The Scales Paid

The Scales Paid

Part 2: The Scales’ Sweet Burn

The contract crossed the wide city street with his hands shoved into his coat pockets, not bothering to look either way. The white stick figure of a crossing sign showed, and cars stopped for the red light. The sound of his shuffling feet didn’t carry very far.

Vinny closed his eyes and without effort of his own, he found himself across the street, disoriented. He didn’t have control of where he went; Vengeance took control of that. What mattered lay ahead of Vinny: the contract. Approaching the corner, the man’s eyes remained glued to the ground, unaware of his surroundings.

As the man pressed his sneaker to the curb, Vinny prodded him, “Is there someone I can help with?” Vinny discovered quickly that if he said “something,” people thought he was a drug dealer, which wasn’t his type of contract.

His head snapped up, “Go fuck yourself,” the man spat, eyes giving the barest of glances at Vinny. The prickly anger chafed at Vinny, but the savory coffee taste brought a smile to his face. His smile was his contract. Through this wisp of antagonism, he found the anger burnt from being fired: theft. That’s what Jud already alluded to. Fair Judgment already completed his service to this employer; now there were only bitter feelings.

Passing, the man threw his shoulder into Vinny.

Determined, Vinny told him, “Theft. There’s a lot of anger. I’ll see what I can do.”

Sealing a contract was unique for each person. Sometimes the method of Vengeance didn’t matter. In these cases the choice could be creative, but this man seemed to have an idea. He projected his ideas; he knew the business. He knew the routines; the energy carried glimpses of his thoughts. The man’s surprise soured his anger, Vinny still drank it down.

Vengeance swept him away; he appeared in front of a short storefront with wide glass stretching across the building, showing the racks and racks of clothes hung on tracks, behind a counter on a track leading into a doorway to the back of the building. He could see the plastic hanging over each article of clothing. Around each hanger was a brown cardboard tag the size of a fist, presumably the owner’s information. A generic “Dry-Cleaning” sign hung inside on a white wall.

Service could begin on a paid contract. Through the glass, he could see a tall man with a short, pudgy torso looking upset. His eyes stared at the paper in front of him. His thick eyebrows looked to be in danger of crawling into his eyes, and his nose expanded flatly against his mouth, the bare skin of his upper lip dry and flaky.

Vinny pushed thoughts of the man’s looks aside; he decided a couple of broken machines would halt business but that seemed too easy. Machines could be fixed. It would only be a minor, if an expensive, inconvenience. His eyes trailed, studied, and scoured the open, narrow space.

Cocking his head a bit with his bottom lip between his teeth, he wondered if they kept other records: a computer of names, clothing, and costs, perhaps. In an effort versus reward scenario, could he destruct the computer while shifting the tags?

From the direct center of the store’s front, facing the door with its simple “open” sign, he walked out of the line of sign from the inside of the store, noticing the man inside never once looked up. Then, shrugging, Vinny remembered the tags, but wrong. He pressed and dragged his fingers the length of the glass like a shambling drunk with closed eyes.

Spending Vengeance was the only way to get Vengeance.

He fed the contract’s energy into the glass, feeling the tags’ ink, like a wave of thick coffee, mix and rearrange. As his fingertips met the cold, artificial stone, the ink dried again. Vengeance was always an awkward feeling; like caffeine or a sugar high, but in reverse. His eyelids drooped; he stifled a yawn. Before he could help it, the energy left his mind grasping towards the computer alarmingly but unable to close the distance to it.

Part 4: The Scales’ Home Life


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