WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS

Tim Tucker

A palpable shock and awe swept across the country like a perverse conflagration. It was on, and in every heart there was a steady flow of misguided patriotism and unabashed nationalism. The marching bands caroused through the streets, toy guns popped into the air, firecrackers hissed and vomited across incandescent skylines and in every hand and across miles of concrete jungles and gutters a veritable wilderness of red, white, and blue waved languidly in the wind. Door to door wizened, eager eyed Witnesses marched in protest of the wars and rumors of wars but were met with a crushingly stark apathy from a populace long since programmed by mind numbing entertainment and cold, empty promises.

It was indeed a dangerous time for dissension, and if any man or woman even harbored the thought of casting doubt of the righteousness of the war they were cut down with such fierceness that they cowered in fear for their own lives and kept their rational common sense to themselves.

Sunday morning. The day before major deployment. The church house was packed, scores of young platoon men congregated with their bright faces and dreams of grandeur, fantasizing over the initial airstrike, the gathering momentum, the thrust of the spear, the whizzing of bullets, the fear of their enemy, the ensuing pursuit, the surrender! Then they would come home from the war, hardened heroes, welcomed, idolized, and bathed in glory!

The service continued. After the first prayer a strangled piano chord lurked through the building and in a great impulse the reverend burst fourth from behind his pulpit, eyes glowing and voice cavernous.

"Blessed be the Lawd, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle; my loving kindness and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in whom I take refuge and who subdues my people under me. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see Gawd and blessed are you, the peacemakers, for you shall be called the Sons of Gawd! Can I get an AMEN!?"

"AMEN!"

The church erupted into spirited renditions of songs, their voices raised high in allegiance to a land that was 'free', their voices grateful for a land so 'fair', a land made just for you and me, and in their words they found aid, comfort, encouragement and more importantly justification that they were about to embark on the most patriotic of crusades, all in the name of the Lawd!

Amidst the raucous singing and prayers a young stranger moved hastily up the main aisle, her gaze fixated upon the pulpit. She wore a gown as pure as snow, her golden blonde hair tied with a decorative halo and blue eyes swimming with concern. She made her silent way, dubious eyes trailing her every step until she ascended to the reverends side and waited until the singing died down. She motioned for him to step aside, which the startled reverend did, and took his place. A buzz as thick as hornets simmered throughout the congregation and was quickly silenced as the stranger raised her hands.

"Brothers and sisters! I have come from the side of the Throne bearing a message from Almighty God!"

The church was stricken by a numbed shock up to its rafters but if the stranger perceived it she gave no indication.

"He has heard your songs and prayers and while He would never forsake the will of His children just know that your prayers are false prayers, for you seek a blessing upon yourselves which would cause a terrible calamity upon your brothers and sisters! Young patriots and kin alike, hear my words! You wish to tear down opposing soldiers with your bullets, scorch their lands and burn down their crops, turn their children out into the streets fatherless and hopeless and you wish to perform these acts in the name of The Lord! But I am here to tell you that it is not too late to repent for these war mongering ways! Do not trade your blood for oil! I ask of you, in the spirit of love, of He who is the source of love and who is the ever faithful refuge and friend of all to seek his aid through humility and a contrite heart. Amen."

A hushed silence settled upon the church, and then -

"Who the fuck does this bitch think she is!?"

"She's fucking crazy!"

"Somebody gag the bitch, shut up her lies!"

"Get that cunt!"

The congregation rushed the pulpit in a flood of flared nostrils and smoldering eyes. The stranger was grasped from every which way, claw like hands ripping at her gown, her hair, her flesh and when she screamed her cries went unanswered towards the cold, merciless sky.

"Stop! Please stop! Oh Jesus! Jesus! JESUS!"

The next morning. Amidst the veritable wilderness of red, white, and blue a naked body swung languorously in the breeze as raw and barbaric as a piece of meat upon a butchers hook.

It was a message.

A message that told any possible dissenters that you don't dare fuck with this country, a land made just for you and me.

Oorah!