The twisted mass of flesh and bone quivered, as if alive, as we pulled it from wreckage.

I hated this part of the job. Don’t get me wrong, it paid okay, and the hours were great, but... this mess left me shivering after each shift.

We’d sit, working out, playing games, smoking, just to ease the boredom, and then boom: the red light would flash, the siren would sound, and we’d rush out to the latest inter-dimensional transportation disaster. You’d think after the first hundred years or so, these things would quit happening, you’d think. I tried not to, as I shovelled the last chunks of whoever, or whatever this used to be, into the slop bucket, trying not to splash my boots; you couldn’t get the stains out. The entangled matter stuck to everything, clinging and twisting as it came undone and put itself back together. Our hazmat suits were disposed of after every shift, but boots were too expensive, with powered mag sticks to assist with more unconventional disposal jobs. Underwater, underspace, you name it, we disposed of your transport mishap wherever it happened.

My sloppy part of the job done, I looked over at Jeremy, he grimaced as he hosed fluids out the train carriage. After the large entangled masses were removed, we diluted the remaining fluids with a special formulation, it stank like raspberries, but seemed to unstick the bosons, and we sucked up the remaining slurry with our overgrown shop vacs. The accident site was always whining and slurping noises, between that and the overpowering stench of raspberries, I had a whole list of foods I couldn’t stand to eat anymore.

Remember when you were a kid, maybe this is dating myself, but... remember when you were a kid, and the most magical thing in the world, the truly magical thing, was when your parents took you to the candy store and let you pick out “one thing”, and that one thing was the most beautiful thing in the world. A candy of magic and possibilities, as you held it in your hand and imagined the flavours, the sickly sweet, the sour, the tartness of it.

Remember the beautiful feeling as your saliva flooded your mouth, with the first taste, wrapping your tongue in sweetness and light, your neurons light up as the flavours exploded from the tip to the very back of your palette. The stupid shit eating, ear to ear grin, ‘cause you were so happy and having the time of your life, just licking and chewing, and the sky was a little bit brighter, and you saw colours and rainbows burst from the heavens... remember that?

Fuck all that.

I taste candy and raspberries when I sleep, sweet and tart. I dream of quivering masses of human jello, reaching out and twitching, trying to pull me in, quantumly entangled.

It’s a living.