“Public Complacency ” by Randall W. Pretzer


"My goal is the destruction of public complacency." Volsen said. Volsen and Michelis sat across from each other Indian style in a one room apartment. The room itself was empty. Volsen was a heavy set man with a thick, dark beard and thick-blacked rimmed glasses. He was dressed in a torn up suit. He had no tie or jacket. It was just the shirt, pants and socks. He had taken off his boots.

"What is freedom? An illusion. The right to care only for yourself? You work alone. The world at large doesn't matter? This must change," Volsen said.

"Why would you want to destroy the right to feel self-satisfied?" Michelis said. Michelis was dressed in black jeans and a white t-shirt. He was wearing black boots. He was a watch maker. He and Volsen had met up in school. They were assigned as partners for a school project and from there they developed a close friendship. Michelis didn't understand Volsen at this point and his new atittude. However, he was a loyal friend and if this meant that much to Volsen, Michelis would go along with it.

"How can anyone feel self-satisfied when this world is destroying itself?" Volsen said.

"I don't know, but is it not their right and privilege to feel a sense of self-satisfaction?"

"In our society, it is their right but that doesn't make it right. Their self-satisfaction has caused them to not care. It has destroyed their hearts. Their feeling of satisfaction has destroyed their desire to help the world. We must rebuild it. We must feel satisfied for everyone and not just ourselves."

"Can we not just try to convince them that those words are what we all should live by?"

"The time for talk had passed. We have reached the point of no return."

"We always have options."

"We have options but there is only one right option."

"We may not convince anyone, but wouldn't it count for everything that we made the effort? It matters only that we do our best."

"I want results. I don't want a wish unfulfilled. A dream that remains only a dream. I want the fantasy to be the reality. It will happen. We will make it happen."

"This world has so little talk now."

"Because it is so ineffective. Words don't create, actions do."

"Actions come from words. I think talking would be worth a try."

"The effort to talk put me in prison."

"You did something. That is what counts."

"Where did it get me?"

"Does it matter?"

"I said I wanted results, not just the satisfaction that I tried. We still have nothing."

"We got something."

"No more talk. It is time to act. You can come with me or I will go alone."

"I am with you no matter what, Volsen. I just disagree."

"We must act soon."

"Yes, Volsen."

Michelis and Volsen were walking through a department store called Wilson's. They were dressed the same as before. Volsen had put his boots back on. The sections of the store were each separated by a small walk way. The areas were square. There were signs hanging from the ceiling over each of the areas identifying what was sold in each area. They stopped in Men's ties. They both stood side by side right in front of the counter and waited for an employee to come help them.

"I want to show you an exercise in futility, my friend." Volsen said.

"It is the effort, not the result. This employee may not be self-satisfied in this world and that could be a start for a brave new world." Michelis said.

"He doesn't care. He wouldn't be working here if he did."

"We all have to survive. You don't work and you don't get paid and since there is not any government aid anymore, you won't survive. You have to give them a break. We have so much time on our hands because our parents take care of us."

"We all should be willing to make sacrifices."

"What good is anyone when they are no longer alive?"

"They died with their boots on... with meaning... for a purpose... that is what it is all about."

"You can accomplish more by living."

"Enough. This man will illustrate my point." Volsen banged on the counter.

"Is there anyone here?"

An employee came in front of Michelis and Volsen.

"I am sorry about that guys, how may I help you?" Volsen read the employees name tag. It read Johnston.

"I want to ask you something, Johnston."

"Sure."

"How do you feel about the world?"

Johnston looked at Volsen with a funny look. He didn't know what to think about the question.

"I never really thought about it..."

"You should."

"What is there to think about?"

"The violence... the decay... it is all around us..."

"The store seems pretty quiet to me today."

"The world is falling apart. The fact that a store like this exists proves my point."

"I am sorry, sir, I just work here. I don't have any answers for you."

"I am sorry about this, sir." Michelis said.

"It is all right."

"Let's go, Volsen. I think the point is made."

"You will understand." Volsen said looking at the employee.

Volsen and Michelis left the area and then left the store. They sat down on a nearby slab in front of the store and waited for their parents to come pick them up.