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Out of Many

Story by Anne Hensley (Read author interview) December 20, 2011

art by Chafe Hensley

The Government is purely self-interested. The Establishment is inept and inefficient. The Powers That Be only care about the money. The Government lumbers along like a bloated zombie, unsteady on atrophying legs. To hear The Public Schools tell it, The Government is arrogant, but everybody knows The Public Schools is pretty clingy and perpetually unsatisfied. The Government is tired of hearing about it. The Government isn’t interested in your sob stories. The Government pulled itself up by its bootstraps. The Government wears a size nine boot.

The Government was seen flirting with Industry at, of all places, a little league game, just last Saturday. The Government hates the color orange. The Government enjoys artichokes on its pizza, but never in a salad. The Government didn’t have a male teacher until the seventh grade. The Government is thinking of signing up for Netflix, if only to avoid late fees. The Government was married for a scant three years, but was thrown out on its ear after a flagrant fling with The Gay Community. The Government doesn’t think it’s ready for children, but maybe some day.

If The Government were a tree, it would want to be one of those delicate, Japanese-looking trees with little purple flowers. In actuality, it suspects it would look more like one of those thousand-acre Pacific-Northwest fungal colonies than any sort of tree. We can all relate when The Government says it has some trepidation about trying out a new hairstylist for the first time. It always takes so long to settle in with a stylist. If there was one thing The Government could change about itself, it would have to be its teeth, but dental work is so costly, and dental insurance even more so.

The Government didn’t think Natalie Portman’s performance in Black Swan was all that, but will acknowledge that she’s hot. If pressed, The Government may admit that it could have a better attitude in regards to its mother. I mean, she really only has Our best interests in mind, right?

The Establishment has a medical procedure scheduled for next Tuesday, but feels confident either way that it’ll all turn out fine. The Powers That Be think you don’t have real faith in The Lord if you don’t question that faith every now and then. That’s the hallmark of devotion. The Left really misses that little all-night diner that used to be downtown, right next to Urban Outfitters. They had the best sweet potato fries. The Right doesn’t feel bad about buying from a breeder rather than adopting a shelter dog. That thing is going to be around the kids, for chrissakes; you can’t really take any chances. The Establishment is starting to worry it hasn’t saved enough for retirement. The Right is thinking of investing in some new window treatments, and likes to use the term “window treatments.” The Powers That Be are really grateful to still have a job in this economy. The Government is suspicious that recycling really doesn’t make a difference. The Left wishes you’d eat better.

I can say without reservation that The Government is about the best friend a person could hope to have. The Government really doesn’t want anything for Christmas, so why don’t you just donate the money you would have spent to charity instead? There are plenty of people in need these days. The Left recently gave up trying to learn French (a lifelong dream) upon hearing that Mandarin would be more practical. The Government’s doctor advises adding five minutes more cardio per week. The Government has a complicated relationship with food, but don’t we all? The Government compares itself to others too often and too harshly. The Government wonders if it will ever be able to trust again.

About the Author

Anne Hensley lives with her family in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She likes to walk places and read books, often at the same time.

About the Artist

Chafe Hensley has been drawing since he was very young. He lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he teaches and engages in many forms of art and design.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Four

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