By Sam Friedman
Once upon a time, in a land now gone below, clouds gathered, and rains began.These were not your ordinary clouds. They were very ominous indeed. The rai ndrops were the size of golfballs the first few days. But as the days passed, they grew to include baseballs andthen even basketballs.And there were lots and lots of rain-balls.Day after day, it rained. The puddles filled the roads. Roofs leaked, then gushed. In the districts where the poor people lived, roofs collapsed. After a week or so, whole tenement buildings began to fall in.
It got so bad, the politicians forgot all about promising tax cuts, monuments for their pals, and new prisons.The Republicans said that the rains were a sign of God’s displeasure at tax-and-spend government and atmolly-coddling the poor. They called for cutting food stamps from three loaves of bread a month to two; for stronger umbrellas for police on riot duty; and for tax incentives to spur investment in galoshes and reinforced raincoats. Just to show how seriously they took the threat of these rains, they adopted a new emblem for their party: The elephant trunk snorkel as a symbol of self-reliance under all conditions.The Democrats scoffed at the Republicans and their callousness. They demanded a program of levees or the river banks, and of tarpaulins and tacks to fix the leaks on the roofs of the poor. Of course, they also put forward suggestions for tax cuts and monuments for contractors good enough to provide these services and products. They too changed their party emblem, to the donkeys who hauled all that sand.
After the legislative debates and compromises, Democratic and Republican officials alike hired their cousins and contributors to do the job. When the largest of these companies, End-Run, provided sandbags held together with fishnets, and tarpaulins of chickenwire, they promised a thorough audit by Under-Sand andCompany. They also got lots of photo-ops and posed beside elephants and donkeys who were hard at work.Now, the common people were fed up with their leaky roofs, collapsing buildings, and having to swim to their jobs. By the twelfth day of the rains, they were demanding action. Some went to their churches,mosques, or synagogues, where they all were told to pray to the lord for smaller raindrops and su nny skies;and to sacrifice a scapegoat or two to make their prayers effective. And, of course,to atone for their sins and think of Heaven, a nice, warm, dry spot far above the rainclouds. But after catching and burning a few workers of other faiths, and praying all the while, the rains just kept falling.
Others went to the leftish political parties, the Social Democrats and Greens. These parties organized a demonstration where the party officials swam around the legislature with signs demanding action. (No workers came because they held it during a working day.) The main effort of these parties was to set up re-call petitions to hold new elections. It was real hard work swimming door to door to get signatures, and the ink on these signatures kept running in the rain. But these folks were determined and gutsy. By the 17th day of the rains, they had enough signatures to demand a re-call election. And, after alot of legal hemming and hawing, even the election commission had to agree (on the 25th day). So new elections were called for three months (92 days) later. And so the election campaign began.And the rains kept falling. The Democratic and Republican officials got more and more worried about what the common people might do. They started blaming a neighboring land they called the I-Wreck-Ye’s for the rains. They gathered an army, and supplied it with all the best swords and spears made by the End-Run and Boing-Boing-Blockhead-Marionetta corporations. And the army waded off to defeat the idolatrousI-Wreck-Ye’s to stop the rains. But within three days, the army swam back home again because their weapons were too rusted to use, and because their uniforms (by Oy-Veh!-Say-Low-Rain) were rotting away. TheDemocrats and Republicans thereupon cried that the war was being sabotaged by I-Wreck-Ye-loving red and green terrorists, and called upon all the patriotic citizens to put out flags to support their country. But within two days, these flags (by the Oy-Veh!-Say-Low-Rain and the I’mGod corporations) had molded to ruin.
Now, some of the workers in the shipbuilders, seafarers, longshore, umbrella-makers,and trash-haulers unions were getting pretty upset. They were afraid all their families and friends would drown or get crushed by falling tenements. They called a meeting. Many, many good people came, including waist-deep ecologists and women tired of pumping basements when they had swum home from work (because even then, women’s work was never done, from rainfall dawn to pump and run.) They named themselves the Necessary Organization Against Horrors (NOAH, for short).Their action plan was to build mighty ships. The trash-haulers brought lumber and nails from the rubble of collapsed buildings. A lot of the boards and doors were floating in the roads anyway. The sailors brought rope and tar they just happened to find on20the piers. The longshore workers and truckers brought boxes of food and jugs to catch rainwater.(These just happened to get dropped as they swam packages to ships and trucks.) And everybody, women,men, and kids, worked dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn (when not at their jobs) to build ships and put food on them. The waist-deep ecologists swam through the countryside rounding up animals and seeds—snails,pussycats, hyenas, morning glory, cannabis, even a few donkeys and elephants, and lots of doves to seek the land of peace and dryness.And on the 31st day, NOAH and the common people went to their ships singing and praying.
But the rich and the politicians heard about it because a few over-their-head ecologists, who had decided that the human race had done too much damage and should drown, ratted out NOAH’s plans to the cops.So the politicians and the rich folks and the police came running with their guns to take what the workers had made for their own use. They had lots of practice at such theft, since that is their day job.But this time, their plans to seize the ships for their own use were pretty obvious,so it made it easier for the workers to know what to do. They fought back. When most everybody and everything were on board, they sent a herd of aurochs running down the pier to shove the attackers back.And so NOAH sailed off with great hopes, leaving the rich and the politicians beside the collapsing levees in their designer galoshes and silken raincoats—trying to make life jackets out of bales of End-Run stock. After some weeks on the waters, NOAH and the people and animals and plants landed. They built monuments to the aurochs for giving their all, and to the workers of NOAH for saving all but the aurochs.