J Bov Explodes Rhetorically

The Riots

Christopher was sitting at the kitchen table when the announcement came.

A tinny voice from the cheap portable radio next to his bowl of boring cereal that came in a rainbow-hued box covered in flashing LEDs said that the rioters had breached the barricades and the police had fallen back. Christopher stared into the constantly flickering, ever changing nano-ads in the gossip-paper, not really seeing, just listening.

The riots had started a few weeks ago and grown in both number of participants and targeted brutality. Christopher once noted to a colleague that they were less like riots and more like an organised movement. To what end, he didn’t have the words to speculate.

The riots had started when the libraries had been made to burn all their useless books and replace them with vid-files. The riots had worsened when schools had started adding ‘Celebrity Studies’ to the curriculum. The riots had reached fever pitch when the TV channels stopped playing the news.

Christopher stirred his beige, tasteless breakfast, wondering if the rioters would come to his street. Whether he would be dragged from his bed and pontificated at, like his colleagues-cousins-friends-brother had been. The people on TV had never explained what ‘pontificate’ meant, but Christopher thought it sounded bad.

The rioters had adopted a name, ‘The Learned Minority’. Christopher and his colleagues had a good chuckle over this, at least when the boss wasn’t in the voice-chat.

“Honestly,” one had begun, “How can they claim to be so ‘learned’ when all they ever do is read old, stuffy books and never switch on the TV?”

Christopher nodded. Then and now, responding and remembering, respectively.

For a second his eye was caught by an ad for a new radio. This one had a bigger power-button than his current model, more lights too and a second liquid-crystal display so he could keep up on the gossip that was happening on channels he wasn’t tuned to. For only £500 a month, this struck Christopher as a good deal. He’d wait, though, until he knew what the Celebs thought of it.

It was around now that Christopher heard the first window smash. They were on his street now. No doubt they would be here soon. Christopher turned up the volume on his radio and tuned to CelebGoss FM. He had to know if he should be afraid.

“I can’t get enough of those slogans they have!” A voice drawled, excitably. “I’m going to mix a few into a new track and play it loud!” Hearing the popular singer’s catchphrase comforted Christopher. He allowed himself a small grin as he returned to his breakfast.

They were coming closer all the time, though, and apprehension reared its ugly head as Christopher checked the bolt on the door. He returned to the table just as something heavy and brown shattered his kitchen window, landing right on the radio set and sending the cracked plastic and still-flashing LEDs careening across the floor. It was a book. It had landed open on a list of words. ‘Pontificate; to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner.’

Talking? Christopher didn’t know how dogs were involved, but he was pretty sure he could handle people talking at him. They weren’t Celebrities; he didn’t have to listen. He sat back down just as the bolt of his front door gave and people began pouring into his flat.

If they were just going to talk at him he’d just listen to his iPod instead. He was going to drown them out, he thought with a little smile, he was going to play it loud!