Bratwurst by Alex Lockwood

How the engineers managed it no-one knew, but there it was: a Wall of Language. It stretched from Thought in the south to the town of Gesture, above the ridge to the northeast. Nothing got through. A holiday was dedicated. People brought offerings when the virgin lights of the Aurora reached the Wall. Only cooked goods: baked pies, chocolates from the store, nothing living. My grandparents made a scrapbook of good news from the paper to remind the Wall how kind they’d been; and they brought bratwurst, a reminder that even if they’d been bad, they’d not been as bad as people on the outside. They hadn’t built the Wall of Language because of bratwurst, though. It was symbolic.

Before the Wall, the holidays were different. People from all round would come and leave their gifts at the Great Weeping Tree in the Field of Commonplaces. We’d put up a trestle and bunting and drink cider and share whatever else we’d brought. Traditional breads. Stories. Ways of life. It was a coming together.

When the Wall went up, my grandparents said, This is the last place. So they paid Town Hall all their money and took chicken-wire and marked out the acre of land they’d bought outside the border. We’ll stay here, they said.

They hadn’t bought the land, of course. A month later, Town Hall began building their Wall at the edge of their land. Eight feet high, completely enclosing, and every brick made of Stillness.

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8 Comments

Filed under Alex Lockwood

8 responses to “Bratwurst by Alex Lockwood

  1. This could mean a lot of different things, but I love the metaphors, the names, the very penetrating look at human nature.

  2. The names could make this mean so many different things. Nice one.

  3. Kelly

    the way that abstractions become concrete features of the landscape was interesting – as was the thought that I was reading some far-away anthropologist’s written narration of my own culture’s rituals and symbols, making the familiar quite strange indeed.

  4. I like the abstract, futuristic (?), unusual POV in this piece. It made me question what this sort of thing would be like to actually live with (and some people do, in some aspect or another). I liked especially how the theme works it way into the piece toward the end, constructing the fence, creating borders. Your choice of names, and the capital letters were also intriguing.

  5. Feels very futuristic, almost sci-fi, and stark. Very interesting response to the theme. Peace…

  6. thanks for your comments, everyone, much appreciated. I’m off to read yours all now…

  7. great allegory. you packed a lot in and i really liked the last paragraph.

  8. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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