LIBERATION

Jake James


No one knows what they’re about or where they’re from or why so many of them are out in our streets. Certainly we don’t know and neither does our government.


Do you know where they come from, we ask?


No, says our village council. No, says our mayor.


As the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to rise, hundreds of them suddenly appeared in our little town--many of whom could be seen wearing those idiotic MAGA hats and chanting “Give me Libility or Give Me Dearth!” an apparent bastardized reference and misquote of Patrick Henry’s encouraging Virginia plea to provide troops for the American Revolution--and took to the streets seemingly overnight to protest our Governor’s stay-at-home order put in place to curb the spread of the infections.  


Whoever they are, they’re getting crazier by the moment. They flipped over a bus, busted out all the windows at Pop Mumford’s drugstore, and firebombed the mayor’s re-election office all before the six o’clock news came on TV.


As the sun goes down on this most tumultuous of days, my wife screams, “Did you hear that? There’s somebody on our roof!” I race outside barefoot just in time to see the figure of one of the Magamaniacs edging toward our chimney.


Get off my roof! I shout.


He turns his face languorously toward mine, stares for a second or two, then rips a shingle from our roof and flings it at me. A split second later two more shingles fly in my direction missing my head by inches.


I crawl back into the house, grab a bottle of Maker’s Mark and drain the bottle.


Fortified by my liquid courage, I venture outside and confront one of the interlopers.


Excuse me, I said, but could you tell me why you’re smashing the hell out of Bob’s Mercedes with a tire iron?


Because I feel like it, he says, moving on to a mailbox.


                                                    *   *   *


What the protestors look like: almost to a man--including the women--they’re all carrying some sort of weapon, many have AR-15s or 30-30s, all have handguns, most carry misspelled signs with slogans like, “Don’t Tred on Me” and “Free the Sleaves.” Despite the threat of transmitting COVID-19 none of them wear masks, except a few radicals who are hell bent on burning down our village.


Each of us has a theory as to why the protesters came to our village. Some say it’s because we’re quaint, a throwback to an earlier time and to a much simpler time. Others say that it’s because our Governor has a summer home here. A few of us believe it’s because our village was built on the site of a former Choctaw indian burial ground.


Mrs. Sipple had a theory, too. It’s because of the aliens, she said. They came once before and now these people are here waiting for their mothership. The only way to get rid of them is to sacrifice a male and female virgin in the village square.


We turn and face one another, this sounds like a reasonable solution.


At our town meeting we discussed Mrs Sipple’s idea. It’s a good plan we say but one with a serious flaw: we have no virgins.


I climb onto the cupola and scream at the heavens, why us? Why us? Then I go home. When I enter the kitchen I see half a dozen protestors sitting around our overturned refrigerator and my wife dressed as a maid cooking them dinner at the stove.


We call on Pastor McMasters asking what we can do.


Have you tried seeing all this from their perspective? he says.


We tie him to a chair and drag him to the protestors.  He’s all yours, we say.


                                                    *   *   *


The protestors won’t leave.


My shop is one of the few businesses still operating. Five of them enter and state emphatically that they’re going to plunder and take whatever they want and then burn the building down.


I smile.


Any objections? they ask.


Feel free, I say. I’m insured.


All the better, they say.


They destroy everything I’ve built and then some.


You deserve this, they say. You have so much, now you’ll be just like us. Now thank us.Thank you, I say.

                                                    *   *   *


After they’ve gone I go home. This madness must end, I tell my wife. She nods, smiles and grabs my hand pulling me outside.


It’s quiet, there’s no sign of anyone, let alone the protestors.


We crumple to the grass and grin stupidly at one another; we rip off all our clothes. We begin to dance wildly as we start to pull out all our hair.


In times like these madness rules.



 Jake used to live and write in California. He doesn’t live there anymore.


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