Having run along a series of platforms of varying heights, I came across one that had two pans of glowing liquid on them. I knew that these were for lighting the city, not to be disturbed. I climbed down and came across a blood stand.
The man next to me complained, first that they were only taking blood from people with tickets from their last session ending in odd letters. The idea of “odd letters” took a while for him to explain to me. The idea was that the alphabet was lumped into groups of two: AB, CD, EF, etc. and then each letter grouping was assigned a value of even or odd. The frustrating thing was that the tickets that were assigned to you at the end were not designed for this system, and therefore you could be assigned AC for example. This left it up to the blood stand proprietor to decide whether to take you. You DID have an odd letter, but not both of them. There were more frustrations, such as the insistence that AB was an EVEN letter group, that AE was a group made of even letters but not one of the sanctioned even letter groups, etc.
All this was somewhat moot to me, because I had no plans of donating blood that day. However, the man’s second complaint got my attention. He was complaining that the only thing TODAY’S blood ticket would buy was energy bread no “real food” at all. This was disturbing for two reasons. One, blood tickets were supposed to be used for any goods or services, and two, up until this point energy bread was free. The reason it was free was that it was designed to create jobs and feed the poor at the same time. It cost basically nothing to make and while not enjoyable, could keep you alive long enough to hand out bread to people for more bread. The realization dawned on me that had I simply walked up and asked for some, they would have told me to get in the blood line.
The bread distributor had heard the man complaining about the bread, and was now yelling at him, angrily pointing to the nutritional facts about the bread. He was college-aged, most likely going to school and working the bread stand for the nutrition.
An itching in my scalp alerted me to the fact that I had contracted that clear spider plague going around. I got my pick and began pulling them from my hair into the sink full of water, as directed. As soon as they hit the water, they began to grow. In their larger state they were worm-like, their spindly legs turning into tentacles around an oral disk, like an anemone. Again, as I had learned in an instructional pamphlet, I pulled a worm out and stepped on it with one foot, causing its body to balloon out in the opposite direction. I then stepped on this “head” portion, the resulting rupture sending a slow gush of clear fluid onto the floor. Disgusted, I grabbed two to see if I could get them to fight each other. I saw that their “mouths” were just discolorations in their skins, and suspected that if just left to their own devices they would die of starvation.