Chapter 4. An Encounter with the Shield of Democracy

They gave me a ride to the airport where I boarded the first plane that flew back to my country. I arrived home at night‐time, after I took the car ride from the airport back to the village. Since nobody was awake except my father, I immediately went to sleep. I assumed I could wait until tomorrow to tell my experiences from the trip.

At Eight O’clock, I was awaken by an increasing noise that I managed to identify as that of vehicles, as well as of talking and adjustment of recording and broadcasting equipment. When I went outside I saw that all the field outside the village was full with broadcasting vehicles of various media networks. According to the emblems on the vehicles, I recognised that most of them belonged to companies from the other part of the world. A large number of reporters, interviewers, cameramen and technicians stood outside the vehicles and prepared themselves for broadcasting. The whole place was abuzz.

I pondered what was the reason for that commotion. After a short moment of thought I rejected the possibility that they came to cover the recent birth of our village head’s youngest son, and assumed they were looking for me. I immediately became fearful that the amplification of the electromagnetic activity, that was caused by the crowding of the broadcasting vehicles and radio equipment at the place, will cause another decline in the crops’ measures. This in turn will make it even harder for me to begin working again. Thus, I decided to make them leave as soon as possible.

After I returned to the house, got dressed, and went out, I approached one of the teams which belonged to a prominent channel in one of the countries of the other part of the world. The reporter there was about to start broadcasting and another woman from the team helped her arrange her look before she gets on air. When I passed by them, the reporter sprang towards me and asked: “Sir, I assume you come from this village. Have you seen the ex‐Member of the Organisation lately?”

“I haven’t seen him since the last time I looked at the mirror.”, I answered.

Then her eyes lighted, the cameraman started taping us and all the crew members turned to look at me. “So you are the ex‐Member?” she asked.

“I wouldn’t have deduced it from what I said.”

“I don’t understand.”, she said while looking a bit puzzled.

“Over 99.9% of the world population have never seen the ex‐Member, much less since the last time they looked at a mirror. Most of the people that did see him, have looked at a mirror since then. Moreover, a large part of the people that routinely see him, tend to look at the mirror every morning in order to dress and comb themselves, and probably didn’t see him yet.”

Some of the crew members lowered their hand to indicate their desperation from me, and turned their looks away, but the interviewer still continued to interrogate me. “Nevertheless, are you the ex‐Member of the Organisation?”

“Hmmm… now that I think about it: yes.”

Immediately, all the crew members whispered my name to one another and concentrated around me. The rumour quickly passed on to other crews and very quickly a large crowd of reporters, cameraman, recorders and broadcasters gathered in a large semicircle around me.

They immediately started to ask me questions at a dazzling rate:

“The ex‐Member, do you think the Organisation will accept your proposal?”

“The ex‐Member, why did you decide to go to the State of the Supporter?”

“The ex‐Member, what will become of the Organisation?”

“The ex‐Member, what do you think about the situation that prevails in this region?”

I raised my hand to silence them, and after a few minutes they all silenced. “I’m sorry that you had to travel until here,” I said, “but I’m not ready to answer your questions at the moment.”

Some of them seemed a bit overwhelmed from the answer. “Wait a second,”, asked a young reporter, “will you be willing to answer some questions in the future?”

“There is a possibility that I will.” I answered him.

“Are you conditioning it in something?” he continued to ask.


Silence prevailed. “Wait, wait, wait, ” another journalist said, “are you implying that you want money for an interview?”

“Yes! That’s exactly what I meant.”

“Aha.” The journalists began to disperse and each one returned to his broadcasting vehicle and I saw that they were trying to contact their news corporations’. Eventually they all left the place, which created a serious traffic jam at the way out of the village for a long time.

I went back home and ate breakfast. I spent the morning searching for a job in the vicinity of my home, and again was not able to find anything. When I returned home for lunch, my young sister sat in the living room and prepared her homework. “The ex‐Member,  I prepared a list of broadcasting networks that propose to pay you for an interview. It is over there, on the table.”, she said all of a sudden, and then returned to prepare her home exercises.

I looked at the list, picked up the telephone and dialled the first number of the media corporation. I got a reply after a few seconds:

“Hello, I am the ex‐Member of the Organisation; you contacted me so I will give you an interview. I want some details about the payment you are offering me.”

“I see.”


“Okay, that sounds rather nice, I’ll call you later and tell you what I decided about it. Good bye.”

I hanged up the phone and called the next network on the list.

“Hello, this is the ex‐Member of the Organisation, you contacted me so I’ll give you an interview, and I’d like to enquire about the size of your offer.”


“O.K. Maybe you’d like to know that the other company offered me more money.”

“Yes. Roughly this amount.”

A few seconds elapsed…

“Oh, you have a better offer.”

“How much?”

“Hmmm. Doesn’t sound bad. I’ll call you later to let you know of my decision.”

I called the third company, and again received a better offer. Then I called the first company again, and told them about the proposal of the third company. As I expected, they gave me an even better offer.

And so I went on, for a day and a half, with short discussions with an increasing number of large media networks, and I kept receiving increasing offers of payment for an exclusive interview. In my opinion, it was very sincere of me to tell each company about the offers I received from the others, but for some reason, they didn’t sound too enthusiastic when they realised I was doing it on a regular basis.

“Sir, your offer sounds very tempting. In fact, it’s almost as tempting as another offer, which I received a couple of hours ago. Wait a second, are you saying that you have a better offer? Really? Yes, it does sound better. Just give me half‐an‐hour to consider it. Yes. Yes. Goodbye to you too.”

And a few minutes later: “Hello, Madam! I’m glad that I was finely able to reach you. You won’t believe it but I was this close to accepting your offer when the telephone rang, and I was offered an even better one. I’m sorry, but it’s really nothing personal. Really? Let’s see, in comparison to the other offer it’s…”

Anyway, I eventually got tired of this multi‐sided negotiation, and decided to take the most attractive offer up to then. This offer included a very large amount of money, even relative to what people of the other part of the world are used to. Moreover, it included a flight to one of the big cities there, and an accommodation at a five star hotel, at the expense of the media company of course. There I had to be interviewed at an evening show of one of the most famous hostesses in the other part of this world. This was a hostess of whom I was particularly fond. The main reason for that was that I had never seen any of her shows and so did not change my initial opinion.

So it happened that I had to leave my country for the second time that week. After I packed my belongings, and said goodbye to my family and my neighbours, I went to the airport by car, which was also prepared and financed by the media company. At the airport, I boarded a plane that flew towards the city in which the interview was about to take place.