[With friends like these, 1,411 words, Genre: Realistic Fiction]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
There are few things in this world worth living for. Friendship is one of them, but when in consideration of friendship one has to ask themselves if the friendship is worthwhile. Many people think they have friends, only to realise later on that they don’t have any friends at all. Many people use one another to gain the next step up on the pyramid that is the human experience. Once they have gained that step up, they are only too willing to kick down at those who have helped them gain that footing. Then they continue the climb up the social pyramid, laughing at those they have crushed in their pursuit towards riches and glory.
George had recently found himself a job. Good pay. Excellent benefits. The one thing that he didn’t consider was what the job was asking of him. The job was asking that he give one hundred per cent. A signature of the soul, signing over his life in servitude of the corporation that had given him the opportunity. There would be a six week training course involved in the job. Over those six weeks the corporation would beat down his personality, shaping and moulding him into a subservient worker. George’s personality in this respect was too strong, he could not be beaten down or broken to comply with the corporation’s mentality. In essence, he did not fit the mould. Hence he was useless to the corporation and they manipulated him to come to the decision that the job was not for him.
How did they manipulate him? They manipulated him through a clever cocktail of words and verbal hints. They delivered information in such a way as if presenting a puzzle. The puzzle would then be pieced together through George’s sleepless nights where he would lie awake at night, feeling the pressures that the job entailed. During the training they would whisper into George’s ear as he walked past, things that were determined to break his spirit. Things like, ‘failure’, and all the other negative phrasing that they could muster. They dropped the full weight of the corporation on his back, but still George would not break. His spirit was too strong.
After they had manipulated George into a path of action where he resigned from the job, he grew pale and distraught. He was uncertain about his future and the uncertainty fell in upon him, clouding his vision. The job offered him a future of certainty, a pathway, a plan. They would pay for his living expenses and offer him the security he needed for his future. Without the job, he found no security. There was nothing to tell him what to do next. In the week and a half where they had beaten down his spirit, they had also beaten down his personal dreams to a certain extent. His dreams still remained, but they were damaged. Repairable, but damaged.
In his time of need, at a point of desperation he called out for help. His friend, Lucas, answered the call. They met at a train station. George had his iPod and attempted to retain his personality through the emotional music that played through the headphones. He was on auto drive, trusting that his friend would take care of him once he arrived at his destination. His friend told him that they would meet up for a late lunch. He travelled via the metropolitan train system towards his destination. His thoughts were clouded as the future became increasingly uncertain. He was weak, there was no denying that. Over the past week and a half his individuality and self-determination had been beaten and bruised.
But he felt he could trust Lucas. He had been there for Lucas in the past. They had both come from a troubled background, where drugs and dangerous behaviour had been frequent. George had escaped it earlier than Lucas and had allowed for a pathway out of that mode of self-destructive existence. They had been through so much together. They had come out on the other end. Although the future seemed clouded at the moment, the music that played in George’s ears and the reliance on his friend allowed him to feel the comforts of a caring environment.
When he arrived at the meeting place. He got off the train. He went to the cafe where they had decided to meet. Lucas delivered him a speech which, feeling weakened by the loss of security for his future, he could not follow. George told him that he could not pay for lunch due to the fact that he had lost his job and could not afford to spend his money. Lucas stated that he did not have to worry about it, that he would pay for lunch. So the two sat down for lunch. Lucas went inside the cafe and ordered lunch. Then after the order had been placed Lucas came out and said that he didn’t have any money. George did not have his wits about him, he left his iPod on the table and went into the cafe to pay for the meals. At that point in time George was like jelly in Lucas’s hands. Like a child with no vision of the future he trusted Lucas implicitedly. They talked for a while trying to create a future for George. Trying to stabilise his future, trying to create some future or certainty. Lucas nodded his head as they ate the meal and drank the coffee that George had ended up paying for.
After the meal they went back to the train station and some of George’s wits returned to him. He questioned the purchase of the meal. Hadn’t Lucas agreed to pay for it? George voiced his concerns to Lucas, Lucas told him that he hadn’t been listening and that Lucas would pay him back tomorrow. George felt odd about this. After all he had clearly stated that he couldn’t afford to spend any of his money, his future being clouded with uncertainty as it was. George then argued with Lucas saying that he hadn’t paid attention to what he had said. This was particularly disturbing for George as that was one of the things that they had talked about. He had shown that weakness to Lucas, discussed it with him and now Lucas was using that against him. George argued with Lucas by sending him text messages and in the end created an issue over what had occurred.
George went home and went to sleep. His dreams were curious, but in the morning he could not recall them. The next day Lucas visited him and paid George back for the meal. It made George question what would have happened if he hadn’t made an issue over what had occurred? Would Lucas have paid him back? If George hadn’t had his wits return to him, would Lucas have taken advantage?
George then went about his business. Attempting to put the pieces back together for his future. Attempting to re-collaborate his wits and repair the damage that had occurred to his spirit recently. He thought he would listen to some music to help cheer his disposition. He searched for his iPod, he couldn’t find it anywhere. Where had his iPod gone? When did he last have his iPod?
Success is a funny thing. After you make your ascent to the top of the human social pyramid, you can look down. Look down at all the people who have paved your way to get there. You will be surrounded by riches, by glory. People won’t really respect you, but they will fear you. They will see you at the top of the social pyramid, or at a higher rung than they. They will ask themselves, ‘how did they get there?’, and, ‘what did they do to get there?’ People will say, ‘they played the game and they played the game well.’ And that’s what the successful people all tell themselves, life is just a game and in it there are winners and losers. When it comes down to it though, there can only ever be one winner. And the winner stands at the top of the pyramid, looking down at everyone, feeling proud as he counts his victories by the trophies of his material success. And the losers, well they just keep on piling the trophies on the winner, because that’s what the winner wants. Poor bastard, it must be lonely at the top.