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Common Goods

by Ken Poyner

The attendant is not sure
What planetary system this is.
He works on a contract commissioned
Through his planet’s blood-bond charter,
Was left here to do his job until
His planet’s economics release him.

He seems pleasant enough. Or she.

You point out your destination,
Pay in small cubicle things you do not
Understand, leaving a handful on the payment
Tray, getting a few back. You are
Scanned for contraband, all of which
The attendant accomplishes with ease
And without your discomfort. There is

An extra charge for your antique
Chronometer, and you go back
To the payment tray.

The tube to your stated destination
Vibrates and lights and probably much more,
But most of its displays are beyond
Your senses. You see pink and gray
And the attendant begins slithering that way
And you hurry to get ahead of him

Or her. As you cross the threshold
You wonder if you should tip the attendant
And which of the cubes you still have
Is the appropriate tip. But you step
Into the shimmering tube, decide
To leave the success of your reconstitution
On the far rim of the galaxy
To a locally sourced belief in good commerce,

And a suspicion that muddled customers
Are a headache for any species of entrepreneur.

Copyright © 2019 by Ken Poyner

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