RIOTER #1: Were we less free then?
RIOTER #2: Not now. I think.
RIOTER #1: Then we’d have to please the court, if it would, I’d venture to guess, please them to have us.
RIOTER #2: Not a chance in a pear tree for even a drop of accountability.
RIOTER #1: Can I not get a witness?
RIOTER #2: Without even a partridge to your name, this time of year.
RIOTER #1: Lying in the street, pretending that you’re dead, trying to whip up some rabble to be roused over it all. I’d dare a peach.
RIOTER #2: You’re sinister enough without it. Stranglers make bad scapegoats. Trust me.
RIOTER #1: Bishop takes rook.
RIOTER #2: Something like that, but less essential. More universal. I don’t know. I don’t breathe anymore. I don’t hold up my hands in surrender.
RIOTER #1: A taciturn mold for the egalitarian modes of getting around. Elvis always said that only Jesus was the king. For me? I don’t think it matters. We make up what we want to see or believe. All evidence aside, I’m phoning in my sentiments. Not expecting much of a return, if any.
RIOTER #2: Belated sorrow or regret tinged with disbelief over the willful ignorance of some power-hungry sucker in a $1,000 suit.
RIOTER #1: Not so grand, really. Reckless? Hell, we’re an endangered species, taking potshots at each other, pretending that the subtle nuanced differences between us make any bit of a difference. Take that, you person with a darker hued skin tone! You are not as deserving of a human being as I am. It’s all a bunch of name-calling, bullying, and other grade-school theatrics. It’s stupid.
RIOTER #2: Nobody notices.
RIOTER #1: It’s a really dog-gone shame. Really. We could be nice to each other, but we choose to be mean.
RIOTER #2: Being hateful towards others makes cowards feel better about themselves. “At least I’m not like that guy, you know? I’m better than those people.” That sort of thing. Justifying one’s shortcomings by attributing false ones to other, usually less fortunate persons. Passing judgment to shore up your self esteem. We’ve been going too damn gentle into these horrible nights for too long. I want the meat-and-potatoes of me to mean something. Nothing need be ideal, but shit, maybe head in that direction at least?
RIOTER #1: Mattering. Is that it?
RIOTER #2: I’ve heard it. Maybe just checking under your own hood for faults before telling others about what’s wrong with theirs, because maybe the check-engine light’s broken and you’re in dire need of an overhaul.
RIOTER #1: Be able and willing to be judged before passing judgment on others. I mean, if you’ve really got nothing to hide and have done no wrong then what’re you scared of?
RIOTER #2: I’m indicting myself. From here on out let’s let it all hang out. I’m a willing participant, see? This is me not resisting. This is me playing along. Ain’t even going to struggle. Let me tell my story, you tell yours. Let’s see where any of this gets us.
RIOTER #1: Nowhere, most likely.
RIOTER #2: The truth dies easy under the gaze of the partial eye.
RIOTER #1: God awful, these positions we are put in, the things that come to define us, the horror of living with the fear of retribution, or dying by it. I am me just because I am. There’s nothing else. Get over it.
RIOTER #2: The minor inconsistencies of major network failures. I am speaking no language. The rest is not up to anyone.
RIOTER #1: Bare it all. Or bear it?
RIOTER #2: The difference is lost, failed and familiar, on all onlookers.
RIOTER #1: Structural integrity, lacking the imagination for a real empathic quality about one’s own perilous sojourn through the sadder fields of plenty. People come from all over to leave here, and to ask stuff like, “How will I think about this strange time of my life when it’s all through.”
RIOTER #2: I need a body double, a stand-in for the reasonable essence of guilt, courage, and strife. Plans to never attack. Those wayward whiffs of pacifistic, surcharged enough-is-enough marginalized into victimization. I play it dangerous. There’s just no other way.
RIOTER #1: Sure. And mercy’s just a plea deal gone wrong. A broken sort of miracle that hampers your better instincts for escaping the pressure of fitting. There are blocks and blocks cursed by false grades drawn up by no-good wealthy industrialists with greedy pens, where the widows mourn through shallow fits and the stray dogs nose through junkyards of foul promises, probing for reassuring signs of the past.
RIOTER #2: The safety of it. The comfort of being forgotten. My edges have been dulled by financial institutions who need naught but themselves. There used to be a wig shop and a funeral parlor there where that 40-story condo complex now stands. Taking back what they long left to let grow fallow, and now bulldoze in a tax-free exchange to build castles in the sky for yuppies. We are the diminished, the refugees of capitalism’s greasy smile, the chased and the frisked and the choked, the ones who cry wolf in their sleep and crowd the hidden fringes of a world with no need of memories.
RIOTER #1: Place stripped of time.
RIOTER #2: Try not to breathe. I believe in such miserable things.
RIOTER #1: And by the way, no. Everyone is not entitled to their own opinion. We are a nation of the lazy and the busy, the misinformed and the needy. What we lack’s all substance with a surface sheen. There’s an undelivered keening just below the sound commercials make. A mild sort of despair, timid and brash, scared and selfish and mean. I used to know a guy, a fire eater who would get drunk and burn his throat. He dated a lady we used to call Priscilla the Monkey Girl. She looked just like Uma Thurman, and danced like Rita Hayworth. Couldn’t take your eyes off of here, twirling through the drugstore. The way she swayed through a barely lit room, no stage would’ve cut it. But when it was all told and said, the lather told the housesmith to ruin a hod carrier, and it got loneliest at the bottom for everyone. Just more failed greatness. A nation of wannabes.
RIOTER #2: Christopher fucking Columbus. I could use a good week’s sleep. No. I am not mighty. I just toss with no more turns to take.
RIOTER #1: Hey God, you can go fuck yourself, you piece of shit.
RIOTER #2: That’s more like it. Our rebellion is too mild, too easy to overlook. Seldom is the slice of it all that all of our laboring gets us. We are easily made before our time’s ever got a chance to come. Wither and fold without even a flash…or a pan for that matter.
RIOTER #1: Revenge never served except as an appetite-whetting rouse. I mean, what the purgatory’s happening to those so-called innocent-until-proved-guilty among us? What a dump. What a dive. What a devil-damned shame. I am not so moved. Not ever less than now, then.
RIOTER #2: Put me in your will. Sew me as a seam into all of your I-have-a-dreams. Then the neighbors start to whine and we all dress for church, and the real reason you’re fomenting the rage of so many window smashers is merely the unique properties of forced demand poorly disguised as options . Retribution slips in through the service entrance while the waiters smoke in doorways of discontent. We are without the true channels to willingly make the proper choices. Everything is rigged.
RIOTER #1: Perhaps pretending to behave is best. Falling in line just to eventually, quietly, without notice, destroy the whole idea of the need for a line in the first place. And nobody knows or cares when it goes.
RIOTER #2: Fuck that. Fuck God and country and all that other jingoistic, egomaniacal bullshit. I’m burning the ship before I go down with it. The video replay will be ruled inconclusive.
RIOTER #1: Cudgeled saps. Conked on the pate. Fustigated to an early retirement from the big show. Castigate! Retreat! Rebel! Attack! Lie low! We are all made of and by things outside of who we believe ourselves to be. The eye squints until it can perceive things the way the mind wants them to be. These are just things to say out loud in times of doubt and rumination. Well, because, strangers in relation to other strangers, all the stitching and unstitching is for not.
RIOTER #2: An entire generation tossed aside, lost in the byzantine circuits of gadgetry, addicted to being entertained, never looking back, entitled and comfortably ruined for daydreams at such a young time in their lives. The same mistakes. The same whimpers of giving up. Put a catch phrase on a banner and wave it in the streets. Chant the same phrase in a mob while clapping hands. Block traffic. Stand up. Lie down. Dance. Follow along with the crowd. Shit. Just more useless histrionics. Is this the best we can do?
RIOTER #1: Probably. Hey, I hear there’s a party going on in the basement of a burned-out building on Mission. Super underground sort of thing. Music. Dancing. Hallucinogens. Real live girls. Ramen burritos. Locally grown organic beet-and-goat tacos. Gluten-free microbrews. Whisky distilled from apricots and guava seeds. Wanna split?
RIOTER #2: Sure.