Monday, April 9, 2007

The Pimp, the Pauper & the Plant

So the story goes…

A young girl runs away from her rural home in the Midwest, catching a bus to Big City with the hopes of becoming a star and improving her life.

Upon arrival in the Big City, the young girl is befriended by a stranger who offers her food and a job. Wow, she thinks, people are nice here in the Big City.

The stranger promises to make her a star.

“But first,” he tells her, “you need to do something for me. You see that house over there? The owners of that house are really mean and abusive. They’re greedy and evil. We need to help the people who live in that house and I need you to help me.”

The stranger convinces the young girl that the only way to help the people living in the house is for her to move into the house and to befriend the inhabitants. The poor, young girl agrees to be the stranger's helper.

“I need you to tell me everything that is going on inside the house,” the stranger tells the girl. “I need you to tell me everything you can about the people living there, what time they get out of bed, what time they eat, go to the bathroom, and what time they go to bed. I need you to find out there names and their cell phone numbers. I also need you to bring me physical layouts of the house, its electrical plans, its security layout—everything.”

Something doesn’t feel right to the girl. She begins to feel like a spy of sorts, so the girl questions the stranger about his motives.

“Isn’t that stealing?” the girl asks. The stranger ignores her question.

“We’re going to go into the house soon,” the stranger explains, “and we’re going to rescue all those people from the evil owners of the house. The means are always justified in the end. We can’t do it alone, that’s why I need your help. You need to convince everyone living there that, when we come in, we’ll be saving them from those evil owners.”

With that, the young girl goes along with the stranger's plan and does his bidding. After all, she says to herself, the ends justify the means.

Days later, she has retrieved all of the information from the house, taken documents and floor plans, recorded the movements of all the inhabitants of the house and befriended many.

“You are great,” the stranger tells the girl over lunch, “those evil owners don’t suspect a thing and you’ve done so much for those people inside….But, I need you to do one more thing.”

The girl wonders aloud what that might be.

“The only way we can help those people inside the house,” the stranger explains, “is for you to get them to sign these cards so they give us permission to help them.”

With that, the girl begins to doubt the stranger’s motives. But he quickly dismisses that.

“Look,” he says, “you’ve been doing so well and I think you’ve got a really bright future. I know money’s been tight for you, so I tell you what….For every person you get to sign a card asking us to help them, I’ll give you money.”

The girl thinks about it for a minute, then agrees. After all, the stranger seems nice enough, his intentions are good—he does seem to want to help all those poor people from those evil owners of the house after all.

Once back inside the house, the girl tells the inhabitants in the house that the stranger is there to help them begin a better future and the only way he can help them is by signing their permission to join with him. She easily convinces more than half the people to give the stranger permission to come into their house.

A short time later, the stranger gets into the house. Soon afterwards, the girl is shocked to learn that the stranger begins taking money from people who live in the house and that, instead of making things better for the inhabitants, the stranger actually makes things worse.

The girl feels bad for the people inside the house. She tries to call the stranger but finds that he is too busy to take her calls. Before hanging up on her, he tells her that he is at some other house in some other neighborhood. He explains that the owners of this house are even more evil than the ones at the house that she infiltrated.

The girl waits and waits. Nothing gets better at the house. But the stranger continues to collect money from the people living in the house and for the few who refuse to pay the stranger, he has them evicted.

Then, one day, the owners sell the house. They tell all of the people living there that they must leave.

Horrified, the girl calls the stranger. This time he takes a minute to talk with her. She explains that the owners have sold the house, that it is marked for demolition, and that the people living in the house are in a panic.

“Those bastards,” he says.

“Who?” the young girl asks. The girl is confused because she is not sure if the stranger is referring to, the people living in the house or the owners of the house.

“Them,” the stranger responds.

“Who’s them?” the girl asks.

“All of them,” comes the stranger’s response, which further confuses the girl. “Every time we take over a house, the owners either sell it or pack it up and leave with all their stuff.”

“Hell,” the stranger says, “it's getting to the point that even the old houses we had are moving out of town. We can’t even keep up. For every house we take over, three more houses get demolished. We’re taking a loss right now at the golf course and we might even have to sell the airplane. I’ll be damned if I’m going to take a pay cut though.”

The girl is mortified. She’s never heard the stranger talk so candidly about such ugly matters.

“Look,” the stranger says, “we’ve got some of our guys in Washington who are trying to pass a law. If they succeed, it’ll make it so we can get into every house a lot easier. Then, we'll show them!”

“But, what happens if the owners keep selling the houses or moving them?” the girl asks.

"There's always another house," says the stranger. "In fact, there's a whole bunch of people moving into those apartments right over there..."

"By the way," the stranger says to the girl "do you know Spanish?"

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