Once upon a time, in a place called Nowhere during the era of Ubiquity, two women were having tea and scones in an elegant and dainty café.
Aye Whole reached into her wallet to pay the check when a light bulb of thought crept into her mind. She looked at the dingy green money in her hand and said, "I think that money would be more pleasantly held in my hand if it were the color of gold for the rich like us and brown for the poor."
"Brown is such a plain and ugly color," replied her friend Fallow Weir.
Aye nodded and said, "Precisely. I don't see why someone as rich as me should own the same type of currency as the poor."
"Just how rich are you, Aye?"
"I come from money. I always have lots of money. My house is so big I get lost in it sometimes and everything I own is so expensive it's almost a sin."
Fallow gave a slight giggle and replied, "How did you get so rich Aye?"
"My money is so old, I don't even know where it came from. And do you know what else?"
"What?" replied Fallow.
"Rich people know more and do less."
Fallow gave her friend a thoughtful look. "I never thought of it that way. But you're right. You and I have never worked a day in our lives."
"It's the way of the world. The poor must always do more and work more so they can be less poor and if they rest even just a tiny bit--well, they become even more poor."
With a look of sadness, Fallow replied, "Poor people must be so tired of being poor. It doesn't seem fair."
"It's the way of the world. But do remember that there is a hierarchy with the rich as well."
Aye leaned toward her friend and said, "Your family is rich, which makes you rich. But my family is richer and that makes me richer. So, it would not be odd for me to say that I am better than you in that respect. There are shades of gray even with the rich."
Fallow took stock of this information. If there were shades of gray even between the rich, then she, Fallow Weir, was of the lower shade. "What about Clara Upancoming? She was once poor and now she is quickly having lots and lots of money and perhaps doing lots and lots less. Just like us. Why if she keeps on doing nothing, she might soon be richer than you."
Aye shook her head. "Pish posh. Someone like Clara will never be better than me. Everybody knows how she worked like a slave before striking it rich with her invention."
"What did she invent?"
"Oh some silly concoction for cleaning toilets."
"That was clever," replied Fallow.
"Clever or not she will always be below us. People who come from money and have done nothing to earn their money will always be better than those who have to work for it, like Clara."
Aye and Fallow heard the chime of the cafe door where they saw Clara Upancoming enter.
"Oh my," said Fallow in amazement. "Look at Clara's transformation. She looks very well rested indeed and her clothes look very expensive. And she has that purse you've had your eye on for weeks."
Aye sneered and haughtily tilted her head up so high her nostrils faced the ceiling.
"Hello ladies," said Clara. "I'm so glad to see you."
"What a pleasant surprise," replied Fallow. "What have you been doing since your change of fortune?"
"Oh, I've been keeping myself busy. I've been helping out over at Homeless Road. We're always looking for volunteers. What are you ladies doing tomorrow?"
Aye rolled her eyes and replied, "I'm sorry, but Fallow and I are busy doing absolutely nothing that day. So, count us out."
Clara turned to Aye and said, "That's a shame because we could really use the help. People on Homeless Road have experienced such tragedy."
"Tragedy has no relevance in our lives," replied Aye with a snort.
Clara regarded Aye and Fallow with a warm smile. "Many people on Homeless Road felt the same way, until they were touched by misfortune. Maybe your schedules will change," said Clara giving Aye a friendly tap on the shoulder. "Till then, have a nice tea ladies."
Aye watched Clara take the table next to theirs and eyed with resentment the jewel-studded handbag dangling on Clara's arm. She had been dreaming about that handbag--only the price was too exorbitant even for her.
Fallow whispered to Aye. "I think it would be an enlightening experience to volunteer on Homeless Road."
"The rich do not involve themselves with those on Homeless Road. Clara is compelled to help those people because, despite her newfound wealth, she will always be a poor and stinky pauper. You'll see, Fallow. What's inside eventually comes out. And we can never escape our origins."
Moments later, Aye felt a cold breeze pass through her and the climb of a sneeze. "Ahhchew," Aye's nose exclaimed and out came a murky, greenish ooze mercifully caught by her napkin.
Fallow heard the sneeze and looked up. "Are you getting sick Aye? You don't look so well."
"It's probably the dust Clara dragged in," Aye replied folding her napkin before taking a final bite of her scone. "Let's get going before we're further infected by Clara's presence."
"It is starting to sprinkle and we don't want to get caught--," replied Fallow, but her voice trailed off. With shock and horror Fallow stood up and backed away from her friend. "Aye, your mouth is covered with poop."
"Impossible," replied Aye. But now that she thought about it, that last bite of scone did have an uncanny bitter, putrid taste. Aye wiped her mouth and what she saw on the napkin looked like what would come out the other end when one suffered from a rotten stomach. Aye suspiciously picked up one of the lemon scones and it transformed into a smelly clump. She picked up another and another and each one turned into turd at the touch of her hand. She picked up her tea cup and saw inside it a brown smelly sludge. The stench travelled throughout the cafe causing a wild chorus of "that stinks" and "get that smell out of here."
The ruckus brought out the manager who saw customers on the verge of vomiting. Like a Schnauzer on the hunt, he followed the origin of the horrible smell and saw Aye. "We don't allow your dirty kind here. You belong on Homeless Road."
"I most certainly do not!" screamed Aye with tidbits of poo still stuck on her teeth. "Your pastries are made of crap."
"We serve no such thing in this fine establishment," said the manager. "You're the only one here with dung all over her mouth--you-you--foul smelling disgusting heathen. Now get out." He grabbed an umbrella hanging from a coat rack and with the adeptness of a swordsman, wielded the umbrella at Aye. "Get out, get out, get out," he said, poking Aye toward the door.
"There's been a mistake. I'm rich. This cannot be happening to me. Fallow," Aye cried out. "Don't just stand there. Help me."
But Fallow remained still, dumbfounded and horrified at the sight of Aye covered in poo stumbling out of the cafe and falling on the wet pavement.
With the source of the stench gone, patrons gave the manager a round of applause.
"It's a crime that someone like her could get into a place like this," said a plump woman with a mouthful of raspberry tarts.
A confused Fallow slowly turned to Clara and said, "It strikes me as odd that someone of Aye Whole's social status could suddenly transform into a--well into a shit monger."
Clara approached Fallow and replied, "Not that odd. Her great great great grandfather made his money in manure."
Cori Amoroso received her BA in English Literature at California State University Los Angeles. She's a copywriter, a dreamer and a crazy thinker because that's just how her noodle works. She hopes to publish her book Mrs. Badley's Order. You can visit her blog at www.lafemmeroar.wordpress.com.