Re-reading Liberty [Flash Fiction]

Who is like unto God, the Arch-angel Michael asks as he cuts Satan in half, or so I was told the story of what his name is supposed to mean. I do not even care if it is true or not in the sense that it is part of the lore or not, and not of the lore is true or not;the latter is as irrelevant as the former.

What could I say that he could not say? Why would I assume to speak for him here in these pages, even if these pages were mine? Would it mater if what I put down on paper were verbatim? Is there an actuality of memory that displaces all the potentialities that rule or govern remembering? If I say he said thus. is it not what should be accepted? If I say that what I am about to say is what he said,God’s honest truth, the words themselves, I could say in addition. Would those added words subtract from their veracity? What then is veracity in this pedantic sense of trueness when what we are after is the Truth?

He said what he had said about civil liberty, having himself been a devoted student of liberty, as he used to like saying, reminding many that

Education, Madison once believed, was a corner stone of Civil Liberty.

Of course, he would remind us, himself being a teacher, having been one for many years by the time I et him.

Who among our High School teachers, let alone our current graduates in New York City can ever re-read Madison with any accurate understanding?

I think I can recollect him having said, ifI am not filling in as I suspect I and many, many others do—everyone, if you want what I really think.

I’ve met far too many college educated adults for whom re-reading is essential for even an appropriate first read; and I’m one who asserts that all good reading is re-reading, but then, that’s with a more attentive and less perfunctory first reading, one that today, among our literate, amounts to superficially skimming the page as if words were crumbs on the dinner cloth.

What more is there for me to say that he has not already said? What else would you want me to add, or for him to say? Is this or is this not enough for you to take away something of what he or what I would want you to take—and please do not ask me what that is because I do not want to impose on you. No prefaces or afterwords from me explaining what it is you should think, take away, imagine, conclude, interpret. Just the text; re-read the text and decide for yourself from what is in the text,. nothing outside the text, unless you cannot get away from the idea that what I am saying herein is outside the text, then you would have to . . . but let me say that all you need is here and that nothing outside of me is necessary for you to get what you need or want to get.


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