Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Cindy helps out a struggling entrepreneur of the streets.
Cindy started to see them almost every day.
They didn't congregate as much as they seemed to congeal down at either corner of the street. The fair back avenue that boasted the anonymous entry ramp of Jam Pony usually had its share of foot traffic and the occasional taxi trying to take the wrong short cut. But otherwise as streets went in and around downtown, it was almost serene. That was just until recently. The newish but substantial scattering of youths usually lingered in their retro trash digs right in the middle of the street itself. They waved by traffic and laughed at the local ineffectual security guards that came around every now and then to halfheartedly flush them out the way. As soon as the law-for-penny-pay were out of sight they just meandered right back.
It was a good choice to make a hang out and maybe even a budding little territory. It was no where near the bustling cut throat market of dock side, and it didn't come close to the firm lines, etched in concrete that the bigger players claimed sector by sector. That was where the big money was if you wanted to make it pushing a brand of dope out for the big boys. Your lifespan might not extend quite long enough for you to achieve your goal, but you'd make money while you lasted. The only one that would complain about the new additions to their street would be Normal, and he only noticed the new element if he accidentally almost backed over one of them with his car in and out of work. Other than that brief contact, the service owner was so emerged in his woes down in the basement office, that unless one of the kids ended up plastered to his back bumper, he didn't have the time or need to give much of a shit.
Cindy didn't give much of a shit either until the morning one of them stopped her with a duct taped forearm. This street was an intelligent choice for the small time pusher. Unfortunately for this enterprising young group, this street already had one that they weren't quite aware of. The kid wasn't any more pushy that your average used car salesman that was trying a little too hard, but that after all was why they called them pushers right?
“You look like you could use a real nice dose of Spangle.”
His age was undeterminable, living out in the urban forest and using more than he sold had lined his face and aged his eyes way beyond his actual years.
“Spangle’ll make your day go right by,” he told her. ”Won’t even know there were a whole 24 hours in there.”
Cindy looked at the glass vial he shook in front of her face, the small crystals glimmering in the red, whites and blues which lent them their street name. She’d done the stuff a few times, the subtle high no worse than a few too many beers and a strange headache that went away after she remembered to eat something. It was a blip on the screen to the real raw drugs that could keep you up for about ten days straight dancing to 20th century garage music. The kid might as well offered her a party cocktail with one of those fancy umbrellas in it. But as much as she admired his salesmanship for something as powerful as a shot of peppermint schnapps, Cindy had something called merchant loyalty.
“Sorry, someone already working this block baby.” She told him shortly. “And I know his stuff is for real, so no and thank you.”
She rolled her bike past him and rode it over the bump of the entrance ramp. Cindy liked to deem her descent down into the courier station akin to something Dante would have written about the much less ravaged circles of the damned. It made her feel more special when the stale cellar air hit and the rare Seattle sun was blocked out from sight.
Parking her bike along the wall she spotted just the person she wanted to see standing under the large computer display of the schedule board. She saw her own name and ID number blinking bright red for late already so she figured she’d make this one quick.
Distracted by his name filling down an entire row of a morning and afternoon of hot runs, he turned to look at her. His face was already pained and tired from a full days ride at full speed that he hadn't even started yet.
She smirked at the animated roster above them and shrugged. “Maybe you should stop making those runs so damn fast, then Normal wouldn't put you on them all the time then would he?”
Alec’s look turned into a gentle smile of condescending appraisal.
“Maybe if you came to work on time once and in a while, you’d get some of that overtime you always want on the weekends?”
Cindy considered punching him hard in the arm but realized the futility in the gesture. She did it anyway for propriety. But fun and games aside, she had business to attend to. Namely, Alec’s. She knew she could barely whisper it but he’d still hear.
“Head’s up for you honey.”
Cindy moved over to the brick wall to tighten the laces on her biking sneakers. He leaned over and pretended to pick up the pay phone that sat unoccupied on the wall next to her.
“Some kids are selling on your strip.” She said so quietly it may have been to herself. “Looking like they are starting out pretty ok too.”
The phone slammed down with a barely coherent curse. By the time he turned around his smile was back and so was his mood. Cindy wasn’t sure but she thought for sure those people back had Manticore had messed up this one severely with the mood wiring. He was like some roller coaster that was missing its track.
“Where?” Alec demanded, dropping the cloak and dagger act like it was a burning bag of dog shit.
Cindy sighed, looking around to make sure no one was paying them any attention. “Right outside the door. You haven't noticed about ten under aged streeters around lately?”
“No?” Alec shifted in place. “Why? Are they big? Bigger than me?”
“No, not eating and tweakin’ all day will do that to a guy.”
Alec shrugged and opened his arms wide to her. “Yer so cute to worry, but it’s all under control. My operations will be just fine.”
Cindy knew his ‘operations’ were Alec standing around by himself waiting an extra ten minutes after closing to sell some vials of Spang to the work weary employees of Jam Pony. And he was selling it for about double his competition was.
“Theirs is cheaper.”
“Mine is cleaner!” Alec countered.
“Theirs is an operation of a group, yours is an operation of an Alec.”
“It’s cute, okay? I think it’s adorable that you’re worried about me paying my bills but don’t you worry one hair off your pretty head because I have this all completely and utterly—“
“IT’S THE FUZZ! POLICE BUST!” Sketchy called out as he raced past them towards the lockers.
Cindy backed out of the way of several other bikers that quite suddenly needed to flush something down the john before the sector cops sent their hover drone through to sniff for narcotics. The steady stomp of their boots coming down the loading ramp was the last thing she wanted to hear this early in the morning.
“OK! OK!” Normal shouted over the din. “Everyone calm down, no one here has any illegal substances on the premises so everything will be fine … HOWEVER, if you feel the need to be slightly late for your first runs and use the BATHROOMS please do so NOW….”
Cindy silently thanked herself that all she kept that was questionable in her work locker were some pina colada scented panty liners that she’d only bought because they were on sale.
Alec had turned a little pale.
“Oh honey, please do not tell me that your stuff is hiding out here at work?”
Alec weakly shook his head in an unconvincing negative.
“Geeze, didn’t those folks back in your lab teach you fuckin’ anything?” She hissed.
“Look lady,” Alec’s annoyance finally crumbled what was left of his good humor. “There wasn’t a provision course on the ‘Perfect Places to Hide Your Stash’—“
“How about ‘Don’t Hide It Where There Are Weekly Police Raids And—"
“Wait.” Mood restored, Alec held up one finger. “I got an idea.”
Cindy watched him head for the back, the tell tale hum of the hover coming slowly down the ramp, lights flashing and red warning lights on ready. Its sensors weren’t perfect but it could nail you pretty good if you had something unsealed and open in your locker or even on your person. But the things were dumb enough to fool if you knew how.
Alec had reappeared.
Cindy watched him quite causally walk up and poke one of the sector cops that was milling around on an armored shoulder. With a smile, he then apparently started a conversation with the guy. Hugging her elbows to herself, Cindy waited for the cop to grab Alec and hand cuff him on the ground. After a grand display of cursing and gesturing, he would then be hauled off to the paddy wagon that always waited on stand by for any catches on these raids. She already had her hand on her phone ready to page Max when suddenly and to her utter shock, she saw the cop and Alec shake hands.
Alec was walking back towards her with one of those smiles on his face.
“All done.” Was all he said upon his return to her side.
“What does that mean?”
“It means I put all my dope in the back garbage compressor.” Alec was beaming like he just won a pool game without even using a hustle.
“That’s um, okay, why is that great?”
“Because I told them that’s where some good for nothing dealer had dropped it for fear of the long, or in this case, hovering, arm of the law.”
Cindy blinked at him.
“Oh yeah, I also ratted out all those dopers out front trying to take my cut.” Alec cracked open a can of soda. "Little bastards."
Cindy blinked again.
"Don't you get it?" He slurped up what fizzed out over the rim.
“That hover is going to be loaded with all sorts of dope, mostly mine,” Alec paused and looked at her for emphasis. “…and it’s going to be hovering its little drone self back to the Sector precinct station allllllllll by its lonesome.”
“Yer gonna steal a drone?”
“No.” He corrected her. “I’m going to knock it out of the sky with a pillow case full of broken cinder blocks and then I’m gonna kick it open like a birthday piñata until six months worth of rent comes out—“
“OK, I think I got it.” Cindy held up a hand.
“How much Spangle do you think those kids got out there anyway?” Alec rubbed his hands together. “I bet I could cut it with sugar sprinkles and sell it for even more now that supply is going to be a little dry…. Hey! I bet I can even hire those dirty disgusting little kids on! Well, if they get out of jail any time soon.”
She knew it wasn’t even 8am yet, but the thought of one of those fancy cocktails didn’t actually sound so bad right about now.
“Thanks.” He hooked an arm around her neck and squeezed her in a strange gentle way. His physicality seemed to be the only thing he ever really bothered to keep in check. “I see a few free doses of Spang in your future.”
“Hey, Sketch is the one that went all Paul Revere on the place.” Cindy shrugged him off and shouldered her backpack to make her way to the bustling counter. She sighed shortly at the small stack of her first run of packages for the day.
She turned around to see Alec touch key padding the console down next to the schedule.
Her name suddenly popped up in three different places on the weekend table. Overtime plus double time because of the holiday coming up on Monday. That was a week’s pay in three shifts. The day suddenly seemed lighter. Shorter and full of nothing but the stray peeks of the city sun on her face. It felt better than three doses of Spangle and and a pitcher of beer put together.
Cindy grinned at him because it was pretty much impossible not to.
Alec gave her a wink and grinned right on back.
Cross posted to jam_pony_fic
Cross posted to darkangelfic
Cross posted to x5_darkangel_x5