Microcosmic Conflict

[It seems as though the only time I write down a story anymore is after having just experienced a particularly memorable dream, such as the one I had this past night, after days of reading too much Frank Miller and Vladimir Nabokov. The actual scenario was pretty silly, but as I woke up I couldnít help but relish the campy, scene-chewing quotes that came to me.]

"It was an experiment, an experiment gone horribly wrong. I wasnít part of the beginning, but it must have been with the best, if not the noblest of intentions. The one thing I do know is that, in the aftermath, I was told never to mention it to anybody, and I went along with that. In hindsight, maybe that was wrong of me. Oh, God, I donít even know what to think or feel any more."

"I was there, I killed, and Iím not proud of it. Right now, though, I feel that if thereís anyone else Iíd like to kill, itís that son of a bitch who leaked it. No, I take that back: the one I really want to kill is whatever ingenious media bastard turned the leaks into a cash cow. At least I should get a piece of it."

"Just listen to this phrase from one of your more notorious columnists: 'It was a crucible that burned away the weaknesses of humanity, and as the dross and ash of vice and cowardice swirled away, the purest alloy of noble warrior remained.' I've never read Mein Kampf, mind you, and I have no intention to do so, but it certainly seems to me as though those words were combed as dingle-berries right from its basic fundament. My God, what a shipload: I saw with my own eyes that the most truly noble people, the bravest ones who refused to fight, who were the most visible, and strove the hardest to keep the peace, were the first ones to be blown away."

"There were two kinds of people who survived: those who did what had to be done and triumphed, and those who scurried off like vermin and hid in the darkness."

"When I noticed that people were carrying guns, that was when I got the hell out of there. Oddly enough, the scared shitless part didn't come until after I'd already escaped. At the time I was tranquil and logical, and in the back of my mind a voice was saying 'Someone is profiting from this.'"

"We were all brought together to work on a magnificent scientific project. Moreover, it was an idyllic Swiss setting, and I don't know about the others, but as for my gullible self I was enraptured that at last I was going to make a genuine contribution and at the same time receive due appreciation. Now, I just pray that someone doesn't merely transform this god-awful mess into some loathsome, trivial television series. I understand there's footage."

"It was racism that tore us apart, pure and simple. Oh yeah, you see those hippy-dip sci-fi shows, but they never washed for me, and I make absolutely no apologies whatsoever. The only place where integration works is in the military, and that's because: a) you're given no choice, b) you're given a common enemy, and c) the only way you survive is to become a competent family. It's a form of induced tribalism. No, I was never in the military, but let me tell you: at the compound, we were forming our own cliques right from the start. Can you blame us? This was supposedly an international effort, but as far as I'm concerned it was a recipe for disaster. Of course everyone spoke English, but who honestly would pass up the chance to spend time with your own people and speak your own language? I don't know how the shit finally flew, but when it did, well, I may never have been in the military, but from that point on I sure as hell was a soldier. Personally, I think the Arab contingent was responsible: they always had that defensive look about them. Or maybe they were from India."

"Some of us had guns, but we were never base aggressors. We were defending ourselves, and we were acting honorably. The one moment of which I'm actually proud was when a small group of the others surrendered to us, and instead of behaving as the others, we accepted them. I don't recall hearing any more shots after that. Perhaps by that time the lunatics had already killed each other off."

"Don't believe anyone who tells you it was a war, or that there were any soldiers involved. It was a period of puerile chaos and infantile regression, nothing more. I have no inkling as to the origin of the pressure, but the snap was palpable. It was the sort of circumstance that forms lynch mobs, and afterwards people blink, go back to their bourgeois tea parties, and hypocritically pretend that they were never a part of it."

"I remember the last shot I fired. There was this big tree, and some people huddled under it. This little kid, I swear just a preteen, was calmly and methodically shooting them in the head. I didn't think twice about wasting him."

"This sounds like a clichť, but sometimes by day I wonder if someone had slipped something into our water. At night, however, the demons return and answer 'No, actually you don't have any such excuse'."

January 1, 2011

The Circular File