The glass shattered as the baseball bat slammed into it, a spiderweb of cracks emanating from the epicentre before the the myriad of pieces fell to the tarmac. The legend “Manny’s Electronics” disintegrated into a field of stars, casting light like a Jackson Pollock onto the surface of the pavement.
“Welcome to the break down of society, kid!” Albert said to me, beaming through his beard. “You see, when society breaks down, all that is left are the basest urges. The urge to steal, to rape and pillage and do whatever the hell you want. The only urge that remains is to survive, to thrive in the new world. You see,” he said as he leaned into the window, pulling out bundles of wires, digital cameras, anything and anything that he could fit into the backpack, “you’ve got to consider it this way. When you take away the rules, the only thing that’s left… Is the urge.”
He whistled as he plundered, raising a mammoth hand occasionally to scratch beneath his eyepatch. He’d lost the eye in the first few days of the rioting, said it had been one of the baton rounds that the police had started firing wildly into the crowd, trying to slow that inexorable tide of people.
The good old days, back when it had been police with non-lethals. Back before they’d brought the army in and ordered them to use live ammunition. It only took a quarter of them to obey the order and it meant that everybody knew somebody who died that night. I’d got away, somehow. I never even saw Jonathan get hit, but I’d been scared to begin with.
It all started with the protest. That’s a generalisation of course, as tensions had been growing for months, if not years. General Keenan’s death. The taxes, all to fund King Cadwaller’s war against the Arrogan. The food shortages. The backouts. Everything piling on top of one another until, as expected, it all came tumbling down.
The protest built to a riot. The riot had escalated and become a battle against the council. Then, in no time at all, it was an all out war. Bodies piling in the streets because nobody could get close enough to clear them away.
“So, Danny my boy, now is your chance! The government lies behind that thin green line along with all the laws. This world is yours!” He passed me the bat as we walked past an intact window. Designer clothes, somehow missed in the last few weeks. “You want it, boy, you take it.”
I hefted the bat in my hands, feeling the leather handle rubbing against my palms. “Do it, Danny. Smash the glass.”
“Smash it! Now!” He commanded. THis was a man who was going to end up one of two things. A leader, or dead.
I swung the bat and watched as the glass, along with the life I used to know, shattered.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer.
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
The Idiot in Tin Foil