The Gun slides through the fingers of the soldiers with ability and cunning.
Two weeks ago, they were closing in on him – many of his contacts compromised, many of his hide-outs busted. His routes have been cut off and there were rumors that his identity had been discovered. But they underestimated him.
They had been foolish in announcing his imminent capture on television – as if he wouldn’t get a wind of it. When in hiding, all you can do is watch TV to kill the time, and he had a lot of time to kill.
Television is interesting. It served like an umbilical cord to him when the rest of the world shunned him out, when the rest of the world wanted him dead. It fed him hours and hours of shallow relationships, twig-like women wearing leaves for clothes, the trumpets of the militarization of daily life. It announced curfews and end of curfews, it touted the incessant claptrap of men in green suits and jackboots stomping and swinging around fear like professional ballplayers. It bore a nasty womb, a cocoon of sex, machinery and violence, a mediocre horror show – and fun. Getting tube-fed shit can sometimes be entertaining.
It was strange the first time he saw himself on TV. He was on a trip that was supposed to be all work but ended up being a lot more about pleasure then work. He had spent all day weaving through the checkpoints and had been thirty different people in one day, and he was safe, but could do nothing for the family that got caught by the soldiers.
Since the uprising, Latinos and Blacks were all suspects. In fact, pretty much anybody with some pigmentation was portrayed as a rebel in the making, a possible revolutionary bent on the destruction of freedom and democracy.
Never mind the constant parade of tanks in the streets and loud knock, knock, knocks that tore down doors at two in the morning. Or the passing of the Buchanan Act, five years ago, which rounded thousands of suspected members of the guerillas who were never heard from again. This was America, damn it. The land of the free and the leader of the free world, the country in which, even if the press was censured and elections were merely a memory of old folk, we could still claim the mantle of the one true democracy.
That family had the bad luck to be a Black man, a Latina woman, and their three kids – probably trying to escape to the lands of the Good Government south of the border. Many had done that, and many had joined the war front on the Good Government side.
In any case, he was stunned when he got home and saw the footage of the arrest of the “terrorists” and seeing his face between the onlookers. He could never have imagined he could have looked so angry, so desperately willing to throw all caution to hell and do something.
But he was the Gun, and the Gun is slippery and oily and slides through anyone’s fingers, even his own.
He arrived to the City at dawn, diving in the stream of workers that marched uniformly, laterally, one side by side by side of another, but without connection, without side glances and idle conversation, a parade of automatons of flesh and loneliness.
He decided to keep a low profile, and wait until he was contacted by the people of the Warrior.
The Warrior had been reportedly ill – he didn’t really believed it, that old horse never had so much as a cough. In any case, she had been unavailable for three months, and he would have postponed this trip if weren’t for the urgency of the information he possessed.
He turned into a foggy street and became another disappearing ghost swallowed by the fumes and horns of the factories of the City.