I hope you enjoy it.
Some people have a song constantly playing in their head. Sheetrock was one of these, and he knew it. The young drill captain figured the smart people fed their soul with music every day, because one: Jesus loved music, and two: rolling down the river of audio helped keep the record from skipping. Whereas those that despised the music echoing in their brains, scoffed openly of it, and resisted it to the extreme, those people often got jarred into the realms of insanity. They beat on the player Jesus had given them and as a result their records did, on occasion, skip.
No matter the near-death run, the loss of his colleague and lover, or the freezing cold downpour, the David Byrne horns in his head blared on, and he welcomed the beauty of the earth, grimy as he was treading the soaked wooden dock. He whistled while his cargo unloaded, weighed, and purchased. It had taken all of an hour; it was the reason Sheetrock chose to land in Port Jeff in the first place: easy access to the scales and the buyers. Within another hour a quick sale had commenced.
With the payment transferred instantaneously upon completion of the cache transaction, Sheetrock walked swiftly with a slight limp toward the town’s bank (his knee had blown out in a ten kilometer benefit run and the rain’s moisture did it in). He had already handed each of his crew a payroll check that they knew would come into fruition once they had finished emptying the ship’s cargo hold, but he wanted to confirm with his own dark eyes that his personal account totaled twenty-eight million and change. He could finally afford to spend it all.
There was a slow methodical scraping as his muddy miner’s boots found the doormat outside the federal bank on the corner of Main Street. The heavy footwear were sealed, along with the black leathery jumpsuit that was made for rigorous activity in the oxygen deprived canals of space. He had not bothered changing. He was too eager.
At least the rain’s washed the dust off my ass, thought Sheetrock as he walked into the bright lights of the taupe room. The large man could not have looked more out of place. A mile or two up the road was the derelict sidewalks of the Station, where none of the black market shufflers would ever have looked at his unshaven face and his stained and patched up space suit and given it a second glance. In the bank, he was almost two feet taller than the shortest tellers, and they stared open mouthed as though he was the second coming of the Messiah.
There was no one in line, but Sheetrock was a slave to ritual so he entered the velvet rope lane and followed it in three snaking switchbacks before a prim, older woman with the biggest eyeglasses he had ever seen waved him over.
“Hello. I’d like to make a withdrawal-“
“Fill out the pad, sir,” she said before he could complete his sentence. He reluctantly bent and wrote sloppily on the screen with a pen that was tied to the counter and did not allow his long arms to lift it far enough to be comfortable writing in the lines.
“As for the amount . . . Rosemary,” said Sheetrock noting her nametag, “I put in for it two weeks ago, but I don’t know exactly how much is in there. I want all of it.”
“Very well, sir.”
She tilted her round head back to look him over and confirm his face with the scan she had on the screen in front of her. It was a feat that seemed a difficult one without there being any visible sign of a neck on her, and the blue eyes behind her enormous glasses bulged in the magnification as she took all of him in.
A frantic clacking of keys was heard, as she composed herself. Rosemary, the banker, seemed to be in a perpetual hurry.
“That’s the amount you have there, sir.” She pointed down toward his screen. “The supervisor’s already verified your request and approved it. Do you have a suitcase or some kind of carrier for the withdrawal?” she asked querulously.
“Jesus please be with me today,” his whisper to himself was a growl that she heard quite plainly. “I’m soaking wet and fresh off the ship. Does it look like I have a suitcase with me, Rosemary?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Do you have some kind of transportation case?” he asked impatiently. The round face tilted a little, like a bird’s.
“Deposit cases are available for two hundred dollars each. Are you sure you don’t want to go-”
“Listen, little lady, lord knows that twenty-eight million’s not going to fit into the envelopes you normally give me my cash in, now is it?”
* * *
Two large gray storage containers were brought in front of the counter, where Sheetrock paced. He signed for them hurriedly, and a resonant tone crackled and cut off the elevator music that had been playing. Everyone looked up, startled. A booming electronic voice took over the loudspeakers:
“THIS IS A CYBER ALERT: A 7 P.M. CURFEW IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR HOMES NOW.”