Denim vest pulled tight against the cold, Arnie Weaver willed his shivering to go away. He was at the races by invitation and had no desire to embarrass the girl who had brought him. Hand laced in Kristen’s, he walked forward with her. The small miniskirt matched his vest, though he was not sure this was on purpose. “Chick must be freezing her ass off,” he thought to himself. He could see most of it and the view was great, but her pale skin was covered in gooseflesh. “Must be the tequila helping her.”
She led him by the hand, pulling him through the dingy crowd as the airhorns squawked and silly-string shots flew through the air. Sunglasses at night, barely translucent by the light of the trashcan fires, were on most of the attendees. Arnie had left his at home, due to the lateness of the hour, but he somehow felt he had forgotten a piece of the uniform in his ignorance; a bit of fluff that made him look as though he belonged, rather than a suburban kid that had been asked to accompany the chick dragging him along. Her hand released his, to be grasped by another and pumped up and down. “Sup, dude?” someone asked.
“I said how’s the hammer hangin’, bro?” asked an older man, his firm hand shaking Arnie’s. Before him was an eighties god, a boy dressed in too much leather with his hair up in a strange, colored spike. He was ghostly pale and all of his veins stood out against the skin, the body so wiry that it could not hold any muscle. “Kris says you’re her new boy-toy?”
“Arnie,” he said, his grip tightening and joining the handshake. “Hammer’s fine, little to the left today, but otherwise it’s good to go.”
“Outta sight,” the man said. “I’m Bolt.”
“The fuck kind of name is that?” Arnie thought. “Bolt, huh?” he asked. “What is that, Swedish?”
“English name, pinky-finger. Short for Otto Boltman, fixer.”
“Fixer, huh? What’s a fixer?”
Bolt smiled wide and reached up to remove his sunglasses. His eyes were whited out, completely paper-pale to match the rest of him. “We fix you,” he said. “Whatever you want, old Bolt is here to rescue you. Don’t like our eye color? That’s cool, I got dozens of them for you. Want different hair, different clothes, a different job? I got all of that, at minimal and affordable prices.”
“What’s affordable?” Arnie asked. Kristen had left him to talk to Bolt and gone to get them another couple of beers. “I got a solid job but I don’t rake in tons, what exactly do you mean by that?”
Otto Boltman ocked his head, closed his eyes, and sighed deeply. His cohorts, standing behind him, sniggered. Bolt held up a hand and they suddenly quieted, looking around awkwardly as though they would rather be anywhere other than behind him. “I ain’t exactly cheap,” he said, “but we have the most affordable prices around for you desk jockeys.” He reached into his breast pocket, drew out two cigarettes, and stuck one in his mouth. The other was offered to Arnie, the filtered tip stuck out to him. He puckered his lips on it and clamped down. Bolt took a match from the same pocket, cupped his hand, and used his thumb and ring finger to snap over the striker. The match lit and the held in his hand, shielded from the breeze. He leaned down and stuck his smoke-stick into his cupped hand and puffed until it lit, then indicated that Arnie should do the same. He did and as Arnie took the first, deep puff he saw that Kristen had returned with their beers. Inhaling deeply, he took a sip. Watered-down piss swept through his mouth, gagging him. Gritting his teeth, he swallowed the mouthful and held his breath, willing the physical reaction to pass.
“You okay there, Arnie?” Kristen asked, taking a swig of her own beer. “What’s up?”
“Nothing,” he replied, “this is fuckin’ awesome.” Her smile widened at this, thrilled with the prospect that this good-natured, country boy would join her in the first place. “Bolt here was telling me he’s a fixer.”
She lit up at this. “He’s great!” she exclaimed. “He did my clit!”
“Exc…excuse me?” Arnie stuttered.
“Yeah,” Bolt interrupted. “We do everything to fix someone how they want. Little Kirsten here wanted a more sensitive clit so we tweaked it a bit. We shoot some of her blood into the spot under the ‘man in the boat’ and boom, better fuckery for her.”
Arnie looked at Kirsten. “You got your clit pumped?”
“Yeah,” she giggled. “Makes the whole thing better.” He thumbed the little knob in his pocket, the blue pill he had brought just in case. He had only been on a couple of dates with her but they had been getting along pretty well. He had thought the old “third time’s the charm” adage would function here, though “three strikes and you’re out” was certainly on his mind as well. “Took ‘er on a test run,” Kirsten was saying, “and it works great.”
“What the hell?” he started. “So how long ago was that?”
“About a week,” she said. “With Bolt, right after. Why?”
“Seriously?” he said, red in the face. “You have to ask?”
“Oh please,” she said, rolling her eyes. “You nailed Beth at work and I know you’ve been fuckin’ Kammy Martin down at that Mexican place down the street from your apartment. Don’t hold me to no double standard, dickbag.” Arnie rolled his eyes and willed himself to shut up. “Listen,” she continued, “I gotta tinkle. Chill here.” She thrust her drink into his hand, half of it spilling down his carefully chosen clothing, all of it designed to make him look like a hoodlum that belonged at the event. She stormed off towards the port-a-johns that had been there for who knew how long.
“She’s a pistol,” Bolt said, huffing on his cigarette, “but she’s right. You’re an ass.”
“You don’t know me,” Arnie said.
“Nah, I know a hundred guys like you,” Bolt said with a chuckle. “You ever done silly putty?”
“No,” Arnie said, “but I was going to. My birthday’s in a week and my boys were hoping to find some for me.”
“Well,” Bolt said, suddenly cheery, “by all means then, step into my office.” He had adopted a mock-sarcastic tone. “If you’re lookin’ to score the I gotcha covered.”
“I ain’t no mark. I’m just here with Kristen.”
“Ha!,” Bolt barked. “You ain’t here for no reason other than getting under that skirt, which the breeze is having an easier time of right now, believe me.” He ran his hand through his slicked-back blonde hair. “Now look, are we gonna deal or not?”
“Wait,” Arnie said, “you were serious?”
“Of course,” Bolt replied, “I never joke about a deal. You lookin’ to score or ain’t ya?” Off to Arnie’s left a gun went off, the sound of squealing tires and screaming fans ringing in his ears after the loud flash of gunpowder. The cars were off, small Japanese models built for light weight and speed. He turned his head to watch as they tore off, eventually making a round at the dirt road. The track was built in a circular enclosure , fans standing along the sidelines to watch the devastation and speed. He turned back to the potential drug-pusher.
“Look,” he said, “I ain’t into silly putty.”
“Too slow for you?” asked Bolt.
“Yeah, actually it is,” came the reply. “I used it a bit in college and no matter how good of a time everyone else was having I always fell asleep. The stuff is boring for me, just didn’t click, you know?”
“Oh, lordy, do I know,” the man chuckled. “Stuff is just sad-liquor for kids.”
Arnie stood, hands thrusting deep into his pockets, and looked back and forth. “Got any fuel instead?”
Bolt leaned back at this, then also looked around. ‘Fuel’, as it was known, was a highly addictive stimulant made specifically for racers. It had killed plenty, the idea being that it was soaked in jet fuel, and there was a huge crackdown on it. Racers even frowned on it, the stuff had claimed the lives of over a dozen local men and women and even this illegal street race was not somewhere you wanted to get caught with any of the stuff. “I mean, maybe,” Bolt said. “Sure, I can get you some. What do you want with it?” He looked Arnie dead in the eye. “I don’t want Kristen near that stuff, it’ll fuck your system all to hell. This stuff just for you?”
“Stuff is just for me,” Arnie said. “I don’t even know Kirsten that well.”
Bolt smiled. “You gonna feel bad if we ditch her?”
Arnie shook his head, then turned around to see where she had gotten to. Glass bottle in-hand, Kristen as swigging booze as she chatted with a girlfriend she had apparently run into at some point. “Nah,” he said, “she looks busy. I don’t feel bad one bit.”
Bolt grabbed him by the shoulder and led him away. “Let’s get moving,” he said. “I wanna be back before the last race is finished.”
Kristen turned to look to where they had been standing. No one was there, and she could not see the two men anywhere. She was distraught for a moment, then took a deep chug on the dark brown liquor and turned back to her conversation. “They’ll turn up,” she thought. “It’s not like they would just leave me here.”