The Well-To-Do Gentleman

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A satire about the increasing wealth gap.

Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Submitted: December 25, 2011

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The man slumps his considerable girth into the antique wing backed chair in his massive study, filled from marble floor to soaring ceiling with books the man has never read. His sausage like fingers reach for the desk and wrap around the remote, and the television clicks on. He pours himself a glass from a five thousand dollar bottle of scotch and turns his attention to the nightly news.

Public stocks are down again. Not that it makes a difference to him. He belongs to the ten percent of the world population that controls ninety percent of the worlds wealth. How did he accomplish this? Well it was easy, his great grandfather invented the blender, he was born into his wealth.

Unfortunately any sense of hard work, ingenuity, or passion simply cannot be passed down genetically over four generations of arrogant men marrying stupid, lazy, gorgeous women. So naturally, lacking any skill or motivation akin to his great grandfather’s, the man occupies his days basking in the company of women far too beautiful to be attracted to his unshapely, and grotesque, figure. Of course that’s not what they like about him. And if you can believe it, makes a good time of ordering his minimum wage house staff to perform ridiculous tasks, just to see them scramble and panic.

His favorite thing was to “spill” his wine on his furniture and linens so he could watch as Maria, the maid, cleaned it up. She was an exceedingly attractive woman who, fortunately, has to much self respect for prostitution, let alone crawling in bed with her employer. She put up with every little thing he did just to make her work harder, not because she wanted to, but because she had two younger brothers she still needed to take care of. It’s funny because her mother was killed in an accident in one of the factories owned by this very man, and of course her father was never around to help.

After threatening to sue for sexual harassment to get the mans hands off of her she heads to the kitchen and gets all the leftover food from the day from Jason, the head cook, she does this every day, and packs it in a large paper bag. It’s not much, scraps of chicken, a crushed portion of cake, but every little bit helps. She takes it to a seemingly abandoned warehouse on 6th street. 

This was once a metalworking factory, owned by you know who, but when robots could do the work it got shut down. But rather then let it rot until the city finally got around to condemning it one of the workers came to the union with a plan.

Dave, the brave worker with a plan, proposed that the people now out of work used their last paychecks to buy the building. He planned a sort of settlement, something better than a homeless shelter, but not quite as complex as a homeowners association. A place where the weary could rest and be fed. Not everyone got on board, but enough pitched in to do it. Now Maria comes to this building, which has become somewhat of a commune, as well as her home, with the food she could scavenge.

This is how they survive here, getting scraps of food from their rich employers, and restaurants, some of the old workers hire themselves out as construction contractors. There are jewelry makers, and musicians, and artisans, and inventors. This warehouse is now an independent community with it’s own anarchy based government and socialist wealth system.

Of course no body would force you to share what you had, but the people here were kind and shared out what they could. But it was still barely enough. Despite all the work and products they provided, most of the people living here wore tattered mismatched cloths, whatever they could find really, and they got just enough food to keep them relatively healthy. But these people had to fight day to day to survive, while people like Maria’s employer had more than enough to feed and cloth this whole community. She knew it was wrong and so did Dave. So they gathered the people of the commune to lay out yet another one of Dave’s plans.

So we return here, to the scene I set at the beginning, a fat, rich, bastard drinking thousand dollar scotch and watching the nightly news. He has never even given a shadow of a thought to the commune, a collection of people who’s lives he ruined or is in the process of ruining. If he had maybe he wouldn’t have almost choked on his unreasonably priced scotch. What he see’s on the news he almost can’t believe, the factory where his robots replaced his workers is on fire. And the textile factory where Maria’s mother died is on fire, and the bank where he keeps his valuables is, you guessed it, on fire.

He drops his glass and it shatters on the tapestried floor. He can’t breathe. He is literally watching everything he has go up in flames, and he has the arrogance to wonder why. Then a rock shatters the massive window on the main wall of his study and rolls to a stop at his feet. He leans forward just enough to see the word “run” painted on the rock.

He struggles to haul himself out of his chair and makes a run for the exit at the end of the study. As he runs, or rather, waddles, towards the exit he hears an explosion come from the direction of the kitchen. Soon they are followed by molotov cocktails coming through the windows of his study, he barely gets out of the way before each consecutive one comes flying through following him, chasing him out of his fortress of wealth and power.

So now here he stands at the door of the warehouse on 6th street. trying to work up the nerve to knock on the door. After his near death by fire, even HE understands the irony of it, after losing all he has he’s forced to turn to the people he took everything from. Just before his chubby knuckles make contact with the door Maria opens it. She sees the fear in the mans eyes. And at long last she has the chance to teach him a lesson. She completes her rebellion with one simple word.... “welcome”.

 
 


© Copyright 2017 Coop Van Auken. All rights reserved.

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