No. No, it wasn’t. I’m sorry I lied. I was trying to set a mood.
It was a sunny afternoon. A bit on the hot side and kinda muggy. Barometric pressure was… I think I may have gone off on a tangent. The weather didn’t matter. All that mattered was the girl… And the survival of humanity.
Not to understate things.
Opening a PI office was a terrible idea; all of my friends told me beforehand. I should have listened. You can call me hard headed if you want but it’s tough to get honest work in this town. Most skilled and unskilled labor jobs go straight to the robots. Damn Robs. I don’t blame the corporations for using them, why pay a person to do a job when you can program a drone? They work twenty four-seven. Don’t need benefits. Don’t need a paycheck. Cut down on the overhead, shore up the profit margins. Problem is most of humanity gets lost in those margins. The rich get richer, the rest of the population becomes destitute. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.
My office was situated on the second floor above an awful smelling Asian themed restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Asian person in there. Cultural appropriation. I’m not sure I’m allowed to complain about that. Hey, free fortune cookies though.
Calling this craphole a dump would be an insult to craphole dumps everywhere. Crime ridden, skeezy old Gold Coast. Home, sweet home. I’ve heard tales that Gold Coast used to be nice once upon a time, that the name wasn’t ironic. Now it was the bad side of town in a bad town.
Chicago, city of brotherly love. No, that’s Philadelphia! Shit!
Chicago, the windy city. The city of broad shoulders and broader pizza. A city so corrupt that even the meter maids were on the take. If these streets could talk they’d have plenty to say and very little of it nice.
In a world of rapidly changing technologies, ideologies, and systems of power it was nice to know some things in this town could be counted on to never change. The police would always be terrifying and corrupt. They will never update the El lines. It will always be a punishable offense within the city limits to actually like ketchup. The Cubs will always lose. Certain things are simply a constant.
That day felt like any other day. Dodging bill collectors. Hassling the morning delivery robot with his big dumb plastic face. Checking the latest news feed the old fashioned way, by actually logging into a comp term.
Computer terminals are completely obsolete. So am I, I guess. Most people have upgraded to the implants. Either have the information projected above their forearm or if they’re a little more discreet, directly to the pre-frontal cortex.
I haven’t gotten those upgrades. I tell myself it’s because I’m old fashioned. Classic. A vintage soul in a modern world. The real reason is I can’t afford it. Knowing my luck, by the time I got something it would be time for another upgrade. I don’t got time to chase my tail trying to have the latest and greatest. That’s a fool’s errand. Thinking like that is what lead to the great cell phone gang wars fifty years ago. A lot of lives were lost.
Business was terrible. Mostly thanks to the rise of the net, privacy had become uncool a little after the turn of century. But there would always be cheating husbands and suspicious wives and vice versa. My bread and butter really.
I was just contemplating whether or not I should take up drinking as a hobby. That was what detectives were supposed to do right? Shots of cheap whiskey and cheaper women. Shame my stomach was too weak to handle much of either.
That was when the dame walked in.