The air, for once, didn’t stink. Instead, it was full of that cloying, fatty scent of grilling meat. VictoryVille was easy to navigate by scent alone. The different parts of the market all had their unique stench. The lead pressers and pain dealers booths smelled like black powder and dried blood. The taverns reeked of whatever blindness inducing, throat scalding, radiator fluid they were calling hooch that day, also stale piss. The brothels smelled like sweaty sex and drying body fluids (Not that different from parts of Ojai Grahla now that they thought about it). The Pusher’s tents sat in a miasma of analgesics and many going their elected to throw on their goggles and gas masks to avoid losing their teeth to a deep inhalation. But the nom-mongers, the nom-mongers booths smelled…. Well not appetizing, they could still smell the attempts to cook off the rot. But it definitely smelt better than the eye burning chemical haze. Also, Hahmbra was hungry and even the slightly putrid smell of barbecued…. meat, was making their mouth water.

A brief bit of haggling and Hahmbra slipped the nom-monger a baby food jar that containing a quarter of a dried mushroom cap. This was a Followers of M specialty. The Journey Shrooms were famous all over the wastes for their mind expanding properties. As valuable as it was, food was scarce in VictoryVille thanks to the Atom Bombz rolling through. It was enough to secure two sticks loaded with dripping meat from some sort of creature. Hahmbra pranced off with their bounty, colorful scarves flowing in the meaty breeze.

They loved it. All of it was gritty, dirty, real. Ojai Grahla was a special place for sure. While they would return their one day, they’d have a new appreciation of it after having spent some time in what had to be the asshole of Sokal. This was an experience.

They somehow managed to get the meaty skewers all the way back to their table at the FUBAR without getting jumped in the street. A Followers reputation only went so far but it seemed to be enough. A Wulfen along the way was almost over taken by hunger and growled at them, but a sharp kick from their friend was enough to still them. Their company was already there.

“You’re late, but I’ll forgive you if that’s for me.” Smoker’s voice crackled out from under his respirator. Hard to tell if he was joking.

Hahmbra handed him the skewer and they sat down and dug in. Smoker elected to cut pieces of the skewer with his knife and slip them under the respirator. So he had a mouth afterall. Hahmbra was used to a diet of canned vegetables so fresh meat was a real treat, even if it did have a weird sweaty rotten taste. Noticing Hahmbra’s slight disgust, Smoker reached into his coat with a conspiratorial glance around and passed him a smell bottle of red liquid, a dark skinned smiling man with a huge hat on the label. “Liquid Meth kid, trust me. I’ve seen people killed for that stuff. Put it on this crap and you’ll see why.” Hahmbra followed the suggestion and was rewarded with a spicy flavor that covered up the rot perfectly.

With that they devoured the meat and washed it down with some dirty, watered down hooch from the FUBAR. “Never talk on an empty stomach, that’s one of my rules at least. Now, why am I talking to you exactly? Not that I don’t care about a decent meal…”

Hahmbra reached into their garments and pulled out a small, crinkled polaroid.

“You want me to find someone? Okay. We’ll talk payment later. Because right now, I think someone’s looking for you too.” He gestured over Hahambra’s shoulder. Around the corner was a group of Atom Bombz, lead by a Warhead. The Warhead was talking to the door-mutant and gesturing toward Hahmbra. Not good to have the attention of the Atom Bombz lately.

“Get the fuck out of here kid. We’ll talk later. They definitely aren’t pointing at me.” Hahmbra didn’t need to be told twice.

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