Letter to a Powerful Man

Dear Mr. Power Company Guy,

I returned home this evening to learn that you had cut off power supply to my entire apartment block. You left a note citing various reasons for your action: one flat’s line was illegally routed, bypassing the electricity meter and consuming power for free; another flat had not recharged its units in two months. Most importantly, you detailed your company’s bank account where transfer of a specific amount was to be made—“fines”, you called it, for the breach discovered.
Let us cut the bullshit and speak frankly. You and I know that that document is a steaming pile of cow dung. The paper itself is a poorly-worded, letterhead-less piece of scrap that’s been photocopied too many times over, and the contents within, lies. You left neither name nor phone number—I guess if I were home you would have just told me to “settle” you off the books, that my line might remain intact. Guess it’s my fault for being absent, and so I must pay the full, ludicrous price. We both know that you’ve been delaying the installation of a meter for the first “defaulting” flat for just this reason—so you can storm into our place of living and accuse, then fine my neighbor for malpractice. We also, both of us, know that if someone chooses not to recharge his line for two months and live in darkness and heat, that’s his prerogative and is not a crime.

Assuming for one mad second that these falsities were true, does it not behoove you to give some notice of the impending disconnection? To stipulate a number of days—hours even!—after which nonpayment would result in loss of electricity? What about the other two flats in the building then? You were so lacking for lies about them that you simply scrawled some marks—as illegible as they are meaningless—on your laughable piece of paper, in a bid to justify your bold, baseless actions? So they too should pay for others’ misconduct!

Mr. PC guy, are you so blatantly dishonest then, that you would do these things? What with it being a Friday evening, I guess I’ll be spending Saturday morning at your office, complaining to lackadaisical admin folk who’ll probably just mumble that “field agents do no work weekends”—that is assuming I’m frustrated enough to pay those absurd fines first. Then it’s off to the petrol station, ‘cause it’ll be time to fire up the backup generator.

I sit and brood over my defrosting freezer and the precious goat meat within, falling back to my faithful fancy. I imagine I caught you in the terrible act this evening. I begged you to speak with me—to understand that no one but your very own employer was responsible for the state of things. But you never stopped walking, searching for other lives to interrupt and inconvenience, never stopped talking to anyone else about who’d listen, just to embarrass and belittle me—a stealer of electrical power, now begging for mercy.

Then, as all kinsmen, however far removed, of the elite class in my country are wont to do, I whip out my super-expensive mobile phone and make one quick call. Minutes later, a police car storms the neighbourhood, two khaki-clad officers jumping out and dragging you by the collar to undo the misdeed you performed with such impunity. I stand aside, aloof. I recognise that you are a lost cause—dishonesty has plagued you to the marrow. You appreciate neither protocol nor common courtesy; what you understand is powerful people oppressing small fry such as yourself, you, having been reduced to a cockroach, kowtowing and begging for mercy.

Sincerely,
A Disgusted, Disgruntled Customer.

Photo credit: Chung Ho Leung via Flickr
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