A rabbit and a "mongrel dog" plot a revolution of sorts against their oppressive state.
| A Revolt Of The Mind|
"Words have meaning, don't they," Grey's short stubby tail twitched as he talked, walking ahead of me the way he always does when we go on these little walks. His long ears scanned the way prey's ears always do, searching out every sound for those ancient predators that may have harmed or killed his ancestors. Occasionally we liked to do these. Get away from the prying eyes of parents, and the prying ears of our government. We'll leave the cell phones as well as watches or anything electronic really, and just go walk.
This day, Grey was on a tear. He'd been on the same tear since we left high school. Something had excited him. Something had enraptured him. An idea that he felt was so unique, that he simply couldn't let it go.
Immediately when we got home, we dropped the books off in the cramped apartment building that we shared and left. His parents wouldn't be home until well after mine. Their shift down at the docks holding them both at work for fourteen hours. My parents were 'lucky' and had office jobs. So, they got to work eight hours a day in an office then bring the work home and work for another three or four, answering emails and phone calls while they pretended that they got to be at home. Mom's ears would be constantly folded back, worry lines furrowed along the fur of her head. Her hackles constantly raised in a thick ruff around her neck. You'd almost at times confuse her for a feline of some kind instead of the 'mongrel' canine that the official party called our species.
Twin long grey ears had drifted over the hill off of the beaten path. They parted the thick grass by our usual route. Trees thinned out there, leaving thorn bushes that wove themselves amongst the trees. I had to race to catch up.
"Are you even listening," he asked when I finally arrived, huffing a bit. My hand paws rested on my knees. He was busy standing near our usual spot, picking thorns out of the thick coat that he wore for walks like these.
"You walk too fast," I huffed, trying to consciously raise my ears into more of a grin. "I had to keep up."
"You 'mongrel' canines," he laughed. "When will you ever be able to keep up with us lapines?"
"Never if you ask our 'enlightened proletariat'," I grumbled. "We're not much good for anything other than lifting heavy boxes or doing mindless security and help desk functions. We're not capable of the 'higher thought' of you lapines."
He clapped me on the shoulder, the grin wide now on his ears. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about."
"What, listening to the useless propaganda of the state? You want me to buy in and be a 'good party member' like the other fools," I didn't hide my disdain or disgust at that thought.
"No," he said shaking his head, then spat in disgust. "However, you heard our professor. If we keep talking like this, talking about freedoms and liberties that other nations have that we don't, then we'll be locked up. Executed probably."
I nodded, grimacing. "What can you do though? Mangy morons in charge are as jealous and vicious as they are stupid. We continue to starve, they continue to live in big houses, get driven around in large fancy cars driven around by armed security. Pull people off the streets for the smallest of perceived slights. They even listen to our conversations on our phones and arrest us if we say anything slightly negative about the state."
"Words have meaning, don't they," he said. The grin on his thin grey ears grew to his muzzle now, spreading wide to reveal the blunt incisors of his kind.
I couldn't help myself. I head-tilted in complete confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I mean that words can mean anything. They have all these slogans. Like 'Life to the workers' and 'Capitalist mongrels'. However, they only mean those things cause we've all agreed that's what they mean."
If my head tilt had grown any larger, I'd have a kink in my neck. "What are you talking about? Have you been eating paint chips or something? That's the way language works. Words have meanings attached to them."
"What if we could change them?" Lapines have mastered one talent and that is to look smug. This one standing in those tall weeds that grew to over our heads looked positively smug now.
"What are you saying," I asked again. I wasn't completely confused now, just frightened. Rebellion against the state was death. Even the few crazy protesters who resisted in the early days met a gruesome end. He wouldn't be crazy enough to do this, would he?
"I am saying," he replied, "that we can say any slogan they want, only attach our own special meaning to it. We can openly mock the state, and no one around will be any wiser. 'Life to the workers' can mean 'death to the proletariat'. 'Capitalist Mongrels' can mean 'capitalist saviors.'"
"I get it. Our own code! We can speak in our own code, and the state will be none the wiser. No one will ever know. But how are we going to get the word out. Cause after all, a code is only as good as those who know it. And what happens if the code gets out?" If word got around, we'd be shot. There is no doubt about it. Publicly. Brutally. In the street for our families to watch. For the entire neighborhood to see what happens to those who resist the state.
"What can they prove? If we are not mocking in tone the state will never know. If we don't post the code online, the state will never be certain. If we remain smart and discrete, those we tell will tell others, and soon," he began, but didn't say it. He didn't have to.
We'd have our own revolution. A revolution of the mind. An assault upon the mental programming that they called public education. An eradication of the ideals that they hold dear. A rot upon their system from within that will grow to destroy them. "We can change the entire world." I muttered.
He smiled even wider. “All without having to fire a single shot.” He knelt down, and right there, in our own special clearing in the forest we drew up the code. Every slogan, every ideal, every piece of propagandized bull shit that we’d been fed since birth we attached our own meanings to. In that moment, we felt like conquerors. In that moment, we were kings.
However, life has its own strange and twisted ways about it. We distributed the code we’d created at school through the usual channels: our trusted friends. Those friends told other trusted friends and avoided the ones who actually bought into the state’s babble. Slowly, over time our school became known for its patriotism and valor. The morons at the head of the state even selected me and Grey to visit them in the capital. Which of course we did.
The rot from within ideals had taken a different turn, one we never expected. The older generation went by the way of nature, dying off slowly and leaving their positions to the new, hungry generation. The ones they thought that held fast to their ideals. The ones that they believed best represented them, which in turn was the ones that hated them the most.
I was there that day when Grey had finally stepped forward, hand selected by the dying dictator to be his successor. The amount of pride that I felt when he, on the international stage told those aged and decrepit morons that we did not hold fast to their ideas and cursed them directly to their faces was perhaps the best moment of my life. The look of anger in his eyes as he tried to have Grey arrested, but instead was arrested himself because he had hand selected the very ones to protect him, who turned out to be the ones who hated him the most.
I will never forget that day, the day we won the revolution without firing a single shot. I will never forget the feeling of triumph as the crowd cheered. Not a forced cry, but an actual cheer as Grey stood tall and delivered his speech. I can not forget the celebrated ending, but I will never forget the humble beginning, and how we were kings plotting our own revolt. How we changed our world, without firing a single shot.