Ted did the math in his head while his truck compacted a block’s worth of garbage. If he finished the route by five, he would have time for a shower and maybe even a bite to eat before visiting. He made a mental map of drive-thru’s on the way to the hospital.
The truck’s robotic arm had knocked over a bin, spilling garbage across the sidewalk. Biting down curses, Ted jumped out of the cab and righted the bin, refilling it with the bags and loose trash so that he could dump it correctly. Sloppy. But he’d be fine as long as he stayed focused the rest of the route.
Three stops later he knocked over another bin.
So maybe he would settle for a granola bar from his locker. He could skip the shower, but mom always wrinkled her nose when he smelled like work. He couldn’t risk ruining the visit, just in case the doctors were wrong.
Ted stared in disbelief at a mess of garbage he had just spilled into the street. His hand fell from the controls. Loose papers and Styrofoam cups danced in the wind. Ted did math. It was all slipping away.
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Story by Gregory M. Fox