Written by M.J.C
Republic of California
Niece was disappointed that she missed his ear. She had timed her arrow to the beat of “Mi Gente” from one of her favorite singers, Jose Alvaro osorio Balvin – J. Balvin. A Colombian reggaeton singer who often sang in Spanish and Portuguese.
“Mi Gente, uncle,” Niece thought as the arrow flew.
She wanted the arrow to go right through one ear and out the other. That was what Mr. Scopes said at his trial about her uncle – that his instructions to put his gun down “went in one ear and out the other.” It was all a lie to everyone who knew her uncle.
But none of the all-white jury believed that a black man had never had a drink, or smoked weed, or been arrested, or had ever even touched a gun. The cops said all those things and therefore, to the all white jury, they were true.
Niece was furious but not surprised. And she, like everyone else, knew the outcome before the decision was shared. The cop, like all cops, would not be found guilty or even lose his job for murdering and lying about it. No amount of evidence would or could convict a cop of murdering a person of color. This case was no different.
So when she got a visit from KJ, she was easily convinced that KJ’s causes – her cause – was just and the right thing to do. At this point it was practically the only thing.
Protests didn’t work. They’d started protesting again five years ago and nothing changed. Some years ago, the police killed over 250 black people in a single year – just a one-year snapshot that is easily multiplied by over a hundred years and thousands of people of color. When BLM started there were over 2.2 Million americans in prison and over 40% of those were black folk and over 20% non-white Hispanic. Add in an additional 500,000 people on parole and it is sad to imagine the sheer volume of people of color who cannot get jobs, support families, get medical or mental health treatment, or who just disappear into the prison complex and die there.
And every black person had what was called a “cop” story. That is, a story or stories of having been harassed by a cop and lived to tell the tale. These stops were normal, sad, and pervasive.
Niece protested some but lost interest due to limited change. Actually, no change, she thought. Voting rights, the ability to work, and just come and go as she pleased – all those rights were limited to whites only. Just like she’d read about and been taught about in school. But in school it was taught as a thing of the past. Sins since forgiven. Things when the country was less enlightened.
Those were the words of all her mostly white and mostly female teachers, who made up the majority of teachers in America, that no longer had any truth to them, if they ever did.
Now, they were all proven wrong. They had indeed returned to a time that she thought had passed and there was no end in sight during her lifetime if protest was the only form of resistance.
In her own State, the State of California was building an army and had negotiated its own trade agreements with over 150 countries. Threats by the Federal government fell on deaf ears as the State asserted its sovereignty after a series of court battles asserting its separate and distinct right of self rule and self government apart from the Federal Government. While other States had tried the same thing a few times over the history of the country, California finally won its court case on the strength of aligning its interests with the 104 sovereign and Federally Recognized Tribes located only within California State Borders.
Using its power as a landowner, California ceded tribal land back to the 104 tribes – the land totaled over half the square miles of California, 90M square miles out of 163M total square miles. This land grant, made after a two-year negotiation with representatives from the Tribal conference, allowed the State to effectively claim its sovereignty as a First Nations State, and thus fulfilling longstanding treaties made with various First Nations Tribes. In all, the Federal Government had made and broken over 370 Treaties with the Tribes, but the crux of each Treaty remained active and, many remained open in various Federal lawsuits dating back hundreds of years. California consolidated those lawsuits and, with the power of of the world’s 3rd largest economy, won the consolidated court case once it reached the Supreme Court.
One day after the historic verdict was announced, California released its new Constitution that was a merging of the former California Constitution with Iroquois Confederacy (which was also the basis of the U.S. Constitution) and with the California Tribe of Nations Constitution to create a new California Constitution, formerly called The Republic of California A Free and Sovereign Country Constitution.
The State installed a new Prime Minister, announced new trade agreements, pledged aid and military cooperation with Central and South America, and opened negotiations with Mexico on the right of return for Mexicans who were born in America and who were deported in 2018. In addition, California reaffirmed that the Federal Wall along the Southern border, would not be built along the California border.
Finally, California granted most favored trading status to the States of: Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. And provisionally: Washington and Oregon but only after each re-wrote their State’s constitution to repudiate their past desire of a “White Utopia.” In addition, California insisted that each State place black, Mexican, and Natives as judges, sheriffs, prosecutors, and immediately pardon all nonviolent drug offenders (this was required of all States in California’s Western Coalition). California canceled all trade agreements with Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Montana, Missouri, Kansas, and other formerly “red” States who happily took California’s tax money only to fund Federal bills that harmed black, gay, women, Mexicans, POC and the poor – those who heavily populated California.
California cut them all off and the effect was devastating to those State’s economies that were so dependent on California’s Federal taxes but who cut their own taxes while also ridiculing Federal spending… except the spending the Federal Government did to support those “red” States.
With a Gross Domestic Product of almost $3T the State of California was a financial, economic, and military powerhouse on a global scale. And it was nuclear armed.
And that power was feared by the Federal Government.
KJ explained these facts in intimate detail to her recruits. And she made this clear to Niece many times. This fight will be won. They needed to fight to take back their country. They needed a real 21st century revolution. An armed resistance that sought to overthrow the Federal government because while California was now a free State, many citizens had family and friends in all the other States who could not travel to California.
“We will win this revolution, Niece. The State will do what it is doing and we will fight from the ground up,” KJ reassured her.
Niece was in deep thought while she listened to KJ. She was thinking of her uncle and his intense desire always teach, coach, and direct her. To make her the best he’d say over and over. She was twisting her full curly hair now, recalling how she’d push back over his demands, and how he was relentless no matter how much she told him she was busy, or overworked, or just not up to whatever task he’d set her on.
And still he pushed her.
She was successful with a thriving and growing tax preparation firm, with three local offices, and plans for ten more. Her revenues were growing, and she’d purposely opened offices in and around underdeveloped neighborhoods, and had set up tax preparation classes, offered scholarships to local women of color, and began offering financial planning, insurance, and other services to underserved communities. There was talk of her moving into politics but she had no love for politics. She only wanted to help folk use the tools of finance to help themselves. She had worked her life to get to this point and her smarts, determination, and skills got her this far. Uncle just nudged her, pointed out things with his experience, and constantly challenged her to be better and do better and hold herself to a higher standard.
Her uncle took no credit for her success. He’d only say “I can see a future because of my experience, so I’m just helping a bit”, and he meant it. But Niece knew it was different. He saw her possibilities. That was his skill she thought. And those possibilities were cushioned with his relentless optimism in her skills. She thought he often thought too highly of her but she’d learned to trust his instincts at some point. And he was often right. Not always, but often enough for her to trust him.
“Niece,” KJ said, interrupting her memories of a simpler, crazier time with her simple yet crazy uncle. “We can do this, Niece. We can.”
“How? How can we do that, KJ? We have nothing! They’ve locked us out of everything! We are almost slaves again and all our former friends – our white friends, are content to allow this happen because they are comfortable! What happened to our allies!?”
She was screaming now and KJ just listened.
“We supported their causes – their planned parenthood marches; breast cancer, wore pink, and read their books, bought their crafts, and raised their kids! We were partners with them and they turned their backs on us! We don’t even have guns! We can’t do nothing except exist! WE CAN’T EVEN LEAVE THE COUNTRY!! WE CAN ONLY GO TO “OUR” STATES!”
Niece spoke from her heart. She was concerned about movement of citizens and the protection of everyday folk. Her parents immigrated from South America and she’d seen the difficulties they experienced in making a life, navigating the system, and overcoming so many manufactured hurdles all in the name of making a better life for themselves and their kids. So Niece was going to ensure that her own kids would realize the fruits of her parents – and all the other parents – labor and determination.
“We will not leave this country, no matter what,” KJ replied finally and fiercely.
“This is our country. We bled and died for it. We were the conscious and the moral center. This country never changed until we told it to; we held it to the standard that it was founded on in its founding documents. It was never the rich and the elite that made this country what it was, it was our foremothers and forefathers.
And we will take it back. We will take it back.”
“How?! HOW WILL WE?!?” Niece yelled. She had started to believe KJ but she didn’t see a way.
“Through force,” KJ said quietly. “Through force.”
“Here’s how. Beast and Niwt are in route leading our first mission. I want you to catch up to them, and I want you to have the first kill.”
“Why me?” Niece asked.
KJ went on: “You are his blood relative. You need to avenge him and when history is written and studied, I want it to show that his family finally stood for something and that they stood for him. Too late, but they did. You will do that.”
“Who is Niwt?” Niece asked while leaving KJ’s words hanging.
“Niwt is a close friend. You’ve met her. She’s is tough as nails so don’t cross her. And, though you know Beast, do not upset or distract her. She’s already mad that I have given Niwt the first kill, although there’s no way Beast is going to allow that. No matter, because you will get it.”
“Niece, what weapon do you want?” KJ asked while changing the topic.
“I want a hunting bow” Niece quickly replied.
“You’ve obviously thought about this then, Niece,” KJ said as she motioned to a door on the far side of the room they were in. “Follow me.”
Niece followed her.
KJ pointed to the wall were a modern looking bow was hanging. “I knew you’d select a bow, Niece. You’ve been using one for years, haven’t you?” She went on…
“This is a modified, by me, X-Versa compound bow. It’s perfect for shooting from a tight spot, it is adjustable so it’ll work for your small frame and hands, and it has the patented Versa Cam System that, again, I’ve modified. It has adjustable draw lengths and it is very versatile. What I love best though, is I have added multiple cameras, infrared scopes, GPS tracking, dual recorders, and reduced size and collapsible carbon arrows that also have poison capsule arrowheads.”
Niece was now holding the bow, moving it around in her hands, placing it on her shoulders, gliding her hand over the drawstring, and getting the feel for her chosen weapon. She twisted it, turned it over in her hands, slung it over her shoulder, pulled it back, tossed it up, caught it, twirled it again, and assumed a shooting position.
“This is perfect,” Niece said, smiling. KJ smiled back.
Niece was his favorite. She’d met him when she was still a teenager. He was distant and kept away from his family – the family she was marrying into. She thought he was nice and kind when she met him, and she’d heard that he was, but she’d also heard he was strange, that he kept to himself, and that he’d lost his religion. She found him to be funny if a bit eccentric. She better understood why he walked away from his upbringing and his family when he shared stories of his childhood with her. She began to see him differently. Then she met his many friends – all of whom were women. And all were beautiful. They befriended her and she saw that he’d created a network of supporters for himself and anyone else he befriended who needed almost any type of help.
His last text to her was: What is taking you so long to respond to my question?
Niece smiled to herself remembering that he was never happy with her delayed responses. Delayed to him was two minutes. He’d rant to her and “yell” over text when it took her more than two minutes to respond. He was crazy like that. She learned to love him for it, even though it still annoyed her to no end.
“This will do, KJ.” Niece said, while still holding the bow.
KJ went on: “I will record all that I can, and your bow is equipped with multiple cameras. And AP here will record the rest and write the story.”
Just then then a young woman entered the room. She wore glasses and her hair was multicolored. She had tattoos – full sleeves on both arms, and wore multiple ear, nose, and lip piercings.
“Hi KJ,” AP said firmly, and she hugged KJ. Then she looked to Niece, paused, then reached out to hug her, too. Niece allowed the hug and the two women looked at one another.
“I remember you from the parties,” Niece said.
“I do too” AP responded with a smile. The two were easy with one another and KJ was relieved.
“Niece, AP is our historian. She will capture everything in real time on camera, but also she will take notes and write the story for history. It is important that this time the real story of civil war is told accurately so that future generations aren’t misled about who, what, why, and how, like with what happened with the first civil war. AP is effectively our war correspondent.”
“I didn’t know you were close to Uncle” Niece said and questioned AP.
“I was, AP started. We wrote together and shared struggles and he mentored me as I got my start as a writer and editor. We’d trade articles and ideas and I knew I could always count on him for writing help and he knew he could count on me. We didn’t see each other much, except for an occasional lunch, but we remained in contact and I consider… considered him one of my best friends,” AP finished emotionally.
They were friends and AP considered him a mentor, but he would say that he learned from her. He read many of her early articles, and offered commentary – some of it brutal as he challenged her points of view. She’d fire right back at him and she learned that he loved her responses. They’d share political stories and find common ground. She loved that he listened to her and didn’t discount her opinions because of her age. He respected her and she respected him.
When KJ reached out to her she was excited, ready, and already thinking about the stories she’d write, the angles and viewpoints, and how she wished she could run them by her friend. She knew he’d be critical, challenging, and supportive all at once, as they downed coffee, laughed, and write and write and write.
AP missed him. She would write the fuck out of this story and this history.
The room was quiet. Then KJ said:
“Your things are packed, and you need to hit the road now. I’ll be in touch.”
The two women gathered their things and headed out the door.
As soon as they left KJ pulled out her phone and made a call.
“Everything is in motion. FP’s Beast and Niwt were in route. And Niece and AP just left and will meet them there. Also, there is one more who will be there.”
“Good job, KJ. This will be flawless,” the woman’s voice said. “All the information I gave you is accurate so everything will go as planned,” the voice finished.
“I know it will. You’re our best spy. Thank you. Talk to you soon.”
KJ hung up.
Now, I’ll wait for everyone to be in place, KJ thought, as she sat down and started writing her end of mission report.