The Movement is Freedom

FREEDOM

Like a coin, a vintage LP, or an old 45, freedom has a flip side. Two opposing dynamics. You’re an advocate, or you’re not. There’s no balancing act. No middle ground. You’re all in, or you’re out.

On one side, freedom-challenged acolytes, trembling in their anti-freedom movement, kowtow before the shrine of despots. Offerings of hard-fought rights and freedoms, butchered and bloody lay burnt upon the sacrificial altar of tyranny. The solemn remains, a determined smoky tendril of liberty glides disregarded through the air.

On the flip side of nowhere, a stony, slumbering giant who dreamt of freedom, courage, and self-determination rises at dawn, sniffs the air. They yawn. Rubbing the sleep from their eyes, they roar. Girding their loins for battle they stomp, a whirling cloud of dust swirls at their feet.

The earth rumbles.

The Movement is Freedom.


Today, September 17, is Constitution Day

Life, Liberty, Freedom, Prosperity


Image courtesy of Kellepics via Pixabay.com

When Democracy Dies

A short story from The Collection of Gruesome Inevitabilities, a work in progress.

When Democracy dies—

When we all live in the stink of government highrise tenements — hallways and doorways tagged with smut and gangster graffiti. Meagerly rooms overlooking a squalid city stained in the stench of slaughterhouses and dark-alley bagnios; the view through a grimy kitchen window over a leaky faucet on a rust-stained sink. A squalling baby on a ragged mattress. A hungry, snot-nosed toddler pulling at your pants. The TV blaring some indoctrinating cartoon.

When you’re mired in selfish grief, harboring a strange, slippery sense of longing.

When no one has any more than anyone else and everyone receives the same government stipend called equality. When every cupboard begs for the same meager rations of questionable ingredients. And every evening sees the same laughable economic progress report.

When all you have to look forward to is a repeat of yesterday. Of yesteryear.

When wilderness shrinks to a crowded park in the city center with its symbolic weeping willows. Its koi bloated and floating belly up in a filthy fountain of the reigning leader. Its feculent grounds litter filled with hypodermics, condoms, feces, and doped-up panhandlers rambling incoherently.

When you commute on crammed mass transits, vulgar and laden with the funk of greasy perfumes, warm piss, and the sour sweat of cheap bootleg whiskey.

When “Healthcare,” medications, and vaccinations are mandatory and you’re not allowed to breathe without a mask.

When they analyze your every word, thought, and expression, scouring for any trace of dissent or discontent. And every broadcast, commercial, and billboard airs a subliminal warning: be happy, fulfilled, and loyal to the state.

When your idle time turns to thrumming through mind-numbing games on your spyphone, but you never take time for painful self-reflection or the troubling contemplation of something more than an overshadowed existence.

When finally you’re empty of ambition and devoid of curiosity. When your imagination draws a blank in every corner. When fear and cowardice fuse a bitter taste in your mouth.

When the world turns gray and death resembles a reprieve, you’ll know they’ve won:

Liberty is dead,
and so it is read,
on the Gates of Nevermore.

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill

A short story from The Collection of Gruesome Inevitabilities, a work in progress.

Jack and Jill hiked up the mountain for a bit of exercise.

While on the ascent, Jack, an athletic specimen just eighteen short months ago, weakened muscles ached, and he struggled to breathe behind his triple-layer designer mask. He asked Jill, “Why don’t you ever wear a mask, or three, or five?”

Jill, fit as a fiddle with no trouble breathing, said, “Why should I?”

Jack, red face crazy with the vein on his forehead pulsing to burst, flabbergasted and heaving laboriously from his months-long oxygen deprivation and becoming increasingly threatening and foaming at the mouth, replied with explosive hysterics, “To stop the spread of KOVID!”

KOVID… Kovid… kovid…, echoed like a decree from the heavens, cascading down the mountainside, escalating an already elevated paranoia in the village idiots below.

Jill, suppressing a grin, seeing the mask’s tan lines and how silly Jack looked with his ears glowing beet-red and spread wide by the straps of his mask, asked, “Does a fart stay in your shorts?”

Once of quick mind, Jack puzzled, then flustered, asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Figure it out,” she said with the glee of amusement.

Dumbstruck aggravated, Jack countered, “Doesn’t matter. The Supreme Lord Doctor Faucheezy says…”

“Screw Faucheezy, Jack.”

By damn, that was the last straw. As with most everyone, Faucheezy was the object of his unquestioning worship and unwavering devotion. Flushed with outrage, Jack screamed with clenched fists and murderous fury, “Blasphemer!” But he exhausted himself in the process and wobbled like a weeble from his exertion. He had to rest and catch his breath and so sat on a rock near the mountain’s edge.

“Really, Jack? Blasphemer?” said Jill and started running in place while Jack recovered.

“Jill,” Jack wheezed, and with a really mean-spirited squint, warned her, “Either you wear a mask, or I promise, I’ll turn you over to GAG-ME. That’s the Global Anyone Granted Masking Enforcement if you need reminding. You know they have a zero-tolerance code of ethics. You could be executed, or get life in prison, or worse, you could be canceled! And then you’d still have to wear a fucking mask, any-fucking-way!”

“Jack, I’m your wife for Freedom’s sake,” pleaded Jill, alarmed and visibly shaken.

“It doesn’t matter, I’ll do it! I’m a citizen of the world,” he sneered smugly ugly. “Compelled by the greater good. And masks are for the greater good. Fuck you. Fuck freedom.”

Wanting to say more, but with diminished lung capacity and stifled by gnawing anger, Jack held up an index finger to silence Jill. Then continued, “As our wise and benevolent Emperor, The Honorable Bedridden himself proclaims, ‘We’re all in this together. Masks save lives. Everyone needs to do their part. We’ll get through this, together. Together with compassion.’”

Jill calmed herself and gave Jack a loving smile.

The twinkle in her eye.

And a gentle nudge.

Jack fell back, rolled, and tumbled down the mountainside, snapping his neck. So weakened and robbed of oxygen over the months, he couldn’t catch himself, or even holler for help.

The End

And the moral of this far-fetched fictional tale?

That’s for you to decide.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, events, and incidents are the products of my defiant imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, names, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental, I swear it’s true.


The featured image is a composite I made of images from these artists on Pixabay:
Jack and Jill by lizdunbar
Mountain scape by openclipart-vectors
Mask by dapple-designers

This work by Peter Schreiner is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0