Survivor: The Sequel by henry 7. reneau, jr.

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

        And it came to pass . . .

        A group of them came to a wide, raging river they had to cross to get to the Smart phone on the other side. They had to let their “invisible friends,” whom they had recently “liked” on Facebook, know: where we at. One had to remind Citi-Bank that they still hadn’t replaced the $2,520.36 that the identity thief had spent buying Smart phones, porn magazines and lingerie, and two of them still had to buy $200.00 concert tickets remaining on sale for seats in the nosebleed section of the theater. They couldn’t wait to hear the American Idol one-hit wonder lip-synch the song that Billboard told them was the latest no. 1 hit with a bullet.

        The first of them, a Think-Green acolyte, says: Let’s get all the waste plastic and build a bridge across the river. That will help the environment while recycling the plastic.

         They all discussed the idea for twenty-three minutes amongst themselves, but nixed the plan for what seemed a better solution. They had all, after all, been weaned on the belief that a democracy only yields to the collective voice, the majority, no matter that it made sense or not.

         The urban designer, shrouded in a visualization of acclaim and monument as legacy, made a motion to dam the river to slow its flow to a trickle: We all could then wade across easily.

        The immediately animated and appalled environmentalist was quick to point out the error in that plan: There is a species of near-extinct bridal algae that lives on a five foot length of this river. Altering the flow of the river could disturb their natural habitat, disrupt the food chain and consequently lead to their extinction.

         What to do?

         The CEO steps up with a gleam in his eyes and visions of profit dancing about his hollow conscience, a dollar sign for a corrupted heart: How about I hire all of you to part-time jobs to build a boat that you could use to cross the river. I could even sell it to the group at a discounted price, after markup to defray production costs!

         The oil tycoon quickly seconded the motion, having already calculated a maximum profit: I can supply all the imported gasoline you need at a cut-rate price.

        The environmentalist frantically interjected:  You can’t be serious! The use of fossil fuel would again do irreparable damage to the natural habitat, forever destroying the food chain.

        The federal employee decided his pragmatic authority was the only way to solve this problem: I propose that I assemble an ad hoc committee to delegate private sector studies towards compiling a list of solutions, which can then be put forth to implement the formation of legislation to create a standard operating procedure, a protocol in effect, to initiate an environmentally safe, economically expedient and legally sanctioned means of crossing the river. I will of course have to compile a budget to forward to the Congressional Finance Committee so as to procure the funds to cover committee, private sector and legislative costs.

        Five years later, and now a further 2 billion dollars in debt, after having blindly followed the government’s proposal, the group congregated on the far bank of the now dry river bed looking like goddamn fools. Upstream developers had used big-business lobbied loopholes of eminent domain to divert the course of the river two years prior, despite massive non-violent protest, and of course, regrettably, the algae had succumbed to extinction once their habitat dried up.

        Besides having gone into debt—as the federal employee twice requested, and received, additional funds that grossly inflated the initial agreed upon amount—they now crossed the river to discover a now outdated Smart phone in which the battery had corroded; victims of their times and fools for the ages, too little, too late they realized the blind leading the blind only blinded the third eye of common sense.

        Adding ruin to their rage, their “invisible friends,” having received no response to repeated calls to the out of reach phone on the far bank, quickly posted “un-friends” to the group’s Facebook page.

henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words in fire to wake the world ablaze: free verse illuminated by courage that empathizes with all the awful moments, launching a freight train warning that blazes from the heart, like a chambered bullet exploding inadvertently. His poetry collection, freedomland blues (Transcendent Zero Press, 2014), was released in September of 2014. He also has an e-chapbook, entitled physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014), which was released in December of 2014. Additionally, he has self-published a chapbook entitled 13hirteen Levels of Resistance, and is currently working on a book of connected short stories. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.