###### [lotek.fr](http://lotek.fr) / [ghostlevel.net](http://ghostlevel.net)
> The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead
"It's not like I'm using," Case heard someone say, as he
shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat.
"It's like my body's developed this massive drug deficiency." It
was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for
professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear
two words in Japanese.
Ratz was tending bar, his prosthetic arm jerking monotonously as he
filled a tray of glasses with draft Kirin. He saw Case and smiled, his teeth
a web work of East European steel and brown decay. Case found a place at the
bar, between the unlikely tan on one of Lonny Zone's whores and the
crisp naval uniform of a tall African whose cheekbones were ridged with
precise rows of tribal scars. "Wage was in here early, with two Joe boys,"
Ratz said, shoving a draft across the bar with his good hand. "Maybe some
business with you, Case?"
Case shrugged. The girl to his right giggled and nudged him.
The bartender's smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of
legend. In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about
his lack of it. The antique arm whined as he reached for another mug. It was
a Russian military prosthesis, a seven-function force-feedback manipulator,
cased in grubby pink plastic. "You are too much the artiste, Herr Case."
Ratz grunted; the sound served him as laughter. He scratched his overhang of
white-shirted belly with the pink claw. "You are the artiste of the slightly
"Sure," Case said, and sipped his beer. "Somebody's gotta be
funny around here. Sure the fuck isn't you."