This morning is the morning I empty our Human Refuse bags and the trash bags and the bag from the bottom of the sleek metal hole where Janet puts her used feminine items.
For this I get an extra sixty a month. Plus it’s always nice to get out of the cave.
I knock on the door of her Separate Area.
“Who is it?” she asks, playing dumb.
She knows very well who it is. I stick in my arm and wave around a trash bag.
“Go for it,” she says.
She’s in there washing her armpits with a washcloth. The room smells like her, only more so. I add the trash from her wicker basket to my big white bag. I add her bag of used feminine items to my big white bag. I take three bags labeled Caution Human Refuse from the corner and add them to my big pink bag labeled Caution Human Refuse.
I mime to her that I dreamed of a herd that covered the plain like the grass of the earth, they were as numerous as grasshoppers and yet the meat of their humps resembled each a tiny mountain etc. etc., and sharpen my spear and try to look like I’m going into a sort of prehunt trance.
“Are you going?” she shouts. “Are you going now? Is that what you’re saying?”
I nod.
“Christ, so go already,” she says. “Have fun. Bring back some mints.”
She has worked very hard these many months to hollow out a rock in which to hide her mints and her smokes. Mints mints mints. Smokes smokes smokes. No matter how long we’re in here together I will never get the hots for her. She’s fifty and has large feet and sloping shoulders and a pinched little face and chews with her mouth open. Sometimes she puts on big ugly glasses in the cave and does a crossword: very verboten.
Out I go, with the white regular trash bag in one hand and our mutual big pink Human Refuse bag in the other.