Here’s a quick excerpt from my book, Mizgot. This is a simple little scene with Natalie, the conflicted antagonist of the story, who is hired to steal Mizgot. Ivan is her turbulent ex-boyfriend and criminal partner. Natalie is currently being forced to live somewhere she doesn’t want to so that she can observe Mizgot’s creator, Marvin…
Natalie finished her ice cream and sat fidgeting in front of the holo-vid. It had been a big couple of days for her, and she felt she had pulled off a fairly big job outside of her normal comfort zone. But her agitation wouldn’t subside. Turning off the display, she cleaned up her dishes and proceeded to scrub the bathtub. The apartment still didn’t feel comfortable to her. Not like her previous place, which awaited her in the No Man’s Land area. She worried that squatters would take over her place while she was gone. It was a normal occurrence in that lawless slice of the city. Ivan had promised her that he’d keep an eye on it, but that was hardly reassuring.
After cleaning the kitchen counter for a third time, Natalie had finally had enough. She dug through her bag and pulled out a small plastic vial of eye drops. The vial contained a sedative mixed with a hallucinogen all delivered via nanobots. It was a potent mix. She wasn’t keen on the hallucinogenic portion but it was the only sedative she had on-hand that was quick-acting, and she couldn’t stand another minute of existing in this place.
Leaning her head back, she squeezed two drops into each eye and blinked it around. Most of the nanos sunk into the lining of her eyes and into her bloodstream while others swirled around, dimming and blurring her vision as they positioned themselves in a pixelated web over her corneas. A color test pattern slowly brightened in her vision as the nanos calibrated while they awaited neural signaling. Shutting off the lights, Natalie stumbled into the bedroom, laughing and cursing as she kicked the doorway. Stars began forming in her view with weird dancing shapes of shifting color, enhanced visually by the chorus of nanos now covering her pupils. She lay askew on the bed on her back, a dull smile forming as the last of the drugs were injected beyond her blood-brain barrier and she floated into oblivion.
Natalie had been introduced to drugs in her early teens. Her dad had lost his job as one of the last human bus drivers in the city and he had moved her and her mom into the heart of the small, poor, Russian district of the city. She had met Ivan soon after that. He was a few years older than her and she was quickly smitten by his clumsy charm. He introduced her to the joys of street-living and nano-drops. All sorts of people, from the incredibly wealthy investment engineers in the financial district to the street dwellers in No-Man’s land, used some sort of nano-drop drug or visual enhancement. The illicit versions differed little from the legal enhancers, which were used for a wide variety of things, from wickedly realistic VR simulations to helping the visually impaired. She remembered the burning sensation and the difficult time she had just keeping her eyes open to apply the drops the first few times. Whenever she closed her eyes too fast, causing the drops to spill off her face, Ivan would become enraged and threaten to never share again. But a few minutes later would find him helping her apply them correctly.
“Look up, to the right. No, not at me. Look at nothing, then you won’t see the drop coming,” he would say. She would oblige him. Anything to keep him happy. “One of these days we’ll get enough money to go live in Russia. They don’t have anything like nano-drops over there. We could take a small suitcase of these and sell them for so much money.”
“What do you mean? They have nano-drops in Russia.”
“How do you know?”
“My cousin lives there. She does these all the time,” answered Natalie.
“Well, they ain’t the good ones like these. These would be fucking gold in Russia.”
“How would you afford enough to fill a suitcase? Wouldn’t you just take the money there instead?”
“You’re so dumb,” Ivan scoffed. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the rep. Hell, if you’re the dealer of this awesome shit then you are the shit. You’d have all the rubles you’d need.”
“They don’t have any rubles.”
“Of course they do. It’s Russian money. You lived there, didn’t you know that?”
“No, they have Euros now. My dad always gets angry about that when he’s drunk. Says the Germans finally took over Russia with their shit currency.”
“Whatever, fine. Euros. That’s not the fucking point,” Ivan crossed his arms and looked away.
“Well, it sounds pretty cool. I’d go back to Russia with you if you want,” Natalie said, sidling up next to him.
“Yeah? Well, maybe I’ll take you, if you’re a good girl. Maybe.”
Natalie’s memories faded from her as she passed into a deeper sleep, beyond the reach of the drug…