Challenge #01475-D014: Signal Lost
"It matters not if you have stood with the great. What really makes a difference is if you have sat with the broken, walked with the lost, and loved the lonely."
— Sheri Bessi Eckert -- Ariestess
"And what have you done?" asked the man in the yellow robes. He was Important. He would not be in this meet-up if he wasn't. The people demanded it, and he had to suffer it. For the good feelings of everyone who supported him. And for ammunition against those who didn't.
"Are you kidding me?" he said. Advisors started to murmur things, but he ignored them. This kind of insult would not be ignored. "I'm the leader of the entire world! I made my country so great, everyone follows what I say! I've freed business to maximise profits, liberated the workforce, and improved commerce globally."
"That may be true, but what have you done?"
"I just told you what I did. Are you deaf?"
"You have eased the way for things," said the man in the yellow robes. "Material wealth does not help the common people. What difference have you made, to the least of those in your care?"
He scoffed and made a face. It would be a meme in seconds, care of those with cameras pointed at him. "I don't have anyone in my care. All my kids are adults."
"You rule a nation," said the man in the yellow robes. "Therefore you rule the people in the nation. What have you done for them?"
"They're free to do whatever they want," he dismissed. "They can work or they can starve. There's millions of jobs out there. All they have to do is swallow their pride and work for them."
"I see. You do not care for your own people. You have not done anything." The man in the yellow robes sounded very sad about that lie.
"You ignoramus! I've freed billions!"
"Yes. As you said. Many are even free from material wealth against their wishes. But you have not cared, and without caring, there is no difference. You have not made an impact. You have not improved lives. Therefore, you have done nothing."
He almost flew into a red-faced rage, but controlled himself enough to sneer, "And what have you done?"
"I have done the little things. I have fed and homed starving animals from the streets. I have educated children and adults alike. I have comforted the hurt. I have guided the lost. I have been a companion to the lonely. I have shown hope to the hopeless. I have strengthened the weak." The man in the yellow robes smiled faintly. "I even helped a man move a mountain."
Scoff. Sneer. Snort. "And how much money did that get'cha?" he said, as if laying down a trump card.
"The want of money is the root of all evil. Greed for things will poison the soul," said the man in the yellow robes. "Your soul may already be dead. If you cannot see the value in what I have done."
"What is this loser doing in my meet and greet?" he bellowed. "Get him outta here! He's useless! Worthless! He can't even pay for a decent steak!"
"I'm a vegetarian," said the man in the yellow robes.
"And he's a goddamn hippie! Get this hippie outta my face! Go back to San Francisco! Go back to Portland with the rest of the freaks! I don't need you!"
The man in the yellow robes bowed slowly and said, "I am sorry for your loss." And then he quietly left with the large security goons as if it were another stroll with the flea-bitten mongrels of the gutters. Human or otherwise.
The leader of the entire world, or at least the bits of it that agreed with him, pointed to one of his staffers and ordered, "Clean up the fallout. I don't wanna hear about this again," and moved along in the line. All smiles and congeniality. All pomp and circumstance.
High Llama Duk Singh strolled out into the night. There were some souls that just could not be reached. His pedal-cab driver was waiting and playing on her phone.
"I thought you wouldn't be long," Kelly grinned. "Weather station says rain is likely. You want the hood up?"
"Thank you," said the Llama. "But the rain can only nourish. Or at most, moisten. I believe it is not yet bedtime in the nearest Children's Hospital? Perhaps I can read to the little ones."
"Sure thing." Kelly always pedalled harder for people like the Llama. She knew he could not pay much, because of his vow of poverty, but there was more than one way to be rich. As she started out of the parking circle, she asked, "You asked him the question, didn't you?"
"I did. He did not understand it. More's the pity."
Some people just never would. Their loss.
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