Once upon a time there was a noisy little city-port full of industry of the export/import type. This city was called Hamelin.
Busy and noisy and industrious as it may be now, it was full of unemployed people, and what made these Hamelinites unemployed was a sudden influx of immigrants from countries that had once been owned by the city-port many years ago in the days when Hamelin had conquered half the planet. But that is another story and, quite frankly, is none of your business.
The city was so infested with Johnny Foreigner as to be hardly worth living in if you were an indigenous Hamelinite. There wasn’t a delicatessen or a supermarket, an office block or a taxi cab that did not have a migrant working there. They took all the jobs. The fact that the natural Hamelinites had no inclination or ability to do these jobs is neither here nor there. It was the whole principle of the matter!
The immigrants purchased all the food with the money earned by the hard work they stole. Why the very beer or Jägerbomb or vodka with lime was not safe from them either. They’d go to the pub and order drinks like they had the right to be there in the first place. This scandalised the Hamelinites who could only afford half-pints of beer or a weak cola drink.
Had these migrants stopped with stealing work from honest Hamelinites or buying food it might have been ignored. But the talking to each other in the streets, the walking and driving of motor vehicles, so that you could neither hear yourself throw stones at their places of worship nor mutter impotently about “rivers of blood” to your equally muttering cohorts! Not to mention how the Hamelinites had to be wary in case these migrants tried to have romantic relations with their pure teenage children, and doing who knows what else mischief?
You may be asking yourself why the city-port didn’t employ any police to run these filthy foreigners out? Well they tried, but the migrants were not committing any crimes. In fact they were enriching the city-port. Hamelin had never been more profitable.
Burn down their houses, I hear you say? Why, they burnt so many that it fairly overtaxed Hamelin’s fire brigade. They had to recruit migrants to boost their workforce which was an irony that passed over the heads of the bigots.
Drunken thugs! Drunken thugs are the solution to most of life’s problems but sadly there wasn’t a drunken thug from Enoch o’Groat’s to Farage’s End that hadn’t tried his luck. But do what they might, fire or swearing, name-calling or glaring angrily, there seemed to be more immigrants than ever, and every day a fresh migrant was quietly minding his own business or buying groceries for his family..
Mayor Blom and the city council were tearing their hair out in sheer exasperation. One day as they were nursing their sorrows in the bar next door to the city hall, Big Steve the mayor’s aide rushed in and said to his Blomness. “Sir! Sir!” he called out, “This strange chap has come into the city via the port. He has asked to be seen by you, sir. He doesn’t look foreign but he does seem a little weird.”
“Are you sure that he isn’t foreign?” asked Mayor Blom suspiciously.
“No, no, sir,” Big Steve hastily said, “he emigrated away from Hamelin but he has come back after learning about our problems. He is tanned but I checked his skin tone against our colour charts and he is just within our acceptable levels.”
Mayor Blom nodded. While immigrants were sub-human scum who deserved to be spat upon, this did not apply to Hamelinites who emigrated. Oh no! Hamelinites who went abroad were simply ex-patriots and were to be seen as paragons of civilisation. Just think of all those nasty foreign places civilised by the allure of the bars and nightclubs that the ex-pats owned. Each alcoholic vomit puddle added culture and class to the savage lands. Oh yes!
“An ex-pat? Splendid chaps! Show him in, Steve!” said the mayor, and in the ex-pat stepped.
This ex-patriot was a strange kind of man. He had clearly been influenced by the fashion houses of the savage lands for his clothes were made up of all the colours of the rainbow. This motley man was tall and slightly chubby with the curliest blonde hair that Mayor Blom had ever seen.
“Hello, Mr Mayor,” he said. “I am Bubba of Hamelin, a citizen of yours that now lives in the land over the sea. I am a piper, a pied piper you might say. I hear you have a problem with immigrants, nasty chaps, and I was wondering if you would pay me to be rid of each and every one of them?”
Mayor Blom looked at his inebriated town council.
The inebriated city council looked at Mayor Blom.
Neither Blom nor his council believed that a mere musical clown could rid their city of all the immigrants but they had no more ideas as to how to make the place their own once more. But as much as the Hamelinites disliked immigrants, they disliked giving away money even more. So Mayor Blom tried to haggle and wriggle his way into paying as least cash as possible but in the end, they had agreed to pay the piper one silver piece per migrant.
Out of the bar went the piper, and as he stood in the street he placed his saxophone to his cherry-red lips and a deep tone rolled out and lifted above the roads and houses of Hamelin. He blew that horn hard, the music shooting out like mellow bullets, each one lingering in the air.
A strange and wonderful sight occurred when out of every house and every shop and every office block the immigrants came as if hypnotised. Old and young, male and female and miscellaneous, fat and thin, of every colour and every creed foreign to Hamelin, they all came out when they heard the piper’s music. They all started dancing and shaking their booty
Bubba started walking and each and every immigrant followed him, grooving and waltzing behind him. The piper was a professional and he would stop for a few minutes in each thoroughfare to collect up any stray immigrants.
He trotted up Lungdust Street and then down Riff-Raff Way all the way to the city limits. He led the immigrants all out and down the road that curled and carved through the landscape like a brick snake. The Hamelinites, who had followed this procession, stood at the city limits and cheered. They watched Bubba the pied piper take the migrants, laughing and dancing, all the way to the mountains. They stood there until they could no longer see the piper’s multicoloured figure or hear the happy cries from the migrants.
Given that all the horrible immigrants were gone, you might have thought that the citizens would have been grateful or cheering the pied piper but alas not. Once Bubba came back with a sack for the fortune in silver he expected to earn, Mayor Blom and his council members looked a little sheepish for they had no funds in the city treasury. Bubba had rightfully earned over six thousand silver pieces but the city coffers only held a few buttons and an IOU note signed by the previous mayor.
Mayor Blom shuffled his feet and looked into the middle distance but at last he said, while avoiding eye contact with the piper, “Look, it is like this. We don’t actually have any money. Yes, our city is rich but it was the immigrants who were earning the…um…lucre. So, you see, we have no money to give to you in payment.”
The pied piper silently stared at the mayor.
“Now, my dear chap, can you not see how poor we are?” said Mayor Blom hiding his solid gold mayoral chains underneath his ermine collar. “Besides, sir, what did you actually do, hmmm? Tooting on your saxophone for thirty minutes? Anyone could do that. I could have done that if I had thought of it.”
The pied piper silently stared at the mayor.
“How about if we give you the freedom of the city and maybe a voucher for our indoor market? We do have some buttons in the coffers that may be quite valuable as well.”
The pied piper silently stared at the mayor.
“A silver piece per migrant,” said Bubba after a while. “That was what we agreed on. If you didn’t have the money, you shouldn’t have agreed to the deal. Now pay me my wages, you blusterous toad, or I will blow a boogie-woogie tune that will knock you out of your socks and off down the road.”
Mayor Blom spluttered and huffed and puffed and wobbled with sheer fury.
“How dare you threaten me and my city!” screamed His Blomness. “The immigrants are gone. So why should I pay? Do your worst, you filthy little tramp, we have lawyers” and with that he went back into the bar to order himself and the city council a round of drinks.
“As you wish,” smiled the piper and with that he left the city.
Months passed and the city-port of Hamelin was in trouble. After all the immigrants had been danced out, there was a void left workwise. All the previously unemployed Hamelinites were now forced to undertake work which they were not able to do. It was chaos. The buses and trains were never on time, the hospitals were killing more people than they were curing, and the shops never had anything in stock. What hair had survived on the head of Mayor Blom after the immigrant plague was now torn out over this new problem.
The pied piper reappeared in the centre of Hamelin one day. He stood in the city square in his coat of patchwork panels. Nobody noticed him at first but when he placed his saxophone against his thin lips, all heads turned to gaze upon him. A strange and wonderful sight occurred when out of every house and every shop and every office block the Hamelins jumped out as if the devil had poked them with his pitchfork. Old and not so old, male and female, fat and thin, each as pink as a fresh blancmange, they all came out when they heard the piper’s music. They all started dancing and shaking their money-makers. All but the youngest of the children.
As Bubba strode up and down the streets, he was abused by all. They treated him like an immigrant. But the piper was not bothered, oh no! Mocked he may be, but eventually all the Hamelinites danced with eyes shut, grooving to the tune he was laying down. They sang and tap-danced and followed Bubba.
He trotted up Riff-Raff Way and then down Lungdust Street all the way to the docks. And as he walked along, blowing his horn and winking at fishwives, the Hamelinites cursed him. Bubba stepped onto a cargo ship, and all the bigots followed him. With all the citizens now on the boat, it was fairly packed.
With his saxophone, he was able to control the Hamelinites. He commanded them to set sail out to sea. Day and night, he never stopped playing. When it was dawn, he got into a rescue boat and set off back to Hamelin. Each and every Hamelinite followed him, as he went back. But alas they fell off the ship into the sea, each and every one still under the thrall of the piper’s saxophone.
Bubba finished playing when all but one of the citizens were floundering amongst the waves. The last being Mayor Blom. With a sharp and mellow tone, he commanded His Blomness to set the ship alight.
“How can you do this to us?” called out Mayor Blom. “You are one of us despite being an ex-pat.”
Bubba stood up and regarded Blom coldly. “I was never one of you. I left Hamelin because I could not stomach your hypocrisies and your vile views. Treating your fellow human being like a dog simply because he comes from another country? Pshaw! Choose your death: fire or ocean.”
And with those last words, ignoring the cries of the about-to-be-drowned, he rowed back to Hamelin where he was met at the docks by the immigrants he had been working for all along. As the bigots sank into the briny depths, the immigrants all cheered and celebrated the passing of the evil that had once controlled the city-port.
In truth, the immigrants were now Hamelinites. Now they were back, the city-port became as busy as it once was. Industry boomed and all were happy and glad to be there.
The piper stayed and was elected as mayor. The children of the drowned bigots were all fostered by the migrants. And the children were happy to be amongst these people for they were loved and cherished. They all lived happily ever after.