Monday, August 22, 2005


The Great War of 2015 left little behind in its wake. No books, no flags, no photographs. Of course there were human survivors, there always are, because even the most thorough of annihilatory practices leaves unexpected havens somewhere, just as a tornado passing through a street levels one house and leaves the next house unscathed. Those crawling out from under the rubble had other concerns than rescuing the trappings of the failed civilization. An occasional preservation of objects reminiscent of the old times did however occur, and was attributed to a feeling of nostalgia that has always been a part of humanity, the melancholy cousin of the dream for a better day. These objects were placed in a museum in displays without commentary. The photograph of the boy pledging his allegiance was part of a trinity, found in the abandoned ruins of a stone cellar, the owner perhaps dust. The photograph had been used as a bookmark in the Bible, the Bible itself wrapped in a flag.

Story #269

Thanks to Aral Peppermint Patty Pez who suggested I use this photo for the weekend stories. I wouldn't have thought of it myself. This begins the second year of indeterminacy. The stories posted in the comments section have been reposted at indeterminacies.blogspot.com

23 comments:

AP3 said...

All Stevie could do was stand on the corner and wonder, why? Why couldn't he be in the Memorial Day Parade?

He watched with sadness and anger as the older boys in the Boy Scout troop marched by. He felt contempt as the Girl Scouts came by. When the local librarians marched by pushing carts with books and waving, he had to bite his lip to keep from crying.

Someday, thought Stevie, I'll be in this parade too.

A Little Bar of Soap said...

He loved God. He loved his country. Little Joe packed up his satchel and waited for the Rapture.

Sweet Jesus, sweep Joe into your loving arms!

viruswitch said...

The little American boy standing outside the military headquarters in Milan had to pose one more time for those silly press-photographers. The American dictator was spreading the rumor that they had conquered the whole earth, even the small country of Italy that had been resisting their hi-tech weapons for more than a year. Almost the whole world had become one nation, different languages and local traditions were forbidden by law and back home the arrogance of the American people was growing. The dictator had carefully concealed the fact that Italy was still holding its position, denying to rise an American Flag. That is why they needed proof and evidence of the American dominion worldwide; they needed to feed the hungry brainwashed minds with the same vanity again and again.

Forced by American soldiers, little Bob had to pose again with that strange flag even if he hated them, the flag and everything it would symbolize. His little mind could not grasp how a single man from his country could turn a symbol of freedom into a source of tyranny and misery spreading through the entire world. ”Why do they make war? Why do they make people cry?” These were the questions that made Bob so angry at his own people, and sad at this terrible injustice. His anger would slowly turn into sadness but he stood still in front of them never showing any sign of tears. He had a strong will along with a clever mind, and was determined to free his country as soon as he would grow up. “I am just pretending to be one of them” Bob thought to himself and looked straight at the eye of the camera, “but the dictator will perish and I will bring the time of peace again in this world”. Thus the photograph was shot and the little boy went home with the certainty of a winner.

weirsdo said...

This picture reminds me of how I used to cross my fingers while saying the Pledge in kindergarten because I didn't approve of the Vietnam War.

Denotsko said...

Yeah, McCarthy got his way. Little Jimmy would wave a flag. He would wave it and stand on any streetcorner and sing the praises of the land of the free. He would tell the world about the glory of America.

But he refused to put down his purse, and no matter what kind of signs they put in the storefronts, he would never wear a shirt or shoes just to buy gum.

Indeterminacy said...

I decided to check in Sunday evening since I'd just finished my story. And I'm amazed at all the inspired stories you came up with.

Aral Pepper Patty Pez: That was just wonderful. It made me laugh and it made me think.

Little Bar: It's a good, honest, story. I don't have it in me to write religious stories. My father would have liked this, as he was very religious. Thank you.

Elveshat: You came up with a chilling scenario of the future, but bearing in it a seed of hope. They should print this in the appendix of "1984".

Weirsdo: I lived in a sheltered world in the 60's. I wasn't even aware that there was a war going on. My father took that picture and I believe I was showing how I had learned to say the pledge of allegiance.

Denotsko: Thanks for contributing and for making me laugh. That was brilliant. I'm amazed you got so much meaning into such little space.

viruswitch said...

"1984" seems to be an interesting book! I just read about it at amazon.com because you mentioned it. I got to read it! :)

Doug said...

When Rashid Ali Kalaam was born his parents were embarassed. The light hair and fine features spoke to a heritage neither of them would claim. When young Rashid was oldest enough to go out and play, his parents kept him home, helping his mother in their home in Basra. They feared he would be picked on and they accused. Rashid knew he was ugly by local standards but he believed that somewhere out there was a place where he could be accepted even liked.

Then came the day in 1965 when his father was sent to a city called Cincinatti in a distant land. As soon as Rashid and his mother got off the plane, Rashid looked around him and knew he had come home to the place he'd always belonged. On the way from the airport to Rashid's new house, the Somali cabdriver told Rashid "I have a son just your age. I bet he'd love to play with you."

viruswitch said...

Doug your story touched me, very nice written.

viruswitch said...

Or is it niceLY written? Anyway, sorry for spamming the thread here.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Oscar was born on the fourth of July. He always believed that the big celebrations and parades were for him. For his birthday.

When he was five, his parents moved to Germany. People stopped celebrating his birthday. What had happened?, What had he done to displease the world? Why didn't they celebrate his birthday any more?

One day when there was a big parade coming down the street, Oscar ran and got his little American flag. In America everyone had waved flags for his birthday. Holding his flag, he watched the parade pass by.

It was all he could do not to cry.

Jamie Dawn said...

TLP's story is really good! I felt sorry for the little guy.
----------------------

Little Indie got so into his waving of the flag at the parade that he popped a button.
His mom told him not to worry about it, and said he didn't need to keep holding it closed.
Indie was irritated.
"MOM, my pecs haven't developed yet!"

weirsdo said...

Doug: Have you ever read Rushdie's Midnight's Children? It's a similar situation, set in India.
Indie: I think I'll leave this picture alone. I don't want to mar your childhood innocence just because I was a precocious cynic.

Indeterminacy said...

I'm truly touched by all these stories you've written for this picture. I'm goinf to print them out and send them to my mom.

AnthonyLemons said...

well thanks anyway...

weirsdo said...

Really strong ending on this story. I thought it was really good.

Indeterminacy said...

Mrs. Weirsdo: Thank you. I'm glad the new year started off on the right foot.

Doug said...

I agree with Weirsdo. Kudos to Aral and you.

Jamie Dawn said...

Your story was one of your best. The writing is superb. Some just stand out, and this is one that certanily does.

Indeterminacy said...

Is it really one of the best? Thank you.

Rhoda IV said...

During the move her husband had found a shoe box filled various childlike memorabilia. Some old dirty marbles, a buffalo nickel, a scuffed plastic army man, a metal kazoo with its dull red paint flaking off, and the picture.

The picture, who was that boy with the dull drab overalls and no shirt? He seemed so familiar, somehow, that serious yet indifferent gaze, peering out at him.

He went to his wife, who was unpacking boxes in the next room. "Who is this little boy?" he asked, holding up the picture.
The wife smiled. "I haven't seen that in forever. I thought I'd lost it." The husband handed it to her. "It's my brother." She said. The husband was confused, "I didn't know you had a brother..."
The wife handed the picture back. "Well he died later that day. It was the fourth of July and he had an accident with some fireworks."

The husband looked at the picture again, trying to find something to say. "He looks very patriotic." She smiled, "He was, he wanted to be president someday." The husband laughed, "Isn't that something. Funny how life turns out huh?" The wife nodded, "Yea funny."

The husband, with his wife's permisson had the picture enlarged and he put in on his desk in the Oval Office. When people would ask who is that? he'd reply "That is America, that is who I'm doing all this for."

His wife, late at night, while she was alone, would smother her giggles with her hand. Knowing that sometimes the most American thing is compromise, and that while she never became president, she would settle for first lady.

sniff said...

I think this boy was playing with some things he found in his parents house. Actually, he has a striking resemblance to the author of this blog. Could this be a picture of Indeterminacy when he was a young boy?

Indeterminacy said...

Sniff, it's uncanny how you know things. I was always going through the dresser-drawers looking for cool grown-up things to play with.