Danford was a garbage truck. He was powered by natural gas. When you are a machine you do not feel hunger as animals do, nor tire in quite the same way. Danford was a machine and that meant he was built to do something constantly, provided his parts were in working order. Animals could do many things but not constantly. When they were hungry or sleepy they had to stop or eat, as Danford’s drivers did around noon each day and before they started him up and after they left him in the garage. When Danford needed more gas he felt light; it was not unpleasant, rather like being drunk and steered by tiny sober people behind your eyes. Squeezing the trash that was dumped into him into compact heaps was, next to rumbling down the street, what he was designed to do, and he took great pleasure in it. He did not particularly enjoy the sticky offal that would adhere to his insides, but the smell was a badge of office. All good garbage trucks smell funky just as all good ice cream trucks smell sweet. When they upgraded him from diesel to natural gas he felt airy, like a cloud with broad shoulders, and if they upgraded him someday to solar power he imagined he might feel warm all day long.

It was a good life for a garbage truck. He only wished the teamsters would stop feeding him welchers. Machines do not get indigestion but the men were noisy and protested being crushed. If Danford had a mouth he would tell them he was a machine designed to crush, and if they would like to sleep or eat they were welcome to do so while he carried out his job. Alas, the welchers went on wailing and the best Danford could manage was a few beeps and a hydraulic sigh.

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