Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Debt: A story

It was a grey and rainy day in a village deep in the
countryside. To the untrained eye, the village was sleepy. The word 'ghostly' would be a better description. A new motorway nearby had pretty much sent the village spiralling into obscurity.

The village was a shadow of it's glorious past and times were hard for everyone. People preferred to shop in the ''pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap' cathederals of consumerism located out of town. In these tough times, shoppers had chosen price and convenience over personal service.

Everybody was in debt and relying on credit to see them through. The few remaining small businesses in the town were hanging on by a thread.

On this particular day, a wealthy tourist was travelling through the village, on his way to somewhere else. Initially charmed by the first appearances of the quaint little village, he decided to spend the night in the village. Looking for somewhere to stay, he stopped at the local Bed & Breakfast and laid a £50 note on the desk, telling the B&B owner that he wanted to inspect the rooms upstairs before booking a room.

This is where we pick up the story.

The desperate B&B owner passes the traveller some keys and, as soon as the visitor has disappeared from sight, the B&B owner snatches the £50 note off the desk and runs next door to pay his debt to the grocer.

The grocer takes the £50 note and dashes down the street to repay his debt to the farmer.

The farmer takes the £50 note and scurries off to pay his bill to the seed and fuel supplier.

The seed and fuel supplier takes the £50 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the local pub.

The pub landlord discreetly slips the money to the local "escort" drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him her "services" on credit.

The "escort" then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the B&B owner with the £50 note. The B&B owner, who lets out a sigh of relief as he uncrosses his fingers, then places the £50 note back on the counter.

At that moment the unsuspecting traveller comes back down the stairs, having taken the opportunity to use the washing facilities in the B&B. Picking up the £50 note, the traveller states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town. The B&B owner is not in the least bit surprised: it's been a while since the B&B turned a profit and consequently the place had now become rather shabby.

Although noone had actually retained anything, the town's businesses were now out of debt and everyone felt a lot more optimistic about the future.

Of course, this is just a story........