“Too late,” said the barista, leaning on the marble countertop and lowering his lashes over luminous brown eyes that, on a less beautiful boy, would irretrievably invoke a bovine comparison. “Georgie is done for. Dead, darling.”
That took my mind off his sculpted shoulders in a hurry. “I beg your pardon? When?”
“Hardly an hour ago. Took a header off that roof opposite.” He pointed out to the cobbled square. “The body’s gone but the cleaners are just getting started.”
I stared past the flaking gold lettering on the ancient café window. “I wonder if there’s anything non-organic left.”
“Better hurry and find out, sweet thing. I’ll keep your cappu warm for you.”
Flashing him a smile appreciative of much more than his kindly offer, I dashed outside. Under the lowering sky, the stain of Georgie’s landing would have been visible even without the cluster of regen-atons scraping it up with their miniature shovels, brushes and pincers like clockwork ants at a picnic. I shooed them away and stared down at the approximately body-shaped splooge on the cobbles. Georgie, for whom I’d have been well paid if I’d succeeded in returning him to his ancestral acres on the outskirts, was worth nothing once reduced to his component parts.
"GREETINGS, CITIZEN," said the head regen-aton. "ARE YOU IN NEED OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE TODAY?"
Lucky for me that I could hack these things -- one of many tricks I learned living on the streets after clockwork ants carried my parents away. After some rewiring, I asked, "Regen-aton, what happened to Georgie's body?"
"ANALYZED, CREMATED." Damn. Well, since I had it working for me...
"Regen-aton, scan the barista in the shop behind me. Is he looking at us?"
"PROCESSING...HOMOSEXUAL TENDENCIES: 87.83 PERCENT."
Opening: Jeb.....Continuation: anon.