From the author: One event. Three radically different perspectives.
When I saw the Hershey bar lying in the road, my first impulse was to pick it up and shout, "Five second rule!"
Then I remembered a prank from when I was a kid. The prankster would unwrap a Hershey bar, then refold the shiny part into a hollow rectangle and slip the part that said 'Hershey's' back over it. Then the prankster would offer it to somebody, and laugh when the poor kid curled a fist over an empty wrapper.
But I knew better now. I wasn't about to look like an idiot. I pushed the Hershey bar with my toe, to see how heavy it was.
It was solid.
I grinned and picked it up, then brushed off the gravel and swarm of ants and unwrapped it. It's a good thing I checked to see if it was solid first. Otherwise I might've done something that looked really stupid.
When I saw the dreadlocked hippy bending over the Hershey bar wrapper lying in the road, my first impulse was to snicker at his eco-conscientiousness.
But he wasn't bending over to pick it up and throw it away. As I watched him, I realized in horror that (1) it was a whole candy bar, and (2) he was eating it.
He wasn't being planet-friendly—he was being disgusting. There were ants all over it, for Christ's sake.
This was so revolting that I couldn't resist. I took a step off the sidewalk and said, "You aren't doing your job very well."
He shook ants from his fingers and spared me a glance. "What?"
I jerked my head at his candy bar. "I see you eat garbage. There's still plenty of garbage on the ground at that street corner over there. Better get cracking."
Next thing I knew, the little shit had his hand on my neck and was trying to shove the ant-laden wrapper into my mouth. "If you're so worried, why don't you help me, you yuppie fuck."
And people say I'm not environmentally conscious.
When I saw two men having a fistfight near a Hershey bar wrapper lying in the road, my first impulse was to laugh.
It was a perfect microcosm of class struggle: some clean-cut guy in a suit versus some lower-class free spirit. I set down a carton of books and my breakfast, a box of half a dozen donuts, and unlocked the door to my shop. I wanted to watch them, but two people beating the tar out of each other in front of my store is probably bad for business, so I figured I'd better call the cops.
I left my stuff outside for a second and went to my phone, but I wasn't getting a dial tone. I sighed and bent to fiddle with the jack.
When I stood up and glanced out the display window, I saw that the man in the suit had gone, and the lower-class free spirit was picking up my box of donuts.
"Five second rule!" he shouted, and ran away with it.
I stared at where the donuts had been. That's what I get for leaving something on the ground, I guess.
This story originally appeared in The Ranfurly Review.
From a mechanical forest that constructs itself to the streets of Kyoto 8,000 years hence, the sometimes whimsical, sometimes cutting short fiction of KJ Kabza has been dubbed “Delightful” (Locus Online) and “Very clever, indeed” (SFRevu). Collecting all of his work published before May 2011 (plus 5 new stories, notes on the stories, and an interview by Julia Rios), IN PIECES offers glimpses into other worlds—some not unlike your own.
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