Bob's JourneySubmitted by Murphy1844 at 2010-07-08 03:48:49 EDT
Rating: 1.76 on 15 ratings (15 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
Bob poured a bowl of sugary cereal and then opened his cooler for a liter of milk. He opened the container and took a deep smell. With nobody in the room but his dog, Georgie, he said, “sonova bitch.” He threw the container away, located his working boots, took his ritualistic honk of the bottle of cheap gin, and went out in to the new world.
Bob was a large man, nearly two meters tall, and hefty too, weighing in at 155 kilos on an empty stomach. His face was round and colored red from his chronic alcohol use and his moustache, somewhat resembling an upside-down “U”, was grey and yellow depending on where the tobacco smoke stained it.
He needed milk, and he was on his way to The Striped Pantry, which was the nearest mini-store. Normally Bob wouldn’t waste money to buy milk at an over-priced mini-store, but convenience costs money. Milk at a store like this ran at 350 credits. A larger store would be around 300, but he was hungry.
The Striped Pantry was in Strip Mall SSE, as the locals called it, wedged between a laundry store, a liquor store, three restaurants, a bar, and a few experimental shops. SSE stands for South South East, not to be confused with the Strip Mall SE, which was further North. Strip Mall SE did have a larger store with better prices, but Speedy Transport, Bob’s mode of transportation, didn’t service Strip Mall SE.
The nearest stop was about a kilometer away from Bob’s residence cube, a short enough distance that Bob skipped the smog mask that many wear for longer treks in the new world. Occasionally his neighbors would holler at Bob... things like “hey fat-fat, gonna die without no mask.” Or, “there goes the fat drunk-ass, watch him walk, haha.” Depending on how drunk Bob was, he’d either yell, “Alp” and continue walking, or sometimes he’d just gesture something careless. Maybe he’d pull out a cheap pre-rolled stick of tobacco and light it on fire.
The streets to the stop were mostly dirt and stone and wide enough to accommodate a service automobile for the few who carried some form of emergency insurance. A few streets still had old green signs that labeled the street, standing atop a metal pole in various states of disrepair, but they long-ago meant nothing and even the service automobiles didn’t reference them since there was no telling how long they would stand erect. Along the edges of the street were piles of garbage, tossed out from the cube-residences and accumulated in areas where there was less foot traffic. In the heavier trafficked streets, ones which Bob avoided, were lines of the bums and handicapped, or the BH scum as referred to by those fortunate enough to rent a cube and have people to look down upon.
It was around 1:00 in the afternoon now, and Bob began to sweat as he walked. Carrying that many kilos around, combined with the thick pre-summer smog that hung in the air so thick that one could almost bottle it in a bottle, Bob’s breathing became hastened. He wasn’t thinking about work or gin or his dog, his dominating ideas on a normal day, but rather about catching his breath. He’s made this trip hundreds of times, sometimes for tobacco, mostly for gin, and today for milk. He thought, ah the fuck with it, and marched on.
Occasionally he had to dodge a pile of garbage being thrown from one of the residence buildings. It was common for someone to throw something light and harmless first, say, a tin of tuna, before hurling the full load. Where Bob lived, section 1080B, the residence buildings reached too high in the air to be seen on a day like today, and a full load of trash can and has killed people.. With good wind, in March for example, and on those sunny cold days where the air seems to cut your exposed skin like blunt razors, one could see all the way to the top. An empty plastic tub of peanut butter smacked Bob on his shoulder and he instinctively shuffled forward about ten paces, just far enough to avoid the following ka-boom of someones bag full of shit. He knocked three times on the building... a thank you sort of thing people did in the new world, in section 1080B, where Bob was walking to get milk to pour on his sugared cereal.