Dave peered through the slits in the blinds at his front yard and swore.
"That dumb kid is on our yard again, tearing up the yard with her toy car" He complained to his wife, Kate.
"Just leave the poor girl alone." Kate sighed as she read through her emails at the kitchen table. She spent most of her time working from home, but did have to go into the office a few times per week, with a work trip every few months.
"No, if her good for nothing mom isn't gonna discipline her, I will." Dave said as he stomped out the front door.
Kate just rolled her eyes at her husband. It seemed like ever since he hit his 30s, he started turning into a grumpy neighbor. It was starting to really bother her that he was no longer the carefree, happy guy she married.
"Hey! Get that thing off my yard! Can't you see it's tearing up the grass?" Dave yelled at Tina, the neighbor's young daughter.
Tina immediately froze and looked up at him. The sound of an angry man yelling at her made her immediately start to tear up.
"Oh don't you think you can just cry your way out of this!" Dave yelled. That pushed little Tina over the edge and she started wailing.
Dave didn't really know what to do at this point, but he wasn't about to apologize to her, so he just stood there for a moment before an even louder voice grabbed his attention.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing! Get away from my daughter!" Came his neighbor, Amanda's, voice.
Dave looked up to see Amanda stomping towards him. They didn't get along and often got in arguments over various neighbor things. He wasn't sure what she did for a living, but the fact that she had clearly had a lot of plastic surgery, despite being young, giving herself enormous breasts implants, butt implants, and lip injections, plus being covered in tattoos, gave him a hint at what it could be.
"How dare you yell at my daughter! What gives you the right to make her cry like that!?" She demanded.
"Your little brat has been tearing up my yard! How about you do a little parenting and tell her not to destroy her neighbors property!" Dave yelled back.
"Oh, so now you're calling me a bad parent? You can go fuck yourself, you piece of shit." She turned to her daughter and picked her up in one arm, while picking the car up with the other arm. "Let's go Trish, I don't want you to be around such a mean man"
"You're mean!" Trish said to Dave as they left.
Dave bit his tongue, holding back a retort, and stomped back inside.
"Proud of yourself?" Kate asked, as he walked into the kitchen.
"What's that supposed to mean? Should I have just let her destroy the yard?" He snapped.
"She's just a kid and Amanda's a single mom. Give them a break. She's actually really nice, I had her over for coffee last week. Tina is such a sweet little girl too." Kate replied.
"Whatever, I'm late for work." Dave said as he got ready to leave.
Kate just sighed to herself and went back to her emails. “I'm gonna have to go over there later and apologize…again”
Dave worked at a trash processing plant. He was one of the mechanics that kept the machines running. Their facility was one of the brand new trash shrinking plants that were getting popular among eco friendly types and politicians were starting to push for them.
Trash was deposited under a large shrink ray, shrunk to 1/300th its normal size. The draw back to saving all that space was that the density of the material was denser than at normal size, so it did take longer to decompose. But the space saved more than made up for that.
“Hey Dave, machine 12 is busted again, can you go take a look? Oh, and bring the new kid with you.” Daves boss said over the walkie talkie. Dave sighed, stood up, and turned to the rookie sitting in the staff room with him.
“Come on Eileen, let's go.” Dave said, with a grin. It was the 5th time he had used the ‘come on eileen’ reference since she started working here and he still found it funny.
Eileen rolled her eyes, she had been hearing that song reference her entire life and was over it by now, but wasn't gonna say anything to her superior. “Ok, coming.”
They hopped on their buggie and drove over to machine 12. It was known for being a bit on the buggy side and needed almost constant attention. He walked over to the control pendent and put it in maintenance mode.
“So this one usually is a pretty simple fix, most of the time I just have to tighten up a couple loose wires and reset it. To reset it, you just have to press this green button right here, and it'll run through a cycle. You hangout here while I go check out the wires.” Dave explained.
“Ok, just yell if you need me to do anything.” She said, taking hold of the pendant and inspecting it.
Dave walked over to the shrinking machine a few yards away from the pendant and started performing his routine checks. A few loose wires, tighten up some bolts, and clean off the lense that the rays came through. It wasn't more than 15 minutes before he was done.
“Alright, that should do it” He yelled over to Eileen. “Now we just gotta run it through a cycle.”
“Got it! Running it through” She said excitedly, it was the first time she got to actually push the buttons herself. She pushed the green button, just like he had told her and looked up with a smile.
Dave was grabbing his tools to get out of the area before they ran it through the shrinking cycle when he heard the whirling of the machine being fired up. His eyes went wide and he turned to see Eileen holding the pendant with a smile on her face.
“Fuck” He said as a blinding flash burst from the machine and he passed out.