As I put together my upcoming novel, UnCivil War (A modern day race war in the United States), I am already aware of the potential for the material to be considered offensive. I am sure that I will take heat from just about every side on this issue. Whether it is the use of the hated "N" word, which (sadly) must be a part of the dialog in something like this, to people say that I am modeling after negative stereotypes.
Here is the hard, cold fact behind my writing this novel. It is a worst-case scenario about something that is eating at the fabric of our country. No mater what your actual belief might be, the truth is that we are still a nation divided along lines of color, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
The bottom line is that this is simply fiction. It is a story. Make-believe. It has nothing to do with my views or beliefs. Some of what I write is offensive to me, for crying out loud. But I stand behind this novel as a work of cautionary fiction. Do I expect it to make even the slightest difference? Nope. Do I hope it will entertain? Oh yes.
That said, enjoy another snippet of what I hope will be a late spring release. Below is another excerpt from UnCivil War (A modern day race war in the United States).
“…are ordered to disperse,” the voice from the bull horn demanded. The crowd grew louder as voices hollered their defiance and refusal to obey any such demand.
The wall of uniformed officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder, riot shields in a row like a Roman Legion. With visors in place, it was impossible to tell if any of the officers were angry, scared, or eager. Earpieces crackled with the order to advance half the distance to the crowd. As one, the row moved forward.
The crowd grew even louder as shouts of alarm mixed in with the defiance. From somewhere, a large chunk of concrete flew through the air and smashed into a shield. From behind the long line of riot police the order was given to the dozen officers holding M-32 launchers to fire a volley of tear gas into the crowd. The hollow thumps were drowned by all the noise, but seconds later, pillars of the acrid smoke began to rise from the midst of the agitated mob.
A volley of bricks and other debris flew back at the officers. Individuals began to break from the mob and rush the wall of shields. There was a cacophony of sound, but when the booming report of a shotgun sounded, there was a brief instant of near silence. Real or imagined, it felt as if everybody on both sides froze, trying to determine where that shot had come from.
That instance passed, and the sounds of voices drowned in the barrage of gunfire. The police were caught completely unaware. They were prepared for bodies charging them, for thing to be hurled at them. They were unprepared for a flurry of bullets and buckshot.
The mob rushed forward, smashing into the crumbling wall of policemen. Screams and shouts drowned out any orders being given. More tear gas was fired along with a hail of rubber bullets. It was too little, too late, as the mob overwhelmed the police force.
Rioters walked away from the skirmish with pieces of gear from the decimated squad. The yells, cheers, and taunts increased as the few uniformed officers able to still move made their way up the streets away from the chaos. Some were dragging their fellow team members; others were simply running from the carnage. Even the seasoned vets had been taken off-guard by the attack. They were used to a few agitators rushing their position and being hauled away in cuffs. The fierce violence of this mob coupled with the surprising number of firearms brought to bear had been more than they’d bargained for.
Russell watched the video feed coming from the camera team set up on the roof. He couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. He had a hard time not laughing at the arrogance of the police. They believed that their uniforms made them invincible. Their overconfidence had been their undoing and played right into his hand. He turned back to the camera and waved for the frightened young woman running the cut-ins and such up in the producer’s booth to bring him back up for broadcast.
“So, I believe your insistence that this is simply a bunch of ‘uppity niggers’ has been sufficiently thrown in your face. And as I promised…” Russell nodded and Panama dragged a middle aged Hispanic woman into the area between the news desk and the camera. “I warned you that any show of force against my brothers and sisters would result in another death.”
The woman had been sobbing up to that point. She stopped and shook off the hands holding her in place. She climbed up to her knees and folded her hands under her chin and began reciting a prayer.
“You can’t!” the cameraman yelled, tossing his headset down and stepping away. Slick stepped in, bringing the butt of his shotgun into the man’s gut, sending him doubling over.
“Perhaps you’d like to take her place.” Russell motioned the man forward.
The man stepped out from the darkness and into the bright studio lights. He cast a wary glance at Panama, then walked over to the praying woman. “Let her go. Not just delay her execution for later…I mean let her leave,” the camera man said as he stood over the visibly pregnant woman.
“You wish for her to go outside into that crowd?” Russell asked. “She might be better off in here.”
“What? So you can just kill her later?” the man retorted.
Russell gave the portly man a hard look. “If I give my word, unlike the White community and this country’s politicians, I keep it.” He let his statement hang for a second before continuing. “So I will ask again…are you willing to take this woman’s place?”
The man looked down at the form still praying at his feet, then back up at Russell. “I am.”
Russell nodded and Slick walked up behind the man and put a pistol against the back of his head and fired. There was still an outpouring from those present, but the worst came from the woman who had been spared. She crawled to the dead cameraman and began sobbing, her body shaking as she tried to form words of prayer over the man who had just given his life for hers.
“You are animals!” she finally managed, glaring up at Russell.
“Perhaps,” Russell nodded, “but we are animals that have been backed into a corner and have no choice but to fight our way out.”