Author’s Note: For the past few year The West has been in a crisis, mostly of its own making, of immigration, perhaps invasion. Countries, communities, cities, and towns all over the Western world are being overrun with peoples, some malicious, some not, who are rapidly changing The West into something else. We are at great risk of losing everything completely by making a virtue into a vice. The virtue, we can say, is “kindness to strangers,” yet we are being so kind that we are being corrosive both to ourselves and to the strangers. We are not teaching the new people our values that we hold as dear, no, we are instead taking on their values in order than no one be offended.
The “Alt-right,” if you’re heard of it, is a pushback against the idea that The West should not have its own countries, its own societies. A main stance this pushback has taken is that of “You have to go back.” That is, the strangers who are not of our culture and values must go back to their homelands. They are not Western, just as we are not of their countries and cultures. It is actually, a very similar stance to the more left-sided idea of “anti-colonialism” where non-Western societies are pushing back against Western influences and sometimes Western peoples in their own countries and cultures. The main idea is that each people, each nation, should have its own place to live, that they are not required to take on another people into their land, no matter how needy those people may be. Today this has become a sentiment many Westerners hold because the push for “diversity” or “multiculturalism” is only focused on one group, mainly, white, mainly white men. It is only the white man who must take in and accommodate everyone else. This is insidious, as the only result can possibly be the extinction of the white man.
What does the argument “you have to go back” really mean? What would it mean for any society, say, even one plagued by a vice like alcoholism? Does it matter if the invaders taking over a society are better, or at least think themselves better than that society – i.e. in this case, the invaders do not drink – or does the statement hold true no matter the circumstances? And, so I wanted to pursue this in a story where a society is invaded, not by a culture that is worse, but by a culture that is better. Too often, I think of story ideas that honestly are a bit beyond my skills, and this may be one of them, but I’d thought I’d try and see how the results turn out. –Pixie
You Have to Go Back
They rode into Armadillo at the setting of the sun, ten men on horseback, both animals and men weathered and worn, although clean, strangely clean. Paulo lifted his head from the horses’ water trough where he’d fallen the night before in a drunken stupor. Feeling a little sorry for vomiting in the water, at the back of his mind he realized it was a miracle he hadn’t drowned himself. But then, he was only ten, and Papa said drunkenness was a state one grew into. Papa should know. He was forty and always drunk and had avoided an untimely death many times.
Paulo brushed his sweaty black bangs out of his eyes and stared up at the first man on his finely brushed horse. The man’s companions waited silently behind.
“Are you strangers?” Paulo asked, swaying a little.
“Most certainly” The man spoke in a broad way and tipped his ten-gallon hat up to see the child before him more clearly. Paulo squinted, then turned and ran up the boardwalk into his family’s saloon on the right, his leather boots pounding loudly on the wood. He whipped the saloon doors back and tried not to retch at the smell of booze, sweat, and piss that summed up the dank interior. Papa lay on top of the bar, his sleeping form reflected in the mirror behind.
“Stop your shouting, kid.” Rosa peered down at him from the top of the stairs. She was dressed in her tight working clothes with their full skirts. At first she appeared beautiful, but as Paulo ran up to her on the stairs he could see how torn and stained her dress was, how oily, crusty, and gray her hair, how pancaked and flaked her makeup. Rosa had been his mother’s friend. Mother was buried out back between crates of liquor and a rotting garden. Mother had never learned how to drink properly.
“Men!” Paulo cried. “Men have come to town!”
“Oh?” Rosa raised an eyebrow. “Well then, boy, wake your father and we’ll show them a right Armadillo hospitality.”
“Now, get on with you.”
Paulo made a face and scrambled back down the stairs. He hopped up on a scratched stool and shook his father’s shoulder, begging him to wake up. After giving Paulo a few blows around the face, his father opened bleary eyes and sat up, putting a hand to his back. “Not noon Paulo. The sun’s got an hour to go.” How his father knew that without even looking outside, Paulo was never sure, but Paulo knew the sun was more than high in the sky and even past noon, but he didn’t dare correct him.
“Men are in town.”
“A gang, Papa, a gang with money.”
“Money?” Papa smiled while holding the side of his head. He rolled over to drop on the floor behind the bar and straightened his vest and shirt sleeves. “Well then, Paulo, you lead them right in here and we’ll show them what Armadillo’s all about.”
So Paulo invited the strangers to come inside, watching with interest as they tied their horses up at the railing, using intricate knots that he wouldn’t have known existed. With knots like those, thought Paulo, he wouldn’t have to run after the customers’ horses when they broke free every evening. He’d get a lot more tips and beer for that.
The strangers were all tall and slim, some with long hair some with short, but Paulo noticed right away how clear their skin was, how bright their eyes. They had no paunch around their bellies like the citizens of Armadillo and they moved swiftly where his fellow citizens moved slowly and carefully. At first, Paulo couldn’t work out why they were different, their skin color and hair color was the same as Armadillans and they spoke the same language only in different intonations. But as the men sat on the stools that lined the bar and stared at Papa with level eyes, it became clear. These men did not drink.
Paulo felt a queer trickle of fear down his back, and his theory was confirmed when Papa offered the leader a whiskey. The leader asked for water and coffee. All on down the bar the ten men asked for water, coffee, or both. They paid readily and quickly enough, so Papa took their coin and muttered how he’d perfected morning coffee, joking it was the best way to get a head clear after a night of revelry.
“Revelry?” The leader stroked his fine beard. Both Paulo and Papa were baffled to realize the men didn’t know what they meant, but then, they didn’t drink.
“What kind of man doesn’t drink?” Paulo thought. So uneasy was he, that he ran around the bar to whisper to Papa that the man weren’t like them, that they didn’t fit in Armadillo.
“They’re strangers, son, that’s all. One coin is as good as another.”
Normally, Paulo considered, Papa was scornful of those who didn’t drink, like the preacher up the road. The preacher came to town seven years ago and new he drank as much as anyone. Papa had teased him into it. Everyone had. And the preacher had stopped being so shocked that every member of his congregation, old or young, was drunk most of the time. At first, his sermons had focused much on gluttony and no one wanted to listen, but now that his sermons were on other things, the town members were regular attendees and brought their drinks and cards with them. The preacher had been excited to have them there, but Paulo’d seen a strange look in his eyes after awhile, and finally the preacher had given into Armadillo and had taken up drink.
After that, the preacher had become the loudest mocker of anyone who’d said they’d had enough. Just yesterday the preacher had teased Rosa for not having another glass of wine when she complained of a splitting headache. Everyone got in on the fun, even Paulo, and he’d had a swallow or two of wine along with her.
“Headache gone now, Rosa?” The preacher had teased.
“Nope. Worse than ever!” She’d joked back and everyone had a laugh together. This was their community and Paulo loved it.
End of Chapter 1.