Chapter 12

It had to be admitted, productivity had certainly made the credit column look a lot healthier since Ameny grasped the reins of leadership.

The pretence had gone that had initially implied that Ameny was simply ‘helping’ Zem to install a new work practice. It is worth pointing out though, not all the staff were happy bunnies.

“He should bugger off back to the palace,” spat Ky. “Mild domination might be TJ’s bag but it isn’t mine.”

“I say brother, let’s not be too judgmental yet, what?” offered a conciliatory Im.

“If he’s as smart as he thinks he is, he must know nobody in this village is a slave, so shouldn’t bloody well be treated like one. He should know nobody likes to be talked down to. He’s asking for a slap.”

Im could foresee trouble ahead. “Precipitous action will only undermine the palace/village relationship, therefore destabilizing the aforementioned status quo, and…”

“…WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” shouted an exasperated Ky, who’d obviously had had enough. He angrily turned and stormed off.

Lots of minor arguments and disagreements were breaking out all over the site. Friends and colleagues who had worked together in harmony every day for years, suddenly became bitter enemies and rivals.

It wasn’t long before it dawned on the majority that they had been set against each other for the sake of production, and meeting targets.

Ameny’s methods were just too radical for the village to incorporate.

It quickly got to the stage where mutiny had to be the next step. The whole village more-or-less collectively decided they weren’t prepared any longer to accept the rude dictatorship of a newcomer that had been forced upon them by authority.

This catalyst was the usually placid Kemti, whose brother Kerti was a kind of official shop steward of sorts. Having received his ‘orders’ Kemti finally snapped, shouting “That’s enough. Everybody out.” He’d heard his brother practicing.

Word quickly spread. Work was to cease and there was to be a meeting in the temple at midday. The village was on strike for the first time in its relatively short history.

Silence please, can we have a bit of hush?” said Kerti slightly raising his voice. He sat with two of his colleagues on a makeshift platform at the front of the temple. Everybody was there except Ameny.

There was that exciting electric atmosphere you get throughout devil-may-care crowds. It was the safety in numbers syndrome. There was the usual ‘somebody is going to get a good hiding, and it isn’t me,’ feeling.

The total absolution of responsibility was exciting. Individual accountability there was none.

The mumbling died down as Kerti began to speak. “As I see it our grievances are more than justified. Brother Kemti called this strike and we as the negotiating arbitrary body fully endorse this action.” Indicating his two colleagues sat either side of him.

“What does that mean,” said a quiet voice from the back. Thus, voicing what everybody wanted to know, but was too embarrassed to ask.

“It means no more work gets done until Tjaty Jarha receives a spokesperson(s) from the village, hears our grievances and is prepared to act upon them to our satisfaction.” Kerti banged the table and rose to his feet. Everybody cheered and clapped and banged whatever was close to hand.

Kerti, at last saw himself emerging from obscurity. The village had acquired a new rabble-rouser.

It was democratically decided by Zem, that the same party who previously visited the palace would again do so. Zem wasn’t going to change a winning formula.

The strikers had three demands:

1). Ameny must be removed as work detail supervisor with immediate effect.

2). Zemti must be reinstated to his previous position with immediate effect.

3). The village must have a dartboard – if at all possible.

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