A Tree Died

I read Russell Brand’s article in the New Statesman and it got me all het up. I wanted to write a novel based on it, but I have too many half-finished novels to try writing another one. Instead, you lucky people get a bit of flash-fiction.

I gave up my life for one word: Revolution.

It’s Latin, i think. Latin was this Language they had back in the days of democats and pubs, cousin says. I didn’t know there was more than one Language. I think maybe she was lying, because cats don’t talk. And they certainly don’t drink alcohol.

Revolution. It was going to happen at some point. It was the when that the philosophers and the politicians and the thinkers and the doers were wondering about; were afraid of. It would be soon — that they were certain of. But how soon? They didn’t want it to be in their lifetimes, nor their children’s. They didn’t want a Revolution anymore than they wanted to die. Their lives and their ancestors’ lives had all worked the same. The idea of something different was impossible, unthinkable. It was a concept stranger to them than an everlasting afterlife. A world without democracy was a world of tyranny; it was what they had been taught. Nay, they hadn’t been taught it. It was ingrained into them. It was them, in as much as anything could be.

This is a really weird book. Aunty suggested i read it because it was written by mummy and it was truthful and i would learn more about her, but i don’t know why i would want to know more about her. Any more than i would want to know about bob’s dad or erin’s aunt’s friend’s sister who lives a thousand miles away but likes to send smiles over the internet anyway, at least. Aunty has some funny ideas sometimes. It’s because she remembers the days of the drunk cats, she says. She still thinks the way that we don’t. I don’t know what she means, but i want to read this book anyway because it will make her happy and she thought it was important enough to end the life of a tree for.

They didn’t want a Revolution. And neither did I. Neither did my mother or my brother or my sister. Neither did most of the world. But we needed it. And so, for the first time in a long, long time, the human race did what it needed, rather than what it wanted.

Mummy was very silly, i think. Aunty says that the change from the time before to the time now was the best thing that ever happened. Why wouldn’t all the cats and the ‘thinkers’ and poli-whatevers want it? Aunty says that people didn’t look after each other then, so maybe aunty lies like cousin. Everybody has always looked after everybody and everything; that’s how the world works. If they didn’t, the world wouldn’t work. That’s what teacher says, anyway.

But it was difficult. What was supposed to be a quick flick of a switch became a DIY nightmare. The streets were full of murderers and fighters and lawyers and doctors and people who wouldn’t be defined by their past but their future, and they were fighting. The Revolution became a War. The way we led our lives each day was one battle out of millions. Many wanted to give up — the system had worked for centuries, after all. It was familiar and safe and it was the best that anyone had ever been able to come up with. Giving up would be easy.

It was too late, however. The Revolution had started and it wouldn’t end until it got what it wanted or was sedated by the sacrifice of our blood.

I don’t feel so god about reading this. I think maybe aunty forgot what this book was about and what it says, because she likes to protect me and cousin from what she calls ‘bad things’. She’ll be angry if she reads this for herself. I don’t know why she likes to hide ‘bad’ from us. Teacher says that nothing is bad or good but necessary, and ‘bad’ and ‘good’ are old words from the before time that will fall out of use soon. I don’t know what he means, just like i don’t know what this book means. I should stop reading it, but a tree died for it.

I wanted to give up, I’ll admit. I wanted to sedate it, I’ll confess. But I never wanted to do it with my very own blood. That was the problem; that was why we needed the Revolution. We would happily sacrifice… as long as the sacrifice didn’t come from ourselves.

That’s why I believe that now, when I’m gone — when the blood has been drained out of my vain veins and the system of survival for survival’s sake still isn’t sated, still wants more from me and my people — the Revolution will go on without me. It will go on, and it will finish. It will end, and there will be no winners nor losers for such ideals are no longer ideal. The world will be better for my loss. It will be better for ever having had me. It will be better.

And so, daughter, it will have to be. This began as my story; now it shall be yours. I just hope from the bottom of my heart that it will be a happy one.

There are no more words, but there are a lot more pages. I wonder why. It was very silly of aunty to kill a whole tree for such a small amount of information. In fact, it was probably this ‘bad’ thing that she likes to tell me i am sometimes.

And why did mummy make such a big deal out of what she did? Was the before time so different? I think this is all very strange. And a tree died for it.

I think i should put the book on the pile for recycling. Maybe something truly ‘good’ can come from the death of the tree.


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