“Can I get you anything Allen?” Karl asked. “Tea? Wine?”
“Hmm, do you have any Merlot?”
“Well, we have a ’08 Chateau de Moyen” Karl said, searching his memory. “I’ve found it quite nice, a rich bouquet with just a hint of floral and cinnamon.”
“Hmm, I think a glass of water will be fine for me,” Allen said.
Karl went to the kitchen and, pulling out his nicest tumbler, poured Allen a glass of water from the large water cooler kept beside the fridge. He returned to the tastefully furnished living room and placed a glass coaster down before setting the water on top of it.
“Thank you,” Allen said.
“Did you get a new television?” Allen gestured to the wall, where a very large flat screen was mounted with care.
“Yes we did! 1080p, and it has a beautiful picture. You can practically see the nose hairs on the actor’s faces when watching.”
“1080p, huh? That’s pretty impressive, my computer had that back in 2006.”
“Well, television technology is taking its time catching up, isn’t it?” Karl sat down on the recently re-upholstered chair under the TV.
“True. Nora and I just bought another plasma TV for our son’s bedroom so he can play his video games there, rather than having the sound carry up from the basement. I don’t understand it myself, but Nora seemed to think it was necessary. The picture quality on the plasma, I find, is significantly better than on any others out there. More true to life, brighter colours.”
“Ah, yes, of course.” Karl placed his right leg over the left, and wished he had brought a glass of water for himself. “Anything new going on in the banking world?”
“Oh, you know how it is, we’re keeping people’s money, the government is bearing down on us to make sure we do so ‘responsibly’, whatever that means. Seriously, there are no guaranteees with any money, how can they expect that of us? Just let us do our jobs! Bloody bureaucrats.”
Karl, who Allen knew was an MP, thought a moment before responding, “Well, you can see the point, of course, we don’t want another financial meltdown. We escaped fairly well here, but other countries were not so lucky, with unemployment spiking and people losing their savings. We’re just trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“Well, those countries shouldn’t have been so careless then. Diversify. It’s their own fault for not being marketable enough.”
Karl didn’t say anything, but let his neighbour stew in self-righteousness for a moment. “How dare they assume they can have a career,” was all he responded with.