An Eighty Percent Solution (CorpGov)

An Eighty Percent Solution (CorpGov) by Thomas Gondolfi Read Free Book Online

Book: An Eighty Percent Solution (CorpGov) by Thomas Gondolfi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Thomas Gondolfi
amount of money circulating in this tiny section of street level . One block in either direction , and the anarchy of the-fittest-will-survive reigned .
    A glaring solido of a red rose slowly dying marked Tony’s favorite watering-hole only a few doors down . The doorman cum bouncer, with two massive , silver - colored prosthetic arms, nodded deferentially to Tony as he entered .
    “Hi , Jock . You get your arms readjusted?”
    “Nope, still got that flutter in one . I almost broke a jug’s skull with it yesterday.”
    “I know a good mechanic.”
    “So do I, Mr. Tony,” the big man said with a grin . “Carmine’s waiting for you.”
    Typical of any night, the biomass of people in the Wilted Rose threatened to burst the building like an overripe plum . While not an olfactory bar, the bittersweet smell of lilies, probably two or three OU E higher than comfort level, tweaked his nose . Ignoring it as irrelevant, Tony wedged, bumped , and shoved his way to the bar amid st the vocal stylings of the Communist Bananas, twenty decibels above the level that would cause harm to most deaf rocks .
    “Bloody Mary,” he shouted at the bartender . He cast about to find his girl . For once his height came in handy , for he could look above most people . He spotted her behind a pair of nude girls interlocked in a trib so sexual as to edge on even the loose moral codes enforced by the Rose’s establishment . Carmine decorated a booth on the other side of the writhing pair with her long , silver hair contrasting with her loose, neon-green dress . She frantically waved and yelled to get his attention . “Make that two . And two scotch and sodas,” he screamed, correcting his order .
    Tony desired a partner to take his lead without much question — a difficult find in a world of “ Do first before done to. ” He always knew Carmine’s charms amounted to something more ornament al and empath ic than intelligen t .
    Holding four drinks high above his head, Tony wound his way to the booth , ignoring three blatant passes, one from an ambi . He managed to only stain his floral print shirt with a moderate splash from one glass or the other on his way through the crush . He parted the booth shield — a layer of charged air particles held in a matrix of electric white noise — with his elbow and moved in . He silently praised Carmine for keeping the sound shield up . It lowered the racket and press of the room to a minimum whisper . Carmine greeted him with a bright smile of blood-red teeth and compl e menting lipstick .
    “Weeble , but that band is loud tonight,” he said a bit too loudly, depositing the drinks on the table.
    “Yeah, I heard the Rose staff paid the Metros a bit extra so they wouldn’t show ,” said the lithe woman in a voice barely louder than bedroom-talk .  
    “Now , that’s a job . I should ’ ve been a cop . People pay you when they want you to do something and they pay you when they don’t . I hear the protection money in The Hills alone quadruples your pay.”
    “Quit yipping . You had your chance like all the rest of us to take the Civil Service t est in high school . I remember your friend , Bill , quoting you as saying, ‘ I’ m not going to sit around for twelve years at some diddly - paying job until I can earn the real credit . I want it now!’ Sound familiar?”
    “It does . But I said it when we graduated Oregon State , not high school . But the offer from Nanogate just seemed too good to pass up . Now I’m not so sure.”
    Carmine got one of her I’m-right-now-shut-up looks on her face. “ Velcro your mouth and enjoy the music . At least pretend you’ll miss me from your bed tonight.”
    “What ? Where will you be?” he said, trying but not really succeeding to keep the three-year-old whine from his voice.
    “Sorry, business trip to Tycho City . I told you about it a week ago .”
    Despite the incredible beat of the music, Tony decided that his evening just tumbled

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