Talk 12 – Circles

short story about equality

Short Story

Where does that door lead?
To the neighboring building’s back yard.
They also have a garden?
No, they have a barbecue and plastic chairs.
Meat eaters.
Like most of the world.
But they seem dedicated.
Oh, they are. I am sure you can smell the burning flesh when they have a session.
Yes I can.
The door is opening.
Oh that’s just our neighbors from upstairs.
The complainer!
And his wife. She has relatives in that building.
We meet again fellas. We overheard you and decided to join.
Please have seat.
This is my wife for those of you who do not know her.
Hello.
She was just telling me what a bad day she had at work.
What do you do?
I work in customer service for an airline.
Face-to-face or over the phone?
Both. Today they caught a guy carrying a rhino horn in his backpack. That delayed one of our flights and people missed their connecting flights. It was a mess.
Rhino horns are worth double their weight in gold.
It is true.
What do they use them for?
Aphrodisiacs, hangover cures and such.
There are cheaper things you can use.
Like almost anything in my garden or pickle juice.
Ah yes pickle juice. And it’s cheap, too.
So that niche commodity created quite a bit of work for you.
That was only the beginning.
Tell them, tell them about the platinum member and the woman with the dogs.
I deal primarily with our platinum members.
Those are businessmen that pay ten times the price of a regular ticket to buy extra comfort, better food and the right to treat us, the employees, like crap.
Do they?
Entitlement goes a long way.
Anyway, they’re important business for us and we managed to loose the baggage of this one man. He was breathing fire into the telephone, asking me if he should he go naked to his meeting in the morning.
How do you deal with that?
I take a lot of deep breaths. I told him to buy clothes and send us the receipts.
Your company does that? They’ll pay for his new clothes?
Yes, he flies with us a lot.
Hm, and what was that about a dog lady?
Ah, yes, this lady was going on vacation and wanted to bring her dogs with her. She had two very large beasts. Someone else in our company told her she needs to buy cages but told her wrong type. She bought them and when she got to the airport they told her they couldn’t check in that type of cage, so she couldn’t fly. She was upset but she was calm and spoke with a lot of restrain, well educated.
So what was the worst case of your day?
Ah, today was the worst case of my career.
Really?
Something of epic proportions happened.
Please do not keep is waiting.
The first class tickets are the most expensive, right? Fifteen times economy. Often the people that fly in first class have no regard for other human beings but themselves. So, one lady of this exact sort is launching in her seat and drops a piece of a paper on the floor. She presses a button and the attendant appears. They expect slavery, but this attendant, another lady of less fortunate origins, must have had it with the company and people in general. The bitch, as we refer to this case in the office, tells the attendant she has to pick up what she dropped. And the attendant tells her no, not unless you ask me like a human being. The bitch stirs up from her entitled comfort and at first is taken aback. Then she says she’ll have her fired, asking the attendant if she knows who she is, and other such things that you might imagine. The attendant smiles and very calmly sits on the arm of her seat, telling the woman she knows who she is – another human being who eats, drinks and shits just like her. The bitch turns red and presses the button simultaneously shouting for help from a higher authority. The attendant puts her arm around her neck and taps her name tag. This is my name she says what is yours? I am the marketing executive for this airline, says the attendant, and I work a shift as an attendant every so often to better understand the company needs. This is the last time you are flying with us because I will red flag you for treating our employees like animals. The bitch shuts up for the time being. But when she called me and we made it clear the attendant was just being extremely frivolous she expressed her deepest insults in my direction and pledged never to fly with us again. I offered her a free flight next time and told her what a story she would have for her friends over afternoon tea. I assured her the attendant will be fired and she is the winner from all this.
What did she say?
She took the ticket.
Life is predictable for the most part.
What do you mean?
You usually know exactly what your actions will bring.
I agree.

 

next chapter: TALK 13 – LADDER

previous chapter: TALK 11 – GARDEN

all chapters: TALK

more by PETER ODEON

photograph by NG

 

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