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Doubt has four divisions: disputation, distrust, vacillation, and surrender.

~Imam Ali

        I am Harb.  My name means “War” but I am nothing.  I am twenty years old and I am nothing.  My city Kabul is over 3,500 years old but I am nothing.  Can you understand me?  My path has ended.  My family has suffered beneath American bombs.  I no longer stand up for a funeral procession.  The Holy Prophet only stood up once and this was when the bier of a Jew was being carried and the place was narrow, so the Prophet stood up because he disliked that the bier should pass over his head.

        I have nothing, I am nothing.  I am not desirable to girls.  My knowledge is of no value.  My commander told me I suffer a plague of knowledge.  I am nothing.  He showed me that it is Allah who has led me through my illusions to His purpose.  I have asked my commander for a suicide mission.  I am ready to die now.


        Three Marines, Corporal Wesley Ferguson, Corporal Gustavo Acosta, and Lance Corporal Devante Hart are stationed in the barricade corridor at the entry control point of the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic district of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.  They are protecting the one entrance to the Thanksgiving Day reception for Marines and Afghan police and the officials of several nations.

Corporal Gustavo Acosta says, “That was really good food, hey, guys?”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart says, “I didn’t eat.”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson says, “What?  It’s Thanksgiving, man.  When are you going to eat like that again?”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart scoffs, “I don’t have anything to be fucking thankful for.  Fuck Pilgrims.”

Corporal Gustavo Acosta says, “Oh, come on, man.  What the fuck?”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson says, “It’s about giving thanks to God, not just eating.  And what is wrong with Pilgrims?”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart says, “Who cares about those old white motherfuckers.  My mother gives enough thanks to God for both of us.”

Corporal Gustavo Acosta asks, “What happened to you, man?”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson asks, “Yeah, Devante, don’t you believe in God?  And the Pilgrims were as tough as soldiers to survive that first winter.”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart says, “Well, God is white so why wouldn’t they survive?”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson asks, “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

Corporal Gustavo Acosta intercedes, saying, “Devante, what happened, man?”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart looks at Corporal Wesley Ferguson and says calmly, “My little sister was killed by a crazy white kid who shot up her Christian school lunchroom.  Why do you fuckers always go crazy?”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson bristles and says without consideration, “Maybe because trying to please you people never ends.  You won’t be happy until there are no more white people.”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart laughs, “From your lips to God’s ear.”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson says, “Hey, man, I don’t have any slaves!”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart sneers, “Yeah?  What about Mexicans?”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson retorts, “Fuck you.  When all the whites are gone just see how much the Mexicans, and the Indians, and the Chinese care about blacks.  They don’t have ‘white-guilt’, believe me.  They don’t care about blacks.”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart scoffs, “Thanks for caring.”

Corporal Gustavo Acosta says, “Shit, come on, guys.  The security camera…” and he points to the security camera affixed to the building adjacent to their position.

Lance Corporal Devante Hall waves at the camera and says, “It doesn’t record sound.  For all it knows we’re arguing about the price of your sister.”

Corporal Gustavo Acosta growls, “You fucker.  And you say you lost your sister.  What is wrong with you?  And no Mexican is a slave to fucking whites anymore.  The President gave amnesty.”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson grumbles, “Yeah, I guess it’s OK to break and enter as long as you clean the toilet…”

Corporal Gustavo Acosta shudders with anger.

Corporal Wesley Ferguson finishes, “…and I guess if you squat in the house long enough the owner has to adopt you.”

Corporal Gustavo Acosta points at Corporal Wesley Ferguson accusingly, “You took land from Mexico!”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson says, “Yeah?  So it’s about reconquista, not immigration, isn’t it?  Besides, every fucking nation on God’s Green Earth took their land from native people!  Even Mexico!”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart laughs, “Even Pilgrims!  Praise God!”

The three bickering Marines are suddenly alerted back to their duty by noticing a man and a woman talking and gesturing to an Afghan policeman beyond the barricade.  The policeman motions for the man and woman to be calm and then he approaches the three Marines who now stand vigilant.

The Afghan policeman says, “That man and woman say that their son has joined terrorists and they are afraid he will be made a suicide bomber.  They have given me this photograph.”

Lance Corporal Devante Hall looks at the photograph of a young man appearing the same as hundreds of other young Afghanis and he replies, “Yeah, well, tell them we’ll let them know if we see him,” and then he smiles and glances down the sights of his automatic rifle at the photograph.

The Afghan policeman looks perplexed and adds, “They say his name is Harb.”

Lance Corporal Devante Hall says, “We’ll be sure to ask him if his name is ‘Harb’ before we shoot.

Corporal Wesley Ferguson says, “Maybe we should keep the photograph for intelligence.”

Lance Corporal Devante Hall smiles and holds the photograph up toward the security camera and says, “There.  Now here’s your photo back.”

The Afghan policeman narrows his eyes at the three Marines and glances up at the security camera and then he shrugs and walks back to the man and the woman and returns to them their photograph.  The man puts his arms around the woman and the father and mother leave holding the photograph of their son between them.


        The big truck rounds the corner of the security corridor like a charging rhinoceros roaring and pounding dust.

The three Marines present their weapons, take quick aim, and open fire.

The Afghan police run past the three Marines.

The big truck is gaining speed as its windshield explodes under the torrent of bullets.

The three Marines are leaning forward, their feet firm beneath their shoulders.

The big truck ceases to accelerate and it rolls and shudders right up in front of the unwavering Marine trio.

Lance Corporal Devante Hart dashes to the driver’s side and yanks the door and fires a fast burst into the cab.

Corporal Wesley Ferguson yanks open the passenger-side door and thrusts his weapon into the cab.

Corporal Gustavo Acosta clambers onto the hood of the big truck and aims his weapon into the blasted windshield.

The driver is slumped toward the passenger seat covered in broken glass and bloody gashes.

Corporal Gustavo Acosta hollers, “Fuck.  He has a detonator taped to his palm!”

Corporal Wesley Ferguson shouts, “His thumb is shot off.  Thank God!”

Lance Corporal Devante Hart says, “We should be dead.  Hey!  You know who the fuck I think this guy is…?”


I am nothing but the will of Allah.  It is so beautiful.  My hand is the hand of Allah.  The blood of Allah flows where my thumb was.  It is so beautiful.  The blood of Allah flows into my palm.  The blood of Allah enters the detonator.


The big truck vaporizes in the stupendous explosion.

Corporal Gustavo Acosta, Corporal Wesley Ferguson, and Lance Corporal Devante Hart surrender into light.

The truck engine is flung into the building hosting the Thanksgiving Day gathering of Marines, Afghan police, and officials of several nations and there it smashes the Thanksgiving buffet tables, injuring many.

The blast causes the father and the mother to drop their picture of Harb, their son, into the dust beneath their feet.

The security camera that witnessed it all now dangles; the eye of God plucked out.

Dislike in yourself what you dislike in others.

~Imam Ali


Inspired by a true story


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But, the most ancient scrolls are kept on: THE TABLE OF MALCONTENTS










        I, who have nothing but the clothes on my back donated by the grace of those who gave to the Salvation Army, said the following during an 8AM meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in a city park while surrounded by homeless people.

     Narcotics Anonymous teaches us two basic things: Get out of yourself and help others. Doing so helps us feel good about ourselves and that eliminates the need to use drugs or drink alcohol.

     Today’s topic is The Will of God because we need God’s will to help us get out of ourselves. You can’t get out of yourself by yourself. So God helps us step aside from our selfish ways. Once we do that we look back on our past lives and say, “Oh,… shit.” Then we clean up our mess. Moving forward we help other addicts clean up their messes, too. So the world gets a little better one addict at a time. And we feel good. So we don’t use. One day at a time.

     Today is Thanksgiving and I’m thankful that I’m not sitting in line somewhere waiting to buy a big-screen TV. Those people are just missing the point of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims didn’t line up for big-screen TVs on the original Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims gathered with Native Americans to thank them and God that there was enough of a harvest to make it through the winter.

     Those of us here today in this place in this circle should also thank God because we are among the wealthiest people in the world. You know that, right? Most of us have a safe place to sleep and food to eat and clean clothes to wear by the mercy of the donors to the Salvation Army.

     There are billions of people on this planet who don’t have that.

     So I thank God that I am not in line purchasing a big-screen TV because there is no big-screen TV big enough to bring me that sense of happiness.









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A coyote is walking up the road from the city to the country.  On the back of the coyote is a crow.  On the back of the crow is a cockroach.  The three of them are friends from the city.  They are traveling up to the Grimpils farm for Giving Thanks Day.

A few hours pass and the three companions find themselves admiring the countryside.  A turkey meets them in the road.

The turkey says, “I am Snood.”

The coyote says, “I am Moontalker.”

The crow on Moontalker’s back says, “I am Caucus.”

The cockroach on Caucus’s back says, “I am Scurry.”

Snood the turkey says, “I will guide you from here.  Welcome to the Grimpils farm.”

Moontalker the coyote replies with a suave voice, saying, “Happy Giving Thanks Day.”

Caucus the crow replies with a rattling voice, saying, “Yaw, yaw.  Say, Snood, will there be Red Wing Blackbirds there?”

Scurry the cockroach replies with a soft hiss, saying, “Caucus can’t keep his pecker still.  Happy Giving Thanks Day, Snood.”

Snood the turkey turns and a raises a wing, saying, “Follow me, please.”

Snood and Moontalker, with Caucus and Scurry, turn off of the dirt road and climb through the old wooden rail fence.  Many of the rails are weathered and dislocated.

Snood and Moontalker, with Caucus and Scurry are now in a rolling green meadow, glazed with tiny yellow and purple wildflowers.  The warm air trembles with grasshoppers and butterflies.  Ahead they can see the Grimpils farmhouse and the enormous red barn.  As the four of them approach, the distant farmyard seems to be boiling.

Snood acknowledges the illusion and assures the others, saying, “It is all of the turkeys and their guests the cows, the pigs, the sheep, the chickens, and all of the others who were Born Again!”

Moontalker trots more quickly, saying, “A good turnout for Giving Thanks Day.”

Caucus starts to hop up and down Moontalker’s spine, saying, “Yaw, yaw, I see Red Wing Blackbirds!”

Upon Caucus’s back, poor Scurry hangs on like a burr on a bucking bronco, saying, “Cau! Cus! Will! You! Please! Be! Cool!”

When Snood and Moontalker, with Caucus and Scurry, finally arrive the vortex of animals is gravitating toward the big red barn.  The big red barn has an enormous doorway but no door.  Above the door can still be seen the faint white lettering: GRIMPILS FARM CAGE-FREE POULTRY.

Erected in front of the big red barn is a pole with what was once known as a scarecrow.  It is comprised of straw feet, a straw-stuffed pair of tattered overalls, a straw-stuffed red plaid shirt, and on the top of the pole is a human skull with a straw hat.

Moontalker growls softly, and then he says, “Sorry.  Habit.”

Caucus clicks and rattles nervously, saying, “I still have nightmares.”

Scurry scrambles a figure-8 over Caucus’s back, saying, “I don’t like religion.  Can’t we be thankful without it?”

Snood says, “Please excuse me,” and then he flaps and flutters up onto the head of the scarecrow.

Snood tips his head back and calls out over the crowd, saying, “Gentle animals, welcome, all, to this Giving Thanks Day; to this gathering of the Born Again!”

The variegated crowd assents.

Snood begins to preach, “Hear me, Born Again.  We must never forget.  On this day seasons ago we lived in what Man called Factory Farms.  All of us!”

Across the crowd rolls an ominous vibration.

“All of us!  And we were treated by Man like we were his personal vegetables!”

Across the crowd rolls an ominous vibration.

“Behind me in the shelter of this benign red barn was once a prison for innocent turkeys.  Innocent turkeys who never knew the comfort of a natural environment or the satisfaction of instinctual behaviors.  Today, Born Again baby turkeys stay with their mothers for months, but seasons ago these poor turkeys never experienced the safety or warmth of the nurturing mother they instinctively longed for.”

Across the crowd rolls an ominous vibration.

“Instead, they endured confinement in a ‘cage free’ barn, crowded beak to beak, the tops of their beaks broken off so that they could not kill themselves, their toes were sheared off; they were diseased, neglected, sometimes for days without water, abused by the attending Men; they bore a short life of intense suffering that ended in brutality: in the end they were hung upside down and their throats were slit and they bled to death.”

Silence crushes the crowd.

“Those who bled to death were the lucky ones.  Those who had not died yet were dumped alive into the steamer that scalded their feathers off.”

Some animals begin to cry out inarticulately.

“Three hundred million turkeys were raised for slaughter every season!  More than fifty million alone were slaughtered for a day that Man called Thanksgiving!”

Some animals begin to wail, “Why us?  Why us?”

Snood then takes a deep breath and with his wing he indicates the sun brightly above, saying, “And one day Great Sun took pity upon the poor animals under Man’s bondage.  Great Sun grew angrier and angrier.  And one day Great Sun cried out to the earth.”

The crowd opens their mouths and makes the loudest sounds that they can make.

Snood continues, saying, “And then for forty days and forty nights great Solar Flares engulfed the earth, flooded the earth.  First the Machines died.  Then Men died.  And then even the Men who could live without the Machines went mad from the radiation and they perished!”

“And finally, the God that had given Man such cruel, sadistic, unfeeling dominion over the world…, that petty, jealous, vengeful God of Man was dead!  Dead!  Dead forever!  So help us Great Sun.”

The crowd opens their mouths and makes the loudest sounds that they can make.

Snood shakes his wings in climax, shouting, “And Great Sun gave unto all the innocent animals his Gift of the Light, the Light of our Born Again Minds!  And we were all one upon the earth at last as it once was in the beginning!”

And Scurry cries out to Caucus and Moontalker, saying, “Happy Giving Thanks to all of us, every one!”

Inspired by: Woodstock Animal Farm Sanctuary