Free Lanes 101 Part 2: Draugr

Draugr, the Free Lanes Sweatshop

Ah, my little Draugr. The singular and the plural, unpronounceable in either quantity. Until somebody decides to make an audio book and suddenly you’re faced with a dilemma of enunciation and wonder why nobody has created an auto-pronounce app. By the time you read this I’m sure somebody will have and cornered the market. Mine’s on pre-order already. Next up is one for public speaking please.

Anyway, Draugr, they’re the ones who do all those jobs others don’t want to. The menial, the mundane (for some reason I tried to write mundance there which I assume is what we mean when we refer to my friend’s ‘old man dancing.’ Where was I? Mundane. Everything from fetching and hauling to broke-back labour to finally we have somehow to dig the latrines who won’t come back smelling worse than they already did. This is probably not a good thing.

You probably don’t notice them. They work not so much in the shadows but more in the background. Behind the scenes. Wearing urban camouflage and prairie colours, whatever it takes to blend in. So what are they? For all intents and purposes, most people don’t know. They’re something that people don’t think about, something that makes life easier, up until that point that you start thinking about it. Where did that five-dollar T-shirt you’re wearing come from. Most likely a sweatshop slum. That Styrofoam cup? Good question. Even that flashy smartphone was probably made in a bad part of town warehouse in some country you don’t want to go.

Wait, are you saying this was all social commentary??

No, not even. But you could certainly look at it that way. If you do you may be overthinking it. Or maybe you’re just getting ahead of me plot-wise, anticipating my twists and turns. Please don’t do that because if you do then I’m just going to have to make it all that much more complicated and convoluted. Is that what you want??

Maybe it is. But back to the Draugr. There’s an old turn of the century saying I quite like about making the papers in London. Something to the effect of if a story were to make the front page of a London Newspaper it would need to involve one Englishman, ten Frenchmen, a hundred Italians or a thousand Indians. If you apply that to your everyday person it’s basically that the further away something is the bigger and more momentous it has to be before people start taking notice, let alone caring. Geographical self-interest you could say. The Free Lanes are no different. Why think about something that might make your life harder? Has it affected you personally? Anyone you know? Then why make a big deal about it? Why ask questions? No, much better to let it all go, keep staring ahead, aim for the second star to the right and straight on til morning.

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