Monday, June 27, 2016

Street Meat - @MicrocosmsFic

It's been a few weeks, but I've contributed to Microcosms this week. Yes, I included this in the Guns, Gods & Robots universe.

Street Meat

“Oi! Chicken.” Shruk!

“Oi! Lamb.” Shruk!

“Oi! Beef.” Shruk!

The line moved fast. Each customer queued up, shouted their order and slid their credit cards through the payment slot. Five minutes later the Tyson.2’s arm thrust out of the autocart service window with the kebobs ready for each patron. It was efficient, perfect and most importantly: cheap. All of the food carts had followed the restaurant automation trend that had in turn followed the robotics revolution over the last decade after Farage’s Folley.

The one piece that couldn’t be automated was trash. Legally.  Sanitation careers were one of the government’s preserved job types saved for people to make their career. Winston stood outside of the autocart waiting for customers to throw their skewers and napkins onto the ground. Even though the trash bin was five meters away, customers preferred to discard their debris on the pavement. The emergence of mass-sloth was another unexpected consequence of a fully automated society.

“Oi!, Chicken.” Shruk!

Winston twisted his spine. The vertebrae popped. His back ached every day from bending over for the trash. Despite the misery of his job, he kept at it. One day he would afford his own Tyson.2. Never on his trashman’s wage, but through a bigger plot he’d been hatching since he’d the Department of Livelihoods been assigned to serve the autocart.

“Oi! Lamb.” Shruk!

Like he had every day for the last month, Winston feigned dropping one of the skewers so it rolled under the cart. Once under, he’d stab the break line just once. At the end of his shift he’d lay down, out of sight of the driving system’s cameras, and hope for a mistake. Maybe today he’d have his legs run over. Maybe today he’d earn his workers comp and a better future.

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