The Question of War

Tessa in doorway

[Tessa Narrates]

The summer clouds had settled over the pond. Mom was reading comments from New York Times readers about the Iran – US nuclear affair. People were taking sides, with pro and cons just about even, when I retired to the front porch.

Lying beneath the zinnias I could smell the burnt gun powder from a rifle discharged the day before. I’d just had this great idea when the gang came out to join me.

Hello between friends

TESSA
Hey mom, is our country at war?

MOM
Why, yes we are. Have been now for about 13 years. What made you ask?

TESSA
I’ve been thinking about how we’ve been fighting with Marco since we came to the Stone House and thought it was time we all made peace.

MAYA
I don’t know, weird feline, I kinda like being at war. A good battle keeps the juices going. I feel young and energized just thinking about chasing that fat cat down.

MOM
Yes, well unfortunately it is mostly the young who go off to fight the wars.

SEAMUS
And don’t return…

TESSA
So how do humans make peace after years of trying to destroy each other?

MAYA
They don’t. Our war in the middle east has been filling the arms merchants bank accounts and shows no sign of ending.

TESSA
I’m surprised that the American public allows it to go on.

SEAMUS
Isn’t it like the longest war ever?

MOM
Not quite as long as the one I waged with my mother, but you’re right that there is no end in sight.

TESSA
I saw Marco hiding up on the hill. After our talk in the blackberry patch I felt safe to approach and see if a peace accord was possible.

MAYA
Ahh, no Tess, you didn’t!!! I can’t believe you would do that. How can I make peace when all I want to do is tear his swollen eyed head off.

Whoa, navy seal terrier

SEAMUS
Whoa, chill there Navy Seal terrier. I, Seamus, am a pacifist and a lover of cats so I will lead the peace negotiations.

TESSA
I suggest we leave Maya out of the talks and maybe bring her in at the last minute.

MOM
Good point, Tessa. You know, Marco sits on the bench in the afternoon and I sit a moment in the shade and pet him. He’s just really lonely now that his mom is gone.

MAYA
Aww, mom….you too? Am I the only war monger amongst you?

MOM
It certainly appears that way; but wasn’t that Seamus leading the charge on the deer grazing for apples earlier? What did you plan to do once you caught up with them?

Seamus leads the charge

MAYA
Sink his tiny Shih Tzu teeth into an ankle. The deer would think it had been stung by a bee…hahahahhahahahah

SEAMUS
Very funny, Maya, your just jealous because I was faster than you. I admit I chased the deer, but I wouldn’t really hurt them. I saw them out the door and couldn’t help myself. It’s just fun to chase them. They’re big and they run away from little me like I am some big powerful timber wolf. Makes me feel special.

Seamus wants to chase

MOM
Well, as I was saying, we’ll put Maya in the house – no barking – and then Shay and Tess can approach when I give the signal. By the way, this isn’t a set up is it, using me to get close to Marco so you can gang up on him?

MAYA
What a great idea!!

TESSA
So why do humans go to war, mom? There’s plenty of everything on this planet to feed, clothe and educate billions of people; and yet they would rather fight each other to the death for the chance to fight each other to the death. Really skewed thinking, don’t you agree?

MOM
It is just one part of human nature to settle disagreements with violence rather than conflict resolution. And yet, I know what you’re going to say, Seamus; Gandhi managed to achieve liberation for India with non-violence.

SEAMUS
Yes, but with great personal sacrifice. If human’s can train and educate world leaders in the use of non-violence instead of turning to the gun so quickly we may be able to….

MAYA
Do what, Mr. Pacifist? Whole generations of children have been programmed by violent video games, films and television to accept violence as THE course of action rather than peaceful negotiation. Really, Seamus, what would happen to you if I wasn’t around boggles my mind.

SEAMUS
But mom’s a pacifist too….right mom?

MOM
I’m opposed to war, for sure, and scarier still is that we have an army that can be turned on the American public, especially if we continue to sleep walk and not protect our Constitutional rights.

MAYA
Did you hear how the Texans are flippin out because the US Army will be using the great state to enact war games? Turns out the conspiracy theorists have turned it into a complete take over of Bushland and all rifles, guns, red necks and low rider cars will be confiscated on sight.

MOM
Is that true?

TESSA
She exaggerates, mom

SEAMUS
I don’t know, she summed it up pretty well.

MOM
Wow, Texas preparing to be invaded by the military and put under Marshall Law.

MAYA
Yep, and all because Obama is a black cat instead of a white one and the south don’t cotton to nobody telling them how to live their lives.

TESSA
Who’s going to negotiate that peace treaty?

MOM
That would be more difficult than getting Israel and Iran to dance the tango together.

SEAMUS
So, what I’m hearing is that humans are committing slow suicide by poisoning their food, air and water; or a quick suicide by annihilation using the most powerful weapons of mass destruction ever invented.

TESSA
To the victor goes the spoils; but then in either case there won’t be any spoils.

MAYA
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” I know it’s not Shakespeare, but Apocalypse Now is a good reminder of what has gone before is sure to follow.

And with that we all fell silent, absorbed in our own thoughts, gazing out on the tragic beauty of our Mother Nature.

We all fell silent

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