Mangel

Author : David Flynn

Davis was a Flyer. But his wings had been removed surgically. This is no cliché. You know, wings of the heart, and that bullshit. Davis was surgically invested with wings when he was in his twenties, had a thirty year career delivering packages, summonses, overdue bills, whatever. Now though he had to use his legs.
Which had withered to the size of sticks.

“Damn. That hurts,” he said.

He tried to walk across the yard, pushing his garbage bin. Even with four wheels, a Spinner, the concrete yard tilted slightly uphill, and he had to push. He hadn’t pushed in decades.

“Damn.”

Davis, in fact, was Poor. Now. While flying, he was part of an elite corps of mangels and womangels, all surgically produced. He was paid well by the company. But he saved nothing. He rented his condo. He rented his furniture. Nobody owned a vehicle anymore. There were apps for all trips. Groceries were delivered by 3-D printer, as were clothes, as were all the crap on the web. In a given week, Davis left the condo and the 72 degree rooms only to fly.

During his decades of work the garbage bins had been replaced by vaporizer boxes in the kitchen. He didn’t know; outside of work he only slept in the Dream Box. He never married, never socialized even, so his personal assistant robot had pushed that bin like some cowboy or knight to the curb. Now the robot had been confiscated by his company, and he had to strain up that concrete hill, a ten percent grade.

“Damn,” he repeated.

Davis locked his legs like the cranes he had seen on his TV wall before that was confiscated decades ago. Nature. He scissored them like stilts. He had seen them on TV then too, Stilt Wars. When he got the bin to the potholed, neglected street he pushed it aimlessly, and turned around.

What he didn’t know was that garbage pickup had ended about 5 years before, even the two trucks that continued for Old Farts. A week later the bin still blocked the street. The garbage rotted in his used-to-be garage. Maggots covered the plastic. He heard a noise.

“Davis, you are under arrest,” said the mangel.

“What!”

“You are a public nuisance,” said the mangel.

“Me?”

The police mangel sprayed him with Knock-Out, and strapped him to his back rack. The condo door still open, he flapped his wings. They rose into the always-blue sky.

“Old Fart transported,” the mangel said.

“Useless,” a voice said from the air. “The dump.”

“Gotcha. Will do,” the mangel said.

Flap flap flap and in a few minutes he went into Glide. Below stretched a dump of dead human bodies, almost all old, Useless. A few teens, the Stupid, the Rebellious.

The mangel released the rack, and Davis fell. He screamed. They all screamed. By time he smashed into the bodies, clothes rotting, he was dead too. Air Poison in Position.

“Praise Hartmann!” the mangel said.

“3287 Weinerstrasse,” the voice said. “What a dumb address. For that alone the occupant should be Dumped. A Sterile.”

“Gotcha,” the mangel said. He flapped toward a dot blinking on the roof in a row of townhouses below.

3 Comments

  1. Jae

    Superb alternate worldview, a little lumpy in places, but a good read.

    And, sadly, I agree that it needed another editing pass.

  2. JH

    I like it.

    I think it is more of a commentary on our current society than one might think.

  3. SimonJM

    An interesting peek at a markedly different world view, but for me it does not quite convince.
    Another pass of the edit pencil would have been good.

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