What is freedom?
Heinrick stood looking up at a dark and starry sky filled with unfamiliar constellations. He had wanted to be free from all the woes and miseries. They had looked inviting, those constellations, in the brochure.
Heinrick filed things. Lots of things. Just about everything the Company used, got, bought, sold, was written down. Sure, there were more advanced options–and they were employed as well. The options, not the people. Almost all the people had been fired or quit. But Heinrick had been with the Company for more than 70 years. He had grown up with the grandsons of the founders. They were the ones who continued the antique traditions, and they were the ones who had given him that life position in the Company. But things change.
New owners have new ways. They want to be seen as different and innovative and productive. They want to make money. “Productive Restructuring” it was called. After a year Heinrick was the only one left from his department. And those thousands of files.
Heinrick smiled, remembering the day the Central Juris upheld his contract. He smiled even more at being that last, aging thorn. But more than a year, and only his files and papers, was lonely business. He knew every file, exactly where it was. Knew by the writing, the hand of him that wrote it. Knew the very cracks in the floor like old friends.
But Heinrick longed to be free to spend his days in the sun. He longed to find new faces to replace his workmates’ that faded ever further into silence.
The sand was cool between his toes, the air bit his cheeks pleasantly. Palm trees fluttered sounding like sheets of paper, as if all the files had been left out on a windy day blowing away, away, away from him.
His freedom came with a brochure left lying on his desk. A not so subtle hint from the higher ups. It looked a pleasant place. A remote resort approved for habitation only a few years back. No thick-packed air choking thick-packed people, buildings, machines. Just enough people with smiling faces ever changing under smiling stars and far off sun.
The new owners had agreed reluctantly, but eventually to his offer, and he soon found himself speeding off across the starry void to his new home. They had paid for everything. His place in the resort, like his position had been secured for life. Whatever he wished would be provided. Everything was taken care of. He was truly free to do as he liked, when he liked, go where he wanted, sleep, eat, write, sing, snore in the middle of the day! Freedom to love life again.
At least he imagined that’s what it would have been like, had everything been true. Habitable, yes. He took out the brochure again and turned it over as if he could read its words and see its pictures in the dark. He new the whole brochure from memory. He held it up then looked around comparing. No resort, no people, no lodgings, the only food what he could gather, though it was abundant. And come to think of it, quite tasty. Alone, the trees his only companions, he had not stirred far from where he had disembarked. The stars! Those were the same, they had gotten that right. Here looking up they were much more like sparkling gems than points of light. And he had to admit, he was certainly free. And this was a big island, or continent for all he knew. Tomorrow then, he would set off across the trackless waste, into the heart of steamy jungles, ready for what adventures may come. He slipped into a comfy bed of leaves nestled in a leeward grotto. One last thing before sleep, he thought out loud, and lifting the corner of a nearby rock, filed the brochure underneath.