I’m going to try something different. I spend a lot of time thinking about abstract concepts, and piecing together things that don’t always easily appear to connect. I can give a lot of evidence as to why it’s important to think outside the box, and I can even help some that are close to being able to think that way, cross over that invisible line and begin practicing it.
But for the general person busy with their lives, that need information quickly, and in a form they understand, fiction is the best way to lay out an argument. As an artist, the best way for a writer to convey an argument is with a work of fiction so that the concept can be held up to reality and measured. The following short piece is from a work connected to my Symposium of Justice novel. And I will begin letting out small bits of that work to support some of the concepts discussed at this site.
So enjoy this small work titled The Standoff, and think of it in an abstract before trying to apply any meaning.
Fletcher appraised the massive influx of the troops as they surrounded the parameter of his property. He noted that they stayed off about 100 yards. They were going to try and take him by force as opposed to an air strike. That was the best option for him, although it wouldn’t have mattered either way. The result would be the same.
He knew they’d try to gas him out, and if that didn’t work they’d shell his home. He could see the mortar placements set up at the appropriate range. He could also see the snipers stationed strategically in the distance. Many of them were well over 100 yards, and he thought he could see most of them. He suspected that there were others hidden on the rooftops, and in trees that eluded him, but that wasn’t important. Knowing the details of their where-a-bouts where not important to his strategy, in fact, that was their intent, to overwhelm him. He would do fine as long as he didn’t allow himself to get lost in the details.
He had heard that the devil was in the details by more than one person in his life. But the devil seeks to corrupt the mind with those same details by pulling the mind into his domain where he can corrupt and inflict doubt. Very few human beings in their entire lifetimes found a way to master the art of details.
Misty walked up next to him and gently placed her hand on his shoulder. “There’s too many this time.”
“This is no different than before.” Fletcher was aware that he sounded harsh, but he was mentally prepared for war. “Whether it’s ten or ten thousand, their failure is in their trust that numbers will be to their advantage.”
“What will you do?”
“I want you to take the kids and go to the grocery.”
“Yes, don’t react to this as if anything is any different from any other day. You take the kids and go to the store. Bring back some food for later. That will keep you safe and off my mind.”
“They’ll never let us leave.”
“Yes they will, they can’t afford to have women and children slaughtered in this media event they are holding. They’ll be glad to see you go. They have not formally charged you with any crimes and you can move about unimpeded. To restrain you now will only irritate me further and they won’t risk that. They seek a peaceful end before the day is out. That is why they’ve already lost. Because I seek war, and blood and I will spill it at their expense.”
“But what will you do?”
“I will lure them away from the castle. They think I built it to hold off an onslaught. Their strategy is to get me to emerge from it by lack of choice. I will do so quickly at the beginning of the fight. I will go into their lines where their mortars, snipers and heavy weapons will destroy their own people. I will not stay here on ground they dictate.”
“Can you get out there that fast? That will be a lot of ground to cover. They’ll have lots of open chances to take a shot at you.” Misty was not a military woman, but in her marriage to Finnegan she had learned his ways. She had seen enough to make the kinds of observations that would make a general proud. She had seen Fletcher do amazing things and was accustom to his late night workouts. She knew his mind believed he could manipulate physical law with sheer confidence, and had seen it work on much smaller numbers. He had survived incredibly the standoff at the river last year at Ben Carter’s residence against a small attachment of elite troops and the police force of Fort Seven Mile. That day Fletcher had returned to her covered in scratches and holes penetrated his clothing where bullets had narrowly missed him hundreds of times. She had called him lucky where he refuted her with similar characters in history. George Washington had dodged similar odds when he acted heroically at Fort Duquesne having his body riddled with bullet holes that had never found their mark. Stonewall Jackson had showed the same kind of valor needed in the battle of Bull Run to defy all odds. And General Patton also survived numerous brushes with death, and Fletcher often cited how both Jackson and Patton had suffered silly accidents that either caused amputations, or were paralyzed prior to their deaths. It was a fascinating fact that some of the great minds of military like Patton believed that he was directly reincarnated from Hannibal.
Fletcher believed that in the heat of battle great men rose to great achievement because their minds were focused on the task and their beliefs manipulated all the events on the battlefield. Where some would believe that some sort of force such as karma was responsible for balancing out the lives of these same men be subjecting them to freakish accidents, Fletcher believed those men despised times of peace so intensely that their strong minds actually attracted the negative events that sealed their fates.
It was not unusual for him to stay up late into the night reading volumes of books and would tell her of his night time adventures when she awoke for breakfast. Alexander the Great, Frederick Nietzche, Socrates, Galileo, and many others found illness, and social castration part of their later lives leaving only history to vindicate their work into a respectable status. Nietzche was a favorite of Fletcher and she was shocked to learn that copies of the fourth installment of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, arguably Fletcher’s favorite book, only saw a printing of 40 initial copies.
Fletchers other favorite book was The Book of Five Rings by the undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi and she knew that Fletcher’s standoff here was modeled from his study of that book. It was Musashi that had been independent of any social clans in Japan, and offered himself as a samurai for hire. That left him a target to every political entity and forced him to survive many battles where he was severely outnumbered.
Fletcher had already achieved much of what Musashi had. His standoff at the river should have been enough. There would be stories told for years about his exploits and if he were not considered an outlaw, society would make him the hero of the nation. Quietly, the political powers that made up “The System,” had shown an interest in making peace with Fletcher. Once his identity was revealed, and it was known that he had wealth, they sent representatives to make peace, but Fletcher could not be bought. He sent them away with the same audacity that he had these last two visitors.
Was it madness that looked out across the yard and showed no fear at 5000 troops with the taste of blood in their throats for his death? She wasn’t sure. What she did know was that if she stopped him he would be perpetually unhappy. Even though social duty may dictate that she talk her husband out of this, he would never-the-less be arrested and thrown in jail for many years at this point so there really wasn’t any turning back. After all, nobody in history had survived a standoff of this magnitude. Nobody but Buddha had ever done such a thing.
Fletcher Finnegan did not attribute himself with the Buddha, but there wasn’t any other image that came to her mind as she studied her husband gazing calmly out the window. Mara, the evil one had tried to prevent the enlightenment of the Buddha with temptations, one of the most dramatic of which was a massive army that promised the Buddha annihilation if he did not remove himself from his immovable spot. She was never completely clear why Mara called off his army and left the Buddha to his enlightenment. She could see for herself that Fletcher’s calm resistance to this army would not bring peace. He would have to go and fight and all logic would guarantee his destruction.
At any other time in history, if this would have been Christ, he would have been captured uneventfully and killed brutally. In fact, in all of history she couldn’t think of any time that surrender was not considered the noblest thing to do, and that didn’t make any sense to her. Even with the world seemingly at her doorstep wanting to kill her husband and destroy everything that was her family, she couldn’t think of another time where another human being would be poised to make such a stand.
It is said that Mara, the evil one, tried to prevent this great occurrence. He first tried to frighten Siddhartha with storms and armies of demons. Siddhartha remained completely calm. Then he sent his three beautiful daughters to tempt him, again to no avail. Finally, he tried to ensnare Siddhartha in his own ego by appealing to his pride. That, too, failed. Siddhartha, having conquered all temptations, touched the ground with one hand and asked the earth to be his witness.
“I will give them nothing to shoot at.” Fletcher was aware of her thoughts, but did not remove his war readiness. He knew she understood. “You have to understand, they want only for this event to be over. The shooters out there rely on the next man to take the shot, and nobody is solely responsible, which is why they will fail. They have spent their time from arrival to now with fat thoughts like their leader. They trust that mass alone will do the job even though they have been instructed by their superiors to take this situation with utmost seriousness. The men behind those guns will be looking for where they think I’ll be. At the distance they are placed they will be severely restricted in movement. To get a clear shot at me, they will need me to be as still and predictable as possible.”
She looked at what he looked at, and noticed that most of the infantry was in the front. “Are you going to use the tunnel?”
“When we built the place, I suspected something like this would happen eventually. It comes out right in the middle of their mass. It will take away their guns and put them at close range for hand to hand combat. Many will seek to back away from the fight when it starts but will trample their own in an attempt to make their guns useful. I will use their confusion as my troops.”
“But you said they would probably resort to the B2 bomber.”
“They may try that, and if that’s the case, you and the kids need to be far away from here, at least forty miles.” He turned to her. “Do you understand?”
“And this town will be annihilated. All the work you’ve done to bring justice to this community would be for nothing. Thousands of people will be killed, and for what? If you surrender you could save them all.” She said that knowing what his reaction would be, but she felt she needed to say something.
“Save them in what way? They are all on strings they can’t see, living lives that aren’t their own. It is not me that brings death to them.”
“But your actions brought them.”
“The responsibility to annihilate this community with nuclear destruction will be up to executives. We’ll see what happens.”
“If you last that long.”
Fletcher doesn’t offer a response. Her point is clear and he isn’t in a position to make promises. Fate is much of what you make of it, and he was making his moment by moment. He was in uncharted water here.
“There is no way to camouflage any of this but as an act of terrorism. You will be labeled an enemy of the United States.”
“You know I love this country. Most of its history was formed on war, and this is no different. You know that.”
Misty paused a long time. Troop movements had settled down and everyone was in place. “I know you do.”
“Only in the context of history will anyone understand. Long after the dead from today are buried and their relatives evaporate into earth. When the sensibilities of orthodox behavior align society into rational thought, much more will be understood.”