This gets me no closer to blowing up a supermarket. He has a machine gun now. A long magazine pistol with a boxy stock I’ve seen in films. So he’s new. The cities proletarian undergods like shanking ballistocrats. The rounds will land around me if I dive. The gun may misfire in his hands. Style is rewarded by the winding corpses tangled in the bare earth beneath the flying junctions of the A395. I throw Yggdrasil. NEVER THROW YOUR SWORD. In half a seconds time this will look like, and have been, a plan. (His ear is cut off. Good.) It’s reasonless now. (He deaf-bombs the street on full automatic, why are they made so loud?) Part of me wants to die probably. (Basketwork-halo of supersonic tarmac ricochets, coat-holes and smoke.) But how much (with both hands you can grab the mech-arm as it swings) can you live (pivot up your weight with the machine) in the moment (swing and put your feet in the right place) of a falling blade?
I ride the strike he made to kill me like a wave. Popcorn up under his mech arm and land on his windscreen like a cartoon. The empty gun is pointing where I was. The backrest smeared with blood, the ear is in the pedals now. He meets my eyes, I grab my sword. I was probably going to say something homophobic about his car right now. I already feel bad about it. Does it really matter what kind of car a man drives? It would lower us both. You have to grow up sometime.
It’s running through my head as I look at him, grab the hilt and continue my spin-vault up over the back of his mech to land crouching sword-in-hand. I have to wonder what kind of an impression I’m making. He’s just seen me cut his ear off, dodge a full clip, vault his robot and meet his eyes with a worried glance. He’ll probably just assume I’m thinking about the fight. I overarm anime-hack the Achilles piston of his machine, then run it across the street towards the store. Hydraulic screams and footfalls dog my steps.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME BITCH!”
Oh god. The Ear. He probably thinks I made a quip he couldn’t hear. What did he think I said?
The Tesco doors ‘swoosh’ open. He follows me in and takes out the magazines in a rage. Then starts kicking over the shelves. That was quick. I grab a hand-sized jar of readymade pasta sauce intending to bean him with it and step out of cover before he brings it down. What if he kills me with the sauce in my hand? People will think I ran in here to get it. How many men have died like that? Clutching inexplicable things whose use is mused on after death? I throw the sauce and miss. It doesn’t even break, and rolls outside. In the half-second silence while he looks at me I charge the car.