Hank had awakened at his usual six a.m. time. Dagney had already gotten up so she could fix bacon, eggs, corned beef hash and fried potatoes along with a generous helping of biscuits and gravy, all washed down with three glasses of buttermilk. Yum. It was the way Hank liked to start the day — after taking his morning constitutional, that is.
Hank and Dagney escaped to Gault’s Gulch the previous year when they felt the world and all its parasitic untermenchen were about to come-a-cropper. Hank and Dagney had turned up their noses at these “little people” as Hank liked to call anyone who wasn’t a . . . well, swell. Self-made people were Dagney and Hank. Hank having invented green steel, made bazillions and took Dagney as his loyal punch. The people who actually made the green steel in Hank’s filthy sweat shops (they deserved no better, in fact, Hank felt they deserved even less so he and Dagney could have even more) were simply expendable ciphers and meat machines who looked with covetous and envious eyes on Hank, Dagney, Judge Snaggert, the Latin Lothario and, of course, John Gault.
Like Scrooge before him, Hank delighted in making life as miserable as possible for the men and women who toiled on his behalf. “Please, Mr. Reardon,” sniveled of the men from down in the Stygian depths of the metal fabricating shops, “Can I have a raise? It’s tough to make a go of it on $7.50 and hour. The wife and I would like to have a pizza once in a while. After all, fatback and beans doesn’t provide suitable nourishment.”
“The fuck it doesn’t!” roared Hank. “You’re just trying to get at my hard-earned money and suck me dry. Well I’ll teach you to expect altruism from your betters. As of this moment, your pay is reduced to $7.25 an hour. Now get your ass out of my office. I have to count my money”.
It was shortly after that when talk of unionizing was heard on the shop floor. “Goddamned rotters,” Hank seethed, “I ought charge the bastards to work here in order to make money for the superior people — people like me, goddammit!”
Well, enough of the backstory. Let’s pick up where we left off – Hank’s sitting on the commode. While listening to a rerun of Rush, Hank hit the flusher. But instead of the toilet’s contents gurgling down the drain, the feculent water began to rise finally wetting Hank’s scrotum. “What it fuck?” roared Hank. “Dag, call the goddamned plumber.” A few minutes later, Dangney called out to Hank, “He won’t come out. When I told him our name, he told me to go fuck myself, then hung-up”.
Hank ground his teeth. “Dag, ring-up Judge Snaggert, Tell him I’m coming by and we’re going into town to give that parasitic wretch the what-for”. With that, Hank dried his yam sack, dressed and closed the bathroom door to keep the smell inside. With the Judge sitting beside him in the Bentley, Hank put the car in gear only to find it wouldn’t move. Smoke and smell filled the passenger compartment; the transmission had taken a shit. “Motherfucker!” bellowed Hank as the Judge made sneers and deprecatory comments about how the little people who built the Bentley were out to screw their betters — a common theme here in Gault’s Gulch.
“Let’s go see John Gault. He’ll know what to do,” so the two of them hoofed it over to the stadium-sized mansion that was Gault’s “country home”. Ah, but things weren’t going so well there, either. “Can’t help, guys,” said Gault with a shrug. “The Roller has two flats and I haven’t a clue how to change either one. Besides, when I called into town for a tow truck and told him who I was, the leech told me to eat shit”.
Just then the Judge’s phone rang. It was Dagney to tell Hank their power went out and when she called an electrician, the bloodsucker told her to kiss his dick. “Hank,” Dagney whined, “The little people, the sponges, the idlers and hangers-on’s, they won’t come out and care for us. What’er we gonna do?” Do? Why nothing, because it was The Gulch’s little atomic power plant that croaked. The residents of The Gulch put it in when they built the place and today, when the Judge called the company that made it, he was greeted with the snarl “Fix it yourself, motherfucker” and the line went dead. Of course all the food in the freezers around the Gulch thawed out and had to be taken to the compost pile.
The last we saw of the swells, the captains of industry and the rest of the ubermenschen, some were mowing lawns to earn their daily bread. Others toiled in a factory making illuminated beer signs. One, rather than suffer the ignominy and disgrace of manual labor, blew out his brains. Dagney? She flew a cash register at the local Red Owl. As for Hank, he’d gotten a letter from his lawyer announcing the grievous fact that some young whipper-snapper who’d worked for Hank and just invented a red steel that was stronger, lighter and (above all) cheaper than Hank’s green stuff. “Sorry to tell you, Hank,” wrote the lawyer, “But the bottom dropped out of the green steel market. You’re broke! See you in hell, you stingy piece of shit!” Hank went to see Dagney’s boss at the grocery store and got a job as a bag-boy — minimum wage, natch.
Well, there you have it. Looks like the Law of Unintended Consequences just bit the Reardon and Snaggart and the rest of Gault’s Gulch, right in the ass.
Karma’s a bitch. (ED)