The experiment with democracy, born in violence, ended in dictatorship — an utterly predictable result. All we got out of it was a new meaning for an old word, stew: corn syrup gravy with mystery meat, which turned into a symbol for the resistance. Newage oracles claimed to know how to read the cracks as it dried in your bowl. They were drawn to bodies, and anything else that stank. They were worse than flies. You couldn’t keep them out, not even with a LED-studded crucifix.
Poverty suddenly became virtuous again. Funny how people will pick at a scab, like a worthless old hen that keeps on brooding a clutch of infertile eggs. We were always glancing at the horizon, listening, quivering in the corners of basements. During the five long years of what the foreign papers euphemistically referred to as social unrest, window glass had become more valuable than heroin. To say nothing of water, or a white picket fence that didn’t quickly darken with soot. A soldier from the last batallion to leave New York had wept and wiped his nose with the end of his turban. Guess I’m headed back to the Caliphate, he said. I’m gonna miss you crazy infidels.