16 October 2012

Those Who Cannot Remember the Past

This is my entry in the 2012 Short Short Fiction Contest sponsored by Esquire magazine and the Aspen Writers' Foundation. The story had to be exactly 79 words - to celebrate the 79th anniversary of Esquire.

I have included the photograph - a still taken from a 2011 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!"

I recalled the warning of George Santayana - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I thought about last year's protests and uprisings in Greece, London, Rome, and throughout the Middle East. And, I thought, if it can happen there, it could happen here as well.


Those Who Cannot Remember the Past
By Bud Koenemund

  The insatiate gathered above Wall Street, on gilded balconies overlooking the rabble – the indebted; those without jobs; those left homeless by the housing bubble – the self-proclaimed 99 percent. They laughed, took pictures, and mocked the people; toasting the disaffected with champagne. They were among the elite in a world of margins and algorithms; puts and calls; dollars and cents. But, insular in their greed, they could not feel the heat of a fire whose glow already lit the horizon.

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