Sunflower Skins

July 4, 2010

Sketches, Experiment 11: Picking Off Thugs

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , — Sunflower Skins @ 2:18 am

PICKING OFF THUGS

This isn’t what they look like anymore.

They wear black and have shields and nightsticks. They come at you like a wall. They aren’t protecting you; you are the enemy.

Gauge my distance. He is in the open street—the old wooden tabletop—and has his back to the prisoner. The protestor. She is far away, hazy. We’ll get to her in a few minutes. Systematic terror first. I could take him down in a single shot, rubber bullets flying. He looks armed, but he isn’t. Even though he stands there, green and innocent—chanting, singing, smiling at pedestrians—I could take away every right he has. Within reason, of course. But this is without reason at all.

A senseless act repeated over and over throughout the days, a continual stamping of the foot, insisting, “There is no problem here. There is no reason for an inquiry.”

But I’ve got you in the eye of my lens, I’ve got you pinned. You have nowhere to go but where I tell you, and I’m not going to tell you anything. Just move. Stumble back across the tarmac, keep your gun or your camera or your cell phone steady, disbelieving the scene you are seeing. The place is the intersection—the park—the table. The space is closing in. Cries go unanswered, seemingly unheard as stone faces march forward. Their adrenaline is too high. They must love this. They won’t hear you.

If people are asking for an inquiry, that itself is a query and should remind you of the service you swore to uphold. There is something seriously wrong with picking off civilians as thugs. If you accept this, get out of our office.

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