THE TOWN THIEF GETS CHEATED
Dreamed 1993/7/27 by Chris Wayan
I'm in the mind of a thief in a small town that's pretty corrupt. I'm not exactly him: I think his thoughts, but am critical of his thinking, see the inconsistencies. He's a smug guy--the son of a prominent family. Quite talented, but he wastes his abilities on theft--a burglar who's cut deals with the local cops and most prominent families. If certain "hex marks" are on the walls he won't steal more than a certain amount; and he always gives the cops their cut, and uses more of the loot to buy influence. I'm not sure of the deal's details, but it's certainly a poor one for the townspeople!
When the town was just settled, years ago, that money was enough to make him invulnerable, a powerful man. He's angry because a recent immigrant tried to get an amendment on a bill he wanted passed; the guy sent round a petition and got it on the ballot and everything! Going against our golden boy's authority! The amendment lost, he saw to that, but still...
He's settled into his fantasy of himself as big man in town and failed to see those days are dying: the town grew up, and now he's resented for stealing and bullying everyone else into pretending to respect him.
He goes out one night, prowling up walls, with me riding silently in his mind. I check the hexes for an open house... say hello to a cop on the beat. I notice something in the man's tone, something ironic... so I go back and look at the hexes more closely. It's a set-up! The house is marked safe to burgle, but they're going to call the cops, and the cops will pretend not to know the deal! I've been BETRAYED!
Furious, I vow to punish these cheats! How dare they! I climb up to the roof and flee across town, plotting punishment for these victims so arrogant they actually... RESIST!
And he truly feels a moral outrage. "Don't those people have any decency?"
In Orson Scott Card's RED PROPHET, Hooch is an ambitious booze merchant in the early 1800s, using Benjamin Harrison, the wannabe Governor--jerking him around psychologically. But as Harrison rises, Hooch deludes himself he's immune. At last Harrison wants an Indian war so he can play war hero and run for President. He tries to make Hooch kidnap and torture children and blame it on the Indians so he can have his pogrom. Even Hooch gags, has a limit. Harrison simply kills him. Hooch didn't see what a monster he'd raised, for he never thought that big.
Today, a Greenpeace rep came by and demanded money. She was so mean and pushy that although I support Greenpeace, I didn't want to support her. But I felt guilty. So she's a bad worker! Is she any worse than I was, slacking for years at Stanford? Did I really earn my pay, fully contribute to the society I'm now living off?
The thief is my Jungian shadow, what I can't stand in myself--my sense of over-entitlement. It keeps me lazy--unless it's my own project I'm working on. But that's not work, that's play. That's what play means.
At some point I have to do what others value--that's what work means. But when I'm forced to, I feel...moral outrage. I mean, how DARE you distract me from my fun!
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