Jill pulled her ponytail back tightly until her scalp ached, then pulled the tail into a secure bun. The mild pain distracted her from what she was about to do, a good thing in her case. She was a sanitation engineer, and this week had drawn the short straw. With a practiced motion, she slung a triangle of cones around the manhole, levered the cover aside, and climbed down.
She wasn't frightened of small spaces, not that she'd ever admit to, but the sewers gave her the willies. They had a way of accumulating all the smells of the city above in pockets of air and puddles of deformities. The pipes out here in the suburbs were pretty tame in comparison to deeper downtown, but that didn't mean they were a walk in the park.
Before leaving the diminishing circle of sunlight completely, she clicked on her headlamp, double-checked her backup flashlight, and mentally reviewed the map in her head; it wouldn't due to get lost down here, not that that meant anything fatal, but simply that it would be a long and humiliating walk back to her truck and her change of clothes.