Space Janitor 141-160
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Space Janitor smiled and gave a shout.
“You’re doing great, thank you!” Space Janitor didn’t know if they could hear him.
He was hoping that they wouldn’t notice the fact that Space Janitor was doing nothing.
The pack of dogs were good at digging. Was that worth bring it up? You probably know already that these dogs are excellent diggers, but this is what they were good at.
The dogs were digging with fervour. Space Janitor was getting dirt and debris rained on top of him. He was glad that there was forward motion. The further they dug the more Space Janitor realised that he wasn’t sure if they were going in the right direction. What was the right direction in this case? It was hard for him to tell. Would they get angry at him if they didn’t show up any results? He hoped not.
The pack of dogs burrowed further and further along. Space Janitor followed along behind them. He kept an eye on the surroundings in the hope it would give some clues about which way to proceed. Space Janitor wasn’t sure it all looked the same. Every now and then there was a strut that appeared to be overhead. What was this place before? Was it a storage area for the space station. This was still a space station, right? Space Janitor wasn’t sure, he shivered.
The dogs were sweating. Space Janitor could see the slick wet on their fur. He watched as they put their all. They did not stop for breath. None of them, regardless of size, seemed to show any sign of letting up. Space Janitor felt a feeling within him. Was it jealousy? He looked down, a berry was in his hand. Would he eat?
Space Janitor stood with the berry in his hand for what felt like the most extended amount of time. He stared at it. The pack pulled ahead of him. He could taste its sweetness waft towards him. Space Janitor blinked his eyes slower than usual. If he were to pop it in his mouth? Then he wouldn’t have to care about where the pack were digging too. They could go out the side of the station for all he cared.
“Hey boss,” said one of the pack. Space Janitor looked up. In the distance, they had stopped. Space Janitor ran to catch up with them. They look tired, and he wanted to do all that he could to help them. He hoped that they had some good news for him. Space Janitor thought about what this would mean for them if they were at a dead end.
Space Janitor approached them. Digger turned round to him and had a big smile on his face. Digger usually was a happy pup, but this time it seemed extra. It seemed as if he was extra satisfied if that was at all possible.
“We found it,” Digger said to Space Janitor.
“Great. Hold on, you’re going to have to tell me what we found,” Space Janitor said.
“He doesn’t know,” said one of the other pack dogs.
“Ha, no he doesn’t, he doesn’t know we found the tomb of the biggest bone,” said another.
“You are going to have to tell me what the tomb of the biggest bone is,” Space Janitor instructed.
“Everyone knows what that is, it’s the whole reason we’ve been digging in the first place. It’s a reason for digging. You know that, right?” Digger asked Space Janitor.
“Sure,” Space Janitor said. “I know what the tomb is, I’m making sure that you know what it is. You need to be careful because part of what I do is a test. Understand that, right? You know that’s what it means for us. Now, as part of the ongoing test. You know what comes next, that’s right. I’m going to test you on what the purpose of the tomb of the biggest bone is.”
Space Janitor regarded them. They panted and looked at him with eager eyes.
“If any of you wants to go then now would be your time,” Space Janitor said. It was as if he gave a signal. All the dogs started barking at him to make sure they had his full attention. He looked to one of the smaller dogs. “Go ahead,” said Space Janitor.
The smaller dog was excitable, and when it spoke, it tripped over its own words.
“You see, you see,” the smaller dog said struggling to get the words out. “The tomb of the biggest bone is where all the old runners of the station got laid to rest. Now all that is left are their bones. Dianabol says that when we find it, we are to let everyone know because that means we can stop digging. One of us should really run along and tell the rest. Let it be me,” the small dog said. It drooled and spat as it spoke.
Digger paced around in the background, clearly agitated. Space Janitor would come to him in a moment, but he wanted to make sure that the rest of the dogs were on the side, in their own way. Space Janitor turned to the guard dog.
“What are we to do when we find the tomb,”
Space Janitor regarded the guard dog as it mulled the words over in its mind. There didn’t seem to be any response incoming anytime soon. One of the other dogs yapped to get attention from Space Janitor.
“Go ahead,” said Space Janitor.
“Oh, it eh, it. Oh, you know, it eh. Heh. Like if we find it,” said the other dog before going quiet.
“We’re making progress at least,” said Space Janitor.
Another dog wagged its tail.
“Is there something you want to add?” Space Janitor asked.
“Yeah, if we find this then we get Denabol. We call him and bring him down and say something to him like here it is, or who you go and then he gives us the reward,”
“Reward for finding it. I hope you know what the reward is,” Space Janitor said to them.
The dogs went quiet. Space Janitor didn’t like what it implied. Was there a chance there was a reward for them? Was it another one of Denabols tricks. He could see, despite the rough living conditions. Despite the wrongness of Denabol, the dogs were still loyal.
Space Janitor lamented. At the same time was encouraged that it would take a considerable amount to crush a dogs spirit.
Digger, in the meantime, was still pacing and getting more and more agitated bt the discussion.
“I don’t know what, what we’re waiting for. We found it, we go and tell Denabol. Denabol needs to know. I don’t know what we’re waiting for. You are all taking too long,” Digger barked.
“Now hold on Digger. How do we know you’ll get the reward?”
“Because Denabol said we would,” Digger said.
“If you tell him you know that means no more digging?”
Space Janitor watched the reaction of Digger. Did the dog want to stop digging entirely? There would have to be some way for them to be able to keep going. A dog like this, being told to stop entirely. It didn’t seem at all feasible. Space Janitor knew that on some level he would have to mentally prepare. Prepare for the inevitable decline. He hoped the dog would understand.
“Now hold on,” said Digger offering a solution. It struggled and thought. “We, there’s, now. The whole way of us going about this. We can still make sure that dogs are allowed to dig. What happens to the dog that can’t dig? A dog can’t dig isn’t a dog. It’s nothing. Let me dig. That’s all I want,” Digger seemed like he was going to pass out. It felt as if it could not get across what it wanted.
“To be honest Digger, it’s not up to me. I hope you understand,” Space Janitor said, looking to the guard dog. “What happens in the case that we find this tomb?”
The guard dog looks confused.
“I don’t know. Don’t think any of us thought that it would ever be found. There was no way for us to know,” said the guard dog.
“If we tell Denabol, then we stop digging,” said Space Janitor.
“I guess so,” the guard dog said following along. “I mean there’s no reason to keep on digging past the point,”
“Here’s my question to you,” Space Janitor said. He was winging it. “How are we to know we have found the right tomb,”
The other dogs stood and stared blankly at him. Even Digger was confused. Were they getting the point of what he was saying or would he have to continue?
Space Janitor gave them another moment to catch up with the point he was trying to make. Unsure of whether time was of the essence or not, he decided to lay it on thicker.
“What I’m saying is that we have no way of knowing if this is the right tomb,” Space Janitor suited. They looked at him. “If we were to go and get Denabol only for this to be the wrong tomb, then he would be most annoyed, and we don’t want that,”
Some of them nodded, although it felt as if it was more of a learned response than anything else.
“We’re not going to alert anyone. Why because we have to go in and make sure that this is what we’re looking for. If anyone goes and alerts anyone and this turns out to be the wrong one well it will be you who is punished. Thank you,”
The dogs that nodded slowed the speed of their nodding. It seems liked he had finally got through to them.
“In that case then we have to do our own investigation,” said the former guard dog. He was smarter than he let on. Space Janitor noted that he would have to keep an eye on that one in that case.
“I agree,” said another, “We don’t want to upset Denabol because if we did, then it wouldn’t be good,”
“It’s obvious than in that case, we have to go into the tomb to make sure it is the right one,” said another dog.
“And if we go in there then there might be some areas that need a digger,” said Digger, true to character.
“Exactly,” said Space Janitor.
“Who opens it up then in that case?” said one of the pack.
Space Janitor gave it a moment to see what would they would do. Of course, none of them was doing anything. Space Janitor wasn’t in any way, surprised. He knew that none of them would be able to push themselves forward in that case.
Space Janitor took the initiative.
“Well, if this all goes wrong, it falls on me. I am the boss. I think it should be me to do the deed,”
The pack of dogs considered it for a moment then nodded in agreement. Space Janitor went over to the circular valve and grabbed onto it. It took a moment, he was not that strong. He didn’t want to show himself up to be weak in front of the other dogs were. The valve turned, and he breathed sweet relief. It kept turning.
There was a moment. The door felt as if it was stuck, Space Janitor had to force it open. Even though they were down in a mine, the air on the other side of the threshold was stale. The damp of the caves was now replaced by the dry of the tomb. Inside it was dark, and Space Janitor couldn’t see a thing in front of him. He looked back to see the other dogs huddled around the door.
Space Janitor walked forward a bit more.
Where did this lead? He was going to need a light source if he wanted to navigate the darkness. He turned to the pack behind him.
“Do any of you happen to have a torch?” he asked although he didn’t hold out much hope.
“No, we can smell it,” Digger said. “It’s right in there, all the way down there. We can lead it,”
Space Janitor didn’t know what they meant.
“Can we?” one said.
Space Janitor thought about it for a moment. Could they be trusted to lead the way? There was a chance that they could get them all killed. He would have to trust them and make sure that there was a way for them to keep it safe?
He would have to trust them and make sure that there was a way for them to not charge ahead without him.
“OK, I guess you guys can lead the way,” Space Janitor said, unsure about what it would mean for them.
Space Janitor stepped aside and let them lead the way. When they started, they were slow at first. Trying to get their bearings in the entranceway. Space Janitor watched them as they made their way forward. They disappeared into the deep black of the tomb. Space Janitor kept up with them.
“Please don’t go too far ahead. We all have to stay together,” Space Janitor reminded them. He sped up too to keep up with them. He could make out some of the sheen of Digger’s fur. It was wet from the sweat making Space Janitor’s hand slip. The other dogs were to the side of them; all he could hear was the sniffing. Space Janitor worried about how he wasn’t able to smell as well as the others. Did that make him less of a dog than the rest?
Space Janitor knew that he couldn’t help it, so he clung tighter. Digger stopped suddenly. Space Janitor walked into the back of him.
“Do you want to get on? It’s OK if you do,” Digger whispered.
“What do you mean, I’m not sure what you mean,” Space Janitor whispered back to Digger.
“If you want to, then that’s OK. I don’t blame you. Do you?”
Space Janitor felt he was imposing on the bigger dog. At the same time, he didn’t want to get separated from the rest of them. In all honesty, it was a possibility he would have to make peace with.
Digger seemed a little fed up, and he didn’t want to try his patience with him.
“Would you mind if I did? That would be a great help for me, thank you Digger,”
Without responding, Digger lowered himself and Space Janitor got himself onto Diggers back. Despite the dampness, it was soft and through. There were tufts too. How often were these dogs washed? The answer was somewhere in the region of not much.
Once Digger felt that Space Janitor was secured on the back, he stood and continued forward. Space Janitor could hear the sound of furious sniffing around him.
“Here, here,” said one of the smaller dogs. “This way smells different than the rest,” The dogs stopped.
While Space Janitor couldn’t see clearly, he could make out that they had all turned around. They proceeded to look down at some small area of the wall.
“It smells the same,” said the guard dog.
“That’s why you guard, you got them good eyes, me, small, got the better nose. If you want to go one of the ways, then you try this way.
The sniffing came to a stop. Some of the dogs were panting, and Space Janitor could make out some of them lightly whining.
“What are we going to do? This dog could be right, and maybe this is what we have to do,” said Digger to Space Janitor.
“If different means we get closer then I guess we have to,” said Space Janitor.
Was different better?
Space Janitor heard a flurry of activity. Dirt and debris cast behind him. Space Janitor clung tightly to Digger’s fur. Space Janitor could listen to the rapid thumping of Digger’s heart on the other side of the ribs. It was almost as if the shaking would bring down the roof of where they were.
Space Janitor could also hear the laughter of some of the smaller dogs.
“Watch it,” shouted the guard dog at one of them after getting pelted with a face full of dirt. The digging continued, and the sound of things falling could be heard.
“Keep going,” the sniffer dog said.
“I see the light,” came another voice.
“There better be more digging,” Digger said.
“Light gets bigger,” said another.
Space Janitor could feel himself sink. What was it they had found? Space Janitor hoped the light grew large.
The light got more significant, the more they progressed.
“Wow,” said one of the dogs.
Space Janitor decided to see if he could have a look. He moved up Diggers back. The light was a sunrise over Digger’s field of fur.
As Space Janitor got to the peak of Digger’s shoulder, he saw it. He was confused by what he saw in front of him.
It was a selection of provisions and supplies. It looked like there were stockpiles of food, building material and even weapons.
“This is what you’ve been looking for this whole time?” Space Janitor asked. He wasn’t addressing anyone in particular.
“This must be it, I think,” Digger offered.
“Now we definitely have to tell Denobol,” said the guard dog.
“He’ll be mad if we do,” said the sniffer dog, “I found it,”
“Can we go tell him?” another asked Space Janitor.
Space Janitor (151-160) thought about what they were asking him.
Space Janitor took a moment and thought to himself.
What if this was what they wanted to do? What if this was the point of the operation? Would he be able to keep them under control?
He thought about Shep. Hoped he was alright, would the two ever see each other again?
Space Janitor looked at the pack of dogs. He said to them, “Let’s keep on going. Let’s make sure we are in the right place,”
Space Janitor didn’t know what the problem was. Didn’t know why he held back. As they moved forward, the light grew bigger and bigger. What kind of storage building was this and what type of room where they walking into?
Everything was clean. Everything was new. Space Janitor felt confusion about what was unfolding in front of his eyes.
“Do any of you know what this stuff is for?” Space Janitor asked them
Digger looked around. Sniffed the surrounding area and returned his gaze to Space Janitor.
Digger said, “I think this is definitely the tomb. We have to say to Denabol,”
Space Janitor thought a little longer and pointed on ahead. The dogs continued along.
They came to a large room.
In it, there was a big table. Spread in front of the pack, ready for an almighty meal.
Space janitor looked at the table then looked at the pack of dogs were with him.
Space Janitor was worried. He could see the drool form and the corners of their mouths and drip on to the floor. They were expecting a meal.
Would he have to restrain them? How could he?
If they got overexcited, out of control, would it mean death for them and Space Janitor?
Space Janitor heard a noise coming from a corridor.
Space Janitor regarded the pack of dogs with a sudden look of shock on his face.
“Hide, wherever you can. Do it now,” Space Janitor said to them.
They were not exactly spoilt for choice. There were a few nooks and crannies in the room and that they could finish themselves into.
It took a moment they all managed to find a spot—some more obvious and others. Space Janitor managed to get in behind some fabric. The rest of them were a little more evident in their places.
Space Janitor held his breath.
An entourage of dogs entered the room.
Denabol was leading the way. The lead dog had a big smile on his face.
Space Janitor saw Shep. Space Janitor was happy to see him. He wondered if Shep was there voluntarily or as a hostage. Space Janitor didn’t want to think about it right now.
How would the other dogs react to seeing Denabol?
Space Janitor looked over to them.
Huffing and puffing in their hiding spots. How long would they be able to stay there?
Would they be enraged knowing that their leader had betrayed them had lied to them?
There was no way to know when suddenly on the other side of the room Space Janitor noticed Digger’s eyes.
Eyes wide and Space Janitor could see the rage building up. He knew Digger had a wave of tremendous anger bubbling up beneath the surface.
The laughter of Denabol and his group made things even worse for Digger. Knives in his back. Pure betrayal.
Space Janitor heard creeks. He heard moans. Denabol and his entourage didn’t see would Digger be able to keep it together?
Space Janitor kept his eye on Digger.
Digger was breathing heavy. Space Janitor wondered how the rest of the dogs in the room could not hear him.
Denabol walked around the table and picked up utensils. Turned to Shep.
“This is what the humans would have us use. We used to call them masters. Can you believe that?” Denabol asked Shep.
Shep shrugged and looked at Denabol.
“I don’t really think about the old days. I guess it was thousands of years ago. A time no one thinks of,”
Denabol nodded put the cutlery down on the table.
“Think about it. Think about all this stuff that we have right here that we can use. What do you make of it Shep?” Denabol asked him.
Space Janitor could only see the back of his head. Sheps voice was a faint whisper.
“This place is more than a little strange. I wonder what it used to be? When are you going to get them to stop digging? If you’ve already found what you’re looking for, then there doesn’t seem to be much point.”
Space Janitor saw that Denabol smiling.
“You want to know why I keep them digging?” Denabol started “Because the dogs like to dig. I’m not cruel. I’m not horrible. I just want the dogs to be happy. So I let them dig because that’s what they like doing. Could you imagine if I told him to stop? What do you think would happen? All these dogs, all these pack animals. I wouldn’t like to think about what would happen. They would start fighting with one another. They used to fight with each other all the time. That’s why I started giving them these,”
Denabol opened this paw.
Spears Janitor could see he was holding the berries. The same berries, that was making the dogs stupid.
Had Shep eaten them?
Space Janitor concentrated and looked closely at Shep’s eyes there was no way to tell. Had Shep eaten the berries? The answer would let him know if Sheo could be relied on.
Space Janitor thought that it wouldn’t be long before the lot of them were discovered. The area they were in was small, narrow, and it was hard to tell what it was exactly.
It appeared that there was not much distance between Space Janitor and Denabol. One false move and the game would be up for the rest of them. Denabol’s guard dogs were big. Space Janitor had more dogs but, except for Digger, they were small. Not even there own guard dog was big.
Denabol spoke some more.
“That’s what I like about you, Shep. You don’t want to always be asking the questions. That’s what it’s like, always with the questions. Honestly, I hate it. You know these dogs are so dumb. If only they would just listen and do what I say. There’s a chance for a better world down here. All they have to do is follow orders,” Denabol said.
Shep had not taken the berries then, Space Janitor thought to himself.
Space Janitor could hear the heavy panting of the dogs beside him. They were going to give themselves up at any moment, and that would be a problem. It was going to be more of a challenge than he cared to acknowledge. Space Janitor would have to decide if this was what he wanted for them. Could he gain the upper hand, there was a chance whatever happened it would get him killed.
Space Janitor looked to the side of him and saw the dogs, eyes full watching Denabol. Would they get themselves killed?
Space Janitor could see that Denabol and his lot were even closer now. How they had not been seen remained a mystery. Was everyone but Space Janitor consuming berries?
It worried Space Janitor. Why? Because it meant that he was probably either the second or third smartest person in the room. That terrified Space Janitor to no end.
He didn’t want to, but he thought what might be best is to take control of the scenario.
Space Janitor took a deep breath and let himself fall forward. He hit the ground with a clatter. Denabol, the guards and Shep all looked round to see the source.
Space Janitor clambered to his feet and dusted himself off. He felt the eyes of all in the room on him. Denabol’s eyes narrowed until they were pinpricks in his skull.
Space Janitor could see that they had not moved. In fact, no one moved. All the attention was on Space Janitor. He would have to make it useful.
“This isn’t the wood place,” Space Janitor thundered to himself.
“What is this one doing?” Denabol asked.
“What are you doing here?” one of the guard dogs asked.
“This is where they told me to go to, and now I’m here, but it’s not supposed to be,” Space Janitor said feigning confusion.
Denabol looked to Shep and smiled.
“You see how effective they are?” Denabol said. “Your friend has been here how long and listen to how stupid he is. Unless he was stupid, to begin with. Was he?”
Shep looked at Space Janitor.
“It’s hard to tell. We’re not friends,” said Shep.
For some reason, that remark stung Space Janitor in a way that he had not expected.
“Wait to you see how stupid this makes them,” Denabol continued.
What was it that Denabol lifted from the table?
Space Janitor could see what it was and it scared him. Denabol had a hammer with serrated edges. It was a meat tenderiser. Space Janitor wanted to yelp in fright, but he fought against the urge. If Denabol was going to do something, then any slip up would cost him further. Space Janitor figured that it would be better to take a little pain over a lot. That was his thinking at least.
Denabol regarded Space Janitor. A smile curled in one corner of his lip.
“You know what this is little pup?” Denabol asked. Space Janitor would have to really stupid it up.
“A radio, yeah definitely a radio. Can I call my mom? I need to be getting home,” Space Janitor said. His voice wavered, but Denabol did not notice.
“I love how stupid they get,” Denabol said to Shep. “Can you imagine leading a pack of these guys upwards and outwards. We could take a whole section of station in no time,”
“It’s easy to mark territory. It’s harder to hold it,” Shep said. Space Janitor realised that a sentence like that could not leave a dog’s mouth had it been on berries.
“That’s not the point. As soon as we lose it then we send more,” Denabol retorted.
“That doesn’t seem to be helping strays,” Shep said. Space Janitor didn’t look directly at Shep in fear of giving the game away.
“The point isn’t to help all strays. Think of the idea of strays. That’s our plan. Anyway, wait until you see,” Denabol said then turned around to Space Janitor. “Put your paw on the table, there’s a good boy,”
Space Janitor didn’t want to. He knew what would happen next. He reminded himself of little pain. How much pain would there be?
Space Janitor put his paw on the table, and Denabol nodded to one of his guard dogs. The guard dog held Space Janitor’s paw in place.
“I want to use the radio,” Space Janitor said.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to call your mom now,” Denabol said. He turned to Shep, “See what I mean, false memories, thinking they’re real. I know I come from nothing. What about you, Shep?”
“I know I come from nothing too, but what does it matter what they think. It doesn’t make a difference what they think. You don’t need to torture the poor thing to show me they’re loyal,” Shep said.
“Yes, but I can. You can, wouldn’t that make you feel good?” Denabol asked, holding the hammer up high.
Space Janitor’s eyes darted between the hammer, Denabol and the guard dog.
There was a chance he could try and struggle his way out of it, but it would do him no good. He now wished Denabol would strike him, but it felt like it would no longer be that easy.
Shep and Denabol were locked in some kind of ethical argument. Even with feigning idiocy Space Janitor struggled to keep up.
Denabol appeared to be distracted.
“What is the point of having a pack, a family an army if you can’t order them to die for you?” Denabol shot at Shep.
“I just don’t want to have the lives of those dogs on my paws,” Shep said.
“You are a wet-nosed mongrel,” Denabol said. It appeared that Denabol’s focus had shifted entirely away from Space Janitor. It was now on Shep.
Even the guard dog had loosened his grip on Space Janitor’s paw.
Space Janitor decided that it might not be smart, but he slowly moved his paw away.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Space Janitor paused in his tracks. When he turned around, he could see Denabol’s focus was now back on Space Janitor. Space Janitor realised that he was now supposed to put his hand back in place. He did so. Denabol took the hand and raised the hammer again. There was a glint in Denabol’s eye cruelty dwelt within. A cruelty Space Janitor dreaded to encounter.
Space Janitor put his paw down on the table. Denabol got in Space Janitor’s face. It was only going to get worse. Space Janitor felt real fear surge through him.
“Are you trying to prove a point to yourself or me?” Shep asked.
Denabol did not look away from Space Janitor.
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m showing you what we can do together,” said Denabol.
“Look, a well-kept dog is a loyal dog,” Shep said. “I have no doubt in my mind that you could do what you wanted. I believe you. There is no one to convince. Put it down. Let the dog go,”
The words caught Denabol in a way that Space Janitor did not expect. The pupils dilated. Denabol wanted more than anything to cause pain and suffering.
The hammer shook in Denabol’s hand. He lowered it, set it down then released Space Janitor from his grip. Space Janitor stayed standing in the spot looking him directly in the eye. He felt compelled to look away, but for some reason Space Janitor kept his gaze locked.
Space Janitor gulped deep.
“You are lucky you have such a kind dog looking out for you like Shep here,” Denabol said to Space Janitor. Space Janitor didn’t know how to respond.
Denabol did not appear to recognise Space Janitor.
Had Denabol not recognised who he was talking to?
Space Janitor understood that he had a bit of an advantage over Denabol. How long it would last remained to be seen. Shep was not letting anything go. Even though all Space Janitor wanted was for Shep to give him a nod or a wink. Some sign of recognition. Space Janitor understood that it was not going to be as easy as that.
“Look, you have everything you need right here, Denabol,” Shep said. “How come you feel the need to want to dominate everything? If you try and take a section of the station, you’re dead. It might not be immediate, but you and I both know where it ends. Even dumb dogs like this one,”
Shep indicated Space Janitor. Space Janitor smiled and wagged his tail.
“You seem to be pretty invested. Who cares if I harm the dogs?,” Denabol said. “Is that the real reason? I don’t think it is. If anything I think you are afraid of the owners. Down here we have no owners,”
“You think there are still owners on the up?” Shep asked, incredulous. “How long exactly have you been down here?” Shep stepped closer to Denabol. The guard dogs stepped in to block. “You were a born stray,”
Denabol did not like the observation.
“There is nothing wrong being a stray,” Deanabol said. His voice wavered. “Better than being owned. Much better,”
“On the up, no one owns us,” said Shep. “They give us money, time off, we are free on the up,”
“You are not free. You’re not free,” said Denabol. “Down here we are the owners,”
“Are these dogs free to leave. If they tell you they don’t want to dig anymore, then what?” Shep asked.
Denabol didn’t answer, what was he thinking about?
Space Janitor wondered if it was time to talk. Denabol remained silent. All he could do was look down at his feet.
“The question still stands Denabol,” Shep insisted. “If any of these dogs were to say they were done with the digging. Done with taking orders. Would you let them go? That’s all I want to know,” Denabol still did not respond. Space Janitor could see a smile form on Shep’s face.
“Let me think,” Denabol growled.
“Take your time,” Shep assured him. Space Janitor felt like he could see the cogs turning in Denabol’s head.
“We need to work together if we want to achieve the true equality we strive for,” Denabol said.
“You only need there to be unfairness a while longer?” Shep said.
“It’s not,” Denabol said. “There needs to be those who know their place. We can’t all be the leader of the pack,”
“And somehow you need to be the top of the pack. That works out well for you. Maybe other dogs would be better at leading than you,” said Shep.
Denabol growled at the suggestion. There was no way he could keep the two thoughts in his head simultaneously.
“You might be a better digger than you are leader,” Shep said.
“I’m the best digger,” came a voice in the back.
Space Janitor looked to see that Digger and the other dogs from the pack now made their presence known.
“More?” Denabol said. “How many of you are slacking off?”
“The question still stands,” Shep reminded. “One of these dogs could be a leader, but how would they ever know? There’s no way for them to find out. Not with Denabol in charge,”
Denabol looked at the dogs that stood before him. How hard would he punish them?
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