Once upon a time, there were three little pigs who had all struck financial difficulty due to oppressively high tax rates, massive interest rates and all round poor economic management. Actually, this happened very recently so the use of the term “once upon a time” is inappropriate. The pigs lived in poorly built homes in the outer suburbs of the city. They had obtained the money to buy the houses with massive bank loans that they would now have to work themselves to death to pay off. All of the pigs had purchased their home loans from Wolf Financial Services (or WFS as it called itself on the stock market).
Today was the second Wednesday of the month or Loan Repayment Day (such a nice name), time for the pigs to fork out their hard earned cash to a Heartless Financial Institution. The operative this month was Bigbadd Wolfe (no relation to the owner), who wondered why they considered “Debt Collecter/Repo Agent” a promotion from Sub Branch Manager. At least it was a lucky escape from the last mass sacking - 2000 fired to “cut costs”, despite the bank’s 3 billion dollar profit.
Bigbadd walked carefully up the path to the front door of a rundown house (the first “victim”). The path was made of cracked concrete and had an ample amount of weeds growing through the cracks to trip the unwary. Rusted car parts were scattered throughout the very overgrown garden of drought brown plants. The house was much worse though, it was made of fibro (painted a hideous shade of pink) and was up on brick pillars. Gaps in the walls had been plugged with straw but this hadn’t helped, and the house leaned precariously. Bigbadd rapped on the door. Pieces of it fell off. There was no answer from within the house. Bigbadd struck the door again, more fell off. There was a muffled answer:
“I’m a comin.” The door slowly swung inwards, depositing a pile of dust on Bigbadd’s head.
“Wadda ya want?” A fat pig wearing a stained singlet and brown shorts blocked the doorway.
“Hello, Mr Pygg, (Bigbadd shook off the dust) you appear to be overdue on your loan repayments.”
“No I’m not,” drawled the pig, who reeked of alcohol.
“It says here, here, here, here and here that you are 7 months overdue on your loan repayments” responded Bigbadd (who was now getting impatient) while pointing at the official sheet of paper.
“No!” retorted the pig.
“Yes!” replied Bigbadd, pointing again at the document. The pig realized that he could not deny it and started pleading with Bigbadd.
“Cmon I… I… work 15 hours a day to pay this off pleaz ya can’t throw me out I’m begin ya, I have 7 piglets ta pay for… if ya take the house the missus’ll throw me out fa sure… I can pay it juzt gimme a few weeks pleaz… im begin ya!” Bigbadd had heard this all before.
“And I suppose you have a baby on the way too?”
“Yes” replied the pig, “Twinz… no Tripletz!”
“Sorry. You have 48 hours to vacate the premises or you will be forcefully evicted.”
This had a bad affect on Mr Pygg, who then slammed the door and shouted something about getting a gun (and numerous expletives).
“Hey!” exclaimed Bigbadd, “Come out and sign here, here and here or I will foreclose on the loan and get the council to knock your house down”. There was no reply.
Twenty minutes later a special police team stormed the house, easily busting down what was left of the door and dragging out the pig in handcuffs.
Bigbadd felt slightly sorry for Mr Pygg, while signing the form to have the house demolished for poor construction.
A few hours later, Bigbadd drove the Wolfswaggon up the long dirt track to a small, badly ventilated log cabin that breached every single council building code. The small, owner-built residence was situated ‘out in the sticks’ as it could be called, though it would be surrounded in new housing developments in a few years ( probably financed by none other than WFS).
Bigbadd ambled up and cautiously knocked on the rainbow painted door. There was no reply. After the second knock, there was a muffled:
“Whoa, don’t rush nature man.”
“Oh great, a hippie!” Bigbadd thought.
A tall pig with long dreadlocks, wearing a bright multi-coloured shirt and hemp pants openned the door with one hand. The other hand was held behind his back. Pointy green leaves poked out from behind his elbow. On the shirt was a sticker exhorting: “Save the Trees!” Out wafted a strong, distinctive odour.
“ Mr Baconne, you are 7 months overdue on your loan repayments,” stated Bigbadd rather bewilderedly, trying not to inhale too deeply.
“Whoa maaaann!” replied the pig with a ‘stoned’ expression on his face “What do loan repayments matter when we gotta save the trees… maaaann?”
“Sorry, if you can’t pay the repayments we will have to confiscate your house” replied Bigbadd, keeping to the script.
“Maaaann you got it all wrong maaaann… no one owns a house maaaann we borrow it from nature maaaann!”
“Sorry but you have been given 48 hours to leave, if you do not leave now you will be forcibly evicted.”
“Whoa maaaann, the man can’t do that maaaann… I’m just trying to spread the love maaaann.”
By now it was obvious that Mr Baconne was growing some kind of drug, not just because of the fluorescent lights flashing inside the house, the smell and the marijuana plant in the hand he kept behind his back.
“Sign here or I will call the police to forcibly evict you!” replied the frustrated Bigbadd, still trying not get upset and breathe in too much.
While Mr Baconne tried to convince Bigbadd that this was all a government conspiracy to kill the trees, Bigbadd took out a mobile phone and called the cops. The hippie was still gesticulating with his plant and developing his conspiracy theories 15 minutes later when the police arrived to evict him. The moment the police saw the marijuana plant, they handcuffed him and dragged him off to the back of a paddy wagon.
Yet another loan foreclosure to sign, yet another house to be demolished, yet another evicted pig, Bigbadd wondered how many of those unpleasant forms would have to be signed each year.
The final house Bigbadd had to visit was in a new development in the outer suburbs. It was a hideously ugly new house crammed in between 50 identical houses, their eaveless roofs nearly touching. It was gigantic, three stories tall and taking up the whole block, much of which could have been productive and attractive garden. Standing in front of the house, there was no plant in sight – just concrete and brick. Bigbadd walked up to the huge, ornate door and knocked and pressed the door-chime. The sounds echoed vaguely inside. The house was so large the resident probably couldn’t hear it. Finally, after much knocking and ringing, the door opened. Drooping in the doorway was a tired sow holding two piglets and with three more squealing and grabbing at her legs.
The sow said in a tired voice “Sorry for the wait…” as she summed up Bigbadd she replied “What ever you are selling I don’t want it.”
“No, I’m not selling anything Ms Hamm,” answered Bigbadd “I’m here about the overdue loan repayments.”
“Oh god!” she retorted “I’m working five jobs to pay that off!”
“But it says here you haven’t paid for 3 months.”
“I paid it yesterday!” she retorted, fumbling around for a cigarette, “I have the receipt.” She set down the littlies and lit the cigarette. All the piglets started crying.
“You got kids?” she asked dispiritedly. “Can’t take them to daycare… there is an 11 year waiting list.” “Shhh, mummy’s having her ciggy” soothed the sow, comforting the piglets.
It took fifteen minutes to find the document, while three of the little dears occupied themselves with trying to remove Bigbadd’s shoes, check for lollies in pockets and empty the new leather executive briefcase. The sow returned eventually with a different set of piglets. Bigbadd straightened up and checked over the document, it was genuine.
“Thank you!” Bigbadd breathed a sigh of relief, happy that it didn’t end with another arrest and glad to be rid of the Hammets. “I will return in 6 months time to check repayments… you have 28 years left on the loan”.
The sow dropped her cigarette at this last remark, dragged back the piglets and promptly slammed the door in disgust.
Bigbadd turned slowly and walked thoughtfully to her car. She wiped something disgusting and unidentifiable off her expensive Armani jacket - It would take a lot of scrubbing to get that out. Maybe this job really did suit her a lot better than some occupations!
Tomorrow’s Debt Collection Thursday – and time to invest in a portfolio of WFS shares.
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