Jacob Lawrence, "In a free government...," 1976
Jacob Lawrence, In a free government, the security of civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. (1976)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages


"National security."

Mary Ann stood with arms crossed, one foot tapping angrily on the woven mat floor.

Strange people were in Gilligan's hut. Two armed men in black guarded the door, while a party of civilians peered into closets, examined walls, and inventoried the contents of the Skipper's large nautical trunk. Their leader was an ancient, rail-thin woman with pearls, dyed reddish hair, and delicate thin arms like the limbs of spiders.

"O poo!," Mary Ann said derisively. "I refuse to believe that the security of the nation depends on Gilligan's hut."

Some of the strangers exchanged knowing glances, amused at her innocence.

The ancient woman, to whom they deferred, turned toward Mary Ann, smiling patiently. "My dear," she said in a practiced tone. "I believe I would be better able to judge that than you."

This was likely true. The old woman was a President's wife, a former First Lady, well accustomed to responsibility at the highest reaches of authority. In government circles it was whispered that many years ago she'd personally managed the Executive Branch, from her powerful position as the woman-behind-the-man, as her husband's scandal-plagued second term devolved into senility.

Mary Ann was having none of it. "Besides," she said. "There isn't any nation anymore."

The Old Ex-President's Wife smiled in her practiced, patient way, looking around at her entourage. "No?," she said. "Well. We'll see about that." Turning to her Chief of Staff she added, "Get it all out."

Gilligan painfully opened one swollen eye. He was on his back, in his hammock, where Mary Ann had placed him after dressing his broken nose.

"Gilligan!," Mary Ann said, fuming, foot tapping the floor. "They're stealing your hut!"

Several members of the entourage looked up, offended by Mary Ann's bluntness. The Old Ex-President's wife merely smiled.

"No-one has stolen anything, my dear. Very much to the contrary," she said, in exactly the same tone of diplomatic finality she once used when dictating unequal terms to foreign ambassadors. "I've discovered it." Smiling, she led her retinue outside into the tropical sun, like Columbus returning with his ships to Spain, closing the door behind her.