continued from Chapter 3

Naarka stared out at his vehicle and asked himself What to do. What. to. do. He took a breath, and tried to step back from the question a moment. At first trying to take stock of his situation, and then just to distract himself, he looked out the window at the world out there. He made an effort to be observational and dispassionate. Illumination from the street lamps and the eatery's windows filled the parking area and the nearby intersection and set a ceiling to the night. The sky wore only a little cloud cover, but because of that light he couldn't see up into the stars. If the lights were off, he would see less of what was near him, but the night would be so much bigger.

The artificial lighting wanted to be harsh but was too weak to pull it off. It shot its wad, sprayed its jizm off into the awesome darkness of a natural night, and hoped that smearing it all over the surface of everything, making everything grimy and yucky, would make it powerful. But it didn't. It just made everything look dead - Naarka's inertly slumping vehicle, the stone-encrusted tar that served as pavement, the tufts of grass poking out of cracks, the bushes off to the side, the tumbleweeds skittering across the lot - it made them all look dead. When things did move, like the tumbleweeds, or a bird perched on a power pole on the corner, twitching its head side to side, they looked like the undead - not frightening but still ghastly.

The proprietor of the eatery brought the plate of eggs and set them down in front of Naarka. In his other hand he held the toast, with a pat of jelly also on the plate, and he put that down too, next to the eggs. The man took from his apron pocket a set of silverware, wrapped in a napkin. Immediately after he took it out of his pocket he dropped it to the bottom of his arm length, below the edge of the table, and only lifted it and just barely enough when he reached the table's edge to set it down. He carefully placed it on the edge of the table, on the corner of the table across from where Naarka was sitting. He moved off quietly; Naarka did not thank him.

Naarka leaned forward slightly, stretched out his left hand and picked up the napkin-bundled silverware. He unrolled the napkin and dumped the knife, fork and spoon into his hand. With his right hand he took the spoon and half-tossed it, half placed it carefully at the top of the plate. He picked the knife out and after adjusting his hand on the fork, he poised them over the plate of eggs.

The plate was white, with a pair of concentric blue rings about an eighth of the way in from the edge. Naarka paused and lowered his hands to rest his wrists on the edge of the table. He took a breath. Was he a little lightheaded? He watched the plate for a few seconds, and closed his eyes. The concentric blue rings spawned empty echoes, barely perceptible ripples expanding out to the walls of the eatery, through them and out to the parking lot, to the road, to the trees, out to the city, to the river, out to the desert and away to the faraway sea and beyond. And somewhere out there they touched Dal's family: Teres and her two boys. He raised the knife and fork again and cut into the scrambled eggs. Part of them was runny and undercooked, and part of them, the "back" as he suddenly thought of it, was charred and formed a weird base, like a suction cup for a dashboard ornament.

Naarka sliced his knife into the inert, sloppy mass of one of the middlingly firm spots of the egg. He swept his fork toward himself, exposing the cross-section of folded fleshy yellow streaked with white, from the creases and underneath of which seeped a further yellow run-off.

It was then that he decided not to search for them any more that night. He had been entertaining the idea of getting back on the road right after eating, and seeing if he could get back to that [ferry in time. But no. He would let them go - for now. Give them a little more leash. They had narrowly escaped him - he should give them that victory. Besides, he could only imagine what kind of gut-wrenching fear they were going through right at that moment, and for the next day or so - and what austere, last-ditch extreme tactics they would resort to. It was delicious to think of.

And it would give him a chance to get laid. Yes, that was a good idea. Relieve some of the tension of the past week or so - from today's frustration, and the previous several days' tedium of search and dull, grating anticipation. To get laid - it was a decision that in the back of his mind had already been made, but he knew he had to spend twenty minutes or so building up for himself rationalizations for it.

And that's what he did, while he finished his eggs and toast. Before he had sat down to eat, the idea of going to get laid had been barely a possibility, not even really thought of. But now it was a river of certainty, which swelled as time went on, and the doubts and gurglings of conscience retreated, overwhelmed by its flood. The conscience whispered of responsibility, of accountability - of managing our budget - do we have enough cash to get laid? Do you really want to get back in touch with your father to get more money to continue the search, so soon after you last asked for money? Hmm? Do you? And will you explain to him why you haven't finished it yet? Will you tell him that they narrowly got away tonight, and you could have followed up, and perhaps finished it, finished them, tonight, and yet you didn't? Because your cock was more important than your honor? Your word?

He listened detached and bemused to this inner monologue - a ranting, the whiny whimpering of a loser. His certainty grew solid, turned into confidence. He started then to anticipate it. Blood rushed to his skin, to the top of his head, to the front of his face, to his palms, to the tops of his hands and to the tips of his fingers. His cock had been curled in slumber, mashed up forgotten against his thigh. When the thought had first crossed his mind, right when he had decided to let his prey go for the night, he had felt like there was a thin silver wire running through the middle length of his cock, through which at that moment briefly coursed a spark of electric fire. Now as blood rushed to his extremities, his member was getting uncomfortable, engorged in the bent position into which it had wound up when he had sat down with it almost falling down his pant leg.

Holding the last half of the second piece of toast in his right hand, Naarka lifted his pelvis slightly and slithered his left hand into his pants, then hooked his four fingers around the shaft of his dick and pulled it into the middle of the groin of his pants - the 'codpiece' area. His cock had been been resting against his right thigh, with the tip bent back to the left a little. As he pulled it left into an upright position, it felt somewhat like a slow-motion whip-lash: as the cock straightened, the glans (he was circumcised) shifted right, the wide apron of its top rubbed against his thigh, and then it was dragged left, with the very tip that couched the urethral slit scraping against the material of his pants as he pulled the cock upright into position. It was an extra stimulation that in a fading strobe moment seemed to erase completely all conscience, though its echo started creeping in from his mind's edges fairly soon.

He pulled his left hand out of his pants and picked up the cup of kaff with it. He finished eating his toast. He topped up his cup from the hot water dispenser at the end of the table by the window and dropped in the last capsule of kaff. This one would take a minute or two for the coating to dissolve, since the pure hot water lowered the concentration of sweetening. The slight warmth from the this-time slow reaction wasn't noticeable behind the heat of the new water. He sipped from the cup. Yes, a lot of the sweetness was gone, but the needle spike of the kaff rush was stronger. Stronger, and of course a little dirtier without the sweetness. As the brief flush of erotic anticipation faded - partly because his dick had less resistance to throb against, and was, like anyone, tending back toward sleep when it was comfortable - he sat back in his seat, against the stuffed vinyl of the eatery counter's booth bench, and rode the elevator of this next buzz.

Now he had to plan the logistics of it. Where was he gonna find the pussy? He sighed. He turned and looked around the eatery. The proprietor was wiping the chrome of his equipment. He looked in the other direction, away from the door, down the row of booths. There were no other customers. There were no communication consoles - voice, image, or data. The data was the one he wanted, so that he could check the directory for prostitutes. He looked back at the proprietor. Well, thought Naarka, I guess I could ask him where the the red light district is. No. Fuck him. He doesn't need to know my business, or to be able to tell people where I might have gone after I left here. And I don't think I like him. He took another sip of kaff, and looked again out the window, past his vehicle.

He could go to the library. It would have some data terminals, and it was suitably anonymous. How good was the information going to be though. He could try the visiting center for citizens. They would steer him right. Not as anonymous, but there it was all among friends. He took another sip, and felt the resurgent buzz wave pulsing through his skull, dissipating just before it hit the skin of his forehead.

continued in Chapter 5

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