Blades of Grass


“Cut to Iowa.” 

The screen changes.  Dried corn stalks stand sentry in the fields, brittle skeletons and funeral pyres.

“Chicago.”

Men and women run through the streets, throwing rocks through plate glass windows of empty grocery stores.

“Farragut Square.”

All along K Street, cars are overturned.  A tent city has filled the square.  “Used to be there were only a handful of homeless people there,” Kayla muses.  “I used to talk to them when I was in school.”  She returns to the screen.  Babies clad in saggy diapers tiptoe down sidewalks, fists stuffed in mouths.  “This is less than a mile away.”


“You’re looking at the new normal, Madame President.  One drought away from famine.  Switch to the White House lawn.”

Again the view changes.  

She studies the people behind the fence.  Men and women grasp black bars with both hands, prisoners of circumstance, their faces dull and expressionless.   A tiny hand reaches between the bars and yanks out a fistful of grass.  Suddenly, she remembers reaching her own hand between the bars of that very same fence.  She remembers pulling out neat blades of grass and taking them back to the Hilton.  She remembers tucking those blades of grass in a hotel envelope and sealing it shut, promising herself that one day, she would be president. 

One day, she would make a difference.

The envelope of grass was with her when she went to college.

It was with her when she went to law school.

When she ran for governor; when she ran for the Senate; even when she ran for president, those blades of grass accompanied her. 

She watches as a gaunt child stuffs White House grass into her mouth.

“There is nothing for them to eat, Ma’am.”

She sighs.  “Send them away.” 

Later that evening, as she draws the blade of the knife across her steak, she wonders about those blades of grass.  Surely by now they’re as dry and lifeless as the corn guarding the barren fields of Iowa.  

This was written in response to Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was normal.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Blades of Grass

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blades of Grass


“Cut to Iowa.” 

The screen changes.  Dried corn stalks stand sentry in the fields, brittle skeletons and funeral pyres.

“Chicago.”

Men and women run through the streets, throwing rocks through plate glass windows of empty grocery stores.

“Farragut Square.”

All along K Street, cars are overturned.  A tent city has filled the square.  “Used to be there were only a handful of homeless people there,” Kayla muses.  “I used to talk to them when I was in school.”  She returns to the screen.  Babies clad in saggy diapers tiptoe down sidewalks, fists stuffed in mouths.  “This is less than a mile away.”


“You’re looking at the new normal, Madame President.  One drought away from famine.  Switch to the White House lawn.”

Again the view changes.  

She studies the people behind the fence.  Men and women grasp black bars with both hands, prisoners of circumstance, their faces dull and expressionless.   A tiny hand reaches between the bars and yanks out a fistful of grass.  Suddenly, she remembers reaching her own hand between the bars of that very same fence.  She remembers pulling out neat blades of grass and taking them back to the Hilton.  She remembers tucking those blades of grass in a hotel envelope and sealing it shut, promising herself that one day, she would be president. 

One day, she would make a difference.

The envelope of grass was with her when she went to college.

It was with her when she went to law school.

When she ran for governor; when she ran for the Senate; even when she ran for president, those blades of grass accompanied her. 

She watches as a gaunt child stuffs White House grass into her mouth.

“There is nothing for them to eat, Ma’am.”

She sighs.  “Send them away.” 

Later that evening, as she draws the blade of the knife across her steak, she wonders about those blades of grass.  Surely by now they’re as dry and lifeless as the corn guarding the barren fields of Iowa.  

This was written in response to Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was normal.

Labels:

14 Comments:

At August 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM , Anonymous jaum said...

VERY thought provoking. Revolt coming? And does she see that as a possiblity or only interested in the steak at hand. We already have a population of poverty stricken people.. But this shows what can happen as the poverty spreads. I liked it.

 
At August 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM , Anonymous idiosyncratic eye said...

Ooh, very thought provoking. That line about there being nothing to eat made me think of that line of Marie Antoinette then of her pretty hameau in the midst of poverty and famine. Crazy contrasts. :)

 
At August 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM , Anonymous Eric Misener said...

The cinematic images are perfect for this piece. I can picture journalists documenting the setting and airing the images as an anchor drones in the background, describing the "enormity of the disaster."

Well Done!

 
At August 1, 2012 at 10:27 PM , Anonymous Sandra said...

Very nicely done! Great story for the prompt; I really enjoyed reading this.

 
At August 1, 2012 at 11:54 PM , Anonymous Jannatwrites said...

All the high temps and drought going on now make this a scary story! As a child she wanted to be president and make a difference. When faced with the crisis of starving people, she turns them away (while she eats steak.) I wonder if that's the kind of difference she dreamed of making?

 
At August 2, 2012 at 1:22 AM , Blogger lumdog2012 said...

I like how you portray the stark reality of a future U.S. Except for the female President, I hope we never see anything like this.

 
At August 2, 2012 at 5:25 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thank you, Sandra!

 
At August 2, 2012 at 5:26 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Eric!

 
At August 2, 2012 at 5:27 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks! Someone I know actually took grass from the White House lawn...But I won't mention any names.

 
At August 2, 2012 at 5:28 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks! I lived in DC for a year and would go to that park very and talk to the homeless people.

 
At August 2, 2012 at 5:57 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Lumdog - Your comment didn't make it through, so I'm posting it here: I like how you portray the stark reality of a future U.S. Except for the female President, I hope we never see anything like this.

I'll try to fix this problem.

 
At August 2, 2012 at 1:26 PM , Anonymous Imelda said...

Beautiful and heartbreaking. Will the President allow her conscience to be priced or will she hide behind the manicured lawns. Last I know, leaders who ignored their people got deposed, oftentimes, in a bloody way.
This is so nicely written.

 
At August 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

Wow. This was really stark. I like the "cut to . . ." aspect of telling the story. You've painted a realistic, horrifying scenario here. Great work, as usual.

 
At August 3, 2012 at 7:54 AM , Anonymous Lynn A. Davidson said...

Wow! This held me all the way through. Her reaction at the end immediately reminded me of "let them eat cake" which was supposedly spoken by Queen Marie Antoinette (but is also attributed to others before her), and it is leaves one feeling let down by how the president lost sight of her own purpose.
Very well written!

 

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