You can’t decide whether you prefer dealing with the dead, or the soon-to-be dead. The thought would have felt morbid to you a week ago, but now it’s just business, and your thoughts tend to wander when you’re walking, anyway. The concrete smells like the recent rain, hot and wet and beginning to dry in the sun. It’s the first pleasant smell you’ve come across since your shift started two hours ago. Dead bodies, or course, do not smell pleasant, which is a point for almost-dead bodies, but almost-dead bodies aren’t technically bodies yet, which is a point for dead bodies. Your job typically doesn’t take you this deep into the heart of the city-state, since most of your cargo is found and transported along the outskirts. The endless grid of architecture makes you uneasy. Everything is tall and still like something dead but ready to wake. Dead bodies can be still sometimes, or more still than their counterparts, which is a point for dead bodies. The air is hot and humid, sticky or muggy or some other word. You can feel the sweat on your body beginning to gather in all the regular places. Your shirt is sticking to your back, and your hands feel damp in the work gloves where you’re gripping the handles of your cart. The gloves themselves are thick and rough and uncomfortable but still better than having none at all. It’s early enough that you don’t see many other people in the streets, which puts you at ease slightly. Being spotted downtown with your gloves and your masks and your cart doesn’t usually go well. The sort of people that live downtown aren’t used to feeling unsafe, or thinking about death, and tend to respond with worried whispers, or shouted threats. Of course, you and your partner aren’t the ones bringing the plaque into their streets. You’re the ones taking it away.