A Sweet Fortune (Short Fiction Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy)
by R. L. Saunders
A Simple Job: Make a Delivery and Get Paid a Fortune - Or Die.
What he was driving was an up-armored trailer rig. And was getting paid a fortune to deliver something to a fortified city.
To someone who had a fortune to spend on it - if he only survived long enought to cash in.
The boxes were unmarked and had to stay sealed.
But when he arrived at the delivery location, there was no building there. Just someone jamming all the frequencies except the one that showed bombs going off...
Dark humor. True love. An instant family. And a city gone psychotic.
The drive up to 'Cogga was almost as bad as working down from upstate to N'Yack. Only you got to see more farms and less plantations.
I'd driven them both and didn't much like one or the other. But I somehow survived both trips, more than once, and so I kept getting hired to make them. Sure, they paid more, but that was the deal. You had to have a human driver to get across their borders and through their security. And you had to be a mean SOB to get out in one piece.
Of course, it didn't hurt that my rig was built from a pair of surplus MRAPs. Built to survive even IED's that these polite, "Tolerant" urbanites left around as their form of "free speech" to make their "statement" on the underside of one of the trucks that was bringing them their food and other vital supplies.
Food wasn't the same as raw material like sawdust. They didn't have no trees in there, so they didn't make anything out of actual wood. But they didn't mind we brought them leftover sawdust from the cutting some farmers did to make real furniture everyone else bought. In those cases (like our scrap metal salvage, plastic recovery, and gravel-rebar mix) they just had these big lots outside where trucks didn't have to go into the city proper and security was more devoted to keeping track of their own cranes as the tractors outside filled the bucket to unload somewheres inside.
But the land outside the city was owned by some individual with connections and they took the risk that someone would sneak out and sabotage their tractors. They'd tried importing containers of raw stuff, but those usually got a hole blown in them once they were left inside the city's high border walls and so wouldn't be worth anything when they came back across. So that owner had a crane that reached over the city walls and would drop down to pick up a load in its big claws, then hoist it into the city to dump for re-manufacturing.
I don't recall the last time anything got built inside one of those places. Things just got rebuilt.
And the people in there were mostly rebuilt, too. Hardly anyone come in or out these days, except us driving fools. But we were just crazy enough to try, and had enough sense to be able to count toes and fingers to make sure we came out with the same amount as when we went in.
Anyways, I like to talk, and so I'm getting far off the mark for this story.
You wanted to know how I got hitched and started a family all on the same day, the one where I almost lost my life a few times before I met her.