The Heroic Ones

short stories collection - a compilation of my short stories.

Summary

Smith was nothing special; he had grown up in middle America in a comfortable middle income family, his parents rather tame--an old line Republican and a right-leaning Democrat. His formative years were spent building forts with his pals, exploring the streams nearby and wandering out into the woods, and learning from the small district that had the elementary, middle and high schools rolled into one large building. He loved those years, he reminisced constantly about them, longed to have them back, but that could not be.

Inspired by John Dos Passos's brilliant The 42nd Parallel, this short attempts to paint a picture of an ideal America.

Smith was nothing special; he had grown up in middle America in a comfortable middle income family, his parents rather tame--an old line Republican and a right-leaning Democrat. His formative years were spent building forts with his pals, exploring the streams nearby and wandering out into the woods, and learning from the small district that had the elementary, middle and high schools rolled into one large building. He loved those years, he reminisced constantly about them, longed to have them back, but that could not be. So he decided he would give his son a suitable environment, so that he could relish in the same joys. Thus, Smith relived his past through his son. As I said, Smith was nothing special and perhaps, that is what made him so great.

Judy grew up in the big city, the urban jungle, the concrete wasteland. They were, alas, blots on America proper. It did not treat her well, she was a classic case of abuse; her father beat her and only her. This, as you can imagine, left scars. She struggled in school, she could never concentrate and would break out in tears every so often upon remembering what had transpired. She was a social outcast, people thought she was a wee bit crazy and so they left her alone. But as she grew older, she received help, from people who had no need to. Several people organized a fund in their spare time, and raised money to get her treatment; the local psychiatrist got involved and offered his services for free. Judy recovered--for the most part--yet continued to struggle, but not due to laziness, she was working till she fell asleep from exhaustion. The greats forgot her, the geniuses in her grade flew by without a bead trickling down their brow. But they would not be great if it wasn’t for people like her, those who toiled and worked day and night--a bit hard, longer, better--all in the hopes that they could rise and climb one more rung of that falling ladder.

Krill knew he had to win, his portfolio was bigger, his CV longer, his smile brighter, his wife sexier, and yet, he had a nagging suspicion that he would lose. His suite was pressed, hair straightened, deodorant on--he was picturesque--yet his brow started to moisten. This Chinese man, he’s good, very good. But I’ll pull through, it’s our way. It could not be seen, but behind those smiles, those laughs was a sense of nervousness, of fear. These are our replacements, these cheap, mass produced people. He strode into the room and gave his speech; the Powerpoint slides an awe inspiring blend of pointedness and depth. He was the archetype, the hero, the legend; the textbook, the manuscript, the Bible; the craftsman, the master, the renaissance-man. And yet, in spite of all this, he failed. His life’s story would make Job’s tale look tame and yet, through all this, his knee hit the ground and his head sank. He was a Titan; they, Olympians.

He glanced out across the plains, stretching for as far as the eye could see, hills and valleys breaking up the land from time to time, small meadows and streams enticing the willing explorer. Trickling down, the brook supplied the small forest with nutrients; the soft trickling soothed the mind and parched the lips. A chipmunk scrabbled down the nearby tree, stopping and chittering from time to time, its puffy tail waving and its minuscule paws clawing at the air. The flowers were in full bloom--radiant yellows and somber blues--scents wafted through the air and mixed to produce a euphoria of smells that could nearly be tasted, and the sound of the wind rustling, all coalesced to produce a sense of bliss and calm. He sat down in the field and sighed, looking up into the midday sky, the brilliant blue contrasting with the lazy movement of the clouds shading him just enough to keep cool, but not cold. His face suddenly moistened and he smiled, his old pal was back. The saliva continue to lather his face and he got up to pet his companion, to which it proceeded to flop to the ground and roll around. As he scratched its belly he looked to the West and saw the sun start to fall behind the majestic peaks, casting rays across the landscape, and Jesus appeared to be born a million times over. Oh what did I do to deserve this, Mother Nature is to kind upon us Yankees.

Ha ha ha, the smoke blocked his view and the cacophony of sounds limited his ability to follow orders. Btzeeeerrrrrr, he gave a little jump as one of his buddies dived into a foxhole nearby. Ha ha, his chest burned and the lactic acid continued to slow him down. Ratta ratta ratta, his muscles constricted for a bit, and soon he was back on his way. “Go go go!” He looked around to see the origin of the command, as he did he heard a couple rounds go off to his left, “Hooah, let ‘em have it.” The dust continued to swirl, his boots sinking into the sand, the sun blazing through every so often to remind him it was there, waiting. If the bullets don’t get me…The station was up ahead, but it was soon particles in the air, the origin of the destruction unknown to him as he was lifted a couple feet into the air and hit the pavement, hard. Shapes floated in front and around him, he clawed at the air. Ha, achoo achoo, a red mist floated out in front of him. Haha, they think this is it! I am America, and America pulls through! He got up, laughing as his lunged ahead, tripping and hitting the pavement, a thunderous applause filled his head. Come on, come on, let’s do this! Mind over…He grabbed his chest and stood on one knee, inspecting the scene around him. The electronics were fried--so much for Full-spectrum--but he looked skyward, figured his location, then moved toward his target. Hacking and wheezing, he never made it. Whoosh, he heard it before he could respond and for the second time he felt weightless. Haha, what a great way to go out, at least…at least I tried. The ground around him shone and turned a darker shade, the dust swirled around him, consuming him and his head hit the ground. So much for invincibility…

-biafra
bahanonu [at] alum.mit.edu

other entires to explore:

©2006-2017 | biafra ahanonu | updated 12 december 2017
biafra ahanonu