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15 - Stay a while . . .

I'd been pretty popular at the lounge so far. People seemed surprised that a "collie" could carry on an intelligent conversation. Next thing I know, this really muscular fellow starts picking people up and throwing them at me. I never did figure out what caused it. I found myself being hauled off to sick bay.
Once they released me, I wandered off to see if I could find anything worthwhile in the ruins here. Sure enough, I found buyers for whatever I managed to pick up.
More and more, my new customers began to demand special items, so when I saw them accessible in ships I was working, . . . well . . . supply and demand, right?
Not such a good idea.
At first, it was easy, but then came the questions. I'd been careful. The captain's a smart one, though. This time he'd borrowed a security bot disguised as a power coupling. Guess what the customer wanted . . .
Well, in the brig, this tall, skinny guy kept firing off one "collie" joke after another.
"So what are you, smart guy?" I asked.
"I thought it was just bad jokes and social foibles you klutzes had to deal with. Now it's brains too? A Belter. I'm a belter."
BAM!
"Me too." I smiled.
The guards got excited, and I wasn't feeling like smiling anymore, but I sure shut him up. I got a standing ovation from the other 'klutzes' who were staying over. I'm a bit more agile than wardens, so . . . , out came the toys. One of the guards stopped the rest from zapping me with their spark sticks, but then when I refused his request for money, well, they came back.
After a while, they tossed me out in the hall and said I better hope I stay out. It took three of them, and I'm not heavy.
Once back to port, I spotted a loose power coupling laying on a bench. Not loose, brand new!
Hey, Customer's waiting . . .