A Road to Redemption

Road to Redemption: America’s Second Revolution

Mark F. Geatches

Anyways, there were pockets of unrest throughout the country. Philly, being the capital city was particularly known for it. It was a Saturday, and neither Mom or Dad owed SS, so we were walking the vacant streets, eating and drinking, and enjoying a beautiful day. We heard it and saw it a long way off, the uprising I mean. Me and Dad wanted to creep up on it and see what it was about. Mom wanted to scram. I’ll never forget what she said to Dad.

“Stop, Zach. We have no business getting involved.”

“Who said anythin’ about gettin’ involved? We’ll just take a quick look see.”

“Yeah, Mom,” I said. “I never saw so many people in one place before. Let’s go see.”

It was a man’s culture, so we snuck up to the edge of the crowd, all of us holding hands, trying to figure out what all the commotion was about. We weren’t there a tick before we heard the tanks and personnel carriers and such, coming up behind us. My eyelids tried to cover my eyebrows when I turned around. There must have been a thousand stoners stomping up that street with their cutter rifles raised for action, all wearing those intimidating black suits that covered every inch of their bodies except their eyes. I don’t know about the others, but I felt like throwing up.

Dad said, “Stay calm. We’ll explain we ain’t involved and they’ll let us go.”

When they got close Dad did just that, but the response wasn’t what he hoped it would be.

This one stoner kept yelling back, “Don’t move. Nobody moves, or ya die.”

I can still hear his voice in my dreams. I swear he sounded twelve years old.

“We ain’t part of this,” Dad pleaded as they came within several feet of us. “Please, let us go. I have my whole family here.”

“Take one more step, you’re done.”

As you can imagine, we froze like peanuts in brittle, but sometimes shit happens, and shit happened to us. The crowd behind us started pushing, and that one step we were told not to take happened, and those cutter rifles lit up like Jiffy Pop popcorn when the little pan gets to the exact right temperature. At first I thought our parents threw themselves on top of us to protect us, but they hadn’t done it purposely. They were dead before they hit the ground. Poor babies.

I still have all of our bloody clothes buried deep in my closet. I can’t bring myself to throw them away, to burn them, or to frame them.