It’s taken me a few days to write this entry; Tommy made an accusation that sent me into an introspective tumble.
I met him last Friday to talk through an observation that was forming the major part of my report. It was the middle of the day and the street was alive with the upper classes scurrying to and fro. Tommy was waiting for me next to a queue of them lining up to exchange their money tokens for food. ‘Hi Purple,’ he said and held up a baby’s bib with prison bars and inside for 9 months printed on the front. ‘Look at this. I love it. I’ve bought one for my niece. Make my brother laugh that will.’
‘Shall we,’ I said, turning towards the coffee shop.
‘Sure. This is all a bit mysterious, isn’t it?’
‘I need to talk something through with you.’
We stood in silence until it was our turn to order. ‘Two double espressos, please,’ he said. ‘That’s okay for you, isn’t it?’
‘Perfect. I need a clear head for this.’
‘They’ll be ready for you at the end of the counter,’ said the barista, gesturing towards a square wooden surface with little sachets of sugar artfully scattered all over it.
We took our small cups of bitter black stimulant to the high stools in the corner. ‘The thing is,’ I said as soon as we sat down, ‘I’m coming to the conclusion that the upper classes are stupid and worse than that, they’re deliberately nasty.’
‘Don’t hold back,’ he said, sipping his coffee and chuckling.
‘Tommy, let me finish. I have to make an assessment of this universe. Of course, I’ve only just started but the first impressions aren’t good.’
‘Hey. You can make as many assessments as you want. It’s your right to have an opinion.’
‘It’s a bit more than that, actually. Anyway, can I tell you what shocked me the other day?’
‘Of course, but I’ll have another of these if you don’t mind.’ He caught the barista’s eye and held up two fingers. ‘So what’s got your goat then?’
‘Goat, chicken, lamb… they wouldn’t know, would they?’
He raised his eyebrows. ‘What?’
‘Did you see the news stories of people outraged that the meat in their food wasn’t what it was supposed to be?’
‘Yeah. Pretty bad eh?’
‘Yes, pretty bad. But the problem isn’t that they were eating a different species to the one they thought. The problem is that you’ve set this whole thing up so you’re totally removed from the harsh realities of eating each other. You know nothing about the food you’re eating. And it’s only when something goes wrong that you’re interested.’
He coughed. ‘You’re fixated on what and how we eat, aren’t you?’
‘It’s a good way of getting into the psyche of a universe. And this one is not good. You eat each other and yet you’re disgusted by the whole thing. Even those of you that don’t eat meat keep themselves ignorant of the lower class slaughter their food causes. You’re vicious and stupid.’
‘Wow, Purple. That hurts. Is that really how you see me?’
‘No. You and your mates have really welcomed me. You’re great. I’m talking about the masses.’
‘Let me get this straight. You think that humans are vicious and stupid?’
‘But, me and my mates are okay. In fact we’re quite nice?’
‘That’s racist or speciesist that is!’ He put his cup on its saucer, stood up, patted me on the back and left without saying another word.