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|Us and them (standard:other, 3327 words)|
|Author: Lev821||Added: Oct 09 2012||Views/Reads: 2040/1603||Story 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”. Tweet
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