[Thanks, AzureMonkey, for getting this started in my brain.]
Mrs Linnemayer sat at the dinette in her kitchen, a cup of Folgers in one hand and the front of her bathrobe held shut against her chest in the other. The paper was on the table, and she read it without regard to what section Henry wanted next. She liked this time of day the best, light but the sun not yet up, quiet before the rush of commuters and schoolkids. It was foggy today, white, soft, and thick, hiding most of the street from view but amplifying the clackety-clack of the men heading to the city's recycling center down the block behind her house. Mrs. Linnemayer frowned, set her coffee down and picked up the Sports section.
The fog was thick today, and by the look of it Marv thought he should be cold, but he was warm under his two sweatshirts and navy blazer. A dry fog, not that clammy shit. He'd had a good day yesterday, and the two Safeway carts he dragged behind him were beyond brimming with bottles and smashed cans. The carts were full; he had three Hefty bags on top of that, and three more trashbags hanging off the sides and nose of each cart. A damn good haul, my man. He'd scored solid carts, too, four good wheels each. He leaned into his load and pulled, the thought of a spring in his step in his heart.
Jaime stood in the cold morning air, hands jammed deep into the pockets of his jeans, shoulders hunched into the depths of his oversized silver-and-black sweatchirt, hood pulled up and over his black knit cap. So cold. On the other side of the chain-link fence the line of shopping carts already stretched halfway down the block, but he waited until 6:00 sharp before unlocking the gate. He'd be working a full day today for sure because it was another week before the checks went out. He didn't like the job, but it wasn't difficult or dangerous, only cold sometimes on mornings like these, and lonely. But the pay beat anything he could get back home, enough to send money home. He weighed out their loads of recycling and handed them receipts to take to Hector. The fog hid the rising sun.
Forty-five dollars; a damn good haul. He almost had enough; one more cash-out like today and he would. To celebrate Marv headed toward downtown, to where the office people ate lunch and took their coffee and cigarettes in the park or on the corner benches. He sauntered down the alley that ran behind, eyeing the pickings. Ah, look at that. Marv walked over to the dumpster and smiled. As if an angel had been dining, then stepped away from her plate and floated back up to heaven, a mostly untouched plate of linguine alfredo. Oh, it was cold, sure, but it was clean. Marv put the beautiful white plate on top of his sleeping bag roll in his shopping cart next to the loaf of garlic bread he'd gotten from the cart in back of Safeway. Marv dragged his cart to a corner bench, next to a real nice planter with a tree in it and started eating pasta and garlic bread, forty-five dollars richer, waiting to catch a glimpse of skirted legs skimming down the street as the workday began.