Economically Liable: Chapter One.
Bank Teller Says Nothing.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu.
£142. Dead on the money, dead money. The image on the ATM screen are pixels, nothing more, yet they are one constituent of a much deeper undercurrent. One that sucks you down, imprisoning you in a bed of silt, encasing you in the sludge of the slacker at it's pleasure. A silent screen has never shouted as loud as this one, the megaphone of the slave master, the sadist who enjoys the feel of you beneath his heel, crushed by his zeal, a smaller cog in one larger machine of oppression! Welcome to working class' depression...
“Oi mate, hurry the fuck up!” An agitated, impatient voice calls from further down the chain gang, imbued with both individual eagerness for his own gruel and the possession of the slave master. The whip crack worked, I drew £140 out, the remaining £2 a begrudging offering to the banking Gods and went on my way.
Pittance received, I am released out into the world for another 2 weeks, to seek “gainful employment,” but who gains from it? I am sold the lines that: “employment will provide greater spending power,” “alleviate the burden of an overladen state,” interspersed with: “the additional benefit that taxation from my new wages will permeate through society,” will anaesthetise economic woes. Employment gained “freedom,” autonomy is anarchy, I thought as my hands buried themselves into the jacket of a grey hoodie, the uniform of the underclass, white trainer clad feet joining the main river of the high street, from the furtive tributary where the needy got their financial fix. Government gained nothing from employment, or freedom of the masses, the social was slavery and few knew.
The artery of the High Street was the only discernible path through the concrete jungle where I lived, an overused cliché, jungles were thriving with predators, this town was full to the brim with nothing but carrion, gnawing on yellowed bones, carcasses we call council flats. That thought made me itch, tingle with the revulsion of being this, the lowest on the food chain, waiting for the inevitable. I study the steady stream of people, salmon heading upstream to spawn, listless lemmings, a the capitalist predator grizzly awaited, a cliff towards despondency beckoned...
… I had to get away! Fortnightly, the sirens of the social dash my confidence against rocks. Each signing day, each day I draw cash from the teat of the dark mother. I begin the process of healing immediately, gathering the jetsam of my shattered soul on the rocks and amid the foam, piecing it together again slowly. It has no time to recover, for the tenderness to ease before it starts all over again, like a hamster on a wheel with nowhere to go but on and on in the same spot!
Why all the metaphor? Do you see similar in the simile? Nothing gives you the chance to evaluate life better than when you don't have one. Surely life is relative though, right? I'm sitting amid the grass now, feeling the tufts, the vibrancy of being an organism much larger than they can conceive, beneath my fingers. What does the grass need? Water and light, nothing more. What do I need? It is a list too long, I can't even create it, this was the end my friend alright, it was the death knell for simplicity, freedom, true freedom. The wind, ricocheting off the relentless winter sea, buffets me with a doggedness of it's own. It tells me what I have overlooked, how humanity has missed the point for years.
A coldness has frozen men greater than this blast ever could. Has civilisation truly been a hindrance? I can't help but agree when faced with the overwhelming vista of persuasion. The sea hinting at depths to my – my species – possibilities, the churning mass of heaving will pulled in one direction, just the wrong way. Akin to the snare, the charmer's flute, the light of the silver moon has over the sea, the insubstantial carrot of capitalism enticed people with promise, yet starves us with lies. It wasn't enough for me, it can't be acceptable for others either. A dose of salty air was administered to my nose, the wind carrying it ruffled my hair, reward for realisation, a healthy tonic from the bosom of nature. I slowly pull out the bundle of cash, pulp from trees greenery, snatched down in their prime, forced from their primary objective, transformed into folding cash to aid the proliferation of the powers that be's designs on choking the earth, with fumes and choking it's inhabitants with oppression. How far could I get on £140? How far could nature take me? I was out in the open, without a cage to enclose me...
© Brad James, 2014.