the first appearance of Idris Blake

the Humble Grocer #fantasticdrivel

excerpt from The Humble Grocer. first draft.

This was no accident. It was a message.

Which made Frank the messenger. Frank and Tyler. While the younger man seemed to enjoy the whole thing as a kind of olfactory knavery, Frank hated this part of his job.

He’d driven trash trucks in Brocklee since the early 80’s. A quarter of a century. It wasn’t a glamorous job by any means. It was hard work. Grubby and sweaty and smelly. Blue-collar heavy lifting. But it was an honest day’s work for a respectable wage. And he was performing a public service. Public servants are the backbone of our great nation, as his Pappy liked to say.

When Wastes of the West folded, Frank was relieved to learn that the folks at BIG wanted to keep him on. They needed good drivers, good trash collectors, they’d said. They needed men and women who knew this city well, drivers who could navigate the streets efficiently even if their routes seemed counter-intuitive. It was a complicated thing, this whole Superecyling business.

“We’re making a complicated thing very simple—from the consumer’s perspective, that is. That’s the best way to get the most involvement. Make it simple. The consumer just puts everything on the curb. We pick it up and they leave the rest to us.”

“Now we all know it’s not as simple as the consumer thinks, is it?” Idris Blake said with a knowing smile. The corps of drivers shook their heads and chuckled ruefully. What an understatement! “We all know that. But we’ve got a job to do, a service to provide. This is a service industry. And like any service industry, people expect magic. We’re magicians, as far as they are concerned. An industry of magicians working our industrial magic tricks.”

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