Tarren put the last half of a loaf of bread into the bread box on the counter. Eugene looked up from wiping down the table and laughed. “When’s the last time you remember having leftovers? Maybe it’s a good thing you got into that fight today.”
Tarren smiled at Eugene. “I just can’t believe that Obadiah was right about his handmade bread being so much better than the machine-made stuff. There really isn’t any comparison. Why would anyone ever make bread any other way?”
Eugene sighed. “Because the benefit of progress is that it makes everything easier and cheaper. The downside is that it often loses much of the quality of the handmade product.” Eugene looked at his watch. “Look at the time! If I wanted to meet with Frederick tonight I should get going. Can you finish cleaning up?”
Tarren looked down at his watch. He didn’t have much time to spare if he wanted to to make it to the meeting in time, but if he hurried, he could finish the chores. “Yeah, I can take care of it for you, Eugene.”
“Great. I’m going to go look in on the kids before I head out.” Eugene placed his washcloth down on the table and walked out of the kitchen.
Tarren picked it up and started scrubbing the table quickly. He wiped down the twenty-foot long table in two minutes. He frowned at the table and shook his head. “It’s not the best cleaning job ever, but it’ll do for tonight. I’ll just get up early tomorrow and wipe it down again before breakfast. Tarren folded up the washcloth and placed it on the counter, and picked up the bucket full of water, and walked out the back door. He dumped the water out, hung the bucket on the hand water pump, and started to run around to the front of the building.
Tarren started running down the driveway and winced when he heard the door close behind him. “Tarren, where are you going? I thought you were going to clean the kitchen?”
Taren turned around and smiled at Eugene. “I already cleaned the kitchen, and I am, um I am, I’m going out to look for a job. I’m so concerned about our finances that I’m going to go look for jobs for a few hours tonight.”
Eugene smiled at Tarren. “Well, that’s quite responsible of you, Tarren. With an attitude like that I’m sure that you’ll be able to find a job in no time. Just don’t stay out too late, we have church tomorrow.”
“I’ll only be out for a couple of hours, you just don’t stay out too late with Frederick!” Tarren turned and continued running down the driveway. He hated lying to Eugene like that, but he just wouldn’t understand Tarren going to meet with the rebellion. Maybe he’d to and check a few businesses for jobs after the meeting. Tarren sighed. It was going to be a later night that he was hoping for, but at least he would have a clearer conscious.
Tarren knocked on the door of Obadiah’s house. The door opened almost immediately to reveal Obadiah’s smiling face. “Ah, Tarren. The weather is fine this evening, is it not?”
Taren smiled back at Obadiah. “Yes, the glow of Ludecai is beautiful.”
Obediah opened the door completely. “Please, come in brother.” And, in a quieter tone, added, “The meeting is starting soon.”
Tarren walked inside, turned, and walked down the stairs. He walked into a basement filled with people. Tarren smiled and greeted those around him. “Hey, Phil! Steve, it’s good to see you again. Are you ready to strike another blow for justice, Earl?”
A large black man walked up behind Tarren and rested a hand on his shoulder. “I see you got into another fight, Tarren. I thought we agreed that we were going to stop our solo fights against the Enforcers, that we could do more good acting together.”
Tarren forced a smile onto his face. “Hi, John. How are things going in the mines?”
John frowned at Tarren. “I’m serious, Tarren. I want you to stop this fighting of yours. The only thing that ever comes of it is you getting hurt, and you are putting all of us at risk.”
Tarren sighed. “I can’t stop fighting, John. I see the Enforcers abusing people every day, and I can’t just watch. I have to do something, and I thought that the rebellion would be doing something to help the people on this planet, not just annoying the government.”
“The last time the rebellion openly fought against the government, we lost a lot of people, your parents among those that we lost. We do what Harold Daley tells us to, and eventually we will bring the government down.”
A man stood up on a table on the other end of the room, and a hush fell over the room. The man smiled out at the crowd. “I want to thank you all for coming, for being willing to make a difference. For being the ones unwilling to put up with the conditions that the government has decided to impose on you. You’re friends may tell you that the rebellion isn’t making a difference, that at most we’re a minor annoyance, but they are wrong! Already the government is making creating new policies to try and quell our rebellion. John, tell us what changes are happening in the mines.”
John crossed his large, muscled arms and nodded his head to the man on the table. He started talking in his deep baritone voice. “They are forcing us to work more hours, for less pay. I have to go to a twelve hour shift after this meeting, and I’m not going to make what I made three years ago working six! They’re afraid of us brothers and sisters! That’s what pushes them to oppose us! The think that working us harder, and giving us less to live on will make us back down! I say no! All they are doing is making me want to fight harder, to take back what they have taken from us, and give it back to our children! They’re the ones that they are really stealing from!”
The room erupted into cheers and chants of “For the children!” and “Down with the government!” filled Obadiah’s basement. John held up his hands for silence, and gestured to Obadiah. “Things aren’t just getting worse in the mines. Obadiah, why don’t you tell everyone what you witnessed in the marketplace today.”
“The Aquore Enforcers were up to no good once again today. They went from stall to stall and booth to booth, announcing that the taxes have gone up again! At this rate I’ll have to sell a single loaf of bread for what I used to be able to sell a wedding cake for! Your children will go hungry because the government is paying you less and forcing me to sell my goods for more! This cannot be allowed to continue!”
The crowd broke out into their chants once more, and Tarren’s eyes lit with a vehement fire, and he shouted out. “That’s not all!” The crowd turned and looked at Tarren, and John fixed him with a sullen glare. Tarren continued on, more hesitantly than before, “They’re decreasing the amount of money that they’re giving to orphanage to take care of the children. They want us to send them into the same mines that claimed their parents lives.”
The crowd took up their chants once more with a new vigor. They were so loud that Tarren was certain that someone passing by outside would be sure to hear them. John, Obadiah, and the man on the table worked to calm the crowd. Once they were calmed, the man on the table began to speak. “I’m glad that you are all so moved by the horrendous acts that our government is performing, but your feelings do us no good unless you do something about it.”
Someone in the crowd called out, “Then tell us what to do Scott!” and someone else called out, “Yeah, what is our next move Scott?”
Scott, the man on the table, smiled at the crowd. “I’m glad that you asked. If you want to hurt the government, you have to go after the thing they care about the most… money. And how do they get their money?”
A man called out, “By me working my arse off!” The crowd erupted into laughter and the men closest to him patted him on the back. Another man shouted out in agreement. “Aye, with their snalkin taxes!”
Scott shook his head at the man. “No friend, the money they take from you is nothing to them. It’s merely a way for them to control you. No, the real way the make their money, and the reason they are here is for the precious stone we work so hard to pull out of this planet. It’s the reason that they worked so hard to pull all the water off of this planet, and used it to create our moon, Ludecai. You want to hurt their money, then slowing down their work in the mines is the best way to do it.”
A man in the crowd scoffed. “So what do you want us to do? Work slower? They’ll kick us out of the mines and replace us.”
Scott looked at the man and continued. “I would never ask you risk your family’s livelihood sir, I’m not with the government.” The crowd became a mix of laughs and cheers. Scott motioned them into silence. “What I want you to do, is go and loosen some bolts on the mining machinery. I loose bolt here, a missing washer there, and that will bring their progress to a standstill. Do this for long enough, and they’ll really start hurting for money.”
Tarren frowned and shouted out, “Doesn’t that mean that the people who operate those machines might get hurt if they break down while they are using them?”
The crowd stared at Scott, waiting for a response. Scott shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “Only just a man and already he thinks he understands the complexities of subterfuge.” The crowd laughed a little and turned to look at Tarren. Tarren blushed, but stared defiantly at the men looking at him. “Of course there is a chance that some might be injured, but no greater than the chance of someone getting injured from working in the mines. No, this is a sound plan young man. Now I want you to go out in the dark of night, and loosen as many nuts and bolts as you can, but don’t forget to set lookouts. The last thing we’d want is for the Enforcers to find any of us. Does anyone have any questions? No? I want to thank Obadiah for allowing us to meet in his basement once more, and I want ask John to organize you into groups to hit all of the mines in the area. Enjoy the rest of your evening everyone, and don’t forget, eventually we will take out the government and make things better for everyone here on Aquore.” Scott stepped off of the table and men and women instantly swarmed around him, asking him questions and talking to him about the mines.
John turned and gave Tarren an encouraging look. “I’m glad that you used that brain of yours to think for once, Tarren. I too have my concerns about Scott’s plan.”
Tarren looked questioningly at John. “Then why didn’t you speak out against it too? The people look up to you and respect you John.”
John shook his head. “I can’t go against Daley Devices, Tarren. They do so much to support us and help us. Besides, he was right. You are just as likely to get hurt in the mines already. We can talk more about this later, but right now I have to give everyone their assignments.” John turned and walked off into the crowd.
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more stories like it, check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page for updates on the stories here: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read.