“I’m not upset that you lied to me,
I’m upset that from now on I can’t
believe you.” – Friedrich Nitzcsche
Assignment 1 composed by Drake Stafford
The Strawman and the Crow
Act 5; The Sky Tells Lies
storyboard and written by Kendall F. Person
intro from Angels
For 13 days in October of 1962, the world was held hostage, frozen in the international glare of a psychological warfare, by the world’s then only two superpowers – the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (present day Russia) and the United States of America – in a mutually destructive game, formally known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nuclear missiles placed in Turkey and Italy, too close for the Kremlin’s comfort, so construction began for the same in Cuba, just 70 miles offshore, shifting the balance of power into a precarious stalemate.
Two men, President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev, leaders of their respective states, possessing absolute power, hands on the buttons, who would blink first. Stable heads would enter the fray, negotiations for a peaceful solution would soon be underway. A test of wills, a blockade put in place, the world held its collective breath, mesmerized and frightened, both the same, as they watched a-no-winner-at-all spectacle play out on the high wire.
A pounding of the chest? A diabolical legacy wish? The Soviets would test the waters, blasting a U2 aircraft out of the sky. A decision to not retaliate by President Kennedy would be made. A ringing sigh of relief, like the shot heard around the world. The following day, an agreement was reached, sparing large swaths of both nations and millions of innocent people from absolute annihilation. Most from the explosions, the unlucky by radiation, and the fallout to mother earth, lasting for years if not decades.
It all happened so fast, that the Strawman was no longer certain of what was real and what were cruel figments of his imagination. His emotions vacillated between sorrow and rage. His mind swirled with thoughts of the violent death of Quadhi’s son, and the burden they all would carry, for being a part of the conflict, that broke peace on 2020. The Strawman held no anger toward Quadhi for not returning home. He believed in fact, that he made the right decision, by holding on to peace for as long as he could.
When Lahti ripped the nation’s flag from her husband’s hand, before climbing atop his shoulder and flinging it to the ground, it was not Quadhi that dove for it, but his eldest son. It was at that moment, the Strawman knew, and with no doubt, everyone else did too, that for the moment Quadhi had no fight left in him; but Virgil was ready to stand in for his father. So Quadhi led his family to the other side of 2020. A place that was still hidden from the old world, but not for long, as they all knew that as well.
If the battered rainbow was not burden enough, The Strawman could think of no other options. To save 2020 – not just from the clutches of the Old World – but ultimately, from those who boarded the Alpha train, who would sooner or later invent a way to push society back over the edge – perhaps even before the climate changed again – he had to befriend his mortal enemy. He could have never envisioned it would come to this, as hatred scorched every generation of their lineage. But thousands followed him, and he made a promise to his friend. So he took a hollowed breathe, then turned and faced Virgil to relay what they must do.
“In order to defeat the Old World, and save this place where you were born.” whispered the Strawman to Virgil. “We have to join ranks with the Crow.”
Without blinking, Virgil replied, “I know.”
The Crow had meant to kill Lahti for her unspeakable betrayal. But he never meant to harm any one of her kids. He had raised several generations of his own, and unwittingly play nursemaid to the Cuckoo offspring too. But as it turned out, the betrayal had occurred out the gate and long ago, for it appeared they had all been bamboozled. When the Strawman approached, waiving the flag of 2020, he instructed his tribe to stand down. To demonstrate good faith, for that was all he had, he too carried the same flag. They met in the middle without fanfare or fear, just immediate dialogue, nothing off limits. Of all that transpired between them, as enemies gave way to comrades, two things would hit them hard. One was the fact, that neither knew of what gave rise to the hatred between their bloodlines. The other made the Crow flutter, once discovered that there was not one train, but two.
“So one was obviously a decoy?” squawked the Crow.
“A decoy? I guess you could call it that,” exhaled the Strawman. “I’d say he sold snakeoil to his supporters. They were never going with him, but there was no way he could just leave. So he arranged the 2nd train, that trapped them inside.”
“Inside the depot? But it burned down.”
“I know. When they escorted me off the train marked Alpha, I decided I wanted no part of whatever was happening, so I never boarded the fake train. The one labeled Omega (Oh, my God).
They had been nemesis all their lives, and knew of no other way. But as they put it all together, the Crow came to the same realization as the Strawman: they held a common foe. When the weather warnings arrived, there were only days to prepare. And yet, the people that boarded the Alpha train, did so with focused intent, like a well rehearsed plan. Were they already aware of the fluctuations of the incoming solar radiation, that led to such a dramatic climate deviation? Or was it something else entirely?
So the new comrades stood in silence, pondering the lone question, that burned between the Strawman and the Crow: Whatever happened that destroyed the old war, was it due to natural disaster, like they had been sold: or was it man made afterall?
When the satellite circled around, it was the first time the President of the Old World had seen the new. To say he blew his stack, was the understatement of them all.They had been circling the world for years, and yet here was a viable place to live. Utilizing the high power telescope magnification lens, he not only saw the things that had taken residence, but he also saw their flag and he blew his stack anew.
Slamming down his open hand atop the keypad, he slid it across so quickly, that his palm print was not recognized, forcing a retry.
“This is my world!!!” said the former President of a land that no longer existed. Then he slammed his hand down once again. There was no remorse or concern whatsoever. It was like he did not remember, that he made the decision to influence the strength and speed of what ultimately destroyed Home. Without thought, even the first, he dropped 2 bombs on 2020; the 2nd for good measure, since all he needed was one.
They had heard about the land of peace, and did not anticipate such destructive weapons would be needed, at least not this soon. But even those who could have imagined, after what they had been through, almost no one who took the Alpha train, wanted to be held responsible to interrupt the world, over and over again. So the former President awaited an explosion, that would never come. For the sky tells lies. Those in charge of loading the weapons, replaced them with duds.
this is…. The Neighborhood. Created by Kendall F. Person
up next: Act VI: The Crash Landing of Veracity
The Top 10 Cities (week ending March 6, 2018)
& The Story within the Story