Sunday, October 16, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday (Cycle 53) Over Playing Your Hand

Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”  Romans 12:20

Having a front row seat to the second burning of the great city of Atlanta was enough to send a chill down the spine of David Walker as he watched the destruction from the safety of his personal bunker miles away from the actual battle. The bunker being buried deep inside a hill on his estate  he both relished the warm feeling of security it provided and marveled at the heavily camouflaged observation deck mounted on the southern side that allowed him to watch the ongoing obliteration of the beautiful city.

The big difference this time was that the invaders were not Union forces from the north but troops from the Chinese Army pushing up from the Gulf Coast after pulling off the largest amphibious landing in the history of armed human conflict. In the back of his mind, thoughts of hatred for the people of Cuba for allowing their island to be used as the staging point for the invasion radiated through his body causing his hand to shake enough to spill the cup of Earl Grey tea he was sipping. Even though he was a Prime Citizen of the Second American Republic allowing him greater access to rationed items such as the tea, David steadied his hand and carefully lowered the expensive porcelain cup to his patio table.

Inside the bunker, computer screens displayed, government approved, data showing the front lines stretching from coastal South Carolina all the way to eastern Texas with a second front on the west coast still confined to coastal California and Oregon. Blinking lines on the screens showed refugee routes broken down in different colors for the levels of American citizenship.

Even with the obviously deteriorating situation with the enemy pushing deeper into American territory everyday David took solace in that the Great Leader up in Washington would set aside part of his valuable time each day to broadcast assurances that final victory would belong to the glorious American people. Being a Prime, David also felt compelled to show the proper level faith in the soldiers fighting the battles to save the nation even though the army ranks were largely made up of worker and underdeveloped citizen classes.

“Please sir, can you help us!” A voice cried out without any warning scaring David to the point he dropped to the floor of his deck.

Taking cover from behind a railing David looked further down the hill from his camouflaged position seeing an adult woman carrying a toddler and a boy in his late teens tagging close behind her. They were walking along an old game trail that he knew several miles back came very close to the main road. While watching the three people approach David knew from their cheap clothes and desperate looks they were at best Working class citizens. He silently cursed the construction company that built his shelter for not fully concealing his deck from any trespassers coming from that direction, it was a huge violation of his rights as a Prime.

“You can’t be here,” David called out after getting up from the floor, “this is private property and if you are refugees there are approved routes for you to travel. You need to turn around and go back from where you came, I have a right to defend myself from trespassers.”

“Please sir,” the woman began again after coming to a stop and almost dropping her small child, “the Chinese have overrun those routes, we only barely avoided being captured after abandoning our car and running into the woods. Please my children are hungry and tired, and we are citizens in good standing with the government with my husband and their father fighting in Texas.”

David eyed the trio carefully taking their gauge as Americans the best he could. The woman and young child did indeed seem exhausted but the teenager looked back at him in barely concealed contempt. Realizing that there were rules even requiring Prime citizens to assist American of any class, as long as they were loyal, David was forced to bring them inside his bunker. As he waved them forward, he mentally calculated the amount of food they would probably consume over the course of several weeks. His one hope was that they would be required to reimburse him, with interest, for the cost of their stay once the national emergency was over.

As David watched the three slowly walk up the side of the hill the thought of actually leaving his safe perch and helping the tired woman by carrying the toddler for her never once crossed his mind. He was a man of power and prestige, someone who had created jobs in the great American Renaissance movement following the final collapse of the decadent First Republic, they should be grateful that he was giving them safe harbor at great cost to himself.

For a brief moment, heactually felt magnanimous with such kindness and humanity flowing from him. But the sudden sound of screeching from above and the explosion that followed soon after interrupted his thoughts.

Looking up David saw a flaming American jet spiraling towards his hidden deck. A Chinese fighter in pursuit was still firing tracers rounds into the damaged craft. As the final rounds impacted the American jet it exploded into a brilliant fireball two hundred above knocking everyone to the ground. As David’s consciousness slipped away, he was at least partially satisfied with the idea that he would not be forced to provide sanctuary to the woman and her children.


Much to his surprise David awoke to find himself lying in what was obviously a cot in some sort of medical ward. Disorientation and the mass of bandages wrapped around his head made comprehending the words spoken by those around him impossible. With great effort, David lifted his head throwing his vision in and out of focus to the point he really did not know if what he was seeing was real or some sort of hallucination. Seeing the blur of a man in what looked to be a white medical coat march by the foot of his cot, David raised his arm in an attempt to get his attention and was rewarded with the person coming to his side.

“Hi,” the man said in English while punching up data on a computer tablet attached to the cot, “I’m Doctor Ling of the Chinese Army Medical Corp and I'm the senior physician in this ward. One of our scout units found you, a woman, and her two children while inspecting the wreckage of a crashed American fighter. The mother and older child survived while the younger one did not.”

Enraged that one of the hated invaders was so close to him David ignored what the doctor said while doing his best to sit up preparing to say the words the Great Leader had instructed all Prime citizens to say if captured. “As a duly commissioned Prime citizen of the Second American Republic I formally demand your forces leave American territory and begin to pay reparations to the government of the Second Republic.”

Much to David’s surprise the Chinese doctor began laughing, pulled out a box from underneath his cot, and sat down on it looking at him in the most pitiful manner. “May I ask what earned you your Prime Citizenship? Are you a banker, corporate executive, or a figure in the ruling political party? Ling asked while checking the IV running into David’s arm.

Unsettled by the doctor’s almost friendly demeanor David answered matter-of-factly, “I am an investment banker.”

“Listen sir,” Doctor Ling began after sighing deeply. “You need to understand some basic facts. For decades your country played roughshod with the rest of the world acting like a petulant child when it did not get its way. Your repression only worked because no one had the ability to stop you. But the situation had greatly changed by the time your country brutally invaded Mexico and Canada to overthrow duly elected democratic governments. The rest of the world finally had the will and ability to act. What puzzles me was how the country that once championed democratic rights for the rest of the world devolved into a plutocracy controlled by a bizarre corporate aristocracy.”

“I’ll have your know,” David said enraged, “that the Second American Republic is the greatest and freest country God ever saw fit to grace this planet and free market capitalism made it that way. Your words mean nothing to me.”

“Fine,” Doctor Ling said clearly disgusted, “your army’s lines have collapsed again and this hospital will be moving northward in a few days. Seems many of your Working and Underdeveloped citizen classes doing all the fighting just do not care for the idea of dying for the Primes and your Great Leader. By the time we move you will be able to ride in a regular bus, that will allow you to see what many of your fellow Americans think about your great Second Republic and us heathen invaders. By the way, unlike your government there’ll be no charge for the medical treatment you have received or the food we gave you.”

Days later tears of despair rolled down David Walker’s eyes as he saw thousands of his fellow Americans greet the Chinese army convoy as liberators as it drove northward through town after town bringing an end to his world. In the back of the bus he heard cries of joy and happiness coming from the mother and her teenager son who just weeks before had begged him for help. For them a whole new world of hope and possibilities was being born.

(Author’s comment: In recent weeks a truly grassroots movement, Occupy Wall Street, has developed with common people protesting the blatant criminal behavior by corporations, bankers, and their political sycophants. The vast wealth the Wall Street “One Percent” controls has come at the expense of the middle and working class resulting in deteriorating social conditions here in America. Far from embracing this Occupy movement many in the business and political classes have made it a point to question the protesters intelligence and motives. The most shocking is how several of those business pundits (assholes) have stated that to be anti-capitalist is to be anti-American. Excuse the hell out of me but unlike many I have actually read The Constitution of the United States and some bright boy or girl in love with money will have to explain to me where "Capitalism" is enshrined in that document. 

While I am liberal I have honestly tried my best to keep some balance to my political viewpoint figuring that no ideology has all the answers. However, if the business classes want to define anyone who questions their omnipotent knowledge and religion of unrestrained capitalism as “anti-American” I will have to state for the record that I accept that title. I seriously doubt I have any more conservative readers at my humble blog but if my declared Anti-American stance offends you please feel free to kiss my pale, hairy ass. Just understand that one day you will have to pay the price for putting money and power above your humanity.)


Pixel Peeper said...

Loved this! It's just the right mix of truth and imagination that it would make a wonderful movie script.

Windsmoke. said...

The only way to bring these greedy dishonest corporations, bankers and political sycophants into line is to hit them where it hurts and that is the hip pocket. Confiscate all their obscence wealth they've gained on the backs of the little people struggling to make ends meet and spread their obscence wealth around as punishment for their criminal behaviour :-).

Beach Bum said...

Pixel: Recent comments by several CNBC pundits highly ticked me off. They equated being anti-capitalist with being anti-American, out of all the verbal offal spewed by both the left and the right that is a place they should not go.

I have no problem with anyone making a buck or two but I have no love for what currently passes as free market capitalism. It has become its own religion.

Windsmoke: I am all for that!

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

not been round in long time. Indian time. no less well meant. your fiction is an oasis these days, I liked it, held into it and found light to shine further for collecting the story... IOW, thanks Beach. a 30 day marker for the OWS folk. I've been doing a boycott of the MSM broadcasting everydangday over at HBM. Stop by when you can. btw, I agree most heartily with your political conclusions dude. for the 1st time since maybe the 40's... on SAT the world was inspired by Americans. They have been doing it on their own here and there, over there, yet it would seem that the roar of 1250 cities across America stuns the world into collection protest. It's getting exciting BB. Or do I just dare to dream it? LOL

Randal Graves said...

Are you saying that money isn't a gas?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

The great irony here is that the Chinese have in many ways become the "bankers" (the fact that they currently hold so much of our debt, manipulate the currency, etc.).

Beach Bum said...

Gwen: I tend to be a little more compromising with right-wingers than most liberals but the comments made by the CNBC assholes, Herman Cain, and several others questioning the patriotism of the Occupy movement really pissed me off.

I do my best to catch the "Here Be Monsters" radio show but between the kids and needing to sleep for my night shift it hard sometimes.

As the Occupy movement they have come a long way, so much some of the assholes that made fun of them are now backing off, but I really wish the could get a coherent message going.

Randal: LOL!!!
Yeah, but my main thrust was to imagine a time when all those Wall Street types are ruined and destroyed.

Will: Yes, the Chinese do play funny games with their currency but our politicans and their bosses on Wall Street are essentially traitors selling out the United States by siding with the Chinese so they can continue making profits under the name of "global free trade."

I am not against making profits but I refuse to accept the idea that it okay to sell your soul or humanity for money.

Like I have said many times, the number one enemy of the United States is not some evil terrorist but the AMERICAN bankers and corporate types whose religion is capitalism. The Occupy movement, I hope, is the first of a series of organized resistance to that religion.

In a way the Wall Streets types would be wise to come to some sort of compromise, things are getting weird out here amongst the 99% and its only going to get worse for everyone.

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Nance said...

"What puzzles me was how the country that once championed democratic rights for the rest of the world devolved into a plutocracy controlled by a bizarre corporate aristocracy.”

Wowza, Bum, this is powerful stuff! In the first widely reported week of the movement, some of my blog friends favored caution, weren't ready to embrace this protest. I would say that this Administration and all the thinking people I follow really gave the bipartisan effort an above-and-beyond try. That stance may turn out to be a thoroughly uncomfortable and frustrated period of fence-sitting.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Beach: check it out...

There is a OWS 'working group'. Still, as world wide movements go... fuckin' A! You can catch me and some of the other RT7 writers on HBM everyday now... it's a MSM boycott and we are anchoring our little light of 'citizen media'. Weekdays at 4 and weekends same old time. STretching me... I do most of it. Like to MC for a day dude? MIC CHECK! ta BB. You do good stuff here.

Akelamalu said...

Very insightful Beach.

Thanks for your kind words re my Dad, I really appreciate them. x

Ranch Chimp said...

This is another one that I read over the last couple dayz but didnt get to comment at the moment, but good read Bum and Thanx!

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

Just understand that one day you will have to pay the price for putting money and power above your humanity. I adore you for this post BB!!! It is so fucking right-on, I don't know where to begin!

Please call in tomorrow if you can, to Gwen's radio show as I am hosting it and the topic is of course OWS and I plan on speaking to the rightwing nutters that are bad=mouthing it..among other OWS topics.

Oh..and thank you for stopping by my blog as it gave me the chance to update my blogroll on the new blog..I don't have all my beloved fav spots on it yet..of which your blog is one. ;-)

Truth 101 said...

Forgive my multiple visits but I like to read good stuff at least twice as my learning curve isn;t as fast as my wife's or daughter's.

Good stuff BB.

John McElveen said...

Great gut reaction to pundit BS!!!!!

High Five!


He who has the most toys- may have the most toys-But probably NO ONE to play with Him with them!

He definitely doesn't necessarily WIN!


Glen said...

you continue to impress me. keep doing it, because I quite like being impressed.

If you are anti-American then I'm anti-Dominos.

Sue H said...

Excellent, as always, BB! :-)

It is no different over this side of the 'pond' either! It will all end in revolution and/or war - I sense that the financial controllers of the western world have created something akin to a meringue: looks impressive but has little substance! Let's hope we don't all get hit by the shrapnel when it finally implodes!

Beach Bum said...

Nance: I'm not exactly comfortable with how loose the Occupy movement is but right now I am not going to look a gifted horse in the mouth.

It still has several hurdles it has to get over, one of them being approaching winter. Plus, you can expect an extremely organized counter-punch coming from the right which I believe might be a renewed call for Tea baggers to crawl from under their rocks.

Gwen: Like to MC for a day dude?

I wish, I have a slight speech impediment which would make that problematic.

Akelamalu: Thank you, once again I am so sorry for you loss. Come back to blogging soon.

Ranch: Thanks!

Dusty: I am so sorry but I missed HBM again. With kids and my job its hard for me to find time when I can be left alone.

Truth 101: No problem, like I mentioned above I am rarely left alone. I have to read a post two or three times sometimes.

John: Thanks Buddy!

Glen: I have real problems with the path my country has been taking for the last couple of decades. Seriously, I figure I will have to live elsewhere eventually because watching the American news and listening to people it like seeing someone suffer from dementia.

Sue H: Absolutely! The bankers and corporate types are playing games with money for the benefit of no one but themselves.

lime said...

well, i refuse to call myself either a conservative or a liberal so i think i'm ok to be here ;)

excellent story with a perspective that really asks the reader to consider some deep questions. really well done.

love the comment of how capitalism is not enshrined in the constitution but for a moment let's pretend it is (not because i think it should be but just for the sake of argument in order to adequately answer those banging that drum). what is going on these days is not capitalism. all the risk is at the expense of the public and all the benefit is reaped by corporations. that ain't capitalism. any high school level economics class ought to clarify that much.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

A very timely story... frightening as hell, because it is entirely in the realm of possibility.

As usual, Beach, your writing is spot on... powerful and impressive.

Smashing read, my friend!

Flannery Alden said...

I love the concept of "Corporate Aristocracy." Well...I don't love it. I love what it communicates. It certainly exists now, though those that belong to it would likely deny it.

Well done!