I was in some small town in America to give a lecture about finance capitalism. Gradually it became apparent that everyone I met — the most casual encounters, the woman with kids giving me a ride to the lecture hall — was completing my sentences, filling in the gaps. Each one had some fantastically precise detail to add to whatever I was saying, the profits, the management, the expropriation. I was inside the lecture hall, interviewing someone with a microphone, recording it, taking testimony. I was out on the street, in the passing crowds, the heat of the winter night. Suddenly I realized that this entire urban crowd, all the beating hearts around me were totally against the war, each in silence, the best kept secret in the world. It was one of those uncomfortable moments, the anxiety. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, We’ve gotta get out! We’ve gotta get out of the war! Claire was tugging at my arm, glancing nervously around. I looked down at the street: the sticky wheel of a child’s toy painted a curving green line on the sidewalk.
Then we were walking along the tracks. Behind us, above us, an ultramodern train was coming on, sleek and yellow and black and mostly glass, flooding out light into the night. “It’s like these Louisiana state troopers,” Claire said, gesturing for some reason to the train which was actually full of people talking and laughing, reveling, the crowd of New Year’s Eve. “They aren’t really effective after the first two days. They can’t stop it, they can’t do anything. But it’s the thought of what they would do to you afterwards.” I could see it clear as day while she spoke: the trials, the convictions, the prison sentences. “Yeah, it’s what they would do to you.” Suddenly I realized we were walking into the station, onto the quays. Too late. The doors had just shut and our train was leaving.