I took a belt down to the corner of Sunrise and Annie

My soft kit waited there, filled with crisp, lemon-scented clothes Ñ or so I hoped. As did Tyrone and a couple of the other shift-bitters, I guess. Together they represented my top-end-of-tech laundromat worm of choice – Bubblas. A franchise that had recently expanded, now boasting an accelerator in Palmerston Sprawl, even.

You’ll always run into at least one tech at Bubblas. I find it annoying but who cares. Being a tech in itself isn’t so bad. It’s the sloops masquerading as techs that really get the bit cleaners offside, myself included, though I haven’t had a buff ram in nanos.

See, name of the game is you want to hype that kit, shoot a bit of sink-talk with the bitters, set your drive to default, goodbye. Zero interconnection.

Then, one of these bit-sloops from Mars comes up like he’s peering and says:

“Hey D. Dreamer, bad-fast move on the cyclotron termination! Yeah, need a ram-buff?”

“Toby, your mother didn’t tell you you’re an alien yet, is that it? Coz the brainwaves I’m picking up on my aural receivers here aren’t giving me jack in the default ‘earthling’ mode coming from your direction/department. Second, but you know this already, if I wanted you to buff my ram I would have totalled my bits ages ago, only that would be doing myself out of a job I can spectacularly handle on my own. Third, what the fear?”

Toby didn’t really need to speak. He simply handed over my kit-bag, full of shredded cotton. My shredded cotton! My fearing clothes! What a nano-fuck. I told Toby expressly to separate the magic blanket from the rest of my kit. And now he’s gone and blown up Tyrone’s Soak & Pound with it! And probably blamed it on me!

A complete freak up such as that could only have been caused by a combination of said blanket and my hard tech detonator jacket. No one does that, man! Hence Toby’s slooped out Ñ he’s sloop masquerading as tech!

Buff my ram, indeed! If he’s expecting any kind of redundancy, he’d better get ramming immediately!

“Davey, don’t get your self so dreamed up at all! Relah! If you want the full story, that is. Go ask Tyrone.”

“Yeah, might just do that. Relah yourself. Hey, Tyrone.”

“Little man, is it good to see you.”

“Why’s that, Tyrone?”

“Because you just freaked my freaking cyclotron with your wind-sock freaking linen! Because your feared freaking laundry just cost me six nano-swipes and that was just in consult! And all you paid is one! Swipe. And you expect to get away clean? He, he. I don’t think I see the funny side of that. Anymore.”

“Well big man, here’s a scratchie for you and I’m giving it away free.”

“Not interested, D boy.”

“Hear me out, slow poker. And give your vocab an upload, that little man ruffian stuff’s pure paint. I told this dreamy sloop here I had a magic blanket in that kit. I told him to bit strip it carefully, had him read the holo and all else to make him understand. What I reckon is, this rammer got a bitful of rope thick at the wrong end.”

Tyrone sweated pixels there for a minute, his one remaining hand welded to its sleeve, the other stump aiming a strap-on bullet up my nostrils. Somehow, he managed to speak with dignity.

“All right. But cease the slow poke shit. Or I’ll switch you off.”

Toby gassed out then.

“Youse gas me out man, yeah.”

Tyrone looked at him like he was a bird, then walked away.

“Fearing can of worms,” said Toby.

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