Saturday, March 31, 2018


The white, the red, the black, the pale. Say it loud but there’s no music playing; it’s the chant of an angry crowd. Determined bastards, from the sound of their cadence — ba-BAM ba-BAM ba-BAM ba-BAM, they’re coming this way and getting louder by the measure, the WHITE the RED the BLACK the PALE and there’s no way to stop them so get with the beat.

The colors are horses. Four colors, four horses. You need two boats for scaphism but it takes four horses to pull off drawing and quartering, the punishment for treasonous bastards in England in the 1300s. Drag someone today, it’s all for yucks. Drag ‘em back then and it was literally by horse to the gallows, where the condemned was hanged (but not killed), emasculated, then disemboweled. Sometimes the entrails were set on fire in front of the doomed man. This is presumably where the yucks came in. You know, British humor.

Then it was on to the main attraction — four horses, each tied to a separate limb, and giddy-up let’s make a big X. Huge finish. Four horses and you just know the shades were all present: righteous white, gory red, hearts of black, pale faces. Only the depraved could watch something like this without being scarred, and no one wants to believe they would have watched it happen. But talk of treason makes people lose all reason. Extremism in the defense of liberty demands extreme measures. The horses are unleashed. And the crowd goes wild.

The horses are not running wild — not all of them, not yet — but when asked if they’re coming the Magic 8 Ball says “signs point to yes.” The available evidence gives us no reason to throw shade on the answer, even if it does come from an icosahedron.

Already there is a white horse, the one come to save us because Christ, don’t you know your fairy tales, that’s what white horses do. So let it be written, so let it be done. In white world, at least.

It’s here to save us from defeat because Conquest is its name. That’s what they said its name was, anyway. Its rider has a bow and arrows, the whole outdoorsy thing, and he wears a victor’s crown — great big thing, pretty impressive — so maybe we should call the horse Victory, maybe that’s a better name. Easier to sell. Some people get funny when there’s talk of conquest. They think it stinks. But everybody loves the smell of victory. It smells like napalm in the morning.

Only problem is, that sweet smell comes from the blooms of war, and those only flourish in a peaceless earth. A great sword is needed to prepare the soil for seeding.

Behold a red horse, taker of peace and companion to the white. Every Victory needs a War and we need war to keep winning. Not the kind of war that everybody else is worried about, the Korea and Iran ones. Not just those. There are other hills to soak with gasoline, ones that are not halfway around the world. There are traitors among us and whispers of treason. They knew what to do in England.

But only two horses, dammit. Plenty of dragging power but the crowd doesn’t want to see that. Not enough horsepower. No X, no extreme. They like the red horse and want to watch the world burn but they don’t trust it, because maybe the red horse came forth to set their sky on fire.

They swear to keep a suspicious eye and mind and promise not to mainline the red. They will know their limitations. Even in England they did not drawn and quarter women. Modesty insisted on burning them at the stake. Some things are sacred.

The ones in the crowd, they promise not to wish for any more horses. But the chant is incomplete. They need to see what happens next. They see the white, the red. Two horses. Half of the X, but which half?

X is a Janus, marking the spot or spotting the mistake. X is a kiss and crosshairs. X is the first unknown quantity in an algebraic expression and the mark a man makes when he cannot write his own name. 

X can be Gen X, the OG disaffected assholes who thought voting was a waste. X can be the mark on a ballot.

X is the cross and the start of the swastika.

The white, the red. There can be no X without the black and the pale, no four horses to gallop when the time comes to settle scores. We stand at a moment when X remains an unknown. When the seals are broken and the voice tells us to come and see, will we look?

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