The Woman with the Flaxen Hair

“Off with his head! Off with his head!” the Yellow Shirts were chanting.

“We want his head! We want his head!” they cried.

They had gathered in their thousands upon the National Mall. They were calling for the head of Slavoj Žižek.

“Off with his head!” came the call.

“We want his head!” the reply.

Up in the Crow’s Nest of the not-at-all-hastily erected tower, the woman with hair and eyes and skin stood boldly facing the Capitol building itself – center, temple, some might say mausoleum of American power. Like in some gallant shampoo ad, her hair blew about her face, tossed by the wind. Like some stone-faced Rushmore, from her perch on the Capitol Grounds, she stared down that stone-faced edifice with the two-chambered heart.

“Off with his! We want his! Off with his! Head!” the coordination of the chants was uncanny.

Turning to face the ever-expanding sea of her followers, the Woman with the Flaxen Hair saw that they were manifold, and it was good. As far as the eye could see, they stretched. Across 3rd, 7th, 9th, 12th, 14th. Past the Monuments and Museums to all the massacres and atrocities. All the way to the Washington Monument, and she was told to the Lincoln Memorial and beyond. They beat upon the banks of the Potomac, but did not break – simply flowed over the bridges across the River – and she had no doubt would soon be overflowing the Arlington National Cemetery, as well.

“Public relations nightmare in that,” she mused. “Heavy weighs the head that wears the crown. Ha!”

For a blue-collar girl from the farm country, these were heady days indeed.

“Off with his,” she raised her right hand, and there fell, instantaneously, a dead silence, eery, in its completeness.

She raised her left hand, and there arose a great cheer. Then, lowering both hands, taking up again the bullhorn, she raised it to her mouth and proclaimed, “We have held our vigil long enough, my brethren! We have waited here these weeks as our numbers have swelled, but we won’t wait much longer. It is time for this,” she paused, as if reflecting, “cowardly lion,” one almost expected her to say of Judah, “to come out of his cage and address us.”

A great roar arose from the assembled masses. All dressed identically they were. Wearing identical jumpsuits. All yellow.

“We will not be placated!”

A roar.

“Our concerns will not be assuaged!”

Another.

“We are calling for the head of that dastardly Slav Zizek! We demand it on a silver platter, no more no less.”

Then came the deafening noise of hundreds of thousands of voices rising as one as the Woman with the Flaxen Hair let the bullhorn drop and the strands of her hair gently whipped and curled in the wind.

Postscript: An excerpt from the as-yet-unpublished 2010 novel, Ellipsis.

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