he woke up with the taste of metal in his mouth. his teeth had turned grey from lead, his tongue yellow from copper, and his eyes were flat like tin.

back when he rode a bike with training wheels, there were people who sucked dirt from straws. at his elementary school especially, every recess was a time for some water, mixing, mudplay, and finally drinking the iron-laced goop down. some kids used to pee covertly, squatting in the mud, himself included. as long as they were drinking dirt, it didn't seem to matter. he liked the bitter thick edge urine added to the taste of the dirt.

nowadays, drinking iron was considered in poor taste. iron was commonly available in hypodermic supplements, so why consume more of the valuable ground? recycling objects made for a complete society.

he fixed himself an extra oily shower, to give his skin a slick, clean feeling. after he stepped out, his hair fell perfectly into place, flat against his skull.

dressed in coarse clothes, out on the street underneath his apartment building, he stepped into a small bin riding on a pair of tracks. only three bins back from the pull car, this latest train seemed so old and slow. all the trains ran on time, but the black clouds coming from the front of this ride gave this train an antiquated smell. he actually enjoyed the diesel fumes - smelling them felt perverse - some kind of anti-body turn on.

as he rode underneath the buildings, other people stepped in. he saw two people get in together, taking the two bins in front of him. they seemed to be together.

"hello" he said, to the back of one head.

"hello" said the other, without turning.

on they rode, and waited for the light.

17 sept 99

justin's links by justin hall: contact