Intermezzo

Chapter 26

       Back in the bar that evening, Celia and Harold occupied a booth, since playing piano amidst this incredible tide of current events became impossible. Philly turned the ball game up.

       “This shit is not going down, Harold. By divine guidance or accident or who the fuck knows what, I have lived a day in paradise or as close as I will ever get, and I may not reside there but I’d rather be skinned alive than allow my Mother and her infected minions to corrupt that place to extinction. I didn’t ask for this but now it is mine. Spent my whole life play-acting. Make-believing. Now it’s real. Shit’s real and I’m pissed, Harold. I will become Bodica.” Celia slammed her mug down secure in the knowledge it was empty.

       “Rome defeated Bodica, sweetie. Defeated the whole uprising. Ugly biz really,” Harold informed.

       “You sure?”

       “You betcha.”

       “Well the hell with it. I'll become someone who didn’t get defeated. Who didn’t get defeated?”

       “Francis Marion.”

       “Who’s she?”

       “He.”

       “Okay, he, who’s he?”

       “American Revolution in the south. The Swamp Fox. Made the Red Coats crazy, so they could not concentrate all their forces to the northern end of the war. Brilliant guerrilla fighter.”

       “Okay then, I’ll become Franklin Marion. Fine.”

       They had another round which Celia did not really need. In the morning, she was back on the crop duster to Ardensville.

  "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."