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the anarchist “...or how everything i own is covered in a fine red dust” Copyright© Cian Sean McGee CSM Publishing ‘TheFreeArtCollection’ Araraquara Brazil 2014 First Edition All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means including photocopying, recording, scanning or digital information storage and retrieval without permission from the author. ISBN-13: 978-1500593889 ISBN-10: 1500593885 Cover Design: C. Sean McGee Interior layout: C. Sean McGee Author Foto: Carla Raiter

this short story was written under the iinfluence of: Edvard Grieg – Piano Concerto in A Minor: III


the anarchist



“To live within is to live without,” said The Teacher, moving around the classroom in slow steps, looking at the patterned tiles beneath his feet and ignoring his student’s gaping reactions, knowing that their awe was not in the definition of his words, but in the outline of his character. “You know,” he said, “all there is to know. You’ve seen every movie, you’ve watched every documentary, you’re out there living in it god damn it” he shouted, his words, like tiny shards, spitting from his mouth and cutting through the air of professional naivety that was supposed to divide; he from his students and knowledge from the truth. “You’re swimming in it, barely keeping your heads above this dank, fetid water; this cesspool of gluttonous ambition.” The Teacher stood like a messiah and spoke like a dictator. His every word was without hesitation; without doubt or indecision. He gripped his hands when he spoke as if he were strangling the gangly neck of the very authority he was denouncing. And though his arms were not shaped or muscular, he looked as if he were someone with whom one would not want to reckon. He looked as if, beneath his academic attire, like the young adults he was teaching, there swelled a sea of mutiny and rage, one of which might rise and swarm upon the shores of complacency at any second. His beard was grown in. It was bushy, but it wasn’t unkempt. It looked conditioned and maintained. The young men in the class, they too wore beards, their faces like the smoothed and flattened ends of a brown bear’s arse, inspired by the man who gave them knowledge, inspiration, direction and who made them feel like they mattered. The girls in the class, they all wanted to fuck him. And the boys, they wanted to be him. His name was Stephan, but that’s not important, for his students, those of whom fancied upon his every word and were bedazzled at his every conceivable idea, those of whom sat in pensive and undebatable attention and those of whom looked just like a much younger he, they referred to him by only one name, by only one title – Teacher. “Look at the poor today. Take minimum wage for example. The average family will bring in one fiftieth of what a banker does per month. 5

What does their salary buy them? A shitty roof over their heads in some run down, dilapidated and derelict estate. No running water, no basic sanitation, disease and violence abounding, and at the end of it, barely enough money to put rice and beans on the table. So what you’re looking at is the majority of the country, travelling long distances to get to work and then living in wretched conditions with just enough money to eat, drink and be stupefied by the news, football, soap operas and game shows. They have just enough money to survive – to keep their head above water, but not enough to make a difference – to swim back to shore. You look back over the years, say go back two hundred years or so, take inflation all the way back, and what does that work out to – that minimum wage. What does that coil back to, working and toiling unreasonable hours and living in squalid conditions with nothing but scraps of food and the hope of not being whipped, the only gift for one’s servitude?” The students hung off his every word and he knew this, he was no amateur. The Teacher had delivered this sermon day after day, month after month and year after year; for such a long time now that he was an artist in its delivery. “Slavery,” he said, sitting cross-legged on his desk, his hands tapping on the dirtied ends of his splitting skate shoes. “Think about it,” he said. “Slaves were given nothing but a shambled roof over their heads and scraps of food, the parts of the animals that were unfit for consumption. Slavery still exists. Don’t fool yourselves. The poor, none of them can change their conditions. You don’t think a maggot might prefer a slice of ham as opposed to a heap of steaming shit?” The class all erupted in laughter, decadent laughter. “But what do we do? What can we do?” asked one student, looking despondent. “It just seems like there’s so much happening, there are so many problems conflicting, , and I don’t know what to do. It’s like, so much shit has been thrown on my lap and I can’t make out one from the bloody other. I mean, I believe in change, I do, that’s why why I’m here. I believe we can make a difference, 6

that we can fix our mother’s and father’s wrongs. I believe this, I do. But there’s so much shit and it’s like the news and the documentaries and the magazines and those political parody shows, the ones you told us to watch, they have a new problem every segment and they don’t sit still on one for long enough for me to figure out what the hell is going on, and I never know what I’m supposed to do, and I just feel dizzy and inutile, you know?” The class all turned to the student. Though they might have felt this way – dizzy and distorted, none would ever admit it, not in this capitulated manner, not to themselves and not to their class – their comrades. And the looks they all wore, like patches and emblems sewn onto their sleeves, they said “Cast him out,” as if the student’s weakness and indecision might spread and infect and then beget their own. “You have to believe that we can make a difference” said one boy, Alexander, a handsome young man, muscular and well liked, even outside of his socialist circles with his beard, much longer than the others, nearing on hipster, yet not so much that it might deride his political and philosophical musings. As he spoke, the girl beside him touched his leg and she looked at him smiling before they both turned to The Teacher, hoping that he would agree and maybe even nod his head or gesture with his hands. The Teacher, though, he was staring at a scuff mark on his shoe. “It’s not enough though that you believe in change, that you believe in making a difference, in making change happen,” The Teacher said. “It’s not enough” he shouted, looking up to confront the wave of doubt that was trickling up the class’ collective conscious shore. “You think it makes a difference sitting on your computer,” he said. “And clicking like on something, agreeing with each other all the time? You really think that’s gonna change anything, sitting around the campus, talking about what’s right or wrong? Our government is filling their pockets on our disparity. They’re putting the interests of big business before what’s important – health and 7

education. They say the middle class is growing. I say they’ve lowered the belt down around this country’s fucking ankles. Everyone is middle class now. They’re lowering the standards; they’re changing the fucking definitions. As for the people, we can’t expect them to react. They’re caged by freedom; like fucking cows in a paddock. Give them the right to speak and they say nothing. Tear down the fences, give them an open paddock and guess what, they stay right where they fucking are. They have their football, social security, and shopping malls. It’s not their fault, but we can’t count on them. They have their bread and circus; they can live with their drunken, cynical, sniping rhetoric. It’s up to us. It’s up to you; the young, the passionate, the learned, the brave, the future. You have to act. You have to do something. You have to make change happen. Look at Egypt, look at Turkey, and look at Syria. We’re no different. We’re all the same. We’re all being dictated. We’re all being oppressed. This is our Arab Spring. This is our revolution” The Teacher said, as the room erupted with the sound of jeering, fists beating against tables and high fives being slapped in concording celebration. “I have a Turkish friend,” said one student, to the applause and awe of the others. “Free the pyramids,” said another. “Free the pyramids,” they all shouted, hitting their clenched fists on their desks. “Quiet down,” said The Teacher, like a maestro, preceding the diminuendo with his slowly fanning hands. “Tell me, what made those great revolutions what they were? What turned them from merely objectionable protests and learned shouting into an undamming uprising? Was it the message?” he asked, looking around the room. “No,” he said. “Their message was as old as their whipping hands. If not, what then?” The Teacher asked, looking stumped before slowly grazing the room with a cunning look that hinted that he in fact knew, on which side of the fence, the grass was indeed greener. “It was the sheer number of people” said one of the 8

Suha, a pretty girl with black, straw-like hair and a usually mousey type demeanor; a normally impish girl whose waspish voice might have, on any other day, gone unheard and unaffected, lost in the furious buzzing of maniacal ranting of youthful and bearded Gueverian men, and their demure yet callous and officious Beauvoirian compeers. “That” she said, “and their absolute defiance, laying themselves before the smiting hand, not just for a cause, but because hundreds of thousands were doing so too and millions were watching at home on their televisions, watching innocent people being slaughtered by brutal police and watching still, more and more people coming. That’s what drove them, watching more and more spilling onto the street. They wanted to be there too. They wanted to be amidst the furor, amidst the tide of change that from their television sets, looked colossal and spectacular. They wanted to be amidst the many hundreds of thousands. But here, the people, they have no passion. They have no objection. They won’t move, not for just any kind of voice or violence. There has to be a specific kind of catalyst” she said, her voice barely understandable amidst the constant ringing in one’s ears and their own thoughts, barely giving them a chance to listen, already delivering, on their conscious podium, their next savvy yet proscribing, socialized rhetoric. The class all turned, not because they were baited to her dainty hook, but because their appetent, pupated stares were anchored to the hull of The Teacher’s listing expression, almost capsizing in heeling canine confusion. “What do you propose?” asked The Teacher. “What do you think will ignite the placated embers of rebellion in millions of people around the country? What is the catalyst?” “There needs to be a victim,” said Suha. “At the hands of authority. It should be a girl. She needs to be innocuous, someone that the average person can either aspire to, relate to or imagine their own child being. She has to be articulate and educated. You have to be able to think this, just by looking at her, even if you have to squint to make out the grainy photo on the front of a 9

newspaper. She should be white, her eye color is not important but if possible, any color other than brown. Her hair should be tied in a ponytail and she should be attenuated and slender; not bulky, ferine or offensive. Most of all, she should be pretty but not sexual, not like a whore. She should look ordinary, but unmistakably pretty.” The Teacher followed her idea with a salivating lacquer as if she were undressing. “She will be the siren that calls to the gallant cavalier in every man. And to the mothers and fathers, those who dress their children - like a stranger’s face upon their partner’s aging naked body - in the fleeceable aspirations and illusory fears in which they imagine, and to the brothers and sisters and their best friends forever, she should be white enough, she should be learned enough, she should be slender enough, she should be pretty enough, so that they can imagine her as being someone they know, someone they can reach out and touch, someone they love and more so, someone who could be just like them. And her wounds, they should be horrible enough to turn one’s stomach and to almost make one wretch, but not so much that they can’t look back, time and time again. A rubber bullet to the eye should be effective.” “That’s a bit extreme don’t you think?” asked The Teacher, staring at the girl as if he had, only now, for the first time, noticed that she even existed, as if the brevity and vehemence in her words and the celerity in which she spoke, cast off, like layers of drab clothing, her once apparent shroud of platitude, leaving nothing but the curve and round of her intellect, as delectable and delusive as he now imagined would be, her writhing, naked body. “You want an uprising?” Suha said, “Then you need to find a pretty white girl and you need to make her cry.” “Wow,” said The Teacher. “Now I’m not here to say what is right or wrong. That’s your judgment. But that, well… What was your name?” “Suha,” she said. “Suha,” he said as if he were working his tongue around an oddly shaped candy. “I think Suha here hit on something primitive. 10

Often than not, it is not the meaning of our words but the nerve in which they twitch that inspires action. After-all, we see noble and heartfelt agencies, NGOs, using images of starving and in some cases, bullet-ridden children, to guilt you into donating to their establishments and though their ends might justify their means, their means are thought out, edited and over produced to pull at the heartstrings of anybody with a moral slate and a mere teaspoon of empathy in their souls. So why not? Why not, for the justified end, do what must be done, for the right, for the cause, for freedom and liberty? But who would do such a thing? Who would put themselves in such harm? Who amongst you then, would be the heroine?” The Teacher looked around the room and his proving stare stopped at each girl. And each girl looked back into his eyes and one and all, they would all have surely loved to raise their hands and shout out ‘me’, being swept up into his arms and whisked around the room like some princess bride, wanting nothing but their crown of adulation from their peers and from their teacher, the handsome man whose intellect and sharpened wit, wetted their lips and had them, in their daydreaming, abandoning their pedantic profession and retiring to a cliché of desire, want and affection. They would all have loved to, but only one did. “Arabella,” said The Teacher, simpering beneath his prickly beard. “Very much becoming a woman.” “I’m not frightened,” Arabella said, finally stepping out of Alexander’s shadow. “I’m sure you’re not,” said The Teacher. The awkward stare between the two meant they weren’t talking about the march. And the rest of the class could feel it too. “I said she can’t look like a whore,” said Suha to herself, but it was as if she hadn’t spoken, as if she once again sank back into the swell of youthful rebellion, vanishing, like sugar in water, with one stir of The Teacher’s potent address. “We need to be seen,” said The Teacher, now covering his 11

crotch. “We need to be heard. And the only way we can be seen is to tear down the establishment, that which blankets our faces; muffling our screams and keeping us, like a squawking parrot, thinking it’s night and lulled into a fabricated sense of calm and quietude – stupefied and pinioned, unwilling to ruffle our own feathers. The only way we can be heard is by shouting our sedition, above the sirens, and louder and with more authority than the referees whistle. The only way we can make a change is to make a difference. And the only way we can make a difference is to scrape and scratch at the coffin in which we’re immured; to break down the walls of establishment – of banks, of corporations and government. The only hope we have is to burn everything to the ground, like a forest fire, and enrich the soil of humanity with our hope and our reverence and our fighting spirit, so that the seeds we plant may grow into a government and a society that is fair and just for one and for all, not just the descendants of degeneracy; those merchants of maligned misery” he cursed, his face now red with pained expression. “Fuck those fascist pigs,” shouted one of the boys, Alexander. “God damn corporations,” said a girl. “Fascist pigs,” said, Alexander again. “But what is the solution,” asked Suha. “What can we do? Together, what can we do?” The Teacher looked artless and unscripted. Suha, she looked desperate, her eyes and ears and hands and heart ready and willing and wanting so badly, for some kind of a cure to this madness, to the absurdity of this inhuman society. “Anarchy” shouted The Teacher. “Anarchy is the only solution.” Around the class, eyes widened, mouths salivated and veins bulged with hot throbbing blood. It was as if a large clump of bloodied and rotting meat had been lumped before this pack of ravenous and bloodthirsty idealists, now feverish and rabid, famished from having starved themselves for so long on moderate 12

theoretical debate. “Anarchy should be our profession,” said The Teacher. “We need to cut off the diseased and infected flower, cut its head right off, so we can put in a more just, a more favorable government. We need to cut away the vines of corporate governance that like weeds, are winding their way around our lives, sapping every inch of our precious lives. If all that is left, after all these years, is a garden of weeds, then let us tear it apart and let us dig at and turn over the soil and uproot the system so that we can plant a more prestigious seed, so that we can cultivate and foster a just and fair world for every person everywhere, regardless of their color, their class or their beliefs. We need a better world, where everyone is equal, where there is no indifference. Where there is no leader or director or administrator, making unfavorable decisions, sanctioned by violent thugs with uniforms and badges. Where there are no banks, crippling families with debt in favor of a consumerist circus, ensnaring and then stealing children’s imagination and creativity and then enslaving families to endless and needless desperation and then guilt and foreboding, should they forget their binds and have their child ridiculed for being shy of their accessory bondage; mocked and laughed at by their friends. We need to wipe the slate clean. We need an earthquake. We need a tidal wave. We need anarchy.” “Anarchy,” shouted one of the students. “Yeah, anarchy,” shouted another. “Anarchy, anarchy, anarchy,” they shouted, like baying hounds, riled by the scent of a bitch’s heat or a freshly rotting carcass. The majority of them, during the lecture, had been doodling, following The Teacher’s every word, but doodling none the less. And most of them had filled their workbooks with scrawling insignia; the letter ‘A’ encircled and scratched on every page and on some, having cut through the paper with insurgent, youthful intent. “Who is going to the protest tonight downtown?” The Teacher asked. Every hand rose. “Will you be there Teacher?” asked one of the boys. 13

The boys stared in passion. The girls with desire. “Yes,” said The Teacher. “I will be marching.” The class erupted once more. “And I hope to see you all there. And if one or two of you, or all of you” he said, looking at each student smiling, “If you’re faces are covered and if your hearts are bare, if there’s blood on your hands by the end of the night, you’ll get credit marks, on your final assessment. And if you have a Turkish or Syrian friend, we need all the help we can get.” The class all turned to one another, smiling and adulating. “Remember,” said The Teacher, “for the world to follow, someone first needs to act. Someone needs to be brave enough to step onto the line. You need to prove the police as being brutes. And they are. We know that. So provoke them, make them strike at you and when they do, you strike back. You strike with the weight of your conviction and the support and belief of an entire city behind you. This protest, it’s not just about free bus fare, it’s about our right to be human; to be brothers and sisters and lovers in arms. It’s about freedom, the right to pick and choose your own destination and the right to go about it. It’s your right to exist as you see fit. Tear down the system. Fuck the police. Scare the government. You go out there and you show them that you’re young and brave and that your life matters. Let’s tear down the fucking walls and start again” shouted The Teacher as the bell sounded, the class spilling out into the foyer like water from a broken mane.


The Teacher walked the halls with a certain swagger, as most teachers did, carrying on their shoulders, the weight of academic prestige. His though was of a more furnished veneer. He was conformed yes, as all academia hinged on accordance to set rule, but he was revolutionary in about how he conformed. And it wasn’t about anything that he did or in speaking to other professors, about anything that he said per se, there was just an air of cool that seemed to waft from his degage attire, as if he perspired, just a smidgen of free radical, amidst a heavy aroma of scholarly coherence. And he hadn’t changed his ideals, not a single one, not since he himself was a young man, as fresh and acute as his students, like a clump of wet clay, impressionable and eager to be molded into a thing of purpose, of necessity and of use; like an off cut of metal, not fitting any ornament ideal, waiting to be carved into something neat and exacting, like a trigger. He still wore the same loose fitting pants and run about sneakers, preferring to buy extra short laces so as not having to have them tied; meaning he could slip in and out of his shoes at any time if he ever wanted to. His hair too hadn’t changed much throughout the years, looking like a slightly overgrown hedge, a little long, uneven and a bit ruffled here or there, but not so much that it begged for a comb or hinted towards a lazy and untailored demeanor. It merely reflected, as a dressing on his philosophy, his penchant for coloring outside of the lines and walking the fine tethered line of adherence. On his way to the car park, The Teacher, in his head, ran through some of the important things he still had to do before the march tonight. There were papers that had to be marked. He had been putting them off forever and now had a semester’s worth of essays cluttering his writing desk at home, meaning he’d never be able to start that book, not until his table was cleared. 15

He had to return those movies he rented last week. One was a documentary about socialism in South America and the other was an art-house film, a romantic comedy from Norway about a singer who paints his face and then falls in love with his own reflection called ‘The Clown is Sadder than the Penguin, but he does not Dance with Horse’s Hooves’. Both were due back yesterday but the girl with the lip ring and the lisp, the one he found inexplicably cute, she didn’t work on Tuesdays and besides, if it was one day late, doctrine and accordance to rule would have him having to explain that the movie was late and apologize which in a way, would show to the inexplicably cute girl with the lip ring and a lisp, that, although he seemed to flout with authority and rule, he was in fact, a sweet and empathetic guy and he’d always have her home – not before or on, but right after her curfew, late enough to make an impression but not enough to rile anyone’s blood. The Teacher wasn’t much for interaction, not outside his classroom anyway. He kept his head low as he walked down the hallways towards his car; not in a depressive or self-loathing kind of way. He just didn’t care much for the usual common type of banter, not like the other professors. In his second hand electric car, he listened to Radiohead and as the traffic slowly drudged along, he crooned along to the music, singing horribly out of key while his face, crumpled and contorted, spoke of his disillusion for establishment. And it didn’t matter that he couldn’t sing because the radio was so loud that it looked like, to other drivers overtaking, in how passionately he was singing along, that he probably or most certainly could. Arriving at his apartment, the only thing The Teacher could think of was the march that evening, that and having sex with Arabella in a dark alley as Alexander watched on, with protesters marching alongside, hurling flaming bottles and jagged stones in the direction of fleeing riot police, shooting canisters of tear gas over their shoulders as they cowardly retreated along the ruinous and war-torn avenue. 16

He preferred to park his car on the street, mainly so he could see it from his bedroom window and so people driving by would be able to read the host of socialist and ultraist stickers that were layered, like Tetris blocks, along the car’s panels and across its bumper. In the elevator, he nodded politely to the other residents who got on and off at each floor, seeing a certain look from each as he continued to make his way up the towering building in the heart of the city, his straggly unkempt hair, prickly bush-like beard and his unsavory drab apparel, a stark contrast to the fine threads of sophistication and glamor which nodded back in their own conceited and patronizing manner. And as the doors opened and closed and as smart and successful people – beautiful people – all lined into the elevator, he continued to smile as if he gave a shit, dreaming about fires and earthquakes and rampant militant action; young men with their faces scarved, kicking at shop front windows and setting fire to Gucci wearing mannequins while in the back of the store, while Arabella watched on, he had sex with Alexander. “Good Afternoon Master,” said Eunice, opening the front door and curtseying as The Teacher entered the apartment, throwing his jacket onto the floor and ignoring completely, the look of foreboding, like a terrified puppy before a whipping, in the little servant woman’s eyes. “Mummy?” he shouted. “Daddy?” He turned to Eunice, his eyes snapping like a mouse laden trap into a sneering, malefic stare. “Where is mummy?” he said. Eunice panicked to assemble her thoughts, stumbling through nervous stutter as if she had just been caught licking chocolate from the back of the spoon like some thieving scoundrel. “Umm. I, uh, Your mother, she uh” she said, cursing silently to herself that she were not born a turtle so as maybe she could recoil her head and her limbs and take refuge inside of her white pleated uniform, expecting, at any second, the young man to extend himself beyond the threshold of reason and shout cruel and 17

hysterical taunts, whilst throwing something heavy and pointed in her direction. “Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh” mocked The Teacher, gesturing with one hand over his head, hanging onto an imaginary branch and the other, scratching the curve of his sweaty pits, connoting that Eunice, the little black servant, might seem more at home with a banana and a swinging vine, than with the rigors of converse. “Don’t be such a fucking cliché” he said. The little servant nodded her head, kneeling down to pick up the young man’s jacket. She had no idea what he meant, but she would find out when everyone had gone to sleep. She would sneak into the office and forage through all of The Father’s books, to see if she could find that word. And when she found it, she would study its meaning and she would imagine all of the times she had done it or been it, and she would make sure she would never be like that ever again, no matter what she had to do. But Master called her so many words every day, so many new and fancy sounding words that she didn’t know and couldn’t even pronounce, so she would need a lifetime of surreptitious study if she were to ever be proper. “Is there chocolate milk?” asked The Teacher. “I shall bring it right to you Master,” said Eunice. “I’ll be in my room,” he said. “But don’t come in. Leave it outside and knock three times. Not on my door, though. I hate it when you knock on my door, especially when I’m in the middle of something important.” “Yes Master,” she said, curtseying. The Teacher slammed the door behind him, loud enough so that whatever his mummy and daddy were doing, they would know that he was home and that he wasn’t in a good mood, so they had better tread carefully. There came a wrapping on a door. It wasn’t his door. It was the servant’s door; through the kitchen and off from the laundry. But the wrapping, it was just loud enough so The Teacher could hear and assume what it meant. He wasn’t happy, though, even if it did mean his chocolate 18

drink was waiting outside. That was hardly the point. It was just that everyone was always going out of their way to be louder than they really had to be; always. Eunice for example, she couldn’t just pick a doorframe nearby and gently knock it, no, she had put herself all the way in the back of the apartment, somewhere completely out of the way which, for her made complete sense, but for the sake of telling someone that their chocolate milk is outside their door… God! And it may have sounded like gentle wrapping on a door; it might have if you didn’t know how far the sound had to travel and how hard she’d actually have to be hitting the wooden doorframe just to make it sound like a gentle wrapping. And that’s what stuck in The Teacher’s mind. It wasn’t the gentle wrapping, that which sounded as light and perturbing as the creaking of an old weather board house as it stretched out its demons on a cold winter’s night. It wasn’t the smell of fresh hot chocolate either, that which was waftng through the cracks in the bedroom door and tickled at the young man’s one still remaining childhood pleasure. It was in knowing that wherever she was, trying to conjure a gentle wrapping, she was, in fact, doing just the opposite. It didn’t matter if it sounded affable because The Teacher knew that she was somewhere far, around some untraveled and uninspected bend in the apartment, straining and cursing and swinging her angular arms to beat a sturdy wooden spoon against an even sturdier wooden doorframe. “God,” he said out loud, “You’re all just so… Fuck it” he said, opening the door and taking his hot chocolate from the floor and then locking his room once more. He could hear his mother and father talking in the living room. His father was probably going on about some stupid case he was working on, helping to make the rich even richer, just like he did. And his mother was probably nodding her head, just like she always did, and she was probably using a lot of tag questions, not because she was confirming what she thought was right or because 19

she might have been wrong, but because she loved the consideration. He could hear his brother too, chasing each other around the apartment, having escaped no doubt, from the clutches of their nanny who at this point, if the rascals were making a ruckus too close to the living room, would be pulling her hair out, calling the two boys all sorts of deriding names under her tongue, trying to lure them back to their play pen with a gelid smile and a desperately whispered promise of a surprise of some sort. The Teacher turned on his two televisions, playing a different documentary on each and while the sound of the poor and downtrodden, cursing the specter of private enterprise, echoed through the room, their speeches intertwining in gallant defiant chorus, The Teacher turned his attention to his computer, looking at news articles of the protests planned for his city this evening and, after imagining himself amidst hundreds of thousands, dressed in black and cascading through the city center, he turned his attention to videos he had saved from protests and uprisings around the middle east and he watched them, with the same salivated fervor that he did with the dirty magazines that he hid in the middle of his socialist leaflets and fanzines. “Hunny bunny” called a high pitched voice, The Mother, out in the corridor. “Hunny bunny, are you home?” she called again. “God” huffed The Teacher, turning off the videos and zipping up his pants. “What is it?” he said. “Can’t I just have a minute without Big Brother knocking door on my door? Jeez.” “Sorry hunny bunny,” said The Mother. “Dinner’s almost served, ok? Your day was good, was it?” she asked. The Teacher, he huffed and he puffed, holding his hands over his head and digging his fingers in at the line just over his eyebrows. God if she kept talking he might just dig his fingers right into his sockets and pull his eyes right out. That would show her. “That’s great hunny bunny,” said The Mother, assuming his response. “Now turn off your little movies and come to the table.” The Teacher looked around the room. Every wall was 20

covered with the symbols and faces of rebellion, of insurgence and reform. And covering the whole span of his roof, and looking down upon him with his learned bearded expression, was a black Marxist silhouette on a large red flag. And on his walls, hanging beside his bed and above his desk, neath long and prickly beards and swirls of smoke, were Che and Fidel. And finally, behind his door, The Flash, like hot chocolate, a remnant from his childhood, a hero that still made sense, one he could still believe in. “Take a seat hunny bunny,” said The Mother, already sitting and cutting her salad. The whole family was already there, waiting for The Teacher to come and sit down so they could start their dinner. They were probably only waiting for a minute or two, but they all had on these tyrannical expressions that made it look like they’d been made to starve. “How was your day?” asked The Father. The question went out to the whole table. The two boys, being shushed by their nanny for a second, were given the notice to speak. Both giggled and shouted “awesome daddy” and then went back to prodding one another, milking the attention of the young girl trying to keep them under wraps. “And you hunny bunny,” said The Mother, tilting her head as if she were dodging a bullet or a difficult question. “How was school?” “It’s not school mummy. God. It’s university ok? There’s a difference. And it was good” he said, making loud scratching noise that was clearly upsetting, as he dragged his knife through the thin slither of meat and across the porcelain plate. “What did you teach today?” asked The Mother. “You wouldn’t understand,” he said. “Probably not,” she said, chewing some fat. “It’s a good thing I asked then, isn’t it?” “You see there’s another protest planned for this evening,” said The Father, flicking the pages of the newspaper as he spoke as if he were shaking off the dull sentiment of his dull family like 21

a stubborn flea behind a dog’s ear. “And what’s this one about?” asked The Mother. “There’s so bloody many I can’t keep up anymore,” said The Father. “It’s about free bus fare, for everyone, but mainly for the poor.” “Free bus fare? For the poor?” “Yeah, why?” “Rubbish,” he said. “Oh, typical.” “Boy, you’re combing the hairs on your arse into a fine moustache.” “What?” “Eunice,” said The Father. “Yes sir” she replied, sneaking from her room, outside of the kitchen and around the corner from the laundry, right next to where they kept the old detergent and the kitty litter trays. “Who pays for your bus fare Eunice?” “You do sir,” she said. “So you don’t pay a cent?” “No Sir” “Why is that?” “Is this a test sir?” “Just answer the bloody question, Eunice.” “I am registered sir. It’s my right, isn’t it?” “Yes it is Eunice, yes it is. So Eunice, if these young men win you free bus fare, will it make a lick of difference, considering you don’t even pay for your bus fare yourself ? Well?” “I suppose not sir but….” “That’s okay Eunice, you can go.” “But sir, if the bus is free, will you still pay me my allowance? You see, I walk very far to come to work every day. The money, it is small but small money goes a long way in my house. My boys and my husband, they can’t find work so the money you give me for the bus, it helps us to pay for milk and for school books, for my 22

granddaughter. I walk a long way sir, every morning and I have to wake up very early, so I am not late. This money is very important to my family. Will I still receive my benefit, even if the buses are free?” “No,” said The Father, ushering her away with his shooing hands. “You see, boy,” he said. “You’re protesting for free bus fare. Who the fuck do you think has to pay for the bus fares to begin with? The companies who hire the poor, that’s who. You really think you’re saving the poor? You’re just taking away Eunice’s and every poor hardworking employee like her, you’re taking away their benefits, the benefits they bloody fought for.” “Sir,” said Eunice “Not now Eunice,” said the whole family. “Yes. I’m sorry” she said, ducking away, out of sight. “It’s not just about bus fare,” said The Teacher. “Well then,” said The Father. “What is it about?”


As the sun lay into its retreat, bringing with it the cold blanket of night, a dull roar rumbled through the maze of towers and apartment buildings that, like thick sprouting hairs, erected from the dragging knuckles of this labored and effete city, that which in the day, panned gold and silver from the sweat and thickly residue of hope and aspiration of its shackled oppressed, while at night, looking ransacked and rambled, remained still, like a half dead mouse, hardly inviting one to pander. Tonight, though, a dull roar rumbled. And it was as if a thousand jets were coming in to land not a block or two away; or as if a panel of debating giants was conversing beneath a checkered blanket, under The Teacher’s window. Most had penned this city as a sleeping giant with the very same thief, filling their pockets with golden eggs whilst lulling this giant into a stupefied and pacified slumber with the lure of its harp, strumming the same chord of cynical political derision. Tonight, though, the giant would awaken. The Teacher could barely contain himself. Looking out his window and seeing the line of police officers at the end of his street, standing with their shields and truncheons, he thought of all the songs and stories and images which inspired him all these years. He imagined himself, amidst a great army of young men and women, all running in one swarming line towards those suited oppressors; shouting words of freedom and liberty whilst thrusting themselves into swinging fists and crashing shields of the thick headed and hot tempered bullies of those fascist capitalist swine. “Fascist pigs” he shouted, but it was no use, from the penthouse, only angels or passing airliners could hear what he had to say. Still, it felt great to shout it out. “Down with government” he shouted. “No rule, no stinking 24

order.” “Did you brush your teeth hunny bunny?” asked The Mother. “God mummy,” said The Teacher, closing the window as if he were quickly zipping his pants. “Don’t you ever knock?” “Did you brush your teeth hunny bunny? And don’t forget to floss. You don’t want to end up like your uncle.” “I fucking brushed them already mummy. Just get out okay? I’m doing stuff.” “Sorry sweetie poo. Listen, I know you’re doing that thingy tonight. That walk…” “It’s a fucking march mummy. A march, okay? And it’s gonna be more than that anyway. You’ll see.” “That sounds nice. Now do you think your brothers would like to go along? They would wouldn’t they? And maybe you could take your sister too” The Mother said, crossing her fingers. “You know you’re father and I have that thing…” she said, rubbing a spot on the bend in her arm, as if she were nursing a stinging bruise. As she spoke, in the background and dressed in a tanned leather saddle, The Father neighed, bucking on his hind legs and almost knocking over a mantle of statuesque trophies and worldly ornaments, his tedious doldrums turning into reckless aggression as his cloven hooves gnashed at the air. He settled quickly, though, and as The Teacher rolled his eyes in annoyance, The Father marched back to his stables, pawing his right hand again in a casual kind of boredom that neared on bashful frolicking, inviting The Mother for an evening canter. “They can’t come,” he said. “This is bigger than your thing. This is gonna change the world. We’re making history. We are history” he shouted. As he ran out the door past The Mother, he pulled his black hood over his head and he turned briefly, with his face hidden behind a cloaking blackness, to see his whole family side by side waving while his father picked at a loose thread on his sock. 25

“Have fun?” they said. “We love you.”


What before had sounded like the dull roar of a distant rumbling, was now like a mechanical bee hive, swarming and clanking, as scores of thousands of feet stamped against the main avenue in the direction of the line of police officers who stood staunch, ardent and menacing at the other end, protecting the town hall. The people, with their faces painted as the dolorous clowns their government had made them out to be, chanted slanderous rhymes and thrust stabbing signs into the air as if there were an imaginary bloated belly of some corporate pig floating overhead and hidden neath its prickly chest, waiting to spill upon the mass was a treasure trove of sweet assailing apologies and admissions of guilt. The affair was almost carnival-like with the smiles on their faces as grand and as piercing as the jagged edges of their demining verses. They hurled abusive rhetoric but with cynical downplay, keeping the language clean enough for the children who now walked along beside their mothers and fathers, hand in hand, those who hoped that tonight would bring about a new day, that in the future, their children would be able to look back and be proud that they were not just a part of change, they were the change. “It’s not about free bus fare” they all chanted as if that meant something, Surrounding the families on all sides were cameras that were poised on the tops of shoulders, on the tops of parked vans and in the hands of the people themselves; capturing this incredible moment and sharing it with friends and family, those who couldn’t or hadn’t yet decided to make it, on all sides of the city, at each rounded end of the globe. The Teacher stood at the entrance to his building, allowing the swarm of people to flood around him as if he was a stone, sticking out from the side of a canal as around him the river continued to flow. The sound was magnetic; marching feet, chanting 27

voices and placards knocking against one another as they pierced the stifling, heavy air of opulent refuse; that which they had carried on their shoulders for so long and of which, had a taste that they had learned to disguise. Just ahead, and not far from the door of his apartment building, a line of riot police stood with their shields erected before them. They had not yet taken an offensive strategy. Their truncheons were gripped firm and extended in their hands like a virile young man’s penis, but they were yet to beat them against their towering shields. They were restrained. The Teacher stepped off the pavement and filed into the flux of people. Most looked ordinary, just your average guy or girl, a next door neighbor or someone’s mum or dad. Looking behind him, he could see nothing but an endless swarm of shouting and smiling faces, families holding hands and lovers, drawn to one another’s embrace. Cameras zipped through the crowd and when spotted, men and women and children alike, they either knelt down or jumped in the air to affix their face on the entire of the screen and they cheered and they waved the small national flags in their hands and they made love heart symbols out of their curling hands. And at home, watching from hundreds of cameras and thousands of angles and seeing, the tens of thousands of people marching along the streets under an amber light on a balmy summer evening, the people sitting on their sofas all shivered with delight, wanting to be inside that crowd, wanting to be walking towards somewhere too. Reporters smiled as they asked, “What are you marching for?” And the people smiled as they said, “It’s not about free bus fare.” And the reporters, many of whom were not from here, they looked confused and they asked again. “But what then? What are you marching for?” “It’s not about free bus fare,” was all they could say and they 28

continued marching, smiling and dancing and singing and holding hands, unsure as to what they were doing here, but so thankful that they were. The Teacher, though, he was getting restless. And as the cameras spied through the crowd, he quickly covered his face, tying a black bandana high enough so that only the faintest inkling of his eyes could be seen beneath the pull of his black hood. His heart was beating rapid as if his chest were being fired upon by a hundred million riflemen, one millisecond after the other. His stomach was starting to get heavy too. He could feel adrenaline running through his whole body and while he walked calmly amidst the group of smiling, marching people who were not destroying anything, he felt sick, as if he might keel over at any second and expulse not only his dinner but with it, his courage and his defiance and his duty. Looking around he could see, in spicks and specks, others like him, themselves garbed in black attire with their faces girded in black bandanas or black gas masks. The Teacher noticed this, a small group of radicals, and he cursed himself for not having stolen one from one of the science labs. The police were bound to use tear gas. Why the hell didn’t he think of that? The passage of people slowly came to a halt by a barrier near the foot of the town hall. There was only a mild tension that at the sight of the heavily armed police officers and their patrolling horses, marching nervously back and forth at the sight of this seemingly endless wave of people washing up on their twelve man shore. I say mild because the officers, at the sight of the smiling families, were themselves overcome by the air of togetherness and joy, they themselves smiling behind their armored helmets, probably wishing, like the people watching on their televisions at home, that they too could be a part of it, that they could be from within the heart of sodality, looking out. The marching stopped, unable and unwilling to press any further. While the people canted and cheered, The Teacher and others like him, they circled around impatiently like sediment with 29

a blocked sink. They couldn’t settle. He couldn’t settle. He and they all knew what was coming next. “Fascist pigs,” shouted The Teacher. Instantly, the expressions on the police turned from one of revelry to that of wretchedness. A stone was thrown from somewhere within the crowd, from a distance behind where The Teacher stood. Nobody heard it or saw it, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t there. It cut through the now skittish air as mothers and fathers fought to drag their children away from the town hall while riot police drew their grimaces like weapons and beat their truncheons against their towering shields. It flew over everyone’s heads like a bird or a missile and it crashed like a heavy falling rock, onto the top of a reporter’s head, a pretty girl with her hair tied up to keep her fringe from spoiling the view from her lens. Someone screamed and then panic set in. The riot police stormed forwards, brave horses breaking through the face of the wave and sending person on top of person, regardless of age or gender; horses don’t discriminate. “Anarchy,” shouted The Teacher. “Fuck the police,” he screamed, and others joined him as if a light had been switched and all of a sudden, all that could be seen were young men and women, all adorned in black clothing with either black bandanas or black gas masks covering their warring expressions. “Get the kids out,” shouted a woman, probably to her husband. There was a flurry of people running from all sides of the avenue. Some surged forwards, driven by a pent rage and courage by the wall of others before them, like the police behind their shields, pushing against the backs of the people before them, screaming, like pack animals, broken from their shackled cages. Some surged back, desperate to be on their sofas with control between their stubby fingers and a sure opinion about what went wrong. And some, especially the children, the spilled from the sides 30

of the avenue, up onto the affluent steps of the neighboring apartments and office buildings and banks but outside of a mere nook and cranny, fit enough for a small child or an angular drunk, there was nowhere to take refuge; not from the storming police and their swinging fists, nor from the black clad youth, blindly hurling bottles and stones, oblivious and careless as to on the heads and huddling backs of whom they landed. “Fuck the police” shouted The Teacher. “Fuck the government. Fuck the banks. Fuck the institution. Fuck demoNOcracy. Fuck capitalism.” “No, fuck you” shouted a family, running in the opposite direction. It didn’t matter if they didn’t believe. Tearing off the bandage would never be a comfortable process. It had to be done quickly and with vigor. Some would scream and shout sure, it was only natural. By they would, in time, see that it was only way to get things done. And they may curse him now, but soon enough, when they are living the spoils of his endeavor, they will understand and they will say it was worth it, to be changed. “Anarchy” The Teacher shouted, and around him, so did the masked expressions of others. A group of black clad youth, they turned their attention away from the police and at the line of shopping windows and banking institutions, their glass doors insulting with their decorated colored binds. “Smash the windows” shouted one black clad youth and the others agreed. The Teacher was amongst them, running at the glass doors and kicking willfully with his black combat boots, his steel capped ends cracking the glass at first before a line of black clad youth carrying a torn out street sign, rammed forwards, smashing into the glass doors and shattering them entirely. The Teacher was the first inside, running ahead of the pack and kicking and beating against the ATMs with whatever he could find and use for a bashing instrument. It was only a couple of 31

seconds before the bank was filled entirely with black clad youth ramming poles and stabbing knives into the machines, and when one machine did open, and that horrendous devilish shackle called money spilled out, they filled their pockets and even stuffed their mouths with whatever they could and as quickly as they had swarmed inside, they spilled back out into the chaos, onwards to their next target. On the street, police clashed with black clad youths as fretful mothers and fathers fought desperate to get their children to safety, while in the midst of the confusion, several young idealists imitated sex and affection on the avenue, pretending to coddle and cuddle, hoping, if not expecting, to be snapped by photographers and become a meme or a t-shirt or the cover of an album or a documentary. And on their sofas, people with opinions cupped their mouths in disbelief and could not look away, turning only to sip on their soft drink and pick from their bucket of popcorn. The Teacher wanted to set fire to everything, like nature did, when things grew out of control. Burn it all down, enrich the ground and start from scratch. But he had no matches and nobody had brought accelerant to this march, at least not that he knew of anyway. He joined the other black clad youth out on the street where, still far from the reach of rioting police and stampeding horses, they were kicking in the windows of an upmarket boutique. By the time The Teacher arrived, the front window had already smashed. It sounded like the rusted chains of subservience, falling to the floor, echoing freedom and prosperity; the kind that glimmers in your heart and your eyes, not the one that jingles in your pocket. And by the time he was ready to enter, the entrance was flooded with black clad youth escaping with fine jewels and floral stamped garments, next season’s trend. By the time he got in there, there was nothing left. There was nothing for him to break and there was nothing for him to steal. His cell phone was buzzing in his pocket, but he ignored it, as, like a toddler, well past the realm of exhaustion, he was thirsted 32

by the primal thrill of breaking stuff. And when he stepped out onto the street, he saw the first canisters fall. And in a second, a cloud of choking smoke whipped up into the air and the sounds of taunts and jeering were replaced quickly with panting and screaming as the tens of thousands of people left the main avenue vacant in seconds. The police had taken a vile rhythm now. Their truncheons beat not only against their shaking and towering shields but also against the backs of black clad youth, cowering from the stinging tear gas, striking their backs and their necks and their crooked, covered faces. And now that the sea of colored and common people had vanished, now that it was only the black clad youth who were visible, now that The Teacher was very much the nail that was standing out, he thought it best to quickly get the fuck inside. The smoke was stinging his eyes but he held his breath and he ran, knowing he was only meters from his apartment building and safety. The earth seemed to shake and shatter as a magnificent horse galloped towards him, carrying an abusing officer, cursing of what he would do when he got hold of The Teacher, holding a net in his hands and ready to throw it over the young man as he ran for his life, the road taking him nowhere, making a mockery of his plight and his escape as he fought for every heaving step. “I got you now” shouted the riot cop. “Little bitch.” The Teacher winced as he felt the horses’ breath against his neck but before the officer could throw his net, The Teacher darted left and ran up a set of stairs and buzzed on the intercom shouting, “It’s me, it’s me, let me in, let me in.” And he gripped at the bars and he pulled off his hood and just as the officer dismounted his horse, clenching his demoted fist, the boor buzzed and opened and The Teacher ran inside, swinging it shut behind him and taking the stairs, running as fast as he could, so fast that the automated light, it lit up only after he was gone, like a ghostly reminiscence, showing not the man, but merely where the man had been. 33

The Teacher ran. He ran so fast that he flew. He flew, just like the rock that hit that girl. And it was only a minute or two, a minute or two that felt like a mere second, before he was on the top floor, nervously shoving the wrong key into his front door, over and over, unable to stop his hand from shaking. It was hard to tell if he was scared or thrilled. The door swung open and he entered, slamming it behind him. He rushed to the window and looked out, seeing the chaos still unfolding, some many scores of floors below him. He was so high up that he could no longer hear the taunting and jeering. He could no longer hear the crying and shouting and he could no longer hear the stampeding of horses hooves. He could only hear, after his racing breath began to settle, the light sound of whimpering, as if someone was crying, neath a woolen gag. “Mummy?” said The Teacher, his voice unsure, worry starting to settle in. “Daddy, are you there?” The Teacher tip toed through the house. The whimpering was louder now as if many mouths were crying neath woolen gags. “Mummy? Daddy? Eunice? Where is everyone?” “Shhh” whispered a voice, from behind the whimpering. “Who is that? Who are you?” “Anarchy” whispered the voice. “Anarchy, anarchy, anarchy.” But there wasn’t just one voice, there were many. And through the muffled whimpering of mouths crying neath woolen gags, came the maniacal whispering of scores of different voices, hissing as they whispered, over and over again. “Anarchy, anarchy, anarchy.” “Who are you?” screamed The Teacher. What he felt now, it was most certainly fear, and not thrill. A light flickered on and at first he was blinded, covering his hands to his eyes to wash away the sting. Then, when his sight settled, he saw his family, his mother and his father, his sister and his two brothers, even Eunice and the nanny, all of them, he saw them all hogtied and circled together on the floor, their hands and 34

legs bound and their mouths stuffed with woolen socks as they whimpered lightly, looking left and right neath their blindfolds, as if they were gently swaying to some calming song stuck in their minds. Around him stood maybe thirty people, their faces all covered, their clothes all black. “Anarchy,” said one of the people, a young girl’s voice, a familiar voice. She moved towards The Teacher, whose legs were trickling with urine, and she leaned into his ear. “I hope this is what you meant,” she said. “I know you. I know that voice” said The Teacher. “Anarchy” she whispered, running a shiny knife under his throat so that the tip almost cut through the bottom of his jaw. “We are your children,” she said. “We are only doing what you have asked us to do. We are only trying to appease you, to get your attention. And dear Teacher, we hope that you grade us well, as we deserve.” “What the fuck?” shouted The Teacher. There was a muffled scream, it sounded less like trepidation and more like criticism. “Are you ready?” asked a man’s voice, as if he were standing in front of the class, holding his diorama. “Alexander, that’s you,” said The Teacher, unveiling one of the knife-wielding terrorists, encircling his bound and gagged family, in his living room. “Alright,” he said. “Let’s start. Kill the girl.” The Teacher screamed. So did The Mother and The Father and The Brothers too. The Sister, her eyes widened for a second, but that might have been just a muscle reflex, from the blow she received to her temple. She died, though, immediately. “Anarchy,” all of the masked insurgents shouted.


It was shock that had The Teacher drop his jaw like a heavy suitcase, but it was sheer exultant fright that had him scamper on his hands and knees across the living room, almost looking comical as his body skidded about and thudded repeatedly on the heavily waxed floors. Eunice looked on through a slit in her blindfold, seeing the young man fighting ineptly to tie his hands under his feet and lift himself without slipping on the mirror like floors and she remembered for a second, how when The Teacher was just a young boy, no older than the gagged and unconscious child whose head was bloodied in her lap, she remembered how The Teacher would slip and slide around the apartment all day long in his daddy’s socks, pulling them right up to his knees so he could grip their ends like stirrups and see how far he could get along the shiny floor before he fell onto his bottom again. When he was a boy, The Teacher could slide across nearly half of the living room. Of course it should be noted that their living room was size of a well to do man’s backyard acreage, so this was no marginal feat. But now it seemed, and looking through the slit in her blindfold, Eunice could painfully see that this young man, as he had grown, had shaped himself on his rebellion and though he may have found a place that constantly kindled his ever quenching fire, it just looked as though he grew without ever finding his feet, entirely that is. And now, as sad as it was to admit, the young man she had loved to watch gallivanting across her newly polished floors was now as painful to watch as were the cable ties pinching the skin one her wrists. The young boy, she thought, would have managed to save them. Or at least, he would have been able to skid himself out the door to freedom and there would be some legacy to this, this that was sure to become so outrageous that it had to make the 36

evening news. Still, she thought, watching The Teacher fall onto his face over and over, only a well waxed floor would make a man look and act like some typical cartoon projection. And she smiled to herself because she was proud of the work she did, even if it was just expected of her, it was all she longed to ever do. The Teacher fought desperate to get to his bedroom, the only pace he could think of that was safe. He could hear the mumbled screaming of his mother and his father and he could hear thumping too, like the bumping and scratching of vinyl, before the coming of trepidatious harmony of choking screams and blunt force trauma. “What do you want?” he shouted. It was amazing he could even manage the words. He had had dreams like this when he was a boy, most people had, at least once in their life. And in those dreams, of which he suffered quite a few, he could never manage to string together the words like he had just done. Behind him, he could see the swarm of black, like the evening blanket, casing itself around the twilight sky. They encircled his family, some of them grasping their hands choking around wriggling necks and shaking bodies, like heavy dusted blankets, rigorously back and forth, while others took to urinating, from great heights, onto the bound and huddling captives. All he could think of was his room, his bed, his lock and his phone. He found his feet and he slid, as if he were a reveling young boy, across the last third of the enormous living room, making his way into the maze of twists and turns of twisting and turning corridors that lead to the many guest bathrooms and washrooms, the rumpus rooms and library, the theatre room, and TV room, The Mother and Father’s sex and heroin dungeon, and to the bedrooms, where his was the last, a straight run down the corridor. He leapt and bound with every beat of his heart as if survival alone were the drummer at the bow of his dragon boat. He 37

had never run like this before in his life. It felt as if he were flying with the bounds so great that his feet barely touched the ground. And it was only one or two beats of his thunderous heart before his hands were turning the handle of his door and shushing the chaos outside, slamming it shut behind him and turning the small pinned lock, his back heavy against the door, his knees bent to resist the attack that was sure to come and his throat, feeling like it was on fire as a wave of bile rose up from his adrenalized belly and spat out of his quivering lips. “The police,” he thought. He ran to his writing desk and quickly swept his arm across like some skeletal and oddly angular window wiper, knocking all of his texts and assessments to the floor and all of the grading too, that he had to finish and hand in, at the next day of class. They all slid onto the floor, along with his bridged copy of Das Kommunistische Manifest, that which made a thunderous applause as it hit the ground. He grabbed at the receiver, not even pulling it to his ear, just holding it in his hands like a steaming coffee, taking a second for freedom to chill his fingers and slow down his rapid breath before he pressed the three numbers of salvation as he crept underneath the writing desk with his knees pulled right up to his chin, staring at the bedroom door and curling the long winding telephone cable around his nervous fingers. There was no sound. He reset the phone and dialed again, but there was no sound once more, only the echo in the distance of his father pleading for his own life as the masked intruders, at the bellowing of a young boy, apparently took the life of one of his brothers. The Teacher tried again, desperately pressing and then holding the button on the receiver, closing his eyes and each time hoping that the God he didn’t believe in, or the universe, or Allah, or YHVH, or the Indian one with all the arms, or the god of yoga and Pilates or even L Ron Hubbard or Allan Kardec or even Charlie Manson, if any of them were really captains of coincidence and 38

intervention, to do what was right, to make the fucking phone work. There was no sound. It was dead. The phone line was cut. In the background, he could hear what sounded like a troop of monkeys, shrieking wildly as they smashed everything in the apartment. And they were chanting, amidst their inhumane shrieking, the word ‘Anarchy’. “Please,” said The Teacher, pleading now with the universe as he held the phone. But it was no use. He may as well have been talking to the bottom of his shoe. And as he dropped the receiver in accepted default, his near closing eyes glimpsed the window and then he remembered, the protest where he had escaped and the lines of truncheon carrying police who were lining the streets below. And his heart lifted as if it had lungs and remembered that it could indeed take its own breath. And he ran towards the window, his room still enshrouded in dark, desperate to wrench it open before the maniacal screaming outside his door, made its way into the security of his room. He ripped open the window; just like, as a boy, how he would rip open the delicate packaging of his birthday presents, his heart accelerating with joy and escapism. And when the window gave him just an inch of space, he shoved his head outside out from the 72nd floor where thin lines of frost and fog laid like a transparent blanket underneath his window, almost whiting out the tiny specks of movement on the street below as what looked like large and darkly colored specks, ushered smaller and scattering fractured dark specks all across the main avenue. “Help us” he screamed. “Police! Help me. There’s killers in my house. Please help me. Help me.” He shouted over and over and he screamed and contorted his voice in ways he had never thought imaginable. But each word went unheard. He was so far up that his pleading voice, it skated 39

along the thin line of fog, fluffing it up lightly, but it wasn’t strong enough to break through. It only moved the fog a bit so that looking through, he could see that on the avenue below, nobody could hear his screams, nobody was looking up, and nobody was going to come to his rescue. “I thought the police were brutes,” said a girl’s voice on the bed. The Teacher turned, almost falling out the window at first, but he turned and slid, with his back against the wall, onto the floor beneath the window frame. “Anarchy means no police, does it not? Those that only serve to bully and quench the exuberant fire of youth. That’s what you said, yes? What was it we sang in class? Pushing little children, with their fully automatics…. The first rule of anarchy, no police, no thugs, no bullies, no iron fist.” “What do you want?” pleaded The Teacher. “We want what you want, what you taught us to want. At least, that’s what they want. Me, I want a good grade. And I’m only doing what you asked.” “Who are you?” “You never saw me, in class that is. My ideas were not as versed as yours. I was an invisible thread. Now, though, that I am stretched inside of your cloth, with your idea wound around my fingers, all of a sudden you can see me, and you are interested in whom I am. Well if this is your idea, then I am you. We are all you.” “Suha?” “Why do you teach what you teach? Why do you promote such hate and disregard?” “They’re just ideas for fuck’s sake. It’s socialism. It’s not hate. It’s about community. It’s about togetherness, about fairness.” “Do you really think Anarchy is fair? Out there on the streets, do you think inciting fear and rampage is fair?” “They deserve it. You know that. The banks, they profit off other people’s misfortune and misery. They keep people entrenched in debt.” 40

“You don’t think those people can’t think for themselves? You really think it’s McDonalds’ fault that some fat kid can’t stomach a salad and fucking exercise? Really? Where the fuck is his parents? Where the fuck is his own accountability? You think Anarchy will change government? Really?” The Teacher nodded, but he said nothing, his hands over his sobbing mouth. “A tree is known by its fruit, Teacher, you told us that. You cut off the head, don’t you think the same poisoned fruit is gonna grow right back?” “No, the government is corrupt. You get rid of the government, all of them, and the corporations too… A clean slate,” he said. “And they grow right back,” said Suha. “If you want to change the color of a fruit, you need not cut away at the plant, but instead, dig at the roots. You don’t think everyone in government was once a spoiled little boy or girl, just like you? You anger yourself because the government spends lavish on sport and recreation, clotting the truth of their deficit. And what about in every home, with every mother and father, taking their kids to Disney Land when they should be paying off their piece of shit car? How is that any different? It’s all the same. Huh? Look at your world. How many maids work here? Who the fuck is raising the children? How the hell are you supposed to learn responsibility and accountability if there is always someone poorer and less privileged than yourself, to pick up your scraps, to wash your soiled linen, to puff up your pillow and to wipe away your every fucking disgrace? You, we, everyone, we all learned in our homes that we are not accountable. I have a maid too. She cleans our dishes, she makes our food, she washes my clothes and she sparkles my floors. Sometimes, when there is no work for her to do, my mother and father, they will tip over a pot plant or spill a cup of coffee, just so she isn’t sitting around, and getting lazy with her job. You don’t think this transcends, outside of the home and into society? We throw our rubbish out the window because we know some poor disparaged 41

black person is going to scoop it up and squash it down and after scouring the whole city, take their bag of rotting paper and twisted aluminum to trade for enough pennies to stave off starvation and death for another day. So if we learn in our homes, that no matter what mess we create, we can always pay a helpless black person to take the fall, to clean our plates and to be accountable for our mistakes, what then can be said of our government which is the fruit of each and every family, for every corrupt politician was schooled in academia yes, but they were educated in their homes, copying their mothers and fathers. The roots of their corruption is seeded in the rich soil of their ancestry. If you want to change the government Teacher, you don’t cut off its head, you start to re-educate the family and plant and nurture, a more elegant seed.” The Teacher looked around the room for something sharp. Worse than being killed at any moment was this torture of having to hear such asininity and having no wooden stick of his own, no platform to tell her that she was wrong and no authority to remove her from his class. “We learn as children through negative, to look for what we cannot do and to know, only what we do not want. We know where we are by marking out where we are not. And we know who we are by defining ourselves as who we most certainly are not. Our mothers and fathers left us on our fours, crawling around their precious space and they only played a part of our curiosity, the moment we bridged on something that was dangerous or something that was dear to them. And they shouted “No” and “Get away” and “Don’t do that.” And never did they crawl on all fours with us, and help us, with our curiosity, to see what was good, what was safe, what was allowed and what was fun. Our curiosity led to danger. And danger we learned was everywhere. We knew what we could do, not by seeing and being shown was grand and delightful, but by knowing all of the things that we could not do. Once enough stickers and alarms had been raised, we as children knew our limits and stayed within them. We learned through ‘No’. You ask any person, what they love, what they adore. They will freeze and they will stumble 42

through a poor response. But if you ask them what they despise, what they hate and abhor, they will list one after the other with an impassioned response. They remember everything they do not want, just as a child remembers everything they cannot do and everywhere they cannot go, just a person of faith will remember every commandment that they cannot break. How then, are we supposed to construct a new path if we are dubious of our own curiosity if we learned since puppies that our curiosity killed the cat, that the feeling of walking towards the unknown is what lead to every shouting ear and every smacked bottom? How are we supposed to build something new after you eradicate it all? How are we supposed to create a new world and a new government if we are experts in all that apparently causes us harm? You taught us wrong. We shouldn’t be looking for the fault in our leaders. If we want to change the world like you say, we should be looking at the inch of goodness in them, in all of them, and we should inflate their egos on that and, as adversaries, we should provoke them, not on their failures, but on their successes and we should dare them to be better. Look at you; you are an inspirer of youth, those that are still willing to dig their fingers into the soil. That which you do so well. You could use your gift, your passion and the fire in your heart, to change the world. Rebel not against the government. Rebel against yourself, and how you were educated, be it for or against, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same. Without corruption, you would have no voice; you would be ordinary and impassioned. You oppression defines you and as long as you define it, you define yourself and as long as you continue to define yourself on your ideals, you continue to expound the importance of your adversary” said Suha, with the same delicacy of a mother, explaining her child’s wrongs, before releasing them from their timed castigation. “Your beliefs do not define you,” she said. “They direct you. But without action, they ironize you. You are not what you believe, you are what you do. Your beliefs are the thoughts that are buried so far in your subconscious that you have no idea what they are and how they got there. I believe that you can change the world. I 43

believe that we all can. But first, we must change the way we have been raised. And it is too late for us. What we can do though is to teach our children to see a dimension to us that is fallible and invisible. When our children are on the floor, we must be with them and guide them through their curiosity to find what is right and what is true and to not define themselves and their happiness and joy and sense of identity, by what is wrong and forbidden. We must teach them that sitting quiet and still in the center of the room is not kind and mannerly, it is not fit for acclaim and it is not a state of which they should aspire, fearful of running into any of their doubts or fears or the dangers and wrongs that their mothers and fathers gritted and screamed into their ears and lashed upon their red and sore buttocks. The new world will not come from violence or fear. It will not be built upon the remains of smoldering rubble. It will not come from vicious and rebelling hands. It will come from a new seed as new things are born. When our children can see what they love and carry that with them; when what they hate or despise is much like something of which they bore and care not for, something they cannot name and of which plays not at the strings of their passion and reason, that they are only defined by what is good and what is right and that curiosity did not kill the cat, that curiosity had it find another bed of the sun in which to bathe.” The Teacher wiped his eyes. In the background, he could still hear the violent thrashings of sharp and heavy objects being thrust upon his bound and huddled family. And he knew they weren’t dead yet, by the sound of their muffled groans. “I understand,” said The Teacher. “Will you let me go now?” “No,” said Suha. “But if Anarchy cannot change anything, as you said, only a new seed can bring about change, then you have to let me go. You have to, or your speech, it means nothing. If you continue with this, with this chaos, then you prove my teaching correct, that only through threat and through chaos, will come a new order. Like nature, setting fire to a forest, ending hundreds if not thousands of years of growth to enrich the soil and start again. If you kill me, 44

if you continue this torment and this torture, you prove yourself wrong. And this idea” he said, “it is brilliant. It is. And you’re right. We cannot have two sides opposing, only if there is a neutral government in the middle, being bettered by both sides, like the two engines on a jet liner, keeping the left and right wings afloat, but with their contrary force, helping to keep the main government, the plane and its pilot in the air. You’re right. Everything you said was right. And I know” said The Teacher, gaining his confidence and his mystique back, “that you will change the world and you will, like you said, plant a better seed and educate children in a new way. And you will here, I know. You need to, to have some lesson to show to your children, that, to prove everything you said. You are magnificent” he said, now standing and walking towards Suha with his usual swagger, that which swooned many a student throughout his reign. He pressed his hand against her masked face, running his fingers down the line of her fine jaw, himself trembling with sexual energy, close to orgasm as his index finger coursed down the line of her neck and then onto her left breast and circling her nipple before it continued its course down her body, sending him into a shiver as it pressed in and out of her belly button and then caught on the cusp of her waist. “I want you,” he said, feeling his power swelling in his pants. Suha smiled, though it could not be seen under her black hood. She pressed forwards with the one sharp object in the room, stabbing The Teacher in his erect penis only once, long and deep. And when he gasped in silent agony, Suha twisted the knife as if she were crushing a hundred limes in a bowl of sugar. Then she tore out the knife, leaving The Teacher to fall to the floor, gripping his bleeding crotch. “Yes,” she said. “In some way, you were right. If I am to kill you now, everything I have said will mean nothing. I will not prove myself in any way. To be the better person, I must find the goodness in you and accelerate it and change you into something you already are, to make your corruption and your rebellious insolence a 45

bore, something ignorable, like a worthless talent. It is true. But I am not here as a Messiah. I am here as a student, looking for my final grade. And so, you asked us to dress in black. You asked us, for our final grade, to go out tonight and to bring Anarchy. And so, for my final grade, here I am.” “No” screamed The Teacher. “I’ll give you an ‘A’. Just stop. I’ll give everyone passing grades.” “It wouldn’t be the same,” she said. “How different would be in your ideal of the government, taking a bribe?” “Fuck,” he said, blood flowing like a monsoon flood from between his legs. “I’ll give you money. We have so much. I’ll give you a thousand dollars” he said. “Each.” “Ha” mocked Suha. “I’ll give you money. I won’t tell the others. You’re in control, I can see. You’re the boss here.” “This is Anarchy,” she said. “There is no boss. There is no government. There is no one to negotiate with. There is no one conducting this chaos. There is no one in charge.” “I’ll give you a million. Just you. Two million. I’ll give you five million, my savings. I’ll give it all to you. If you let me go. Sneak me out of here. You can do what you want to my family. Just let me go. I’ll give you all the money I have.” “This is Anarchy,” said Suha. “Money is worthless.” The Teacher’s legs were starting to tingle as if a hundred thousand pins were being jabbed in odd succession from his waist down to his toes and his feet, at the ball and the arch, were starting to numb. He could hear cackled laughter out in the living room as what he now knew as his masked students, had taken to throwing his father and his mother off the balcony, struggling with each one, but laughing hysterically as they disappeared through the now thick lining of fog that lay like a heavenly carpet, below the line of their apartment, 72 stories into the sky. Suha took the papers that were on the floor and held each one before The Teacher, forcing him to mark a final grade beside 46

every student’s name. His blood soaked hands marked an ‘A’ next to every name, each page soaking red as it was taken from his grasp and neatly piled back on his writing desk, weighed by his copy of Das Kommunistische Manifest. “Now what?” asked The Teacher. Suha opened the bedroom door and walked slowly out into the main foyer, stepping over an orgy of half clothed men and women with their faces still masked as outside in the living room, a large fire roared with furniture and curtains all glowing an orangey red. Chaos had indeed ensued. Anarchy was apparent all around. And as the front door burst down with the fire brigade and police storming into the building, wielding their truncheons and firearms and shooting wildly, The Teacher smiled to himself, knowing that he had done this, that he had inspired his students, these fresh minds that were like children to him, he had inspired them to change. He had done this. And that was more than his father had said that he would ever do. And that was magnificent.



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The anarchist  

On the night of 'The March', The Teacher will find himself, in the most profound and liberating test of his ideals. Part philosophical and p...

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