Story Fragment

My workshop class got to see this recently, so I figured you all ought to, too. It’s kind of dead right now, but I received some good suggestions for continuing work on it.

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish Delight on a moonlit night.

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul

Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it, I can’t say,
People just liked it better that way.

So take me back to Constantinople.
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople,
Been a long time gone, Constantinople,
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks.

Where Han Solo and I are from, babies were once named after movie characters and brand name products. It was a good way of making money at first, but that was just a passing fad. New movies and new products were changed as regular as the diapers that those newborns must have gone through. But even after the bubble burst, the habit was made. People still named their kids after the movies and commercials, and since people also named their kids after relatives, there was just a disproportionate amount of people named after movie characters and brand name bathroom products. Some people said it beat names from the Bible, but those were still well-represented because people in the movies still had biblical names. Humanism stole the show in the latter half of the 21st century. Instead of naming their kids after new movie characters, people just started to name their kids after movie characters that they liked. That was the case with Han Solo’s great-grandfather, and Han Solo was named for him.
I know this because Han Solo is my friend, and because I make family trees for a living. Actually, I work for a collection agency. If Han Solo’s great-grandfather had owed any money, it would have been up to Han Solo to pay for it.
Okay, so it’s not as if you don’t already know, but when we switched to Corporate Governance, individual debt started to carry over to each subsequent generation, in perpetuity, until it was paid. With interest and inflation, the average head of any given Starbuckenese family is about one billion Bucks in debt. Some people have spent entire careers trying to find legal loopholes, but such loopholes have largely been eliminated over the past fifty years.
No borders can come between an individual and their debt. Many are those who have tried to flee up north to Tim Horton’s (formerly part of Canada) as draft dodgers used to do. But there is an intercorporational agreement in place that catches most.
Part of my job is also to make sure that the right people are saddled with crippling debt. My friend Han Solo, for example, is one of fifteen percent of the population that is entirely debt-free. Our company motto is “Building the future out of your past.”
I myself am paying off the last five hundred dollars of my family debt this Thursday, at five o’clock. My line of work is lucrative and I get bonuses for finding the debts of families previously thought to be in the clear. My bosses say that my job is to bring order to delinquency. I myself am from East Wal-Mart, and I have never met another Wal-Martian that I liked – and I am not suggesting that I am any more likeable. I moved to Starbucks as soon as I found a job. In my line of work, there are a lot of fatalities – especially murder and suicide. I had two strikes against me: as if being from Wal-Mart weren’t enough, I am to my century what the IRS agent was to his. Even dentists are better liked.
Han Solo used to ask me why I didn’t change jobs. I asked him if he knew anyone who would hire a Wal-Martian debt investigator who was really good at his job. He cringed. Han Solo was a good friend, so when they asked me to forge debt into his family tree, I wanted to say no.
I wanted to say no.

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