“Freedom is Expensive as Shit,” by Matt Rowan

Apr 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Prose

Governor Terrance is governor of our brave colony. He reminds us, “You better believe freedom is not free, because it isn’t. It is expensive as stuff.” The governor presses his index finger against the top of the lectern very hard, and he does it again and it becomes a kind of violent stabbing motion, which is not winning over the crowd necessarily. 

In chimes Jeremy from nearby the stairs: “As shit, don’t you mean, Governor?” then, “As shit?” he repeats, and it’s clear Jeremy is fond of speaking that word. The governor regards Jeremy—who is after all only fifteen and prone to saying just whatever he feels, whenever it pleases him. Narrowing his Governor eyes to angry slits but nodding pensively, the Governor says, “Yes young man, yes Jeremy, it’s as expensive as how you put it. Thanks so much for that.” And the governor begins to clap gingerly, sarcastically, but no one in the crowd is amused by this, and so shortly after he started clapping the governor stops. 

Then there’s the smattering of boos and fart sounds, and the fart sounds rapidly devolve into what I can only call dump-making sounds. “Dump-making” sounds are the sounds you would expect to hear if someone were making a nasty dump, though in this case they weren’t actually making a nasty dump; instead, simulating the sounds of one. The governor knows these are meant as insults and not as positive shouts that he might hang his hat on. “Dump-making” sounds are like the death rattle for a politician’s pre-political-death career. Most of our past governors were forced to resign or were extremely hanged in shame, so Governor Terrance shouldn’t take the jeers and vitriol and dump-making sounds all that personally, even though he is visibly shaken. He knew what he was getting himself into, seems to be the consensus of this crowd, which is this teeming mob-like crowd. 

“Stop the boos and the dump-making sounds for a moment, ladies and germs (this is the governor’s ill-advised attempt at levity, and so the crowd boos and continues making dump-making sounds, but with a noticeable whole bunch more of hostility, all of a sudden). I apologize for the misspoken ‘germs’ remark. You are all hardly germs and, for the most part, gentlemen, and calling you that was a mistake, I admit.” The governor is not winning over the crowd with his contrition. 

“Let me say that . . .” Governor Terrance looks struck in pain and tries to say more but is drowned out by the boos and hoarsely yelled slurs, and dump-making sounds are still full go. He tries again more successfully, “Let me just say that my plan for lowering the high cost of freedom was a bad plan, and the colony suffered for it. We could have allocated funds to far better programs than the laser tower, which, again I say, was meant solely to lower the cost of freedom around here. The laser tower project killed a lot of fair citizens and angered our freedom-hating enemies by its near-constant misfiring. And I reiterate that it was not firing in the name of villainy and a plan hatched by Dr. Nemesis and myself. It was simply misfiring, and was then blown up by way of sabotage. And I might further add that the sabotage was cause of most of our civilian deaths.” Dr. Nemesis is next to Jeremy nearby the stairs, and to be fair to all other concerned parties, he is looking at least kind of “villain-ey or -ful” right then and there. 

Dr. Nemesis’ presence is not winning over the crowd, either. Dr. Nemesis is widely disliked for his hand in raising the price of freedom and probably corrupting the mind of our governor, who, to be fair to Dr. Nemesis, no doubt had a fairly corruptible mind from the get go. And that was on us, the electorate, for having voted a corruptible man as him into office.

The governor had a very popular platform though, which was lowering the cost of freedom AND doing so using a cool new method, which turned out to be lasers fired from a tower. It’s pretty apparent that the plan had all along been to dupe the dupe-able electorate of us, and then use the governor’s mandate to create a laser tower in the center of our colony’s major town, Major Town, to then take over neighboring colonies, and building lasers in the centers of those colonies’ major towns, i.e., e.g., Big Town and Milk Town etc., and repeating the process until most, if not all, other colonies were run by our colony, though specifically by Governor Terrance and Dr. Nemesis.

The tower blew up, though. Dr. Nemesis claimed to also be a sorcerer, and was to use his magic on anyone attempting to destroy the laser tower, erected in our town square, which his “magic” was all they had for prevention of sabotage and destruction. But he’s a liar because as soon as someone did come and did blow up the tower Dr. Nemesis essentially stood there dumbly doing nothing to stop him, and absolutely did not use any magic that we, the citizenry, could see. He stared broodingly in the tower destroyer’s direction, but then the tower destroyer started hurling tiny smoldering pieces of the suddenly destroyed laser tower at Dr. Nemesis, and Dr. Nemesis ran without even one salvo of plasmatic sorcery fired from his diamond-studded chest. And that didn’t surprise me because why, if he was really a sorcerer, did he go by the moniker “Dr. Nemesis” and not “Sorcerer Nemesis”? Things you have to consider when folks ask you to take them at their word.

“I swear to you one thing,” Governor Terrance says, placing his hand on his heart, and by this gesture conveyed that, at last, he would not waffle, “I should not be hanged for this. If anyone should, then it’s that liar Dr. Nemesis who conned every last man here.”

Of course Dr. Nemesis is hanged next thing we do, but sadly this does little for the price of freedom, which remains as expensive as shit as ever. Because now lots of the other colonies are building bigger laser towers than ours, which is still destroyed.

Matt Rowan writes, reads and blogs. Previous publications include Johnny America, Jersey Devil Press, Bartleby Snopes, and others. See his online literary journal, Untoward Magazine, at untowardmag.com, or check out his blog at literaryequations.blogspot.com. Also, if he could reanimate anyone it would be Vladimir Nabokov, because there’s a corpse-brought-back-to-life who’d have things to say, no doubt.

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