CHAPTER 23: ROSE AND THE RED PLANET
I took my leave of the Mars Bar and hit the street. Little red fireworks went off behind my eyelids as I stopped and waited for my brain to catch up to the inside of my skull. A girl was standing in an alleyway a few doors down from the bar, thirteen if she was a day, sporting two blond pig-tails and a bright red ribbon around her corsetted waist.
"I don't care much for health food."
Night after night I walked the gamey boulevard alone in the rain. Sometimes it seemed like the whores owned Metropolis, with those god awful pock-marks gouged on their faces. There were red ones, white ones, blue or turning blue.
And then I saw what looked like an apparition in vinyl and lipgloss. I didn't doubt she was bad news, but one quick look put a handful of ripe plantains in my hip pocket. She was an Amazon woman alright, the kind that can pump you to a glandular frenzy while she fixes a cold roast beef and slits your jugular vein. Under that phosphorescent streetlight she gave a deja view of Natasha and me in happier times and...well, you get the bullet, point first. She clinched it when she asked me --
"Are you lonesome tonight?"
The first thing I noticed in the flea-bag hotel room was magic fingers on the bed, so while she douched over the ice bucket I tried them on for size. They threw me clear across the room, and as I sat picking shards of broken mirror from my scalp she emerged wearing a see-through teddy with lace garters and enough lipstick to mark the Vienna Boys Choir for life. She also had a tattoo of a rose and the Red Planet.
"You've been a very bad boy," she said, pointing to the jagged scars that criss-crossed a painfully white body.
My fly unzipped itself and I felt the ointment rising in my loins. Her eyes got wide and she made as if to faint, but instead she let out a sap curdling shriek and bolted for the window, crashing through the glass and into the street. I looked down at Doolan Junior. I guess everything is a little bigger on Mars.
"There's always gland to hand combat," I thought, thumbing through a Gideon Bible for inspiration.
"It is better to spill thine seed on the belly of a whore..."
No doubt about that one. I flipped on the TV.
It was through the miracle of the soft-core nudie channel that I found my next clue. An adverstisement in the classic smiling moron vein, but with a twist that told you that the future was now and tomorrow was gonna be a king-sized drag.
It seemed that some wily entrepeneur had found a way to make the world's oldest profession accessible to the working class drone. It was called the Intercourse Barn, a fastmeat brothel. I guess nothing is sacred when you're naked, but the addition of special sauce to the sex act was one that I knew planet Earth could do without.
One of the young lovelies on the screen was what caught my attention, though. I couldn't be sure, but even with ten pounds of makeup and hosiery on, she still looked like the EQ's one and only daughter. I got dressed in a hurry and left the room through the window, licking my wounds. Like a queen in a henhouse, I had to get straight.
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CHAPTER 24: ELEVEN YEARS DEAD