Mileage | A flash fiction story
Jax unloaded the barrel from the hand truck with a thud, barely missing a dark smudge — something in an advanced stage of decay.
“Careful,” Dino whispered, his head poking out of his bar's back door, eyes looking for witnesses down the littered alleyway.
“Thirty gallons of used motor oil.” Jax folded the hand truck into a suitcase-sized mass of metal tubes and hinges.
“You guys drive around a lot, right?,” Dino rubbed his hands. “You know, most drinks get better with age, but mine get better with mileage.” He chuckled and elbowed Jax.
“Don’t touch me,” was the reply.
Dino promptly abandoned the joke and pressed his wrist as if typing on it, a soft glow pulsating under his skin. “Here’s your payment.” He offered his hand.
Jax shook his head. “No implants.” He produced a pen-like device with a glowing screen on its side.
“A pen?” Dino frowned. “Implants are way safer, my friend. What if you lose that thing?”
“What if you lose your arm?” Jax’s eyes were deep into Dino’s in an unblinking, expressionless stare.
“Ah.” Dino swallowed. “Good point.”
He picked the pen and signed his name on the air. As soon as the transaction was completed, Jax clawed the pen out of his hand and walked away without a word, vanishing down the alleyway and into the bright, bustling adjacent street.
“Nice doing business with you too,” Dino mumbled.
He analyzed the precious barrel, tracing the curves with rough fingers, grinning alone in the dark. He tried to move the barrel inside the bar but it didn’t budge. He gave it all he had until he got lightheaded.