Appeared in Antipodean SF #89 – October 2005
Pete’s gob of spit lands in the gutter with an audible splash, and floats down the drain, towards the aqua-purification center.
Peter Atkinson is standing in line for a booth on 27thAvenue. Behind him a neon sign screams for his attention with a droning sound like a giant electric mosquito. The woman in front of him is clothed in old, mud-crusted rags, and stinks of urine and sweat. Pete’s glad when it’s her turn, and she slides the door of the booth closed behind her. From behind the glass he can hear her answer the computer’s questions.
“…Woolfe.” She says. Her voice is cracked, and speaks of a love for cigarettes.
And then it’s his turn…