Living Hell, Part III

~ 3 ~

Seattle, 25 May
2045

The past few days were spent trudging around the backs of restaurants and old supply warehouses scavenging something to eat. More than once Rourke, or as Tim had oddly nicknamed him, “Roak,” had to eat out of a dumpster. This was made all the more daunting as few restaurants, even fast food, existed anywhere outside of the gated cities, especially on the south side. Roak had found a place that threw out some pretty good food scraps… in the former University District. Every morning he would have to rise at 5 AM when the sun rose, and make a perilous journey northwards through downtown, across the river, and into the district. Along the way were homeless people, thugs, and security officers looking for “fuck fuck games.” This was made all the worse because he had to spend a few hours in the middle of the day waiting in shade because of the intense oncoming heat. He would be back at the store at 5 PM… if he was lucky.

After a week, Roak was totally tapped out. He was near 50 years old, and couldn’t take much more of this strain on his joints. Tim didn’t give him anything to eat, not like he had much at any rate. Since the first time around he could not find a job anywhere, not as a janitor, stock boy, or apprentice, he resorted this time around to peddling cheap goods in downtown, just outside the security zone where the remains of the city government and a few medium sized businesses had set up shop. The goods in question were cheaply made “dolls” made out of old wood found in some back alleys. Roak had borrowed a pocket knife and tried carving. The forms were terrible, and he nearly cut himself while doing so. Since all the hospitals were crammed and broken down, a major cut could be fatal. It was not worth the risk. In two days of selling dolls, Roak only managed to sell one to some idiotic lost hipster, wearing skinny jeans, and with the most effeminate white face Roak had ever seen, who had ventured out of Bellevue for a “real” urban experience. The funniest part was that the hipster would not buy goods from a normal white guy – Roak pretended to be an Iranian migrant who was trapped in America. The poor middle class son of a bitch ate it up and bought the doll at a good price, 15 new bucks.

That was enough to feed Roak for two weeks off some nutri-paste, a single small can of very fatty and barely edible meat, and rice. But then what? The store? That was useless now. Tim’s store was an old hardware store that he had inherited when his uncle died. He barely made any money off it anymore, and most of the stock was gone, it was just a useful place to sleep, and occasionally engage in some semi legal business of various sorts. All that was left to “sell” were a few crumbling screwdrivers, some corroded bolts, and a few damaged wires. All the power tools, lathes, welding equipment and wood were long since gone. Not like anyone out here would buy them anyway. There were still 4 other dolls to sell, and stupid hipsters weren’t a dime a dozen anymore as they were 30 years ago. Not here, anyway.

Roak looked in the distance, towards the east. The sun was setting graciously on the cascades, while in the distance, he saw the glimmer of Bellevue, the gated city. The skyscrapers from afar let off bright lights, and some nights, many of the businesses even hosted light shows.

All of a sudden, out a small window, through the bars, Roak could see an explosion of light, of blue and red and green. A column of festive smoke rose in the distance, and Roak even thought he could barely hear some cheering. Tim interrupted his train of thought:

“The Night of Pleasure. Happens once a year around summer.”

“Night of Pleasure?”

“Back when Bellevue Corp. walled off the city in 2030, they wanted to get away from the decay, high crime, and riots. They just wanted to live good, and the only people who live there, mostly anyway, are cocksuckers who ate up all that liberal bullshit the big companies wanted. Those guys are the biggest walled city west of the Rocky Mountains. Long story short, the corporation basically hosts an entire giant orgy for anyone over 15.”

“Jesus.”

“He would be ashamed,” Tim replied with a faint smile.

Roak pondered, what was it like on the other side? Then he thought back to the stupid hipster a few days earlier. If he could give him the sob story of an Iranian migrant, what else would those people buy?

Part 2 >

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