Fiction — “Rabbits and Eagles”

Blue sky. Clouds shaped like rabbits and eagles. Faro Claret looked up at a statue of an old war hero, a bowcock adorned with gumdrops—no—buttons, and a gray uniform, and a conglomeration of names. Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard. Faro knew very little about art history, or history, and today was a rare adventure away from his windowless office where he worked for another conglomeration of names—Merklee Shipping Commissions Incorporated. This was one stop of many. Moments before he had admired a tree with similar awe, as if a tree were a sculpted thing too, carrying mysteries in silence.

Faro noted he was not alone. The like-minded were crowding, although they only tossed glances at the Beauregard, and had an intensity in their shoulders. The connoisseurs were pulling out signs, passing flags, defending the steps, and Faro realized too late they were men of a different persuasion—that is, persuaded into protest by the National Socialist American Workers’ Party. Neo-Nazis. Within seconds, Faro was joined to a phalanx of sign-shields and tiki torches, spear-strikes to the sky.

Around the spartan few formed a belt of police, and then an outer chaos of Americans unhappy with flags of bangled bands and the black hooks of swastikas. In this wilderness of guys and girls and gender fluids arrived a man, George Foreman, no relation, bald-headed, peach-thin inside a hoodie, who had showed up too late to unite the right, his supremacy not extending to punctuality. George stood at the border, unable to pass a scowling officer. His arrival coincided with a slew of altercations, speeches, talking points—the language of Nurembergs and Genevas.

As if the glares of his fellows were knifepoints, Faro Claret found himself forced to regurgitate the awful phrasing. By peer or real pressure, George Foreman, too, repeated the chants of the man to his left, a paranoiac in hoodie who kept putting his hand on George’s shoulder, maybe in solidarity, probably to compel.

So both men, half-heartedly, were split from their silence.

From Faro: “Statues were made to be… statued… and stuff.”

From George: “There’s no tolerance for uh intolerance.”

Faro: “Don’t immigrate… just… immihate.”

George: “Black people have lives. It’s a matter of concern.”

Faro: “Blood and soil… are two things that exist.”

George: “That statue should be in a museum.” He didn’t add because it’s priceless.

Faro: “What do the sculptors say about this? Nobody thinks of the sculptors…”

After a few of these pathetic attempts at camouflage, the two found themselves, at a surgence of the crowd, pushed into each other. Both glared fiercely, their outer acts improving, until George whispered: “Look, this isn’t my thing.” He meant his side, but Faro thought he meant the rally and said with almost prophetic energy, “Let’s not be assholes to each other.” Then the men shook hands, and the photograph that emerged from this mistaken conciliation would have been famous if Faro and George hadn’t both died right at that moment.

For Phillis Hartman, bald as Heisenberg, had left chemo in his camry, drugged and blurred and nearly comatose, drove right into the rally, unifying the crowd into a panicked herd, and hit the disguised Nazi and the man in a Nazi disguise. The last tragedy of the night was swinging from Hartman’s rear view mirror. A symbol of his faith (Phillis being a recent convert to Jainism, that vegan religion from the highlands of India) hung from a chain—ancient, holy, with four arms swinging for each state of existence (human, angelic, diabolic, and flora)—a swastika, that would mark him forever as the Neo-Nazi who murdered his own.