To best capture the multifaceted character of a city under arrest let’s take a look at a cross-section of citizens captured on this page; all are inspired by more than one person and crafted into a single character.
Carol had her shit together more than most, yet most were oblivious to this. Some called her a friend and heckled her ideals because they had no insight into themselves so couldn’t recognise Carol’s as such. Carol was passionate and idealistic yet starkly aware of the injustices in the world. Carol was the calm in the storm and able to point out in a matter of fact way that things just weren’t right, and why. The whys that she recognised and discovered in her explorations of the truth in information presented to her didn’t resonate with most but Carol didn’t care about resonance. Carol was a truth seeker and a truth speaker, an alienating combination in a world constructed of illusions.
When the city became a prison, Carol stood strong and stayed calm. When police were repurposed to intimidate Carol assessed her safety to avoid their overbearing presence but did not change her behaviour – a hallmark of just how together her shit was. She busied herself reaching out to console strangers with kindness and compassion, she directed the attention of those who cared to listen to the small things in life and the wonders of nature. Carol had heart and shone bright as fear loomed to block out the sun.
Olive was never happy with anything. She didn’t like her name, her job, her boyfriend, her friends and mostly she didn’t like herself. Olive was cluey to most things in the world but possessed a narrow-mindedness that separated her from independent thought. People were ok in her mind up to the point where they annoyed her just cause, she liked to have a conversation if the topic was chosen by her and the talk finished as she pleased. Olive was a bit of a pill – bitter, chalky, and hard to swallow unless you had a big drink handy to wash it down.
Olive cruised through the indoctrination of the city to prison rules to begin with because it was a gig that paid well with a TV in your cell. The government funded compliance which many took advantage of without consideration beyond the dollars that appeared in their bank accounts as pay off. What can be wrong with that? Shortsightedness in those that don’t wear glasses is a problem that can be hard for them to manage when usually they lose interest before anything comes into focus. Liberties disappeared as intimidation tactics amped-up and Olive shrank further into her couch raging at the media with an outrage left over from a now disappeared privileged life. It was all a bit much, so she began to drink a few martinis now and then because they go well with Olives.
Victor liked the system, it was his religion, his sport, his guiding light. The system might fail but not where he placed himself in it. A mark of success in the modern world in Victor’s mind was working the system from the top end not from the bottom end and being subjected to it. Things and stuff are what make the man. The right job, clothes, shoes, home and freedom to do whatever you want. Those that couldn’t do this were failures or lesser at best. Of course, Victor didn’t blatantly treat people with contempt, he was a nice guy but only to those that he decided were deserving and that he could tolerate. Anything that popped up in life as a problem was never recognised as such by Victor, he only saw challenges, and the worthy like a good challenge.
When the fear mongering began Victor shrugged it off, he wasn’t rattled easily and knew that he fared better than others in stressful situations. His life didn’t change much, he kept going to work, earning money and moving about as he pleased. He was exempt in his own mind to most things in the world that others had to adhere to and used to working the system to his benefit. Life carried on for him. As time progressed though the world around him crumbled and faded. There was suffering on the street where he lived, hysterics on the news and the downward spiral of his loved one’s mental health that distracted from his shoulder shrugging response to most things. Whatever thoughts and feelings that he reasoned away or pushed way deep down in himself began to niggle at the corners of his psyche as he wondered where everybody went, where his life went.
Irene liked information a lot. She had always sort it out with a curious fascination about what and how and why and when and the rest. Irene didn’t limit herself to one source of information, everything was up for grabs. The information age was a goldmine for her mind, the internet was a communication hub for her social life; she was very good at juggling her real life with the digital world. People made up a life of rich experiences for her, she thrived on meeting them, making friends and living it up. She had an assortment of friends that enriched her life of all ages, genders, and inclinations.
As authorities began to insert themselves into the lives of people Irene of course had a lot of questions. Who had made these decisions? Although there was some explanation as to why decisions had been made there was no information to back it up much to Irene’s frustration. But Irene wasn’t a quitter, she needed more and as a digital native knew that if she looked for long enough and hard enough that the information is there; so, she did. She searched and shared and connected and became more confused with each action. The most common point of information that could be agreed upon and confirmed is that nothing made sense. Stumped and stunned at the world around her declining into ignorance Irene turned her attention and skills instead to self-preservation and got out of dodge.
Doug had been the stinky kid at school. No other kids would play with him or talk to him or take him seriously. He grew up spending his time fighting for attention and puzzling at the behaviour of others toward him because that’s the big problem when you are the stinky one – you can’t smell yourself. Unable to smell his own stench Doug couldn’t make sense other’s behaviour toward him. As Doug grew older he became determined to get the respect that he knew he deserved. He studied hard, he stood by anyone who would let him get that close, he spent his youth searching for a place to belong. It became apparent overtime that people would only tolerate his presence if he made them, so overtime Doug’s search for belonging became a lust for power.
The loss of people’s liberties put a twinkle in Doug’s eye. His years of inching up any ladder that he could find had left him in a position that was as untouched by the escalating imprisonment of the city as it was by any responsibilities. This suited Doug just fine, he’d never had a desire for responsibility, it was only all the freewheeling power that he could grab that interested him. He thrived on the conditions of strict rules built on vagaries that aligned with his total control – no responsibility ethic. Doug made sure that he had a good view as events unfolded standing on the backs of yes men and women. A lifetime of wrongs was now being righted for him because a world had been created where everybody had to wear a mask over their nose leaving them unable to get even a whiff of his stench. The stinky kid was redeemed, Doug smiled beneath his mask at the new world made just for him.