“How much I owe you?”
John smiled and slapped away Frank’s empty hand. It was an old joke said by many of his customers, as old as the Federated States even, but it never ceased to amuse him. It was late September and the fields of corn were turning golden in the autumnal sunlight, meaning both men were putting in the long hours to bring in the harvests.
All ready to feed the locals.
Frank had been alive during the coup de main. Watched the corrupt politicians and their corporate benefactors torn to the ground in a single fell swoop. And it had gone well. Those who had, had nothing. And those who had nothing, now had enough. It took a while, a lot of reshuffling, before things settled down and people got back to adding value to society, rather than just keeping it distracted.
“John, you ever thought about, you know? Keeping a little back. For you and yours, I mean.”
John finished with his tools, wiping grease off them like his father had taught him. A clean tool is a clean mind. He was a mechanic, more to the point he was the only mechanic in a hundred miles which meant he spent a lot of time on the collectives.
“Anyway, I’m just saying,” Frank continued.
“I hear you,” John said, wiping his brow with the same rag and cussing himself.
“I mean, I’m just saying, it’d be nice to get a bit of recognition. We put in the hours, and then some pencil pusher gets the same share of corn? It’s just not fair.”
“Is it just you thinking this way?” John asked.
“No. Well, yeah. I dunno. Some of the other old timers, they remember the way before.”
“Back when you had to buy a GMO license from the big-corp because they cross-pollinated every field in the state?”
“No, I mean, you know, getting paid.”
John stowed his tools in the back of his truck, provided by the State just like everything in it, and tried to keep calm. Money was wrong. Kids knew it. Parents knew it. But sometimes people just forgot what it led to.
“Leave home tonight Frank,” John said, getting in the driver’s seat. “Let someone willing work the farm if you think you’re better than us. I’ll give you until sundown before I report you.”
Prompt originally posted by Chickens-dont-clap on reddit and received 25 upvotes.