2. SHORT STORY.
It had been one of those winter days when it never gets properly light. The wind had chilled as it swung further to the north, so the drizzly rain became heavier and edged with ice in a bleak sleet that rattled and hissed against the factory windows. Yet Dazzler whistled as he clunked his card into the machine to clock out and winked at the dough faced Security man sat in his glass kennel near the doorway. Security started, then peered back at him with his usual sour suspicion.
'Good boy, Fido,' Dazzler muttered between whistles and trilled off out into the elements.
'What did you say?' Security stood and grunted after him.
'Must have been eating bloody budgie seed, him!' Les said in his usual snivel to the annoyed Guardian of the Gate.
'More likely to be planting and smoking it that bugger.' Security smiled through his brown stained teeth as he sat down again.
Les paused and nodded. He had little time for Dazzinski or 'Dazzler' as he was nicknamed. That one had laughed and practically sneered when Les, as Charge Hand Fitter, had asked him where he had served his time on the bench, and gave no indication where he learned his trade. Yet he could fit and/or turn any part in half the time it took Les. He would size up a job and complete it in a jiffy and he never seemed to take any proper measurements other than fiddle around with a sort of pencil he always had with him and which he would not allow Les to examine.
Besides which the tow headed youngster had acquired a complete knowledge of all the machinery and pipe work etc in the sprawling plastics plant in a couple of shifts; so much so that foremen and even managers were starting to ask his opinions and advice. Such people had never shown this deference to Les even though he had picked up a lot of knowledge in the years he had been working there!
'You're right Trevor, there's something queer bout that one alright! Never has a laugh with the lads or a chat about sport or sex or anything him. Spends all his spare time scribbling in that book or whatever he always has with him.'
Security picked up his ears for as an ex Navy 'Beefer' he lusted after the fresh faced and always immaculate Dazzler. 'Gay then is he? Do you think so?' He inquired with and unusual amount of animation.
'Er......I'm not saying that.' Les was taken aback by this twist 'No, I mean he's strange that's all. Wrapped up in himself like.......like a lot of youngsters are today, eh? Better be getting off home now.' He finished weakly.
Dazz grinned as the sleet blotched and slithered off the force field he had set around himself as he unlocked his bicycle from the rack along the factory wall. Then sped off up the steep slope and through the factory gates without even a front wheel wobble on hitting the incline.
Les, watched this casual display of power from the doorway, an application of strength by Dazz he had seen before, and the older man shuddered down deeper into his coat at the thought of nearly slandering such a formidable individual. That one was obviously on steroids or something . Yes, that was it!
When Dazz reached the main road he cut down the thrust of the tiny engine he had installed into the frame of the bike and slipped into the rush hour traffic flow. He got some curious looks from drivers as he weaved by - slowed as they were by the weather and sheer weight of traffic - and arrived at his flat in the usual ten minutes.
There was a small parcel on the mat behind the door. Dazz parked his bike against the wall of his little hallway, and locked the door carefully behind him, before picking it up and taking it through to the kitchen table. He could tell it was another consignment from Desiree, but he he was too tired to examine it just then. Overwhelmed by the onset of fatigue that indicated he was hungry, he took a small container of nutriment from a drawer and sat at the table with his eyes closed as he sucked down its contents. He slept deeply for some twenty minutes in the chair. Then the process of cell regeneration was over - unlike the complicated and aging way of humans - and his green eyes sprang open and he stood up and stretched, tensing his muscles like a predatory animal.
Next he got the small bag of plastic shapes he had stolen from the factory from his pocket and took it with the parcel into his bedroom, opened them both and spread the bits of various metals from the parcel and the plastic parts from the bag on the bed he never slept in.
Brief instructions from Desiree said: 'Inskill at lever floor.' There was no such location and obviously what she meant was to instill and level four, he knew this from the stage of construction he had reached by then; but such vagueness was not a code, rather than the errors that crept in to a language that was alien yet had some similar aspects to their own tongue. Daz was trying to combat this tendency himself as he found the four dimensional images and the math theory he had to keep in his head took up a lot of energy, yet were simple when compared to the nuances of human linguistic communication. He had begun to rely on just sensory perceptions to define human communication quickly and such simplistic were not working too well! When the Under Manager asked him how he had achieved better control and quicker cooling in a complicated process in the plant, he had replied that the man's breath stank, probably as a result of eating too many proteins. Seeing the affronted look on the Manager's face he realized what he had just said and had to go into a mythical formula of protein exchange as the system behind the new process and continued with this rubbish until the man's eyes began to glaze and he nodded a pretence of understanding and went away. Likewise he had offended the blowsy woman with the dyed hair who seemed to lurk in wait for him in the Lift Foyer and offer invites up to her flat 'for a meal or a chat any time he was at a loose end,' on the last occasion when he asked her 'Why did she wear such inferior make up it failed to disguise the fact her nose looked like a stale blood sausage?'
Such slips caused annoyance, and he did not want to draw any hostile attention. He frowned and chewed on a lower lip as if to chide it as he turned his attention to the machine that took up most of the small room. Then smiled as his gaze engaged the familiar sparkle of its images as he took up a part from the bed and began his real work!
Monty Banks hid behind the blueprint of a new extrusion machine, peering cautiously around it at times to verify that Desiree was still in her usual position on the computer through the glass wall to his left. He was highly visible to her as well, so she could - and probably would! - interpret any direct look as an invitation. The thought made him shudder so his very bone marrow ached and throbbed at the prospect of an approach from her, but she was paying close attention to the screen while her fingers - God! Those fingers! rippled and blurred over the keys of the machine.
It was no use! He couldn't take in the bloody drawing while this threat lurked at the edge of his vision. It was al very well being perched above the factory floor like this, so you could observe the three main bays of the Proving Shop, and there was the psychological ploy of having personnel ascend the stairs to consult you, whereas you descended upon them like a god. The problem was he was not alone for the Admin and Design Teams were up here as well and all able to see into the next office and reach any one of them through the inter -connecting doors. He longed for the thick oaken doors of the old building, but that was now part of a splendid past, alas!
Monty consulted his expensive watch and compared its time with the electric wall clock: too early for lunch and he was supposed to use the canteen these enlightened days anyway. All mucking in with the peasants: a revolting Japanese concept they had adopted, just like these bloody goldfish bowl offices were and American idea! What was wrong with the good old British them and us system that had worked so successfully for a century or more? He flung down the blueprint and sighed, then found he was looking directly into the hungry, dark green eyes of Desiree. She was watching him like a cat at a mouse hole...............Oh hell! What had he got involved with this time?
Taking his pick of the fillies was the one perk they hadn't got round to legislate against, and when such a stunning blond had appeared on the scene, he made little attempt to disguise his interest. In fact he thought such a beautiful creature was bound to play hard to get and go through some of the corny coy motions at first; so he had kept the smiling, and admiring glances going for a week or two. But she had responded to his very first serious approach with an alacrity he now found terrifying in retrospect!
He had asked her into his office for the first time to discuss some blatant errors he could see in one of her reports, and brushed against her as they leaned over the desk examining the text. She had placed one of his hands on a taut breast immediately and pulled the other between her legs under her short skirt while her tongue vibrated in his ear like a hot rivet! Alarmed at such intimacy in the exposed cubicle, he had pulled away hastily, but quickly arranged a tryst with her for the weekend.
His school pal, Archie, kept a convenient little hotel and his mouth shut. As did his partner, Heather, who ran it most of the time. She kept a good table and Monty had worked up quite an appetite when they got there. Thirsty as well for that that matter, as he had grown to like a four course meal with the appropriate wines and liquors as a nice bit of fore play before the bedroom frolics. It gave the chance for a conversation which usually drifted into a subtle form of boasting about his conquests and the sexual orientations of the women in these affairs. This often brought a reaction and sometimes intimate confessions from the current woman at the table as the alcohol took effect and such details always gave him a buzz. The days of knee burns and sundry bruising from quickies on the office floor were long since over for Archie.
But there had been none of these niceties with Desiree! Just as soon as he got the room key from the reception desk she had seized him in a sort of arm lock and propelled him bodily up the short flight of stairs, chuckling in a sort of sensual snarl in the back of her throat while he fumbled the door open. Then he was in the grip of a whirlwind, a sensual tornado that spun him out of his clothes on to the bed and with a growl at its saggy lack of leverage, back on to the floor again.
She came at him from angles he had never imagined let alone experienced before. Clamping on like a velvet vice while chewing his lips and nipples until they bled. As soon as he started to flag, her fingers probed his prostrate until he was gasping for breath, then sobbing for mercy for Desiree was unrelenting, her green eyes gleaming with a strangely cold and objective glare. He closed his on a haze of red dots that darkened into unconsciousness.
He was awakened by her applying a cold towel to his nether regions while she laughingly informed him they would still be in time for dinner. She had changed into a clinging white dress and looked as fresh as a daisy. She helped him dress with a lot of patting and nibbling until he was able to stagger stiffly down stairs like a rusty robot. He ached in places he did not know existed before and realized that a whole night with her would probably be the end of him!
Luckily, escape was at hand in the well practiced ploy of having Heather fetch him to receive an important phone call, which required him to leave at once. Desiree declined his offer of lift and returned to her meal with a knowing smile - although she had hardly eaten anything up until then, come to think of it? - he left the steak he couldn't masticate because his jaw was still numbed and sore from her attentions as if he had been the victim of a demon dentist, and limped off out to the car.
'Parsecs to Paradise' the latest hit song of the Soma began to assault his delicate sense organs long before The Brat arrived for the 'counseling' farce that was supposed to improve her ethics that were wayward even for that lot! Zegres moved his appendages in the approved manner to the cacophony of this 'music' while his insides screamed at its sheer barbarism, for they were probably observing him and The Majesty, with her pathetic need to appear young and fashionable, would react viciously to any signs of dislike for 'progressive Somatic Culture.'
Megres, the most ancient and venerated poet of his race had tried to 'justify the cosmic way to men'. He, poor Zegres, had the impossible task of trying to explain the caprices of The Soma women to his compatriots after their conquest.
The youngest offspring of the 'Line Royale' whirled into view before him, and after a few more convulsions to show her real contempt, stopped the infernal row and was still.
'You know your latest game has extinguished the last life forms in the desert you had already created?' He tried to look at her sternly.
'Not the very last, surely?' She looked surprised.
'Yes, every last one, I'm afraid!'
'Well then, all I can say is I'm sorry. Thought it would be a good idea to have a couple of their mutants build a Gorgonscope to alter their environment nearer to ours.'
'I see. But you failed to note how near that planet was to its solar source and turned it into a cinder!'
She looked blank, even a little crestfallen for a second, then brightened. 'Oh, is that what it was? I thought I had given the female too much power and she was supplying the machine combustibles, really.'
Zegres sighed, and was about to offer advice, when the music came on again and stunned him into silence.
' Don't forget to tell The Majesty I have been to see you!' She yelled as she whirled away.
As if the crazy bitch doesn't already know, Zegres thought as he tried to shut out the jarring beat still echoing through his senses.
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