This is a very short story, just under 5 pages, but it is the kind of short story that I really admire. It takes place in one scene between husband and wife, before dinner. (There is about a page of summarized back story it is necessary, quick, and seamless.) The husband slowly bursts into the home to announcing that something has happened at work.
For years the husband has happily gone no his rounds collecting garbage. He and his partner have even made a little game out of it. They watch the garbage. Is it a rich persons or a person going though hard times. However, today it was announced that the garbage collectors, in case of atomic bomb attacks on the city, will be responsible collecting and disposing of bodies. And now, this long time sanitation work is questioning his ability to go into work tomorrow.
This story is Bradbury's response to a real ordnance that he came across. I really love that. I like the idea that fiction can be a direct response to news and the craziness around us. Most of my fiction begins with a quote from a newspaper or magazine. It might be a dream, but I firmly believe that fiction can be both art and commentary in an overt way.
Bradbury, Ray. "The Garbage Collector." Bradbury Stories. New York: Morrow, 2003. p. 243 - 248