The Silver Eel

"A gape-jawed serpentine shape of pale metal crested with soot hung high for a sign."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I don't care that it's a sermon when it's this well-written:

It was an exhausted world - beaten, raped, robbed, mutilated by industrial greed and political stupidity, and left for dead. Malachi himself knew exhaustion, hours when his head could hold little except despair at human folly. He looked then on Jesse, the boy's uncalculating goodness, simplicity, power to love and to wonder, and could only think: This is the world they left you. The rain itself as it falls on your head is poisoned. Sometimes instead of they he said we; but Malachai was not given to wallowing in unearned guilt. A yeasty college student at the age of twenty, there wasn't much he could have done to prevent the idiot from pushing the button. If burning himself with gasoline in front of the White House would have had that effect, he was just the sort of ardent youth who might have done it; plain reason told him it wouldn't: the Juggernaut is mindless. The danger would remain simply because those in power had not the intelligence nor the good will to remove it, and what had been representative government had given way to the corporate state. To say these things in the Twentieth Century usually seemed like hooting down a rain-barrel. In the pig-scramble to be good consumers for the blessed state, honour and virtue and reason could not be heard; it was natural to assume that they had died.

- from The Children's Crusade (short story), Edgar Pangborn, 1974


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