Balancing Act

It wasn’t even worth waking up sober anymore.

Life was a balance sheet and she was drowning in red ink. First the corrupted deck mods—that was when they started calling her Typhoid Mary. She was still paying favors to a crooked cop for getting her out of that one. She owed product, intel, loans, back taxes. Welcome to Light City.

They caught up with her in an alley, hit her hard enough that her tears weren’t all crocodile. She was working up some real good last words when the fireworks started. The brunos went down easy, onetwothree. And standing over the bodies was the kid who worked in the video store, the deckless wonder, gaping at the Saturday night special in his hand like he’d never seen a gun before.

She didn’t want to owe him, too. Not her life. Mary booked it down the alley, went out the back way and straight into a week-long bender.

She woke up with a bad hangover and a worse idea: that kid is still out there by himself.

What the hell, she thought, and made a pot of black coffee for the road.

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