Equal Pay for Equal Work

Faruq dipped the quill in the ink and straightened the parchment he ‘borrowed’ from Auntie’s desk. Alone finally, he sighed, closed his eyes and shook his head slightly in disbelief.

Gammam 14, 23rd Year of the Grand-Caliph, Khalil al-Assad al Zahir

I don’t know why I’m doing this.

Chaka said it would help, but it feels completely ridiculous. Why would I read what I wrote?

She says it will help when I get like this… like I am now. It wasn’t even a big deal… today… those bastards always try to cheat us. I hate them. But we need to work; Auntie can’t do this alone. I wish Uncle was here… he’s been gone for so long.

He said it would be a short trip, but Guzman said he’ll be gone longer this time because trade is not what it used to be. Used to be? He’s only gone on one trip with him, it’s not like he’s some big trader now…

So I’m supposed to write what happened. Fine. It was Hamza again. He’s always hated me. From the very first time I worked there. I knew it the first time he looked at me. He had that look of pity and disgust like people in the street. Damn him. This time when we were finished, Guzman and I both went to collect our wage and he said he didn’t have enough for us both. Of course he gave Guzman his. I told him that wasn’t fair, but he said he had not received a full shipment anyway so it wasn’t worth as much to unload it. My arms were aching because I did the work; why would he not pay me!?

Guzman didn’t even seem upset; so I’m mad at him too.

What happened? Well I felt the same burning in my eyes; I hate it. I knew what I looked like. Everyone always looks shocked when my eyes change. I can’t stop it. I hate that I can’t. I wish I never had these damn eyes; this skin, I am cursed.

So as soon as Hamza saw the change he ordered me out of the office. Without any money! How dare he! I started to feel my skin get hot like it always seems to but Guzman saw it too. He stopped me and said Hamza had to pay or neither of us would leave. I hate how people do what Guzman says but they ignore me. It’s not fair.

Of course Hamza did what Guzman wanted. And he found more dinar of course. He looked at me as he handed it to Guzman; he was trying to make me angry I could tell.

Guzman said when we left that I need to control my temper better; what a laugh! Coming from him that’s funny; he’s always throwing a tantrum about the dumbest things. But I didn’t say anything because I was glad we both got our wage. And Auntie was happy when we came home; the carvings have not sold well lately and she does everything alone with Jojo gone. I think I would do anything for her; even put up with Hamza; I almost totally forgot when she made dinner for us; she makes the best moutabal in Huzuz.

Chaka might have been right; this was not very hard.

Author: Turnerbuds