Chapter One Hundred and Eighteen: Privilege

Charlie stretched and
yawned, toothpaste drooling from the side of his mouth where his
toothbrush hung.

“Charming look
there.” Betty frowned at her son as he picked up the mail and
looked through it.

Charlie found a letter addressed to him! “Hmmmppphhhhh hmmmph!”

“Whatever that
meant.” Thomas watched as Charlie bolted back up the stairs.

Charlie came back down
a minute later fully dressed and toothpaste cleaned up.

“It's a letter from
the PRO!” Charlie waved it around.

“Have you actually
READ the letter?” Thomas asked drily.

Charlie grinned
sheepishly. “Might be a good idea eh Dad?”

“My son the font of
intelligence.” Thomas sighed as Charlie tore open the letter.

Charlie scanned the
letter, his face falling.

“Well?” Thomas
asked again.

“There's only ten
business owners in the PRO. I mean, they've all pledged their
support…but only ten?” Charlie slumped.

“It takes privilege
to own a business Charlie, you know that.” Thomas said. “A lot of
the PRO don't have that privilege, which is why they want change.”

Charlie growled. He
picked up his wallet, phone and keys and stalked off.

“See you later too.”
Thomas frowned at the slammed door.

“PRIVILEGE. My arse.”
Charlie grumbled as he sat with his friends at the tip as Daniel
prepared to hit the ball out of the country.

“He's right though.”
Belle said.

“Oh get off it
Belle.” Charlie snapped. “All you need to open a business is hard

“And the right skin
colour.” Sammy piped up before bowling an extremely nasty bouncer.

KILL ME?!” Daniel roared.

“Oh come ON.”
Charlie groaned. “I know the cops are racist but you can't blame
everything on racism!”

The fight stopped
before it even started as everyone stared at Charlie.

“You're coming with
me.” Belle grabbed her best friend by the ear.

“Ow ow ow!” Charlie
cried as Belle dragged him away from the group.

“I can't believe
you!” Belle cried as she threw him into a pile of old bikes. “You
were in my BP class, and you STILL say stuff like that?!”

“Belle-,” Charlie

“You KNOW that trying
to register a business in Pleasantville is down to whether or not
City Hall likes you!” Belle snapped. “And you REALLY think they'd
let someone of colour register a business?”

“Sammy's parents run
the garage!” Charlie tried to defend himself.

“They RUN it, they
don't OWN it!” Belle cried, exasperated. “They tried to buy it
years ago and got blocked!”

“Well that's not
because of the colour of their skin!” Charlie fought back.

“YES IT WAS.” Belle
snapped. “I've read the documentation.”

“Well, my Dad was
hated by City Hall, but HE managed to open up his own business!”
Charlie tried.

“At THAT point, Jones
didn't have half the power he has now for a start, plus your father
went all the way to Brisvegas to get the money required.” Belle

“So why aren't these
so-called less privileged people doing that then?!” Charlie tried.

“Don't be an idiot.
Do you know how many days it took for your father to get those loans
and approvals?! The only reason you didn't starve while he was gone
is because you owned the house you lived in and didn't need to pay
rent!” Belle pointed out.

Charlie winced.

“Charlie, our
families have it really easy compared to most. Both of our families
have homes that were paid off generations ago, so we don't have to
worry about a roof over our heads, and if we get desperate we can get
loans against the houses. A lot of people in Pleasantville don't have
that. Look at how hard TJ and Petunia have it. They've been saving up
for years, but still can't buy their own home.”

Charlie felt the
familiar feeling of the Improbability Clause in the back of his brain
as all the pieces came together to tell him he was an idiot.

“So you look at
someone of colour in Pleasantville. They have next to no chance.
Those are the bulk of the people in the PRO.” Belle sat down.

Charlie sighed. He knew
that Belle was right, and he owed Sammy a huge apology.

“I guess I still have
to learn not to be racist after all.” He said.

“We all do.” Belle

Charlie got up and
headed back to the group, who had resumed hostilities.

“Maybe if you'd learn
how to actually hit the ball you wouldn't have to worry about a
bouncer!” Sammy yelled at Daniel.

“Maybe if you'd learn
how to actually bowl you wouldn't have to resort to bullying
tactics!” Daniel fired back.

“Hey guys.” Charlie

“Hey Charlie.”
Sammy and Daniel said, before returning to trying to kill each other.

“Get him Sammy!”
Tammy cheered.

“Get over it!” TJ
fired at her.

“You know, maybe we
should wait it out before your grand apology.” Belle scratched her

Crusader Daryl Jones
was sulking.

“I mean, trying to
poison Roger?” He heard Alex on the other side of the wall
laughing. “What an idiot.”

“Yet had it been any
one of us, we'd have been killed where we stood. Daryl just gets away
with it because of who his Daddy is.” He heard Alice say bitterly.

“That's all he is
really, a Daddys boy who never got told no in his life.” Alex said.

“Well, he's getting
an education here, that's for certain.” Aiden said.

Daryl continued to
sulk. He hated all of them! The moment he figured out how to get rid
of Roger, he'd then get rid of the rest of them!

He just had to find a
way to do it that wouldn't get traced back to him.

“And so I'm sorry for
what I said. I was way out of line.” Charlie said to the group who
had finally stopped trying to kill each other again.

“It's ok.” Sammy

“It isn't.” Charlie
sighed. “This whole time all I've been worried about is getting
revenge on Demon for messing up my business. I forgot there's a
bigger picture here, and that bigger picture means making things fair
for everyone.”

“It's okay, really.
We're used to it.” Sammy said.

“Well, you shouldn't
be. No one should be.” Charlie said. “And if I have privilege,
then it's up to me to use it responsibly and make things right.”

“Exactly.” Belle

“And I know you guys
can do it.” Tammy smiled. “We're gonna land the first blow on the
corruption in Pleasantville!”

“Yeah!” The team
cheered together.

Charlie grinned, but
inside he chided himself. Just because he didn't want to be a racist,
it didn't mean there weren't parts of him that were racist. It was up
to him to be on the alert and make those changes to not be racist.

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