Tuesday, January 12, 2010

At the Anarchists’ Convention – John Sayles

John Sayles - September 28, 1950

Nice treat to see a story from someone as celebrated as John Sayles. It’s interesting to read some early work from some of these “better known” artists. Please know though that I rarely find a higher talent existing within one of the chosen ones.

As I read this story, I couldn’t help but draw a funny line between the characters in the story and what a future class reunion of mine might look like. I didn’t take this story seriously...even though I’m sure it may have been written so, but I felt a bit light hearted about the subject.

You see, back at school, my crew was always filled with piss. We were ready to drink and fight. Sometimes, when we were unable to find a victim for our energies, we turned in on one another. It was a great time.

Our “meetings” would usually start at about 4 in the afternoon. Once we got out of our last class. We would skip the evening formation, and get some food from the small convenience store. “Food” meaning beef jerky, potatoes (to roast), chips, hot dogs...etc. We reserved most of our money for the cases of beer we would buy.

The first group of guys who would be in charge of setting up the site (the spot) would have taken up a collection of money from those who would be coming to the meeting later. At least five cases of Natural Lite were purchased. We made sure to buy returnable bottles so we could send some sucker back to the store before closing with the empties and with the deposit money to purchase more cases of beer.

So, setting up the site means that in the late summer, or late spring months, the beer was placed into a nearby stream ensuring that it was kept cold.

Next, no matter the season, a massive fire would be constructed. We were in the forests of Vermont, so plenty of wood was available. It would be close to 5 or six when we had everything set and the rest of the crew would arrive. By this time the advance crew would be well into the beer, and the late comers did their best to catch up. Everyone would be pretty up to speed around 8 o’clock. This left a good 5 or six hours of drinking and fighting to be done.

So, as I read this story, I kept flashing forwards into the future – when I’m 60, out in the forests of Vermont attempting to drink and fight with all my crew once again. I’m sure we will set off with 5 cases of beer – just as we did back in the 90’s. My guess is though that we will manage to get a few beers into a case and realize that we will be carrying 4 cases back. But who knows, perhaps, just as the old Anarchists in this story, we too will man the barricades and steel ourselves for the fight.

Here is a shot from a couple of years ago when some of the crew returned to the "spot". You can just see the stream off to the right...all the log seats have become covered with moss...and, as you can see, the fire isn't massive, and it looks like they have about one case of beer.

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