I am working on my first novel/novella. It is a work in progress and I hope to share its progress with you all here every Tuesday. I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts as it develops.
(c) All material is copywrited by the author please do not reproduce or use without the express written consent of the author.
symbols in our image
chapter 1 part 1 The verdict
“Your meal is over” said the guard standing at the door of the cell. “You have a visitor.” “Of course Gregory. Will I be able to finish after I’ve had my visit?”
“No! Your meal is over. You have a visitor” gruffly responded the proud and confident sixteen year old soldier. “Ah that is too bad. The steak reminds me of that barbeque we had at your mother’s beach house three summers …” “Don’t mention my mother! Stop talking to me! I have no interest in anything you have to say. It’s all lies – deceitful lies that bring nothing but trouble” shouted Gregory. “Why did Guillermo believe you, why did she believe you – Get over here where I can shackle you for your visitor. I’m sure she will proud to see what you’ve become.” “Of course Gregory. I’m sorry. I’m sorry about Guillermo. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have mentioned Helen. She is a good woman. I’m so sorry for how they’ve treated her.”
Moving methodically to the door with my hands stretched out to be shackled yet again. I couldn’t but help but wonder how I ended up here? Just three years ago, an exuberant Gregory would beam with excitement whenever his brother Guillermo and our team would visit. Sitting in the backyard listening with unswerving attention to everything we shared about the struggle to set things right.
He’s why we’d spent so much time teaching our children. To them the slogan is so clear, “Wrongs are intolerable, injustice must be conquered. The old system has brought pain and oppression. Only a new system can set things right. The new system brings stability, the new system brings comfort – The new system cares for you and your families. In the new system we will care about each other and only the new system will set things right.” God, how often had I heard those words and even worse how often had I believed them and taught them to Gregory and thousands of children like him?
I remember the first time I heard that mantra just 14, two years younger than Gregory – sitting in that darkened living room with my sisters watching the TV, watching the mandated celebration on every channel. Watching the mandated celebration of how enemies to the system – what we now ironically call the old system – met justice. My family sat watching the vivid proof that the old system was wrong. My mother sitting in the torn oversized chair with tears streaming down her cheeks. My father whose face was normally so stoic, sat on the floor back to the wall with his head in his hands doubled over his knees, in anguish fighting to hold back the tears repeatedly saying, “Why Eric? How can they do this to you?” as he waited for the public spectacle of his younger brother, my uncle being killed by a firing squad for the good of the old system.
Uncle Eric’s last words are the slogan and mantra that I had spoken so often. Uncle Eric’s words crystalized the battle lines for the regular person on the street. His words birthed Teleios, the new system that was supposed to free us from opression.
Oh, Uncle Eric we heard your mantra but we missed your message. You were right, things were terribly wrong and change was needed. Why didn’t we realize what you were really saying. Change must come but the coming change must come from being different from living for different values. We made you a symbol! We made your words our battle cry! Did you realize the power that your words would have? Did you realize that your words without your example would help us to seize power and become what we fought?
Before that day my father would always say, “Uncle Eric is a rebel. He always has some cause to turn the world upside down about. Whether it is the plight of the homeless or the good of the dolphins he has to be off fighting his windmills” After that day, my father tell me and my sisters, “Uncle Eric is right, ‘wrongs are intolerable, injustice must be conquered. The old system has brought pain and oppression. Only a new system can set things right. The new system will bring stability, the new system will bring comfort – The new system will be one that cares for you and your families; in the new system we will care about each other and only in the new system will things be set right.’ Kids we must carry on the fight. This system is dangerous and must be done away with.”
My dad was instrumental from that day forward in the rise of the new system that came to be called Teleios. He was instrumental both in his fighting and hero’s death two years later in creating the hope of something better. He was instrumental in instilling in me that the truth that the old system was wrong and the dream that a new system must conquer the old and take its place. I don’t think he realized that was to come would be built on the same foundation of power and control and violence. I don’t think he realized that real change would only come if it was built on new premises. Our dreams, sins and visions have consequences and I’m a living walking witness to the dreams, sins and lack of vision of Uncle Eric and of my father.