by C. A. L.
A commentary on social classes
|I found myself on the road that stretched past a long wall erected solidly in the sands of a vast desert. There were five angels working to imprint their respective names on the face of the wall. The first person was dressed in a very nice suit, no doubt tailored to the exact specifications of his well-kept anatomy. He was sitting in a plush chair built strong enough to last for as many ages as the wall was capable of standing. A small army of workers littered a sturdy scaffolding that spread out in front of him like steel vines clinging to the side of the wall. The workers wielded an impressive arsenal of power tools and precision instruments as they carefully sculpted immaculately formed letters that appeared to rise triumphantly from the wall face. The man in the chair was patiently discussing something with one of the workers as his hand moved purposefully across a blueprint rolled out on a table adjacent to him.
The second angel was also nicely dressed, standing in front of a notably smaller group of workers, each with a hammer and chisel, masterfully carving letters into the wall. This angel anxiously observed the workers from a distance for a time and would periodically approach the wall with her own chisel, making various corrections to the carvings and directing the other masons on her mind’s vision. She worked feverishly, never taking her eyes off the masterpiece that was unfolding before her.
The third angel, dressed professionally with casual intent, was alone with a paintbrush and an enviable rainbow of paint at her disposal. A simple stencil had been applied to the wall in front of her, which she used to guide her brush as she calmly painted letters in kaleidoscopic multicolour. She painted slowly, lovingly, while intermittently resting and wandering about. I asked her why she took such a relaxed attitude regarding the task at hand. She softly smiled as if pitying my naiveté: “When the rain inevitably comes, it’ll probably just scrub the best parts anyway. Besides, I love feeling the sand between my toes”.
The fourth angel wore a plain T-shirt and a pair of dirty jeans. He carried with him a small bucket of brittle, monochrome chalk. His deep frustration was readily apparent every time the chalk broke as he dragged it across the coarse wall face. When overwhelmed by exhaustion, he would place his right hand on the wall, using his left to gently rub the back of his aching neck. When his breath was returned to him, he valiantly resumed scrawling his commonplace letters upon the cantankerous canvas.
The fifth angel was dressed in rags. He was shoeless and filthy, covered in the dirt precipitating from the monolith towering over him. He kneeled in pain beneath the noonday sun, which seemed to be focusing the entirety of its fury upon the helpless wanderer. Without any tools with which to make an impression, he wiped his quivering fingers across his forehead to collect the sweat that poured endlessly from his brow. The sweat, mixed with sporadic streaks of blood, formed the letters he repeatedly attempted to trace out with his blistered fingertip faster than the merciless heat could expunge them from the wall.
Startled by music coming from above, I turned my attention away from the angels. I could see that the wall supported a large glass box spanning its entire length, filled with mortals dressed in the highest fashion. They laughed and danced wildly while throwing money at one another across a table set with a cornucopia of drink, food, and drugs. The beating drums, amplified by the thick glass walls, tickled the cracks creeping evermore apparently through the foundation. After searching for a short time, I realized there was little chance of me finding a way in. The ladder, you see, is guarded jealously on the opposite side of the wall.