Rated R. Contains profanity, some violence involving children, and retail corporate exploitation.
Union Dues: Cleanup in Aisle Five
by Jeffrey R. DeRego
“Which one are you?”
The kid fans out a small stack of super hero trading cards, but it’s not a Union deck. Figures. “Lemme see what you got there.” I flip through and remember my old baseball card collection. I knew there was something special about me, when at nine-years-old, I accurately calculated the probable batting stats of each player, on every team, in the 1996 season after opening only one pack. The Union recruited me five years later after my dad beat a couple of Atlantic City casinos for ten million bucks. I was caught on security camera tape telling him when and how to bet at the roulette wheel.
“These don’t look like you.”
The card displays a blue-costumed man leaping between buildings. I hand it back to him. “Those guys aren’t real, but I am.” Wow. Did I just say that? Maybe I’ll tell the kid that Santa and the Easter Bunny aren’t real either. He’s staring at me now, I can almost see his little brain struggling to make sense of my answer. I should tell him to buy Union Cards but, you know, he’s five.
About the Author
Jeffrey R. DeRego is the author of the Escape Pod fan-favorite Union Dues stories, and other things, as well.