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alllegory

A Western Tale

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Thomas Paine’s Corner

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By Vi Ransel

1/13/09

Almost all of Charlie’s immediate family was rounded up by home invaders, tortured and killed in their own living room: mama and papa, the teenage twins, little Joan and baby Beth. (His younger brother, Sonny, survived.) While this vicious gang was at work, they dipped their hands in Charlie’s family’s blood and splattered obscene and racist phrases all over the walls of the slaughter chamber. Death to the Mann Family. Manns to gas chambers. Manns are fuckin’ cockroaches.

It hadn’t come as a complete surprise. Someone, probably the home invaders, had been harassing the Manns for months with phone hang ups, then luridly whispered threats to get out of the neighborhood. Their mailbox was battered to bits and their dogs were poisoned. “Niggers” was written in gasoline on their front lawn, so the word showed up later when the grass died. Charlie’s family wasn’t Black. The last of these incidents ended with the breaking of all the glass in the breezeway during a night of screaming destruction. And when the police arrived, after a six-hour wait, they said there were no clues as to who’d done it.

Others in Charlie’s family had been subject to the same sort of harassment, most notably his father’s parents, three of his uncles and his sister and her husband. The rest of Charlie’s large family, another set of grandparents, seven aunts, eight uncles and their families, had been victims of somewhat less hateful torment. It seemed to Charlie that it was only his family that was being singled out. And, as always, the police denied being able to find any clues.

Charlie saw all the clues, and was convinced that the police were, if not related to the criminals, at least their very fast friends. The evidence pointed to the Fellows family, who’d had it in for Charlie’s father’s father since the Depression, when he bought THEIR grandfather’s house and real estate business at the bank’s auction – fair and square. The Fellows had never forgiven them. And Charlie’s grandfather had been living in that very same house today.

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When the home invaders had finished with Charlie’s family, they went to his grandfather’s house. Yes. THAT house. And to those of three of his uncles. And to his sister’s. All on the same night. And repeated their atrocities, raping his sister in front of her husband and children, and forcing his grandma to play the piano while his poor, arthritic grandfather danced naked for them as they laughed and prodded his penis with the fireplace tongs. Charlie knew this because his grandmother had somehow managed to survive that night, as his younger brother Sonny and his Uncle Zee. Grandma died on the way to the hospital. It took the ambulance a VERY long time to arrive.

The rest of Charlie’s relatives didn’t want to keep living in a community that had produced such an atrocity, let alone not investigated it honestly and completely. And some of them were made an offer they could hardly refuse. Anonymously, of course. Move. Or else. But then again, of course, there’d be help. There’d even be trucks to pick them up and move them out. And in a softer version of the invitation, they were given their first choice of destinations – one of the communities under the control of the Fellows family’s revived real estate business in the Emmy region, where some of the Mann’s relatives were already living. They’d be able emigrate and set up a safe, secure place they could call their own. Out of the Fellow’s family’s sight. They wouldn’t even have to pack. Until the murder scenes were cleaned up, the Fellows would keep all of their belongings, as well as their houses, until they could be sold. Then the Fellows would send them the money. “Yeah, right,” thought Charlie.

At this time, Charlie also became better acquainted with his Uncle Zee’s friends. And they introduced him to THEIR friend, Mr. Simpson, who while reviled by the Fellows family and their friends and neighbors, had achieved a perverse sort of success in selling illegal weapons to anyone with the money to pay for them. And just to show what a humanitarian he was, he even sold those weapons on credit, but with interest so high that most of his credit customers wound up with broken legs. Or worse. With their throats slashed ear-to-ear, heads dangling, as an example.

As Charlie bought a handgun, he told Mr. Simpson that the Fellows community was shipping him and his whole family wholesale to Emmy, where they’d have a place of their own. Mr. Simpson grinned and placed an M-16 in Charlie’s hands, saying “There’s more where that came from.” And it was at that point Uncle Zee changed the family name to Manson.

Mr. Simpson knew the “new” community well because he’d wanted to sell some of his merchandise there, but the Fellows claimed it was their turf, and it was surrounded on all sides by his well-armed rivals. And to Charlie he said “Kid, I believe what we have here is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

When Charlie, his Uncle Zee and his younger brother Sonny arrived in Emmy, along with the rest of the Mann family survivors, Sonny was shocked to find so many people already there. But Uncle Zee and his friends, and now Charlie, didn’t care. Nobody listened to Sonny. He was just a naive kid. And besides, the people there were Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies who were under the foot of the Fellows anyway.

So this was where the Manson family began to establish their new community. And they used any guilt/humanity the Fellows family might still have at the bottoms of their teeny, tiny hearts to maneuver them into helping them to do it. And of course there was the friendly Mr. Simpson, with an agenda all his own.

And in many stunning and macho acts of hypocrisy – or so it seemed to Sonny –

Charlie, Uncle Zee and the rest of the Manson family proceeded to clean up. They told the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies they’d have to vacate their land and their homes, no ifs, ands or buts – or else. That led to more than a little resistance on the part of the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies, but since they only had BB guns and 22s and Mr. Simpson had supplied the Mansons with machine guns, grenades and rockets launchers, it wasn’t too much of a problem.

They started taking over real estate right and left. More than the Fellows had promised them when they craftily got rid of the Mansons by pretending a humanitarian concern for their safety. And when the Fellows protested that the Mansons were going too far, the Mansons blew up one of the Fellows’ hotels, where they were having a real estate dealers’ convention and killed 91 of them, just to make their point. The Mansons kept up their terrorism against the Fellows family, as well as their efforts to (1) convince the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies to vacate to surrounding communities – who weren’t all that hot to have them, even though they were related; to (2)acknowledge that the Mansons had the right to run Emmy and submit; or to (3)be slaughtered. And the Mansons had the fire power to do it.

The Fellows family eventually had enough and decided “Who gives a shit? It’s just a dusty desert full of Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies anyway. Let them have it.” Besides, most of the rest of the surrounding neighborhoods, and even those pretty far away were convinced the Mansons were the victims here and the Fellows didn’t like being called prejudiced. It cost them money. They left the Mansons to fight it out with the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies, who didn’t intend to give up their homes and farms without a fight. And while a lot of them became refugees, running to their relatives’ communities, not to mention being rounded up, put on trucks and transferred there by the Mansons, many more were simply slaughtered. But what was left of them, dug in their heels.

The Mansons’ plan, actually Uncle Zee’s and his friends’ plan, was to simply erase the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies from the face of the earth, though at first those who accepted the Mansons’ terms were allowed to stay put. But the Mansons saw them as an ever present potential threat, since the Mansons themselves knew how they felt about the Fellows, and being beaten, raped, murdered and transferred. And there were a LOT more Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies than there were Mansons, although the Mansons were MUCH more heavily armed. Remember Mr. Simpson? And they had the implicit backing of the Fellows, who could be counted on to more or less give the Mansons whatever they wanted, not just out of belated contrition, but financial interest. (No one wanted to do business with the family who had mass-murdered the Manns.)

The Mansons began to demolish not just the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies’ individual houses, but entire rural communities, along with their gardens and orchards. They slaughtered the people, along with the farm animals, down to the very last terrorist chicken, or else put the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies on trucks and transported them to the border. At the same time they built Manson settlements on the still-smoldering ruins, changing their names from Rainbow, Moon Beam, Reefer and Commune to those with Manson family associations.

They not only demolished entire communities and rebuilt them as Manson communities, they chased the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies right into the refugee camps where they’d deposited their asses and slaughtered some more of them, since some of the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippie kids were shooting into the new settlements with their BB guns, and most likely planning a massive resistance.

After a few years, Sonny was finding hard to look in the mirror. But like I said, nobody listened to Sonny. And the Manson family decided they didn’t have enough real estate between them and the refugees to feel truly safe. They were going to need a buffer zone between them and the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies, even if it had to be carved out of the communities that had so unwillingly accepted the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies in the first place. So they went to war. And when they were through wiping them up with their overwhelming fire power, they took a couple new pieces of real estate, West River and Gee Town, from the surrounding communities. Now these communities weren’t too happy, but by this time Mr. Simpson had supplied the Mansons with some pretty nasty weapons, so the surrounding communities didn’t do much but whine and complain. They couldn’t. They were outgunned.

At this point Charlie and his family were about as welcome in most of Emmy as a convention of maggots in a meat market. Uncle Zee and his friends had moved right into the neighborhoods where the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies lived. Some of the houses were beautiful – after you got rid of the vermin living in them and fumigated, of course. And besides, the point was to outnumber them. They’d just beat them up – at gunpoint – throw them out and move in. And if the ones still alive wouldn’t leave the neighborhood on their own, the Mansons WERE white enough to put them on trucks and transfer their asses to the border.

It was important to contain the bomb threat – the population bomb – since all the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies wanted to do was make love, not war and outbreed the Manson family, who, after all, liked to let the surrounding communities know that the Mansons did things democratically. In fact, they were the only freedom and democracy-loving people in Emmy. And to prove it, they’d have to be a majority.

Eventually Uncle Zee’s friends were running everything, even the few people who agreed with Sonny, as well as West River and Gee Town, where most of the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies had “relocated”. But there was still a shitload of the cockroaches right inside the Manson’s neighborhood itself, whining and complaining about their rights. And the sons of bitches, especially in Gee Town, actually expected food, water, electricity, schools, the whole enchilada. And they kept shooting their damned BB guns and 22s across the damn border. A couple of Uncle Zee’s friends had actually been injured or killed. What was up with that? Ungrateful bastards!

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To calm them down, Uncle Zee made sure all his friends moved out of Gee Town, but the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies STILL weren’t happy. They didn’t like the barbed wire the Mansons had installed around Gee Town for the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies own protection. Or the humane way the Mansons monitored everything that moved in or out of Gee Town to make sure nobody was smuggling in something the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies could hurt themselves with. That would mean Uncle Zee and his friends would just have to go back in and hurt somebody while they were trying to protect the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies from the ones with the smuggled weapons.

And on the population bomb front, things got so bad that the Mansons had to pass an ordinance to keep the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies from marrying into the family and polluting the bloodline. And any Manson who would be a party to this mongrelizing just HAD to be one of Sonny’s friends.

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Sonny was so upset his hair was falling out. He’d started writing for a local newspaper, setting down what was going on. But he couldn’t get any papers outside the neighborhood to publish the stuff. They just couldn’t believe the Mansons would do anything like that. And if they did, they had a good reason for it. They had to defend themselves. And the people in the neighborhood? Nobody listened to Sonny. Even when he wrote that the Mansons were starting to remind him of the home invaders who killed his family before they made the move to Emmy. And that Uncle Zee and his friends had completely taken over Charlie and the rest of the family’s way of thinking.

Besides, unlike Gee Town, West River was getting with the program. Uncle Zee’s friends had been able to pick up some prime real estate over there. And the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies who lived there had set up a separate (but, of course, equal) neighborhood association of their own. And under the protection of Uncle Zee’s friends, they were in complete agreement with the Mansons. They were paid to be.

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The Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies in the Mansons’ neighborhood were behaving their asses. They had to. They were surrounded on all sides. Anywhere they had a neighborhood, the Zees moved in and took the best real estate and tried like hell to create a Zee majority.

But it was then that the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies in Gee Town decided to elect their own community board and things got REALLY ugly. They voted in the damned GANG that had been taking the potshots across the border. They were really bad shots and almost nobody on the Zee side got hit, but they needed to be taught a lesson. Just who the fuck did they think they were?!!

The Mansons were really going to have to crack down. They stopped shipments of food and medicine and cut off the electricity. But even when they had them locked down tight, they were too stupid to just give up and do what the Mansons had asked for so very reasonably. It was like grade school with these cockroaches. Either give up the bad guys or we’ll have to punish all of you ’til you do. What part of that didn’t they get?!! And there were so many of the freakin’ bastards packed so tight into Gee Town, that it was too dangerous for Uncle Zee and his friends to go in on foot and clean the rats’ nest out.

By this time Sonny’s editorials were getting all psycho, psychological, that is. He said it had gotten to the point where those who weren’t part of the family weren’t even treated like people. That it was as if the Zees thought the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies were subhuman, and that the Zees were superhuman and acted with impunity under the cloak of the Fellows’ never-ending guilt and a blanket of Mr. Simpson’s lethal weapons. That the victims had become the aggressors. And then Charlie and Uncle Zee came to put Sonny in jail.

Uncle Zee let it be known that Zees had the right to defend themselves. That the Fellows had promised them this property – fair and square – in compensation for their suffering. That they didn’t have to take being abused and murdered by any Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies.

And Mr. Simpson showed up in person. He made sure the Mansons had enough fighter planes and bombs to keep their hands clean – and safe – while they softened up Gee Town enough to begin to implement the plans they’d been making ever since they moved in.

But even then, the Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies just wouldn’t give up. They wouldn’t just lay down and die. No. They had to go shooting off their BB guns and 22s. But then again, that was just what Uncle Zee wanted. He needed a reason to put the rest of the plan into effect.

So in order to protect the Mansons, he would be FORCED to get some even more exotic deterrents from Mr. Simpson: chemicals; DIMES; GBU 39s; cluster bombs; DU; and Willy Pete. He had to get tanks and helicopters and remote control drones. Those Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies were tenacious bastards. They just wouldn’t stop shooting at the Mansons with those deadly BB guns and 22s.

It was then Uncle Zee and the rest of the Zees knew that they could take action on the last part of their long-awaited plan. They were going to give it a test run in Gee Town first. They were goin’ in. On the ground. To take out those goddamned Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies and their guns one by one with every Zee in Emmy. And then on to those in the surrounding communities. It was time to get rid of the Dirty Mother Fuckin’ Hippies once and for all.

And in case I didn’t make myself clear, the “cast” includes –

The Manns as the Jews of Europe

The Fellas as the British and the Germans

Charlie as mainstream Jews-cum-Israelis

Uncle Zee and his friends as the Zionists

Sonny as the truth-telling Israeli Jews and journalists

Mr. Simpson as the United States

and

The Dirty Fuckin’ Hippies as the Palestinians and Arabs

Emmy stands in for the Middle East, as does West River
for the West Bank and Gee town for Gaza.

Poet and part-time actor Viola Ransel is a Senior Contributing Editor with CJO.

To further your sociopolitical education, strengthen your connection with the radical community, and deepen your participation in forming an egalitarian, just, ecological, non-speciesist and democratic society, visit the Transformative Studies Institute at http://transformativestudies.org/ and the Institute for Critical Animal Studies at http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/.

Source: Thomas Paine’s Corner

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A Lemming’s Tale, Interrupted

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Phillip Marlowe

I remember that bickering, shuffling crowd and those forever nights so long ago. We all marched along, sometimes stumbling, but ever forward we went — never stopping, never thinking, never saying no.

Oh, it wasn’t a silent crowd, by any stretch of the imagination. Although most just grumbled too quietly to be heard by anyone but their closet neighbors, still quite a few raised their voices loudly and indignantly over the least little thing. Most of the time, I had no idea what was shouted nor did I care, since I had long ago tired of listening to it. Yet, I do know that almost all stridently agreed on continuing the course we were on. Those who said otherwise were always shouted down as the evil enemy or derisively hooted into embarrassed silence as the crazy ones.

I was never exactly sure of the shape to that marching crowd. Some thought it to be amorphous and impossibly wide, but the only thing we ever really knew was that we were all marching forward, towards some final destination, of what we knew not. I often gave thought to the further sides, maybe off someplace to the left or right of me. But never could I see much other than bobbing, gibbering heads surrounding me. And it was dangerous to turn around and go backwards — the pressing crowd would quickly overwhelm you and grind you into the ground.

I’d asked those around me where we were going a million times. Everybody seemed to have some idea, but they didn’t really know when you got right down to it.

The crowd was being guided by unknown people with electronic bullhorns off someplace to our sides and as we went along, we were alternately prodded and cajoled with syrupy pleadings, needling commentaries or occasionally, explosive exhortations and demands.

The apparent purpose to these bullhorn messages — disguised in dripping altruism — was for us to mix together into a babbling, chaotic and diverse mass, one that would not even know who we were, let alone think or talk about what was going to happen to us down the road. They seemed expressly designed to divide up any like-minded individuals, making it impossible to form any coherent strategies to deal with our plight — or to set our own direction.

I noticed that the unseen bullhorn people on the right, often accused the unseen bullhorn people on the left with trying to run things and vice versa. Often, fellow marchers would make their way over to one side or other, and actually take sides with those people, adding more acute and vitriolic voices than even the bullhorn people themselves. Most of us just tried to gravitate toward the middle so we could have some measure of peace while lost in the crowd.

We were a confused and easily frightened herd — who only thought it safe in the middle, away from any extreme. To be surrounded by ourselves gave us cold comfort, so that we would seek the center mass, even if it meant knowing nothing at all. Especially if it meant knowing nothing at all.

This effect propelled us marchers along the way, at first heading off to the left, but soon it came back towards the right before being lost in the distance. Often, we heard rumors about people off to the sides just disappearing, possibly being plucked from the ranks by sinister unknown forces, or maybe they were lost in the miasma we could see surrounding us. These disapearences created a sense of panicky urgency to move away from the dangerous, troubled sides.

I could see that this back and forth rhythm was actually the method that fueled the crowd ever onwards. I realized that it might be possible to find out what was going on by moving towards the sides to get a look around, yet it was also riskier since I did not know the real fate of those who became lost. It was easier to stay in the middle, where it was safer and faster to gain ground on your neighbors. Which everyone seemed eager to do.

I also thought about just stopping right then and there, but that too was impossible with the immense crowds behind me. Some would appear to want to help you along by grabbing and lifting you back up, but most were quite willing and eager to walk right on over you, forcing you down into the dirt. This allowed them to get to the front sooner and this alone was enough reward for them.

A lady that I was walking along with for a long time said she knew exactly what was going on and where we were headed. She was so sure about it all. She had talked to some people before joining up with me and they told her about this hill awhile back, that allowed them to see the final destination. And it was all so beautiful: Bright sunlight, white marble columns shrouded in gold and purple banners, blue skies and fluffy clouds — all surrounded by green fields and rolling pastures!

But after talking to her more closely, I could see that no one else had actually seen it for themselves. Only others had told them about it and none had actually laid eyes on it. I asked people around us if they had seen this vision; many had heard the same thing but wove different descriptions into it. Her ideas were fascinating to listen to, but never could I get a word in edgewise nor convince her of her fallacies, so I tired of her and eventually edged away.

Although it was difficult to make out in the continual gloom we were in, I could note the vain preoccupations of the marchers, who seemed more concerned by petty status symbols, as if that made the least little difference to their situation. Small bits of individualism were rewarded by fellow marchers by hearty slaps on the back and envious looks, while others sporting the wrong symbols were sullenly ignored or laughed at.

So I decided to see what was on the sides, unobtrusively easing my way laterally in-between other marchers who would then quiz me about my beliefs and direction as I tried to slip past them. After listening to the arguing for so long, I knew exactly what to say and when.

As I gradually made my way further to the outer edge, people seemed angrier and continually bitched about why all the rest could not see what they did of our marching direction. The attitudes became increasingly belligerent the further I went along, with much shouting and demonstrances. After being surrounded on all four sides with people my whole life, suddenly, there was just three sides. It took me a long time before I even had the guts to look over to my right to confirm it.

I could make out nothing but a heavy and dark, fog-like gloom mere feet away to my side. Looking closer, I thought I saw faces — dark faces with thick, bulbous noses and heavily-lidded eyes that followed me closely or so I thought. Some spouted slanderous threats at me, some whispered tempting offers of secret advantage and when those didn’t work, resorted to calling me insane that I didn’t take back my presumed, privileged place in the middle. Just looking over at them seemed to increase their interest in me. Mortally afraid, I felt that I had to stay in the column or else fall victim to whatever fate those alien faces held in store for me.

I noticed someone ahead of me drift off to the side even further than anyone else ever did. He kept his head up defiantly, but looked over to the side nervously. The fog-like gloom quickly surrounded him and just as I went past the point where he was swallowed up, I heard what seemed to be a muffled screaming or bellowing, away off in the distance.

I kept thinking “oh, to hell with it,” wanting to just step out of this march and get it over with. I had asked people about it all along and everyone told me that would it would be far worse than I could ever imagine. Funny thing, they seemed to have no idea of exactly what that was, only that it was really bad.

With a palpable fear in my gut, but along with a curiosity that had grown into obsession, I decided what the hell and then stepped off to the side.

The fog immediately surrounded me and I felt an odd tingling sensation deep within my head, a dizziness like deja vu, but far more intense then any mere deja vu moment. At first, I thought I was done for, but just as quickly as the sensation had invaded me, it was gone. And along with it, the fog in front of my eyes. I could still see the marchers, slogging along right in front of me. But they now seemed totally oblivious to my presence, for some reason.

It was all so easy. So easy. The dangerous wall that we thought contained us was as flimsy and inconsequential as rice paper.

I tried yelling something to them, telling them I was OK, that I was still alive and it was all cool, but they seemed not to hear me or they cast nervous glances off in my direction, just like I had done when I heard the muffled screaming earlier. I begged them to stop and come through the fog with me, but most shook their heads knowingly or laughed hysterically for no apparent reason.

I felt ignored, naked and very, very alone.

I decided to get a better view of things, if possible. It was still pretty dark around me, but I could make out that it was lighter the further from the crowd I turned. I also sensed, with some trepidation, that if I walked away, the less chance I would ever have in rejoining what I now saw was a long, snake-like column stretching off in both directions as far as the eye could see.

Along with every step I took, my mind seemed to clear more and more, the fog that I once saw surrounding us had apparently seeped deep within my cerebellum. Giddy with surviving the fog and the sensation of a mind now free, everything stood out in a stark clarity that shocked me to the core. And no longer did I hear that continuous bickering chorus of nameless souls, nor the incessant electronic blaring of the bullhorns!

I soon made out a copse of trees sitting on a mountain-top nearby and I made going there my first decision of my new life. I wanted to see those marchers from a higher vantage point and that mountain seemed to fit the bill. Climbing it was harder than I thought. Downed trees and boulders barred my way. Strange animal noises whistled from dark recesses and loose stones made me slip and fall many times.

Eventually, I reached some kind of pathway, weaving up the hill. At first, it appeared to be the barest of animal trails, but then became more defined and much easier to hike.

Right then, off close-by, I saw what I thought was a skinny black dog, his ribs poking out, looking down at me from a opening in the brush. Then I heard a scrambling sound nearby and, looking quickly over to the left, I saw two chubby, well-fed bear cubs come down the side of an old rotten tree trunk, undoubtedly feasting on honey when I interrupted things.

Suddenly, the top of the hill heaved into view. The little copse of trees turned out to be a really beautiful, expansive forest glade. Ancient, knarled oak trees sat on a plateau or mountain saddle of some sort, with no more brambly undergrowth or fallen timbers to impede my way. It was as open and pleasant a place as I had ever seen before.

I couldn’t understand if the sun was setting or rising, since I had never really seen the sun before. The realization of that one hit me like a two-by-four! The rays from the sun slanted in from the side of the glade like a glowing, airborne carpet. A little ways off in the distance, I saw a large cinnamon-colored bear looking back at me, her flanks warmly bathed by the rays of the sun. I instinctively knew she was the mother bear to the three cubs that I just saw, the two fat and happy, the third barely hanging on with starvation. She turned and walked slowly away, probably with her offspring hidden and following her nearby.

I felt myself welcomed by her, of that I am quite certain. And that’s when I noticed that I was not the only person who reached this mountain-top plateau. I could see others here too. A few of them I had seen before in the line of marchers down below. They smiled at me as I recognized them and I plaintively asked them if I was dead. They laughed and said no, that I was now very much alive.

That night was the solstice of the rest of my life. The sun was indeed setting off to one side of the plateau and a full moon was now rising up at the same time on the other. Even with the millions of questions that filled my mind to ask of my new-found friends, I stood there as silently as they did, all of us taking in that glorious oil-painted landscape before us — along with that long dark line of marchers winding their way down below us, bathed in a strange moonlight that I once thought of as daylight.

A large, solitary bird could now be seen circling the marchers which I, at first, thought to be a vulture, but upon looking closer could now see was a coal-black, malevolent war eagle.

Next to me stood an older woman with long blond hair, streaked in gray, bearing a strong, noble countenance and a steely glint in her eyes. This woman then gently tugged at my hand to get my attention and pointed sharply at the distant marchers down below us. She said thus: “Look now and you will soon see what you walked away from.”

That’s when the rays of the setting sun suddenly burst forth from a nearby mountain pass, illuminating what looked like the very head to the column, not too far off in the distance. Only it wasn’t any front edge to a surly or even happy group of marching people, at all.

For the line of marchers was now hemmed in tightly to either side of a steep ravine — leading directly to what appeared to be a cliff-edge, with a yawning black abyss beyond. Even at the distance I was at, I could just make out the marchers bunching up — frantically trying to back-peddle away or climb themselves out, as the unseeing, unbelieving crowd behind pressed onwards.

Ever onwards!

— Phillip Marlowe

Source: http://incogman.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/a-lemmings-tale-interrupted/#more-1886