It's awkward to skate while holding up a long skirt but the resturant is just down the street. She must have been passing it all the time and looking in. It's filled with rich people. I wonder how long she's been wanting to go here. I reach out and take her arm as we approach the front door.
She waves her other arm and the door swings open. A hostess greets us. Lime tells her that we have a reservation and we are led deep inside.
The dining room is dark, and I feel a bit out of place in my bright green and yellow gown until I pass a pillar and see someone in an orange suit that is even brighter than mine. They are wearing a tall hat with a sparkling bird of paradise flower poking out the top.
We sit down at a small table.
"Have you seen the movie Brazil?" she asks.
Lime's gown has a wide and shallow neckline that stretches across her strong shoulders and reflects the candlelight against her dark skin. It's weird to not have seen ech other in so long and there she is just the same as always.I look to the menu tablet.
"Ah no. Is it um... set in Brazil?" The light for the small monitor is very low, and it is hard for me to read. I don't know what anything on the menu is.
"No it's... I mean I don't think it's set in Brazil... Nevermind." she says, scrolling through he menu at a disturbing speed. "I've already read the menu, but I don't know what I want. I'll probably get either the Slime Steak or the Dirty Pile of Stink. This place is supposed to have incredible cow meat."
"Cool. Yeah. I haven't had any cow that wasn't ground into a paste in like..." I couldn't remember ever having steak, actually. "Years!" I laugh but Lime doesn't smile with me.
"Sugar, that is so sad. You need to eat better. I'll order both and we can share." Lime's long, white fingernails glow blue as she claws across the menu tablet to place the order.
When the server comes, Lime asks for 2 bottles of wine and whispers something I can't hear. Is she trying to get the bottles off the bill? One plate is covered in a pile of glittering, shiny beef. The other plate has a slab of dark meat in a pool of glowing green liquid. She gives me the slab of beef. I slice into it to find a pocket of glowing slime, oozing out from the middle of the meat. It has a cool, menthol-like taste. I can't tell how the meat is better than a hamburger. It just seems more chewy. Like I have to chew it a lot more. Whatever.
The wine is strong and dark.
"Are my teeth purple?" Lime asks, leaning forward with a snarl. Her entire mouth was glowing bluish like her nails.
"Yeah, but I think it's just the light," I say. "How about mine?" I ask.
"They look awful. Here, take one of these..." She reaches into her bag and pulls out a hard, white tablet. "But let's finish this wine first!" She grabs the bottle closest to her and drinks deeply from it without pouring into a glass. No one around us seems to notice, so I do the same. It's tart and I feel a bit sick. I take the tablet and, with Lime's instructions, press it against my teeth until it dissolves. She reaches back into her bag to get herself one but is distracted. "Oh yeah look at these! I got 3 of these from a client the other day who didn't understand what CASH was." She slaps down 3 credit account cards on the table. Each with a different name and photo.
"Are those real?" I ask, picking them up for a closer examination.
"I think so! I mean, they aren't real people, I don't think. But they really work. The guy I got them from had a whole box of them, all organized by face. These were the closest ones he could find to looking like me. What d'ya think?"
They don't look like Lime at all. The only similarities are that they look somewhat dark skinned and thin with big eyes. But she seems so happy to have them. And a real counterfeit credit card is hard to come by these days, so I didn't really want to burst her bubble.
"Yeah I mean, they are pretty good... the hair and noses are all wrong. And this one is just way too pale..." I couldn’t help myself.
"What?!" She exclaimed, taking them back. "They were way better than the ones he tried to give me... hair is whatever...but maybe she IS too pale... do you want her?" She hands it back over the table to me. The card reads Mikou Calabras. Birthdate 2/14/2220.
"Do you think I could pass for 30?" I ask, turning my head to the side.
"With your sun damaged skin? Absolutely," Lime tries, but interrupts herself before I can think if a response. "I'm kidding! No one looks at the birthdate anyway. I mean most of the time, you'll be putting it right into a machine so who's gonna see it?"
I don't want to mention that she also looks way too thin in the face to look like me, but she does.
"Are you sure that Mikou Calabras isn't a real person, and I'm not just drawing out of her account?" The name sounds pretty fake but who knows.
"The guy had a ton of these. It seemed like his thing, like he wouldn't be making loads of cards just to have them get traced back to him."
"But you said he didn't even know what CASH was- he doesn't sound like a very experienced... ehhh... criminal."
"He had to have some experience to place an order for what I brought to him. And you forget- not everyone lives like you do- like some people don't even want to lurk around CASH forums in case someone walks in on them, and I mean it takes a while to figure all that out when you don't have an experienced friend like me to help you."
How did he place the order for a delivery in the first place without a CASH number? Is she not working for The Directory anymore? I guess not. I mean it has been a while since we've talked.
She stuffs one of the cards into the menu tablet and pays the bill. "See? It worked fine," she coos at me. I am a little nervous that she hadn't tested it out before we were trapped in a dark room with only one... maybe two exits. Maybe she isn't working for The Directory anymore, but how did the client get paid for the item if they only gave Lime those cards?
"Did you have to send some of the cards to the pickup? I mean, how did that even work? Were they pissed?"
She stared at me for a few more moments before tipping her head back. "Oh the credit IDs! I had totally forgotten what we were talking about!" She laughed. "I went right back to the pickup and they said they had already settled it."
"I don't understand."
"Yeah hah! Apparently they had already worked out some sort of exchange, but the guy was so nervous when I delivered it and asked him to sign with his code or whatever, he thought he had to pay me directly. He thought that was his job, not the pickup."
"Wait so did you get double paid?" Weird she didn't mention that first.
"I'm not sure. I have been working a lot so my CASH balance has been staying pretty high. Let's get out of here."
Lime floats out of the resturant and I follow. I still don't really understand what happened with this weird payment scenario. Why would the client think they need to resettle the bill if they had already paid the pickup somehow? And did they know about CASH or not?
Lime rushed around the corner and we both plop down on the curb. Our gowns billowing up like white and green cream puffs with our shoulders emerging from the tops.
"Well I'm tired of holding this damn skirt!" she yells a little too loud. She pulls a pocket knife out of nowhere and stabs down into the skirt and rips it across. The air falls out and most of the fabric falls away. She pulls it around to the side seam and twists back to finish it.
"It kinda ended up really short," I warn her. "I can for sure see your shorts underneath."
"Damn it! It looked like it was going to be longer!" she whines. "Can you see my unmentionables?" she says, turning around to face me. The shorts are dark but in the high spectral streetlight I can still see everything.
I nod. "Yeah..."
She rearranges herself and pulls up her shorts, and down the bottom of the dress. "Oh well. It will be dark. Let me do yours so we can at least be matching."
"Uh... I dunno. Try to give me a couple more inches though, if you can." She hoists me up to my feet and starts ripping away. There is a layer of tulle underneath, and everything ended up being different lengths. "It looks like a child's tutu, doesn't it?" I ask.
She giggles. "This is how girls used to dress at raves back in the turn of the millennium. It's actually like historically accurate," she assures me.