I sit hunched over a splintered table in the dim light of a flickering lamp and gulp down the last bitter cup of watery wine. Since that old god electricity is now but a vague memory, I have to take advantage of what little light I can find, even if it is in this stinking cockroach den of liars, drunkards, and thieves.
I still appreciate the little things, the remnants of the fruit of the grape, the bit of oil that keeps the lamp wick lit, a smile from a fellow traveler in the midst of the curses and threats. There is far much worse out there now of course — it’s a wonder that any of us from the old times have managed to survive and tell the tale of how plump and smug we once were, and how low we all are now.
I really can’t account for what compels me to write this sorry testimony. I suppose there’s the sodden idiot’s fantasy that some may read this wine-stained ramble and wistfully nod their heads, remembering how it all once was, and how far we have since descended into this new dark and angry age. I certainly have no illusions that what I write will change anything at this late date, but perhaps chronicling the fall might help a future age avoid the same mistakes.
It seems so long ago now that we watched in shock and dismay as that petulant and vindictive schoolyard bully commandeered the office of the leader of the land, swiftly plunging us all into this bitter realm through which we now must navigate our way with what little we have left. How could it have so quickly come to this, this utter ruin?
Perhaps one reason there used to be all the many bad marriages is that people wanted so desperately to be loved and confirmed that they settled on the first prospect which came along and happened to show some interest. Likewise, in the old days before the fall, we all wanted a change from the frustrating “business as usual” corruption that characterized our enfeebled government, and so we chose the first alpha-type to come along with (fraudulent) promises that he would make things right again. Regardless of the fact that he based his platform on greed, division, and hate, we crowned a crafty fool the king, and he re-payed the favor with this grim dystopia that we wallow through today.
Certainly, I could enumerate each outrageous travesty which followed, one upon the next in quick succession, as his predatory minions divided up the carcass that was once a viable nation and sucked out its marrow, licking their lips and praising their god for granting them their momentary triumph. An ocean of blood and tears would soon be shed, but does any of that really matter now?
They saw a fat wobbling cow, ripe for plunder, and they rushed in with their gleaming knives, dressed in the colors of the flag upon which they trampled in their mad stampede to grab everything they could. What they left in their wake: this devastated world and its pitiful remnant of walking ghosts and virtual savages, snarling and fighting over the measly scraps of a once bountiful providence in a strip-mined landscape of chemical dust and reeking poison. If you’re reading this now I need say no more, except that some of us tried and we failed.
(Painting by Andrzej Kuziola)