Giovani grabbed his hat and stuffed it into his pocket. Time to get to work. He grabbed the data card from the cartridge by his door and tucked it into his wrist piece. The screen on his wrist lit up and showed that it had a full battery. Messages and company ads started to appear on the screen. Giovani shut the screen off and plodded through the door. He looked back before closing the door and saluted his augmented reality dog, Pepper, who was laying on his couch.
“See ya pal,” Giovani said. The dog blinked and stretched his paws. Giovani closed the door.
In the street, Giovani found people moving through the early morning bustle of the city. The City of Ashes was a mid tier outpost on the Southern continent. It was a major exporter of raw material such as natural gas and sugar. People had been farming the continent for centuries. When he was 13, Giovanni arrived with his family. His father had believed that the move from the capital would give his children a better life. It was up for debate whether or not this was true. Giovanni made his way to the crowded bus stop. Various people were milling around waiting for the bus to arrive. He noticed a fellow farm hand was at the station and shuffled through a group of older ladies.
“Scuse me, ma’am” he said.
He had bumped the lady’s bag. She turned and hissed in a foriegn language. Giovani recognized it as a capital language. He couldn’t really remember much after moving to the Southern Continent. He said nothing and held up his hands. The older lady grabbed her bag and pulled it tightly against her chest. Her large Victorian skirt swirled and her pinched face soured. Capital tourists sometimes found their way to the south. Giovani never knew why they came, but every season always brought a hoard of gaping eyes. The capital tourists always wore archaic looking clothes and too many layers. The lady was sweating at her temples and forehead. She blinked and Giovaini moved past. It was better not to interact with the tourists. It was better to just pretend he didn’t understand.
“Mate!” called Giovani’s friend, Tire. He lightly punched his shoulder.
“Making friends?” Tire asked.
“You know it.” Giovani said, “Everywhere I go.” He smirked. Seeing Tire always put him in a good mood. His wrist device buzzed.
“A lover calling?” Tire ogled. His eyebrows raised.
“Ah!” said Giovani. “Just another stupid ad.” He swiped the advertisement and shrugged. “They love me I guess.”
“You know,” said Tire “one day you’re gonna win the lottery and never know cause all you do is swipe away those ads”
“Ha! You bozo. Nothing like that will ever happen.” Giovani said
“You never know my friend. Luck is a mysterious mistress.” Tire smiled. “Looks like the bus has arrived.”
The huge commuter bus pulled up to the stop. It was a sleek black monstrosity that had the words “City of Ashes” painted in white across the side. The letters had faded and some of the paint had peeled. With the help of some graffiti, the bus now read “Shitty of Asses”. But the bus driver, Gregor, thought it was the funniest thing ever and so he never got the company to repaint it. The bus came to a stop and the doors swung open. The driver’s loud voice welcomed them.
“Good Moooorning Asses!” Gregor shouted into the com device. “Time to make money!”
Giovani and Tire piled onto the bus with all the other commuters. He made special care to avoid the tourist lady and found his way to the second story of the bus. He made sure to buckle his seat and Tire slipped in next to him.
“Still think you’ll never win the lottery?” Tire said while buckling up.
“You bet.” Giovani said and closed his eyes. He braced himself for the bus ride. The seat smelled of oil and sickly sweet. He could hear people scrambling to buckle before the launch. The speaker blared with Gregor’s voice.
“Are you folks ready for the ride of your liiiiife?” His baritone voice scooped with each vowel. The bus rattled. Giovani felt his seat rumble and his body suddenly braced against the seat. The bus surged forward. He felt a pressure build in his chest as they moved at a breakneck speed to the next stop.
Gregor’s voice sounded above the roar of the bus, “Keep your asses in your seat!!”
I had a lot of fun with this piece. Its always fun to write short little vignettes. Let me know what you think. Short stroy writing is still something I am experimenting with and trying to get better at, so I’d love to hear your feeback!