Once upon a time, lived a girl called Moody.
Moody is a girl who can’t just sit doing nothing, so she decided to work. She applied to work for Mr. Freebie, a very rich man with hundreds of business. Mr. Freebie hired Moody as a cigarette wrapper in his tobacco company, and paid her with a bag of peanuts every single day. “You have to work hard, Moody, because if you do… I’ll promote you to be a supervisor in the factory and I will pay you with three bags of peanuts everyday if I do,” Mr. Freebie said one day. Moody obeyed Mr. Freebie and worked as hard as she could, wrapping the cigarettes furiously to exceed her daily targets.
Mr. Freebie kept his word, and promoted Moody to be a supervisor in no time, with three bags of peanuts for her to take home every day. Moody was extremely happy. She started her new job, and to her unpleasant surprise, saw many things going wrong in the factory. She told Mr. Freebie, “Mr. Freebie, I see so and so wrongly wrapped the cigarette. How should I handle this?” Mr. Freebie said, “You should show them how it’s done, Moody. That’s what a supervisor do.”
So Moody came up to the person and told him that what he’s doing is wrong. The person immediately followed Moody’s instruction and wrapped the cigarette the way Moody demonstrated.
Everything went fabulous for Moody, until one day she got involved in a conversation with a fellow supervisor.
“You know, Moody, I think I might quit my job.”
Moody was taken aback. “Why? This is the most wonderful job in the world! Why do you want to quit?” she asked fearfully. Her friend smiled helplessly, “Let’s face it, Moody. We only got paid with peanuts. I’m done. I want to be paid with real money.” Moody thought for a second and said disapprovingly, “But I don’t mind getting paid with bags of peanuts. I don’t care about real money -whatever that thing really is, as long as I am happy seeing people inhale the cigarettes I wrapped with my own hands!”
Her friend didn’t care, and she quit anyway. Moody stayed, but furious. She came up to Mr. Freebie and asked her boss, “Mr. Freebie, Sir, may I ask you something?”
Mr. Freebie looked at Moody and smiled, “Sure.”
Moody cleared her throat, “Err… is there such thing as real money in this factory? I mean, to pay people.”
Mr. Freebie looked alerted in a second, but smiled again, “There sure is, Moody. Why do you ask?”
Moody thought for a second, “Well, if that is so, why am I still getting paid by three bags of peanuts after all the work I’ve done? So and so quit her job and she said in the next door factory, she gets paid with real money, doing the same amount of work as she does here. Why is that?”
Mr. Freebie studied Moody’s face.
“You know, Dear, in my factory I give beginners lessons on how to make a swell cigarette out of the finest tobacco. I give bags of peanuts AND lessons. In the next door factory, they pay you real money but they teach you nothing,” he explained.
“But Sir, if one can learn by oneself about the job one is doing, then shouldn’t one be rewarded with real money?” she asked, mostly referring to herself.
Mr. Freebie laughed out loud. When the laughter subsided, he said to Moody, “Allright Moody, you are a very smart girl. Tell you what, we will be producing a different kind of cigarette really soon. We want to put some menthol aroma in it. I’ve been thinking of promoting you as the production head of that line.”
Moody smiled widely, as she forgets what she was saying to Mr. Freebie. “Really? Oh Mr. Freebie, you don’t know how much this means to me!”
That night Moody slept with a smile.
A few months passed, and the menthol cigarette production commenced. Mr. Freebie called Moody into his office and handed her a new contract. “Congratulations, Moody. You made it. You are now officially the production head of menthol cigarettes. Are you happy?”
Moody read her contract, still smiling until her eyes stumbled upon a sentence in her contract.
“I am happy, Sir. But what does this sentence mean: ‘this contract ends at the end of harvesting year’. I don’t get it,” Moody looked at her boss. Mr. Freebie said, “Oh Moody, it’s just a minor adjustment in the contract. As you can see, the weather hasn’t been really friendly to our tobacco plants, so I have to save up for the rainy days when we couldn’t harvest anymore. Look at it this way, if the season ends well and we still have a huge stack of tobacco in our warehouse, you will still be here. If not, you will be as free as a bird to do whatever you like.”
Moody felt like she was kicked in the stomach. But she smiled and thanked Mr. Freebie anyway.
On her way home, she met Mr. Funny, a lumberjack and an old and dear friend to her.
“Hello Moody, you look mighty swell! It’s been a long time. How are you?” Mr. Funny said to her. Moody tilted her head and smiled, “Well I just got promoted at the factory.” Mr. Funny frowned, “That’s some news. But why don’t you look too happy? Shouldn’t you be happy?”
Moody told Mr. Funny everything.
Mr. Funny said, “Ever considered working for… say, other factories?”
Moody winced, “No. This one is already giving me a headache.”
Mr. Funny said, “Really? Not even those which would pay you with real money?”
Moody shrugged, “I thought of it when a friend of mine quit a few months ago. But I don’t know. I need the satisfaction of seeing people inhale the cigarettes I rolled myself more than just real money.”
Mr. Funny smiled wickedly, “What if I can give you both?”
To be continued.