Interlude-Abram Saunders: Part 1

Abram Saunders wasn’t at all pleased to be disturbed. He’d come here for peace and quiet—well, as much quiet as could be enjoyed with the buffeting wind all around. He came for the peace, and he came for the view. From here, nearly all of New Frisco was stretched out before him, spreading away towards the hills and Sutro Tower in the distance, like an old world map. He could even see the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge. Really, just the towers cutting into the sky. A shame, but the bridge had been an acceptable loss. The city would move forward without the antiquated bridge. The city would thrive, even. Abram would see to that.

But he most certainly didn’t come here for petty business, the sort of stuff that plagued him day in and day out. As he looked out over the city, he would think of the ways he would make it better—from here he could make out the wind generators, spinning lazily along the crest of the hills. They were a colossal achievement, an idea Abram had read about and then made into a reality. He’d used the hulls of ships to create the massive blades, then hoisted them atop their towers. It was shoddy at best—ship hulls were by no means smooth, so they didn’t catch the wind quite right. He’d read about that, too. They weren’t quite…aerodynamic. Yet they were a beginning. They were the only thing in the city that wasn’t a relic.

They only produced enough energy to reliably power a few structures, although even those select few experienced outages sometimes. But it was a start. And he doubted he would see better in all of America, certainly not from those savages in Oakland or Berkley or San Jose. And he had his dreams, to one day see the skyline of New Frisco lit up for the world to see in awe.


And, listening to the howling of the wind, he would think of how he would someday repair this skyscraper, restoring it to it's former glory. This was the tallest building in New Frisco, the Transamerica Pyramid. Abram Saunders had rightly chosen it as his own home, his place of refuge. He’d taken the 48th floor and had it repaired—no small feat, but they’d managed to replace the windows using undamaged panes from lower floors. Only once the job was done did Abram realize that the task was far from over. While the 48th floor was free from the wind, it still screamed through the floors below with their shattered windows. The pyramid above was worse, though. Holes had been punched in the aluminum panels that made up the spire of the building, and they whistled almost like a teapot, high and grating. The sounds had been bearable at first but they quickly became too much for Abram to deal with on a normal basis. But he would think of the day when he could actually complete his tower, his monument to the reconstruction of the City by the Bay.

He was considering when he should begin the next phase of repairs when he heard the small dinging sound. He sighed even before he heard the elevator doors scrape open.

“What is it, Mr. Freeman,” Abram said, not bothering to turn away from his view. Then he heard the sound of footsteps, more than just one set, and he turned, already filled with a sense of resignation.

Of course, it was Fredrick Freeman in the lead. He was a squat, balding man who had taken control of the mercenaries that policed the city. Behind him were two of Freeman’s thugs, both with assault rifles. They were marked only by their military grade weapons, and a green strip of fabric tied around their arms and halfway down their rifles’ barrels. There was no other marker, no dress code. Between them was a woman who was quite obviously a whore. She was wearing what had once been a t-shirt, though it was mostly in tatters, now. It was torn down the swell of her breasts and then fell in strings around her bare stomach. Her hair was matted with dirt, but that didn’t stop the confident way that she smirked at him. It was a look that would have been sultry if it hadn’t annoyed Abram so much.

“Mr. Saunders, I’ve brought this woman to you for judgment—”

Abram held up a finger and Freeman fell obediently silent. “I’m certain there’s a wonderful reason, but I’ve told you before. I do not like being disturbed when I’m up here. Now I’m sure that you used your best judgment when you decided to defy my wishes. Again. So tell me why this woman deserves my attention.”

He looked suddenly unsure of himself. “Mr. Saunders, this woman is a prostitute—”

“And where was she practicing her trade?” asked Abram. He moved around to a large executive chair—it had weathered the past century very well, with only a few cracks in the black leather, and it was still comfortable enough. Someday they would have new leather. Undamaged. They would be able to make things that weren’t over a century old.

“She was in the Tenderloin, sir, but—”

“Then it’s none of our concern.” It was almost grating to say it, but that was the agreement he’d reached with the druglords. They wouldn’t interfere with how Saunders ran the rest of New Frisco, and they could keep their patch of the city, a place where whores and drug addicts ran rampant, unchecked. It was filthy, and only made worse for his blessing, but it was the only way that he’d been able to avoid turning his city into a warzone. “As long as she was within the Tenderloin, then she’s within her rights.”

“Sir, she was brought to us by Noah Chambers.”

That caught Saunders attention. Noah Chambers was like a demigod in the Tenderloin. He was their unquestioned leader, the Lord of Drug Lords. Why would he, of all people, be sending one of his whores to Abram for judgment? “Why did he send her?” Abram asked. And why didn’t the girl look afraid? She must realize that Abram held her very life in his hands, yet she only stood there, one hand on her hip, eyeing him with eyes that were only half open and lips that were pursed even now in a tiny grin. Where was her fear?

“It seems that Miss…Queen Elizabeth, as she calls herself, has been passing herself off as your personal consort. She’s been using this claim to get better business for herself.”

Queen Elizabeth suddenly pushed herself forward, past the goons and past Freeman, not concerned about their guns in the least. She fell before Abram’s chair, but it didn’t have the feel of supplication. She wasn’t begging, even now. “Oh, Mayor Saunders. I’m sorry that I’ve told people that you and I have been together. I never meant to lie. Maybe…” She reached forward and ran a finger along the cuff of his suit coat. “Maybe we could make it real so I wouldn’t be lying no more?”

“Get away from me…” Abram spoke in a quiet whisper, trying to contain the anger that was rising up in him. She wasn’t touching him, his bare flesh, but she was so close.

“What—” she began.

“I said, get the fuck away from me!” Abram stood suddenly, stepping around her where she knelt before him. She fell back, almost lying out on the floor. And there it was, the fear in her eyes. She’d realized by now that she wouldn’t be able to screw her way out of this one.

“I’m sorry. I’ll stop telling people that I’ve had sex with you,” she said.

Abram paid her no mind. “Freeman, have your men take her away from me.”

He nodded as his men grabbed her arms and dragged her to her feet. “And what shall we do with her, sir?”

Abram shook his head. His skin was crawling and he had to make himself look out the window to maintain the thin hold he had on his growing rage. He focused on the spread of the Bay, the hills and their covering of haze stretching away to the east. “I don’t care what you do with her. Let her go, hang her in Union Square. I don’t give a fuck. Just get her out of here.”

“Yes, Mayor Saunders.” Abram could hear the sound of their retreat, echoing through the mostly empty floor.

“Hold on, Freeman.” He stripped off his suit coat. “Destroy this,” he said as he handed the thing to Freeman. An actual Armani suit. It had been worth thousands before the bomb and was absolutely priceless now. It was the only real suit he’d ever owned, but he couldn’t bring himself to continue wearing it. Not now that this Queen Elizabeth had laid her fingers on it, running along his cuff in such a lascivious manner. “And find another, if you can,” Abram said. He doubted that it was possible, though. Some things were lost forever.

When he was once more alone, he stayed at the window, looking out over the lands to the east. There was a bright patch in the middle of the Bay which had once been called Treasure Island. A man-made island which had sunk back into the Bay. Further out was Oakland, where the barbarians controlled everything except for the freeways. He would overtake them, and the territory that belonged to the Prophet in Berkley. He’d inherited New Frisco from his father, Mayor Adam Saunders, but he would take the lands across the Bay as his own, expanding his lands. Someday, he would rule everything that was within view of his tower.

*     *     *
Noah Chambers watched from his balcony as the women danced on stage for him. A few of them were spectacular, truly worthy. But the rest were just more of the whores and tramps that could be found on every street corner. They might have a nice pair of tits, but they didn’t have an ounce of seduction. He wanted a fresh piece of meat, but he didn’t want just any piece of trash from the gutter.

He felt a hand on his shoulder.“Mr. Chambers, Freeman has returned.”

He nodded and gave a wave. Freeman came in a minute later, squat and putrid. And alone. Freeman’s band of mercs would have to wait outside for this one. He stood looking at everything as if it smelled to high hell. Well, perhaps it did, but the world was dead and all corpses stank.

“Freddy, my boy,” Chambers said. He held out his hands in a warm greeting. “Sit, friend, sit. You wouldn’t want to offend my hospitality.” He did, but not without a grimace. Chambers laughed.“Not all of us can live in towers, Freddy.”

He returned to watching the women on stage. This was a private showing. An audition, really. He wanted more women for his personal use. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was his harem. He watched as one of the women began a dance that involved a swath of feathers, a dance that came close to baring everything, without revealing a damned thing. It was a fucking tease was what it was.

Freeman was watching, but with an annoyed impatience. “What’s the matter, Fredrick? Not one of these women turns you on? Maybe if I threw in a few boys you’d get your rocks off.”

“I don’t have to take this shit from you.”

“No? From where I’m sitting, you’ll do whatever the fuck I want. I know exactly what you are. And you may not be some cocksucker, but we both know you’re a fucking No Name. How long do you think it would take for Saunders to march your nameless ass right off the end of the Golden Gate, just for making a fool of him?”

Freeman fell silent, but his mouth was still a stubborn line, his eyes still furrowed with annoyance. He wasn’t quelled yet. He would be. He was a fucking dog, and before the end he would grovel like a dog.

“Tell me about the meeting,”Chambers said. Another woman was dancing this time trailing her legs around a pole. Quite the beauty, until he noticed that she had a scar running up her side. A cesarean? Maybe, although few women survived that kind of surgery. More likely, she’d fallen into bed with one sadistic fuck who’d tried to cut her apart. It wasn’t unheard of. But it meant he wouldn’t have a thing to do with her.

“Mayor Saunders didn’t go for…Queen Elizabeth. He threw her out when she tried to proposition him.”

“You can leave words like that with your mayor. You’re on the streets now, and you’d best talk like the streets.

“So tell me, Freddy… What is the fucking problem with Saunders? No one can touch him, not with drugs, not with pussy, money is worth dick to anyone. One thing I learned in the Tenderloin is that everyone has a weakness, everyone has something they just can’t say no to. Well, we have fuck all on Saunders.”

“Not unless you have an Armani,” Fredrick said absently.

“What the hell is Armani?” demanded Noah, his voice rising. “What I want to know is why some goddamned politician has his men scouring the country side for virgins, when we don’t know a damned thing about why. Does he want to fuck them, throw them in a damned volcano, serve them as an appetizer at a dinner party? Something else I learned from the Tenderloin: know your enemy. Right now, I know jack shit about mine.”
“I don’t know what he wants with them, either. I know he's wasting a lot of time to find them, though. And as far as I know, he’s never even been in the same building with them.”
Chambers lifted his gun from its holster and balanced it on his open palm. It was old even by their standards, one of the Wild West antiques, a six shooter with roses carved into the wooden grip. “Well, Freddy, I’m getting fed up with this.” He leveled the gun on Freeman, who stared back without expression. At least the annoyance was cleared from his features. “Maybe I should just end you. You’re doing fuck all for me, and killing Saunder’s right hand man would be a good start. After all, he doesn’t even take a shit without ordering you to wipe.” He pulled back the hammer with his thumb. A bead of sweat was trickling down the bridge of Freeman’s nose and he was visibly trembling now. “I could blow your head off, paint the walls with your good-for-nothing brains, and those gals down there wouldn’t even bat an eye.”

He lowered the gun. “I won’t, though. Because I am quite convinced that you can figure this out for me. You are going to find out what he wanted with all the virgins. You’re going to be a good little nameless, because you don’t want your past to take a shit on your future.”

Chambers returned his attention to the ladies arrayed before him. Two of them were kissing on stage, their tongues wrestling. All well and good, but he had a strict rule. Only one girl per audition. One of them did have blonde hair, something that went a long way for Chambers. Ah, but her pubic hair was auburn. He liked natural blondes.
After a time, Freeman stood and began to leave. “Freddy,” Noah said. “What did he do to Queen Elizabeth?”
“Nothing. He said he didn’t care if I killed her or let her go.”
“And where is the girl?”
“She’s with my men. Do you want me to let her go?”

“No,” said Chambers. He doubted she would talk about this, but he didn’t care to take chances, either. “Kill her.”
“You mean you don’t want her back?” he asked.

Noah held his hands towards the stage. “Does it look like I have a shortage of women to fuck?”
He turned just long enough to see Fredrick nod, and then returned to the show. He already knew who he would pick, but he could enjoy the show for a little longer before claiming his prize. He would pick the woman with the feather fan dance. But he wouldn’t be having any of that feather nonsense when he fucked her. He always did enjoy the modest ones.

1 comment: