Yolanda Baltimore and the King of Michigan / Claire O’Brien 2015
Five minutes after Yolanda Baltimore’s escape, everyone inside the Detroit Emergency Management Camp knew that she had not only spotted the sign on time, but had also displayed a spectacular, even singular finesse, the like of which may well not be seen again
Hearts soared with hope and pride. That Yolanda.
They could not have asked for a stronger sign. The sky brimmed over with the brightest stars anyone had ever dreamed. Immediately, over 500,000 people began moving outward from the center of Detoit. This movement was so intensely focused, so controlled, so slow and so impossibly quiet that it was almost impossible to see. At least that’s what the government observers who were supposed to be monitoring the Camp’s massive NSA security system kept reporting, until officers threatened to throw the next guard who “just couldn’t see right” down an open mine shaft into Camp Appalachia.
Alicia Evans-Gonzalez prepared to step into the flow of people from her position in a crumbling doorway in Section Nine, where she’d been pretending to nod off on the low-grade heroin that managed to make it past the machine guns, razor wire and drone attacks when bread and milk could not. The United North American Home Security Forces had no idea that actually, only a handful of people in the Detroit City Concentration Camp continued to use heroin. That meant 8,000 troops the UNAHSF didn’t know about.
Evans-Gonzales scratched herself convincingly, then lowered herself with one brief twist into the passing stream.
Ten seconds later, she had disappeared.
“We had no doubt we would win. We knew we would win” Evans-Gonzalez told her grandson, DeRay twenty years later as the two worked together at the 15th George Jackson Memorial Apple Harvest. “We just knew. We’d been preparing ourselves every moment, from that first morning we woke up to find the city surrounded by razor wire, electric fences and gun towers, attack dogs patrolling and helicopters buzzing overhead – right up to the night of Yolanda’s escape.”
Evans-Gonzales bit into a big Yellow Delicious apple.
“Well, of course we’d actually been preparing for generations,” she corrected herself as she chewed.
“But why didn’t you send a grown-up?” asked Deray, who thought of himself as twelve years old. Actually, he had just turned eleven.
“An adult wouldn’t have stood a chance. Believe me, we tried,” Evans-Gonzalez replied. “Six lives were lost before the People agreed that our only hope lay in the kind of person the guards had always ignored: a little girl.”
“Sometimes we make everyone a king,” he said.
His grandmother smiled.
SPEAKING OF LITTLE GIRLS
Yolanda had crossed the Buffer Zone, a mile and a half of flattened rubble encircled by a high fence. Several times she had laid down flat at the approach of a helicoptor, but the searchlights had swept the sky, not the ground below, and she had felt very glad to be a small girl.
Now Yolanda stood very still, looking through the fence and standing free. Evening had just fallen, and it had begun to rain. She had nearly arrived at her destination, a small garage at the end of a one-way street, and had begun peering about sharply for the message she had retrieved in dozens of dreams over many months.
Yolanda was eight years old. The world was wet, but not dark – the impossible stars were almost too bright to know what to do with themselves. But the fence was very high. Yolanda might have been afraid, but then she wasn’t – how could she be? she asked herself.
We dreamed that Yolanda could fly
For surrounding her as far as anyone could possibly imagine, in every direction were the People, stretching out to her from the prison that could never hold them, from across the country, across the skies, across the oceans and across the centuries. There were the living, of course, as well as the people still to come. She did not know about other people’s ancestors, but as for her own, Yolanda Baltimore’s ancestors were here, right here – and they left no question about it.
Please click on the link above. It’s a contribution from Eddie Star at http://eddiestarblog.wordpress.com
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END OF PART ONE ∇ TUNE IN SOON FOR PART TWO