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Monday, July 14, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 42: Holidays and Happiness

I’ve always cringed at “Christmas in July” events, and here I am doing one myself. Life is like that…

Monday, January 5, 2015
Holidays and Happiness

Happy New Year. Or a reasonable facsimile of happy. We managed to enjoy the holidays at FAR Manor, even if Christmas is no longer the commercial orgy it used to be. Even the kids were pretty happy, even though their only gifts were notebooks and sketch pads, with good pens and pencils to go with them. I told them that they weren’t to be used for school, just their own writing and drawing. Me… I got a great gift in email, and I’ll mention that shortly. Serena’s working on a play now, and Rene started a diary. He found out what I’ve been doing online forever and “expressed interest.” He might write an entry here on occasion. Kim and Christina are drawing stuff, both separately and together. It’s really fascinating to watch them work, each on one side of the paper; they switch sides every so often to make their stuff blend together and look like a single artist did the whole thing. I’ve never been able to draw, and it’s always amazing to me how other people can. Mrs. Fetched loves her Christmas present — Beth sent her a copy of her new book, and she’s already hoping the third book will be out soon.

Working backwards: we invited the neighbors for a Thanksgiving potluck again. I think it’s going to be a tradition. We had steaks, fish, chicken, and gobs of fruit and veggies. And bread, of course. The pasta, goat cheese, tomatoes and onions that a lot of us enjoy through the summer made an appearance as well.

Now that rationing is “by the market,” as the junta mouthpieces insist on calling it, people are buying and hoarding again… and catching things on fire again. Think of it as evolution in action… and proof of sorts, too. I’ve always said that people don’t believe in evolution because they haven’t evolved themselves, and they tend to be the ones losing property to hoarding. The anti-hoarding laws passed before the coup are still on the books, but they’re only enforced when someone’s stash burns something down — and usually not then, given that they’ve already punished themselves.

My Christmas present came in email, and I don’t know whom to thank it, but it was “totally awesome, dude.” Like I’d mentioned before, some of the metro-area Pat-riots have been gunning for The Prophet, and one bunch decided they would set him up and get it all on video. They wrapped a $10-spot around a bottle of water with a rubber band, and dropped it and a can of tuna in his box while they taped it. The Prophet has always refused cash donations, you know. So he looked straight at the camera and said, “You brood of vipers, your ancestors thought to entrap The Lord with their clever schemes, but their plans were laid low. So will it be with you. I say unto you: follow me, and see what The Lord is doing.” And he picked up his box and started walking.

You can hear them on the recording, discussing what to do, and one of them says, “Hey, this is why we came. If he wants to make it easy on us, who cares?”

The video jumps to the inside of a MARTA train. The Prophet appears to be praying (“or napping,” one of the 'Riots suggests). It jumps again; The Prophet steps off the train and waits for the 'Riots to catch up. “Decatur,” the cameraman says. As they step off the train, he leaves the station.

Another jump: The Prophet climbs the steps of a boarded-up church. People from the surrounding area are approaching; the 'Riots whisper among themselves about their safety but stand their ground. One guy comes and talks to them, but off-camera (they’re watching The Prophet).

“Hey, are you the guys that were putting videos of his sermons on the net?”

“Uh, yeah,” one says. “Some of them, anyway,” says another.

“Cool. You think you’ll be able to upload your video now? The dorks screwed up Internet pretty good.”

“Um… we’ll manage.”

Their visitor starts to say something else, but The Prophet starts preaching at that point and he shuffles away. The sermon rips the junta in just about every way you can imagine: Pharisees, den of thieves, brood of vipers, you name it. He saves a few choice words for all the churches that have thrown in with the “godly men” in the junta. “We can turn him in on a sedition charge,” one of them whispers. “He’s giving us all the rope we need to hang ’im.”

“If they can find him,” another says. “Seems like every time someone tries to grab him, he’s just not there.”

Somebody shushes them, and The Prophet goes on speaking. Finally he lifts his box over his head and says, “Let those who are in need: come. He who drinks of the Living Water will never thirst, he who eats of the Bread of Life will never hunger. Come to The Lord’s storehouse, see what He has done through His enemies.” He puts the box to the side, and the crowd moves forward, but orderly.

“Like zombies,” one of the 'Riots whispers.

Then The Prophet starts reaching into his box and pulling out grocery bags, one or two for each person. (“Where’d all that shit come from?” one of the 'Riots whispers. “The box was empty when I dropped our stuff in!”) Then he pulls out a huge wad of money and gives it to a woman, who cries and hugs him. She steps off to the side, but still in view of the camera, and pulls out a cellphone.

“I’ve got the mortgage,” she says. Her voice is steady, but you can see her tears. “All of it, I think. $2400? … Cash. Yeah, I’m gonna want receipts, and I want papers, signed! Saying you’ve cancelled the foreclosure because we’re paid up.” Meanwhile, The Prophet is still pulling bag after bag out of his cardboard box.

The camera tilts, dips, shakes, but doesn’t go off target; the 'Riots are swearing and murmuring things like, “I’m not believin’ this,” and “Where’s it all coming from?” Finally, the last person gets his bag and walks away.

The Prophet looks at the camera again, says, “Bear witness to what you have seen today,” and walks around the side of the church, leaving the box on the steps. One of the 'Riots runs over to the box, picks it up, and turns it upside down. Something flutters out, and he stoops to pick it up.

“It’s the ten we wrapped around the bottle,” he says. “I marked it.”

“He’s gone!” another one yells from off-camera. “No way he coulda moved that fast! We gotta catch him!”

“Forget it,” the cameraman says. The camera droops, points at the ground, then cuts off.

I’ve watched it over and over, and showed it to Mrs. Fetched. Moved us both to tears… it still does, to me. She only watched it once, said, “We know whose side He’s on,” and walked away. Not really much more you can say about that. Except: whoever sent the video gave me the best Christmas present this year.



  1. FAR, your story just gets better and better. It certainly puts a different spin on the current reality of Christmas.

    Keep up the good work.
    Gavin, Australia

  2. Thanks Gavin, and welcome to the free-range insane asylum!

  3. Gee, Far, Now I'm beginning to wonder is the "Prophet", Billy Grahman in disguise! ha!

    Thanks, yooper

  4. Nicely done, Far. We could use the Prophet right here and now, especially given what's going on currently.

  5. Yooper, he's patterned after a guy I saw for about 20 seconds in Minneapolis back in 1981, standing on a street corner and preaching away. He had a big knot on the side of his forehead; perhaps someone had objected to his presence & popped him one. I don't know, but the memory lingers.

    Boran, people like The Prophet will be called when they're truly needed. I do believe that.

  6. Hey Far! Heh! Yup,I can identify with the Prophet, I've gotten a few "knots" along side my head too, proclaiming a very unpopular message.....

    Thanks yooper


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