Thursday, December 18, 2014


Bjorn scratched his head. He felt a mild urge to get up of his chair and stretch his legs. A trip to the bathroom would do fine. Except, someone was in there, so he'd rather wait for that someone to finish and leave before going there himself. Not that he had to. The bathroom was equipped with three toilets in separate stalls after all. But he preferred to have the place to himself.

It annoyed him that the barracks had a common bathroom, rather than a separate one for each bedroom. It would have made a big difference to him if he had had his own en-suite bathroom. It would have made him feel more relaxed, more at home, as it were.

The servants quarters in Pedro's luxury apartment were equipped with their own bathrooms. And the rooms were slightly larger too. Bjorn felt almost envious of Pedro's servants. However, if Einar was right, and Bjorn saw no reason to think him otherwise, the servants were actually slaves, working for free, and that was not exactly a nice situation to be in. Giving away ones freedom for a place to live was hardly something to be envious about.

With Ane paying a mere hundred MG per day to her workers, not including any kind of housing, Pedro could surely go even lower, offering free housing and food instead of money. The capitalists down in Lundby were running a tight ship. With the possible exception of Olga, everyone was raising to the bottom as far as wages were concerned. And why not. No one were there to stop them. "Lundby is a desperate lawless place where everything goes, and everything is accepted," Bjorn thought to himself, shaking his head. "Even slavery is legal down there."

Bjorn was making more money in an hour than Ane's poor workers were making in a day, and Pedro was probably going to go even lower. It was a disgrace, and Bjorn was struck by how lucky he was to have a whole system of unions and tariffs and laws to protect him from such exploitation. He had to smile of his naivety for having considered the poor slaves lucky for even a moment.

The bathroom door opened and shut, and footsteps passed by Bjorn's door. The place was once again vacant. "Kind of strange how I knew someone was in there," Bjorn thought to himself as he got up of his chair. "I wasn't really paying attention to the comings and goings, yet I knew it was occupied."

Bjorn was struck by a fleeting light dizziness as he got up of his chair, but it was so subtle that he did not think of it before it subsided out in the hallway. "I've been having this for months," Bjorn thought, suddenly realizing that the dizziness was not actually anything new, but rather something that had grown on him so slowly and gradually that he had not thought of it before these last few days when it had suddenly become more intense.

"I sure hope it's nothing serious," Bjorn continued thinking on entering the bathroom. "I really have to stop smoking, and maybe get myself some exercise."

The bathroom was damp and stuffy and somewhat filthy. It needed cleaning, and Bjorn found himself suddenly wondering if anyone was in charge of this, and if so, who. He couldn't remember anyone telling him of any cleaning duties. Ante didn't mention any such responsibilities when giving him the quick tour of the premises. Yet, now that he was thinking about it, someone must have cleaned the place during the week. And it must have been on Wednesday while he was at Ane's place together with Geir, or else he would have noticed, or maybe not. He was terrible when it came to this kind of stuff, he had to admit to himself. He could see that the place needed cleaning, and he vaguely recalled thinking the same when he first moved into the barracks. But at some point, when things actually got cleaned and tidied up, he had not really noticed.

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