"Aren't you afraid, you'll catch something?"

It was a question Roy had heard often. Sometimes asked sneeringly and sometimes with wide eyed, ignorant earnestness. He never answered the first type, and the second type only if he was in the mood. He was old enough to know most such conversations would play out, but for the record, No. No he wasn't afraid he'd catch something. He was a transport driver by choice, not by necessity - deliberately abandoning the disillusioning sprawl of the cities long ago for the straightforward truth of the road. Out here where the veneer was stripped away, there was more danger, but also more control. New Eden Transport was good that way. It was more of an alliance than a company, and they largely let drivers make their own rules - but that naturally attracted some of the less desirable. There were a lot less than he expected, but still much more than he would have liked, and being one of the few drivers delivering to Threshold made him a target for their jeers and questions.

The questions were always stupid, but for some reason the one about "catching something" was the most popular. Almost as if they they could tell themselves they weren't afraid if they pretended to be concerned about health. He'd been called a misanthrope and a coward by people like them, when he'd decided to leave everything behind - and who knows, maybe he was both - maybe he was neither. He certainly hated the decadent dishonesty of urban normality, but he liked Threshold fine, and despite what some said, they were people too.