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Live Free

by Conner Alder 3 years ago in fact or fiction

The Story of Rebellion

If tens of thousands of people were willing to march into vast spaces, cheering with signs in hand, to watch the Washington Redskins throw a ball around, George wondered how many people would show up for something that mattered. For the past seven months, George had been organizing what he planned on being the largest scale march on the White House in history. He had moved to Washington DC with a purpose. For too long now, George had noticed the injustices brought upon people by the National government. He had seen people’s freedoms taken away, their basic human rights denied, and simple truths hidden from them. George’s purpose was to put an end to this.

Over his website, and several other forums, he had built an army. Over 1.2 million members had joined his movement online, and he expected to see them all gathered together very soon. In George’s mind, he had assembled a group of the greatest free-thinkers, rebels, revolutionaries, and artists of his generation. Every week, he’d make a video of himself speaking to these people and updating them on their plans for governmental upheaval, and whatever else came to his mind. As he preached, the only other person in the room was the one holding the camera. It was his right-hand woman and best friend, Darla.

Darla had first met George soon after he had moved to DC. She met him in the back of a police car. While at some protest they both happened to attend (and they went to so many, not even they could remember what this one was for) things had gotten particularly heated when a police officer pepper-sprayed a fellow freedom-fighter. After seeing this, George had rushed to the officer and shoved him hard from the curb and into the street. As the officer tried to steady himself, Darla, who had seen this exchange from a few people away, rushed up behind the cop and dumped a bucket of old, once-discarded fast food on the man’s head and yelled, “Hope you like that, you fucking Pig!”

Despite the smell of old Big Macs mixed with rotting Orange Chicken and cold, KFC mashed potatoes coming from the police officer’s dirty uniform, Darla and George ended up having a great conversation as they were escorted to a holding cell for the rest of that night. Many months and countless meetings after that first conversation, they had made it to where they were now. Although George might have been the man with the plan, he wouldn’t have accomplished anything without Darla and her camera.

As George rolled from his futon on the morning exactly two weeks before his planned march, he felt different than he had in the past. He felt bigger, stronger, and more like the fearless leader he knew he’d have to be very soon. He grabbed his phone and flipped it open, dialing Darla’s number. It rang longer than usual, but finally she picked up.

“Darla? When are you getting here? We need to get this video done and sent out by noon… An appointment? Cancel it! Don’t you know how close we are to finally doing this? I can’t have us wasting hours like we have all the time… Okay, thank you Dar.” George hung up the phone and exhaled, rolling his eyes. He knew that Darla would follow him to end of the earth, but he often wondered if she’d slow him down on his way.

As he waited for Darla to arrive, George looked over his scribbled notes one more time. Before the march, he had two more missions for his people to accomplish. First, he would ask them to put the cash that they had on hand in the street and set it on fire. George wanted a message to be sent out that oppression caused by debt was soon to be over, and that this valueless paper the government dealt out wouldn’t be an issue for much longer. Next, George planned on having his fellow liberators vandalize statues of any political figures near their homes. He wanted to show that these people of the past had no place in their future. After these two last demonstrations were done, George knew that their movement would be even more widely recognized, and that more people than he had originally thought possible would stand by his side on the day of the march.

Finally, George heard the knock on his door. He stood up from the one chair in his kitchen and walked to open it. Darla stood on the other side, holding camera bags large enough to make George think about asking if she needed help, although he still didn’t.

“Finally decided this was more important than your checkup?”

“Well,” Darla explained, “if we pull this off and insurance isn’t worth shit anymore, I don’t know when the next time I'll be at a doctor’s office is.” George wanted to stay disappointed in his partner, but those feelings were overpowered by the reminder that they were so close to finally meeting their goal. As Darla started unpacking her cameras, she said, “I’ve been messaging the Commissioner more. He seems on board. Especially if we promise him something for when this is all over, he said that there won’t be a single cop responding to calls when we start to gather.”

George couldn’t help himself from breaking into a full-blown grin at this point. Without a police presence, he saw his plan being carried out without any hiccups whatsoever. But before that could happen, he had to put out his last statement. As Darla finished setting the last cameras up, George slid into his patched-up denim jacket. He put on a little microphone under his signature bandana, so his voice wouldn’t be muffled, and then walked into the laundry room that they had turned into their own studio. Moving in front of the camera, he took a deep breath and started reciting his speech…

“Hello, my Brothers and my Sisters. As most of you know, the time of our liberation is almost upon us. We continue to grow in numbers every day, and I can feel our strength in the streets like it’s an alligator underwater, waiting to emerge and catch its prey. I have seen your acts of rebellion on the news. I have seen you destroy corporate propaganda, I notice when you stop feeding into the banks that are crippling us, and most importantly, I have seen you spreading our message to all those who are still blind…”

George stopped, took a sip of water, rechecked his notes and continued, “…and I know that our current oppressors already fear us because of your actions! Before we make our final march towards the revolution, I have two more things for you to do!” At this point in the speech, George started to preach about his cash burning and idol destroying plans. After that wrapped up he cleared his throat again, mumbled his lines to himself, and then finished off the speech.

“You know what you must do. You all have your missions. This is the last time I will speak to you before we gather two weeks from today. And that day will be a glorious one. Remember, my Brothers and Sisters, what we are doing isn’t for money, fame, or self-improvement. What we’re doing is biting the hand that feeds us poison. We are renouncing those who have put us in chains, and we are taking back the lives we always could have had. Live free!” With that, the cameras turned off and George took his bandana off. He thought that after Darla edited this down, it would be one of his smoothest speeches yet.

Darla on the other hand, did not have this same feeling of confidence. As she listened to George make this speech, she felt the twinge of uncertainty that had become more familiar over the past few weeks. Although Darla knew the plan very well, she did not have a good idea what would happen afterwards. She knew that one million people would surround the White House and cause an absolute scene. She knew that while this was going on and distracting the whole country, that George and a much smaller group of 1,000 would sneak away to the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Senate and House Office Buildings and start sabotaging every entrance and exit they could find. Darla understood that after this, that number of protestors would make it impossible to get supplies in or out of those buildings. In short, Darla knew that George’s plan was to trap their oppressors in and ransom their freedom for the freedom of the people.

Darla had always liked this plan, but recently she had been having vivid dreams that gave her uneasy feelings about it all. In these dreams, she was watching some sort of old-fashioned shepherd lead a flock of sheep to what appeared to be a beautiful field. As they entered, however, Darla would notice that the field was full of wolves. She thrashed around and tried to help, but in her dream state, she was unable to do anything and was forced to watch the wolves devour the sheep that the shepherd had mistakenly brought. These dreams worried Darla, but she often cast that doubt aside. In George she trusted.

A week later, Darla burst into George’s apartment and turned on the TV shouting, “Get out here George! Have you seen this shit??” George walked out of his room groggily and looked at the screen that Darla had just turned on. The news was on, and front and center was a video showing different helicopter views of statues and monuments all over the country. The videos showed the statues being burned down just like George had wanted. In some of these videos, it was the cash that his Brothers and Sisters had destroyed that was used to start these fires. The reporter on the news was talking about “Domestic Terrorism,” “Vandalism on a National Scale,” and, “Radical Mobs,” but George heard all of these as compliments.

George stared at the screen. Darla stared at George. Finally, in an almost wistful tone George calmly stated, “I did this. I freed our entire generation. And generations after us. Did you see that Darla?! Those were thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people at some of those places! That made national news! Even the most goddamn blind people out there know about us now! I can’t believe I pulled this off!”

Darla liked to see her friend this happy, but decided it was right to point out, “Well George we haven’t done it yet… We still have to wait another week for when it all actually goes down.”

George shrugged this off. He was almost shouting now he was so excited. “You saw the news Darla! If that many people acted on that, just imagine how many will show up to the march! I’m going to go down in history books after this… Darla I’m a hero!”

Darla was starting to dislike George’s use of the word “I”. She paused and calmly said, “George, this wasn’t about us getting money or fame. Remember? This was about us freeing everyday people. This was about making the world a better place.”

“Can’t you see we’ve passed that, Darla?” George burst out at her, “I am a symbol to these people now. No one else has ever done what I’ve done! No one has ever started a movement like this! The Government will look at my work and despair when they see a mob marching towards them. Those people marching will follow me anywhere, and if you can’t do that, maybe you should just leave.” It was in the heat of the moment, and George instantly regretted saying that, but was too proud to take it back. He stood there silently as Darla teared up and left the room. He heard the front door close behind her on the way out. George thought about going after her, but he decided not to. He had work to do in the coming days.

---

Finally, the evening of reckoning had come. George had prepared himself for this and he was ready to lead his army. As he walked to where he was preparing to see his followers for the first time in person, he noticed that the streets seemed far more empty than usual. “Some of them got there early!” George thought to himself. The streets he walked down were very familiar to him and he knew that at the turn of the next corner, he’d be able to see the mass of people forming in the streets. He couldn’t contain his excitement any longer and started running to the end of the block. Finally he turned the corner, looked out, and saw… the perfectly undisturbed view of the White House at night.

“No… no, no!” George sprinted as far and as fast as he could, absolutely bewildered by the utter lack of people. He looked up and down the streets and his mind screamed, “Where is everyone? Are they late? Were they stopped from coming here? Were they arrested?” George could barely breath. He sat down on a curb and put his head in his hands. He felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw a man not much older than himself staring down at him.

“Hey, guy,” the man said looking around. “Are you here for that crazy rebellion thing people are talking about online? They sound like a bunch of freaking loons to me.” The man chuckled to himself and said, “I’m surprised the idiots in charge didn’t at least plan it for another day. Don’t they know the Redskins played tonight?” After that, the man walked away and George laid his head on the concrete. There was a boom, far in the distance. Not the boom of a revolution, but the boom of fireworks. The Redskins had won their game.

fact or fiction

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Conner Alder

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