Lab Rat part 37

Posted: February 20, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

“What took you so long?” It’s Pushy. He must have been at the doorway. “You finishing yourself off?” I wish he could see me roll my eyes. I spin the cartridges in my bracelet. This guy is getting on my nerves.

“Nah. Whiskey dick.” I tell him. “Where’s Mister Parish?”

“Keep going the way you were. You’ll see him.” He surprises me by not shoving me. I wander through the darkness slowly to give my eyes a chance to adjust. I’m able to spot the bald guy having a better time than anyone else in short order. He sees me approaching, and says something to the girls on his lap. They vanish. I walk up to the table and take a seat.

“Asher, my man! You having a good time?”

“Best business meeting I’ve ever been to,” I tell him. I leave out the part where it’s technically the only business meeting I’ve ever been to.

“How ya feeling? Sober?” He drums his fingers on the table. “I love it here kid, but I have other stuff to do, so you’ll forgive me if I’m excited to get this show on the road.”

“I’m doing better.” I pop my knuckles. “Ready enough, I guess.”

“Perfect.” He stands up and waves his index finger in a circle in the air. Like magic, we’re surrounded by his brute squad. He grins. “I love that.” I stand up. I’m a couple inches taller than Keegan, but his goons keep me from feeling tall. To his credit, Keegan takes the lead on our way out. Between the shoulders of my escorts, I catch a glimpse of Lexi. She actually looks concerned. I smile at her as we disappear out the door. No reason to make her worry. Besides, she won’t remember me in a week anyway. Keegan is talking to Peter and Talky, but I can’t really hear what they’re saying. Keegan waves me up to the front. “Okay, kid. I said I was pulling for you, and I meant it. If you’re half of what my guys said you are, I need you on my side.” I nod. We turn down an alleyway.

“Where are we going to do this?” I thought the urine and garbage stench was bad at the mouths of the alleys. Once you go in, it gets so much worse.

“Right here, kid.” Suddenly Keegan isn’t walking next to me. I feel a sharp blow to the back of my head, and the pavement rushes up to meet me. My face hits the street. There’s a footstep to my right andI feel the toe of a boot in the ribs. The impact lifts me and rolls me onto my side, but nothing breaks. It still hurts like hell. I feel a pair of hands pull me up by my shirt. Cloth tears. An arm snakes around my neck and clamps down like an anaconda on a boar. I feel the choke hold set in and my airway squeezes shut. This is not going well. I clutch at the arm with both hands and pull, but I may as well be trying to pull a freight train. I kick my legs and try to wiggle free. Nothing. My vision dims.

“Hey, Asher.” Keegan is slapping me in the face. “Let him breathe a little.” The arm loosens, and I suck in a wheezing gasp. The world brightens. The blur in front of me sharpens into Keegan’s face. “Hey, man, I don’t know if I made this clear, but you’re supposed to be showing me your stuff.” Something tugs on my injector. “You didn’t tell me you were sick, kid.” He looks at the cartridges. “What do you have? Diabetes or something?”

“Something like that.” My voice is a stage whisper. I’m going to hurt tomorrow.

“Whatever. Doesn’t matter. You’re supposed to be fighting back. If you don’t, I’m just going to let these guys beat you to death. Just in case we weren’t clear before.” He steps back. “Gentlemen, at your pleasure.” There’s the space of a heartbeat, something hard hits me in the stomach. My breath flees my lungs. I slap at the injector desperately. The fire in my veins is comforting, and I embrace it like a long lost lover. Even as the heat expands to fill me, a fist smashes my nose all over my face. My vision goes from black spots to white. Keegan chuckles. “Hell of a time to take your insulin, kid.” Someone treats me to another body blow. I tense my abdomen and absorb it. I’m waiting to change. It’s the only move I have.

I spent the day with Julian today. It was very unproductive and relaxing. I have “Crazy,” by Seal in my head. The lyrics are really speaking to me.


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