The Protest Song
Posted on June 7, 2009
The Protest Song
His workmates laughed at him, behind his back.
Sometimes, they made unkind wisecracks, in mock stage whispers, and he would pretend not to hear.
It seemed easier that way.
There were many who thought him strange, and some who even thought of him as slightly retarded. Afflicted with some peculiar mental abnormality. Some treated him with a sympathetic kindness, and others treated him with quiet contempt.
He took little notice.
For my part, I knew much more of his background. I was, however, unable to set the record straight.
He had made me swear never -ever- to tell a soul. The look in his eye at the time had made me fully grasp the fact that I would lose a friend forever if I betrayed him. And not just any friend. A close friend, an old war buddy, who had saved my life -twice- under the most harrowing circumstances.
It was his sweat and dirt stained face I would always remember, his hands reaching through the fire of my crashed helicopter to pick me up, when, at the worst hour, I had all but given up. When I had lost hope, and was ready to die.
In a unique way, I felt helpless.
I wanted what was best for him. For he was a good man. A kind, gentle person, idealistic, and deeply well meaning. But he was also alienated from the human race, and isolated by his need for solitude and peace. I alone understood why.
I remember the day they played a cruel practical joke on him. Somebody had seen one of his simple stories on a writers’ website. And seen though his alias. He was not an accomplished writer, and his grammar goblins and unintentional habit of murdering the English language made me wince. I could see past the crude implements of written words on a screen however, and into the soul of the story teller.
The others, shallow folk, intellectually clever but spiritually dead, could not.
They had written him admiring reviews, pretending to really like his simple stories. Some had even pretended to be women, in love with his visions. He had fallen for it, perhaps relieved at last to have found some readers connect on his unique wave length. Then they had turned on him, publicly, in the office, and mocked him in front of his work mates. And produced printed copies of some of his better stories, with large, ugly red slashes underlining his copious technical errors. The stories themselves, painted not from a writer’s imagination, but drawn out painfully from the crucible of war, went right over their heads.
I alone knew better. I alone remained mute.
As they laughed at him, and threw the red slashed copies of his Art at his head, crumpled into derisive paper wads, he had taken it all, with never a murmur of protest.
I alone knew better.
I heard the music. To me, he was another John Lennon. Tone deaf, and a danger to any self respecting musical instrument. With passion in his heart. A soul that roared.
A wonderful, feeling spirit.
And I alone was deeply moved by his music.
The music of his protest song…
Last edited by Francis Meyrick on June 4, 2013, 8:48 am