My life in acadamia can be compared to the sounds of a 1920’s gang massacre. At first, it starts out quiet. Civil. Pleasantries are exchanged, yet there is an almost audible tension in the air. Somehow, you know that chaos could erupt at any moment. Only the slightest provocation is necessary.
It begins with an unintentional slight to someone’s pride. It could be a shuffling of the feet, or an absence of an important member that gives the other party a feeling of unease. Someone starts to think that maybe this is a setup. Guns are quietly cocked in readiness. Maybe it’s paranoia, or perhaps an innate sense of inevitability. Whatever the case, it’s only a few moments until someone loses their calm.
A step to the right, the clunk of a chair as it hits the ground. Voices still, and then explode into harsh cacophony as everyone clamors to shout instructions. Everyone has their own idea of what’s going on, and they each think that their plan is the best. Standing in the middle, directly between the two groups, a single member stops. Confused, shocked and unsure. She doesn’t have the experience to formulate her own plan, and is suddenly uncapable of separating one voice from the horrible chaos.
Stumbling around turned chairs and dodging careless bullets, she tries to find a way out. There are so many sounds at once. They hit her like friendly fire, confusing her perception. Her exit is barred.
Suddenly, the rattle and crash of machine gun fire stops. Both sides seem to be at a standstill. Crouched next to a large table pockmarked with bullets, she is forced to decide. Should she make a run for it? If she tries, will she be torn to pieces by the battling organizations? Should she wait it out and risk becoming a hostage, stranded at the mercy of a cold and uncaring institution? After all, it’s not like the military. There is no such thing as the “never leave a man behind” clause in organized crime. There’s only affirmative action. If you meet their requirements, they’ll affirm your right to exist. If not, well then it was nice knowin ya kid.
Slowly, she understands. There’s no way out, except through the rain of bullets. Even if the ceasefire continues long enough for her to reach the exit, there will be no guarantees. Shaking all over, she gets to her feet. One step toward the door, then two. It still seems an eternity away. A single shot explodes through the room. She leaps.
Whether she’s able to dodge the bullet, we don’t know.
She lies on the floor, barely breathing. Something tells her she can’t quit trying. She might be dead in a few minutes, or she might not be. One hand reaches out. She drags herself slowly forward. The door is still ages away. As she crawls toward freedom one inch at a time, she hears the sounds of everyone else leaving. She could be dead in a few minutes, but the organization paces on, unaware of her struggle. Nobody cares if she succeeds, or dies.