Ron Ridenour

About Ron Ridenour
Short stories



[November 1999]

Coca Cola gushes down his gullet. Sparkling sweet and sharp. An unseen force unceasingly pours the syrupy fluid through his lips. The murky gas flows through his pores. The cola swells his chest blocking air passage. He stops breathing. Vomit he must but can’t. Panic seizes him. He desperately wants to cry out but no sound emerges.

ENTER a gigantic Coca Cola billboards mid in Vietnam’s war-invaded land. Napalm and “Mother” bombs cascade upon the earth just behind the centerpiece. B-52 bombers open their “cash” doors unloading cylinders of flaming murder.

Nausea overtakes him. He vomits over the bottle in the billboard. He pukes and pukes, covering the Coca Cola bottle with bits of blood, which form a phrase over the bottle:

ENTER into Chile’s Santiago National Stadium, autumn 1973. Victor Jara is imprisoned with thousands of people following the International Telephone-Telegraph/Central Intelligence Agency-created coup d´état against the democratic elected government of Salvador Allende. Jara stands before security officials. A guard thrusts a guitar into the popular folksinger’s hands and commands him to sing.

“Usted no es nada, ni chicha ni limonada…Tomas tu dignidad,” sings TRUTH. (You are nothing, neither fish nor fowl….Seize your dignity.)

The “ni chicha ni limonada” raises a machete and slashes down, and down, severing TRUTH’s hands from his arms and the guitar strings. Blood streams upon the brown earth and the black-shirted “no es nada”.

THRUTH’s voice pulsates the still stadium.

”Trapped between these four walls
we are just a number
a number which cannot grow
its’ longing for death gradually increasing
but suddenly my conscience wakes up
and I see this tide of murder has no heartbeat
only the pulse of machines
and the military smiling sweetly

Let Mexico, Cuba, and the world
cry out against this atrocity.
We are ten thousand hands which produce nothing.
How many of us in the whole country?"

The folk singer’s hands lay soaked in blood on the earth before him.

“Stand up!
Look at your hands.
Take your brothers’ hands
so that you can grow.
We’ll grow together
united by blood.
The future can begin today.
Deliver us from the master who keeps us in misery.
Thy kingdom of justice and equality come.
Clean the barrel of my gun like fire.
Thy will de done at last on earth.
Give us your strength
and courage
to struggle.”

The tortured torturer lunges his blood-stained machete into the mouth of TRUTH and slices off his tongue. The Star-Spangled Banner plays over a loudspeaker as a COCA COLA billboard is raised by blood-thirsty uniformed soldiers with US-made M-16 sub-machine guns strapped over their shoulders.

(Based on a night-mare when I lived at Svanholm Collective Farm, Denmark)


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