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Monday, June 24, 2013

Into the Fire

            Without fail, every time that the stench of gasoline sputtered into the crisp, choking billows of smoke, the red and amber gleam of the flames lighting up the inside of the warehouse, Art felt the same sting of excitement in his guts,
the surge of anticipation that followed making his knees weak and something spark into life inside his groin, stretching the skin and making him tremble.

            It wasn’t that he had anything against the building: it was an N2 den, where all of the transients and the perma-fried children of the lower-end prostitutes lay on dirty mattresses dyed from sex, sweat and who knew what else and let thick, creamy droplets of N2 slide into their tear ducts, their skin prickling as they shuddered and sighed with the sting.

            No one had been inside when he’d ignited the place: the local police had cleared it out for demolition a day or two before. No one would miss it, no one would really notice except for the construction workers who wouldn’t really give a damn.

            He lit a cigarette with a strip from the same packet of motel matches he’d used to light the blaze and absently set his hand on his swollen cock, his mouth curled into a grimace, hoping that his latest crime would fulfill his demonic cravings. Far away he heard a siren, but he made no move to leave: the sky was too clear and the stars too bright and the beautiful ballet of wanton destruction in front of him was too hypnotic to look away from.

            Art sighed deeply and his eyes rolled back slightly as a surge of heat from the flames slammed into his face, drying his eyes and sending him over into climax as a beam somewhere deep inside the den clattered to the ground, throwing sparks out like stars. The building was now completely exposed, all of its doors twisting open in the heat, its insides pink and hot, the beams and electrical guts finally showing from under their veils of sheetrock and paint.

            He gasped one more time, threw his cigarette butt into the blaze and awkwardly shifted his pants away from his groin, a sensual scowl all that was visible behind his reflective shades.

            The machine came to a stop, and the sarcophagus opened. Art blinked owlishly, and shifted awkwardly, aware of the state of his groin.

            One of them, an older man in a black leather turtleneck, was a tech that Art had seen lurking on the main platform almost every time he had come in. He had not, however, seen him on the ground floor before.

            The younger tech handed him a towel as he stood up, indicating with a flick of his eyes what it was for. Art smiled and him and wiped up his mess before he walked to the bench where his belongings awaited.

            “Mr, Wilkison,” The older tech’s voice was harsh, “I am Legan, the chief technician. Since this is the third time you have accessed a Class Two program, it is policy that I require you to submit a fingerprint and retinal scan.”

            Art gave Legan a look most often seen on cornered animals, “Does this mean I’m being barred?”

            “No, not at all. The proprietress just has made it our policy, partially so that we can better serve you with related interests, and partially to keep our books straight.” The technician pulled a clipboard from behind his back that was equipped with both an ink pad, a receiver and a retina scanner.

            The patron scowled darkly, “And you guys just keep this on file? Do you send it to anyone?”

            “Of course not, sir. But you will be required to do this if you ever want to enjoy our services again.”

            Art sighed and grabbed the clipboard from Legan. The technician couldn’t help but notice that he inked his finger and pressed it to the scanner with the ease that came from practice, and he navigated his way around the retina scanner with a little too much familiarity.

            “Thank you.” Legan smiled and took the clipboard back, tipped his head into a dismissive nod and strode from the room.

            “Does this mean I get a discount next time?” Art called after him.

            Legan climbed the stairs to the main operating perch and was started to see the proprietress herself staring down at one of the monitors, “Ms. Ng, here is the last of the Class Two patrons’ information like you requested.”

            Ng Xua glanced over her shoulder at him with her reptilian green eyes an nodded, “Please compile it with the rest and send it to the chief Magistrate for the section.”

            Legan nodded, but hesitated, “So, you really did make that deal with him?”

            “Of course,” Xua turned to look at him and smiled, “it is a win-win situation. The police get all the information they need on our repeat customers with a taste for the illegal, and we do our part to prevent future crimes.” she snorted at his expression, “Oh don’t look at me like that. I know what you are thinking: if we prevent to crimes, we damage our own influx of memories. But understand this: it is to ensure our own survival that I am doing this. I have everything under control.”

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