Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The giraffe works the night shift


Exterior. Ocean. Night.
A dark blue twilight. James BOND and the GIRAFFE are traveling by balloon. They move at an easy pace across the quiet ocean, each of them lost in his own thoughts.

BOND
My head is completely empty. I can’t think of anything.

GIRAFFE
Why don’t you just come out and say it?

BOND
Say what, camelopard?

GIRAFFE
You want me to tell you about my day.

BOND
If you say so.

GIRAFFE
Ok. As you know, yesterday was election day, and of course I had to work a night shift at the plant. When I got there, everybody from the evening shift was sitting around drinking coffee, watching the TV transmission, nobody saying a word. So I ask them, you know, how does it look? One of them stares at me, all confused, and goes, what, are you interested? Yeah, I am. Then one of the others tells me, reluctantly, it looks like a red majority. Oh, that’s good then, I say. The room goes all quiet.

BOND
Shit.

GIRAFFE
Yeah, That’s what I think. But then, it’s not a hostile silence, not embarrassed either. It’s more tentative, I think is the word for it. I realize they’ve been sitting there watching the transmission all evening, a whole bunch of them, nobody showing their colors. I’m still the new giraffe at the plant, but some of these giraffes have worked together for seven, eight years, and they don’t even know how the other giraffes vote. Isn’t that weird? Of course, in my head I’ve got them all figured out, Workers’ Party, Workers’ Party, Socialist, didn’t bother to vote, Progressive Party, Progressive Party…

BOND
I do that too, but I’m mostly wrong.

GIRAFFE
Yeah, I’m not. Anyway, now that I’ve come out and exposed myself, the others start feeling each other out. They’re being completely paranoid about it. It’s creepy, but at the same time it’s kinda sweet. One of them says, hesitantly, well, it’ll be interesting to see how this works out. There is a pause. Nobody makes eye contact. Then another one goes, yeah, and this is probably that party leader’s last election. Again a pause. A third one ventures something about the percentages as compared to last year. Then the first one speculates about who will get the ministry of finance.

BOND
It’s a thriller, that one. What if we get a socialist? Think of the interest. Think of the stock market. Think of the reichsmärck.

GIRAFFE
Shut your cakehole, fascist. The point is, nobody declares themselves.

BOND
I’m just saying. Optimism in the market, man. We need that optimism.

GIRAFFE
What the hell does that mean? Now you’re talking like my colleagues last night. When they finally warm up to it they start making these hollow statements that don’t mean anything, things they’ve picked up from TV, I guess. It’s like they’re back in school, doing a book report on a book they didn’t read. Do you know what I mean? They’re at it like that for like half an hour, until the shift is over and they can go home, the school bell rings and they all clear out. Still none of them has come out and confessed. They’ve been talking about politics for half an hour, and not one of them has told the others how he voted.

BOND
It’s a secret ballot, camelopard. You can’t blame them. It’s their right.

GIRAFFE
Whatever. They’re all nice, hardworking people. Who cares if half of them voted for the Progressive Party? That doesn’t make them evil. It’s just that they’ve been systematically misinformed, like the rest of us.

BOND
Here we go. Adjust your tinfoil hats, people.

GIRAFFE
All I’m saying is, no matter who you vote for, the government will still be in power.

BOND
What the hell does that mean? You’re rambling, camelopard.

GIRAFFE
Do you know how much I hate it when you call me that?

There is a hissing sound. The balloon wobbles slightly.

BOND
The balloon is loosing altitude. Let’s get back to work.

They get back to work.

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