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[Neighbours, 592 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]

* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn

It was like the cheesy set production of a daytime soap opera. It was a colourful bunch of characters who all found themselves inhabiting a block of units. The block of units was nice enough, peaceful. Every individual went about their daily tasks, performing their day-to-day duties. Working, carefully working towards something greater and grander. They all were.

They had come from all over the country. Some of them were localized and they all had to share the inhabitance and live peacefully amongst one another. They were setting rules for one another. So as not to interfere with one another’s lives. It was a process that had to occur. Was bound to occur as the natural order of things gradually took place.

There were a couple, studying to become welfare agents. A man who had been living in the block of units for a long time, he had an injury to one of his legs, but was still able to work and contribute to society. There was a security guard who worked the night shift on multiple occasions. Discontent that he had to look after everybody else in the community, because the responsibility that had been set upon him in the course of his life. There was the outsider, an immigrant who kept to himself and was unknown to the others… Perhaps he had the most interesting story of them all. Nobody would know, nobody asked. There was the manager of a restaurant. And then there was the writer… The writer, all too self aware and too sensitive to ever be taken seriously.

But they were a community and as a community they all had to function whilst in the close proximity with one another. The assistance that they would give to one another was trivial conversation. An escape from their work pressures and the day-to-day relationships with others. And two other things. For those who smoked they would assist one another with cigarettes and tobacco to avoid making the journey to the local shops. And sugar… When somebody ran out of it they would assist one another to make the addition to their coffee stockpiles. But as far as everything else went, that was as far as it went. They had to avoid one another in their interactions to keep the peace. When somebody did something in their own lives, that was their business, nobody elses’… Sure, they could offer words of encouragement. But ultimately each individual’s decision was their own.

The writer knew though that eventually problems would occur for each one. He knew all too well about the divine web of the narratives of other people’s lives. For the most part everybody had to stick to themselves. But they could count on two things. Cigarettes and sugar. It was cigarettes and sugar that prevented all hell from breaking loose amongst the complex. They were the essentials for making one’s way in the world. For helping out each individual, they knew that although they had friends in other places… they had neighbours that would help from time to time as well.

The writer though… Pessimistic for all of the worldly knowledge that he held, he wanted to leave. To leave and say farewell to whatever would occur next.

He banged on the walls of reality and screamed, “Let me out! Let me out!”

But that was not what the writer wanted really. He was part of something. He knew it. They all knew it. It is a fine feeling to be part of something… No matter how abstract the cause.


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