A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter VII: Day/Page 68 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . Through this combustible world Sofia now wandered. The salty scent of the sea gets stronger as she navigates the scuffed dirt paths laced through crumbling mud-hut shanties. The narrow path opens, and as the shanties yield to brick-and-mortar buildings, the rutted clay road gives way to smooth asphalt and cement.
Sofia walks on.
In time she comes upon high-walled compounds with shards of broken glass and razor-wire set in concrete along the top. Behind the walls, through gaps in hulking iron gates, she spies vast splayed lawns of rolling green grass, bordered by immaculately-tended gardens, splashing up onto pink-and-white stucco villas, girdled on the upper floors by wrought-iron balconies with resplendent views of the sea.
(Wow—what a house! Actually, it’s a palace, really. You could put over a hundred of those grubby people in there and still have room for more. I wonder why they don’t do that. Or why don’t the other people just take it? That fat guard scratching his ass over there sure as hell couldn’t stop them. What a strange people, these Blue Planet creatures are.)
A portly guard badgers her away when he spots her peering wide-eyed through the gate of the compound into the empyreal oasis within.
Sofia walks on.
There are not many people out on the street with her, but those that are, eye Sofia suspiciously. Up ahead, a young mother in a lemon-chiffon dress, dainty pearls, and floppy broad-brimmed hat, hurriedly drags her small child to the opposite side of the street when she spots Sofia approaching.
Occasionally cars drift past; sleek soundless machines with dark mirrored windows concealing the privileged individuals inside. When one of the lustrous limousines slows to make a turn, Sofia is startled by the flash of her own begrimed reflection on the gleaming polished glass. (Whoa! Is that me? No wonder that woman and her child ran away.)
When Sofia reaches the ocean’s edge, the road tees into a wide boulevard running parallel to the white-sand beach. Down the center of the boulevard, for as far as she can see, runs an island of manicured grass, trellis hedges of sweet jasmine and vines of bougainvillea with purple flowers spilling over a low stone wall, bedecked with broken seashells set into white cement. Columns of gracefully-bent coconut trees, lazily swaying in the balmy breeze, are interspersed among the variegated shrubs and flowering plants. At the juncture where the two roads meet is an arched monument with bronze plaque: “Welcome to Bellapraia.” (I remember that. That’s the name of this city.)
On each side of the elegant boulevard is a . . .
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James
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