Davis, Jerry – Opposite Ends Meet Here

Opposite Ends Meet Here Copyright 1998 by Jerry J. Davis Kyle was alone, as usual, working out with his gyro stick in the small room he rented above the gym where he worked, when he had a premonition. He stopped what he was doing and opened his window just in time to hear a woman cry out in fear and surprise. He poked his head out, blinking in the sunlight, and looked down into the alley below. There was a man with short gray hair and a silver spacer’s jacket advancing on a blonde woman dressed in a flowing, flower-pattern dress. In the man’s hand was a large, ugly knife.

“I’m going to enjoy this, you bitch,” he told her. He was advancing, and she was backing away.

“Finney!” the woman yelled. “Finney!” There was the bite of raw fear in her voice.

Gyro stick still in one hand, Kyle swung out the window and hung suspended for a moment, waiting for the man with the knife to move forward a few more steps. The woman saw Kyle, and obligingly took a few more quick steps backwards. “Finney!” she yelled again.

“By the time Finney finds you,” the man said, “you’re gonna–”

Kyle landed on him, so he never finished his sentence. He collapsed like a rag doll, the knife clattering across the stone walk. Kyle got to his feet, ready to smack the guy in the head with the gyro stick, but he was already unconscious. The woman, with a look of disgust, picked up the big knife and walked quickly to the prone figure. She jabbed it into his back several times.

Kyle stared at her with his mouth hanging open. “Lady!” he yelled.

She pulled the bloody knife out and held it ready. “What?” She was young-looking, thin and blonde and sharp-angled. Her eyes seemed too blue to be real.

Behind them a gate burst open and a small, black-haired man with dark features came scurrying up with a gun. He pointed it at Kyle, but the woman shook her head. “Put it away, Finney. This ape-man just saved my life.” She wiped the bloody knife off onto the dead man’s jacket, flipped the blade into the air and caught it, then handed it to Kyle handle-first. “Give him a card, and put him on the payroll.”

She gave Kyle a cold smile, then turned and walked with gliding steps out of the alley. Finney produced a card and held it out for him. Kyle took it into the same hand that held the knife and stared at it with a stupid expression.

Debbie Hitler Sorceress “She’s in the need of a bodyguard,” Finney told him. “The job pays an obscene amount, and I can give you an advance.” He produced a large wad of planetary currency, holding it out for Kyle to take.

It was a lot – enough to make him think twice about what he was getting into.

“What happened to her old bodyguard?” Kyle asked, staring at the money in Finney’s hand.

Finney glanced down at the body between them, and took a half step away from the widening pool of blood. “He, ah, retired suddenly.” Finney looked up into Kyle’s eyes. “An honest man wouldn’t have to worry about losing his employment in such a way.

You are an honest man, aren’t you?”

“Reasonably so.”

Finney took the knife out of Kyle’s hand, and put the wad of money in its place. “We leave before sunrise tomorrow morning. Pack some clothes and a few small personal items and be at the spaceport early.”

“Uh…” Kyle looked down at the ex-bodyguard.

“I’ll take care of this,” Finney said. “You go settle your local affairs and meet us at the spaceport.”

Kyle shoved the wad of money deep into his pants pocket and, hefting the gyro stick over his shoulder, made his way out of the alley. It occurred to him to go to the nearest Constable and report the incident, as he was sure it was horribly illegal, but the thought of lots of money and a chance to escape his life of mocking ridicule kept him from doing it.


Kyle’s dad lived in a nice adobe style home in the Little Mexico quarter, amid sleepy neighborhood stores and a nearby school. This was where Kyle had spent the latter part of his childhood, where he grew up with friends that, until finding out the truth about him, had been dear. There had been summers of stick ball and street soccer, and bittersweet teenage crushes that lead nowhere. His dad, who was actually his adoptive father and not a blood relation, was the only person to which he was still close.

Kyle stood for a moment in the front yard, reliving a few memories, before banging on the old graphite door.

“Who is it?” came a dry, old voice.

“It’s me, Dad.”

“Well, come on in.”

Kyle’s father was thin, frail, with faded and baggy clothes and long stringy white hair. He was 167 years old, and half his body was artificial. His new heart had been cloned from the old one, both still in the body and working together. He could easily last another 167 years if he wanted to, as long as he took it easy.

Kyle gave the old man a gentle hug, then pulled out the wad of cash. “Look at this, eh?”

“What is that?” His father stared at it with suspicion.

“This is an advance on my pay. I just got a new job.”

“You quit the gym?”

“Well, not yet, but I have to this afternoon. I’m leaving the planet.”

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“You don’t know? What kind of job is this? What are you doing?”

“Taking care of some rich lady. Here,” Kyle said, peeling off a few bills. “I’ll keep this, you take the rest.” He handed his father the bulk of the cash. “This should last you quite a while.”

His father held the cash in his hands as if he were unsure of what to do with it. “Kyle, what is it you’re doing for this rich lady? She doesn’t expect you to…?”

“No Dad. I’m her bodyguard.”

“Bodyguard!” His father’s expression brightened, a smile coming to his wrinkled old face. “That you’d be good at!” He thumbed through the cash for a moment, then tossed it onto a table.

“When are you leaving, son?”

“Early in the morning. I’ve got to go take care of some stuff and then I’ll be back, and we can spend some time together before I leave.”

“You feel right about this new job? I mean, in your gut?”

Kyle nodded. “Yes. I’ve got that feeling.”

Kyle’s father smiled, nodding, showing him the pride in his eyes that he always had for his adopted son. “Trust that feeling, Kyle. You’ve got good instincts. What life denied you in other things, it made up for it in your instincts.”

Kyle nodded. He’d heard all this before. “I’ll be back in a few hours, Dad.” With that he headed for the front door.

Returning to his rented room, Kyle sorted through what little possessions he had. He packed them up and took them down to the local pawnshop. They bought it all: a folding bed, a communications terminal, and some clothes. Then he settled with his landlord, paid off some bills, and went to the market and bought some nice leather. Knee pants, a vest, and a long coat in case he ended up somewhere cold. He found a spacer’s sack that would hold a few things plus his gyro stick. After that he had just enough to buy some of his father’s favorite imported tea, which he took back to his dad’s house. Kyle meant to have a long father and son talk with the old guy, wanting to thank him for everything he had ever done for him. The words never did make it out of his mouth, as they sounded too corny in Kyle’s head. Instead, the two men silently sipped tea together for most of the night. When the second pot was gone, Kyle gave his dad a long hug, which expressed all the words he’d intended to say anyway, and he left.


The spaceport at night had always seemed an eerie place to Kyle. During his years on this planet, he’d watched the town spread out to the hills and up and down the Vendies River, but the spaceport never changed. They would re-pave the surface every once in a while, paint new lines and string brighter landing lights, but the perimeter fence and the buildings within remained the same.

Everything was metal, everything seemed to hiss and let off steam.

At night, there were rotating red and yellow beacons everywhere, many rising into the air or coming down out of the starry sky.

The guard at the gate wore a black and gold uniform with a tiny red fez. His face twitched with the characteristic brain-chemistry imbalance of a cyber-interface; Kyle saw the cables running down from the back of his head and into the terminal beside him. “Can I help you?” he asked Kyle.

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