Take No Prisoners

Take No Prisoners by John Grant Read Free Book Online

Book: Take No Prisoners by John Grant Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Grant
Tags: Fiction, General, Fantasy, Short Stories (Single Author)
the movies that reinforced the consensual past.
    Whoever those conspirators were – if they even existed outside the bounds of my own fertile imagination – their scheme patently failed, and not because of the cops busting cinemas like the Rupolo all over the country but because in due course no human being can continue to observe and accept outside stimuli completely uncritically: eventually, as with myself, the analytical faculty must step in to limit the scope of the mind. For me to say that this self-limiting mechanism of the brain is a tragedy might seem rather rich, coming as that statement does from someone who has made a lifetime career – and a very great deal of money – out of deploying that very same analytical faculty. Yet I stick to the contention. Without a full perception of the true, complicated nature of our past we are not fully prepared as a species to tackle the equally complicated, multiply braided future that awaits us. We will forever be blind to the flowering of the simultaneous realities of our own future, instead perceiving only a single stalk, permitting ourselves to glance neither to left nor to right as we charge ahead oblivious to the splendors all around us. It is a sterile course we are following, this faith in our perception that there is only a single, unique future, and I believe that in due course it will lead to our extinction. If there are other species out there among the stars, I have no doubt they will have learned not to make the same mistake we've made and persist in making, and that they'll thereby be equipped to deal with the future: to welcome it as the burgeoning treasure-store it is in a way we are not. Perhaps only here, on this world, has the mistake ever been made.
    As for the movies themselves? As I've said, I am a rich man, and I've spent some of my wealth on employing researchers to try to track down those whose titles I can recall: Albert RN , The Great Escape , Reach for the Sky , The Bridge on the River Kwai ... But so far they've come up with nothing, and I doubt that now this will ever change. What I still think of as The Rupolo Movies were, if you like, just temporary visitors to our consensual and ever-evolving history; whether they'll ever come back – or be brought back – is something about which one can't guess. My suspicion is that we've seen the last of them.
    Every now and then I wonder what our consensual present would be like had we indeed been able to perceive a railway track along which one of the stations was the Allies winning World War II. Would things be so very much different? Would they be better or would they be worse? Again, who can guess?
    This particular version of history has been very good to me. I've led an extremely comfortable life doing more or less exactly what I wanted to do, indulging my own especial passion and being paid large sums of money simply to enjoy myself. And most of the time, as I look around at the rest of the world, everything there seems pretty near ideal as well. But sometimes I wonder.
    This week in the New York Times there was much reporting of the bloody suppression of yet another escape plot by the niggers in one of the slave camps of the South. Scores of them were shot or hanged, including children, and the ringleaders were roasted alive, as is the custom there. I am not one of those who would pretend that the niggers are anything other than a debased subspecies of humanity, but at the same time I cannot believe that this is right: I would not roast a dog or a cat alive, so how can it be right to do this to a nigger? The week before, two homosexuals were lynched in Massachusetts; that was considered to be such a routine occurrence that the story was given only a single paragraph tucked away at the bottom of page twelve. Again, can it be truly right to punish someone with death for their sexual preferences? To be sure, the law would have delivered them a jail sentence, which is certainly justified enough,

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