Tommy Hates Chemicals : Book of JonJon
A Prosperous Universe Story by Copious
Tommy hated chemicals. He was the spaciest guy JonJon had ever met, but he never got into the DDT like most of the Maize Jockeys on Promitor. He especially hated the liquid crystal favored by the Beandogs. No Tommy liked it all natural, which meant Tommy was into triglyceride.
Now on Promitor, you can get your triglyceride from two different plants. Nuts and berries. They are all grown on the same place on the planet, and guys like Tommy aren’t interested in the stuff that’s sold in bulk to the food processors. No, Tommy was a connoisseur, and that meant he went every weekend to meet with the guys that are tasked with cleaning the harvesting equipment. JonJon knew all about this because he went with Tommy as protection.
The tri Tommy was interested in, the kind sold in little back alleys that could knock a grown man on his behind in the time it took for a smoke break, was a newer invention. Perhaps invention was too kind a word for it. Happy accident? Apparently there was a perfect storm of genetically altered super plants, naturally occurring chemicals in the soil on Promitor, and the specific lubricant used on the equipment used to harvest the plants. The practical effect of all of this was one day, one of the cleaners incidentally ingested some of the hardened triglyceride they had to regularly chip off the equipment, and ended up in the infirmary.
The doctors thought it was a classic case of overexertion and put the man on light duty for a week. He let them think that they were right while he consolidated his new triglyceride cartel, after confirming his suspicions that he’d just been knocked out by the odd tasting chip that had made its way into his mouth. He did this through a complete lack of regard for inflicting pain and taking life. That was why Tommy needed JonJon for protection. Tommy was pretty sure this new gang leader was from an old Earth mob family, but JonJon just thought they had probably watched too many of the historical films popular this far away from the hyper relays used to transmit modern holovids. JonJon also thought there were more than a few chemicals in the tri that Tommy liked to smoke, but he kept that to himself.
The Cleaners had been formed into quite the gang under this lucky new leader. They jealously protected their secret, and more than one missing person in the last couple of months was whispered to be a result of crossing them. JonJon was wary of them, but he figured they needed customers, or they would have no profits. As long as he and Tommy didn’t give them any reason to get nervous or suspect them of snitching, they should be just fine.
JonJon and Tommy slipped into the side alley behind the food processing plant and came up short. The new leader, Justin, and his goons were waiting at the far end. There were more of them than usual, and Justin had never come himself. Justin was in a classical suit from Old Earth. The real deal, not some nylon Prosperous Space fabrication. It must have cost a fortune.
“H-h-hey Justin my man h-h-how are you doing today?” Tommy stuttered out, not yet deep enough in his tri to miss the implied threat of the crowd of muscly men.
Justin’s suit looked freshly pressed as he leaned against the shiny stainless steel of a protective railing. “Heya Tommy boy. I’m doing swell. Your old dealer on the other hand…..well, he’s had better days.” Justin gestured over the railing down towards the large exhaust fans that kept this side of the processing plant pretty sparsely populated. The smell wasn’t quite as bad as the fart pots JonJon was used to, but it came pretty close.
JonJon took a peak over the railing and saw a lot of red on the fan blades. Well, the man certainly lived up to his reputation. Tommy went weak at the knees and would have probably collapsed if JonJon hadn’t had him by the back of his belt. It was JonJon’s cue to earn his fee.
“C’mon Justin you know Tommy doesn’t have a stomach for that sort of thing. Why you gotta scare the poor guy?” JonJon was pretty sure they were still ok, but he started mentally planning his escape route as he held Justin’s gaze with a questioning look.
Justin burst out laughing and nearly lost his hat. “Oh sorry JonJon, just had to have a little fun with him.” He motioned over to one of his men and a large sack arced between the man and JonJon. Still holding up Tommy with one hand, JonJon snatched the sack out of the air, slipped it into his jacket, and tossed back a sack of credits.
“You know Tommy won’t say it, but I will, Justin. Your gang name is spot on with the way you’ve been raising prices. You are going to clean out poor Tommy here at this rate.”
“I’ve got expenses, not that it’s any of your business. You know anyone else making this stuff?”
JonJon nodded in assent. It was as he thought. Justin was getting ready to expand his operation. Probably preparing to move in on every food processor here on Promitor, give himself a massive boost in supply and take his business off world. Pity.
The man had gotten pretty close to making it all happen, but he’d made the same mistake a lot of men make when they suddenly find themselves in positions of power. He’d wanted to be known as the big shot. He couldn’t stand waiting in the wings and letting his men handle the work of running his empire. He’d needed to wade in and impress some girls with his fancy earth suit and his hired muscle. JonJon was pretty sure he could hear them giggling in the tinted transport waiting at the other end of the alley.
The giggles quickly turned to screams, and Justin really did lose his hat this time as he whirled to see two large armored transports come to a screeching halt six inches after they made contact with the transport, and it rolled over onto a number of the gangsters that had been lounging around. Dozens of armed and armored men popped out, leveling their weapons at the group in front of them.
“ON THE GROUND!”
Justin looked reluctant to sully his suit, but a beanbag into the midsection quickly put him on the ground and his men wisely decided to give up. Tommy was on the ground trembling, looking up at JonJon with confusion as he ambled towards the armed men. “Thank you for your timely arrival lads! I’d hate to be late for dinner with the boss!”
JonJon kept moving past the men as they started the work of getting all their new prisoners accounted for. He called back over his shoulder to Tommy as he walked. “Tommy, these gentlemen will make sure you get home safely and let you know how you can continue to get your tri in the future. You won’t need my protection any longer. There’s a new supplier here on Promitor.” He moved past the transports and walked up to the much sleeker limo that had just pulled up. One of the armed men stepped up and opened the door for him, saluting the occupant of the back seat as he stepped back to let JonJon in.
JonJon sat down across from the boss. JonJon knew him as simply “the boss” because the man was very jealous of his privacy. To be honest, JonJon very much doubted the face everyone associated with the boss was his own. JonJon would love to know the secret of that trick.
“Well boss, I think we got most of them. There will be a few low level dealers to take care of, but I believe Justin had most of his muscle with him tonight. Either way, your new business venture is secure and we can begin production in earnest.”
“Thank you for bringing this new venture to my attention, my good man. I believe we had discussed your reward already? You can go ahead and double it. I believe in investing in my people, and you’ve more than earned your fee today. I won’t have to pay a single injury claim for any of my security personnel, and that’s a rare outcome for an operation of this size.”
JonJon kept his outward appearance calm, but his head was reeling. His original fee had been half a million credits. “Thank you, sir. I look forward to continuing to be of service.”
The boss knocked on the window and the door opened to admit a serving girl bearing a platter. She started to serve drinks from the limo’s bar while JonJon was digging into shrimp imported from Earth. “Have you ever heard of a planet called Elon?”