It didn’t happen in the cities because the workers were all gone. They’d been moved to the countryside and out of the city so it was more difficult for them to get together and agitate. Or their jobs had been shipped overseas and they had no work. Then, at first they congregated in the cities with no jobs, or they worked too low paying minimum wage jobs, at Wal-mart or other retail outlets, or in the fast food industry or other service industry where they couldn’t make enough to get beyond SNAP and TANF benefits. Life for them, their families and relations in the cities just wasn’t good. They could be happy on very little no matter how much they earned, but the social control agencies, the police especially, just wouldn’t let them be. Apparently the powers that be considered the underclass too dangerous or unsightly to be anything but obsequious servants or locked up. And the the prison criminal justice system industry was booming. Nearly everything those unable to achieve a living wage did in the cities for enjoyment was illegal or made illegal. And rather than change their ways or adapt to a deck increasingly stacked against them the underemployed chose to go rural en mass. In this manner a great majority of the urban poor sought to escape the poverty, incarceration, death and decay of the inner city. The social control agencies’ idea of a good underclass was a profitably locked up one, and this few people were willing to bank on as a viable future.
The great exodus of late 2016 had begun.
Many of them walked. Others drove what they could or hitched rides anyway they could. Far and wide they ranged arriving in small towns and rural areas across America. The smaller the population the better. The more remote the better. To all states and all counties they came; black, white, Hispanic, Asian, they came to rural America because no small town would refuse them. This was America after all.
Jerzy Matusky was fifty-four. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1961. In the early 1960s his family moved to South Dakota where his father took a job in the brokerage industry. Except for periods living in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul Jerzy’s life had been spent in South Dakota. He had matriculated in South Dakota schools, had worked South Dakota jobs, dated South Dakota women, often Native American “Sioux” women. Except for seventeen years spent at various locations teaching overseas, Jerzy was as Dakotan as they come. He never married, cohabiting with various “foreign” women in the countries and cities in which he lived and worked and moving from country to country, institution to institution often enough that no woman ever captured his heart or home for life. It was not that he didn’t love. It was that his peripatetic ways found him continually leaving the country in which his love interest lived, always searching for more experience, greater knowledge, a wider audience until his failing health overseas finally sent him home to South Dakota seemingly, at age fifty-four, for good. Whatever he hoped to do, whatever voice or activity he wished to add to his home nation, his home state and the world, he would do so from South Dakota – and more specifically – from the city of Rapid City, South Dakota, at that, at the foothills of the Black Hills. And in doing so he was well suited to witness and interact with the diaspora of 2016.
Rapid City in 2016 was a city of some 62,487 souls on the western edge of South Dakota near the Wyoming and Montana borders. Its major feature was that it fronted the historically and economically important Black Hills of South Dakota, which served as an area for tourism, outdoor recreation, mining and logging boasting the highest peak (Harney Peak) east of the Rocky Mountains until the Himalayas. Indeed the geologic formation of the Black Hills is the oldest mountainous area in the world having
arisen over a span of some 100,000 years long before the rise of the great mountainous areas of the Himalayas, the Rocky Mountains, the European Alps, and the Andes cordillera of Central and South America. As the oldest extant mountains of the world the Black Hills have been worn down by time, they are accessible, not too high, and the mineral wealth they offer is close to the surface and easily mined. The Hill’s mineral wealth, and the high plains grazing lands that surround the Hills, make the area important economically for gold, silver, and uranium mining along with cattle and beef production, as well as logging and tourism which flourish in the region.
Jerzy was about five-six, one hundred fifty-five pounds. He’d had a lot of education, and read books all the time, but he considered himself at core a common man and only put on educational airs if he had to. He was good-looking cute and most of the women secretly liked him. Jerzy knew that soon with this many poor city folk moving in to the Rapid City area and so fierce a response by local law enforcement something was bound to occur.
It began on a Saturday around nine am. when Jerzy awoke. He climbed out of bed and immediately heard the cry.
“Good God! They’re roasting old man Johnson up on Cedar Ridge!” It was the Crowd. The Great Horde, ravaging society, once again. Oh it wasn’t a new notion. Since the dawn of the Fertile Crescent it appears the haves and the have-nots have been the crux of the problem. What is less certain is how the apparent circulation of elites would deal with this new aspect of the problem.
Old Man Johnson owned much of the Valley. Rapid Valley, a subsection of Rapid City. A group of recent migrants was roasting him, over an open pit fire, on a tree-less hill near a large wooden old-style three story home and an abandoned government missile site. His wife and children, his extended family as a whole, all naked, cowed and beaten, kneeled by. The crowd’s leaders took turns cutting thick slabs of “meat” from Old Man Johnson’s body and throwing it about. They force fed it to his kneeling naked family beating them mercilessly.
The crowd was formed of an underclass whom had discovered the potential of their power. Mostly brown, Native or young uneducated whites, the leaders were older, street and protest savvy and educated. They were gamblers, alcoholics, and drug addicts. From all parts of the nation and somewhat from the world, they came by every route imaginable to Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. They had heard it was scarcely populated, scarcely policed, and beautiful. In the second aspect they originally thought wrong. That a strong, noble-handsome Native American “Red Indian” people lived there, was a plus.
And they found the city and area weak and appealing. With the police quickly overwhelmed by the rapid influx of the migrants anarchy and violence after mere weeks reigned supreme. Initially it began in the smaller cities, or what was left of them, and in the rural areas on the farms.
Jerzy was walking, walking to freedom. He was what you might call a rapscallion. He was high-minded but definitely low-brow. For one thing, he was, most certainly, an opportunist. All his friends throughout his life all said so. After he’d lived so long in so many different locations, and done so very many different things, currently, in spite of his health issues he hadn’t given up on things, yet. He still loved rape, pillage, and murder, like many of his kind. He was, to put it mildly, a history fanatic. The current situation reminded him of conditions and occurrences in 14th century France.
That’s the 1300s, a time of swords and lances and knights in total body armor. Nobles leading private mercenary armies vaguely loyal to both king and church were the norm in France and England then engaged in the France versus England Hundred Years War. It was the idea of a poor people’s rebellion that lay here, in the fourteenth century, in the 1300s, and that notion was bound up with what has come down to history as the “jacquerie”.
The jacquerie was a fourteenth century (1300s) peasant uprising in France. Directed against the Second Estate – the noble class – the uprising gathered adherents spreading from fiefdom to fiefdom, area to area, castle to castle. Serfs rising up against and attacking their overlords; tax collectors, judges, court officials, landowning nobles. Killing them in increasingly gruesome and cruel ways.
By late 2016 the 14th century jacquerie had come to South Dakota.
Old Man Johnson’s granddaughter at first refused her tormentor’s command. She refused to take part in the consumption of her roasting grandfather. Her kneeling, naked refusal resulted in the surprised expelling of her sister Helena’s brains. One of the leaders fired into her sister and the crowd roared its approval. Sexy defiant granddaughter ate what she was offered after that, visibly swallowing obscene roasted hunks of her steaming hot smoking grandfather.
Jerzy, the opportunist, arrived upon the scene. He surveyed the landscape. He saw the contortions the naked beaten Johnsons were being forced to endure. He came close to the kneeling naked clans-folk, clans-folk now being beaten, killed, their gullets rapidly filling with force-fed roast Grandpa. Such a fond family communion for the exploiters!
Defiant granddaughter belched loudly. The resultant burp-breath air became foul; it was a stench of sloppy fellatio and repeated helpings of freshly swallowed sperm. It emanated from distended belly engorged with the sizzling hot remains of freshly roasted bourgeois in the form of the cooked flesh of her charred medium well-done grandfather. When Jerzy came upon her she was being forced by the leaders to swallow her grandfather’s cooked-in-his-head eyeballs. Her sister’s bullet ravaged cranium oozed blood and brains dead beside her.
The air sweet with fresh blood Jerzy grabbed her naked head and twisted. Her throat bulged, she gasped for air, struggled and died. He then was shot by one of the leaders. Jerzy grabbed the weapon of a nearby guard and turned it first on his attackers cutting them down precision-like, in rapid succession. Soon, due to his methodical expertise, he stood alone as the sole armed survivor in the immediate vicinity of capitalist Johnson’s naked, kneeling, abused, bloody,dead and dying wealthy family. Those able to see looked to him to determine what would occur next. The crowd stopped partying and strained to catch sight of the gun play carnage that had just occurred. The air reeked of freshly spilled blood and misery.
Jerzy discarded his weapon. He grabbed another. He loomed over the whimpering remnants of the bloody white-skinned extended Johnson family. They had lived like and were royalty living off the fruits of others’ labor. Now, like the dukes, barons and baronets, lords and landowners of the 1300s, of the 14th century, during the jacquerie uprising of the poor of that era, the uprising of the serfs, in 2016 a similar owning elite, the capitalist class, the owners and propertied, the 1%, the exploiters and penalizers, were now like their 14th century counterparts getting their just desserts. And it tore at Jerzy’s heart that this was occurring. He leveled his new weapon at those remaining of the disgraced Johnson family.
“Die Motherfuckers!” he cried as he emptied his weapon into the remaining naked family members.
The world-wide revolt of the many have-nots against the so very few haves could not now be stopped. It had supremely enveloped the land, and nothing could now stop it.
Notes: Tuchman, Barbara W., “A Distant Mirror; Life in the 14th Century. 1978. New York: Alfred Knopf Company.