Beamo’s Gold part 33
The Sawbird Gang takes refuge with the geemo Highsters.
Our shot-to-pieces party rolled up to the foot of the Highsters’ capital village called Safecliff an hour before dawn. Bright searchlights lit up the vertical port. I parleyed with the gatekeeper and then her matronly sounding supervisor through a ray-dey-o type gadget.
After negotiating for forty-five minutes, female Highsters finally scrambled down the sheer, north-facing precipice of a broad mountain without any tethers or safety nets. In the shadows they seemed like people-sized squirrels. When they got down on flat ground some stood upright and bounced along with a loping, two-legged gate. About half just stayed on all fours since their muscular limbs were all the same length. Other than their forefingers being longer than their middle fingers and their gloved feet with fingers instead of toes, they looked human.
They collected our firearms then loaded gut-shot Joro onto an open-air elevator first. It wasn’t much more than a swing-stage scaffold. One pretty-faced Highster girl medic looked about ready to hype-out after seeing his should-have-been fatal wound. Still conscious and cussing me for letting the Highsters take our guns, that outlaw was just too ferocious to be killed. It helped that he had been given a blood transfusion from his twin brother Khoro and then ably tended to by Little Bit.
When leg-wounded Hopper Leap’s turn came to be loaded onto the elevator, Chuckles helped carry the stretcher. The Highster girl medic noticed Chuckles checking her pretty face. They both smiled at each other. This romantic lightning strike made my stomach churn and I must have grimaced.
The young Highster girl caught it and said, “You look like a mean man.”
I just gave my best river pirate scowl. The blue uniformed Highster girl vibed like she wanted to drop the stretcher and take off. She didn’t though. Her smile returned when she looked back at still-smiling Chuckles-the-pervo. They both went up with the wounded outlaw.
Took the next elevator ride with Little Bit and Bo Rat. We rose higher and higher. The extreme elevation and blustering wind made the usually steady outlaw boy cringe. Even though she was in mourning, tears tracking down her smooth cheeks, my girl Little Bit took in the view. We held each other and watched the sunrise stabbing through the clouds. In the northwest distance we made out the glow of an active volcano. After a good long ride, the elevator finally stopped two-thirds of the way up to the peak. We stepped off into an amptheater-sized grotto with electriky lighting. All around were only female Highsters who seemed to have not enough to do. This used to be a busy mountain cliff port.
“Women run this country?” Little Bit wiped her face with her hands, wanted to be ready for negotiations with the Highsters.
“Not exactly,” I said as two orange uniformed female Highster guards escorted us down a broad tunnel hallway to the command post. “They have elections where only females vote. But the candidates they vote for are mostly male. Those female-elected men run the government. With a few exceptions, by law the Highsters only let their females interact with outsiders. They are afraid that their males will get taminated with what they call ‘toxic behavior’ from the likes of us.”
We checked in at the security office inside the command post. I offered the short-haired brunette commander all the rare earth metals I busted out of the remains of eleven-hundred-year-old electricky vehicles. Five years worth should have been a small fortune to the Highsters. They accepted the toll, but just barely. Again, this was different than my first visit. On our way out the security door an hour later, Little Bit pointed to the flashing blue lights above us.
“Warning lights,” I said. “Nuuk poison blowing east from the Pacyfic Ocean.”
We quicked our step, rounded a bend and there was Chuckles cuddling with the Highster girl medic. She saw me and reluctantly left his side. Chuckles waved us over.
“Yeah?” I asked with no patience.
“I want to marry that Highster girl.” Then he blurted out: “I’m gonna quit the Sawbird Gang and join the Highsters.”
“What’s her name?” Little Bit chirped.
“Swan,” Chuckles gushed. Something was different about him, his complexion all of sudden cleared up. The psycho must have already got his first hand-job from her in some cosy alcove.
“Her name is Swan?” I said with a sneer.
“Shut up, Beamo,” Little Bit derided me.
I was anxious to get inside our assigned room out of the nuuk exposure. Pointing my finger at Chuckles’ scrawny chest, I lit into him with all the wisdom of my vast experience. “You get tangled up with a Highster girl you’re going to regret it. It’s a different way of living, not just the fact they’re geemo people and look different.”
“I don’t care. I want out of the Sawbirds.” His chin held high as he brazenly back-talked me.
“Then you’re a brainsick half-wit as well as a duck-humping pervo. There’s three ways to get out of a gang, shi-head. First is getting offed. Second is getting a beat-down from Bonehead and two of the others. Third way is getting married.” I rammed my finger into his scrawny chest for emphasis. “If you get out, get out the smart way. Take the beat down.”
“No, I’m going to marry her!” Stiff-lipped he gave an adamant gaze like I cared.
I didn’t. Just turned without any further comment and got inside our room. That’s all the effort I was willing to give old Chuckles. Inside was a spare, chiseled-out cave room that contained only a bed and table and two chairs lit up with a single light bulb. Paced back and forth inside waiting for Little Bit, wishing for a window to look out of. Nuuk poison scared me; I admit.
When she finally came in, Little Bit had the grin of the cat that ate the prized pet goldfinch. Instead of chewing her out, I just took off my clothes and got in bed. She found a ledge with a pitcher of water I had missed. She poured a cup and handed it to me then poured one for herself. Still grinning she took a long gulp then shed her clothes and got in bed.