The lift’s on again. Tranquil trance played on electronic instruments behind a speaker, top left on the ceiling. Two updates away from up to date, half a second slower than the song’s normal play. Small deviation in backup synths to avoid copyright. Ultraviolet light fixtures on sides of the door. Stains illuminate bodily fluids, no indication of which. Empty, except for Xerxes. Six foot two, one-hundred fifty six pounds, dark clothes. Stands out from patrons in glowing fluorescent paint and neon colored clothing. Third floor, fifth floor. Tyoko’s Club, Miami. Time is twenty-three and twelve. Loaded pistol, left hip holster designed for right reversed. Slight graze of metal detector causes momentary EMP spike in scanning equipment, custom designed smart gloves, twelve thousand credits. The music pauses in the elevator. The door starts to open. Xerxes grasps his weapon, clearing it from holster. The crowd dances to throbbing bass driven music. A cold gloved hand shorts the panic button in the elevator.
The shadow steps out of the elevator, dark duster coat sweeping away the detritus of condom wrappers, half chewed tabs of empathogenics, and whatever else constituted the livelihood of the dancing mass centered around ten foot tall speakers in an orgy of controlled chaos and sound. The first person to spot Xerxes’ firearm was a bouncer, face lined and a cybernetic eye in his left socket that had already keyed in on the metal frame. Xerxes spun, gyrating in similar ways to the dancers, index finger on the safety for any opportune second. The prey was close. The swirling bodies limned in every color imaginable and a couple that seemed inconceivable didn’t notice or didn’t care, their brain function either deadened or too high to care off whatever they’d taken in bathroom stalls where the pulsing pound of bass was a crashing wave on a welcoming sandy shore.
The bouncers were pushing through the crowds, no doubt all had a chatter in their ear of a red alert. They were always fifty feet away though in the massive swarm of bodies. The patrons were unwitting aids, pushing back against the bouncers, furious that their synthetic ecstasy was being tarnished by physical contact that didn’t constitute another in skintight clothing with glassed over eyes. The rough and tumble push was slowed greatly. Xerxes eyes brightened in the strobe and kaleidoscope of lights as he saw the target. Well dressed, forties, peppered black hair, slight belly behind dress shirt. Seventeen year old girl on lap, a detail Xerxes keyed into by some feral instinct. The safety clicked off. Screams. The lights were fading in Xerxes eyes, the world was darkening. The lights were turning white in his eyes, the darkness was darker, a void that needed to be filled burying into his psyche and soul. Arm raises 35 degrees, sights aren’t aimed down. 35 meter shot. Forty five caliber bullet. Index finger sits on trigger. A deep voiced black man is shouting. The girl begins to leap in panic. Man’s pupils dilate, fight/flight. The trigger is squeezed once. The hammer drops. A miniature supernova in the pistol; the birth of a bullet exiting barrel womb. The slide pulls back, placenta cartridge ejects like unwanted afterbirth next to a condom wrapper. Shot hits carotid, arterial spurt of bloody fireworks. Xerxes ducks as a heavy arm nearly snaps into his neck. Grabs bouncers arm and performs somersault off of it. Bouncer falls off balance. Twelve credits an hour is hardly enough for this kind of spectacle.
Tyoko’s out of his office, on the floor. Bright green spiked hair, as if black and white corporates would ever run a place like this. Middle-eastern, emigrated 2067. Xerxes devoured details, and had found all the information on the club owner any personal site could offer, and a couple hacks into his email account, as if anyone with an account named *Agent69@Miami.com* would have some hard to crack password. Xerxes has already made it to the elevator, enabling it and the alarms. The police will show up in fourteen minutes by mileage from the station and that the only pressing concerns at near midnight are drunk drivers. Most likely four cars. Xerxes had no intent to sit in the back of one of them. The music is soft and harmonious as the door closes as a bouncer closes in on the door. He will press the call button, but by then someone on the third floor has called to get up. They will be disappointed. Xerxes steps out as a fifteen year old boy gets in. Fake IDs will get you anywhere these days. The stairs have already been found, and Xerxes glides down them, riding the rails or hopping three steps at a time. Already at ground floor. The black walls are going back to their electronic and shifting colors, working for the appearance of nebulae. The front door is wide open. Twelve minutes until the cops arrive. Already out, briefcase in back alley by Miami. Xerxes pries it open after entering his code to the electric lock. Throws dark clothes in and changes garments. The change is miraculous. Five minutes. Xerxes crosses the street when safe and watches. The night is quiet but for the distant sounds of the club, the music continues. The orgy of noise persists. Hardly anyone in there will care about a dead body. The man who dressed as Xerxes smiles as the four cars come, as planned. Frantic with nine millimeter pistols out of holsters breaching through the front. The man who left the club tugs a cigarette from an embossed metal case, lighting it with a flourish and puffing pollution into the air already choking in human corruption.
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