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Short Story: "Striking the Set Piece" (12th in a series)

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[Author's Note: This installment (written 12/29/07) in the series is written in the form of a blog post by the character John Frachetti. Previously, he used the den of activism fostered by the employees of the FW Diner as protection from the authorities. But because his presence became known, he went back underground, and left this blog entry.]


Let me tell you a story.


I was on the road the other day, looking for signs that the bankers' hold over the big events that we allow to shape our world might be slipping. You know, little things, like people stopping to question the stories getting all the face-time on the news. It's not an easy thing to do, either.


We're like Plato's cave-dwellers, trying to understand the world, but all we can see are the shadows cast on the wall we're staring at, shadows cast by things that may or may not be going on behind our backs. Kind of like being chained to the seat in a movie theater, where you're told, by the corporate suck-ups who bring you an endless supply of empty calories, that the newsreels that say they're from the front of some distant war are the only things worth concerning yourself with. They tell you it's all real, but from where you sit, there's no way to know for sure.


And for a while, you sit there, like Alex in "A Clockwork Orange", with your eyes propped open, telling yourself that none of it's real, that it's just an elaborate play of light and shadow. You tell yourself that the convenient flow of events is simply the connivance of some hack scriptwriter, and focus on recognizing the stunt doubles, bad special effects, and the occasional glimpse of the microphone boom or a reflection of the script girl in a mirror.


But while you're busy watching, the film-makers art improves, and soon you stop seeing the tell-tale hints of faux reality on the screen. And then you start to doubt yourself. You start to wonder whether those glitches you remember seeing weren't all in your mind. You wonder whether you only imagined that the all-too-real action thriller pounding in your eyes and ears was only a story, something conceived in the dead of night by a crazed wordsmith on too much caffeine.


So, there you are, wholly engrossed in the contrived reality enfolding you, and you quietly slip into a daze of acceptance. If anything's amiss, it's yourself. The story on that screen is real, every inane bit of it, and always has been. And if someone should question your faith in that reality, you'll even go so far as to defend it, and to ridicule the twerp who dared to suggest that, although each scene was perfectly rendered, there were still continuity errors. But the only way to know for sure would be to have a copy of the film to compare against, and that just would not be possible, for as we all know, the spectacle up there isn't just some movie, it's real.


As I said, I was looking for signs that The Great and Powerful Oz's curtain of deception might be slipping, that the dogged determination of some unflagging few might have finally caught enough of his fabric of unreality to yank it aside. And I think I might have found it.

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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at (more...)
 

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