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BLEED — a fiction by ollie francis
A fiction inspired by the Junior Doctors Strikes in England
Never let them see you bleed. Best advice I’ve ever been given. Sat in the Formal Hall, dressed appropriately, of course, quail and soufflé, some wine I don’t remember. A ’73, maybe. We drank whatever, in those days. Far too much, sometimes.
He leans over, his lapel drifting down dangerously close to the soup, and whispers it too me like the punchline of some god-awful joke. He guffaws at his own humour, drawing the attention of the table.
I take my soup and ignore him.
But the line stays with me.
For bleeding is an active verb, when it’s done properly. Oh, there’s an aversion to the idea of it, I understand that; but properly done, it is a beautiful thing.
It happens in private business every day. Take those organisations that are weak, locate the real assets, give the workers a future someplace else. Everybody wins. Nobody complains. They understand that this is the right way to go about it; the best way to make use of resources.
Of course, with public ownership things get more tricky. Too many ideals. Ignoring the practicalities. Unrealistic expectations and misguided moralities. It’s a wonder the market has been able to tolerate it this long. But you’ve got to be careful; oh, the value is still there, of course. It’s still worth the fight, but it is a much longer game. You have to set your hopes on something further into the future, have a bigger vision than merely five years.
And so you work quietly, delicately, effectively. Your changes are subtle, drip by careful drip. Oh, you’ll get there eventually; the path might take longer than you might like, but you’ll get there.
But whatever you do, whatever action you take, whatever manoeuvres are made, never — ever — let them see you bleed.
Originally published on Tumblr
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