1b – Prorogue

The Right Bank was crowded with gangs carrying sticks, sling-shots, poles and bricks shouting for a new France.  The Parisians would have no money.  And there would be no Europe, as they once knew it.  And there would be no France.  Only Paris, resisting slavery, regression, and death.  No wine and brie, no languid café chat, no fashion shows, no computerized Peugeots, no fax machines, no telecards, no dilettante professors footnoting each other’s derived genius, no cocaine mistresses blackmailing their balding uncles, no Communist clambakes, and no strikes for extended vacations in Spain.  All that was blown — before the smoke of armies marching North caught up with the refugees swarming to beat its advance.  And before those lured to Paris from the rest of the country or from foreign lands found their once troubled City of Light pushed past midnight.  Yet if Paris did not succumb they might die in each other’s arms, rather than at each other’s throats, and perhaps via Revolution,  survive in a wholly novel way, even amongst the rubbish.

Many woke from La Misère as one might wake after a nightmare with no memory for what inspired it.  If revolution was to mean a defense of French denial, winning would only compound French defeat, and finish their Collapse.  And with all the delirious salutations in the air, for those who could consciously run, or fight, it seemed hopeless that any unarmed mass resistance could work against an organized army.   Yet they had no choice, even if it meant a marathon with no finishing line.   Capitulation meant death.  They knew of Neb’s behavior in Prague.  Paris knew Neb intended to stomp their precious asses into dust, to grind them like brittle glass into sand and turn the somnambulist ex-aesthetes into legless morons on skateboards sipping urine through straws.  Atavism had seized history.  And inertia would make blood thickened with wish-fulfillment and economic collapse, run, flow; and cowardice would make it flood.

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