Contents - This Great Society
This Great Society


"...all beasts are happy,
For, when they die
Their souls are soon dissolved in elements;
But mine must live, still to be plagued in hell."
               - Christopher Marlowe, "The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus"

"Nemo liber est qui corpori servit."
(No one is free who is a slave to his body.)
               - Seneca


The air was thick as the Amazon in August, but the stench was all its own. Stale beer and fresh vomit: a sure sign that I was on the wrong side of town. Or perhaps I was on the right side, which would make this one hell of a town. There was a chair beneath me, though I was hardly sitting on it. My arm lay on a sticky table and my head leaned on a sticky wall. The raunchy laughter nearby was deafening, though hardly audible above the rest of the din.

At least the lights are low, I thought as I fluttered my eyelids and the rough glow of a few kerosene lanterns pierced their way to the back of my skull.

Kerosene lanterns. Where the hell am I?

The room fit ten tables uncomfortably, enough for a hundred men and as many rats. They were the kind of people my mother had warned me about, and my mother was a pirate who harboured in ports that made Mogadishu look like Club Med. At present, I was fortunate enough to be in a corner—they're sought after commodities in places like this.

Things started spinning, and I lurched as far from myself as possible. It was a dry-heave. Gazing down at the fresh pile of vomit beside me and realizing that it was probably my own, I figured I had been here awhile—too long to bother looking for my wallet.

The sickness was all in a day's work, of course, but it was rarely this bad. To be unconscious upon arrival was dangerous, as drops were usually made in seedy areas. So when I could I would arrange for a bait wallet or satchel in a jacket or trouser pocket—a cutpurse may slit my throat out of spite if they didn't find anything to take. A wallet with a fistful of local currency could keep me alive, and would also keep a thief from searching the small of my back, where I kept my far more substantial stash of local currency. Unfortunately for whoever stole my wallet on that particular day, however, I had put something personal in it for the trip, something I didn't want my bosses to know I was taking with me. I had learned cycles ago that the suits always search the stash you hide on yourself, but never the expendable bait wallet. The suits are nothing if not predictable.

This Great Society
Contents - This Great Society Arts - This Great Society Creative Writing - This Great Society Thoughts and Analysis - This Great Society Formalities - This Great SocietyContents - This Great Society Comrade of Thy Wanderings - 1 of 2 Comrade of Thy Wanderings - 2 of 2 Creative Writing - This Great Society Illustration by Linnea McNally Jenkins D. A. Weiss