Cannon Fodder

More flash fiction from The Loftus Party. This time it’s about the invasion and conquering of America.

A few weeks ago, I wrote “The End of the New York Times” in response to The New York Times publishing fiction that fantasized about the assassination of President Trump. And you know what I discovered from that? Writing fiction is a lot more fun than nonfiction. It’s probably a lot more effective too. If nothing else, it’s at least something different than the analyses and commentaries that are on every other news or political website.

This one takes place in the same universe as the previous tale. And it focuses on an issue going on right now: foreigners invading and conquering America, and the journalists who support them.

Here now, in 1,000 words or less, is “Cannon Fodder.”

*****

“Whoa! What is that? I think it’s a human skull!” Stu said.

“No,” Eduardo told him.

“How can you be sure?” Wei asked.

Eduardo walked over to it and kicked some leaves off it. “Deer skull.”

Stu and Wei stared at the elongated bone.

“Oh,” Stu said. He clicked a few photos of it with his phone, listening to Ryan, the videographer they had brought with them, stifle a laugh. “Still, wouldn’t be surprised if it was a human skull. America forces people trying to get here to travel the most inhumane routes possible.”

“Dude, we’re in Mexico,” Wei said.

“You know what I meant,” he shot back. “Fascist America is forcing people to come this way.”

“It’s starting,” Eduardo said.

The Mexican guide pointed at the fence 100 years in front of them and The Post journalists gave it their full attention. Concertina wire topped it. Thousands of Central and South American refugees were on the Mexican side of it. U.S. Border Patrol was on the American side. Hundreds of journalists, mostly Americans, were on both sides.

About 100 male refugees suddenly ran towards the border. They screamed death-curdling yells, the noise growing in volume and furor once they crashed into the fence. It bowed towards the American side. The attackers shook it and began climbing it.

The men who stayed on the ground threw thick blankets to the other ones as they ascended. They grabbed them and threw them over the concertina wire. Their comrades kept pushing and tearing at the fence.

The Border Patrol personnel shouted and moved forward. Stu couldn’t tell what they were saying or doing. “You getting all this?” he asked Ryan.

“Of course,” The Post videographer said.

“And you can see the women with the children up front too?” Wei asked him.

“That’s why we chose this hill and this angle,” Ryan told her.

The commotion at the fence grew more intense. A few of the refugees had made it to the top, straddling the thick blankets that now covered the concertina wire. The Border Patrol shouted commands through loudspeakers but Stu still couldn’t make out what they were saying. And then it happened.

Objects flew from the American side of the border onto the Mexican side of it. Canisters. Smoke poured out of them.

The male refugees started coughing. The ones on the fence fell onto the ground onto the Mexican side. The rest retreated. But the women who were with the children and in a line 100 feet behind them did something different. They ran towards the gas.

The kids didn’t want to go but the women dragged them, kicking and screaming. The white clouds expanded, hanging close to the ground and spreading. Stu took his eyes off the scene for just a moment, noticing all the other journalists—near and far—gleefully photographing and videoing what was occurring.

He looked back at the assault on the border. As the gas enveloped the women and children, their hands and arms went to their eyes, uselessly trying to block it out. Their wailing now drowned out the yells of the men who had run away from the fence and had returned to clean air.

“This is so good,” Ryan said. “I can’t wait for you to see this. They’re all crying and coughing. Oh, man! Look at all the snot coming out of their noses!”

“Perfect! Perfect!” Wei said, clasping her hands and swiveling her hips in a little dance.

“Edmonds is so dead when the public sees this,” Stu said, smiling from ear-to-ear, watching children desperately pulling at the women and trying to flee.

Eduardo said nothing, standing with his arms crossed, spitting out some tobacco juice.

The shrieking, the hysteria—the horrific howling and terror of children—grew louder.

Wei stopped dancing for just a moment. “This has to work; has to get rid of Edmonds. But what if it doesn’t? What do we do then?”

Stu shrugged his shoulders. “We can have the refugees attack again on another day.”

“Yeah, but that’s not going to be as powerful if we don’t have children up front to take the brunt of the Border Patrol response,” Wei replied.

Stu bared his teeth and sneered. “Of course we’ll have children again. After all, they’re nothing but cannon fodder.”

Header image © Paul Hair.

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