'Looming Redundancy' by Calum Kerr
Tony knew that he wasn’t all that clever. He was smart enough to know that.
That was one of his jokes.
He wasn’t sad or bitter about it. He was glad. It meant that he could take pleasure in his job, even though his mother told him repeatedly that he was nothing more than a menial.
He didn’t care. He took a lot of pleasure from cleaning, you see. He really liked to get those streets, those walls, those flag-poles gleaming.
As he walked to work, he looked around, surveying the detritus from the night before.
There was some. And there was some more. Oh, and some more up there. That’d be tricky to get, but it was his job after all.
He was so busy scanning the buildings and sidewalks that he didn’t notice that the people he passed walked with their heads down. Or they walked in a hurry, glancing around them. Or they stood in small groups, talked in hushed tones, and occasionally sobbed.
When he got to work Brian wasn’t ready to go. He hadn’t even pulled on his coveralls, never mind his climbing harness. He was just standing, staring at his shoes.
“What’s up?” asked Tony.
Brian looked up, his eyes were red.
“No, really. God. What is it?”
“Have you not heard?” Brian asked.
“He’s dead.” Brian looked back down at his shoes.
Tony shook his head, bewildered. “Who? Who’s dead?”
Brian flung his hands out to encompass all of the equipment around them. “He’s dead!” he wailed and started to sob into his hands.
Tony felt the news sink in. He looked around, nonplussed, unsure what to do or how to feel. All he could think was that if Spiderman really was dead, what were they going to do with all this web-clearing equipment now?