Two skins brushed roughly past him and Talon growled when they spilled three sips of cheap beer on his boots. Worse yet, it was his own. Despite his true desires, he let it go. No need to go down in history as being the first one to start a fight at the Meg-O-Show.
For once, Talon’s seven inch red mohawk didn’t leave him feeling out of place, for the Meg-O-Show was about punks playing for punks. It wasn’t being held in some stuffy auditorium, it was out in a weed filled City Park. Surrounding him were the biggest group of PRs he had ever seen. Tattoos, brandings, and multiple piercing were mainstream here. Compared to the hardcore action going on around him, Talon was feeling tame.
A tall man, with a goatee and full sleeves, strutted his stuff with a smile while leading a young girl on a dog chain behind him. A gang of PR Bangers pushed their way through the crowd violently, and he was just able to move out of their way in time to save his beer.
This encounter left him feeling a little on edge. These events were supposed to be fun, but it was also like entering a war zone. Times in New Cluster were tough. The people were fighting for scraps and living like dregs, when everyone wanted to be a star.
Talon didn’t need to be famous to be happy, but he couldn’t have told you what he really wanted. Living in New Cluster left one’s feelings blunted. Everything was din, dirt, and grime. His life was a maze of square buildings connected by gravel and debris. The only place he could see real plants were inside the Posh stores and government offices. It weighted on him knowing that it was a five hundred mile train ride to the nearest natural tree.
Sometimes he thought that he might be happy and could have settled for a young woman in his bed and a kitchen full of food, but there were times where he felt he didn’t even want that.
Lost in his own thoughts, he kicked a pile of discarded bottles. They clattered loudly over the rocky soil. A few faces turned to look at him and he wondered why he couldn’t find someone he knew. Talon was a loner by nature, but at a show like this it wasn’t safe to be alone. Sure people would keep cooled for a while, the bands were barely starting, but once darkness set… it would be another story. Talon was no poseur. He came for the music. Still, he didn’t kid himself; he had just enough to have something someone would want to steal.
Girls wearing less than face cloths, mixed with geared up Bangers. He watched the freaks, taking them in. So far the rival gangs had ignored each other, but he knew that wouldn’t be lasting much longer.
“Talon, Talon,” turning without recognizing the voice, he saw the face, which he unfortunately did recognize.
Moving through the crowd in an attempt to reach him was Belter. Belter had a head of patchy brown hair and a taunt sunken face with a repetitive tick that jerked the right side of his lips back. He favored darker colored clothes mixed with grays.
Belter was a burner and had been for a long while now. Talon had been avoiding Belter since the drugs took ownership of his soul. The man had once worked as a line cook at the Posh restaurant where Talon still slung dishes. From what Talon had heard, Belter had tried the synth powder called Cain and that was all it took. The poor guy had tried to hold it together and keep his job, but when he was busted stealing top shelf bottles of booze, he was tossed out onto the street. Talon hadn’t seen him much since then and the few times he had, he wished he hadn’t.
“Hey Talon, Hey old buddy.”
“Hey Belter,” he answered, with much less enthusiasm. They shook hands. Belter’s were clammy and slick.
“What’s going on?” He was talking quickly. Belter’s mouth jerked and moved while he spoke. It was easy to tell he was really high. Since he didn’t look too good, Talon couldn’t help but wonder where the guy had found enough money to be floating so well. He sighed. Junkies had their ways.
“I’m just here to enjoy the bands.” Looking around at the others present, “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one.”
“Oh yeah,” his head flew in every direction, but towards Talon as he spoke. “Have you seen any of the Rips around?” Talon knew the Rips well… they were one of the biggest gangs in the area and certainly one of the most dangerous.
“What the hell do you want to talk to them for?”
“Oh just a business deal. You know I’m always out to make a fews smacks.” Facing Talon at last, he asked a in a softer voice, “Speaking of which, are you looking for anything?”
“Not what you’re selling.”
“Have you ever even tried Cain? I could give you-“
“Goodbye Belter,” Talon said, already turning away. Belter called a few words after him, but Talon continued on his way.