Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Life During Wartime

"Don’t forget the real business of the war is buying and selling. The murdering and the violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals." ~ Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)

Northern Ireland, The Bogside, Londonderry ~ Don McCullin

We were fifty deep and a mile-long, funnelled down Colonel Lombard Boulevard, hemmed in on both sides by full-body control drones, when we got word that they were going to use a Thrasher on us.
Word had it that they were transporting it from their western depot where it had been kept on ice since the ‘66 insurgency.
We didn’t panic, we were connected, close-called, we had eyes on the roofs, we had voices in our heads. The march leaders crossed the railway bridge at a dead run then split left and right and we followed, a river of angry souls in a mechanised gauntlet; those of us at the rear starting fires with the debris of our protest in an almost certainly futile attempt to slow the progress of the machine, we lost a few there, gone in puffs of red vapour.
Some way down the left-hand split on the other side of the railway bridge, we filtered off into the adjacent rapeseed field, our presence dwindling to jostled yellow waves as we disappeared through the black hill horizon. We heard later that many didn’t make it through the night.

Three months later I’m in the hills with a group of mostly peaceful men who believe themselves to be the revolutionary army.
We have rifles and uniforms printed in Aurorae and financed by cryptos and ores accumulated before the fall. I’m not sure about the guns: thus far no trigger has been pulled in anger but we’ve come close, and always in the stupidest of situations- I dread the time to come when our integrity will be forced up against the reality of our struggle.
We enter the High Llama Market and, grinning widely, Garvey waves his empty sack at me as if to include me in his conspiracy, as if I’ll automatically cave in to his extortion, as I usually do. As usual I do; Garvey is not the brightest bulb in our little box but he’s a mad fucker in a fist fight and we all know he will be the one who will get it done when the time comes – whatever ‘it’ may be.
The air is spiced with cooking food, a sharp contrast to the blandness endured during the last 3 weeks of exile where just-add-water is the norm.
The vendor weighs my gold shavings to the milligram while holding my purchases in abeyance as I scan the crowd for eyes, trusting her to be honest, trusting by her face-tattoos that she is one-of-us. As for the rest, the establishment will always have enough to buy the services of a certain type of being.
Paranoia is a close companion; one I will never trust implicitly.

Tales for an attention deficit world

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