This is a story about Louie, a municipal sanitation worker. It’s called “Garbage Men.” It’s fiction. It takes place on January 27, 2010, the day and date of the big Apple announcement. It has mild profanity because that’s how people talk.
\Alarm rings at 3:30am\
Louie: God damn it. After 10 years this doesn’t get any easier.
\Louie takes a shower, gets dressed, and leaves for HQ. His wife and kid are still fast asleep.\
Louie: (Thinking to himself) I hope you have nightmares, you little f*cks. If I didn’t love you f*cks, I’d have skipped town years ago.
\In his green car, Louie screams “F*ck!” and speeds down the highway.\
Louie: I should crash this car. I should crash and I should die, right here, right now, and all of my internal organs splatter everywhere and ruin everyone’s commute to work. But I can’t because I have a family. Pfft, family. I only see my kid when he’s staring at his computer screen, and I only see my wife when I’m dreaming that she’s somebody else. I hope I was a horrible person in a past life because this is like some sort of *monumental* punishment.
\Louie turns on his radio and tunes into the local news station.\
Louie: (Yelling at the radio) Yeah, where’s my bailout, huh?! You don’t see those Wall Street douchebags getting up at 3:30 in the morning to collect my trash, do ya?!
\The news reader mentions that Apple is expected to announce a new tablet computer today.\
Louie: Oh, that’s the thing my kid has been bugging me about, this tablet thing? Great, another expensive piece of plastic junk he’s going to want. And what is it, like a big iPhone? Why can’t you just visit smaller Web sites? I mean, Jesus, I’m barely making enough money as it is. I put a piece of tape over the “check engine” light!
\Louis arrives at HQ. His superior is in his office mulling over paperwork.\
Superior: (Muttering to himself) …capital of Argentina… Lou, what’s the capital of Argentina?
Louie: Buenos Aires, I think… Wait, so you’re in here doing crossword puzzles at 4 in the morning?
Superior: Lou, I got a question for ya. What’s all this talk I hear about some Apple thing that’s supposed to come out today? You’re the one with the computer nerd kid, right?
Louie: (Incredulous) All this talk? Where are you hearing all this talk? You’re a sanitation manager. And yes, my son is a computer nerd, thank you for your concern. Apple thing? I don’t know, it’s some… f*cking thing. It’s called a tablet. It’s like a small computer I guess, or like a big iPhone.
Superior: Like a big iPhone?
Louie: (Annoyed) Yeah, like a big iPhone. Were you not here three seconds ago?
Superior: Relax, Lou. Jeez. What’s your problem?
Louie: (Resigned) I’m sorry, it’s just that I’ve been a little on-edge lately. My car’s acting up, I got bill collectors calling my house now… maybe I should just not pay the phone bill. Then they wouldn’t be able to call.
Superior: Now you’re thinking!
Louie: (Hurriedly, with a tinge of annoyance) Alright. You know, I gotta get out of here. I’ll see you at the end of my shift.
Superior: Buck up, Lou. At least you got a job, right? Lot of people out there looking for work and you’re gainfully employed.
Louie: (Dejected) Yeah, I guess. OK, take it easy.
\Louie gets in his garbage truck. He’s the driver. He’s joined by his two partners.\
Man One: Hey, Lou.
Man Two: Lou, how’s it going?
Louie: Same old, I guess. You guys?
Man One: Can’t complain.
Man Two: I lost $50 on the game last night, but other than that I’m alright.
Louie: Again with the gambling? You know you have a problem, right?
Man Two: I can quit anytime I want.
Man One: Yeah, and I’m dating Megan Fox.
Louie: (Incredulous) Seriously? What are you, in a sitcom?
Man One: What? I thought it was a good line.
Louie: (Annoyed) Yeah, maybe if we were on the set of “Garbage Men/Funny Men.” (Sighs) Come on, let’s go.
\They drive off. Louie turns on the same news station.\
Man Two: Hey, that’s the Apple thing you mentioned the other day, right Lou?
Louie: Yeah, my kid keeps bugging me about it. He says it will forever change the way people use computers.
Man One: Can I still go to my favorite porn site? You know, the one I sent you that link to the other day, with the girl and the thing and the other thing?
Louie: (Annoyed) You know, thanks for that, by the way. My wife found it in my Internet history. I had to explain to her that all I did was click on an e-mail link and it popped up. That was an hour-long conversation! An hour of my life gone, just like that! (Snaps fingers.) I only have so many hours left! (Gestures at his watch.) Wait, what did you ask–can you still visit that porn site? I don’t know, I guess; it’s a computer!
Man One: So then how is that any different than the computer I have now?
Louie: I don’t know, I guess you can touch it.
Man One: Touch what?
Louie: (Angry) The screen! Ho-ly sh-it!
Man One: I still don’t see how that revolutionizes anything.
Man Two: Yeah, me neither. I mean, how big are we talking about here? Can I fit it in my pocket?
Louie: In your pocket? No. (Self-satisfied) No, not even you’re fat enough to have big enough pockets to fit this thing. (Looks around, hands on hips, for the approval of an imaginary audience.) Imagine… OK, you know how you check your e-mail and read the news and whatever on your laptop while you’re on your couch? Imagine getting rid of that laptop, and instead using this tablet thing. It’s like halfway between an iPhone and a laptop.
Man One: I can’t imagine ever needing that.
Man Two: Same here. I mean, the iPhone I can see: it’s portable, it fits in your pocket, you can whip it out when you’re on line at the store. But I’m not going to lug around some mini-laptop just to read ESPN.com while waiting to pay for a six pack.
Man One: Beer!
Louie: Well you don’t really need anything, do you? Do you need that Bluetooth you have in your ear? No. Did you need power windows in your car? No. Do you need to throw money away on illegal sports betting at the corner speakeasy? No.
Man One: OK, Steve Jobs.
Louie: Please, if I were Steve Jobs I wouldn’t be driving this damn garbage truck for a living. But yeah, my kid wants the damn thing. I tried explaining to him that money doesn’t grow on trees, and no matter how much garbage daddy picks up in a week it’ll be very tough to buy it for him any time soon. I mean, nobody bought me shit when I was a kid; I was already working when I was his age. All he does is spend all day on, what’s its name, CrunchGear.
Man Two: Gesundheit.
Louie: No, you ass, CrunchGear. Some stupid tech site. They’re all the same, hyping up this thing and that, convincing my kid that he has to have the latest piece of plastic junk that comes down the pike.
Man Two: Your boy doesn’t like sports at all?
Man One: What, so you can gamble with him?
Louie: I should crash this truck right here, right now.
Man One: What? I’m just f*cking around with you.
Louie: Yeah, I know, that’s the problem, always just f*cking around…
\They finish their shift. Louie returns to say goodbye to his superior.\
Louie: Hey man, I’m getting out of here.
Superior: (Startled because he’s doing crossword puzzles) What? Huh? Yeah, OK. Oh– Oh, hey, you know that tech site you mentioned to me the other day, CrutchGear?
Louie: You mean CrunchGear? Yeah, what about it?
Superior: Their site has been down all day. Go figure, huh? Lousy bums. I’m trying to find pictures of this Apple tablet thing. It was just announced. It’s all over Twitter.
Louie: Wait, you’re on Twitter? Why does a municipal sanitation manager need to be on Twitter?
Superior: Check it out, look, I just tweeted a picture of my big toe to all my followers.