Molon labe

Written in response to: Write about a character driving in the rain.... view prompt

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American Contemporary Crime

I could tell that it was starting to rain as I bounced around the truck bed with a cloth bag over my face and my hands tied behind my back. I could tell it was raining because I felt some drops hit my wrists while I struggled with the ties. Then, my suspicion of rain was confirmed when the bag began to get heavier as it dampened. The damp bag began to feel cool as the wind curved through the truck bed. I was thankful for this as I suddenly became aware of a terrible pain in the upper left part of my head. I remember someone had struck me. I think Beau (Bo) had struck me.

Beau was a strange kid. He was very timid for his size and he was trying very unsuccessfully to change up his persona in high school. I mean seriously reverse it. The kid wasn’t quite as big growing up and he was very quiet. You would have thought him sweet if you didn’t see the resentment in his eyes when other kids teased him. When Trump won the election in junior high, Beau began to take on this performative tough guy persona. Again, it wasn’t very successful so by high school he had this deranged sense of self as some sort of manly, racist jedi and he had two differently abled friends who backed him up. They’d make these dumbass videos where they’d set up cans and shoot them with BB guns to see who was most accurate or some shit. Beau would of course win every video even though most people agreed that he would just claim the victory and it was hard to really judge this dumbass shit anyway. 

Beau, being the ring leader, was driving the truck I assumed. I could tell he got nervous when the rain started because he slowed down considerably. I knew our town pretty well, so I was trying to picture which street we might be on. We were going straight or at least staying on the same road for some time, so I figured it was the main one in town. It was bumpy and I knew that they were doing construction on North so maybe we were around our school. I figured these morons were going to drive me around for a while and maybe tie me to a flagpole or something. 

Beau and his cronies had formed themselves a little make-pretend militia of sorts and their shooting competitions really heated up. Guys who don’t have power at some point early on in life begin to crave it deeply as they become men. I admit that I always craved some attention myself. I always loved twitter because you can take a bunch of shots and it only takes one well worded, well timed sentence to ‘blow up’. There are some number of hearts and or retweets on twitter that when you reach it with a tweet, your account just gets followers. I myself don’t totally understand it. I was blessed enough to have some tweets go ‘hotspot’ viral. It was locally concentrated, but there was a significant outbreak of online spreading events. They were simple enough and I really think timing is everything. So, the first big one was a picture of Joe Biden sitting down at his inauguration and Bernie Sanders pointing and the caption was. “Hear me out, a Netflix remake of Weekend at Bernie’s”. That one caught on enough to get some actual notoriety around school at least. I followed that up with some markedly less successful sentences. I wanted to go in on Trump and some of those fools because they deserve it. I came up with, “Why does Matt Gaetz have to look like someone doing a cosplay of Richard Nixon?” I secretly hope that this tweet is the one that pissed them off so much.

The truck stopped and they left the bag on my head while they unloaded me and began to walk me away from the road. I heard a voice, who I know highly suspected to be Beau, say “over here”. My suspicions were confirmed when thing 1 took the moist bag off my head and I locked eyes with Beau who was all but unrecognizable. It actually made me laugh to see that thing 2 had a blue mask on his chin. Apparently, they had stopped at a gas station for presumably gas and tobacco products and he’d had to go inside. 

Beau eyed me conveying a series of emotions all at the same time. He was certainly very excited and yet it combined with some other things; maybe some deep things I could never know. They began to tease me. “No one can read your tweets now” and “you’ve messed up”. I was a little uneasy, but not that frightened yet. I said, “How far are we from home? Ten miles? I can run home”. This had pissed Beau off and he took out a large pocket knife and opened it up. Thing 2 pulled out a kitchen knife, but it was a big f***er and thing 1 pulled out a phone. They informed me that this was going to be live on their Discord.

They teased me more once it went live and they were all very giddy about it. Then, Beau took my phone out of his pocket and I could see that it was open. They had used my Face ID while I was out. They didn’t really have much to say as if they hadn’t expected to get this far. I couldn’t really remember where I had been right before the truck ride. I think I had already left school so they got me on the way home or walking the dog that night or something. 

“So, you’re going to use my phone to tweet some awful shit or some Republican shit or well” I asked. Beau said calmly, “No you are”. I looked at them all and, keeping in mind that my legs were free, said “No”.

The three of them were discussing ways to torture me into tweeting the lines they fed me while they streamed it. It wasn’t lost on me that by filming it, they were creating a lot of evidence though this realization didn’t soothe me much in the moment. The ‘things’ were trying to decide which parts of me could be cut or removed without causing fatal harm. I’d been terrified since they pulled out the knives, but I couldn’t stand there listening anymore. “If you want my life, take it”. “What?” Beau asked.

I don’t know where it came from, but his question was the cue for my speech. “Look at you, you are worse than the, quote, rioters and barbaric Taliban you claim to hate. You are savages. Resorting to primal violence when confronted with something you can’t understand. I won’t deny my words. I won’t renounce my reality. You dumb beasts! What do you want? You want my life? Take it! You don’t understand, you can’t control people. You don’t have control of yourselves. Fuck you and your learned Nazi rhetoric and your conformist, piss morals. [Spits] You brutes!” 

I knew it was hard to argue with stupidity, but they’d started it. Maybe they really just wanted to force me to tweet some shit that denied my statements to make me look like a coward. It’s stupid, but that twitter was all I ever really built or felt like I had and to guarantee compromising it by listening to these goons was worse than risking death by telling them to piss off. “You’ll lose your tongue if you’re not careful, you can still tweet with just your hands' ' said one of them. That was enough, I started to take off and said, “I’m getting out of here”. Beau hollered, “Stop Him!” Thing 2 with the knife stepped up towards me, so I went to brush past him back towards the road. He thrust his knife when I changed directions and I turned my body. 

I was stabbed in the heart. I glanced down briefly at the knife and then I looked at the face of the kid that stabbed me, which had contorted into this childish, shameful grimace. I had a moment to really take in his outfit and I looked down at his dumb vest to see an eagle pendant hanging from it. On his sleeve there was an American flag besmirched in black and grey with a glimmer of blue. I looked down at my white t-shirt and saw the blood leaking out of me turn it red. Then, I fell asleep. 

When I was alive, I used a paper notebook as a diary that was titled “My Dreams”. It’s not a very creative title. I was trying to capture some of the vivid dreams that I was having in writing. This is an excerpt from it, which shows the flow;

‘I have a new recurring dream. I have a dream of me and my friends cruising down North, but it’s very sunny and we’re in a boat. We’re not near the coast line, so in this dream there must have been some global flood and everything is at least ten feet under water. It sounds like a scary future, but the dream does not feel scary. I don’t feel like I can ever convey the image of the dream in my head with words. Could we ever really know either way if people had shared dreams? There has to be something so relatable I could write that it would help the average person get some sense of comradery again. Something outside of the lens of politics that bridges the divide a little’

My memorial service was held in the school gym. This, I found out some time later. Some excerpts of “My Dreams” circulated online, but the notebook was buried with me.

September 24, 2021 21:54

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