17 October 2011

Those Who Cannot Remember the Past

This is my entry in the 2011 Short Short Fiction Contest sponsored by Esquire magazine and the Aspen Writers' Foundation. The story had to be exactly 78 words - to celebrate the 78th anniversary of Esquire.

I have included the photograph - a still taken from a YouTube video of an Occupy Wall Street march - that inspired the story.

When I saw the blonde woman toast the protesters, I immediately thought about the attitude and words attributed to Marie Antoinette - "Let them eat cake!"

Then I recalled the warning of George Santayana - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I thought about the events that have taken place this year in Greece, London, throughout the Middle East, and now in Rome. And, I thought, if it can happen there, it could happen here as well.

I don't agree with everything the Occupy Wall Street protesters are saying/demanding, but I understand where their anger is coming from.


Those Who Cannot Remember the Past

They gathered on the gilded balconies of Wall Street, overlooking the rabble – the indebted, those without jobs, those left homeless by "the bubble," the hopeless, the hungry – the so-called 99 percent. They laughed, took pictures, and mocked the people as they drank champagne. And, being well-schooled in margins, puts and calls, dollars and cents – but less so in common sense – they could not feel the heat of the coming fire; the glow of which already lit the horizon.

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