I live in a world of promise.
When I was hungry someone gave me food, and I promised something in return.
I made him a coat.
But, I said, it took me much longer to make your coat than it did for you to make my food.
So he promised me two days food.
I made another coat.
Two people wanted it. One offered me two days of food. The other offered me a plate.
I took the plate.
Hearing how warm, dry and happy my coat made these two people, three more people wanted my coat.
The first offered food. The second offered a plate. The third offered a chair and all the food he had.
I took his chair and his food.
I asked someone to build a house for my food, plate and chair.
She said a house would be the same value as 500 of my coats. But she already had a coat. She wanted other things.
So I had to make more coats for people who had what the builder wanted.
But I worried because I had promised to make 500 coats that she did not want and I had to find 500 people who needed coats and had what she wanted.
So I taught other people to make coats, then collected what other people promised in return, and shared some back.
But not everyone had what the builder wanted.
So then I used animal bones to represent promises.
I used them to acquire what the builder wanted from different people and the people who owed me promises gave these different people what they wanted.
And the builder was happy to have animal bones as future promises.
My workers made more coats. We made a summer coat, then a short coat, then a long coat, and so on and so forth.
Distant people wanted my coats and soon my house was too small for my animal bones, so I had a bigger house and I employed a different worker to sit outside my house because all the customers who bought my coats had made lots of promises they couldn’t keep and now they wanted to take back my animal bones but I needed them for my bigger house and the worker to keep them, and plates, chairs and wardrobes, safe. And anyway, they were mine.
We ran out of animals to make the coats and promises so we travelled to find more animals and made coats from grass and trees and whatever was left. The river turned black with with coat making waste.
We dug up bodies for promises.
The public complained there were no animals or plants to eat, no water to drink and we were digging up their relatives.
We gave represented promises to other people to tell the public not to complain and the public stopped because they were also my workers and how could they eat without my promises?
Then one day, no one wanted my coats.
Some one else from a dirty foreign land were promised less to make coats and they were made from animals again.
The land emptied as the unemployed went to the foreign land to make coats and eat and drink. All I have left are bones.
When did we forget money was a promise? When did it become the last desperate breath of desire?
This was my first three minute talk for the Swindon Festival of Literature 2015 Think Slam.