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The Mass Media

Left Edge

Anton Kress
Anton Kress

I stand on the precipice looking down. My former self and all of my convictions have left me now. In death one has no opinions. One only wishes for life or for a quick death, whichever suits them better.

In my case I wish for life.

I have been convicted for crimes against the state. Crimes of thought. Crimes of belief. I once carried the flag of this great nation in high esteem. I once felt honored to be a member of this great nation.

I hated Japanese. I was happy that they had felt the destruction of an atom bomb. I hated Germans. I hated the way they looked and thought. They were our enemies. Sure all that happened long before my life, but I still hated them, with a passion.

I hated Iraqi’s too. Especially that goat fucker Saddam Hussein. I wanted to enlist and go there and kill as many people as I could.

I remember too, the day that changed the way we live in this country. The newscasters said that the objective of the plan was to hurt our interests. They did more than that. I couldn’t go to the movies without my bag being checked. Baseball games and trips to the supermarket were the same.

We could carry guns but not bags.

Bags carry bombs and guns carry bullets.

Apparently there is a big difference.

And now I, Comrade Stewart, stand with a noose around my neck, an angry mob chanting the word traitor, over and over. Their mouths just seem to be gaping open and the word is being spoken for them.

“Do you have any last wishes?”

I remember being asked as a kid, “If you could be granted one wish, what would it be?” I had a thousand answers ranging from all the money in the world to Pamela Anderson.

Do I have any last wishes?

Yes, I wish for the world to return to normal but what is normal? I wish for all the hatred to stop but that isn’t normal I wish for all the people to live in peace with each other even Muslims and Christians can’t pray in the same city let alone the same building I wish, I wish…I wish.

“No. I do not have any last wishes.”

I have hopes. I hope that worlds collide and in the wake of the destruction a flower will blossom. It will be my harvest. A flower that gives life and knowledge. It will bring peace to my world, to my country, to my nation. I hope that I will live long enough to see this dream come true. I hope, I hope…I hope.

“Comrade Stewart, you have been charged with high treason, your punishment is death by hanging. Does the tribunal have anything to add… executioner you may-”

“Wait!”

“What is it Comrade Stewart?”

“I don’t want to die.”

“You should have thought about this a lot sooner.”

“There has been no concrete evidence, I can’t be guilty!”

“You have been tried in a court of law and found guilty. That is that.”

That is that.

“But-”

“Yes?”

But nothing.

At approximately eleven thirty am Comrade Paul Stewart dropped through a four by four wooden opening. The weight of his own body pulling him towards the earth, except that his feet never touched the earth. He felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck as it snapped, his face turning blue, purple, black. His own defecation running down his legs, his tongue an odd purple hanging out of his mouth.

In death they say you think about loved ones. But I had no loved ones; they had all died before me. It was the strangest thing really, I didn’t think of retribution or revenge. I was dreaming, and it was peaceful. I dreamt of fields without fences. The tall grass blowing in the wind. And I stand alone on a hill, yet I could see myself standing there. My thoughts, no, my vision brings me closer and closer to myself. Clouds were rushing past overhead like nothing I have ever seen before. But they were not rain clouds, the sun shone brightly and it was cold outside. And there I stand, in my black coat and bowler cap, a cane in hand looking out at the clouds. A rainbow appears and I keep walking towards myself. It grows oddly colder as I come closer to where I am standing. And when I stand no further than two feet behind myself I reach out to tap myself on the shoulder. When all of the sudden I turn. And there I stand face to face with myself. I can see the breath of my double but I cannot see my own breath. I am warm but my double looks cold, his eyes are black and his face is pale. He looks at myself in a very grave manner. A manner that is foreign to me. I am standing face to face with myself, a vision of myself yet it is so real. He opens his mouth and his teeth are rotted and chipped, bugs crawl out of his mouth, a centipede and then a cockroach and then maggots and he says, “You’re dead.”

Immediately I am dangling from a rope, my last sight on earth a crowd screaming at me and throwing garbage and vegetables as I die.

There was no wish fulfilled, no hope realized, no flower, no harvest.

Darkness covers my eyes.