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   Chapter 3 No.3

The Time Saving Agency By Christina Engela Characters: 5091

Updated: 2018-06-29 12:02

The blown hover-drive technically excluded it from being a mobile home, but anyway – that was probably the only reason he was able to afford it in the first place. As with most things these days it was cheaper to buy a new one than to fix it. The garage door whined open, letting the sunshine stream in through the gap. The municipal sand-droids had finally finished filling in the huge crater in his front yard yesterday morning (another story altogether), so he was able to park his electric Jeepo in the garage again. The vacant lots across the drive yawned openly at him. Old mister Krugher had claimed his insurance money and moved to an old folk's home in Texasville, on the other side of town. Krugher's four-bedroom Supercruiser had vanished into the same crater, along with his wife and mother-in-law and several other surrounding campers only two short months ago. (Who'd have thought the Ruminarii were so adept at landscaping? All it took was a few well aimed anti-matter bombs and voila.)

Beck, aka Beck the Badfeller was actually a nice guy. He worked as a bounty hunter, collaring all kinds of criminal types and had developed an impressive reputation for always getting his man. Er – well, alright – except for that other case two months ago, where his man turned out to be a woman. Or was it the other way round? Anyway, Cindy-Mei Winter was something special, something that just made him feel good about getting out of bed in the mornings. He froze. No, that wasn't what he meant. He knew fellas who would say that about a gal, and then swiftly add "…and run like hell!" to it. This was different. Mei made him feel good about facing each new day. Yep. That was it.

Mei hadn't moved in with him yet, but he was working on that. She preferred having her own place and her own space, and just spending time with him. She was afraid to ruin a good thing, she said. Otherwise, he thought, she was probably just too classy to live with him in a mobile home with a blown hover-drive in a trailer park on the cheap side of town. Hell, even he was too classy to live with him, but it was the best he could do under his present circumstances. Besides, he spent more time at her place these days, when he wasn't working.

Beck reversed his Jeepo smoothly down the ramp, this time without disappearing into a crater, and drove off towards town. It seemed a pleasant enough morning. The sky was aquamarine, fluffy white clouds dotted the horizon, and Strato-Penguins were soaring high overhead in a 'c' formation, leaving a faint v

apor trail as they migrated west. (It was quite a long migration because any geographer worth his dolomite knows there is no east or west as long as you don't cut the globe open and spread it on a flat surface and play Spin the Bottle.) People were walking the streets, going about their daily business as usual.

The buildings in Lugaluru were mostly low, not more than three or four stories high, and modern in design. The city fathers had tried to make it as pleasant as possible, planting grass on the verges and indigenous ploplar trees to cast shade from the bright sun. It seemed like a good idea at the time, until it became apparent that aside from eating small bugs and even pigeons, crabby-grass thrived on eating ordinary grass. Add to that, the local trees didn't grow well so far from the tropics and the grass just wandered off, leaving the streets and sidewalks as bare and dry and dusty as the plains. Well, at least there was plenty of parking space, without having people yell at him to 'keep off the grass!'

The Salubrious Café was a pleasant little street café with sidewalk tables and umbrellas. As street cafes went on Deanna, it was pretty good. Cindy-Mei was already waiting for him when he arrived.

"Morning, love." He greeted, giving her a good morning kiss.

She smiled at him as he sat down. She was a sight for sore eyes – which his were by the way. Too many cold ones at the 'Shock Diamond' again last night after work.

"Sleep well?" He asked.

"Peacefully." She replied softly. His eyes wandered over her body. She was wearing a little black number today, a short sleeveless dress and shiny black stiletto court shoes. Her make-up was perfect as usual, her blond hair tied back in a neat stylish fashion. Her beautiful hazel eyes radiated emotion at him. It was hard for even him to believe that she had ever been anything other than female.

"Miss me?" She asked.

"Nope." He grinned. "Ammo is expensive." It was one of his little jokes. She smiled at him. "I can tell you're glad to see me." He said.

"Two days was long enough." She replied. He'd been on a case and only closed it yesterday. "I missed you."

He reached across the table and took her hand in his, gazing into her eyes.

"Move in with me?" He asked, trying his luck again.

"I have a better idea – come with me?" She countered playfully. "Let's leave this crazy planet and find somewhere nice to live. Somewhere sane. Let's go to Mars. It's a nice place. You'll like it there – no crabby-grass, no obsidian crows."

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