Foot Work

Some friends of mine were sitting around over coffee, talking about what they would do in a dystopian scenario where everything was controlled and censored and no one had any privacy.  They proposed all of the usual measures, underground manifestos, clandestine groups of rebels, and so forth.  I let them talk it all out, getting all the details in order, and then I explained to them why their plans wouldn’t work.  In these scenarios, the government always maintains a tight rein on information and ideas, and they actively discourage the meeting of two or more minds, keeping people as isolated as possible.  Their manifestos would be found and burned.  Their subversive groups would be infiltrated and broken up the moment they formed.

I had a different idea.  The only way to hide the truth in these circumstances would be to leave it in plain sight.  I would affect a limp, possibly as the result of a manufactured accident.  I would walk with my right foot turning outwards from time to time in a way the would seem involuntary, like a spasm or a response to chronic pain.  But I would build a code into this limp.  The left foot would pace the spaces off evenly and the right foot would shift at different angles to indicate different letters.  And wherever there was an occasion to leave lasting footprints on the ground, I would write my message step by step.  I would teach no one this code.  I would just leave it there on the muddy ground to be deciphered by someone in the future.  There would be no meetings, no manifestos, no counter-revolutionary cells.  There would just be one man, walking, leaving the truth behind me everywhere I went.


6 thoughts on “Foot Work

  1. Now this sounds like a real dream, if you’ll bear with me a moment—not a film script that makes sense and can be visualized, but only in dream-logic, that is a suspension of same, where symbolism can streak shamelessly across the scene,a naked but abstruse challenge. The truth you describe comes from a sincere and natural expression, done for its own sake without conflict against the powers, and without the anxiety to be understood by the clandestine rebel groups. In New Testament terms … “Let your light so shine . . .”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “…done for its own sake without conflict against the powers, and without the anxiety to be understood by the clandestine rebel groups.”

      Exactly. That was the thing that struck me about it.


  2. In a situation like this, I’d definitely want a a secret language. Of course, you’d have to develop it without anyone who was watching learning the language at the same time, which would be the trick. I like to think it would involve musical sneezing.


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