Space Janitor 101-120
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Space Janitor 101-120
Space Janitor shrugged at Shep. He had no idea how they were supposed to attach the foot. It would be another task for them to perform.
Space Janitor felt useless. Everything he did to try and make things better only ended up making things worse.
“Look pup it’s not your fault. You’re doing what you can,” Shep said to Space Janitor. He could see the disappointment in his eyes.
“Maybe I could use the machine again to make something we can attach it with,” Space Janitor said. His voice was full of hope.
“You know what pup don’t worry about it. You have helped me so much. I am thankful. I know you might not feel like I do but trust me when I say, I do. What we need to do is get ready for the dust off. Can you see out the window?” Shep asked.
Space Janitor went to a small window in the top corner of the cabin. He stood as tall as he could to see out. There was nothing out there. There was a thick red fog. Impenetrable to Space Janitor’s eyes. There was no sign of anything out there.
“Well?” Shep asked. Space Janitor turned to Shep.
“There’s nothing out there. Some kind of red mist. I can’t see through it,” Space Janitor said.
“Red mist. Great. Either means there’s been a set down or a take-off. No matter which it is, our work has been cut out for us, again,” said Shep. Shep had the foot and was looking at it in a puzzled manner. He tapped the bottom of his stump. Winced in pain. The feeling was returning.
Shep put the foot in his overalls.
The transport bumped and swayed more.
“Have we landed,” Shep asked.
Space Janitor turned to Shep and shrugged.
“It looks like we’ve landed,” Space Janitor said. Space Janitor tugged at the door, it wouldn’t budge.
“Don’t be in such a rush, OK?” Shep scolded Space Janitor. Shep got up. He was still hobbling, but it would do for now. There was a moment when he wasn’t too sure if he should try and at least attach the foot.
Space Janitor watched Shep navigate the cabin. Space Janitor was concerned for his coworker. Neither did he want to risk anything by dawdling on the job. He tried to make an excellent first impression with his employers.
The door of the transport opened. It had landed, but the question now was where. The red mist contaminated the cabin. It coated everything it touched with a fine film of particles.
Space Janitor could feel it get into his airways. He coughed and gripped his chest. If he spent long in the environment, it would suffocate him. His lungs would become leaden with the powder.
Space Janitor looked over to Shep. It was taking a toll on him too. There was no way either of them could get out of the transport, let alone do the job. Had they been sent here to die.
The two cleaners were doubled over in the cabin of the transport. A voice came over. Cold, robotic and unaffected by the dust.
“Please disembark,” it commanded.
Space Janitor wheezed and crawled off the ramp.
“Please disembark,” it repeated.
Space Janitor grabbed Shep and pulled him out of the transport. As soon as they were off the ramp, it folded up barring reentry.
There was the sound of the engine firing up. It spluttered as it made its way upwards.
Space Janitor could see it struggle to ascend. Was the machine faltering?
Space Janitor watched the ship waver and falter as it went upwards. The ship disappeared. Enveloped by the red mist whipping overhead. Space Janitor’s head was pulled back down to the ground. He crawled forward. Looking around, he could see Shep struggling behind.
Space Janitor reached to the Spenglactic. He hoped it would be able to offer a solution. Otherwise, they were doomed.
Space Janitor thumbed a button on the Spenglactic. It came to life.
“What the hell have you got us into this time?” Spenglactic sputtered.
“Some dust storm,” Space Janitor wheezed back.
“You need me to sort you out again, don’t you? Yes,” said Spenglactic. There was a power-up sound.
Let me take a moment to say I know it feels like the Spenglactic is a literal deus ex machina, but I swear it’s not. This is how it actually happened.
Anyway, back to the story.
There was a sucking followed by a boom.
Spenglactic had sucked in all the dust within their radius. Forced it out, creating a brief bubble of the clean atmosphere.
Space Janitor took it in and looked around. He saw Shep hunched over trying to breathe. Space Janitor went and grabbed him. Pulled him close and looked in the clean area.
The dust was already closing in, and soon they would be back to square one.
Space Janitor saw a hatch on the ground. He didn’t know where it would lead to, but he owed it to himself to find out at least. The alternative was to be swallowed by the dust once more.
Space Janitor placed Shep in front of him and guided him towards the hatch in the ground.
With some effort, he was able to get it open. The two descended into the dark. Where were they?
“More darkness, fantastic,” said Space Janitor. Shep did not respond. They could see through slats above them the red dust was still whipping about. Was it calming down? Would it ever settle? Space Janitor thought to himself.
Shep wheezed beside him. He was still bent over, arms bracing the legs. He coughed out some of the red mist.
“Are you OK? Here let me help,” Space Janitor.
Space Janitor gave Shep a solid thump on the back, bringing up more of the red mist.
“Inhaling razors would have been easier,” Shep shouted. Space Janitor kept on thumping. Shep caught his hand and placed it to the side. “Thank you, I’m good,” Space Janitor nodded but gave one final thump. You know, to make sure. “Hey, didn’t you hear me? Enough”.
Shep stood upright. He observed his surroundings and nodded.
“Well, you did the right thing. Getting us out of that. We need to work out if it’s a landing or a take-off. That way we’ll know how much time we have left. As long as we get to a terminal, we can see the itinerary. Is itinerary the right word? Landings and take-offs, you know? I can barely see let alone think straight”.
“Will there be one down here? It looks like there’s not much down here,” said Space Janitor
“There’s always something down here. Station used to have full-blown maintenance towns down here. That’s what they thought led to the formation of the groups,”
Space Janitor nodded along, not having a clue what Shep was talking about.
“We can stay here and hope what’s happening up there dies off, or we can go forward and hope for the best. I’m not one for hanging around,” Shep said.
Space Janitor nodded.
Space Janitor and Shep moved forward through the tunnel. The howling of the wind reminded the two of the presence of the dust cloud. If it was settling, the two of them were none the wiser. Somewhere up ahead of them, there was a smell of oil. Some kind of fuel source at least. Old fashioned, quaint. Space Janitor breathed in deeply and made himself dizzy. There was a clicking sound coming from a direction, but it changed from moment to moment.
The two walked forward. There was no obstruction. Despite the appearance of some slickness, the ground was not slippy. There were lights overhead too. While it wasn’t exactly well lit, there was enough illumination to allow for a confident walk.
Shep led the way. He had stopped limping and was dragging his wounded leg along the ground. He would occasionally catch it on something and yelp.
Space Janitor would have offered to carry him, but the weight of Spenglactic was enough.
The Spenglactic chimed in.
“My adaptors will need to be looked at after this,” Spenglactic informed Space Janitor. Space Janitor nodded.
“Say Spenglactic,” Shep started. “Do you think you could translate those clicks? There’s a pattern to them. Might be able to help us out,”
“I can’t translate non-mechanical clicks,” Spenglactic responded promptly.
“They’re biological then,” Shep said matter of factly.
“Tomato/tomato,” said Spenglactic.
“I didn’t realise vegetables could speak,” Space Janitor interjected.
“He means it’s from some living being,” Shep said. “Meaning we’re being watched. Don’t look round, don’t panic,” Shep sighed. “I said, don’t look around and don’t panic. Eyes forward and keep going towards that little alcove up ahead,”
The two came to an area. Looked like an old communications station.
Space Janitor looked at Shep.
“Now,” Shep turned to Space Janitor. “Now we take a lunch break,” Shep said, plonking himself down on a nearby chair.
Space Janitor regarded him suspiciously. Shep sat in front of a dormant control panel unmoving. He head stooped, and his breathing slowed.
Space Janitor approached cautiously. He wanted to see what Shep was doing. He couldn’t see Shep’s face well.
Space Janitor pulled on the chair Shep was in. Shep jostled in his place. Opened his eyes and looked up at Space Janitor.
“Leave me alone, please. I don’t want to talk shop when I’m not on duty,” said Shep. He spun his chair around, facing away from Space Janitor. Space Janitor took the hint went and sat at another chair. He kept his eyes glued to the back of Shep’s head. The clicking persisted from somewhere nearby.
It echoed and reverberated. Where the sound was coming from. What exactly Shep was up to, Space Janitor did not know.
Shep stirred in his chair. Cleared his throat then stretched out. He spun around in the chair to face Space Janitor. Shep’s expression had changed. Was Shep happy, he kind of looked that way. Space Janitor found it unsettling.
“Hope you enjoyed your lunch,” Shep said.
“I didn’t have anything, neither did you,” Space Janitor responded.
“True but it’s up to us what we do with our free time. I’m not going to say to you we have to eat food on our lunch. Am I hungry, absolutely. Do I wish I had the smallest morsel, you bet. Am I salivating at the prospect? You know I am. The thing is our fellow four-leggers died to give us the right to eat. Now, shall we press on?”
“I guess we should,” said Space Janitor doing his best to discern what the expression on Shep’s face meant. There was no way to tell if he was sincere or not. Was this some preprogrammed behaviour within him. Wanting to lunch even though it didn’t feel like the most appropriate of times.
Shep stood nodding, tongue waggling out of his mouth. It was almost as if he wanted to play. Space Janitor’s felt his shoulders droop and shake under Shep’s gaze.
“If you need some more time. Shep we can wait a little while longer,” Space Janitor offered not sure what the response would be. The clicks that had been following were now much louder. Space Janitor flinched in response.
There was a change in Shep. He twitched and looked to one side then blinked rapidly. Shep held his eyes closed and looked at Space Janitor.
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” Shep said in response. An expression of grumpiness had shaped all features. What had curved upwards now went downwards.
“We’ll try and get to the source of these clicks and things will become clearer for us. I hope,” said Space Janitor.
“You know we’re not going to have to do that for one simple reason,” said Shep.
Space Janitor allowed silence to plateau from Shep’s statement. It was expected for Space Janitor to ask a question, but right at the moment, he didn’t care to ask.
Shep broke the silence.
“You don’t know that,” Space Janitor shot back. Shep could have been guessing, but it made no difference either way. Space Janitor was still at Shep’s mercy.
“Sure I do, listen,” Shep said then held up a finger. “Who’s there?”
Space Janitor could hear the sound of something being dragged along the ground. It was coming from around the corner behind him. Space Janitor noticed his shoulders were narrow, and his breath was shallow. He had to consciously lower his shoulders and deepen the breathes he took. He did not know whether to turn around or not.
Space Janitor took a big gulp and turned to face the corner.
There was some more dragging when what should appear from around the corner. It was a very old beagle. It’s face drooped, cheeks jowled. Underneath folds of skin Space Janitor could make out sunken bloodshot eyes.
The beagle carried a long lead pipe. It wore rags for clothing. Poorly sewn patchwork either by arthritic hands or digits not suited for the task.
Space Janitor looked to Shep and shrugged. Shep gave Space Janitor a nod. Now, Space Janitor wasn’t sure what was meant by his nodding, but he doubted Shep knew what he meant either.
Space Janitor turned back around to the beagle.
“Can we help you at sir?” Space Janitor offered to the bandaged beagle. The beagle, whether deaf in old age ore trying to intimidate made no response.
Space Janitor stepped forward, and the beagle barked. Barking with such ferocity Space Janitor could feel it rattle the marrow fo his bones.
Space Janitor instinctively jumped back. His breath shallowed, his body vibrating. Paws curled, ready for action.
“Understand you are prisoner now,” the beagle said. Half speech, half bark. Words were lost, but Space Janitor and Shep got the idea.
Space Janitor looked at Shep, signalling. Space Janitor hadn’t been around too long but knew they could take him.
“What if we don’t understand?” Space Janitor said.
Shep looked at Space Janitor, surprised at the young pups balls. Shep knew if word got out, he would be spayed for sure.
The beagle furrowed his brow. So many lines appeared on his forehead.
“If you don’t understand then you are to be sent to the pits,” the beagle said.
“We have been sent here to clear you out,” Shep spoke up.
“There is no need for that. This is our home. Where we have to go? You cannot chase us off because we don’t want to run,” said the beagle.
“We could take this one on,” said Space Janitor. The beagle barked, but Space Janitor held his nerve. Stepped toward the beagle and readied a nozzle on the Spenglactic. He wasn’t too sure what it would do, but it was better than nothing. Around the corner, unseen by Space Janitor, there was the sound of feet.
“The dog is weak alone. The pack is strong together. You could beat this one, but you could not beat all. You are strays, waiting to be brought to the pound. We have no masters,” the beagle said.
Space Janitor could hear the panting of other dogs. They were ready to pounce. Some could be heard pacing around.
Space Janitor, for the first time feeling like he could fight, relented. He let out a loud sigh, and the beagle smiled. He had won this round.
Space Janitor felt if there was around two, he would have the upper hand. Space Janitor’s paw came away from the nozzle of the Spenglactic.
Shep hobbled ahead of him towards the beagle. Space Janitor followed.
When they turned the corner, they could see there were many other dogs. Dogs of different breeds, ages and temperaments.
Had they made the right choice?
Space Janitor and Shep were paraded past the other mutts. Space Janitor didn’t like the word but could not think of a better one as he was being marched down the tunnels. Some of them snarled, others snapped. Did they know? Were they capable of thoughts? Space Janitor struggled to make out what breeds they were. They had mixed in together forming something new, something dangerous.
The tunnel zigged and zagged.
Space Janitor didn’t know how far they were going, it felt long-distance. Then there were moments when it felt like they were double backing on themselves.
Space Janitor managed to sneak a look behind him to see they were being followed. The dogs had not taken the Spenglactic from him. Space Janitor decided to see where they were being taken to first before chancing an escape.
The tunnel went down. Shep was quiet. In fact, everyone was quiet, it felt like a religious procession. Together in silent solemnity, all dogs united.
The tunnel narrowed, and everyone went single file. The ceiling came down to meet captives and captors. They had to crouch down.
Progress slowed, and in the distance, there was the sound of grinding.
Space Janitor and Shep were lead through a hole into a larger room. There was a lot of smoke and in the centre, a read glowing. Turning cogs and gears cast large shadows on the walls flickering in front of Space Janitor’s eyes. Looking down, they stood on a broad platform. It was closer to a grating. Space Janitor could see far below. How far down did this go?
The dogs in their entourage got excited. Tails wagged as the silhouette of a dog loomed closer. Who was it now?
Space Janitor struggled to focus on the dog approaching him and Shep. It was hard to make out. What was it he was wearing? A charcoal grey pinstripe suit. Red tie, white shirt and there were spats nestled atop his black wingtips. The sharply dressed dog in front of him certainly made a statement. What the statement was, on the other hand, was unclear.
“Hello, hello and welcome to the show,” the sharp-dressed dog said to them.
Space Janitor and Shep said nothing. Space Janitor noticed Shep could not place his stump down on the ground properly. He could rest it for a moment before instinctively raising it again.
“Is there somewhere for my friend to sit down?” Space Janitor blurted out. It was clear the sharp-dressed dog was going to say something more. Space Janitor had put him off his flow.
“This one can’t wait to bark. Am I right?” the sharp-dressed dog before turning around. The other dogs did not react at first. The sharp-dressed dog eyeballed them then they got the hint. The company surrounding them all started laughing and barking in unison. There was something wrong about the whole thing.
Space Janitor waited for an answer to his request. The sharp-dressed dog looked Space Janitor in the eye.
“Your friend can sit. I bet you can too because that’s what you do. You get told to sit, and you do. You get told to beg, and you do. You’re probably what they call a good boy. Am I right?” The sharp-dressed dog’s eyes narrowed. Space Janitor wanted to look away, but something within him told him to stay locked.
“I said, they call you a good boy, right?” the sharp-dressed dog said.
“I don’t know if I would exactly call myself a good boy,” Space Janitor responded to the sharp-dressed dog. Shep was puffing and panting, the heat was getting to him. While Space Janitor couldn’t see him clearly, he could hear him. He wanted to prop him up. Something was in the sharp-dressed dog’s paws, looked like a remote.
“Oh I bet you’re the goodest boy they have,” the sharp-dressed dog said to Space Janitor.
Space Janitor turned to Shep. Shep was sweating through his overalls. Poor Shep, from one extreme to the other.
“You’re probably wondering who I am, I’m Deobol,” the sharp-dressed dog said. The way he said it felt like it was supposed to land with more weight than it did. “I’m Deobol,” he said again.
“Hello Deobol,” said Space Janitor. Deobol looked mildly annoyed at the lack of reaction.
“This is where I’ve been hiding out from you guys all this time. I like to meet each of the packs that come down here. Your bosses never learn, do they? They don’t. Am I right?” said Deobol.
Space Janitor shrugged unsure of how to react. He kept still and his eyes locked on Deobol. He noticed the other dogs closing in around him.
“The thing is, maybe you want to go stray, for a day. You could even go a while longer if you play your cards right,” Deobol said. It was a whisper right in front of Space Janitor.
“Actually, Shep was talking about going stray earlier. I guess this is our chance then,” Space Janitor said.
Deobol looked over to Shep. Approached, held up his chin.
Shep looked up, locking eyes with Deobol.
“Is that so daddi-o?”
Space Janitor turned to see what was happening.
Denobol was speaking low but could still be made out.
“Come on, stray with me, be a bad dog just for a day, you might like it,” Denobol said to Shep. “You think the masters will help you with the limp? Or is it coming out of your pay?”
Shep could not bring himself to look at Denobol. A smaller dog sniffed at Shep’s stump.
Space Janitor heard them speak.
“Come on, we can get you walking, running again,” said Denobol.
“They put down strays,” Shep responded.
“They put down leasers too,” Denobol retorted. “You’re thinking about it, am I right? I am, are you worried about that one? Don’t worry, sometimes leasers don’t show up when they come down here,”.
The conversation became a whisper.
Space Janitor struggled to hear. Looked at the other dogs around him. They appeared to be sleeping. Whatever was happening, Space Janitor didn’t like how it was. The heat was getting to him, and he shifted on his feet. He wasn’t sure what was going on.
Was Shep going to give up on him finally after all this time? It felt like it was going to go that way for him.
Space Janitor could see there may come the point when he would have to use the Spenglactic. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to use it on his fellow dogs. When he looked at them, he felt something akin to pity. When he felt compassion, it was accompanied by guilt. There was no need to handle such an emotion.
Space Janitor looked at each of them in turn. What was to become of them, what was to become of him?
Space Janitor was not long in contemplation. There were a few barks behind him. It sounded like they were communicating with each other. The barks were unfamiliar to him. There was no way for him to discern what was being said. If they were deciding Space Janitor’s fate, then he was none the wiser. Space Janitor was grateful for the small mercies.
Denobol walked past Space Janitor, Shep followed too. Denobol stopped an turned to look at Space Janitor. Space Janitor locked eyes with Denobol.
Denobol snarled before giving the order.
“This one is young, he has a pack. Send him to the pit on clean up. Make sure you put an inhibitor on the pack,” Denobol said to the pack. They woofed in unison.
Denobol and Shep left the area.
Space Janitor looked around to see the dogs closing in. Their paws outstretched. Space Janitor considered resisting but aside from himself, he had no dog in this fight. He shook his shoulders to get the Spenglactic’s attention.
“Don’t bother me,” Spenglactic said.
“They’re putting an inhibitor chip on you. Doesn’t sound good,” said Space Janitor.
“Great, fantastic. You know, some first day this is turning out to be. You should have left me at the depot,”
“I should have stayed in the tube,” Space Janitor responded. “Looks like neither of us is in for a good day,”
The other dogs had laid paws on Space Janitor. Their grip was forceful even though he offered no resistance. Also though there was no conflict. It felt like there was an unnecessary roughness with how they dealt with him. Was this their first time touching someone, it felt that way. They clumsily grabbed hold of Space Janitor.
One of the dogs was fidgeting with the Spenglactic. Was this the inhibitor?
Space Janitor felt himself being released. There was a moment when he wondered if they had put it in place.
“That’s the inhibitor put in,” said Spenglactic, “Don’t notice anything different right now. If there is something I notice before then, I’ll let you know. If it’s something more obvious, then you’ll know before me. Good luck and hope they didn’t do anything too nasty,”.
The dogs let go of Space Janitor and walked him over to a doorway. It led to a lift. The inside of the elevator was cramped and primitive. It was more akin to a cage than anything else. Only three other dogs escorted Space Janitor. One of them was the beagle.
Space Janitor felt the lift descend. The heat increased. The other dogs in the elevator began panting heavily.
“Tell me where you’re taking me,” Space Janitor demanded of them. There was no response. Space Janitor reached out to grab the beagle. It snarled, and Space Janitor pulled his hand away.
“Don’t matter where you go. You go where you’re told. You do as alpha says. Thinking you’re smart won’t help you at all. Bark all you want, no one else is going to hear you,” said the beagle.
The lift stopped, the doors opened. Space Janitor found himself at the bottom of what appeared to be a large pit. There were dogs there too, but you couldn’t see them clearly. You could make out their silhouettes in the dim light. What gave away the large numbers was the smell and the sound. There were such loud pants and howls it would almost make you go deaf.
The beagle led Space Janitor out. Was this to be the end of the line for him?
Space Janitor looked at the wretched dogs who were toiling away in the grim light. The beagle approached him, blocking his vision.
“This is your new life now,” the beagle said.
“I don’t know what this is,” Space Janitor said.
“You have a pack, you don’t want to stray. You can clean here. Still do your job, you can stay happy. See,” said the beagle.
“You know it doesn’t count. You can’t keep me here like that,” said Space Janitor.
“Well, that’s what Den says. So you listen to him do what he says. Clean the mess. They gotta keep digging,” said the beagle. Space Janitor looked and saw the mounds of the mess,
The garbage, the dust, it all mixed in together. It didn’t look like it was mechanical. The look puzzled Space Janitor. How did so much sand come to be on a space station? Where there, tides? Were there oceans?
“They look like they’ve been digging for a while. Must be tiring,” Space Janitor said.
As if on cue, one of the digging dogs collapsed. The beagle caught sight of this and signalled to some of the others. The collapsed digging dog was dragged away.
“They keep digging until they get a big bone,” said the beagle nodding.
“There’s not going to be a big bone,” Space Janitor said.
The beagle’s eyes widened. The lips curled, revealing a row of yellow, chipped teeth.
“Who tell you?” the beagle asked.
Space Janitor was deeply confused by the reaction. He wondered if the beagle was serious. Digging for a bone in some sand deposit didn’t sit right with him.
“No one told me. There’s a chance I’m wrong,” Space Janitor said. Would the beagle believe him?
“You scare Beagey,” the beagle said. The lips moved back to a resting position. Space Janitor smiled and looked down at the ground. These dogs, he didn’t want to judge, and he wasn’t trying to believe himself to be a genius by any stretch of the imagination. There was something primitive about them. It felt like there was a thin sheet of plastic coating the fierce aggression. The most gentle prodding would pierce the film.
“It was a joke Beagey. I want to help find the big bone. Couldn’t tell the masters. I’ll clean up after them. Help them clean,” Space Janitor said. Not that he knew many, but Space Janitor made a mental note not to use too many big words. As it was, he didn’t want to upset them. Not even slightly as it might lead to more trouble.
Beagey nodded and made his way back towards the lift. A guard dog was wearing a key card stood at the elevator. The guard dog pressed the card to a panel. After a few moments, the lift doors opened. Beagey got on, the doors closed and it ascended. It looked like this was the only way out of the current predicament.
A guard dog thumped Space Janitor from behind. The force was significant enough to put Space Janitor off balance, but he did not go to ground. The guard dog pointed to a mound. Space Janitor nodded and got to work. He could make a run for it now and try and escape. He thought otherwise. There were many dogs around him. With force like that he could take out the guard dogs.
How would he win them over?
Space Janitor would not have time to think as the guard dogs pushed him and cajoled him into working. Space Janitor lifted the nozzle of the Spenglactic. He made sure that there was enough room to get his work done. Where was he supposed to spray the waste? They weren’t making things easy or clear for him. He would have to rely on guesswork in that case.
Space Janitor found himself sucking up a lot of the rubbish. The excess dust that was strewn across the floor. The floor was sodden in some places too making his unsure of where he was to place his feet. Is this what was required of him. Is this his new life? How would he get back up to Shep? Space Janitor hoped Shep was alright and didn’t say anything that would get them into too much trouble.
The Spenglactic had not spoken in some time. Space Janitor wondered if it was operating OK. Was the silence brought on by the inhibitor? Was Spenglactic becoming a casual observer once more? Space Janitor decided it would be best if he were to keep as quiet as possible. He didn’t want to attract any undue attention to himself. If anything, it would offer him an opportunity to slip out.
Space Janitor decided the best way forward for himself would be to get an idea of what kind of work was going on here. Aside from the digging, of course. There was a lot of noise, very little light and even less room to move about. What would happen when the drilling stopped. If the digging stopped?
Space Janitor heard a buzzer go off on the Spenglactic. The Spenglactic was full. Where was he to deposit the waste?
Space Janitor looked around to see if there was a clear sign of anywhere for him to go. Approaching a guard dog, the guard dog, he indicated his Spenglactic. The guard dog annoyed pointed down a tunnel. He then shoved Space Janitor to really hammer home the point that he was irritating him. Space Janitor walked in the direction indicated.
This tunnel became even more narrow. Walking along, dogs were carrying other dogs on stretchers. A rancid smell followed. The tunnel became black as pitch, and there was no indication which way he should be moving. The sheer loudness of the panting told Space Janitor that he was not alone in the tunnels and to keep moving. Every misstep resulted in a shove. Every shove resulted in a stumble, and every stumble resulted in a slip. The cycle renewed.
Space Janitor saw there was light at the end of the tunnel. He instinctively wanted to rush towards the light. He restrained himself because he knew there would be at least seven other dogs in front of him. If he were to annoy them, he would be torn limb from limb. Space Janitor was not ready to throw the towel in just yet.
Space Janitor came into a large room; there was a massive pit in the centre of this room. In the hole, there were all kinds of waste. It seemed to go down forever. Dogs were lining up from all angles dumping their trash. Some times the debris was as small as a speck of dust. In other instances, it was bulky, like a body.
Space Janitor stepped up and looked into the pit. There was so much.
Space Janitor hesitated.
“Come on, bud, people are waiting, what’s the hold-up?” said a voice from behind.
Space Janitor looked around behind him to see the dog behind him glaring impatiently.
“Hurry up and dump it, come on you’re holding us up,” the voice said again.
“I didn’t realise how big it was,” said Space Janitor said.
“Doesn’t matter, we got to keep digging,” said the voice.
Space Janitor hesitated still.
“If you’re not going to do it, then let us go ahead,” said the voice.
The two dogs pushed in front of him, tipping the contents of a large box. The box contained several smaller dogs. The tumbled down into the pit coming to a stop right in front of them.
The dogs looked young, there was no hint of grey in their fur. It didn’t look like it was natural causes at least.
Space Janitor looked down at the little bodies.
Squinting he could see there was movement.
“They’re still breathing,” Space Janitor said looking round to the two dogs, but they had already gone.
Now there was another dog pushing Space Janitor. Space Janitor stepped aside. He saw a guard dog watching intently.
Space Janitor knew the dog would not care if the wretches below him lived or died. They had been dumped here for some reason.
The guard dog left his post and approached Space Janitor. What point would there be in trying to persuade the dog? There would be none. Space Janitor looked to see still breathing bodies.
He lowered himself over the edge of the pit. Taking small steps, down he went. The guard dog drew closer.
“Get out of that pit,” it barked.
“They’re still alive,” Space Janitor shouted back.
“Trouble maker have us?” it said, grabbing him and pulling him.
Where were they taking him?
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