The futility of violence

irevolution 2016Happenings around the world, including the attempted assassination of U.S. congressmen at a baseball practice this week, always remind me of the opening lines of my little anti-war anarchist novel The Imaginary Revolution, which I was merrily writing along five summers ago now.

This was the first fragment I wrote on the ImagRev blog, and it never got dislodged as the book’s introduction:

I always thought war was stupid.

I mean, think about it. You and your adversary disagree about something, and the solution is to send your citizens to fight each other to the death?

You’re never going to succeed in killing each and every one of your adversary’s citizens, so even if you win, there are thousands of people who still believe in whatever it was you were trying to obliterate.

You can’t kill an idea.

The book is told in the first person by the main character, Ray Kaliber, but on this point (among a few others) the author and his character are in complete agreement.

scene 7

scene 7

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)(scene 3)(scene 4)(scene 5)(scene 6)

The first thing I heard that damaged my calm was the sound of two doors slamming. The sheriff had help with him.

Up until when I opened the door to the cabin, I half expected the big, four-armed, whatever-it-was to be standing behind him, electric ray gun at the ready.

But it was just Maynard, the chief deputy, looking stern, a step behind Sheriff Belloc like he always was.

“Hey, Francis,” I said to the sheriff. He hates being called Francis. “Hey, Maynard. What are you guys doing out here this early?” I figured it wasn’t 5 yet, by the light or general lack thereof.

“Mind if we come in, Hank?” Continue reading scene 7

Scene 5

dreamstime_s_29452427 scene 5
Photo © Erikamit | Dreamstime.com

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)(scene 3)(scene 4)

We piled into the truck, Stella, Buzz and me. We all had black on – Buzz and I with our black floppy T-shirts and black jeans and black gloves. Like everything else about her, Stella’s outfit was efficient – the T-shirt fit just fine, and so did the jeans. I know I’ve been using the word too much, but she looked trim. The clothes fit her trimly, and her blond hair was tucked into the black baseball cap so that the only thing that would reflect light would be her face.

The strap for the 9 mm Luger at her ribs lay comfortably across the center of her chest, accentuating her trim – well, accentuating her trimness, let’s say.

She also had a hunting knife strapped to her belt.

“You came loaded for bear,” I said, looking at the gun and the blade when she walked up to the cabin.

“You didn’t,” she noted. “Never hurts to be prepared.”

“I’m more of a run and hider than a stand and fighter,” I said.

“What if you have no choice but to stand and fight?” she said with a glint in her eye that suggested maybe she’d faced such a choice more than once. Continue reading Scene 5

Scene 4

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(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)(scene 3)

She walked up to the cabin same as before, a week pretty much to the minute since she first appeared, not a word until we were face to face. The only difference was she walked up to the porch this time.

“Hi, Kathy,” I called, and she stopped dead in her tracks.

We looked at each other for a few seconds, calmly.

“I see you talked with Pete.” It was hard to make out her eyes under the baseball cap, so it was hard to tell what she was thinking. Continue reading Scene 4

scene 3

dreamstime_m_7005470 old pickup truck web
Old Pickup Truck Photo
© Typhoonski | Dreamstime.com

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)

The old truck rattled a lot. I probably should have taken better care of it when it was newer, so it wouldn’t rattle so much now. I suppose.

The important thing is I kept it running now – I know how to take care of it, and it gets me where I need to go. It’s old enough that it doesn’t have computers and GPS and all of the things that track where it is and where it’s been. Not that those things aren’t important – to me – I just don’t know whether they’re important enough to anyone else who’s minding their own business.

After awhile the rattles just fade into the background, and I don’t notice them unless I have a passenger who says, “Whoa! This truck rattles a lot!” or if the rattle changes. Change means something shifted and I should make sure I don’t need to shift that something back into place. Continue reading scene 3

Scene 2

My beautiful picture

(Our story thus far)

I figured I could trust her at least as far as I could throw her, and she was a trim thing, as I said, so I could probably throw her farther than a lot of folks if she were to let me close enough to throw.

Besides, she came with a recommendation from Pete Bratcher. Or, at least, she came with a name drop. I would have to check with him about that.

Pete and I go way back. Back to before there were cameras in every nook and cranny of civilization to surveil the guilty and the innocent alike. We would scope out the new cameras as they were being installed and figure out how to beat them. The train station was one of the first to be outfitted, so the tech was a little older, a little more primitive, a touch easier to beat. But just a touch. I’d still have to be careful. Continue reading Scene 2

Fleas, monkeys, and the box

fleas, monkeys and the box

Zig Ziglar told the story of how to train a flea. If you put a bunch of fleas in a glass jar with a lid on it, Zig said, the little critters will jump as high as they can, which usually involves banging against the lid.

Naturally banging against the lid is not a pleasant experience, so the fleas eventually will jump only as high as they can without slamming the ceiling. After a while you can remove the lid but the fleas will not escape the jar, because they have learned from experience not to jump as high as they can. Continue reading Fleas, monkeys, and the box