Monday, February 16, 2009

Los Tres Bloggeros: Everybody Knows!

(NOTE: Los Tres Bloggeros - Border Explorer, eProf, and I are each posting a blog today as inspired by Leonard Cohen's, "Everybody Knows". It's a song I'd never heard of until eProf suggested I take a listen. After doing so, I confess, what I took from it was nothing less than a total validation of my cynicism! Please be sure to check Border Explorer's and eProf's excellent blogs today. )


Birthing a different currency, or: "How I learned
to stop worrying and love the new economy!"

Mid-autumn, 2009. The U.S. dollar's value is snowballing lower and lower, faster and faster. It is rapidly becoming worth less. Each day, the faith citizens have placed in their paper currency for more than 200 years becomes worth less than the day before. But today, as Stewart Allen will learn, is the first day the dollar has become totally worthless. And he will be the first to make a purchase without money!


As Stewart Allen dismounted his bike and entered the otherwise deserted 7-11, the last of its kind in a crumbling suburb of northeastern El Paso, he was pleased to spy his favorite candy bar. Taking the last Payday from the shelf, he walked it to the counter where he laid it atop a $10 bill.

Moving nothing but his eyes from the Payday on the counter to Stewart, the clerk sat motionless, staring at him coldly.

"Is there a problem?" Stewart asked.

"I need another $13 the clerk demanded."

It was at that point Stewart's frustration at the unbearable demands from everyone everywhere for more and more of his money -- money he didn't have -- for things that cost six bits just six months ago that Stewart's anger finally erupted.

"But last month a Payday was only $8!" Stewart protested. "I don't have another $13 for Christ's sake! I've lost my job, my family's lost their home, and you want $23 for a few peanuts in caramel? What will you want from me next time, my blood?"

That happened just a second before the clerk passed his breaking point, too. No longer able to enter price changes into store computers faster than they were increasing, having to work three and a half hours in a dying 7-11 just to make enough for a god-damned candy bar while contending all day with bitchy customers stunned at their inability to afford items they wanted, no - desperately needed, but could no longer afford, he lost it.

"Eight dollar Paydays were last month!" the clerk shouted as he bounded over the counter toward a stunned Stewart. With a punch that landed squarely on his jaw, the clerk stared down at Stewart on the floor shouting, "And this is NOW, you bastard!"

Grabbing him by his belt and scruff of his jacket collar, the clerk dragged Stewart out the front door as his head collided with the pavement in a small puddle of blood.

Seconds later the door reopened. Stewart detected something land next to him. Lifting his head, he spotted his crumpled $10 bill. He then felt something hit him squarely in the middle of his back.

"And here's your fucking Payday!" the clerk snarled.

Putting his head back on the pavement, Stewart contemplated all that had just happened. A subtle smile crept across his face. Lying there as his blood stained the amply stained oily asphalt, Stewart realized the people's faith in paper money was at last lost.

Stewart had just made his first purchase with the new currency -- his body.


Border Explorer said...

You're at your creative best, here, Dada! I love so many elements of this short short. The prized "Payday" is my favorite of all of those elements. We're getting a real "Payback" with this economic downturn--it's the remuneration we deserve, I guess, for buying into what "Everybody Knows."

What fun to see how we Bloggeros each did our own thing with the song...fascinating and enriching.

Dada said...

Thanks, B.E. I think -- on a visceral level -- 'everybody knows' the one thing we use to judge the value of just about everything else is in reality represented by basically worthless paper. (Which is being printed and printed in ever increasing amounts -- i.e., for nothing more than a desperate attempt at preservation of a delusion we've been living for years.) And while the value of everything is being co-opted as a result in some desperate attempt to salvage a system so corrupted, I doubt it's salvageable.

I don't want everything to come crashing down around us -- hell no! -- but I fear that's where we're headed and, like Stewart in my scenario here, if that happens, I shall lift my bloodied head to stare over at the $10 bill that symbolizes the downfall of a system that has abused just about everything and everybody on its rise to global dominance.

And in that moment, despite all my misery and the the misery of all around me, I shall smile knowing we are victims of the restitution being extracted from us all for allowing, no, participanting in, our own demise -- deservedly so.

eProf2 said...

Dada, I don't think I'll ever look at a Payday" candy bar again without thinking of the metaphor you've drawn for us with this post. Bravo! Bravo! Your post is going to haunt me for the next couple of days as I think of all the nuances you've inserted in the new meaning of living in a corrupt and corrupted society. This isn't our father's country anymore!

Fran said...

I am taking it a step further, with the implication we can't afford payday anymore.
I have a full time job that pays quite poorly & the longer I stay in this job, the less further the paycheck goes, as the true cost of living outpaces my wage exponentially.
Still I don't dare quit.
So from my perspective, everyone knows the big corporation screws the worker bees.

Dada said...

eProf: I'd like to be more optimistic. I'd like to think things will cruise along, that maybe there would be a second reunion of Los Tres Bloggeros (or maybe "Cuatro, Cinco," whatever), but it's really difficult to look too far into the future when one attends all the gloomy economic news with sobriety. (And, whew, isn't there plenty of it out there pulling at our attentions to gravitate towards.

One of the tasks I have just now put on my "to do" list is to re-tire my old 10-speed bike hanging on the garage wall while tires are still available (if I can get my 85 yr old neighbor to help me with that rear tire and its five gears. (It's been 30 years since I put new tires on it.) That may end up our next to last form of transportation the way things are going.

Dada said...

Fran: And what is the state of Mr. Rambling's job? Is he still "just on an extended layoff"?

With global labor in ample supply (and getting more ample by the day!), it would seem to me wages are bound to tend toward "$0.00." (Of course, that's theoretical, I'm no economist and, besides, working for zero wouldn't allow us to eat or have cable TV to support General Foods and Time Warner in order to escape reality, would it? I know you're an exception on that last one, congrats!)

So, I really can appreciate what you're saying re keeping your job a job that makes it harder and harder just to 'keep up' with your former selves.

God bless (if there is one)! I really DO appreciate your 'toe in the waters' as a direct line to the state of the economy.

Fran said...

Thanks for asking, Mr. Ramblings has had the 4th extension of the temporary layoff. The new projected date is March 2. The company says it is working on getting financing.

They already shuddered all their Indiana facilities (Elkhart & Waukarusa) 2 towns that are going under because the company was the lifeblood of the town.
Rumor is they are going to start up production in March, production workers have been told to expect
a pay cut.

So who knows??

A bike is a great way to get around- especially if you live in a place that has lots of good weather.
When we had our dog, Mr. Ramblings trained him to run alongside on a leash. But he did get pulled over the handlebars a few times before the young strong pup figured out the rhythm.

Don't know if Editor Sam would like such a set up, but I know sometimes the 4 legged ones get impatient with how slow the 2 legged ones are.

D.K. Raed said...

Wonderful ... you were all so creative in your interpretation of what Everybody Knows! As for me, everybody knows I love Leonard Cohen. His deep voice resonates inside my head. I'll recommend the same 2-CD set to you as I did to B.E.: "The Essential Leonard Cohen" which will catch you up on all things Cohen.

Your Payday story, paid for in blood, was so good, I don't think I can ever purchase one again, especially since I'm leery of the peanuts!

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