Monday 17 August 2020


Vesper put an effort into raising his foggy head. His eyes had begun rolling about like marbles in an eggcup but he succeeded in bringing Breinz into his field of view.

   “Every time,” he began by way of reply, “I ask myself this. Why do I even bother coming here, to be the subject of derision, by those I thought were my friends?”

   “Sweetheart,” came the raspy reply. “There’s nowhere else you can slowly drown yourself, where the listener has no choice but to stay and put up with your pitiful drivel.”

   “If you feel that way, why don’t you have Exodus carry you into the backroom? It’s cold in there, your soul might feel right at home.”

   He slid his empty glass over the bar. Exodus took it and turned his bulk to look at Breinz, and decided to speak up.

   “You mean you don’t like listening to Vesper? I do. Listening to other people’s problems is interesting. Makes your own problems seem smaller.”

   With a squeak of elderly mechanics Breinz turned her contraption of a head and faced the cyborg. Exodus Tonn was an enormous man even before the explosion on Delta Four. Now, with more or less half his physical being replaced with robotics he looked more imposing than ever. On his back he carried a gun which Vesper had begun to suspect was permanently attached to his body. Wiring and heavy cables protruding from it disappeared under the waist of his khaki field jacket and didn’t come out anywhere. A gun of this size would normally sit on a vehicle with at least four wheels.

Whenever Exodus turned his back to prepare a customer's next drink, as he now did, Vesper always fancied the weapon smiling at him with a mocking sort of confidence oozing out of its massive shape and dull metal finish.

“Hello kid,” it seemed to say. “I sink buildings.”

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