Omir the Storyteller

Stories. Music. Politics. Technology. Baseball. Friends. Family. Potrzebie.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday Griot: A Campfire Story


"And that's why beavers have flat tails," Kelly concluded. The other boys around the campfire hooted, laughed and applauded appreciatively.

"How about you, Cap?" one of the boys asked the scoutmaster as the noise died down. "You got a story for us?"

Cap poked at the embers at the edge of the campfire with the stick he'd used to roast marshmallows. "Naah," he said, "I don't think you guys are going to want to hear my story."

"Aw, c'mon," some of the boys in the troop chorused. "You gotta." "C'mon, tell us!" A few of the older boys held back. They'd heard Cap's stories on other campouts, and they had an idea of what was coming.

"Well, OK," Cap said as he tossed the stick into the fire, "but don't say I didn't warn you. I was going to avoid making you have to hear about . . . the neocons."

Joey, a tenderfoot with red hair and freckles, laughed. "What's a neocon?" he asked naively. "Is that like a leprechaun?" Some of the other boys laughed with him.

Even Cap smiled a little. "Leprechaun. That's good. Maybe in some ways. They said the leprechauns had a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Maybe the neocons were the ones to steal the gold to put it there.

"No, a neocon is something different. I guess maybe it's kind of like . . . um, a vampire." That brought the boys to attention. Not even ham and eggs go together like campfires and creatures of the night. "Except instead of blood, neocons suck people's souls and turn them into neocons." By this time Cap had assumed a low, menacing tone of voice perfectly suited for scaring teenaged boys in the dark.

"How do they do that?" Pete asked, wide-eyed.

"They find young, smart people and promise them everything they could ever ask for. Money, power, girls, you name it. They give them a little and then promise them more if they'll only give up a little more of their soul until they don't have any left, and then they're neocons too and they'll do anything the other neocons ask."

A few of the boys thought the money and girls sounded pretty good, but there was something in Cap's tone that said: Don't even think about it.

"Now it was bad enough when there were only a few neocons around and they could only create more neocons one at a time," Cap continued. "But then some of them started taking over the TV, and the radio, and then they even took over most of the government. The president was a neocon, and people looked up to him, and they started giving him money and power and losing their souls too, and they didn't even know it.

"You know you can kill a werewolf with a silver bullet, and you can kill a vampire by putting a stake through its heart. But you know what? You can't kill a neocon. You can lock them up sometimes but then other neocons come to rescue them. The only way you can get rid of a neocon -- " Cap paused to look around the circle. He had everyone's attention now. " -- is with the truth. Neocons tell people lies to get them to give away their souls, and if you can catch someone early enough before too much of their soul is gone, sometimes you can stop them from turning into a neocon. Some of those people arm themselves with the truth and become neocon hunters themselves.

"But there are a lot of people out there who don't want to hear the truth because the neocons make their lies sound so nice. That's what makes them so dangerous."

"What happened to the president?" one of the scouts asked.

"The president? Oh yeah, the president. Like I said, the neocons took over most of the government, the radio, the TV, the newspapers, and were doing their best to turn everyone into neocons. The thing is, though, eventually people started to realize that the neocons were doing things like taking money away from poor people and keeping it themselves. They polluted the water and air to poison people's bodies. They used TV and radio to poison people's minds. They kept people in a constant state of fear and told them the only way they could be safe was to let the neocons protect them. Eventually people got tired of being poor and sick and afraid, I guess. They starting locking enough of the neocons away that the rest went into hiding. Some people thought that was the end of them, but I'm here to tell you, they're out there, ready to spring into action someday and turn more people into neocons.

"So watch out if someone offers you things that are too good to be true, or if they offer you everything you could ever want, because they might be trying to steal your soul." The last three words were delivered slowly, blood-chillingly. For a moment or two the only sounds were the crackle of the dying campfire and the insect and bird calls of a night in a dark forest.

"Well, that's that then," Cap said cheerily. "Time for taps. Lights out."

"Um, Cap," Kelly asked hesitantly, "Do you mind if we don't put the lights out . . . you know, right away?" The other boys nodded in silent, wide-eyed agreement. Somewhere in the darkness, an owl called.


Post a Comment

<< Home