Magic Qwiz Land
The Cyber Edge
Blood pumping through veins at a rapid rate, increasing
muscle strength and endurance. Small-time computer data
thief and big-time dreamer Jake Williams is glad that
hes got that magical meta-human quality working for
him now. Even with his half block advantage, he can still
hear the frantic shouts of policemen as they chase him
down city streets, weaving in and out of pedestrian
He side-steps to avoid colliding with an old man,
knocking over a garbage can, sending food wrappers,
cigarette butts, napkins and other waste spilling onto
the sidewalk. He looks back to
see one of the officers hurdle the can, while the other
goes around it, nearly bumping into a person coming out
of a Greek deli.
hard boots slam down upon the pavement, then rise up
again, ever so often stepping into a puddle of water,
causing the water to splash onto his pant leg. He throws
his chin over his shoulder again. They are gaining on
him, he has got to ditch them somehow, soon. He runs down
the street a few blocks more. On a Monday evening, the
supermarket would be packed with people doing their
weeks shopping. He does a quick right turn on
Adler, still running. With any luck hes already
lost the officers at the corner. He doesnt bother
to look back, in case they catch his look as they
continue down the previous street.
inside, as the automatic door parts for him, a gaudy,
florescent sign that reads MCGINTYS FINE FOODS greets him. He
walked quickly to the third aisle of the store. He hid
behind a blue
light special display of baked beans and chili. He could
entrance from his position without anyone coming into the
seeing him. After waiting behind his aluminum fortress
for a good
fifteen minutes, he feels satisfied that he has once
again evaded the arm of the law.
He walks up to the cashier, taking a 20 ounce Coca-Cola
out of the cooler. He throws a folded dollar onto the
conveyor belt, having the brown haired, blue eyed girl
run the bottle over the scanner. Jake
waves off the change from the dollar, and continues on
his way. As
he walks out of the store, rejoining the rest of
Clevelands populace on
the streets, he reaches into his coat pocket and
withdraws a blue 3.5 inch diskette, twirling it around in
his fingers as he waits on the curb.
Finally, a yellow taxi arrives, and pulls up to the curb,
answering Jakes frantic flailing of his arm. As
Jake climbs into the back seat, he pockets the disk,
hiding it from view. The cabby turns his neck, revealing
a heavy face, and a head virtually devoid of hair. His
face seems to be afflicted by the strange cabby skin
disorder, one that comes from spending all day driving
around a city, with the only light coming in sparingly
from the side windows and front windshield, and the air
you breath coming from only the defroster and air
conditioner. "Where you goin?" he
demands, not a moment after Jake buckles himself into the
and Harper," Jake says, not in the mood for
sure," answers the cabby, as if interpreting
Jakes response as
a question. He shifts the car back into drive, and
continues on down
the road, making a turn at the next block to head the
other way. Jake goes into an exhausted daze, breathing
slightly faster than normal.
Just as he begins to drift to sleep, the cab comes to a
jerky halt. "$12.50." says the cabby, as Jake
climbs out of the back seat. Jake hastily reaches into
his coat pocket, producing a wad of bills, selecting
a five and a ten. He tosses them through the passenger
sending them fluttering onto the seat. Without a second
look, or word, Jake turns on his heel and walks into the
alley, as the tires of the beat up cab squeal, and the
cab disappears behind a cloud of thick gray smoke.
comes to the first door on his left, stepping up on the
concrete step, and reaches out with his hand, hitting the
door with the back of
his clenched fist. Moments later, an eye hole slides
open, and a black man, squints through the slot. He
slides the hole closed again, and removes the chain,
pulling the door back, inside the room as he does
smell of cigar smoke, cheap wine and cheaper perfume hit
Jakes senses like a wrecking ball. No matter how
many times he goes into
that same rundown flophouse, the smells always hit him
like that. He coughs twice. Then takes a drink of his
coke, warming rapidly in the humid surroundings. The
black man disappears behind a curtain, without so much as
a greeting. Moments later, two men, one, a white-haired,
overweight man in a pair of black pleated slacks and a
white turtle neck covered by a black blazer and a thin
man, with long almond colored hair, pulled into a pony
tail and glasses, dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a
t-shirt appear from the same curtain.
got the disk, Williams?" says the old man.
I got it. You got my cut?" replies Jake, reaching
into his coat pocket for the disk.
I always?" says the man, reaching in to his pocket,
producing a wad of bills. "You know, Williams, you
arent invincible, and you are replaceable, in spite
of what you may think of yourself. There are a dozen
other guys out there, just like you."
but you dont have a dozen other guys working for
you. You got me, John," says Jake, unmoved and not
really wanting to be dragged into the same conversation
he has on virtually every run he makes for them.
Mr. Travestad to you," Travestad corrects. "Now
give me the damn disk, take your money, and get the hell
out of my building!"
problem there, Mister Travestad," Jake snaps, as he
flips out the diskette, thrusting into the hands of his
employer in exchange for the roll of bills, which he puts
in the same pocket that previously housed
the disk. "Pleasure doing business with you,"
he says flippantly,
turning on his heel and walking out of the miserable
excuse for a meeting place. As soon as hes outside,
the cool night breeze hits his face, washing it of the
smells which seem permeated into his pores.
As he continues up the alley, he takes the rolled cash
out of his
pocket, and thumbs through it. 50, 100, 150, 200, 250,
400, 500, 600. Jeezus, whatever was on that disk must be
pretty damned important, he thinks to himself.
Williams has gone through most of his adult life doing
did tonight; steal some seemingly invaluable
technological resource from one party, and give it to
another. Sometimes, hed be hired by
the very same group that he stole the item from to
He plays both sides that way, and has for nearly half a
decade. Hes made more money that way than a lot of
men his age make with their legal jobs.
Thats the way he likes it. He walks the Cyber-Edge.
CyberEdge is a story copyright 1999-2001 Jordan Stalker.