My decision to come forward in the public eye, voicing my concern to some of my fellow citizens and my disdain to others, didn't come easily. Upon hearing about the Nexus relocation, I realized immediately that my life in Onamia was destroyed forever. (D' D' D'... D'at's all, Folks...) You know how I knew this? Because it wasn't "strangers" doing this to me. It was people I'd known, some for a long, long time. Folks I'd gotten along with just fine, thankee sai. Nope. I knew right away how seriously this would alter (damage) my life. Because I KNEW: The calvary isn't coming. Nope. Dudley Do-right is over at the Purple Doors having a friendly beer with Snidely Whiplash. My old "friends" and acquaintances had knowingly, willingly, purposefully tied me to the railroad tracks and expected me to just lay there quietly waiting for the train to come. Well, they can tie me, but they cannot gag me.
"Its for the good of the community," D'Angelo said, callously watching me struggle in my ropes.
"Wait!" I begged, "Isn't that Communism? Huh? In Democracy, we're all about INDIVIDUAL rights! We protect the individual. It is about the Rule of Law! Justice for ALL! All, INCLUDING ME!"
No. I was badly mistaken about the justice thing. Liberty and Justice for all has become nothing more than a lost, idealistic fantasy from my childhood. It has apparently become - obsolete. If your plan doesn't fit into the existing law, well, just change the law to suit your needs.
"I just want to be left alone," I told them. "Its not like I asked for this. I haven't done anything to you. I was just minding my own business," which, I admit, cuts me from the herd. Who minds their own business these days?
"YOU CAN'T LIVE WITH YOUR HEAD UNDER A ROCK!" Councilman Bob Mickus shouted at me.
Sure I can! Why not? If I choose to live with my head under a rock, is it not my right to do so? I prefer living with my head under a rock. I'm a hermit, for the gods' sake. I'd never, ever have anticipated that a sex offender facility would take over my neighborhood. Not in a million years! Nobody told me that the Mille Lacs Messenger was mandatory reading.
Bill Hill wondered why I was upset about the Mille Lacs Academy. "It's closer to me than it is to you," he said. Yeah, but Bill, you're the one responsible for the location. You chose it. You're o.k. with it. Fine. I had absolutely no say in the matter. I did not choose it. I am NOT fine with it.
Larry Milton looked me in the eye and said, "It's not personal. This is Business." Well, Larry, my life IS very personal to me, as I am sure that YOUR life is very personal to YOU. When it comes right down to it, LIFE is all we have. And as I lay on the tracks waiting for the train, I feel sorry for you. That you have put your business before my life, ANYBODY'S life makes me lose any respect I might have had for you. There are other locations for the Nexus institution which wouldn't disturb people. Of course, one can't have a liquor license within 1000 feet of a correctional facility, but is that really worth messing up our lives for? A liquor license?
Just the other day, Councilman Jerome Kryzer told me, "If you don't like it here, why don't you leave!"
"What do you mean," I asked. "Move away?" He nodded.
"But Jerry, I've been here thirty years," I said.
"Well I've been here eighteen!" he snapped.
I paused to consider this.
"Then you move away," I said calmly.
And then there is Councilman Mark Loch, with whom I've never shared a word, harsh or otherwise. We have never met. Yet, I'm sure he includes me when he refers to "the Bradbury Idiots." Well, Mark. I'd be careful what you say, unless YOU received a 4.0 GPA in PhD school. Be a little cautious when ridiculing our "intellegence" [sic. See comments.] There are some very bright people in our township. Besides, you're getting a tad personal.
If I sound a bit miffed, it's because I am. (Believe it or not, I've been holding back!) Here's something personal for you: Just over ten years ago, I did the Mayo Clinic gig. I was hospitalized. Doctors gave me only a couple of weeks to live. I got through that and they extended my death sentence to two years, maybe five years tops. I'm still here and still struggling with a painful disabling chronic illness that will, I imagine, kill me. Time is especially important to me, since I don't know how much more the Bank of Life will let me borrow. I want to keep living with my head under my rock, spend my time with my friends and loved ones, smell the roses; not studying about deviant sexual behavior in teenage male juvenile offenders and trying to save my neighborhood. I have had three months stolen from my life because of this Nexus problem that has been thrust upon me. Sorry. It makes me cranky.
I wasn't too surprised that the calvary didn't come to rescue me. Saddened, yes. Surprised, no. But it has been depressing to see the angry Nexus employees show up with torches and pitchforks, dousing my ropes with gasoline and lighting a match. I'm not trying to hurt anyone. That goes against my nature. I am trying to save my life and get off the tracks before the train comes.
And when it comes, it will mow us ALL down - for when you don't step forward to rescue an individual, you are all voluntarily tying yourselves to the tracks too.
Good Neighbor Nell
Good neighbor Nell,
She sure was swell
until she rang
that Freedom Bell.
It wasn't long
before she fell.
She had a song
they could not qwell.
"I'm just a farmer
in the Dell."
(But they would harm her,
steal her shell.)
"Stand next to me!
And do not sell!
We must be Free
where we would dwell!"
"Don't listen to
the lies they tell!
But listen to
The Freedom Bell!"
They weren't enchanted
by her spell.
With rage they ranted
'gainst poor Nell.
"You dumb bitch, Nell,
you sure do smell!"
Mad voices sang,
"Go straight to Hell!"
"Go straight to Hell,
you foolish Nell!
You sound too much