“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.
I like this.
You might consider starting a few seconds earlier, with: "Georgie been in today?" I asked. "I need to talk to him."
Actually, "Too late," sounds a bit cold. Maybe it starts, "Georgie been in today?" I asked. "That bastard owes me fifty monetary units."
Starting with the question lets us know immediately that we're in first person, and that the narrator is the main character.
No need to call the window ancient when you've shown it through the flaking lettering.
I'm not sure scraping up is what would be done to a stain, or that shovels would be used. If there's more there than the stain, describe what's there.
The biggest problem I had with this was that I couldn't tell who was talking and then because of that, the lack of emotional impact over the death threw me way off.
I like starting a story this way but not quite this way. I'm with EE, you have to reveal a little bit more about the person speaking.
I don't know how to say this but my understanding of the meaning of the word "splooge" is somewhat uglier and more vulgar than just a gory blood stain.
The entire dialogue sounds too cold to be believable! Somebody's just jumped to their death and the barista nonchalantly announces this as if Georgie's just flown off to Hawaii for a few weeks?
I "get" that it's conveying that Georgie was a mechanoid with organic bits, but is "dead" the right way to describe him/it getting smashed to bits?
If the barista had a connection to Georgie, and felt strongly enough to use the term "dead", then he would have been a bit more sensitive in announcing the news to our narrator.
Nevertheless, it's a well written piece, as it has piqued my interest, if only to find out what the heck Georgie was, and why he/it met his end in that way.
Thanks for the feedback. I'll start a sentence (or maybe two) earlier.
It's the start of a set of three steampunk stories with a murderous bent.
What a coincidence! I just finished my third story with a bent murderess!
Overall I liked this. Nice observation with a hard noir-ish edge. Seconding EE's comment about not needing to say the window is ancient when you've shown it. And I have to agree with anonymous about splooge, being a regular reader of Fandom Wank. Unless you _want_ that association....
Oh, yeah, and brill continuation!
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