The Last Iconoclast

I have been working on a short story recently. If you want, have a gander…
r.b., editor

“State your name and age for the record.”
“Owen Jason Mills, 27.”
“Now to be frank Mr. Mills, this is going to be what you make it. There won’t be any of that bullshit good cop, bad cop that you used to see on the People’s Screen. It’s just Sergeant Reynolds and myself, Sergeant Richler. Got it? And, I don’t want any of your tongue and cheek attitude that you think is so freakin’ cute. Got it?”

“What do you mean by ‘tongue and cheek’ exactly?”
“Watch it. I’m not playing with you here. We’re just going to ask you a set of questions and you’re just going to tell us the truth – word for word – nothing else. And if you want to play hardball, well, I can do that too. I used to play when I was a kid.”
“I bet all of the girls loved that.”
“Do you honestly think that you’re clever? Like really, did you think all of this shit would actually get you somewhere?”
“Is this part of the questions that will be on record?” Owen questioned with a wink. Sergeant Richler jumped over the table and grabbed our protagonist by the throat.
“I warned you, ya little long-nosed rat. With the piles upon piles of shit that I have on you kid – you’ll be seeing 25 to life in the People’s Den! Does that sound pretty?”
“Yeah, as pretty as those girls that used to watch you hit it out of the park when you were just sprouting hair on your knob pretty.”

The yellow People’s Voice book that was then used to smack Owen across the face held a total of 35 “Geller’s” and the phone numbers of New Vancouver. The 10’ by 14’ room was dank with off-white cinder bricks and a solid steel door, which you could see your reflection in.

It held a musk that is only reminiscent of an underground car garage that houses the cars of drug dealers with special packages in the trunk, if you know what I mean.

Our protagonist was suited in a white jumpsuit with the letters “CP” followed by a series of numbers across the left breast. His ankles and wrists were shackled and a lit king-sized People’s Du Maurier cigarette rested in an ashtray to his right. His skin was immaculate tan leather with short brown hair and dark, mysterious features. His eyes were a deep Antarctic blue that scared his own mother. He held an icy stare that was used as a weapon – and a successful weapon at that sources say.

“That was fun,” Owen carried on with a sly smile and a flirtatious wink. “What about these questions Serge?”
“It’s good to see some cooperation my boy. Maybe yer smarter than I thought. Well, take us from the top… try Forest Heights, circa 2021, with that little group of yers, The F.A.N.S or whatever the hell you little mavericks called yerselves.”
“Where do I start? …Oh, sorry boss, that was rhetorical. Now where was I? Oh, we were talking about me, right. Well, we started as a group that looked at things from a different angle, boss. It was clear we were heading down the straits that our dear beloved Orwell and Atwood predicted way before our time… anyone could have seen that. And well, we agreed that we weren’t going to allow that. You see, your People’s Cameras on every street corner, the ubiquitous People’s Friends minions, the censored People’s News; the Covenant of People controlled the jobs, and your venom-spitting People’s President Johnson, which made every one of you slugs jump for a cookie.”
“Watch it son.”
“Yeah, gotcha boss. We couldn’t walk down the street without someone breathing down our backs. And then people started to disappear. It didn’t take a People’s Ph. D. candidate like yourself to figure out what was going on. One-by-one, everyone that had the slightest attachment to the late President Foster that opened his or her mouths against you disappeared. And that’s when we set up F.A.N.S and our code, which by the way, you’ll never break. But that’s neither here nor there.”

“Right,” Sergeant Richler laughed. “About your little gang now…”
“It was a place where us intellectuals discussed the future – a future that didn’t follow the Covenant of the People and your bullshit which you fed to us day in and day out. We set up our own system that looked past the present—” The solid steel door opened and a man with a perma-beard peeked his mug in.
“Sergeant Richler, we got ourselves another one here. What do you want us to do with ‘em?” A baritone voice rang across the room.
“Put him in the cellar with the rest of them. And shit, don’t interrupt us again Stevens.”
“Sorry Serge.”
“Can I get another butt, boss?” Owen questioned with his eyes set on Richler’s.
“Reynolds, will ya throw him one.” Owen lifted his shackled hands holding the flame to the cigarette between his lips. With a long exhale of cloudy smoke into Sergeant Richler’s direction he continued.

“It was easy boss. Your lovely little cameras couldn’t follow us up there. And we saw right through your propaganda in the People’s News, on the People’s Telecaster and on the People’s Screen. Don’t get me wrong – you guys had some people going with your talk about war coming from the South, but we had our partners in the West that helped us plan.”
“How the hell were you able to communicate with them? The People’s Voice doesn’t permit calls out of one’s immediate surroundings… it’s just bloody impossible,” Sergeant Richler barked.
“Is it boss? We had an underground system that allowed us to bridge the broken connections with the West. We transferred our messages by ‘copter with our messages concealed inside its blades. You guys never searched there did ya?” Owen cooed with a wry smile. “They sent back their intelligence via the Underwater Way, which you slugs just figured out. Congratulations by the way on that, who should I pat on the back?”
“We can put ya back in the cellar if ya want here boy.”
“Naw, the dark isn’t good for my eyes my doc warned — bad for the retinas. And besides, I think I’m starting to warm up to ya boss,” Owen said with a long haul of poison. “After we told them about Operation New Stance they said that they were on board—” The room suddenly shook and part of the ceiling cracked and fell onto the table. The rumble was followed by an incessant distress call and a man’s voice barking orders down the hallway. Owen took another puff of his smoke and smiled.
“When will this shit end?” Sergeant Richler yelled and slammed his brawny fist on the rubble-clad table. “Is this really what ya punks wanted to happen? To have this shit going on constantly — living in fear?”
“Us eh? No boss, this is what you created – well, the fear part at least. Do you think your precious People’s People were happy with how they were living? To censor everything and to listen to that shit that you fed them? At least they can run now and your People’s Friends don’t control them. They’re free to pick up arms and defend themselves. You might be able to silence their voices – but you can’t silence their actions – not any longer. This is what you created boss, this is—” The room shook again and more of the roof fell to the floor. A large piece splintered and struck Sergeant Reynolds. The man was pinned on the floor.

“Damn, Reynolds get up,” Sergeant Richler wailed as a sanguine pool slowly formed around Sergeant Reynolds’ noggin.
“Where would we be without democracy?” Owen howled with a sardonic chortle. The steel door then flung open and the man with the perma-beard stood in its place.
“Serge, we gotta move. It’s bad this time – they’re coming from all sides and we’re losin’ men – fast. There are reports that President Johnson has been taken captive by these pricks. What do we do?” he questioned with a look that made him look more like a lost puppy than a People’s Friend.

“This is your doing, boss,” our protagonist stated deadpan. “You all brought this upon yourselves. You destroyed our land and now the F.A.N.S. and the West are taking it back. And I’m, well, I’m doing you some good as the last iconoclast, because this isn’t going to stop—” But Owen’s voice stopped, and he fell to the ground and laid amongst the ruins of the roof. His chest was on fire and leaking, but his eyes were still fervent. He looked up and could see the People’s Silencer still smoking in Sergeant Richler’s hand.
“Yer right son — yer the last iconoclast. Yer right about that,” Sergeant Richler said and turned out into the hall to join the screams. Owen rolled over onto his back.
“And this… this is my last stance, for a new… stance,” our protagonist whispered in his collected tone and closed his deep Antarctic blues.

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