Soul Stripper 1
uthor: Jason Arnett
Title: Soul Stripper (part 1 of 4)
Genre: Science Fiction
Frequency: every Wednesday
The corner hadn’t changed in the time he’d been away. The same vendor shilling the same crummy coffee sat outside the same tiny bodega where he’d always gotten his groceries. People still walked back and forth, bustling, in rushes of crowds on regular schedules. There might be more trash blowing in the spring breeze than he remembered, but the neighborhood was comfortably familiar and no one recognized him.
He liked that. He looked up and saw the blue sky, closed his eyes and breathed in the filthy city’s air. “It’s good to be home,” he said out loud, exhaling slowly.
“Welcome back, Frank.”
The young lady was coming up the empty sidewalk dressed in Gucci leather coat and riding boots. She didn’t smile.
“Hansen,” Frank said. “You called.” He sipped his swill coffee.
“Got a weird one for you. The kind you used to handle before,” Hansen said taking his coffee cup and sniffing.
She made a face and held the cup out away from her. “This is gross. I’ll show you where the good coffee is.” She tossed the cup, still more than half full, into the trash bin that said “T’ank you” in a robotically Russian voice.
Hansen studied him and then gave him a tight smile. “You look good. The city agrees with you.”
“Freedom agrees with me,” Frank said. “Bettie, too.”