Saturday, October 03, 2009

Dancing barefoot in the park

You were standing near the rail at the edge of the pit, your braided hair brown under the sun, wearing bare feet and a pair of cargo pants and a white t-shirt that bared your arms to the sun. You were in your early twenties, young, full of life, full of energy, dancing to the music feeling free. Your happy face, cheeks sunburned, alternated staring at the stage and closed eyes like an orgasm of music had overwhelmed you. As you danced to the music your braids jumped up and down as if alive. And you were free. For a time.

And afterwards... ah yes, afterwards. You went back to the small flat that you share with four other people, eyes glowing with excitement, saying "Did you hear what I just heard?" to your roomies, then all of you draw straws to figure out who will sleep where tonight, who gets the bed, who gets the couch, who gets to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. You draw the short straw so you shove some anarchist screeds to the side to make a clear space, and sleep a sleep of contentment. Then tomorrow, you will go to work at the organic coffee house where you make minimum wage but, the owner says, it's all he can do because of the Seattle competition driving his prices down so far, and worry about what will be for supper because you ate the last of the food yesterday and you don't get paid until next Friday. You try to figure out who owes you, or whether there is a food bank that is giving out free food, or maybe you can scrape enough coins from behind the sofa to buy a few packages of ramen noodles. But you are free, you say to yourself. You're not a bought-and-sold slave to corporate America, you say to yourself. You are free.

And for a few hours, you were.

-- Badtux the Fiction Penguin


  1. I'm still that way (without the job, though).

    Victim of the first downsizing in defense-contracting America.

    Sun feels good.

    But how long?

    Thanks for your efforts!

    It's good to read/hear your thoughts in these psychotic economic times.


  2. Beautiful.
    You are nailing this thing, Bad Tux.

  3. Nailing what? I don't know. I look at where we are now, and while I can recognize what is going on, I don't know what could be the solution. I know what isn't -- neither Communism nor capitalism can solve the problems we face -- but what the solution is, I cannot fathom. In the nights sometimes I despair, believing that the human race is doomed by its own genetic heritage shared with the great apes which forever prohibits the sorts of communal solutions that could prevent disaster. Then I get up in the morning and go to work and put it out of mind, but a tiny voice whispers behind the scenes, and I cannot hear exactly what it says but I think it is saying "doom".

    Now I am tired, so I shall go to bed. Penguins can become intoxicated with fatigue much the same way that humans can become intoxicated with alcohol, and with much the same result as a messy drunk -- maudlin natterings in a bar-room full of strangers. Good night, people.

    - Badtux the Tired Penguin

  4. "Nailing what?"
    The fiction writing thing I was talking about. The scene and characters and plot limned in a few pungent sentences.
    Almost anybody can write. Ask them and they'll say they do! But few can write well. That is what I meant to compliment.
    As for figuring out the world's problems? I don't expect that of you or anyone else. Hard enough dealing with my own problems and railing at the wind with its news of more foolishness.

  5. Ah, so you recognized that staple of creative writing classes everywhere, "look at someone at a public event and imagine a life for them" :-). But there is method to the madness that I pursue, it is not a simple exercise but a search for something more. A few more sketches should serve my needs but so much to do, so little time...


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