Morning - Part 1

It was morning, not that that really meant anything. Days were spent doing whatever needed to be done. Night was spent the same way. In the slums, getting by was the day-by-day. Few managed to do that for long. It meant work and wages that were too low for the menial task they represented. But for her, work was not a steady job.

She sat up in her bed, swinging her legs around to drop to the floor. She still had her boots on. In fact, she still had the clothes on she came in wearing last night, only a few hours ago. Sleep when you can. Be aware when you are awake. That’s survival.

Her bike was ten feet away, just inside the swing door of the shipping container. She hadn’t stowed the custom cycle properly. That meant she was exhausted. Looking across from her, the sink was begging her to wash away the sleep, the early morning tiredness, yesterday's filth. Again, morning. Just a concept to give people a sense of time and routine. To the elite it meant nothing. To the slum-scum it meant nothing. Only to those in the middle, citizens. Only to them did it matter. Credit whores who slaved away at jobs to better Oracle. But they didn’t better the slums. They didn’t better the disenfranchised. They bettered the city for themselves. And why shouldn’t they? It was their lives spending the sweat. Reap what you sow.

She slipped one arm out of her wife-beater. She had often wondered why they called them that. Had they been a popular t-shirt amongst the men who found their spouses made the best punching bags? She also wondered how the hell the term had survived the journey from Earth. First one arm, then the other, then over her head to land on the bed beside her. She sat there in her bra for a moment before deciding that too needed to go.

The boots came next. Mine worker boots with the hard Velcro at the side. The kind that didn’t slip with frequent movement and strain against them. Good rubber soles that would grip the unsure rock and soil of a Martian mine. And that would carry them fast to escape a cave-in or chocking dust cloud. She had added shine guards, steel painted matte black. Grey really, but almost black. Grey blended in better. Black seemed like an absence to the eye and drew attention to those that mattered—not that anyone really mattered out here in the forgotten.

Her synthetic cotton-leather pants slipped off revealing simple bikini cut underwear. Nothing fancy. Just enough to do their job. The pants were a weave of synth-cotton and synth-leather, designed to be breathable and yet tough enough to protect. They remained on the floor at her feet beside the boots. She sat there in socks and panties for a few moments wanting a cigarette even though she didn’t smoke. It would’ve been something to start the day.

Getting up and moving the six feet to into the kitchen to the sink, she looked back at her bike. That would be the first chore of the day. Check her out and clean her up. Do a proper job before taking her out again. It was only twelve feet away. Three feet beyond her single cot bed. Her twenty by eight shipping container, 160 square feet of living space, 1,040 cubic feet of breathable air, was her home. All hers and hers alone, which was more than most in the slums could afford. And here on the outskirts, they left her alone. No one wanted to come out here that had a choice. That suited her fine.

She turned on the faucet and let it run for a moment while she slipped off her panties and socks and dropped them on the counter. A rag sat to the side. Slipping it under the water she scrubbed it once up her face. Then down. Up again. Down. And up one last time. The cheap industrial hand-soap lathered her hands and she swirled it around her face, left hand on the left and right hand on the right. It was more disinfectant and anti-bacterial than cleanliness. But it got the job done and left her skin feeling fresh against the semi-scrubbed recycled air.

Her arms and shoulders got the same treatment, and her neck and upper back. Her breasts followed the curves down to her abdomen, hips, thighs and calves before putting one foot on the counter and then switching it out for the other. Then the important places where hair grew and crap came out. Her last proper shower had been a month ago when she had checked into a hotel on a delivery job. But again, she thought, this is more than most people get out here. She was privileged. But privilege came at a cost.

She grabbed the spray-nozzle and rinsed herself. She hadn’t bothered with her hair, it would take too long even with the dry-shampoo. The water and soap film slipped off her body running down into the drain in the steel floor beneath her feet.

Toweling off, she grabbed a clean pair of panties, whitish-grey, and a sports-bra of the same color, put them on, and walked over to her bike to get to work.


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