Many elements of this story were created from the notes found in my article Write This! Cyberpunk Challenge. Find out more about the Challenge by reading through my previous posts. Also, the CC Story Archive has been updated. You can download the free PDF on my author site at Raymond Towers Dot Com / Freebies. Note: The CC Story Archive is now rated at HIGH controversy.
But first, Varriano had business to take care of.
An hour later, he exited the bus and walked all of three blocks. He used his phone to track down the address he was looking for. It was a cube house with four cubes put together into a square, a restroom module sticking out on either side. The yard was just big enough to contain the cubes, with two large dogs patrolling a short wooden fence and loping over to growl at their unwelcome visitor. They were Rottweilers, ugly creatures furred in black with golden bellies.
“Go call the man of the house, will you?” Varriano asked, keeping his distance.
The dogs didn’t do exactly that, but they did make such a barking racket that the man he was looking for stuck his head out the door.
“You need something?” The man called out.
“Mr. Hammacher, right?” Varriano replied. “It’s pleasant to meet you, despite the very unfortunate circumstances. Look, there are people in my profession that will do things the hard way from the get-go. I’m sorry I have to do this. You haven’t made your payments on your ’44 Maximus and the dealer has asked for the vehicle to be repossessed.”
“You’re not taking my car, asshole!” The man strode outside with, understandably, a sinister scowl painted on his already fugly face. “How am I going to get to work, huh? How am I going to pay the fucking bills, huh? How am I going to get anything done?”
“I do understand your distress, Mr. Hammacher. If you feel you have a genuine grievance in this matter, you will have to schedule a court hearing with the dealer…”
“You’re not taking the fucking car!” Hammacher got close enough to his side of the fence that his spittle was raining out toward the detective.
That was not good, the detective thought. The irate man was getting the dogs all riled up on top of that.
“Mr. Hammacher,” Varriano tried to reason with him. “You do not own the car. You are making payments on the car. The right of ownership is legally still in the hands of the dealer. You can spare us both a big headache if you simply hand over the sim-keys and show me where the car is. I will allow you ample time to remove your belongings from the…”
Varriano stopped talking. The reason he stopped talking was because he was running, and the reason he was running was because Hammacher had opened the gate and let the dogs out. Two big Rotts leaped after him, barking and gnashing their teeth, with their owner lagging behind and also baring his yellowy whites.
The detective’s line of work necessitated being in good athletic shape, and it was a good thing he followed that guideline. Varriano was not as fast as the dogs, but he could dodge to the side and jump, while the dogs slid on cement until they dropped momentum and turned back to continue the chase. He slid between two parked cars and rounded another car that had stopped in the middle of the street to watch him suffer.
Another thing Varriano had was brains. It wasn’t the first time he’d ever been chased by canines. He saw another short fence and jumped it, hoping he wouldn’t have snarling dogs on the way from the new yard. When the Rotts came and started leaping at him, he swung his heavy metal fist and crunched the first one. The dog yelped and fell back with a broken face. The second dog was confused, not understanding what had just happened to its fellow, but in its excitement it lunged at the fence anyway, standing on hinds legs and getting ready to bark up a storm, until Varriano grabbed it by the neck and squeezed until the bones collapsed. This one didn’t even yelp. It fell over gasping for its last few breaths.
“My dogs!” Hammacher ran over. “What did you do to my dogs, you fucking asshole?”
Varriano took out his handgun and pulled the trigger one, two, three times, all of them good, center mass shots. The rubber bullets, yeah, those hurt, enough that Hammacher doubled over and fell. People were coming out of the house whose yard he’d invaded, Varriano noticed.
“This is official business.” He called out, hopping out of the yard and onto the street. To the groaning Hammacher, he said, “You could have done this the easy way.”
Varriano pulled his phone out. He used an app to find the car’s locator. It was parked only a block away, out on the street and covered over with a tarp. The detective was just making sure it hadn’t moved as he’d known the car’s location beforehand, but he really had wanted to do things right with Hammacher. He used the same app to unlock the doors and start the car up, since it was authorized by the car dealer. It was running by the time he got there.
He hopped inside and drove to the front of Hammacher’s house, dumping whatever personal items he found out the window. Hammacher was sitting on the sidewalk, holding his surviving dog that was whining in pain. The man watched Varriano clean the car out, watched him drive away a couple of minutes after that.
It wasn’t a bad-looking Maximus, Varriano observed. He could have taken the car to his place, where it would drop him off and drive itself back home. Not today, he thought. Today, he was going to drive the sporty car in himself, and he was taking the long route to the dealer. He put the windows down and found a good radio station to listen to: Nightride FM. That was the best of the best, as far as he was concerned.
Yes, it was possible for the dealer to report the non-payment status to a financial bureau and recall the car remotely, without the need for middlemen like Varriano. However, the courts had the opinion that this could become an abuse of power, and so middlemen were still needed as checks and balances to make sure things were done legally.
Varriano didn’t give a shit about the whys and wherefores. He didn’t care about the system, or how corrupt it was or was not. All he knew was that he was sitting a nice ride, listening to nice tunes and looking forward to a good drive ahead of him.
(To be continued.)