Koko then sees Archimedes retreating backwards up the stairs. He’s slow, his sandals slapping neatly at his heels like small, barely audible kisses.
No way. Koko’s warrior heart glows warm with pride. She can’t believe it. Go, Archimedes, she thinks. Go, boy-o, go.
Koko keeps her focus on the blonde one and the rest of the squad train their focus on her. It takes some work but by opening her eyes wider, Koko manages to muster up some crocodile tears and a hiccupping sob. Meanwhile Archimedes gets into position.
There is a snigger amongst the women so they seem to buy her act. Koko reaches under the bar with one hand, her finger tightening on the trigger of the blaster she had installed beneath. Fuck clichés, she thinks, this baby is a godsend.
“Hands where we can see them, Martstellar,” another one of the flanking CPB squad barks.
Koko looks up. Archimedes swivels the laser cannon, lights winking up the side indicating the gun is hot and ready to rock.
“What hands?” says Koko, dropping the bottle and diving right.
The room explodes with blue laser fire.
Archimedes is a lousy shot. The first two blasts from the laser cannon pulverize the floorboards allowing the CPB squad to scatter for cover around the bar. The third blast flies clean and Archimedes finally gets some. Glowing orb of hot blue plasma truncating the moon-faced smartass just below her ribs.
Koko pushes up off the rubber bar mats and starts blasting straight through the planking skin of the bar. The majority of the bar Koko had reinforced with double laser proof siding a while ago, just in case some shit like this went down, all except for a track that she could swing the hidden blaster in an wide arch. The track covers the room.
Koko fires at will hoping she’ll hit someone and she does. Blondie—big time. Blondie stands in the back of the room teetering for a moment as if drunk, the holes in her chest looking like the rolled three on a single die. Bore straight through her chest cavity so wide that you can actually see the other side. Blondie pitches forward into a table, smashing it to pieces.
Outside the bar the Gibbons boogie for cover, shrieking.
“You die-die, Alphamamafuckahs, you die-die!”
Archimedes returns fire from the remaining CPB personnel but he is just plain awful. The recoil of the laser cannon is too much for his weak, effeminate arms. Flames from his poor shooting race up the floorboards and bar walls and the black, acrid smoke blinds him. The remaining CPB-ers remember their basic training, triangulate their blasts, and eviscerate Archimedes in a grotesque spin of sizzling flesh.
Koko peeks over the bar just as her lover’s jaw flies across the room like a ragged, bloody bird.
Koko lets go of the blaster beneath the bar and raises her sidearm. She aims for the remaining bitches’ heads: one-two-three.
Heads liquefying, wide and high, like fireworks. Dandelions of bone, brain and blood patter down like the guts of a cracked piñata. Just like the bursting wax gourds of the Kongerpussy the night before.
Koko runs upstairs, not looking at Archimedes’ crumpled, smoldering body, and yanks open all the doors to the rooms, hustling the crying Aussie boy whores down the stairs through the flaming carnage and out the batwings to the street. In the street, Koko blasts a perimeter with her sidearm to keep the Komodo dragons away for now and runs back inside the growling maw of the inferno. People from the other businesses nearby have gathered to watch the show. Some eat bananas and sip coffee. A siren wails in the distance.
The safe is in the office behind the bar’s galley kitchen. It takes a couple of wipes of her eyes to get a clean retinal scan, but once the safe is open Koko grabs all the credits she can carry, a spare blaster, plus an extra bottle of aged forty-five year old beauty she’d been saving for a special occasion. Now seems like a good time, she thinks, cracking the seal and chugging a huge gulp.
Koko punches out the back door and whips the camouflaged tarp off her escape pod. If she moves fast enough, she can get enough altitude and sail on through to the lower orbit barges of the Second Free-Zone. Not the greatest place to lay low as a fugitive, but she knows people there and the Free-Geo is a memory for her now.
Saddled inside she fires the engine and hits the burners. The trembling G-forces wobble the skin back across her skull. She thinks about poor Archimedes as the burning building recedes below her at five miles a second. Koko brushes away a lone, salty tear from her cheekbone as she hurls toward the dead stars.
Man, gonna miss that boy.