Renaissance Men

The full moon and fireflies light the night sky.  The heat and humidity welcome him to “Somewhere Alabama.” As the train slowed to enter the switching yards, numerous bodies in addition to his own emerged from the cars. Jumping down the four feet to the gravel bed along the tracks.

They scurried in to the brush as the rest of the train passed. The air brakes and grinding of the metal emitted a hissing and screeching sound as the train strained to slow itself entering the yards.

He followed the other shadows as they walked a Dusty well worn path in to a clearing  a hundred yards from the tracks.Campfires and makeshift tents littered the area as far as the eye could see. Low talkers and dim light, it could have been a bar on Bourbon street or perhaps in Greenwich Village, had it not been the Hobo Depot in somewhere Alabama. This camp one of many that had evolved in the New America.

Renaissance Man, the one who were so damn disgusted with his new-found plight and himself. But hell the same could be said for the majority of the people he had met all across the country at the Hobo Depot’s. All a product of the new economy. Few were singing romantic train ballads or enjoying the adventures.

Alone in the company of others was how they all felt and interacted. Mostly polite former middle class individuals. Now the new savage or scourge. The fallen of society. They walked slumped over and talked in hushed tones. No one wanting to call attention to themselves or others.

And that was what led them all here. No one wanted to speak out or call attention to themselves as the politicians raped and pillaged in the new economy.And even fewer voted than spoke out.

After the great recession/depression they emerged the forgotten of America.

Outsourced, ostracised, outcast, and ultimately out of their middle class jobs  and lifestyles.

The very people who’s ancestors had built the country, and built brands like Home Depot were now alarmingly finding themselves in Hobo Depots.

It began with what the economists of the time referred to as consumer confidence.  A key indicator used by politicians and the former government to manage the economy. They mismanaged and overplayed the indicators. The middle class. Their ability to bare the lions share of the taxation in the old economy, and drive the manufacture of goods and consume in mass quanities had been forgotten by the politicians. Their job’s moved overseas for cheap labor costs and to maximize profits for the corporations. Who ironically controlled the politicians, who controlled the economy. Ah but that lesson is easy to see in retrospect. And retrospect was all any of them had left.

It started with the outsourcing, the consolidations, the layoff’s. It ended with the foreclosures, the unemployment, the collapse, and the advent of Hobo Depots.

But much like the issues that caused it, the apathy and the ability of the government to ignore it allowed the subculture he now dwelled in to exist.

But that is a story for another time. A time when the upper classes may examine and care why and who their decisions affected. A time still far off it would seem.

When he last followed such thoughts, the upper classes and the politicians were still busy picking on the carcass of the middle class like Vultures on a fresh road kill. Politicians were negligent in their inaction as they fought for party supremacy, The new world economy they had sold the middle class had turned on them like a rabid dog. So in their infinite wisdom they denied the very people who they sold out unemployment benefits. Called them lazy and spoiled. Used words like entitlements and socialist mindset.

They fought for more tax cuts to protect the upper classes rather than cooperate to fix the problems. The dogs had begun to turn on themselves.

As he sipped the campfire coffee  his thoughts drifted back to the day he walked away. He sat in his car stopped at the railroad crossing waiting for the freight train to pass.Carloads of supplies on their way to the shore, for use in the oil spill.

He thought of his now deceased shrimp boat and life. Hopeful the train passed quickly, so he could get to the corporations office in hopes of securing a clean up job. A clean up job… for the very corporation and politicians who killed him.

He looked at the car in front of his. The bumper sticker proclaiming “my labrador retriever is smarter than your honor roll student.” Civilized society also gone.And he knew as thousands before him had, The apocalypse was upon him.

He walked from the car to the tracks, the empty Norfolk Southern freight train heading north out of New Orleans slowed at the crossing. He climbed in the empty car. He saw the faces of the others. His neighbor, his butcher, his auto mechanic. They all rode together as Americans.  Homo Universalis, To Hell in a handbasket or here… to the Hobo Depot.

© JK Dark


~ by onthedarkside on August 1, 2010.

One Response to “Renaissance Men”

  1. So true, so sad.

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