Shorts smartworld

The Slumlord

Where Detective Jon Bakker is recruited by one of the City's powerbrokers to locate the mysterious Slumlord... But aren't they just a myth?

[Tuesday | 13 November 2266]

I never thought two solid days of kicking the shit out of a wall could be so therapeutic. Not even a hairline fracture showed through the brickwork, but it felt good pummeling the bricks, imagining they were Mikel, and Mittens, and that fucking Slumlord. My hardest hits came whenever I imagined Her Eminence, though.

After another shit night’s sleep, I was up before the sun, and back to beating the wall. My fists and feet hurt and my muscles were in pain, but at least my cardiovascular system was thanking me. In my early morning workout, I missed the bouncer dropping off a nutrition bar. Please don’t let it be eggplant flavour again, I begged silently. A week of that shit was a unique form of torture. I checked the label: ‘Coffee—contains caffeine.’

Later that day, a stasis field filled the cell. Like last time, I couldn’t scratch my balls, but I didn’t care. It appeared as though I might be welcoming a visitor, a certain Magistrate.

Sure enough, the Magistrate walked in and slammed the door behind him. The stasis field disappeared, and my first instinct was to murder him. But if I did that, I get the idea I’d never be released. That, and even though I hadn’t seen Mikel in a couple of decades before my little visit, I’d feel a little bad. With the notable exception of leaving me rotting in a cell, he’d always been a decent guy.

The thought of Mikel having ever been a decent guy left my head with his first backhand. He’s always been smaller than me, but he sent me spinning across the cell—someone must have had his genes spliced. As soon as I tried picking myself up, he laid his boot into my chest, knocking me onto my back. For good measure, he stomped on my stomach.

“What the hell were you thinking, Bobo?” his modulated voice asked. “Mittens, I get. When we caught up with her, she told me how Her Eminence got her hooks into her, how her entire family is under threat. But you? From what I can tell, you leapt to help Her Eminence. She didn’t even have to say ‘please.’”

With both fists clenched into a ball together, this fucking ‘Magistrate’ hit me again. And again, for good measure.

“Where is she?” After asking, I spat out some blood. And a molar.

His next punch broke my nose. Not that it did much; I’d only broken it four times before then.

“You don’t ask the questions here, Detective, I do.” His next kick broke my ribs. “So here’s my question: what the fuck did you do to Mikel?”

Mikel? What the hell was he talking about? He’s Mikel, right? The Magistrate? I’m sure the Magistrate looked at me with confusion underneath his mask. At least before he shook his head and left my cell.

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