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Camping With Tom.

Started by Scribbly, August 13, 2011, 03:33:50 PM

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"Now Tom said "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me Mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
Or decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me."
-Bruce Springsteen 'Waiting on the Ghost of Tom Joad'

I always hated camping as a kid.

I couldn't see the attraction; go somewhere full of dirt and bugs, with only some thin material to protect you from the cold, sleep in an uncomfortable bag, and eat food out of a can for two weeks? No, thanks. I'd rather stay home; got my bricks and my double glazing and my xbox to keep the elements at bay.

Isn't it funny how things change? I'm not the only one. We laugh about it sometimes, who would have thought, us, turning away from that? Hey, we laugh a lot around that campfire. It helps keep us warm almost as much as the wood and paper. Well. At least cash still has some value. Seems ridiculous how hard we worked to try then to get a night's worth now.

I hated beans as a kid too, but the fire has made them hot and they taste better than I could have dreamed as they fill the gnawing hole in my gut. "You'll need to rest up." My companion says, "Setting off again in a few hours." I nod, distracted, and I'm asleep as soon as I get into the bag, uncomfortable or not.

And in sleep I dream. I dream that I'm back before the road, where the meals were fresh from the oven; I could spend lazy days wasting away in front of one electronic device or another. Isn't that the devil of it? You can turn it all away, but that yearning is still there. Feels so good to dull your senses with one poison or another, electronic or chemical, and slip into...

There's frantic shouting, I startle awake in time to see one masked officer slam his truncheon against the skull of my friend, who tumbles. It sounds, final, when he hits the ground. For a moment, the helmet against the moon, the weapon raised high the radio on the side... it looks almost like a great pair of mandibles, ready to come down. It isn't. But his foot does follow, as though by rote, to smash into his side. I get up to help, shouting myself, I don't know what, just anger, and shock.

There's more coming, the sound of those heavy boots they wear, stomp-stomp-stomping against the ground, some terrible monster crashing closer with every moment. A closing circle, a net, a web and we're stuck. Never been in a fight I won before, but what am I supposed to do? There's no compassion in those masks, no comprehension. We've made ourselves a threat.

I see a pickaxe on the ground, I grab it...

There's really only one way for this story to end.
I had an existential crisis and all I got was this stupid gender.




Hey, you should do that more often.
The world is a car and you're the crash test dummy.


Thanks guys  :D

I'm trying to stretch my 'fun writing' muscles a bit more. I write a lot of crap day in day out, and it is starting to drive me a bit nuts.
I had an existential crisis and all I got was this stupid gender.