Ascension II: Trash

Someone shook Bates by the shoulder. “Hey, old timer. Are you all right?”

Two men stood over him. Juno Station Sanitation Dept., read the embroidery on their jackets. They’d just pulled him from a heap of pallets. Bates smashed in the shorter man’s nose. He collapsed, hands to his face. His buddy aimed a kick at Bates. He shoved him over while he was swinging his leg back, and heard their truck’s cab door slam. He confronted the driver.

The driver took two steps back, looking around for a weapon or help, unwilling to abandon his coworkers. “What’s wrong with you? We aren’t looking for a fight. We were trying to help you.”

Bates howled. He hated people who helped him; they made him feel weak. He snatched a ballpoint pen out of the man’s shirt pocket and stabbed him in the eye. The man who’d tried to kick him ran for the truck.

Bates stooped over his latest victim. “Allen! But, you’re dead.”

A shovel to the head put out his lights.

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