The Peddlers Of Smut, Fragment 1

space smut

“You’re losing it, man, the poor man’s edge. The hunger goes away, I warned you,” Montez messaged me.

The scrawny astronavigator hadn’t left his cabin in two days, claiming neurological breakdown. The sneaky bastard has forgotten how to read the stars. Apparently. Poor fucker. He’s been on the Ship longer than me and was now well in the grips of what the old guard called The Adjustment. They, those who have been here for years, they must have been as idealistic and driven as us once. Now they simply did what was asked of them and drowned the rest in liquor. The failure of youth. Fallacies, deception and bottled ambition. That point when poetry decays into prose. I was bound to hit it soon enough and harboured no illusions that I could handle it better than Montez.

It was Montez that had landed me the gig on board of the Ship. I had known the shifty black man for years, both of us starting out as cadets at the Free Thought School on Sirius 6. He was tripping off synthetic mescaline and Radical Astronomy while I trawled inter-species porn channels, drank too much Sirian beer – a violent concoction distilled somewhere in the Southern Swamps by the lepers banished there under the Containment Act of ’56; and slogged my way through my dissertation on Revolutionary Wordsmithing. Those were the golden years, that beautiful time that everyone, sooner or later, yearns for. The universe was our bitch, ready for the raping.

I took a liking to Montez on our third day at the School, when both of us were disciplined by the Dean for interrupting Professor Higgins’ lecture. The old fart, Gods rest his soul, was preaching the futility of localized revolutions in the face of inter-galactic hegemony. I objected, citing the successful slave-AI rebellion on Katar 9 and the bloody, but ultimately victorious war waged by the colonists in the Horse Head Nebula. The Higg shut me down fast and brutal. Artificial intelligence, he proclaimed, does not fall under the Table of Recognized Life-Forms and thus the events on Katar 9 cannot technically be considered a rebellion, but a malfunction. And the Free Love Confederation was based on a false ideal, debunked back in the 20th century. The Horse Head Sexual Liberation wars, in the Higg’s eyes, were an utter joke, not worthy of academic consideration. As a fresh-faced cadet, I was destroyed and humiliated. Then, alone out of a class of six hundred, Montez rose to back me up. His contribution, when Higgins gave him the word, consisted of an elegantly raised middle finger and earned us a speedy trip to the Dean.

After the unjust scolding, we nursed our bruised egos to fighting shape with whiskey smuggled in from the pleasure-stations orbiting Aldebaran – Sirius, at the time, had strict embargoes on liquor imports, an attempt to boost the local breweries that resulted in a spectacular rise in alcohol poisonings from badly-distilled leper-brew and torpedoed the planet’s economy by 7 percent. We then struck back by shambling down to the Higg’s on-campus residence and vomiting on his glider.

We’ve been friends ever since, despite losing touch for a few years after graduation. I liked Montez’s foul mouth and uncompromising views on the corrupt and degenerate nature of the system, and, I guess, he appreciated the fact that I was the only one who had both the balls and the humour to call him a nigger.

Now, light-years away from Sirius, the little niglet was messaging me ‘BRING ME DRUGS!’ and it felt oh so college. I smirked at his claim that he has forgotten the lay-out of the Ship – “classic Adjustment,” he electronically howled, “I can barely remember my name!” – and took a walk down to the Med-bay.

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