Stick first saw the white haired man around Congress Street. He was on his way to work at the Church. He was the barkeep for the Midnight to 8 AM shift. The girls didn't like tending those hours, but Stick loved it. He was still young enough to enjoy all the clamor and excitement of the Houston early morning. He was 19 and had never been more than three miles from his present position. It was this familiarity with the people and places of Downtown that attracted his eyes to the white haired man. Right away Stick could tell the man was a visitor. It wasn't his clothes, they were pretty nondescript. It was the man himself. He was deeply tanned, nobody in Downtown had a tan but the odd farmer or rancher in town on business. Unless they were from one of the ConApts and were in Downtown slumming. As Stick came up closer behind the man he dismissed that idea. He could plainly see the deep wrinkles in the skin of the man's neck that betrayed long hours outside under the sun. No Uptowner would spend five minutes under the real sun and sweat when he or she could tan comfortably and safely at home under a UV lamp. No Uptowner would come Downtown alone either. They always came in groups of four or more and for protection they wore anti-personnel skintights under their outfits of shiny plastic and metal. The white haired man had organics on, just like any other Downer.
It was somewhere between Franklin and Commerce that Stick came to the realization that he and the white haired man were going to the same place. He wasn't sure what made him think that the man was going to the Church, but never the less he was certain of it. Once he became certain of it, Stick started to feel a little uneasy about walking into the place right after the man. Feeling very shaky Stick decided to overtake the white haired man and enter the bar first. He lengthened his stride and shortened the distance between them quickly. That wasn't very hard as the man he was now bent on passing was of average height while Stick was close to seven feet tall. So intent was he on his goal Stick didn't take notice of Justin, who was working the door of the Plastic Spittoon, until Justin called out to him.
"Stick, you overgrown telephone pole, wassa matter? You too late for work to say hello?!"
Stick, caught unaware, stopped dead in his tracks.
"Well I... no I ..., not really." He finished lamely.
"Then get over here. Ring ain't going ta dock you for bein' a few minutes." Stick mumbled in agreement and tried not to stare at the white haired man's retreating back as he walked over to where Justin sat on a stool. They exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes. Justin was a likable enough fellow if you could get past his heavily scarred face and enormous prosthetic right arm.