Updated: Feb 27, 2019
Old Rusty’s sits on the corner of Nowhere, 2nd Keep-Moving Street, across from the Who-You-Looking-At Neighbourhood.
Rusty’s is a favourite with bums, barhops and bachelors alike.
Outside, it’s a beaten up old can. Third-gen pod, maybe even second. Been in the neighbourhood before there even was a neighbourhood. Colonising time. Back when Columbus was a ship and not a city.
Rusty’s was said to have had its own ecopoiesis garden, before they scrapped the idea. Said that Ever herself lived there, that Rusty’s is her own living-pod. Said that Rusty was a war veteran who was defeated in the IGIO2 signing and had his circuits screwdrivered.
But that’s all said by the bums.
Rusty himself clanks when he walks and grates when he talks. His hands can shake a cocktail faster than most and he can flame a tequila with his breath alone. Not that he hands out anything more than regulated 5% to most.
Penned in to the right by Lee’s Laundry so close that the wall vibrates and hums with the machines. Penned in to the left by Greasy Neil’s – a synthetic food joint who’s long lost its real name and given up trying to rebrand – who claims all drunken munchies at the end of the night. An old lady’s apartment squats on top. She sometimes leans out of the window to throw up onto the doorstep or onto a patron’s head.
Metal walls were red once, or maybe it was the rust. One circular window, too grimed up with sweat that it would need a chisel not a cloth to clean. Lights string the ceiling and curl around the front hatch, always open and flooding in the fresh-ventilated air. The bar is scrap metal welded together by Rusty’s own hands and tacky, the stools leaning against them with fewer legs than their cyborg patrons.
The crowds at Rusty’s are always as loud as their neighbourhood allows. People of all sizes, shapes and ethnicities. An old man by the name of Pao moved to the area just for Rusty’s famous flaming saki. There’s a guy in the corner with a robotic eye who scans everyone who enters – people assuming he’s a bouncer may never know the truth. A group of interspecies teens laugh in the corner as if life will one day get better than this little corner of rust.
As the night wears on and the dim sun glints off the dome above their heads, the crowds thin. Pao stumbles home or to a ditch somewhere. The gleaming eye of the bouncer closes as he slumbers in the corner. The teens stagger off to each other’s beds.
Rusty cleans, dries and polishes his glasses in a slow, creaking, methodical order.
His head jerks to the side and he stops, holding the glass up to the lights as if the small bulbs are trapped inside, like fireflies. The camera-eyes whine as they zoom in and out, as if looking for something that can’t be seen outside of the wetware of his head.
Then his head jerks again, and he returns to his mundane routine. The cloth squeaks squeaks squeaks as he rubs the inside of the glass clean.
An old-school neon sign flashes above the ever-open door.
Old Rusty’s. The 'l' flickers and dies.