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Us and them (standard:other, 3327 words)
Author: Lev821Added: Oct 09 2012Views/Reads: 2040/1603Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Can a north-south divide stop temptation?
 



Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

been made so the rich and elite could observe how the northerners 
lived, sipping their drinks and basking in the sun when it shone. 

Sir Trevor Williams and Douglas Collins, ex-politican and banker, yet
still retaining their suit attires, were leaning against the window 
barrier, watching Orca walking back to the small encampment. They could 
just about make out crudely written banners. ‘STAY THERE' said one 
‘WE'RE HAPPIER WITHOUT MONEY' said another. 

“‘We're happier without money'” said Douglas. “I'll bet that's wrong,”.
Douglas was 58 and slightly portly, still retaining much of his hair 
which sometimes fell over one eye. “Yes,” said Trevor. “I agree”. He 
took a sip of cappuccino. Trevor was thinner and shorter at 61, as if 
at the age 28 he'd stopped growing, and simply aged. “If any of them 
gets a sniff of money and what it can do for them they'll be begging 
for more”. “Especially him. What's ‘is name? Orca. Typical bloody 
deviant. Anyway, you know money's no object to us, but what about him? 
If we simply offered it with no catches, I think he may accept”. 
“Although” said Trevor. “If he doesn't, he could make a big spectacle 
of burning it in front of the other hippies, you know, making a point. 
Still, I think it's worth the risk, just to prove that he would turn 
his back on his friends given the opportunity of getting free cash” He 
drank the last of his drink. ”How much?” he added. “How much can we 
tempt him with?” “Ten thousand. Five thousand each”. “Done,” said 
Trevor. 

As Orca made his way down the slope to the encampment he saw that it
looked like nothing more than camping site out of season. There were a 
few signs stuck into the ground along with the amateur banners. It all 
seemed rather half-hearted, as if a rainstorm would be a good excuse to 
all go home. 

As self-appointed leader of the group, he bandied them all together for
a kind of morale boosting talk, to reinforce why they were there. 

“I think we should decamp” he said, to the 27 other protesters all
sitting down before him on a grass verge. “What d'you mean?” came a 
voice. “I think we should decamp that way”. He pointed towards the 
wall. “We'll spread ourselves along the fence, make more banners, make 
our point known more. Let them see we're going nowhere”. One person 
clapped. 

“I've seen loads of northerners laughing and joking with the
southerners, and once I saw one of their cars stop. They got out and 
spoke with someone. Their creeping influence cannot continue. It's only 
going to get worse. We need them to stay on their side. No more of 
their patrolling cars spying on us. No more of us acknowledging them”. 
A few more clapped. He quite enjoyed the feeling of being in some sort 
of control, of people listening and agreeing with what he had to say. 
He liked the idea of followers, of being a leader, but he wasn't sure 
of the implications of where it could lead. 

For the next ten minutes or so, he gave a talk on his ideals and his
concerns about the southerners knowing too much about them. Basically 
he was rather paranoid, and most of his followers tended to agree with 
him, although he wondered if some of them were here because they had 
nothing else to do. Like rioters of old joining in with anything 
anti-establishment. Throwing rocks at the police simply because they 
represented the ‘system', and going along with the crowd was hard to 
resist. 

At the back, sitting on a mound of grass with her half-brother, Sapphire
watched Orca intently, taking in all he said. She was five years 
younger than him, wore a headband, a nose stud, with numerous bangles 
and charms around her wrists. Bakkara, a name he'd given himself from a 
character in his favourite sci-fi novel leaned towards her and 
whispered: “Are you really listening to what he's saying? If you fancy 
him, then wait for him to finish and go over”. “What?” she whispered, 
“Talk to him? I can't do that”. “Why not? Before someone else sinks 
their claws into him, maybe you can get there first”. 

“......also, has anyone thought of the watch you wear on your wrist?
It's a device that could be picked up remotely through the satellites. 
Meaning they could be monitoring your movements”. “Why would they 
bother? There's no need for them to do that?” said a youth sat at the 
front, sitting cross-legged. “They don't need a reason. Governments are 
constantly paranoid of its public. They're forever convinced that 
people are out to get them”. “Well they are aren't they? Some of them”. 
“Yes, correct, but most of them do nothing about it. They'll complain 
and complain and complain, but won't take any action. Most people 
simply accept the way things are, and political parties of old, if you 
remember used to bicker and argue in public, but they were never actual 
enemies, because they would often be all smiling and happy behind 
closed doors, at their private members masonic lodges or whatever. They 
would argue for the public, pretend to be political rivals and then be 
drinking vodkas together later down at the local golf club. They were 
all phoneys”. “Why are you so hostile against them?” said someone near 
the back. “If that's how they are then that's up to them. We just don't 
want to go back to the way that things used to be. Their influence is 
creeping up on us, but you sound like we're all going to march in there 
and topple its government”. “No,” said Orca. “Don't you think they 
would tear down the wall and wipe us all out?” “Wipe us out?” came a 
voice from somewhere near the middle. “They wouldn't do that”. 
“Wouldn't they? If they got so paranoid about us they would. They may 
put up with us now, but you know their watching us, right? just incase 
we're plotting against them. They're scared of us”. “Oh, come on!” said 
the same voice. “If you're right then they're listening to every word 
you're saying now, in crystal clear quality from their satellites, or 
whatever, or bugs they may have planted around the place”. Orca stared 
at the man for a few moments, silent. 

Sapphire whispered to Bakkara: “When he's finished, d'you think you
could talk to him, but then maybe introduce me? I'll wander past or 
something, and you could point me out”. “If he's not too busy” he said. 
Sapphire stared at him for a few moments. “Right,” she muttered. 

“Yes, you could very well be right,” Orca said. “Actually I would go so
far as to say you are right. They are listening”. He turned towards the 
wall. “Did you get all that?” he yelled. A few of his followers looked 
at each other and muttered, one tapping the side of his head and asking 
if he was alright. “Well you know what we want, stay on your side and 
leave us all alone”. He turned back. “Let's go then. We're decamping to 
the fence”. 

In a small room that was more like a cosy office, in a room within the
wall at the southern side, Douglas stood at a tall standard apprentice 
coffee table looking down at a briefcase full of bundles of twenty 
pound notes. “There you go,” he said, closing it and looking across to 
Trevor who was sat in an upholstered armchair, a glass of Glennfidich 
in one hand. “So we'll find out just how loyal he is when we wave that 
under his nose” said Trevor. “Yes, it's just an experiment. Everyone 
loves money, even if they don't know it. It's hardwired into their 
genes thanks to their ancestors”. “Well, yes, it really is thanks to 
them that we live as we do. Without whom....” he said, raising the 
glass and drinking it in one. “Yes,” said Douglas, “Free of hippies and 
lazy drop-outs, and people devolving into the past, back into the caves 
and trees”. “Exactly, so waving this money under their noses will be 
like someone hungry smelling food. They're going to want it”. Douglas 
nodded. “I suspect you could be right. Shall we go, let's go and place 
temptation in his path”. 

They left the office, walked along a small corridor, up a few steps and
out onto a balcony which stretched  for around fifty metres, looking 
out at the vista before them. A few other people were also there, 
people whom they didn't know, gazing at the neon metropolis before 
them. Hover cars had been invented and several flew between buildings. 
A metro rail track also wound around the buildings which flashed their 
signs and their adverts 24-7. 

They walked along the balcony which ended at a barely occupied railway
station where magnetised bullet trains were normal. If the place wasn't 
busy and it was viable, a train could simply be signalled at the push 
of a button, which Douglas did, and a few minutes later, a single 
carriaged bullet slid silently to a halt before them, the doors hissing 
open. They entered a first class ‘lounge', tapped in a destination on a 
nearby screen, and the driverless vehicle was soon speeding through the 
wall to the terminal. 

It didn't take long and they were soon walking through the station
towards the northside wall where plenty of security always milled 
around in the hope of finally having something to do. They, and the 
southern politicians were always paranoid of a plot against them, that 
one day there will perhaps be an invasion, so all entrances were 
heavily guarded. There were a few members of the public here, who were 
not allowed out, but only onto the balconies so they could look out at 
the countryside. On the southside, there were only three parks left, 
and even they had been cut down. The public came this far to literally 
see how the other half lived. They were not permitted to go out and 
speak to them. 

“What do you want to do,” asked Trevor, “Get a vehicle and go out there,
or...?” Douglas's attention was diverted as he looked past Trevor. ‘The 
last pit-stop café' had a sign outside saying ‘Today's special, 
Chocolate spongecake'. “No rush” he said, walking across. 

With the camp set up along the perimeter, Orca was proud to see what
seemed to be more people joining. There were a few tents he didn't 
recognise. Several camp fires and barbecues were set up, but he hoped 
the sense of why they were there didn't become clouded by the sense of 
community, rather like protesters of old who would join a group or be 
violent and throw petrol bombs at the police, with no actual idea of 
the dispute. Most of them simply hated the ‘state', or the government. 

Sitting at an unlit campfire, Sapphire could see up at the fence, Orca
approaching to help a few others tie more banners. Bakkara emerged from 
the tent eating raw beetroot. He followed her line of site. “Oh dear,” 
he said, “Maybe he wants a hand”. “D'you think so?” “Go on, don't be 
shy”. “I can't help it,” Bakkara shook his head and wandered away. 

Orca was pulling a banner taut while a nail was being hammered in when
he saw across the field a few people emerging from one of the walls 
doors. He saw that they began to approach his direction. Three armed 
police officers and two men in suits. 

It wasn't long before they stopped around ten metres away. Orca let go
of the banner and it fell down. He stood staring at the men, along with 
some of the other protestors who came to the fence to simply look at 
them. 

“Hi Orca,” said Douglas, “Interesting little group you've got here”.
“Why the robots?” Orca said, nodding to the policemen. “I mean what do 
you think we're going to do?” “We're just being cautious, you can't 
blame us” said Trevor. By now practically the whole camp lined along 
the fence to try and get a view, including Sapphire further along. 

Douglas raised his voice slightly considering the audience. “I have here
a proposal, and it's only for you Orca, you alone. Come over to this 
side of the fence”. Orca clambered over and approached the men. “Not 
too close” said one of the officers. Orca took a few extra defiant 
steps producing a scowl from the man, but he stopped about 8 feet in 
front of Douglas and Trevor. 

Douglas held forward the briefcase. “I have here, the grand total of ten
thousand pounds, which I am giving to you Orca. There is no catch. I 
just want you to take it, and come across to our side, where you can 
use it”. “You are kidding right? You're giving me money and the chance 
to spend it.” “Yes, that's right”. “You see Orca,” said Trevor, we know 
you're the most hardened of these protestors. Given a slight sniff of 
what we've got to offer on our side they'd snap it up, and we know some 
people have tried, but sometimes we have to keep you out. We are giving 
you money, and the chance to come across to our side and spend it. So 
what do you say?” Douglas swung the briefcase underarm and it landed by 
Orca who knelt down and opened it. He stared at the money for a few 
seconds before standing up and smiling. “Do you not understand our 
principles?” he said loudly, also for the crowd. “We don't have money 
here, and we don't want your influence spreading amongst us” He turned 
to the crowd. “Who here has a match? Who wants to watch it all burn?” 
There was a half-hearted cheer. Somebody threw him a lighter, and Orca 
looked at the two men who he could clearly see were having doubts. 
Seeing money burn was abhorrent in their eyes. 

Orca reached down and picked up a few notes, held them up and brought
the lighter to them. Only to find he couldn't do it. 

He looked at the crowd, threw the lighter aside, stuffed the notes in
his pockets, knelt down and closed the briefcase. He picked it up and 
stood, hugging it to his chest. “Ok,” he said, and walked towards the 
men. They turned and walked back towards the wall. Trevor turned and 
smiled at the protestors. “Go home folks,” he said, “You're no better 
than us”. 

Ruminations through the crowd all conveyed the same feeling, including
that of Sapphire, who watched as he walked in the distance through a 
door. “Backstabber,” she muttered. Bakkara put his arm around her and 
they headed back with the others to their encampment, where they knew 
it was all over. Some had already started packing away. 

Orca was sat in the same first-class carriage as Douglas and Trevor, and
looked like an errant thief who had been caught in a supermarket in the 
back room on the chair hunched up, staring at the floor. Except his 
eyes were closed, sitting as he was on a Dunmore tubchair, the 
briefcase clutched to his chest as if it might fall. There was a table 
separating him and the men, yet nobody spoke. The two men simply looked 
at each other smiling. 

After a while the train crossed into the other side of the wall and
daylight lit up the carriage. Orca looked up, saw all the buildings and 
flashing neon. He put the briefcase on the table and opened it up. The 
money was crisp, and new. It almost had a pleasing aroma. “Mine, he 
whispered. “All mine”. 


   


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