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not ready for war

our nation had been at peace for many years and then came the war.

I was not ready for it.

T. and I both had troops of young people who we were bringing on a long march. One boy I remember named Samuel would complain to me that mosquitos were biting his ankles and they itched. “can’t we get some anti-itch spray, Captain?” he’d ask me and once even texted me on his cell phone. I’d say to him “No Sammy. You know, this is a war.” And this became something we said so often that we didn’t even have to complete this phrase. We would just say “You know…”

T. said it to me when I felt bad for scolding Sammy and later when Sammy died. “You know…”

You know, you know. It said so much about how things used to be, and how they were now, and how we had not been prepared, and how we would have to make adjustments.

But it came up in so many ways and at so many different times.

the enemy defeated us not with arms but with a bribe; they paid some of our politicians to switch to the other side. and I had to work for people who worked for those politicians. i had to make some difficult choices. i would cry to my wife and she’d say “You know…” And I did.

But now there have been so many upheavals. I’ve seen those politicians receive the electric chair in prime time on Fox news, and I’ve seen the network president who broadcast their deaths receive the same on the opposing channel. I’ve stood on line for hours for bread only to be sent home hungry and I’ve been in a crowd behind a pile of burning cars throwing sprinkler bombs full of anthropocide. I know, I know, I’ve said to my comrades and to myself as we hear the alarm and put on our face gear in a hurry. I know, I know.

But honestly — I can’t help but wonder — what do I know?

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