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SLAVE MARKET

Dreamed 1998/9/10 by Chris Wayan

I'm walking through a slave market. Slavery is legal again. I'm an abolitionist, but most people seem resigned to it. Gotta keep that economy humming, you know!

On the auction block stands a tallish white girl with dark frizzy curls, maybe twenty, in the usual gray overalls. No bidders--she has a terrible work history.

She also has a strong, wonderful aura.

So I buy her.

Once we're away from the market, I tell her I'm part of the underground to free other slaves. I free her immediately, and give her the papers, but leave a copy with my lawyer where she can get it if someone steals the originals. Urge her to keep them secret. Manumission law isn't very strong, and someone might claim her, even kidnap her; she's actually safer posing as owned.

She works hard and the money she makes buys more slaves who we quietly free. We buy the ones who won't cooperate, of course, the ones the market declares low-cost losers. "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

From outside it looks like I run a normal, growing, slave-powered company, so no one questions us. The business of America is business!

I'm glad we're doing the right thing, but inside I feel sad and lonely, even a bit guilty. For I'm attracted to her, but don't feel right about showing it. Want her to want me too, freely, not from gratitude or fear of my privileged position. So I hide my love...

How long? Till we're all free? That could be forever. And is it right to let others' injustice make me hide my true feelings?

So I argue with myself, and hover on the edge of freedom.

And... hover.

NOTES NEXT MORNING

This really is how I feel with women I like. But I didn't know why till now! Being raised feminist left me sure inside that women aren't free, so they can't freely consent--no equal relationship is possible!

Both in the dream, and out in the world today, I felt enslaved by this gloomy belief. No, wait, I don't believe this. I know it's false--intellectually. This is habit, just pseudo-feminist brainwashing, not belief! Just a feeling.

Enslaves me just the same.



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