Imagine a country where The Union never won the Civil War, and instead, The Confederacy remained seceded from the North. The year is 2017 in the Confederate States of America and the sounds of slavery still ring in the ears of every poor citizen unfortunate enough to have remained in the South, though conditions have greatly improved for those in bondage.
The enslaved only work eight hours a day, live in excelent, but similar apartment complexes and are allowed a small salary for clothes and entertainment. Their privileges include three meals a day, with ample time to eat. Alcohol could be consumed every friday night, and every six months, they were entitled to a three day vacation to any location they please. This arrangement quelled any serious thoughts of rebellion amongst the slaves, and was widely accepted by everyone, except Marvin.
Marvin was a young adult who was never content by this arrangement, but whenever he was vocal, he was quickly hushed by the community.
“Why would you want to go and ruin your life by complaining about the little things? We have it so good here!” They would tell him, but Marvin never listened, he had his sights set for freedom in the North, where the sounds of liberty ring from every street corner. None of his friends and family wanted to join him, so he knew if he were to ever pull off this task, he would essentially be reborn.
Every six months, his family would chose to go to the capital of the United States of America, New York City. Though his family would always divulge in conversation with the free citizens, this had no effect on the mindset they had regarding their own situation back in the South. But these vacations had enough of an impact on Marvin for him to seek his own definition of freedom.
When the next six months finally came along, Marvin and his family boarded the plane to New York City, by then, he already had an escape plan in mind. Once the family settled in their hotel room, they decided to start off their three day vacation by visiting an Abraham Lincoln memorial, the man who abolished slavery in the North, but could not do the same for the South.
Instead of joining his family, Marvin stayed behind, only to commence his escape plan. He threw his cell phone down the toilet so the slave catchers could not find him via GPS signal. He grabbed his electric razor and shaved his entire face and head clean, leaving only his eyebrows untouched. The last phase of his plan was to catch a train that was New Jersey bound and find asylum. As he sat on the train, he thought about whether the decisions he made were worth it. He would soon find out.
Marvin makes it to New Jersey, where he finds work as a busboy, he makes enough money to afford an excellent apartment, but nothing more. After staying in New Jersey for a while, he finds himself more discontent than before. His manager constantly whips him for the smallest of inefficiencies, but Marvin is so dependent on the little salary his job offers him that he doesn’t find the courage to resign. He doesn’t even have enough dough to drink himself silly like he usually would on friday nights, let alone enough for a three day vacation. He has no friends or family to find comfort in, not even an entertainment system he can afford. Was liberty really worth it? Marvin finally decides no, no it wasn’t.
He surrenders himself to local slave catchers after only two months of living in freedom.
“My name is Marvin” he tells them “I ran away a while ago, but I want to go back, freedom isn’t at all what I thought it to be.”
He is welcomed back by his friends, family and slave master with open arms. Everything is forgiven and Marvin returns back home to his normal routine. Blackout drunk on fridays, eight hour shifts, vacations twice a year and a little pocket change for new clothes and entertainment. Though Marvin grew resentful of the slave-free North, upon his return, his resentment for the South accumulated in total and complete civil disobedience.
Every friday he threw his beer bottles out the window, he stopped showing up to work, he disregarded his vacations, and spent his pocket change on more bottles to throw out of apartment building. His retaliation was met with disdain from the entire community, and they called for his arrest, claiming he was corrupting not only the enslaved, but the masters as well. He was thrown into solitary confinement for the rest of his life, but this was old Marvin’s plan all along.
No longer having to adhere to anyone, no longer obligated to appease his community, no longer having to worry about where he’ll go, or what will happen, Marvin was finally free.