“I’m poor, believe me,” the man said. His clothes were threadbare, his hair unkempt, but his teeth… they were so white.
I stared at him for a moment longer, watching his eyes. There was a look to them when someone lied. They’d grow more fixed, their face a little pink.
“Swap,” I said.
“Please don’t,” the man said, but it was too late. The arbitrator had already noted the decision. Somewhere, all of that man’s possessions were being transferred to my name and all of mine to his. When he left the equality station, he’d be going back to my small, one bedroom apartment. Wherever I ended up had to be better than that.
He’d also inherit my cat. Pets were counted as property, a reason a lot of people didn’t ever swap. But I hated that cat. It bit and scratched me every chance it got. He was welcome to it.
“Enjoy it,” the man said. “It’s only four years until the next swap.”
“I intend to.”
I left the booth and went to the nearest terminal, bringing up my account. Six mansions, twenty sports cars, and a boat. It was going to be a good four years.
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