By: Grainne Rhuad

As he sat amongst the fallout that accompanies big ideas he found himself being for the first time in a long while, introspective. He surveyed the fallout surrounding him. There were of course the things one would expect. Empty coffee cups from a myriad of coffee shops in the area, the remains of which were caramelized at the bottom, the sugary sweetness of the addictive drink dried and sticky like a failed frosting recipe. He thought to himself one could probably tell a lot about the person who had bought them by the flavors left behind. Cinnamon, caramel, chocolate and the random black coffee that practically nobody did anymore. The hint of soy would tip you off that someone was pretending to be health conscious, although that had always seemed funny to him. Coffee itself in the mega-size cups that were standard nowadays was bad enough for you. It was akin to ordering alfredo and a diet coke.

Other things that surrounded him were also to be expected. Unpaid bills went without saying. When someone has a vision they rarely add into it the bills that need to be paid to support said vision. The electricity had been the first thing to go, which for some reason did not seem to bother the group as a whole. In fact it galvanized them. It gave them a sense of community, thinking they were doing something so incredibly important, that electricity was not only unnecessary but perhaps should be re-thought altogether. After all how many generations of mankind got things done without electricity? The notice to vacate had come next, which once again was greeted with a party-like atmosphere. Statements to the effect that; “I’d like to see them evict us. That would look terrible.” And “Right on! The publicity of a drawn out eviction may be just what we need!” floated around. Amongst the unpaid bills some of the last to come in were bills from service providers, things like printing for all the many flyers and pamphlets. T-shirt venders who had been convinced of sales and therefore fronted their products were at this point calling in their notes.

He wondered how it was that he was left here to clean up this mess. This mess that he had bought into. The big ideas, ideals, a new way of life. If only you could see it. He had thought he saw it. Now all he saw was pizza boxes, leftover handouts and strangely enough kitty litter. He didn’t know what kitty litter had to do with the vision. He didn’t know what the vision had to do with anything anymore either. He really really didn’t know how he got left holding the bag on the failed endeavor, doing clean up for a vanished dream.

His fearless leader had turned out to be not as fearless as he presented himself. Although to be fair, he obviously had a knack for leading. His ability to get others to implement his dream was incredible. This one man’s speculation had led to a legion of followers, all of them wanting to participate in the utopia, the presented plan that would free them from their cares, their fucked up families, their homelessness, their drug addictions and nasty habits.

Now he sat amongst the rubbish of a dream unveiled, and wondered. He wondered how he had become such a sucker. The mark, the patsy. His name was on absolutely everything. What was to be done? Their leader was long gone. Gone like the wind that had blown him in. Gone like millions of con men before him. Gone in the nick of time.

Introspection doesn’t always lead to enlightenment. Or rather the enlightenment it leads to isn’t always pleasant. As he saw it he had three choices. Stay and pay the piper for someone else’s scam. Run like hell and disappear. Or the last option the final one, not easy or particularly brave. Not at all what he had thought he was signing up for.

Paying the piper was going to take away the rest of his life as sure as the final option and he did not have the running and hiding skills that the false messiah had. And yet he found himself not able to make the last choice either.

So he sat.

He sat and hoped that some other follower would show up. Someone else would join him in time to make one of the decisions easier or at least less lonely. It was a great irony that it was this very type of irresponsibility and indecision that led him to follow another man’s great dreams in the first place.

Dreams built on sand.

Grainne Rhuad- One man’s speculation led to a legion of followers, and now what? “As he sat amongst the fallout…”


  1. Grainne, I was about to say what a great job and what a beautifully written story with fine prose….and then I realized you were talking about Subversify’s last conference. Something’s are better left private!

  2. Grainne, this is a great story; a beautiful illustration of human nature. Idealism can be fine as long as you don’t have to sacrifice for it, as long as someone else is willing to do the work for it. Funny how so many ideals are quickly swept under the rug as soon as they become inconvenient. You need to produce more fiction.

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