The Confluence Part 6

July 8th, 2011 by Wordsman

As he had slept for less than five hours, it took Peter almost a full minute to figure out why it was so dark outside and why the clock on his microwave insisted it was not yet 4 AM. The spoon slowly descended, granting the Triple-Grain Honey Rings a reprieve as they rejoined their brethren in the bowl. Like the golden orb inching its way up past the horizon—something it was currently doing out in the Atlantic Ocean—a thought crept into his brain: “What do I do now?” It seemed more and more likely that the reprieve would become a full pardon.

A depressingly small number of ideas suggested themselves over the next ten minutes. Go back to bed? Tempting, oh so tempting, but impractical. He had already showered, he was already wearing his suit, he had already “made” breakfast—though at the rate he was eating it, he wouldn’t be done until dinner time. Peter didn’t think he could stand going through the painful ritual of waking up twice in one morning. Read a book? Watch a movie? These were simply code phrases for “go to sleep fifteen minutes from now rather than right away.” Catch up on work? He laughed. It was a harsh, gravelly sound. His voice cracked. Not good.

Peter shook his head. If he went back to sleep, then the clock would win. He wasn’t sure why, exactly, but if all that resulted from the early awakening was that he was robbed of half an hour of sleep, then victory was definitely on the side of the vile alarmbringer. Peter didn’t like to lose. He didn’t like being awake a four in the morning, either, but he especially didn’t like to lose. He was going to do something productive. He was going to work on the Speech.

With this thought in mind, he sprang—er, he lurched up out of his chair, put on a pot of coffee, and went to grab his notes. When he returned to the kitchen clutching a hefty stack of papers, he seized the pot and poured it directly into his cereal bowl. Not good.

“. . . because we’re panicking and he’s not. That’s why,” he muttered to himself, staring down at the soggy mess. He took a deep breath and hardened his gaze. “Now, we can get through this thing all right. We’ve got to stick together, though. We’ve got to have faith in each other!”

He snatched the spoon and shoveled the curious concoction into his mouth. The texture was awful and the taste was worse. But he ate another spoonful before flinging the utensil dramatically into the sink. He didn’t need food. He didn’t need caffeine. He was running on adrenaline now.

“Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives! But you’re gonna let it be the worst!”

The Speech was an idea that Peter and his debate team friends had cooked up back in high school. It was inspired by a dramatic win in the state tournament, a late-night victory party afterward, an unhealthy quantity of IBC Root Beer and a conversation about the theory that a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters could eventually reproduce the complete works of Shakespeare.

“—but he’ll remember, with advantages, what feats he did that day. Then shall our names, familiar in his mouth as household words—”

The concept was simple: by combining lines from the most famous orations of history, literature, and film, one could create a speech so powerful, so moving that it could stir even the laziest, most apathetic slug to rise up.

“A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand!”

The execution, however, was considerably more difficult. The words of the world’s great speakers could not simply be slapped together like letters clipped from various magazines on a ransom note. How to integrate the words of Cicero with those of Mandela? Was it even possible to seamlessly blend the orations of Bismarck and Gandhi? Churchill and Pericles? Bailey and Blutarsky? Despite having nearly the same name, the speeches of Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr. blended about as poorly as French Roast and breakfast cereal.

“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. Shirley Says:

    Wow! This is heavy!

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.