Saturday, July 16, 2011

Indivisible Chapter 16

Chapter 16
The crowds began assembling on the fields of ice at around Eleven AM.  They arrived by car pools and spilled out of busses into the snow and cold.  Trashcan fires were started but the man came around on horseback and had them snuffed out.  This made the freezing crowd angry but they nevertheless complied with the pointless orders.  They were being issued quite a few pointless orders by people in uniforms as of late and they learned that exhibiting even the slightest contempt of authority merely encouraged brutal retaliation.  The congregation chilled in their huddled masses for hours.

All of the ideological and demographic factions were represented by Two O’clock.  The Marxists, with their Che Guevera shirts and their red and black flags, mingled with faces obscured by red bandanas.  Their counterparts, the anarcho-libertarians with their tri-corner hats and their yellow rattlesnakes, barked through their megaphones (which were quickly snatched up by the man as well).  The two diametrically opposed ideologues merged together and shared a fleeting, fragile brotherhood of resistance…which was the only warmth they would experience on that tragic day.
Other factions appeared: the old and the young, the greenies, the gays, the potheads, and the unemployed dads with their unshaven faces.  Many, many middle-aged white men filled the park but there were also many college kids single mothers as well.  Blacks and Latinos and Asians had had enough, too.  The government that had promised them so much had delivered them so little.  They were beginning to realize that dealing with the government was not unlike dealing with the devil.  There were fundamentalists and not-so-fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews (no Zionists, however) and Buddhists and Muslims.  They had all amassed in Civic Center Park in front of the State Capitol building with its gold leaf peeling and flaking and blowing away from its dome like brittle autumn leaves in the wind.
They were cold and exhausted.  They were angry.  They were desperate.  They didn’t know what was going to happen.  The future ceased to have relevance.  They lived for the day, by the day, day to day, and all they knew was that they had to do something.  Enough was enough.
They weren’t going to accept any more of the ever-expanding list of increasingly vague regulations and laws.  They were done with the ration cards that bought nothing.  They were tired of the obnoxious searches and the omnipresent checkpoints.  They would not accept any more neighborhood snitch programs designed to ferret out the “evil hoarders” and people who left their lights on too late at night.  No more lines for toilet paper and moldy bread and bags of dried out chicken nuggets and the ‘disappearances’ of people they knew.
No more were they going to tolerate beltway bureaucrats shutting off local electricity after towns exceeded their congressionally determined allotment because a cold front moved in.  No more.  They were fed up with the scheduled brownouts and the gas prices doubling every four weeks and talk now of a draft and a Civilian Security Force and a Rebuild Americorps and a Homeland Youth Brigade.
They were really angry about how their retirement plans were confiscated under the Presidential ruse of creating so-called ‘guaranteed rates of return’.  Their life savings (unless you worked for the government) were confiscated and the trillions of dollars were used to bail out the DC oligarchs and keep the racket together for a little while longer.  Soon the ‘guaranteed rate of return’, touted by Ivy League progressives was gone…all gone in six months…gone in a poof of 200% annual inflation.
The smart ones who had bought hard assets didn’t escape either.  Even though they had the prudence and foresight to stash their savings in hard assets, congress raped them too with a “windfall profits tax” of 80% any sale.  “Everyone has to do their part”, it was announced.  In other words, “there is no escape.”
The people were tired of the lies.  The unemployment rate ‘officially’ peaked at 19% but everyone knew that was a fucking lie, too.  Lies.  It was all propaganda not any different than the Soviets used to spew.  Lies.  Lies.  Lies.  Perhaps they were the most tired of the lies.
They saw the beltway cronies getting away with all the loot and that enraged them.
“Kill the mother-fucking bankers!” Some howled.  “Kill the Wall Street thieves!”
The banksters had indeed ‘gamed’ the system by simply printing up a shitload of money and buying themselves a so-called “democracy”.  And under cover of ‘too big to fail’ and ‘for the sake of financial stability’ they enriched themselves by the calamity.  They put the gun to their own head and shouted, “bail us out or we’ll shoot.”  The big media talking idiots convinced everyone that we had to save the Wall Street banks in order to save ourselves as the fortunes of the Main Street serfs were tied to those of their banker overlords.
It’s the same old story.  Nothing ever changes.
The banks, of course, took the money and blew it on ponzi schemes and real estate boondoggles and bets innocuously called ‘swaps’ and ‘obligations’ and a mountain of worthless government debt.  And before the dollar dissolved into paper unworthy of wiping one’s ass, the bankers cashed it all out for oil and gold and Swiss francs.  The rats jumped the sinking ship leaving the Main Street chumps behind to rearrange the deck chairs.  The populist anger was building into one ferocious gale.
“Kill the fucking politicians!  Kill them all!”
The rage of the welfare serfs had finally infected the working and middle classes.  Once independent and self-sufficient, now their lives too were regimented, surveilled, and increasingly dependant upon Big Brother beneficence.  They were being squeezed for protection by local government Mafioso, terrorized by roaming thugs and ignored by the police who spent all their time just trying to devise schemes to squeeze every last droplet of wealth from the dwindling producer class.  The latest racket was newly-devised door-to-door tax collecting called “inspections”.  They also ramped up efforts at ‘taxation by citation’ citing people for the most inconsequential infractions.
The government at first tried to deflect the furor by pointing the finger at the ‘evil price-gougers’.  But the government soon learned that whenever they instituted reformative price controls, the store shelves were instantaneously swept bare of the new bargain-priced goods.  Shuttered stores paid no taxes so the government stopped demonizing the shopkeepers.
They tried to blame the Chinese, but after several months it was clear that the Chinese selloff was long removed from the crisis that continued to deepen every day.
So the government took control of the television, arguing that the government ‘owned’ the airwaves, anyway.  They put on their propaganda mouthpieces to tell the people that everything was going to be okay and was getting better.  Just one more round of ten trillion dollar stimulus and bailouts and everything would be fixed.  They censored the internet in the interests of ‘national security’ and ‘fighting terror’ and they implemented Martial Law.
Perhaps a lower life form than even the loathsome civil servant was that pernicious vermin of complicit citizenry that would always pontificate that, “if you people would just cooperate with the government and give them a chance they’ll be able fix everything.”  Suffice it to say, none of those ‘cattle-car ready’ citizens were in attendance at the big nullification rally in Civic Center Park that day.
The crowd grew and aside from the angry ventings of “kill the mother-fuckers”, it was a generally peaceful affair.  Some fifty thousand people braved the snow and cold by Four PM.  The media, however, did not come.  Not even the local crews showed up.  It was joked that their conspicuous absence was a function of it being a busy news day.  There must have been a great deal of “upswings in consumer confidence” and “rising manufacturing sentiments” to distract them.  Certainly such positive items were more newsworthy than a spontaneous gathering of fifty thousand people.
The absent media’s place was taken up by the Domestic Security Force.  They came in on Speer Boulevard exiting off Interstate 25, pausing briefly before the viaduct that spanned the steamy, sewage-warmed South Platte River.  A gateway of two great cauldrons marked the passageway into downtown.  Rollins attempted to set them ablaze with diesel fuel so as to accentuate their triumph but he was rebuffed by Captain Rick.
The people watched in a stupor as the mechanized army crossed the shallow river and invaded the Queen City of the Plains.  The column turned east onto Colfax Avenue, passing the Mint and the City and County building, forming a line along between Bannock and Lincoln Street which lay north of the park.
Rollins and Marzan were in the same Humvee, again.  Rollins fingered his skull ring in nervous anticipation and Marzan looked green trying not to vomit.
“What is wrong with you, dude?” Rollins asked him as Marzan rolled down the window and puked again down the side of the freshly urbanized camouflage of door.  “Why don’t you go see the doctor or something?”
“Just shut the hell up and drive,” Marzan barked, spitting out the last of the bile.
The Denver Mounted Police took up position to the south of the park along 14th Avenue.  The plan of the Army-Police coalition was simply to split the crowd in two along Broadway and then converge like a vice upon the middle, arresting them by hundreds as they squeezed out the eastern and western ends.  Once arrested, they could be quickly driven like goats over to the Convention Center for processing and delousing and then packed into twenty 53-foot semi-trailers which were parked at the nearby commuter campus.  From there, they could be hauled off to “wherever” for indefinite detention as Docoms typically were.
The crowd saw all of it coming.  They knew what was in store but this merely emboldened them.  They weren’t going anywhere, quietly.  By six PM there were over a hundred thousand.  The roads to downtown were blocked off by barricades and tanks.  Video messages were flying out to the world via cell phone.  Things were getting embarrassingly out of hand in the minds of the state bureaucrats who yearned for DC validation.
The army will back down, the protestors thought.  They won’t attack peaceful Americans.  The wind died and the skies cleared as night fell.  It even warmed a little as the half dozen or so stars that were visible through the acetylene din popped into view.  The protestors took it as a good omen.  They certainly won’t attack peaceful Americans, they reassured themselves.  They won’t answer voices with bullets.
At Ten PM, the Humvee loudspeakers began to bark orders at the crowd.  Some in the crowd mocked them with one-finger salutes and exposed backsides but the crowd was non-combative.  Candles were passed around amongst them.  Women sat in the ice in mufflers holding their feeble candles.  Men with grim faces locked their arms together.  The black horsemen of the police were getting antsy.  The soldiers, still dressed in their desert camouflage which clashed with the gray hues of their war machines, awaited their orders.
At 11:59 PM, interim Governor Norton, the party apparatchik and DC wannabe who was watching the entire event on military television, called the President and asked what she should do.
Thirty seconds later she hung up and issued the order.
Thirty seconds after that the tear gas canisters were launched.
But the crowd did not budge.
The sound-blasters fired their ear-piercing wails.
But the crowd just locked their arms tighter and covered their ears.
The Governor called her DC master again.  She hung up again.  In her nasally voice she issued the final command.
“Disperse them!”
The Humvees roared to life.  The black horsemen began to advance.  The gunners aimed their guns.  The unarmed throng bowed and bent and the chains of locked arms started to break apart but very few fled.
Rollins drove his Humvee up onto the grass.  Just ahead of him, in the beams of his headlamps, stood a solitary figure— an unarmed man.  A man who was a father and a brother and a son.  He hurled no insults towards Rollins.  He just stood there facing the armored war machine with the .50 caliber machine gun on the turret.  His arms were at his sides.  He felt paralyzing fear and it took all of his courage to stand his ground before the roaring war machine.
Rollins-the-Brave glared back at the unarmed man from behind his bullet proof windshield.  Rollins switched on the interior light so that the man might see him.  Their eyes saw into each other’s soul.  Rollins saw just a thing who was plotting and against him.  He saw a thing not wanting to obey orders.  And he saw a man who was several orders of magnitude more courageous than him.  Rollins hated him now and now he was going to teach him some respect.  He revved the engine.  The man did not move.  Rollins let loose the air horn.  The man remained still, unthreatening, lost in a vision of his young son, wanting only to go home and wake him and hold him and tousle his hair once more.  But he had to do this.  He had to be here this day.  He had to stand his ground this time.  It was the time to resist if for no one else than for his own young son.
Rollins had other ideas.
He jammed on the gas and ran him down with such force that the Humvee bounced into the air as its wheels skidded over the man’s mangled body.  Rollins let out an orgasmic scream as the Humvee slid to a stop in the grass.
Michael Rollins: God of Thunder and Rock and Roll.
Marzan heaved violently but nothing but air came out.  He felt like he might die.
“Did you see that!” Rollins exclaimed.
“Let me out of here!” Marzan ordered.
“Did you see that, Jimmy?  Holy shit, did you see that?”
“Let me out of here!”
Marzan took out his pistol and stuck the barrel into Rollin’s temple.  He did not know why he did that.  He did not know why he didn’t pull the trigger, either.
“Okay, okay, chill out, dude,” Rollins implored.  “Go check him out.  Maybe he’s okay.”
Marzan leaned in close to Rollins’ ear so that the barrel of the pistol touched them both.  He pressed his lips into Rollin’s ear and whispered, “If I ever see you again, I will kill you.  Do you understand?”
“What the hell is wrong with you, man?”
“Listen very closely,” Marzan continued, pressing the barrel deeper into Rollin’s temple.  “You and I…we are both definitely going to hell when we die.  And if I ever see you alive again on this mortal coil, I will send you there myself.”
Jimmy Marzan made his choice at that moment and the razor wire had instantly ceased to cut him…and in his moment of perfect clarity, Jimmy Marzan hopped out of the Humvee and disappeared into the screaming darkness.

Chapter 15           Chapter 17 will be available Sunday

Indivisible can be purchased here from Amazon: