* This short story piece came from a discussion about Ayn Rand and the importance she seems to have found in the modern Libertarian movement. More precisely it came frm my stance that her hero, John Galt was not a hero at all but a force for entropy who was only self deluded int thinking himself a champion of some sort. The protagonist of my story is Sully. He is an everyman, though a good man who is on a business trip to the city. Sully is mugged and beaten and left in an alley. When he comes to his wallet is missing but he hears a voice coming from a pile of rags. The voice introduces itself as the rag and bone oracle. Sully, it seems has found himself thrust into a dystopian nightmare and quickly discoveres that his nightmare may be more real than he could imagine. This excerpt of what I am working in starts in the middle of their conversation. Any thoughts would be appreicated.
Do you really think dystopian futures exist only in the minds of science fiction authors or that our society can be brought to a grinding halt only in books? Look around you! Take a good look…Do you see it, right there. Look very closely at the world around us right now at this moment. Don’t you see it all? It is real, tactile and sensual, we are surrounded by the reality we have made for ourselves and it is more real than we ever intended. THIS WORLD IS ALREADY grinding to a halt. Y2K, what a sad joke that was but we wanted it, didn’t we? Secretly we longed for it all to come tumbling down like so many humpty dumpty’s. But it didn’t. What a sad joke. Y2K was a prophecy for a new age and when it fizzled we all turned to all those prophecies from yesterday. Revelation was preached with renewed vigor from pulpits around the world. Nostradamus suddenly took on new meaning. Mostly forgotten voices of doom were rediscovered. Who ever heard of Mother Shipton 30 years ago! What of Saint Malachy. And his end of time and of Peter the Roman? Hell, we even embraced the half understood prophecy of a dead and vanished culture and circled a certain date in December 2012 in red ink as if it were marked in blood. And let’s not forget Aliens and extra planetary disturbances. Imagined planets like Nibiru seem to be whizzing all around the cosmos just waiting to smack into mother earth while interstellar invaders lurk in the shadows of far too many peoples minds. Dystopia! Hrmph. What a joke. What a sad, terrible. Wonderful joke we have played on ourselves. All this time thinking that it would all come to an end by some force of nature, or some act of the supernatural or some inspired prophecy. What supremely arrogant morons we are to think… Don’t you see it! We did this ourselves, all of it. The collapse of the economy, the immigration riots, the labor unrest, wars all over the world, families tearing themselves apart, babies murdered at the altar of their mothers selfishness while deadbeat dads run and hide from their own… HELL! This is the world Science fiction authors dreamed about. This is the world Ayn Rand envisioned only she got it wrong. There is no superman, no perfected human being, Objectivism my ass. Relativism be damned! There is no John Galt to follow because we all took the lead in stopping the machine of the world only… And this is the best part, only no one bothered to consider how we could turn it all on again and so here we sit, rotting form lack of forward momentum. That is the apocalypse, no fire from heaven or crashing comet only our own refusal to pick ourselves up and get moving.
The oracle wrapped his dirty clothes around him as a cold wind blew down the alley
Climate is no different. No one really cares about the climate, if it is warming or cooling the truth is people want the threat of climate change and global warming and global cooling, just like they wanted acid rain and deforestation. They embrace it because it means the end of things without the petty guilt of nuclear war. If the earth kills us off we are absolved from the guilt of doing it ourselves. Don’t kid yourself for a moment. We live in the world promised to us in all those books people like to talk about. Atlas shrugged a long time ago and Big brother has been watching us for so long that not even he cares about what he watches anymore. But we don’t have to accept it the way it is. We can change it. It is too late to warn the world, to late to save it but we can begin to build something new.
It is too late to save it you know that don’t you. Sully nodded yes. But hope is not all lost. I don’t think hope is ever lost as long as a fool like you finds the balls to go and look for the questions that need to be asked. It isn’t about the answers, not this time but the question, Ah the questions is all important. It stands supreme.
Sully was struck dumb by the oracles ranting but he had to admit it was all true. Oh god what have we done. What have I done!
The Oracle looked up from where he sat, a sinister smile flashed across his face revealing teeth that were impossibly white, much to white for the filthy face that held them or the rags he wore. For a moment Sully saw something more than the rag and bone oracle, something old, terribly old and supremely terrible and not altogether human. It must have been a trick of light, or the weight of the conversation playing with his fears. It was gone in a moment and the oracle as he was supposed to appear was back looking like a dirty vagrant.
The Motor stopped a long time ago. It ran out of gas somewhere along the way but we coasted on fumes too far beyond the point of no return. Think about it! We live in the greatest nation on earth. We have everything that is worth having but our cities are crumbling to dust. Detroit is only the most alarming example but it is a good one isn’t it. Americas industrial might was built up with that city and carried around the world in the steel frame of the automobiles that came out of her womb and now look at it. The great railroad depot is a broken and empty relic; the houses of America’s old elite are boarded up and overgrown; the schools are nightmares, plain old fashioned nightmares were children learn apathy, ambivalence and anti-social behavior that is if the schools themselves have not been boarded up and forgotten. This is all Detroit but it is also New York and Los Angeles, and Dallas and Atlanta. Oh sure there are new buildings going up every day, but take a close look at them. The foundations are weak and paid for with illegal labor which is really only a polite way of saying slave labor but they are slaves who sold themselves into bondage willingly, even eagerly so do they really deserve pity? For every house that might offer warmth and safety ten stand empty and for every new building with shiny glass and marble facades there are twenty shopping malls vacant and falling apart. And people realize this. Don’t be fooled for a second the people want it, deep down in those dark places no one likes to talk about they want it to fall apart. Oblivion is the only answer to the problem of apathy.
Sully had been apathetic. He didnt realize what was happening but there it was. He just didnt really care anymore. The Oracle was right about that and if he was right about something some deeply personal then what else might he be right about? The thought made Sully shiver. There was only thing Sully could do and he was more afraid than he had been since he was a child hiding beneath the covers in his dark bedroom. Sully... He could go and find the question that had to be asked. He would, Damn it all Walk through that door no matter what was on the other side.