Lo<ve in> Ve[in]
Section 2.1

by Shawn Phillips



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It was the first time she had seen the world from outside of the detention center in twenty years. Standing in clothing loaned by the state, she lit a non-toxic carcinogen and squinted at the sky. She could barely remember how blue the sky used to be when she was fifteen. Even then, it really wasn't "sky blue," not like the old picture books and films when even her parents were young. Twenty years... who would have thought that it could get greyer? Even the recycled garments she wore were faded, despite being brand new, government-funded products.

A mass-transit unit pulled up to the slice of concrete she shaded with her form, opening its doors. She slung a small duffle over her shoulder and began to board, but as she placed a foot onto the step, a harsh, piercing buzz cut through the air from inside the transit.

"Passenger, you must extinguish your carcinogen before boarding. You have five seconds to comply before this mass-transit unit resumes its route."

She inhaled once, and flicked the carcenogen just as the transit's doors began to close. Quickly, she boarded before the automated doors left her behind.

"Christ. Wasn't even five seconds, you piece of shit," she cursed, stepping up inside the transit, facing a flickering screen and numerical keypad.

"Passenger, this unit will not tolerate any abusive behavior, and will exercise the full extent of the law as necessary. This is your only warning."

Frowning, she remarked, "What's that suppose to mean?" But the only reply she got was the screen in front of her requesting an ID card and PIN number. Fumbling through her jacket pockets, she pulls out a plastic card and slids it into a slot, then extending a tattooed hand, types in the number the correction facility instructed her to memorize.

The orange bar to her left lifted, giving passage into the passenger area of the transit. Only two other passengers occupied the transit, leaving ample seating for her to choose from. Selecting one within comfortable distance away from the other passengers, and the direction the automated voice came from, she sat down, as the transit hummed, following its route through the grey society she was to learn.


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