Elsie stared intensely at the reflections in her wine glass, every now and then she swayed it gently from side to side and watched the ripples of wine roll. The sofa was large and comfortable and this evening she had time to think. Then again thinking was really what she was trying to avoid. Recently she’d found she preferred being overwhelmed, swallowed almost, by the small things, like the redness of her wine, or the reflections in the glass, or the old well worn rip in the fabric of the sofa.
She still missed Abel but her real concern was currently Douglas. He had gone from depression to jovial optimism. At first this had pleased her, but now it seemed to evolve round “jokes” about the extinction of large quantities of the human race.
“The human race is too large” he said with a grin, “the planet can’t sustain this level of consumption, something must be done.”
She couldn’t argue with his logic, but the solution…
It wasn’t genocide exactly, in that it wasn’t based on any ethnic group particularly, it was simply based on the idea that those with money and education should survive, along with a small number of obedient serves to oversea machinery (most labour could be done by computers after all), whilst those without would be killed – humanly of course. He said this grining the whole time, a joke “ha ha”, and Elsie would laugh along too. Still, something told her he might be serious.
Douglas seemed to separate people into three different groups, there were those like him – intelligent, rich, educated – the true survivors and evolutionary successors. Ones like Elsie – educated, intelligent and useful – deserved to stay alive, and the rest – the poor, the disabled, the stupid, the uncultured, the uneducated – should be wiped out. The global market had been separating the world into the rich and the poor for some time now, this was simply the ultimate and most sensible solution.
Elsie shuddered at the thought. She returned to the beautiful reds in her wine, the long narrow stem of her wine glass, the smell of candle wax and the kitchen downstairs. She’d arrived early and was waiting for her friends, Louise and Jackie, to turn up. Jackie was a retired academic now artist who had turned seventy and found her career suddenly blosom.
Louise was a single forty year old artist/twilighter*, glamorous in an arty second hand way. She survived by squatting and begging and blagging. She was particularly good at blagging, it was through her that Elsie was now sitting as her guest in this private members club. Louise had somehow convinced the clubs board that she was a renowned artist from New Zealand who was part of a show coming up at the Tate and who would pay her club membership as soon a her agent sorted out this irritating bank confusion that had occurred.
She was actually completely unknown, had been banned from the Tate for striping off and covering herself in cellotape (she called this protest art) and came from Hackney.
*For a description of a twilighter go here