Ch 7: Life of a Punk - Clarto

Clarto straightened, wiped the sweat from his eyes, and looked down the dock. There were four more trailers to unload before sunset. Well, there was nothing to do but do it. The Boss Punks paid well and were fair. For the most part. In times like this, they’d let you earn some overtime without complaining.

Clarto had a kid coming. The more cred he made, the happier he was. His company-assigned partner for life had turned out to be a blessing. She was not only a whiz at running a home; it turned out she shared some, not all, interests with him. Plus, to keep things smooth and her happy, when he didn’t have a day like this where he was going to be late and tired, he’d help with chores.

The way she showed her appreciation for these little things made him blush thinking about it.

Thoughts like that weren’t helping.

He grabbed a pally jack and walked to the next trailer. Much to his surprise, two workers from the next dock joined him.

“We were slow today. Boss sent us here, instead of home, so we could still earn cred.”

Clarto smiled.

“It’s appreciated. These trailers are all happy stacks. One guy can handle each of them.”

Happy stacks meant everything was neatly packed on pallets they could pull out without needing any special gear. That said, it was still ball-busting work. But with the two new guys, his balls would be less busted, so they could still be of use when he got home.

He smiled and set to work.

They sweated, grunted, and sorted the stacks for the next three hours so the lift operators could take them to their next destination.

All three Cat Punks were surprised when they heard Boss Punk bellow out.

“Stop work!”

They did that and walked onto the dock.

Clarto was the bravest.

“What’s up, Boss? We’re almost done here.”

“I can see that. You all do good work. But this isn’t about you.”

That was not as illuminating as he seemed to think.

“Okay, Boss, what’s up?”

For the first time, any of them could remember, Boss looked worried.

“It seems the Kabutowari have been hiding drugs in legal shipments. To make it work, they’ve been stealing product and replacing it with shatter shatter.”

“Boss, these trailers are huge. Fill one of them with drugs, and the whole city would be ripped for a year.”

Boss sighed.

“Not a whole trailer, but enough that the legit owners have complained. A City-Runner is on her way here. My instructions are to send you home, add in a half shift’s pay of overtime for the inconvenience, and see you bright and early tomorrow.”

None of them could argue with that. They were packing up when the lady in black appeared. Her eyes shining with cybernetic energy. They bolted. They could pack their gear tomorrow.

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