He barely looked up from the paper to acknowledge her presence. Artung with him ignored her completely, pretending to be absorbed in his own words. He was instead thinking. Back in the day this girl was *poison*. Yet she stood her ground before them defiantly, daring them to speak or act in some way. Jimmy Dieselengine finally rattled his paper loudly, which we know now is a sign of agitation and/or disapproval, and then rolled his eyes upward over the top, cooly meeting hers. “If we have to speak let’s do it in the cemetery where no one else can see us. 5:19 this afternoon.” And then he was back to reading, or at least pretend reading. Because he too was spacing out about the past now. The dancing. The playing of cards. Or so they heard.
She had to pay 250 just to get him to sit down with her. He knew she had lots of cash because of the wall between the states. The tree beings she allied herself with back in the former era horded away beaucoup green within their narrow, dark confines, ready to burst forth at the Freeing Day, as they called it, and spend it hither and thither on overpriced trinkets and baubles, the opposition said of the impulse. The same considered her one of those trinkets or baubles, depending on what faction you asked. She was capitalism embodied, em*boldened*.
She was a weed to be removed, she remembered a senior councilmember saying about her as she stared down at one of her kind, according to them, growing from a crack in the pavement. The meeting with Dieselengine was over. Someone was approaching with a ho. Better amscray before I am recognized again, she thought, and moved back into the shadows of the place.
“The Monolith,” he summarized earlier at the bench in the far part of the cemetery, giving her what she wanted, what she could handle. The cold breath kept flowing out of her body like an expulsion of good from evil. “They had to push you out,” he said, watching it.