“Schlock Sci Fi”

Sveinbjorn Bertilsson waits malignantly by the turn of the stair, under the dripping, electrode bundled rheostat. (I say malignantly because of his sloped posture, and the way it made him seem like he was on his way to kill something.)

Sveinbjorn and his associate stand in this wet, grate-floored hallway in the undercity’s blackest depths. It’s the city under the city, where the city never sleeps. In fact, the city has never even once gone to sleep down here. The city tends to NOT stay at home, if they’re from here. (The dwellings here being small, cramped, and usually — in one way or another — infested.)

“There are slums down here that’ve never been found,” Sveinbjorn tells Richter Blank, his associate. “We only know them by name. As a homicide detail.”

“That’s very noire, Sven.”

“Wait it’s not even noire yet.”


“There’s a dead girl cocooned in electrical tape down here. Black electrical tape.”

“That’s not funny Sven.”

Sven unrolls the body from a shelf in the dark wall.

“OH SHIT,” says Richter.


“Fucking SHIT.”



“Y — ”


“Well said, Richter.”

“SH — ”

“Richter, put a chip in this corpse for bag-and-tag, and lets go down this dark stairwell, into the dark.”

And they did. Sveinbjorn Bertilson had someone he needed to kill.

Who’s afraid the big bad wolf?” asked Sven into his cuff-mic.

“Me and every kid in the Hover-Stratum.”

“Oooga booga booga,” said Sven.

“I can’t go with you on that one. I’m just not as into the same mood, Sven.”

Sven looked to 7 or 8 o’ clock or so, where Richter was crouched with an electromagnetic pulse crossbow, covering their 6, and certain other angles, depending on the situation, which are top-secret and will not be discussed here. Sven peered into the dark at 7:45PM or so, and said, “Richter, god damn it.”


“This is not a game. This is a kill, and I need you on board.”

Then they had a serious talk about mojo and protocols, which lasted 2.5 minutes, and is top-secret, and cannot be discussed here.

At this point, Sven was beginning to feel pangs of nicotine withdrawal. Part of him kept revolting under the slogan Just Gimme A Fuckin Cigarette. And he had to hear it, even at a time like this.

There, at the outskirts of an unnamed slum — deep beneath what’s deep beneath the city — the pangs hit, and there was a moment of stillness.

Then there was the jarring glow of halogen floods coming on, and the firefight began: pa-chew, pa-chew, pa-chew. Electromagnetic crossbow bolts hissed through the air and rang stinging off metal surfaces. Then there was the clatter of the ricochets — no few secondary collisions, these, and just as deadly as the first. The clatter drew blood. On both sides.

When the pa-chews stopped, Richter peered over the shattered concrete block he’d been crouching behind. He was lightheaded and surprised to find the body of Sven — the apparent protagonist — curled up bloody, and blank-eyed, and very dead. Fucking Sven was dead. And so was everyone else.

Even Richter.


(He was sad.)

Fuckin’ dumbass,” said the lieutenant, seeming to bleed tears. (As in, the tears seemed to split the organ they were supposed be a part of in their exit.)

Richter just looked down. He offered a scuff with his booted foot. Kept looking at the enamelishly pale tile flooring of the NNYPD.

“Fuckin’… one of my best guys,” cried the lieutenant. There was a yowl of real loss in his voice.

“I know,” said Richter.

“Fuckin’… how are you supposed to have buddy cop schlock without the other buddy… he was the other buddy, and now there’s just — .” The lieutenant, cut himself off.

The lieutenant was right. The whole buddy cop thing had been ended before it’d begun.