I saw a group of people standing outside a carpet-making factory, brandishing signs saying things like “Stop sweeping prices under the carpet!” and “Rug burn!” and “Down with carpet baggers!” and none of them made any kind of sense, so I asked one of the seeming protestors:
“What exactly are you guys protesting? If you’re protesting? Are you protesting?”
“Yes!” said the lady, a portly middle-aged woman with a kinky afro I struggled not to reach out and play with. “We’re protesting the recent price hike on carpets. People need carpets.”
“Do they?” I asked, and immediately knew it was the wrong response.
The woman dropped her sign, which read, “Raise the roof prices, not the rug prices!” and she said, “Yes we do. We rely on carpets, they keep us warm, they keep us sanitary, they keep us–they’re important. And some of us can barely afford a carpet, and if prices are raised, so many people aren’t going to be able to afford them. They’ll go to foreign markets or get counterfeit carpets and those carpets might have stains or bugs.”
“I guess that’s a pretty serious issue,” I said, backing away.
“IT IS,” shouted another protestor, a grandfatherly man with freckles. He was cradling a rolled-up carpet. It looked like–yes, his hands were cuffed around the carpet.
“Well, good luck, and–”
“Most people don’t realize the monopoly big carp has on carpet prices,” said the portly woman.
“What do fish have to do with–” I said before realizing “big carp” was “big carpet.”
“Big carpet!” the old man hollered.
“Like big tobacco!” said another protestor.
“Or big pharm!” cried another.
“Oh, okay,” I said. Some people were really serious about their carpets. I considered that I might have taken mine for granted. But I liked hardwood flooring. Even tiles were alright. Maybe not first thing in the morning.
Then I considered that raised carpeting prices might lead to increased slipper costs. Maybe even higher sock prices. Lord knew socks were expensive enough as is, and if people couldn’t afford socks, what would go into Christmas stockings? Would people even be able to buy stockings, or are stockings like socks and slippers? Would both the sock market and the stocking market crash? Without stockings, small gifts would need to either disappear or be wrapped individually, leading to an increased demand for wrapping paper, leading to a shortage. Presents wouldn’t be able to be wrapped, so there would be no “presents” since there couldn’t be a presentation, a surprise. So basically, increased carpet prices would directly lead to the cancellation of Christmas.
That I wouldn’t stand for.
I picked up the woman’s dropped sign and said, “We need to save Christmas.”
“Yes we do,” she said, her afro bobbing with her nod.
And together we fought the establishment.
Day 249’s three random writing prompt categories were, “A political protest,” “Expensive carpet,” and, “Controversy.”
It’s a serious issue.