“Will the world right itself again?” Tara Wisp looks at her mom in befuddlement. “What do you mean mom? Is there something wrong with the world as it is?” Eva Wisp wipes the sweat out of her eyes. The hot rays of sunshine darkens her skin, as she covers the roots of her new plants.
“I’d say there is Tara. It seems everyone has lost their mind. People get mad if you help them, then get mad if you don’t.” Tara shrugs her narrow shoulders. “My professor says its all the previous generations fault for messing things up.” Eva sits down in the shade and tries to catch her breath. “Oh, I’m sure we did our share of the damage, but it is not just one groups fault. We all live on this rock, we all want more stuff, and we all do damage to the planet.”
“Well, if the rich would pay their share in taxes, we could fix some of this. It’s the rich folks fault the poor and middle class can’t rise above their troubles.” Tara throws her shovel to the ground and puts her hands on her hips. “Furthermore, people need to check their privilege at the door. Until we are all equal, there can be no common ground. We must all fight injustice.”
“Hold on a second, Tara. I will go get your cape, when I go get the tea.” Tara shakes her head, her blonde curls whip left and then right. “She looks like an angry Cabbage Patch doll.” Eva leaves Tara frothing at the mouth, while she goes inside to make tea for them. Staring out the window, Eva watches Tara storm around the backyard. Taking a glass in each hand, Eva steps outside. “Here is your tea, sweetie. Let’s sit down and catch up.” Still fuming, Tara takes her glass and pours it on the ground. “I don’t want your stupid tea, or your company.” The backdoor bangs loudly as it is slammed shut, and Tara peels out of the driveway.
“Lord, help my daughter.”
It is almost dusk when Tara returns home. She walks inside, her mom is sitting at the bar in the kitchen. “Sweetie, I’m glad you came back. I have something to tell you, but first, I owe you an apology. It was not my intention to upset you today.” Tara sits across the bar from her mom and pats her hand. “I know, mom. I overreacted a bit.” Eva smiles and pushes back from the table. “Would you like some tea and some company?” Giggling, Tara nods. “Yes ma’am. I think I would like that very much.”
Tea is poured, and both women walk into the living room and sit on the couch. “I’m very proud of you, Tara. You are smart, well-spoken, and driven to be an agent of change in the world. These are all good things.” Tara smiles broadly. “I had a good example at home, mom.” Eva shakes her head. “For so long, I’ve been bitter at the world for the way things worked out between your father and I. Both of us were workaholics back in our younger years. We always had to have the nicest house, the best car, the finest clothes, and there is nothing wrong with achieving these things, but what we didn’t realize is that we filled our lives with stuff and not memories.” Tara shrugs impatiently.
“And? What’s wrong with that?” Eva wipes a tear from the corner of her eye. Tara is a carbon copy of her mother; she could be a clone of Eva when she was that age. Tara is tall, fair-haired, green-eyed, and quick to smile. She is quick to catch on and popular with all classes of people. Eva shakes her head. “Sweetie, you are so much like me and your father. When we didn’t have anything, we blamed the rich. If other people had a hard time getting ahead, someone was surely oppressing those poor people. Who are we to judge other people, when we ourselves could fail at any moment?”
“You and daddy could never understand what I am communicating to you. How could you? You’re one of the rich, you just want to hoard your wealth and screw the little guy!” Eva picks up the cups and walks into the kitchen, Tara follows closely behind. “We worked ourselves to death, Tara. Your dad, God bless his heart, died at work. He refused to take a day off to relax. Through his hard work, we built the empire you will inherit. What is wrong with enjoying the fruit of our labor?”
“People are sleeping on the streets, mom! What about slavery? Do you not care that black people were slaves? In America, no less! I will gladly give away this family’s fortune if it helps one person.” Eva sighs in frustration. “Fine. When you inherit it, you can do what you want with it. Yes, I care. Your father and I gave generously to several charities, and I still do. Ask yourself this, Tara. There are approximately 170 billionaires in America. When we run out of money, who else is gonna foot the bill? Try listening before you engage your mouth. Your father and I thought money would make us happy. It didn’t. Sure, we could buy whatever we wanted, but in the end, all we wanted was peace.”
Flipping her curls over her right shoulder, Tara pushes the button and the virtual conversation between Eva and Tara disappears. The board members sit in silence, as Tara peers out the window. “Ma’am, what do you want us to do?” Tara turns and stares disapprovingly at the member. “You can start by firing our workforce.” Sputtering, the man gulps loudly. “You want me to fire 15 thousand people? Today?” Snarling, Tara slams her hand down on the redwood table. “Are you incompetent, or do you think I am? Fire them all, and then board members will vacate their positions. You have one hour to exfil the premises.”
The other members shocked into obedience stand and begin filing out of the conference room. Tara picks up her phone and dials her accountant, Ted. “Sell off all my stocks, liquidate my assets. Call me when it’s done.” Sitting in the corner, Tara pulls out a leather-bound photo album. Slowly, she takes the few things she wants to keep and places them in her bag. Walking to the console, she turns off the fire suppression system.
“The world is burning mom. People have gone nuts. We can’t overcome the constant bumbling of our representatives; we can’t fix the world without a new disaster popping up to take its place. The world isn’t the problem mom, it’s humanity.”
Tara’s phone rings as she walks down the hallway past the pictures of her mother and father. “Tara, it’s Ted. Everything is gone.” Hanging up, Tara takes two cans of gasoline and pours it down the hallway. She shoves a flare into the flare gun and fires.
Walking through the ashes of the greatest nation on earth, Tara seeks the peace her family’s money couldn’t purchase her.