Thursday, January 31, 2008

Short Story For Ya'll

An American Revolution


...

“No,” he said, taking only one step forward.

His arms were pinned to his sides to keep from shaking. His chin was up, but his eyes were fixated on the infinite blackness at the barrel of the gun pointed at him. The soldier closest to him had instinctively swivelled in his direction.

“Sir, I have to ask you to get back in line with the others,” spoke the man from behind the gun, no older than 20.

He shook his head. His eyes locked on the gun barrel, infatuated. “No,” he repeated, more quietly than the first.

The boy’s father took a step forward, but the sight of the gun barrel turning in his direction forced him, reluctantly, back in line with the others.

Time dragged. His eyes on the gun, the gun on him and the soldier’s eyes on the boy’s trembling fingertips at his sides. Not a single man, woman or child in the line looked at the scene before them. They already knew what was coming.

Through his peripheral, he saw the commanding officer approach, and could see his hat and his green uniform and could tell his hands were behind his back.

“What seems to be the problem here,” the commanding officer said, looking back and forth between the boy and his subordinate. “Young man, we need to get into this house. Step aside and behave yourself.”

“No.”

The commanding officer flattened his expression and tilted his head downwards in consternation, bringing his chins to double onto themselves and his neck to bulge further outward from his shirt collar.

“Young man, if you don’t stop this foolishness, we will be forced to take action.”

He held his breath. He dropped his head and his eyes began darting back and forth across the ground, searching for an answer. He didn’t expect to make it this far.

His name was Brian Summers.

Being born in the afternoon of August 5th, he had only lived for 148 days, 7 hours and 18 minutes in 1992. He had survived 365 days in all years between 1993 and 2009, except for 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, where he had survived for one extra day each year. In 2010, he survived for roughly 177 and 2/5 days , before he was shot and killed.

It should be noted that he survived very adequately in those 177 and 2/5 days and the preceding 4,884 days, 7 hours and 18 minutes before that, breathing slowly when relaxed or sleeping, and more rapidly when excited, blinking only when necessary, pumping blood with his heart muscle to fill his arteries and his veins with newly oxidated red blood vessels, nutrients, white blood cells and antibodies, chewing and digesting food to maneuver it more smoothly through the rectums and tubes of his gastrointestinal tract before being drained of sustenance and being exported as excrement, producing acne on his face and shoulders after the age of 13 and a few on his back after the age of 15, growing hair in many places including his arms, legs, his big toes, his groin and much to his frustration, around his nipples only and not his chest, receiving erections when he was nervous or looking at legs underneath skirts or watching pornography or slow-dancing or shitting, ejaculating when sexually aroused to a certain point or when sleeping, speaking with other human beings to declare or request information, replacing billions of dying cells with new ones, firing synapses in his brain, and dreaming. Yes, it can be said that as far as human bodies go, this one was completely adequate.

Let me also say that the adolescent was nothing special in a monetary sense. His net worth would include the hospital fees for birthing him, fees spent on doctors’ examination, vaccines, shots and pills, the cost of bracing and the consultation of a broken femur when he was fifteen years of age, the braces he wore until the day he died and the subsequent dental work surrounding them, a box of condoms his father purchased for him in 2007, space camp at the ages of 9, 10 and 11, and innumerable other purchases designed to give the boy a happy fulfilling life. In liquid assets, he currently owned $523.98. Three dollars and sixty-two cents of which was unknown to him, scattered throughout his bedroom and his car in the form of loose change. He also possessed a trust fun of $10,000 for college, to be given to him when he turned 18 and purchased by the boy’s grandmother, Amy Suzanne Summers, when the boy was born. It should be noted, however, that at the time of purchase, Amy Suzanne Summers was unaware that the boy’s life would end 68 days before his 18th birthday due to a controlled firing of two bullets piercing his left lung, thereby voiding his claim to the $10,000.

I should also mention that in addition to being completely adequate in anatomic and economic disposition, he was nothing special genealogically. He was born the middle son of Travis Summers of Scott County, Iowa and Jenni Lee Summers, formerly Jenni Lee Sundrich of Deaf John County, Texas. Both his parents were an only child and decided prior to their meeting that they wanted a large family, a dream that would be forced to put on hold due to the birthing complications of Brian’s younger brother, Ben. Because he had two brothers, his resulting death did not necessarily mean the end of the surname Summers, although the events following the death of Brian Summers would put the longevity of this surname and many other surnames from the Midwestern region of the United States into question.

Regardless of his nearly stunning degree of normalcy, Brian Summers was not without his own social and behavioral incongruencies. For instance, during an argument with his older brother at the age of 7, he was enclosed in a dryer machine for one hour, seventeen minutes and some change, an event that would later lead to an irrational fear of dark and enclosed areas for the entirety of his life and a vague dislike of buses, cars, airplanes and anything else small and moving. He was awkward and ungainly around members of the opposite sex, a character trait that was due in no small part to an embarrassing occurrence at his winter social in 2008, when his dancing partner recoiled from the pressure of his erection against her leg, drawing attention to herself and to the erection. His male friends would regard him as a boy of mediocre humor and energy, although always good for a spontaneous trip to the movies or a compulsive game of ping-pong in his basement, remembered partly for an event in the 6th grade when he told a teacher to “shove it” but mainly for being taciturn and unobtrusive in social situations. Some thought he was boring and unimpressive. Despite occasional solicitation, the cast covering his unmended femur in the summer of his 15th year remained mostly filled with white space and vexed by a terrible smell. At the age of 9, he was coerced into watching The Never-Ending Story, part the first, and for at least the next 2 years, all moral decisions that were forced upon him were done in consideration of this film. His greatest sense of pride came from being the best at movie trivia within his small circle of friends, and he occasionally slept with a nightlight on and kept a stuffed rabbit concealed in his closet that went by the name of “Tough Bunny.”

“I must repeat,” stated the commanding officer, “that if you do not return to the line with the others and allow us to search this house, we will be forced to shoot.”

The boy’s frantic and searching eyes suddenly stopped moving as the answer came to him. It was so obvious. He lifted his head slowly, keeping his eyes still and resolved.

“You’ll have to shoot me then.”

The commanding officer made a face of displeasure, as the soldier with the gun looked over at him. The officer stared at the boy for a long while, who did nothing but stared back, before issuing a slight, but unquestionably understood nod towards the soldier, who in turn took a deep breath in retaliation against the action he was about to undertake. The commanding officer walked away, with his back to both the boy and the soldier. The boy made a fist with both hands and closed his eyes. Behind him, Jenni Lee Summers was cringing into the shoulder of Travis Summers, who looked helplessly towards the ground.

The soldier had been well-trained and everyone knew it.
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