Monday, October 22, 2007

Prometheus Whinced (apologies to Ayn Rand)

Chapter 1

The Awakening

Dream busting bites of sound cackle from the digital clock radio. "Breaking news for those of you just joining us ..."

One eye wills itself open, not sure joining is a good idea. Six naught zero AM on the bedside table. Oh please let it not be Monday.

Reality strikes alongside with an arm stroking out to smack down the snooze button. Monday morning it is. Another dawn of dragging one's zom-body out of bed and off to work. One leg is numbingly negotiating its way out from under the covers. Now if only the lame other will obediently follow. It refuses. Maybe morning's ritual can be postponed for a just few more minutes of bliss giving sleep? He lays there, half in, half out of bed. Bargaining with himself.

The alarm flares up again. "The markets will open shortly ..." No use. Snooze and shut off. Inevitability arrives on its own terms. No more bargaining. No more hand-offs of responsibility to the clock radio contraption. He concedes to reality and swings fully out from the covers, all the while sensing the strong urge for caffeine welling up within. Last night's dream is already fading from remembrance. What was it again? Something about a vague foreboding. Oh never mind.

In the kitchen, the gas gasps and flutters under the cold stove plate before hissing out through the tiny burner holes. An electric sparker clicks erratically somewhere under and finally ignites into a multitude of blue glowing flames. A welcoming blanket of warm radiance rises to his face as the dancing flames cascade upwardly from under the water kettle. Thank goodness it's working today. He dreads those days when one must resort to primitive resourcefulness. Being left bare in the cold and without hot coffee. Just imagine. He shudders.

He hears her stirring about in the bedroom. Brushing her hair. She will be dressed, ready and out for work well before the java rejuvenates his tortoise-paced arthritic body. Such are the advantages of youth. He stares into the flickering blue flames while flip flopping between two minds on what next to do. Go out and fetch the morning paper from the terrace or wait for the water to boil?

Too late. The kettle's shrill whistle interrupts his internalized ping pong game. She leans into view and plants a wet kiss on his cheek. "I'm picking up my Grande Mocha at the Bucks. See you tonight." As expected, she is dressed and out the door well before he has even decided which shoes to wear. It will be a lonely cold walk to the Island today. Where did the time fly on to?

We are truly blessed, he thinks to himself while stepping out into the cold morning fog with hands tucked in his long banker's overcoat. The car pool island is just under a mile away. Our son is enrolled in Government Liberty School. We still both have jobs. It's not like being one of those poor saps who must volunteer to serve in the war. Nonetheless, I miss the days when I had a car and my own at-home net connection. Too expensive these days.

Approaching the finance connection island, he continues to muse to himself. Thank goodness I stuck with my studies and became a certified analyst. The financial circle has its privileges. We can use credit cards to pay our fair fuel fare. Not like those poor jackals over there at the day labor island. He looks across the boulevard. They have to grub for cash every morning. We get those plush commute buses or at least the inside of a spacious SUV while they jostle with each other to squeeze into the open back of a pickup. Finance has its privileges.

"Pleaz, zombody, can you spare von credit? I needz da job today." It's one of the proles begging across the way at the day labor island. Seems he doesn't have enough to get in on a ride. Why should I be the one even to worry about helping? There are plenty of others. His own kind. Besides, those proles will just as likely shank you in the dark as thank you in the morning. Oh good. Our bus is here. He quickly swivels away to focus on his step up into the warm stairwell of the large dark bus.

Seated with head leaning against the blackened bus window he half closes his eyes as the diesel bellowing machine races past the stink and squalor of the day labor slums. Board member Ben is right. From each according to his productivity, to each according to his value. What could be fairer? People are not born equal. Some are just by nature more productive than others. And for that, they deserve the greater value that they contribute to society. Simple as that. It was so delusional to believe that all men might be created equal. Look at those proles out there. What do they contribute? They are nothing but parasites feeding off the productivity of others. I, on the other hand, am a certified analyst, a specialist among specialists.

The brass noise from morning rush hour in the city intrudes into his thoughts. He realizes he dozed off again. The bus brakes screech in protest as the behemoth machine pulls into the company garage. This is his stop. Time to face the music.

next chapt.

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