The woman slipped into the que next to Harold. She was barely that though, her face an assortment of wires and metal plates stitched and stapled on. The sound of cogs whirring could be heard as she opened her mouth to speak. “What’s this?” she said, her voice loud and out of place in the burger joint. “What’s these prices?”
Harold turned his black music device up louder, hoping the tunes would drown out her words. It didn’t.
“Hey,” she said to the clerk behind the counter. Her completely metal hand tore through the flimsy wood they’d made the bench from. “Robbers. You’re robbers in here. Eight credits for a burger? Eight?“
He stole a glance, she was short–perhaps less than five foot–and maybe of South American ancestry. It was difficult to tell, half her face had been completely reconstructed. The customer in front of Harold completed his order, he moved towards the cash register.
“Can I get a burger set?” he asked. The clerk’s smile was wide even though sweat had started to slide down her neck. She shook her head, as if trying to communicate she hadn’t heard him.
“You can’t charge me this,” the woman next to him continued. “You’re thieves. Braggarts. Capitalist pigs. You wallow in your own cash and plough it up your ass.”
“A burger set,” Harold repeated, louder this time and with his headphones out.
“Of course sir,” the clerk replied. She had a thin line of metal showing on her hands, a sign that her parents had modified her before the latest technology had been released.
“Hey,” the yelling woman said. “You with the cap.”
Harold swallowed, waving his citizenship card over the reader. He heard the beep of credits being deducted.
“It’s not like this in the U.S. is it? They ain’t money snatchers.”
He disagreed with her in spirit, but kept it to himself. His tray was filled with a burger, unhealthy drink and fries. The clerk motioned for him to take it.
“You Americans are all the same,” she yelled. “You think you’re better than everyone.” He heard the sound of her citizenship card being accepted for payment. “One day you’ll be in the trenches. You’ll all be refugees, I swear it.”
He picked up his tray and walked up the stairs to the eating area. Which, he argued, was only natural. After all, he wasn’t American. Just white.