The ship was moving but you could not tell this. The fog was that dense. Grey everywhere you looked. It was like being stuck in time. Gruber was on the deck for only an hour, but it felt like a week. Some other folk walk around occasionally, but everybody kept it quiet, for their selves. Gruber was bored out of his mind. He was used to crowds, noise, lights, big city life. This…. this was a graveyard. The people ghosts. He pulled out a cigarette out of his pocket, put it in his mouth and lit up a match. Smocking always calmed him and right now, it also gave him something to do. But he was down to his last two packs. And there will be no more cigarettes where he is going. Fucking hell… where is he going anyway? They never told him, not really. Just that he is being reassigned.
“Pack your things son, you just got promoted!” the division chief told him, “You leave tomorrow morning. But don’t take too much with you, just about a backpack worth, everything else that you might need will already be there. Go on, make us proud! You lucky bastard, you…” The grin must have been ear to ear on his face. Gruber would have bet good money that his former colleagues even threw a party because he left that place. Those bastards. But than again, he knew that his promotion was not really a promotion. It was a death sentence. There were various degrees of punishment in the company for doing wrong. You had your slap on the wrist, you average screw with your pants on, you could have been demoted and you could have been fired. Some even got killed. But all of these options were favorable in comparison of this promotion. But sleeping with the bosses daughter? Now that had to be exemplary. And there you go, being the new warehouse manager of the righteous fart. What does that even mean? The righteous fart? Sounds like something that a twelve year old would laugh to… damn….
“So, ready for the righteous fart?” asked Dino. Dino was the ships clerk, but you could have not guessed it by the looks of him. His hair was in dreads, round sunglasses on his eyes and his clothes looked like they were on him for the last 5 months. Probably they were too.
“Huh?” asked Gruber somewhat rattled “Jesus, man! Where did you come from? I almost lost last night dinner in my shorts!”
“Chill dude… I just climbed onboard. I was down below, counting the inventory, making sure that everything is set for our little stay at this months lovely pit stop.”
“You climbed up… from where?”
“Uhm…see that rope over there? Like to you left..” Gruber face was of complete disbelief. “Man, you need to relax… too much tension will kill ya… you know what you need? Some of this stuff right here” points to the joint in his mouth, inhales strongly and releases a smoke as grey as the fog around them. “man, I am telling ya, this stuff is better than any blowjob a woman can give you. Cheaper too…”
“Let me get this straight. You climb all over the place without any safety measure, you are in charge of who knows how valuable cargo and you are stoned all the time. How are you not fired?”
“Pff…man, like they care. I mean they care, but only about the bottom line. As long as the deed is done and the money is there, I could dress up only in a sock. And I really would like who else would come to replace me… yeah that would be the day…” and Dino blew out the smoke from his lungs in the shape of circles.
“I see….” said Gruber. “Hey, tell me, what is this place exactly?”
“Your shitting me, right?” it was Dinos turn for disbelief “You come this purgatory but you don’t know what it is? What, you lost a bet or something?”
“Worse, I’ve got promoted.”
“Man, you are fucked.”
“OK, I AM! Now will you tell me at last what this place is?”
“Geez man, don’t have to bite my head off. Kinda see why you have been promoted.” Grubers eyes started to stab Dino “Ok, ok. So, basically, you remember those pictures of oil rigs, from before everything went down the toilet? Well, this place is something like that. The company had a couple of those one next to the other around here. One day, in they infinite wisdom, the people upstairs decide to tie them rigs together, making one big one to bring something else up from the ground. Not oil, something much trickier.”
“Like what?” asks Gruber “fuck if I know. Something expensive. I like to keep things simple, you know. The stuff is rare, expensive, hard to get to. That’s enough information for me.”
“Aha… And what’s with the name? Righteous fart, what’s up with that?”
“Yo, what time it is?” asks Dino “Are going to leave hanging like that?” asks Gruber back. “Listen man, if you want to know what you want to know you will tell me what time it is.”
“Whatever…. it’s nine, happy now?” but Dino was not “Like, nine sharp?”
“Yeah, nine sharp. Sharp as a coffin nail.” Dino shook his head with a serious frown on his forehead and reached for another joint. As he lit it up a huge flame torn the sky in two, much to Gruebers surprise.
“There’s your righteous fart, son. Every hour a machine releases a flame. Something to do with pressure regulating. But it looks like a powerful fart. Smells like on too. So the name stuck.”
Dino started walk away, but after a couple of steps he turned around. “You know, your kinda an asshole, man.”
“Yeah, well we’ll see about that when I will be running this place!” shouted Gruber back.
“Good one, man, good one. You know, I’ve been coming to this place for years now, always bringing fresh meat for labor, but not once have I seen somebody coming onboard for the trip home.” Dino started to walk away again and with his back facing Gruber concluded “you might be a cocky son of a bitch son, but no match to the sewer rats that run this place…”
“yeah, well we will see about that…” muttered Gruber to himself…