Weekend Quickie #218

Weekend Quickie #218

Saturday, February 11, 2017

One Image, One Prompt, One Emotion

200 Words

An Augean Task

“bread and circuses”

George Washington Bridge, New York City, 1973

7 thoughts on “Weekend Quickie #218

  1. “It always comes down to bread and circuses with you,” said the stranger, watching the televisions through the store’s window.
    “Eh?” said the homeless man. He’d woken up to this black suited guy standing next to him and tutting his way along with the day’s news.
    “Look at you, so much corruption, so many lies, all for what? A dollar?” said the stranger. Was he even talking to him?
    “I wouldn’t mind a dollar,” he said, hoping. He was feeling somewhat hungry, not having fed himself for a day. Or was it two?
    “I came over the George Washington Bridge this morning, the pollution was incredible. Smog, you call it.”
    “Yeah, sure is. So, how about that dollar?” He held out his empty hand but no silver crossed his palm.
    “It would take an Augean task to clean your society of all wrong-doings and set you on the way to enlightenment,” said the stranger, who was still watching the screens.
    “Well, you could start by enlightening me with a dollar. You know, the one you were talking about, eh, buddy?” he asked.
    The stranger turned his head and looked into his eyes. He didn’t feel right all of a sudden.

  2. Blood and Circuses

    The morning sun hadn’t burned off the smog of the traffic jam that occurred every work day on the “GWB” that connected New Jersey and New York. It was a daily competition between car exhaust teamed with the fog rising from the river, and the sun’s daily task to break up the thick dirty moisture. The sun won the battle most of the time.

    “I hate these damn commutes, Larry,” Joey said with his eyes squinted up in disgust. “What’s the Time’s reporting on today?”

    “Same stuff. Bread and Circuses. The same thing they will be reporting on over the next fifty years. You know how it goes–if it bleeds it leads. Another poor bastard jumped near the Jersey side last night. That’s another one they’ll never find,” Larry said as he turned the paper.

    “Yeah well, you know how that goes. People…they’re crazy. How many you think are swimming with the fish in the Hudson, Larry?” Joey chuckled.

    “Fish? This piss water ain’t got any fish, Joey,” Larry sneered. “I see the Court upheld Roe v. Wade. Ain’t that something?” as he folded the paper.

    “Yeah, I guess. That’s the law about the clean-up of the river, right?”

  3. A Deception

    The fog was so dense the entire city was at a virtual standstill. Two dark figures stood side-by-side along the railing of the suspension bridge. Gazing over the side with a wistful melancholy, they spoke as friends. “Gave ’em a run for their money didn’t we?” “Yeah, so close. It’s been a long haul though.” “When did we start all this? It was before the Romans wasn’t it?” “Oh, way before that. Seems like forever.” “A very long time.” “It’s never changed, until now. Isn’t it amazing how they could be bought so cheaply.” “They’re so … dependent.” “Yes, dependent and distracted. You know they love their distractions.” “Yes, keeps their minds off bothersome important stuff.” “Yes, well, it certainly was an Augean task luring the entire population into a debilitating apathy so we could seize power.” “It was fun while it lasted though.” “What do reckon was our fatal mistake?” “We went too far too fast. You?” “I think they finally realized how unsatisfying self indulgence is.” “What could possibly be so satisfying, then?” “Something about sacrifice and putting others above themselves.” “Silliest thing I ever heard of.” “Preposterous!” “Oh well, see you on the other side then?” “The other side!.”

    At that, Narsissis and Acedia jumped to their destruction, but not their deaths.
    Within minutes the fog started to lift and the air began to clear.

  4. Matt, I loved the feel of your story. It reads, to me, like a 70’s movie. I can see those characters developed into a larger story.

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