Short Story: C.H.A.S.E.R.: The Resistance Shock
If there was one perk to being a hacktivist for The Noiz, thought Smudge, it was that thumbing your nose at authority was a job requirement. Living in Chicago as a middle-class African American university student made him a natural for the job. He lived well as his parents always bugged him about his grades, which he made sure were stellar, but they lost on him collecting comic books and his slovenly dress habits.
If he could defy mom and dad who were very good at making people fall in line, he could up the ante, and he upped it all the way to The Noiz.
His two closest friends in the group were also natural-born rebels: Monster Troll defied her parents and her own biology, telling them the boy they raised was a girl. They may have kicked her out of their home, but she still managed good grades and kick-ass hacking skills that got her into the group.
Then there was Chaser.
She was an attractive and dainty redhead in her thirties and referred to herself as a prim and proper punk. She was sweet, sensitive, and polite, but a rebel all the way. She was once a very popular newspaper journalist in Canada, solving murders before the police — but she was also going undercover in two dangerous Illuminati groups — La Nuit du bas and Circle in the Sky — working as their in-house detective until she got the goods and wrote two exposes on them.
Unfortunately, they retaliated against her, sabotaging her book sales, and her career, but not before bankrupting her. They didn’t know she was also a crack hacker — The Noiz wasted no trouble in getting her to their side.
Chaser was an acronym for Criminal Hunter And Sensitive Evidence Retriever — and what her specialty was to expose those two cabals, hacking into their complicated and secret servers to show the world just how worthless the Establishment was — sure they were rich, famous, and powerful, but only because they lied, oppressed, cheated, stole, and harmed innocent people to do it. Chaser saw it all up close, and now she was making those powerful goons shake in their boots as she showed the world they had to stand up to those people they always thought they should envy, appease and admire.
Best of all, she did it from her very posh hotel room, making room for Smudge and Naomi to do their own work right along with her amid her Swedish punk music blaring and her delicious tea and homemade scones.
Chaser looked at her screen and sighed. “Gracious, how dreadful.”
“What’s dreadful?” Monster Troll as she fixed her long blue hair.
“La Nuit du bas has decided they will sacrifice an entire neighbourhood by illegally dumping waste in their drinking water. They calculated that it is far cheaper to pay a fine and increase their profits than deal with their waste in a sensible way. Such impossible behavior, and al in the name of having one more posh car in their driveway than their neighbor.”
“Because that’s the whole meaning of life,” Smudge replied sarcastically, “And let me guess the racial profile of that neighborhood.”
Chaser sighed and nodded. “It is a tintinnabulation.”
“But what do we do about it?” asked Monster Troll.
“We engage in a Resistance Shock,” Chaser replied matter-of-factly.
“A What?” asked Smudge, “I don’t believe I came across that term in my art history or English lit classes.”
“It was a term coined by my grandfather who studied military strategy as a professor, and he used it to describe how revolutions begin,” she said, “People in power begin to believe they are invincible and superior to the people who gave them their goodwill, trust, and faith. They could crush the ruler with their mere numbers, but graciously allow one person to guide them. It is a deal and a bargain, but then a promise is broken and if a ruler is careless, the group take away their faith in him in a tangible way…”
“Giving him a resistance shock,” Smudge nodded knowingly. “Kind of like Alinsky’s rules for radicals.”
“Not quite,” Chaser answered, “Alinsky dealt with people who were dispossessed and had no voice in political matters. A Resistance Shock happens when the people as a whole stand up as one, shattering the ruler’s belief that he can persuade or outwit those who gave the gift of leadership to him.”
“So how do we shock La Nuit with some resistance?” asked Monster Troll as Chaser smirked.
“We shock those impossible people in a very sensible way. I have some legwork to do, but I will return.”
“Wow,” Smudge sneered as he read on his laptop what Chaser had uncovered. “It’s even sicker than what we thought.”
“My part is done,” Chaser said sweetly.
“They call me Monster Troll and him Smudge for a reason.”
Chaser nodded contentedly. “Good, then let us all live up to our handles and expose a cabal for the heartless scoundrels that they are.”
Smudge wrote a sarcastic missive that Monster Troll blasted every citizen in the city with an email and text outlining how one company had plans to poison their drinking water to increase profits and eliminate irksome voters who wished to exercise their rights. What would happen next was anyone’s guess.
As she watched the live angry protests on her laptop, Chaser nodded, noting the number of celebrities marching with regular citizens, as she wrote her message as she was satisfied at her newest contribution to the public discourse:
La Nuit du bas thought they could poison the citizens of Trent as a cost-saving measure, yet as the files I uploaded will show you, the people rose as one as they resisted the notion of involuntary racial sacrifice to rig an election and fatten their profits. The people have spoken, as have I.
Because that is your message from…
The Sparrow: Dream Detective and the Case of the Rebel Dream
Lexine Lark was known to all as The Sparrow: Dream Detective, and when a dreamer had problems in the waking world, he or she need only to wish her arrival, and The Sparrow would flutter into their bedroom with her book of bedtime stories to read to her client to help them fall asleep — or she would sing them a lullaby before entering their dreams with them to crack the case wide open. Dreams were puzzles to help dreamers solve their waking world mysteries, and when dreams were left unsolved, their waking world would become confusing. When she was not solving the mysteries of the dream world, she lived in a tree in Eden with all the other eccentric and kind-hearted alchemists that made paradise home.
She was sitting on a chair next to the bed of her client who was pouty and sulky. He was a young man whose bedroom was filled with instruments of all sorts.
“Thank goodness you came when you did, Sparrow,” said the man as he held on to his pillow tightly, “My career as a musician is going nowhere fast, and I have no idea what to do about that — or my weird dreams.”
“How are your dreams strange to you?” asked Lexine.
“They always go in the opposite direction of who I am!” he groused as he folded his arms and furrowed his brow. “Just as I dream I am singing on stage with a cheering crowd, I end up being in some weird debate with someone who always finds fault with everything I think! And then other times, I start to dream I am walking on the red carpet to a fancy party, I end up holding a sign and in the middle of a protest! I think I watch the news too much!”
“Oh no,” said The Sparrow, “What you have is an acute case of a Rebel Dream.”
“A Rebel Dream? What is that?”
“It happens when your dreams rebel against you…”
“Great,” grumbled the man as he made a sour expression, “It is bad enough my parents objected to my wishes, now even my dreams work against me! You came in the nick of time.”
“We will get to the bottom of it,” she said kindly as she opened her book of fables, “Now, you have the choice of two bedtime stories: The ostrich who hid the world inside its head…”
“The ostrich who hid the world inside his head?” spluttered the man.
“Or you can hear the story about the bottle that changed the message placed inside it…”
The man groaned. “I hate messages of any kind. Who has time to write them or even listen to them? I never answer the messages I get when I am awake — I certainly don’t want to listen to a fake message in a story.” He pursed his lips. “You sing lullabies?”
“Can you sing me something? Music is my life.”
“Certainly,” the Dream Detective replied as her melodious voice soon put her client into a deep slumber and she fluttered into his dreams to solve the case.
“Phooey,” said the man when he saw The Sparrow in his dreams, “There is only that ostrich and bottle here.”
Jus then a familiar voice shouted, “Yoo hoo, Lexy!” as The Sparrow looked up and smiled. It was none other than her very good friend Phoenix Rose, known to all in The dream world as a one-woman army who battled writer’s block and artist dry spells to inspire the creative into finding inspiration to make beautiful stories, art, and music once more.
“Phoenix! What are you doing here?” asked Lexine as she greeted her friendly warmly.
“It’s this silly musician,” Phoenix said as she pointed at him, “Here I am unblocking every block around, and he still hasn’t been inspired!”
“Hmm,” replied the Dream Detective, “That’s the clue I needed to crack the case wide open.”
Phoenix giggled, “At least it wasn’t a waste — I inspired you.”
“You did, and I thank you.”
“Why don’t we go out on a river cruise in Eden tomorrow? The cruise on the Hiddekel is opening a brand new boutique called Your Ship’s Come In.”
“How exciting!” chirped the Sparrow, “That part of paradise always has the most gorgeous fashions and their food is divine. I would love to join you.”
“Great! See you tomorrow!”
After Phoenix left, Lexy saw her client arguing with an ostrich holding a message in its beak.
“Don’t make me read the message!” shouted the man, but the ostrich poked him in the nose, dropping the note in front of the trembling man who picked it up and read it.
“Wait, this is a note from my own heart asking how could I sing when there is suffering in the world…and a-ha!” he shouted as The Sparrow smiled.
When the man awoke, he breathlessly replied, “That’s why I was having troubles! My music wasn’t about all the things the meant so much to me! It’s not always about singing love songs! There are problems and my songs can be about making a better world! No wonder I was floundering, but how did you know?”
“The bedtime story you reject tells me your problem, while the story you heard tells me how to solve it, but in your case, you rejected both stories, but opted to hear a lullaby because music brings you peace, yet you were still troubled because you avoided hearing both my fables.”
“Of course! I had a bad case of ostrich syndrome and was too afraid of hearing about any messages — but now that I do, I cannot wait to write new songs.”
“I am happy to hear it. Good night, and pleasant dreams!” Lexy flew out the window and the man happily went back to sleep hoping to find just the right words to bring the chords of change to the worldAlexandra Kitty, dangerouswoman.org, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Is an author and storyteller who explores different ways of telling fiction and nonfiction. I use Matriarchal Storytelling to weave in multiple points of view as I find different ways of seeing and understanding the world around me.
@notforprint @wettransfer #ellowrites