prisoners are returned with contagious diseases

(c) David Harriman
(c) David Harriman

more fiction in progress:

Deserter #11 was a bag of rich planting soil.
Deserter #12 was the father of our farmer’s market. He had strong opinions about apples. His burden and his gift was to have these murderously intense views about this one kind of fruit. He was not a natural organizer. The social dimension, which really is what made the farmer’s market such a huge success (apart from the apples) was the work of Deserter #13.
Everyone agreed that having a food desert in the middle of the war was a prime example of the old bad ways. The war would go much better if we were all eating well, eating healthy, living sustainability. I don’t know if this is what drove #12 to create the market. He left a rich enough documentary history that experts have conclude that his real motivation was apples. Specifically he was convinced that an apple a day kept the doctor away, and that doctor-less days could be stockpiled. That if he ate dozens of apples he could ensure health for as many days as he did not require a doctor. He overlooked the legalistic possibility that once you die, you no long require a doctor. By the end he was more of a greedy alchemist than a fruitmonger. There were a lot of questions to answer about his theories, and he set about answering them as best he could. Do all apples keep doctors away at the same 1:1 gear? Do different kinds of apples keep away different kinds of doctors? Are the doctors working to subvert their applephobia? What about nurse practitioners, midwifes, doulas, holistic healers. Our ideas of what constitutes an apple is also heavily mediated. Driven and derided by these complications, #12’s expertise drilled deeper and deeper into the groundwater of the soul. He understood and appreciated apple horticulture in a way that loudly and permanently alienated him from his peer group.
The whole reason for the farmer’s market was that there was a signup sheet, and nearly everyone had to visit it several times a week if not every day. And we were all hungry. And there were really no healthy options around the signup sheet. Later on we went to a web-based form but at the time of the apple incidents we had a paper form, with a ballpoint pen taped to a piece of twine (pretty neatly, not slipshod). When we used a pencil people would erase each other’s names to fit their friends in or to excuse themselves or just to fuck with people. Yes it was a war but being a dick is a separate thing from war status. So we put the pen there and most of the short-term unhappinesses stemming from signup sheet malfeasance quietly receded into the undergrowth for a time.
So #12 brooded over his apples and #13 promoted the market. The war had become a place where people came in and killed each other and went home, spending their money and cultural capital in suburban wars or even worse at home, individual servings of war. It robbed the greater war of what we call leisure hostility.

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