Thursday, January 11, 2007

Coming to your hometown before too long...

Have you embraced the Beast?

He never thought he'd be glad to see tanks rolling down Main Street.

But after masked gunmen with machine guns and grenades killed the mayor and half the city council, he decided maybe martial law wasn't so bad.

The regional authority said it was the foreign fighters but the rumor spread quickly through town that the gunmen spoke only awkward, oddly accented pidgin Spanish among themselves and several times lapsed into what sounded like American English, recognizable even in the chaos of death and destruction.

But there was no knowing. The police had mostly either been killed or had deserted.

When the tanks rolled into town, it was a relief -- even if a lot of folks suspected it was the regional authority behind the attacks, anyway.

Six months later and the regional authority had been commandeering private homes to bivouac troops -- or extracting exorbitant "resettlement avoidance fees" from those who could come up with the money. The schools hadn't opened in five months. There was only electricity 4 hours a day most days.

Since the water plant had been bombed, citizens were dependent on regional authority water trucks -- and if you wanted to make sure your four hour wait for water was fruitful, you had to cough up bribes to assure yourself a place in the front of the queue.

Bribes were the rule. And when there was no money or no electronics or no furniture, then people sold what they could; it was a desperate, clawing marketplace of desperation and doomsday carnality.

He found himself obsessing these days on how it all started. Sometimes it felt like it must have been this way for generations -- but he remembered the crisp winter day little more than a decade earlier, the abortion of an election and the installation of the loser as president.

He hadn't thought it was such a big deal at the time -- after all, he'd voted for the appointed president along with something considerably less than half the voters. Still, it was close, he had told himself. Someone had to do something.

But , now, every time he traced it all back... that's where everything seemed to start -- like the first mortal error, the first offense against the gods in some epic tragedy.


Not, you know, to put too fine a point on it (or perhaps too ham-fisted a fist)... but this song below is dedicated to the appointed president -- who I --unlike the protagonist in the vignette above, did not vote for:

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December 13, 2005 version
February 15, 2006 version

Have You Embraced the Beast?

Have you embraced the beast?
I see the mark is on your face
Have you embraced the beast?
Are you a slave of greed and hate?

Have you embraced the beast?
Do you serve the war machine?
Have you embraced the beast?
Did you trade in your soul on (for) the finer things?

Have you embraced the beast?
Do your taxes buy bullets for fascist death squads?
Have you embraced the beast?
They'll be coming to your hometown before too long . . .

Have you embraced the beast?
I see the mark is on your face
Have you embraced the beast?
Are you a slave of greed and hate?

Have you embraced the beast?

Copyright 1984, TK Major

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