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Phunky Phresh Started by: Dhien on Jul 21, '21 10:27

The air tickled his nostrils as he took a deep breath in. It was more so because he'd started huffing paint but it was also crispy fresh out and his senses were on high. He glanced around, straightening the strap that hugged his shoulder then tightened it with a tug. He'd already tied his shoelaces in double knots, yet took a last glance down to be sure - his new high-top Keds were ready to be broken in. A Dubble Bubble wrapper floated to the sidewalk as he stuffed the gum into his mouth. He was ready. No, wait. Something was wrong. He could feel it. He'd missed something. The kid smiled knowingly as he snapped his fingers. He removed his baseball cap, flipped it around then slipped it back on. Now he was ready. It was go time.

His fingers twinkled as his right heel dug into the pavement. He hyped himself up with few short and sharp breaths to get the adrenaline flowing. Then he was off, like a bullet out of a gun, shooting across the street. His arms pumped back and forth as he picked up speed. His cheeks puffed and rounded with each expulsion of air. The rubber-soles gripped to the road like a fiend to a pipe. Then as a car horn sounded, he was airborne. His ass skidded across the long bonnet of a swerving Cadillac before he hit the ground running and began picking up the pace again. In stride he momentarily raised his middle finger over his shoulder - Raskalz, bitch.

A quick assessment of his surroundings had him divert towards a fruiterer who shouted his surprise, then swung his broom. Too slow. The kid slid under the stand but caught himself on some cloth as he rolled out into the open. It took a moment to untangle from the red fabric and toss it over his head but he kept his arms pumping and he started to pick up speed again. To the tune of disgruntled verbal assaults he then lunged at a wooden fence, managed to grip the top and with momentum he heaved himself over. An apple rolled under it as he hit the ground on the other side. Bonus. With breakfast in hand, the kid kept on towards the fire escape.

With a few quick steps up and against the wall the runner launched himself onto a dumpster. Another semi wall-walk and he was now hanging from the bottom rung of a ladder. He struggled to pull himself up yet persevered until his feet could help. Once onto the fire escape and flat footed, he gave a quick tug on the shoulder strap and was off. Quick and steady, he darted up and around, propelling himself forward with hands on the railings where he could. He was methodical. Determined. Hungry. He took a quick passing peek into a third story window of the hotel. Maybe he shouldn't have. She had a whip in hand. He was tied to the bed with a sock in his mouth. He shook it off. Still determined. Yet maybe not as hungry as that.

Finally, he could see the top as he rounded the last corner and broke out into a run once more with the sound of metal clanging underfoot. His energy was dissipating but he was so close. Pushing through fatigue, Dhien screamed out as he dove forward onto the rooftop, "Raskalz Motherfucker!"

Dhien slumped onto his knees, spat out his gum then rolled onto his back. His lungs were in overdrive, sucking in air like a Hoover. He was spent.

"Ah, kid?"

The voice was that of a young man. It wasn't deep, yet it wasn't high pitched either - he sounded a bit like a sports commentator.

"Yeah," Dhien managed between a wince and a nod, "I got you."

The kid loosened his backpack by tugging on the shoulder strap. He then pulled it around so it sat on his chest and after jiggling inside it he withdrew something, zipped it most of the way closed and reached his free hand skyward. With support he was then helped to his feet.

Upon standing, Dhien kept his grip and turned it into a handshake, "Thanks."

Trying his best to give a solid, business-like shake, he simultaneously slapped the package into the customer's other hand and eyed the man over. He was well dressed yet had a casual look about him - maybe it was the button down shirt having the top few buttons undone and the sleeves slightly rolled back. His hair was slicked through with petroleum jelly and parted down one side and a strong smell of aftershave wafted off of him. Dhien thought he looked like a decent fellow but he also knew looks could be deceiving and so he led with that in mind.

"That's one large."

"Yes, yes it is."

The other guy's focus was fixated on the package he'd been waiting for. An out-of-towner, he figured calling on the Raskalz for a delivery would be his easiest bet. Safest? Well, seeing as his runner was a kid, what could possibly go wrong.

"No," Dhien realized the party-goer had thought he meant the goods he'd just delivered into his palm.

"That's what you now have to pay. One large."

"What?!"

The disgruntled consumer pulled his hand back, abruptly breaking their handshake and shook his forefinger in the air.

"That wasn't the deal!"

"Well, you know, hazard pay and all that."

Dhien reached into his pocket and after fiddling around he removed an apple. He took a small bite as he turned and made his way towards the ledge. The older male quickly followed. It was a nice view. He quite liked being up high. The paint fumes from earlier were starting to wear off and he was regaining his normal senses

"No! A deal's a deal. What about gentleman's shakes? I know you types deal with such things. We already spoke on it. It was agreed."

"If you didn't notice, I ain't no gentleman. One large."

Dhien placed his foot on the edge and glanced over. The fruiterer was still picking up wayward fruit with the help of another.

"No! I only have what was agreed."

"Okay." Dhien took one last bite, turned to face his client and tossed the apple over his shoulder. He quickly rubbed his hand against his jumper then reached it forward to receive the agreed upon price.

"Okay?" The guy's shoulders rounded back and his chin lifted, "Okay then!"

There was an awkward moment where Dhien waited with his hand outstretched as the man before him shuffled through his pockets looking for the money. He eventually removed his shoe and tapped it onto the ground causing a small stack of notes to pop out.

"Here you go."

The money was slapped into Dhien's palm. Without checking the sum, Dhien winked in response and tucked the earnings away into his backpack then zipped it closed.

"See, that's a good step towards you becoming a gentleman. By sticking to agreements."

"Whatever you say."

As the satisfied customer slipped the goods into his pocket, a Dubble Bubble wrapper caught onto a breeze and floated up into the air. Dhien slipped the gum into his mouth, flipped his backpack the proper way around then tugged the strap, tightening it against his chest. He glanced down at his Keds. His shoe laces were still tied - and they still looked funky as fuck. The kid took a few short and sharp breaths as he dug his right heel down. His eyes then shifted to focus on the open space towards the fire escape.

"One last thing. What time you got, sir?"

Dhien's fingers twinkled as the man looked down at his wrist. Then with a burst of speed, Dhien was off again, using the back of his hand to smack his mark in the crutch as he flew by.

***

Once he was a good distance away Dhien slowed his roll and casually made a trip to a usual haunt, using alleyways and backyards as a shortcut. In between running packages he'd spend time in and around abandoned buildings trying to perfect his craft. Kneeling in a corner in one such place, Dhien removed a loose brick from a heavily graffitied interior wall. A black jewelry bag was then carefully retrieved from within the hidden space and opened. Into the growing stack, Dhien placed another pickpocketed watch. The price of doing business was always what he said it was, whether they realized it or not.

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