Vive la Revolution
"All oppression creates a state of war. And this is no exception." - Simone de Beauvoir
It was early in the night. I was startled awake by the sound of booming thunder and pouring rain. A week had passed since Veia and I began the hobo life, and it had certainly been an experience. Flip. My eyes flipped open. We were lying on top of a blanket laid on concrete, trying to stay dry through the storm. Above us was the large awning of an old forgotten train station. The tracks were now in very poor condition and rarely used, if they were even used at all. The place felt unnaturally peaceful to me.
Veia had been woken up by the thunder too, and we groggily stood to our feet as a very strange looking visitor approached us. She emerged from the darkness and pulled back her large black hood, revealing her face. Her entire body was tattooed jet black and her eyes had been completely colored blood red. She had a silver septum piercing, dark metal spikes that were drilled into her cheekbones, and one inch golden gauges in her ears. Her short thin hair was just as dark as the rest of her body. She looked like she belonged in another world…was this a real person?
“Tristan and Veia, yes? I hoped you’d come. You’re right on time.” I was a little disturbed.
“How do you know our names?” I asked.
“I don’t disclose that kind of information, dear. My name is Astra. That is all we shall discuss about names. I’ve come to show you places in your mind that you didn’t know existed. I am like you in many ways, though noticeably different from you in others. I have already stood where we are standing tonight...I’ve been through this exact point in time once before. I knew that all of this was going to happen. This is my second time venturing through our encounter, but I am still unable to change the way it takes place. I can see what is coming but I can’t get out of its way.”
“That must be terribly frustrating.” Veia felt sympathy for her. “I’d hate to know what is coming.”
“If you’ve already experienced this before, you must know everything that will be said here tonight including this question. What is it that you’ve come here to tell us?” I was interested.
“I want to show you something.” She walked in between Veia and I, placing her hands over both of our eyes with her arms outstretched. When she removed her hands, light was everywhere! Our eyes took a moment to adjust. It was now the middle of the day and the sun was shining high in the sky.
People were walking to and fro all around us. There was a train here, and many in the crowd either rushed aboard or stepped out of it. It was certainly not the same century that it had been only seconds before. The men here sported top hats and fanciful pocket watches and the women wore large elaborate hats and long flowing dresses.
“It is the turn of the twentieth century, and some of the women here are unhappy.” I continued to watch the people around me and wondered how Astra knew where we were. I soon noticed a group of women trying in vain to fight off a policeman. He was attempting to arrest them for bearing signs stating WOMEN WILL VOTE.
“You stupid bitches!” The cop grabbed one of the women and forced her into handcuffs. “You stupid fuckin’ women will never have the right to vote! Get the damn idea out of your stupid heads! It is against the law! Why? Who knows?”
“Because of your patriarchal society!” Two of the women yelled back, cutting him off.
“That may be, but I don’t give a damn! I like it that way! They’re payin’ me to mow you bitches down, so I’m mowin’ you down. It’s plain and simple!” Soon this officer was joined by others. The women were beaten and bloodied with batons before being promptly ‘removed from the premises’.
“These women, these suffragettes, are now considered to be heroes by many. They were certainly not seen as such on this day. Who knew that they would be successful at changing their world? Sometimes yesterday’s villains become tomorrow’s heroes. It could happen that way for you two, too, if you’re steadfast in your resolve. What change do you wish to see?”
“I wish to see a land where all are free to experience existence as fully and diversely as they possibly can.” Veia’s answer was similar to what mine would have been.
“Then you must fight. You must hold your head up high no matter what they do to you, then the others will see. You’re not the only ones who are unhappy. There are many others. Many of them take psychiatric medications so that they can be content with serving their captors…with being ‘good citizens’.
They’re all so afraid. Fear is the greatest weapon of the powerful, you know. Do not be afraid, my friends, and your voice will echo far into the future. Remember this. It will carry you though your darkest hours. Now close your eyes once more.” Having been farther inspired to be inspirers by our newly found friend, we closed our eyes and waited eagerly.
“Good. Open them.” It was nighttime again and the three of us were alone once more. There was no train. We were back in the late Twenty-Teens. “When they come for you, they may hurt you. Do not let them convince you that you are wrong, for they aren’t even sure. They’re simply enforcing guesses and opinions, just like they were on the day they beat down those activists for women’s rights. The things they persecute you for today may bring you praise and respect in the future. Every idea has the potential to change as time goes on, but things could also stay the same. It all depends on the loudness of our voices.”
“What do you think we should be doing tonight?” I asked.
“Ah! I’ve volunteered you to host an event.” Oh god, what was the event going to be?
“Hooray! Let’s hear it, lady! I’m excited! I’m revved up! I’m ready to go! Let’s host a goddamn event! We’re going to usher in the future!” Veia was more than ready. Damn, she was beautiful. She was at her best, filled with passion. It was a wonderful thing to see. Right at that very moment I became absolutely sure that I was in love.
“You’ll be hosting a visionary venture, an artistic ascension, an expressive expedition!” This sounded fantasmic to me.
“When shall it begin?” Would it be tonight? “I’m a big fan of all of the things you’ve mentioned, except beating down women in the street just for standing up for themselves…”
“Me too!” Veia added.
“So you accept the hosting invitation?” Astra inquired as my vision, for some unknown reason, began to wobble and shaky-shift around. “Go now!”
We nodded our heads as she vanished completely. We had vanished too, hadn’t we? I wasn’t sure. Where had we gone? We had certainly gone to somewhere. We were standing in a parking garage a mile away from the old train station…at least it seemed to be a parking garage. Red, blue, green, yellow, orange and purple vibrant vibrating beams of light danced and played all around us. They crawled up and down along the floor, walls, and ceiling. The columns of the garage had become large barbershop poles and were spinning around zanily.
It then occurred to me that we were standing before an audience. There were thirteen of them in all. Thirteen! This was a good omen. Most of them were fellow streetwalkers. Angry college students, invigorated artists, and other people who had been beaten down were here as well. There was something special about these people. The things they lost had been taken from them and they wanted them back.
They simply wished for permission to live freely, but apparently that had been far too much to ask for. These people were products of society just as much as we were. I supposed that we should host an event instead of doing what we were doing at the moment, which was awkwardly staring at everyone in silence. It was time for the silence to be broken.
“Goodafternevening, imperfectionists,” I began. “You are gathered here tonight because you want to be free. You are here because you have realized that you are not! They beat us down to compel us to submit, but their actions only incite rebellion!
“As Mr. Henry David Thoreau first suggested: we do not wish to live what is not life. We will not practice resignation any longer! Democracy is not the last improvement possible in government. The best government is one that governs not at all! This is our dream. This is our goal. Pure freedom is on the horizon, but it is our responsibility to bring it into being. It will come only if we make it so.” The crowd began to cheer and Veia decided that it was time for her to speak as well.
“We are done sitting around planning and waiting for something to happen. It is time to act! It is time to do! Look around you, lads and lassies! You are not alone! Embrace your individuality! Indulge your creativity! No form of art shall be deemed unacceptable here. Stretch your consciousness to its furthest limits and live at every possible angle of perception! Satisfy the id! Fulfill your dreams and desires.” Everyone in the audience had become quite excited. This hosting adventure was off to a good start. It was time for me to let them loose.
“Let the night begin! The only item on the agenda tonight is to do as thou wilt! Let the doing commence!” Veia and I joined the group in colorfully and meaningfully graffitiing the walls of the parking garage. Our lucky thirteen painted elaborate swirling designs, exploding supernovas, spinning fairs and prancing chairs. What would my contribution be?
I began by drawing squiggly random ziggly-zags all over a section of the wall. At the edge of the squiggling I painted a man in a uniform who was power-washing the spirals away. Above this scene I wrote “Freedom has entered these halls, now it spreads along the walls…will you come again to wash it away? Will you call the destruction of self-expression ‘cleaning’?” I wondered what the wash-awayers would have to say about that, probably ‘poppycock!’ or some other dreary shit.
“Hoohoo!” Veia shouted and drifted back over to me. “A present from the lady Dee Gaggles!” Dee Gaggles? She handed me a little dropper that was filled about a third of the way with green food coloring. “Have some!” I squirted a bit of the food coloring into my mouth. “Hooray!” She took the dropper and went to offer it to the others.
It must have been more than just green food coloring. Either that or she had just really gone off the deep end and wanted all of our tongues to be green. That was possible. She and the thirteen soon departed. I thought that I had gone along with them, yet I was also still in the parking garage. A door appeared at the base of one of the spiraling barbershop pole-like columns. Of course I was going to walk through it.
I was suddenly with all of them again. We were in the park where Veia and I had been reunited on that memorable night, and there were over twenty others around us. The expressive expedition was beginning to grow. A crazy strung-out looking woman dawdled over to us. Her curly blonde hair, orange hoop piercings on each side of her lower lip, me-colored skin and long flowing clothes made her rather hard to forget. Veia seemed to know who she was.
“Ivan, this is Dee Gaggles. She’s an old friend of mine.”
“Hoodledoodle, woodleboodle?!” Ms. Gaggles screamed and stared at me while flailing her arms around in the air. “Hoodledoodle, woodleboodle!” What the hell? I was sure that my surprise was apparent. “Ooh, ookay then, soorry! I’m the lovely fairy who brings the water, my wretched father’s prodigal daughter…except for the fact that I’ll never be back to see him again. It’s time to retreat from this place, you two terribles! The cavalry is coming.” Shit. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but I knew we needed to start moving.
“Everybody, follow us! It’s time to go!” I gathered the Products of Society and Miss Gaggles led us away from the park. Blam! Blam! I heard some blams behind us after we had gone a couple of blocks. Someone was shooting at the two or three stragglers behind us. We fearfully increased our pace, zipping past A street, B street, C street and D street.
“We’re zoomin’ through Alphabet Land now, baby!” Dee shouted with excitement. I looked behind us and could see police in the park now barely in view. Jesus Christ.
“Just keep whirling, just keep twirling,” Shadowshade advised. As the night became dawn we arrived at a small shack. It was hidden in the middle of a grove inside the almost mini-forest, near the edge of the almost mini-metropolis. There were around twenty of us left, including Dee, Veia and I. We had evaded captivity for the time being.
“Welcome to my hoomble aboodle!” Dee greeted all of us. I was rather fond of this place. It was far more secluded than the park. Hopefully the ‘authorities’ wouldn’t come to take potshots at the innocents while we were here.
“Feel free to turn this place in revolution H.Q. if you’d like. I’ve been asking the spirits of chance to bring two like you here for quite some time. I’m fifty-three years old, you know. I’ve been waiting for a while.” Fifty-three? God damn, she must have been kidding. Gaggles looked no older than twenty-five.
“We’re hunted animals!” Veia screamed. “This is ridiculous!”
“But we’ve made it this far,” I reminded her. “Let’s not forget that.” We followed Dee inside her little one room fortress, laid down on the wooden floor and began to fall asleep.
“I just want to be me without being hunted,” she whispered softly. “We don’t come after them with guns, or sticks and stones and shit like that. Why do they do it to us?” A peppermint pattern appeared on the floor, then spun and danced all around the inside of the building.
“I’ll never know the answer to that. But we have each other. Now we have others too.”
“You’re not alone now, lovies!” Dee reminded me of Vera, probably because she seemed like an expert at living this kind of lifestyle and she had come to watch over the growing of our group. She was excited to fight alongside us in our battle for individuality and personal freedom. She’d be there in the morning to make sure we didn’t oversleep and keep the others waiting.
I felt almost at home again. Tomorrow would bring new troublesome trials, but we made it through the night. This was more than the poor stragglers back at the park could say. They weren’t at the park anymore. I didn’t want to think of where they might be.
“‘Til tomorrow.” Dee collapsed onto the floor and instantly began snoring. This was fantastically entertaining to me. She was definitely odd, but in a good way.
“‘Til tomorrow,” Veia and I replied, or maybe only thought…we were snoring along with her.