Author: Katlina Sommerberg

Scarf concealing her throbbing face, Terry stumbled down the bus’s steps. Her employer, a real estate corporation masquerading as a burger chain, was twenty feet down the shit-stained sidewalk.

A child tugged on his leash; the tethered man stared at cartoon smiles advertising Terry’s employer’s products. The company logo—a pair of nested obtuse triangles, twinkling in the eyes of the giant face on the bus—reflected in the child’s eyes.

Terry swerved to avoid them, but one shoe tangling in the other’s laces, and her knee rammed the child. While her aching face formed a Fortune 500 smile, she stuttered an apology.

The child began crying.

The parent’s head swiveled to her, his eyes lolling her work shirt’s nested triangles. He grunted.

“Sorry, I—”

His throat gargled.

Terry stepped to the right. “Sorry, sir—”

One fly buzzed out of his drooling mouth.

Nope. Terry sprinted to her workplace.

The adult lurched after her, dragging the crying toddler along, until they stared, hypnotized, at the burger posters on the window.

Behind Terry, the doors clicked shut. Fingernails tapped against the glass.

Matt, the last of the day shift, blinked open his bloodshot eyes and waved her to the register. “Doctor?” he asked. He pointed a crooked finger to Terry’s maggoty cheek.

“No health insurance,” Terry grunted.

Terry and Matt jolted when a meaty palm thwacked the glass, shaking the door; a burger poster collapsed.

“I’ll fire up the grill.” Terry tightened her pony tail. “Short staffed or not, a horde’s a horde.”