Come Home to Roost

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With a meal in my belly and a lots of questions in my mind about Leon, Dave and almost everyone here, I go back to the big pile of poo. It's now time to shovel it in wheelbarrows and dump it. Apparently, we have to do the big stack first so the wheelbarrows can go around without getting stuck. Huh, my job is gross.

Dave shows me where we dump the mess and it's a proper chute, not a patch of rainforest like I thought. Domenica's gonna be happy: looks like they're not destroying the mountain that much.

It's strange to see garbage chutes outside. Apparently they make it easier to clean and move around with trucks, given that they're basically buried container. If you say so.

Our chute is labeled 'Coop cleaning refuse', which is a mild way to put it. The one on my left isn't labeled. Some black liquid has oozed from the round trapdoor and it smells of death, quite literally.

"What's this?" I ask Dave.

Once again, Dave is ticked off by something. Man, it's pretty hard to navigate this guy. One second he's cool, the next he looks at you like if you just ran over a puppy.

He pulls me further away from the smelly trapdoor with a worried look on his face. "It's the meat chute," he says. "We won't need it."

'Meat chute' sounds disgusting. Is it for sick chicken disposal or something? Are they even dead when they dump them in there? I don't really wanna know. As if to answer my questions, the rumble I heard before is back, making the garbage containers creak and groan.

"Hey, Dave," I say. "Did you feel that? You know if there were any earthquake warnings?"

He doesn't answer.

We spend a good part of the afternoon dumping grime with help from the wheelbarrows. The coop is looking clean-ish now, which means we can grab the floor squeegees and go at the rest of it with with a hose. I've never been so happy to be wearing rubber boots.

The bell for the end of the afternoon shift rings while we're at it. At the sound of it, Dave goes towards the locker and starts putting his gear back.

"Is it OK if we just leave it all here?" I say, unsure about what to do.

"Oh, yeah," he says, "there's no point in doing overtime. We've got twenty other coops to clean, anyway."

That seems like an awful lot. "Twenty?" I say. "How much time do we have?"

Dave shrugs, carefully removes his gloves - not so green anymore. "Whatever time we need! Like I said, there's no point in being overzealous. It's not like anyone is gonna come check on us."

"What do you mean?" I say. "There's no way they're paying us just for showing up." Plus I can't imagine a workplace full of people slacking off that Rodrigo would be OK with.

"You'll see," he says. "Things have been getting pretty quiet over here. Anyway, all I care about is being left to my own devices and relatively safe. I don't ask too many questions and I don't care about saving the world. This is a good place for me."

That's a rather depressing philosophy, but it's fine if he's happy. I still have a feeling he dodged the question. Anyway, I'm also in a hurry to leave gloves, boots and overalls behind. I leave the stuff behind and go back to the changing room.

That's when I discover that they do have showers. Great! Incredible! I spend a good half-hour under the steaming stream. The day spent in fecal matter fades away like a childhood nightmare. I'm reborn! I mean, I'm clean.

I'm almost done changing when I realize that, just like Dave said, I haven't seen anyone else at work all day. Where have all those people standing in a line gone? Maybe the factory's just that big.

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