Just Ran

Chapter One

I read this book when I was in college; it was set in futuristic outer space. The narrator was a guy and he was human, I think. Him and others were living on a planet and had left Earth. 'Immigrants' came to his planet and he got angry, thinking that just because the rats (him and his people call them rats) 'killed' the Earth, they think they can just come live in his home now? He meets a girl with GM fluoro green eyes and she holds a secret. It's a robot. A sentimental one, and I think in the story, it's worth a tonne. They embark on a weird journey which I can't fully remember now, but I liked the story because it was different, the characters were originally unique and the sci-fi-ness was intriguing, possibly my first sci-fi book. This is how I met Ran.

Of course, not quite the same affairs had gone down.

I am seventeen and working at a bar. The law just changed a decade ago, allowing citizens to work at a bar if they are 16 or older. I am scrubbing a bench top when a scrawny spazzy little hoodlum crashes through the door, puffing heavily.

'Oi! Where's the –' His stickly arms then launches for the remote. I just watch as he turns up the volume of the old aiwa television perching in the ceiling corner. It's on max volume now but he strains to hear it. As he climbs aboard the bench I am wiping, I start to shoo him off but he cuts me off.

Raising his palm at me, he says, 'Shhh! I'm Ozgur.'

But I start deflecting my attention as I see what's on the tevo.

There were crowds of them, all gathered in a senseless mass outside the Building. Some were weighing down the stairs still flowing out from the inside of the large dome. I pace closer to hear the anchorman say that the masses were in fact the new travellers who had come to stay for, a as of now, an unknown amount of time that could be unlimited. He goes on to say that some are already among us and that this information just only became known to them.

'Ya, the mon says there's like billions of them.' Spaz tells me.

'I can hear, y'know.'

'Ya, they got no space here in Planet. Are you gon give them a place?'

I just shake my head. 'Heya, we're about closed here, so piss of.' I grab a cup off of the bench and resume scrubbing.

He clambers down and sits on top the stools, turns down the volume and pipes up again. 'Ya, can I have some fill please. Those pancakes over there with lots of bacon and cream on 'em.'

I smell my armpit. 'You haven't got a dime on you.'

'I want some fill please.'

'What's your name?' I head to the fridge and pull out some bacon strips, chucking them into a pan on the stove.

'I'm Ozgur. What's yours?' He straightens up on his stool and I can see his top's too big for him.

'Eka. How old are you?' I glide my hands over my apron and pop the pancakes from the morning shift onto a plate and slide it to him. 'The cream is there. Help yourself.'

He swipes the cream tub and start spooning big dollops onto the pancake which he then proceeds to scoff down. Amazingly he doesn't get a single drop on his top or anywhere else. I pass him the bacon, oil and grease drip onto the plate from the pan as he holds it out to me. His eyes glisten with fervour. He sloshes that down too, licking the plate clean. I hurryingly scoop a sorbet drink from the fridge and hand it to him. I didn't think of it back then, but now I felt like I had needed to fill this punk up. He was so skinny and honest, I felt compelled. He ate and did things so fast too, that it made me unawarely speed up my pace. Not just the first time we met but many times after.

I take the plate from him and clean it. Then I clean the pan and everything else. When I came back out from the kitchen, he's still sitting there.

'We're shut, ok, y'got your feed. Wanna scram?' I untie my apron, hooking it up. I walk towards him and turn the aiwa off. He scrambles onto the bench top again. I'm standing right there so I grab his collar and push him off. But he holds on to my shirt.

'Don't y'have a brain? I just cleaned that!' I yell at him.

He pulls himself forward so he doesn't fall backwards off the bench and smash his greasy lips onto mine. Thinking back now, I was very shocked, he looked about twelve. I usually would have just slapped anyone off if they tried that on me. In this world, you have to be careful. And it was hard doing that now, not just because there were so many dirty scums around but also because you truly ain't got no one on your side. This spaz was a dirty scum alright, but he was young and I still saw an innocence in him.

I reel backwards taking him with me and he falls from the bench surface and collides with my chest. He lets go of my top and looks up at me. I lick my lips, tasting the creamy bacon and he jumps the bar top and spazzes out the wooden doors.