Speakeasy 136 – Culture versus Warriors

The instructions for Speakeasy 136 is to use a sentence, “The smell of smoke lingered in the air” and reference the photo below. 


The smell of smoke lingered in the air. The black helmets of the Enforcement Officers reflected the flames from the numerous fires where literature, artwork and other cultural items surrendered to the flames of hatred and intolerance. One painting had so far escaped the wrath of the E.O.’s. It was a curious arrangement of animal and human.

A cultural specialist had prevented the E.O.’s from adding this to the lost history of the empire to which they were in the process of laying siege. The bespectacled young man snatched the painting from its resting place and quickly rolled it up to allow the placement into a weatherproof canister. The man slid his arm through a sling attached to the canister, pulled his backpack up pn the opposite shoulder and jogged toward the waiting transport vehicle. With him inside, the vehicle lurched to a start, climbing over some of the wreckage from the invading forces.

During the half hour drive to headquarters Louis Fremont tapped away at his computer, reviewing screenshots of the items destroyed before he could intervene. His stomach ached because he knew there was much more that should have been excluded from the purge. As usual this was the effect of war makers versus peacemakers.  Men who destroyed adversaries never thought of the cost in terms of their lives or infrastructure.

Men like him, however, saw this in great detail, the loss of culture and learning about what made their adversary what they were. He could never communicate the importance of understanding the enemy to preclude the need for so much violence. His father had struggled in the same position through forty years of struggles as his superiors constantly acted just as they were now.

He practically jumped from the vehicle when it rolled to a stop at his new temporary base, in the office of the civilian authority. He clutched the canister tightly while he made a beeline to his supervisor’s office. The expectation was he could have a few moments with the woman to review the art work.

His surprise was reflected on his face when he entered the office to find the military commander, the civilian in charge and his supervisor waiting expectantly for his arrival. Alyce Kettens took the canister from hin with a grim smile and turned toward the eager men, who waited at a nearby table, with another item being held in place by some paper weights.

Alyce unrolled the painting and laid it beside the other, quickly scanning the new piece for something, to which her younger subordinate had no clue. She continued to analyze as he approached her left side, staring at the two objects without any guidance about what he should be seeing.

“Here,” the civilian leader said, stabbing a finger on the new item.

“Lewis,” Alyce spoke, “What does that item suggest in this culture?”

Lewis stared at the particular figure underneath his leader’s figure and said “It is a dragon head. It is symbolic of the southern religious deity.”

“There it is on the first one,” General J.T. Granger announced. Instead of his finger he smacked the first item with a metallic pointer. He then plunked down a map of the territory, with some scribbling in various places.

“So based on the two paintings and your investigation, the treasures have been amassed here,” Grolin Abinsdale declared.

“Yes sir,” General Granger nodded.

“How long will it take you to arrange a force to retrieve it?”Abinsdale queried.

“They will roll in ten minutes,” Granger barked as he dialed the phone.

“You have done well,” Abinsdale said to Alyce and Lewis. Without this art work we would have spent untold time trying to locate their treasure. 



 Check it out here:Speakeasy #136


About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!
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One Response to Speakeasy 136 – Culture versus Warriors

  1. tedstrutz says:

    Good story, Joe! I liked how you described the painting in the first paragraph. Sounds like the start of a movie before the title.

    p.s. typo in Para 2

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