Dazed by Spectres
Mr. Haaz, landlord of the lands he had inherited from his father, had gone to sleep that night richer, more powerful, and more beautiful than the day before. He had fired workers that had tried to unionize, refused to give any coins to the poor children swarming his polluting factories, and had called the police when he saw a couple of the slum people stealing from a store.
“Most uncouth!” he had said from his limo as he used his cellular phone first to call the cops and then his manager to tell the employees that if they really wanted their Christmas bonuses, they would do their family, the company family, a favor by staying longer that night, pandemic or not.
So he had gone to bed at 11 PM watching the news, surrounded by priceless pieces of art in his solitary, guarded mansion, and was slowly, slowly closing his eyes.
“…and it seems these protests are demanding more than we initially thought… it seems they had organized for quite some time…,” the TV said. He was about to doze off for the night, when suddenly a thundering clamp, a screech of the devil, a maniacal laughter had rumbled, and he screamed for help as a swirl of lights and colors flew around the room.
“Oh, my god! Oh, my god! OH MY GOD!” he screamed and tried to call for help but the thunderous screaming was so loud he could barely hear himself thinking.
“Haaz Magnus Insserus!” the colored lights said as they became a spirit of two heads and four arms and three legs and the tail of a scorpion. “Blood is on your hands, exploiter of the land, and the poor, and the workers. You will pay for your crimes with your bones!”
“No! No, please!” he said, crying like a baby. “Please, don’t kill me!”
“It is not I who will kill you, if you don’t change you ways! I will show you the path to redemption if you choose to accept it!” the spirit said and Mr. Haaz nodded terrified, inflated like a balloon from all the terror.
There was a bright light and suddenly both the spirit and the landlord stood in the middle of his own factory. There he saw them up close for the first in years: his workers covered in dust and grime, barely able to stand, sweaty because of an intense heat like no other.
“I need to pee, fuck,” one of the workers had said and she was immediately shushed and given a bottle. “Fuck this shit, man!”
“What’s going on here? Why are they doing this?”
“The people whose labor you have stolen, you vermin!” said the spirit. “Whether you have cared not for the issue of the conditions of your factory or you were ignorant of it, it matters not! For these are the lives you have abolished with your ruinous, capitalist techniques!”
Mr. Haaz looked around in horror. One of the employees had finally had enough and fainted. An alarm went off and he was taken away and dragged away so easily, and it barely seemed to matter to anyone. He was immediately replaced.
“This is horrible! Why do you I feel like this?” he said and the spirit laughed again and entered his body and he realized he was now experiencing the pain and misery that everyone in the factory was feeling. He cried in torment and slumped himself on the floor. What had he done? Why had he let greed get the better of him?
When he looked up he was back in his room, and this time the spirit was that of a large, muscular, woman with one wing of a bat and one wing of an angel. Her eyes were triangular and her mouth divided in two by a vertical line.
“A piece of garbage looking for salvation! Shall it be given?” the woman said and Mr. Haaz crawled in all fours and kissed her feet as claws.
“Yes, please! Show me! Show me what I have done so wrong!” he said with tears in his eyes.
They were immediately outside in the freezing cold. People were hanging around a campfire, surrounded by garbage and rags. Kids and dogs and cats, all very thin, were running around or cuddled up together, while all the adults were scraping whatever they could get from all the trash that surrounded them. The cold raged with a wind and seemed to seep in more and more, and more and more of the homeless people were shaking and joining together or entering their torn tents in an effort to keep some warm.
“Have I caused this, angel? Have I done this with my efforts?” he asked and she immediately slapped him across the face.
“Not your efforts! You have gained nothing and done nothing. It is your workers who have given you the life you don’t deserve, those who you exploit,” she screeched across the sky. Her voice immediately dropped, and became slower and quieter. “This is the system that you uphold, my dear. This is what people like you spread across the lands of most countries in the planet. As you sleep, these are the people who suffer, and they suffer for you. This is the way the world is subjugated, by choices of people like you, so that you can live the life you live.”
Mr. Haaz cried in anger again at the injustice he was seeing and then was startled when the sounds of sirens began to surround them. An army of policemen began to surround the camp with batons and guns in hand and began rounding them all up. All the homeless people began to cry and run away in fear, some began to beg, some tried to salvage as much as they could and as the situation worsened and the noise rose and rose, the policemen released the tear gas, the cops shot bullets to those who were screaming the loudest, and the cops punched, and kicked, and hit, and bashed, and destroyed everything in their path.
“It was your call that brought them here!” the spirit said and Mr. Haaz once again cried and cried for he could see and feel every injustice in his mind.
His eyes welled and he shook as if he was surrounded by the cold itself. He looked up and seemed like a cop was about to swing his baton on his face, but he was then back in his room. There the final spirit stood: a small, little creature, cloaked in nothing but darkness, with a singular eye slit that moved from place to place around his room.
“What will you show me?” he said and cried again. The spirit said nothing and they both moved but they were not in the factory anymore nor in the city, but instead millions and millions of images fired through his brain as if he was suddenly watching hundreds and hundreds of films at once: hunger and poverty, death and slavery, murder, hanging, wars and mutilation, all were just so in front of him and he almost felt like he could feel every single thing that was happening to every single person that had ever been mistreated, abused, downtrodden, sick, hung up, abandoned, and left for dead.
And at the end of the tunnel, one final image: a completely empty world, devoid of any green and any blue, just a husk where in the shadows, wormlike humans crawled, wailing in hunger and thirst, begging for death. One of them turned to Mr. Haaz and writhed and cried and whimpered in pain.
“I have nothing to give you, nothing!” he cried and from his pocket he could only take out a bunch of bills and checks. He threw them fruitlessly and they were ignored. The creature hissed and slumped over and died. The eye slit spirit hummed and Mr. Haaz understood. “This is what is happening now and will happen if we continue! Nothing will remain! Nothing! But I can change! I can change!”
Mr. Haaz crawled again and cried and sobbed like a little child and the eye slit stood and said nothing. And when Mr. Haaz looked up to see its demise, he was back in his room and he was alone. The clock said it was 5 AM.
“I see it now!” he said with still wet tears in his cheeks. “What I have done! What I have exacerbated! And what will happen if nothing changes! It will start with me! It will!”
Mr. Haaz stood up from his bed and jumped around excitedly from place to place trying to think.
“What shall I do? How shall I begin?” he asked and began to laugh. Everyone was going to be so surprised. “Yes, I will hire back all of those workers I had fired and give them all the bonuses that they wanted! Yes! And I will give them all the sick days they want and reduce their hours by half and pay them double, no, triple! I will lower my salary and let them have a share in the state of the affairs of the company! Yes! That’s what I shall do!”
Mr. Haaz was so excited about changing not only his life but the life of those who around him, he hardly even noticed the noise that was going on outside.
“Yes! Yes, I can and will do all that! And together… and together… but wait, what can I do? If it is the system that’s causing all of this, what can I do to help? What can I do for them?”
And just as Mr. Haaz had thought of a brilliant solution, another thunderous boom shook his room but this time it was no spirit, but a bomb going off on his wall and the shadows of hundreds of working class workers that had approached him and surrounded his neck with a rope.
“NO! NO! I BEG YOU!” Mr. Haaz begged as the workers hollered and celebrated in triumph as he was slowly elevated to the heights of his very high ceiling and he saw with terror the eyes of the workers he had exploited, the poverty he had ignored, the cries and despair he had conveniently accepted. The truth came to him at once, in the last thought of his life, that if what needed to happen to convince him of his wrongness, of the wrongness of hundreds of others like him, was a supernatural event, a divine intervention like no other in history, he was and will never be of any use to anyone alive.
And Mr. Haaz was hanged for the person he was and the things he had done, and as the worker revolution spread across the country, and many countries, he was thrown into a hole, and never spoken about or remembered ever again.