Reader, beware: disgust awaits. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to move along.
I knew better than to take food from the outsiders, but it smelled so good, and they looked just like the hot dogs my grandmother used to make.
I had a bite.
Half an hour later, my stomach twisted and I had to leave my post to find a john before I muddied up the inside of my boots. Just my luck the line was so long; Grandmother always said I had all the luck, and I was shaking my head at how right she was as I squirmed along with the rest of the line under the heat of the hot, blaring globes overhead.
“People are waiting out here!” a man yelled, and my stomach turned over on itself like a gator in a deathroll.
I didn’t want to think it, but it looked like this was the end of my employment with M.T. Lott. I’d only had the job two weeks, and my prospects for another job were slim since the draft shut down most of the businesses in town.
A woman with a small child pulled out of line and marched past everyone else, the boy in her grasp a light anchor in a heavy storm. She banged on the door with her free hand. “Your turn is up, guy. What’s the big idea making us all wait?”
I wasn’t sure how long the man had been in the only upright port-a-potty at the market, but judging by the way people squirmed, it was too long. I took a deep breath, hitched my pants up high, and walked past the line.
“Excuse me, miss,” I said, and flashed my badge. It wasn’t much, but it was something, and she stepped aside. I banged on the door. “It’s time to move on, friend. Clean it up and head out,” I said, and added, “Orders from the Counsel.”
A piteous, wet sound escaped the latched door and I wondered if he had gotten ahold of worse than an outsider hot dog.
“I don’t want to have to drag you out of there by force, but I will.”
My insides gurgled and went to ice water. If I didn’t get the man out soon, I would be incompetent and incontinent.
“Last chance,” I said, pulling the club from my belt. “Mister, you’d better get your pants up. I’m coming in.”
No response. I tucked the end of the club between the door and the housing and – with a whispered prayer for my bowels to hold on tight – I ripped the door away.
The crowd took in a shocked breath before screaming, panicking, scattering. My mouth dropped open and I sucked in a breath, my mind fighting what I was seeing as my eyes shrieked for me to RUN! RUN AWAY OHGODWHATARETHOSE?WHATHAPPENEDTOHISGUTS?TOHISHEAD?, and I was stumbling back away, tearing off my uniform, releasing the writhing mess in my bowels that squelched as it hit the pavement and slithered away.