Ear-Wiggy

I have always felt alone in Lucerne, thought Shama. It is my own doing mainly. I have kept to myself. I wanted to get away from the city, all those people making noise and trouble, and I haven’t wanted to re-engage with people, even in this small place.

But I don’t feel alone now. I guess it had to be someone special, an outsider like me. Who is more of an exile than Zadam? He is a disfigured being hidden within a green, hooded coat. His facial features are reversed. A man ignored, who ignores. Like me, he seems weak but is strong.

Shama was protective of Zadam. He thought of him as a kid brother who needed help to make his way in the world. He also provided a way for his self-appointed “big brother” to escape self-imposed exile. The flipside of integrating Zadam into everyday life was that Shama too must engage with the local community.

He thought it would be good for them to attend a local election meeting. They could smell the hot potatoes, spot elephants in the room, complain about white elephants, and enjoy hearing politicians getting abused, which was always quality entertainment.

Shama and Zadam came in late and sat at the back of the hall. Some people stared but then turned away. Whether they became ashamed of their rudeness in a temple of political correctness, or they didn’t want to miss anything going on up front, was unclear.

The mayor was a local business man. He owned the airport, the bottle shop and the grocery store, leading to claims that he used his assets to unbalance the local economy. How he did this was never explained, but there was a history of accusations. His style at gatherings was called B&B, a mixture of bullying and boring people into acquiescence, and in private there was further B&B: bribery and beating. He was a political player par excellence.

The mayor was asked questions about the very high levels of village taxation, its unbalanced budgets and non-existent plans, impossible building regulations, vicious personal arguments and crippling legal disputes. Some of these questions received stock answers, but most received no answers at all.

Zadam began talking to himself.

“Please be quiet,” said Shama. “You are disturbing people.”

Zadam said, “He can’t answer. He can’t answer.”

“Shhhh!”

“I know the answer. I know the answer.”

Zadam’s upside-down head caused his senses to be reversed. He could see both points of view of every situation, smell what things would become, and also hear true answers, rather than the false, unclear or irrelevant ones that most people spouted out, and usually preferred to hear. He liked that film where the general said, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

Zadam couldn’t stop talking and people around him became annoyed. Shama asked him again to be quiet, but instead he got louder and eventually stood up, chanting.

The mayor tried B&B but it didn’t work. The chairman of the meeting also failed to silence the heckler. Eventually they just let him speak. No one was willing to publicly mishandle a disabled person.

Zadam said, “Why should I be quiet? You are not saying anything. You say you don’t know the answers. I know the answers.” He told the audience everything. He told them about the mayor’s personal 5% cut of taxation, crooked accountants, deliberate lack of planning so project funds could be hidden, the corrupt Building Control Officer, veiled threats, and lies told in court.

Following the meeting, the mayor and incumbent councillors withdrew their names from the ballot for the forthcoming elections. There was a motion for Zadam to stand for election but he declined, saying that the only poll he liked was a “pollipop”.

This confused people enough to not pursue the motion.

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2 Responses to “Ear-Wiggy”

  1. r.c.eldridge@ieee.org Says:

    Good stuff Babar

  2. r.c.eldridge@ieee.org Says:

    I didn’t say that. I just said “Good stuff Babar”

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