Welcome To The Jungle

Today’s flashfiction: “Welcome to the jungle…”

You would think the smoke would be all the impetus you needed.  Okay, so maybe the smoke and the explosions…

How do you miss all of that?

Easy.  All you have to do is decide it doesn’t apply; not to you, anyway.  That smoke, those explosions…those are someone else’s problem.  My passport…my passport is blue.  My passport has an eagle on it.  My passport says no one can ever fuck with me.

My passport aside, the bomb still struck.  My passport aside, the smoke and the fire and the violence, they all still fucked with me.

“One minute!” my friend screamed from a thousand miles away.  Weeks ago, we had worked out our escape plan.  One minute to gather our shit and get out.  One minute to grab everything and run for the one car we had all ensured had a full tank.  “One minute!” my friend screamed from right outside my door…

How do you grab a life in one minute?

My books…

My first editions of Tolkien?  Of Dostoyesky and Tolstoy?  My Shakespeare folios?  Hell, my volumes of Japanese manga, even?  When the building is crumbling, who the hell worries about their Norigami collection?!

I do.

Or…at least…I did.

Then the smoke.  And the explosions.  The sirens, and the screams…

The screams…

My life exists in a pair of boxes, and a lifetime of screams.

p.s.

I have friends in Ukraine.  I have friends I have not been able to contact since the Russians invaded.  I have friends in the Baltics, too.  I have friends that fear — as do I! — that they are next.  The worst thing I have ever had to flee was a vengeful ex-girlfriend.  Falling mortars?  Enemy snipers?  Mines?  Yeah, I top out at the fucking Call of Duty series…

Some of my friends are terrified…

Others of my friends are already refugees…

“…as you have done to the least of these, My brothers, you have done to Me…”

This is not a thing of Trump versus Biden…no matter what FoxNews wants you to believe.  This is not a thing of capitalism versus socialism…no matter what MotherJones wants you to believe.  This is a thing of human suffering.  This is a thing of war, and death, and the threat of far, far worse…

In the years before WW2 we as a society missed the signs of the worst that was to come.  We as a society were far too complacent in our isolation and self-absorption, to be honest.  It took violence and blood to break that isolation and self-absorption.  In today’s world, we have missed many, many signs…

Just how much blood is it going to take for us to realize that we are actually a part of this world?

Just how much blood and violence will it take for us to realize that things are not as we want, but as others demand?!

Just how much suffering will we endure before we decide true leadership is more important than partisan infighting?!

My friends talk to me about their fears.  My friends talk about tank divisions, and speed of advance.  My friends talk, even, of chemical and nuclear weapons.  My friends talk of what is to come in the same way Jamie Lee Curtis talked of Michael Meyers fifty years ago…

My country, on the other hand…

My own country…this beacon of strength and freedom…

We can’t get over Donald Trump’s speeches, or Hunter Biden’s emails.

We are so fucked.

{Musical Note — I looked and looked for the perfect song for this post. I failed. Then I decided to look at the music choice not as a commentary or an appenage to the writing, but as a (pretty blatant) subtext…}

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