A heavy fog descends over the deep holler where my cabin sits. I can’t really see to the bottom for all the fog. The trees that are visible form a wall of dark vertical lines on a light grey background. I turn on the radio for some music now that my computer has been hacked to death by Anonymous. I like this kind of weather. News is on all the music stations. There’s the blaring manic voice of a reporter straining over a chanting crowd. He is somewhere near the Lincoln memorial. I hear the word “revolution” and get a jolt of some messed up cocktail of natural stimulants. Hundreds of thousands of protesters from all around the nation have descended on Washington and are encircling the Capitol. They are demanding to be let in. They are demanding a new government. There are a large contingent of Anons in masks leading the protest, wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Oh dear god! A second shot of adrenaline makes my heart palpitate violently. Lightning turns the sky a blinding white for an instant and thunder rattles the windows. Rain begins to pummel my tin roof and the noise drowns out the radio. I wonder if the Anons know that I have discovered the secret of their masks. I shouldn’t be here anymore. The panic in the broadcaster’s voice has infected me. I decide I must pack up and leave immediately.
I toss canned food in the bottom of my backpack and stuff dirty clothes on top. I empty my banjo case. I decide that somehow Kalashnakov had banjo cases in mind while designing this assault rifle. The AK fits better than the banjo. I grab my shit and the panic turns into confidence. As I step outside, I realize that I have made my move way too late. The same group of Anons from before are back. This time, they’re waving huge novelty swords in place of signs. Waving swords in the pouring rain. I do the logical thing and quickly unlatch the banjo case. Snapping in the clip and chambering a bullet does not seem to register as a threat to the grinning Guy Fawkes masks. They continue their zombie-like approach. The porch is a 50 foot drop off in every direction. Trapped! I fire a round into the air and still get no reaction. Cornered and threatened, I take careful aim at the closest Guy Fawkes mask. As he starts to swing his sword, I reluctantly pull the trigger. I expect his head to explode, but it doesn’t. That same nasty metallic motor-oil liquid goes flying and the poor fuck screams out in pain. He drops his sword reflexively and tears the mask off with a second scream. Blood is pouring from his nose but he is alive. I don’t hesitate in blasting the shit out of the rest of the masks because they have not slowed their machine-like advance. I don’t miss a single mask. Lucky for them.
They are all sitting on the floor of my cabin, taking care of their profusely bleeding noses. The sleight framed kid who was first to swing at me speaks up. “You’re Kilgore Trout, right? You fucking asshole, what did you do to us?” He has dark hair and an intense gaze. His face is smeared with drying blood.
I am holding the Excalibur replica he was waving at me, examining file marks on the edge. It is the rough kind of sharp that tears instead of slices. I smile at him.
“Are you going to kill us?” he asks. I hand him the hilt of his sword. He pushes it away, giving me a look of pure hatred. I shoot him a brutal half-smile and regard the roomful of nose bleeders.
“You were trying to kill me.” Emphasis on ‘kill.’ I use an informal tone, as if lecturing a class. “These masks must have linked you into a collective consciousness which wants me dead for ridiculing it, or understanding it. Something like that. I don’t know why, but I will find out.” I drop their masks in the center of the pow-wow.
“I am 12, what is this?” blurts the kid, de facto spokesperson. The group titters maliciously at his clever interjection. I kick him squarely in the face to reinforce that I mean business. Blood splatters across the wall.
“What did I ever do to you! FUCK!” He wipes blood from his face and stares at his red hands, shaking with fear. “We were just protesting, next thing I know you’re holding us prisoner and beating the shit out of us.” I regain my composure. In my perception, he turns from zombie to human. I make the best apology I can, “Sorry, didn’t get your name.” I join the group and sit down on the floor.
His name is Jeff and he’s been an Anon for a few months. He joined Anonymous to support Wikileaks. His group are all young men with similar stories. Their talk naturally leads to babble about my “misinformation” and their fucking “signs.” They expound on their non-violent nature and get very ideological about it, even debating one another and correcting each other on minor errors. Typical Anons. I let them go on a few more minutes just for the sheer entertainment value. “Funny signs, these fake ass sharpened swords. Funny masks, too,” I interject. They all fall silent. Jeff, taking his first close look at the pile of black oozing masks speaks for the group. “I know I was holding a sign when I came here. We all were. Then you shot these…masks…off of us at point blank, we should all be dead. Fucking hell.”
“Fucking hell is right,” I continue, “listen to this.” I turn on the radio and make a complete run through the stations just to prove that it’s all news. Just news. The group quietly listens to the story as they take care of their nose bleeds. I load up a bong for them and go make some coffee.