Page 41
Machine Man

Lola rose from the table. She offered me her hand, and I took it. As the Contours extended to full height, her eyes held mine. Sunlight bouncing off a building across the street played across her cheeks, and a few stray hairs that had escaped her pony-tail glowed orange. I felt myself lifting out of my body. That’s how it felt: like I was leaving physical form behind, becoming something weightless and untouchable.

A hard shard of light skipped across Lola’s face. I turned, because by now I’d heard the motor. Outside the cafe window, a large white van jumped the curb and disgorged Better Future security guards.

“I think—” I said, but that was all I managed before they burst into the cafe and began to knock over tables. People screamed. Plates hit the floor. In the midst of all this, Carl spotted me. He raised his gun and yelled for me to let go of that woman right now. I felt exasperated, because this was really terrible timing for me. That was my mistake: thinking he would never actually shoot.


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