Whatever Arrow might think, I do have other things to do in port than attend to my own needs. After the ship is secure in the hangar, and never mind the mildly erotic implications of that process, I meet up with a mechanic to have him check her over. It’s only been six weeks since her last tune-up, but little problems become big problems in a hurry when you’re out in the black, and I’d just as soon things went smooth. Surviving in my business is a constant process of shoring up little leaks and trying to make sure money stays ahead of entropy.
Then it’s off to the exchange to offload the little cargo we managed to get before we took our rather precipitous leave from Jordani 2. I discovered a few years back that it’s possible to put your goods out for sale and then have any offers sent to your pad while you, say, sit in a bar with one hand on a drink and the other on a Maenali contortionist, and ever since I have refused to do business any other way.
The contortionists aren’t on at my favorite bar today, but there’s a good little crowd and plenty of people to watch. I put my feet up and check the exchange. Won’t be much competition in the area of Jordanian slimewine; it’s a niche market. If I don’t see any offers by the time the mechanic’s through, I’ll sell it to the exchange and let them worry about finding a buyer, but the price will be better if I can get it done myself in the next few hours. Now to play the waiting game… which for me is a drinking game.
Of course, drinking alone is for suckers, and games need rules. So I like to start with something simple – I finish my drink every time a pretty young thing wanders in and buys me a new one. For most men this wouldn’t work, but as I mentioned to Arrow, I have a bit of a reputation in this town. Sometimes it brings people after my money, but just as often it brings people after… other things. And I chose this bar for a reason: it’s the kind of place “other things” congregate.
The first of these things to arrive today is a dreadlocked little humanoid named Remi Renholder. She’s not coming for me, at least not until she catches sight of me. Then she scampers over and promptly steals the chair my feet are sitting on.
“Rick Zarkov, you’ve got a lot of balls showing up here!”
Bit nervous. Remi might be a hundred pounds soaking wet, but little women are biters, it’s a fact. “Do I owe you money I don’t know about, Renholder?”
A small white hand locks on my wrist like a manacle. “You owe me somethin’ else,” she murmurs, leaning closer. The twitch at the corner of her mouth saves me. I pull her in and kiss her hard, and then sit back to drain my glass.
“Buy me a drink, then.”
Remi gets her own back by bringing me something that looks like a clown sneezed in it. But I have a Needlessly Large ship, and I haven’t met the drink yet that could emasculate me, whatever color it is.
“So!” she says as I try to find the end of the curly straw. “What have you been getting up to since we saw you last? Before we do any more smoochin’ I want to know about all the parasites you’ve been rubbin’ up against.”
“I’ll have you know I have not touched a single thing that could be classified as a parasite. A few symbiotes, maybe…”
She kicks me under the table. “Liar. I saw you listing slimewine on the exchange. If you’ve been milkin’ Jordanian slimes, I want to know about it! And now, not after I’m neck-deep in one!”
“You know there are ways to milk slimes without letting them milk you too, Renholder,” I drawl into my drink.
“But are they half as fun?” She winks at me, and the kick has turned into her toe running up and down my calf. I expected this, but not so early. Apparently Remi’s been about as hard up lately as I have.
“Well, I had fun with it. Different kind of fun, maybe.” I sit back in my chair and stretch my feet out, giving her a bit more range for her playing if that’s what she wants. “So we stopped in Jordani to drop some stuff off, not pick up, although not gonna lie, I kind of hoped we’d get the opportunity to replace what we sold. But it turns out it’s a bad season to visit Jordani 2 – “
“I coulda told you that,” Remi puts in.
“Well thanks, but you didn’t. I can’t keep track of seasons on all these little planets anyway; don’t they know we use a calendar that makes sense out here? How’re we supposed to trade with these people?” I shake my head. “Anyway. They’re having some kind of scheduled coup, apparently – ’tis the season to kill your amphibious relatives and put someone new in the big chair. Bad time to turn up like the gormless fool I am, wanting to plunder their natural resources.”
“I see you got outta there in good shape, though.” Remi tilts to the side and ostentatiously looks me up and down. “Well, in your usual shape. Which is good enough.”
“’Good enough,’ my Needlessly Large cargo.” I swallow the last of the clown sputum and pluck her drink out of her hand. “You’re gonna talk like that, you best go get me another drink. And find me a buyer while you’re at it.”
She comes back with something clear. Rule number one of drinking, especially drinking in a bar run by anything with more chromosomes than you – a clear drink is a cleaning product. It’ll scrub your brain and take two or three hours with it. I figure I’ll let her take the edge off that one before I dive in.
“No buyers here,” she reports, joining me in my side of the booth. “Slimewine’s gonna be hard to offload unless it’s untainted.”
“What do you think I am? Of course it’s untainted. Most people don’t milk it out of them with their tits, Renholder.” I manage not to look at her tits while saying this. I look at her thighs instead.
A vicelike little hand in my hair brings my eyes back to her face where they belong. “That’s what tits are for,” she murmurs. She is staring at my mouth, the hypocrite. I block her view with a sip of my drink and she shakes her head, releasing mine. “What else have you been doing, besides milking slimes the completely boring way?”
“Oh, you want to know about the symbiotes?”
“Do I know these symbiotes?”
“I don’t think you know these ones.” My hand has ended up on her thigh. Well, she didn’t exactly leave me anywhere else to put it, and she’s not moving it. “I found one of ‘em in a drug den on Meni – where I had a perfectly legitimate reason to be, before you say anything.”
She raises a pale eyebrow. “That being?”
“I was watching a rather lovely young thing work herself through a seven-hour orgasm, not that it’s any of your business. And I wasn’t the only one.” It’s a good memory. It and the drink and Remi’s breath on my ear are starting to cause the kind of problem I came here hoping to solve. “Come to notice after about four hours, when the poor girl’s lying in a puddle on the floor – I think the puddle might have been a girl too – there’s an astrilid clingin’ to her head and keeping her from stopping!”
Remi snorts into her drink. “You watched a woman come for four hours before noticing there was a psychic lamprey on her head? Did she even want it there?”
“Hell if I know; maybe it’s the specialty of the house. I certainly didn’t need one to keep me going. Anyway, she was starting to look a bit dehydrated, so I got up to do my usual derring-do – “
“Were you wearing pants during this derring-do?”
Time to switch drinks. She’s no longer mature enough to handle that one. I return the one I took from her, less a tithing, and divest her of the cleaning product. “You ruin all my stories, you know that?”
Her fingernails dig into my thigh and make me jump and slop some of the drink over my hand. “I can’t imagine why you think that you not having pants on ruins anything.”
“If you must know, no, my pants were off doing some derring-do of their own, about which far more anon. So I leap up, leading with my prow as it were – “
“I think it’s your rudder,” Remi says, rubbing my rudder. “Mm, feel that, this story must be about to get good.”
“Mhng. Yes. Anyway. Jump up, step in the puddle, which seems to like it, and try to pry this thing off the girl’s head. And it’s on there real good, and she doesn’t even seem to notice I’m there, which doesn’t really help since she’s still coming. I put my hand on her face and she damn near explodes, buckin’ up into the air. So then she falls, and that pulls the astrilid off finally. I’m leanin’ down, trying to see is she all right, and then – “
Remi’s hand is slowly running up and down my cock, and my pants are getting decidedly uncomfortable, but boners at the wrong angle are a fact of life when you live with Heloise, and sadly I’m used to it. Still, fair play. I put an arm around her and pull her right up against my side, and then I can run that hand down – she’s little, I’m not – and loosen up those painted-on pants she wears. I warm my fingertips inside the top edge of some arcane underthing that just feels complicated, and carry on.
“So as I’m leaning over, this damn lamprey whips around and locks on the nearest thing it can find.”
She gives me a hard squeeze and I can’t help jerking a little. “Like this?”
“Very much like that, yes. Thank god those things don’t have teeth. And you can just imagine what happened from there.”
Remi pouts. “No, I can’t. I can’t at all. You have to tell me!”
“You’re going to make me say it.”
She bites her lip, stroking me all the while. Can’t take this. After so long, my control is hair-thin, and if I finish this story, I might well lose it. A captain’s got to go down fighting, though. Might as well take her with me. I slip my hand into her panties and she moans softly, tilting her sex into my hand. One finger falls naturally between her labia and I whisper in her ear as I tease her clit.
“I fall back to the floor and that psychic monster just gobbles me up, swallows me right down to the base. And it’s wet, just like you are, Renholder, and it’s convulsing, just like you do when I fuck you, and I’m so hard it feels like I’m going to split apart – “
“Just like now…” she breathes. She’s riding my hand, driving my fingers deep into her and my palm against her clit, and you can’t see it from the rest of the bar but you can see enough to know there’s something going on with her, and all the while she’s holding on to my rudder for dear life.
“Just like now. And then I start to come, I’m coming down this alien’s throat, but I can feel it in my head too. Psychic little bastard is amplifying it, not letting me come down. I can’t stop. Can’t stop jerkin’ up into the air, can’t stop coming and coming…” I shove my fingers hard inside her, curling up against the soft wall, and she spasms and crushes her hand against her mouth as she comes on my hand. She moans, and she’s lucky the music has gotten louder, but all the same I see a few heads turn our way. Don’t care. I stay with her, stroking her through it until she falls still against my side.
“So then I spent the next two hours doin’ what I’d been watching her doin’,” I finish, grinning into Remi’s dreads.
“You son of a bitch,” she whispers breathlessly. Starts squeezing me again. If she’d done that while she came, I would have lost it right then. “Did you like it?”
“Did I like it. It was tighter than your throat, Renholder, what do you think?”
A guttural chuckle. I’m in trouble. “Oh, we’ll see about that.” She takes a quick glance around, and before I can do a damn thing she disappears under the table.
“Renholder, I like this bar. I wanna be able to come ba-aah, god.” I can feel her hands, her little body insinuating itself between my legs, and then she frees my cock. I push forward a little, to keep her out of sight, and try to look real serious about my drink.
Little hands on me. Hard, strong little hands. And they’re cool, and I’m feverish, and her mouth is hotter still when it closes on the head and I shudder. She’s licking, quickly all over like an animal. Her hands follow, up and down. Please, god… don’t let her stop. And don’t let me make a sound.
Then the ring of her mouth closes around me again, the velvet heat of her tongue sliding down the underside as she takes me deep. How can there be so much room inside that tiny head? I move one hand off my glass and bring it down to tangle in her matted hair, and she lets me push her farther. I hear a little gasp when she comes back up, and then down again. My hips are starting to move on their own; I can’t take much more of this. Her head is trapped between the table and my cock, and I’m pushing into her throat, and I was wrong, it’s tighter even than the damn psychic lamprey and this time there’s nothing in my head but me and fuck… I’m going to come in her mouth.
“Remi…” I hiss, and that’s all I can say. I’m coming; I can feel her swallowing around me with each thrust into her willing throat. Closing my eyes, gripping the table. Try to look like your drink disagreed with you. Not like you’re pumping more than a month’s pent-up lust into the warm mouth of a filthy little smuggler and god… it’s not enough.
I tug on her arm, and while she’s clambering back into her seat, looking smug as hell, I fasten up my pants. Might have misaligned a button, but hell with it. “We’re getting out of here,” I inform her, and finish the cleaning product in a gulp.