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Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month.

Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 1, chapter 4

Rae went about her job that day feeling like a passenger in her own body. She tried to concentrate on work, but her thoughts kept returning to Zoe and the unfairness of what had happened to her.

The crisis of the morning was a stalled subway train. Another wire had broken, this one a cable connecting a section of third rail to the nearest substation, cutting off power to a stretch of tunnel. A train full of people had been stuck beneath the city for over an hour, in the dark and sweltering heat.

When the stranded riders saw Rae’s hard-hatted head pop up in the window, there was a ragged cheer and a scattering of applause. She gave them a thumbs-up as the train lurched into motion.

That, at least, felt good. It was a simple task to repair the broken cable and get the train moving, but they were dangerously low on spare parts. With the MTA assaulted by budget cuts, they couldn’t afford to order replacement parts for many systems and had to triage every fix.

The next time there’s a breakdown, we may not have the parts to fix it. And then the emergency manager will blame us for not working a miracle, and… cut the budget more as punishment.

She was still thinking of her friend at the end of the day, as she showered in the women’s locker room. While she scrubbed grease and grime from her skin, she turned the puzzle over in her mind.

Who had a motive to tell Zoe’s boss she was pregnant? Whoever it was must have known she would lose her job. But who would want to do that to her? Zoe doesn’t have enemies. Everyone likes her.

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DAYLIGHT ATHEISM Adam Lee is an atheist author and speaker from New York City. His previously published books include "Daylight Atheism," "Meta: On God, the Big Questions, and the Just City," and most...