a fall through the cracks

The damned are among us. We pass them, pretending we’re not looking, with a shudder of aversion. The mad, filthy ones, the ones who Fell Through The Cracks.

When I lived in a country at war, I thought about how we all moved through the bustling city going about our business and in one of the windowless vans that crawled through the streets along with all the other traffic, or in the basement of some building that looked just like any other building, someone was being suffocated, or stabbed with lit cigarettes, or had a cattle-prod held to the genitals. Someone had Fallen Through The Cracks, into hell, while we hurried on, in another realm, not hell, so close by.

Some pay the full price for our social failures, others don’t. It isn’t random. You may think: everything should come to a stop with the first scream of pain, the heavens rain fire and brimstone. It doesn’t happen, though, and not just because the torture is hidden away. It’s because it’s happening to someone else, not you. You are not damned; you are saved. Hell is so small you can step around it easily.

It takes practice not to be moved, not to act when you can see. It doesn’t come naturally. But we are not natural creatures now, we are malleable machines. We have allowed ourselves to have leaders and to be shaped by their needs and wills. They instruct us how not to care.

Just watch your step, they say, and do what we say and be how we say, so it’s not you who has to be sacrificed.

Hell is for the others. Just step around them as they fall. Just keep moving.