Duchess' Boy

Duchess' Boy

A Chapter by The Proletarian
"

A brain damaged gambler, unable to trust his own feelings or memory, searches for meaning outside the daily grind.

"
 
 
A grinder's life is slow, short, and full of nothing. Before Vic, I was a grinder.
 
The casinos were still running, back then we were just calling it a 'depression'.
 
This one wasn't busy.
 
There were no windows- but a hard fluorescent betrayed the night outside: evidence of fatigue, stress, and drug use testified in the not-quite-daylight.  A leather faced guard pushed me forward, I emptied my bag. Its contents- shades, a music player, a second sweater, a bagged lunch, a notepad-  presented in ritual. This, to me, was the closest I'd get to clocking in.
 
And it looked like there'd be a long night of work ahead. Most tables were closed, those open were crowded with grinders. Used to be the Depression would bring in business: desperate hopefuls tossed savings to chance, divorced dads tried to reclaim what they'd lost; we were the easy way. Time and success betrayed us, a man could only lose so much. No jobs, and it all flowed downhill, the rivers were dry.
 
So I bought my chips, sat left of a nit- and let the hours pass. Whole table were nits, nits and tags and not a leak in sight; without a miracle, we'd all be treading water, only the rake would win. And then came a miracle.
  
Her name, I later learned, was Duchess Victoria Evans of Wales. She wasn't Welsh, though- I don't think she was a Duchess, either. She was, however, rich and dumb- that I kenned straight off. Rich enough to own a mink, dumb enough to wear it here. She took a seat, turned to me, and smiled.
 
She sold herself to me on that table, and for a little while, she was mine. She dragged me out of nothing.
 
Under bilious cloak- a mound of clothes, dizzy makeup and perfume- her skin was warm. 
 
But now I know, nothing is not nothing. It tears the roads apart, crushes cities and mountains; it has weight, it has a colour. Life is only borrowed from it.
 
***
 
Today I can barely remember her.
 
That's how it goes, my neural Net; a caravan of neurons loaded up with scenes of Vic, I wanna remember. But the roads are cracked, and broken- highwaymen wait in the bushes...
 
"Duchess' boy. You're in a bad way."
 
By now the room is spinning, but Sol's face never moves.
 
"We can fix you, Bull. Repair your neural break."
 
I look up, Sol used to be my dealer, now he might as well be God. His word is ancient law. 
 
"You help us, and we'll see it done. You have my word."
 
I can barely face him. The merchant caravans have stopped, backed up against a thousand broken roads, drenched in Nothing.
 
"That's all we want, just one small tell..."
 
Vicky's skin is warm, inside she's soft and wet. Her face... I cant picture her face.
 
I could have died, just then. He talked some more, I didn't care, the sale was made. One way or another, I'd never grind again.
 
***
 
That walk home wasn't easy.Though I just woke up, I couldn't wait to sleep.
 
Vic is waiting on my bed, a blurry apparition of memory.
 
"You're not gonna take that job."
 
I collapse on the bed, the night is loud, but I leave my window open: it's raining and I like it.
 
She's nestled in the sheets. I roll over to face her, and pull them in close: between my thighs, against my chest. I close my eyes, and try to remember what she smelled like.
 
"I gotta take the chance. If they can fix my Net, I gotta try."
 
"They're using you, you've seen it before. Anyways you cant be fixed. You haven't been yourself in ages."
 
"I haven't been myself in ages." 
 
I say the words aloud.
 
 And then, 
 
"Do you think it was the drugs? You know, that did us?"
 
I open my eyes, she's on the window now, mouth agape and a vacant stare. A cigarette hangs limp, stuck to her chapped lips. Her skin is asphalt black, cracked and dry, there are track marks on her arm. 
 
"Did what?"
 
I watch her face transform. She's got devils horns, now she's a black cat purring.
 
"Nothing I guess."
 
I light a smoke myself.
 
"Bull, get real. I was never gonna stay, we spent some time together and it was the best part of your life. There's nothing else to it, you're just filling in the blanks."
 
She's scowling, I think. Its fuzzy. I could really use a drink.
 
"But you've got a lotta life left left to live..."
 
"Unless I take this job". 
 
I say the words aloud. It's not funny but I laugh. 
 
She does have a point- it wasn't just the drugs. Now that she mentions it, I don't even think she was black.
 
How about that drink...


© 2020 The Proletarian


My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Featured Review

The total indiscernible sense of setting creates this blurriness and eerieness to the story. I enjoy the sharp and heavy words to describe Vic,her character seems glossed over and foggy to bull, which create that aura of borderline psychotic clearly not-all-there-ness to the main character that I think you where aiming for. I would refrain from under "describing" I don't know if that's a thing. There seems to be this underlying pattern of being mysterious to a fault, by that I mean there's a sense of ambiguity that can at certain points make the story a little less coherent but there are succeeding portions of the story that sort of put the pieces together, I would just work those more, as in adding a bit more substance to them. There is a sense of delirium in the main character's thoughts which definitely help that psychotic look you're going for. Overall really interesting, with a great hook that has this reader craving for more .

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

You’re a very talented writer. You’ve pushed the brief on ‘show, don’t tell” and the psychotic, hypnotic feel to your writing quickly made me forget this was a small piece in a forum. I want to read more to find out when and where this is set, I like how you’ve left me guessing. You’ll need to fix small spelling and syntax errors before submitting/publishing, but that’s about it. Well done!

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The total indiscernible sense of setting creates this blurriness and eerieness to the story. I enjoy the sharp and heavy words to describe Vic,her character seems glossed over and foggy to bull, which create that aura of borderline psychotic clearly not-all-there-ness to the main character that I think you where aiming for. I would refrain from under "describing" I don't know if that's a thing. There seems to be this underlying pattern of being mysterious to a fault, by that I mean there's a sense of ambiguity that can at certain points make the story a little less coherent but there are succeeding portions of the story that sort of put the pieces together, I would just work those more, as in adding a bit more substance to them. There is a sense of delirium in the main character's thoughts which definitely help that psychotic look you're going for. Overall really interesting, with a great hook that has this reader craving for more .

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

58 Views
2 Reviews
Rating
Added on June 7, 2020
Last Updated on June 14, 2020
Tags: cyberpunk, science fiction, mental illness


Author

The Proletarian
The Proletarian

Toronto, Ontario, Canada



Writing
Money Money

A Chapter by The Proletarian





Advertise Here
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5