Written by Chris Dahl
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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

image for Animal Farm, Part 9: The Pipeline

Marksy - along with all the other horses - had no idea what "subsistence" meant, but they were told by Murdoch that they could look it up if they needed to. They didn't know how or where to look things up, so Murdoch told them the "truth," as he put it, telling the horses it meant "just enough to survive" for right now. The Boar also told the horses that it was just temporary, and that once the terror threats went away and the farm was rebuilt, everything would go back to normal.

"It never seems to go back to normal, though, Murdoch," Marksy complained.

"You're sounding a lot like Bernard these days, Marksy," Murdoch countered. "And that's not really like you, now is it?"

"Oh no," Marksy shot back. "I would never be like Bernard. I saw what he did. How he blew up the towers and all."

Since the day the towers fell, Murdoch, Dick and Donald claimed to have launched an investigation into what happened that morning and who was behind the whole affair. As it turned out, Bernard was the mastermind behind the whole thing. He was the one who found Old Man Kennedy's gun and the bullets that went into the gun. The dog also figured out that the powder in the bullets would explode when it was lit and that it was strong enough to bring down the towers.

The investigation also revealed that he was aided by ISUS members who snuck in at night and rigged the towers with explosives. During the day, Bernard did everything he could to distract people from the towers with his constant questioning a bickering and all. The explosion was actually set off by two birds - that were recruited by ISUS - that dropped burning rags on the explosives and set them off.

The worst thing that the investigation revealed - the thing that struck fear in the hearts of every animal on the farm - was that Bernard had escaped the fire in house number 5, the old man's former house. According to "chatter," - that word Murdoch loved to use - Bernard was hiding out on the farm ISUS had recently taken over somewhere in the east, in the middle of nowhere. Bernard was, said this "chatter," laying out an entire diagram of Napoleon Farm, all of its walls and gates, its openings and weaknesses, when the dog went on guard duty and when the rest of the farm fell asleep. ISUS was going to use this information to launch a final, decisive invasion to conquer the farm and stake their claim. Of course, they would all be slaughtered, one by one and fed to the wolves in the woods that surrounded the farm. They would be picked clean down to the bone by the Norwegian rats in the caves beyond the lake, and picked at by the vultures as they rotted in the sun, or so Murdoch told them all. Then, when anyone questioned him, the Pigs, the Boars or anything happening on the farm, Murdoch would remind them that Bernard was out there, lurking in the wild, surrounded by those ISUS beasts, just waiting for the moment when "we, the animals of Napoleon Farm" divided ourselves by questioning "the Natural Order on the farm and not doing our parts for the greater good of the farm." That moment of weakness and division, Murdoch would remind everyone, "could cost you your head."

So the animals ultimately stayed in line. They dealt with "subsistence" because, Murdoch explained, "We have to be able to withstand weeks, maybe even months, of being surrounded, under siege, when - not if - ISUS attacks. We need to save, to store as much food as we can. This constant state of war will be a drain on our resources so sacrifices will have to be made."

Also, under the control of the newly created Department of Defense, which was made to ensure that the farm would be ready for an invasion, various projects were undertaken. The F.A.M.A. dogs were constantly on duty, patrolling the walls and gates. The birds were constantly vigilant in the trees. No one had heard a peep from any chickens in so long that they forgot about the bird flu outbreak, the quarantine and the slow disappearance of the poultry on the farm. All the grunt work fell on the shoulders of the cows and the horses, however many were left … it seemed like every day another one fell dead in the field, and every day it seemed as if another one was being hauled away for a "proper, environmentally sound processing" behind the pig pen.

Still, in spite of the dwindling worker population and the constant threat of invasion, the Pigs managed to get a pentagonal-shaped pen built for themselves, fashioned out of the wood from house number 5 and the scraps of Old Man Kennedy's towers. Young George created an historical foundation that put up plaques at every important site in order to "help us all remember history in a proper light, the correct light," as Young George said. The signs were everywhere, making the old man a hero, a martyr, an icon:

oLd Man Kennedy's House

#5 NapolEon FARm Road:

Burned to the ground by traitor and thief, Bernard

oLd Man Kennedy's TOWerS

destroyed By ISUS and the cOWArd, BERNarD

on a BeauTiful Tuesday MOrniNg

oLd Man Kennedy's ChickeN CoopS

RUIneD by PLagUE Due to ISUS

After seeing the signs, Young George asked Murdoch if Bernard had really been responsible. "As Napoleon once said," Murdoch lectured Young George, "what is history, but a story agreed upon?"

The Young George wanted to know when Murdoch became so fond of Old Man Kennedy. "I'm not really," the boar replied. "But remember this: the fact that animals do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach."

Young George asked what that meant, so Murdoch clarified that what he meant was that the basic animal on the farm isn't smart to learn - or even remember - history, so you just tell them what you want. As long as you make the lie big enough, they will believe it."

Young George was still miffed. He didn't know why changing history was so important.

"There was a pig named Orwell I met many years ago. He was very wise and taught me tons about politics, history and animals in general," Murdoch explained. "He once told me that whoever controls the past controls the future. Whoever controls the present controls the past. That basically means that whoever writes the history books controls what happened in the past and it makes people think in a certain way about here and now. If you own their minds, you own their flesh and they'll do whatever you say. A good leader, Young George, can consolidate the attention of the people against an enemy and make sure that nothing will change their minds about the hatred they have for that enemy. That's why we need to make them believe that Bernard did all the bad things and Old Man Kennedy was some sort of saint that Bernard destroyed. As long as all they're doing is hating Bernard, worshipping the old man, worrying about ISUS and hoping they can work hard enough to get into that perfect farm in the sky, we can work them to death like slaves. After all, what's our motto? 'Work will set you free.'"

The Pig and the Boar waddled over to the fields where the bony horses and the emaciated cows trudged from the ruins of the old man's house, dragging the aluminum gutters from what used to be the roof to the barn where the pigs had been storing up food in case there was some sort of siege or invasion by ISUS. The top floor of the barn was covered with mounds of hay, grain, rotten and not rotten fruit, seeds, leaves, in fact, anything that a pig would want to eat. The Pigs had the old gutters hinged to the door at the top of the barn, stabbed deep into the cornucopia of grains and goodies. The gutters ran all the way to the new five-sided pig pen, connected to a huge trough in the middle of the mud. The "feeding end," as Dick and Donald named it, the end where the feed came out of, was held high on a post and could be lowered through a pulley they found on the old man's clothesline. When it was lowered, gravity kicked in and the feed fell like rain into the pigs' new palace.

Murdoch and Young George took a moment to admire their latest project. Donald, Dick and Old George joined them. The last of the workers struggled to make even the slightest movement. Speaking over the workers' groans, Murdoch said, "Do you see that? That's the dream right there. That's everything Napoleon wanted for us Pigs, an endless supply of feed thanks to the latest technology. That's what they call Progress. You can look it up."

Young George watched the workers struggling in the mid-day sun and felt a bit of sadness for them. "They look like death, Murdoch."

"It looks worse than it is," Murdoch reassured him. "What you think you see is cruelty. What you actually see is Nature at work, a Natural Process. If you want to be a truly great ruler, you have to understand that you don't have any reason to be any less cruel than Nature. They have to die off so that we can live, just as a bug has to be eaten to keep a spider alive. And they have to work so that we can live. That's what they are and why they're here."

"That's all they're here for?" Young George questioned.

Old George moved forward and told his son, "It's natural, son. That's the way the world is. There are a few animals - pigs and boars - that run things and get all the stuff, and there's everyone else, the animals that make all the stuff that we get. It's always been that way and it always will."

"And so it should," Donald added.

"Right," Dick exclaimed.

"What about the dogs?" George continued his questioning. "They seem to be getting stronger and meaner. How are they getting stronger on the same amount of food?"

"Let me show you something," Murdoch said as he winked at Young George. "Come with me."

The two trotted around behind the pentagonal pig pen, back to where the dead animals were taken after they had fallen in the field. They were all still there, the dead animals. Some were no more than skeletons bleached white from the sun. Others were just beginning to rot away, covered in clouds of mosquitoes. Yet others were freshly fallen and had barely begun to rot. A few of the F.A.M.A. dogs who were off duty were ripping off pieces of rotten, or not-so-rotten, flesh from the fresher corpses, their teeth and snouts covered in blood and bits of sinew."

"I thought we gave them a proper send off?" Young George put to the boar.

"Proper?" Murdoch sounded almost offended. "This is the most decent thing we could do. Why, these horses and cows keep our standing army well fed and strong. Eating this meat keeps their scent for blood strong, so they're ready for battle at any time …."

"With ISUS!" Young George interrupted.

Murdoch shook his head and snickered a bit. "Let me let you in on a little secret," he whispered. "There's no such thing as ISUS."

"But the dead boars … the towers … Bernard," Young George stammered.

"It was all rigged," Murdoch told the young pig as he shook his head and smiled.

"All of it?" George said in shock. "Why?"

"Fear," Murdoch responded. "Fear is the most important political weapon you have, Young George. You saw them out there, killing themselves or willing to kill others, just so that they aren't killed by some group of random animals they've never seen or heard, some group named ISUS. We could make or break any law, destroy or build anything we wanted - and we did. Piece by piece, we destroyed Old Man Kennedy's Dream and we brought back Napoleon's vision of greatness."

Young George watched the dogs growling as they gouged at the flesh of the fallen animals and wondered to himself so this is greatness?

Marksy was the last to go. He was dragged in by two F.I.M.A. dogs that dumped the worn-out horse on top of the others. Young George suddenly felt sad for what he had been a part of. Legend had it that Marksy was the last of a line that went all the way back to that one-and-only hero of horses near and far, Boxer, who, ironically, had died in much the same way. Boxer died "working harder" and then, supposedly, according to the humans who thought they could write history, Napoleon sold him to the glue factory. Marksy was every bit the hero Boxer was, but here was Boxer heaped on top of all other dead animals, with ravenous dogs sniffing at him.

There were only dogs, Pigs and boars left on the farm, but there was plenty of food now for the Pigs - that problem was solved. What happens when the food for the dogs is all gone, Young George asked himself. Who's next after that? First it was the chickens. Then, it was the horses, and then it was the cows.

Later that evening all the Pigs and the Boars were in their brand new pen, living it up, each one of them taking his turn pulling on the rope that lowered the "feeding end" of the utters that came from Old Man Kennedy's ruined house, all of them basically bathing in a tub of mud, grain, rotten peaches and half-chewed apple cores, grunting and snorting the whole time. The dogs were out back pulling the freshly fallen corpse of Marksy. From the way the Pigs saw it, Napoleon Farm was the finest farm there could be, a paradise for the ruling class swine. After a while of reverie, Young George turned to his father and asked if they should slow down with the grain. "Will there be enough to last?" Young George wondered.

Old George turned to his son and, still in wallowing in the mud, told him, "Don't worry about that. There's plenty for today and there will be plenty for tomorrow. Plenty for us, that's all you need to worry about."

"But what about the future?" Young George posed. "What are they going to do?"

"You can't worry about others," Murdoch preached to the young Pig. "In this world, you have to look out for yourself first and then your relatives second. Everyone else comes after that."

Someday all the food will run out, Young George thought, and then what do we do?

"Who's going to do all the work?" Young George asked Murdoch.

"We don't need the workers anymore," he exclaimed triumphantly. "All the work is done, at last. They're no longer needed. We've finally reached the end of History!"

Young George looked confused (he always looked confused) as he looked around the new pen. It was magnificent, and The Pipeline was a miracle of modern Progress (that's what Murdoch called it and said we could look it up). But still, the young leader had to wonder what happens at the end of History. "So we just sit around and eat?"

"That's right," his father said. "All day and all night if you like. You have to stop thinking so much about it. We won. So, we get everything."

"Natural History," Murdoch added. "You can look it up."

Young George gave in. Maybe, just maybe, they had a point. If you win, you make the rules, and if you make the rules, how can you lose? So, George gave in to what the Pigs called Nature and trotted back into the mud with his father and all his advisors. The Pigs and the Boars had quite a party that day, pulling down the "feeding end" and showering themselves with grain and splashing in the mud until the sun went down.

The next morning, Napoleon Farm was eerily silent. The pigs were so bloated from their feasting that they could barely push themselves from out of the filth in which they slept. The F.I.M.A. dogs were dutifully guarding what was left of the farm, which was to say, very little, watching out for an enemy that didn't exist; waiting for an attack that will never happen. The red terror-level flag fluttered over the basically barren yard. There was no chirping in the trees. Every bird had, one by one, flown away to other farms where there were no pigs, no ISUS, no dogs and no boars. Old Man Kennedy's Saturday night underwear fluttered in the air next to the flag with the big, fat pig in a golden circle with the slogans sus scrofa and pig's over all. The plan had worked. The Pigs had their kingdom … and nothing else … and no one else.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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