True Personhood

July 7, 2014 by  

The moment I saw him, I knew something was different. He was a giant, in his way, and he seemed to be involved in everything. He was no ordinary man. He was a person. He was General Electric.

“We bring good things to life,” General Electric told me. And I believed him.

**************

We had only been partners a short while when we were given the case that would change us forever. A family had stopped paying its bills. All of its bills. You could see from his eyes that the General was thrown off by this. Hell, so was I. Who wouldn’t be? This family had stopped paying its electric bills, water bills, gas bills, credit card bills, you name it. It was creepy. And it affected the General deeply.

“That’s imagination at work,” said the General.

As time went on, I came to understand the General more. Paying bills was like a religion to him.

“The Constitution, man. It’s all there. It’s all in there,” GE told me one time. “Capitalism is my God, man. The Constitution repsects my God and who I am? And who am I? Who cares? Why am I a man and not a woman? Well, that should be obvious, but my religious rights will be protected. And bills will be paid.”

He did that, the General. Go off on long diatribes that meant absolutely nothing. And all the while he was talking, he’d be selling arms to
despotic regimes. Dude was messed up.

We left to go pay a visit to this strange family that refused to pay its bills. I’d be lying if I said I was scared. This wasn’t normal. This was like, stuff non-persons did.

**************

We arrived there at noon.

“It’s like, man, I’m a bank. Did you know that, man? A freakin’ bank? I mean, that’s where most my money comes from, right? Hell, what is that? It’s like this, man, I am the storm and I am the sunshine. Simultaneously man … ”

“Ok, for god’s sake, stop,” I said. “We’ve been here 20 minutes. Let’s go to the door.”

At the door we were greeted by Bucky Dentson.

“Seems like a lazy name,” said the General, but I ignored him.

“Listen, Mr. Dentson, it says here that you haven’t paid a single bill in more than five months. We gotta know why,” I said.

Dentson was maybe 50 years old but he looked far older. He looked tired, beaten down from life. It was as though he had worked so hard to be good but the bad had still taken charge.

“Martha … my wife … she died,” said Dentson, breaking down and sobbing, looking for all the world a pathetic and beaten man.

And General Electric leaped out at him with a knife and stabbed at him violently, slashing away at Dentson until he was not just dead but impossible to even identify as a human.

“Well, ok, we’re done here,” said General Electric, dripping blood.

“WHAT THE FUCK?” I asked.

“Oh stop it,” said the General. “It had to be done. Order and whatnot. You want to get Mexican on the way in?”

I was stunned.

“I gotta arrest you, man. Don’t you understand that?”

“That woud be a mistake,” the General said, chuckling. “I mean, first of all, who are you going to arrest? Right? I’m too big, regardless. This is just the price of business. Besides, respect my religious rights.

The General laughed evilly. “It’s like you never for once thought what the OPPOSITE of “We Bring Good Things to Life” means.”

I walked to the car. I knew all he said was true. I knew the rules had long ago changed. But it still ate at me.

“But you want it both ways. You want all the rights and all the benefits and none of the responsibilities of being human,” I said. I was exasperated. “Why do you get to have it all?”

“Listen, once there was only dark,” said General Electric, absentmindedly kicking the sludge that was Buck Dentson. “But then we invented green.”

“If you ask me, the green is winning.”

 

–WKW

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