The following story is by guest author Bradley Sutherland. If you like this story, you can find more of Bradley’s work at his blog by clicking here.
I was our last hope. And it really pissed me off.
I didn’t want to put on pants, let alone lead a revolution, but there was no other choice. Tonight was the night, and I had been planning it for minutes. I flicked out an American Spirit, grabbed my backpack, and slipped out of my closet-sized studio.
The night was cold and damp. Washington St. was filled with blurry headlights, and slimy sidewalks disappeared under clusters of American Derbies and West Blvd Flats. The abundance of tattoos and beards, high waist pants and half shaven heads, all looking out for themselves in similar fashion, made it easy for me to look unsuspicious on my way to City Hall.
Hands in my pockets and head pointed down, my left shoulder scraped along a daisy chain of bars and clubs, doing my best to stay dry underneath their awnings. Bursts of drunken laughter vanished as quickly as they came into earshot. Clouds of smoke laced with conversations about podcasts, indie bands, cellphone dating, and vegan diets oozed out of every open doorway. Street kids with dirty skin and healthy, well-fed puppies hassled me for change, hurling insults at me when I declined. Homeless was the new hipster. The old hipster was the status quo.
A perceived melting pot of paradise was nothing more than a party town filled with twenty-somethings lost between a last hope and a forgotten dream. This was supposedly my generation, but I refused to be a part of it. I had my own generational criteria. To start, Millennials and Generation Y were not synonymous. Generation Y, my generation, was born in the eighties and only the eighties. Millennials were born somewhere between ’91 and December of ’99. I knew this because I had much more in common with those who were twenty years older than I did with those only a few years my junior.
And the Millennials knew this as well. As far as they were concerned, thirty was the new forty and forty was the new King Tut. They shot out of the uterus with fake prescription glasses and clutching an iPhone. They grew up redefining great as average and confusing activity for creativity. Still, the rest of us had become obsessed, studying and admiring them like they just flew in from Mars or Venus or Amazon Prime. They had taken over and left the rest of us behind. They demanded all of society’s attention, but failed to reciprocate.
The Millennials were the largest generation in our society’s history. They had power in numbers. They could have stepped up and led the rest of us to freedom. Unfortunately, all of their Adderall-induced and self-indulgent energy wasn’t being used toward any significant social change. Thirty-second advertisements and six second videos had distracted them beyond oblivion. What little focus they had left was directed inward, allowing for our police to fully militarize and our military to become the world’s most powerful corporation. The Millennials were on the verge of becoming another failed generation.
Good thing I was free, as time was almost out. I was cruising toward that age where all remaining critical thought, intellectual curiosity, and revolutionary spirit would hold hands and leap off my mind’s eroding ledge. Before I knew it, I would be a 32-year-old zombie, identified by only a username and password, and hypnotized by this fidgety mob of pencil thin, pubescent trendsetters.
The people needed me.
This is what I kept telling myself, over and over, as I wanted nothing more than to be in the comfort in my own shitty home, watching 24 hour news and yelling at whatever converted runway model was babbling on the screen. Instead, I was in the shadows across from City Hall, crouching next to a red and white parking gate, waiting for a car to come and trigger its censor. I could have bent all the way down and ducked under, but I threw my back out after falling asleep in my recliner the night before.
Ten minutes went by like an hour. Angst and adrenalin fused with my gut, causing it to churn. I had to get down to the garage before 800pm, and the chances of a car triggering the gate were crumbling. There was no choice but to tolerate the pain. I knelt down, let out a primal grunt, and rolled under the barrier. It took a moment to get back to my feet and waddle down to the lower level.
The garage was dim, but a handful of cars scattered throughout the lot made the mayor’s car easy to find. It was black and shined like obsidian. I looked around for witnesses. The coast was clear.
I crouched down near the trunk, unzipped my backpack, and pulled out a banana. My eyes closed, my breathing slowed, and I shoved the banana in the tailpipe. A smirk pranced across as I jumped to my feet and dashed for the exit. The revolution had begun. Mission accomplished.