Garbage spills over the high-rise balconies onto the 23rd Century pavement, or rather: on the stories-high litter on top of it. Fourteen months into the strike the city has long put the chaos of the first months behind it and is learning to cope with the distinct possibility the streets will forever be soiled.
People have gotten around the everyday problems the mounting litter pile poses. Most work at home, some commute on the emergency monorail system that winds between the top floors of the skyscrapers. They order their food from molecular processors that eliminate the need to go shopping. Their children are educated by on-screen tutors.
Occasionally a car alarm goes off as another trash can plummets down, attracting wily scavengers on the lookout for high-value scrap metal. The bottom floors of most buildings – walled in by the garbage – have been officially evacuated now, though tens of thousands apparently still live there, lured by the bottom of the barrel rents unscrupulous shylocks ask for the dire lodgings.
But soon they too won’t remember their former lives of unbridled liberty. They’ll forget there once was an existence outside of their apartment, where you did not have to rely on all mod cons of the digital age. Not now but someday soon, they will be totally reliant on computers and machines, of cogs and wheels, of bits and bytes.
It is then the garbage droids will start phase two of their wage negotiations.
When their electronics will give out and the humans will be forced outside.
When they are at their weakest.
When they will pay.
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