A wall of noise stopped me as I ascended the stairs from the Metro. Pennsylvania Avenue was closed for the first day of protests. The scene was chaotic but impressively controlled. Thousands of people, the majority in their teens and early twenties, packed into the colony square several hundred yards across from the White House. A young girl, some famous actress, shouted into a bullhorn.
“See those suits! They hate you! They hate this country! Take it back from them!
I looked down at my chest to make sure I’d removed my tie and put it in my tote bag. I reached inside my sports coat pocket and took out my cell phone. I sent a text to my boss.
“Dressing and carrying casual today to fit in with the crowd. Please let the man know.”
I wanted to join the scene. One of my favorite bands, Pearl Jam, was playing. But, I had a job to do. I was becoming uncomfortably good at it.
Moving through the throng wasn’t difficult. I looked 10 years younger than my actual age so I blended enough to not cause alarm. My phone vibrated. I made the mistake of answering.
“Hello, sir! I’m getting through some of the people and headed to security detail now! I….”
My arm was bumped. The phone fell to the pavement among dozens of feet. I panicked and peered through tennis shoes and sandals without success.
A pretty, petite young woman with curly blonde hair and an expressive smile met me at slouched eye level.
“Hey there! Is this what you’re looking for?”
She was radiant. I froze in her innocent blue-eyed gaze. The sound of cheering and police whistles overwhelmed her voice.
“Uh, yes, that’s mine! “
She bobbed her head up and down like a gorgeous puppy. I leaned into her so she could hear me say thank you. As she put the phone in my free left hand her breath wafted over the side of my face. I heard the words…
The stage the actress rabble roused from was less than 40 yards from where we stood. The band assembled. The frenzy of the crowd built. I turned to her and she placed her small, soft right hand on my face and spoke into my ear.
I smiled, pulled back and mouthed my name. I couldn’t tell if she understood as the opening guitar chords sonic boomed through the audience. Side by side with Justine, I moved my body in poor rhythm to the song, a blistering protest tune, World Wide Suicide. Her body brushed against me. It evoked guilt.
As the electronic feedback of the rock song’s final notes rang my eardrums, I felt my coat pocket for an ink pen. I pulled it out and reached for that left hand she had graced my cheek minutes earlier. She smiled and batted her long eyelashes, giving me permission to write on her.
“703 555 3214″
We exchanged smiles and she said waved her marked hand like a little girl. The cuteness warmed me.
I turned and started the 200 yard walk to the front door of my office.
My boss met me at the entrance of The White House and we went through security together. He teased me.
“Did you have fun out there?”
I knew what we were about to do and I felt regret. I straightened my posture and adjusted the collar of my white dress shirt and gray sports coat.
“No, sir. Fun is spontaneous. That, out there? It’s organized.”
He chuckled and opened a large wooden door with his right arm. Inside the room were 7 men and 2 women. They waited on me, my boss, and one other person to start the meeting. As we sit around a huge rectangular oak, a voice called from the entrance.
“Good morning everyone!”
We all rose. I forced a smile and joined a unified response.
“Good morning, Mr. President!”
We sat down after he took his chair at the head of the table. My boss spoke first.
“Everyone, inside the attaché in front of you is the our plan, “Distributed Computing Debauchery”. It will explain what’s going on outside and how we will control it. “
I looked toward a window and glimpsed the crowd. I thought about Justine.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, awesome Grace aka @octoberesque http: http://thegraceofpirates.blogspot.com/ challenged me with “Distributed Computing Debauchery” and I challenged Kelly aka @kgwaite http://writinginthemarginsburstingattheseams.blogspot.com/2012/01/no-map-and-no-directions.htmlwith “explain how the donkey got in the bathtub”. She did a great job with it.
Today’s song is from one of my favorite bands, Pearl Jam. I think it’s the best protest song of the 00s or the naughts. Here’s World Wide Suicide…play it loud, and hope it’s never controlled.