Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ for 2038

Sierra Mañana, author and revolutionary, was unheard of a mere eighteen months ago. Then, her book A People’s Planet; You are the Saviour of Earth was published, and has since been translated into almost fifty languages on its way to becoming one of the most influential texts of our time.

Sierra exploded onto the scene with a fiery brand of social justice rhetoric allied with cool-headed political acumen, and this blend saw her whip up a frenzy of support across indigenous America and aboriginal Australasia. Soon, she was co-ordinating paramilitary operations of breathtaking audacity against governments everywhere on the Latin American continent.

Nobody knows what Mañana looks like – hence our cover image of a question mark sewn onto a balaclava – but it is abundantly clear by this stage that she is a capable, determined, irrepressible force to be reckoned with. Her supporters refer to her as ‘el Ángel de la Libertad’ – the Angel of Liberty. Conversely, those who oppose her describe her as ‘la Puta del Infierno’ – the Whore from Hell. Despite the dichotomy, both groups share one thing in common; they all are in awe of her abilities.

Only time – and Time – will tell if she can maintain her impressive momentum.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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What His Desk Thinks About At Night

He and his missus have lived in this room over a year, and he still hasn’t cleaned me. Just dumps all his crap on my head, like I’m some sort of shelf. Hey, bozo, I’m here to be worked on! Not once has he cleared any stuff off, not once. He could use his laptop on me – the guy is on the computer, like, all the time – or use me for his writing, or use me for anything productive…but no, he just lies on his ass in bed and does all his business in a reclined state. Lazy bastard.

There is so much extraneous rubbish on me, I’m not exaggerating; spray cans, tights, flags, a microphone his mot got him for Christmas – still in its box, natch – and a board just covered with detritus from his incredibly boring life. That’s just the crud on top; there’s a massive heap of clothes underneath! What have I done to deserve this cruel fate? The layer of dust I have accumulated at this point is so thick that you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it. I feel so, so, so…filthy.

Please. Somebody. Anybody. Get this asshole to give me a once over, for the love of God!

My desperation is truly…indeskcribable.

Sorry.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Knock Knock

“Who’s there?”

“Revel.”

“Revel who?”

“Revel-who-shun, baby!”

It had been my idea to make the password a joke, but when I pitched it I didn’t realise how childish it would really be. Still, the comrades seemed to get a kick out of it, with even the grouchiest old radical occasionally grinning – albeit reluctantly – at the immature humour of it all. Brothers and sisters newly accepted would often be perplexed when first introduced, thinking that this was some sort of prank we played on the rookies. Being able to have a laugh at something so stupid was a good way to settle any tension between the experienced and young insurrectionists, and it helped get the whole bonding process going.

This comradely amusement rapidly dissipated when some fucker – an anarcho-capitalist libertarian type, or so we speculated – began blackmailing us, using the handle ‘Rev. Ilyushin’. His first message to our collective made it clear that he would go to the authorities unless we did his or her bidding. From then on, the cowardly extortionist forced us to perform increasingly dangerous tasks in return for his silence; robberies, muggings, assassinations… A whole slew of criminal activities.

The joke wasn’t funny any more.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Tasteless

It started innocuously enough. Just a slight pain on the tip of my tongue – I figured I’d inadvertently bitten it the night before, or accidentally rubbed it raw against my teeth. I had been drinking after all, and I tend to chew my mouth on the way home. A strange habit, I know, but nothing to worry about. Or so I thought.

It got more and more sore over the ensuing hours and days. Three days after I first noticed it, the soreness had become agony, and was excruciating. At that point I believed it to be some sort of ulcer – it felt like a huge lump on my tongue, but in the mirror it merely appeared the tiniest patch of white. How was I to know that this apparently small abrasion was in fact a hypersensitive tumour?

That malignant clutch of tissue resulted in the complete loss of all taste after only a few weeks. I retained my sense of smell, but without the tastebuds of the tongue it seems…muted somehow. Two-dimensional. Artificial, almost. Even so, I began eating food characterised by strong fragrances, in order to compensate for my new inability to perceive flavour. Accompanied by wine with plenty of nose, naturally. Still, it really didn’t solve the problem.

I tried all the natural remedies, of course. Lipoic acid, ginger, castor oil, garlic, steam inhalation, lemons, various peppers, cinnamon… You name it, I gave it a shot. The really annoying thing was how few doors this opened for me; think about it, if you lost your sense of smell you could go into all sorts of places that others find too disgusting odour-wise, if you lost your sense of pain you could, I dunno, become some sort of vigilante or fighter…but there’s not much you can actually DO with no tastebuds. Eat the spiciest chilli? Whoop-dee-fuckin’-doo.

Food seems bit pointless now.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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A Parent’s Bad Habit

It makes my skin crawl, it really does. Annoys the hell outta me. Why can’t he do it in the privacy of his bathroom? That’s what I wanna know. Of course, if I actually asked him that he’d get all defensive and ask me to remind him who exactly it is that’s driving me to school like this every weekday morning. He could at least have the decorum to wait until he’s dropped me off, but no. No, dad has to pick his fingernails while we crawl through the traffic.

It’s basically this, but horrible

Every morning it’s the same; one hand on the steering wheel, fingers fully extended, the other hand carefully plucking all sorts of disgusting detritus from underneath the nail. I try to ignore it; staring out the window, thinking about the day’s lessons, picturing that girl in my Classics class…but there’s no use. The knowledge that he is ceaselessly performing that same ritual of personal hygiene remains nauseating, even if I can’t see it.

Urgh. Are we there yet?

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

Tis mad the things you miss about a person after they’re dead, innit?
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The Cleaning Lady Behind The Cleaning Lady

“Ah ain’t no lady.”

Lips thin, drawn down in an inverted crescent. Eyes squinting with disdain. Face scrunched into a picture of dissatisfaction. Even her haircut seemed to radiate a loathing for the object of her ire.

“Ah’m a cleanin’ WOMAN – an’ doan you forgitt it.”

The mistaken hotel customer managed the difficult feat of stifling a laugh and apologising profusely at the same time. She waved him away, along with his insincere protestations of innocence.

“Jus’ gwan, git! Lemme do mah job an’ clean up aftah yo’ dang mess…”

Obeying instructions, the mild-mannered but ignorant guest cut short his babbling and gratefully withdrew from the room, allowing her to focus on the work at hand. Some work, for a woman who had marched alongside MLK, protested against ‘Nam, helped free Ellsberg…and a hell of a lot more besides. Then again, she didn’t do it for any personal benefit, any public recognition, or any social mobility – she did it because she had principles and guts, and because it was the right thing to do.

After cleaning up society’s ills, she had returned to her regular employment as a cleaning lady –
“WHAT DID I TELL YOU, AH’ AIN’T-”
– sorry, woman, woman…she returned to her regular employment as a cleaning woman.
“Dang idiot.”
Sorry.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Parades Decommission

“Banned?!”, gasped Marshall Topper in total incredulity.

“Banned. Completely. Across the board. Without exception. Pointless bloody things; disrupt traffic, cause congestion, rile everyone up, result in noise pollution… Hideous.”

There was a tense, aghast silence, as those present took in the Chair’s matter-of-fact words. Topper, stumbling over his own disbelief, was the first to break it.

“But…but…the Commission…Pride…the glorious Twelfth…”

“Oh there can still be events, dear boy. All sorts of exciting events! A variety of commemorative celebratory entertainments; fairground, fun house, film centre, other things in all likelihood beginning with ‘F’…”

Topper, for a second, thought the Chair was joking or had lost his mind, and so burst out laughing. The Chair stopped speaking and glared at him until Topper regained his composure.

“Are you quite alright?, the Chair briskly asked and, without waiting for a response, continued. “The tedious marching, the to-and-fro that does absolutely nobody in the Northern Irish community any good whatsoever, must go. It is finished. Done. A thing of the past.” He tittered. “A thing of the past… Excuse me – just my little joke.”

Almost all of the men and women gathered around the table looked pale and wan, some seemed unsure whether to pass out or throw up. However, Major-General Sir Weston-Crestfallen-D’Lancey struck a courageous note:

“Fear not, my bureaucratic brothers and sisters, my officious friends. It is time these besashed and becrossed barbarians were brought to heel. Those fellows need to be dragged into the Twenty-First Century – kicking and screaming, if needs be! All that trudging about has no political purpose anymore. No zip!”

The Chair nodded, but the rest of the room did not appear reassured. This decision was going to go down like a lead balloon covered in semtex. Marching season was going to be interesting this year.

Parades Decommissioning; putting all marches beyond use.
Safely, Practically, Hilariously.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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