[The Franchise of Poverty, 705 words, Genre: Experimental]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
It had been a long winter. Edward had avoided the cold by wrapping himself up in a blanket for the majority of it. Wrapping himself in a blanket, a quilt, and snuggling into his own body heat. He breathed in amongst the little ball that he had created. Creating warmth, letting his own bodily juices warm him and create a stench that fermented and created a front to the cold.
He could not turn on the heater for the electricity bill that it would create would force him out onto the streets. Force him out onto the streets where he would be faced with further atrocities. Atrocities that were beyond his figure of reasoning. Where the middle class kids, those with no experience of the world beyond the schoolyard would throw scorn onto him as a lazy bum. A bum who did not deserve the prerequisites of human love and care. All because of some sort of misconception that he hadn’t put in the effort to make something of himself.
To make something of himself; to make something of one’s self; what did it all mean? Were these just more meaningless words pissed up against the wind or was there actually some sort of argument to be made. Some sort of counterpoint. Surely not everyone could make something of themselves and those that did. Well, those that did could only do so because others did not.
There was some sort of prerequisite to the conditions of poverty. There was always some sort of prerequisite to the conditions of poverty. Something that prompted one to clutch onto dollars and cents, rather than valuables and real estate.
Did poverty breed poverty? For the majority rule it certainly did. Those without the means to sustain themselves were often caught in some sort of fever. It was a sickness. A disease. And not a disease that would dissipate at any point in the future. It had always existed in the past and would continue to go on like this. And on. And on. And on.
There was nothing that Edward could do apart from work. His friendship circles had all run dry. Those within them had gone on to find themselves families and those that did not find families, found themselves a life beyond that of the one Edward knew them to lead.
He could not find himself any work of the paid variety and so concentrated his efforts on a developing himself. Developing himself in any way that he could. He read books: Sylvia Plath, Hermann Hesse, Haruki Murakami, anything that he could really. Books are cheap and for this people will often find the well read person in a cycle of poverty. With nothing else to do with themselves apart from read.
Those with the means and the money liked it this way. They would all laugh and snigger behind the well-read man’s back. Knowing that he was sustaining his own cycle of remorse and hatred for himself. Knowing that the writers themselves were cynics and knowing that he found himself company in the words of dead people’s minds. Action. That was what was prescribed. Action. Action and effort to do something. But in poverty action is limited and constrained to fantasy and imagining.
And that is what Edward would imagine. Would envision. Grabbing hold of a kitchen knife and sticking it through some poor sap’s eye. Blood would spill and there would be cries of horror, at which point Edward would hand over his well being to the state. The state would feed him, clothe him and he wouldn’t have to take on any iota of independence anymore.
But then if he did that… He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t sleep and escape the horrible nightmare through dreams that his subconscious allowed him as a means of escape. He couldn’t warm himself in the cold, couldn’t warm himself and dream a dream in which his mind gratified and satiated his desires. If he were to do that, if he were to act in violence, even his fantasy and imaginings would be stripped bare. The regulated routine of a prison environment would do that, kill your dreams and beat out any hope and desire that you once had.