Assignment 1 Composed by Drake Stafford
THE STRAWMAN AND THE CROW
by Kendall F. Person
Years Earlier. The Day It Happened
No one knew for sure who was inside. We all assumed the President and his wives. Even before what happened happened, hundreds of thousands hopped inside, leaving everyone else mystified. The moment after it happened, black crows filled a burnt orange sky. And with the rising colored backdrop of a turquoise colored earth, it was the Strawman and the Crow, that were the first to comprehend, the new world was upon them; and a new world order belonged to the first one that grabbed hold. So without hesitation, one began to devise a plan to resurrect the old world, and the other thought it best to clean the slate and give the new society, a fighting chance.
The Crow would think numbers, and therefore the first person he spotted, which happened to be Lahti, became the first member of his tribe. The Strawmen could not take his eyes off the man who he saw deboard the train, and he would get to know him right away. The man was Quadhi and he was the only one that knew, that there were two trains, and the people had been duped. But why?
ACT 3, THE ARRIVAL
On November 12, 1985, she was 13 years old, so most likely in middle school, about the 8th grade, I assume. She and her brother Alvaro, lived in the prosperous agricultural region of Tolima in the city of Armero, with their parents Álvaro Enrique & Maria Aleida, along with her Aunt Maria Adela. There was some concern amongst the elders, about Nevado del Ruiz, a volcano that last erupted 140 years before, as it was starting to make noise. But at 13 and an only girl, Omayra Sánchez Garzón was probably more concerned about her mother who had traveled 100 miles southeast to Bogota on business, but she made it home before the morn. And no doubt, there was some comfort blanketing the villages that lived in the volcano’s shadow, for the federal government had sent experts to monitor the activity and establish – I assume – precautions for the citizenry, as an eruption was imminent, for erupt is what volcanoes do.
On November 6th – one week before the world would be introduced to Omayra – a beautiful and courageous teenage girl – a guerilla organization known as M-19 would storm The Palace of Justice in Bogota, by deadly force. They seized the chambers, capturing all justices of the Colombia Supreme Court and held over 300 hostages, in a two-day seige, that demoralized the country, and depleted its resolve, leaving the calvary running on fumes, just when Omayra would need them most.
On day two in Bogota, the order came from the top. Led by General Jesús Armando Arias Cabrales, commander of the Thirteenth Army Brigade, the government would counter attack in what became one of the bloodiest shootouts in Colombia’s maiden voyage in domestic terrorism. When the Army finally retook the building, over a hundred people including 11 Supreme Court Justices were dead. Before the nation could sort through what happened, one hundred miles northwest, the volcano erupted. It was not the initial explosion, but the combination of mud, rock and lava, that laid waste to 85% of the city of Armero, killed 21,000 of its 29,000 residents, and trapped 13 year old Omayra Sanchez Garzon under hardened sediment, that the would be rescuers could not cut through. For 60 hours she held on, dazzling the world with her courage and charm. But before her departure – with peace and grace – she told her supporters to go home and rest. And the arrival of death came soon after.
As it turns out, it was not her choice alone to give up the ghost. Bogota was still in a state of shock from the Palace of Justice massacre and was unable to immediately regroup; to respond to a SOS, thereby would be survivors perished under blankets of mud. On the ground, the region did not own the type of machine needed to break through the lahar and were helpless, so they talk and fed Omayra. But even if she had been freed, her broken legs were caught under a door made of bricks, with her aunt’s arms clutched tightly around her legs, leading medical personnel to the realization, they were not equipped to deal with a double amputation. So they announced to her mother, a recent widow herself, that it was best to let her die.
What if the resources used to fight and argue with one another, not just the money, but the time and the brain power and the shared imagination of a united nation, had been put forward in planning for a natural disaster, that they always knew one day would come? Perhaps, it would not have ended in a double national tragedy, both of epic proportions. And maybe if the arrival of help had come in time, Omayra Sanchez Garzon’s departure would not have been so heartbreakingly tragic at only 13 years old.
“Arrival in the world is really a departure and that,
we call departure, is only a return.”
― Dejan Stojanovic,
Present Day: 2020
Quadhi and Lahti stood like soldiers upon the island, flag not planted, but rammed into the ice. On the inside, however, they were terrified. They were not afraid to fight, and while they longed to see their children grow up, neither were they afraid to die. The frightened because of what it meant. The arrival of the Strawman and the Crow – with their loyalist tribes already resembling an army, and a mysterious satellite spinning just off the horizon, meant they were prepared to kill the new world, because they new no other way than divide and hate.
But 2020 knew only peace, and somehow, someway, Quadhi had to talk to the Strawman and make him understand, the only way to keep peace was for conflict to never happen. He looked into the sky, this time at the object unrecognized and thought back to the markings on the trains. He then glanced at his wife and said “I love you,” before turning and marching directly toward the Strawman, unarmed but unbowed anyway.
Lahti did not need to look over, she knew the Crow had her dead to rights, so she stood stoic as her husband walked away.
this is…. The Neighborhood
Up Next Act 4: The Children