“Why don’t you ever invite me to your house?” she asked.
“Because I live in a bad neighborhood,” he said, leaning on her shoulder.
“What does that mean? What makes it bad?”
“The government, forced poverty, no jobs, drugs, guns, violence, terrible schools, lack of proper food and medical help, just to name a few things. All of those things that are controlled by the government, and adults who don’t have to live there.”
“You don’t have to live there,” she said.
“We want to live there. It’s a form of protest. It’s wrong to keep people down, to destroy one generation after another just because the rich can do it. Because they’re afraid.”
“Don’t your parents worry about you?”
“Sure, but they worry about all the kids who live there, not just me. That’s the point.”
“Why is that happening?”
“Because the government is greedy and run by white men who are out of touch with reality. Most other people don’t care. People live in very small, individual, worlds. They rarely look past their front doors and as long as they have enough of whatever they want, they don’t really care if other people are suffering.”
“That’s terrible,” she said angrily.
He started laughing. “Yes. It is.”
“Maybe we can have a book drive, or a clothing drive at school.”
“Sure, but that won’t solve the problem. The problem is systemic, it’s a disease that’s part of our culture. It’s all about the false belief that some people are better than others and deserve more than others. People have to question their false beliefs and start to look at things in different ways, if anything is ever going to change.”
“How did you learn all this stuff?”
“My parents are hippies who believe in freedom and justice.”
“I want to come to your house.”
“Okay,” he said, checking his gun.
“Wait, you have a gun?”
“It’s the only thing some people understand. I’ve never used it. I’m a pacifist but I’m not ready to die yet.”
“I’m not afraid,” she said, standing up.
“Run for political office. Maybe you can make a difference.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to fight back, anyway I can,” he said.
“That’s what I want to do. I’ll stand next to you.”
He took her hand, pulled her off the bench. “Stay right next to me.”
“I will. I just said that I would.”
“I mean on the way to my house.”
“I know,” she said, laughing.
He nodded and they walked into a dark world filled with human beings that are oppressed and slowly being destroyed by others who are, in reality, exactly like them. The only difference? Bits of green printed paper in their pockets.
on October 31, 2018