The air was unclean. The air was alive.
Jack drove past the factory in his air conditioned SUV, cocooned against the deadly toxins of the world outside. While others blamed such factories for the destruction of the environment, for making oxygen a scarce resource, calling them death plants for their irradiation of the planet, foretelling the extinction of the human race, Jack saw only life.
He saw humanity itself in the towers belching poisonous clouds into the sky. They represented capitalism in all it’s vibrant glory. He saw the man-made wonders his species had stamped on the planet, money billowing forth from the smoke stacks.
He saw the back handers and bribes made by foreign companies to build the factories, he saw the drones slaving through 18 hour shifts on minimum wage to run them, the health insurance premiums necessary to live and work in their vicinity, the lawyers fees piling up to fight claims over their pollution. The clanking of the factories were the buzz of the human race, ants in their shadow scrambling to survive.
Jack parked underground in his apartment complex, but still wore a face mask walking from his car to the lift. Breathing the city smog could take years off him, you could never be too careful.
Inside his level 20 suite, he watered his three plants carefully. He had one Aloe Vera to help with the rashes caused by contact with the air outside, and a decadent two Peace Lilys to purify the air inside. Some called him lucky to be able to afford such premium luxuries, but Jack didn’t believe in luck or luxury.
He worked hard for his money, and saw his plants as necessities essential for survival in the modern world. They helped keep him healthy, and he needed to be fit to keep working. In a few months he may even be able to afford a Spider Plant.
It would be worth every penny.