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I spoke to Colonel Sherburn

Message Mark Sashine
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"Pretty soon Sherburn sort of laughed...

not the pleasant kind but the kind that makes you feel
like when you are eating
bread that got sand in it… "

Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

“The idea of you lynching anybody! It’s amusing. The idea of you thinking that you had pluck enough to lynch a man!. .Why, a man’s safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind- as long as it is daytime and you’re not behind him..”

- Oh yes, Colonel. And that is if we don’t have all those cluster bombs, laser- guided missiles, depleted uranium shells and 50-caliber machine- guns which we use when we lynch countries now. That is we attack from behind as you said. We still fear to look the man in his face. Yes, we put hoods on their heads now. What a progress, Colonel.

“.. The average man’s a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to and goes home and prays fro a humble spirit to bear it.”

- Sure, only now we have that in the South too. Humble spirit, quite right and the average man votes for GW and ‘supports the troops’, so that someone dies far away and we here feel relieved that there are people in this world more miserable than we are.

“Your newspapers call you a brave people so much that you think you are braver then any other people, whereas you are just as brave, and no braver.”

-There are even more of those newspapers now, Colonel and they all tell us, the bunch of overweight, screwed losers, that we are not only the best but also to bravest and happiest people in the world. Hey, man if the crowd of the modern Arkansans would’ve stormed your backyard, they all would’ve stuck in the mud because of all their beer bellies. Then a bunch of berserk generals come out on TV and praise the war an demonstrate the charred corpses of our ‘enemies’, the fruits of lynching, and some red- faced hound growls nonsense and we eat our fat and gloat. That’s what we are, Colonel, what a pretty target for your shotgun. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

“… So they always acquit and then a man goes in the night with a hundred masked cowards at his back and lynches the rascal.”

- Naa, the amount of the cowards had mounted indeed and there is no man. Not a chance, Sir. Lynching is not fashionable anymore, though. War is. We lash blindly at the others with all those weapons and close our eyes and plug our ears so that we don’t see or hear death. And then we rejoice and drink beer, We don’t need the man anymore.”

“You brought part of a man- Buck Harkness there- and if you hadn’t had him to start you, you’d taken in out in blowing.”

-Those part- men are everywhere now, Colonel. One of them is in the White House. They provoke, they instill, they spit lies and venom. And we love them. We call them leaders, pundits, wizards. Buck Harkness is our Hero, Colonel, and we had invented him a biography as if he is your descendant. Welcome him to the family, Sir.

“You didn’t want to come. The average man don’t like trouble and danger. You don’t like trouble and danger. But if only half a man- like Buck Harkness there- shouts ‘Lynch him, lynch him!’, you are afraid to back down- afraid that you’ll be found out to be what you are- cowards- and so you raise a yell, and hang yourselves onto a half-a- man coat tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big things you are going to do. The pitifulest thing out is - a mob, that what army is- a mob, they don’t fight with courage that’t born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass and from their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it is beyond pitifulness.”

-Right you are, Colonel. We are the mob now and the world hates us. We are the ones beyond pitifullness because our leaders are vampires or pathetic losers, take your pick. And yes, we don’t like trouble and danger, so we bask in our hypocrisy and shallowness only not to see the river of blood we’ve spilled.

“Now the thing for you to do is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a hole. Now leave-and take the your half-a-man with you!”

-If only we could leave, Colonel, but it is not our call anymore. Buck Harkness decides our fates now. There is no time- table for withdrawal of that f-ck he screws us with. On the contrary, he promises us at least 12 years of war. He says the bloodshed is worth it.
But we will try. We are a little bit more clever now. That wisdom came from 600000 dead in the Civil War, from the Civil Rights movement, from Booker T. Washington and MLK, from Colonel Chamberlain and Thurgood Marshall, from all those, who were men, real men, although many of them were females. We know that we all together are in mortal danger. That danger is Buck Harkness. And as soon as we know that there is a chance that…

“ … Buck Harkness, he heeled it after them, looking tolerable cheap.”

- Thank you, Huck Finn. You stated that quite succinctly.

- My eternal thanks to Mark Twain and Asis Nesin, the Turkish satirist, author of the pamphlet “I speak to Atatturk”

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The writer is 66 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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