The Summer of Our Discontent








At sunrise on the first day of July, the commander of the insurgents stood across the river with binoculars pressed against his face. He lowered the field glasses and inspected his troops. Their uniforms were threadbare, their assault vehicles held together with bailing wire.

He knew there was no need to wait for supplies for none were coming.

“We go today,” he told the members of his command staff.  “Prepare to attack.”

On the other side of the Hudson, the Nationals were dug in.  They knew the prime targets the insurgents would hit. And they knew their defenses were impregnable.


At eight o’clock that morning, the commander gave the word and the insurgents stormed across the high bridge. They entered the business district and encountered no resistance.

They stopped their vehicles and go out, boots on the ground.

When they reached the broad avenue of dreams, they heard the first shouts.

“They’re coming. They’re coming.”

The voices were celebratory not strident.

When the insurgent troops turned the corner, they saw people lined up along on the sidewalks on each side of the avenue. Women lifted their babies high so the children could see the historic moment.

Young women raced into the street and hugged the soldiers as they marched. Old men wiped tears from their eyes and waved American flags.

Two blocks into their triumphal procession, the troops shucked their back packs and laid down their guns. The crowd rushed them, lifted them up on their shoulders.

At the steps of City Hall, the insurgent commander shook hands with the acting mayor who presented him the key to the city.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this day,” the mayor said.

The insurgent commander looked puzzled at first, and then he smiled.

“It’s been a long campaign,” he said. “We had to make it up as we went.”

“We were all pulling for you behind the scenes,” the acting mayor said. “They wouldn’t let us show our support.”

“Where are they?” the commander said. “We expected a tough time of it today.”

“Last we heard, they were positioned in front of the bookstores, prepared to fight to the death,” the mayor said.

The commander shook his head in disbelief.

“There is one thing you can say for them,” he said.

“What’s that?”

“They are living proof that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

The two men heard a chant start among the crowd.

“What are they saying?” the commander asked. “I can’t make it out.”

The mayor smiled.

“They are saying, Read us a story.”

The commander turned to his chief of staff.

“Hand me my Kindle,” he said.

He moved next to the microphone, quieted the crowd, cleared his throat.  He looked at the electronic screen in his hand and began to speak.

“Listen today to the account of the insurgency, a movement of men and women who took freedom of speech seriously and ushered in a new world,” he said.

The crowd erupted again.

Then he read them the first chapter of his  memoir, the account of how a rag-tag group of  dreamers fought  a digital revolution and toppled the temples of entrenched power.


Meanwhile, the National troops guarded their last bastions of control, never realizing that the battle was over, and they had lost.


(Written for The Writers Collection to the prompt “summer.”)

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