Monday, April 6, 2020

The New Currency

Hard times brings out the worst in us; in particular, that insecure subhuman species known as the hoarder. Herewith a look at some celestial justice of sorts. It doesn't solve the problem, of course, because these people have sold their souls to that most primitive of survival instincts: I've got mine, and everybody else can go fish.

Call it what you will--comeuppance or symptom of a greater ill, a society passively watching its freedom siphoned by eugenicist control freaks. Tonight's food for thought from The Twilight Zone, where bidets and guns are the top-selling items.

Sam held his breath while walking past a couple of enforcers lounging around a barrel fire. He drew some small confidence from Delgado's reputation for fairness--if forty dollars for a roll of TP could be called fair. But it didn't matter; the stuff was more precious than life itself. People willingly starved or went without medicine in order to afford it. Sam was no different in keeping his source a secret. It was every man for himself now.

He let out a breath of relief after safely reaching the grotto beneath overhanging fire escapes. A few of Delgado's camp followers eyed him with contempt. Why not? They had ready access to the paper gold, even if it meant existing as lowly hangers-on or concubines.

"Back so soon?" Delgado emerged from a rat hole in the condemned building's foundation. Like all petty warlords, he dressed in kingly style, or in Sam's opinion, like a pimp. The only thing missing was the feathered cowboy hat.

"One roll doesn't go far," Sam protested.

Delgado grinned. "I told you how to stretch it. Use four squares, then fold three times for a slender, eight-ply pad that's just right for the job."

"I do that, but it hardly lasts a week!" Sam pulled out the cash."It's a good thing the government hands out all these greenbacks so we can afford the black market." He eyed the others. "So. . . .where do you get your stock?"

"You guessed it," Delgado said. "My associates watch for people unloading armfuls of TP from their shopping trips. Then we make a little home invasion that night, and relive them of it. The cops look the other way as long as nobody gets hurt."

Sam's  mouth twisted. There weren't enough cops anyway who were still healthy. Same for street cleaners, which is why streets were littered with castoff masks and gloves. "You're just turning these hoarders into criminals. They're so insecure, they're capable of anything. They hang out at stores waiting to hijack the latest shipment of TP. They roll people getting out of their cars if they have any. And all the time, they have two years' worth squirreled away somewhere. They can never have enough!"

"Sure enough." Sam rubbed his jaw. "You hear that, friends? We can't be having this. Next time you make a midnight call, check for hidey holes."

With the transaction made, Sam tucked the precious roll into his coat, hoping to avoid getting rolled on his way back to his car. Well, if anybody had a mind to take it, they'd better have a gun, and be willing to use it. He'd die before giving it up. How ironic was it that the doomsday predictors got it all wrong. The new currency wasn't twenty-two caliber bullets, but TP. Then again, the human animal was one strange critter.

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