ED: 8-4-2020: This is the seed which eventually became the book of the same name. (Avail. Amazon, B&N, and most other retailers. Or on Golden Fleece Press.)
This is part of the latest Terrible Minds Flash Fiction challenge. You should wander over and take a look at what else is hiding there.
The challenge was to take 2 sub-genres and smash them together. I ended up with a Dystopian Sci-Fi Cozy Mystery. Not sure how well that worked, but there’s new characters and I think I’ll find them another story or three.
Sugar and Spice
Spinner’s gas mask hung around her neck. Her goggles held back tousled blonde hair. “Someone nabbed the Hellion.”
Blagger opened one brown eye to peer at her through his goggles. “In a smog-storm? Idiot. There’s no escape.”
“If we don’t figure it, the Sugars will blame one of us.” Spinner tucked her gloves into her hip-pouch.
“Gov’ll take care of it. Lunch is on the table.”
“Thanks, Blagger.” She ate the bread and cheese with gusto.
“How’d you hear about this?” He rubbed at an itch behind his ear. He smacked into his radio and it jumped to life. “Damn it.” He pulled it off.
“If you listened to your radio, you’d hear the good gossip,” she said.
He gestured rudely at her. “So who do you figure for it? One of the new mechs?”
“No, I did their checks myself. It’s a Sugar.”
“Can’t be. They wouldn’t know how to find it.”
“Maybe one of them brought someone or maybe one of them isn’t actually a Sugar.” Her smog-grey eyes glittered under the yellow lights. “I’m going to change. Cover me?”
“I’ll say you need a keeper as you’re sick in the head.”
She stuck her tongue out at him. “You’ll look after me?”
“If the others don’t get back in here, they don’t deserve to look after you.” Blagger smirked.
She returned his previous gesture. “Are we hosting anyone the Sugars brought down here?”
“Nah. They’re in the Wings.”
“Get changed, if you’re coming.” She went off toward the showers. Blagger turned on the radio.
“You and Princess Spinner are going to be haunting the Wings?” The butler chuckled. “Find it or you’ll report to me for descaling detail.”
Blagger shuddered. “Yessir.” He changed into almost respectable pants and a sheer white shirt.
“You look like a whore,” Spinner said. “Perfect.” She wore a simple red dress that showed off her curves. Her hair was slicked back. Traces of oil clung to her nails. She looked like a nameless girl trying a little too hard. He offered his arm and escorted her up to the Wings — the main servants’ area. The guest’s Crusts roomed here. Spinner opened the first guest door. She gave it a quick look. “No.” Three more rooms were dismissed. The fourth room caught her attention.
Blagger leaned against the wall while she searched. He crossed his arms and one of the guest Crusts gave him an appreciative leer. He winked. “When I’m done with the Miss.”
The maid blushed and giggled. Nothing but a Sugar getting off with the hired help. Spinner clung to him with an overly bright smile that made her look like she was two cups of 120 proof in. “This is the servant. We just need to find the master,” she murmured into his ear.
“Hey, now, Miss here wants to know who’s Crust we just inconvenienced.”
Spinner hid her face when the passing maid gave her a knowing smirk. “Mr. Bennett. In from The Shapiro.”
“Can you find me a picture?”
“Don’t be insulting, woman.” Blagger logged into the servant’s system with Marsden’s password. He pulled up the visiting Sugars’ dossiers. Bennett was a slick looking man with dark hair and bright blue eyes. He wore a beard that had been out of fashion for at least five years.
Spinner hummed. “Very clever. He shaves that off who’ll know him? Where’s he set up?”
“Level fifteen. Yellow room.”
Another level up and they wandered into the party. Spinner grabbed glasses of 5 proof red for each of them. He sipped at the weak proof and they circulated through the party. It was small, only about 600 people. Mistress Long glanced at them. Her yellow eyes widened for only an instant, then her lips curled into a smile. Spinner relaxed against his side. “I knew there was a reason I still worked here.”
“Luck and lies.” They clinked glasses.
The Sugar-side tube sped them up to the 15th floor. Spinner frowned at the locked room. “Watch for me.” She rewired the lock and hid the evidence as the door slid open. “Start looking.” She pointed at the window. He understood immediately. The storm was lifting. They didn’t have much time. The Hellion Circuit was 100cm sqaure flame colored box with black leads. The circuit that would keep them alive if there was a house emergency.
“Thieves in my room?” Bennet’s sounded like a smug Felid. Blagger turned to see if he could see evidence of cat’s ears. Bennet held a stunner on Spinner.
“I just lost my earring,” Spinner said. “We were a little too enthusiastic.”
Bennet chuckled. “You’re no more Sugar than me. I’ll just report this.”
“Oh?” Spinner raised her brows. She leaned forward. “So they can find the Circuit sitting here in your drawer? That’s not going to happen. In fact, I’m just going to take this.”
“And you leave with your man.”
“Blackmail, little girl?”
Blagger didn’t hide his wince. Poor bastard. Spinner’s eyes narrowed, the sun glinted off of the implants that let her see. Bennet’s head jerked back. His aim slipped. Spinner moved in a quick arc of arms and legs that left her standing on his chest.
She kicked him in the chin. Her spin-kick was a thing of beauty. “Damn, I didn’t have anyone to bet with.” Blagger turned the in-room radio to the Crust channel. “Marsden, clean up in 15 Yellow.”
“I’ll contact the authorities. Don’t get blood on the carpets or you’ll clean it with your tongue.”
“Right, Boss.” Blagger offered his flask.
“You read my mind.” She took a slug.
“He’s wanted on Aramis, Marsden.” Spinner held up Bennet’s datapad. “Stole the Miranda Chip from The Royal Hotel.”
“Take the circuit and reinstall it. We’ve had recorders running since the loss was discovered.” Marsden gave them a small smile. “Good work. If you’re tired of the pit, there’s going to be an opening in security.”
Spinner just laughed and hugged the circuit to her chest.